Socrates: The Rise And Fall Of The Athenian

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The loss against Sparta in the Peloponnesian Wars severely weakened the Athenian Empire (P - 247). They suffered economically from the disruption on land and sea. (P - 247). After the war, the Greek city-states focused on trying to re-populate, recover, and re-establish power in the Ancient World (P - 249). They saw one man in the Athenian community as a threat to that. Socrates is a philosopher who lived from 469-399 B.C., in Athens, during the Classic Period of Ancient Greece (P - 250). Many credit Socrates as one of the founders of Western Philosophy (P - 250). Socrates lived in conversation and contemplation. He focused on ethics, morality, and the best ways for humans to think and live (P – 250-251). He believed the best way to develop …show more content…
Socrates focus in life was to find the best way for humans to live and think (P-251). Ironically, the Athenians saw him as being morally corrupting to himself and those who surrounded him. The Athenians charged Socrates with corrupting the young (A-37). The Athenians wanted their young people to be as good as possible by surrounding themselves with people who would educate and improve them (A-37). In Aristophanes comedic play Clouds ; he brings to light the fears Athenians had against Socrates. The Athenians believed that he was reversing the hierarchy between parent and child (P-251). A father is supposed to educate their child but due to Socrates teachings, sons now preferred Socrates’ company to their own. Aristophanes demonstrates this corruption this in Clouds when Pheidippides beats his father (C –1320). This is seen as wrong because this is a father’s right, not a sons. Socrates defends himself by stating he never charged a fee or promised to teach anyone (A-49). He also stated that if he was harming the youth unintentionally as they claimed, it requires them to give him private instruction instead of bringing him to court (A-39).This demonstrates how the Athenian population used the law incorrectly despite living in a democratic society. The Athenians often associated Socrates with the tyrants Alcibiades and Critias. Alcibiades loved Socrates and horses …show more content…
Religion was important to them because it explained the relation between gods and mortals, as well as the workings of the universe (P-194). Another accusation against Socrates was that he did not acknowledge the gods of the city state (A – 37). This accusation is shown in Aristophanes’ Clouds, when Socrates tells Strepsiades that the, “…the gods hold no currency with us.” (C-300). By having such an influential person teaching those beliefs, it would create separation in the Athenian belief system. The citizens also charged Socrates with acknowledging daimons and daimonic activities (A-37). This is seen in Clouds, Socrates tells Strepsiades that he must, “commune and talk with [their] own deities the Clouds.” (C - 305). Having someone teach about “new gods,” would have created weakness in their society, which instead needs to appear as a united front. Athenians also believed that the gods punished the whole city-state if they harboured impious citizens and considered it a high crime (A – 37). They believed the gods participated first hand in human activities and wanted to appeal to the gods to help them in their favour. They also needed to appear to other city-states to be powerful by having the gods on their side. Socrates discredited their arguments by saying that the claim is contradictive because one cannot believe in daimons and not believe in gods

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