The Origin of the Martyred Socrates Narrative
The narrative that Socrates’ trial and execution were a grave miscarriage of justice was penned by Plato (427 – 347 BC). Socrates’ most famous student, Plato was a great philosopher in his own right, who went on to teach yet another great philosopher, Aristotle. That trio laid the foundations of Western philosophy and science. Plato ranks among history’s most influential figures, and for over two millennia has been one of the world’s most widely read and studied philosophers. In addition to his writings, he founded the Western World’s first institution of higher learning, The Academy in Athens.
The origins of Western political philosophy can be traced back to Plato’s writings, particularly the Laws and Republic. In addition to his impact on science, philosophy, politics, and education, Plato greatly influenced spirituality and religion. His impact on Christianity can be seen in the strong influence his philosophy exerted on Saint Augustine of Hippo, early Christianity’s most influential theologian. His writings, which drew quite a bit from Plato, played a key role in foundational Christian philosophy, and thus shaped that religion and subsequent Western thought.