Why did ancient Athens execute its own leading intellectual? Can our society, any more than the Athenian model from which it claims descent, tolerate dissent or allow for total freedom of speech and thought? Should we admire Socrates? Or were the Athenians right to put him to death? Socrates' own pupils and friends - most especially Plato - shaped most later responses to the death of Socrates. In their versions of the story Socrates becomes a new kind of hero. He did not die in battle, defending his country; he was executed as a condemned criminal. He died not by the sword or the spear, but by poison, without violence or pain. This new story about how a hero should die was provocative to the ancient Greeks and continues to challenge and puzzle us today.