[EPUB] ✹ Why Socrates Died By Robin Waterfield – Sharkmotorcyclehelmets.co.uk


Interesting book. I recently reread Plato s four death of Socrates dialogues Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo and wanted a bit historical background than I could glean from the Penguin introduction Waterfield s study, sub titled Dispelling the Myths, delivered exactly what it promised Waterfield places Socrates s trial in the perilous context of the recently lost Peloponnesian war and just overthrown tyranny of the Thirty Throughout his life Socrates had never bothered to hide his contempt for democracy Praised by an oracle, inspired by a god, he was elitist to the core although in the philosophical than the socio economic sense Still, there was a disturbing degree of overlap, and Waterfield is convincing that Socrates was tried and condemned for his irritating political posture, not martyred for his noble philosophy.Waterfield s writing is clear, if a bit dry especially by comparison to I.F Stone s fiery Trial of Socrates which has aged better than I expected He also offers a concise overview of the course of the Peloponnesian war, which you know if you ve slogged through Thucydides or even Kagan is not easy to do. A Revisionist Account Of The Most Famous Trial And Execution In Western Civilization One With Great Resonance For American Society Today In The Spring Of BCE, Socrates Stood Trial In His Native Athens The Court Was Packed, And After Being Found Guilty By His Peers, Socrates Died By Drinking A Cup Of The Poison Hemlock, A Defining Moment In Ancient Civilization Yet Time Has Transmuted The Facts Into A Fable Aware Of These Myths, Robin Waterfield Has Examined The Actual Greek Sources And Presents A New Socrates, Not An Atheist Or The Guru Of A Weird Sect, But A Deeply Moral Thinker Whose Convictions Stood In Stark Relief To Those Of His Former Disciple, Alcibiades, The Hawkish And Self Serving Military Leader Refusing To Surrender His Beliefs Even In The Face Of Death, Socrates, As Waterfield Reveals, Was Determined To Save A Country That Was Tearing Itself Apart, One In Moral Decline Why Socrates Died Is Not Only A Powerful Revisionist Book But Also A Work Whose Insights Translate Clearly From Ancient Athens To Modern America Waterfield builds a strong case for the logical inevitability of Socrates trial and execution Set against a backdrop of civil war, loss of empire, and the murderous but blessedly brief reign of the 30 tyrants, Socrates lack of love for democracy, and close association with the oligarchs, left him looking like the enemy of a threatened people.In the course of a gallop through the Peloponnesian Wars, Waterfield shines a light on areas not covered by Thucydides, filling in many gaps for the reader s general knowledge.For those who know Plato s dialogues especially Alcibiades, Gorgias and Symposium better than they know Attic history, Alcibiades may be the chief interest here Socrates as teacher was trying to influence key people in Athenian society to build his ideal moral and political system and we see in this work that Athens didn t react kindly to the results of his efforts.Also fascinating to me is the explanation of Athens legal system in all its democratic glory Seems the very model of Rebekah Wade s tabloid lynch mob ideal 1.The useful bibliography at the end saddened me a little, as all of the Socratic translations editions 2 are published after I last bought one, so it looks like I need to get new editions before my next re read re evaluation of Plato So sad to have to buy books, eh 1 2 Of course it s just possible that Mr Waterfield wants us to buy his editions for purely selfish reasons but I think I ll give him the benefit of the doubt An enjoyable read, it narrates the socio political context leading to Socrates trial and execution in 399 BC Although the last chapter is a bit disappointing, it is well argued and documented The book argues that Socrates was condemned because he was a known critic of democracy and traditional values, and a teacher and close friend of impious oligarchs like Critias and Alcibiades A required reading for anyone interested in Greek history and philosophy. I was unaware that the Socrates I looked up to was actually a creation of Plato The guy who with a few questions could make it apparent that the most learned humans don t actually know a thing The guy who always seemed to be the face of the people on the street calling out the powerful The guy who said he heard the voice of Apollo as a metaphor for the faculty for rationality that humans seem to posses The guy who refused to pay the fine of 30 pieces of silver to save his own life the guy martyred for his beliefs Martyred for trying to awaken the youth Yeah that guy is just Plato s story I didn t really know much about Xenophon s Socrates which did a nice job of unseating