Sosigenes the Peripatetic

Last updated

Sosigenes the Peripatetic (Greek : Σωσιγένης) was a philosopher living at the end of the 2nd century AD. He was the tutor of Alexander of Aphrodisias and wrote a work On Revolving Spheres, from which some important extracts have been preserved in Simplicius's commentary on Aristotle's De Caelo .

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Philosopher person with an extensive knowledge of philosophy

A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term "philosopher" comes from the Ancient Greek, φιλόσοφος (philosophos), meaning "lover of wisdom". The coining of the term has been attributed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras.

Alexander of Aphrodisias Peripatetic philosopher

Alexander of Aphrodisias was a Peripatetic philosopher and the most celebrated of the Ancient Greek commentators on the writings of Aristotle. He was a native of Aphrodisias in Caria, and lived and taught in Athens at the beginning of the 3rd century, where he held a position as head of the Peripatetic school. He wrote many commentaries on the works of Aristotle, extant are those on the Prior Analytics, Topics, Meteorology, Sense and Sensibilia, and Metaphysics. Several original treatises also survive, and include a work On Fate, in which he argues against the Stoic doctrine of necessity; and one On the Soul. His commentaries on Aristotle were considered so useful that he was styled, by way of pre-eminence, "the commentator".

Contents

Work

Sosigenes criticized both Aristotle and Eudoxus for their imperfect theory of celestial spheres and also the use of epicycles, which he felt to be inconsistent with Aristotle's philosophical postulates. He pointed out that the planets varied markedly in brightness, and that eclipses of the Sun are sometimes total and sometimes annular, suggesting that the distances between the Sun, Moon and Earth were not the same at different eclipses.

Eudoxus of Cnidus was an ancient Greek astronomer, mathematician, scholar, and student of Archytas and Plato. All of his works are lost, though some fragments are preserved in Hipparchus' commentary on Aratus's poem on astronomy. Sphaerics by Theodosius of Bithynia may be based on a work by Eudoxus.

Celestial spheres Term in ancient times for the heavens

The celestial spheres, or celestial orbs, were the fundamental entities of the cosmological models developed by Plato, Eudoxus, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, and others. In these celestial models, the apparent motions of the fixed stars and planets are accounted for by treating them as embedded in rotating spheres made of an aetherial, transparent fifth element (quintessence), like jewels set in orbs. Since it was believed that the fixed stars did not change their positions relative to one another, it was argued that they must be on the surface of a single starry sphere.

In the Hipparchian and Ptolemaic systems of astronomy, the epicycle was a geometric model used to explain the variations in speed and direction of the apparent motion of the Moon, Sun, and planets. In particular it explained the apparent retrograde motion of the five planets known at the time. Secondarily, it also explained changes in the apparent distances of the planets from the Earth.

Sosigenes is perhaps called "the Peripatetic" only because of his connection with Alexander. Some ancient evidence may be taken to suggest that he was, in fact, a Stoic. As John Patrick Lynch has written:

Peripatetic school School of philosophy in Ancient Greece

The Peripatetic school was a school of philosophy in Ancient Greece. Its teachings derived from its founder, Aristotle, and peripatetic is an adjective ascribed to his followers.

Stoicism School of Hellenistic Greek philosophy

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one's mind to understand the world and to do one's part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

The other two teachers of Alexander may actually have been the philosophers whom ancient sources called Stoics; in both cases, Herminos/Sosigenes "the Stoic" have been distinguished from Herminos/Sosigenes "the Peripatetic" only on the grounds that the two latter men were teachers of Alexander of Aphrodisias. But it is not improbable that Alexander of Aphrodisias studied with two Stoic teachers and that these two pairs of homonymous contemporaries are actually only two Stoic philosophers. [1]

He is often confused with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria, who advised Julius Caesar on the reform of the Roman calendar.

Sosigenes of Alexandria was a Greek astronomer from Ptolemaic Egypt who, according to Roman historian Pliny the Elder, was consulted by Julius Caesar for the design of the Julian calendar.

