THE grandeur that was Greece blossomed further in the person of Stagira’s Aristotle (384-322 BC). Being Plato’s star pupil, Aristotle was presumed to be the next head of Plato’s center of learning known as the Academy.
However, politics and nepotism reared their ugly heads, and Plato’s nephew took hold of the prized position. Disgusted, Aristotle left Athens.
Fortune smiled on him when Philip of Macedonia, searching for a tutor of his 13-year-old, Alexander, hired Aristotle. The wise man from Stagira promptly schooled the heir-apparent in the liberal arts: liberal because they were exclusively taught to free men. Liberal because the subjects, especially philosophy, were designed to liberate the minds of the students from mere opinions, harmful prejudices and popular beliefs (doxa) in order to reach real knowledge(episteme).
During the 14 years of tutelage under Aristotle, Alexander widened his intellectual horizons, deepened his understanding of humanity, learned the art of statesmanship: skills which proved very useful when he embarked in his ambition to conquer and be the master of the then known world.
Aristotle left the royal court of Macedonia realizing that he, who fostered lofty ideals while keeping in mind the ground on which to plant his feet, had played a very important role in molding the intellect and character of the man the whole world would later know as Alexander the Great.