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June 4: Socrates’ Birthday

It’s Socrates’ Birthday. Born in 469 BC, the Greek philosopher died 70 years later when a trial didn’t go his way and he was ordered to drink a glass of hemlock. But before he got around to that last draught, he did manage to get into some wine. How much? Well, let’s just say he had a complicated relationship with the vine. In one breath he would tell people, in a loud and sometimes drunken voice, that he could take or leave the vino. Then in the next, he would swear that he could outdrink anyone at anytime and never even act drunk. He liked to say that his challengers, as they rolled about in a stupor at his feet, would look up and think him a statue, because he stood up so unwaveringly straight. Just untouched by the stuff. And if you didn’t believe him, well, why didn’t you just break out an amphora of the good stuff and let’s see what’s what? It was also reported that Socrates rarely paid for his own wine, and it’s not hard to see how.

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