my previous assumptions about the historical figure, setting the stage for an understanding of the historical Socrates Socrates was an oligarch He fought against the democracy and for the aristocracy oligarchy throughout his life It didn t seem he did it for any serious material reasons, being a smallholding farmer land he apparently gained from his service as a soldier The book covers a wide breadth of treatment of Socrates, but focuses a lot on Socrates relationship with Alcibiades and the infamous desecration of the herms after a symposium which Alcibiades was blamed for This event led to the exile of Alcibiades and a whole chain of happenings which came close to asphyxiating democracy in its cradle Every step of the way Socrates supported the push towards a Spartanesque oligarchy to be installed in Athens In fact Socrates execution may have been the result of efforts to liquidate the oligarchic counter revolution after their attempt to turn Athens in to a new Sparta fell through. I would recommend this book to both those who are not familiar with Socrates trial and those who want backstory into the time it took place The work was well written and the sources in the back of the work were excellent. Excellent coverage of the second half of Athens war with Sparta and a complete picture of the career of Alcibiades The trial of Socrates is bracketted around the main thrust of the story stressing the effects of a generational conflict within Athens at that time. Beyond the accounts of Plato and Xenophon, this book and the one previously written by I.F Stone describe the perimeters of the debate as regards the judicial condemnation of Socrates While the former two, both students of the iconoclastic philosopher, provide apologetic accounts, Stone and Waterfield set the judgment within the context of the period as it followed upon the Athenian defeat and the terror of The Thirty, some of whom had been followers of Socrates and, like him, proponents of aristocratic oligarchies such as that of victorious Sparta However, while Stone emphasizes the Sparta connection, Waterfield, while not excluding it, is at pains to show how Socrates himself was no simple admirer of Sparta, his preferred aristocracy being one of educated virtue, not simple genetic inheritance. While we hear about a trial of the century every 10 or 12 years in this country, there are only two trials that command our attention after two millenniums One is the trial of Jesus before Pontius Pilate in Roman occupied Judea and the other the trial of Socrates about 400 years before in Athens, Greece The 2009 book Why Socrates Died Dispelling the Myths by Robin Waterfield looks at that second trial, a trial of the Greek philosopher by a jury of 500 people Waterfield, who lives on a farm in southern Greece, is best known for his translations of ancient Greek playwrights, historians, and philosophers He knows his stuff, and his bibliography runs 18 pages We learn that trials in ancient Athens could last no than one day We also find out that there was no public prosecutor individuals brought cases against other individuals The main curiosity here is that even for the most serious crimes, such as murder, the state offered no help if no individual chose to prosecute a case, it would not come to court The organization of the book, however, bothers me While the author is indeed wise to provide context to the famous one day trial of Socrates in 399 B.C., I think in this case there is much too much of a good thing The first 47 pages examine the charges against Socrates, the Athenian legal system, and reliability of the two main sources about the trial itself Then for 146 pages we get a biography of the infamous Alcibiades, a student of Socrates, and a unnecessarily detailed history of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta and its effect on Athenian life Then we return to the trial for 11 pages, and the book ends In a 208 page book excluding the bibliography, references, glossary, and index , the trial gets only 58 pages Yes, the Peloponnesian War and Alcibiades deserve mention, but not three quarters of the book The ending seems truncated Waterfield re creates the prosecution speech against Socrates over four pages Although we get a small discussion early in the book about Xenophon s and Plato s versions of Socrates defense speech, concluding the book we get no quotations from either of these sources There is no discussion of the immediate aftermath of the trial or the changing interpretations over the centuries by historians and philosophers of the validity of the charges or the justness of the verdict. Interesting book. I recently reread Plato s four death of Socrates dialogues Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo and wanted a bit historical background than I could glean from the Penguin introduction Waterfield s