Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A History of Philosophy 1: Greece and Rome” as Want to Read:
A History of Philosophy 1: Greece and Rome
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A History of Philosophy 1: Greece and Rome (A History of Philosophy #1)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  766 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Conceived originally as a serious presentation ofthe development of philosophy for Catholic seminary students, Frederick Copleston's nine-volumeA History Of Philosophy hasjourneyed far beyond the modest purpose of its author to universal acclaim as the best history ofphilosophy in English.

Copleston, an Oxford Jesuitof immense erudition who once tangled with A. J. Ayer in a
Paperback, 521 pages
Published March 1st 1993 by Image (first published January 1st 1946)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A History of Philosophy 1, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A History of Philosophy 1

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,885)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
David Withun
One of the best introductions to ancient Greek philosophy out there. My only two complaints about it are: 1. Like many texts published a half century or longer ago Coplestone consistently leaves Greek and Latin phrases that he quotes (even at some considerable length) untranslated. For modern readers like myself, this only serves as a reminder of how far downhill our educational standards have gone -- we don't know ancient Greek and/or Latin anymore! 2. Coplestone's choice of verbiage is often f ...more
he uses general views on the issue under focus to get to the specifics or how he turns the disadvantage of his believes effecting on his writings as a mean to make the text fluent but I have to admit it's a bit dry and sometimes his beliefs are overly stressed in statements he made
overall it’s a good reading to history of Philosophy
Some very good sections, such as the quick summaries of Ionian and early Greek philosophers. However, the assumption readers can understand all languages (French, German, Latin, Greek, etc.) and references made makes the book much more difficult to understand than it ought be.
Nigel Dawson
This series is probably the best general overview of the history of philosophy currently available. The prose can be somewhat dry and technical, but this is to be expected. Volume One is best read with greek/english and latin/english dictionaries close at hand.
Oct 06, 2011 Wayne added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of wisdom ,ergo philosophers
Recommended to Wayne by: Father Marcellus, ourruddy faced, short, rotund so European belgian philosophy teacher
THRILLED !!! to recently find in my local bookshop in the Secondhand section unsullied and complete the 12 Volume Set of Father Frederick Copleston's History of Philosophy.

Any Guilt on breaking up the set ?
By no means.
Firstly these volumes were written exclusively for ME !!!
Father Copleston as a convert and Jesuit priest took on the task of writing these books for Catholic Seminarian Students of Philosophy because what they had was not too impressive.
Now as an ex-seminarian and Retired Catholic
Erik Graff
Oct 14, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philosophy students
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: philosophy
By the spring of eighty I'd been out of school for almost two years. Work in psychiatric childcare (adolescent boys) which had filled that time was personally, but not professionally, rewarding. The living situation had, however, vastly improved since moving in with the brothers Miley the spring previous. Socially, they had helped me reintegrate with old high school friends, many of whom I hadn't seen for the nine years I'd been away in college and seminary.

Intellectually, however, I was dissati
Rick MacDonnell
"Worst Cover of All Time" candidate, am I right?

Not only do I belong to that optimistic, naive, and dwindling group of romantics known as English majors, but I'm also one of those accursed souls who chose to minor in Philosophy, just to make sure I was fully unemployable.

By the grace of God hard work and a whole lot of luck I've managed to parlay my English degree into an burgeoning career. My philosophy minor, as expected, serves no other purpose than a few words on my resume.

So when I came acr
Arnaldo Ibarrientos
A great read through the Philosophers of Ancient Greece and Rome. A thorough exploration of the progression of ideas from the pre-Socratics, to the Sophist, to the influence of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. The book also explain the conditions of each culture and its effects on the Philosophers. Coplestone writes well enough to keep a reader turning the pages (a reader fascinated with Philosophy).

One day, I'll be able to re-read this volume and finish all nine volumes since Coplestones' extensi
Jeremiah Tillman
I didn't read all of this, but I did read enough to realize that I don't need Copleston in order to not only appreciate a philosophical text, but to understand any of the thinkers covered. The history merely to covers the philosophers and their methodologies, all the while not spending the time necessary for full comprehension. If anyone spends that much time reading this, I think they've wasted their time, as they could/should be spending their time on the actual texts, or if you're not into th ...more
Jack Coleman

I was looking for an introduction to philosophy and found this set being
tossed at the local library.I actually had two sets to choose from and I
chose Copleston's.
I was wondering what the SJ. was for after the name and found out he
was the main man to teach philosophy to Catholic priests.
As I am a very determined atheist I was really wary of what I might learn.
After endless pages of Christian cant and obtuse verbiage I actually
did learn something,I picked the wrong set.
I do commend his scho
ᑲᕆᔅᑦᐅᐴᕐ ᐊᖁᐃᓐᔅ
Simply the best introduction to philosophy in the English language! Far more thorough and unbiased than others, such as Russell's.
This book is too biased. I didn't even finish reading the first chapter. In the introduction he even bashes biased historians. Poo poo, I was very excited to pick this up as well.
Martin Mcgoey
A great introduction to philosophy. Copleston divides the book into Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Post-Aristotelianism through the early Medieval period. He does tend to spend a lot of time on Plato and Aristotle, but as they were the preeminent philosophers of the day, it is not surprising. I don't particularly like the large amount of Greek and Latin terminology and quotations. He wrote this for Catholic priests who had a training in classical languages, something the layman u ...more
Oct 16, 2014 Dave is currently reading it
I'm tired of being ignorant of Western thought. I've faked it long enough.
A decent overview of Pre-Socractic philosophy, and a good look at Plato's theories.
Filled with a handful of linguistic and mental high-fives and boos at philosophical ideas that step, respectively, toward or away from Catholicism, this history is more so for those intending to or already participating in Catholic philosophy and education (which is the intent of the author), and not a general, anthropological overview of the ideas and thinkers.

