The Greeks have been credited with being the first civilization to have a written language. They also invented drama, mathematics, philosophy and democracy. It was the Greeks that first created a system of logic and reasoning to explain reality and they were one of the first civilizations to use a distinctly Western writing system.
They are generally considered to be the founders of our contemporary understanding of science, philosophy, art and literature. Both Plato’s Socratic dialogues in particular created an understanding that would last in Europe for millennia in terms of how he related what was true or false through dialogue between speakers who were experts in their field (Plato 227). It was also the Greeks that pioneered the study of history, geography and government (Saklatvala).
It is estimated that 12,000 Greeks settled in Athens in the year 1184 BCE. The Hellenistic period runs from the death of Alexander in 323 BCE at Babylon to the foundation of Rome in 27 BCE when Greece was ruled by Ptolemaic kings. This Hellenistic period is designated for its Hellenic use of Ancient Greek culture but it is characterized by its perceived decline. However this is not really true because much scholarship about Ancient Greece has shown that much of our knowledge about it came from this time period. In fact it has been argued that the later writers of classical Greece, such as Polybius who lived from 200 to 118 BCE wrote an idealized picture of the Golden Age which would not be true if they were writing about what was actually going on at that time.
The Golden Age of Athens was a creative period during the 5th century BCE where great minds such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle created a foundation for Western thought. In fact many people think that those three men invented or discovered some of those ideas but they have been misconstrued as being Greek when in reality those ideas have been around since ancient times. Such as some historians believe that some discoveries were made by Egyptians before the Greek period began.
One of the most influential and pivotal writers of that time period was Plato, who lived from 427 to 347 BCE and his influence can be seen throughout history. His ideas shaped nearly every civilization including the early Christian Church and the medieval period. He created a system called dialectic which was used by all philosophers after him to debate issues. His ideas were so powerful that they left an imprint on Western thought until quite recently when it came back into favor with such scholars as Herbert W. Schneider. Amongst his many other works was “The Republic”, which is considered one of his masterpieces and it has been influential in Western philosophy for thousands of years.
Plato was a student of Socrates and he created a school called the Academy which was attended by later famous thinkers such as Aristotle. In his “The Republic”, Plato has Socrates discuss the qualities of justice and how to create a perfect society. It is in this story that Plato tells about people going into society that aren’t prepared to take on their role in society even if it is the right thing for them to do. For example, if someone is put into a position within a government for which they are not suited, it could lead to disastrous results. It would be like putting a piano player in charge of finance or placing an athlete at the head of foreign relations. In those roles, they would be unlikely to perform well. It could even lead to a break down in society because that person thinks they have the knowledge to help the country but they do not have that knowledge and vice versa.
This is a very important story for us to understand because it correlates with what we see going on in our world today. Some would argue that this is why there is so much corruption and abuse of power by those who are put in positions of power to help contribute towards the advancement of society. In Plato’s story, three men try to rule Athens through their wisdom and understanding of justice but they fail miserably. There are many very important questions which come out of this. For example, how do we know that we can do what is right without having taken into consideration all the information necessary to decide what is right and wrong? And why should we blindly follow those who claim they know what is best for us without investigating those claims? The story ends with the death of one of those three men and the other two were condemned for their crime.
Although Plato may be credited as having written “The Republic”, this would not be true as Socrates himself has been credited as the author of many of his own works because he produced them during his lifetime. The most well known and influential writings by Plato are considered to be “The Republic” and “The Laws”. He was a master of Greek rhetoric and philosophy and he was known for his ability to break down an issue into its simplest form. This has been said to be very difficult because it is quite easy to simplify things into their simplest form but not so easy to simplify them back into their original form.
Plato was born in Athens around 427 BCE and studied at the Academy founded by Socrates. It was here that he became an important philosopher and writer which would include his most famous works, “The Republic”. He wrote many other works, including “Laws” which is the most technical of his books. He was one of the main influences on Christianity in thinking about morality and ethics. He argued that “The Republic” is for philosophers, but not ordinary people. It was written in response to the demands of city-states (Saklatvala).
The most important work by Plato was “The Republic”, which he wrote in his later years at the Academy. Although it was written in response to the demands of city-states (Saklatvala), largely by name-calling, Plato’s work is still regarded as one of the most influential political treatises ever written (Guthrie).