Aristotle

Aristotle (sculpture)

Aristotle (Greek: Αριστοτέλης Aristotelēs; 384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher. Along with Plato, he is often considered to be one of the two most influential philosophers in Western thought. He wrote many books about physics, poetry, zoology, logic, government, and biology.

Introduction

The three most influential ancient Greek philosophers were Aristotle, Plato (a teacher of Aristotle) and Socrates (ca. 470 BC-399 BC), whose thinking deeply influenced Plato. Among them they transformed Presocratic Greek philosophy into the foundations of Western philosophy as we know it. Socrates did not leave any writings, possibly as a result of the reasons articulated against writing philosophy attributed to him in Plato's dialogue Phaedrus. His ideas are therefore known to us only indirectly, through Plato and a few other writers. The writings of Plato and Aristotle form the core of Ancient philosophy.

Their works, although connected in many fundamental ways, are very different in both style and substance. Plato mainly wrote philosophical dialogues, that is, arguments in the form of conversations, usually with Socrates as a participant. Though the early dialogues are concerned mainly with methods of acquiring knowledge and most of the last ones with justice and practical ethics, his most famous works expressed a synoptic view of ethics, metaphysics, reason, knowledge and human life. The fundamental idea of Plato is that knowledge gained through the senses is always confused and impure; true knowledge being acquired by the contemplative soul that turns away from the world. To attain such true knowledge, the philosopher must make use of the "royal science" of dialectic. One of the necessary obstacles of dialectic is dialogue itself which guides the interlocutors away from the paths to truth. The soul alone can have knowledge of the Forms, the real essences of things, of which the world we see is but an imperfect copy. Such knowledge has ethical as well as scientific importance. Plato can be called, with qualification, an idealist and a rationalist.

Aristotle, by contrast, placed much more value on knowledge gained from the senses and would correspondingly be better classed among modern empiricists (see materialism and empiricism). He also achieved a "grounding" of dialectic in the Topics by allowing interlocutors to begin from commonly held beliefs Endoxa; his goal being non-contradiction rather than Truth. He set the stage for what would eventually develop into the scientific method centuries later. Although he wrote dialogues early in his career, no more than fragments of these have survived. The works of Aristotle that still exist today are in treatise form and were, for the most part, unpublished texts. These were probably lecture notes or texts used by his students, and were almost certainly revised repeatedly over the course of years. As a result, these works tend to be eclectic, dense and difficult to read. Among the most important ones are Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, De Anima (On the Soul) and Poetics.

Aristotle is known for being one of the few figures in history who studied almost every subject possible at the time. In science, Aristotle studied anatomy, astronomy, embryology, geography, geology, meteorology, physics,and zoology. In philosophy, Aristotle wrote on aesthetics, economics, ethics, government, metaphysics, politics, psychology, rhetoric and theology. He also dealt with education, foreign customs, literature and poetry. His combined works practically comprise an encyclopedia of Greek knowledge.

History and influence of Aristotle's work

Aristotle (with the features of Bramante) depicted by Raphael holding his Ethics: detail from the Vatican fresco The School of Athens, 1510 – 1511

The history of Aristotle's works from the time of his death until the 1st century BC is obscure. Legend has it that Aristotle's personal library, including the manuscripts of his works, was left to his successor Theophrastus and was later hidden to avoid confiscation or destruction; finally, the manuscripts were rediscovered in 70 BC. Andronicus of Rhodes then edited and published the works. In the interim, however, the works could hardly have been forgotten, since Aristotle's school, the Lyceum, was in operation the whole time.

The majority of Aristotle's work has been lost, some since Classical times. There is a glimpse of what we have lost in the praise given by Cicero to the eloquence of Aristotle's dialogues. The surviving works are known and respected for a plain and unadorned (though not easy) style; not one is a dialogue. Some lost works of Aristotle may have survived in hard-to-restore carbonised form at the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, currently under excavation.

In late antiquity Aristotle fell nearly out of sight. Early Christian writers such as Tertullian rejected philosophy altogether as a pagan study that was made obsolete by the Gospels. In the 5th century Saint Augustine used Platonic and Neo-Platonic philosophy in his theology, but had no use for Aristotle. At the end of the century, however, Boethius undertook to translate the works of Aristotle and other Greeks into Latin, as the teaching of Greek was being lost in the West; his translations and commentaries were nearly all that was known of Greek philosophy in the West for several centuries. In fact, his Consolation of Philosophy was the most widely published non-religious text during the ensuing decades, and its Aristotelian overtones had immense impact on Christendom.

Aristotle's works were read during the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates, however, and the Islamic philosopher Averroes commented extensively on it and attempted to fuse it with Islamic theology. Maimonides also tried this with Judaism. By the 12th century there was a great revival of interest in Aristotle in Christian Europe, and the great translator William of Moerbeke worked from both Greek and Arabic manuscripts to produce Latin translations. Aristotle's works were commented on by Thomas Aquinas and became the standard philosophical approach of the high and later Middle Ages. Aristotle's works were held in such esteem that he was known as The Philosopher. Dante calls Aristotle the “master knower” and places him in Limbo with the Good Pagans such as Socrates and Plato in the Divine Comedy (Canto IV).

Indeed, the views of Aristotle became the dogma of scholastic philosophy. It was this dogma that was rejected by the philosophers of the early modern period, such as Galileo and Descartes.

Aristotle's theories about drama, in particular the idea of the dramatic unities, also influenced later playwrights, especially in France. He claimed to be describing the Greek theatre, but his work was taken as prescriptive. In more recent times there has been a new revival of interest in Aristotle. His ethical views in particular remain influential.

See also: Aristotle's theory of universals, accidental properties

The article Aristotelian logic discusses the influence of Aristotle's Organon. See also the article Term Logic that outlines the system of traditional logic based on the Organon, that survived until the twentieth century.

Aristotle's moral philosophy was specifically singled out by Alasdair MacIntyre in his book entitled After Virtue as being an exemplar of older forms of moral discourse which he deemed as being in better shape.

Biography

Early life and studies at the Academy

A bust of Aristotle is a nearly ubiquitous ornament in places of high culture in the West.

Aristotle was born at Stageira, a colony of Andros on the Macedonian peninsula of Chalcidice in 384 BC. His father, Nicomachus, was court physician to King Amyntas III of Macedon. It is believed that Aristotle's ancestors held this position under various kings of Macedonia. As such, Aristotle's early education would probably have consisted of instruction in medicine and biology from his father. About his mother, Phaestis, little is known. It is known that she died early in Aristotle's life. When Nicomachus also died, in Aristotle's tenth year, he was left an orphan and placed under the guardianship of his uncle, Proxenus of Atarneus. He taught Aristotle Greek, rhetoric, and poetry (O'Connor et al., 2004). Aristotle was probably influenced by his father's medical knowledge; when he went to Athens at the age of 18, he was likely already trained in the investigation of natural phenomena.

From the ages of 18 to 37 Aristotle remained in Athens as a pupil of Plato and distinguished himself at the Academy. The relations between Plato and Aristotle have formed the subject of various legends, many of which depict Aristotle unfavourably. No doubt there were divergences of opinion between Plato, who took his stand on sublime, idealistic principles, and Aristotle, who even at that time showed a preference for the investigation of the facts and laws of the physical world. It is also probable that Plato suggested that Aristotle needed restraining rather than encouragement, but not that there was an open breach of friendship. In fact, Aristotle's conduct after the death of Plato, his continued association with Xenocrates and other Platonists, and his allusions in his writings to Plato's doctrines prove that while there were conflicts of opinion between Plato and Aristotle, there was no lack of cordial appreciation or mutual forbearance. Besides this, the legends that reflect Aristotle unfavourably are traceable to the Epicureans, who were known as slanderers. If such legends were circulated widely by patristic writers such as Justin Martyr and Gregory Nazianzen, the reason lies in the exaggerated esteem Aristotle was held in by the early Christian heretics, not in any well-grounded historical tradition.

