Symposium by Plato

Historical context

It is considered that the work was written no earlier than 385 BCE, and the party to which it makes reference has been fixed in 416 BCE, the year in which the host Agathon had the dramatic triumph mentioned in the text. The disastrous expedition to Syracuse, of which Alcibiades was a commander, took place the next year, after which Alcibiades deserted to Sparta, Athens' archenemy. Hamilton remarks that Plato takes care to portray Alcibiades and Socrates and their relationship in a way that makes it clear that Socrates had not been a bad influence on Alcibiades, Plato does this to free his teacher from the guilt of corrupting the minds of prominent youths, which had in fact earned Socrates the death sentence.[3]

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