Although most young men began the study of philosophy only at sixteen, Alexander was placed under the tuition of Aristotle soon after his first ride on Bucephalus. This philosopher was a pupil of Plato. He was so learned and well known, that Philip, in writing to him to tell him of Alexander’s birth, expressed his pleasure that the gods had allowed his son to live in the same age with so great a teacher.
Alexander loved Aristotle dearly, and willingly learned all that was required of him. He often said that he was very grateful, for this philosopher had taught him all the good he knew. Alexander’s remarkable coolness, judgment, and perseverance were largely owing to his teacher, and, had he always followed Aristotle’s advice, he would have been truly great.
But although Alexander did not always practice the virtues which Aristotle had tried to teach him, he never forgot his old tutor. He gave him large sums of money, so that the philosopher could continue his studies, and find out new things; and during his journeys he always sent him complete collections of the animals and plants of the regions he visited.