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biography, Aristotle quotes, Alexander the Great

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Aristotle quotes :-

  The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.

  All men by nature desire knowledge.

  Man is by nature a political animal.

  Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.

  Piety requires us to honour truth above our friends.

  Our characters are the result of our conduct.

  Poetry is more philosophical and of higher value than history; for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular.



The life of Aristotle

  Aristotle was born in 384 B.C. at Stagirus on the coasts of Macedonian Thrace. His father was Court physician to King Amyntas III of Macedonia. As the son of a doctor, who would probably be expected to learn the same profession, he was probably introduced quite early in life to "secret" medical and biological knowledge. When he was about ten his father died however and this tended to deny him a doctor's training. In 367 B.C. he journeyed to Athens to study in Plato's celebrated Academy with the blessings of his guardian. For the subsequent twenty or so years he continued to be based in Athens and to be occupied in the Academy firstly as a student and then as a teacher and researcher.

  Plato died in 347 B.C. with the headship of the Academy passing to his nephew Speusippus. Whether in disappointment at being passed over, or whether in reaction to a marked increase in anti-Macedonian sentiment that had arisen after Philip II of Macedon had sacked the city state of Olynthus, Aristotle left Athens relocating to the coastal town of Assos.

  Assos had a small, but notable, scholarly community and was under the princely authority of Hermias. Aristotle came to be the most prominent amongst the scholars there and even married Pythias, the eighteen year old niece of Hermias. One daughter issued from this marriage which lasted until Pythias death some ten years later.

  The scholarly associates made extensive biological and zoological observations at Assos and the nearby island of Lesbos that laid some of the foundations of the biological sciences. He did not remain long at Assos as he transferred to the island of Lesbos where he established a small school modelled on Plato's Academy and continued with his scientific researches.

  In late 343 or early 342 B.C. the increasingly famous scholar was invited back to Pella the Macedonian capital by King Philip II - he had been a childhood companion of King Philip's. Macedon had, under Philip II's kingship become mighty and influential attaining a hegemony in the Greek world. Philip intended that his former companion should have a role in the education of Prince Alexander who was  Philip's son and heir. This is the same Alexander who was to become "Alexander the Great"

   Aristotle continued in this role for about five years and seems to have found the young teenage Prince keen to learn and enthusiastic about the free expression of ideas. He returned to Athens however after Alexander's succession to the Macedonian throne in 336 B.C.

  Several sources suggest that in his later course of extensive conquest of much of the known world Alexander kept with him a copy of Homer's Iliad that had been personally annotated by his famous tutor.

  Once back in Athens Aristotle established a school at a grove sacred to Apollo Lykeios and the Muses. This school was given the name "the Lyceum" and soon became the most popular school in Athens. The Lyceum also became the site of a hitherto unsurpassed library.

  After the demise of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. and the subsequent fragmentation of the Macedonian Empire the pro-Macedonian government in Athens was overthrown. Because of his strong connections with Macedon Aristotle thought it wise to go into exile in case anti-Macedonian retributions should visit his door.

  He intended that The Athenians might not have another chance of sinning against philosophy as they had already done in the person of Socrates. He journeyed to Chalcis in Euobea where his mother's family were locally prominent and owned much property, he only survived for less than a year in Chalcis. His last will and testament shows him making considerate provision for his various dependants and also awarding his slaves their freedom.

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