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Aristotle (384-322 B. C.) was a native of northern Greece, where his father was a physician . At the age of seventeen he went to Athens, where he formed a close association with Plato and the Academy which lasted until the death of Plato twenty years later. He spent the next twelve years teaching and studying in several different places, including the court of King Philip of Macedonia, where for at least three years he was the tutor of the future Alexander the Great . Much has been written about the relationship between Aristotle and his famous pupil, but most of it is speculation. We simply know very little about it . After the battle of Chaeronea and the accession of Alexander to the Macedonian throne, Aristotle returned to Athens (335 B. C.) and founded the Lyceum, a school patterned after the Academy which survived with it until A. D. 529. During the uprising in Athens which followed the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B. C., Aristotle, whose name had been associated with the conqueror and his Macedonian governor of Greece, thought it best to flee the city. He died in the following year. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section I: Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem: Background of Western Civilization. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.