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Plato's Trial of Athens


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Table of Contents

Dedication Introduction 1. The Politics of Impiety 2. Why is Alcibiades in Plato's Symposium? 3. Plato's Other Apologies of Socrates 4. Plato's Atlantis Myth, or: Redesigning the "Democracy Based on Triremes" 5. Conclusion: Plato's Apologies of Socrates References Index

Promotional Information

Presents a surprising new study of Socrates' trial by the Athenian democracy by building upon recent developments in Plato scholarship.

About the Author

Mark A. Ralkowski is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Honors at the George Washington University, USA


A fine book with a straightforward, persuasive thesis ... Compelling and thought-provoking. * Exemplaria Classica *
In this excellent book Mark Ralkowski sheds new light on the trial of Socrates by placing it in the context of Plato's lifelong opposition to Athenian democracy. He argues that the city and not Socrates corrupted the youth of Athens, and in particular Alcibiades. The book is well-written, the thesis is bold but the argument is judicious, the scholarship is thorough and the treatment of Alcibiades in particular will advance the discussion of that flamboyant and controversial Athenian personality. This should be essential reading for everyone interested in Socrates and his trial, Plato' political philosophy, and ancient Athens. * William J. Prior, Professor Emeritus, Santa Clara University, USA *
Ralkowski packs a lot into this book. Above all, he sets the political interpretation of Socrates' trial on a secure foundation, especially by paying fruitful attention to dialogues other than Apology itself. But he also shows how Plato turned the tables on the Athenian people by charging them, not Socrates, with being the source of corruption, and exposes Plato's pessimistic belief that the reformation of society by philosophers, which was Socrates' mission, was doomed to failure. Vigorous, intelligent, thorough, this is a book that anyone interested in Socrates will want to read. * Robin Waterfield, author of Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths *
Plato's Trial of Athens offers the reader a fresh rethinking of Socrates' life and death. Ralkowski demonstrates that the full implications of Plato's representation of his trial can only be understood from within the counter-frames of the Symposium, Gorgias, Republic, Alcibiades I, and Timaeus, which judge and condemn Athens' corrupt values. Arising from the ashes of Athens' defeat and Socrates' death, the Socratic way of life, the author shows, is presented by Plato as the only path to both spiritual and political regeneration. This original study's comprehensive perspective illuminates facets of Plato's thought that too often are treated piecemeal. * John Bussanich, Professor of Philosophy, University of New Mexico, USA *
R.'s book is a substantial contribution to classical studies. It is written in a friendly and captivating style that allows readers who are not aware of philological discussions to enter into a topic that marked the destiny of the Western tradition, and it reserves for the scholar a good number of well-constructed arguments as well as original and creative ideas on numerous passages of the Platonic corpus. In the vast literature on Socrates, this work will surely earn its rightful place. * The Classical Association *

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