He was one of the truly great philosophers of the ancient world. He was the teacher of a world conqueror. He was a student of the greatest minds history has ever brought us. His final resting place had been lost to the ages, but at last, Aristotle’s tomb has been found. According to the Greek Reporter, this is the most significant find in the region of Stagira in the last 20 years.
Aristotle was born in Stagira in 384 BCE. According to the University of California at Berkeley, he was born to the physician of the royal family of Macedonia. He was trained in medicine, and in 367 BCE, he was sent to school in Athens to learn under the great philosopher Plato.
After the passing of Plato, Aristotle left Athens and lived for five years in Asia Minor. It was there that he met his wife, Pythias. There, they had their only daughter, who they also named Pythias. Aristotle died in 322 of what has only been said was a digestive complaint.
While Socrates and Plato have been lauded for their thoughts and ideas, it is Aristotle who had the greatest influence. His teachings were rediscovered in the Middle Ages, and they were declared the official philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church. His followers knew him simply as “the Philosopher” or “the master of them that know.”
Many have regarded Aristotle as the first true scientist. He made significant contributions to the study of zoology. His teachings have also influenced thought in areas of linguistics, physics, and biology.
A great deal of Aristotle’s influence can be attributed to the region he came from. As mentioned, his father, Nichomahcus, was the physician to the royal family in Macedonia, which is where King Philip led the unification of Greece. His son, Alexander the Great, a student of Aristotle, would then conquer the known world.
Kostas Sismanidis, the archaeologist that has been in charge of the excavation since 1996, announced the discovery. Two literary sources had pointed to the fact the Aristotle’s ashes had been transferred to Stagira following his death.
“We had found the tomb. We’ve now also found the altar referred to in ancient texts, as well as the road leading to the tomb, which was very close to the city’s ancient marketplace within the city settlement.”
The tomb sits in the center of what was ancient Stagira. It seems to have been constructed rather quickly, but then higher quality materials were brought in later to give the tomb the look that would be fitting of a once great man. It is about 10 meters high and surrounded by a two-meter wall. There is a pathway that stretches around three meters that leads to the tomb’s opening.
Inside the tomb are marble floors that can be dated back to Hellenistic times. Archaeologists discovered about 50 coins from the time of Alexander the Great. They also found various pieces of pottery from the royal pottery workshop.
The structure was once a mounded tomb destroyed by the Byzantines. They replaced it with a square tower.
Northern Greece has had its share of monumental discoveries in the last few years. An excavation in Amphipolis in 2014 led to the discovery of the largest tomb ever found in Greece. The size of the tomb led many to speculate that it could be the lost tomb of Alexander the Great, which set off a media frenzy. However, later proof found that is was, in fact, most likely a tomb built for someone close to Alexander.
On Thursday, May 27, the tomb will be formally announced to the world. It is the day set aside to celebrate “Aristotle 2,400 Years.” The celebration is to be held in Thessaloniki.
[Photo by Winfried Rothermel/AP Images]