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Aristotle And Plato
by [?]

An interesting anecdote is related of these philosophers–Aristotle became the rival of Plato. Literary disputes long subsisted betwixt them. The disciple ridiculed his master, and the master treated contemptuously his disciple. To make his superiority manifest, Aristotle wished for a regular disputation before an audience, where erudition and reason might prevail; but this satisfaction was denied.

Plato was always surrounded by his scholars, who took a lively interest in his glory. Three of these he taught to rival Aristotle, and it became their mutual interest to depreciate his merits. Unfortunately one day Plato found himself in his school without these three favourite scholars. Aristotle flies to him–a crowd gathers and enters with him. The idol whose oracles they wished to overturn was presented to them. He was then a respectable old man, the weight of whose years had enfeebled his memory. The combat was not long. Some rapid sophisms embarrassed Plato. He saw himself surrounded by the inevitable traps of the subtlest logician. Vanquished, he reproached his ancient scholar by a beautiful figure:–“He has kicked against us as a colt against its mother.”

Soon after this humiliating adventure he ceased to give public lectures. Aristotle remained master in the field of battle. He raised a school, and devoted himself to render it the most famous in Greece. But the three favourite scholars of Plato, zealous to avenge the cause of their master, and to make amends for their imprudence in having quitted him, armed themselves against the usurper.–Xenocrates, the most ardent of the three, attacked Aristotle, confounded the logician, and re-established Plato in all his rights. Since that time the academic and peripatetic sects, animated by the spirits of their several chiefs, avowed an eternal hostility. In what manner his works have descended to us has been told in a preceding article, on Destruction of Books. Aristotle having declaimed irreverently of the gods, and dreading the fate of Socrates, wished to retire from Athens. In a beautiful manner he pointed out his successor. There were two rivals in his schools: Menedemus the Rhodian, and Theophrastus the Lesbian. Alluding delicately to his own critical situation, he told his assembled scholars that the wine he was accustomed to drink was injurious to him, and he desired them to bring the wines of Rhodes and Lesbos. He tasted both, and declared they both did honour to their soil, each being excellent, though differing in their quality;–the Rhodian wine is the strongest, but the Lesbian is the sweetest, and that he himself preferred it. Thus his ingenuity designated his favourite Theophrastus, the author of the “Characters,” for his successor.