Ancient History

Why did Socrates have so many enemies?
Answered by Science Channel
  • Science Channel

    Science Channel

  1. Socrates was not shy about intensely questioning contemporary politicians. He believed that only people who possessed wisdom should have power, so he wanted to determine if people of influence were wise. Unfortunately, his questioning often caused leaders to contradict themselves and become confused about their points. As a result, Socrates made a number of influential enemies. He lost public support after Athens failed in the Peloponnesian War because two key figures blamed for the loss had been his pupils. Socrates' enemies took the opportunity to prosecute him for being a bad influence. They formally charged him with corruption of youth (their minds) and impiety. He was convicted by a jury of 501 Athenians and sentenced to death. He drank hemlock and reportedly died at peace with his decision not to appeal the sentence.

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