Rebuilding Plato’s Academy

Exploring the Historic Ruins in Athens

Every single “academy” in the world is named after the original Akademia of Athens. Founded by Plato after the execution of his teacher, Socrates, at the start of the 4th century BC, Plato’s Academy was the first major school of philosophy, the first academic institution. It’s one of the very foundation stones of Western civilization. For centuries, it was considered a centre of learning, and a beacon of light, throughout the Western world.

“What happened to it?”, people ask, “Where was it located?” and “Does Plato’s Academy still exist?”

I’m an author, writing about philosophy, who happens to live in Athens. So this topic comes up a lot for me in conversation. “What happened to it?”, people ask, “Where was it located?” and “Does Plato’s Academy still exist?” In a nutshell, it was destroyed by the Roman dictator Sulla in the 1st century BC. He gutted its buildings and tore down the surrounding trees to build his siege engines. The area in which it was once located is a public park today, containing some ruins, and so no, unfortunately, it’s no longer standing. However, maybe it’s not gone forever…

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