Delight Springs

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sympathetic peripatetics

"Peripatetic": terrific word, fabulous idea. One day early in the Fall semester I'm going to fulfill a lifelong ambition and conduct class peripatetically.
From the time of Aristotle until 86 BC there was a continuous succession of philosophers in charge of the school in the Lyceum. The common name for the school, Peripatetic, was derived either from the peripatos in the Lyceum grounds or from Aristotle’s habit of lecturing while walking [but, you call this walking?]... The Lyceum’s fame-and the fame of other schools in Athens-attracted increasing numbers of philosophers and students from all over the Mediterranean world...
The utter destruction of Athens in AD 267 probably ended this renaissance of scholarly activity. The work of Peripatetic philosophers continued elsewhere, but it is unclear whether they returned to the Lyceum. Nothing certain is known about the Lyceum during the remainder of the third through early sixth centuries AD. Any remaining philosophical activity would certainly have ended in AD 529, when the emperor Justinian closed all the philosophical schools in Athens. 
We don't seem to know much for sure about the ancient peripatetics.
According to the tradition, Andronicus of Rhodes was the eleventh successor of Aristotle as head of the Peripatos, the school that Aristotle founded in Athens (Ammonius, In De Int. 5.28-29). We have good reasons to doubt this tradition. 
Well, we almost always have good reasons to doubt every tradition. Aristotle's Lyceum and its walking philosophers ended in Athens but "continued to exist in the form of a philosophical sect," and more importantly continues to exist as an idea, a state of mind, and a style of living. Walk this way...

1 comment:

  1. Charlie Aday: FQ: Why did Justinian close the schools?

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