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Homer, The Iliad
Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War
Sophocles, Antigone
Plato, The Republic
Virgil, The Aeneid


The Basics
Close and Critical Reading


Roger Dunkle
Donna Wilson
Hardy Hanson
John Van Sickle


CORC 1110 Study Guide
Perseus Project
Classics Resources
Greek Mythology Link
Glossary of Terms

Republic by Plato

"...the desires of the inferior many are controlled by the wisdom and desires of the superior few." Socrates

Plato's Life:

Plato was born around 427 BC to an aristocratic family with a history of political connections. He was greatly influenced by Socrates, who he admired for his style of seeking the truth through questioning. Socrates did not agree with the Ancient Politics and was brought to trial for corrupting the youth. In the Republic, Plato documents the trail of Socrates, which ended in Socrates' death. As a result, Plato left his home and traveled to Italy, Sicily, and Egypt.

He later established a school called the Academy in 387 B.C. Situated in Athens, the Academy offered courses in such subjects as astronomy, biology, mathematics, political theory, and philosophy. One of the more prominent students was Aristotle.

Plato spent the remaining years of his life teaching and writing. At the age of 80, Plato died in Athens. The year was either 348 or 347 B.C.

Introduction to the Plot Summary:

The Republic is a debate about whether it is better to live justly or unjustly. According to Plato, Just City has guardians, auxiliaries, and the majority of the population are tradesman or craftsmen. In this city, the well educated people will be selected as guardians and the less educated people will assigned accordingly. The Just City is then compared to the human soul consisting of rationality, wisdom and honor. The human soul is just when the rational rules over wisdom and honor, which are doing their own jobs.

The setting is at the house of Polemarchus where Socrates, Glaucon, Adeimantus and Cephalus are discussing various issues.

Main Characters:

Socrates - Greek philosopher and teacher; one of the most original, influential, and controversial figures in ancient Greek philosophy.
Glaucon and Adeimantus - Brothers of Plato, in real life. These two are Socrates primary interlocutors during the Republic.
Cephalus - the master of the house that the conversation which is the Republic takes place in.
Polemarchus - the son of Cephalus.
Thrasymachus - One of the key interlocutors of the Republic.
Simonides - wrote gnomic and satirical poems


Additional Resources:

Plato's Republic Roger Dunkle, Study Guide

Olympian Gods J.M. Hunt

Roman Politics