399 BCE: The Trial of Socrates

Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Socrates, 1787 (Public Domain)


In 399 BCE, the philosopher Socrates is found guilty of “refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state” and “corrupting the youth”. He is sentenced to death by drinking poisonous hemlock. (Diog. Laert. 2.40)


Socrates’s pupil Plato later reconstructs his defense speech:


I know that my plainness of speech makes them hate me, and what is their hatred but a proof that I am speaking the truth?
– Socrates, according to Plato’s Apologia