2,500 years ago, in 399 B.C., the Athenian Assembly found Socrates guilty on two charges: (i) corrupting the youth of Athens, and (ii) impiety, i.e., failure to respect the City’s gods. Socrates was sentenced to death, but he is now appealing his conviction; the appeal, while long overdue, appears timely, not least because of the many open and hidden issues posed by the most famous free-speech case of all time, still tantalizing modern society.
The Shakespeare Theatre Company organized the Appeal Trial, under the auspices of the Ambassador of Greece and Mrs. Alexandros Mallias. The event was sponsored by the Doric Column – a partnership supporting Greek culture at the Theatre.
For the presentation of their arguments to the audience/court, the advocates relied on the version of events presented by Plato in the “Apology of Socrates and Crito” and by Xenophon in the “Apology of Socrates and Memorabilia of Socrates”.
After listening attentively to both sides, the Jury, i.e., the audience themselves, issued their verdict by an overwhelming majority: Not Guilty.
Shakespeare Theatre Company: The Appeal Trial of Socrates Sidney Harman Hall, Washington DC, 16 September 2008
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Pictures by Kevin Allen
Source: Embassy of Greece
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