Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

2011 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

Political Aristotelianism

  • Christoph Flüeler
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9729-4_408


Aristotle’s Politics has had a long and enduring influence on political theory from the thirteenth century up to the present (Horn and Neschke-Hentschke 2008). Medieval reception began in the sixth decade of the thirteenth century with the translation of the work from Greek into Latin by William of Moerbeke. In the period following this successful transmission of the Aristotelian text, extensive commentaries were written by well-known scholars such as Thomas Aquinas, Albert the Great, and Peter of Auvergne, demonstrating the interest of both religious schools and universities in developing political philosophy as an independent discipline and integrating it into their curricula.

Thus the discipline of political science, or political philosophy, came into existence in close conjunction with the reception of the eight books of the Politics. The Politics remained predominant in political theory in the Latin West until the fifteenth century, influencing numerous commentaries and other literary genres, notably mirrors for princes and tracts on the power of the pope, De potestate papae (Miethke 2000). Political Aristotelianism, however, is not limited to the reception of Aristotle’s Politics, but involves a more complex understanding of the entire body of Aristotelian works. In addition to the foundation laid for practical philosophy by the Nichomachean Ethics, the Rhetoric as well as the Metaphysics and Aristotelian natural philosophy have influenced medieval Aristotelian political philosophy (Lambertini 2004).

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Primary Sources

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Flüeler
    • 1
  1. 1.Historische Hilfswissenschaften und MittellateinUniversité de FribourgFribourgSwitzerland