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the most illustrious of the Greek philosophers, and whose sect outlived

, the most illustrious of the Greek philosophers, and whose sect outlived every other, was by descent an Athenian, but born in the island of Ægina, then subject to Athens. His origin is traced back, on his father Aristo’s side, to Codrus; and on that of his mother Pericthiohe, through five generations, to Solon. The time of his birth is commonly placed in the first year of the eighty-eighth olympiad, or B.C. 428; but Brucker thinks, it may perhaps be more accurately fixed in the third year of the eighty-seventh olympiad, or B. C. 430. He gave early indications of an extensive and original genius, and was instructed in the rudiments of letters by the grammarian Dionysius, and trained in athletic exercises by Aristo of Argos. He applied also with great diligence to the arts of painting and poetry, and produced an epic poem, which he had the wisdom afterwards, upon comparing it with Homer, to commit to the flames. At the age of twenty years, he composed a dramatic piece, which was about to be performed on the theatre, but the day before the intended exhibition, he happened to hear a discourse of Socrates, which induced him to withdraw the piece, and relinquish the muses for the study of philosophy. Accordingly he became a regular pupil of Socrates for eight years, and although he sometimes mixed foreign tenets with those of his master, always preserved a strong attachment to him, and attended him at his trial. During the imprisonment also of that celebrated philosopher, Plato had an opportunity of hearing his sentiments on the immortality of the soul, the substance of which he inserted in his beautiful dialogue entitled “Phajdo,” along with some of his own peculiar opinions. On the death of Socrates, he retired, with other friends of Socrates, to Megara, where they were hospitably entertained by Euclid, who taught Plato the art of reasoning, and probably increased his fondness for disputation.