This edition includes a select bibliography, a synopsis of each book, a glossary of terms, a glossary and index of names, and a general index.


I have been a student of the Republic since I first encountered it as an undergraduate at Trinity College, Dublin. in 1988 I published a book about it (Philosopher-Kings). Four years later, I published a revision of G. M. A. Grube’s excellent translation. Perhaps I should have rested content with that, but my desire to have a Republic translation of my own proved too strong. the fruit of five years’ work, it is now in print. Naturally, I hope it improves on existing translations. If so, I have their producers largely to thank. Certainly, I have ransacked them for assistance. Tom Griffith has helped greatly, Robin Waterfield too, and also (in the case of Books 5 and 10) Stephen Halliwell. Over the years, my respect has grown for earlier translations—for that of George Grube, from which I learned a huge amount, but also for those of Allan Bloom and Paul Shorey.

Every translation, even the most self-consciously and flat-footedly slavish, is somewhat interpretative. There is no avoiding that. But I have tried to make this one as uninterpretative and close to the original as possible. One conscious deviation from strict accuracy, however, will be obvious at a glance. the Republic is largely in reported speech. Socrates is relating a conversation he had in the past. But I have cast his report as an explicit dialogue in direct speech, with identified speakers. in the Theaetetus, Plato has Eucleides adopt a similar stratagem. “This is the book,” he says to Terpsion; “You see, I have written it out like this: I have not made Socrates relate the conversation as he related it to me, but I represent him as speaking directly to the persons with whom he said he had this conversation.” Decades of teaching the Republic have persuaded me that the minimal loss in literalness involved in adopting Eucleides’ stratagem is more than made up for in readability and intelligibility.

I renew my gratitude to John Cooper for his always judicious advice, and to Paul Woodruff for his. I am also grateful to the publisher’s readers, Christopher Rowe and the team of Patrick Miller and Christopher Childers. the latter—in particular—saved me from numerous errors and omissions. My debt to their care and scholarship is unrepayable. I am grateful to Hackett Publishing Company itself for trusting me with what is, in many ways, its flagship text; to my editor, Deborah Wilkes, for her encouragement and support; to Jenevieve Maerker for her help with the Introduction and, with Abigail Coyle, for the cover design. Many warm thanks, finally, to Janet Zweig for suggesting the wonderfully appropriate cover photograph.

Chapel Hill, June 2004 . . .

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