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The Historical Socrates i. His family was not extremely poor, but they were by no means wealthy, and Socrates could not claim that he was of noble birth like Plato. He grew up in the political deme or district of Alopece, and when he turned 18, began to perform the typical political duties required of Athenian males.
These included compulsory military service and membership in the Assembly, the governing body responsible for determining military strategy and legislation.
In a culture that worshipped male beauty, Socrates had the misfortune of being born incredibly ugly. Many of our ancient sources attest to his rather awkward physical appearance, and Plato more than once makes reference to it Theaetetus e, Symposium, a-c; also Xenophon Symposium 4.
Socrates was exophthalmic, meaning that his eyes bulged out of his head and were not straight but focused sideways. He had a snub nose, which made him resemble a pig, and many sources depict him with a potbelly. Socrates did little to help his odd appearance, frequently wearing the same cloak and sandals throughout both the day and the evening.
As a young man Socrates was given an education appropriate for a person of his station. By the middle of the 5th century B. Sophroniscus, however, also took pains to give his son an advanced cultural education in poetry, music, and athletics.
In both Plato and Xenophon, we find a Socrates that is well versed in poetry, talented at music, and quite at-home in the gymnasium. In accordance with Athenian custom, his father also taught him a trade, though Socrates did not labor at it on a daily basis. Rather, he spent his days in the agora the Athenian marketplaceasking questions of those who would speak with him.
While he was poor, he quickly acquired a following of rich young aristocrats—one of whom was Plato—who particularly enjoyed hearing him interrogate those that were purported to be the wisest and most influential men in the city.
Socrates was married to Xanthippe, and according to some sources, had a second wife. Most suggest that he first married Xanthippe, and that she gave birth to his first son, Lamprocles. He is alleged to have married his second wife, Myrto, without dowry, and she gave birth to his other two sons, Sophroniscus and Menexenus.
Various accounts attribute Sophroniscus to Xanthippe, while others even suggest that Socrates was married to both women simultaneously because of a shortage of males in Athens at the time.
In accordance with Athenian custom, Socrates was open about his physical attraction to young men, though he always subordinated his physical desire for them to his desire that they improve the condition of their souls. Socrates fought valiantly during his time in the Athenian military.
Just before the Peloponnesian War with Sparta began in B. E, he helped the Athenians win the battle of Potidaea B. He also fought as one of 7, hoplites aside 20, troops at the battle of Delium B. Both battles were defeats for Athens.
Despite his continued service to his city, many members of Athenian society perceived Socrates to be a threat to their democracy, and it is this suspicion that largely contributed to his conviction in court. It is therefore imperative to understand the historical context in which his trial was set.
Later Life and Trial 1. Athens fought one of its bloodiest and most protracted conflicts with neighboring Sparta, the war that we now know as the Peloponnesian War. Aside from the fact that Socrates fought in the conflict, it is important for an account of his life and trial because many of those with whom Socrates spent his time became either sympathetic to the Spartan cause at the very least or traitors to Athens at worst.
This is particularly the case with those from the more aristocratic Athenian families, who tended to favor the rigid and restricted hierarchy of power in Sparta instead of the more widespread democratic distribution of power and free speech to all citizens that obtained in Athens.
Plato more than once places in the mouth of his character Socrates praise for Sparta Protagoras b, Crito 53a; cf. Republic c in which most people think the Spartan constitution is the best. The political regime of the Republic is marked by a small group of ruling elites that preside over the citizens of the ideal city.
In conjunction with these crimes, Athens witnessed the profanation of the Eleusinian mysteries, religious rituals that were to be conducted only in the presence of priests but that were in this case performed in private homes without official sanction or recognition of any kind.
Rather than face prosecution for the crime, Alcibiades escaped and sought asylum in Sparta. Socrates had by many counts been in love with Alcibiades and Plato depicts him pursuing or speaking of his love for him in many dialogues Symposium c-d, Protagoras a, Gorgias d, Alcibiades I ac, ea.
Alcibiades is typically portrayed as a wandering soul Alcibiades I c-dnot committed to any one consistent way of life or definition of justice.You can find a record of your personal details including your name, contact details, citizenship and residency details, and disability and medical condition information on My Student Admin in the “My Details” tab.
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Socrates (— B.C.E.). Socrates is one of the few individuals whom one could say has so-shaped the cultural and intellectual development of the world that, .