Aristotle’s Effect on Alexander The Great and the Persian Empire
Ancient Medieval History, Black 7-8
12 December 2014
When Alexander III of Macedon, more commonly known as Alexander the Great, was thirteen years old, his father, Philip II, who had been mostly uninvolved in his son’s studies, appointed Aristotle as his tutor, creating one of the most well known student-teacher pairings of all time. Aristotle, who had been taught by Plato for seventeen years, had a great impact on Alexander. It was from Aristotle that Alexander found his love of medicinal theory, as well as his love for learning, philosophy and reading. Instructing him in political, diplomatic, and militaristic strategy, and the geography of the world, Aristotle gave Alexander most of the skills he needed to conquer other countries and expand his empire. Aristotle, Alexander’s greatest source of knowledge and inspiration, was the most prominent influence in Alexander’s life.
Appointing Aristotle to be Alexander’s tutor was a slightly strange choice, as Aristotle was living in exile and was essentially unknown. Philip’s decision was not completely spontaneous, however, because he and Aristotle had grown up together. Aristotle came from a nearby town, Stagira, but he was raised at the Macedonian court where Philip’s father reigned. Aristotle’s father was the court physician. Due to their similar ages, Philip and Aristotle grew up together.
At the time Aristotle turned seventeen, he left the court and traveled to Athens, where he studied under Plato for twenty years. Aristotle was expected to supersede Plato after his death, but was forced out of the town by the anti-Macedonian party due to his relations ...
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...tary geniuses. Of course, there were others behind Alexander’s brilliance, such as his childhood tutors, and his parents. However, Aristotle remains the most influential figure in Alexander’s life. He was not only a tutor of Alexander, but a mentor as well, teaching his student how to be a kind person and great leader. It can be argued that Philip was of the utmost importance to Alexander, but even Alexander says that while, “Philip gave me life[,] Aristotle taught me how to live well.”
Were it not for Aristotle, Alexander would not have gained the knowledge he needed to motivate his soldiers and people. He perhaps would have had the physical skills in battle, but that alone would not have allowed him to become the great king he was. He also would not have had the capacity to treat his own wounds. Aristotle was absolutely necessary for Alexander’s immense success.
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