Ancient History & Civilisation

References and Sources


Greek text: Oxford Classical Texts: Plato, Vol. IV, ed. J. Burnet (Oxford, 1962).

J. Adam, The Republic of Plato (2nd edition, with an introduction by D. A. Rees; Cambridge, 1963). This is a reprint of the original edition of 1902, with a useful introduction dealing with specific topics and work done on them since Adam’s day.

R. L. Nettleship, Lectures on the Republic of Plato (Macmillan, paperback, 1963). A nineteenth-century commentary, still of value.

W. K. C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, Vol. IV (Cambridge, 1975). Contains a clear and useful summary and analysis of the whole of the Republic .

R. C. Cross and A. D. Woozley, Plato’s Republic (Macmillan, 1964). A philosophical commentary dealing with the Republic topic by topic. A useful general guide.

Julia Annas, An Introduction to Plato’s Republic (Oxford, 1981).

Cross and Woozley have a useful bibliography, as has also Rees. See also Crombie (v. below).


W. Fite, The Platonic Legend (Scribner, 1934). The first of Plato’s modern critics.

R. H. S. Crossman, Plato Today (2nd edn, London, 1959).

K. R. Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies, Vol. i: The Spell of Plato (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 5th edn, 1966).

These are the best-known modern attacks on Plato and on the Republic in particular. See Introduction, p. xlvii ff.

R. B. Levinson, In Defense of Plato (Harvard, 1953). This is far the most detailed and elaborate defence of Plato. A much shorter statement can be found in J. Wild, Plato’s Modern Enemies and the Theory of Natural Law (Chicago University Press, 1953, pp. 9–59) and there is useful material in H. D. Rankin, Plato and the Individual (Methuen, 1964).

J. R. Bambrough, Plato, Popper and Politics (Cambridge, 1967) contains a collection of essays by critics and defenders.

A more general selection of articles and extracts, some of them dealing with the Republic, can be found in the two volumes Plato in the series Modern Studies in Philosophy (Macmillan, 1972), edited by G. Vlastos, and designed to illustrate ‘contemporary interpretations of major philosophers’. Two general introductory works are F. M. Cornford, Before and After Socrates (Cambridge, 1960), and G. C. Field, The Philosophy of Plato (2nd edn, London, 1969).


A. W. H. Adkins, Merit and Responsibility (Oxford, 1960). This is subtitled A Study in Greek Values and deals with the history, down to the fourth century BC, of the various moral ideas held by the Greeks and dealt with by Plato.

J. Gould, The Development of Plato’s Ethics (Cambridge, 1955).


H. I. Marrou, A History of Education in Antiquity (paperback Mentor, 1964). The best general history of the subject.

W. Barclay, Educational Ideals in the Ancient World (Collins, 1959).

R. L. Nettleship, The Theory of Education in Plato’s Republic (Oxford, 1935).

The reader interested to glance forward to the later history of higher education in the ancient world should consult M. L. Clarke, Higher Education in the Ancient World (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971).


See Cornford (Ch. 3) and Field (Chs. 2 and 3), op cit., and J. E. Raven, Plato’s Thought in the Making (Cambridge, 1965). These are the best general introduction. More elaborate is I. M. Crombie, An Examination of Plato’s Doctrines, 2 vols. (Routledge 8 Kegan Paul, 1962), and on the theory of forms, W. D. Ross, Plato’s Theory of Ideas (Oxford, 1951).

There is an extensive literature on Sun, Line and Cave, a selection of which will be found in Cross & Woozley’s bibliography. See in particular J. E. Raven, ‘Sun, Divided Line and Cave’ (Classical Quarterly, 1953) and (not in C. & W.) John Ferguson, ‘Sun, Line and Cave again’ (Classical Quarterly, 1963) Part I, pp. 188–91.


For a rather different view of poetic and artistic inspiration taken by Plato elsewhere see the Ion, the Phaedrus (244 a–256 a) and the Symposium (201 d–212 c). The Phaedrus and Symposium are both published in Penguin. For the Ion, see B. Jowett, The Dialogues of Plato, 4th edn, Vol. 1.

For an account of the various Greek views on the subject in the late fifth and early fourth century, see T. B. L. Webster, ‘Greek Theories of Art and Literature down to 400 BC’ (Classical Quarterly, 1939), and for literary criticism in the ancient world generally G. M. A. Grube, The Greek and Roman Critics (Methuen, 1965).

See also R. G. Collingwood, The Principles of Art (Oxford, 1963); Tolstoy, What is Art?, trans. Aylmer Maude (Walter Scott Ltd, 1899).


W. K. C. Guthrie, The Greeks and their Gods (Methuen, 1950). A ‘religious companion to the Greek classics’.


Reference has been made in the Appendix to F. M. Cornford Plato’s Cosmology (Kegan Paul, 1937) in which there is a brief treatment of the astronomy of the Myth of Er. The standard general history of Greek astronomy is still T. L. Heath, Aristarchus of Samos(Oxford, 1913).

J. L. E. Dreyer, History of Astronomy, Thales to Kepler (Dover Pubs., 1953) covers a wider field and is a classic on the subject.

D. R. Dicks, Early Greek Astronomy to Aristotle (London, 1970) covers the relevant ground, but has been criticized for inaccuracy of detail (see J. S. Morrison, Classical Review, June 1971).

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