The relationship that a teacher and student share is of trust, respect and devotion. Teachers influence their students by shaping their rational and moral virtues and hence, play an important role in molding the society as a whole. The education system of ancient India and Greece shared some common characteristics. In both cultures, teachers and their disciples conglomerated at specific places earmarked for educational purposes. This is where students gained both spiritual and material education from their teachers. All ancient societies functioned according to a set of moral codes and social hierarchy and teachers were at the apex of the social system. During this time, teachers were revered and considered as equivalent to Gods. Students were completely devoted to their teachers and were willing to fulfill all the responsibilities, conferred upon them by their teachers, unflinchingly. One of the quintessential examples of student teacher relationship is that of Chanakya and Chandra-Gupta Maurya.
With the passage of time however, the ancient tradition of conglomerating at educational places ceased to exist in its original form and was replaced by more modern practices of schools, colleges and universities. However, the respect paid to teachers is still the same. even in this modern era, teachers share a close emotional attachment with their students. The ancient history of education systems is rife with several examples of great student teacher relationships such as Socrates-Plato, Plato-Aristotle etc.
It is beyond the scope of dubiety that teachers, since ages, have played a major role in the life of an individual and his/her overall upbringing. Teachers are the beacons of light that lead people to success and glory. They are the ones who recognize the talents of their students and encourage them to move further and assist them in reaching the zenith of their potential. Let us dedicate this Teacher’s day to all those teachers who, through their talent, patience, wisdom and astute judgment of character, shaped the fates of many individuals who influenced the society as a whole.
Go through this section and understand the kind of relationship that many of the history’s famous students and teachers shared. These great teachers and their students have influenced human philosophies and ideologies since ancient times. Read the kind of relationship these student-teacher duos shared. Certainly, it will be a great experience to learn about those great souls with an insight on how they influenced their students’ lives and the whole mankind. Plato – The Wonderful Teacher
Plato was a classical Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was a student of Socrates, the founder of the Academy in Athens and a well-known Greek scholar who is renowned for his philosophies. Plato, along with Socrates, played a vital role in laying foundations of Western philosophy and science. Plato was a highly sophisticated writer and his works demonstrate this. Though the exact place and time of his birth is unknown, it is certain that he belonged to an aristocratic family. According to most of the scholars, Plato was born between 429 and 423 BC. His father, Ariston, is believed to be a descendent of the king of Athens and the king of Messenia. Plato’s mother, Perictione, also belonged to an aristocratic family which boasted of close connections with the famous Athenian lawmaker and lyric poet, Solon.
According to Diogenes Laërtius, biographer of Greek philosophers, Plato was named as Aristocles but, his wrestling trainer called him ‘Platon’, a Greek word meaning ‘broad’. Plato learned grammar, music and gymnastics from the most eminent teachers of his time. He travelled to many places like Italy, Sicily, egypt and Cyrene. He returned to his hometown Athens at the age of 40 after which he founded the Academy, one of the earliest known organized schools in Western civilization. There are various speculations related to Plato’s death. One version states that he died on his bed, while other states that he died during a marriage feast.
Aristotle – The Lofty Student
Aristotle was a famous Greek philosopher whose expertise was not confined just to philosophy but, extended to various other subjects like physics, metaphysics, biology, zoology, music, theater, logic, linguistics, politics and government. He was rightly named Aristotle which literally means ‘the best purpose’. Aristotle was born to Nicomachus, who himself was a physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. Thus, Aristotle was born, brought up, and educated as a member of the aristocratic society. He attended Plato’s Academy at the age of eighteen and remained there for about twenty years. It is said that he left the academy after Plato’s death, disappointed with the decision of making Plato’s nephew, Speusippus, his successor at the Academy. By 335 BC, Aristotle established a new school, Lyceum and conducted courses for the next twelve years.
