Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Corpus Aristotelicum

Aristotle, son of Nichomachus and Phaestius, could perhaps rival Deleuze in works. Just for the sake of taking up sheer space on the blog, I submit the following:
XII. He also wrote a great number of works; and I have thought it worth while to give a list of them, on account of the eminence of their author in every branch of philosophy. Four books on Justice; three books on Poets; three books on Philosophy; two books of The Statesman; one on Rhetoric, called also the Gryllus; the Nerinthus, one; the Sophist, one; the Menexenus, one; the Erotic, one; the Banquet, one; on Riches, one; the Exhortation, one; on the Soul, one; on Prayer, one; on Nobility of Birth, one; on Pleasure, one; the Alexander, or an Essay on Colonists, one; on Sovereignty, one; on Education, one; on the Good, three; three books on things in the Laws of Plato; two on Political Constitutions; on Economy, one; on Friendship, one; on Suffering, or having Suffered, one; on Sciences, one; on Discussions, two; Solutions of Disputed Points, two; Sophistical Divisions, four; on Contraries, one; on Species and Genera, one; on Property, one; Epicheirematic, or Argumentative Commentaries, three; Propositions relating to Virtue, three; Objections, one; one book on things which are spoken of in various ways, or a Preliminary Essay; one on the Passion of Anger; five on Ethics; three on Elements; one on Science; one on Beginning; seventeen on Divisions; on Divisible Things, one; two books of Questions and Answers; two on Motion; one book of Propositions; four of Contentious Propositions; one of Syllogisms; eight of the First Analytics; two of the second greater Analytics; one on Problems; eight on Method; one on the Better; one on the Idea; Definitions serving as a preamble to the Topics, seven; two books more of Syllogisms; one of Syllogisms and Definitions; one on what is Eligible, and on what is Suitable; the Preface to the Topics, one; Topics relating to the Definitions, two; one on the Passions; one on Divisions; one on Mathematics; thirteen books of Definitions; two of Epicheiremata, or Arguments; one on Pleasure; one of Propositions; on the Voluntary, one; on the Honourable, one; of Epicheirematic or Argumentative Propositions, twenty-five books; of Amatory Propositions, four; of Propositions relating to Friendship, two; of Propositions relating to the Soul, one; on Politics, two; Political Lectures, such as that of Theophrastus, eight; on Just Actions, two; two books entitled, A Collection of Arts; two on the Art of Rhetoric; one on Art; two on other Art; one on Method; one, the Introduction to the Art of Theodectes; two books, being a treatise on the Art of Poetry; one book of Rhetorical Enthymemes on Magnitude; one of Divisions of Enthymemes; on Style, two; on Advice, one; on Collection two; on Nature, three; on Natural Philosophy, one; on the Philosophy of Archytas, three; on the Philosophy of Speusippus and Xenocrates, one; on things taken from the doctrines of Timaeus and the school of Archytas, one; on Doctrines of Melissus, one; on Doctrines of Alcmaeon, one; on the Pythagoreans, one; on the Precepts of Gorgias, one; on the Precepts of Xenophanes, one; on the Precepts of Zeno, one; on the Pythagoreans, one; on Animals, nine; on Anatomy, eight; one book, a Selection of Anatomical Questions; one on Compound Animals; one on Mythological Animals; one on Impotence; one on Plants; one on Physiognomy; two on Medicine; one on the Unit; one on Signs of Storms; one on Astronomy; one on Optics; one on Motion; one on Music; one on Memory; six on Doubts connected with Homer; one on Poetry; thirty-eight of Natural Philosophy in reference to the First Elements; two of Problems Resolved; two of Encyclica, or General Knowledge; one on Mechanics; two consisting of Problems derived from the writings of Democritus; one on Stone; one book of Comparisons; twelve books of Miscellanies; fourteen books of things explained according to their Genus; one on Rights; one book, the Conquerors at the Olympic Games; one, the Conquerors at the Pythian Games in the Art of Music; one, the Pythian; one, a List of the Victors in the Pythian Games; one, the Victories gained at the Olympic Games; one on Tragedies; one, a List of Plays; one book of Proverbs; one on the Laws of Recommendations; four books of Laws; one of Categories; one on Interpretation; a book containing an account of the Constitutions of a hundred and fifty-eight cities, and also some individual democratic, oligarchic, aristocratic, and tyrannical Constitutions; Letters to Philip; Letters of the Selymbrians; four Letters to Alexander; nine to Antipater; one to Mentor; one to Ariston; One to Olympias; one to Hephaestion; one to Themistagoras; one to Philoxenus; one to Democritus; one book of Poems, beginning:
Hail! holy, sacred, distant-shooting God.

