Philosopher - War Hero

Socrates Reaper Miniatures 28mm

Socrates c. 470 – 399 BC the great ethical Greek philosopher, one of the founders of Western philosophy.
His student, Plato and Xenophon, left a record of his teachings and quotations. He fought in Athens wars and saw his great city go from empire to ruin.
He was non-conformist and that threatened both democrats and tyrants in Athens.
Socrates was sentenced to death for disobeying the Oligarchs and died by drinking poison hemlock.


“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” ~ Socrates

"Death may be the greatest of all human blessings." ~Socrates

"I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live." ~Socrates

"I had an even finer opportunity to observe Socrates there than I had had at Potidaea, for I was less in fear because I was on horseback. First of all, how much more sensible he was than Laches; and secondly, it was my opinion, Aristophanes (and this point is yours); that walking there just as he does here in Athens, ‘stalking like a pelican, his eyes darting from side to side,’ quietly on the lookout for friends and foes, he made it plain to everyone even at a great distance that if one touches this real man, he will defend himself vigorously. Consequently, he went away safely, both he and his comrade; for when you behave in war as he did, then they just about do not even touch you; instead they pursue those who turn in headlong flight." (Plato: Alcibiades' words Symposium)


Socrates defends wounded Alcibiades in the old book Xenophon, by K. Gibel, 1899, St. Petersburg Vintage, retro.

"Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates".
~ Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

"And in combat, if you want to hear about it – for it is just to credit him with this once when there was a battle for which the generals gave me the prize of excellence, no other human being saved me but he; for he was not willing to leave me wounded, but saved both myself and my weapons. And even then, Socrates, asked the generals to offer me the prize of excellence. And in this too you will not blame me and say that I lie; but as a matter of fact, when the generals looked to my rank and wanted to offer me the prize of excellence, you [Socrates] proved more eager than the generals that I take it rather than yourself." (Plato: Symposium)


This vignette includes old Vendel 28mm hoplites, with some Wargames Foundry shields.
The wounded hoplite is also Vendel. The dead model is by Wargames Foundry. The scene
depicts Socrates standing guard over the wounded Alcibiades at Potidaea.

The Vendel models are now available at Thistle & Rose miniatures (see link below).

"He is a man of courage who does not run away, but remains at his post and fights against the enemy."

Alcibiades and Socrates by Milek Jakubiec, 
for Ancient Warfare Magazine.


“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~Socrates

‘Stalking like a pelican, his eyes darting from side to side." Here I have made a version of Socrates' shield as if it mirrored his pelican-like
darting eyes. Socrates saved his fellow soldiers in battle more than once by holding firm like a rock as fleeing Athenians and allied troops rushed past. I made up the pelican
design and added the coin “AOE” which stands for ΑOΕΝΑΙΟΝ, “of the Athenians.” This is based on the Athenian coin (below).

All the colors are hypothetical. I reversed the colors from the
Jacques Philippe Joseph de Saint-Quentin painting (below).
The wounded hoplite is based on the painting by Alcibiades and Socrates by Milek Jakubiec (above).
Alcibiades is reputed to have a much more ornate shield, but that is a topic for the future.

Here is what the models all looked like primed before I started!

“I am not an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.” ~Socrates

Thistle&Rose miniatures:

Reaper Miniatures:

This website has more details on Socrates military actions:

Alcibiades and Socrates by Milek Jakubiec. ArtStation Painting for Ancient Warfare Magazine
Alcibiades details, Josho Brouwers

The Death of Socrates (470-399 BC) 1762 (oil on canvas) Saint-Quentin, Jacques Philippe Joseph de (b.1738)

"To put it bluntly I've been assigned to this city as if to a large horse which is inclined to be lazy and is in need of some great stinging fly and all day long
I'll never cease to settle here, there, everywhere, rousing and reproving every one of you." ~ Socrates' Apology


Copyright 2021 Jeff Jonas

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