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  • L’antichità classica nel pensiero medievale, Atti del convegno della Societá Italiana per lo Studio del Pensiero Medievale, Trento, 29–29 settembre 2010 ed. by A. Palazzo
  • Rossella Pescatori
L’antichità classica nel pensiero medievale, Atti del convegno della Societá Italiana per lo Studio del Pensiero Medievale, Trento, 29–29 settembre 2010, ed. A. Palazzo (Porto: Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales 2011) 498 pp.

L’antichità classica nel pensiero medievale is a rich and valuable work that sheds light on different aspects of the intellectual culture of the Middle Ages. The volume derives from the nineteenth conference of the Italian Society for the Study of Medieval Thought (SISPM), which was held at the university of Trento in 2010; it is a collection of essays whose common theme is the heritage of classical culture in the intellectual universe of the Middle Ages. The volume, edited by Alessandro Palazzo, is composed of twenty essays that deal with the complexity of the reception of classical culture in the Middle Ages, and illustrates other “ways” in which the legacy of classical antiquity was assimilated from the twelfth to the fifteenth century. However, this book deliberately omits the more well-known and broadly discussed topic of the fortunes of ancient philosophy in the Middle Ages (such as Platonism in the twelfth century, Aristotelism [End Page 224] in the thirteenth, and Stoicism in the fourteenth) and instead considers themes, sources, and authors which until now were little or not at all studied.

The essays are preceded by an introduction, L’antichità classica nel pensiero medievale, written by Alessandro Palazzo who highlights the common elements of the various contributions. These elements are a) the sources, which are the channels of access through which the medieval authors received their knowledge and the influence of classical culture; b) the problem of integrating classical pagan culture in the Christian world; and c) the interdisciplinary character that binds philosophy, theology, romance literature, Medieval Latin literature, and the law. This last element makes this collection of essays unique. It is rare to find a volume where different aspects of medieval and Renaissance thoughts are synchronically and diachronically presented.

Michele Trizio’s Dissensio Philosophorum. Il disaccordo tra Platone e Aristotele nei commenti di Eustrazio di Nicea (d. ca. 1120) focuses on the writings of Eustratius of Nicaea, in particular his commentaries on Aristotle (Book II of the Posterior Analytics and books I and VI dell’Ethica Nichomachea). Trizio observes that Eustratius sees a great irreconcilability between Plato and Aristotle, and highlights the influence of the neo-Platonist Proclus on his work. Luisa Valente’s Exhortatio e recta vivendi ratio. Filosofi antichi e filosofia come forma di vita in Pietro Abelardo, outlines, on the basis of the sayings and deeds of the ancient philosophers, the concept of philosophy as a form of life. According to Abelard, philosophy leads to a right way of living, which is a separation from mundane life. His Theologia Christana proposes a Christian ideal city based on Plato and Macrobius’s classification of the four levels of virtue (political, purifying, soul purified, and exemplar) and leads to the theoretical justification that the solitary life dedicated to contemplation of the divine philosophers and monks is greater than the active life of the rulers. Gregorio Piaia’s I filosofi antichi nel “Polyhistor” di Guglielmo di Malmesbury, considers the Polyhistor (written in the first part of twelfth century) of William of Malmesbury not as florilegium but as one of the first examples of history of philosophy, or rather “history of the philosophers.” Carlos Steel’s A Philogical diet for philosophers. Aristippus’s translation of book IV of Aristotele’s Meteorology and Albert the Great, focuses on the complexity of the translation into Latin of the fourth book of Aristotle’s Meteoreologica by Aristippus (d. ca.1162) and emphasizes the differences in translation from those of future generations. In particular, it focuses on the influence of Aristippus in the works of Albert the Great, in particular the Meteora.

Luca Parisoli’s Pensare la normatività: l’eredità classica e le specificità medievali nella civiltà della interpretazione contains interesting observations on legal apparatus in medieval society and...


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pp. 224-227
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