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Socrates’ execution was postponed while awaiting the return of a religious embassy sent to Delos to honor Apollo for his role in ensuring the safe return of Theseus after slaying the Minotaur on the island of Crete, because, as we are told, it was unlawful in Athens to carry out executions during religious festivals and events. The minotaur, as you may know, was a hybrid creature with the body of a man and the head of a bull, the result of intercourse between Pasiphae, the wife of Minos (the king of Crete), and a bull sent to Minos by Poseidon for sacrifice. In order to conceal the product of this illicit act, and so the illicit act itself, Minos imprisoned the Minotaur (named Asterion) in a labyrinth constructed by Daedalus, the mythical father of Architecture.

What light might this background myth, which serves as an important part of the setting for the dialogue that follows, shed on the ensuing discussion of the soul, death and its relation to philosophy?

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