Aristotle as philosopher and tutor

After the death of Plato (347 BC), Aristotle was considered as the next head of the Academy, a post that was eventually awarded to Plato's nephew. Aristotle then went with Xenocrates to the court of Hermias, ruler of Atarneus in Asia Minor, and married his niece and adopted daughter, Pythia. In 344 BC, Hermias was murdered in a rebellion, and Aristotle went with his family to Mytilene. It is also reported that he stopped on Lesbos and briefly conducted biological research. Then, one or two years later, he was summoned to Pella, the Macedonian capital, by King Philip II of Macedon to become the tutor of Alexander the Great, who was then 13.

Plutarch wrote that Aristotle not only imparted to Alexander a knowledge of ethics and politics, but also of the most profound secrets of philosophy. We have much proof that Alexander profited by contact with the philosopher, and that Aristotle made prudent and beneficial use of his influence over the young prince (although Bertrand Russell disputes this). Due to this influence, Alexander provided Aristotle with ample means for the acquisition of books and the pursuit of his scientific investigation.

It is possible that Aristotle also participated in the education of Alexander's boyhood friends, which may have included for example Hephaestion and Harpalus. Aristotle maintained a long correspondence with Hephaestion, eventually collected into a book, unfortunately now lost.

According to sources such as Plutarch and Diogenes, Philip had Aristotle's hometown of Stageira burned during the 340s BC, and Aristotle successfully requested that Alexander rebuild it. During his tutorship of Alexander, Aristotle was reportedly considered a second time for leadership of the Academy; his companion Xenocrates was selected instead.

Founder and master of the Lyceum

In about 335 BC, Alexander departed for his Asiatic campaign, and Aristotle, who had served as an informal adviser (more or less) since Alexander ascended the Macedonian throne, returned to Athens and opened his own school of philosophy. He may, as Aulus Gellius says, have conducted a school of rhetoric during his former residence in Athens; but now, following Plato's example, he gave regular instruction in philosophy in a gymnasium dedicated to Apollo Lyceios, from which his school has come to be known as the Lyceum. (It was also called the Peripatetic School because Aristotle preferred to discuss problems of philosophy with his pupils while walking up and down -- peripateo -- the shaded walks -- peripatoi -- around the gymnasium).

During the thirteen years (335 BC–322 BC) which he spent as teacher of the Lyceum, Aristotle composed most of his writings. Imitating Plato, he wrote Dialogues in which his doctrines were expounded in somewhat popular language. He also composed the several treatises (which will be mentioned below) on physics, metaphysics, and so forth, in which the exposition is more didactic and the language more technical than in the Dialogues. These writings show to what good use he put the resources Alexander had provided for him. They show particularly how he succeeded in bringing together the works of his predecessors in Greek philosophy, and how he pursued, either personally or through others, his investigations in the realm of natural phenomena. Pliny claimed that Alexander placed under Aristotle's orders all the hunters, fishermen, and fowlers of the royal kingdom and all the overseers of the royal forests, lakes, ponds and cattle-ranges, and Aristotle's works on zoology make this statement more believable. Aristotle was fully informed about the doctrines of his predecessors, and Strabo asserted that he was the first to accumulate a great library.

During the last years of Aristotle's life the relations between him and Alexander became very strained, owing to the disgrace and punishment of Callisthenes, whom Aristotle had recommended to Alexander. Nevertheless, Aristotle continued to be regarded at Athens as a friend of Alexander and a representative of Macedonia. Consequently, when Alexander's death became known in Athens, and the outbreak occurred which led to the Lamian war, Aristotle shared in the general unpopularity of the Macedonians. The charge of impiety, which had been brought against Anaxagoras and Socrates, was now, with even less reason, brought against Aristotle. He left the city, saying (according to many ancient authorities) that he would not give the Athenians a chance to sin a third time against philosophy. He took up residence at his country house at Chalcis, in Euboea, and there he died the following year, 322 BC. His death was due to a disease, reportedly 'of the stomach', from which he had long suffered. The story that his death was due to hemlock poisoning, as well as the legend that he threw himself into the sea "because he could not explain the tides," is without historical foundation.

Very little is known about Aristotle's personal appearance except from hostile sources. The statues and busts of Aristotle, possibly from the first years of the Peripatetic School, represent him as sharp and keen of countenance, and somewhat below the average height. His character—as revealed by his writings, his will (which is undoubtedly genuine), fragments of his letters and the allusions of his unprejudiced contemporaries—was that of a high-minded, kind-hearted man, devoted to his family and his friends, kind to his slaves, fair to his enemies and rivals, grateful towards his benefactors. When Platonism ceased to dominate the world of Christian speculation, and the works of Aristotle began to be studied without fear and prejudice, the personality of Aristotle appeared to the Christian writers of the 13th century, as it had to the unprejudiced pagan writers of his own day, as calm, majestic, untroubled by passion, and undimmed by any great moral defects, "the master of those who know".

Methodology

Aristotle defines philosophy in terms of essence, saying that philosophy is "the science of the universal essence of that which is actual". Plato had defined it as the "science of the idea", meaning by idea what we should call the unconditional basis of phenomena. Both pupil and master regard philosophy as concerned with the universal; Aristotle, however, finds the universal in particular things, and called it the essence of things, while Plato finds that the universal exists apart from particular things, and is related to them as their prototype or exemplar. For Aristotle, therefore, philosophic method implies the ascent from the study of particular phenomena to the knowledge of essences, while for Plato philosophic method means the descent from a knowledge of universal ideas to a contemplation of particular imitations of those ideas. In a certain sense, Aristotle's method is both inductive and deductive, while Plato's is essentially deductive.

In Aristotle's terminology, the term natural philosophy corresponds to the phenomena of the natural world, which include: motion, light, and the laws of physics. Many centuries later these subjects would later become the basis of modern science, as studied through the scientific method. The term philosophy is distinct from metaphysics, which is what moderns term philosophy.

In the larger sense of the word, he makes philosophy coextensive with reasoning, which he also called "science". Note, however, that his use of the term science carries a different meaning than that which is covered by the scientific method. "All science (dianoia) is either practical, poetical or theoretical." By practical science he understands ethics and politics; by poetical, he means the study of poetry and the other fine arts; while by theoretical philosophy he means physics, mathematics, and metaphysics.

The last, philosophy in the stricter sense, he defines as "the knowledge of immaterial being," and calls it "first philosophy", "the theologic science" or of "being in the highest degree of abstraction." If logic, or, as Aristotle calls it, Analytic, be regarded as a study preliminary to philosophy, we have as divisions of Aristotelian philosophy (1) Logic; (2) Theoretical Philosophy, including Metaphysics, Physics, Mathematics, (3) Practical Philosophy; and (4) Poetical Philosophy.

Aristotle's logic

Main article: Aristotelian logic

History

Aristotle "says that 'on the subject of reasoning' he 'had nothing else on an earlier date to speak about'" (Bocheński, 1951). However, Plato reports that syntax was thought of before him, by Prodikos of Keos, who was concerned by the right use of words. Logic seems to have emerged from dialectics, the earlier philosophers used concepts like reductio ad absurdum as a rule when discussing, but never understood its logical implications. Even Plato had difficulties with logic. Although he had the idea of constructing a system for deduction, he was never able to construct one. Instead, he relied on his dialectic, which was a confusion between different sciences and methods (Bocheński, 1951). Plato thought that deduction would simply follow from premises, so he focused on having good premises so that the conclusion would follow. Later on, Plato realised that a method for obtaining the conclusion would be beneficial. Plato never obtained such a method, but his best attempt was published in his book Sophist, where he introduced his division method (Rose, 1968).

Analytics and the Organon

What we call today Aristotelian logic, Aristotle himself would have labelled analytics. The term logic he reserved to mean dialectics. Most of Aristotle's work is probably not authentic, since it was most likely edited by students and later lecturers. The logical works of Aristotle were compiled into six books at about the time of Christ:

  1. Categories
  2. On Interpretation
  3. Prior Analytics
  4. Posterior Analytics
  5. Topics
  6. On Sophistical Refutations

The order of the books (or the teachings from which they are composed) is not certain, but this list was derived from analysis of Aristotle's writings. There is one volume of Aristotle's concerning logic not found in the Organon, namely the fourth book of Metaphysics. (Bocheński, 1951).

