RAJ NANDY

****philosophy In Verse: Aristotle

HISTORY OF PHILOSPHY IN VERSE
PART – IV

ARISTOTLE (384 – 322 BC)

Introduction:
In the Macedonian coastal city of Stagira,
in the year 348 BC,
Some two hundred miles north of Athens
city,
Was born a philosopher and an erudite
mortal,
By the name of Aristotle!
His father Nicomachus, was the court
physician of Phillip II, -
King of Macedonia, and the grandfather
of the great conqueror Alexander!
Aristotle is said to have developed a
scientific bent of mind,
Which later made him the initial founder
of Science!
As recorded in the pages of History,
At the age of eighteen he had joined Plato’s
Academy!
Plato had called him the ‘Nous’ of his Academy,
Meaning ‘intelligence personified’ in Greek
terminology!

After Plato’s death (347 BC) :
Having spent twenty long years in the
Academy,
Where he taught rhetoric and poetry,
Aristotle had gradually developed divergent
views from Plato’s philosophy!
So Speucippus, a nephew of Plato had been
chosen next,
To head the Academy after Plato’s death!
Besides, the anti-Macedonian feelings had
prevailed in Athens,
And was not safe for Aristotle’s continuance!
So he spent next twelve years in ‘political exile’,
When he worked on his Biology and Natural
Science!
Aristotle first visited his old friend Hermias,
The King of Atarueus and Assos in Mysia!
There he married the King’s niece Pythias.
But later after her death, he had married once
again,
To a woman named Herpyllis, as historians
say;
Who gave birth to Nicomadus, his only son;
And his famous ‘Nicomachean Ethics’ was a
dedication to his son!

Visit to Macedonia:
In 342 BC, Phillip King of Macedonia,
Invited Aristotle to his royal court at Pella,
To tutor his only son Alexander!
Alexander was a young lad of thirteen,
And taming wild horses was his cherished
dream!
Thus it has been lightly said, that Alexander
had greater success, -
With his horse Bucephalus, than Aristotle
with Alexander!
But historian Plutarch records that young
Alexander, -
Loved, cherished, and honored his tutor;
As he did his father the King, saying, –
That one gave him life, while the other
taught him the art of living!

His School at Lyceum: -
Following the murder of King Phillip in
the year 336 BC,
When Alexander in subduing the Greek
rebellion got busy,
Aristotle returned to Athens city!
It was during those turbulent days,
In the outskirt of Athens as historians say,
Aristotle set up his separate school in a
sacred grove of a gymnasium, -
Dedicated to Apollo Lyceus, giving the
school the name of Lyceum!
The word ‘peripatetic’ translated from
ancient Greek,
Covered Aristotle’s habit of walking,
While delivering his lectures and pacing, -
Along the covered pathway of his school,
Making some refer to it as the ‘Peripatetic
School’!
Where Plato’s Academy had looked up for
philosophical inspiration,
The Lyceum looked at the vast world below;
Waiting to be dissected, systematized and
classified, -
With renewed philosophical speculations!
Aristotle also established the first known
Library,
And introduced a library classification,
Which later inspired the great Alexandrian
library in Egypt, -
Thanks to Aristotle’s innovation!
Aristotle labored and taught at the Lyceum
till 323 BC,
When the sudden death of Alexander made
him to leave Athens city!
Charges of impiety was made against him, -
By anti-Macedonian reactionaries;
Led by the fiery orator Demosthenes!
Recalling the fate of Socrates, Aristotle
was wise,
And did not want Greece to sin against
philosophy twice!
He retired to Chalcis in Euboea, in a villa
inherited from his mother.
But after a short stay, complaining of a
stomach ailment one day,
Aristotle met his end in 322 BC, as records
say!
His disciple Theophrastus took over Lyceum
with its library,
Which also housed a unique museum of
Natural History!
Aristotle’s Works:
Where Plato used half a million words to
express himself,
Aristotle used a million words in his days!
Most of his works have been lost, and around
one-fifth survives,
Enough to fill twelve volumes, honoring his
life!
He touched almost every subject under the
sun,
More akin to science and reasoning, his
philosophy had begun!
During the first century AD, Andronicus
of Rhodes,
Edited his texts giving us its present form!
His works can be divided into Logic, Physics,
Metaphysics, Ethics &Politics, Rhetoric and
Poetics.
Not forgetting his work on Athenian Constitution,
Which came to us with Medieval interpretations!
For the sake of brevity, I now mention some
salient aspect of his philosophy!
(***To be continued! ALL COPYRIGHTS RESERVED BY
THE AUTHOR RAJ NANDY.)

Poem Submitted: Monday, September 20, 2010

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