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In: "My Rebellious and Imperfect Eye"

This paper examines Procopius’ descriptions of Roman and Persian strategies to control Dara in 530 and Roman and Gothic strategies to control Rome in 537–38 by reconciling texts with the landscapes of the areas concerned, drawing on satellite imagery, cartography and field visits. The traditional approach to this history has been to use written sources only, but, as will be shown, these are subject to multiple interpretations. Study of the landscape provides a different, complementary perspective, which is in some ways more reliable, as the physical features have not changed too significantly over the centuries, and modern technology has opened up new ways of reading them. These two case studies strongly suggest that Procopius is reliable when he is interpreted carefully, and this has implications for studies of the many other events for which he is the main source.

In: Late Antique Archaeology

Abstract

Boethius' treatise De Hypotheticis Syllogismis provided twelfth-century philosophers with an introduction to the logic of conditional and disjunctive sentences but this work is the only part of the logica vetus which is no longer studied in the twelfth century. In this paper I investigate why interest in Boethius acount of hypothetical syllogisms fell off so quickly. I argue that Boethius' account of compound sentences is not an account of propositions and once a proper notion of propositionality is available the argument forms accepted by Boethius are seen to be incoherent. It was Peter Abaelard who first understood the nature of propositionality and propositional connectives and used this to criticise Boethius' claims in De Hypothetics Syllogismis. In place Boethius' confusion Abaelard offered a simple and correct account of the hypothetical syllogism.

In: Vivarium
In: Phronesis
In: Logic and Language in the Middle Ages

Abstract

A study of the reception of Aristotle’s Prior Analytics in the first half of the twelfth century. It is shown that Peter Abaelard was perhaps acquainted with as much as the first seven chapters of Book I of the Prior Analytics but with no more. The appearance at the beginning of the twelfth century of a short list of dialectical loci which has puzzled earlier commentators is explained by noting that this list formalises the classification of extensional relations between general terms and that this classification had already be put forward by Boethius in his de Syllogismo Categorico and Introductio ad Syllogismos Categoricas. It is pointed out the kind of text referred to as an ‘Introductio’ at the beginning of the twelfth-century follows very closely the structure of Boethius own Introductio and adds to it material drawn from his accounts of loci and the conditional propositions. It is argued that the reception of the Prior Analytics has to be understood against the background of this well developed tradition of treating together syllogisms, loci, and conditional propostions. Referring to a challenge to the formal validity of Darapti in the Ars Meliduna the paper concludes by illustrating that the theory of the syllogism presented in Prior Analytics was still controversial in the middle of the twelfth-century.

In: Vivarium

Abstract

An examination the development of Peter Abaelard’s views on translation and figurative meaning. Mediaeval philosophers curiously do not connect the theory of translation implied by Aristotelian semantics with the multiplicity of tongues consequent upon the fall of Babel and do not seem to have much to offer to help in solving the problems of scriptural interpretation noted by Augustine. Indeed, on the Aristotelian account of meaning such problems do not arise. This paper shows that Abaelard is like others in this respect in not in general finding translation problematic. Two particular cases, oppositio in adiecto and accidental predication, however, present problems for him and the paper examines and tries to explain the differences between the account given in the Dialectica and that given in the Logica ‘Ingredientibus’.

In: Vivarium