Modal logic

Aristotle is also the creator of syllogisms with modalities (modal logic). The word modal refers to the word 'modes', explaining the fact that modal logic deals with the modes of truth. Aristotle introduced the qualification of 'necessary' and 'possible' premises. He constructed a logic which helped in the evaluation of truth but which was very difficult to interpret. (Rose, 1968).


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(Rose, 1968). Some of the main ones are:. He constructed a logic which helped in the evaluation of truth but which was very difficult to interpret. Around seventy towns or outposts are claimed to have been founded by Alexander. Aristotle introduced the qualification of 'necessary' and 'possible' premises. For example, he is held to be the companion of Aristotle and the direct student of Plato. The word modal refers to the word 'modes', explaining the fact that modal logic deals with the modes of truth. The traditional non-Western accounts differ from what we now know about the life of Alexander on a number of points.

Aristotle is also the creator of syllogisms with modalities (modal logic). By the 12th century such important writers as Nezami Ganjavi were making him the subject of their epic poems, and holding him up as the model of the ideal statesman or philosopher-king, an idea adopted from the Greeks and elaborated on by Muslim philosophers like al-Farabi. There is one volume of Aristotle's concerning logic not found in the Organon, namely the fourth book of Metaphysics. (Bocheński, 1951). Despite his supposed sins, by the Islamic period the adoption of Pseudo-Callisthenes' accounts meant that the image of Alexander was on balance positive. The order of the books (or the teachings from which they are composed) is not certain, but this list was derived from analysis of Aristotle's writings. Alexander is also blamed for ending the golden age of Zoroastrianism by seizing and destroying the original golden text of the Zend Avesta by throwing it into the sea. The logical works of Aristotle were compiled into six books at about the time of Christ:. Pahlavi sources on the Alexander legend devised a mythical genealogy for him whereby his mother was a concubine of Darius II, making him the half-brother of the last Achaemenid shah, Darius III, probably in order to justify his domination of the old Persian Empire.

Most of Aristotle's work is probably not authentic, since it was most likely edited by students and later lecturers. Islamic accounts of the Alexander legend, particularly in Persia combined the Pseudo-Callisthenes material with indigenous Sasanid Persian ideas about Alexander. The term logic he reserved to mean dialectics. Alexander was often identified in Persian and Arabic-language sources as "Dhû-'l Qarnayn", Arabic for the "Horned One", possibly a reference to the appearance of the Hercules head that appears on coins minted during his rule. What we call today Aristotelian logic, Aristotle himself would have labelled analytics. Some believe that, excepting certain religious texts, it is the most widely-read work of pre-modern times. Plato never obtained such a method, but his best attempt was published in his book Sophist, where he introduced his division method (Rose, 1968). A Mongol version is also extant.

Later on, Plato realised that a method for obtaining the conclusion would be beneficial. It is the source of many incidents in Ferdowsi's "Shahnama". Plato thought that deduction would simply follow from premises, so he focused on having good premises so that the conclusion would follow. The "Romance" is regarded by most Western scholars as the source of the account of Alexander given in the Koran (Sura The Cave). Instead, he relied on his dialectic, which was a confusion between different sciences and methods (Bocheński, 1951). From these, versions were developed in all the major languages of Europe and the Middle East, including Armenian, Georgian, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, Serbian, Slavonic, Romanian, Hungarian, German, English, Italian, and French. Although he had the idea of constructing a system for deduction, he was never able to construct one. Latin and Syriac translations were made in Late Antiquity.

Even Plato had difficulties with logic. This text underwent numerous expansions and revisions throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages, exhibiting a plasticity unseen in "higher" literary forms. Logic seems to have emerged from dialectics, the earlier philosophers used concepts like reductio ad absurdum as a rule when discussing, but never understood its logical implications. In the first centuries after Alexander's death, probably in Alexandria, a quantity of the more legendary material coalesced into a text known as the Alexander Romance, later falsely ascribed to the historian Callisthenes and therefore known as Pseudo-Callisthenes. However, Plato reports that syntax was thought of before him, by Prodikos of Keos, who was concerned by the right use of words. (When Onesicritus read this passage to his patron, Alexander's general and later King Lysimachus, Lysimachus quipped "I wonder where I was at the time."). Aristotle "says that 'on the subject of reasoning' he 'had nothing else on an earlier date to speak about'" (Bocheński, 1951). Writing after Alexander's death, another participant, Onesicritus, went so far as to invent a tryst between Alexander and Thalestris, queen of the mythical Amazons.

Main article: Aristotelian logic. His court historian Callisthenes portrayed the sea in Cilicia as drawing back from him in proskynesis. The last, philosophy in the stricter sense, he defines as "the knowledge of immaterial being," and calls it "first philosophy", "the theologic science" or of "being in the highest degree of abstraction." If logic, or, as Aristotle calls it, Analytic, be regarded as a study preliminary to philosophy, we have as divisions of Aristotelian philosophy (1) Logic; (2) Theoretical Philosophy, including Metaphysics, Physics, Mathematics, (3) Practical Philosophy; and (4) Poetical Philosophy. Alexander was a legend in his own time. "All science (dianoia) is either practical, poetical or theoretical." By practical science he understands ethics and politics; by poetical, he means the study of poetry and the other fine arts; while by theoretical philosophy he means physics, mathematics, and metaphysics. All include a considerable level of fantasy, prompting Strabo (2.1.9) to remark, "All who wrote about Alexander preferred the marvellous to the true." Nevertheless, the sources tell us much, and leave much to our interpretation and imagination. Note, however, that his use of the term science carries a different meaning than that which is covered by the scientific method. Plutarch can't resist a good story, light or dark.

In the larger sense of the word, he makes philosophy coextensive with reasoning, which he also called "science". Arrian presents a flattering portrait, Curtius a darker one. The term philosophy is distinct from metaphysics, which is what moderns term philosophy. In effect, each presents a different "Alexander," with details to suit. Many centuries later these subjects would later become the basis of modern science, as studied through the scientific method. The "problem of the sources" is the main concern (and chief delight) of Alexander-historians. In Aristotle's terminology, the term natural philosophy corresponds to the phenomena of the natural world, which include: motion, light, and the laws of physics. Much is recounted incidentally in other authors, including Strabo, Athenaeus, Polyaenus, and others.

In a certain sense, Aristotle's method is both inductive and deductive, while Plato's is essentially deductive. The five main accounts are by Arrian, Curtius, Plutarch, Diodorus, and Justin. For Aristotle, therefore, philosophic method implies the ascent from the study of particular phenomena to the knowledge of essences, while for Plato philosophic method means the descent from a knowledge of universal ideas to a contemplation of particular imitations of those ideas. Instead, the modern historian must rely on authors who used these and other early sources. Both pupil and master regard philosophy as concerned with the universal; Aristotle, however, finds the universal in particular things, and called it the essence of things, while Plato finds that the universal exists apart from particular things, and is related to them as their prototype or exemplar. Unfortunately, these works were lost. Plato had defined it as the "science of the idea", meaning by idea what we should call the unconditional basis of phenomena. Another early and influential account was penned by Cleitarchus.

Aristotle defines philosophy in terms of essence, saying that philosophy is "the science of the universal essence of that which is actual". These included his court historian Callisthenes, his general Ptolemy, and a camp engineer Aristoboulus. When Platonism ceased to dominate the world of Christian speculation, and the works of Aristotle began to be studied without fear and prejudice, the personality of Aristotle appeared to the Christian writers of the 13th century, as it had to the unprejudiced pagan writers of his own day, as calm, majestic, untroubled by passion, and undimmed by any great moral defects, "the master of those who know". Alexander himself left only a few inscriptions and some letter-fragments of dubious authenticity, but a large number of his contemporaries wrote full accounts. His character—as revealed by his writings, his will (which is undoubtedly genuine), fragments of his letters and the allusions of his unprejudiced contemporaries—was that of a high-minded, kind-hearted man, devoted to his family and his friends, kind to his slaves, fair to his enemies and rivals, grateful towards his benefactors. The ancient sources for Alexander's life are, from the perspective of ancient history, relatively numerous. The statues and busts of Aristotle, possibly from the first years of the Peripatetic School, represent him as sharp and keen of countenance, and somewhat below the average height. Alexander himself, while still a young boy, tamed this horse after experienced horse-trainers failed to do so.

