| Stories of the Ancient Greeks|
|by Charles D. Shaw|
|Delightful collection of both mythological and historical stories of the ancient Greeks, in language simple enough for younger listeners, yet appealing to all ages. Provides an excellent introduction to ancient Greece, beginning with 32 of the best-known myths, and then continuing with 32 short stories of the historical era, arranged in chronological order. An extensive pronunciation guide is included. Ages 8-11 |
THE WISE MAN WHO LISPED
LITTLE seaport of Greece, called Stageira, was the birthplace of
Aristotle. His father was a doctor and attended the king of Macedonia. He
took his young son to that court, where the boy became a friend of the
prince of Macedonia, who was afterwards known as King Philip.
When Aristotle was seventeen years old his father and mother died, and he
went to Athens, that he might attend the school of Plato. That teacher was
absent at the time and Aristotle studied without his help. He not only read
books but talked with the wisest men of the city.
When Plato came back, he was glad to have this lad as a scholar. He was very
proud of him and said, "Aristotle is the mind of my school."
Pointing to the home of the young man, he said, "That is the house of the
reader. I am only afraid he will study too much. He needs a curb; others
must feel the spur."
They spent twenty years together as teacher and scholar. For ten years of
that time, however, Aristotle was a teacher also and gathered around him a
fine company of young men.
 When Plato died Aristotle left Athens and went to travel in other lands.
Philip, who had become king of Macedonia, sent him a letter in which he
"Friend of my youth, I wrote you long ago that I had a son of whom I hoped
great things. He is now thirteen years old and nobody can do anything with
him. He is determined always to have his own way. I know that you are wise
and gentle and good. Come and teach him to be like yourself."
Aristotle went to Macedonia and took charge of the boy, who later became the
famous Alexander the Great. Philip was very glad to see the philosopher, and
said, "My friend, what shall I do to please and help you?"
Aristotle answered, "O king, by your orders my native city of Stageira has
been destroyed and now lies in ruins. Rebuild that town and let me take the
young prince there to study with me."
The king gladly did that and built there, in a pleasant grove, a gymnasium
for the teacher and his pupils, Alexander and his young friends.
The prince loved Aristotle and willingly learned his lessons in poetry,
eloquence, philosophy, literature, and medicine. He gained many noble
thoughts also and was trained to be kind, generous, just, and honorable.
They spent four happy years together; and after that Alexander often took
Aristotle's advice and did what his old teacher thought best.
When Alexander became king of Macedonia, Aristotle went back to Athens,
where he was welcomed with joy. The government of the city gave him a
 called the Lyceum because it was near the temple of Apollo Lyceios. Like the
school at Stageira, it had pleasant, shady walks, called in Greek
"peripatoi." Many scholars went there; and Aristotle, instead of sitting
down inside the house, liked to walk up and down the paths, lecturing to his
pupils. For that reason he and those who thought like him were called
"peripatetic philosophers,"—that is, "the wise men who walked about."
In the morning he lectured on deep subjects but in the afternoon he spoke of
things easier to understand. Every ten days the scholars elected a new
ruler, or archon, who governed them until they chose another. Besides
philosophy, they were taught good manners and politeness, for some of them
were disposed to be rough and rude at their meals and in social meetings.
Aristotle lived at Athens for thirteen years, busy in writing books when he
was not teaching. He was very fond of natural history, and one of his books
was upon the History of Animals. Alexander gave him a great deal of
money and sent him many curiosities for a museum he was gathering.
After Alexander died Greece made war against Macedonia. Because Aristotle
had been a friend of Philip and Alexander it was said that he was an enemy
of Athens. His enemies wanted to get rid of him, but he was so good and
kind, as everybody knew, that it was
difficult to find any fault in him. At last this was said:—
"O Athenians, this man Aristotle has insulted the holy gods! His friend
Hermias was only a man, as we
 all knew; yet this fellow has written a hymn praising Hermias as if he were
a god. More than that, in honor Of him this man has laid upon altars such
gifts and sacrifices as ought only to be offered to the immortal gods. Away
with this wicked wretch from our city!"
When Aristotle heard that he went away. Some friends urged him to stay and
take his trial, but he said, "I remember how the men of Athens put Socrates
to death. I do not wish to be treated as he was, so I will go away in good
After he had gone his trial came on. All his rights and honors were taken
away and he was condemned to death.
He did not go back to Athens but died peacefully when he was sixty years
His body was carried to Stageira and buried there with honor. A yearly
festival was kept sacred to his memory.
He was a short, slight man, never very strong, but lively and agreeable in
his manners. He liked to be well dressed and was careful of his clothes. His
eyes were small and he spoke with a kind of lisp. Strangers might laugh at
that, but his friends never thought of it, for they knew his real greatness
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