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Cicero and Tyrannio: Mens addita videtur meis aedibus (Ad Atticum 4.8.2)

From: Classical World
Volume 105, Number 4, Summer 2012
pp. 471-477 | 10.1353/clw.2012.0032



Scholar and teacher Tyrannio is known for his management of the Sullan library of Aristotle and for his reorganization of Cicero’s library in Antium. The investigation here examines the parallel between these activities with focus on the curious phrase that Cicero uses to describe Tyrannio’s achievement, mens addita videtur meis aedibus. Conclusions include: mens means to invoke Anaxagorean νοῦς; mens also alludes to the story that Plato used the nickname ὁ Νοῦς (“the Brain”) for Aristotle. This reading illuminates the badinage characteristic of Cicero’s letters to Atticus while also adding to our understanding of Tyrannio’s position within their social circle.

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