Thursday, September 16, 2021


Socrates the Veteran

Dear Mike,

Emily Thomas, The Meaning of Travel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), p. 2:
There's a myth that philosophers don't travel. It is fuelled by Socrates, who never set foot outside the city walls of Athens...
If the first statement is a myth, so too is the second. Socrates participated as an Athenian hoplite in three military campaigns: the extended siege of Potidaea in northern Greece (432-429 BC), the Athenian attack on Delium in Boeotia a few years later (424 BC), and the expedition to defend the Athenian colony Amphipolis in Thrace (422 BC).

See S. Sara Monoson, "Socrates' Military Service," in Victor Caston and Silke-Maria Weineck, edd., Our Ancient Wars: Rethinking War through the Classics (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016), pp. 96-117.

The most famous literary representation of Socrates outside the city walls of Athens is Plato's Phaedrus.

Best wishes,

Eric [Thomson]


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