Aristotle (Greek Aristoteles) (born 384 BC at Stagira, in Macedonia, Greece; died March 7, 322 BC at Chalicis, Euboea, Greece) was a Greek philosopher. Many people think that, together with Plato, he is one of the most important philosophers in Western ways of thinking. It is said that Aristotle wrote around 150 philosophical books.

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Aristotle Quotes

A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.

A true friend is one soul in two bodies.

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.

All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.

All men by nature desire to know.

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.

All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.

Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.

As a rock on the seashore he standeth firm, and the dashing of the waves disturbeth him not. He raiseth his head like a tower on a hill, and the arrows of fortune drop at his feet. In the instant of danger, the courage of his heart sustaineth him; and the steadiness of his mind beareth him out.

At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.

Bad men are full of repentance.

Bashfulness is an ornament to youth, but a reproach to old age.

Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms.

Bring your desires down to your present means. Increase them only when your increased means permit.

Change in all things is sweet.

Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.

Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal.

Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.

Different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for themselves different modes of life and forms of government.

Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.

Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.

Education is the best provision for old age.

Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.

For what is the best choice, for each individual is the highest it is possible for him to achieve.

Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.

Friendship is essentially a partnership.

God is a supreme and eternal living being, so that to God belong life and continuous and eternal duration. For that is what God is.

Great men are always of a nature originally melancholy.

Happiness depends upon ourselves.

He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.

Homer has taught all other poets the are of telling lies skillfully.

Hope is a waking dream.

Hope is the dream of a waking man.

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.

I have gained this from philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.

If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way.

In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.

In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels.

In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. The young they keep out of mischief; to the old they are a comfort and aid in their weakness, and those in the prime of life they incite to noble deeds.

It is best to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken.

It is Homer who has chiefly taught other poets the art of telling lies skillfully.

It is just that we should be grateful, not only to those with whose views we may agree, but also to those who have expressed more superficial views; for these also contributed something, by developing before us the powers of thought.

It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims.

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.

Man is by nature a political animal.

Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way.

Men are swayed more by fear than by reverence.

Men create gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regard to their mode of life.

Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.

Most people would rather give than get affection.

Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own.

My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.

Nature does nothing uselessly.

No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness.

No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.

No notice is taken of a little evil, but when it increases it strikes the eye.

No one would choose a friendless existence on condition of having all the other things in the world.

Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved.

Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference.

Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.

Politicians also have no leisure, because they are always aiming at something beyond political life itself, power and glory, or happiness.

Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.

Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.

Strange that the vanity which accompanies beauty - excusable, perhaps, when there is such great beauty, or at any rate understandable -should persist after the beauty was gone.

Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.

That in the soul which is called the mind is, before it thinks, not actually any real thing.

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.

The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.

The appropriate age for marriage is around eighteen for girls and thirty-seven for men.

The best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.

The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.

The end of labor is to gain leisure.

The gods too are fond of a joke.

The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to other persons.

The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.

The law is reason, free from passion.

The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.

The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit.

The more thou dost advance, the more thy feet pitfalls will meet. The Path that leadeth on is lighted by one fire- the light of daring burning in the heart. The more one dares, the more he shall obtain. The more he fears, the more that light shall pale - and that alone can guide.

The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.

The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.

The secret to humor is surprise.

The soul never thinks without a picture.

The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.

The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.

The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life - knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live.

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

There is no great genius without a mixture of madness.

There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.

Therefore, the good of man must be the end of the science of politics.

This is the reason why mothers are more devoted to their children than fathers: it is that they suffer more in giving them birth and are more certain that they are their own.

Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.

Those who excel in virtue have the best right of all to rebel, but then they are of all men the least inclined to do so.

Thou wilt find rest from vain fancies if thou doest every act in life as though it were thy last.

To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill.

To the query, ''What is a friend?'' his reply was ''A single soul dwelling in two bodies.''

Tragedy is thus a representation of an action that is worth serious attention, complete in itself and of some amplitude... by means of pity and fear bringing about the purgation of such emotions.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

We become just by performing just action, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave action.

We make war that we may live in peace.

We must no more ask whether the soul and body are one than ask whether the wax and the figure impressed on it are one.

We praise a man who feels angry on the right grounds and against the right persons and also in the right manner at the right moment and for the right length of time.

Well begun is half done.

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.

What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.

What the statesman is most anxious to produce is a certain moral character in his fellow citizens, namely a disposition to virtue and the performance of virtuous actions.

Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.

Wit is educated insolence.

Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.

You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.

Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.

Quotes originally compiled by

Aristotle Chronological Biography

384 Aristotle is born.

374? Nicomachus, Aristotle’s father, dies.

369 Dion 409-354 (fl., politician)

369 Amyntas III of Macedonia dies.

368-365 Ptolemy ruler of Macedonia.

368 Eudoxus of Cnidus 408-355 (fl., philosopher)

367 Dionysius I dies, Dionysius II is king of Syracuse.

367-365 Plato’s second voyage to Sicily.

367 Aristotle enrolls in the Academy.

367? Speusippus 407?-339 (fl., Academy)

365? Eubulis 405?-335 (fl., comedy playwright)

361-360 Plato’s third voyage to Sicily.

360 Heraclides of Pontus (fl., Academy)

359 Philip II of Macedonia begins his rule.

357 Dion takes over Syracuse. Dionysius II is exiled.

357-353 The Social war, Athens against its allies.

