Timaeus and Critias

ISBN-10: 0192807358
ISBN-13: 9780192807359
Edition: 2008
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Description: 'The god wanted everything to be good, marred by as little imperfection as possible.' Timaeus, one of Plato's acknowledged masterpieces, is an attempt to construct the universe and explain its contents by means of as few axioms as possible. The  More...

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Book details

List price: $12.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 2/1/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 224
Size: 5.08" wide x 7.72" long x 0.55" tall
Weight: 0.616
Language: English

'The god wanted everything to be good, marred by as little imperfection as possible.' Timaeus, one of Plato's acknowledged masterpieces, is an attempt to construct the universe and explain its contents by means of as few axioms as possible. The result is a brilliant, bizarre, and surreal cosmos - the product of the rational thinking of a creator god and his astral assistants, and of purely mechanistic causes based on the behaviour of the four elements. At times dazzlingly clear, at times intriguingly opaque, this was state-of-the-art science in the middle of the fourth century BC. The world is presented as a battlefield of forces that are unified only by the will of God, who had to do the best he could with recalcitrant building materials. The unfinished companion piece, Critias, is the foundational text for the story of Atlantis. It tells how a model society became corrupt, and how a lost race of Athenians defeated the aggression of the invading Atlanteans. This new edition combines the clearest translation yet of these crucial ancient texts with an illuminating introduction and diagrams.

Plato was born c. 427 B.C. in Athens, Greece, to an aristocratic family very much involved in political government. Pericles, famous ruler of Athens during its golden age, was Plato's step-father. Plato was well educated and studied under Socrates, with whom he developed a close friendship. When Socrates was publically executed in 399 B.C., Plato finally distanced himself from a career in Athenian politics, instead becoming one of the greatest philosophers of Western civilization. Plato extended Socrates's inquiries to his students, one of the most famous being Aristotle. Plato's The Republic is an enduring work, discussing justice, the importance of education, and the qualities needed for rulers to succeed. Plato felt governors must be philosophers so they may govern wisely and effectively. Plato founded the Academy, an educational institution dedicated to pursuing philosophic truth. The Academy lasted well into the 6th century A.D., and is the model for all western universities. Its formation is along the lines Plato laid out in The Republic. Many of Plato's essays and writings survive to this day. Plato died in 347 B.C. at the age of 80.

Roland Chambers studied film and literature in Poland and at New York University before returning to England in 1998. He has worked as a private investigator specialising in Russian politics and business, and is also a children's author. He currently divides his time between London and Connecticut, where his wife teaches literature at Yale. The Last Englishman is his first biography.Robin Waterfield's previous book for Faber was Xenophon's Retreat. In 2005 he published a new translation of Xenophon's Anabasis as Xenophon: The Expedition of Cyrus. He is also the author of Athens: A History and has translated works by Euripides, Plutarch, Herodotus, Aristotle, and Plato, as well as other works by Xenophon.

Andrew Gregory is Reader of Science in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London, UK. He is the author of many books on the science of the ancient world, including Plato's Philosophy of Science (2000), Eureka! The Birth of Science (2001) and Ancient Greek Cosmogony (2008)

Note on the Texts
Summary of Timaeus
Timaeus
Critias
Explanatory Notes
Textual Notes

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