Plato was a philosopher in Classical Greece. He was also a mathematician, student of Socrates, and founder of the Academy philosophical school in Athens. The Academy was the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. With the help of his teacher Socrates and his student Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundation of Western philosophy and science.
Plato wrote the Socratic dialogues. These were thirty-six dialogues and thirteen letters. Plato’s dialogues have been used to teach a range of subjects including philosophy, logic, ethics, rhetoric, religion, and mathematics.
The exact time and place of Plato’s birth is unknown, but it is certain that he belonged to an aristocratic and influential family. In his writings, Plato would introduce his distinguished relatives, referencing them with precision.
Plato was instructed in grammar, music, and gymnastics by the most distinguished teachers of his time. Socrates was a teacher of Plato, and became close enough to him to be considered one of the corrupted youth that Socrates. Plato was mentioned as offering to pay a fine of 30 minas on Socrates’ behalf in lieu of the death penalty proposed by Meletus1.
Plato founded one of the earliest known organized schools in the world on a plot in Athens after he traveled to Italy, Sicily, Egypt, and Cyrene. The Academy operated until it was destroyed by Sulla in 84 BCE1. It was reopened in the 5th century but closed a century later when the Emperor saw it as a threat to the continuation of Christianity.
There are a variety of sources that each depicts Plato’s death in different ways. One story suggests that Plato died in his bed while a young woman played the flute to him1. Another source tells that Plato died at a wedding feast.
1. Singh, Shiveta (2013). Plato. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/464109/Plato. [Last Accessed 5/2/14].