Lyceum of Aristotle in Athens to open to public

The Central Archaeological Council has finally given its long – awaited go – ahead for a series of mild interventions on the site of the 4th century BC Lyceum of Aristotle, which was discovered in downtown Athens 14 years ago, thus paving the way for opening it to the public as an archaeological site.

Lyceum of Aristotle in Athens to open to public
Lyceum of Aristotle in Athens to open to public
Aristotle’s Lyceum set to be unveiled to the public this summer [Credit: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ]
The Lyceum, named after its 6th century BC sanctuary to Apollo Lyceus (the “wolf-god”, from the word “lykos”, or wolf), had long been a place of philosophical discussion and debate, and had had been the meeting place of the Athenian assembly before the establishment of a permanent meeting area on Pnyx hill in the 5th century BC.

But the Lyceum is mostly renowned for the philosophical school founded there by Aristotle upon his return to Athens in 335 BC after being the private tutror of the then young prince Alexander of Macedon, the future Alexander the Great, since 343 BC.

Destination

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After his return to Athens in 335 BC and up to his death in 322 BC, Aristotle rented some buildings in the Lyceum and established a school there where he lectured, wrote most of his philosophical treatises and dialogues, and systematically collected books that comprised the first library in European history. Since Aristotle liked to walk around the grounds as he lectured, surrounded by his students, the philosophical school he founded was called Peripatetic (from ‘peripatos’, which means stroll or walkabout in Greek).

Situated just outside the walls of ancient Athens, the Lyceum was brutally sacked and razed to the ground by the Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 86 BC, but was later rebuilt.

The site’s location remained unknown for centuries until it was rediscovered in 1996 during excavations for Athens’ new Museum of Modern Art.

Source: ANA-MPA [February 21, 2013]

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