How did Socrates defend himself against the charges brought against him?
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Socrates stood trial for impiety, fomenting treason, and "corrupting the youth of Athens" in 399 B.C., in the immediate aftermath of the Peloponnesian War, a disaster for Athens. Faced with these charges (which he denied on the grounds that his teachings did none of those things), Socrates refused to recant. He also refused to stop his teachings, or to leave Athens, which was the usual sentence conferred in similar cases. In fact, Socrates, ever the gadfly, used his trial as a sort of platform for criticizing the government of Athens by questioning the moral foundations of Athenian democracy. He was sentenced to death by drinking hemlock, which he did, surrounded by his students and other admirers, including Plato, whose Apology, Criton and Phaedo are the only contemporary sources for Socrates's trial and death.
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