On this Day – Athens sentenced Socrates to death

It’s the longest miscarriage of justice in history… Socrates’ execution this day in Athens in 399BC.

The wise old man was forced to drink hemlock for basically being a smart arse.

It is timely too with all that’s going on with democracy in the world that the oul’ beardie one had questioned the Athenian version.

The 70-year-old was found guilty by his peers for ‘impiety’ and ‘corrupting’ the young’.

Win or Bust in Athens

But were the city’s fathers right to convict him or were they just jealous of his popularity?

The beardie rebel

An unkempt figure in an age where image was everything (familiar?) he’d shuffle around the Acropolis in his bare feet.

He would openly expose the hypocrisy of self-serving the city leaders on the streets.

And he would arouse the youth and encourage them to think for themselves.

Tragedy: For Socrates

Throw in too his questioning of the theological orthodoxy of the day (uh-oh!)

And you could see the philosopher’s days were numbered though he did get offered exile and turned it down out of principle.

Footsteps of Socrates

You can walk in the footsteps of Socrates in today’s Athens where the Agora, the marketplace, once stood.

And there is now a museum.

Spoiled and ruined at the Acropolis in Athens

And visit the stone foundations where his pal Simon’s cobblers once stood and I guess he asked when his sandals would be ready.

The stone cells carved into the rock near the Agora look tempting as Socrates’ prison.


But Socratologists (OK, I made that up) suggest the remains of a villa off Apostolou Pavlou as a more likely candidate.

Particularly as vials have been discovered there which could have included hemlock.

In the footsteps of Socrates.

With democracy’s foundations shaking it is worth reflecting that its values are still being espoused 2,400 years after Socrates.

Because of dissenting voices.


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