Mieza Vlogs

As a boy, Alexander's education at Pella was under the direction of his mother's uncle, and seems to have been fairly conventional, if strict. We're told Leonnatos used demanding Spartan models, but only on the physical side. The prince was taught to read, write, and do arithmetic (the three Rs), plus music. (Our modern education model is based on the Greeks'.) When Alexander was around thirteen, Philip (Philippos) hired Aristotle (Aristoteles) to come to Macedonia to provide Alexander with "higher education." We know little specifically about this interlude, not even what Aristotle taught or who went with them. We can, however, make solid educated guesses based on other ancient evidence.

We also know where Aristotle's school was located on the banks of the Borboros River not far from the ancient village of Mieza (approximately modern Lefkadia). The area has been excavated and one can see cuts in the hillside where the ancient stoa ran. Remember that many ancient philosophical schools occupied already existing buildings/areas, so Philip may have updated it, but the nymphaion (a sanctuary to the nymphs) was already there. Mieza was associated with King Midas (yes, the gold guy) and the tribe of Bryges (later Phrygians, so Herodotos) before the Macedonians arrived, but whatever truth may have been in the claim, it became so myth-encrusted as to be impossible to verify.

Today, Aristotle's School is far less busy with tourists than Pella, Vergina, or Dion, although busier in 2018 than when I visited in 1997, when it was completely deserted. A new educational center has been built nearby, but the school itself is somewhat overgrown, no doubt as a factor of the poor Greek economy. Yet it remains my favorite archaeological site in all of Greek Macedonia.

MIEZA, Greek Macedonia

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