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Four Texts on Socrates: Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito and Aristophanes' Clouds (Revised)

Four Texts on Socrates: Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito and Aristophanes' Clouds (Revised)


Book Overview: Four Texts on Socrates: Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito and Aristophanes' Clouds (Revised)

Widely adopted for classroom use, this book offers translations of four major works of ancient Greek literature which treat the life and thought of Socrates, focusing particularly on his trial and defense (three dialogues by Plato: Euthyphro, Apology of Socrates, and Crito) and on the charges against Socrates (Aristophanes' comedy Clouds).

This is the only collection of the three Platonic dialogues that also includes Clouds, a work that is fundamental for understanding the thought of Socrates in relation to the Athenian political community and to Greek poetry. Thomas G. West's introduction provides an overview of the principal themes and arguments of the four works. There are extensive explanatory notes to the translations.

In their translations, the Wests capture successfully the simplicity and vigor of straightforward Greek diction. They strive for as high a degree of accuracy as possible, subordinating concerns for elegance and smoothness to the goal of producing the most faithful and most reliable English versions of these texts. For this new edition, Thomas West has revised the introduction and updated the annotated bibliography, which includes the best of the secondary literature on Socrates and on the texts included in this book.

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Aristophanes, often known as the Father of Comedy, was an acclaimed playwright of ancient Greece, revered for his timeless satirical plays. Born in Athens circa 450 BC during the classical period of ancient Greece, Aristophanes' life coincided with the era of the Peloponnesian War. Undeniably, this significant social and political occurrence played an influential role in shaping the satirical edge of his works. As the mastermind behind at least forty plays, only eleven of which have survived to the present day, his craft paved the way for the genre of comedy in literature. Aristophanes' unique flair and wit, combined with a profoundly insightful understanding of social, political, and cultural issues, make his plays an invaluable treasure trove of information about ancient Greek society. Among his most well-known works are "The Frogs," "The Birds," and "Lysistrata," each offering thoughtful commentary on the human condition, particularly in context with war and peace, democracy, and societal norms. Utilizing humor and parody extensively, Aristophanes skillfully created authentic, compelling narratives that critiqued Athenian society and administration. Despite the passage of over two millennia since Aristophanes' era, his plays continue to hold relevance, celebrated for their timeless satire, complex symbolism, and candid exploration of human nature. Aristophanes, with his innovative, courageous, and influential writing, truly earned his place as one of the most prominent figures in the pantheon of literary history. His legacy persists as a testament to the power of comedy in providing potent social critique, enlightening and engaging audiences across the ages.
Plato, a philosopher, writer, and the founder of the Academy in Athens, is considered one of Western philosophy’s pivotal figures. Born in Athens, Greece around 428/427 B.C., during the time of Pericles the golden age of Greece, Plato dedicated the majority of his life questioning, analyzing, and contributing to the knowledge realm in significant ways. These seminal thoughts have profoundly influenced the course of Western philosophy and civilization. Plato was an intellectual prodigy; he was Socrates' most famous student whose teachings impelled him to delve deeper into the mysteries of life and existence. Socrates' death deeply moved Plato, invoking curiosity regarding morality and driving him into the philosophical realm. Plato embarked on intellectual travels across the Mediterranean world, studying Geometry in Egypt, Philosophy in Italy, and the Eastern Culture, these diverse influences paved the way for his broad intellectual spectrum. Renowned for his extensive dialogues and written works like 'The Republic', Plato's profound impact lies in his discussions on justice, beauty, truth, and his conceptualization of the ideal society. He dutifully established his school, ‘The Academy’, which perpetuated promoting philosophical thought and birthing Plato's most famous student, Aristotle. Plato's philosophical significance is unparalleled, offering an illuminating light that continues to guide the corridors of philosophy, politics, and ethics today.

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