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A Eulogy for a Historical Figure


(469 – 399 BCE) In society it is always healthy to have a philosopher or someone who questions the way things are and why they are. In the time of ancient Greece about forty years before the Peloponnesian wars broke out a boy named Socrates was born. He was born in Athens in 469 BCE to Sophroniscus and Phoenarete. When he was veryyoung it was recognized that he was very intelligent. Before the wars broke out he hung out with the same intellectuals that Pericles hung out with: Damon the musician, Archelaus the scientist, Protagorist the sophist and Aspasia. He came from a wealthy family because when he served on three different occasions during the Peloponnesian wars he served as a hoplite soldier, which required you to buyyour own armor and equipment. He served at Amphipolis, Potidoea (432 BCE) and Delium (424 BCE). Later in life he married to Xanthippe, who was well known for her short temper. She bore three sons with him, who all helped to continue their father’s philosophies after his death. Socrates questioned everyone. He would walk through the streets and find a person that would talk to them and begin tochallenge that persons with questions that seemed to be simple. He would then keep asking questions that would cause doubt in the persons mind. This is how Socrates taught, with questions and answers. This method is know as Socratic dialect or just the Socratic method. He did not write any books or papers on his philosophies. Like many philosophers Socrates was in search of the meaning of life. Hebelieved all philosophers were in search of this and what happens in death. Socrates spent his life searching for questions more than for answers. He criticized peoples’ morals by questioning them, but he did not offer other solutions. This is one of the reasons people had resentment towards him.


World History to the Sixteenth Century, University/College Preparation


The OntarioCurriculum – Exemplars, Grade 11: Canadian and World Studies


Socrates was associated with two members of an oligarchy of thirty who overthrew the Athenian democracy. Socrates did not believe in democracy, so there was another point of loathing or resentment towards him. He believed that the government should be ruled by knowledge. He was the first person to make up the idea of thesoul, a strong belief in todays western society. Somewhere along the line Socrates discovered that “he does not know anything except that he does not know anything” and that “there is no truth except that there is no truth.” Socrates understood this and this is what gave him a higher level of thinking, like all the great thinkers of any time. Most of his life was spent privately. He did notparticipate with the public affairs or lead a public life, things that were expected by a citizen especially one of such great knowledge. Socrates was a teacher and a father for the latter part of his life. He taught many people his philosophies the most famous of his disciples were: Xenophon and Plato. Xenophon wrote a history on Socrates. Plato wrote several pieces about Socrates as well, includingApology, which showed Socrates’ brilliant defense, which illustrated many of the key points in his philosophies. “[Socrates] spent his life in search of such truth as was arrived at by logical reasoning, starting from a rational hypothesis.” Socrates was not a leader nor a follower, he was a real philosopher. Plato writes that Socrates said during his defense: “I have never been a teacher to any man,but if any one, whether young or old, wished to hear me speak while carrying out my mission, I never grudged him the opportunity. ... And whether any of my hearers become better or worse, for that I cannot justly be made answerable...” Socrates was most definitely not a product of society in that day and he was not a trend setter. He would simply engage in dialogue with people that would make...