Aristotle was not a Greek. He was born in the country of Macedonia, the country to the north of the ancient Greek city-states. Aristotle was always curious about things, even as a small boy. His parents were great believers in education. They encouraged their young son to learn as much as he could. When Aristotle was 17, his parents allowed him to move to Athens, a city-state in ancient Greece, so that he could study with the famous scholar, Plato.
Aristotle stayed in Athens for 20 years. He continued to study with Plato, but he also wrote, and as time went on, he taught students himself. After Plato died, King Phillip of Macedonia offered Aristotle a job as tutor to the king's young son, Alexander. Aristotle taught Alexander to admire and respect the Greeks.
When Alexander's father died, Alexander became the king of Macedonia. Alexander was a warrior, a very capable warrior. He was, in fact, a military genius. Alexander conquered the entire Mediterranean region. Everywhere he went, he spread the Greek way of doing things. Thanks to Alexander, and his teacher, Aristotle, the many gifts the Greeks gave the world survived. That's why Alexander is sometimes called the Great Greek, even though he was not Greek and only ruled his conquered lands for about 12 years, because Alexander died young.
Like Confucius, the famous Chinese philosopher, Aristotle is also remembered for his sayings. He used sayings to help his students become wiser. His sayings lend themselves to discussion, argument, and thought. He is still quoted today. For example, Aristotle said:
- "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is a habit."
- "We think in pictures. If you wish to change what you think, change the picture."