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W.K.C. Guthrie, Life of Plato and philosophical influences

From, A History of Greek Philosophy, vol. IV, Plato: the man and his dialogues, earlier period,
Cambridge University Press, 19896, pp. 8-38. 

(Ι) LIFE  |||  (a) Sources  |||  (b) Birth and family connexions  |||  (c) Early years  |||  (d) Sicily and the Academy  |||  (2) PHILOSOPHICAL INFLUENCES  \ Greek Fonts \ Plato Home Page

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Page 4

    In contrast to his reticence about himself, he enjoyed introducing his distinguished relatives into his dialogues, or mentioning them with some precision. Charmides has one named after him, and Critias speaks in the Charmides and Protagoras. (The Critias of the Timaeus and Critias must be his grandfather.) Adeimantus is mentioned as Plato’s brother at Apοl. 34a, and he and Glaucon take prominent parts in the Republic. At the beginning of the Parmenides we are told in detail that Antiphon is brother on the mother’s side to Adeimantus and Glaucon, and that Pyrilampes was his father. From these and other references in Plato himself, one can practically reconstruct his family tree, and this suggests a considerable amount of family pride. Indeed, as Burnet says (Τ. to Ρ. 208), ‘The opening scene of the Charmides is a glorification of the whole connexion.’ This has led many to conclude that family influence must have been responsible for instilling anti-democratic ideas into Plato from his earliest years. Burnet (ib. 209 f.) strenuously denied this, claiming that the family traditions ‘were rather what we should call "Whiggish"’ and that Critias and Charmides were only at a late stage oligarchical extremists, and pointing out that Pyrilampes was a democrat and friend of Pericles. Burnet’s remarks bring out once again the important point that the division between democrat and oligarch is by no means identical with that between plebeian and high-born.[9] As to Plato, Field’s modification of Burnet probably comes nearest the truth (Ρ. and Contemps. 5): 

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-Greece/guthrie-plato.asp?pg=4