The trial and death of Socrates (469-399 BCE) have almost as central a place in Western consciousness as the trial and death of Jesus. In four superb dialogues, Plato provides the classic account. Euthyphro finds Socrates outside the court-house, debating the nature of piety, while the Apology is his robust rebuttal of the charges of impiety and a defence of the philosopher’s life. In the Crito, while awaiting execution in prison, Socrates counters the arguments of friends urging him to escape. Finally, in the Phaedo, he is shown calmly confident in the face of death, skilfully arguing the case for the immortality of the soul.
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