Socrates, born in ancient Greece in 470 BC, was a scholar, a teacher and a philosopher. He is considered to be the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought and the man who laid down the foundations for the western systems of logic and philosophy.
As part of the mandatory service required of every able-bodied Athenian, Socrates served in the army and participated in three military campaigns with them. Not known for having attractive physical features, Socrates was regarded for his valor in battle and refusal to retreat from threatening situations. Socrates did, however, emphasize the importance of the mind over the body.
His philosophy revolved around practical results for the greater well-being of society. Instead of relying on theological doctrine, Socrates sought to develop an ethical system based on human reason.
The ancient Greek philosopher believed that human choice was based more on the inherent desire for happiness and that wisdom comes from understanding oneself. He taught that the more a person knows, the better the ability he or she has to make choices that can bring them true happiness.
Socrates believed that the same philosophy should guide the government and the politics and that only the people with the greatest virtue, knowledge and ability should be appointed to the government positions.
At the time, his teachings and philosophy went against the norm of Greek society and the people in power. In 399 BC Socrates was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens. Socrates chose to represent himself in the trial and argued that he was only fulfilling an important role in society and serving the people. His defiant attitude towards the whole procedure resulted in his being sentenced to death by poison.
Socrates accepted his punishment with courage and dignity. He drank the hemlock mixture without hesitation and he described his death as a release of the soul from the body.
Amita Vadlamudi is also the author of the following articles on ancient cultures and personalities: