The Ancient Library

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He lost his father before he had attained his seventeenth year, and he was intrusted to the guardianship of one Proxenus, of Atarneus, in Mys-ia, who was settled in Stagira. In B.C. 367, when seventeen years of age, he went to Athens to pursue his studies, and there became a pupil of Plato, upon the'return of the latter from Sicily, about B.C. 365. Plato soon distinguished him above all his other disciples. He named him "the intellect of his school" (vovsrrjs Siarp^s),1 and his house the house of the " reader" (wa.yv&ffr'ris). Aristotle lived at Athens for twenty years, till B.C. 347. During the whole of this period the good understanding which subsisted between teacher and scholar continued, with some tri­fling exceptions, undisturbed, for the stories of the disrespect and ingrat­itude of the latter toward the former are nothing but calumnies invented by his enemies. During the last ten years of his first residence at Ath­ens, Aristotle gave instruction in rhetoric, and distinguished himself by his opposition to Isocrates, at that time the most distinguished teacher of rhetoric. Indeed, he appears to have opposed most decidedly all the earlier arid contemporary theories of rhetoric.2 His opposition to Isocra­tes, however, led to most important consequences, as it accounts for the bitter hatred which was afterward manifested toward Aristotle and his school by all the followers of Isocrates. It was the conflict of profound philosophical investigation with the superficiality of stylistic and rhetor­ical accomplishment, of which Isocrates might be looked upon as the principal representative, since he not only despised poetry, but held phys­ics and mathematics to be illiberal studies, cared not to know any thing about philosophy, and looked upon the accomplished man of the world and the clever rhetorician as the true philosophers. On this occasion Aristotle published his first rhetorical writings. That during this time he contin­ued to maintain his connection with the Macedonian court is intimated by his going on an embassy to Philip of Macedonia on some business of the Athenians.3- Moreover, we have still the letter in which his royal friend announces to him the birth of his son Alexander.4

After the death of Plato, which occurred during the above-mentioned embassy of Aristotle, the latter left Athens, though we do not exactly know for what reason. Perhaps he was offended by Plato's having ap­pointed Speusippus as his successor in the Academy.5 At the same time, it is more probable that, after the notions of the ancient philoso­phers, he esteemed travels in foreign parts as a necessary completion of his education. He first repaired to his friend Hermias, at Atarneus. A few years, however, after the arrival of Aristotle, Hermias, through the treachery of Mentor, a Grecian general in the Persian service, fell into the hands of the Persians, of whom he had made himself independent, and was put to death. Aristotle, who had married Pythias, the adopted daughter of Hermias, fled with his wife to Mytilene. A poem on his un­fortunate friend, which is still preserved, testifies the warm affection which he had felt for him. He afterward caused a statue to be erected to his memory at Delphi.6

1 Philopon., De Mternit. Mund., vi., 27. 2 Aristot., Rhet., i., 1,2. 3 Diog. Laert., v., 2. 4 Aul. Gell,, ix,, 3. 5 Diog. Laert., I. c.; iv., 1. 6 Id. ib., v., 6, seq.

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