356 Xenocrates 396-314 (fl., Academy)

356 Alexander the Great is born.

355 Eudoxus of Cnidus dies.

355? Dionysius II of Syracuse 395?-337? (fl., king)

354 Dion is killed.

348 Stagira conquered by Philip II.

347 In spring, anti-Macedonians gain the power in Athens.

347 Aristotle and Xenocrates travel to Atarneus and Assos.

347 Plato dies in May, Speusippus leads the Academy.

347/6(?) Aristotle marries Pythias.

347/346-345 Dionysius II again king of Syracuse.

346 Athen makes treaty with Philip II of Macedonia.

345-344 Aristotle travels to Lesbos, works with Theophrastus.

344? Aristotle and Theophrastus travel to Stagira?

344 Aristotle 384-322 (fl., philosopher)

343/342 Aristotle travels to Mieza, to be Alexander’s tutor.

342 Philip II of Macedonia (fl., king)

341/340 Hermias is killed by the Persians.

340? Aristotle’s tutorship of Alexander ends? But DH says 8 years of tutoring.

340/339 Philip is at war, Alexander is king in his absence.

339 Speusippus dies.

338 Philip II defeats the Greeks, Hellenic League is formed.

338 Xenocrates is voted to lead the Academy.

338 Isocrates dies.

337 Greek war on Persia is declared.

336 Philip II is killed, Alexander III (the Great) is king.

335 Athens and other cities fail a revolt against Alexander.

335 Aristotle travels to Athens and opens the Lyceum.

335? Alexis 375?-275 (fl., comedy playwright)

330 Theophrastus 370-286 (fl., Lyceum)

327 Alexander marries Bactrian princess Roxane.

327 Callisthenes executed by order of Alexander.

324 Hephaestion is made second-in-command, hipparch.

324 Alexander marries Darius’ daughter Barsine.

324 Hephaestion (357?-324), Alexander’s companion, dies.

323 Alexander the Great dies in June.

323/322 Aristotle travels to Chalkis (no later than spring 322).

322 Aristotle dies, Theophrastus leads the Lyceum.

Original chronology compiled by

Aristotle Biography

ARISTOTLE, the greatest and most influential of all the Greek philosophers, was born at the town of Stageira in the year 384 B.C. His father, Nikomachus, was the friend and physician of Amyntas II, king of Macedonia, father of Philip and grandfather of Alexander the Great. Aristotle's early education seems to have been directed toward the same profession, but it would appear that he early abandoned this intention, and aspired to that cultivation of universal knowledge for its own sake, in which he obtained a distinction without parallel in the history of the human race. In his 18th year he left Stageira for Athens, then the intellectual center of Greece and of the civilized world. Here he became the pupil of Plato, but soon made his master aware of the remarkable penetration and reach of his intellect, for we are told that Plato spoke of Aristotle as the "Intellect of the School." He remained at Athens twenty years, during which the only facts recorded, in addition to his studying with Plato, are, that he set up a class in rhetoric, and that in so doing, he became the rival of the celebrated orator and rhetorical reader, Isocrates. Upon the death of Plato, (347 B.C.,) Aristotle left Athens and went to the Mysian town of Atarneus, and thence to Mitylene. After two years stay at the latter place, he was invited (in the year 342 B.C.,) by Philip to Macedonia, to educate his son Alexander. When Alexander commenced his expedition into Asia, (334 B.C.,) Aristotle returned to Athens. Now at the age of fifty, he entered on the final epoch of his life; he opened a school called the Lyceum, from its proximity to the temple of Apollo Lyceius. From his practice of walking up and down in the garden during his lectures, arose the name of his school and sect, the Peripatetic. He may now be supposed to have composed his principal writings, but there is nothing known of the dates of any of them. This crowning period of his life lasted twelve years. After the death of Alexander, the anti-Macedonian party at Athens obtained an ascendency, and an accusation was prepared against Aristotle, the charge being impiety. With the fate of Socrates before his eyes, he chose a timely escape, and in the beginning of 322 B.C., took refuge at Chalcis, in Euboea, where in the autumn of the same year he died, aged 62.

The writings of Aristotle may be said to have embraced the whole circle of knowledge of his time. Many of them are lost; of those that remain the most important are the "Organon," or "Logic," "Rhetoric," "Poetics" and "Meteorology." His Organon or Logic is his complete development of formal reasoning, and is the basis and nearly the whole substance of syllogistic or scholastic logic. This science he almost entirely created, He may also be said to have created natural science. In his great work on Animals he amassed a stock of genuine observations, and introduced a method of classification, which continues to this day. His treatises on Rhetoric and Poetics were the earliest development of the Philosophy of Criticism, and still continue to be studied. The same remark is applicable to his elaborate work on Ethics.

The philosophy of Aristotle differed from that of Plato on many points, especially in the fundamental doctrine termed the Theory of Ideas. The Platonic "ideas" or "forms," were conceived as real existences. Aristotle was opposed to this doctrine; his whole method was in marked contrast to that of Plato, and consisted in the principle that all philosophy must be founded on the observation of facts. He first established the philosophical notions of "matter," "form," "time" and "space," and first argued the necessary existence of God as the ultimate cause or all things. No other philosopher can be named whose influence has been so far-reaching and so long continued.

Original biography compiled by

(For more information see Wikipedia)


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