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Matt Gatton, The Shadows of Socrates: The Heresy, War, and Treachery Behind the Trial of Socrates
Matt Gatton, The Shadows of Socrates: The Heresy, War, and Treachery Behind the Trial of Socrates

Thu, Apr 04

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Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse

Matt Gatton, The Shadows of Socrates: The Heresy, War, and Treachery Behind the Trial of Socrates

The death of Socrates may be the most famous unsolved murder in history. Set during the Peloponnesian War, The Shadows of Socrates solves that mystery, revealing for the first time how the philosopher was set up, who did it, and why.

Date, Time & Location

Apr 04, 2024, 6:00 PM

Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, 202 Galisteo St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA

About the Event

This will be an in-store event and live streamed to Zoom, register for Zoom here.

Pre-order the Shadow of Socrates (publishing Feb. 6, hardcover, $29.95) from CW online here or call the store (505) 988-4226

"In this dazzling work of resourceful sleuthing, Matt Gatton just may have invented an entirely new genre: The philosophical thriller." -- Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of the upcoming Wide Wide Sea

"A thrilling and important epiphany of a book. Like Socrates himself—the stubborn philosophical hero of this reexamination of the most famous trial of all time—Matt Gatton leads us out of the confusing shadows of historical misperception into the blinding light of reasoned analysis and understanding." --Rep. Jamie Raskin, New York Times bestselling author of Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth and the Trials of American Democracy

About the Book

The influence of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates has been profound. Even today, over two thousand years after his death, he remains one of the mostrenowned humans to have ever lived, occupying a stratum with the likes of Buddha, Jesus, Muhammed, Confucius, and Moses. It may not be too much to say that Socrates is the single most recognizable name in the history of all humanity. 

The Shadows of Socrates is not a philosophical tract but something closer to a novel—made all the more compelling because it’s true. This is a real-life who dunit intertwined with a long running war, rivalry, sex addiction, betrayal,sedition, starvation, and epic bravery. Socrates was the most rational of men living in the most irrational oftimes. There is another side to this story: impiety, lack of reverence for the gods, was a religious crime. From the perspective of the religious authorities of the time, the charge of impiety against Socrates was warranted, his trial just, and the penalty appropriate. The priests did not tolerate scrutiny, even in the form of philosophical critique. 

To understand what happened and how it happened, we have to come to terms with the motives of thepriests, and as importantly, Socrates’ motives in provoking them. His trial is perhaps first, but not last, great battle between philosophy and religion. 

The repercussions of this ancient epic apply equally to the West today, as Athens also endured pendulum swings between democracy and oligarchy—always with bloodshed, and never with Socrates’s approval.

About the Author

Matt Gatton is a writer and scholar based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was born in Europe, raised in North America, and performed his graduate studies in Asia. He was a university lecturer.

He is a pioneer of the study of the ritual and aesthetic uses of physical light in prehistory and classical antiquity. He has written on the origins of art for the festschrift of Oxford art historian Martin Kemp (Zidane Press). Gatton's groundbreaking work on optical distortions at Lascaux was published in the Journal of Applied Mathematics (APLIMAT); and his work on the ritual use of optics at an ancient Greek temple was published by Oxford University Press.

Gatton has presented his work at the Institute of Archaeology at Oxford, the University of Cologne, Slovak University, Vanderbilt University, and elsewhere. A large international arts festival in Belgium was themed on Gatton's writings, which were also presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson on National Geographic's Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

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