There were many teachers in ancient
Athens. Socrates was one of the most famous. His method was to
question. He questioned everything. He wanted his students to question
everything. He asked questions like: "Are the stories about the
gods real? How can we improve our government?"
handful of wealthy nobles found his teaching methods unacceptable.
They accused him of mocking the gods and challenging the Greek way of
life in the city-state of Athens. They wanted him punished.
Socrates was about seventy years old at the time. He had been teaching
for a long time. He thought the whole thing was ridiculous.
ancient Athens, anyone could demand a trial. There were rules, but if
you followed the rules, sooner or later, you would end up in court.
There, the accused would have a chance to defend themselves. This
handful of wealthy nobles filed charges against Socrates. At the
trial, Socrates refused to defend himself - defend himself from what?
Since he did not defend himself in any way, the jury felt they had no
choice but to find him guilty. The punishment for mocking the gods was
Socrates drank poison and killed
himself. It was a sad day for educators and for free thinking people
in ancient Athens.
trials were conducted in ancient Athens
(with a comparison to US trials)