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Les Parva naturalia d’Aristote

 | 
Pierre-Marie Morel
, 
Christophe Grellard

Stages in the reception of Aristotle’s works on sleep and dreams in Hellenistic and Imperial philosophical and medical thought

Philip J. Van der Eijk et Maithe Hulskamp

Note de l’auteur

Maithe Hulskamp is primarily responsible for section 7, Philip J. Van der Eijk for the rest. M. Hulskamp wishes to acknowledge the comments of Teun Tieleman on the oral presentation of her part during a conference of the Dutch Classics Graduate School OIKOS in Leyde, May 2007; P.J. Van der Eijk wishes to thank those present at the conference on the reception of Aristotle’s Parva naturalia in Paris in November 2005 for their comments, in particular the organiser and editor Pierre-Marie Morel; he also wishes to acknowledge the comments made on an earlier version of section 2 presented at a conference in Louvain (October 2002) devoted to the reception of the Problemata. We both wish to acknowledge the financial support of our research by the Wellcome Trust.

Texte intégral

1. INTRODUCTION: ANCIENT PERCEPTIONS OF THE STATUS AND INTERNAL COHERENCE OF THE PARVA NATURALIA

  • 2 It is not always easy to distinguish ‘reception’ from ‘influence’. In this paper, we will be conce (...)

1The reception2 of Aristotle’s Pam. nat. raises some intriguing issues that are illuminating for the ambivalent status of this series of texts and the topics they discuss. That ambivalence concerns their systematic position in Aristotle’s corpus as a whole, the ‘discipline’ or field of enquiry to which they belong and their corresponding methodology, as well as the question of the unity and coherence of the writings collected under this name.

  • 3 First attested in Aegidius Romanus (13th century); see W.D. Ross, Aristotle. Parva naturalia, Oxfo (...)
  • 4 See P.J. Van der Eijk, Aristoteles. De insomniis. De divinatione per somnum, Berlin, Akademie Verl (...)
  • 5 Arist., De an. 433b 19-21; De sens. 436a8; De part. an. 643a35-6.
  • 6 See the pertinent discussion in P.-M. Morel, De la matière à l’action. Aristote et le problème du (...)

2The title Parva naturalia itself is, of course, already a product of the – in this case medieval3 – reception of these works, and an influential one at that, for the term has continued to be used in the study of Aristotle’s writings until the present day. Not that it is an unsuitable title, for there is little doubt that Aristotle himself regarded these treatises as a continuous series of related investigations following on from the De an. and, like the De an., as part of “the theoretical study of nature” (phusikê philosophia).4 But even if Aristotle’s own way of referring to the works we know as the Parv. nat. as a discussion of “things common to soul and body” (koina tou sômatos kai tês psukhês) or of “the most important activities and experiences” that all living beings have in common (praxeis kai pathê megista)5 gives us some idea of the rationale of what is included, it does not provide a satisfactory answer as to what is excluded and on what grounds. As is well-known, there are questions about the relationship of the De mot. an. to the Parv. nat., with a number of manuscripts having De mot. an. follow after De div.; and the fact that, in the ‘prooemium” to the Parv. nat. at the beginning of De sens. (436a9-10), reference is made to the topics of “desire, spirit, pleasure and pain” would also support placing De mot. an. in the context of the Parv. nat.6 The fact that De mot. an. is explicitly concerned with animals but not with plants – whereas plants do form part of the Parv. nat. “agenda” – is not in itself a good reason to exclude it, since other treatises in the Parv. nat. are also restricted to animals, the faculties they are concerned with (memory, sleep, dreams) being tied to sensation – and, in the case of recollection, even to humans only.

  • 7 Nutrition (and growth) is, of course, considered in Somn. and Juv., although Aristotle sometimes a (...)
  • 8 See De gen.an. 781a21; 786b25; 788bl.

3Similarly, one may wonder why other “major activities and experiences” are not explicitly7 included in the Parv. nat. as we have them: according to the list of pathê kai praxeis in De part. an. 645b33-35, these also comprise growth (auxêsis), generation (genesis), sexual activity (okheia) and progression (poreia) – and these activities, too, are “common to soul and body” since they involve the nutritive (and, in the case of progression, the sensitive) soul. These activities are of course discussed elsewhere, in De Gen. an. and De inc. an., but these writings are, as said, explicitly zoological and do not consider plants. We do not know why Aristotle chose to arrange his discussions of these functions in the way he did, except that, of course, plants do not progress and their way of reproducing themselves clearly struck Aristotle as so different from animals that he reserved it for separate treatment (cf. De gen. an. 731a24-b8). At any rate the close relationship between De gen. an. and the Parv. nat. is clearly indicated by references in the former to the latter.8

  • 9 See P. Moraux, Les listes anciennes des ouvrages d’Aristote, Louvain, Peeters, 1951, p. 297: only (...)

4How were questions like these answered in antiquity? We do not have much evidence, the less so because the treatises of the Parv. nat. are absent from most extant ancient catalogues of Aristotle’s works.9 Yet Aristotle-commentators of the Imperial period provide some clues as to perceptions of the status and the unity’, or at any rate the coherence, of the treatises concerned. Thus Alexander of Aphrodisias says at the beginning of his commentary on the De sensu:

  • 10 In Arist. Sens. 6, 16-20 (CAG), tr. A. Towey, Alexander of Aphrodisias. On Aristotle On Sense Perc (...)

As for the four pairs which he has mentioned at the beginning, books have come down to us belonging to the treatment of nature in which he dealt with these, I mean those on waking and sleep, on youth and old age, on respiration and on life and death. The [book] on health and disease, if it was written, has not been preserved.10

  • 11 Cf. also the passage slightly earlier in Alexander’s introduction to his commentary on Sens. in th (...)

