History is filled with accounts of men who have made great strides on earth. One of such men is Aristotle, the Ancient Greek scientist and philosopher. In his time, Aristotle was revered and his influence spanned across the known world. In the west, he was called “The Philosopher” while in Arabic philosophy, he was known as “The First Teacher”. Along with Socrates and Plato, he laid the foundation for western philosophy. His contributions can be seen in ethics, philosophy, agriculture, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, botany, medicine, theater and even dance.
In this article, we will make an attempt to chronicle the life and times of this great man:
- Birth: Aristotle was born in 384BCE in Stagira, Greece. His father, Nicomachus, was the court physician to King Amyntas II, the Macedonian ruler. Little is known about his mother, Phaestis, who died when he was young. Due to his father’s occupation, Aristotle maintained close ties with the Macedonian court which had an influence on his life. Sadly, Aristotle lost his father when he was still a little boy.
- Early Life: After his father’s death, Proxenus, his brother-in-law, became his legal guardian. At 17years, he was sent to Athens to get a higher education. Athens was then the world’s center for intellectual learning. In Athens, he enrolled in The Academy and became a student of Plato for 20years. When Plato died in 347BCE, Aristotle got an invitation from his friend, Hermeas, who was the king of Atameus and Assos in Mysia. He stayed there for 3years during which he met and married Hermeas niece, Pythias.
- Royal Tutor: In 338BCE, when the 3years elapsed, Aristotle was invited home by King Phillip of Macedonia. He immediately assumed the role of a tutor for Phillip’s 13year old son, Alexander the Great. He held that tutoring position for 5years.
- Teacher: In 335BCE, King Phillip died and his son, Alexander, succeeded him. As his work was done, Aristotle returned to Athens. Having taken permission from Alexander, he began his school known as The Lyceum.
- Philosopher: Logic was one of the primary focuses of Aristotle. His goal as a philosopher was to create a process of reasoning that could be adopted anywhere. This reasoning would also help man learn everything he desires to know about his world. Furthermore, Aristotle taught about ethics. In the Nichomachean Ethics, he suggested a moral code for conduct which he termed “good living.”
- Scientist: Aristotle also delved into the sciences including biology. He was among the first to classify animals into genera based on shared characteristics. He went further to classify animals into species based on the presence and absence of red blood. In spite of the errors in his classifications, it was adopted by all as the standard for 100years. Aristotle was equally fascinated by marine biology. He spent hours dissecting and documenting the anatomy of marine life.
- Meteorologist: Aristotle had a fondness for meteorology and did not limit his research to studying the weather. He studied air, water cycles, natural disasters and astrology.
- Writer: In his lifetime Aristotle wrote about 200 works. Many of the works were in the form of manuscripts and notes. The works comprised of documentations, dialogues, and records of his many thoughts and observations. Unfortunately, only 31 out of the 200 works are still in existence.
- Fugitive: In 323BCE, Alexander died suddenly, and the Macedonian government in Athens was overthrown. Due to the anti-Macedonian sentiment running high in Athens, Aristotle had to flee to Chalcis, to avoid being prosecuted and executed.
- Death: In 322BCE, during his first year of living at Chalcis, Aristotle complained of a stomach infection and died.
Aristotle had the mind of a genius and used it to better the course of humanity. His thoughts and influence can still be felt even today. Though he has been gone for centuries, Aristotle still lives on.
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