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The Academy was a park and gymnasium outside of Athens dedicated to the hero Academus. It is best known for the school of learning that Plato founded there in approximately 385 BC. This school is usually contrasted with Aristotle's own creation, the Peripatetics.

Famous philosophers entrusted with running the Academy include Arcesilaus and Proclus.

The emperor Justinian closed the school in AD 529. Its remaining members looked for protection under the rule of Sassanid king Khosrau I. Some members found sanctuary in the pagan stronghold of Harran, and their students contributed the Arab Renaissance.


Because of the tradition of intellectual brilliance associated with this institution, many groups have chosen to use the word "Academy" in their name. These groups include the Royal Academy of he United Kingdom, the United States Naval Academy, the fictional Starfleet Academy , and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In addition, the generic term "the academy" is sometimes used to refer to all of academia.