study, sub titled Dispelling the Myths, delivered exactly what it promised Waterfield places Socrates s trial in the perilous context of the recently lost Peloponnesian war and just overthrown tyranny of the Thirty Throughout his life Socrates had never bothered to hide his contempt for democracy Praised by an oracle, inspired by a god, he was elitist to the core although in the philosophical than the socio economic sense Still, there was a disturbing degree of overlap, and Waterfield is convincing that Socrates was tried and condemned for his irritating political posture, not martyred for his noble philosophy.Waterfield s writing is clear, if a bit dry especially by comparison to I.F Stone s fiery Trial of Socrates which has aged better than I expected He also offers a concise overview of the course of the Peloponnesian war, which you know if you ve slogged through Thucydides or even Kagan is not easy to do. A Revisionist Account Of The Most Famous Trial And Execution In Western Civilization One With Great Resonance For American Society Today In The Spring Of BCE, Socrates Stood Trial In His Native Athens The Court Was Packed, And After Being Found Guilty By His Peers, Socrates Died By Drinking A Cup Of The Poison Hemlock, A Defining Moment In Ancient Civilization Yet Time Has Transmuted The Facts Into A Fable Aware Of These Myths, Robin Waterfield Has Examined The Actual Greek Sources And Presents A New Socrates, Not An Atheist Or The Guru Of A Weird Sect, But A Deeply Moral Thinker Whose Convictions Stood In Stark Relief To Those Of His Former Disciple, Alcibiades, The Hawkish And Self Serving Military Leader Refusing To Surrender His Beliefs Even In The Face Of Death, Socrates, As Waterfield Reveals, Was Determined To Save A Country That Was Tearing Itself Apart, One In Moral Decline Why Socrates Died Is Not Only A Powerful Revisionist Book But Also A Work Whose Insights Translate Clearly From Ancient Athens To Modern America Waterfield builds a strong case for the logical inevitability of Socrates trial and execution Set against a backdrop of civil war, loss of empire, and the murderous but blessedly brief reign of the 30 tyrants, Socrates lack of love for democracy, and close association with the oligarchs, left him looking like the enemy of a threatened people.In the course of a gallop through the Peloponnesian Wars, Waterfield shines a light on areas not covered by Thucydides, filling in many gaps for the reader s general knowledge.For those who know Plato s dialogues especially Alcibiades, Gorgias and Symposium better than they know Attic history, Alcibiades may be the chief interest here Socrates as teacher was trying to influence key people in Athenian society to build his ideal moral and political system and we see in this work that Athens didn t react kindly to the results of his efforts.Also fascinating to me is the explanation of Athens legal system in all its democratic glory Seems the very model of Rebekah Wade s tabloid lynch mob ideal 1.The useful bibliography at the end saddened me a little, as all of the Socratic translations editions 2 are published after I last bought one, so it looks like I need to get new editions before my next re read re evaluation of Plato So sad to have to buy books, eh 1 2 Of course it s just possible that Mr Waterfield wants us to buy his editions for purely selfish reasons but I think I ll give him the benefit of the doubt An enjoyable read, it narrates the socio political context leading to Socrates trial and execution in 399 BC Although the last chapter is a bit disappointing, it is well argued and documented The book argues that Socrates was condemned because he was a known critic of democracy and traditional values, and a teacher and close friend of impious oligarchs like Critias and Alcibiades A required reading for anyone interested in Greek history and philosophy. I was unaware that the Socrates I looked up to was actually a creation of Plato The guy who with a few questions could make it apparent that the most learned humans don t actually know a thing The guy who always seemed to be the face of the people on the street calling out the powerful The guy who said he heard the voice of Apollo as a metaphor for the faculty for rationality that humans seem to posses The guy who refused to pay the fine of 30 pieces of silver to save his own life the guy martyred for his beliefs Martyred for trying to awaken the youth Yeah that guy is just Plato s story I didn t really know much about Xenophon s Socrates which did a nice job of unseating my previous assumptions about the historical figure, setting the stage for an understanding of the historical Socrates Socrates was an oligarch He fought against the democracy and for the aristocracy oligarchy throughout his life It didn t seem he did it for any serious material reasons, being a smallholding farmer