5This confirms both the perception of these works as part of the study of nature (en tei pragmateiai tei phusikei) and as related treatises; the absence of a reference to De mem. and De long. here is probably due to the fact that they are not announced in Aristotle’s text, and De ins. and De div. are probably subsumed under the De som.11

6Furthermore, Philoponus in his Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics says that “the [works] on sleep and waking, on life and death and related topics (ta paraplêsia autois) pertain to the study of animals, as does the work on the soul” (CAG p. 2, 10-12), while in his Commentary on Aristotle’s Meteorologica he lists De gen. an., De part. an., De an. and De sens. as works concerned with animals, whereas De mem. and De div. are said to be “special and separate (idia de kai kekhôrismenê) because they are concerned with humans only” (CAG p. 9, 16). A third commentator, Ps.Simplicius (perhaps Priscian), in his Commentary on Aristotle's On the Soul, when discussing De an. 432b 11-12 refers to “the [works] on memory and sleep and the [work] on respiration and exhalation”, where Aristotle is said to have given an appropriate definition of these ‘movements’, which are vital (zôtika) – just like nutrition, growth and reproduction – yet do not occur in plants, as Aristotle is said to have made clear for sleep “elsewhere” (en allots) (CAG p. 291, 19-31). In the Commentary on Aristotle’s On the Heavens, Simplicius refers to “the discussion on the progression of animals and that on memory and waking” (CAG p. 3, 7), again linking a zoological work with two of the Parv. nat. Finally, Themistius in his Paraphrase of Aristotle’s On the Soul refers to a sequence of discussions by Aristotle “on growth and waning, generation and nutrition, respiration and exhalation” (CAG p. 117, 25-6). All these references testify to perceptions of a close connection between at least some of the works constituting the Parv. nat. (as we have them), with the possibility that On Sleep and Waking is a group title for what we know as De som., De ins. and De div., and also in some cases a close connection with some of the zoological writings.

  • 12 The surviving commentary on De gen. an. attributed to Philoponus is believed by P. Wendland (in th (...)

7However, the Parv. nat. as a group were not commented upon in the Imperial period, at least not that we know of. Apart from Alexander s commentary on the De sensu just mentioned, we have to wait until the Byzantine era with the commentary by Michael of Ephesus (1050-1129), commissioned under the patronage of Anna Comnena. Michael also produced commentaries on De mot. an. and De inc. an. and perhaps also De gen. an.,12 suggesting that these works, too, had been left without commentary by earlier exegetes. By contrast, the De an. received extensive commentary activity early on, from Peripatetics such as Alexander and Themistius and from Neoplatonists such as Iamblichus, Proclus, Plutarch, Philoponus, (Pseudo-)Simplicius and Stephanus of Alexandria. In this connection it is worth quoting Henry Blumenthal:

  • 13 H.J. Blumenthal , Aristotle and Neoplatonism in Late Antiquity. Londres, Duckworth, 1996, p. 129.

The De anima commentaries are, on the whole, sparing with references to the Parva naturalia, and so concentrate on what is said or implied about the common sense, which they find behind the references to common sensibles in the De anima. It looks rather as if the fifth and sixth-century commentators simply regarded the Parva naturalia as part of those biological and zoological works to which they paid little attention. These works, like the majority of the ethical and political writings, received no formal exposition until Anna Comnena’s attempt, in the twelfth century, to organise a filling of the gaps left when the great spate of commentary-writing of the early Byzantine period came to an end.13

  • 14 94, 7-100, 17 (CAG), on which see T.L. Tieleman, “The hunt for Galen’s shadow: Alexander of Aphrod (...)
  • 15 It has been suggested that the reference en allots (“elsewhere”) in Alexander’s De Anima p. 69, 20 (...)

8Why these commentators did not devote to the whole of the Parv. nat. a ‘formal exposition of this kind is, indeed, perhaps more of a puzzle in the case of Alexander, who was an energetic defender of Aristotle’s cardiocentric theory, than for the later Neoplatonic commentators, who had adopted the encephalocentric position of Plato’s Timaeus that had been backed up by the empirical findings of the Alexandrian physicians Herophilus and Erasistratus and subsequently by Galen (most prominently in his Deplacitis Hippocratis et Platonis and his De usu partium). Indeed Alexander, in his criticism of the encephalocentric position in the final pages of his own De Anima, uses arguments very similar to those used by Aristotle in chapters 2-4 of the De iuventute on the central position of the heart.14 It is uncertain whether Alexander commented on the other treatises, but there is nothing in his commentary on De sens. to suggest that he did; and if he did not, it remains a bit of a mystery why not.15

  • 16 See R.W. Sharples, “Dicaearchus on the soul and on divination”, in W.W. Fortenbaugh, E. Schütrumpf(...)
  • 17 See the overview by H.J. Blumenthal, op. cit., n. 13. For Plotinus’selective reception of Aristotl (...)

9That does not, of course, mean that ancient commentators simply ignored the works we now know as forming the Parva naturalia, and we shall consider some of their references to these writings further down. But the overall impression one gets is that these texts were considered less central to what might be called the philosophical curriculum of the Imperial period, and also that, even when it comes to more central’topics such as the common sense and phantasia, the specific, hylomorphic way in which these had been treated by Aristotle was considered of less immediate relevance.16 The philosophy of the soul in late antiquity was, after all, primarily concerned with nous, dianoia and with phantasia and aisthêsis only in so far as these contributed to knowledge and intellectual activity, but much less with the more technical operations of the sensitive and nutritive soul.17 One way to accommodate notions like phantasia, memory and divination was, therefore, by upgrading them and giving them a much higher cognitive status than they had enjoyed in Aristotle. Indeed, whereas the Parva naturalia are rather scarce when it comes to spelling out the epistemological implications of the activities they discuss, later Greek philosophy was primarily interested in their cognitive and epistemic value. As a consequence, the psychological functions of phantasia, the common sense, memory and even divination (which became linked to the rational part of the soul) were, as it were, ‘re-located’ and considered from an epistemological rather than psychophysiological point of view; and they were re-interpreted within a Platonic, dualistic conception of the relationship between body and soul which gave room, for instance, to the theory that the soul, during sleep, is set free from the body and put in a position to contemplate a higher spiritual reality – a conception for which the Parv. nat. offer very little support.

  • 18 J. Lennox, “The disappearance of Aristotle’s biology: a Hellenistic mystery”, in T.D. Barnes ed., (...)
  • 19 A note of caution should be sounded here, for our knowledge of Hellenistic biology is severely ham (...)

10To understand this development better, we need to take into account the widening division between philosophy and the special sciences in later antiquity. Already in the Hellenistic period a specialisation of sciences can be perceived, with differentiations into medicine, botany, pharmacology, optics, mechanics, astronomy, and mathematics, leading ultimately to the elaborate hierarchies of the sciences one finds in the Imperial period. Alongside this development, and more specifically relevant to what we would call the life sciences, the gradual disappearance of what James Lennox has referred to as Aristotle’s unifying “biological research programme”, may have played a role.18 For while, in Aristotle, all these special sciences still had their proper place under the all-embracing umbrella of philosophia, with the study of living beings (to which the Parv. nat. would belong) firmly embedded within an overall theoretical, explanatory and predominantly teleological framework, it seems that this conceptual architecture was gradually lost and that biological research became more and more fragmented and ‘mechanistic’ in orientation. According to this line of thought, the Parv. nat. would indeed, as Blumenthal suggests, have had a similar fate to that of the zoological works Hist. an., De part. an. and De gen. an. and moved to the margins of philosophical enquiry and teaching.19

  • 20 Many of these parallels have been noted by commentators. For the Problemata see H. Flashar, Aristo (...)
  • 21 See S. Kapetanaki, R.W. Sharples, Pseudo-Aristoteles (Pseudo-Alexander), Supplementa Problematorum (...)
  • 22 It has been argued that usage of Aristotle’s views on sleep and dreams in physiological contexts c (...)

11By contrast, the reception of Aristotle’s Parv. nat. in areas such as (human) physiology and medicine seems to have been more straightforward and less subject to changes in disciplinary agendas. In the early Peripatetic school, as witnessed by the Pseudo-Aristotelian Problemata, the treatise On Breath and the physiological writings of Theophrastus and Strato, many parallels with the Parv. nat. can be found even if Aristotle’s works are not explicitly mentioned;20 and similar parallels can be found in the Quaestiones and the Problemata attributed to Alexander of Aphrodisias.21 It is probably safe to say that, within this Peripatetic tradition, Aristotle’s Parv. nat. – alongside the zoological works – continued to be studied and used; there is also some evidence that writers outside the Peripatetic school took on board some of Aristotle’s views as expressed in the Parv. nat.22 However, here, too, as we shall see below, the need for ‘updating’ became stronger: Aristotle’s cardiocentrism was challenged by developments in Alexandrian anatomy, and Peripatetic defenders of his physiology and theory of reproduction had a hard time against the polemical fireworks of Galen.

  • 23 Cf. the list of echoes of Aristotle’s theory of sleep and dreams in P.J. Van der Eijk, op. cit., n (...)

12In this contribution, only a small part of this intriguing history can be examined. In what follows, we will be considering a select number of episodes in the reception of Aristotle’s theory of sleep and dreams that illustrate the general observations made above.23

2. PROBLEMATA 30.14 ON DREAMS, DREAMLESSNESS AND THOUGHTS IN SLEEP

  • 24 The Problemata in their present form are probably to be regarded as post-Aristotelian, even though (...)
  • 25 See P.J. Van der Eijk, Medicine and Philosophy in Classical Antiquity, Cambridge, Cambridge Univer (...)
  • 26 This is a continuation of a tendency found in Aristotle as well; see e.g. Physics 247b 1 ff., disc (...)

13The fragmentary state of preservation of most literature from the Hellenistic age makes it very difficult, if not hazardous, to trace the early history of the reception of Aristotle’s ideas on sleep and dreams. Srill, it seems safe to say that chronologically the first extant example of reception of Aristotle’s theory of sleep and dreams can be found in the Problemata physica.24 One striking aspect of the Problemata is that they present a continuation of Aristotle’s interest – as reflected in the zoological works and in the Parv. nat. – in the physical, corporeal embedding of mental processes such as thinking, perceiving, remembering, sleeping and dreaming. In this respect, the Problemata represent an early Peripatetic way of thinking which has sometimes been labelled as ‘materialist’, yet in many respects stays very close to Aristotle’s own remarks on the corporeal aspects of ‘psychic’ activity, and extrapolates from Aristotelian passages or elaborates on these.25 This applies in particular to the way in which the Problemata talks about mental processes in terms of motion and standstill, movement and rest, change and stability26 – and also about the way in which these processes can be influenced, disturbed or enhanced, by other movements, i.e. physiological states or changes (such as heat, cold, flux of blood, etc.).

14An example of this which is particularly relevant for our topic can be found in Probl. 30.14, which is concerned with the absence of dreams during deep sleep:

  • 27 I.e. the body in which the soul resides; cf. De ins. 460b24-7.

