This book helps understand Plato’s writings by describing the circumstances in which they were produced. The author begins with an account of Plato’s life and development and a brief analysis of some of the more difficult points arising from the criticism of Plato’s writings. The remainder of the work considers the total setting – political, literary and philosophical – in which Plato’s writings were produced. There are extensive appendices on the Platonic Epistles, Aristotle and the Theory of Ideas, and on the post-Aristotelian tradition. The result is both a lucid account of Plato himself and a comprehensive view of culture in fifth century Greece.