The greatest of the ancient philosophers, whose chief aim was to
amend the morals of his countrymen, the Athenians. Cicero said of him
that “he brought down philosophy from the heavens to earth;” and he was
certainly the first to teach that “the proper study of mankind is man.”
Socrates resisted the unjust sentence of the senate, which condemned to
death the Athenian generals for not burying the dead at the battle of
Who, firmly good in a corrupted state,
Against the rage of tyrants single stood
used to call himself “the midwife of men's thoughts.” Out of his
intellectual school sprang those of Plato and the Dialetic system;
Euclid and the Megaric; Aristippos and the Cyrenaic, Antisthenes and
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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