|© 1998 Bernard SUZANNE||Last updated December 5, 1998|
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This page is part of the "tools" section of a site, Plato and his dialogues, dedicated to developing a new interpretation of Plato's dialogues. The "tools" section provides historical and geographical context (chronology, maps, entries on characters and locations) for Socrates, Plato and their time. By clicking on the minimap at the beginning of the entry, you can go to a full size map in which the city or location appears. For more information on the structure of entries and links available from them, read the notice at the beginning of the index of persons and locations.
Highest summit of the island of Crete (2456 m), west
of Cnossus (area 4).
According to one tradition, Mount Ida was the birthplace of Zeus. On its slopes was the cave where he had been raised and Minos, the famous king of Crete and lawgiver, himself a son of Zeus, was supposed to have come every nine years to this cave to listen to his father and seek his help in drawing laws (see Plato's Laws, I, 624a-b for a reference to this tradition ; in fact, Plato's Laws take place in whole along the slopes of Mount Ida, as a conversation between three pilgrims walking toward Zeus' cave and shrine Laws, I, 625b : in choosing such a setting for the concluding dialogue of his cycle, the one in which he describes the lawgiver at work in this world and sets a model for philosopher-kings, Plato may suggest us that we shouldn't wait for the gods, not even Zeus, to do the work for us and give us ready-made laws, but that it is in putting our god-given "logos" to work to draw our own laws with the "ideal" of justice in view that we are precisely raising toward the godly destiny we are called for and reaching toward Zeus and the "heavenly" afterlife we must build for ourselves through a life of justice as conceived in the Republic).