431 BCE: The Greek Philosopher Socrates

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In 399 BCE, the Greek philosopher Socrates was put on trial and convicted. A jury of 100 men charged him with impiety and corrupting the youth. If this trial had occurred just 40 years earlier, Socrates could not have been convicted of any crime. In that 30-year span, there were many occurrences that made the democratic Athens be able to convict Socrates. The question of how Socrates could have been convicted is important because it helps us understand how Athens’ early democracy functioned. Socrates could be put to death in the most democratic of Greek poleis because the Peloponnesian war reshaped Athens, the government was corrupt and Athenians believed Socrates was spreading undemocratic ideas. The Peloponnesian war caused effected Socrates’ trial because it caused a massive change in the Athenian democracy. In 431 BCE, a deadly war started between two of the biggest powers in the Mediterranean, Athens and Sparta. The war seemed to pause for a while between 421 and 414 BCE, but tensions again rose and it resumed (Kishlansky 78). By 411 BCE, Athens was losing and desperately in a fight for its life. (Kishlansky 79) Alcibiades, the Athenian traitor ten convinced the Athenian government that, if they were to abandon their democracy, Sparta’s ally, Persia, would not help the…show more content…
This could mean that the government in feeding the citizens information, the shadows, and the citizens believe this, for that is all they know. In Nardo’s “Trial of Socrates,” it is shown that even the Athenian Citizens considered their government corrupt: “Athens’ fortunes continued to spiral downwards, and some disgruntled citizens pinned he blame on its democratic government which they considered weak and corrupt” (37). This would affect Socrates’ trial because either the jury was also corrupt or they, as citizens, would blindly agree with the government and convict

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