Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Systematic political thought in ancient Greece begins with Plato, and quickly reaches its zenith in the rich and complex discussions in Aristotle's Politics. The political theories of both philosophers are closely tied to their ethical theories, and their interest is in questions concerning constitutions or forms of government. Herodotus sketches a fascinating debate by proponents of three forms of government: democracy, monarchy, and oligarchy. In Euripides' Suppliant Maidens, there is a debate between Theseus, champion of Athenian democracy, and a messenger from Creon, ruler of Thebes. Among Plato's predecessors there was a tradition of political thought and debate, but he was the first Greek thinker to undertake a careful, systematic analysis of fundamental questions in political philosophy. This article discusses Socrates' influence on Plato. It then looks at Plato's masterpiece, the Republic, and considers his model of an ideal constitution. It concludes with a discussion of Aristotle's complex and sophisticated analysis of political constitutions.

Keywords: Greece, political philosophy, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, constitutions, democracy, Republic, monarchy, oligarchy

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.