One of the most notable Greek philosophers – Plato, was born to a wealthy family around 428 B.C.E.
Plato was a devoted student of the great philosopher – Socrates. After the death of Socrates, Plato, aged 40, started teaching and opened up his own school – The Academy - which remained to be operated for nearly nine centuries after his death in 347 B.C.
The Academy was an ideal school for would-be politicians in ancient Greece. There, the primary focus of students was to explore self-related questions such as “what is the self?”, “what is the human nature?” etc.
Early Life and Education:
Plato belonged to a noble Athenian lineage both from his father’s and mother’s side. His father Ariston died quite early when Plato was just a small child. His mother, however, remarried a politician – Pyrilampes.
Plato grew up during war times when the Peloponnesian War (431- 404) was going on. The primary subjects that he studied were philosophy, poetry, gymnastics, and politics. Various distinguished Athenian teachers such as the philosopher Cratylus taught him philosophy, poetry, and gymnastics.
The young Plato was extremely inspired by the philosophies of Socrates and soon became one of his most loyal and faithful followers.
Plato’s Travels and His Academy Life:
After Socrates forced suicide in 399 B.C, Plato spent 12 years traveling in southern Italy, Sicily, and Egypt. During his travels, he spent his time studying with other philosophers including a genius mathematician – Pythagoras.
He returned back in Athens around 387 and founded his own philosophical school where he delivered lectures to students who came around from different walks of life. It has been said that many of Plato’s writings, especially his most famous “dialogues”, were originated from his teaching there.
Plato’s philosophy is mostly found in the form of conversations called “dialogues”.
One of the speakers of those dialogues is Socrates. Although Plato has multiple famous works, one of the most famous ones is the Republic which showcases his principal philosophy.
In this work, he explains the meaning of justice, and what the right criteria is for cities or governments to rule. He further describes what an ideal society is. This work has had a great impact on both philosophy and political studies of all nations of all times.
Plato believed that the concept of being rich should be obliterated and everyone should live a simple life. He thought that a philosopher should be the king and rule the society.
About the Author:
Amita Vadlamudi, a retired Technology Professional, now spends time reading and writing on various topics. Some of the other articles written by Ms. Vadlamudi on Weebly are: