In about his fortieth year Plato is said to have left Athens to study with Pythagoras at Crotona. Plato was perhaps the only Pythagorean whose work and teachings are known today. Traveling to Syracuse, Plato met Dionysius I and became friends with his brother¬ in-law, Dion, who later became his follower (Jaspers, 1962). After leaving Italy Plato traveled to Egypt, Cyrene, Judea and to the banks of the Ganges. It was said that his mind became a treasure house of the world's wisdom (Thomas & Thomas, 1941). But it was Socrates to whom Plato remained devoted all his life.
Plato returned to Athens in 386 to start his Academy, which he patterned after Pythagoras' school in Crotona. Here he immortalized the mental prowess of his master, Socrates, presenting Socratic ideas in the form of dialogues though the mouth of his teacher. He gave us a fair picture of Socrates but little of himself, so that it is hard to tell when Socrates leaves off and Plato takes over. When Plato was sixty (c. 368) Aristotle, then twenty, joined the Academy and continued as Plato's primary student for the next twenty years, until Plato's death in 347 BC.
Merely recalling the name of Plato brings instant and complete admiration in most educational circles. As Alfred North Whitehead put it, it seems that all of Western history is a series of footnotes to Plato. Plato took the liberty of giving his personal philosophy through the mouth of Socrates. ...