Platonos Hapanta ta Sozomena = Platonis Opera Quae Extant Omnia

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by Plato

Platonis Opera Quae Extant Omnia
George Wythe bookplate.jpg
Title not held by The Wolf Law Library
at the College of William & Mary.
Author Plato
Published :
Date Precise edition unknown
Volumes volume set

Little is known of Greek philosopher Plato's (429 – 347 B.C.E.) early years, but he was interested in politics in his youth, and studied rhetoric under Dionysius.[1] He became a disciple of Socrates, and most of Plato's works are in the form of a dialogue, many of which feature Socrates questioning various philosophical doctrines.[2] Plato introduced the Western conception of philosophy as a method of thought that probes the boundaries of human senses and understanding of the world.[3]

Plato's philosophy centered on the doctrine that there are eternal forms that exist, such as "beauty" or "good," which human senses cannot fully understand but strive to attain.[4] His works do not present a comprehensive system of thought, but instead stimulate discussion and present starting points on how one may question the world.[5] Plato believed that a philosopher should probe why he perceives the world the way he does, and should apply overarching contemplative ideas (his eternal "forms") in the moral actions of man.[6]

Plato developed this moral theory throughout his works. For example, in the Republic he explored how to attain happiness by living virtuously.[7] He continuously criticizes social values and political institutions in works including Protagoras, Gorgias, Euthydemus, proving his work is grounded in the practical sphere of human life as well as concerned with the soul.[8]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Platonis opera. Gr. Lat. fol." and given by Thomas Jefferson to his son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph. Later appears on Randolph's 1832 estate inventory as "Plato's Works (Greek) 1 [vol.], $10.00." We do not have enough information to conclusively identify which edition Wythe owned. George Wythe's Library[9] on LibraryThing indicates this. The Brown Bibliography[10] suggests the 1578, 3 volume set (translated by Jean de Serres and edited by Henri Estienne) published in Geneva based on the copy Thomas Jefferson sold to the Library of Congress in 1815.[11]

As yet, the Wolf Law Library has not found an appropriate copy of Plato's works in Greek and Latin.

See also


  1. George Boas, "Fact and Legend in the Biography of Plato," The Philosophical Review 57, no. 5 (Duke University Press, 1948): 443-44.
  2. Richard Kraut, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Plato, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992): 3.
  3. Ibid, 1.
  4. Richard Kraut, Edward N. Zalta, ed., "Plato," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013).
  5. Ibid.
  6. Alcinous, "The Doctrines of Plato", translated by George Burges in The Works of Plato: a new and literal version (London: 1865), VI: 241-43.
  7. Mary Margaret Mackenzie, "Plato's Moral Theory," Journal of Medical Ethics 11, no. 2 (BMJ, 1985):88, 90.
  8. Richard Kraut, "Plato."
  9. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on July 17, 2023.
  10. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  11. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 2:32-33 [no.1309].