The Timaeus & Critias of Plato

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

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Reader's Thoughts


Very interesting pre-Christian look at creation and the world.


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?


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.

Valenfore Alestreneon

Two Classical Works form a Great Philosopher.


So glad I picked this up on the cheap. I was hoping these stories were Socratic dialogues, first off, and they are not. Each story is basically a monologue by the titular characters following a brief introductory dialogue. Timaeus gives a telling of the world's creation, which would later be reused and modified by Christians for the Bible. It's long-winded and only occasionally interesting, which led me to skip sections of it. Critias is an unfinished/abandoned work that was intended to tell the full tale of Atlantis. What Plato left us was a description of the layout and rituals of Atlantis, and then he stops before detailing the war between Atlantis and Athens and Atlantis' subsequent demise. Overall, I got more out of the editor's introductory notes and appendix on Atlantis than I did Plato's stories. The stories were a waste of my time.

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.

Carl Hruza

The author is a madman and should not be trusted.

Karen Roddy


Kevin Holden

wow wow wow


I'm doing research for a couple of projects on Atlantis and thought, why not start with the first known written record? I'm not really a fan of Plato in general, but so far these two dialogues haven't been too painful.


Have never read any of Plato's writing and the only purpose for picking up "Timaeus and Critias" was simply because of the frequent reference to the book by authors writing about Atlantis. Am I glad I did, for apart from Critias and the description of the lost civilization of Atlantis, this classic in fact presents great many pleasant surprises especially within the dialogue of Timaeus, were he related how the Cosmos is likely to have come about and how the cosmic intelligence employs mathematics,geometry and harmony in the construction of the Universe. And how stars,sun, moon and planets move with regular circular motions, and that the elements of earth, water, air and fire are conceived of as having specific, ideals shapes, and the ultimate building blocks for all matter and creation.Though some of the facts in the text have now been proven inaccurate, it still offers an interesting read to find the many parallels in its understanding with certain ancient Indian Ayuvedic principles and for those familiar with the writing of Rudolf Steiner's "An Occult Physiology" will certainly enjoy and appreciate the depth of Plato's insight even more...


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.


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...


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


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.

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