|About the Book|
This text is extracted from Cornfords longer Platos Cosmology.Timaeus (c. 360 BCE) is one of Platos dialogs, mostly in the form of a long monologue given by the title character. The work puts forward speculation on the nature of the physical world & human beings. Its followed by the dialog Critias. Speakers are Socrates, Timaeus of Locri, Hermocrates & Critias. Some believe that it isnt the Critias of the Thirty Tyrants who appears, but his grandfather of the same name. The dialog takes place the day after Socrates described his ideal state. In Platos works such a discussion occurs in the Republic. Socrates feels that his description of the ideal state wasnt sufficient for the purposes of entertainment & that Id be glad to hear some account of it engaging in transactions with other states (19b). Hermocrates wishes to oblige & mentions that Critias knows just the account (20b) to do so. Critias proceeds to tell the story of Solons journey to Egypt where he hears the story of Atlantis & how Athens used to be an ideal state that subsequently waged war against Atlantis (25a). Critias believes hes getting ahead of himself, & mentions that Timaeus will tell part of the account from the origin of the cosmos to man. The history of Atlantis is postponed to Critias. The main content of the dialog, Timaeus exposition, follows.