Plato was an Ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician who was born in Athens around 427 BC. He was a pupil of Socrates and a mentor to Aristotle, two other important Greek thinkers. Plato was founder of the Academy, the forerunner of modern universities. A key idea to his teachings is that there is an imperfect material world that we can see and touch, and an abstract world of higher ideals of justice, truth and beauty. This made him one of the key influences not just on western political thought, but spiritual and religious ideas as well.