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Plato's works also contain the origins of the familiar complaint that the arts work by inflaming the passions, and are mere illusions. Their political activities, however, are not seen as laudable ones by historians. Charmides' own uncle, Critias, was the leader of the Thirty.We also are introduced to the ideal of "Platonic love:" Plato saw love as motivated by a longing for the highest Form of beauty—The Beautiful Itself, and love as the motivational power through which the highest of achievements are possible. One of Plato's uncles (Charmides) was a member of the notorious "Thirty Tyrants," who overthrew the Athenian democracy in 404 B. Plato's relatives were not exclusively associated with the oligarchic faction in Athens, however.
It is most of all from Plato that we get the theory of Forms, according to which the world we know through the senses is only an imitation of the pure, eternal, and unchanging world of the Forms. Plato came from one of the wealthiest and most politically active families in Athens.The best reports of these orderings (see Diogenes Laertius' discussion at 3.56-62) included many works whose authenticity is now either disputed or unanimously rejected.The uncontroversial internal and external historical evidence for a chronological ordering is relatively slight.Because they tended to distract us into accepting less than our highest potentials, however, Plato mistrusted and generally advised against physical expressions of love. These dates, however, are not entirely certain, for according to Diogenes Laertius (D. If Plato's date of death is correct in Apollodorus' version, Plato would have been born in 430 or 431. His stepfather Pyrilampes was said to have been a close associate of Pericles, when he was the leader of the democratic faction. When Socrates died, Plato left Athens, staying first in Megara, but then going on to several other places, including perhaps Cyrene, Italy, Sicily, and even Egypt.It is widely accepted that Plato, the Athenian philosopher, was born in 428-7 B. E and died at the age of eighty or eighty-one at 348-7 B. L.), following Apollodorus' chronology, Plato was born the year Pericles died, was six years younger than Isocrates, and died at the age of eighty-four (D. Diogenes' claim that Plato was born the year Pericles died would put his birth in 429. Diogenes' report that Plato's birth was the result of Ariston's rape of Perictione (D. 3.1) is a good example of the unconfirmed gossip in which Diogenes so often indulges. Plato's actual given name was apparently Aristocles, after his grandfather. Although the name Aristocles was still given as Plato's name on one of the two epitaphs on his tomb (see D. Strabo (17.29) claims that he was shown where Plato lived when he visited Heliopolis in Egypt. In any event, Plato returned to Athens and founded a school, known as the Academy.Others, including Alexamenos of Teos (Aristotle passim), Simon (D. Such a claim, at any rate, is hardly established simply by the existence of these other writers and their writings.
We may still wish to ask whether Plato's own use of Socrates as his main character has anything at all to do with the historical Socrates.
Supposedly possessed of outstanding intellectual and artistic ability even from his youth, according to Diogenes, Plato began his career as a writer of tragedies, but hearing Socrates talk, he wholly abandoned that path, and even burned a tragedy he had hoped to enter in a dramatic competition (D. He may, indeed, have written some epigrams; of the surviving epigrams attributed to him in antiquity, some may be genuine. 2.48-59, 3.34), were also well-known "Socratics" who composed such works. Kahn (1996, 1-35), concludes that the very existence of the genre—and all of the conflicting images of Socrates we find given by the various authors—shows that we cannot trust as historically reliable any of the accounts of Socrates given in antiquity, including those given by Plato.
Plato was not the only writer of dialogues in which Socrates appears as a principal character and speaker. But it is one thing to claim that Plato was not the only one to write Socratic dialogues, and quite another to hold that Plato was only following the rules of some genre of writings in his own work.
According to the Plato counted Socrates "the justest man alive" (324e).
According to Diogenes Laertius, the respect was mutual (3.5). Whether or not any of these stories is true, there can be no question of Plato's mastery of dialogue, characterization, and dramatic context.
According to doubtful stories from later antiquity, Dionysius became annoyed with Plato at some point during this visit, and arranged to have the philosopher sold into slavery (Diod. His uncle/brother-in-law Dion persuaded the young tyrant to invite Plato to come to help him become a philosopher-ruler of the sort described in the 338a-b). Dion accepted the condition and encouraged Plato to go immediately anyway ( 339a-b and next section) on board begging Plato to return to Syracuse.