Plato: Hippias Major
Plato: Laches

Plato: Ion

The Ion (Greek: Ἴων) is a dialogue in which Socrates discusses the nature of poetry with a rhapsode, a professional performer who specialises in giving oral recitations from Homer. Socrates questions whether his ability is the result of skill or divine inspiration.

The dialogue is a key example of Plato's suspicion of mimesis or imitation. It could also be seen as a critique of the place of oral tradition in Greek culture, although as the Phaedrus shows, Plato also had doubts about the advantages of writing.

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Free Online and Downloadable Texts

Gutenberg: Ion by Plato, translated by Benjamin Jowett, multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Ion, HTML and TXT formats.

Perseus: Ion. English text (Lamb 1925). Greek text (Burnet ed. 1903).

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Ion, translated by Benjamin Jowett. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: Ion, translated by Benjamin Jowett. Online text.

Other Resources

Approaching Plato: A Guide to the Early and Middle Dialogues

Librivox: Ion - public domain audiobook.

Philpapers: Ion - open access papers.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Plato on Rhetoric and Poetry, by Charles L. Griswold.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Plato's Aesthetics, by Nickolas Pappas.

Wikipedia: Ion

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Homer: The Iliad and the Odyssey - The high proportion of direct speech in these epics set the tone for the mimetic aspect of Greek literature which troubled Plato although it was, ironically, reflected in his own use of the dialogue form.

Plato: Phaedrus.

Plato: The Republic - in which the poets are famously banished from the ideal city.

Aristotle: The Poetics.

Ancient Greek resources: learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Plato's Dialogues are listed.


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