A History of Ancient Philosophy: From the Beginnings to Augustine

A History of Ancient Philosophy: From the Beginnings to Augustine

A History of Ancient Philosophy: From the Beginnings to Augustine

A History of Ancient Philosophy: From the Beginnings to Augustine


Translated by Henrik Rosenmeier, A History of Ancient Philosophy charts the origins and development of ancient philosophical thought. For easy reference, the book is divided chronologically into six main parts. The sections are further divided into philosophers and philosophical movements:*Pre-Socratic Philosophy, including mythology, the Pythagoreans and Parmenides*The Great Century of Athens, including the Sophists and Socrates*Plato, including The Republic, The Symposium and The Timaeus*Aristotle, including The Physics, The Metaphysics and The Poetics*Hellenistic Philosophy, including the Sceptics, the Stoics, the Epicureans and Cicero*Late Antiquity, including Neoplatonism, Origen and St Augustine.This comprehensive and meticulously documented book is structured to make ancient philosophical thought and ancient thinkers accessible. It contains:*full references to primary sources*detailed interpretations of key philosophical passages, including surveys of previous philosophical readings*an overview of the development of ancient philosophical thought*discussions of the relationships between philosophers and their ideas*analyses of key philosophical concepts and ideologies including ontology, epistemology, logic, semantics, moral and political philosophy, theology and aesthetics*explanations of Greek philosophical terminology.


The present work spans the history of ancient philosophy from the earliest Greek thinkers to Augustine. It was first published in Danish in 1991, and the English edition does not differ in any essential respect from the original version.

The book addresses itself to readers who are principally interested in surveying the first millennium of Western thought as well as to those chiefly seeking direct access to the primary sources. To meet the requirements of the latter a detailed reference apparatus is integrated in the text.

The aim has been to link the respective parts of the book in such a manner that an overall picture emerges in which there is emphasis on the many interrelationships between different trends. The underlying supposition, that 'ancient thought' constitutes a coherent whole, albeit one with many variations, does of course have its limitations; it represents but one writer's views and presuppositions.

The book was inspired in equal measure by Anglo-Saxon and continental scholarship. In addition, I have had the benefit of discussions with Danish colleagues and friends over many years. I beg them all to accept my sincere thanks.

With admirable patience and engagement Henrik Rosenmeier, the translator, brought his expertise and stylistic sensibility to bear on the work. The book was a difficult one to translate, and without Dr Rosenmeier's great contribution it is unlikely that the plans for translation could have been realized. We worked in close collaboration-one that I take pleasure in remembering. Johnny Christensen, Troels Engberg-Pedersen, and Fritz Saaby Pedersen most kindly read individual sections, mainly with an eye to terminology. Major portions of the book were reviewed by Eric Jacobsen from a stylistic and linguistic viewpoint. The invaluable assistance of all these persons is gratefully acknowledged.

The Danish edition was published by Nyt Nordisk Forlag Arnold Busck, and I am pleased to acknowledge my indebtedness to Søren Hansen for his unflagging support.

Special thanks are extended to Malcolm Schofield of Cambridge University who recommended the book to Routledge for publication of the English edition.

I am also indebted to Routledge for undertaking to publish this book, to Richard Stoneman, and to the two anonymous readers who provided useful comments on several chapters. Of course I alone remain responsible for any errors and shortcomings.

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