Archaeologists in Greece made a surprising announcement today at the International Conference ‘Aristotle 2400 Years’ – the discovery of his long lost tomb. Following a 20-year excavation at the ancient Macedonian city of Stagira, researchers have now concluded that the important tomb belonged to the famous Greek philosopher, who was born in the same city in 384 BC.
Archaeologists Kostas Sismanidis said that, based on the architecture and location of the tomb, as well as other supporting evidence, he can now say with “almost certainty” that the 2,400-year-old tomb belonged to Aristotle. Literary sources also suggest that Aristotle’s ashes were transferred to Stagira, his birthplace.
Village of Olymbiada, Chalkidiki, Greece. View from the northwest including site of ancient Stagira. (public domain)
“The mounded domed tomb has a marble floor dated to the Hellenistic period,” states the Greek Reporter. “It is located in the center of Stagira, near the Agora, with 360-degree views. The public character of the tomb is evident by its location alone, however archaeologists also point to a hurried construction that was later topped with quality materials. There is an altar outside the tomb and a square-shaped floor. The top of the dome is at 10 meters and there is a square floor surrounding a Byzantine tower. A semi-circle wall stands at two-meters in height. A pathway leads to the tomb’s entrance for those that wished to pay their respects. Other findings included ceramics from the royal pottery workshops and fifty coins dated to the time of Alexander the Great.”
Visit the Greek Reporter article for more photographs of the tomb.
The Guardian says that the remains of the ancient complex were first unearthed in 1996 when they were accidentally discovered during construction work ahead of a planned new museum of modern art, and excavations at the site have been ongoing ever since.
Ancient Origins’ writer Natalia Klimczak reports on the famous philosopher:
“Aristotle was born in 384 BC in the city of Stagira, Chalkidice, on the northern periphery of Classical Greece. His father was Nicomachus, who was a doctor, and his mother was Phaestia, who was probably also connected with medicine (although details are unknown.) Apart from Aristotle they had a son named Arimnestus and a daughter named Arimneste. Aristotle’s parents died when he was very young, but he had a guardian who took care of him. Proxenus of Atarneus educated Aristotle for a couple of years before sending him to Athens to Plato’s Academy.
Head of Aristotle. Copy of the Imperial era (1st or 2nd century) lost bronze sculpture made by Lysippos. (public domain)
When Aristotle was eighteen, he joined Plato’s Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven. When he left it 347 BC, he became very popular in the capital city of Pella and amongst the nobles.
In the beginning, Aristotle contributed to his views of Platonism, but after the death of Plato, he immersed himself in empirical studies and shifted from Platonism to empiricism.
Aristotle believed in concepts and that the knowledge was ultimately based on perception. His views on the natural sciences represent the groundwork underlying many of his philosophies. The writings by Aristotle covered many subjects, including: biology, zoology, metaphysics, psychology, physics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, and politics. The results of his analysis created a view on the physical sciences which profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, and the influence of which extended into the Renaissance.
Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge through empirical observation and experience, while holding a copy of his Nicomachean Ethics in his hand, whilst Plato gestures to the heavens, representing his belief in The Forms, while holding a copy of Timaeus (public domain)
Moreover, they were not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics. Many of Aristotle’s zoological observations, such as on the reproductive arm of the octopus, were not even confirmed or refuted until the 19th century. Some of his works also contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which in the 19th century became a base for the modern formal logic.”
Top image: The excavated tomb in Stagira that archaeologists say belongs to Aristotle. Source: Greek Reporter.
Extract included from ‘Caves in Paradise: The Elite School of Aristotle’ by Natalia Klimczak.