Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

2011 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

Parva naturalia, Commentaries on Aristotle’s

  • Pieter De Leemans
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9729-4_372

Abstract

The present article gives an overview of the reception of Aristotle’s Parva naturalia in the medieval West from the twelfth to the fifteenth century. It shows that the content of the Parva naturalia, and thus of the commentaries on them, has not always been the same as in modern editions and that even in the Middle Ages it fluctuated. In a first period, most commentators focused on De sensu, De memoria, De somno, De insomniis, De divinatione per somnum, and De longitudine only, apparently because James of Venice’s translation of De iuventute, De respiratione, and De vita were not anymore at their disposal. In a second period, when new translations had been made by William of Moerbeke, commentaries could focus on all of the above texts as well as on De motu animalium. In the second half of the fourteenth as well as in the fifteenth century, the study of the Parva naturalia at the University of Paris was delimited to the same texts the earliest commentators had dealt with. This is reflected in the composition of several fifteenth-century commentaries, most of them from Paris. In Germany and Central Europe, the Parva naturalia was mostly studied on the basis of a compendium by Joannes Kronsbein. These commentaries display a typical division of De vita in two parts; moreover, they often add De motu animalium and De mundo and sometimes the Physiognomonica, to the collection.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pieter De Leemans
    • 1
  1. 1.Katholieke Universiteit LeuvenDe Wulf-Mansion CentreLeuvenBelgium