The "relics" of the past. Aristotle - The historian of philosophy

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According to a later report (Synesius, Calvit. Enc. 22.85c, Aristotle, On philosophy, fr. 8), Aristotle thought that wise sayings are the "relics" (enkataleimmata) of the past art (tekhne), preserved thanks to their conciseness and cleverness when ancient civilization perished in a world cataclysm and, in this respect, they are valuable clues for a retrospective reconstruction of the intellectual history of Greece. Aristotle did this and, in fact, was the first to develop in his works a peculiar sense of historical consciousness, prerequisite for such a reconstruction, although some contemporary authors would contest this view. In the paper I am commenting on selected fragments of and testimonies about Aristotle's lost works (mostly On philosophy, On poets, and On the Pythagoreans) and observe how he used this historical observations in his philosophical treaties, having thus paved the way to a systematic historical research, conducted by the Peripatetics in a pre-established institutional framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-607
Number of pages38
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Ancient biography
  • Ancient poets
  • Doxography
  • Plato
  • Pythagoras
  • The school of Aristotle
  • The seven sages
  • ancient biography
  • the school of Aristotle
  • doxography
  • the seven sages


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