Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Axis Age/Golden Age of Greece

Statue of Socrates

So today, I got the honor of interviewing a pretty cool guy by the name of Socrates. I must say, this guy really knows his stuff. It was life changing to chat with him. Anyway, here’s how it went:

Me: It’s fantastic to meet you, Socrates. To kick off of this interview, I want to ask. Thousands of people want to know this answer. How did you become so wise?
Socrates: I am the wisest man alive; for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.
Me: Interesting...very vague. Nonetheless, words of wisdom right there. Well, tell me a little bit about yourself!
Socrates: I was born in 469 BCE in Athens. As a young boy, I was always interested in things. Quite curious. I have seen much.
Me: What kinds of things were going on in your past?
Socrates: I have seen everything from peace to violent warfare. First, we warred with the Persians from 546 – 479 BCE. The whole point of this was to punish Athens, and I still recall Damius, a Persian leader, launching a pretty gruesome battle in 490 BCE. Of course, we rolled in and won the war. From here, there was the Golden Age.
Me: Now, what exactly was the “Golden Age”? Why was it so important?
Socrates: The right question, young lass, is what wasn’t the Golden Age? During the Golden Age, our leader Pericles, who reigned from 460-429 BCE, achieved wonderful things. First, we achieved a direct democracy, which gave the people much more power..Not to mention how we advanced our culture! Us Greeks are huge on the theatre; plays were thriving! Sciences were improved as well, and of course, you can’t forget about philosophy! This is where people like me come in. Philosophers such as myself really study the meaning of life, the right method of conduct, and try to understand what makes our world goes ‘round. We pass on our knowledge by teaching others. Some other philopshers that I am familiar with are Aristotle and Plato. Now, Aristotle contributed a lot to mathematics as well as to the sciences. Plato made a lot of advances in the astronomy field.
Me: Wow! I’m impressed! Without the Golden Age, I bet those folks in 2010 would really suffer. They'd still be hunting and gathering! Hm, what happened to make all of this end?
Socrates: Sadly enough, in 431 BCE, we went into war with Sparta, our rivaling city-state. Now, these Spartans were not to be messed with. They were pretty hard-core, I’ll admit. For a long time, we were in war with them, which is what is now called the Peloponnesian War. This went on for quite some time, all the way to 404 BCE. The war went deeply against my morals, but I suppose it was unavoidable. Unfortunately, we lost. But by the end of this whole thing, we wore them down so far that Thebes rolls in and takes out the Spartans! So really, no one won the war.
Me: Thanks for informing me on all of this! Can you give me any advice?
Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living.

Socrates died in 399 BCE. His lasting impacts on the world were the Socratic Method and his views on life. The Socratic Method is a way of teaching that includes making the student answer from his own knowledge in quetion-and-answer form. He, along with Plato and Aristotle, were Europe’s great contributions to the Axis Age.

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