Aristotle (and his predecessors) and the Abramic Religions

Thera eruption 1628 BCE
Disruption of Minoan civilization and Cretan economy

Hem-hem crown. I am not sure what to make of this, but the hem-hem crown first appeared in the reign of Akhenaten, associated with Atenism. The same crown was worn, centuries later, by Cyrus the Great. At that time the crown was associated with Mithra. It may not be coincidental that aten was the Egyptian common name for the sun. In Persia, Mithra was sometimes called mihr, the common name for the sun.

Zarathustra / Zoroaster (Unknown, but apparently died during the reign of Cyrus the Great)
Zoroaster's teaching about individual judgment, Heaven and Hell, the resurrection of the body, the Last Judgment, and everlasting life for the reunited soul and body, among other things, became borrowings in the Abrahamic religions, but they lost the context of the original teaching. This does not seem too far removed from Egyptian religion.

Abolala Soudavar has recently concluded, after much consideration of ancient artifacts, that Zarathustra was a contemporary of Cyrus the Great. In fact, it appears that Zarathustra was assasinated by either Cyrus or Cyrus' brother. More importantly, Soudavar demonstrates that the text of the Avestas was written and altered long after Zarathustra died. The archaic language does not prove antiquity any more than the Latin of modern religous tracts. The ancient Iranian scribes rewrote history, as it went along, to "prove" that their own present was a happy and inevitable result of the reconstructed past.

Soudavar (2018): Postulating that Achaemenid ideology stemmed from the Avesta is to put the cart before the horse, for the Avesta was a compromise product of the ideological struggles that marked the Achaemenid era. As such, it reflects the rhetorics that infused the Iranian society under the Achaemenids. It documents how the monotheistic ideology promoted by Darius—which had also been espoused by Zoroaster to whom his sister was probably married—was abandoned in order to attract a wider constituency: Those who wouldn't reject the deities that they worshipped for the sake of Ahura-Mazdā. What the Avesta truly documents is the art of compromise, how to create an amalgam of existing beliefs that would smoothen the acceptance process of a new ideology. Inherent to the art of compromise is the loss of some assets, positions, or beliefs, in order to gain others. It requires flexibility, which may require abandoning principles. Darius's revolution, which imposed a monotheistic outlook on a world previously conditioned by the dualistic Median ideology, was effectively compromised by the Avestan amalgam of gods. It created a pantheon that negated the very essence of the omnipotent Ahura-Mazdā that Darius as well as Zoroaster had acknowledged. It attracted, however, a larger audience.

The Milesian School of Thales, Anaximander & Anaximenes
The first ancient Greek philosophers, Thales (c. 624 BC–546 BCE), Anaximander (c. 610–546 BCE) and Anaximenes (585 BC-528 BCE), were all from Miletus, and so they are known as the Milesian School. Pythagoras (see below) was Anaximander's student.
   The Ionian city states such as Miletus were settled by the Greeks around 1000 BCE.
   According to Eric Gerlach of Berkeley City College, "That the first (Greek) philosophers came from Miletus suggests Persia had a particularly powerful influence, which would be corroborated by Christianity (influenced by Persian Zoroastrianism) spreading through Syria and Ionia to the rest of Greece and Egypt centuries later. There was not much difference between Miletus and Athens other than Miletus having been under the Persian Empire in the centuries before its greatest thinkers arose."

Cyrus II (the Great) (600—Dec. 4, 530 BCE) Reportedly killed by Tomyris, queen ot the Massagetae.

Pythagoras (c. 570—495 BCE) is said to have studied under Zoroaster in Babylonia [Porphyry (234-c 305 CE) Life of Pythagoras 12, Alexander Polyhistor (1st cent. BCE) in Clement of Alexandria's (c.150-215 CE) Stromata I.15, Diodorus of Eritrea, Aristoxenus (4th cent. BCE) cited by Hippolitus /Hippolytus of Rome (170-230 CE) VI32.2]. As we now know that Zoroaster (Zarathushtra / Zarathustra) lived long before Pythagoras' time (according to the Greeks themselves), the reference to Zoroaster here means Zoroastrians, the magi included, and not Zoroaster.

Darius the Great (550—486 BCE)
Darius the Great proclaimed himself victorious in all battles during the period of upheaval, attributing his success to the "grace of Ahura Mazda".

Ezra (480—440 BCE) was living in Babylon when in the seventh year (c. 457 BCE) of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, the king sent him to Jerusalem to teach the laws of God to any who did not know them.

Ahura Mazda first appeared in the Achaemenid period (c. 550-330 BCE) under Darius I's Behistun Inscription. Until Artaxerxes II of Persia (405–04 to 359–58 BCE), Ahura Mazda was worshipped and invoked alone. With Artaxerxes II, Ahura Mazda was invoked in a triad, with Mithra and Anahita.

