61. Plato. Works (1513)

2° ; 2 v. in 1 9[32], 502,; [2], 439, [1] leaves); 299 x 177mm.

The writings of Plato (ca. 427-347 B.C.) consist of twenty-five dialogues and the Apology, and thirteen letters whose genuineness is disputed. Plato's writings portray the highest intellectual life and no doubt epitomized for Aldus all that was noble, beautiful, and great from among that which the ancient Greeks had to offer.

The 1513 Aldine edition of Plato, the first complete printed edition, has been praised by scholars for its editorial excellence and aesthetic beauty. Aldus edited the work with Marcus Musurus, an enormous undertaking for both men. They worked from a vast collection of Greek manuscripts procured by Constantine Lascaris with the help of Lorenzo de' Medici from the monastery at Mount Athos.

In two well-known dialogues, Timaeus and Critias, Plato introduced one of the most remarkable of all geographical fables, that of the lost continent of Atlantis somewhere in the Western Ocean. The excitement caused by the announcement of recent discoveries in the New World must have kindled new interest in Plato's discussion of the lost continent. In his dedicatory preface, Aldus makes reference to the inhabitants of the Americas as "those other peoples in the Western Ocean whom the Spanish have discovered in recent years."

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