Mark MORFORD : The Roman Philosophers : From the Time of Cato the Censor to the Death of Marcus Aurelius

Publication Information : Book Title : The Roman Philosophers : From the Time of Cato the Censor to the Death of Marcus Aurelius. Contributors : Mark Morford – author. Publisher : Routledge. Place of Publication : London. Publication Year : 2002.


Since the eighteenth century the Roman philosophers have been underestimated in the English-speaking world, whose academic opinion-makers have generally included them in Swift’s “Gleanings of Philosophy…the Lumber of the Schools”. The group of Oxford scholars led by Miriam Griffin and Jonathan Barnes, who published the two volumes of Philosophia Togata in 1989 and 1997, were in part atoning for the former indifference of the Oxford school of Litterae Humaniores towards philosophers of the nineteen centuries between Aristotle and Descartes. In the years after World War II, lectures were given on Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, but the Hellenistic schools of philosophy were ignored, as were the philosophical works of Cicero and Seneca, to say nothing of later philosophers in the Roman world. Lucretius was read as a Latin text rather than as a thinker, and from Augustine only the chapters on Time in the eleventh book of the Confessions were thought to be worth discussing. Things were no doubt less bleak at Cambridge and in other universities in France, the United States and Germany, where the record of Mommsen’s contempt for Cicero most certainly needed to be erased.

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