Very little is known about Aristotle's personal appearance except from hostile sources. Alexander had a legendary horse named Bucephalus (meaning "ox-headed"), supposedly descended from the Mares of Diomedes. The story that his death was due to hemlock poisoning, as well as the legend that he threw himself into the sea "because he could not explain the tides," is without historical foundation. A strong oral tradition, although not attested in any extant primary source, lists Alexander as having epilepsy, known to the Greeks as the Sacred Disease and thought to be a mark of divine favour. His death was due to a disease, reportedly 'of the stomach', from which he had long suffered. According to one story, the philosopher Anaxarchus checked the vainglory of Alexander, when he aspired to the honours of divinity, by pointing to Alexander's wound, saying, "See the blood of a mortal, not the ichor of a god." In another version Alexander himself pointed out the difference in response to a sycophantic soldier. He took up residence at his country house at Chalcis, in Euboea, and there he died the following year, 322 BC. From his boyhood he believed "one should not be parsimonious with the Gods.".

He left the city, saying (according to many ancient authorities) that he would not give the Athenians a chance to sin a third time against philosophy. One undeniable characteristic of Alexander is that he was extremely pious and devout, and began every day with prayers and sacrifices. The charge of impiety, which had been brought against Anaxagoras and Socrates, was now, with even less reason, brought against Aristotle. As a result, Alexander's character is skewed depending on which way the historian's own culture is, and further muddles the debate of who he truly was. Consequently, when Alexander's death became known in Athens, and the outbreak occurred which led to the Lamian war, Aristotle shared in the general unpopularity of the Macedonians. Tarn wrote in an age where world conquest and warrior-heroes were acceptable, even encouraged, whereas Green wrote with the backdrop of the Holocaust and nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, Aristotle continued to be regarded at Athens as a friend of Alexander and a representative of Macedonia. Tarn, who wrote during the late 19th century and early 20th century, and who saw Alexander in an extremely good light, and Peter Green, who wrote after World War II and for whom Alexander did little that was not inherently selfish or ambition-driven.

During the last years of Aristotle's life the relations between him and Alexander became very strained, owing to the disgrace and punishment of Callisthenes, whom Aristotle had recommended to Alexander. W. Aristotle was fully informed about the doctrines of his predecessors, and Strabo asserted that he was the first to accumulate a great library. Good examples are W. Pliny claimed that Alexander placed under Aristotle's orders all the hunters, fishermen, and fowlers of the royal kingdom and all the overseers of the royal forests, lakes, ponds and cattle-ranges, and Aristotle's works on zoology make this statement more believable. Alexander's character also suffers from the interpretation of historians who themselves are subject to the bias and idealisms of their own time. They show particularly how he succeeded in bringing together the works of his predecessors in Greek philosophy, and how he pursued, either personally or through others, his investigations in the realm of natural phenomena. To this way of thinking, Alexander was, first and foremost, a general rather than a statesman.

These writings show to what good use he put the resources Alexander had provided for him. It is further claimed, in response to the view that Alexander was generally tolerant of the cultures of those whom he conquered, that his attempts at cultural fusion were severely practical and that he never actually admired Persian art or culture. He also composed the several treatises (which will be mentioned below) on physics, metaphysics, and so forth, in which the exposition is more didactic and the language more technical than in the Dialogues. Some proponents of this view cite the destructions of Thebes, Tyre, Persepolis, and Gaza as examples of atrocities, and argue that Alexander preferred to fight rather than negotiate. Imitating Plato, he wrote Dialogues in which his doctrines were expounded in somewhat popular language. Partially in response to the ubiquity of positive portrayals of Alexander, an alternate character is sometimes presented which emphasizes some of Alexander's negative aspects. During the thirteen years (335 BC–322 BC) which he spent as teacher of the Lyceum, Aristotle composed most of his writings. One unresolved topic involves whether Alexander was actually attempting to better the world by his conquests, or whether his purpose was primarily to rule the world.

(It was also called the Peripatetic School because Aristotle preferred to discuss problems of philosophy with his pupils while walking up and down -- peripateo -- the shaded walks -- peripatoi -- around the gymnasium). Modern Alexandrists continue to debate these same issues, among others, in modern times. He may, as Aulus Gellius says, have conducted a school of rhetoric during his former residence in Athens; but now, following Plato's example, he gave regular instruction in philosophy in a gymnasium dedicated to Apollo Lyceios, from which his school has come to be known as the Lyceum. The murder of his friend Clitus, which Alexander deeply and immediately regretted, is often pointed to, as is his execution of Philotas and his general Parmenion for failure to pass along details of a plot against him, though this last may have been prudence rather than paranoia. In about 335 BC, Alexander departed for his Asiatic campaign, and Aristotle, who had served as an informal adviser (more or less) since Alexander ascended the Macedonian throne, returned to Athens and opened his own school of philosophy. Most refer to a growing instability and megalomania in the years following Gaugamela, but it has been suggested that this simply reflects the Greek stereotype of a Medizing king. During his tutorship of Alexander, Aristotle was reportedly considered a second time for leadership of the Academy; his companion Xenocrates was selected instead. Ancient sources are generally written with an agenda of either glorifying or denigrating the man, making it difficult to evaluate his actual character.

According to sources such as Plutarch and Diogenes, Philip had Aristotle's hometown of Stageira burned during the 340s BC, and Aristotle successfully requested that Alexander rebuild it. To Zoroastrians, on the other hand, he is remembered as the destroyer of their first great empire and as the leveller of Persepolis. Aristotle maintained a long correspondence with Hephaestion, eventually collected into a book, unfortunately now lost. Alexander is remembered as a legendary hero in Europe and much of both Southwest Asia and Central Asia, where he is known as Iskander or Iskandar Zulkarnain. It is possible that Aristotle also participated in the education of Alexander's boyhood friends, which may have included for example Hephaestion and Harpalus. Much about Alexander's personality and aims remains enigmatic. Due to this influence, Alexander provided Aristotle with ample means for the acquisition of books and the pursuit of his scientific investigation. Such views tend to be anachronistic, however, and the sources allow a variety of interpretations.

We have much proof that Alexander profited by contact with the philosopher, and that Aristotle made prudent and beneficial use of his influence over the young prince (although Bertrand Russell disputes this). Modern opinion on Alexander has run the gamut from the idea that he believed he was on a divinely-inspired mission to unite the human race, to the view that he was the ancient world's equivalent of Napoleon I of France or Adolf Hitler, a megalomaniac bent on world domination. Plutarch wrote that Aristotle not only imparted to Alexander a knowledge of ethics and politics, but also of the most profound secrets of philosophy. . Then, one or two years later, he was summoned to Pella, the Macedonian capital, by King Philip II of Macedon to become the tutor of Alexander the Great, who was then 13. To date there is no evidence to support these claims. It is also reported that he stopped on Lesbos and briefly conducted biological research. Myths of Alexander's wife having murdered Alexander have been widely discussed and debated by historians.

In 344 BC, Hermias was murdered in a rebellion, and Aristotle went with his family to Mytilene. Alexander's conquests also had long term cultural effects, with the flourishing of Hellenistic civilization throughout the Middle-East and Central Asia, and the development of Greco-Buddhist art in the Indian subcontinent. Aristotle then went with Xenocrates to the court of Hermias, ruler of Atarneus in Asia Minor, and married his niece and adopted daughter, Pythia. In the East, they had been dramatically reduced by the expansion of the Parthian Empire and the secession of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom. After the death of Plato (347 BC), Aristotle was considered as the next head of the Academy, a post that was eventually awarded to Plato's nephew. By the 1st century BC though, most of the Hellenistic territories in the West had been absorbed by the Roman Republic. If such legends were circulated widely by patristic writers such as Justin Martyr and Gregory Nazianzen, the reason lies in the exaggerated esteem Aristotle was held in by the early Christian heretics, not in any well-grounded historical tradition. By 270 BC, Hellenistic states consolidated, with:.

