The Academy of Plato is the most renowned and the most famous of all the philosophical schools of ancient Athens. The area of the Academy was once a public park dedicated to the local hero Academos (Ecademos), where, as early as the Archaic period, one of the city's three major gymnasiums operated, whose purpose was to train and physically exercise Athenian teenagers.
Socrates frequented in the area and Plato practiced philosophy in this area until around 387 BC. After his return from his first trip to Sicily, he acquired a relatively small property near Ippios Kolonos. Since then his teachings were identified with the region of the Academy. It is said that he dedicated a shrine to the Muses in the area of gymnasium, which may have been the focus of his teachings.
Spefsippus, Plato's successor, then added statues of the Graces, and later, an admirer of Platonic philosophy from Persia placed Plato's bust, possibly around the tomb of the philosopher, which was in the area. The school continued to operate for about three centuries in the same place from where the greatest philosophers and scientists of the late classical and Hellenistic period, such as Aristotle, Xenocrates, Heraclides Ponticus, Eudoxus of Cnidus, Polemon, Arcesilaus, Carneades, Philo of Larissa and Charmadas, studied and taught.
The school taught all branches of philosophy, dialectic, mathematics, astronomy, science, political theory and music, while the succession in leadership resulted from the vote of the key members, the so-called "partners ". Its course is distinguished by a wide variety of totally different theoretical trends and philosophical directions, thus echoing the spirit of free, unprejudiced and adogmatic research that prevailed within it.
From the middle of the 3rd century BC and thereafter it adopted the philosophy of a skeptical attitude which placed it in direct conflict with its opposing "dogmatic" schools, especially with Stoicism. The school flourished and extended beyond the city limits to the rest of the world, making disciples of renowned figures of the known world at the time, such as the famous Roman orator Cicero.
As it appears, around 86 BC and during the Mithridatic War, invading troops, under the command of Roman General Sulla, destroyed the park and the wider area of the Academy, resulting in the cessation of the philosophical activity. Since then, and until the end of the ancient world, Platonic philosophy was continued in the city of Athens by independent teachers who called themselves Platonic teachers or successors, however, without appearing as institutional successors of the Academy's school. The region in which the activity was developed remained a memorial and place of worship up until the years of the last representatives of Platonism in Athens during the 6th century AD.