Why is it that those who sleep deeply and most pleasantly see no dreams? Is it because sensation and thought function because the soul is at rest? And this seems to be what knowledge is, because knowledge brings the soul to rest; for when the soul27 is in motion and being carried along it can have neither sense nor think. Hence it is that children and those who are drunk and the insane are without thought; for, owing to the abundance of heat present in them, they are in a state of considerable and very intense movement, but when this ceases they become more sensible; for when thought is undisturbed, they can concentrate it better. Those who have dreams during sleep dream because thought is brought to a halt and in proportion as it is at rest. For the soul is greatly moved during sleep, since, when heat collects in the interior from the rest of the body, there is very considerable and intense movement; and it is not true, as most people suppose, that the soul is most at rest and by itself, and especially when no dream is seen. The contrary is really true; for because it is in considerable movement and never rests for a moment, it cannot think. And it is naturally in most movement when it sleeps most pleasantly, because it is then in particular that the greatest amount of heat collects in the interior of the body. That, when it is in motion, the soul cannot think, not only in its waking hours but also in sleep, is proved by the fact that one is least likely to see dreams during sleep that follows the taking of food; this is the time when the soul is most disturbed owing to the nourishment which has been introduced into the body. A dream occurs when sleep comes over us when we are thinking or letting things pass before our eyes. Hence we usually see things which we are doing or intend or wish to do for it is on these that our thoughts and fancies most often dwell. And the better men are, the better are their dreams, because they think of better things in their waking hours, while those who are less well disposed in soul or body have worse dreams. For there is a close correspondence between the disposition of the body and the images of our dreams; for when a man is ill, the ideas proposed by his thoughts are bad, and furthermore, owing to the disturbance which reigns in the body, his soul cannot rest. It is for this reason that melancholics start in their sleep, because, owing to the excess of heat, the soul is in a state of too much movement, and, when the movement is too intense, they cannot sleep. (956b38-957a35, tr. Forster/Barnes, slightly modified).

  • 28 H. Flashar, op. cit., n. 20, p. 727.
  • 29 H. Flashar suspects that the confusion has arisen as a result of the copying of this text from a d (...)

15There is a textual problem right at the start of this passage, for the question dia ti hoi batheôs kai hêdista katheudontes ouden enupnion horôsin (“Why is it that those who sleep deep and most pleasantly see no dreams?”) is not in the text of the Greek MSS but added in the margin of Vaticanus gr. 1283, presumably on the basis of Gaza’s Latin translation. Flashar argues that this cannot be correct, for this question does not cover adequately what the passage is about.28 On the other hand, to read section 14 simply as a continuation of section 13, which is the way in which it is presented in the MSS, clearly does not make satisfactory sense either. According to Flashar, the passage is, in textual respect, corrupt beyond restoration, and in contents it is confused in that it does not clearly distinguish between two theories of sleep, one of which says that sleep is a state of “rest” (êremein) of the soul, whereas the other says that sleep is movement and turbulence (kinêsis kai tarakhê); and the question of dreamlessness only arises in so far as it provides a confirmation or counter-argument for or against either theory.29

  • 30 957a5-6. Cf. Phys., 247blff.; An. post. 100al-15; De an. 407a32-33; De mot. an. 701a27.
  • 31 Cf. De ins. 461 a8-21.

16Yet it can be argued that the passage makes good sense, both in itself and in connection to the genuine Aristotelian views on sleep and dreams as expounded in the Parv. nat. (and in the Eth. Nic.). If we assume that the initial question derived from the Gaza translation is in the right place, the passage begins by saying that sleeping is most pleasant if there are no dreams, and this is a result of much movement in the body, which disturbs the formation of dream images, just as it disturbs the formation of thoughts (dianoia). Dreaming and thinking are put on a par here, and both are said to be, in a way, uncharacteristic of sleep; both for seeing dreams and for thinking, rest is required, for thinking is a process of coming to a standstill that requires stability.30 Sleep, however, is not a state of rest, but a state of movement, i.e. internal, physiological turbulence.31 People who are asleep dream when their dianoia comes to a halt, and have dreams to the extent to which their dianoia calms down (957a6-9). The close connection between dianoia and dreaming is reiterated in 957a22-23: dreams arise from mental activity in the waking state, when sleep supervenes.

  • 32 957a9-13 seems based on De ins. 461a5-14 (and more generally on De som. ch. 3, esp. 457b 1-5); 957 (...)
  • 33 Cf. also Plato, Rest). 571 C-E.
  • 34 See the discussion by P.J. Van der Eijk, op. cit., n. 25, p. 186.
  • 35 Careful consideration of the sense in which the terms “movement” and “rest” are used is also impor (...)

17There is no question that Aristotle’s works on sleep and dreams are behind this section of the Probl.32 The chapter is in broad accordance with Aristotelian dream theory (De ins. 461a5ff.): no dreams are formed when there is too much heat and physiological confusion in the body (directly after eating); dreams only arise when this process calms down (De ins. 461a25-27). For this reason, some people, or some groups of people such as infants, never dream (De ins. 462b 1-11). It is true that Probl. goes further than Aristotle’s theory in De ins. in making a direct connection between activities of the rational part of the soul (during the waking state) and dreaming (957a7, 21-28), whereas in De ins. dreams are related exclusively to the remains of sense perceptions. But a connection between daytime thoughts and dreams is made in De div. 463a22-25 and Eth. Nic. 1102b2-10, which envisage a continuity between thought activity during the day and dreaming during sleep.33 Close inspection of De som. and De ins. further reveals that there is not a single passage that explicitly rules out any activity of the rational part of the soul in sleep.34 The key to a consistent reading of the passage is to suppress the idea (which the author attributes to hoi polloi) that sleep is a state of rest: it is not, at least not in the physiological sense. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it is important to see what the terms “movement” and “rest” refer to and in what sense and in relation to what they are used.35 Dreams in the proper sense come about when sleep is less deep and less pleasant. In fact, they are experiences we may have when we have just fallen asleep (as Probl. says) or when we are on our way to awakening (as De ins. implies). The argument in this passage thus seems in broad agreement with genuine Aristotelian ideas on thinking, sleeping and dreaming in terms of movement and standstill.

3. STRATO, CICERO AND ARISTOTLE’S DAIMONIA PHUSIS

  • 36 L. Repici, La natura e l'anima. Saggisu Stratone di Lampsaco, Turin, Tirrenia Stampatori, 1988, p. (...)
  • 37 There is also a variant reading in the tradition allé phusis tês dianoias (fr. 130B). The use of d (...)
  • 38 For a discussion of the passages in Eth. Eud. 8.2 and Magn. Mor. 2.8 and their relationship to Div (...)

