117 - Born Again: Latin Platonism

Posted on 24 February 2013

Apuleius, Victorinus, Martianus Capella, Macrobius and Calcidius present and interpret Platonic teachings for readers of Latin.

Further Reading

• Calcidius, On Plato’s Timaeus, ed. and trans. J. Magee (Cambridge MA: 2016).

• J. den Boeft, Calcidius on Fate (Leiden: 1970).

• S. Gersh, Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism: the Latin Tradition, 2 vols (Notre Dame: 1986).

• S. Gersh, “The Medieval Legacy from Ancient Platonism,” in The Platonic
Tradition in the Middle Ages
, ed. S. Gersh and M.J.F.M. Hoenen (Berlin:
2002), 3-30.

• P. Hadot, Porphyre et Victorinus (Paris: 1968).

• C. Hoenig, Plato's Timaeus and the Latin Tradition (Cambridge: 2018).

• Macrobius, Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, trans. W.H. Stahl (New York: 1953).

• D. Shanzer, A Philosophical and Literary Commentary on Martianus
Capella’s “De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii”
(Berkeley: 1986).

• W.H. Stahl, R. Johnson and E.L. Burge, Martianus Capella and the Seven Liberal Arts, 2 vols (New York: 1971, 1977) [volume 2 has a translation of the Marriage]

• J.C.M. van Winden, Calcidius on Matter (Leiden: 1959).


Rhys W. Roark 24 February 2013


So, which section of HoPwG is going to be devoted to the contemplation of candy bars?

Contemplating a Milky Way (dark chocolate)



Padmadipa 5 March 2013

Hi Peter,

Glad to see that Apuleius got a mention. A number of the worlds great thinkers have explored philosophy through the medium of literature (Plato's dialogues are perhaps the best known example). But Apuleius must take first prize in using bawdy comedy as a medium to explore philosophical and spiritual truths! I feel far more attention should be given to his novel than is done at the moment, as I feel it has more secrets to reveal! (I met my wife on a retreat given over to studying the Myth of Cupid and Psyche that forms the centre piece of the book - so perhaps I am a little biased here!)

Looking forward to the next session of podcasts, many thanks for all your hard work,


Hi there,

You and your wife are like Paolo and Francesca from Dante's Inferno! But I seem to remember it was Dido and Aeneas that got to them. Speaking of which Apuleius is only one of many "literary" authors who will make an appearance, for instance when I get that far I will definitely give Dante himself an episode.



Dylan 12 March 2022

In reply to by Peter Adamson

"One day, to pass the time away, we read of Lancelot; how love had overcome him. We we're alone, and we suspected nothing."

This is one of my favorite passages in all of literature. The fact that Dante wrote the most romantic thing I have ever read, but thought it was apparently grounds for being condemned to hell for all eternity does give me some complicated feelings about the man. 

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