Bettany Hughes has so many strings to her bow that it’s difficult to know what to say about her first – she’s a writer, lecturer, television presenter, cultural commentator and critic. Her previous book, ‘Helen of Troy’ was acclaimed as ‘an extraordinarily comprehensive account of one of the most enigmatic women of all time; a brilliant and fascinating history.’ Now, Bettany Hughes has turned her attention to no less a figure than Socrates.
‘The Hemlock Cup’ reveals the human heart of the man who invented modern thought. For seventy years, Socrates was a vigorous citizen of Athens, one of the greatest capitals in the history of civilisation, who philosophised not in Universities and institutions, but in the squares and public arenas of his city.
Socrates lived and contributed to a city that nurtured key ingredients of contemporary civilisation – democracy, liberty, science, drama, rational thought – yet, as he wrote nothing in his lifetime, he remains an enigmatic figure. “The Hemlock Cup” gives Socrates the biography he deserves, setting him in the context of the Eastern Mediterranean that was his home, and dealing with him as he himself dealt with the world. Socrates was a soldier, a lover, a man of the people. Eventually, his beloved Athens turned on him, condemning him to death by poison.
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