The Academy (Ancient Greek: Ἀκαδημία) was founded by Plato in c. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle studied there for twenty years (367–347 BC) before founding his own school, the Lyceum. The Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC. The Platonic Academy was destroyed by the Roman dictator Sulla in 86 BC.
Despite the Platonic Academy being destroyed in the first century BC, the philo
The destruction of the Academy seems to have been so severe as to make the reconstruction and re-opening of the Academy impossible. When Antiochus returned to Athens from Alexandria, c. 84 BC, he resumed his teaching but not in the Academy. Cicero, who studied under him in 79/8 BC, refers to Antiochus teaching in a gymnasium called Ptolemy. Cicero describes a visit to the site of the Academy one afternoon, which was "quiet and deserted at that hour of the day".
Despite the Platonic Academy being destroyed in the first century BC, the philosophers continued to teach Platonism in Athens during the Roman era, but it was not until the early 5th century (c. 410) that a revived academy (which had no connection with the original Academy) was established by some leading Neoplatonists. The origins of Neoplatonist teaching in Athens are uncertain, but when Proclus arrived in Athens in the early 430s, he found Plutarch of Athens and his colleague Syrianus teaching in an Academy there. The Neoplatonists in Athens called themselves "successors" (diadochoi, but of Plato) and presented themselves as an uninterrupted tradition reaching back to Plato, but there cannot have actually been any geographical, institutional, economic or personal continuity with the original academy. The school seems to have been a private foundation, conducted in a large house which Proclus eventually inherited from Plutarch and Syrianus. The heads of the Neoplatonic Academy were Plutarch of Athens, Syrianus, Proclus, Marinus, Isidore, and finally Damascius. The Neoplatonic Academy reached its apex under Proclus (died 485). Severianus studied under him.
The last "Greek" philosophers of the revived Neoplatonic Academy in the 6th century were drawn from various parts of the Hellenistic cultural world and suggest the broad syncretism of the common culture (see koine): Five of the seven Academy philosophers mentioned by Agathias were The last "Greek" philosophers of the revived Neoplatonic Academy in the 6th century were drawn from various parts of the Hellenistic cultural world and suggest the broad syncretism of the common culture (see koine): Five of the seven Academy philosophers mentioned by Agathias were Syriac in their cultural origin: Hermias and Diogenes (both from Phoenicia), Isidorus of Gaza, Damascius of Syria, Iamblichus of Coele-Syria and perhaps even Simplicius of Cilicia.
In 529 the emperor Justinian ended the funding of the revived Neoplatonic Academy. However, other philosophical schools continued in Constantinople, Antioch, and Alexandria, which were the centres of Justinian's empire.
The last Scholarch of the Neoplatonic Academy was Damascius (d. 540). According to Agathias, its remaining members looked for protection under the rule of Sassanid king Khosrau I in his capital at Ctesiphon, carrying with them precious scrolls of literature and philosophy, and to a lesser degree of science. After a peace treaty between the Persian and the Byzantine empire in 532, their personal security (an early document in the history of freedom of religion) was guaranteed.
It has been speculated that the Neoplatonic Academy did not altogether disappear. After his exile, Simplicius (and perhaps some others) may have travelled to Harran, near Edessa. From there, the students of an Academy-in-exile could have survived into the 9th century, long enough to facilitate an Arabic revival of the Neoplatonist commentary tradition in Baghdad, beginning with the foundation of the House of Wisdom in 832. One of the major centers of learning in the intervening period (6th to 8th centuries) was the Academy of Gundishapur in Sassanid Persia.[clarification needed]