The People of Plato is the first study since 1823 devoted exclusively to the identification of, and relationships among, the individuals represented in the complete Platonic corpus. It provides details of their lives, and it enables one to consider the persons of Plato's works, and those of other Socratics, within a nexus of important political, social, and familial relationships.
Debra Nails makes a broad spectrum of scholarship accessible to the non-specialist. She distinguishes what can be stated confidently from what remains controversial and—with full references to ancient and contemporary sources—advances our knowledge of the men and women of the Socratic milieu.
Bringing the results of modern epigraphical and papyrological research to bear on long-standing questions, The People of Plato is a fascinating resource and valuable research tool for the field of ancient Greek philosophy and for literary, political, and historical studies more generally.
In discrete sections, Nails discusses systems of Athenian affiliation, significant historical episodes that link lives and careers of the late fifth century, and their implications for the dramatic dates of the dialogues. The volume includes a rich array of maps, stemmata, and diagrams, plus a glossary, chronology, plan of the agora in 399 B.C.E., bibliography, and indices.
"A treasure-house of vital information, exhaustively and meticulously researched, presented with clarity and verve. Students of Plato's dialogues—and other Socratic writings—will no longer be frustrated by wading through dispersed and difficult to use scholarly tomes to find out about Meno's family and career or Plato's brothers or uncles or who Thucydides son of Melesias was, and his relation to the historian. With philosophical readers foremost in mind, Nails tells all. From now on, anyone reading Plato will always have this book nearby."
—John M. Cooper, Princeton University
"A unique scholarly resource, brimming with information practically inaccessible elsewhere, this painstakingly constructed work keeps one constantly engaged with the historical reality behind Plato's speculative universe."
—Lloyd P. Gerson, University of Toronto
"A permanent contribution to scholarship of the highest order, this beautifully-produced and engagingly-written book will be around as long as Plato is read. If you want to know who the son of Smicrion is, and you should, this book will tell you and amuse you in the process!"
—C. D. C. Reeve, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"The People of Plato will become—and already has become—an indispensable tool for teachers and students of Plato."
—Chloe Balla, Rhizai
About the Author:
Debra Nails is Professor of Philosophy, Michigan State University.
Please note that for courses of five or more students, this book may be ordered in conjunction with Hackett Publishing Company's acclaimed PLATO, Complete Works, at a special set price of $80.00, which represents a savings of over $47 to the students. The copies of The People of Plato in such orders will be Smythe sewn cloth bound books, but they will not have dust jackets.