Socrates lived between 469-399 B.C. in the ancient Greek city of Athens. He is viewed as one of the founding figures of Western philosophy. Who was Socrates? He was a soldier recognized for serving with distinction, but it was his philosophy that cemented his place in history.

Socrates questioned everything and everyone. He did not take any 'truth' at face value. His teaching style, known as the Socratic Method, was not based on passing information to his students. He asked question after question to prompt his students to reach their own understanding. His most famous student was the philosopher Plato.


1. Early Life of Socrates

He was born in Athens and spent almost his entire life in the city. His father, Sophroniscus, was a stonemason. His mother, Phaenarette, was a midwife. Socrates himself was an artist, sculptor, and musician. He pursued knowledge from a young age and sought out the writings of Anaxagoras, the most famous philosopher at the time. He learned rhetoric and oratory skills from Aspasia. Aspasia was the mistress of Pericles, a famous leader in Athens.

Socrates life ZU_09 / Getty Images

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