Socrates (c. 469-399 B.C.) was born in Athens, the son of a sculptor. The educational facilities of that day were meager, and so Socrates walked the streets to talk with people and to learn their philosophies, especially their thoughts about morals. Later he served as a soldier. To the chagrin of the government, he kept defending people he thought unjustly accused. He spent some years as a teacher, employing a method that taught, by questions and answers, a form of cross-examination which tangled his students in a network of errors. When asking questions, Socrates feigned ignorance (which is known as Socratic irony), luring the students to feel free to speak their minds. Through a series of questions, the students were led to the conclusion that Socrates had reached long before the class convened (which is known as the Socratic method).
Socrates was sentenced to death after being convicted of impiety and the corruption of youths through his teachings. The form of execution at that time was the drinking of hemlock. Socrates had acted as his own lawyer, and in his defense offered the famous «Apology of Socrates», which explained his thinking and the motivations of his life.
Socrates spent his last day speaking with friends. At nighttime he bade them farewell by saying, according to Plato's account, "The hour of departure has arrived; and we go our separate ways — I to die, and you to live. Which is the better, God only knows». With that he lay down on his couch, drank the hemlock, and died.
Although Socrates left behind no philosophic writings, we know about him and his thought primarily through the Dialogues of Plato, Socrates’s most distinguished student.