Thursday, January 17, 2008

Plato's real name

We all know philosopher Plato. However how many of you know that this was not his real name? Plato was Athenian and he was born at approximately 429 b.c. His father was Ariston and his mother Perictioni.
His real name was Aristocles.
It's not quit clear why he was renamed in Plato. We get the best information from Diogenes Laertios. So according to one opinion, Plato was renamed by his gymnastics teacher, Ariston of Argos who was a wrestler, because Plato had an able-bodied appearance. However (and always according to Diogenes Laertios) some people say that he was named Plato because of the wideness of his verbal style or just because he had a wide forehead (Neanthes).

The name Aristocles (which was firstly given to Plato by his parents) was coming from his grandfather's name. The same tradition is followed by modern Greeks as well. This is mentioned in case you still wonder if modern Greeks are true descendants of the ancient Greeks. There are a lot of other examples that prove the above statement too.
You can read Plato's biography form Diogenes Laertios book, Philosopher biographies.

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