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whose creative and suggestive ideas in the provinces of psychology, dialectic, metaphysics, politics, and morals, he seized on and afterwards worked out, stripping them of their poetical dress, into systematised dogmatic form, and made them fit for the use of the ordinary world. But while preparing to act the part of a codifier and interpreter of Plato, Aristotle came gradually to assert his own independent individuality, and to organise in many ways a revolt against the Platonic philosophy, especially against one of its characteristic features—the doctrine of transcendental ideas. Another sign of the independence of Aristotle was, his persevering study, during this period of his life, of the art of rhetoric, for which Plato in his extant writings always professes a considerable amount of contempt. Aristotle not only held to the study of rhetoric, as necessary and desirable for a free citizen, and worked out the principles and precepts of the art which he afterwards embodied in his own treatise on the subject now remaining, but he also had the self-confidence to open a school of rhetoric in rivalry to that of the veteran Isocrates, the pupil of Gorgias—a man of the highest worth and consideration, and whose lectures were attended by a numerous succession of pupils, each paying him a fee of 1000 drachmæ (equal to about 1000 francs or 40l.), many of whom became afterwards distinguished. In the meanwhile Aristotle was probably not writing any of the works which we now possess under his name. Following the example of his master Plato, he made all his first attempts at philosophical writing in the form of dialogues. Of these nothing but the names and a few fragments quoted, and thus preserved to us, by the ancients, remain. But the catalogues of Aristotle's writings which have come down to us from antiquity show what a rich crop of these productions was sent forth by him during the period of his first residence at Athens. These were his early essays and experiments in philosophy, and if we possessed them we should doubtless see that they exhibited not only a tentative of style, but also the gradual formation of that Aristotelian philosophy, which we only know now as a ready-made and completed product. Aristotle appears afterwards to have entirely abandoned the dialogic form and style as unsuited to his genius and the objects which he had in view.
On the death of Plato (347 B.C.) Aristotle quitted Athens; he went with his fellow-pupil Xenocrates to Atarneus, a town in Asia Minor, to the Court of Hermeias, the despot of the place. This Hermeias was a remarkable nian; he was a eunuch and had been slave to Eubulus the former tyrant. He had, as is not uncommon in the East, sprung from slave to be vizier and
thence to be ruler himself. He had come to Athens and heard the lectures of Plato, and had made the friendship of Aristotle, whom with Xenocrates he now received hospitably, and entertained them for three years, during which time Aristotle married Pythias, the tyrant's niece. The government of Hermeias cannot have been other than just and beneficent, else Aristotle would not have entertained so high an opinion of his virtue and greatness, as he has recorded in a hymn or pæan in praise of his friend,* in which he classes him with Hercules, the Dioscuri, and other heroes of noble endurance. But it was an instance of the catholic-mindedness of Aristotle and his freedom from Greek prejudice, that he was able to recognise high merit in one who combined the obnoxious attributes of the eunuch, the slate, and the despot. The Athenians were angry at the terms used in the hymn, and at a comparison which they thought degrading to their own national heroes, and they ultimately brought this up against Aristotle and made it the subject of a criminal charge against him.
He and Xenocrates were forced to fly from Atarneus by the death of their patron, who was treacherously seized and put to death by the Persians. Xenocrates returned to Athens, and Aristotle lived at Mitylene for two or three years with his wife, till he was invited over by Philip of Macedon to become the tutor of Alexander, then a boy of the age of thirteen.
of thirteen. As to what Aristotle may have taught to the great Alexander, Grote confesses (History of Greece, vol. xii. p. 3) that nothing is known; which is a pity, as it would have been interesting to learn what so' eminent a theorist in education considered the proper course of training for a royal pupil, and to trace where possible the effect of this training in the subsequent actions and opinions of Alexander. But for all this no data have come down to us, and we can only discern that Aristotle enjoyed the thorough confidence of
* Philosophical sympathies doubtless formed the basis of the friendship between Aristotle and Hermeias. Aristotle was very likely thinking of this friendship, and at the same time generously exalting in his own mind the virtues of the departed Hermeias, when he wrote the often misunderstood passage (Ethica Nicomachea, viii. vi. 6), imepéχοντι ου γίνεται [ο σπουδαίος] φίλος, αν μη και τη αρετή υπερέχεται: ει δε μή, ουκ εσάζει ανάλογον υπερεχόμενος. ου πάνυ δ' ειώθασι τοιούτοι γίνεσθαι. The good man does not become a friend to his superior in
rank, unless he be surpassed by that superior in virtue also. Else, he does not find himself in that position of equitable balance which ' is produced by superiority of position being enjoyed in proportion to • personal merit
. Such persons, however (as potentates who surpass the good in virtue) are not produced every day.'
the Court of Macedon. He owed his appointment probably to his own already great reputation, but perhaps partly also to his family connexion with the Court, his father having been the confidential physician of Amyntas. He held it till the assassination of Philip in 336 B.c., when Alexander became King of Macedonia, and was immediately absorbed in plans for the conquest of the East.
