Socrates (also Sokrates c. 469 BC-399 BC) was an Ancient Greek philosopher who is widely credited for laying the foundation for Western philosophy, and is held as its most influential practitioner. He was also a soldier of some skill. Socrates is an enigmatic figure known only through the classical accounts of his students. Plato's dialogues are the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity.
Socrates' criticism of the Athenian status quo during and in the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War appears to have led to his death. Socrates was tried for corrupting the youth of Athens and for disbelieving the Gods. He was condemned to death, and forced to drink hemlock.
Socrates in "The Daimon"
In 415 BC, Sokrates concluded that his daimon was telling him to join Alkibiades' expedition to Sicily during the Peloponnesian War. Although his followers tried to dissuade him, he nonetheless heeded his daimon and joined.
On the eve of the Athenian attack on Syracuse, representatives from Athens arrived to demand Alkibiades return to the polis. Alkibiades wavered, and even contemplated fleeing to Athens' enemy Sparta. However, after talking to Sokrates, Alkibiades instead attacked Syracuse. After a bloody battle which nearly cost Sokrates his life, Syracuse fell. Sokrates and the army then invaded and despoiled Sparta itself.
When Alkibiades' army returned to Athens, they were ordered to surrender their arms before entering the city. Sokrates saw no value in fighting his fellow Athenians, and so happily surrendered his arms. The other soldiers, fiercely loyal to Alikibiades, followed his lead, taking the city late one night.
Sokrates was dismayed by Alkibiades' seizure of power. However, it was not until two of his own students, Kritias and Aristokles, were killed that Sokrates decided to publicly decry Alikibiades as a tyrant. Alkibiades ordered Sokrates arrested and brought before him that very night. Alkibiades demanded Sokrates drink hemlock. Sokrates reached for the jar but when he came close, he attacked Alkibiades instead. Alkibiades was surprised by the strength and determination of Sokrates, who - though twenty years older - came close to killing Alkibiades with his bare hands. Finally, Alkibiades' guards managed to stab Sokrates to death. Sorry for having had to kill his old teacher, Alkibiades kissed the dead Sokrates and gently closed his eyes.
- Literary Allusions in Turtledove's Work, for additional references to Socrates in Harry Turtledove's work.
- See e.g.: Atlantis and Other Places, pgs. 145-146, HC.
- Ibid., pgs. 153-155.
- Ibid., pgs. 158-164.
- Ibid., pgs. 173-175.
- Ibid., pgs. 176-183.
- Ibid., pgs. 187-195.
- Ibid., pgs. 195-197.
- Ibid., pgs. 200-205.
- Ibid., pgs. 205-209.