18A further stage in the reception of Aristotle’s works on sleep and dreams can be identified in Strato’s theory of sleep. Since this has been extensively treated by Luciana Repici, there is no need to discuss this in detail.36 Suffice it to say, however, that it illustrates one specific understanding of Aristotle’s ambiguous expression daimonia phusis in De div. 463b 14. That phrase is clearly given a physiological interpretation by Strato (fr. 130), who attributes dreaming to a “non-rational, natural mode of thought”, an alogosphusis tes dianoias,37 which is comparable to the “melancholic nature” (phusis melancholikê) mentioned by Aristotle in the sequel passage in De div. 463b18 (also alluded to in EE 1248a39-40); and this is also, presumably, what the Peripatetic author of Magna Moralia 2.8 has in mind in his explanation of “good fortune” (eutukhia) when he talks about a “non-rational nature” (alogos phusis) that is the source of the impulses that drive the fortunate person’s strategy towards success (1207a 35ff.).38

  • 39 This has been argued in P.J. Van der Eijk, “Aristotelian elements in Ciceros De divinatione" Philo (...)
  • 40 “Aristotle thought that those who are insane as a result of a problem of (bodily) health and who a (...)
  • 41 P.J. Van der Eijk, “Aristotelian elements in Cicero’s De divination", Philologus 137 (1993), p. 22 (...)

19Furthermore, in Cicero’s De divinatione, the references to Aristotle’s views on dreams (2.128) and on a “divine faculty” in the human soul (1.81) enabling prediction of the future (aliquidpraesagiens atque divinum) probably39 refer to the same passage in De div. 463b 14.40 These Ciceronian passages have been discussed elsewhere;41 but it is worth emphasizing here that what Strato and Cicero have in common is that they have both observed the predominantly negative connotation of ‘uncontrollability’ that inheres in Aristotle’s use of the word daimonios in relation to divination (and which is confirmed by Aristotle’s use of daimonios in De som. 453b24).

4. DICAEARCHUS, CLEARCHUS, CRATIPPUS AND THE UPGRADING OF DIVINATION

  • 42 This is a big if, for the indirect tradition also attributes to Aristotle himself the idea that th (...)
  • 43 Dicaearchus, frs. 30-32 in W.W. Fortenbaugh and F. Schütrumpf eds., Dicaearchus of Messana. Text, (...)
  • 44 Clearchus’dialogue On Sleep seems to have understood Aristotle as saying that he has come to a rea (...)
  • 45 The idea that the soul can foretell the future when it is freed from the body in sleep is attribut (...)
  • 46 Nemesius, On the Nature of Man 12 (p. 68, 4-5 Morani) says that “thought (dianoia) foretells the f (...)
  • 47 See also R. Hansberger, “HOW Aristotle came to believe in God-given dreams: the Arabic version of (...)

20Yet we are at a cross-roads here, for against Strato’s and Cicero’s interpretation of the Aristotelian passage as referring to something non-rational and uncontrollable and hence of little cognitive value, we see at the same time a more positive valuation of divination in sleep being developed in the Peripatetic school. At the same time we can perceive a process of ‘upgrading’ of the notion of phantasia, which in Aristotle’s own theory is largely reproductive, towards a more creative faculty informing thought and the intellect. Divination in sleep is no longer associated with the non-rational but is considered something alongside or even superior to rational thought. This development can already be observed (if the indirect tradition can be trusted)42 in the4th century Peripatetic thinker Dicaearchus43 and subsequently in the later Peripatetics Clearchus (frs. 7-8)44 and Cratippus.45 It is a development that is continued in the Imperial period, e.g. in Nemesius,46 Synesius and ultimately in the Arabic versions of Aristotle’s Parv. nat. by Averroes and by the anonymous translator/adaptor discussed elsewhere in this volume by Hansberger.47 While Nemesius and Synesius do not claim to be interpreting Aristotle (although in both cases familiarity with Aristotle’s relevant work may be surmised), the examples from the Arabic sources show the elasticity’ with which Aristotle’s statements were interpreted, even to the extent that Aristotle was credited with a theory of god-sent dreams, which is flatly contradicted in Aristotle’s treatise itself (462b20-22; 463b12-18; 464a19-21). This elasticity not only applies to the admittedly enigmatic passage about the daimonia phusis, but also to Aristotle’s concession that during sleep we may ‘perceive’ movements to which we are not susceptible in the waking state. When studied in context (463a5-8, 464a6-19), it is clear that this refers to a restricted category of cases (the origins of diseases; the origins of external events beyond the dreamer’s experience and control) that play a very subordinate role in Aristotle’s overall evaluation of divination in sleep, for the majority of prophetic dreams about such external events are due to coincidence (apo sumptômatos: 463b 1-11), and the explanation offered in 464a1-19 only applies to the minority of cases which are not due to coincidence. But it is easy to see how these passages, when taken out of context, could be blown up to give rise to a much more favourable attitude to the possibility of divination based on a belief in a special susceptibility of the soul during sleep. In this case, therefore, rather than ‘reception’ we could speak of adaptation or downright ‘transformation’ of Aristotle’s theory.

5. LATE ANTIQUE COMMENTATORS ON SENSATION, IMAGINATION AND SLEEP

21We have already mentioned the Aristotelian commentators of the Imperial period and their relatively limited interest in the Parv. nat. Nevertheless, we do find occasional indications that they were well aware of the treatises – indeed, that they were using the Parv. nat. in their exegesis of Aristotle’s De an. Thus Themistius, while paraphrasing De an. 428a5-22, provides the following account of sleep and dreams:

That imagination is not sense-perception is clear from the following. While asleep we engage in imagination, but not in sense-perception. For since sense-perception is spoken of both as potential and as actual, we cannot say that we have potential sense-perception in dreams (dreams being a movement of the residues [enkataleimmata] left from sense-perception), nor a fortiori do we have actual sense-perception in dreams, since an animal could not be asleep while sense-perception was active. (CAG p. 89, 35-90, 3, tr. R.B. Todd)

22This is a rather accurate summary of Aristotle’s De ins. 1 (the impossibility of having sense-perception in sleep; dreaming being related to phantasia) and 3 (dreams being “a movement of the residues left from sense-perception”, which echoes De ins. 461b21-22 [hupoleimma] and 462a29-30; see also 459al8-22).