Socrates (c. 470—399 BCE) According to Plato's account, an oracle stated that "no man is wiser than Plato." Apparently it did not occur to Socrates, Plato, or anyone else, that she meant all men are fools. I. F. Stone explained that Socrates' crime was advocating against democracy, even after the the Thirty Tyrants had been put down, and democracy had been restored in Athens.

Plato (428/427 or 424/423—348/347 BCE)Thomas Jefferson on Plato (1814)

Aristotle  (384—322 BCE)
While the works commonly attributed to Aristotle do not go on to speak at length of the Magi, some of Aristotle's philosophies such as those regarding dualism have magian overtones. It is unfortunate that Aristotle's own writings about the influence of Zoroastrianism are now known to us primarily through references, the original works now being lost.

Carpocrates of Alexandria (d. 138) was the founder of an early Gnostic sect from the first half of the 2nd century. As with many Gnostic sects, we know of the Carpocratians only through the writings of the Church Fathers, principally Irenaeus of Lyons and Clement of Alexandria. As these writers strongly opposed Gnostic doctrine, there is a question of negative bias when using this source. While the various references to the Carpocratians differ in some details, they agree as to the libertinism of the sect. However, such charges were common. Pagans accused Christians of immorality, and Christians made the same charges against fellow Christians who they considered heretical.
    Irenaeus says that they practised various magical arts as well as leading a licentious life. He also says that they possessed a portrait of Christ, a painting they claimed had been made by Pontius Pilate during his lifetime, which they honoured along with images of Plato, Pythagoras and Aristotle "in the manner of the Gentiles".
[I include Carpocrates and his friends because it looks like they won-out in the long run, at least in their high regard for Greek philosophers.]

*Maimonides, see below, shared this view.

Clement of Alexandria (c 150—c 215), like many pre-Nicene fathers, writes favourably about Euhemerus and other rationalist philosophers, on the grounds that they at least saw the flaws in paganism. However, his greatest praise is reserved for Plato, whose apophatic* views of God were incorporated into Christianity.
    Clement opposed the Gnosics because he believed that faith alone, without knowledge, was the key to truth. "For, even if they should say something true, one who loves the truth should not, even so, agree with them."

The Temple of Serapis in Alexandria destroyed (391 CE)
The Temple of Serapis, which had stood for more than six centuries, was demolished, to be replaced by a martyr's shrine and a church. Theophilus then had the other temples in the city razed to the ground, "almost column by column."
    Hadrian is purported to have addressed a letter from Egypt to his elderly brother-in-law Servianus, who was Roman consul in AD 134 (by which time Hadrian himself was back in Rome). In Alexandria, he relates: "There those who worship Serapis are, in fact, Christians, and those who call themselves bishops of Christ are, in fact, devotees of Serapis" (The Four Tyrants, VIII.1).

Hypatia of Alexandria (born c. 350—370; died 415 CE ) was a Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, then part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was a prominent thinker of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria, where she taught philosophy and astronomy. She is the first female mathematician whose life is reasonably well recorded.
[And here I include Hypatia because she was murdered, apparently by "St." Cyril'a gang of thug-monks.]

Boethius (c. 480—524/525) was one of the most influential early medieval philosophers. His most famous work, The Consolation of Philosophy, was most widely translated and reproduced secular work from the 8th century until the end of the Middle Ages. In the 9th century, Boethius’s Consolation was also translated into Old English by King Alfred the Great (his authorship of the 9th century translation has recently been challenged) as well as later English by Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of The Canterbury Tales. Boethius is also credited with the spread of encyclopedic learning and transferring classical Greek knowledge to medieval Europe despite the fact that he didn’t manage to translate all works by Aristotle and Plato as he intended due to his premature death.

In 536 CE, the Byzantine historian Procopius wrote of a thick fog that suffocated the sun and plunged all of the Mediterranean into a year of cold and darkness. The phenomenon would signal the start of one of the greatest disease pandemics in history: the Plague of Justinian. In a single year, the outbreak killed an estimated 25 million citizens of the empire. It would be another two centuries until the plague finally succumbed, but by then, 50 million people had died in its wake.

Mohammed c.570—632

Science, Technology and Islam

Abu Bishr Matta ibn Yunus (c. 870—940)
Christian philosopher who played an important role in the transmission of the works of Aristotle to the Islamic world. He is famous for founding the Baghdad School of Aristotelian Philosophers.

Yahya ibn Adi (893—974) Perssan
Syriac Jacobite Christian philosopher, theologian and translator working in Arabic. In Baghdad he studied philosophy and medicine under Abu Bishr Matta ibn Yunus, who had also taught Al-Farabi.

Al-Farabi (c. 872—Dec. 950-Jan. 951
From incidental accounts it is known that he spent significant time in Baghdad with Christian scholars including the cleric Yuhanna ibn Haylan, Yahya ibn Adi, and Abu Ishaq Ibrahim al-Baghdadi.
    In Arabic philosophical tradition, he is known with the honorific "the Second Teacher", after Aristotle being known in the East as "the First Teacher". He is credited with preserving the original Greek texts during the Middle Ages because of his commentaries and treatises, and influencing many prominent philosophers, like Avicenna and Maimonides. Through his works, he became well-known in the East as well as the West.

