================================================== Bust of Plato Plato (427-347 BCE) is the author of the Apology. He came from a wealthy Athenian family. His mother, Perictione, was a descendent of Solon, and his father, Ariston, was from a long lineage of the old kings of Athens (which was said to have originated with the Poseidon, the god of the seas). His two uncles, Critias and Charmenides, were leaders in the Rule of Thirty uprising against the Athenian democracy.

As a young man, Plato was very much influenced by Socrates, who was about 40 years his senior. In all likelihood, he was present during Socrates' trial. The Apology was probably written within a few years after the actual trial and was intended to be read by those who admired Socrates as well as the jurors who convicted him. It was common at that time to edit and publish celebrated speeches. Plato's early writings show his admiration for Socrates. His most famous philosophical work is the Republic where he discusses the nature of justice, the theory of innate ideas, and the ideal state. There is much controversy among scholars when distinguishing the views the historical Socrates had, Plato's own view of Socrates, and Plato's own views.

After the trial Plato travelled to Italy and Sicily. In 387 BCE he returned to Athens and founded the Academy. Although he spent most of his years in Athens, he did journey to Syracuse in an unsuccessful attempt to implement some of his political views. Plato died in Athens in 347 BCE.

Picture: Bust of Plato
The Vatican Exhibit