The gadfly of the agora wears coarse clothes and a coating of grime. Stubbornly humble in appearance, he is a stocky man, usually barefoot, and when he does put on shoes they’re aggressive in their plainness — nothing like the tall, strappy gladiator sandals adorning the men around him.
This is Socrates, and if he looks like a penniless street preacher, he has the oratorical skills to match, though he trades not in homilies but in questions, incessantly: “What is love?” “What is wisdom?” “What is true?”
And when a friend arrives in the wee hours, waking him to report a pronouncement from the oracle at Delphi — there is, she said, no wiser man in Greece than Socrates — he greets the news with a query: “What is harm?”
“I’m not debating definitions with you now,” his friend replies.....
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