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Did Philochorus quote the Athenaion politeia as Aristotle's? online

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itations from Atthid-writers. but they are not original citations
(Rudolph, p. 35). Now, in the De Nat. Anim., Aelian quotes (at second or
third hand) from Aristotle De Anim. (Rose, A. P., pp. 276 ff.). It appears
that Asinius Pollio, of Tralles, wrote on Aristotle De Anim., as also an
kniTO/iy of Philochorus (Suid., s. ILu?dav 6 'Aaivcoc;). Doubtless Aelian
was familiar with the writings of this author, whose professional career
was passed in Rome. Many of the Aristotelian quotations may have been
taken from the Commentary, and the extract from Philochorus from the
tTTiToiirj. But this is wholly conjectural. Rose and Rudolph would probably
maintain that Aelian's relation to Aristotle (and to Philochorus) was yet
more remote: Aristotelica — Aristophanes Byz. — Didymus — Pamphilus
(Aeifiav) — Favorinus {Uavroda-HTj 'laropiaj — Aelian. Wellmann (De Istro
Callimachio, p. 7) contends that the story of Alcmena aided by a weasel
(ya'Ari) in Aelian, Var. Hist. 12, p. 426, is traceable through Alexander
Myndius to Ister. This would suggest for the dog story the following
transmission : Philochorus — Ister — Alexander Myndius — Aelian.

2 In Aelian's Eavd'nnrov tov 'Ap'uppovoc (cf. Respub. Ath. c. 22) — as, perhaps,
also in other turns — we have, however, the survival of an earlier form of
statement than the Zavdiivnov tov TiepiKleovQ Trarpoc of Plutarch.


back at Plutarch's words about a-rjfxf'ta 8aifi6via and xpv^f 10 ^ —
expressions, it should be noted, that precede the mention of the
names of Aristotle and Cleidemus. Aelian, as we have seen,
informs us that the facts stated by him are mentioned by Aristotle
and Philochorus. The Respub. Ath. does not, however, in its
present form, give the incident about the dog — though what Plu-
tarch quoted is there given — and there is no reason to believe that
it ever was in the work. And, under the circumstances, to suppose
that the story occurred in some other work of Aristotle, 1 raises more
difficulties than it solves. There can, however, be no doubt of the
truth of Aelian's statement that the story was found in Philo-
chorus ; the story is of a sort that Philochorus would be likely to
relate, 2 and, furthermore, Philochorus is an extremely frequent
source for Plutarch. 3 We are accordingly safe in inferring that
Philochorus was at least one of Plutarch's sources for the passage
cited from the Them., and doubtless an immediate source. How,
then, are we to account for the mention of the name of Aristotle
by Aelian ? The most probable answer to this question seems to
me to be the following : Aelian, or his source, had read an
extract from Philochorus concerning the events preceding the
battle of Salamis, in which the name of Aristotle occurred, only a

1 " Fieri potest ut in zoico quodam libro haec dixerit Aristoteles, sicut in
Hist. An. Z 24 mulum ab Atheniensibus immunitatum donatum commemo-
rat : cuius Plutarchus in eodem capite Catonis cum cane Xanthippi meminit.
sed fortasse omnino ervavit de Aristotele Aelianus. de Philochoro verum
dicit : nam in Themistocle ex Atthide pendet Plutarchus." Kaibel-
Wilamowitz, Aristotelis 'Adrjvaluv HoXireta, p. 92.

2 Cf. Frag. 146, from the Atthis, book IX (Dion. Hal., Din. 3, 637) about
the dog that visited the Acropolis, and finally lay down on the altar of Zeus
Herceus. It was to explain this portent that Philochorus was called upon
as kpoGKOTTog. That the Atthis abounded in odd information a cursory exami-
nation of the fragments at once reveals.

3 Plutarch's citations from Philochorus are occasionally made at first-hand,
though sometimes through Ister. Gilbert's assumption that in the Theseus,
where the traces of Philochorus are most numerous, Plutarch drew wholly
— except cc. 1, 2 — from Ister's ^vvayuyi] (Philol. 33, pp. 46 ff.) has been
shown to be faulty by Wellmann (De Istro Callimachio, pp. 19 ff.). The
latter writer demonstrates that though Ister is abundantly used, it is equally
clear that Philochorus is now and then presented by Plutarch in a purer
form than we find him in Ister, i. e. in his original form (e. g. , according to
Wellmann, the narratives in Thes. cc. 14, 16, 19, perhaps 24, also 31, 35,36).
For other remarks on Philochorus as a source for Plutarch, see Harvard
Studies, III, pp. 26, 27, and notes.


short space above the account of the dog, — the matter that had
mainly attracted Aelian's attention — and, by a blunder natural
in rapid reading, Aelian (or his source) inferred that Aristotle
in the quotation, as well as Philochorus, had told the story of
the dog. Perhaps the mistake was made in Aelian's source,
which, however, perpetuated the name of Philochorus as author of
the extract ; but it could hardly have been made if Aristotle's name
had not occurred in Philochorus's account. We cannot, accord-
ingly, escape the inference that Philochorus quoted Aristotle by
name, and it is highly probable that in this passage from Plut.
Them. 10, we have essentially, from the beginning to the end, the
extract — quotations and all, here somewhat paraphrased and
expanded — which, under the name of Philochorus as author, and
greatly reduced in bulk, retaining, however, the name of Aristotle,
lay before Aelian's authority. 1

The most obvious objection that will be raised to our inference
will be of this nature: Plutarch, it will be said, may have been
quoting from Philochorus for a part of his narrative, but the refer-
ence to Aristotle was not in the original Philochorus passage ; it
was inserted by Plutarch. To this objection two answers should
be made: (i) Aelian's use of Aristotle's name remains unaccounted
for; (2) Plutarch was not in the habit of quoting the Respub. Ath.
at first-hand. 2 Indeed, one may incidentally remark, had Plu-

1 If our reasoning be sound, we have in this passage a new fragment for
Philochorus. It should be inserted in Miiller, F. H. G., I, just before Frag.
84, which forms its conclusion.