Aristotle got married to Pythias and she died after some years of togetherness. He then married Herpyllis and had a son Nicomachus, who was named after Aristotle’s father. He studied almost every subject known at that time. He was so passionate about exploring new areas of knowledge that not only did he master many subjects, but also made many significant contributions to most of the domains. He is famous for his major contributions like theory of universals, classical elements, potentiality and actuality, causality, four causes, chances and spontaneity, observations on electric fish and catfish and writings on octopus, sepia and paper nautilus. “Apply yourself both now and in the next life. Without effort, you cannot be prosperous. Though the land be good, you cannot have an abundant crop without cultivation.”
These golden words come from a person who is still revered for his great philosophies. Yes, Plato had a very practical outlook on life. He believed in human skills but insisted that people must put great effort and use their skills for the good of the entire mankind. Plato respected his teacher, the famous philosopher, Socrates very much and he propagated most of his teacher’s philosophy through his works. Many scholars consider Plato’s dialogues as the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates’s Philosophy. It would be great to learn about the life and contribution of this highly eminent teacher-student duo, especially, on such a wonderful day like Teacher’s Day. Read further to know about their life and the kind of relationship they shared.
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian Philosopher. He is revered as one of the founders of Western philosophy. Interestingly, he had not penned any philosophical works. His philosophies were propagated through the works of his students like Plato and Xenophon. The details of this great philosopher’s life can be found from three sources – Plato’s and Xenophon’s dialogues and Aristophanes’s plays. Aristophanes, in his play, ‘The Clouds’, depicts Socrates as a clown who teaches his students to hoodwink their way out of the debt. Aristophanes’s works are famous for their parody style of presentation and hence, this characterization is also considered as parodic. According to Plato’s works, Socrates was born to Sophroniscus and his wife Phaenarete. Socrates married Xanthippe, who was much younger to him.
The couple had three sons, Lamprocles, Sophroniscus and Menexenus. According to the ancient texts, Socrates did not work and hence, how he earned a living is still not clear. Though Aristophanes’, The Clouds’, Socrates is said to have accepted fees for teaching. However according to Plato and Xenophon, he never accepted any fees or remuneration. Socrates criticized democracy and claimed loyalty to his city and went against the normal course of Athenian politics and democracy. It is believed that his attempts to improve the Athenian sense of Justice was not accepted but was severely criticized and this could probably be the reason that he was sentenced to death. He was accused of corrupting the minds of the youth in Athens. He was asked to drink a mixture containing poison hemlock and was executed this way.
Plato, the classical Greek philosopher and mathematician, was a student of Socrates and the founder of the Academy in Athens. Socrates was popular for his philosophies. Plato was one of the most famous students of Socrates and he, along with Socrates, played a vital role in laying foundations of Western philosophy and science. Plato’s high sophistication of writing is evident in his works. There is no dependable source of information regarding the exact place and time of his birth but, it is certain that he belonged to an aristocratic family.
However, depending on the most popular scholars, he was born between 429 and 423 BC to an aristocratic family. Ariston, Plato’s father, is believed to have been the son of the king of Athens and the king of Messenia. Plato’s mother, Perictione also belonged to an aristocratic family. He was not originally named as Plato but as Aristocles. He was called ‘Plato’ for the first time by his wrestling trainer, who called him ‘Platon’, a Greek word which meaning ‘broad’. Plato was trained in various subjects like grammar, music and gymnastics from the most eminent teachers of his time. Plato travelled a lot. He had visited many places like Italy, Sicily, egypt and Cyrene. However, he returned to his hometown Athens and founded the Academy, one of the earliest known organized schools in Western civilization.
The exact place and cause of death of this great philosopher is not clear, there are various speculations related to his death. According to one version, he died on his bed, while other states that he died during a marriage feast.
The Teacher-Student Duo
Socrates and Plato were very close to each other, and Plato was very much influenced by Socrates’ philosophies. Plato’s works have been considered as one of the major sources of Socrates philosophies. According to Plato’s work ‘Apology of Socrates’, he had mentioned that Socrates considered Plato as one of the youths close to him. Socrates, on his speech regarding his death sentence, asked the public that if he had corrupted the youth. And if so, why then Plato’s and any of the other youth’s fathers did not have any problem with him. However, Plato was not present at the prison on Socrates’s last day. According to historical sources, Plato was ill that day.