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Les Solutiones ad Chosroem de Priscien de Lydie et les transferts de savoirs pendant l’Antiquité tardive et le Moyen Âge

Abstract : AD 531 532: The Neoplatonic philosopher Priscian of Lydia was exiled to the Sassanid Court of Khosrow I, where he undertook the project of writing the Answers to King Chosroes, a work considered exceptional due to its contents, form, and history. This ten-point introduction to natural philosophy is prefaced by a bibliography organized into three groups of authorities. It is an outstanding testimony to the research methods of late Athenian Neoplatonism: its use of the now-lost epitomai shows the diversity, flexibility, and fragility of the ancient texts that made possible the transfer of philosophical ideas between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The Latin translation that survived could have been based on an adaptation, for the Greek public, of the ten Answers that Priscian wrote down after a meeting in Ctesiphon. Iranian frames determine the Greek explanations: Priscian adapted his speech to the Iranian context and expressed his fear of barbarization, showing his willingness to put a quick end to his exile. The king’s questions confirm his own theological education and interest in philosophy. The Answers can be read as a confrontation between Neoplatonism and Mazdean cosmogony; the structure, determined by Khosrow’s questions, follows the pattern of Iranian cosmology, but the content of the answers given by Priscian remains entirely Greek. By the mid-ninth century, John Scotus Eriugena’s literal Latin translation had a similar aim: teaching Greek and Neoplatonic physics to those seeking an initiation to Greek philosophy. By now, the Christians were interested in the works of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, identified with Saint Denys of Paris. Indeed, previously unnoticed echoes of Priscian’s Answers are to be found in Erigena’s glosses to Martianus Capella’s artes liberales, another pagan work used by Erigena in preparation for his translation of the Corpus Areopagiticum. Eventually, the confusion of the text with the treaties of Saint Augustine and Priscian the grammarian made possible the preservation of the text in the Christian West.
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Contributor : Anca Dan <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 4:58:39 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 11:04:03 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01523692, version 1



Anca Dan. Les Solutiones ad Chosroem de Priscien de Lydie et les transferts de savoirs pendant l’Antiquité tardive et le Moyen Âge. Nathalie Bouloux; Anca Dan; Georges Tolias. Orbis disciplinae. Hommages en l’honneur de Patrick Gautier Dalché, Brepols, pp.557-607, 2017, 9782503567051. ⟨halshs-01523692⟩



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