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[5arg] Specimens of letters of King Alexander and the philosopher Aristotle. just as they were written; with a rendering of the same into Latin.

THE philosopher Aristotle, the teacher of king Alexander, is said to have had two forms of the lectures and instructions which he delivered to his pupils. One of these was the kind called ἐξωτερικά, [p. 433] or “exoteric,” the other ἀκροατικά, or “acroatic.” 1 Those were called “exoteric” which gave training in rhetorical exercises, logical subtlety, and acquaintance with politics; those were called “acroatic” in which a more profound and recondite philosophy was discussed, which related to the contemplation of nature or dialectic discussions. To the practice of the “acroatic” training which I have mentioned he devoted the morning hours in the Lyceum, 2 and he did not ordinarily admit any pupil to it until he had tested his ability, his elementary knowledge, and his zeal and devotion to study. The exoteric lectures and exercises in speaking lie held at the same place in the evening and opened them generally to young men without distinction. This he called δειλινὸς περίπατος, or “the evening walk,” the other which I have mentioned above, ἑωθινός, or “the morning walk”; 3 for on both occasions he walked as he spoke. He also divided his books on all these subjects into two divisions, calling one set “exoteric,” the other “acroatic.”

When King Alexander knew that he had published those books of the “acroatic” set, although at that time the king was keeping almost all of Asia in a state of panic by his deeds of arms, and was pressing King Darius himself hard by attacks and victories, yet in the midst of such urgent affairs he sent a letter to Aristotle, saying that the philosopher had not done right in publishing the books and so revealing to the [p. 435] public the acroatic training, in which he himself had been instructed. “For in what other way,” said he, “can I excel the rest, it that instruction which I have received from you becomes the common property of all the world? For I would rather be first in learning than in wealth and power.”

Aristotle replied to him to this purport: “Know that the acroatic books, which you complain have been made public and not hidden as if they contained secrets, have neither been made public nor hidden, since they can be understood only by those who have heard my lectures.”

I have added copies of both letters, taken from the book of the philosopher Andronicus. 4 I was particularly charmed with the slender thread of elegant brevity in the letter of each.

"Alexander to Aristotle, Greeting.
“You have not done right in publishing your acroatic lectures; for wherein, pray, shall I differ from other men, if these lectures, by which I was instructed, become the common property of all? As for me, I should wish to excel in acquaintance with what is noblest, rather than in power. Farewell.”

"Aristotle to King Alexander, Greeting.
“You have written to me regarding my acroatic lectures, thinking that I ought to have kept them secret. Know then that they have both been made public and not made public. For they are intelligible only to those who have heard me. Farewell, King Alexander.”

[p. 437] When trying, in the phrase ξυνετοὶ γὰρ εἰσιν, to express the word ξυνετοί by a single Latin term, I found nothing better than what is written by Marcus Cato in the sixth book of his Origins: 5 “Therefore I think the information is more comprehensible (cognobilior).”

1 i.e. esoteric, or inner, for the initiated only. The term was originally applied to Aristotle's acrobatic (or acroamatic) writings, which were not made public, as were his exoteric Dialogues, but were read to hearers only (cf. ἀκούω) and were of a strictly scientific character. Except for the fragments of his Dialogues, all the works of Aristotle which have come down to us are of the latter class.

2 See note on vii. 16. 1 (ii, p. 135).

3 Hence the term “peripatetics,” from περιπατέω, “walk up and down.”

4 Frag. 662, Rose.

5 Frag. 105, Peter2.

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