Political Theory

Aristotle: The Athenian Constitution

The Athenian Constitution (Greek: Αθηναίων Πολιτεία) is thought to be the only text by Aristotle rediscovered in modern times, based on papyri recovered in the Nineteenth Century. It may be the last remnant of a project Aristotle is said to have initiated to collect the constitutions of all the Greek states.

The work should not be confused with another of the same title, once thought to be by Xenophon, but now generally attributed to an anonymous 'Old Oligarch'.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Athenian Constitution, translated by Frederic G. Kenyon. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: Αθηναίων Πολιτεία by Aristotle. Greek text. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Works of Aristotle Vol X: Politica, Oeconomica, Atheniensum Respublica, the latter translated by Frederic G. Kenyon. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Athenian Constitution, translated by Frederic G. Kenyon. HTML and TXT formats.

Internet History Sourcebook: The Athenian Constitution, translated by Frederic G. Kenyon. TXT format.

Loebulus. L285 - Aristotle -- Athenian Constitution. Eudemian Ethics. Virtues and Vices. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: Greek text, edited y Frederic G. Kenyon. English text, translated by H. Rackham. HTML and XML formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Athenian Constitution, translated by Frederic G. Kenyon. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: The Athenian Constitution, translated by Frederic G. Kenyon. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

Librivox: The Constitution of Athens - public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Constitution of the Athenians.

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

Plato: The Republic, The Laws.

Aristotle: The Politics

Xenophon: The Spartan Constitution.

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


Augustine: The City of God

The City of God Against the Pagans (Latin: De Civitate Dei contra Paganos) is a major philosophical work written by the Latin Christian St Augustine of Hippo in the early 5th Century AD.

Written as a refutation of those who blamed Christianity for the sack of Rome in 410 AD, the work cast history as a cosmic struggle between the Earthly City and the City of God, with the latter destined to be victorious. It had profound effect on the worldview of the Latin West in the Middle Ages.

The City of God at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Bibliotheca Augustana: de Civitate Dei. Latin text, HTML format.

Christian Classics Ethereal Library: St. Augustine's City of God and Christian Doctrine, translated by Philip Schaff. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The City of God, Volume I, Volume II. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: City of God Complete Vols 1 and 2. Translated by Dods (1871). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Augustine of Hippo, Latin texts.

Wikisource: Latin text. English translation by Marcus Dods. Multiple formats.

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Xenophon: The Spartan Constitution

Lycurgus of Sparta, by Merry-Joseph Blondel. Wikimedia CommonsThe Spartan Constitution or Constitution of the Lacedaemonians (Greek: Λακεδαιμονίων Πολιτεία, Latin: De republica Lacedaemoniorum) by Xenophon is the most comprehensive extant account of Spartan institutions. As an oligarchically-inclined exile from Athens, who had fought alongside Spartan generals in the Persian Expedition, and later against Athens at the battle of Coronea, Xenophon was a well-placed and highly sympathetic observer of Spartan customs.

The Spartan Constitution at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Polity of the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians by Xenophon. Multiple formats.

Loebulus: L183 - Xenophon -- Scripta Minora: Hiero. Agesilaus. Constitution of the Lacedaemonians. Ways and Means. Cavalry Commander. Art of Horsemanship. On Hunting. Constitution of the Athenians. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also available from the Internet Archive.

Perseus: Greek text (Oxford, 1920). English text translated by E. C. Marchant, G. W. Bowersock (1925).

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Polity of the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians by Xenophon, translated by H.G. Dakyns. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: Λακεδαιμονίων Πολιτεία - Greek text. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: Xenophon. Melvyn Bragg with Paul Cartledge, Edith Hall and Simon Goldhill.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Xenophon.

Leo Strauss Center: Xenophon, Winter 1963 - audio of lectures on works including The Spartan Constitution.

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Xenophon: Hellenica, Anabasis, Agesilaus.

Aristotle: The Politics, The Athenian Constitution

Plutarch: Parallel Lives - includes lives of a number of Spartan statesmen: Lycurgus, Lysander, Agesilaus, Agis and Cleomenes.

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


Aristotle: The Politics

The Politics of Aristotle is, like many of his works, the oldest extant treatise on the subject, although it allude to, and sometimes criticizes, the discussion of political issues in Platonic dialogues like the Republic.

Book One opens with the famous declaration that the human being is by nature a political animal, and includes discussions of slavery and of economics that are still of significance for contemporary debates, in part because of their distance from modern views. Book Two looks at the best form of government, critiquing philosophical proposals including those of Plato in The Republic and The Laws. Book Three provides a classification of constitutions, something that Plato had already undertaken in The Republic. Books Four to Six look at the multiplicity of existing constitutions and the changes to which they are subject, while Books Seven and Eight return to the subject of the ideal constitution and the form of education appropriate to it.

