Plato was a Greek philosopher, mathematician, rhetorician, writer, founder of Academy, and even a double Olympic champion. He was born in 427 BCE in family of wealthy and influential Athenian parents: Ariston and Perictione. Plato’s real name was Aristocles. For his athletic figure his wrestling coach called him Plato, which means “broad”. As Plato was from a wealthy family, he got the best teachers of that time, who taught him music, grammar and athletics. At the age of 20 years old, Plato meets Socrates, who became his teacher, mentor and closest person.
Eight years with Socrates influenced Plato’s life path. After Socrates died, Plato travels to Egypt, Italy, Sicily and Cyrene. Then he came back and opened his famous philosophical Academy. The Academy was an institution of higher education. Such philosophers as Aristotle, Heraclitus, Crates and Xenocrates attended Plato’s Academy. Plato’s writings are dialogues and letters to his teacher Socrates, which talks about a variety of different topics, ranging from philosophy to ethic, from mathematics to rhetoric. In these dialogs Plato used Socrates as a fictional person.
His early dialogues are typically devoted to investigation of a single issue, where results are rarely achieved. The middle age dialogs developed, expressed, and defended Platos’ conclusions about central philosophical issues. And his later writings often modify or abandon the structure of a dialogue, they were critical examinations of the theory of forms, discussions of the problem of knowledge and cosmological speculations. Platos’ most famous works are: The Apology of Socrates, The Symposium and The Republic. Plato started the very first University in Europe – The Academy in 387 BC in Athens.
Though the Academic was not open for the public, it did not charge fees for education there. Therefore no formal teachers or students, but there was unspoken distinction between teachers and students. One of the most famous Plato’s student, who also attended Academy for more than 20 years was Aristotle. There are evidences of lectures given in the Academy, such as Plato’s lecture “On the Good” and ”The use of dialectic”. Academy continued on for nearly 1000 years until it was closed by emperor Justinian, because it was believed not to follow the Christian religion. Plato died on the day of his birthday at 347 BC.
It is unknowing how he died, there are multiple versions from committing suicide to according to The American Scholar, Plato died in his bed, whilst a young girl played the flute to him. Plato moves his finger to indicate the beat and rhythm to get the right measure for her. When the girl gets the right measure, Plato died listening to the correct measure. References: Schall, James V. , “On the Death of Plato. ” The American Scholar 65 (1996): 401-15. Print. Kemerling, Garth. “Plato. ” Philosophy pages. Web. 9 Aug. 2006 Kraut, Richard, “Plato”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed. ), .