Commentary on the Dream of Scipio by Macrobius (Records of by Macrobius, William Harris Stahl

By Macrobius, William Harris Stahl


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8 1* s > i JC JC o. g« a, X i j j li J J I •n P* OU #? ii. ) 11. iii. 6-10 Porphyry Peri psyches Porphyry Peri psyches Timaeus 36 Introduction demonstrate that Porphyry held the same key position in the works of many other compilers of the fifth and sixth centuries, his position with regard to Macrobius becomes, it would seem, unassailable. VII In my opinion it would be justifiable to reduce the importance of Plotinus still further. xiii. 2 Other instances of misrepresentation of sources and, in the first case, of complete disregard for chronology may be pointed out.

Any sort of resemblances of doctrine were regarded as certain proof of direct borrowing. At times they were so intent upon gleaning further references to substantiate a preconceived theory that they lost any perspicacity that they might have had. The single-source theory adhered to by some of the scholars mentioned above has been successfully disposed of by Mras, Henry, and Courcelle, for reasons which we shall take up in a moment. Lastly, it is hard to understand why some scholars felt the need of a Latin intermediary, for Macrobius' two longer works and the abstract of his comparative study of Greek and Latin verbs demonstrate that he was almost as familiar with the Greek language and literature as he was with Latin.

The second quotation, at the beginning of the thirteenth chapter, is Cicero** translation of an immortal passage from Plato's Phacdrus. Cicero was so fond of this passage that he used it again in his Tusculan Disputations. In fact it was always cherished by Platonists as the crux of their aspirations. Chalcidius included his translation of it in his Commentary on Plato's Timacus. Macrobius uses it now as the basis of a defense of Plato against the attacks of Aristotelians. The thirteenth chapter consists mainly of syllogisms which Platonists set up to demonstrate that the soul is self-moved and immortal.

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