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The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens, and the Search for the Good Lifeby Bettany Hughes
Synopses & Reviews
From the celebrated British author and historian: a dazzling new book in which she combines historical inquiry and storytelling élan to give us a brilliantly vivid portrait of Socrates and of the Golden Age of Athens.
Socrates’ life spanned “seventy of the busiest, most wonderful and tragic years in Athenian history,” and Bettany Hughes re-creates this fifth-century B.C. city, drawing on the latest sources—archaeological, topographical, and textual—to illuminate the streets where Socrates walked, to place him there, to show us his life as he lived and experienced it. She takes us through the teeming Agora where Socrates often spoke, and where he was condemned to death. We visit the red-light district, the gymnasia, the shrines he frequented, and the battlefields where he fought. We meet the men, and the few women, who were central to his life. And we come to see the profound influences of time and place in the evolution of his eternally provocative philosophy.
Deeply informed and vibrantly written, The Hemlock Cup gives us the most substantial and fascinating depiction we have ever had of one of the most influential thinkers of all time.
Bettany Hughes is a cultural and social historian, writer, and television presenter. She received degrees in ancient and medieval history at Oxford University and has carried out research in the Balkans, Greece, and Asia Minor. She has presented numerous documentaries and historical series for the BBC, PBS, and the Discovery Channel, and she also writes pieces on popular history for several newspapers and magazines. Her book Helen of Troy has now been translated into ten languages.
Table of Contents
Athena's city — Socrates as a young man — Socrates the soldier — New gods, new possibilities: Socrates in middle age — The fight goes on — Socrates and love — Cutting down the tallest corn — The trial and death of Socrates.
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