Besides this, the legends that reflect Aristotle unfavourably are traceable to the Epicureans, who were known as slanderers. Control over Indian territory was short-lived, ending when Seleucus I was defeated by Chandragupta Maurya, the first Mauryan emperor. In fact, Aristotle's conduct after the death of Plato, his continued association with Xenocrates and other Platonists, and his allusions in his writings to Plato's doctrines prove that while there were conflicts of opinion between Plato and Aristotle, there was no lack of cordial appreciation or mutual forbearance. Antigonus I ruled for a while in Asia Minor and Syria, but was soon defeated by the other four generals. It is also probable that Plato suggested that Aristotle needed restraining rather than encouragement, but not that there was an open breach of friendship. Alexander's empire was divided at first into four major portions: Cassander ruled in Greece, Lysimachus in Thrace, Seleucus I Nicator ("the winner") in Mesopotamia and Iran, and Ptolemy I in the Levant and Egypt. No doubt there were divergences of opinion between Plato, who took his stand on sublime, idealistic principles, and Aristotle, who even at that time showed a preference for the investigation of the facts and laws of the physical world. Ultimately, the conflict was settled after the Battle of Ipsus in Phrygia in 301 BC.

The relations between Plato and Aristotle have formed the subject of various legends, many of which depict Aristotle unfavourably. After Alexander's death his empire was divided among his officers, first mostly with the pretense of preserving a united kingdom, later with the explicit formation of rival monarchies and territorial states. From the ages of 18 to 37 Aristotle remained in Athens as a pupil of Plato and distinguished himself at the Academy. Main article: Diadochi
. Aristotle was probably influenced by his father's medical knowledge; when he went to Athens at the age of 18, he was likely already trained in the investigation of natural phenomena. The sarcophagus depicts Alexander and his companions hunting and in battle with the Persians. He taught Aristotle Greek, rhetoric, and poetry (O'Connor et al., 2004). The so-called "Alexander Sarcophagus," discovered near Sidon and now in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, is now generally thought to be that of Abdylonymus, whom Hephaestion appointed as the king of Sidon by Alexander's order.

When Nicomachus also died, in Aristotle's tenth year, he was left an orphan and placed under the guardianship of his uncle, Proxenus of Atarneus. Its current whereabouts are unknown. It is known that she died early in Aristotle's life. According to Aelian (Varia Historia 12.64), Ptolemy stole the body and brought it to Alexandria, where it was on display until Late Antiquity. About his mother, Phaestis, little is known. According to legend, Alexander was preserved in a clay vessel full of honey (which acts as a preservative) and interred in a glass coffin. As such, Aristotle's early education would probably have consisted of instruction in medicine and biology from his father. No contemporary source can be fully trusted because of the incredible level of self-serving recording, and as a result what truly happened to Alexander the Great may never be known.

It is believed that Aristotle's ancestors held this position under various kings of Macedonia. Before long, accusations of foul play were being thrown about by his generals at one another, making it incredibly hard for a modern historian to sort out the propaganda and the half-truths from the actual events. His father, Nicomachus, was court physician to King Amyntas III of Macedon. Alexander's death has been surrounded by as much controversy as many of the events of his life. Aristotle was born at Stageira, a colony of Andros on the Macedonian peninsula of Chalcidice in 384 BC. He answered famously, "The strongest." Before dying, his final words were "I foresee a great funeral contest over me." Alexander's 'funeral games', where his marshals fought it out over control of his empire, lasted for nearly forty years. Aristotle's moral philosophy was specifically singled out by Alasdair MacIntyre in his book entitled After Virtue as being an exemplar of older forms of moral discourse which he deemed as being in better shape. On his death bed, his marshals asked him who he bequethed his kingdom to - as Alexander had only one heir, it was a question of vital importance.

See also the article Term Logic that outlines the system of traditional logic based on the Organon, that survived until the twentieth century. What is certain is that Alexander died of a high fever in early June of 323 B.C. The article Aristotelian logic discusses the influence of Aristotle's Organon. Alexander's death has been reinterpreted many times over the centuries, and each generation offers a new take on it. See also: Aristotle's theory of universals, accidental properties. Neither story is conclusive. His ethical views in particular remain influential. These theories often cite the fact that Alexander's health had fallen to dangerously low levels after years of overdrinking and suffering several appalling wounds (including one in India that nearly claimed his life), and that it was only a matter of time before one sickness or another finally killed him.

In more recent times there has been a new revival of interest in Aristotle. Various other theories have been advanced stating that the king may have died from other illnesses, as well, including the West Nile virus. He claimed to be describing the Greek theatre, but his work was taken as prescriptive. However, many other scholars maintain that Alexander was not poisoned, but died of natural causes, malaria being the most popular. Aristotle's theories about drama, in particular the idea of the dramatic unities, also influenced later playwrights, especially in France. All had powerful motivations for seeing Alexander gone, and all were none the worse for it after his death. It was this dogma that was rejected by the philosophers of the early modern period, such as Galileo and Descartes. The original story stated that Aristotle, who'd recently seen his nephew executed by Alexander for treason, mixed the poison, that Cassander, son of Antipater, viceroy of Greece, brought it to Alexander in Babylon in a mule's hoof, and that Alexander's royal cupbearer, a son-in-law of Antipater, administered it.

Indeed, the views of Aristotle became the dogma of scholastic philosophy. Alexander, coming to Babylon, had at long last disaffected enough of his senior officers that they formed a coalition against him and murdered both him and Hephaestion within a space of only a few months, intending on ending his increasingly unpopular policies of orientalism and ending any further military adventures. Aristotle's works were held in such esteem that he was known as The Philosopher. Dante calls Aristotle the “master knower” and places him in Limbo with the Good Pagans such as Socrates and Plato in the Divine Comedy (Canto IV). The poisoning theory derives from the traditional story universally held in antiquity. Aristotle's works were commented on by Thomas Aquinas and became the standard philosophical approach of the high and later Middle Ages. Various theories have been proposed for the cause of his death which include poisoning by the sons of Antipater, murder by his wife Roxana [1], and sickness due to a relapse of malaria he had contracted in 336 BC. By the 12th century there was a great revival of interest in Aristotle in Christian Europe, and the great translator William of Moerbeke worked from both Greek and Arabic manuscripts to produce Latin translations. He was only 33 years old.

Maimonides also tried this with Judaism. On the afternoon of June 10-11, 323 BC, Alexander died of a mysterious illness in the palace of Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon. Aristotle's works were read during the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates, however, and the Islamic philosopher Averroes commented extensively on it and attempted to fuse it with Islamic theology. Several hundred allied horse rounded out the cavalry, but were inferior to the rest. In fact, his Consolation of Philosophy was the most widely published non-religious text during the ensuing decades, and its Aristotelian overtones had immense impact on Christendom. Of light cavalry, the prodomoi (runners) secured the wings of the army during battle and went on reconnaissance missions. At the end of the century, however, Boethius undertook to translate the works of Aristotle and other Greeks into Latin, as the teaching of Greek was being lost in the West; his translations and commentaries were nearly all that was known of Greek philosophy in the West for several centuries. The organization of the Thessalian cavalry was similar to the Companion Cavalry, but they had a shorter spear and fought in a looser formation.

In the 5th century Saint Augustine used Platonic and Neo-Platonic philosophy in his theology, but had no use for Aristotle. The riders did not carry shields. Early Christian writers such as Tertullian rejected philosophy altogether as a pagan study that was made obsolete by the Gospels. The horses were partially clad in armor as well. In late antiquity Aristotle fell nearly out of sight. They were equipped with a 12-14 foot lance, the xyston, and heavy body armor. Some lost works of Aristotle may have survived in hard-to-restore carbonised form at the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, currently under excavation. The Companion cavalry (hetairoi, friends) was divided into eight squadrons called ile, 200 strong, except the Royal Squadron of 300.

