Sunday, January 27, 2013

Socrates on Trial—Again

The philosopher Socrates was tried for impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens. He was found guilty and executed in 399 B.C. Next week, he will be tried again—but in Chicago, not Athens.

screen shot of NHM's ad for Trial of Socrates

The Trial of Socrates, organized by the National Hellenic Museum, will feature a lot of legal star power. The presiding judge will be 7th Circuit judge, law professor, and prolific author Richard Posner. You can read or hear an interview with one of the prosecutors, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, here (NPR Weekend Edition, Jan. 26, 2013).

For the history, see The Trial of Socrates, by Prof. Douglas O. Linder. It's just one of many trials for which Linder presents essays, transcripts, images, and more on his Famous Trials site.

Update (Feb. 13, 2013): 
Curious about how this turned out?
The jurors found Socrates guilty but, since Illinois has abolished the death penalty, he was fined but not condemned to death. One journalist, who was on the jury, described the trial: Neil Steinberg, How Could We Find Socrates Guilty?, Chicago Sun Times, Feb. 2, 2013. Links to other coverage are on the National Hellenic Museum's press page

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