Avicenna (Abu Ali Sina; c. 980—1037) Persian
Al-Biruni, Omar Khayyám, Averroes, Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi, Tusi, Ibn al-Nafis, Ibn Tufail, Albertus Magnus, Maimonides, Aquinas, William of Ockham, Abu 'Ubayd al-Juzjani, Enlightenment philosophers.
    Ibn Sina created an extensive corpus of works during what is commonly known as the Islamic Golden Age, in which the translations of Greco-Roman, Persian, and Indian texts were studied extensively. Greco-Roman (Mid- and Neo-Platonic, and Aristotelian) texts translated by the Kindi school were commented, redacted and developed substantially by Islamic intellectuals, who also built upon Persian and Indian mathematical systems, astronomy, algebra, trigonometry and medicine. The Samanid dynasty in the eastern part of Persia, Greater Khorasan and Central Asia as well as the Buyid dynasty in the western part of Persia and Iraq provided a thriving atmosphere for scholarly and cultural development. Under the Samanids, Bukhara rivaled Baghdad as a cultural capital of the Islamic world.

Peter Abelard (1079—1142) French
He helped to establish the ascendancy of the philosophical authority of Aristotle which became firmly established in the half-century after his death. It was at this time that the completed Organon, and gradually all the other works of the Greek thinker, first came to be available in the schools. Before his time, Plato's authority was the basis for the prevailing Realism.
     The "reformer" Innocent was the very same pope who confirmed the condemnation of French philosopher and scholar Peter Abelard (castrated and confined to a monastery).

Adelard of Bath. c.1080—c.1152 English, an early populariser of Muslim science in the West.
"Trained by Arab scientists ... I was taught by my Arab masters to be led only by reason, whereas you were taught to follow the halter of the captured image of ancient authority." 'Dodi Ve-Nechdi,' 1137), Wikipedia

Averroes (Ibn Rushd, born in Cordoba 1126—1198) Spanish
Averroes was a strong proponent of Aristotelianism; he attempted to restore what he considered the original teachings of Aristotle and opposed the Neoplatonist tendencies of earlier Muslim thinkers, such as Al-Farabi and Avicenna. He also defended the pursuit of philosophy against criticism by Ashari theologians such as Al-Ghazali. Averroes argued that philosophy was permissible in Islam and even compulsory among certain elites. He also argued scriptural text should be interpreted allegorically if it appeared to contradict conclusions reached by reason and philosophy. His legacy in the Islamic world was modest for geographical and intellectual reasons.

Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon Born in Cordoba 1135 or 1138—1204) Spanish
Maimonides believed that the resurrection was not permanent or general. In his view, God never violates the laws of nature. Rather, divine interaction is by way of angels, whom Maimonides often regards to be metaphors for the laws of nature, the principles by which the physical universe operates, or Platonic eternal forms. [This is not always the case. In Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah Chaps. 2–4, Maimonides describes angels that are actually created beings.] Thus, if a unique event actually occurs, even if it is perceived as a miracle, it is not a violation of the world's order.

Michael Scot, 1175—c.1232 was a mathematician and scholar in the Middle Ages. He translated Averroes and was the greatest public intellectual of his days. He served as science adviser and court astrologer to Frederick II.
    From Paris, Scot went to Bologna, and then after a stay at Palermo, to Toledo. There he learnt Arabic well enough to study the Arabic versions of Aristotle and the many commentaries of the Arabs upon these, as well as the original works of Avicenna and Averroes.
    The second version of Fibonacci's famous book on mathematics, Liber Abaci, was dedicated to Scot in 1227, and it has been suggested that Scot played a part in Fibonacci's presentation of the Fibonacci sequence.

Albertus Magnus (c. 1200—1280) German
Albert was the first to comment on virtually all of the writings of Aristotle, thus making them accessible to wider academic debate. The study of Aristotle brought him to study and comment on the teachings of Muslim academics, notably Avicenna and Averroes, and this would bring him into the heart of academic debate.

Thomas Aquinas (12251274) Italian
He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology and the father of Thomism; of which he argued that reason is found in God. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy developed or opposed his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory. Unlike many currents in the Church of the time, Thomas embraced several ideas put forward by Aristotle—whom he called "the Philosopher"—and attempted to synthesize Aristotelian philosophy with the principles of Christianity.

John Duns, commonly called Duns Scotus c.1266—1308), wrote purely philosophical and logical works at an early stage of his career, consisting of commentaries on Aristotle's Organon. These are the Questions on Porphyry's Isagoge and Aristotle's Categories, Peri hermeneias, and De sophisticis elenchis, probably dating to around 1295. His commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics was probably written in stages, the first version having started around 1297, with significant additions and amendments possibly after the completion of the main body of the Ordinatio. His Expositio on the Metaphysics was lost for centuries but was recently rediscovered and edited by Giorgio Pini.

Archaeology and Neglected History