Title: Why Socrates Died
Author: Robin Waterfield
Publisher: Faber & Faber
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Socrates' trial and death together form an iconic moment in Western civilization. The picture we have of it - created by his immediate followers and perpetuated in countless works of literature and art ever since - is that a noble man was put to death in a fit of folly by the ancient Athenian democracy. But an icon, an image, is not reality. The trial was, in part, a response to troubled times - a catastrophic war and turbulent social changes - and so provides a good lens through which to explore the history of the period; the historical facts allow us to strip away some of the veneer that has for so long denied us glimpses of the real Socrates. Written by a scholar, but not only for scholars, this is an accessible, authoritative account of one of the defining periods of Western civilization.