This is the first English translation of the Renaissance philosopher-priest Marsilio Ficino's commentaries on two of Plato's most influential dialogues on good government. What makes them more significant is that they were provided at the request of Lorenzo de' Medici who, as ruler of the Republic of Florence, sought to draw on the wisdom of Plato in his handling of the affairs of state. Less well known is the third dialogue summarised in this volume. Ficino begins it: 'No follower of Plato doubts, great-souled Lorenzo, that the treasury of the divine Plato lies buried in this work called Epinomis, which is also entitled The Philosopher'.
Perhaps one of the most widely quoted statements from Plato's Republic is to the effect that the human race 'will never have rest from its evils until philosophers are kings, or kings have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one'.