Socrates (Greek: Σωκράτης, invariably anglicized as [ˈsɔkɹətiːz], Sǒcratēs; circa 470 BC–399 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher who is widely credited for laying the foundation for Western philosophy, and is held as its most influential practitioner. The most important source of information concerning Socrates is Plato. Plato's dialogues portray Socrates as a teacher who denies having disciples, as a man of reason who obeys a divine voice in his head, and a pious man who is executed for the state's own expediency. Socrates disparages the pleasures of the senses, yet is excited by beauty; he is devoted to the education of the citizens of Athens, yet indifferent to his own sons.
The trial and execution of Socrates was the climax of his career and the central event of the dialogues of Plato. According to Plato, both were unnecessary. Socrates admits in court that he could have avoided the trial by abandoning philosophy and going home to mind his own business. After his conviction, he could have avoided the death penalty by escaping with the help of his friends. The reason for his cooperation with the state's mandate forms a valuable philosophical insight in its own right, and is best articulated by the dialogues themselves, especially in his dialogue with Crito.