Athenian public figure and central participant in the intellectual debates so common in the city in the middle and late 5th cent. His influence has been enormous, although he himself wrote nothing.
Socrates' philosophy and personality reached a broad ancient audience mainly through the dialogues a number of his associates wrote with him as protagonist. These were numerous and popular enough for *Aristotle to classify them in the Poetics as a species of fiction in their own right. But apart from the works of *Plato (1), only a few fragments survive of the dialogues of *Antisthenes, *Aeschines (2) of Sphettus, and *Phaedon of Elis, and nothing of the *dialogues of *Aristippus (1), *Cebes of Thebes, and many others. In addition to Plato, most of our own information about Socrates comes from *Aristophanes (1) and *Xenophon (1), both of whom also knew him personally, and from Aristotle, who did not.Less
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