land he apparently gained from his service as a soldier The book covers a wide breadth of treatment of Socrates, but focuses a lot on Socrates relationship with Alcibiades and the infamous desecration of the herms after a symposium which Alcibiades was blamed for This event led to the exile of Alcibiades and a whole chain of happenings which came close to asphyxiating democracy in its cradle Every step of the way Socrates supported the push towards a Spartanesque oligarchy to be installed in Athens In fact Socrates execution may have been the result of efforts to liquidate the oligarchic counter revolution after their attempt to turn Athens in to a new Sparta fell through. I would recommend this book to both those who are not familiar with Socrates trial and those who want backstory into the time it took place The work was well written and the sources in the back of the work were excellent. Excellent coverage of the second half of Athens war with Sparta and a complete picture of the career of Alcibiades The trial of Socrates is bracketted around the main thrust of the story stressing the effects of a generational conflict within Athens at that time. Beyond the accounts of Plato and Xenophon, this book and the one previously written by I.F Stone describe the perimeters of the debate as regards the judicial condemnation of Socrates While the former two, both students of the iconoclastic philosopher, provide apologetic accounts, Stone and Waterfield set the judgment within the context of the period as it followed upon the Athenian defeat and the terror of The Thirty, some of whom had been followers of Socrates and, like him, proponents of aristocratic oligarchies such as that of victorious Sparta However, while Stone emphasizes the Sparta connection, Waterfield, while not excluding it, is at pains to show how Socrates himself was no simple admirer of Sparta, his preferred aristocracy being one of educated virtue, not simple genetic inheritance. While we hear about a trial of the century every 10 or 12 years in this country, there are only two trials that command our attention after two millenniums One is the trial of Jesus before Pontius Pilate in Roman occupied Judea and the other the trial of Socrates about 400 years before in Athens, Greece The 2009 book Why Socrates Died Dispelling the Myths by Robin Waterfield looks at that second trial, a trial of the Greek philosopher by a jury of 500 people Waterfield, who lives on a farm in southern Greece, is best known for his translations of ancient Greek playwrights, historians, and philosophers He knows his stuff, and his bibliography runs 18 pages We learn that trials in ancient Athens could last no than one day We also find out that there was no public prosecutor individuals brought cases against other individuals The main curiosity here is that even for the most serious crimes, such as murder, the state offered no help if no individual chose to prosecute a case, it would not come to court The organization of the book, however, bothers me While the author is indeed wise to provide context to the famous one day trial of Socrates in 399 B.C., I think in this case there is much too much of a good thing The first 47 pages examine the charges against Socrates, the Athenian legal system, and reliability of the two main sources about the trial itself Then for 146 pages we get a biography of the infamous Alcibiades, a student of Socrates, and a unnecessarily detailed history of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta and its effect on Athenian life Then we return to the trial for 11 pages, and the book ends In a 208 page book excluding the bibliography, references, glossary, and index , the trial gets only 58 pages Yes, the Peloponnesian War and Alcibiades deserve mention, but not three quarters of the book The ending seems truncated Waterfield re creates the prosecution speech against Socrates over four pages Although we get a small discussion early in the book about Xenophon s and Plato s versions of Socrates defense speech, concluding the book we get no quotations from either of these sources There is no discussion of the immediate aftermath of the trial or the changing interpretations over the centuries by historians and philosophers of the validity of the charges or the justness of the verdict.

  • Hardcover
  • 288 pages
  • Why Socrates Died
  • Robin Waterfield
  • English
  • 09 November 2019
  • 9780393065275

About the Author: Robin Waterfield

Robin Anthony Herschel Waterfield was born in 1952 and studied Classics at the University of Manchester, specialising in ancient Greek Philosophy He lectured at Newcastle University and St Andrews before joining Penguin books as an editor Currently he is a self employed author whose output includes books on the ancient world as well as Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks.