Stolen Legacy

Page 83

Page 83


The Athenian Philosophers.

1. Socrates: (i) His Life (ii) Doctrines (iii) Summary of Conclusions.


(a) Date and place of birth.

Socrates was born in Athens, in the year 469 B.C. He was the son of Sophroniscus, a sculptor, and Phaenarete, a midwife. Very little is known about his early years; but we are told that he was brought up in the profession of his father, and that he called himself not only a pupil of Prodicus and Aspasia, (which statement suggests that he might have learnt from them, music, geometry and gymnastics): but also a self taught philosopher, according to Xenophon in the Symposium. Up to the age of 40, his life appears to be a complete blank: the first mention being made of him, when he served as an ordinary soldier in the sieges of Potidaea and Delium between (432-429) B.C. (Trial and Death of Socrates: F. J. Church: p. 15 of Introduction).

(b) His economic status and personality.

Socrates did not accept fees for what he taught, and he became so poor, that his wife Xanthippe became very dissatisfied with domestic conditions.

He believed that he possessed (Daimonion Ti) a divine something, i.e., a divine voice which advised and guided him in the great crises of his life. (Turner's Hist. of Phil. p. 78-79; and Plato's Apology).

(c) His Condemnation and death in 399 B.C.

After the accustomed speeches of the accusers: (Miletus, Anytus and Lycon); Socrates followed with his defense, at