Re: Aristotle (384-322 BC) A big lister

To: Trevor Quested <>, Birding-aus <>
Subject: Re: Aristotle (384-322 BC) A big lister
From: John Clifton-Everest <>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 09:33:41 +1100
Dear Trevor,
We don't know a lot about the travels of Aristotle, but it has to be
remembered that he was a native of Macedonia (then not slav-speaking),
and not what is now Greece.  He certainly had a spell in Asia Minor, and
was subsequently appointed tutor by Phillip of Macedon to his son
Alexander, later Alexander the Great.  Without being an expert on such
things, the latter job probably involved his getting around quite a bit.

The other thing to be remembered (and here I can write with a little
expertise on European birds) is that that area of the Southern Balkans
is like a funnel for migrating birds from north-east Europe going to
over-winter in the east Mediterranean, particularly the Nile Delta.  In
Aristotle's day they would have trapped thousands of these migrating
birds for the table, and it was one of Aristotle's unusual habits for
the time that he liked looking at real things, examining the physiology
of plants and animals, rather than theorising about them as others
tended to.
Depending on the time of year when you were there, I rather think that a
ten day visit to Greece could not be compared to a lifetime associated
with the royal hunt and the royal table of Macedon in Aristotle's time.
When I have time (busy with examining at the moment!) I'll check
Aristotle's natural histories to see what his eight categories were.
John M.Clifton-Everest
Dept. of Germanic Studies
University of Sydney

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