Plato was one of mankind’s greatest philosophers. His mentor was Socrates and his student were Aristotle. Plato was most probably actually named “Aristocles” but was called ‘Plato’ which meant ‘broad’ referring to his broad shoulders which made him a serious wrestling contender. Body strength and fitness was very important in Greece in those days. Let us not forget that the Olympic Games originate from ancient Greece.
The concept of Platonic Love originates in Plato’s early writings such as ‘Symposium’ and ‘Phaedrus’. In today’s modern popular sense, Platonic Love means a non-sexual – but loving relationship – irrelevant of gender.
In his writings of ‘Phaedo’, ‘Republic’ and ‘Phaedrus’ Plato backs a belief in the immortality of the soul.
In his works ‘Timaeus’ and ‘Critias’ Plato describes Atlantis as a huge circular city consisting of three rings of water and two rings of land. It was a glorious civilization protected by a mighty army.
It is often claimed that Plato used his story about Atlantis merely as a fantasy about a non-existing land to express his views about political systems. But then he says himself: “This tale about Atlantis, though strange, is certainly true, having been attested by Solon, who was the wisest of the seven sages.”
Why would he explicitly say so if this account would not be true. Especially, if we consider that honour and truth in his day were held higher than the value of life. Solon, an ancestor of Plato and reputedly the inventor of Democracy, had been to Egypt and there the priests had told him about Atlantis. Via Solon this account about Atlantis came to Plato.
We need to be realistic: Even in Plato’s day anyone could have travelled to Egypt to verify what was said about Atlantis. Plato was a reputable philosopher and statesman – he had no reason to jeopardize his status by inventing a myth.
Furthermore, if one insisted that the great Plato told mere fantasies to play off his political ideas, then why would he have gone to such detail like: inventing a tale of 5 pairs of twins giving them fantasy names, how wide was each land – or water ring, how wide was the canal, how wide was a bridge, with what colour stone were the buildings constructed, what type of brass was used where, where did the water come from and how was it distributed…. All this is utterly unnecessary if one wants to explain a political system.
Plato is accepted as one of mankind’s greatest philosophers, therefore one should assume that he wrote the truth.
Solon lived 638 BC until 558 BC and was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and a poet. He is known for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in archaic Athens. His he is often credited with having laid down the foundations democracy.
According to Plato’s writings in Timaeus and Critias a statesman Solon heard about Atlantis from an Egyptian priest during a visit to Sais in Egypt about 590 B.C. The priests claimed to have admission to records about Atlantis written on pillars within the temple. Solon having begun his great work in verse about the history or of the Atlantis,which he had accumulated from the wise priest of Sais did not finish it, because of his age. It is interesting to know that Solon was a distant ancestor of Criteas while Criteas was an ancestor of Plato.
While the story of Atlantis began with Solon, it was not until about 200 hundred years later, that the narrative was written by Plato – the great philosopher.