Aristotle (384 - 322 BCE) has been referred to simply as “The Philosopher,” and Cicero called his literary style a “river of gold.” That said, Aristotle wrote primarily to... More > teach his students at the Lyceum, so what remains of his writing are not highly polished tracts meant for wide readership. Thus Aristotle's Politics, which is a philosophical exploration of the ideal political community, reads like a series of jumbled lecture notes: scholars cannot agree which book goes where, or whether or not some of it was lost. He traveled widely, cataloguing every possible permutation of human governance from democracy to tyranny.
The eight books in Politics, however tedious and complex, have central themes: that a state has a nature that is definable and knowable, and that the role of citizens cannot be determined without this knowledge. Also important is the role which political life plays in the development of the citizens of a state.< Less