Category: Works of Plato

Translations of Plato in Modern Greek

Systematic translation of Plato’s works began in the early 20th century and continues strong to date. Few, however, of the existing translations can be considered adequate.

The impetus for the production of translations for Plato’s works was provided by the fact that selected passages from Platonic dialogues were included in the textbooks of ancient Greek employed in secondary education ever since the establishment of the Modern Greek state (the Apology, Crito and the Protagoras).

The production of Modern Greek translations of Plato is indirectly connected with the Greek language question, which monopolized the attention of Greek literary men in the early 20th century. It is reasonable to assume that the champions of the katharevousa did not feel any urgency to prepare Modern Greek translations of Plato and that they had trouble delimiting the modern Greek idiom employed in the translations vis-à-vis the ancient Greek original. Thus, the classicist Georgios Mistriotis, the leader of the conservative group, although intimately acquainted with Plato’s oeuvre, chose to publish a series of commentaries on Platonic dialogues without providing a translation.

On the opposite camp, the publishing house Fexis began releasing in the 1910s a complete series of Plato’s dialogues in translation, without the ancient Greek text, with the intention of rendering these works “accessible to a wide readership”; they commissioned men of letters who supported Demotic Greek, like Kazantzakis (he translated the Ion, Alcibiades and several of the spurious dialogues) and Gryparis (the Republic, Euthedemus). The Fexis series represents the first systematic attempt to make all of Plato’s works available to Modern Greeks. It is a noteworthy project not least because of its comprehensiveness – in fact some of these translations are still passable today, for instance Gryparis’ Republic or Gratsiatos’ Parmenides and Timaeus.

The second similar notable attempt was made in the mid-20th century, by Zacharopoulos Publications. The publications included the ancient text, translations largely rendered in Demotic, while the publisher commissioned some of the most eminent scholars of the time, like Basil Tatakis (Theaetetus, Euthedemus, Meno, Laches, Protagoras), E. Papanoutsos (Phaedo), D. Glynos (Sophist), G. Kordatos (Gorgias, Critias, Euthyphro), V. Laourdas (Ion), M. Andronikos (Philebus).

Similar collected works projects of the Platonic oeuvre have been attempted by other publishing houses since; however the translators selected do not quite stand out. These are the best-known series: “Τα άπαντα των αρχαίων ελλήνων συγγραφέων – Βιβλιοθήκη Παπύρου” by Papyros (1940s and following, reprinted 1975); “Βιβλιοθήκη των Ελλήνων” by Ellinikos Ekdotikos Organismos (1970s, with reprints); “Οι Έλληνες” by Kaktos Publications (1991-1994); “Αρχαίοι συγγραφείς” by Zitros Publications (1998 and following). The sole attempt to provide a translation of Plato’s collected works (including the spurious dialogues) by a single translator was that by Giannis Kouchtsoglou, Plato’s Collected Works (Athens: Etaireia Ellinikon Ekdoseon 1966).

Sykoutri’s 1934 edition of the Symposium proved a milestone for Plato’s translations in Modern Greek, as it featured an extensive introduction, a Modern Greek translation and commentary. This was the first time a dialogue was not simply translated into Modern Greek but published in keeping with scholarly standards, and accompanied by an inspired introduction and comprehensive hermeneutical commentary. Sykoutri’s edition, as one would expect, became the model for later editions of Plato’s works, yet not many of the Platonic dialogues published subsequently can be said to exhibit the same level of erudition and assiduity. Furthermore, I. Theodorakopoulos (Theaetetus, Phaedrus), K. Georgoulis (Republic), and N. Skouteropoulos (early dialogues, Republic) have all made significant contributions to the field of Platonic translation.

In what follows we will cite a list of selected translations of Plato’s works in Modern Greek; these publications, in our opinion, remain more that adequate (listed in chronological order of publication).

Πλάτων, Πολιτεία, trans. I. Gryparis. Athens: Zacharopoulos [no date] (1Fexis 1911-12).

Πλάτων, Παρμενίδης, trans. P. Gratsiatos. Athens: Fexis 1912.

Πλάτων, Συμπόσιον, text-trans.-interpretation I. Sykoutris. Athens: Estia 1999 (11934).

Πλάτων, Ίων, intr.-trans.-com. V. Laourdas. Athens: Zacharopoulos 1957 (11937).

Πλάτων, Επιστολή Ζ΄, intr.-trans.-com. I. Korbeti. Athens: Stigmi 1997 (11938).

Πλάτων, Φαίδρος, intr.-trans.-com. I. N. Theodorakopoulos. Athens: Estia 2000 (11948).

Πλάτων, Λάχης, Μένων, trans. B. Tatakis. Athens: Zacharopoulos 1954.

Πλάτων, Θεαίτητος, trans. B. Tatakis. Athens: Zacharopoulos 1955.

Πλάτων, Πρωταγόρας, trans. B. Tatakis. Athens: Zacharopoulos 1957.

Πλάτων, Χαρμίδης, trans. N. Tetenes. Athens: Zacharopoulos [no date]

Πλάτων, Ιππίας Μείζων, trans. Ch. Karouzos, I. Th. Kakrides. Thessalonica: Institute Of Modern Greek Studies 1973.

Πλάτων, Πρωταγόρας, trans. E. Spyropoulos. Thessalonica: Zitrps 2009 (11976).

Πλάτων, Φίληβος, intr.-trans.-com. N. Mpousoulas. Thessalonica: Egnatia 1978.

Πλάτων, Θεαίτητος, trans. Ι. Theodorakopoulos. Athens: Academy of Athens 1980.

Πλάτων, Λύσις, intr.-trans.-com. N. M. Skouteropoulos. Athens: Kardamitsas 1981.

Πλάτων, Ευθύφρων, intr.-trans.-com. N. M. Skouteropoulos. Athens: Kardamitsas 1982.

Πλάτων, Ευθύδημος, intr.-trans.-com. N. M. Skouteropoulos. Athens: 1987.

Πλάτων, Νόμοι, trans. V. Moskovis. Athens: Nomiki Bibliothiki [no date - 1988?].

Πλάτων, Τίμαιος, intr.-trans.-com. V. Kalfas. Athens: Estia 2013 (11995).

Πλάτων, Ιππίας Ελάττων, trans. N. M. Skouteropoulos. Athens: Stigmi 1995.

Πλάτων, Ίων, intr. M.I. Giosi, trans. D.G. Spatharas. Athens: 21st Century 1998.

Πλάτων, Κρατύλος, trans. G. Kentrotis. Athens: Gutenberg 2013 (12000).

Πλάτων, Πολιτεία, trans.-com. N. M. Skouteropoulos. Athens: Polis 2002.

Πλάτων, Ίων, intr. P. Kalligas, trans. N. M. Skouteropoulos. Athens: Ekkremes 2002.

Πλάτων, Απολογία Σωκράτους, Κρίτων, intr.-trans.-com. A. Samaras. Thessalonica: Zitros 2003.

Πλάτων, Μένων, intr.-trans.-com. I. Petrakis, Athens: Polis 2008.

Πλάτων, Φαίδων, intr.-trans.-com. I. Petrakis, Αthens: Estia 2014.

Author: Vassilis Kalfas
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