Think philosophy and pop comes out the name of Socrates. Today, we are covering some little known facts about Socrates – the greatest philosopher this world has ever seen. This famous personality has been touted as the Father of Modern Western Thought.
Socrates was a whimsical wizard, a man who had many a bizarre habits. But, unfortunately we have little data about him that offer us a minuscule peep into this life, events and death. With the help of writings from various sources, we have collected a few interesting info and compiled these to form our article about the top 15 little known facts about Socrates. We do hope this article helps you all in knowing this philosopher better.
1. Socrates belonged to a humble family
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There are a few pieces of info available on Socrates biography, but not many will know that this great philosopher was born in a not so affluent, rather a humble family. It was in the city of Athens in 470 BC that Socrates took birth in a family comprising of Sophroniscus, the father, and Phaenarete, the mother. The family’s breadwinner was Sophroniscus who worked as a stone mason and sculptor for a living.
Socrates’s mother too worked as a midwife. Not much information is available that offer deep insight into his early life. However, its quite evident that in the 4th century BC, Athens was the cradle of civilization and many classic masterpieces were created in the fields of literature and philosophy. Socrates was educated in masonry as well as basic Greek education, just like the other commoners.
2. Socrates and his various professions
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Pieces on Socrates biography often mention about this philosopher working as a tutor to various influential students that included Plato and Alexander, but often these won’t write about him working as a mason in his early life. Yes, that’s quite true as Socrates worked as a mason before taking up philosophy as his full time profession.
Since he was born in a family where his father worked as a mason, the young Socrates too took to this profession and worked alongside his father. He also did sculpturing and this continued for many years. From the records maintained by Aristophanes, Socrates became a tutor of philosophy and took money in return for his services. However, Socrates did so as he had no other means of earnings.
3. Socrates was grossly ugly
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Among the many facts about Socrates that offer us some understanding of this philosopher’s life is the one about his physical appearance. Socrates, by no standard was handsome. In ancient Greece, a man’s handsomeness was judged by the way his body measured in terms of his height, and the way his facial contours appeared. Unlike well chiseled cheeks, sharp nose and fine mouth, Socrates was bestowed with every feature that made him appear rather ugly.
He looked more like a woodland god called a satyr. His hair was long while a part of his crown was bald, and had bulging eyes that made him look funny. The nose was flat and quite spread out with nostrils that flared. His lips were not by any means smooth and fine. It looked more like a fleshy mound. Unlike the ancient Greek sculptures of gods that depicted handsomeness from every angle, Socrates was a contradiction to the ancient perception of beauty.
4. Socrates was not a very hygienic man
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There is one little secret about Socrates not many books or records will tell you. Socrates, unlike other philosophers and thinkers, was not exactly hygienic. One could always spot this great thinker in a market place chit chatting with strangers-both men and women, wearing no sandals or shoes. He walked barefoot always for each and every type of occasion.
If listening to this wasn’t enough for your ears (lol!!), there is yet another habit of Socrates that spoke of how unhygienic this master philosopher was in life. For delivering lectures or for other events, Socrates always went without bathing. He always had a stick with him everywhere he went. His hair was long like most Spartans of that time and he often wore long and loose robes to work (he would wear the same clothes for his work that he wore for his bedtime)..yikes!!
Also Read: 15 Famous Ancient Greek Sculptures
5. Socrates thought highly of women
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Unlike most of his contemporaries, Socrates thought quite highly of women, both local as well as foreign. There are a few written records that go on to prove that this great philosopher thought women were as equal to men provided they knew to use their minds. The master philosopher, it seems was taught by various women teacher in the fields of erotic and rhetoric. These women went by the names of Aspasia and Diotima. Mankind has gotten hands on such amazing information, courtesy – Plato’s Menexenus and Symposium.