In the year 335 B.C., after a twelve years' absence, Aristotle returned to take up his abode in Athens, which he felt to be after all the head-quarters of philosophy. He returned with all the prestige of the favour of Alexander, who ordered a statue of him to be put up in Athens, and who furnished him with ample funds for the prosecution of physical and zoological experiments and researches. Athenæus computes the total sum given him in that way at 800 talents (nearly 200,0002.), but this is, probably, mere hearsay. Pliny mentions that • thousands of men'in Alexander's army were put at the orders of Aristotle for the purposes of scientific inquiry and collection. Aristotle was clearly in a position that many physical philosophers and natural historians of the present day might envy. But he had a task before him which was then even more important for mankind than the collecting of new facts about the elephant and the rhinoceros, and all the tribes of Aying and swimming things-namely, the clearing up and settling of the forms of universal thought and language. His many-sided activity now applied itself to all regions of the knowable with equal zeal; he followed out simultaneously science and philosophy; he laboured, with an impartiality perhaps never exhibited by any other man, at the matter and the form of knowledge, at the abstract and the concrete, at inductive acquirement of facts and laws, and at the introspective analysis of the general human consciousness. With too daring a grasp he essayed to seize and map out the whole universe, but, on the other hand, no particular fact was too minute for his conscientious diligence, and before all things he set himself to discover and make plain the conditions of our knowledge, and the laws of thought and reasoning upon every subject. For the latter task the materials were by this time all prepared in his mind. We have seen how, during his earlier residence at Athens, partly by imbibing the Platonic system and partly by rebelling against it, he had gradually gained for himself his own point of view, and how in a series of numerous dialogues he had practised the exposition of doctrine. During the subsequent twelve years, while an honoured guest at the Court of Atarneus, while residing in quiet retreat at Mitylene, and in the intervals of his labours as
the tutor of Alexander, all his first results in philosophy must have been consolidated in his ever-systematising mind. He probably had never ceased writing, though what particular works are to be attributed to this twelve years' period we have no means of knowing. But he returned to Athens with a system virtually completed, which he was now prepared to impart and propagate by means of oral teaching, while at the same time he aimed at fixing it for the use of the world in appropriate dogmatic treatises.
It would have been quite out of place that Aristotle, with so avowed a divergence from the views of Plato, should on the death of his master have succeeded to the headship of the school. And yet his consciousness of his own powers may have made it irritating to him to see the Platonic school bequeathed to the lead of Spensippus, Plato's nephew, a man in no way to be compared to himself. This feeling had been, in all probability, the cause of Aristotle's leaving Athens with Xenocrates. When he now returned he found Spensippus dead and Xenocrates installed as scholarch of the Platonic school of philosophy, which was held in the gardens of Academe on the west of the city of Athens. He immediately opened a rival school on the eastern side, in the gymnasium attached to the temple of the Lyceian Apollo. Much of his instruction is said to have been given while walking in the adjoining garden, whence the name of Peripatetics came to be giren to his students and to the Aristotelian sect in general. He was not a citizen of Athens, but only a metic or foreign resident, so he took no part in public affairs. The next thirteen years, a period coeval with the astonishing career of Alexander, were entirely devoted by him to the teaching of his school and the composition of his works. From the enthusiastic passages in which he speaks of the joys of the philosopher, we may conceive how highly the privileges of this period, so calm and yet so intensely active, were appreciated by him. His labours in the school produced indeed but little fruit, for no genius at all competent to succeed him and carry on his work sprang up among his scholars; but his writings composed at this time have influenced the world ever since, and the forms of thought which they promulgated have, through the discussions of the Schoolmen and Theologians of the middle ages, been so widely spread and have sunk so deeply, that they have become, though most men know it not, part of the ordinary language of civilised Europe.
This happy time, during which Aristotle was realising, so to speak, his intellectual wealth for the benefit of the world, was rudely broken in upon by the announcement, in the summer
VOL. CXXXVI. NO. CCLXXVIII.
of the year 323 B.C., of the sudden and premature death of Alexander by fever at Babylon. This news produced a sensation throughout the states of Greece analogous to what would have been felt throughout Europe had Napoleon been suddenly cut off, say in the year 1810. Grote explains how profoundly the position of Aristotle was affected by this event. Though not meddling with politics, he had been identified in popular estimation with the Macedonian party. He had come to Athens as the acknowledged favourite and protégé of Alexander, and that too at the moment when Alexander, by sacking the city of Thebes, and by compelling Athens with the threat of a similar fate to exile some of her anti-Macedonian statesmen, had made himself the object of sullen dread and covert dislike to the majority of the Athenian citizens. Some portion of this feeling doubtless reflected itself upon Aristotle, who however was preserved from any exhibition of it during the life of his patron, the affairs of the city being administered for that time by Macedonising citizens, with Phocion and Demades at their head. In the year before his death (324 B.C.) Alexander, whose character, as Grote tells us, had been corrupted by unalloyed success and by Asiatic influences, inflicted an unprecedented insult upon the Greek cities, by an arbitrary rescript, which he sent to be read publicly by a herald at the Olympic games, ordering them to recall all citizens who had been banished by judicial sentence, and intimating that his general, Antipater, had instructions to march against any city which should hesitate to obey this order. The officer charged with communicating this offensive rescript, so galling to the Grecian self-respect and love of autonomy, turned out to be none other than Nicanor, the cherished friend or ward, and ultimately the son-in-law, of Aristotle. Thus the philosopher was, through no fault of his own, indirectly implicated in the popular mind with the tyrannical conduct of Alexander. It is therefore not to be wondered at, that when, on the sudden news of Alexander's death, the anti-Macedonian party in Athens regained power, the spirit of reaction included Aristotle also in its attacks, and that his enemies sought an occasion for doing him a mischief. An indictment charging him with impiety was accordingly filed against him by Eurymedon, the chief priest of the Eleusinian Demeter. The matter of the accusation was chiefly found in the pæan which Aristotle had written in honour of Hermeias ; but it would seem that passages of his works were also referred to as containing doctrines inconsistent with the national religion. Aristotle, availing himself of the law which gave to any accused person the option