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Priscian of Lydia, Commentator on the de Anima in the Tradition of Iamblichus

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image of Mnemosyne

It has been argued that Priscian of Lydia (around 530), to whom the manuscripts ascribe only two short treatises, is the author of an extended commentary on the De anima, which is transmitted under the name of Simplicius. Our analysis confirms this: Priscian's Metaphrase of Theophrastus' Physics is the text which the commentator mentions as his own work. Consequently, its author, Priscian, also wrote the De anima commentary. The parallels between both texts show that the commentator sometimes does not quote Iamblichus directly, but borrowed Iamblichean formulations from the Metaphrase. As for the dating of his works, a comparison with Damascius' writings makes it probable that his On principles is a terminus post quem for the De anima commentary and a terminus ante quem for the Metaphrase. It is likely that both works were composed before 529.


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