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  • C. C. W. Taylor

Abstract

Socrates was seen by contemporaries as an arguer and questioner, challenging people's pretensions to expertise and revealing inconsistencies in their beliefs. Many considered him a religious deviant and subverter of traditional religion and morality. In 400 or 399 he was accused of not recognising the gods of the city, introducing new gods and corrupting the young — a charge which probably had a political dimension. He was sentenced to death. Plato and Xenophon both give accounts of the trial but it is impossible to reconstruct Socrates' actual defence speeches since each writer presents the defence in a form determined by his own particular agenda.

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