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date: 25 February 2024


, Neoplatonist, 6th cent. ce


, Neoplatonist, 6th cent. ce
  • Richard Sorabji


Simplicius, Neoplatonist (See neoplatonism) and one of seven philosophers who left Athens for *Ctesiphon after *Justinian closed the Athenian Neoplatonist school in 529. He probably wrote all his commentaries after 532, when it was safe for the philosophers to leave Ctesiphon. The suggestion is no longer widely accepted that he settled at Harrn (ancient *Charrae) in present-day Turkey. Simplicius was taught by Ammonius son of Hermias (c.440520) in Alexandria and by Damascius, head of the Athenian school. He wrote commentaries, all extant, on Aristotle's De caelo, Physics, and Categories (in that order), and on Epictetus' Manual, among other works. A commentary on Aristotle's De anima is of disputed authorship. His are the fullest Aristotle commentaries, recording debates on Aristotle from the preceding 850 years, and embedding many fragments from the entire millennium. At the same time, Simplicius gave his own views on many topics, including place, time, and matter. His commentaries express the revulsion of a devout Neoplatonist for Christianity and for its arch philosophical defender, *Philoponus.


  • Philosophy

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