Academy of Athens

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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Teaching college founded by Plato, around 387 bc. Although knowledge of its organization is fragmentary, it appears to have favoured a teaching method based on discussion and seminars. The fundamental studies were mathematics and dialectic. It is customary to distinguish the Old Academy (Plato and his immediate successors) and the New Academy (beginning with Arcesilaus). The distinction is first made by Antiochus of Ascalon. The Old Academy included Aristotle, Speusippus, Eudoxus, Xenocrates, and Theaetetus of Athens. It was largely preoccupied with mathematical and cosmological themes arising from the late work of Plato, although at some point ethical interests also emerged. There is a sharp break with Arcesilaus, who produced the sceptical New Academy which maintained a running battle with the teaching of the Stoics. The last head of the sceptical Academy was Philo of Larissa, who went to Rome c.87 bc when Mithridates VI of Persia threatened Athens, thereby ending the Academy as an institution. The rehabilitation of dogmatic Platonic themes after Antiochus of Ascalon (c.79 bc: see also Middle Platonism) was not properly the doing of the Academy, but paved the way for the emergence of Neoplatonism.

http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Societies/Plato.html A brief history of the Academy

http://php.iupui.edu/~cplaneau/Plato%20and%20His%20World/Plato%20Frame%20Set%204.html An introduction to the Academy and its site

Subjects: Philosophy — Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500).

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