|FABER & FABER|
the observer Sun 14 February 2010
The death of Socrates is a dark episode in the history of Athens, the ancient seat of learning. Attempting to explain this apparently incongruous event, Robin Waterfield delves into the volatile history of the late fifth century BC, revealing a city in turmoil: beset by intergenerational conflict and locked in a debilitating war with Sparta. With the established order threatened by a generation of aristocratic young bloods led by Socrates's flamboyant lover and protege, Alcibiades, Waterfield suggests that the philosopher's association with these wild young men was his undoing as his advocacy of true "aristocracy" (rule by the best) and desire to educate a new elite of philosopher kings attracted the censure of the Athenian demos.