The surviving works are known and respected for a plain and unadorned (though not easy) style; not one is a dialogue. The heavy cavalry included the "Companion cavalry," raised from the Macedonian nobility, and the Thessalian cavalry. There is a glimpse of what we have lost in the praise given by Cicero to the eloquence of Aristotle's dialogues. The best peltasts were the Agrianians from Thrace. The majority of Aristotle's work has been lost, some since Classical times. Peltasts are considered to be light infantry, although they had a helmet and a small shield and were heavier then the psiloi. In the interim, however, the works could hardly have been forgotten, since Aristotle's school, the Lyceum, was in operation the whole time. Alexander also had light infantry units composed of peltasts, psiloi and others.

Andronicus of Rhodes then edited and published the works. They carried a shorter spear, a dora, which was six or seven feet long and a large aspis. Legend has it that Aristotle's personal library, including the manuscripts of his works, was left to his successor Theophrastus and was later hidden to avoid confiscation or destruction; finally, the manuscripts were rediscovered in 70 BC. In addition to the units mentioned above, the army included some 6,000 Greek allied and mercenary hoplites, also arranged in phalanxes. The history of Aristotle's works from the time of his death until the 1st century BC is obscure. Sometimes hypaspists are mentioned in the front line of the battle just between the phalanx and the heavy cavalry and seem to have acted as an extension of the phalanx fighting as heavy infantry while keeping a link between the heavily clad phalangites and the companion cavalry, but they also accompanied Alexander on flanking marches and were capable of fighting on rough terrain like light troops so it seems they could perform dual functions. His combined works practically comprise an encyclopedia of Greek knowledge. Their armament is unknown; it is difficult to get a clear picture from ancient sources.

He also dealt with education, foreign customs, literature and poetry. One of the battalions was named the Agema and served as the King's bodyguards. In philosophy, Aristotle wrote on aesthetics, economics, ethics, government, metaphysics, politics, psychology, rhetoric and theology. Another important unit were the hypaspists (shield bearers), arranged into three battalions (lochoi) of 1,000 men each. In science, Aristotle studied anatomy, astronomy, embryology, geography, geology, meteorology, physics,and zoology. Modern historians believe most of the phalangites did not wear heavy body armor at the time of Alexander. Aristotle is known for being one of the few figures in history who studied almost every subject possible at the time. It is unclear whether the phalanx used body armor, but heavy body armor is mentioned in Arrian (1.28.7) and other ancient sources.

Among the most important ones are Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, De Anima (On the Soul) and Poetics. Many modern historians claim the phalanx used a smaller shield, called a pelta, the shield used by peltasts. As a result, these works tend to be eclectic, dense and difficult to read. Arrian mentions large shields (the aspis) but this is disputed; it is difficult to wield both a large pike and a large shield at the same time. These were probably lecture notes or texts used by his students, and were almost certainly revised repeatedly over the course of years. For protection the soldier wore a Phrygian-style helmet and a shield. The works of Aristotle that still exist today are in treatise form and were, for the most part, unpublished texts. Each soldier had a long pike called a sarissa, which was up to 18 feet long, and a short sword.

Although he wrote dialogues early in his career, no more than fragments of these have survived. The main infantry corps was the phalanx, composed of six regiments (taxies) numbering about 2000 phalangites each. He set the stage for what would eventually develop into the scientific method centuries later. About one third of the army was composed of his Greek allies from the Hellenic League. He also achieved a "grounding" of dialectic in the Topics by allowing interlocutors to begin from commonly held beliefs Endoxa; his goal being non-contradiction rather than Truth. It was composed of light and heavy troops and some engineers, medical and staff units. Aristotle, by contrast, placed much more value on knowledge gained from the senses and would correspondingly be better classed among modern empiricists (see materialism and empiricism). The army of Alexander was, for the most part, that of his father Philip.

Plato can be called, with qualification, an idealist and a rationalist. This idea, however, subsists upon a misunderstanding of "dress," used in the sense of "attire." In fact, it was Athena who was the cross-dresser, wearing armor when Greek women and other goddesses did not. Such knowledge has ethical as well as scientific importance. It has been proposed that Alexander was also a "cross-dresser," on the grounds that he was known to wear the "silvery dress" of Athena, which he received from priests at Troy. The soul alone can have knowledge of the Forms, the real essences of things, of which the world we see is but an imperfect copy. See History of Homosexuality for more information. One of the necessary obstacles of dialectic is dialogue itself which guides the interlocutors away from the paths to truth. If Alexander's love life was transgressive it was not for his love of beautiful youths but for his involvement with a man his own age, in a time when the standard model of male love was pederastic.

To attain such true knowledge, the philosopher must make use of the "royal science" of dialectic. Such debates, however, are considered anachronistic by scholars of the period, who point out that the concept of homosexuality did not exist in Greco-Roman antiquity: sexual attraction between males was seen as a normal and universal part of human nature since it was believed that men were attracted to beauty, an attribute of the young, regardless of gender. The fundamental idea of Plato is that knowledge gained through the senses is always confused and impure; true knowledge being acquired by the contemplative soul that turns away from the world. Others argue that the same can be said about all our information regarding Alexander. Though the early dialogues are concerned mainly with methods of acquiring knowledge and most of the last ones with justice and practical ethics, his most famous works expressed a synoptic view of ethics, metaphysics, reason, knowledge and human life. They argue that historical accounts describing Alexander's relations with Hephaestion and Bagoas as sexual were written centuries after the fact, and thus it can never be established what the 'real' relationship between Alexander and his male companions were. Plato mainly wrote philosophical dialogues, that is, arguments in the form of conversations, usually with Socrates as a participant. People of various national, ethnic and cultural origins regard him as a national hero.

Their works, although connected in many fundamental ways, are very different in both style and substance. The suggestion that Alexander was homosexual or bisexual remains highly controversial and excites passions in some quarters in Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, and diasporas thereof. The writings of Plato and Aristotle form the core of Ancient philosophy. Besides Bagoas, Curtius mentions yet another lover of Alexander, Euxenippos, "whose youthful grace filled him with enthusiasm." (VII.9.19). His ideas are therefore known to us only indirectly, through Plato and a few other writers. (This Bagoas should not be confused with Bagoas the former Persian Vizier, nor the Bagoas son of Pharnuches who became one of Alexander's trierarchs.) Whatever Alexander's relationship with Bagoas, it was no impediment to relations with his queen: six months after Alexander's death Roxana gave birth to his son and heir Alexander IV. Socrates did not leave any writings, possibly as a result of the reasons articulated against writing philosophy attributed to him in Plato's dialogue Phaedrus. Bagoas must have endeared himself to them by his courage and fortitude during that harrowing episode.

Among them they transformed Presocratic Greek philosophy into the foundations of Western philosophy as we know it. At this point in time, the troops present were all survivors of the crossing of the desert. 470 BC-399 BC), whose thinking deeply influenced Plato. "Bagoas [...] sat down close by him, which so pleased the Macedonians, that they made loud acclamations for him to kiss Bagoas, and never stopped clapping their hands and shouting till Alexander put his arms round him and kissed him." (Plutarch, The Lives). The three most influential ancient Greek philosophers were Aristotle, Plato (a teacher of Aristotle) and Socrates (ca. Their relationship seems to have been well known among the troops, as Plutarch recounts an episode (also mentioned by Athenaios and Dicaearchus) during some festivities on the way back from India, in which his men clamor for him to openly kiss the young man. . The word is not used even for Hephaestion.

He wrote many books about physics, poetry, zoology, logic, government, and biology. Bagoas is the only one who is actually named as the eromenos — the beloved — of Alexander. Along with Plato, he is often considered to be one of the two most influential philosophers in Western thought. Bagoas, a eunuch exceptional in beauty and in the very flower of boyhood, with whom Darius was intimate and with whom Alexander would later be intimate," (VI.5.23). Aristotle (Greek: Αριστοτέλης Aristotelēs; 384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher. Curtius maintains that Alexander also took as a lover ".. On Sophistical Refutations. This would be in keeping with the ancient omnivorous approach to sexuality.

