LifeHe was not born in Egypt (Stromata, i. 1). Athens is named as his birthplace by the sixth-century Epiphanius Scholasticus, and this is supported by the classical quality of his Greek. His parents seem to have been wealthy pagans of some social standing. The thoroughness of his education is shown by his constant quotation of the Greek poets and philosophers. He travelled in Greece, Italy, Palestine, and finally Egypt. He became the colleague of Pantaenus, the head of the catechetical school of Alexandria, and finally succeeded him in the direction of the school.
During the persecution of Septimius Severus (202 or 203) he sought refuge with Alexander, then bishop [possibly of Flaviada] in Cappadocia, afterward of Jerusalem, from whom he brought a letter to Antioch in 211. One of his most popular pupils was Origen.
He united Greek philosophical traditions with Christian doctrine and valued gnosis that with communion for all people could be held by common Christians. He developed a Christian Platonism. Like Origen, he arose from Alexandria's Catechical School and was well versed in pagan literature. Origen succeeded Clement as head of the school.