Julius Caesar 1st-century BC Roman politician and general

Gaius Julius Caesar, known by his nomen and cognomen Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician, military general, and historian who played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He also wrote Latin prose.

Notes

  1. John Patrick Lynch, Aristotle's School: A Study of a Greek Educational Institution, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972, p. 215.

Related Research Articles

Theophrastus ancient greek philosopher

Theophrastus, a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young age and initially studied in Plato's school. After Plato's death, he attached himself to Aristotle who took to Theophrastus his writings. When Aristotle fled Athens, Theophrastus took over as head of the Lyceum. Theophrastus presided over the Peripatetic school for thirty-six years, during which time the school flourished greatly. He is often considered the father of botany for his works on plants. After his death, the Athenians honoured him with a public funeral. His successor as head of the school was Strato of Lampsacus.

Ancient Greek philosophy

Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC and continued throughout the Hellenistic period and the period in which Greece and most Greek-inhabited lands were part of the Roman Empire. Philosophy was used to make sense out of the world in a non-religious way. It dealt with a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, mathematics, political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, logic, biology, rhetoric and aesthetics.

Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC – when Antiochus of Ascalon rejected the scepticism of the New Academy – until the development of Neoplatonism under Plotinus in the 3rd century. Middle Platonism absorbed many doctrines from the rival Peripatetic and Stoic schools. The pre-eminent philosopher in this period, Plutarch, defended the freedom of the will and the immortality of the soul. He sought to show that God, in creating the world, had transformed matter, as the receptacle of evil, into the divine soul of the world, where it continued to operate as the source of all evil. God is a transcendent being, which operates through divine intermediaries, which are the gods and daemons of popular religion. Numenius of Apamea combined Platonism with Neopythagoreanism and other eastern philosophies, in a move which would prefigure the development of Neoplatonism.

Alcinous was a Middle Platonist philosopher. He probably lived in the 2nd century AD, although nothing is known about his life. He is the author of The Handbook of Platonism, an epitome of Middle Platonism intended as a manual for teachers. He has, at times, been identified by some scholars with the 2nd century Middle Platonist Albinus.

Phaenias of Eresus was a Greek philosopher from Lesbos, important as an immediate follower of and commentator on Aristotle. He came to Athens about 332 BCE, and joined his compatriot, Theophrastus, in the Peripatetic school. His writings on logic and science appear to have been commentaries or supplements to the works of Aristotle and Theophrastus. He also wrote extensively on history. None of his works have survived.

Eudemus of Rhodes was an ancient Greek philosopher, considered the first historian of science, who lived from c. 370 BC until c. 300 BC. He was one of Aristotle's most important pupils, editing his teacher's work and making it more easily accessible. Eudemus' nephew, Pasicles, was also credited with editing Aristotle's works.

Aristocles of Messene, in Sicily, was a Peripatetic philosopher, who probably lived in the 1st century AD. He may have been the teacher of Alexander of Aphrodisias.

Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy that was developed in the Hellenistic period following Aristotle and ending with the beginning of Neoplatonism.

Adrastus of Aphrodisias was a Peripatetic philosopher who lived in the 2nd century AD. He was the author of a treatise on the arrangement of Aristotle's writings and his system of philosophy, quoted by Simplicius, and by Achilles Tatius. Some commentaries of his on the Timaeus of Plato are also quoted by Porphyry, and a treatise on the Categories of Aristotle by Galen. None of these have survived. He was a competent mathematician, whose writings on harmonics are frequently cited by Theon of Smyrna in the surviving sections of his On Mathematics Useful for the Understanding of Plato. In the 17th century, a work by Adrastus on harmonics, Περὶ Ἁρμονικῶν, was said by Gerhard Johann Vossius to have been preserved, in manuscript, in the Vatican Library, although the manuscript appears to be no longer extant, if indeed this was not an error on Vossius' part.

This page is a list of topics in ancient philosophy.

