Plato (427-347 B.C.E.) was an Athenian philosopher whose teachings have been among the most influential in the history of Western civilization, and his works are counted among the world’s finest literature. In 407 B.C. he became a pupil and friend of Socrates. After living for a time at the Syracuse court, Plato founded near Athens the most influential school of the ancient world, the Academy, where he taught until his death. His most famous pupil there was Aristotle. Plato’s extant work is in the form of epistles and dialogues, divided according to the probable order of composition. His goal in most of the dialogues of his middle years (The Republic, Phaedo, Symposium, and Timaeus) was to show the rational relationship between the soul, the state, and the cosmos.