Ancient Readings of Plato’s Phaedo


Plato’s Phaedo has never failed to attract the attention of philosophers and scholars. Yet the history of its reception in Antiquity has been little studied. The present volume therefore proposes to examine not only the Platonic exegetical tradition surrounding this dialogue, which culminates in the commentaries of Damascius and Olympiodorus, but also its place in the reflections of the rival Peripatetic, Stoic, and Sceptical schools.
This volume thus aims to shed light on the surviving commentaries and their sources, as well as on less familiar aspects of the history of the Phaedo’s ancient reception. By doing so, it may help to clarify what ancient interpreters of Plato can and cannot offer their contemporary counterparts.


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Sylvain Delcomminette, PhD, is Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He has written monographs on Plato’s Statesman (Brussels, 2000) and Philebus (Leiden, 2006) and is currently working on the topic of necessity in Aristotle.

Pieter d’Hoine, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Ancient Philosophy and Intellectual History at the De Wulf – Mansion Centre for Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy (KU Leuven). His main area of research is later Neoplatonic metaphysics.

Marc-Antoine Gavray, PhD, is Research Associate of the National Fund for Scientific Research (Belgium). He teaches Ancient Philosophy at the Université de Liège. He works on the Sophists, on Plato and on late Neoplatonism (mainly Damascius and Simplicius).

Contributors are: Francesca Alesse, Han Baltussen, Riccardo Chiaradonna, Lorenzo Corti, Sylvain Delcomminette, Bram Demulder, Marc-Antoine Gavray, Sebastian Gertz, Pieter d’Hoine, Alain Lernould, Geert Roskam, Harold Tarrant, Franco Trabattoni, and Gerd Van Riel.


"This volume is not meant to be, nor could it be, given the limited sources, a definitive history of the reception of Plato’s Phaedo. Yet the variety of approaches of the contributing authors, some writing in close focus others with a broader palette, has succeeded in producing important general conclusions that are always based on sound and detailed evidence. The volume’s usefulness is also enhanced by an extensive bibliography and three comprehensive indices: locorum, rerum and nominum." -ANDREW SMITH, University College Dublin, Journal of Hellenic Studies 137 (2017) 275-76.



List of Contributors
Sylvain Delcomminette, Pieter d’Hoine and Marc-Antoine Gavray

Aristote et le Phédon
Sylvain Delcomminette
Strato of Lampsacus as a Reader of Plato’s Phaedo: His Critique of the Soul’s Immortality
Han Baltussen
Le Phédon dans le Stoïcisme hellénistique et post-hellénistique
Francesca Alesse
Sextus, the Number Two and the Phaedo
Lorenzo Corti
Plutarch’s Reception of Plato’s Phaedo
Geert Roskam
The Phaedo in Numenian Allegorical Interpretation
Harold Tarrant
Plotin lecteur du Phédon: l’âme et la vie en iv 7 [2] 11
Riccardo Chiaradonna
Syrianus and the Phaedo
Pieter d’Hoine
Damascius, Olympiodore et Proclus sur les attributs «divin» (θεῖον) et «intelligible» (νοητόν) en Phédon 80a10–b1 dans l’argument dit «de la similitude»
Alain Lernould
From ‘Immortal’ to ‘Imperishable’: Damascius on the Final Argument in Plato’s Phaedo
Sebastian Gertz
La théorie de l’âme-harmonie chez les commentateurs anciens
Franco Trabattoni
«Nombreux sont les porteurs de thyrse, mais rares les Bacchants». Olympiodore et Damascius sur le Phédon
Bram Demulder et Gerd Van Riel
Au terme d’une tradition: Simplicius, lecteur du Phédon
Marc-Antoine Gavray

Index locorum
Index nominum
Index rerum


Everyone interested in ancient philosophy, the history of Platonism, the ancient commentary tradition, and the development of philosophical exegesis.