Peripatetic school

Aristotle's School, a painting from the 1880s by Gustav Adolph Spangenberg

The Peripatetic school was a school of philosophy in Ancient Greece. Its teachings derived from its founder, Aristotle (384–322 BC), and peripatetic is an adjective ascribed to his followers.

The school dates from around 335 BC when Aristotle began teaching in the Lyceum. It was an informal institution whose members conducted philosophical and scientific inquiries. After the middle of the 3rd century BC, the school fell into a decline, and it was not until the Roman era that there was a revival. Later members of the school concentrated on preserving and commenting on Aristotle's works rather than extending them; it died out in the 3rd century.

The study of Aristotle's works continued by scholars who were called Peripatetics through Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the works of the Peripatetic school were lost to the Latin West, but in the East they were rediscovered and incorporated into early Islamic philosophy, which would play a fundamental role in the revival of Aristotelian philosophy in Europe through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.


The term "Peripatetic" is a transliteration of the ancient Greek word περιπατητικός (peripatêtikos), which means "of walking" or "given to walking about".[1] The Peripatetic school, founded by Aristotle,[2] was actually known simply as the Peripatos.[3] Aristotle's school came to be so named because of the peripatoi ("colonnades" or "covered walkways") of the Lyceum where the members met.[4] The legend that the name came from Aristotle's alleged habit of walking while lecturing may have started with Hermippus of Smyrna.[5]

Unlike Plato (428/7–348/7 BC), Aristotle (384–322 BC)[2] was not a citizen of Athens and so could not own property; he and his colleagues therefore used the grounds of the Lyceum as a gathering place, just as it had been used by earlier philosophers such as Socrates.[6] Aristotle and his colleagues first began to use the Lyceum in this way about 335 BC,[7] after which Aristotle left Plato's Academy and Athens, and then returned to Athens from his travels about a dozen years later.[8] Because of the school's association with the gymnasium, the school also came to be referred to simply as the Lyceum.[6] Some modern scholars argue that the school did not become formally institutionalized until Theophrastus took it over, at which time there was private property associated with the school.[9]

Originally at least, the Peripatetic gatherings were probably conducted less formally than the term "school" suggests: there was likely no set curriculum or requirements for students, or even fees for membership.[10] Aristotle did teach and lecture there, but there was also philosophical and scientific research done in partnership with other members of the school.[11] It seems likely that many of the writings that have come down to us in Aristotle's name were based on lectures he gave at the school.[12]

Among the members of the school in Aristotle's time were Theophrastus, Phanias of Eresus, Eudemus of Rhodes, Clytus of Miletus, Aristoxenus, and Dicaearchus. Much like Plato's Academy, there were in Aristotle's school junior and senior members, the junior members generally serving as pupils or assistants to the senior members who directed research and lectured. The aim of the school, at least in Aristotle's time, was not to further a specific doctrine, but rather to explore philosophical and scientific theories; those who ran the school worked as equal partners.[13]

Other Languages
አማርኛ: ፔሪፓቶስ
azərbaycanca: Peripatetiklər
български: Перипатетици
čeština: Peripatos
Deutsch: Peripatos
한국어: 소요 학파
қазақша: Ликей, Лицей
Latina: Peripatetici
македонски: Перипатетичари
日本語: 逍遙学派
norsk: Peripatos
русский: Перипатетики
slovenčina: Peripatetici
slovenščina: Peripatetiki
српски / srpski: Peripatetici
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Peripatetici
українська: Перипатетики
اردو: مشائیت
中文: 逍遙學派