I love the Classics and Philosophy. It’s really unfortunate that our modern educational system doesn’t promote the deep study of the classics and the great works. I think that’s what many liberal arts colleges get right – they provide a really good, broad yet deep education centered on the Classics.
In my study of the Classics, I see a pattern. Every great person we can think of had a tutor. So, who was Alexander the Great’s Tutor? Aristotle was his name. And who tutored Aristotle? Plato. And who tutored Plato? Socrates.
This is a pattern that I see over and over again. Every great person in history had a tutor.
So what did Aristotle teach Alexander the Great? During the 6 years that Aristotle was his tutor, we know that he taught the following to Alexander the Great:
- Greek; Hebrew; Babylonian; Latin
- The nature of the sea and the wind
- The course of the stars
- The life-span of the world
- The revolutions of the firmament
Aristotle also showed his royal student the meaning of justice and the skills of rhetoric. And he warned him against the wiles of “loose women.” – in other words, how to control his impulses.
So we see that tutors back in history not only taught secular topics, but they also taught virtue and how to be a good person. Perhaps that’s a key missing ingredient in today’s view of tutors.
Having a good tutor isn’t enough, though, to ensure that you will grow up to be a good human being. While Alexander the Great became a great leader and warrior, he was also not a very good person. Indeed, Aristotle would’ve been disappointed in the person Alexander the Great would become.