Socrates was an ancient Athenian philosopher who laid the philosophical foundations of Western culture.  He was famous for his admonition to "know thyself" and for his effort to explore the connotations of moral and humanistic terms.  Socrates died in Athens in the year 399 BCE.  Besides being one of the most famous and far-reaching philosophers of all time, he was influential among the New England Transcendentalists, especially Amos Bronson Alcott.  Alcott, in fact, considered Socrates in relation to science to be what Jesus of Nazareth was in relation to religion.  Alcott used the Socratic method of teaching in his famous Temple School in the 1830s and was careful to display a bust of Socrates in a prominent place.