2 There is, of course, no a priori reason why Plutarch should not have
consulted the Respub. Ath. at first-hand, nor why he might not have had
the book in his library. The Berlin papyrus, the copy recently discovered,
the entry in the catalogue of an Egyptian library of the third century A. D.
(Ziindel, Rhein. Mus. 1866, p. 432, quoted by Rose, Aristot. Fragg., p. 260),
besides other indications, show that copies of this treatise were current
after the Christian era. But an examination of Plut. Solon and Pericles,
where the traces of Aristotle are most marked, convinces me that in the com-
position at least of these Lives Plutarch took his Aristotle at second-hand.
Between the Sol. and the Respub. Ath. there is a vast number of coinci-
dences at more than forty points ; there are, on the other hand, not a few
statements in Plutarch's narrative at variance with the distinct language of
unquoted parts of the Respub. Ath. Now those who maintain that Plutarch
read his Respub. Ath. at first-hand will explain the discrepancies on the
theory that Plutarch merely dipped in here and there, without carefully
reading the whole work, and picked out various statements which he then
wrought into the framework of his own narrative, without taking thought
whether this was quite consistent with other statements of his author : the


tarch been reading the original Respub. Ath. at the time he was
writing his Them, he could not have failed to introduce the highly-
characteristic anecdote of his hero, found only a few lines further
down, which tells of the intrigue of Themistocles whereby Ephi-
altes was brought face to face with the Areopagus.

The bearing of the inference that we have drawn, if a sound
inference from certain data, upon the question of the authorship
of the Respub. Ath. is very important. The testimony that it
affords on the point is the earliest yet adduced ; even Timaeus's
testimony as to the UoXireiai touches strictly only the Respub.
Locr. 1 If Philochorus, the careful historical student and critic,

discrepancies, thus, are due to his not having carefully read the original
work. This explanation, however, is unsatisfactory. The large number of
coincidences, and the nature of these coincidences, show that the work from
which Plutarch was quoting was very familiar to him, in framework and in
substance, down to the minutest details. Hence, since he makes assertions
that are contradictory of the Respub. Ath. in its original form, the work read
by him cannot have been the Respub. Ath. in its original form. It must
have been an abridgment, in which many important passages were omitted
— such as the account of the Draconian constitution, the story of Themi-
stocles, Ephialtes and the Areopagus, etc. — as well as numerous minor
remarks (see Harvard Studies, III, p. 25, note 3).

I do not deny that another hypothesis can be suggested in explanation of
the various phenomena, viz. that Plutarch's was the original work, not an
abridgment, while the newly discovered treatise is not the original one at all,
but rather a derived copy highly inflated and abounding with interpolations.
Unfortunately, however, for this theory, alike the literary form of the present
work, and the fact that passages at variance with Plutarch's statements are
quoted as from the Respub. Ath. in the Fragments, point to the conclusion,
first, that the present treatise (Brit. Mus. Papyrus, No. CXXXI) is before
us in its original form, and, secondly, that in its substance it was more
extensive than the book carefully studied by Plutarch.

If, then, in Sol. and Per., Plutarch took his Aristotle at second-hand, it is
highly probable that in the Thes. he did the same. The absence of this
part of the Respub. Ath. from the copy recently discovered, i. e. the account
of earliest Attic history, makes it impossible to speak definitively on this
point. One might, however, suggest that the information in Plut. Thes. 25
as to evTrarpiSai, -yeufiopoi, dr/fiiovpyol, said to be derived from Aristotle, is given
us in a form distinctly more secondary than that in Lex. Patm. Demosth.,
p. 152 (Sakkelion), Schol. Plat. Axioch., 371 D : Rose, Fragg. Nos. 384, 385.
See my remarks on evnaTpidai in Harvard Studies, III, p. 43, note.

1 Cf. Polyb. exc. XII 5, 6, 8 and 11 ; Athen. VI 264 C and 272 A (Rose,
A. P., pp. 496-498). Some of Timaeus's comments on Aristotle, which
Polybius controverts, recall not a few of the criticisms passed of late on the
Respub. Ath. by those who deny to it Aristotelian authorship, a form of
skepticism which it did not occur to Timaeus to adopt.


who lived and wrote at Athens in the generation immediately fol-
lowing Aristotle's, looked upon the ' 'h6r}vala>v TiokiTela as Aristotle's,
should we hesitate so to do ? Ought we not — if need be — to
discard our previous conception of Aristotle's literary character-
istics and mental habits for a larger and more catholic conception,
rather than accept the highly improbable alternative that Philo-

chorus was deceived ?

J. H. Wright.


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Online LibraryWilliam EverettDid Philochorus quote the Athenaion politeia as Aristotle's? → online text (page 1 of 1)