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Socrates - Plato Phaedo - Death of Socrates

Identifier

013686

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

From Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 1 translated by Harold North Fowler – Phaedo .

Thereupon Crito nodded to the boy who was standing near. The boy went out and stayed a long time, then came back with the man who was to administer the poison, which he brought with him in a cup ready for use. And when Socrates saw him, he said:

“Well, my good man, you know about these things; what must I do?”

“Nothing,” he replied, “except drink the poison and walk about till your legs feel heavy; then lie down, and the poison will take effect of itself.”

………..“Socrates,” said he, “we prepare only as much as we think is enough.”

“I understand,” said Socrates;… “ I may and must pray to the gods that my departure hence be a fortunate one; so I offer this prayer, and may it be granted.”

With these words he raised the cup to his lips and very cheerfully and quietly drained it. Up to that time most of us had been able to restrain our tears fairly well, but when we watched him drinking and saw that he had drunk the poison, we could do so no longer, but in spite of myself my tears rolled down in floods, so that I wrapped my face in my cloak and wept for myself; for it was not for him that I wept, but for my own misfortune in being deprived of such a friend.

Then we were ashamed and controlled our tears. He walked about and, when he said his legs were heavy, lay down on his back, for such was the advice of the attendant. The man who had administered the poison laid his hands on him and after a while examined his feet and legs, then pinched his foot hard and asked if he felt it. He said “No”; then after that, his thighs; and passing upwards in this way he showed us that he was growing cold and rigid.

And again he touched him and said that when it reached his heart, he would be gone.

The chill had now reached the region about the groin, and uncovering his face, which had been covered, he said—and these were his last words—

“Crito, we owe a cock to Aesculapius. Pay it and do not neglect it.”

“That,” said Crito, “shall be done; but see if you have anything else to say.”

To this question he made no reply, but after a little while he moved; the attendant uncovered him; his eyes were fixed. And Crito when he saw it, closed his mouth and eyes.

The source of the experience

Socrates

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