This volume features a unique epitome (original summation) of Aristotelian practical philosophy. It is often attributed to Arius Didymus who composed a survey of Peripatetic thought on three closely related areas: ethics, household management, and politics. The quality of the epitome, which draws not only on the surviving treatises of Aristotle, but also on works by later Peripatetics, is excellent.
In recent years the epitome has attracted increased attention as an important document for the understanding of Hellenistic philosophy. This new edition of the Greek text is much needed; the most recent edition dates from 1884 and is seriously faulty. This translation, provided by Georgia Tsouni, is based on the oldest and best manuscripts and takes account of recent discussions of difficult passages. In addition, an English translation appears opposite the Greek text on facing pages. The text-translation is followed by nine essays, which are written for a wide audience—not only philosophers and classicists, but also scholars interested in politics and social order.
The essays also consider issues of a more philological nature: Who in fact was the author of the epitome? Is Theophrastus an important source? In discussing political matters, is the author intending to defend the practice of philosophy in Augustan Rome? Was there a second epitome, perhaps with a different slant, that has been lost?
Table of Contents
1 Didymus’ Epitome of Peripatetic Ethics, Household Management, and Politics: An Edition with Translation
2 The Quest for an Author
David E. Hahm
3 Moral Virtue in Didymus’ Epitome of Peripatetic Ethics
William W. Fortenbaugh
4 Intrinsic Worth of Others in the Peripatetic Epitome, Doxography C
Stephen A. White
5 Two Conceptions of "Primary Acts of Virtue" in Doxography C
6 Bodily and External Goods in Relation to Happiness
7 Didymus on Types of Life
William W. Fortenbaugh
8 Didymus’ Epitome of the Economic and Political Topic
9 Von Arnim, Didymus and Augustus: Three Related Notes on Doxography C
Peter L. P. Simpson
10 Seneca’s Peripatetics: Epistulae Morales 92 and the Stobaean Doxography C
Margaret R. Graver
William W. Fortenbaugh is Emeritus Professor of Classics at Rutgers University, USA.
This volume is a welcome contribution to the study of Arius Didymus’ challenging compendium of Hellenistic ethics and only the second study to focus on this work since 1981. It offers a new edition of ‘section C’ on Peripatetic ethics, a discussion of the author’s identity, and a well-selected set of aspects examined by experts in the field, exploring various themes and connections with Aristotle’s works, ethical concepts such as virtue, the worth of others, external goods and types of life. The volume closes with a masterful essay in which Seneca’s Letter 85 is used as indirect evidence for Peripatetic ethics in the first century. While not all questions on this work can be resolved, this volume certainly assists in a more detailed understanding of the complexities, questions and transmission of Peripatetic ethics in the early Empire.
- Han Baltussen, University of Adelaide, Australia