The Timaeus & Critias of Plato

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

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Reader's Thoughts


Myth and math! Cosmology, biology, and Atlantis! Timaeus was extremely influential in medieval philosophical thought of all kinds, and holds value for the reader of today, as well. Timaeus and Critias (together or individually) can be a daunting read, but they express the same wonder at the cosmos as we do, and seek to answer the questions, "Where did we come from?" and "Why are we here?"


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


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.


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.


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


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...



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 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.

Valenfore Alestreneon

Two Classical Works form a Great Philosopher.

Karen Roddy


Kevin Holden

wow wow wow


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.


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.


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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