Free online and downloadable texts

Gutenberg: Politics, translated by William Ellis, 1912. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Politics, translated by Benjamin Jowett. Online text and downloadable. .txt file.

Loebulus. L264 - Aristotle - Politics. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: Greek text (W.D. Ross ed., 1957). English translation (H. Rackham, 1944). Online texts.

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

Other Resources

BBC In Our Time: Aristotle's Politics - archived radio discussion with Melvyn Bragg.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Constitutional Conventions: Aristotle's Political Philosophy - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Archive for the History of Economic Thought: Aristotle as Sociologist, by Charles A. Ellwood, 1902.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle: Politics, by Edward Clayton.

Librivox: Politics - public domain audiobook.

Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle's Political Theory, by Fred Miller.

Wikipedia: Aristotle - Politics (Aristotle).

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

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


Plato: The Statesman

The Statesman or Politicus is a late Platonic dialogue, a sequel to The Sophist, addressing similar themes. The discussion seeks to identify the kind of knowledge proper to the true statesman, distinguishing it from the knowledge of appearances that characterizes the sophist.

Free online and downloadable texts

Gutenberg: The Statesman, translated by Benjamin Jowett, multiple formats.

Perseus: The Statesman. Greek text (Burnet ed., 1903). English translation (Fowler, 1921). Online texts.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Statesman. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: The Statesman, translated by Benjamin Jowett. Online text.

Other resources

Librivox: The Statesman - public domain audiobook.

PhilPapers: Plato - Politicus - bibliography with open access option.

Wikipedia: The Statesman.

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

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

Plato: The Sophist

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


Plato: The Laws

The Laws is Plato's last and longest dialogue, and the only one in which Socrates does not appear, unless indeed he is the mysterious Athenian Stranger who joins the Spartan Megillos and the Cretan statesman Clinias. While it is not a dialogue one would choose as introduction to Plato, for serious students of his political theory it is an essential counterpart to the Republic, presenting an apparently more realistic set of proposals than the earlier dialogue, prefiguring the mixed constitution advocated by Aristotle, Polybius and Cicero. Plato's final word is, in the eyes of some, the product of a man disillusioned by his attempts to put his political ideals into practice at the courts of the tyrants of Syracuse.

Free Online and Downloadable Texts

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

Loebulus. L187 - Plato -- Laws I: Books 1-6. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Loebulus. L192 - Plato -- Laws II: Books 7-12. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: The Laws. Greek text (Burnet ed., 1903). English translation (Bury, 1967-68). Online texts.

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

Wikisource: The Laws (Plato), translated by Benjamin Jowett. Online text.

Other Resources

Librivox: The Laws - public domain audiobook.

PhilPapers: Plato - Laws - bibliography with open access option.

Wikipedia: The Laws (Dialogue).

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

Plato: The Republic.

Aristotle: The Politics.

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

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


Plato: The Republic

 

The Republic is Plato's best-known work. An extended reflection on the nature of justice, which retains much of the style of the early dialogues in the opening conversation in Athens, pitting Socrates against the cynical sophist Thrasymachus. From there the dialogue opens out into an extended discussion of the politics of the ideal city, which is closely bound up with ethical considerations, before taking in metaphysical and theological themes with Plato's most striking metaphor, the parable of the cave, and a meditation on the the fate of the individual soul in the myth of Er.

Free Online and Downloadable Texts

Gutenberg: The Republic by Plato, translated by Benjamin Jowett, multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Republic translated by Benjamin Jowett, online text.

Libertyfund: The Republic, translated by Benjamin Jowett, online text.

Loebulus. L237 - Plato --Republic I: Books 1-5. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Loebulus. L276 - Plato --Republic II: Books 6-10. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: The Republic: Greek text (Burnet ed.,1903 ). English translation (Shorey, 1969). Online texts.

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

Wikisource: The Republic, translated by Benjamin Jowett. Online text.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: Plato's Republic. Melvyn Bragg with Angie Hobbs, MM McCabe, James Warren.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Soul and the City: Plato's Political Philosophy - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Ain't No Sunshine: The Cave Allegory of Plato's Republic - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Plato: The Republic.

Librivox: The Republic - audiobook.

Openculture: Orson Welles Narrates an Animation of Plato’s Cave Allegory - video.

Open Culture: Plato’s Cave Allegory Brought to Life with Claymation - video.

PhilPapers: Plato - Republic - bibliography with open source option.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Plato's  Ethics and Politics in the Republic.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Callicles and Thrasymachus.

University of Utah: Culture and Society in Plato's Republic, by M.F. Burnyeat. PDF format.

Wikipedia: The Republic (Plato).

