The Symposium is a complex piece which is perhaps as widely read as any of Plato's works apart from the Republic. However the existing standard commentaries in English do not offer much by way of help to any reader except the classicist who knows Greek; and they also tend to be light on the dialogue as a work of philosophy. This new edition aims to fill both gaps. As well as providing a new and accurate translation facing the Greek text, it includes a substantial commentary, keyed mainly to the translation, which takes into account the needs of those without (or with little) Greek. It also treats the Symposium not just as a piece of literature that includes some philosophy, but as the product of a serious philosopher who is simultaneously a writer of the first order. Among the particular concerns of the commentary is to elucidate the underlying structure and argument of the dialogue. The outcome is not a synthesis of previous scholarship (collected in a sizeable, but selective, bibliography, but what is in many respects a fresh reading of a central and influential Platonic text.
Christopher Rowe is Professor of Greek at the Univeristy of Durham. His publications include a translation of and commentary on Plato's Phaedrus and Statesman in this series and a commentary on Plato's Phaedo (CUP)