Edith Hamilton was born on August 12, 1867 in Dresden, Germany to American parents. She attended Miss Porter's School in Connecticut until her father's business went bankrupt, at which point she and her sisters taught themselves. She received a master's degree from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania in 1894. In 1895, she became the first woman to study at the University of Munich in Germany. At the age of 29, she became the headmistress of Bryn Mawr Preparatory School for Girls in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1896. She retired from education in 1922 and moved to New York City. She began a career writing scholarly articles on Greek drama and myths. Her books include The Greek Way, The Roman Way, The Prophets of Israel, Three Greek Plays, Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, and The Golden Age of Greek Literature. In 1957, at the age of 90, she traveled to Greece for the first time, where the city of Athens made her an honorary citizen. She died on May 31, 1963.
Plato was born c. 427 B.C. in Athens, Greece, to an aristocratic family very much involved in political government. Pericles, famous ruler of Athens during its golden age, was Plato's step-father. Plato was well educated and studied under Socrates, with whom he developed a close friendship. When Socrates was publically executed in 399 B.C., Plato finally distanced himself from a career in Athenian politics, instead becoming one of the greatest philosophers of Western civilization. Plato extended Socrates's inquiries to his students, one of the most famous being Aristotle. Plato's The Republic is an enduring work, discussing justice, the importance of education, and the qualities needed for rulers to succeed. Plato felt governors must be philosophers so they may govern wisely and effectively. Plato founded the Academy, an educational institution dedicated to pursuing philosophic truth. The Academy lasted well into the 6th century A.D., and is the model for all western universities. Its formation is along the lines Plato laid out in The Republic. Many of Plato's essays and writings survive to this day. Plato died in 347 B.C. at the age of 80.