  • 48 Cf. also Nemesius, On the Nature of Man 13 (p. 68, 16 Morani): “According to Aristotle memory is t (...)

23Elsewhere, Themistius also refers to a theory of “imprints” (tupoi) that seems to be alluded to, although perhaps metaphorically rather than literally, in Aristotle’s account of phantasia as relevant for memory (De mem. 450a30-32) and dreams:48

  • 49 See further Themistius, In Arist. De an. p. 76, 16, which can be associated with De sens. 439al-2 (...)

It is the nature of imagination to retain in itself, and be stamped with, the imprints that sense-perception hands over to it from the objects of perception, after it itself has received the imprint; and also its nature to be capable of preserving the traces from sense-perception for some time, even though the objects of perception have gone away. So when those objects have gone away, the capacity for imagination is clearly differentiated from that for sense-perception; for then the activity of sense-perception has ceased, but imagination still retains the imprints it has taken over. (CAG p. 91, 38-92, 4, tr. R.B. Todd).49

24Another example of the use of the Parv. nat. for the exegesis of the De an. can be found in the commentary on De an. attributed to Philoponus. First, in the Prooemium to his commentary on the De an., where Philoponus discusses the “pneumatic body”, the material substrate for emotions, Philoponus reports the view of an unidentified group of people on the nature of this pneumatic body:

They say that it [i.e. the pneumatic body] is not equipped with different organs, but is active as a whole and throughout by means of the senses and apprehends the objects of perception. This is why Aristotle in the Metaphysics says that sense perception, properly speaking, is one, and the sense organ, properly speaking, is one, where by sense organ he means the pneuma in which the sensitive faculty as a whole and entirely apprehends the various objects of perception. (CAG p. 19, 32-35, tr. P.J. Van der Eijk)

  • 50 Another example can be found in p. 10, 26-28, where Philoponus quotes the famous passage about the (...)

25What is remarkable is that this Aristotelian reference is here attributed to the Metaphysics. Yet no such statement can be found in the Metaphysics as we have them, whereas the passage makes eminent sense as a reference to De som. 455a20 (where also the word kuriôs is used). It is not unusual for Philoponus to assign a passage to the wrong Aristotelian work, and it may just be a matter of misremembering.50 That the passage from De som. is what Philoponus (or the spokesmen he is citing) has in mind is made more likely by the fact that in the same work, in 455a23-26, Aristotle explains the simultaneous loss and recovery of all sensory function and that further on in De som. we also find the doctrine of the connate pneuma, and the body’s expansion and contraction under its influence (456a7 and 456a13-18).

  • 51 See W.W. Charlton, “Philoponus”. On Aristotle On the Soul 3.9-13, with Stephanus. On Aristotle On (...)

26The same passage from De som. is also referred to in the commentary on De an. book 3 (which, however, is not by Philoponus but presumably by Stephanus),51 this time without reference to a specific treatise. Here, Ps.Philoponus quotes “Platonists” for arguing against a group of ‘Aristotelians” that

laying hold of sense-objects does not have to occur through organs, since even in us the common sense, which is in a single pneuma, knows the sense-objects of the five senses, and the non-rational soul through a single pneuma grasps all the sense-objects. That is why you yourself said: “Sensation in the proper sense is one, and the proper sense organ is one.” (CAG p. 579, 21-28, tr. Charlton, “Philoponus”. On Aristotle On the Soul3.9-13, with Stephanus. On Aristotle On Interpretation, Londres, 2000, slightly modified)

  • 52 See H.J. Blumenthal, op. cit., n. 13, p. 137-51.
  • 53 See A. Sheppard, “Phantasia and mental images: Neoplatonist interpretations of De Anima 3.3”, in H (...)
  • 54 Philoponus’ knowledge and use of De mem. has been argued for by P. Lautner, “Philoponean accounts (...)
  • 55 Some other references to the Parv. nat. in Philoponus’DA commentary: p. 348,11, p. 605,31 and p. 3 (...)
  • 56 For Philoponus’ awareness and use of medical literature see P.J. Van der Eijk, Philoponus. On Aris (...)
  • 57 In De an. p. 155, 22-29: “Also the fact that the body, when it is in this or that condition, hinde (...)
  • 58 For references see P.J. Van der Eijk, ibid., p. 137-8.

27What both passages in this De an. commentary have in common is that they are concerned with two themes in Aristotle’s psychology on which the Parv. nat. are much more informative than De an., viz. the “common sense faculty” and phantasia; hence the commentators’ use of the Parv. nat. is understandable. Yet both these concepts have, by the time they have reached the fifth century, undergone considerable transformation. The common sense faculty in Neoplatonic thought has become a faculty of consciousness, reflection and of ‘spiritual’ return to its origin.52 And phantasia has, at least in Philoponus, become a truly creative and intellectual faculty53 that is even identified with Aristotle’s “passive intellect” (nous pathêtikos) – a development for which the Parv. nat. provide very little basis, unless in the intriguing passage in De mem. 449b32-450al4, where Aristotle elaborates on the mechanics underlying his elsewhere re-iterated claim that there is no thinking without phantasia.54 It is true that Philoponus displays striking interests – stronger perhaps than any other Aristotle commentator in late antiquity – in the physiology of cognition, an area for which the Parv. nat. are, of course, a more illuminating source than the De an.55 However, the physiological details he gives for the ‘psychic’ faculties he discusses are rather different from Aristotle’s Parv. nat. Philoponus’ localisation of sensation in the pneuma, as well as the distinction between different levels of pneuma, are all of post-Aristotelian – i.e. of Galenic and even post-Galenic – origin. Philoponus was well aware of Galen’s medical writings; and his encephalocentrism here is not just a consequence of his adherence to Plato but also a clear sign of his up-to-date knowledge of medical literature.56 Indeed, his localisation of memory in the brain, and his reference to different locations for imagination, memory and thought in different parts of the brain57 goes beyond anything found in Galen, and reflects knowledge of developments in medicine first attested in the late fourth century medical writer Posidonius of Byzantium and in Nemesius of Emesa.58