Topics. He fathered at least two children, Heracles born in 327 BC by his mistress Barsine, the daughter of satrap Artabazus of Phrygia, and Alexander IV of Macedon by Roxana in 323 BC. Posterior Analytics. Later in life, Alexander married several princesses of former Persian territories: Roxana of Bactria; Statira, daughter of Darius III; and Parysatis, daughter of Ochus. Prior Analytics. But you won't be able to, for you are ruled by Hephaestion's thighs." And Curtius reports that "He scorned [feminine] sensual pleasures to such an extent that his mother was anxious lest he be unable to beget offspring." To whet his appetite for the fairer sex, King Philip and Olympias brought in a high-priced Thessalian courtesan named Callixena. On Interpretation. Letter 24 of those ascribed to Diogenes of Sinope, thought to be written in either the 1st century or the 2nd century, and probably reflecting the gossip of Alexander's day, exhorts him: "If you want to be beautiful and good (kalos k'agathos), throw away the rag you have on your head and come to us.

Categories. Many discussed his ambiguous sexuality. As Aelian in his Varia Historia (12.7) claims, "He thus intimated that he was the object of Alexander's love, as Patroclus was of Achilles.". There the two friends made sacrifices at the shrines of the two heroes Achilles and Patroclus, Alexander honouring Achilles, and Hephaestion, Patroclus. Hephaestion makes his appearance in the histories at the point when Alexander reaches Troy.

They had most likely been best friends since childhood, for Hephaestion too received his education at the court of Alexander's father. Alexander's greatest emotional attachment is generally considered to have been to his companion, cavalry commander (chiliarchos) and most probably lover, Hephaestion. Many historians argue if this was the cause of his death. While invading the ancient city of Mali along the shore of India he received a nearly fatal wound from an arrow in his chest.

On his return to Babylon, he fell ill and died. He conducted a campaign of extermination against the Cosseans to assuage his grief. Alexander was distraught. After traveling to Ecbatana to retrieve the bulk of the Persian treasure, his closest friend and probable lover Hephaestion died of an illness.

It is not certain that Alexander adopted the Persian royal title of shahanshah ("great king" or "king of kings"), but most historians think that he did. His attempts to merge Persian culture with his Greek soldiers also included training a regiment of Persian boys in the ways of Macedonians. In an attempt to craft a lasting harmony between his Macedonian and Persian subjects, he held a mass marriage of his senior officers to Persian and other noblewomen at Opis, but few of those marriages seem to have lasted much beyond a year. Alexander executed the ringleaders of the mutiny, but forgave the rank and file.

As a gesture of thanks, he paid off the debts of his soldiers, and announced that he would send those who were over-aged and the disabled veterans back to Macedonia under Craterus, but his troops misunderstood his intention and mutinied at the town of Opis, refusing to be sent away and bitterly criticizing his adoption of Persian customs and dress and the introduction of Persian officers and soldiers into Macedonian units. Discovering that many of his satraps and military governors had misbehaved in his absence, Alexander executed a number of them as examples on his way to Susa. He sent much of his army to Carmania (modern southern Iran) with his general Craterus, and commissioned a fleet to explore the Persian Gulf shore under his admiral Nearchus, while he led the rest of his forces back to Persia by the southern route through the Gedrosia (present day Makran in southern Pakistan). Alexander was forced to turn south, conquering his way down the Indus to the Ocean.

Alexander, after the meeting with his officer, Coenus, was convinced that it was better to return. Exhausted and frightened by the prospect of facing another giant Indian army at the Ganges, his army mutinied at the Hyphasis (modern Beas), refusing to march further east. East of Porus' kingdom, near the Ganges River, was the powerful kingdom of Magadha. Alexander continued on to conquer all the headwaters of the Indus River.

After victory, Alexander made an alliance with Porus and appointed him as satrap of his own kingdom. Alexander fought an epic battle against Porus, a ruler of a region in the Punjab in the Battle of Hydaspes (326 BC). Alexander took Aornos by storm (see Siege of Aornos). Many people had fled to a high fortress called Aornos.

King Omphis, ruler of Taxila, surrendered the city to Alexander. With the death of Spitamenes and his marriage to Roxana (Roshanak in Bactrian) to cement his relations with his new Central Asian satrapies, in 326 BC Alexander was finally free to turn his attention to India. However, the evidence is strong that Callisthenes, the teacher of the pages, must have been the one who persuaded them to assassinate the king. Later in the Central Asian campaign, a second plot against his life, this one by his own pages, was revealed, and his official historian, Callisthenes of Olynthus (who had fallen out of favor with the king by leading the opposition to his attempt to introduce proskynesis), was implicated on what most historians regard as trumped-up charges.

In a drunken quarrel at Macaranda Samarkand, he also killed the man who had saved his life at the Granicus, Clitus the Black. Although Philotas was convicted by the assembled Macedonian army, most historians consider this one of the king's greatest crimes, along with his order to assassinate his senior general Parmenion, Philotas' father. Here, too, a plot against his life was revealed, and his Companion and friend Philotas was executed for treason for failing to bring the plot to his attention. This cost him much in the sympathies of many of his Greek countrymen.

During this time, Alexander adopted some elements of Persian dress and customs at his court, notably the custom of proskynesis, a symbolic kissing of the hand that Persians paid to their social superiors, but a practice of which the Greeks disapproved; the Greeks regarded the gesture as the preserve of deities, and believed that Alexander meant to deify himself by requiring it. In the process he captured and refounded Herat and Samarkand, and he founded a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, including one near modern Kandahar in Afghanistan, and Alexandria Eschate ("The Furthest") bordering today's Chinese Turkestan. His three-year campaign against Bessus and his successor Spitamenes took him through Media, Parthia, Aria, Drangiana, Arachosia, Bactria, and Scythia. With the death of Darius, Alexander declared the war of vengeance at an end, and released his Greek and other allies from service in the League campaign (although he allowed those that wished to re-enlist as mercenaries in his imperial army).

Bessus then declared himself Darius' successor as Artaxerxes V and retreated into Central Asia to launch a guerrilla campaign against Alexander. He then set off in pursuit of Darius, who was kidnapped, and then murdered by followers of Bessus, his Bactrian satrap and kinsman. Alexander allowed the League forces to loot Persepolis, and he set fire to the royal palace of Xerxes, allegedly in revenge for the burning of the Athenian Acropolis during the Second Persian War. Sending the bulk of his army to Persepolis, the Persian capital, by the Royal Road, Alexander stormed and captured the Persian Gates (in the modern Zagros Mountains), then sprinted for Persepolis before its treasury could be looted.

From Babylon, Alexander went to Susa, one of the Achaemenid capitals, and captured its treasury. While Darius fled over the mountains to Ecbatana (modern Hamadan), Alexander marched to Babylon. Darius was forced to flee the field after his charioteer was killed, and Alexander chased him as far as Arbela. Leaving Egypt, Alexander marched eastward into Assyria (now Iraq) and defeated Darius and a third Persian army at the Battle of Gaugamela.

He founded Alexandria in Egypt, which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic dynasty after his death. In 332 BC-331 BC Alexander was welcomed as a liberator in Egypt and was pronounced the son of Zeus by Egyptian priests of the god Ammon at the Oracle of the god at the Siwa Oasis in the Libyan desert. Alexander passed near but probably did not visit Jerusalem. Proceeding down the Mediterranean coast, he took Tyre and Gaza after famous sieges (see Siege of Tyre).

She disowned him and adopted Alexander as her son instead. Sisygambis, the queen mother, never forgave Darius for abandoning her. Darius fled this battle in such a panic for his life that he left behind his wife, his children, his mother, and much of his personal treasure. Alexander's army crossed the Cilician Gates and met and defeated the main Persian army under the command of Darius III at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC.

It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to decide which story is correct. Another version claims that he did not use the sword, but actually figured out how to undo the knot. At the ancient Phrygian capital of Gordium, Alexander "undid" the tangled Gordian knot, a feat said to await the future "king of Asia." According to the most vivid story, Alexander proclaimed that it did not matter how the knot was undone, and hacked it apart with his sword. At Termessus Alexander humbled but did not storm the Pisidian city.

