Plato pp 7-15 | Cite as


  • R. Robinson
  • J. D. Denniston
Part of the Modern Studies in Philosophy book series


Plato (Πλάτων)(I)(c. 429–347 B.C.), son of Ariston and Perictione, both Athenians of distinguished lineage. His writings show the enormous influence that Socrates had upon him both by his life and by his death. He relates in his Seventh Letter that the spectacle of contemporary politics, during the ascendancy of his own associates as well as under the democracy, gradually weakened his original intention to become a statesman and drove him to the paradox that there was no hope for cities until philosophers became rulers or rulers philosophers. After the execution of Socrates in 399 he retired for a time to Megara with other Socratics. In the next twelve years he perhaps travelled to many places, including Egypt. At any rate he visited Italy and Sicily in 387, where he met Dionysius I and initiated lifelong friendships with Dion of Syracuse and the Pythagorean Archytas of Tarentum. On his return he was perhaps captured and ransomed at Aegina. It was probably only a few months later that he began formal and continuous teaching at a place near the grove of Academus about a mile outside the wall of Athens. This was his chief occupation almost without interruption for the remaining forty years of his life; but he made two more visits to Syracuse.


Chief Occupation True Opinion Contemporary Politics Lifelong Friendship Dead Metaphor 
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© Gregory Vlastos 1971

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  • R. Robinson
  • J. D. Denniston

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