|Up to Philosophers in Disgrace and Demand|
(Sentenced to exile or drinking poison; chose for the latter)
Paedophilia was the standard way to experience the pleasures of sex in the classical
Athenian elite in Socartes' time (around 500 BC). Women were kept on the attic, not
allowed outdoors, as in present day Taliban Afganistan. Women were only slept with for
purposes of procreation.
The ethics of classical Athenian paedophilia can be learned in Plato's Symposion, where members of Athenian elite discuss Eros, god of love.
But people differ in how high sex, of whatever nature, is on their agenda. With Socrates, it was high, very high.
Among youngsters who sought his company one finds Alcibiades, later a general in the top five of all time history who eventually came to be considered an enemy of Athens, Xenophon, army leader in a 10 000 Greek mercenary army hoping in vain to gain wealth by joining an army of Cyrus, a Persian prince aspiring the Persian throne occupied by his brother Artaxerxes, pitily failing to achieve the purpose ( Xenophon Anabasis), and Plato, a man who finally found his style in writing down dialogues featuring Socrates.
Socrates, a perspicious thinker, analyser of concepts and values, did not aspire eternity. He liked to meet people on markets and parties, and discuss. Anyway, meeting people in public was a natural thing to do for a man consistently in search of beautiful young boys.
Another reason for discussing in public was the presence of an audience for the discussions held. He used that audience do manipulate sympathies and antipathies for certain positions in certain issues, and preferably finally to sadistically abandon his discussion partner to ridicule.
Plato and many youngsters of his time were members of Socrates' fan club, as was Socrates himself. But the older citizens, that is, those of Socrates' age group, especially those in charge of public offices were less so. Not only was Socrates their competitor in the affection of sexy boys, but he conquered their rear ends by ridiculing the Athenian establishment.
When Socrates got older, his sexual abilities went down. Though unable to find a meaning of life without sex, he did try to compensate it with his presence on the street of Athens, and the establishment got bored of it.
He was sentenced to exile. Since drinking poison was a generally accepted alternative to any sentence in Athens, thinking of having to miss, after the loss of his sexual pleasures, also his dear Athenian audience to which he was emotionally addicted, he thought the moment proper to commit suicide.
After having proven the immortality of the soul, in his characteristic manner -by remaining in charge of the course of the conversation and crossing a wide mine field of logical errors too quickly to cause any detonation, applauded at every step by his faithful audience of fans- with the poison cup at his mouth, his eyes went round and he asked the slave who had brought it: "What do you think, could we spend a drop to the gods?" (The general habit was to pour, before starting to drink, a little wine out of your cup "for the gods"). The slave, who must have been slightly embarrassed by the question and certainly fearful of something like that being done, found this way out: "We mix just as much as we think makes the drink effective" (Plato, Phaidon).