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Abstract | Between Seriousness and Play Imperial Platonic Readings of the Aristotelian Natural Problems (Plutarch, Taurus, Apuleius)

The aim of this contribution is to examine how the Natural Problems, attributed to Aristotle (but only partially authentic), were received in the first centuries of the Imperial period, specifically in Platonist milieus. I will zoom in on three distinguished Platonic readers: viz. Plutarch of Chaeronea, L. Calvenus Taurus, and Apuleius of Madauros. Which reading contexts can we distinguish in the literature and what do we learn about the readers’ response to what was read? Answering questions like these will contribute to our better understanding of how the Aristotelian genre of natural problems was revived and gained in popularity beyond the confines of the Lyceum, in an era that was pivotal to the transmission of Aristotelianism to many generations to come.

About Michiel Meeusen

Michiel Meeusen (PhD KU Leuven) specializes in ancient science, medicine and the literature and culture of the Greco-Roman Empire. Meeusen is the author of Plutarch’s Science of Natural Problems. A Study with Commentary on Quaestiones Naturales, published in the Plutarchea Hypomnemata series of Leuven University Press (2017). He also collaborated on the edition of Plutarch’s Quaestiones Naturales for the Collection des universités de France, Série grecque (Budé). As a postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), Meeusen published on the broader genre of natural-medical problem literature after the model of the Aristotelian Natural Problems (for recent publications, see his page on academia.edu). He is currently working, as a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Associate at King's College London, on a project about the circulation of the Problems in the Greco-Roman Empire. His research at the CHS also centers on this topic.

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