The Last Days of Socrates
'Consider just this, and give your minds to this alone: whether or not what I say is just'. Plato's account of Socrates' trial and death (399 BC) is a significant moment in Classical literature and the life of Classical Athens. In these four dialogues, Plato develops the Socratic belief in responsibility for one's self and shows Socrates living and dying under his philosophy. In "Euthyphro", Socrates debates goodness outside the courthouse; "Apology" sees him in court, rebutting all charges of impiety; in "Crito", he refuses an entreaty to escape from prison; and in "Phaedo", Socrates faces his impending death with calmness and skillful discussion of immortality. Christopher Rowe's introduction to his powerful new translation examines the book's themes of identity and confrontation, and explores how its content is less historical fact than a promotion of Plato's Socratic philosophy.
Plato (c. 427-347 b.c.) founded the Academy in Athens, the prototype of all Western universities, and wrote more than twenty philosophical dialogues. Christopher Rowe is professor of Greek at the University of Durham.