Phaedo (the person)

================================================== Phaedo, himself, is much younger than Socrates and is about eighteen years old at the time of the execution. Originally brought to Athens as a slave, he was eventually set free and became one of Socrates most devoted students. Later, he opened his own school of philosophy at Elis, a Greek city approximately one hundred miles west of Athens on the Peloponnesian Peninsula. There he composed his own dialogues, focusing on the field of ethics.

According to one interpretation, Socrates and Phaedo were lovers, and it was Socrates who set the latter free. In ancient Athens, as well as other Greek cities, sex between adult men and young males who had reached puberty was culturally acceptable. It was often part of a mentoring program intended to educate the male youth by exposing them to the activities in which they were expected to participate. These activities included politics, economics, training for war, and sex. Thus, what would be sexual abuse by contemporary standards in Western culture, was an expected part of growing up for the affluent youth of ancient Greece. Such a "practicum" in same sex love-making would make national news today, especially in the supermarket tabloids!

Ruins of Phaedo's Home in Elis
Photo: Steven S. Tigner