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3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  825 Ratings  ·  47 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
Nov 13, 2014 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Hussain Ali
من اقصر المحاورات. بداية جيدة. لا يمكنك إلا ان تقف مذهول أمام قدرة سقراط العظيم على الجدل وتوليد الأفكار من خلال التخلص من التناقضات.
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.
Mar 07, 2016 Maite rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Apr 03, 2014 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nolan Flavin
Homer is a great poet, and I would argue this rhapsode, Ion, is perfectly sound in his belief—arrogant as it is—that he can read Homer's work with a great understanding based off his knowledge on art; and I say this fully preferring everything Aristotle said about poetry WAAAYY above that said by Plato.

Just because Homer had a good understanding of how things work (or did his research when writing like any good writer would), does not mean he had to have been inspired by divine influences. Homer
Jan 04, 2016 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: actors
Shelves: 07-plato
A brief commentary on pompous actors

Socrates questions Ion, who recites the lines of Homer. Ion claims to recite and understand the meaning of Homer's poetry as part of his success. Ion is like an actor who overestimates his intelligence and ability, like one who thinks he can run a company because he plays a CEO in a movie (insert actor of choice).

This is a short dialogue. Socrates argues that Ion has no real understanding of Homer's content (Homer is the TRUE genius). The rhapsode (the one wh
Dec 29, 2015 Emi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After 4-5 of such dialogues, I now cringe when reading another cross-examination that proceed in the same fashion. Socrates (not himself without fault), begins with insincere praises that loosen one's guard and his reins over mouth and pride, then begins posing a series of leading questions ... until he finally corners the poor guy to admit his own folly. In the end, I feel embarrassed for them both.

This one on the nature of poetic inspiration (and that of the orator), however, was short and pa
Aug 12, 2013 Beluosus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Laura Verret
This one was almost funny. Poor Ion. He should have stuck to lecturing about Homer, and not conversing with Socrates upon the subject.
Daniel Wright
Dec 03, 2015 Daniel Wright marked it as read-elsewhere  ·  review of another edition
Let's get this straight: this dialogue is not the last word in matters of literature or art. I don't think that's its purpose really. I think it's mainly a satire against the rhapsode profession. If the real-life rhapsodes were anything like Ion, they must have been really annoying, and Plato was entirely justified in ripping it out of them the way he does. And doesn't the same thing happen today? Don't we constantly have actors and pop musicians shoving the latest bleeding-heart fad down our th ...more
May 09, 2013 Jesse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 01, 2012 Coyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sotiris Makrygiannis
a short story by Plato. I don't understand why he is "destroying" Ion like that claiming that his talent is not an art but inspiration. without that inspiration he wouldn't produce art but I guess the point here is that the artist had a bit of megalomania and Socrates drag him back on earth by showing him the power of deduction and logic. could be....
Tony Gualtieri
Jan 12, 2016 Tony Gualtieri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most charming and witty of all the dialogues. Socrates, talking to a self-satisfied rhapsode who specializes exclusively in Homer, concludes that Ion has no knowledge but is instead either dishonest or divinely inspired. This suits Ion just fine and, claiming to be the latter, he treats Socrates' ironic critique as a form of praise.
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
Denim Datta
It was OK. Maybe it was great in its time. But now, not so great read. It was funny though: poor Ion...
May 23, 2012 Public_enemy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
Aug 23, 2015 Maro rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amusing! :)

Don't agree with Socrates on some points, though!
Ali F.
Nov 27, 2014 Ali F. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Severely dated and ridiculous.
May 22, 2016 Clint rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant finish! :)
Sep 27, 2015 Cipi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spawk Hw
Feb 18, 2010 Spawk Hw rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 17, 2013 Lane Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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  • The Categories
  • Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica (Loeb Classical Library No. 194)
  • The Seven Against Thebes
  • On Great Writing (On the Sublime)
  • The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates
  • The Golden Sayings of Epictetus
  • Women of Trachis
  • La Verdad Sospechosa
  • Ion
  • Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica (Loeb Classical Library #57)
  • Lewis Carroll's Symbolic Logic
  • A Short History of Greek Philosophy
  • Monadology
  • Plato: A Very Short Introduction
  • Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity
  • Proslogion
  • Santa
  • Four Texts on Socrates: Euthyphro/Apology/Crito/Aristophanes' Clouds
(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
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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.” 2 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.” 2 likes
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