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Intermediate Reading Passages: Plato's Dialogues

Portrait of Socrates, Louvre MA 59

In general, these passages assume that you have completed all the basic grammar, but occasionally they use a form you may not be familiar with. Don't panic. Keep your wits and make an educated guess. Then go on.

If you want to review some endings before tackling the passages, visit Smythe's Greek Grammar. Feel free to skip over the explanations to find what you are looking for. If you are looking for help with Greek syntax (e.g., the meaning of the cases), click on Rydberg-Cox, Overview of Greek Syntax

To read these texts, you will need a Greek font. Click here for Perseus' Greek Font Display Help to decide which font works best for your computer.

Introduction to Plato's life and works

The Death of Socrates, excerpts from Plato's Phaedo

"Were you present with Socrates on the day when he drank the poison?" Phaedo 57a-b

"Did you not hear about the trial and how it happened?" Phaedo 58a-b

"The beginning of the mission is when the priest of Apollo wreathes the stern of the ship," Phaedo 58c-d

"On the previous days, I and the others had been accustomed to visit Socrates," Phaedo 59d-e

"We [went in and] caught Socrates just released from his bonds," Phaedo 60a-b

After Socrates rubs his leg and comments on pleasure and pain, he and his friends discuss at length the subject of immortality. At the conclusion of the dialogue, Crito asks Socrates, "In what way are we to bury you?" Phaedo 115c2-e

"Having said these things, he stood up [and went] into a room in order to bathe," Phaedo 116a2-b

"[A servant of the eleven came and stood] beside him and said,"I shall not blame you," Phaedo 116c-d

"And Crito said, 'But I think, Socrates, that the sun is still upon the mountains and has not yet set,'" Phaedo 116e-117a3

"Crito nodded to the boy standing nearby," Phaedo 117a4-b

"'I understand,' said Socrates, 'but it is possible and necessary for me to pray to the gods that,'" Phaedo 117c-e2

"Hearing these things, we were ashamed and held back our crying," Phaedo 117e3-end

The Perfect Polis: Women in Plato's Republic

After speaking about the ideal city, Socrates is interrupted by Glaucon, Polemon, and Adeimantus to comment on the role of women. When the passage begins, Socrates is speaking to Glaucon.

"We undertook to establish [these] men in our discourse as guardians of the flock," Republic 451c (last sentence) - 451e

"Music and gymnastic was given to them (the men)," Republic 452a-b

"If a difference appears in respect to a skill or any other pursuit in respect to the race of men and women then we will say that it is necessary to give this to each [equally]," Republic 454d (last par.) - 454e

"You speak the truth, he said, that one race excels the other in all things, so to speak, but," Republic 455d-e

"Therefore women such as these [women fit to be a guardian] must be chosen to live and guard together with men of the same sort," Republic 456b-c

"The institution which we have set up for the state is not only possible, but also the best (457a)," Socrates says. "We might say that we have escaped one wave concerning the legislation having to do with women, with the result that we have not been inundated entirely" Republic 457b (last par.) - 457d (first par.)

"I now become lazy/soft, and I desire to postpone these things [whether it is possible to have wives and children in common] and examine them later how they are possible," Republic 458b


Plato, Lysis (On Friendship)

"I was traveling from the Academy straight to the Lyceum," Plato 203a-b

"And what is this place, and what is your pastime?" Plato 204a

"I took Ktesippos [with me] into the palaistra," Plato 206e-207a4

"Among whom was Lysis, and he stood out among the boys," Plato 206e (last sentence) - 207b

"And I, looking toward Menexenus, asked him," Plato 207b (last sentence) - 207c

"After this, I was attempting to ask who was the juster and wiser of the two," Plato 207d

"Meanwhile, Menexenus came back and sat down," Plato 211a

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