82 - Lost and Found: Aristotelianism after Aristotle

Posted on 27 May 2012

Peter looks at the history of Aristotelianism up the time of the Roman Empire and the beginning of commentaries on Aristotle's works.

Further Reading

• P. Adamson (ed.), The Peripatetic School through Alexander of Aphrodisias (issue in honor of R.W. Sharples), Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 55 (2012).

• H. Baltussen, The Peripatetics: Aristotle's Heirs 322 BCE-200 CE (London: 2016).

• J. Barnes, “Roman Aristotle,” in J. Barnes and M. Griffin (eds), Philosophia Togata II: Plato and Aristotle at Rome (Oxford: 1997), 1-69.

• A. Alberti and R.W. Sharples (eds), Aspasius: the Earliest Extant Commentary on Aristotle’s Ethics (Berlin: 1999).

• H.B. Gottschalk, “Aristotelian Philosophy in the Roman World,” Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt II.36.2 (1987), 1079-1174.

• M. Griffin, Aristotle's Categories in the Early Roman Empire (Oxford: 2015).

• D. Konstan (trans.), Aspasius: On Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics 1-4, 7-8 (London: 2006).

• R.W. Sharples, Peripatetic Philosophy 200 BC to AD 200 (Cambridge: 2010).

• R.W. Sharples and R. Sorabji (eds), Greek & Roman Philosophy 100 BC-200 AD (London: 2007), vol.2.


Peter Adamson 27 May 2012

Thanks to Michael Griffin for his help with this episode!

Steve 24 May 2020


Just a short note to express my appreciation of this series. I've got a PhD in philosophy, with an interest in its history. But there were many gaps in my knowledge of its history. One was the fate of Aristotle's writings in late antiquity. Another was the translation of Greek philosophy into Arabic. You did a great job on both, and on the many other subjects I've heard you talk about.


Steve 26 May 2020

If Strabo's account of the fate of Aristotle's works is false, as you seem to believe, then isn't there still a puzzle about why his works are so poorly known, let alone defended, in the centuries after his death? 

Were Aristotle's works in the library at Alexandria?

And what was going on in the Lyceum over those centuries? 

Well, I think the short answer is that Aristotle was known to some extent but not seen yet as a major figure; there were some followers of course, starting with Theophrastus, but he didn't become a truly central figure until arguably the 2nd c AD with Alexander of Aphrodisias, or perhaps before that in the 1st c BC. I don't think the Lyceum was a going proposition during this time period in the way the Academy was.

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