6. MEDICINE AND PHYSIOLOGY

  • 59 See G. Strohmaier, “Al-Farabi über die verschollene Aristoteles-Schrift Über Gesundheit und Krankh (...)
  • 60 For the possible existence of more specialised medical writings under Aristotle’s name see P.J. Va (...)
  • 61 This would require reading the final section of De respir. 480b21-30 as a conclusion of something (...)

28This brings us to a further, more specialised domain of late antique thought where Aristotle’s Parv. nat. was received and taken on board, viz. medicine (including areas as physiology and anatomy). This is not surprising, for Aristotle himself, at the beginning and at the end of the Parv. nat., refers to a discussion (perhaps even a separate treatise) of his own on health and disease. No such work has survived, and it has even been doubted whether it was actually written.59 If it existed at all, it will have been a work in which the causes of health and disease were studied from the point of view of the phusikos, the student of nature.60 Yet it is also possible that what Aristotle, in his references to this discussion in De sens. 436al7-22 and De long. 464b19-465a2, has in mind is what he actually sets out further on in De iuv. and De respir.61

  • 62 On this tradition of “Aristotle and the physicians” see C.B. Schmitt, “Aristotle among the physici (...)
  • 63 One can think here of the translation and commentary activities of Joachim Périon (see C.B. Schmit (...)

29However this may be, the ‘physiological’ sections of the Parv. nat., as well as the zoological writings, were studied by medical writers of later antiquity and commented upon in the middle ages (e.g. in Arabic medicine) and the early modern period because of their perceived relevance to medicine as well as to biology and natural philosophy. Aristotle’s ideas (as well as those of Plato’s Timaeus) were taken on board by medical writers beginning, perhaps, with Aristotle’s contemporary Diodes of Carystus and then subsequently by Herophilus, Erasistratus, Anonymus Londiniensis, Galen, Oribasius and Caelius Aurelianus – all of whom were convinced of the importance of Aristotle’s works for medical theory and practice and of the relevance of works such as De gen. an., De part. an. et Hist. an., De respir., De iuv. and De Long. to questions of nutrition, digestion, respiration, embryology and reproduction. This ‘medicalised’ Aristotle was believed also to be the author of the Problemata (whose first five books are full of more detailed medical investigations) and the Physiognomonica. As part of this tradition,62 the Parv. nat. as well as Michael’s commentary were translated into Latin and attracted interest from a number of medieval and early modern medical writers.63 Apart from the individual works, the interest of the Parv. nat. from a medical viewpoint was that they constituted a kind of “programme” or “agenda” of related investigations for which ancient science used the rubric “on the nature of man” (Peri phuseôs anthrôpou). This title is attested for the influential Hippocratic work expounding the four humour theory, and also for writers like Democritus, Strato, Nemesius and Vindician; and its “research agenda” is represented in a number of ancient writings ranging from the Hippocratic work On Fleshes through book 4 of Lucretius to the late antique treatise On the Seed by the Anonymous of Brussels.

7. GALEN AND ARISTOTLE ON SLEEP

  • 64 See P.J. Van der Eijk, “‘Aristotle! What a thing for you to say!’: Galen’s Engagement with Aristot (...)

30Within this appropriation of Aristotle in ancient medical literature, Galen stands out as by far the most personal and engaged thinker. Galen’s attitude to Aristotle and Aristotelianism is a wide-ranging subject that has been the object of several other studies;64 yet some brief remarks may be appropriate here to shed light on his reception of the Parv. nat. There is no doubt that Galen had a profound knowledge of Aristotle’s works (he wrote commentaries on some of them, and displays detailed familiarity with the text of many Aristotelian writings) and was deeply influenced by Aristotelian thought in a number of areas. At the same time, there is a striking reluctance on Galen’s part to acknowledge his debt to Aristotle to the same extent as he does with Plato and Hippocrates, and a markedly stronger desire to criticise Aristotle. The possible reasons for this attitude are various, but one of them that stands out is the profound disagreement between the two thinkers on the question of the heart versus the brain as the centre of consciousness – the major bone of contention in Galen’s Deplacitis Hippocratis et Platonis where, apart from Aristotle, also the older Stoics (especially Chrysippus) are severely criticised for their backwardness. Other areas of conflict are teleological explanation – where Galen applauds Aristotle’s endeavours in the PA and elsewhere but criticises him for not going far enough and for misjudging the usefulness of a number of bodily parts and processes –, the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system (of which Aristotle was unaware) and the theory of reproduction – though this is less relevant to the Parv. nat. as we have them (since, as said, reproduction, although certainly a megistê praxis involving both soul and body, is not discussed in the Parv. nat.) but all the more to De gen. an., which is severely criticised in Galen’s De semine.

  • 65 Cf. PHP 6.3.10-26, echoing (though not explicitly mentioning) De iuv. 468al3 ff. and 468b17 ff.
  • 66 In De temperamentis 2.2 (p. 46, 10 Helmreich, 1.581 K.), Galen expresses agreement with Aristotle' (...)
  • 67 For a discussion of this work and Galen’s usage of Aristotle see G.E.R. Lloyd, “Scholarship, autho (...)

