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The Colorless History of Pseudo-Aristotle’s De coloribus

In: Early Science and Medicine
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  • 1 Katholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
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Abstract

This article examines the medieval reception history of De coloribus. This pseudo-Aristotelian treatise on colors was translated from Greek into Latin in the thirteenth century, but the question of its success and use by contemporary scholars has not yet received any attention. After an examination of its medieval commentary tradition, the marginal glosses, and the first attestations, I conclude that De coloribus was scarcely used in the medieval Latin West, although the translation survived in a significant number of manuscripts. In the second part of the article, I look into some possible explanations for this limited reception history. One of the main factors is the availability of several alternative discussions on color in the Aristotelian corpus as well as in the non-Aristotelian scientific literature.

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