Apology of Socrates is a work of Plato that contains a version of Socrates’ speech delivered by him in 399 BC in his defense. This work was one of many apologies written in defense of Socrates against allegations of corruption. This speech is a reliable source of the trial of Socrates, which took place in the Greek city of Athens. To better understand the events of that era, the necessary historical details of that era should be mentioned.
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Athens was not just a city; it was a city-state, i.e., polis, and had a vast influence in Attica and on the Aegean Sea. It was in ancient Athens that democracy was formed, the art of theater and the classical forms of philosophy also developed there. It is from here that many famous philosophers came out, such as Socrates, Plato, Sophocles, Aristophanes. Athens, along with Sparta, played a leading role in the development and history of ancient Greece. Unfortunately, in spite of all the prosperity and grandeur of this polis, it was far from ideal. The proof of this is the apologia written by Plato and telling the story of the injustice.
This work is undoubtedly an ancient literary source; however, over the years, it has not lost its value. The Apology of Socrates, first of all, is a very accurate historical document that describes in detail the events taking place more than two thousand years ago. However, its value is not only historical but cultural as well. Socrates’ apology includes not only a detailed description of the entire trial of Socrates but also the speech of the philosopher, which he used in his defense. This dialogue is noteworthy in that it contains several topics that are important for characterizing the philosophy of Socrates. Among these topics, for example, is that dialogue is the divine calling of Socrates and his highest good for humanity.
In the speech, the roots of his philosophy are raised, hidden in the divination of the Delphic Pythia that there are no people wiser than Socrates. This statement prompted the philosopher to enter into conversations with people, but he found each of them an ignoramus. Thus, Socrates’ Apology has the greatest significance, because it gives a direct look at the dialogues, speech, and beliefs of this great philosopher.
In today’s world, where most of the countries of the world live according to democratic values, the trial and execution of Socrates are a great example of how important freedom is. Socrates was condemned and slandered for the fact that his views differed from those of the majority. Although Athens was nominally a cradle of democracy and freedom, not all people within it supported these principles. Since Socrates openly opposed the existing polytheism, he earned discontent from people in power.
These same people used it to put Socrates on trial and endure punishment, knowing that the philosopher would accept it. Although the court of Athens was to fulfill the will of the people, the judges could not be held accountable. The death of Socrates is an example of such an abuse of power to limit freedom. Perhaps if these rights were respected, Socrates could bring even more wisdom to this world and leave behind an even more lavish legacy. Thus, it can be concluded that it is essential to respect the human rights to freedom of speech and religion since their non-observance and exploitation can lead to tragic consequences.