When we think of Aristotle most of us think of a man who had a great mind and contributed to or formed many theories that we still live by today. But just like all of us Aristotle had a childhood, adolescence and a period of young adulthood that were crucial in the forming of the intellectual giant that he is remembered as being.
Aristotle was born in Chalcidice in 384 BC. His father was a respectable man who was also a man of information and served as the personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. Aristotle spent his childhood and a good deal of his adolescence being trained by members of the Aristocracy. At the age of eighteen Aristotle was able to go to Athens where he continued his studies at Plato’s Academy for the next twenty years! It was only after the death of Plato that Aristotle moved on to the court of Hermias of Atarneus and then traveled to the island of Lesbos to study the botany and zoology of the island.
Aristotle was married to a woman named Hermias and they had one daughter named Pythias. Soon after his wife died, Aristotle accepted an invitation by Philip of Macedon to tutor Alexander the Great (although historians are not sure just how much of an influence Aristotle had over Alexander during their time together). After spending several years as a tutor Aristotle established a school of his own which he called Lyceum. Aristotle was a fixture at the school for the next twelve years and spent a great deal of his time instructing here at his school.
Aristotle then became involved with a woman by the name of Herpyllis who gave birth to a son who Aristotle named Nicomachus, after his father. It is during this time that it is said that Aristotle composed many of his works for which he is now famous. Although many of his original pieces were altered in format, their content remains unspoiled. It is interesting to note that Aristotle did not originally intend for the wide-spread use of his works. He simply enjoyed the process of learning and discovery.
Aristotle’s most important and influential works include Physics, Metaphysics (or Ontology), Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, De Anima (On the Soul) and Poetics. Aristotle was a man of many specialties and studied almost every field in every subject possible. His combined works read more like an Encyclopedia because of their vast and diverse content and subject matter. It was said of Aristotle that he was the only man since his time to ever know all there was to be known. Aristotle died in approximately 323 B.C. as a result of natural causes. He had ordered that his will was to be buried next to his wife and has since been found and preserved to this day.
Aristotle’s legacy is to this day revered as one of the greatest legacies ever left by a single man. It is said that no other philosopher has contributed more to the enlightenment of the world than has Aristotle. Aristotle also leaves a legacy of the creation of the sciences of logic, psychology and biology.
Aristotle was also responsible for the tutelage of some of the greatest minds to ever live. Aristotle has been referred to as “The Philosopher” by St. Thomas Aquinas, and is said to be the inspiration for the works of Chaucer, Dante, and Friedrich Nietzsche, just to name a few.
Aristotle paved the way for a new method of thinking that was modern and empirical. Aristotle is attributed with bringing the level of thinking in Ancient Greece into the Middle Ages.