The School of Athens: Of Philosophy and Philosophers

The School of Athens by Raphael


The owl of Minerva in her flight,

Beats her wings with all her might.

For all who see that glorious sight,

Know philosophy, that dear delight.


Thales was first and everything is water,

Infinite and boundless said Anaximander,

While Pythagoras sought a magical number,

Anaximenes said all is air! And made a blunder.


Heraclitus noted that everything flows.

Just as surely as the wind blows.

Parmenides cried that all is one.

Before Anaxagoras’s atoms come.


For Xenophanes our gods are a visage,

Created after our little own image.

For Zeno, the tortoise will never lose,

Against Achilles who was not amused.


Empedocles found solace in the elements,

And less so in humanity’s sentiments.

Our bodies to earth, our blood to water,

Our breath to air and our heat to fire.


Said Socrates the wise after questioning,

The unexamined life is not worth living.

So he took hemlock to prove him mortal,

And ended up in heaven an immortal.


Plato believed in the forms transcendal,

Aristotle thought that he was mental.

So he founded chemistry and biology,

Adding that to physics and psychology.


Old Pyrrho the skeptic believed in nothing,

Epicurus wanted life to be more happening.

Then came Marcus Aurelius the noble king,

And Rome found that it could dance and sing.


O Philosophy, that dear delight,

Teaching us to wonder with keen foresight.

3 Responses to “The School of Athens: Of Philosophy and Philosophers”
  1. Awesome. Great post and great painting (it is the header to my blog). Nice to meet a fellow appreciator.

  2. Arius says:

    Eclectic and well said. The unexamined life…

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