Aristotle As A Student And Teacher

Aristotle (384-322 BC) was one of the most important citizens of ancient Greece.  He never won a battle or held a political office, but he was a famous teacher and one of the greatest philophers who ever lived.

Only a few facts are known about Aristotle’s childhood.  He was born in Stagira, a town in northeastern Greece in 384 B.C. His father ws court physician to Amyntas II, king of Macedonia, who was the grandfather of Alexander the Great.

When Aristotle was about 17 years old, he went to study in Athens, an important Greek city-state.  He became  pupil of the finest teacher of his day, the philospher Plato.  Plato’s method of teaching stressed learning how to think clearly.  Aristotle studied under Plato for about twenty years.  He was an excellent student.  Plato called him “the mind of the school.”  When Plato died in 347 B.C., Aristotle left the academy and began to develop his own method of teaching.

There was nothing that did not captured Aristotle’s interest.  He tried to find the answers to problems by observing the world around him.  He believed that every event had a logical explanation and that conclusions could be formed from investigation and observation.

When King Philip II of Macedonia was looking for a teacher for his son Alexander, he chose Aristotle.  It is hard to know how much Aristotle influenced Alexander the Great, but we do know that teacher and pupil became lifelong friends.

After Alexander became king of Macedonia, Aristotle returned to Athens.  In 335 B.C. with money contributed by Alexander, Aristotle opened a school called the Lyceum.  It is from Aristotle’s school that the high schools of France and Italy take their names: lycee and liceo.

Many subjects were taught at the Lyceum, and there were various aids for learning.  Aristotle collected the first library of ancient times.  There was a museum of natural science, a garden, and a zoo.

After the morning classes Aristotle lectured to anyone who wanted to listen while he paced up and down the covered walk (called the peripatos) outside of his school.  For this reason those who accepted his philophy were called Peripatetics.

Aristotle lived and taught in a world that was very different from the one that Plato knew.  In Plato’s time every citizen understood the part he was to play in the life of Athens and his responsibility to the govenment of the city-state.

While Aristotle taught at the Lyceum, Athens lost its independence and became only a small part of Alexander’s empire.  As citizens of an empire, the Athenians had to adjust to a new form of government.

Aristotle urged each man to seek his own place in the world by learning how to live a good and useful life.  A happy life could be found by living according to the “golden mean.”  By the “golden mean” Aristotle meant the middle way between two extremes.  For example, he said the middle way “between cowardice and rashness is courage.”

Twelve years after Aristotle opened his school, word reached Athens that Alexander the Great had died.  At that time the people of Athens were divided into two groups- those who had learned to live under Alexander’s rule and those who still hated it.  When news of his death came, Alexander’s enemies turned on his friends.  Aristotle was prosecuted, like Socrates, for offending against religion.  Rather than stand trial, he left Athens.  He died soon afterward, in 322 B.C.

Aristotle’s works seem to have been an encyclopedia of Greek learning of the 4th century B.C.  There are books on astronomy, physics, poetry, zoology, oratory, biology, logic, politics, government, and ethics.  His books were studied after his death.  They were used as textbooks in the great centers of learning:  Alexandria, Rome, and the universities of medieval Europe.

Even today, Aristotle’s books are an important influence because we still use his method of investigation and observation.  He classified and related all the knowledge of his time about the world.  Modern scientists have found that many of the observations he made more than 2,000 years ago are correct.  He showed us that every statement should be supported by evidence.

Aristotle’s key to knowledge was logic and his basis for knowledge was fact.


About the Author: Nicetas Juanillo

Writing makes me happy away from home. My website is where you can find my tips about lifestyle, health and other issues. I also have books on my site that you can read to know more

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