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A Peripatos at the Acropolis in Athens

Peripatos is the name of the philosophical school of Aristotle . Like the other philosophical schools of Athens ( Academy , Stoa , Kepos ), their name derives from the place where the lessons took place, in this case from the Peripatos ( ancient Greek περίπατος , "Wandelhalle" ). Accordingly, the members of the school were called peripatetic . Today the terms “peripatetic” and the adjective “peripatetic” are used almost exclusively in the sense of “representatives / followers of the teaching of Aristotle” or “related to the teaching of Aristotle”. The popular etymology, which derives this name directly from peripatein ( ancient Greek περιπατεῖν , ' walk around' ) is incorrect, rather it is derived from the noun ( ancient Greek περίπατος ).

History of the Peripatos

Aristotle had in 335 BC BC gave up his job as tutor of the Macedonian Prince Alexander and came back to Athens . There he did not return to the Platonic Academy , of which he had been a member for seventeen years, but taught together with his close friend and colleague Theophrast at Lykeion , a park with a gymnasium in the south of Athens outside the city walls. Whether the founding of his own philosophical school falls into Aristotle's lifetime is disputed in research. The eponymous "Wandelhalle" was probably located within the Lykeion, but possibly also on the property that Theophrastus bought after the death of Aristotle and mentioned in his will that has survived. The designation "Peripatos" itself as the name of the school is only documented after Theophrastus.

Scholarchen after Theophrastus were Straton von Lampsakos (Scholarch since 288/287 or 287/286 BC) and Lykon from the Troas (since 270/267 BC), Ariston von Keos (since about 224 BC). ), Kritolaos from Phaselis (middle of the 2nd century BC) and Diodoros of Tyra (until after 110 BC). According to Lykon, the doxographic tradition breaks down and it is likely that the school began in the first century BC. Chr. Ceased to exist; the facilities were probably built during the Mithridatic War in 86 BC. Chr. Destroyed. In the research literature before 1972, numerous other alleged headmasters are often mentioned, but they cannot be considered in the strict sense as heads of the school founded by Aristotle or Theophrastus.

The Peripatos dealt with the objects that Aristotle had also dealt with, but only Theophrastus had an equally wide field of vision. The other members of the school concentrated on individual sciences, philosophy in the narrow sense was rather neglected. The titles of numerous historical works have come down to us from the first generation of students, but no complete works have survived. Only two writings on harmony and rhythm by Aristoxenus , which identify him as a pioneering music mathematician, have largely survived. Straton was the last peripatetic to achieve anything significant as a scientist. Next to and after him the school fell into popular scientific and often unscientific rhetorical proliferation.

Since the second half of the 3rd century BC The meaning of the expressions "Peripatetic" and "Peripatetic" expanded, which now no longer only referred to the members of the Athens School of Peripatos, but to every author whose writings were assigned to the literary forms of biography and literary history established by the Peripateticians let.

Aristotelianism since the 1st century BC Chr.

The connection to the Aristotelian doctrine since the 1st century BC BC is called Aristotelianism in recent research . The innovator of the doctrine was Andronikos of Rhodes , of whom it is unknown whether he taught in Athens (according to P. Moraux) or in Rome (according to J. Lynch) and with whom the renewed engagement with the Aristotelian textbooks (the so-called "esoteric" Writings) began again after only a few traces of the use of these works can be proven from the two centuries before him. Aristotelianism according to Andronikos, the history of which goes as far as Alexander von Aphrodisias , is not a continuation of scientific research in the sense of Aristotle, but a tradition of Aristotle commentary and interpretation, which, however, did not exclude a philosophical originality that followed in the footsteps of Aristotle . At least Alexander of Aphrodisias is one of the most important thinkers of ancient Greece.

The rampant eclecticism in the second century AD merged Aristotelian with Platonic and Stoic philosophy.

The Reception of Aristotelianism in Scholasticism

Since the 13th century, scholastic philosophy has been largely under the influence of Aristotle, as interpreted by Albertus Magnus , Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus . With the resurrection of classical literature in the 15th century, a general struggle against scholasticism began in western Europe, which was initially only against the distorted text of Aristotle, in whose place genuine Peripatetism was sought, but then also against his philosophy itself returned ( mystics , Ramists ). The Jesuits - in the succession of Thomas Aquinas - defended the Peripatetics against innovators like Galileo Galilei or René Descartes . With the success of the natural sciences in the succession of Isaac Newton , Aristotelianism gradually died out in the universities.


  • Inna Kupreeva, Michael Schramm: Imperial Aristotelianism. In: Christoph Riedweg et al. (Hrsg.): Philosophy of the imperial era and late antiquity (= outline of the history of philosophy . The philosophy of antiquity. Volume 5/1). Schwabe, Basel 2018, ISBN 978-3-7965-3698-4 , pp. 255–455
  • John Patrick Lynch: Aristotle's School. A Study of a Greek Educational Institution. University of California Press, Berkeley et al. 1972.
  • Paul Moraux : Aristotelianism among the Greeks. From Andronikos to Alexander of Aphrodisias. 3 volumes. De Gruyter, Berlin et al. 1973-2001.
  • Fritz Wehrli (ed.): The school of Aristotle. Texts and comments. 10 booklets. Schwabe, Basel et al. 1944–1959 (2nd, supplemented and improved edition 1967–1969), plus 2 supplements: 1974, ISBN 3-7965-0600-3 and 1978, ISBN 3-7965-0683-6 .
  • Fritz Wehrli, Georg Wöhrle , Leonid Zhmud : The Peripatos until the beginning of the Roman Empire . In: Hellmut Flashar (ed.): Older Academy, Aristoteles, Peripatos (= outline of the history of philosophy. The philosophy of antiquity. Volume 3). 2nd, revised and expanded edition. Schwabe, Basel 2004, ISBN 3-7965-1998-9 , pp. 493-666
  • Andreas Kamp: History of Philosophy as History of Reception - The Reaction to Aristotle's De Anima-Noetik. The early Hellenism , Amsterdam / Philadelphia 2001, pp. 58–197 (on Theophrastus and the early Peripatetics such as Dikaiarch v. Messene, Eudemos v. Rhodos, Demetrios v. Phaleron or Straton v. Lampsakos).

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Adolf Busse : Peripatos and the Peripatetic. In: Hermes 61, 1926, pp. 335-342.