Socrates’ Trial and Subsequent Death Penalty Were Legally Just

2 January 2016
640 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

Refugees and illegal immigrants camp outside Greek parliament
GREECE
shares12 views
GREECE
shares12 views

Refugees and illegal immigrants camp outside Greek parliament

makis - Apr 19, 2019

Refugees and illegal immigrants have camped outside the Greek parliament at Syntagma Square in Athens. The illegal immigrants and refugees,…

Greek House votes to lift Parliamentary immunity of trhee MPs
POLITICS
shares13 views
POLITICS
shares13 views

Greek House votes to lift Parliamentary immunity of trhee MPs

makis - Apr 19, 2019

Greek MPs decided to lift the Parliamentary immunity of three of their colleagues, Andreas Loverdos, Marios Salmas, and Aristides Fokas…

Weekend escapes near Athens!
GREECE
shares1177 views
GREECE
shares1177 views

Weekend escapes near Athens!

Panos - Apr 19, 2019

Chalkida: the town of “mad waters” There is a reference point, a place of attraction for Athenians and people from…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.