On Friday, there was a re-enactment of the trial of the ancient philosopher Socrates in Athens. Almost 2,500 years after his death, the court acquitted the defendant. During the mock trial, ten eminent jurists from Britain, France, the USA, Switzerland, and Greece tried Socrates before an audience of 866 spectators. There was an equal opinion amongst the judges concerning the guilt of the philosopher, thus, they found him “not guilty” of all charges. In turn, the audience voted 584 to 282 in favour of the innocence of Socrates. As a result, the philosopher won acquittal.
The trial of Socrates took place in Athens in 399 BC, as described by Xenophon and Plato. Socrates faced not only the accusation that he didn’t honour the universally-recognised gods, but also that he introduced his own deities and corrupted young people. The court found the philosopher guilty of the charges. Socrates could’ve avoided a severe sentence by agreeing to pay a fine, but instead he asked the Athenians to grant him a pension for his services to the state. After this, a meeting of 500 Athenian citizens sentenced the defendant to death. The execution of Socrates took place in prison, where he drank poison. The dialectical method of Socrates had a great influence on the history of philosophy. He left no written works, but his great disciple Plato publicised his interpretations of the idealistic philosophy of Socrates.
26 May 2012
Voice of Russia World Service