"A friend to all is a friend to none." Those who have heard this quote might have heard about Aristotle too. He was a Greek philosopher and an amazing scholar who had mastered almost all the subjects possible in those days; we are talking about 384-322 BC. When we look at a well-trained person with an inquisitive bent of mind that enables him to explore new domains of knowledge, we inadvertently think about the upbringing that he might have received. While, in most cases, we think that parents are the ones to be admired, in Aristotle's case, it was his teacher Plato who brought out the best in his prodigious pupil. Aristotle was trained in Plato's Academy and remained there for twenty years. These years not only cemented the bond for a lifelong friendship but also instilled the greatness that lay dormant in Aristotle. Teacher's Day cannot be considered complete without a mention of this gifted teacher-student duo. This article is dedicated to both of them. Read further and learn more about the life and the relationship that Plato-Aristotle shared.
Plato - The Wonderful Teacher
Plato was a classical Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was a student of Socrates, the founder of the Academy in Athens and a well-known Greek scholar who is renowned for his philosophies. Plato, along with Socrates, played a vital role in laying foundations of Western philosophy and science. Plato was a highly sophisticated writer and his works demonstrate this. Though the exact place and time of his birth is unknown, it is certain that he belonged to an aristocratic family. According to most of the scholars, Plato was born between 429 and 423 BC. His father, Ariston, is believed to be a descendent of the king of Athens and the king of Messenia. Plato's mother, Perictione, also belonged to an aristocratic family which boasted of close connections with the famous Athenian lawmaker and lyric poet, Solon. According to Diogenes Laėrtius, biographer of Greek philosophers, Plato was named as Aristocles but, his wrestling trainer called him 'Platon', a Greek word meaning 'broad'. Plato learned grammar, music and gymnastics from the most eminent teachers of his time. He travelled to many places like Italy, Sicily, egypt and Cyrene. He returned to his hometown Athens at the age of 40 after which he founded the Academy, one of the earliest known organized schools in Western civilization. There are various speculations related to Plato's death. One version states that he died on his bed, while other states that he died during a marriage feast.
Aristotle - The Lofty Student
Aristotle was a famous Greek philosopher whose expertise was not confined just to philosophy but, extended to various other subjects like physics, metaphysics, biology, zoology, music, theater, logic, linguistics, politics and government. He was rightly named Aristotle which literally means 'the best purpose'. Aristotle was born to Nicomachus, who himself was a physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. Thus, Aristotle was born, brought up, and educated as a member of the aristocratic society. He attended Plato's Academy at the age of eighteen and remained there for about twenty years. It is said that he left the academy after Plato's death, disappointed with the decision of making Plato's nephew, Speusippus, his successor at the Academy. By 335 BC, Aristotle established a new school, Lyceum and conducted courses for the next twelve years. Aristotle got married to Pythias and she died after some years of togetherness. He then married Herpyllis and had a son Nicomachus, who was named after Aristotle's father. He studied almost every subject known at that time. He was so passionate about exploring new areas of knowledge that not only did he master many subjects, but also made many significant contributions to most of the domains. He is famous for his major contributions like theory of universals, classical elements, potentiality and actuality, causality, four causes, chances and spontaneity, observations on electric fish and catfish and writings on octopus, sepia and paper nautilus.
Aristotle, Plato And Plato's Academy
Aristotle was such a highly enthusiastic learner that he could not even think of any institution other than the best. The best educational establishment of that time was undoubtedly Plato's Academy. Aristotle joined there at the age of eighteen and remained there for twenty years. This long association made his bond with his teacher and his educational establishment very strong. It is said that Aristotle left the Academy, disappointed with Plato's nephew, Speusippus, being made the director of the Academy after Plato's death. Another speculation is that Aristotle had possibly quitted before Plato's death, fearing anti-Macedonian sentiments. However, Aristotle came back to Athens in 335 BC and then founded a new school namely Lyceum there.
Behind every successful person, there is a strong mentor. There is no wonder that a person who is was taught by a multi-disciplinary person like Plato became one of the most inspiring philosopher and scholar of all time.