The Timaeus & Critias of Plato

ISBN: 0766141624
ISBN 13: 9780766141629
By: Thomas Taylor Plato

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Reader's Thoughts

Joshua Mark

If you're one of the many interested in the lost continent of Atlantis then these two dialogues are definite `must reads' for you. Plato's dialogue of the Timaeus introduces Atlantis and the Critias expands and develops the earlier ideas presented. These two dialogues are THE basis for the Atlantis myth. All of the money spent on explorations through the ages to find `the lost city of Atlantis' could have been spent more wisely. Atlantis is Plato's creation. There is no mention of such a place before he wrote these works and every piece dealing with the subject since is based upon them. Enjoy.

Karen Roddy



The leading scientist of his time Plato gives it his all in a top-down attempt to explain the universe in his own unique cosmology.


Required reading for Traditional Cosmologies. Year 2, Semester 1, Latrobe University. Am having a hard time reading this...I don't understand the subtleties and the under currents nor what it has to do with Cosmologies...Maybe I should have done Greek Mythology before this subject, not after...Learning about alchemy, horoscopes and Gods/Goddesses...Still not getting it though...


I enjoy Plato, and this was the first of his works that I really got familiar with. The story of Atlantis is fascinating. Of course, being Plato, some patience is required while reading this, but it is rewarding I think and well worth the struggles and rereading that is sometimes required. Just a heads up, you will have "what the hell did I just read?" moments. Sorry, that's just part of Plato.

Alex Lee

These two works together were meant to be a trilogy about Athens, Greeks and their place in the world. Unfortunately, the 3rd book was lost, or never written, and the 2nd book, Critias only survives as a fragment. Still, interesting. The three men, speak to Socartes about the nature of everything, highlighting the Other of the Greeks, the Egyptians, as being part of the primary source needed to complete the story.The first book, Timaeus is interesting because he speaks of how the universe started before man was made... how man was made rationally with intention, and all that. With Timaeus you see how Plato tries to ground everything, the 4 elements for example, into Being, with ideas being the root... (as the 4 elements are basically tiny shapes, and what's more pure as an idea than a shape?) From this, you get the idea that once everything is built up from Truth, we should then, with the history of Atlantis in Critias, and the lost 3rd book, come to a systematic understanding of the way in which Athens has developed and should develop... with an eye on purity and rightness. The idea is simple. If there was a way we were made, a reason for us being the way we are, then there too is a way for us to be, an intented way for us to live, and a right way for us to not go against our nature.Only in a democracy like Athens can someone like Plato have existed... Plato who feared the nihilism of the Sophists, in which their collectively disordered wisdom threatened to destroy the inherent meaning and values that made Athens what it is. He of course, wrote his entire life, to try and find coherence; find Being which could bind those disorderly ideas, and bring them up from negating each other, so that we can have values, so that we can have orderly society. So that we can be a people with a moral and ethical content we could be proud of and exhibit.At least, that's how I see this book within the larger scheme of what Plato was doing.




good morning Atlantis. sounds bollocks right now and I get really scared when thinking that this was the main basis for scientific stuff for a long time.Plato is good, yes. but too much geometry. the universe through triangles - how cool is that?


Anyone who's remotely interested in Atlantis should look no further and read this pair of dialogues. It offers probably the most detailed (and realistic) layout on what the legendary lost civilization was like, how it was run, and what ultimately befell of it's end days. Unlike modern depictions of Atlantis being a mythical, magic place, Plato lays it out like a legit civilization, advanced but not fantastical, and paints a number of beautiful images for your imagination. It's also short and sweet, which for this day and age can always be a plus.


To be honest, I only started this book because I wanted to know more about the stories of Atlantis. If that is all you are interested in, I recommend only reading Critias as that focuses on the topic of Atlantis while Timaeus only mentions it briefly. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I got out of Timaeus. Focusing primarily on cosmology, Timaeus gave me a much greater understanding of how the Ancient Greeks viewed the universe and their role in it. Furthermore, it was helpful to me as a medievalist to read how Plato's understanding of the universe influenced the medieval Church's cosmology. Because Plato (via the dialogue of Timaeus) spoke of a single cosmic God that created the universe and everything it in, the medieval Church regarded Plato as a pagan whose wisdom had led him to Christian truths, and therefore his writings on how the universe was organized was widely accepted in medieval Christian cosmology. So much so, that the Church had real trouble letting go of Platonic cosmology when Copernicus and others discovered mistakes in his universal model.


a committed edition of Plato's works that enables readers to presume the entire plan by the philosopher, which had been abandoned.

Kevin Holden

wow wow wow

Daniel Wright

This is probably, to modern readers, the most bizarre, difficult and unusual of Plato's dialogues (although it's scarcely a dialogue). The fact that its ancient audience thought it his most important underlines the way expectations of what the work of a philosopher entails have changed, and is something to bear in mind and be wary of as we approach the interpretation of his other work.


I wouldn't recommend it unless you have to read it. It's not bad (it's Plato for goodness sake), it's just not what I look for in my reading.

Amy ♥♫

This was pretty good, I guess. Now that I have read the "original" text I can safely say that I do not believe Atlantis ever existed. The descriptions of the island continent proved to me that it could not have possibly existed, especially if it was situated between Europe and America. However, there is evidence that a city did in fact sink in a single day and night . . . on the island of Crete, which is off the coast of Greece. The stories from the survivors could have inspired Plato to write about one of the world's most well-known island, Atlantis. The same could be said for El Dorado in South America and for Shangri La in the Himalayas, they are merely fictional cities that have sparked our interests and imaginations.

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