[I own the two part collection of Greece & Rome,

It's difficult to rate a nonfiction book when it deals with a subject in which you are a novice. As a beginner to this subject, how can I rate the content in regards to its veracity? Well, I cannot. Nor can I comment on the depth of Copleston's commentary. I can say, however, that this book covered a lot of ground in the realm of Greek thought, and was highly readable. I won't know to a certainty whether Copleston misled me or not until I read the works he commented on, but I have a feeling my
ES un relato histórico ameno y detallado, para el lector actual las discusiones sobre el ser o no ser, el movimiento, etc suenan un tanto bizantinas, pero al fin y al cabo son los pilares de nuestra cultura. la pleyade de nombres que aparecen y que en ocasiones son absolutamente desconocidas enriquece la lectura. Tiendo a pensar que le falta contexto histórico, es decir que no coloca completamente a los personajes en su entorno político histórico, cual si la filosofía se desarrollase independien ...more
Luis Branco
A very compendious, but very efficient historical narrative.
Greg Kemble
I didn't read the whole thing, mainly because I was looking for information on Democritus. I read the section on the Pre-Socratics and then on Democritus... My only complaint is that this was written for Jesuit students and so is meant to explain philosophy in the context of how it fits Catholic teachings. He's up front about that, at least, and he's fairly even-handed about it. But it got old once in awhile...
Copleston’s command of the history of philosophy is incredible. The only down side to this book is that he often quotes Classical Greek and Latin sources without providing translation to the reader. Of course, his original audience was Catholic seminary students who were steeped in Latin, which is something I obviously did not get at the Protestant seminary I attended. Oh well...
Scot Marvin
Copleston was one of my introductions into what would be my major in college. Good ol' philosophy. With that degree in hand, I was ready to carry on deep discourses and insightful inquiries into the nature of humanity . . . all while I grilled your hamburger.

Copleston's series was a wonderful introduction into my first academic love.
I think this multi-volume set is one of the most erudite works of its kind. I have been amazed at the exhaustive scholarship as well as the admirable fairness of the author. Not often does one find an author of philosophical works who is completely fair to the thinkers he discusses - even though his point of view is evident to a degree.
Larry Chambers
This could have been a phenomenal book. By not translating into English the many long -- and critically important to the understanding of this subject -- quotes, Copleston limits his audience to those who know not only English but also ancient Greek and Latin, among other languages.
Unfortunately, I cannot read Greek. Copleston refers to key concepts using only the Greek terms using the native alphabet. I could not follow the discussion or even differentiate the terms. I was enjoying the book but could no longer comprehend it.
Mark Heyne
Another angle on history of philosophy. Copleston is a Jesuit and it shows. Nevertheless, his books on classical , enlightenment and early modern philosophers are well worth having!
Michael  Baggetta
I have read Volumes 1,2, and 3 and were course books when I attended Siena College. This series of books were instrumental in my study of metaphysics and theology.
Lee Staman
Fantastic introduction to pre-Socratic and Greek philosophy. Well-written and easily readable for those acquainted with philosophy and those new to the study.
Stacy Kidd
I have nearly all the volumes, but this is the only one I've ever managed to really read. It, and the entire series, has done blown my mind in sheer scope.
Ahmad Allahyari
کتاب خوبی است ولی تاریخ یونان و روم بیش از یک جلد می طلبد و به نظرم برای مطالعه ی تاریخ فلسفه ی یونان کتاب متفکران یونانی نوشته ی تئودور گمپرتس مفید تر است
Matthew Dambro
Excellent history and analysis up to Plato. He expects much of his reader. That is as it should be.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 62 63 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy
  • The Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • The Evolution Of Medieval Thought
  • The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea
  • A Short History of Philosophy
  • Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy
  • After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory
  • The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance
  • Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey
  • Aristotle for Everybody
  • Reason in History
  • The Empiricists: Locke: Concerning Human Understanding; Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge & 3 Dialogues; Hume: Concerning Human Understanding & Concerning Natural Religion
  • The Ethics/Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect/Selected Letters
  • Monadology and Other Philosophical Essays
  • The Passion of The Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View
  • The Republic and Other Works
Frederick (Freddie) Charles Copleston was raised an Anglican and educated at Marlborough College from 1920 to 1925. Shortly after his eighteenth birthday he converted to Catholicism, and his father subsequently almost disowned him. After the initial shock, however, his father saw fit to help Copleston through his education and he attended St. John’s in Oxford in 1925, only managing a disappointing ...more
More about Frederick Charles Copleston...

Other Books in the Series

A History of Philosophy (10 books)
  • A History of Philosophy 2: Medieval Philosophy
  • A History of Philosophy 3: Ockham to Suarez
  • A History of Philosophy 4: Descartes to Leibnitz
  • A History of Philosophy 5: Hobbes to Hume
  • A History of Philosophy 6: Modern Philosophy
  • A History of Philosophy 7: Modern Philosophy
  • A History of Philosophy 8: Modern Philosophy
  • A History of Philosophy 9: Modern Philosophy
  • A History Of Philosophy 10: Russian Philosophy
A History of Philosophy 2: Medieval Philosophy A History of Philosophy 4: Descartes to Leibnitz A History of Philosophy 7: Modern Philosophy A History of Philosophy 3: Ockham to Suarez A History of Philosophy 6: Modern Philosophy

Share This Book

“[O]ther thinkers have philosophised since the time of Plato, but that does not destroy the interest and beauty of his philosophy” 4 likes
More quotes…