Today's Article - The Academy

This article is for quizzes on Wednesday May 25th...

The Academy (Ancient Greek: Ἀκαδημία) was founded by Plato (428/427 BC – 348/347 BC) in ca. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) studied there for twenty years (367 BC – 347 BC) before founding his own school, the Lyceum. The Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC. Although philosophers continued to teach Plato's philosophy in Athens throughout the Roman era, it was not until 410 AD that a revived Academy was established as a center for Neoplatonism, persisting until 529 AD when it was finally closed by Justinian I.
The Platonic Academy has been cited by historians as the first higher learning institution in the Western world.

When the First Mithridatic War began in 88 BC, Philo of Larissa left Athens, and took refuge in Rome, where he seems to have remained until his death. In 86 BC, Lucius Cornelius Sulla laid siege to Athens, and conquered the city, causing much destruction. It was during the siege that he laid waste to the Academy, for "he laid hands upon the sacred groves, and ravaged the Academy, which was the most wooded of the city's suburbs, as well as the Lyceum."

 The destruction of the Academy seems to have been so severe as to make the reconstruction and re-opening of the Academy impossible. When Antiochus returned to Athens from Alexandria, c. 84 BC, he resumed his teaching but not in the Academy. Cicero, who studied under him in 79/8 BC, refers to Antiochus teaching in a gymnasium called Ptolemy. Cicero describes a visit to the site of the Academy one afternoon, which was "quiet and deserted at that hour of the day"

The site was rediscovered in the 20th century, in modern Akadimia Platonos neighbourhood; considerable excavation has been accomplished and visiting the site is free.


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