The Peripatetic School
In the year 339 to 338 B.C. Speusippus died and Plato’s Academy became leaderless. Aristotle was a candidate for taking over the direction but he stayed in Macedonia and didn’t go to Athens to submit his nomination. Thus, Xenocrates was elected as the director. That was the basic cause for the definitive break of ties between Aristotle and the Academy and his departure from it.
Aristotle stayed in Macedonia until 335/334 B.C., just after Philip’s assassination and Alexanders newly reign. Next he returned to Athens and from that moment on the most fertile period of his life begun. He leased land -because, according to Athenian law, a foreigner had no right of owning any property- between the Lycabettus hill and the river Ilissos in the area near the temple dedicated to Apollo Lyceum and the Muses, and founded an official school, the Lyceum. This school was named “Peripatetic” and its members “Peripatetics” due to the fact that they used to walk around the gardens while discussing.
Aristotle, during his time when he was head of The Lyceum (336/335-323/322 B.C.) wrote some important pieces on philosophy, morality, biology and psychology. At the same time he began organizing his research and classifying the sciences. He also collected hundreds of manuscripts and therefore created the first large organized library, which was a model for those of Alexandria’s and Pergamon’s. It is said that his old student Alexander helped him financially. Theophrastus became the new director of the Academy after Aristotle’s withdrawal. During that time the Lyceum flourished and the number of students increased –it is said as many as 2.000.