Xenarchus of Seleucia

Xenarchus of Seleucia in Cilicia, was a Greek Peripatetic philosopher and grammarian. Xenarchus left home early, and devoted himself to the profession of teaching, first at Alexandria, afterwards at Athens, and last at Rome, where he enjoyed the friendship of Arius, and afterwards of Augustus; and he was still living, in old age and honour, when Strabo wrote. Xenarchus disagreed with Aristotle on many issues. He denied the existence of the aether, composing a treatise entitled Against the Fifth Element. He is also mentioned by Simplicius, by Julian the Apostate, and by Alexander of Aphrodisias.

Herminus was a Peripatetic philosopher. He lived in the first half of the 2nd century. He appears to have written commentaries on most of the works of Aristotle. Simplicius says he was the teacher of Alexander of Aphrodisias. We learn from Alexander's commentary on the Prior Analytics that Herminus had worked on Aristotle's syllogistic system, adding innovations which Alexander disapproved of. His writings, of which nothing remains, are frequently referred to by Boethius, who mentions a treatise by him, On Interpretation, as also Analytics and Topics.

Education in Ancient Greece was vastly "democratized" in the 5th century BCE, influenced by the Sophists, Plato and Isocrates. Later, in the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greece, education in a gymnasium school was considered essential for participation in Greek culture. The value of physical education to the ancient Greeks and Romans has been historically unique. There were two forms of education in ancient Greece: formal and informal. Formal education was attained through attendance to a public school or was provided by a hired tutor. Informal education was provided by an unpaid teacher, and occurred in a non-public setting. Education was an essential component of a person's identity.

Alexander of Aegae was a Peripatetic philosopher who flourished in Rome in the 1st century AD, and was a disciple of the celebrated mathematician Sosigenes of Alexandria. He was tutor to the emperor Nero. He wrote commentaries on the Categories and the De Caelo of Aristotle. Attempts in the 19th century to ascribe some of the works of Alexander of Aphrodisias to Alexander of Aegae have been shown to be mistaken.

Commentaries on Aristotle refers to the great mass of literature produced, especially in the ancient and medieval world, to explain and clarify the works of Aristotle. The pupils of Aristotle were the first to comment on his writings, a tradition which was continued by the Peripatetic school throughout the Hellenistic period and the Roman era. The Neoplatonists of the late Roman empire wrote many commentaries on Aristotle, attempting to incorporate him into their philosophy. Although Ancient Greek commentaries are considered the most useful, commentaries continued to be written by the Christian scholars of the Byzantine Empire and by the many Islamic philosophers and Western scholastics who had inherited his texts.

Eudorus of Alexandria was an ancient Greek philosopher, and a representative of Middle Platonism. He attempted to reconstruct Plato's philosophy in terms of Pythagoreanism.

Aristotle of Mytilene was a distinguished Peripatetic philosopher in the time of Galen. It has been argued that he was a teacher of Alexander of Aphrodisias.

Stoic logic is the system of propositional logic developed by the Stoic philosophers in ancient Greece. It was one of the two great systems of logic in the classical world. It was largely built and shaped by Chrysippus, the third head of the Stoic school in the 3rd-century BCE. Chrysippus's logic differed from Aristotle's term logic because it was based on the analysis of propositions rather than terms. The smallest unit in Stoic logic is an assertible which is the content of a statement such as "it is day". Assertibles have a truth-value such that at any moment of time they are either true or false. Compound assertibles can be built up from simple ones through the use of logical connectives. The resulting syllogistic was grounded on five basic indemonstrable arguments to which all other syllogisms were claimed to be reducible.

References

The public domain consists of all the creative works to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable.

<i>Encyclopædia Britannica</i> Eleventh Edition 11th edition of Encyclopædia Britannica

The Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition (1910–11), is a 29-volume reference work, an edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. It was developed during the encyclopaedia's transition from a British to an American publication. Some of its articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time. This edition of the encyclopedia, containing 40,000 entries, is now in the public domain, and many of its articles have been used as a basis for articles in Wikipedia. However, the outdated nature of some of its content makes its use as a source for modern scholarship problematic. Some articles have special value and interest to modern scholars as cultural artifacts of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Cambridge University Press (CUP) is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by King Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house and the second-largest university press in the world. It also holds letters patent as the Queen's Printer.