A book of Elegies which begins:

Daughter of all-accomplish'd mother.

The whole consisting of four hundred and forty-five thousand two hundred and seventy lines.

6 Comments:

Blogger kushakov said...

This may sound silly, but I mean it in earnest: what portion of that list is left to modernity? In other words, what haven't we got? This question comes with apologies, as well, insofar as my Classical training is sorely lacking.

11:56 AM  
Blogger The Sheriff said...

The Ancient World's Tom Clancy

5:59 PM  
Blogger Scantron said...

The transmission of Aristotle is pretty fascinating, at least in the eyes of this neophyte. Aristotle died in the late 4th century BCE, leaving behind a huge body of work, as you can see, but his actual dialogues and his finished works are lost to us. The Peripatetic (Aristotelian) philosopher Andronicus of Rhodes put much of Aristotle's work into his (Andronicus') own classificatory system, which may or may not be the Corpus Aristotelicum which we possess today. It does seem true that readers of Aristotle in antiquity were reading something very different from what we have now.

Supposedly Andronicus grouped Aristotle's "lecture notes" together. What this means exactly is anybody's guess, but it's plain that the work is far from polished. Whatever it is that we have, it seems that this was what Aristotle used as a "fast and loose" presentation of his views in his school; presumably, he would have enlivened and embellished the presentation in person. The list of works is on display at the Wikipedia entry for Aristotle, which is pretty decent. Missing from the list is a book called the Protrepticus, supposedly an early dialogue, which is found in toto in the work of a neoplatonic philosopher called Iamblichus. As Wikipedia rightly notes, a treatise called the Constitution of the Athenians is considered Aristotelian, but is not included in the "official" Corpus. This text was only "just" found in 1890 and is one of the most important documents for studying democratic Athens.

To return to your original question (after forcing upon you this diatribe), the philosopher Jonathan Barnes, in the Cambridge Companion to Aristotle, estimates that we have about 1/3 of what Aristotle actually wrote. If you ask me that's about 1/4 too much, but I'll leave it to the hardcore philosophers to argue for the Corpus' importance.

2:42 AM  
Blogger kushakov said...

That is exactly what I wanted to know, so thank you. I've been wanting to get my hands on something like an Athenian Constitution. In "The Human Condition," Hannah Arendt is always talking about (literally, as in "around") the question of Athenian politics, and while she does a good job of saying what they (the politics) weren't, she's not so forthcoming with a positive definition.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Scantron said...

For your purposes I can think of nothing better than a little book by Moses Finley, Democracy Ancient & Modern. (The Aristotle would be much too boring, trust me.) You'll be interested to know that Finley learned from exiled members of the Frankfurt School. Democracy Ancient & Modern sets out with the explicit purpose of contrasting ancient Athens with modern bureaucratic liberalism. I don't know if Finley was aware of Arendt, but they definitely say similar things.

Other people saying interesting things about Athenian democracy: Sheldon Wolin, Josiah Ober, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Ryan Balot, Foucault, Arlene Saxonhouse, Leo Strauss. (Only Ober and Balot are classicists; the rest are pretty accessible political theorists.) I'm always happy to help someone out in this department!

9:42 PM  
Blogger kushakov said...

Much appreciated. I'll blog about it, once I acquire and make use of (some of) this literature.

11:05 PM  

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