Ordinarily, a person sentenced to death in
Athens would have been executed rather quickly.
Socrates, however, spent nearly a month in
prison. The execution was postponed because it
conflicted with a religious observance. Every year a sacred ship set sail
on a round trip voyage to the island of Delos.
During its absence, the citizens of Athens were
to remain "pure," a requirement which, among other things, delayed executions.
The ship in question began its journey about the time of
Socrates' trial and is just now returning.