Timaeus and Critias – Plato

11 Feb

7534838462_95f2bf12aa_zSomewhere I heard that there are more books written on the lost island of Atlantis than on any other subject and if you are going to read a book on said subject it may be the original.

This book though is more than just the Atlantis myth its also a window into how the mechanics of the world were viewed in the ancient world.

Plato always intended for his works to be read by everyone so made them more literary than thesis.  Both parts – The Timaeus and Critias being seperate – are written as conversations allowing Plato to play both sides of the argument, this makes it accessible to anyone and easy to follow.

The Timaeus is the larger of the two parts and after a brief mention of Atlantis and its location it gets down to the business of mapping out our world and the heavens beyond with a look at Astronomy, human physiology, religion and metaphysics to name but a few.

The Critias is just a fragment that was never finished by Plato, indeed finishes midsentence, which always adds to the drama.  this of course is the more popular of the two with the story of Atlantis, its peoples, customs, architecture and politics of this utopia.

Be in legend or myth – and lets face it half the fun is in not knowing – Plato has created a fascinating society, an allegory, if you will for, of a wise, noble and technologically advanced race.  Naturally this race then get greedy and start to do all the despicable things that society does and ends up on the road to its watery demise.

Although it’s endlessly Interesting to see how wrong these pseudo historians misread or blatantly choose to misinterpret Plato, it’s much more than that it is also a look at the world from a different perspective, through the science of theory, when they lacked the tools of this technological age.  It’s these feats of mental ingenuity and rules set down by by Plato and the other Greek natural philosophers  that became integral for our understanding of the sciences.


Posted by on 11/02/2013 in Philosophy


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19 responses to “Timaeus and Critias – Plato

  1. Tom Gething

    11/02/2013 at 22:10

    Maybe Plato was beamed up by aliens mid-sentence and deposited in the subterranean civilization that was once Atlantis. Sounds like another book opportunity in the making.


  2. George Collingwood

    12/02/2013 at 22:11

    Plato. He’d have skyped himself.


    • StetotheJ

      13/02/2013 at 15:42

      That would have been just like reading one of his books, maybe that’s what the aliens did after all. I recant of all my sane knowledge, I believe that aliens and ghosts of Elvis did it. Of course Elvis isn’t dead but when he does die in the future, he’ll use a time machine to bring his ghost back and stuff.


  3. Christina ~

    12/02/2013 at 22:17

    I love your reviews…especially with the fascinating intriguing timeless story of Plato and Atlantis. Makes me want to read this as I haven’t yet….lol aliens…wonder what Plato would say about that? Or perhaps Socrates….Aristotle?


    • StetotheJ

      13/02/2013 at 16:10

      Plato would love aliens, I assume anyway. In fact I just told an outright lie for no reason. I bet those Greeks would have there minds blown with the concept of aliens, Aristotle would maybe have blathered on incoherently, Socrates would have shared beard grooming tips with them and Plato would be saying really loudly, philosophers get into heaven after holy priests. that was his thing, he loved that. Maybe.


      • Christina ~

        28/02/2013 at 07:39

        LOL I agree with all of your assesments of the philosophical greats when confronted with aliens. Oh…I can assure you (being half Greek myself) that their minds would most definetly be blown….after all they did think they were all things supreme. Something lost through the generations…or maybe it was just lost in me….


        • StetotheJ

          01/03/2013 at 22:34

          Self effacing as well, that puts you above most of the population…well anywhere. I hope your Greek half goes diagonally across your body because that wpuld be unique and awesome. I will now expect you to smash the popcorn dish after our film marathon.


  4. 최다해 gongjumonica

    14/02/2013 at 07:38

    So you read this kind of stuff, too? It is amazing how people interpret what the Greek philosophers written and translated them into their own.


    • StetotheJ

      17/02/2013 at 19:34

      You know me, I’ll read anything, it does make you wonder how often you read something that may have been mistranslated. It’s always something to make me look intellectual down the pub too.


      • 최다해 gongjumonica

        19/02/2013 at 04:04

        Now that made me laugh. Same with classics. I think it was Mark Twain who said that the classics are those books talked and “liked” by everyone, even intellectuals. But most of those people had not even read them.

        Well, appearing intellectual has its advantages though…


        • StetotheJ

          19/02/2013 at 17:11

          I remember reading War and Peace down our local and people giving me odd looks. Mark Twain had t right, I really should read more classics. There’s not enough time for everything these days.


          • 최다해 gongjumonica

            20/02/2013 at 04:29

            Hmm. I wonder why? Perhaps you are reading the book upside down so you earned those odd looks? Just kidding. I have a bad sense of humor, they say.

            I wish I could read more classics, too. However, my patience is most often than not tested whenever I pick up one.


            • StetotheJ

              22/02/2013 at 17:34

              The way they paced and wrote is almost like a completely different language to modern day usage, Dickens is a bad one for that, but like you say there are a lot. You would do well with your sense of humour over here, especially if your jokes were always at my expense lol.


  5. LuAnn

    16/02/2013 at 15:23

    I haven’t read this and have often wondered if I would find it interesting. After your review Ste J, it is definitely on the list. Thanks!


    • StetotheJ

      17/02/2013 at 19:05

      Apologies for making you list that tad longer, not that that is in anyway a deterrent to me carrying on in the same vein.


      • LuAnn

        18/02/2013 at 13:03

        And it shouldn’t be. 🙂


  6. pennycoho

    03/03/2013 at 20:44

    Excellent read for myself and an excellent review SteJ, assisting the layperson in a basic understanding before attempting the read. I myself adore Plato because he referred to women as having a definite role in society and that most females were strong on the inside, while men tended to be strong on the outside. What can I say! lol


    • StetotheJ

      03/03/2013 at 21:31

      I say you went back in time and became his muse possibly. Sorry Ancient Aliens taught me so many lies it’s hard to keep track of what is real. It is amazing that Tom Paine was incredibly sexist in his Rights of Man, it shows how certain Greek ideas like democracy were embraced but equality was still anathema such a short time ago.



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