Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


First Advisor

Robert Baker

Second Advisor

Tommaso Gazzarri




athenian, gods, clouds, divine, time


In 399 B.C. Socrates was indicted on charges of asebeia, or impiety and corrupting the youth. He was brought before a jury of some 500 Athenians in a type of trial known as agon timetos, or “trial of assessment”. Casting their votes, the vast majority of the jurors found Socrates guilty of the offenses he was accused of. A week later he drank a cup of hemlock and died in his prison cell. In what follows I will draw a new portrait of Socrates. This will be constructed from details found in Aristophanes’ the Clouds, as well as Socratic dialogues. I will examine the turbulent political climate that Athens and Socrates found themselves in during the time surrounding the trial. Investigating whether Socrates should have been subject to agon timetos at all, I will refute the charge of impiety against the philosopher, thus distancing him from the reach of an agon timetos. It will be clear that Socrates was undeserving of the fate afforded to him by the Athenian polis. I will argue that in the end it was political fear that brought Socrates to the courtroom that day, and it was fear that forced the votes of those jurors.