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3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  598 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Bryn Mawr Commentaries have been admired and used by Greek and Latin teachers at every level for twenty years. They provide clear, concise, accurate, and consistent support for students making the transition from introductory and intermediate texts to the direct experience of ancient literature. They assume that the student will know the basics of grammar and vocabulary an ...more
Paperback, 38 pages
Published December 1st 1984 by Bryn Mawr Commentaries, Inc. (first published -380)
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Glenn Russell

Ion is a very short Platonic dialogue between Socrates and a rhapsode by the name of Ion who specializes in reciting the poetry of Homer. The dialogue explores the nature of poetic and artistic inspiration in a most playful way. If you are interested in literature and the arts, you will really enjoy. Likewise, if you haven’t read any Plato, this is a great place to start. To offer a taste, here are a few snatches of the dialogue along with my brief reflections. Sidebar: all of my statements are,
[A concourse in Athens. ION, SOCRATES, a PASSER-BY]

ION : Hi Socrates.

SOCRATES : What, you again? After the comprehensive verbal trouncing you received yesterday?

ION: Yeah, well, like I’ve thought about it some more. Wanna try a re-run?

SOCRATES: If that is what you wish. Where shall we start?

ION: Okay, we’ll skip the intro. For the benefit of people just joining our program, I am a rhapsode, that’s a kind of dramatic reciter of poetry, and I specialize in Homer. I told Socrates that I’m really go
Tanmay Tathagat
Meh. Good for its time, but nobody's going to be impressed by this today. It's basically Socrates' theory of poetry as divine inspiration. Also, the dialogue might have turned out differently if Ion wasn't so damn stupid.
Bob Nichols
This short dialogue is ostensibly about how one might react to poetry. Ion is a “rhapsode” and focused solely on Homer’s poetry. Socrates questions whether Ion can be an adequate judge of a poet’s quality without having a broader context – knowing the work of other poets and, more broadly, the criteria for evaluating poetry.

Whether there’s a deeper philosophical meaning to this dialogue is not so easy to say, although there are hints. From another dialogue we know that knowledge is objective, de
In 35 pages Socrates was able to shred all that Ion was: a rhapsode.

Was he not just inspired by Homer, as Homer was by god? The analogy used is to imagine the Muse as a magnet, able to attract and inspire poets such as Homer. Homer, then, his own magnet attracts others, which are inspired by him. This is where Socrates deduces Ion is.

The premise of the book is that Ion thinks Homer is better than other poets, though he does not say which are worse, and more importantly, why. This leads Socrates
Ἐν τῇ Πολιτείᾳ, Μόνον, ἔφη ὁ Σωκράτης, ὕμνους θεοῖς καὶ ἐγκώμια τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς ποιήσεως παραδεκτέον εἰς πόλιν.

εἰ τοῦ Ἴωνος ἔτυχον, κἀγὼ τὸν Ὅμηρον ἐξήλασα ἄν.
This one was almost funny. Poor Ion. He should have stuck to lecturing about Homer, and not conversing with Socrates upon the subject.
Ion is a brief comedic dialogue on the nature of artistic inspiration. The rhapsode with whom Socrates speaks claims to have a skill (τέχνη), but it quickly becomes apparent that he has not a very good idea of what is entailed by the possession of a skill. For the rhapsode in question, Ion of Ephesus, is particularly fond of Homer, and regards the likes of Hesiod and Archilochus as second-rate. As a result, whenever Homer is mentioned, Ion has a lot of interesting things to say, but when the The ...more
A fun, quick read (for a Platonic dialogue, anyway) discussing art and the source of artistic inspiration.
There are three sections to this dialogue, in the first Socrates challenges Ion to define what exactly he does as a reciter of poetry. In the second section, Socrates argues that poetic inspiration is a form of possession, or divine madness. In the third, Socrates argues that Ion himself is a conduit for that madness, just as iron acts as a conduit for magnetism.
Overall, an interesting app
Mohammed Al-Garawi
In this dialogue, Socrates discusses with Ion of Ephesus, a professional rhapsode who happens to lecture on Homer, many points about poetry and other artistic skills. They discuss the question whether these skills are performed on account of talent and knowledge, or by virtue and divine possession, where god intervenes and the human mind becomes a tool of the divine to convey these beautiful things to the world.

