'Once upon a time there were just the gods; mortal beings did not yet exist.' We are used to thinking of myths as stories, and modern myths as made up and fictitious. For the ancient Greeks, however, a myth was a story that unveiled reality, and for Plato, myth-maker as well as myth-teller, a myth could tell us something important about ourselves and our world. The ultimate purpose of Plato's myths is to help us live a better life, and to teach philosophical truths in a form we can most easily understand. This volume brings together ten of the most celebrated Platonic myths, from eight of Plato's dialogues ranging from the early Protagoras and Gorgias to the late Timaeus and Critias. They include the famous myth of the cave from Republic as well as 'The Judgement of Souls' and 'The Birth of Love'. Each myth is a self-contained story, prefaced by a short explanatory note, while the introduction considers Plato's use of myth and imagery. These myths are thought-provoking and profound, and together they provide an ideal introduction to Plato's philosophy.
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Catalin Partenie is co-editor ofPlato's Complete Works in Romanian (2001-2005)
1. 'The Origin of Virtue (Protagoras 320c-323a) ; 2. 'The Judgement of Souls' (Gorgias 523a-527a) ; 3. 'The Androgyne' (Symposium 189c-193e) ; 4. 'The Birth of Love' (Symposium 201d-212c) ; 5. 'The Other World' (Phaedo 107c-115a) ; 6. 'The Cave' (Republic 514a-517a) ; 7. 'Er's Journey into the Other World' (Republic 614b-621d) ; 8. 'The Winged Soul' (Phaedrus 246a-257a) ; 9. 'The Two Cosmic Eras' (Statesman 268d-274e) ; 10. 'Atlantis and the Ancient City of Athens' (Timaeus 20d-25d; Critias 108e-121c)