Aristotle: biography of one of the referents of Greek philosophy

It is impossible to understand philosophy without talking about Aristotle, one of the most important and pioneering figures in this field.

The postulates of this thinker of classical Greece remain a fundamental pillar of current studies of philosophy, despite the fact that more than two thousand years have passed since his death. With this article, we will make a brief assessment of the life of this Greek philosopher through a biography of Aristotle in summary format.

    Brief biography of Aristotle

    Aristotle is and was one of the most important philosophers and scholars in human history, at least in terms of Western culture and the Islamic world. In fact, Aristotle is considered one of the main precedents of modern science, and for decades the study of nature has been partly linked to the reading and interpretation of his written work. Here we will see a summary of his life.

    Birth of Aristotle, youth and period at the Academy

    In 384 BC, in the city of Stagira (located in the north of ancient Greece, where Stavros is today) was born Aristotle, A man who was destined to change, not only philosophy, but all branches of knowledge of the time. Son of Nicomaques, an important physician of the time, who even treated King Amintes III of Macedon, who served to establish relations with the court. Regarding his mother, Festis, was also asclepiadeos, the doctors of the time.

    Being the father of Aristotle the doctor of the monarch, he spent the first years of his life in the city of Pella. However, Aristotle lost his parents as a child, so his guardianship passed to Atarneo, a town he moved to until he was 17.. It is at this age that they decide on the next stage, which would mark the rest of their life, but also that of the knowledge of all Western civilization which would come after: Aristotle enters the Academy of Athens.

    Of course, it is at the Academy that Aristotle meets his teacher PlatoAnother key figure in Greek philosophy. The next two decades of his life he would spend acquiring new knowledge, learning from the teachings of Plato and other teachers, or debating with other students. But without a doubt, what he liked the most was reading. It was not in vain that his teacher affectionately called him “the reader”, for he always found himself writing in his hands in an inexhaustible desire to know more.

    One of the masters who first influenced Aristotle’s thoughts was Eudoxus. However, he preferred the approaches of Plato, since in those of Eudoxo he observed contradictions. Other schoolchildren who shared their knowledge with Aristotle were Filip de Opunte or Espeusipo. At this time, Aristotle already wrote some of his important works, such as the Exhortations or Protréptico. Unfortunately, only a few parts are kept and not the entire creation.

    In 347 BC, Plato died. This prompts Aristotle, after 20 years of studying at the Academy, to leave this place and settle in Atarneo and Aso, a town ruled by Hermias, with whom Aristotle shared studies for years before he was also a student. at the Academy of Athens. Around this time he also married Pitias de Aso, Whom she met to be Hermias’ own niece, and who would later become the mother of her first daughter.

    Later, Hermias died assassinated, so that, again, Aristotle undertook the march towards a new place, being in this occasion the island of Lesbos, and more concretely of the city of Mytilene. It was in this place where to develop his work on zoology and also on marine biology, with the collaboration of Teofrast, Another philosopher and also a botanist.

      Master of Alexander the Great

      The popularity that Aristotle had already acquired by this time was such that King Philip II of Macedon himself asked him to settle again in Pella, neither more nor less than to be the mentor of his son, Alexander the Great., Who at the time was 13 years old. Thus, for the next two years, Aristotle instilled knowledge of all branches of knowledge in the future conqueror, being the key to the formation of his thought.

      Fortunately, the correspondence maintained by Alexander the Great and Aristotle has been immortalized for posterity, and has been through the work Life and Deeds of Alexander of Macedon, written by Pseudo Calisthenes, which, although undocumented, could be Callisthenes of Olympus, the same nephew. of Alexander the Great. After two years of teaching and after the future monarch begins his military training, Aristotle ends the tutelage of Alexander the Great.

      It should be noted that in this period Aristotle was not limited to sharing his knowledge with such a distinguished student, but he was also the master of Cassandra and Ptolemy, who would also become kings, the first of Macedonia and the second of Egypt.Aristotle was therefore the mentor of a whole generation of young people who would eventually become the rulers of some of the most important nations of that time.

      Creation of the Athens high school

      Once this step is completed, Aristotle returns to the Greek capital, Athens, to create the high school, His own school. This name comes from the god Apollo Lycia, and it is that the school of the Lycée was built in an area which served to honor this deity. Unlike the Academy, Aristotle decided to teach all his teachings publicly, and without receiving any financial remuneration in return, and the Academy was a private center, reserved for children of the most important families in Greece.

      It is in Liceu that Aristotle generates most of his work which, as in other cases, has not reached our time in its entirety, thus retaining only a few fragmented parts of different volumes, including his famous dialogues. . Aristotle it gathers in the Liceu an enormous quantity of volumes with which it would conform a majestic library, With whom your students would have the opportunity to acquire invaluable knowledge.

      The followers of Aristotle knew them with the particular name of peripatéticos, or peripatética school, that meant itinerant or traveling in old Greek, denomination that came from the action to discuss while they walked in the gardens of the school. From the school of peripatéticos would emerge some of Aristotle’s most brilliant pupils, such as Aristoxen de Taranto, Eudem de Rodes, Dicearco de Messina, Fanias de Ereso or Clearco de Sols.

      Second wife and last years

      During the stage of Aristotle’s teachings at the Lyceum, Pitias d’Associació, his wife, died. After the loss, Aristotle remakes his life with another woman, Herpilis de Stagira. There is some debate as to whether she really was his wife or whether she was a slave (remember slavery was common back then). With Herpilis, he had at least one other son, named Nicomachus, to whom Aristotle devoted one of his best-known works: the Ethics to Nicomaques or the Ethics to Nicomaques., One of the most important pieces on ethics.

      In 323 BC, Alexander the Great died, which had other repercussions, such as the citizens of Macedonia were not well regarded in Athens, and even more so someone like Aristotle, Who had even been the monarch’s mentor. Therefore, he decided to leave the city and move to Calcis, a city located on the island of Evia. This would be the last place Aristotle would live, as he died here only a year later, at the age of 61.

      While the causes of death are not entirely clear, it appears that Aristotle suffers from an illness that affected his digestive tract and may have been the trigger for his death. As for the location of his grave, it is believed to have been in the Estagira itself, where he was born, after excavation studies carried out in 1996. It seems that the remains of a mausoleum have been found. And some manuscripts in which it would be indicated that the ashes of the master were transferred to this place.

      The influence of his intellectual heritage

      Talking about Aristotle’s legacy is a task practically unattainable, and it is that most of the sciences so developed in our time could not have developed up to this point, or at least so quickly, if they could not have decided on the methods of collection of data and systematic observation proposed by Aristotle. No doubt, he assumed a huge boost for physics, biology, astronomy, but also for other disciplines, such as politics or economics.

      Likewise, his treatises on ethics and morals represented the essence of one of the pillars of the thought of Western civilization. In other words, it is very likely that if Aristotle had not been born, today we would not behave or think as we do now, and neither would we have a set of values ​​derived from of Aristotelian thought. Undoubtedly a heritage at the height of a genius like Aristotle.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Calvo, T. (1996). Aristotle and Aristotelianism. Madrid. Akal.
      • Candel, M. (2011). Aristotle. ed. Complete work. Library of great thinkers. Madrid. Editorial Gredos.
      • Jaeger, W., Gaos, J. (1946). Aristotle: bases of the history of his intellectual development. Fund for economic culture.

      Leave a Comment