In overall, the logic is flawless. However, in order for the outcome of this dialogue
Salah Sameh
كعادة سُقراط, تهكم وسخرية فى طول المحاورة وفى أقل من 30 صفحة قدر إنه يحطم فكرة إن إيون راوي أصلاً. المحاورة بتوضح وجهة نظر سقراط عن الشعر وإنه شايف إنها إلهام من الآلهة ودى نقطة خلافى معاه بس ده موضوع يطول شرحه يمكن أعلق عليه لاحقاً لما أكتب ريفيو عن المحاورات الكاملة
The Scrivener's Quill
There are three segments of this dialogue. The first and third weren't that interesting. The middle segment was fascinating. I enjoyed the discussion of inspiration being divine. There were some powerful thoughts in the middle section.
Jackson Cyril
Plato's funniest dialogue yet. Ion tries to talk big to Socrates and gets demolished. Hilarious
Fred Fanning
I am a big fan of Plato. This is a great dialogue with a lesson for us to learn.
Denim Datta
It was OK. Maybe it was great in its time. But now, not so great read. It was funny though: poor Ion...
Aristophanes was right when he wrote that Socrates was actually a sophist. Anyhow, there are some good points in this dialogue. It's about artistic inspiration and about those pretentious people and poseurs who move around and are trying to teach us what artist really wanted to say. Ion is kind of a guy who presents himself as one who knows to interpret (only) Homer, but Socrates shown him he doesn't know nothing about art in general, and secondly he is also a charlatan even when talking about H ...more
Ali F.
Severely dated and ridiculous.
Short and neat little dialogue in which Socrates rather convincingly demonstrates to Ion that his passion for Homer, and passion for orating and teaching his epics, is not a mundane art but a divine possession.
Spawk Hw
Strong evidence that plato was more myth than philosophy, The whole thing is Socrates trying to convince someone they are possessed , and thus are good at poetry. Also, in this Socrates puts forwards many positive definitions and general assertions, which helps rape his stereo type.
Lane Anderson
This is one of the texts that has had literary figures defending their art ever since. Plato's perspective on poetry is interesting, and even if it isn't particularly well defended, the basis of its argument is still found in contemporary society.
Sidharth Vardhan
Ion does a very good job in questioning back and getting views of Socrates and staying honest most of time. There is a fair amount of philosophy, including Socrates's ideas about art underlining some of characteristics of art.
Short and sweet. Plato's writings are generally pretty easy to understand because of the way he writes them--as dialogues. Most of his theories have been argued against for centuries, but it's still an interesting read.
Vincent Russo
I've really been trying to gain an appreciation for philosophy and this book was not really in its benefit. Can't really see why these have stood the test of time.
Discutable. Avec sa "Poétique", Aristote va un peu plus loin. Ce texte reste néanmoins cohérent avec le Gorgias, la République, etc...
An interesting bit of philosophy of art. I don't know if I agree entirely with Socrates in this but he makes good points.
Throughly amusing. Lead an interesting life and write what you know, in that order.
Marts  (Thinker)
... highlighting a dialogue between the rhapsode Ion and Socrates regarding the arts ...
Souvenir des cours d'esthétique géniaux à la fac d'arts plastiques !
If you love Homer, than the dialogue of Ion will be highly enjoyable!
A conversation with every programmer about economics, ever.
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  • The Categories
  • On Great Writing (On the Sublime)
  • The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates
  • The Seven Against Thebes
  • Helen
  • Parmenides of Elea: A Text and Translation with an Introduction
  • Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica (Loeb Classical Library No. 194)
  • Monadology
  • Hesiod/Homeric Hymns/Epic Cycle-Homerica
  • Sextus Empiricus: Outlines of Scepticism
  • Women of Trachis
  • A Handbook to Literature
  • Hippocratic Writings
  • Wisdom of the West
  • On the Aesthetic Education of Man
(Greek: Πλάτων) (Arabic: أفلاطون)
Plato is a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.

Plato is one of the most
More about Plato...
The Republic The Trial and Death of Socrates The Symposium Apology Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo

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“The poet is a light and winged and holy thing, and there is no invention in him until he has been inspired and is out of his sneses, and the mind is no longer in him.” 1 likes
“For a poet is an airy thing, winged and holy, and he is not able to make poetry until he becomes inspired and goes out of his mind and his intellect is no longer in him.” 1 likes
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