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    Plato's Trilogy: Timaeus, Critias and Hermocrates (dialogues)

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    Maximus

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    Plato's Trilogy: Timaeus, Critias and Hermocrates (dialogues)

    Post by Maximus on Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:36 pm

    1. INTRODUCTION In two books, Timaeus and Critias, Plato gives the story of a great empire that existed in very ancient times.





    The story comes from an Egyptian priest in Sais.

    He told it to Solon, when he visited Egypt about 150 years before Plato’s time. According to the priest, a great city, capital of an empire, had existed 9000 years before his time, on the other side of the Atlantic. It had been destroyed by a great tsunami-type catastrophe. The capital of Atlantis was located in an island, about which geographic details are given. The beautiful capital was endowed by a well defended port wherefrom ships travelled to other places in the world. The information collected by Solon, according to Plato, should have produced a poem, that Solon did not write due to lack of time.

    The story is told in Plato’s book by an old man, age 80, named Critias junior. He claims that he received it from his grandfather, a relative of Solon, during some festival when he was ten years old. Critias spent a night trying to recollect the details of a story heard seventy years before.




    Contrary to what many people state, the Atlantis story was known before Plato wrote his books, since there are references to it in fragments of a lost poem by Hellanicus of Lesbos apparently written before the books of Plato.

    Moreover during the Panathenaic festivals in Athens, whose beginning is before Plato’s time, paintings were shown on peplum showing parts of the story.

    If the story was known in Egypt, it is likely that Pythagoras, who was there around the time of Solon, knew it. Now the Pythagorean philosophy was secret, with heavy penalty on those who would violate its secrets (which is still true nowadays in the Ishmaelite and Druze religions).

    It was partly transmitted orally, partly in books. Aulus Gellius claims that two were the books most expensive to his knowledge: the Sibylline books sold to the Roman king Tarquinius Severus (only three out of nine; the king initially refused to buy them; the vendor repeated the offer after destroying three of them and then three more, keeping the price unchanged; Tarquinius finally bought the three remaining ones) and the three books that Philolaus, a Pythagorean philosopher, sold to Plato.

    [Plato] After buying these books, Plato started to write Timaeus. If Plato used information from these books, it is likely that he was bound under penalty not to quote the source. The fact that Timaeus is not complete might also be explained by a prohibition to write about certain parts of the Philolaus books. A new explanation for a fact that has always puzzled scholars.





    Last edited by Maximus on Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:00 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Maximus

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    Re: Plato's Trilogy: Timaeus, Critias and Hermocrates (dialogues)

    Post by Maximus on Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:39 pm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timaeus_%28dialogue%29

    Timaeus (dialogue)



    Timaeus (/taɪˈmiːəs/; Greek: Τίμαιος, Timaios, [tǐmaɪ̯os]) is one of Plato's dialogues, mostly in the form of a long monologue given by the titular character, written circa 360 BC. The work puts forward speculation on the nature of the physical world and human beings and is followed by the dialogue Critias.

    Participants in the dialogue include Socrates, Timaeus of Locri, Hermocrates, and Critias. Some scholars believe that it is not the Critias of the Thirty Tyrants who is appearing in this dialogue, but his grandfather, who is also named Critias.[1][2][3]

    http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/timaeus.html




    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critias_%28dialogue%29

    Critias (dialogue)



    Critias (/ˈkrɪtiəs/; Greek: Κριτίας), one of Plato's late dialogues, contains the story of the mighty island kingdom Atlantis and its attempt to conquer Athens, which failed due to the ordered society of the Athenians. Critias is the second of a projected trilogy of dialogues, preceded by Timaeus and followed by Hermocrates.[1] The latter was possibly never written and Critias was left incomplete. Because of their resemblance (e.g. in terms of persons appearing), modern classicists occasionally combine both Timaeus and Critias as Timaeus-Critias.[2]

    http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/critias.html





    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermocrates_%28dialogue%29

    Hermocrates (dialogue)

    Hermocrates (/hɜrˈmɒkrəˌtiːz/; Greek: Ἑρμοκράτης) is a hypothetical dialogue, assumed to be the third part of Plato's late trilogy along with Timaeus and Critias. Since Plato never completed the Critias for an unknown reason, it is generally assumed that he never began writing the Hermocrates. In any case, the persons that would have appeared are very likely be the same as in the former dialogues – Timaeus, Critias, Hermocrates, and Socrates – and the unnamed fourth companion mentioned at the beginning of the Timaeus might have unveiled his identity.

    Hermocrates had only a small share of the conversation in the previous dialogues. Since the Critias recounted the story of the ideal state in ancient Athens of nine thousand years ago – and why it was able to repel the invasion by the imperialist naval power Atlantis – by referring to prehistoric accounts via Solon and the Egyptians, it might have been Hermocrates' task to tell how the imperialist naval power, into which Athens of Plato's lifetime had turned, had suffered a bitter defeat in the Sicilian expedition against Syracuse and eventually in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta – since he was a Syracusan strategos during the time of the Sicilian expedition.

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