Aristotle in Byzantium
There were several lines of Aristotle’s reception in the Eastern Roman Empire. These were in different manners intermingled and interrelated, contributing to what can be termed Aristoteles Byzantinus. In the most general outline, one can speak of an “indirect” influence of Aristotle on Byzantine authors, that is, one that took place via Neoplatonism, and of a “direct” influence, that is, one that concerns reading, commenting on, and adopting the original
works and ideas of the Stagirite.6 Both of these influences are equally demanding as subjects of study and require investigation along various lines. These include: references to Aristotle, explicit or implicit, in the works on those Byzantine authors—mainly Christian theologians—who were not directly engaged in commenting Aristotle’s writings; the issue of whether their reception of Aristotle was based on their knowledge of his original works or on commentaries, doxographies, and other indirect sources; the critical appreciation of Aristotle’s philosophy, positive or negative, on the part of Byzantine authors, Holy Fathers included; the issue of what has been called the “Christianization of Aristotle’s logic”; the quantity and influence of various commentaries on Aristotle’s works both in Eastern and Western thought, and so on. Of course it is not our task here to discuss all of these issues, which
have been the subjects of interesting and meticulous studies published in recent decades; our intention here is only to indicate, grosso modo, the main stations and topography of Aristotle’s reception within the realm of Eastern Roman Empire.