The first ever biography of the founder of Western philosophy Considered by many to be the most important philosopher ever, Plato was born into a well-to-do family in wartime Athens at the end of the fifth century BCE. In his teens, he honed his intellect by attending lectures from the many thinkers who passed through Athens and toyed with the idea of writing poetry. He finally decided to go into politics, but became disillusioned, especially after the Athenians condemned his teacher, Socrates, to death.
Instead, Plato turned to writing and teaching. Hebegan teaching in his twenties and later founded the Academy, the world's first higher-educational research and teaching establishment. Eventually, he returned to practical politics and spent a considerable amount of time and energy trying to create a constitution for Syracuse in Sicily that wouldreflect and perpetuate some of his political ideals.
The attempts failed, and Plato's disappointment can be traced in some of his later political works. In his lifetime and after, Plato was considered almost divine. Though a measure of his importance, this led to the invention of many tall tales about him-both by those who adored him and his detractors.
In this first ever full-length portrait of Plato, Robin Waterfield steers a judicious course among these stories, debunking some while accepting the kernels of truth in others. He explains why Plato chose to write dialogues rather than treatises and gives an overview of the subject matter of allof Plato's books. Clearly and engagingly written throughout, Plato of Athens is the perfect introduction to the man and his work.