Socrates, the founding father of western philosophy, lived from 470 B.C. to 399 B.C. He was known for going barefoot. Those that later wrote down his ideas (Plato and Xenophon) found this worthy of comment.
The following is an Excerpt from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia:
SOCRATES (470?-399 BC). Interested in neither money, nor fame, nor power, Socrates wandered along the streets of Athens in the 5th century BC. He wore a single rough woolen garment in all seasons and went barefoot. Talking to whoever would listen, he asked questions, criticized answers, and poked holes in faulty arguments. His style of conversation has been given the name Socratic dialogue.
Socrates was the wisest philosopher of his time. He was the first of the three great teachers of ancient Greece--the other two being Plato and Aristotle. Today he is ranked as one of the world's greatest moral teachers. His self-control and powers of endurance were unmatched. In appearance he was short and fat, with a snub nose and wide mouth. Despite his unkempt appearance, the Greeks of his day enjoyed being with him to talk with him and were fascinated by what he had to say. The young, aristocratic military genius Alcibiades said of him, "His nature is so beautiful, golden, divine, and wonderful within that everything he commands surely ought to be obeyed even like the voice of a god."
The greatest of the Greek philosophers were Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Most of what we know about Socrates comes from the writings of his pupil Plato and from the ancient Greek historian Xenophon; Socrates was never known to have written anything. On the other hand, Plato's pupil Aristotle was a very prolific writer whose works range from natural science and metaphysics to ethics and political philosophy. He laid the groundwork for the classification of knowledge into various disciplines. Over the course of his life as a teacher, Socrates was often accused of impiety. His enemies claimed that his teaching offended the gods and corrupted the youth of Athens. Most scholars now believe the charges were politically motivated, as one of Socrates' students was Alcibiades, a brilliant Athenian general who turned against Athens and helped Sparta defeat the city in the Peloponnesian War.
A trial and subsequent imprisonment of Socrates took place in 399 BC and were recorded in Plato's 'Apology' and 'Crito'. He was condemned to death. Despite being offered the opportunity to escape, he refused to disobey the law, and he was executed by being forced to drink hemlock. His philosophy, in content and in method, has influenced all Western philosophy after him.
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