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Hsiung Nu-(Huns) Dominate Mongolia- Starting at this time., the Hsuing Nu (known as the Huns) began to dominate the other tribes in Mongolia. Over a process that took nearly 200 years, they came to dominate the Northern border of China.



February 15 — The Greek philosopher Socrates is sentenced to death by Athenian authorities, condemned for impiety and the corruption of youth. He refuses to flee into exile and is sentenced to death by drinking hemlock.

Death of Socrates Socrates was put on trial and executed for 'corrupting the young and believing in strange gods'. His death gave Europe one of the first intellectual martyrs still recorded, but guaranteed the democracy an eternity of bad press at the hands of his disciple and enemy to democracy Plato. In the Gorgias written years later Plato has Socrates contemplating the possibility of himself on trial before the Athenians: he says he would be like a doctor prosecuted by a pastry chef before a jury of children.

Socrates lived during the time of the transition from the height of the Athenian Empire to its decline with the defeat by Sparta and its allies in the Peloponnesian War. At a time when Athens was seeking to stabilize and recover from its humiliating defeat, the Athenian public may have been entertaining doubts about democracy as an efficient form of government. Socrates appears to have been a critic of democracy, and his trial is interpreted by some scholars to be an expression of political infighting. In any case Socrates was a man who, willingly or not, pays for the sins of his society with his own blood.

Despite claiming death-defying loyalty to his city, Socrates' pursuit of virtue and his strict adherence to truth clashed with the current course of Athenian politics and society. Here it is telling to refer to Thucydides: "Applause, in a word, went to one who got in first with some evil act, and to him who cheered on another to attempt some crime that he was not thinking of." He praises Sparta, arch rival to Athens, directly and indirectly in various dialogs. But perhaps the most historically accurate of Socrates' offenses to the city was his position as a social and moral critic. Rather than upholding a status quo and accepting the development of immorality within his region, Socrates worked to undermine the collective notion of "might makes right" so common to Greece during this period. Plato refers to Socrates as the gadfly of the state, insofar as he aggravated the establishment with considerations of justice and the pursuit of goodness. His attempts to improve the Athenian's allegiance to justice may have been the source of his execution.

According to Plato's Apology, Socrates' life as the "gadfly" of Athens began when his friend Chaerephon asked the oracle at Delphi if anyone was wiser than Socrates; the Oracle responded that none was wiser than Socrates. Socrates believed that what the Oracle had said was a riddle, considering there is no record of the oracle ever giving individuals praise for their achievements or knowledge. He proceeded to test the riddle through approaching men who were considered to be wise by the people of Athens. He questioned the men of Athens about their knowledge of good, beauty, and virtue. Finding that they knew nothing and yet believed themselves to know much, Socrates came to the conclusion that he was wise only in so far as "that what I don't know, I don't think I know." Socrates' paradoxical wisdom made the prominent Athenians he publicly questioned look foolish, turning them against him and leading to accusations of wrongdoing.

He was nevertheless found guilty for corrupting the youth of Athens, and sentenced to death by drinking a mix of the poisonous hemlock. Socrates turned down the pleas of his disciples to attempt an escape from prison. His disciples also encouraged him to enjoy his final hours with a final meal and sex with a woman of his choice. In the nature of Socrates, he denied these pleasures of the flesh and responded by saying it would make him look absurd to hold on to these bodily pleasures. After drinking the poison, he was instructed to walk around until his limbs felt heavy. After lying down, the man who administered the poison pinched his foot. Socrates could no longer feel his legs. The numbness slowly crept up his body until it reached his heart. Shortly before dying, Socrates spoke his last words to Crito saying, "Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius. Please, don't forget to pay the debt." The significance of Socrates' last words is not exactly known. The Roman philosopher Seneca attempted to emulate Socrates' death by hemlock when forced to commit suicide by the Emperor Nero.

According to Xenophon and Plato, Socrates had an opportunity to escape, as his followers were able to bribe the prison guards. After escaping, Socrates would have had to flee from Athens. However, Socrates refused to escape for several reasons. 1. He believed that such a flight would indicate a fear of death, which he believed no true philosopher has. 2. Even if he did leave, he, and his teaching, would fare no better in another country. 3. Having knowingly agreed to live under the city's laws, he implicitly subjected himself to the possibility of being accused of crimes by its citizens and judged guilty by its jury. To do otherwise would have caused him to break his 'contract' with the state, and by so doing harming it, an act contrary to Socratic principle. The full reasoning behind his refusal to flee is the main subject of The Crito.

According to Xenophon's story of Socrates' defense to the jury, Socrates' purposefully gives a defiant defense to the jury because "he believed he would be better off dead." Xenophon's explanation goes on to describe a defense by Socrates that explains the rigors of old age, and how Socrates will be glad to circumvent these by being sentenced to death. It is also understood that Socrates not only wished to avoid the pains of old age, but also to die because he "actually believed the right time had come for him to die."

Sparta forces Elis to surrender in the spring.

The Spartan admiral, Lysander, tries to effect a political revolution in Sparta by suggesting that the king should not automatically be given the leadership of the army. He also suggests that the position of king should be elective. However, he is unsuccessful in achieving these reforms, and earns the disfavour of King Agesilaus II of Sparta.

King Archelaus I of Macedon is killed during a hunt, by one of the royal pages, his lover Craterus.

The catapult was invented by Dionysius the Elder of Syracuse. It is a device that hurls heavy objects or arrows over a large distance.


King Amyrtaeus of Egypt is defeated in battle by his successor, Nepherites I of Mendes, and executed at Memphis. King Nepherites I, or Nefaarud I, founds the Twenty-ninth dynasty of Egypt. He makes Mendes his capital.


  • February 15 — Socrates, Greek philosopher (b. c. 470 BC)
  • King Amyrtaeus of Egypt
  • King Archelaus I of Macedon


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