Aristotle was born in 384 b.c. in Stagira Macedonia. His father,
Nikomahos was the personal doctor of King Amyntas B' of Macedonia,
which was father of Philippos. Nikomahos, who according to Souidas
has written six books of physics and one of medicine, considered
that Mahaonas, son of Asklipios, doctor and Homeric hero was his
ancestor. They believed that his mother descend was also divine.
Her name was Faistis, she had come in Stagira with the Halkideis
and belonged to the race of Asklipiades.
Aristotle became prematurely an orphan and Proxenos, a friend
of his late father who lived in Aiolida across Lesvos, took custody
of him. Proxenos took care of him as he was his own child, and
send him in Athens at the age of 17 (367 b.c.) to become a student
of Plato. Aristotle had been a student in Plato's Academy for
20 years (367-347), until the day his tutor died. In the Academy
he left everyone speechless, even his own tutor, with his intelligence
and his hard work. Plato called him "thesis mind" and
his house "reader's house".
In 347 b.c. when Plato died, the matter of the school's "heir"
came up. The most possible "school directors" were the
three best students of Plato: Aristotle, Xenokratis and Spefsippos.
Then Aristotle and Xenokratis left Athens and went to Assos, city
of the Near East coast, across Lesvos. At that time Assos was
governed by two young platonic philosophers: Erastos and Koriskos.
Ermias, former leader of Atarneas and old student of Plato and
Aristotle had given the city to them. The two friends, governors
of Assos, had established a philosophical school, as a branch
of the Academy.
In Asso, Aristotle tutored three years along with his friends
and he managed to do what Plato didn't during the past. He became
close friend with Ermias and he was so influenced that his dominance
became more placid and more unbiased. The end of the oppressor
however was tragic. Because he forecasted the campaign of the
Macedonians in Asia, he allied with Philippos. For this reason
he was arrested by the Persians and he was executed with a suffering
In 345 b.c. Aristotle took the advice of his student Theofrastos,
went across to Lesvos and settled in Mytilene, where he remained
and tutored until 342 b.c. Meanwhile, he had gotten married to
the niece and stepdaughter of Ermias, Pythiada. They had a daughter
named after her mother. After his wife death, Aristotle had a
relationship with Athina the Stagiritissa Erpillida who gave him
a son, Nikomahos.
In 342 b.c. Philippos invited him in Macedonia, so as to tutor
his son Alexander who was then 13 years old. Aristotle willingly
accepted the tutoring of the young heir. He made sure he gave
him the Greek spirit and used as a tutorial mean the Homeric epic.
Alexander's education took place in Pella and in Mieza, a town
which ruins came up to light at the roots of the mountain, where
Naousa of Macedonia is now built. In 341 b.c. he was informed
about Ermia's death.
Aristotle lived in the Macedonian court for six years. When Alexander
battered the resistance of the Thebans and brought peace in South
Greece, Aristotle went in Athens (335) and founded his own philosophical
school. The place he chose was the Gymnasium, which also called
Lyceum, between Lykabetus and Ilisos, close to the gate of Dioxaris
that is the place where today is the National Garden of Athens.
There was also a park dedicated to Apollo and to the Muses. Alexander
gave him a great amount of money, thus Aristotle built glorious
edifices and stoas, which was called "peripatoi". That
is probably the reason why the School was named Peripatetic and
its students peripatetic philosophers.
The school organization was made according the standards of the
Platonic Academy. Advanced courses were taken place during the
morning (morning peripatos) and elementary courses during the
afternoon (afternoon peripatos). Morning tutoring was strictly
philosophical. The afternoon tutoring was "rhetorical"
The school had such a big and well-organized library that later
on was used as a model for the establishment of Alexandria's and
Pergamo's libraries. Aristotle collected maps and all kinds of
instruments he thought they were useful in order to teach scientific
courses. Thus, soon enough the school became center of scientific
research. During the thirteen years that Aristotle remained in
Athens he created his biggest part of his project that is admirable
due to its volume and qualitative value. It is worth wondering,
how a man in such a short time managed to collect and register
so much information.
In 323 b.c. when G. Alexander died the followers of the anti-Macedonian
party thought that now was their chance to get revenge on the
Macedonians through Aristotle. The clergy with hierophant of Elefsinias
Dimitras, Eyrimedontas as his representative, and the school of
Isokratis with Dimofilos, accused Aristotle of impiety, because
he had made his own altar to Ermia and he had written a hymn to
Areti and an inscription in the statue of Ermias. However, Aristotle
knew which were the true motives and intentions of his complainants,
so he left for Halkida, before his trial (323 b.c.). He stayed
there, in his mother's house with his second wife Erpyllida and
his two children Nikomahos and Pythiada.
In 322 b.c. he died in Halkida from an illness in his stomach,
in deep sorrow and melancholy. His body was transferred to Stagira,
where he was buried with exceptional honors. His fellow citizens
nominated him "founder" of the city and built an altar
on his grave. In his memory they created a festival the "Aristoteleia"
and named one of the months "Aristoteleio". The square
where he was buried was set as the parliament's meeting place.
When he left Athens he appointed Theofrastos as Director of the
School as he thought he was the most suitable for this job. Thus
the academy of Aristotle continued to "radiate" even
after the death of the great tutor.