Socrates’ Trial and Subsequent Death Penalty Were Legally Just

2 January 2016
350 Views

Over the centuries, historians have presented the trial of Socrates as a parody of that time, claiming that the Athenian philosopher was forced to face charges invented by his fellow citizens because of ignorance.

In the 399 BC trial, Socrates was found guilty of impiety and corruption of youth and the court sentenced him to death by swallowing conium.

A recent study, however, tries to overturn the theories that are accepted so far. Cambridge Professot Paul Cartledge argues that the trial was legally just and Socrates was indeed guilty as charged.

“Everyone knows that the Greeks invented democracy, but it was not the republic as we know it today. As a result, History has been misinterpreted,” the professor says.

“The accusations Socrates faced may seem ridiculous to us, but in Ancient Athens they seemed to serve the common good,” he adds.

Historians have traditionally claimed that Socrates created many enemies by openly criticizing prominent politicians. The trial gave them an opportunity to get rid of him.

The Athenian philosopher was the scapegoat of a series of disasters that befell Athens, including a plague and a military defeat.

Professor Cartledge argues that some people interpreted those events as a sign of displeasure of the gods. They claimed that Socrates had offended the gods because the philosopher used to question the authority of several deities.

Cartledge believes that the charges of impiety against Socrates were not only fair – given the beliefs of the time – but also attributed to the common good.

The study concludes that Socrates essentially caused his own death. According to the Athenian legal system, the defendant could suggest his own sentence. In the beginning Socrates joked saying that he should have been rewarded instead. Eventually he suggested a small fine, but the jury did not find his joke funny and decided the death penalty.

You may be interested

Lotto results: Wednesday 20 June 2018
GREECE
shares6 views
GREECE
shares6 views

Lotto results: Wednesday 20 June 2018

Panos - Jun 20, 2018

The winning numbers from the Lotto draw on Wednesday 20 June are as follows:

Mykonos! The island where some bread slices cost 28 euros!
GREECE
shares18 views
GREECE
shares18 views

Mykonos! The island where some bread slices cost 28 euros!

makis - Jun 20, 2018

A Spanish bakery claims to sell the world’s most expensive bread in the world at €106 a loaf. OK, that…

Panathinaikos FC agree to terms with coach George Donis
GREECE
shares14 views
GREECE
shares14 views

Panathinaikos FC agree to terms with coach George Donis

makis - Jun 20, 2018

Manager George Donis will be at the helm of Panathinaikos FC, after the two parties agreed on terms on Wednesday.…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.