Why Socrates Died

Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths
Robin Waterfield

Why? Because Athens, fresh after losing the Peloponnesian War and overthrowing the rule of the Thirty Tyrants, was looking to settle some scores. And so the cranky sophist with a knack for getting under people’s skin was hauled in front of the House Committee on Un-Athenian Activities – the charge was “impiety,” which in this case seems to have meant a history of oligarchic tendencies – to explain himself. This he did in characteristic fashion. The jury was not amused. The main myth being dispelled in Waterfield’s account is Plato’s, but really there is little new here in what amounts to a general backgrounder on the crisis in Athenian society during and after the war with Sparta.