Plato (c. 427 BCE or c. 424 BCE – c. 347 BCE), born Aristokles, was an ancient Greek philosopher, widely considered the most pivotal figure in the development of philosophy, especially the Western tradition. He was a student of Sokrates and the teacher of Aristotle.
Aristokles was only a young boy in the early years of the Peloponnesian War. At one point, he made the acquaintance of the Spartan misthios Kassandra. After she gathered supporters to help Sokrates out of jail, he introduced himself to her but also shared that he did not like the name. Kassandra suggested he choose a new one, and he settled on 'Plato', a name by which his brother used to call him. He also told Kassandra of his passion for debate and how he hoped to be student of Sokrates one day.
Plato eventually went on to become an influential author and philosopher. Around 388 BCE, he founded a school of philosophy that later came to known as the Platonic Academy. The school attracted numerous mathematicians and geometers such as Archytas, a Pythagorean philosopher, and Eudoxos of Knidos, an astronomer. He was later eventually succeeded by his nephew Speusippos.
In his work The Republic, Plato made his famous Allegory of the Cave, in which prisoners were chained inside a cave and forced to look at a cave wall. They were not able to see the world outside, but only the reflections on the wall that the outside world made. The prisoners are able to free themselves when they see that the intangible, represented by the reflections, is real.
In 1497, during the Bonfire of the Vanities, one of Girolamo Savonarola's nine lieutenants stated that Savonarola condemned the teachings of both Plato and Aristotle, remarking that the only good thing they owed them was bringing forward many arguments which they could use against the heretics and that they and other philosophers were in Hell.
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