Arius Didymus on Peripatetic Ethics, Household Management, and Politics: Text, Translation, and Discussion, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Arius Didymus on Peripatetic Ethics, Household Management, and Politics

Text, Translation, and Discussion, 1st Edition

Edited by William W Fortenbaugh


346 pages

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Hardback: 9781412865531
pub: 2017-09-13
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203703854
pub: 2017-09-25
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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?


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

Table of Contents



1 Didymus’ Epitome of Peripatetic Ethics, Household Management, and Politics: An Edition with Translation

Georgia Tsouni

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

Jan Szaif

6 Bodily and External Goods in Relation to Happiness

Myrto Hatzimichali

7 Didymus on Types of Life

William W. Fortenbaugh

8 Didymus’ Epitome of the Economic and Political Topic

Eckart Schutrumpf

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

About the Editor

William W. Fortenbaugh is Emeritus Professor of Classics at Rutgers University, USA.

About the Series

Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities


Han Baltussen, University of Adelaide, Australia

David Mirhady, Simon Fraser University, Canada

Stephen A. White, University of Texas at Austin, USA


This series, often referred to by the acronym RUSCH, grew out of Project Theophrastus, an international undertaking, whose purpose has been to collect, edit and comment on the surviving works and fragments of Theophrastus of Eresus, Aristotle’s pupil and successor as head of the Peripatetic School. To foster this endeavor a series of conferences were established that focused on subjects relevant to Theophrastus. The proceedings of these conferences were deemed worthwhile in their own right and under the direction of Professor William Fortenbaugh were published as volumes of RUSCH. Initially the volumes were closely related to work on Theophrastus, but in time the focus widened to included Theophrastus’ colleagues and successors in the Peripatos. Currently the volumes collect and edit the relevant texts, offer an English translation, and provide discussion of important issues. They contribute to our knowledge of philosophic developments within the Hellenistic Period, when the Academy and the Peripatos were challenged by the founding of new schools including the Stoics and the Epicureans.

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