YouTube: History of Ancient Philosophy - Plato's "Republic," books I & II | Plato's Republic II, Apology, & Crito |
Plato's "Republic," books VI & VII. Lectures by Adam Rosenfeld.

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

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

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


Plato: Crito

 

The Crito (Greek: Κρίτων) is the third in the sequence of Platonic dialogues set during the period of Socrates' trial and death, portraying events after the Euthyphro and Apology and before the Phaedo. It centres on the attempt by Crito to persuade Socrates to escape, which provides the occasion for a discussion of the nature of justice and of the citizen's relationship to the state. in seeking to convince Crito of his obligations to the city, Socrates puts forward an early instance of social contract theory.

Crito at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany

Free Online Texts

Bacchicstage: Plato's Crito. Translated by George Theodoridis (2015). English online text.

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

Loebulus. L036 - Plato -- Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo. Phaedrus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Internet Archive: The Harvard Classics, Volume 2. Plato, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius. The Apology, Crito and Phaedo, by Plato. The Golden Sayings by Epictetus. The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. EPUB, MOBI, TXT & PDF formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Crito, translated by Benjamin Jowett. Online text.

Perseus: Greek text, edited by John Burnet (Oxford, 1903). English text, translated by H.N Fowler (Harvard/Heinemann, 1966). HTML and XML formats.

Social Science Network: Crito (Woods and Pack 2016). English pdf.

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

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Xenophon: Cyropaedia

The Cyropaedia (Greek: Κύρου παιδεία 'The Education of Cyrus') is a work by Xenophon, which presents an account of the education of the Persian king Cyrus the Great, in order to address the question of why people obey some rulers and not others.

Although Xenophon had some experience of the Persian Empire as a result of the expedition chronicled in the Anabasis, it is not clear how far his picture of Cyrus is intended as historical. As an idealized vision of the proper education of a ruler, the work had a formative influence on the literary genre known as 'mirrors for princes'.

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Free online texts

Cyrus' Paradise: The World's first online commentary on an ancient text. Greek text with crowdsourced English commentary.

Loebulus. L051 - Xenophon -- Cyropaedia I: Books 1-4. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

Loebulus. L052 - Xenophon -- Cyropaedia II: Books 5-8. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also at the Internet Archive.

Gutenberg: Cyropaedia - The Education of Cyrus, translated by H.G. Dakyns. Multiple formats.

Perseus: Greek text (Oxford, 1910). English text, translated by Walter Miller (1914). HTML and XML formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Cyropaedia, translated by H.G. Dakyns. Revised by F.M. Stawell. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: Κύρου Παιδεία, Greek text. Multiple formats.

Continue reading "Xenophon: Cyropaedia" »


Polybius: The Histories

The Histories (Greek: Ἱστορίαι Historíai) by Polybius are an account of events in the Mediterranean world from 264 BC to 146 BC, and an attempt to understand Rome's rise to supremacy during that period. His account of Roman institutions in Book VI had a notable influence on later political theorists as an illustration of the benefits of a mixed constitution.

Polybius was a well-placed observer, serving at one time as a military official of the Achaean League. He was later sent to Rome as a hostage and acquired the patronage of Scipio Aemilianus, accompanying him during the final defeat and sack of Carthage. 

Polybius at online stores

Amazon | Bookshop.org

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Histories of Polybius, Vol I

Gutenberg: The Histories of Polybius, Vol II

LacusCurtius: The Histories, translated by W.R. Paton. HTML format.

Loebulus. L128 - Polybius -- Histories I: Books 1-2. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Loebulus. L137 - Polybius -- Histories II: Books 3-4. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Loebulus. L138 - Polybius -- Histories III: Books 5-8. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Loebulus. L159 - Polybius -- Histories IV: Books 9-15. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Loebulus. L160 - Polybius -- Histories V: Books 16-27. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Loebulus. L161 - Polybius -- Histories VI: Books 28-39. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

PACE: Histories. Greek text and English translations by W.R. Paton and Evelyn S.Shuckburgh. HTML format.

Perseus: Greek text (Teubner, 1893). English text, translated by Evelyn S.Shuckburgh (1189). HTML and XML formats.

Wikisource: The Histories, translated by W.R. Paton (1922-27). Multiple formats.

Other Resources

The Hellenistic Age Podcast: 041 - Polybius of Megalopolis – Historian of the Hellenistic Age.

Wikipedia: Polybius - The Histories (Polybius).

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

Herodotus: Histories - The extent of Herodotus influence on Polybius is disputed.

Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War - Polybius' focus on politics, and his methodology, owes much to Thucydides.

Livy: From the Foundation of the City - uses Polybius as a source.

Josephus: As a Roman client from a conquered nation, Josephus' career has important parallels with that of Polybius.

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