470-399 B.C.

“I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” – Socrates

Socrates was a Greek philosopher and teacher and one of the most original, influential and CONTROVERSIAL people in ancient Greek philosophy and Western ideas.

Socrates would LISTEN, ASK QUESTIONS, CRITICIZE and CHALLENGE ANSWERS. He asked probing questions that would untimately lead to the truth. This became known as the “SOCRATIC METHOD.”

Socrates was born in Athens, Greece in about 470 B.C. Socrates studied sculpture, but soon quit to “SEEK TRUTH” in his own way. He sought to uncover the nature of virtue and to find a rule of life.  Socrates did not write any books or papers. His life is preserved in “Memorabilia” of the historian Xenophon and in Plato’s “Socratic Dialogues.”

Socrates began questioning Athenians thinking and their democratic system, which caused hostility to rise. He was a master at exposing FRAUDS and LIARS, which made him numerous enemies.  He taught the young to reject the morals accepted by Athenian society, due to their weak reasoning behind people’s moral beliefs.

The Socratic Method consisted of asking questions like “What is life?” of people who were confident in their answers, and then little by little EXPOSING THEIR HYPOCRISIES, IGNORANCES and CONTRADICTIONS. Socrates was famous for saying HE KNOWS NOTHING, except for the fact that HE KNOWS NOTHING.

At the age of 70, Socrates was brought to trial and charged with: “not believing in the gods the state believes in, and introducing different new divine powers; and also for corrupting the young.” Socrates was convicted by the COUNCIL of 500 and was offered an alternative to death by paying a fine, but refused it. SOCRATES was therefore sentenced to DEATH BY DRINKING HEMLOCK. 

Socrates most famous philosophy was the necessity to DO WHAT ONE THINKS IS RIGHT EVEN WHEN ONE IS AGAINST UNIVERSAL OPPOSITION .

” Caesar ”

Title: Caesar

Author: Adolphe Yvon

Year: 1875


Julius Caesar stands out in history as one of most influential men who ever lived. The reason for this is that he is credited for laying the groundwork of the Roman Empire, which thrived for over four hundred years after his death. At the time he lived, the republic of Rome was torn apart by political and civil strife. The tasks of administering government in many far flung provinces, building suitable infrastructure, and regulating a professional army were overwhelming to a political system run by feuding oligarchs in a single city. Julius Caesar understood the drastic reforms that would be necessary to prevent the empire from breaking apart and he made great strides during his own life in this direction, although he destroyed the republic in the process.

In his youth, Julius Caesar was popular and known to be personally courageous, but he also had a reputation as a reveler and a spendthrift, and did not show early signs of serious ambition. He did not rise to high prominence in the popular party until his late thirties, and held only minor offices until then. He was forty by the time he formed the first triumvirate with Crassus and Pompey, and at the time was the junior member. It was in the following decade, from 58 to 50 B.C., that he distinguished himself as a formidable leader in both the military and political domains. In his conquest of Gaul he is said to have taken up arms against over a million Gallic warriors, and killed another million. He completely subdued the entire region of modern France and made forays into Britain and Germany. At the same time he was achieving extraordinary military success, he wrote one of the greatest classic works of literature in the ancient world, “Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War.” His personal and political popularity reached ever greater heights during this time, including everyone but the Senate and their supporters.

After Caesar had served eight years in Gaul the fearful Senate requested that he disband his armies. At that point he made the difficult decision to march to Rome. This essentially forced a civil war, but Caesar hoped to reconcile with his opponents rather than destroy them. All of Italy surrendered to him without a battle and his enemies, led by Pompey, were forced to flee to the East to raise armies there. At the battle of Pharsalia, only one year after he crossed the Rubicon, his most important enemy, Pompey, was defeated. It took another year to consolidate his power and put down minor revolts throughout the empire. At all times Caesar was as conciliatory as possible and pardoned his opponents without hesitation.

By 46 BC the empire was completely pacified and he returned to Rome to start his work of reform and reorganization. He had advanced ideas on many topics, from the building of roads, communication and infrastructure, to a revamped system of taxes, to a change in the very idea of Roman citizenship and voting rights. His career was cut short by assassination, but many of his ideas and reforms were carried through by later emperors. He was at the time, and still is, a very controversial character. His admirers have always seen a great defender of the people against a corrupt oligarchy, while his detractors have seen a power hungry demagogue, and an enemy of democracy. How the world might have been different if he had never lived, or perchance, if he had lived longer, is one of those perennially fascinating questions that historians have been speculating on for twenty centuries.

