Saturday, June 19, 2021

Anna Komnene’s Contribution to Ancient Greek Philosophy

The first major study of Aristotle and Plato was commissioned by Anna Komnene, daughter of Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, in the twelfth century. While much of the work was done in Byzantine Greek, she had Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and some of Plato’s Dialogues translated into Latin for the benefit of the scholars in Western Europe. The translation of Nicomachean Ethics eventually found its way to Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. Anna is the famous author of the twelfth century masterpiece of history, the Alexiad, but her contributions to the study of Ancient Greek philosophy are often ignored by modern scholars. In twelfth century Constantinople, she was seen as a philosopher and a scholar of Plato and Aristotle.

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