From Pamphylia onward the coast held no major ports, so Alexander moved inland. From Halicarnassus, Alexander proceeded into mountainous Lycia and the Pamphylian plain, asserting control over all coastal cities and denying them to his enemy. Alexander left Caria in the hands of Ada, the sister of Mausolus, whom Orontobates had deposed. At Halicarnassus, Alexander successfully waged the first of many sieges, eventually forcing his opponents, the mercenary captain Memnon of Rhodes and the Persian satrap of Caria, Orontobates, to withdraw by sea.

After an initial victory against Persian forces at the Battle of Granicus, Alexander accepted the surrender of the Persian provincial capital and treasury of Sardis and proceeded down the Ionian coast. Alexander's army crossed the Hellespont with about 40,000 Greek soldiers. Alexander immediately ordered the execution of all of his potential rivals and marched south with his armies in a campaign to solidify control of Greece and confront the Persian Empire. Greek cities like Athens and Thebes, which had pledged allegiance to Philip, were not quick to pledge the same allegiance to a 20-year-old boy.

After Philip's death, the army proclaimed Alexander, then aged 20, as the new king of Macedon. Plutarch mentions an irate letter from Alexander to Darius, where Alexander blames Darius and Bagoas, his grand vizier, for his father's murder, stating that it was Darius who had been bragging to the rest of the Greek cities of how he managed to assassinate Philip. However, in recent years Alexander's involvement has been questioned and there is some reason to believe that it may have been instigated by Darius III, the recently crowned King of Persia. Philip's murder was once thought to have been planned with the knowledge and involvement of Alexander or Olympias.

The assassin was supposedly a former lover of the king, the disgruntled young nobleman (Pausanias), who held a grudge against Philip because the king had ignored a complaint he had expressed. In 336 BC, Philip was assassinated at the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra to King Alexander of Epirus. The cavalry wing led by Alexander annihilated the Sacred Band of Thebes, an elite corps previously regarded as invincible. Alexander also assisted his father at the decisive battle of Chaeronea in this year.

In 338 BC, Philip created The League of Corinth. In 339 BC Philip divorced Alexander's mother, leading to a quarrel between Alexander and his father which threw into question Alexander's succession to the Macedonian throne. When Philip led an attack on Byzantium in 340 BC, Alexander, aged 16, was left in command of Macedonia. According to Plutarch (Alexander 2.1), his father descended from Heracles through Caranus and his mother descended from Aeacus through Neoptolemus and Achilles.

After his visit to the Oracle of Ammon at Siwah, according to all five of the extant historians (Arrian, Curtius, Diodorus, Justin, and Plutarch), rumors spread that the Oracle had revealed Alexander's father was Zeus, rather than Philip. Aristotle was Alexander's tutor; he gave Alexander a thorough training in rhetoric and literature and stimulated his interest in science, medicine, and philosophy. Alarmed by this, he consulted the seer Aristander of Telmessus, who determined that his wife was pregnant and that the child would have the character of a lion. In Philip's dream, he sealed her womb with the seal of the lion.

Olympias dreamed of a loud burst of thunder and of lightning striking her womb. Plutarch (Alexander 2.2-3) relates that both Philip and Olympias dreamt of their son's future birth. According to Plutarch (Alexander 3.1,3), Olympias was impregnated not by Philip, who was afraid of her and her affinity for sleeping in the company of snakes, but by Zeus. Alexander was the son of King Philip II of Macedon and of Epirote princess Olympias.

. Already during his lifetime, and especially after his death, his exploits inspired a literary tradition in which he appears as a towering legendary hero in the tradition of Achilles. Alexander himself lived on in the history and myth of both Greek and non-Greek peoples. His conquests ushered in centuries of Greco-Macedonian settlement and rule over non-Greek areas, a period known as the Hellenistic Age.

After twelve years of constant military campaigning, Alexander died, probably of malaria, typhoid or possibly a viral encephalitis. This was extremely unusual for the ancient world. Alexander integrated non-Greeks into his army and administration, leading some scholars to credit him with a “policy of fusion.” He encouraged marriage between Greeks and non-Greeks, and practiced it himself. Following the unification of the multiple city states of Ancient Greece under the rule of his father, Philip II of Macedon, (a labor Alexander had to repeat - twice - because the southern Greeks rebelled after Philip's death), Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria and Mesopotamia, and extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as the Punjab.

In north-east India and modern day Pakistan he is known as Sikander-e-Azam (Alexander the Great) and many male children are named Sikander after him. He is also known in Eastern traditions as Dhul-Qarnayn (the two-horned one), because an image on coins minted during his rule seemed to depict him with the two ram's horns of the Egyptian god Ammon (it is believed by some that the Dhul-Qarnayn mentioned in the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, is Alexander the Great). Alexander is known in some Eastern traditions such as Middle Persian literature as Alexander the Cursed due to his burning of the Persian capital and national library. Alexander III (late July, 356 BC–June 10, 323 BC), commonly known in the West as Alexander the Great or Alexander of Macedon, in Greek Μέγας Ἀλέξανδρος (Megas Alexandros), King of Macedon (336 BC-323 BC), was one of the most successful military commanders of the ancient world.

An epic science fiction animated retelling of the story called Reign: The Conquerer by Peter Chung of Aeon Flux fame debuted on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block variety show in 2003. Steven Pressfield's 2004 book The Virtues of War is told from the first-person perspective of Alexander. A further trilogy of novels about Alexander was written in Italian by Valerio Massimo Manfredi and subsequently published in an English translation, entitled The Son of the Dream, The Sands of Ammon and The Ends Of The Earth. A 1965 Hindi movie 'Sikandar-E-Azam' directed by Kedar Kapoor starring Dara Singh as Alexandar depicts Alexandar's Indian conquest with Porus.

In addition to the fiction, Renault also wrote a non-fiction biography, The Nature of Alexander. Alexander also appears briefly in Renault's novel The Mask of Apollo. From 1969 to 1981, Mary Renault wrote a historical fiction trilogy, speculating on the life of Alexander: Fire from Heaven (about his early life), The Persian Boy (about his conquest of Persia, his expedition to India, and his death, seen from the viewpoint of a Persian eunuch), and Funeral Games (about the events following his death). Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso's 1998 album Livro includes an epic song about Alexander called "Alexandre.".

The song describes Alexander's life, but contains one inaccuracy: in the song it is stated that Alexander's army would not follow him into India. The British heavy metal band Iron Maiden had a song entitled "Alexander the Great" on their album Somewhere in Time (1986). Numerous television series about Alexander have been created. [2].

Baz Luhrmann had been planning to make a very different film about Alexander, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but the release of Stone's film eventually persuaded him to abandon the project. Oliver Stone's film Alexander, starring Colin Farrell, was released on November 24, 2004. Bond's 2000 album Born includes a song titled Alexander the Great. A 1941 Hindi Movie 'Sikandar' directed by Sohrab Modi depicts Alexander the Great's Indian conquest.

A 1956 movie starring Richard Burton titled Alexander the Great was produced by MGM. Kandahar (Alexandropolis), Afghanistan. Iskenderun (Alexandretta), Turkey. Alexandria Eschate, "The furthest", Tajikistan.

Alexandria on the Indus (Alexandria Bucephalous), Pakistan. Alexandria of the Arachosians, Afghanistan. Alexandria on the Oxus, Afghanistan. Alexandria of the Caucasus, Afghanistan.

Alexandria in Ariana, Afghanistan. Alexandria Asiana, Iran. Alexandria, Egypt. The Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus by Junianus Justinus, which contains factual errors and is highly compressed.

The books immediately before and after, on Philip and Alexander's "Successors," throw light on Alexander's reign. Bibliotheca historia (Library of world history), written in Greek by the Sicilian historian Diodorus Siculus, from which Book 17 relates the conquests of Alexander. Life of Alexander (see Parallel Lives) and two orations On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander the Great (see Plutarch: Other Works), by the Greek historian and biographer Plutarch of Chaeronea;. Historiae Alexandri Magni, a biography of Alexander in ten books, of which the last eight survive, by the Roman historian Quintus Curtius Rufus;.

Anabasis Alexandri (The Campaigns of Alexander in Greek) by the Greek historian Arrian of Nicomedia;. The Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt and Cyrenaica. The Seleucid Empire in Asia. The Antigonid Empire, centered on Greece.

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