” Galileo Galilei ”

Title : Portrait of Galileo Galilei

Author: Justus Sustermans

Year: 1636

Medium: oil on canvas


Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) – Italian astronomer, scientist and philosopher, who played a leading role in the Scientific Revolution. Galileo improved the telescope and made many significant discoveries in astronomy. His findings encouraged him to speak out for the Copernican view that the earth revolved around the sun . His greatest scientific works included Two New Sciences about kinetics and the strength of materials.

By inventing the world’s first powerful telescope, Galileo was able to make many ground-breaking explorations of the universe. Galileo’s His telescopes increased magnification from around just 2x to around 30x magnification. Using this new telescope he found that:

  1. Saturn had a beautiful ring of clouds.
  2. The moon was not flat but had mountains and craters.
  3. Using his own telescope, he discovered four moons of Jupiter – Io, Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa. He also noted these moons revolved around Jupiter rather than the sun.

To support the theory of heliocentrism, Galileo had the mathematical proofs of Copernicus but also new proofs from the science of astronomy. However, Galileo knew that publishing these studies would bring the disapproval of the church authorities. Yet, he also felt a willingness to risk the church’s displeasure. Galileo stated: “The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go.”

Catholic Church considered Galileo’s ideas as heresy. At first they sentenced him to life in prison, but later allowed him to live at his home in Tuscany under house arrest. 

Galileo continued to write while under house arrest. In his later years he became blind. He died on January 8, 1642. 

” Friedrich Nietzsche ”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Author: Edvard Munch

Date: 1906

Style: Expressionism

Genre: portrait

Media: oil, canvas


Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Rocken, Saxony (the present-day Germany) on Oct. 15, 1844. He came from a line of Protestant churchman – his father and grandfathers were Lutherman ministers. He studied Classical literature and language at the universities in Bonn and Leipzig. At the age of 24, Nietzsche became a professor at the University of Basel in Switzerland.
After reading the works of the German philosopher Schopenhauer, Nietzsche became a philosopher and began living a life of solitude. He agreed with Schopenhauer that there is no God and life is filled with pain and suffering, but Nietzsche came to his own conclusion that humans must get everything out of life and set out to find out how to best do that.
Nietzsche was totally against religion, in particular Christianity.
Nietzsche proclaimed that “God is dead” in his most famous work, “Thus Spake Zarathustra,” (1883-1892) saying that most people do not believe in God and religion is no longer the foundation for morals. “Thus Spake Zarathustra” was not successful when it was first published, but is now considered a masterpiece in world literature. In 1896, the composer Richard Strauss composed a tone-poem called “Also Sprach Zarathustra” based on Nietzsche’s words.Nietzsche’s works “Beyond Good and Evil” (1886) and “The Genealogy of Morals” (1887) dealt with the origins of moral values. Nietzsche believed that in early civilization the theory of perpetual elimination of the weak by the strong and the incompetent by the competent was correct. But then the Judeo-Christian religion disagreed and said that thought was wrong and the weak and meek shall inherit the earth. What happened was the geniuses, innovators and creators were made equal to the common masses. Nietzsche believed that Christianity’s emphasis on the afterlife make humans less capable of handling life right now.
Nietzsche believed that religious “morality” killed the genius of innovation and could end culture and civilization. Since there is no God, there must be HUMAN creations and realizations. Humans have the “will to power” in politics, culture and everywhere. Nietzsche’s ideal was the super-human-being or the “OVERMAN” or “SUPERMAN”, which is a superior individual who controls his/her passions and uses them in a creative way. The SUPERMAN’S will to power would set him/her apart from the herd of inferior masses. Nietzsche was famous for his much quoted line “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”
In 1889, Nietzsche tragically suffered a nervous breakdown and was overcome by mental illness in his mid forties, allegedly brought on by tertiary syphilis. The actual breakdown started in Turin, where Nietzsche collapsed with his arms around the neck of a horse that was being whipped by a coachman. He became hopelessly insane and on August 25, 1900 at the age 56, Nietzsche died.

” Plato ”

Short Biography

Plato (423 BC – 348 BC) was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens – the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science. Plato influenced a whole range of subjects from philosophy to maths, logic and ethics.