Plato’s Atlantis

22 Sep, 2022 100 Philosophy

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Plato’s account of the once great island of Atlantis out to the west, beyond the world known to his fellow Athenians, and why it disappeared many thousands of years before his time. There are no sources for this story other than Plato, and he tells it across two of his works, the Timaeus and the Critias, tantalizing his readers with evidence that it is true and clues that it is a fantasy. Atlantis, for Plato, is a way to explore what an ideal republic really is, and whether Athens could be (or ever was) one; to European travellers in the Renaissance, though, his story reflected their own encounters with distant lands, previously unknown to them, spurring generations of explorers to scour the oceans and in the hope of finding a lost world.

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  • Edith Hall 19 episodes
    Professor of Classics at Durham University
  • Christopher Gill No other episodes
    Emeritus Professor of Ancient Thought at the University of Exeter
  • Angie Hobbs 24 episodes
    Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield

Reading list

  • Nature and Divinity in Plato's Timaeus
    Sarah Broadie (Cambridge University Press, 2012) Google Books →
  • Atlantis: The Making of Myth
    Phyllis Young Forsyth (Toronto University Press, 1980) Google Books →
  • The Genre of the Atlantis Story
    Christopher Gill Google Books →
  • Plato's Atlantis Story: Text, Translation and Commentary
    Christopher Gill (Liverpool University Press, 2017) Google Books →
  • Plato's Natural Philosophy: A Study of the Timaeus-Critias
    T. K. Johansen (Cambridge University Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • The End of Atlantis: New Light on an Old Legend
    J. V. Luce (Thames and Hudson, 1969) Google Books →
  • Designer History: Plato's Atlantis Story and Fourth-Century Ideology
    K. A. Morgan
  • Timaeus and Critias
    Plato (trans. Desmond Lee) (Penguin, 2008) Google Books →
  • Atlantis: Fact or Fiction?
    Edwin S. Ramage (ed.) (Indiana University Press, 1978) Google Books →
  • The Atlantis Story: A Short History of Plato's Myth
    Pierre Vidal-Naquet (University of Exeter Press, 2007) Google Books →
  • The Black Hunter: Forms of Thought and Forms of Society in the Greek World
    Pierre Vidal-Naquet (John Hopkins University Press, 1986) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 100 (Philosophy and Theory of Knowledge)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. According to Plato, fourth century BC, there was once a great island of Atlantis out to the west beyond the known world of the Mediterranean.