The Best Books On Socrates

Armand D’Angour Author Of Socrates in Love
By Armand D’Angour

The Books I Picked & Why

The Hemlock Cup

By Bettany Hughes

The Hemlock Cup

Why this book?

Bettany Hughes creates an imaginative and readable biography of Socrates, filling in the contemporary background of fifth-century Athens and raising many of the questions about his earlier life, answers to which have eluded biographers.


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Why Socrates Died

By Robin Waterfield

Why Socrates Died

Why this book?

Socrates’ trial and death together are a famous moment in classical history. This is a vigorous and authoritative scholarly investigation into the historical circumstances that led to Socrates being charged with impiety and corrupting the youth.


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Plato's Symposium

By Plato, Seth Benardete, Allan Bloom

Plato's Symposium

Why this book?

Plato’s scintillating dialogue on the meaning of Love (as purveyed by a group of fifth-century Athenians including Socrates) is one of the key biographical texts about the philosopher. Allan Bloom provides an insightful essay on the central notion of the dialogue attributed to the ‘clever woman’ Diotima: the Ladder of Love.


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Aristoxenus of Tarentum

By Carl Huffman

Aristoxenus of Tarentum

Why this book?

This set of scholarly essays on the learned pupil of Aristotle, Plato’s successor, raises fascinating questions about the nature of Socrates in his youth. Two important chapters (by Schorn and Huffman) consider evidence for Socrates’ early life that is rarely touched upon by traditional accounts.


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The Unknown Socrates

By Stephen M. Trzaskoma, William M. Calder, Bernhard Huss, Marc Mastrangelo, R. Scott Smith

The Unknown Socrates

Why this book?

This book provides a series of translations of ancient texts relating to the life of Socrates, raising questions about his earlier trajectory among other things. The scattered sources gathered in this volume tell a very different story about the philosopher from that normally obtained by concentrating almost exclusively on his trial and death.


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