31For our purposes, it suffices to establish that Galen had detailed knowledge of De an. and at least a number of the Parv. nat., such as De sens., De som., De iuv.65 and De respir.,66 as well as the zoological works De part. an., Hist. an., De gen. an. In the broad area of psychology, or psycho-physiology, Galen must have been well aware of Aristotle’s hylomorphic theory of the relationship between body and soul, but he seems on the whole to have greater interest in Aristotle’s views on the physiology of cognitive functions. Indeed, in spite of their radically different views on the location of the various soul functions and the role of heart, brain and nerves, Galen does not hesitate to call on Aristotle’s authority to support his own thesis “That the faculties of the soul follow the mixtures of the body”, defended by Galen in his work of the same title.67 Yet most quotations from Aristotle that Galen provides in this work are derived from the zoological works (and from the Physiognomonica, which he, too, regards as authentic).

  • 68 Discussed in ΡΗΡ7.7.4-26 (p. 470, 13-474, 29 De Lacy, 5.638-644 K.).
  • 69 See Galen, De instrumente odoratus 5.3-9 (p. 48, 18-50, 28 Kollesch).
  • 70 However, it is clear from Galen’s discussion of respiration in his work De usu partium 8.3 that he (...)
  • 71 The authenticity of the treatise De dignotione e somniis attributed to Galen is doubtful, and it s (...)

32Galen’s engagement with the topics addressed in the Parv. nat. concentrates on four topics: (i) the theory of vision as expounded in De sens, (as well as in De an. and De gen. an.), parts of which he approves of but which he criticises for factual errors;68 (ii) the theory of smell as set out in De sens., which he criticises for anatomical incorrectness that, interestingly for our purposes, he relates to Aristotle’s cardiocentrism;69 (iii) the theory of respiration as set out in De respir., which Galen implicitly agrees with, especially with Aristotle’s view that respiration serves the purpose of cooling the body’s innate heat but which, curiously, is not discussed in Galen’s designated treatise On the Usefulness of Respiration;70 and (iv) the theory of sleep as set out in De som., to which we will restrict ourselves here.71

  • 72 Mainly De Causis Pulsuum 3.9-10 (9.131-142 K.) and De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.139-144 K.); also (...)
  • 73 De Plenitudine 11.23 (7.577 K.).
  • 74 In Hippocratis Prorrheticum 1.2 (16.592 K.).
  • 75 Cf. R.E. Siegel, Galen on Sense Perception, Basel & New York, Karger, 1970, 4, 30, p. 175.
  • 76 For a more elaborate explanation of the workings of sense perception, see De Placitis Hippocratis (...)
  • 77 De Motu Musculorum 2.4 (4.439 K.).
  • 78 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.139-140 K.).
  • 79 Cf. also De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.140 K.); De Instrumenta Odoratus 3 (2.880-1 K.).

33While we are fortunate to have a whole treatise on sleep and waking by Aristotle, we are left to glean Galen’s ideas on sleep from remarks scattered throughout his works.72 Thus in his De Plenitudine, Galen declares that sleep has its origin in the state of the brain, as insomnia does also.73 Moreover, he claims that it is actually possible to identify the location in the brain where the conditions of the brain known as sleep, waking, insomnia, and suchlike originate. One should simply observe a patient suffering from both headache and insomnia, and ascertain where in the head it originates. Once that is clear, it is also clear where processes like sleep come into being.74 In his De Symptomatum Causis Galen gives a more detailed explanation of the phenomenon. As he sees it, there is a clear connection between sleep and sense perception. During the day, the proton aisthêtikon – which, according to Galen, is located in the brain75 – sends its agent, a perceiving dunamis, to the individual sense organs. By virtue of the influx of this dunamis, the sense organs are able to register change, which constitutes sense perception, and in turn the brain becomes aware of the change as well.76 However, in the course of the day, the working brain becomes depleted, dry and weary, and by the end of it, the brain is in need of rest, recuperation and replenishment. The flow of the perceiving dunamis ceases and the peripheral sense organs are rendered inactive. This is when and how sleep naturally sets in. People who have worked hard, and whose brains have sent away much dunamis, will sleep deeper than people who have worked less hard, whose brains have sent away less dunamis. However, experience shows that people who are asleep are not entirely cut off from perception (anaisthêtoi); as Galen points out in his De Motu Musculorum, they are just not very susceptible to impressions (dusaisthêtoi).77 From the fact that sense perception is apparently possible to a certain extent, he concludes that the flow of the dunamis to the perceiving parts is not brought to a full stop but is only heavily reduced. The clarity of what sense perception remains depends on how much dunamis still flows; therefore, it is likely that sleep is deeper when the influx of dunamis is smaller, and lighter when the influx is greater.78 In any case, it would seem that during sleep accurate sense perception is impossible.79

  • 80 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.141-143 K.); De Locis Affectis 3 (8.162 K.). Cf. also C.J. Larrain, G (...)
  • 81 De Plenitudine 11.23 (7.576-7 K.).
  • 82 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.140-142 K.).

34Galen reminds us that to aid sleep, it helps to do exercises, and eat a moderate amount of food; it also helps if one is of a moist disposition or, failing that, to drink wine, or bathe the head in warm water, because these things too fill the head with moisture. A full head helps to bring about sleep, because the brain itself, when it is weary and dry, will want to stop working and brings sleep upon the individual, for it needs the excess moisture to recuperate.80 So sleep, according to Galen, comes into being in the brain81 and is primarily a relaxation of the processes of sense perception.82

  • 83 Cf. In Hippocratis Librum III Epidemiarum 30 (17b.298-9 K.). Cf. C.J. Larrain, op. cit., n. 80, p. (...)
  • 84 Cf In Hippocratis Librum III Epidemiarum 25 (17b.205 K.).

35Like Aristotle, Galen also links the processes of digestion to sleep, but he does so in a slightly different way. In sleep, he explains, the blood prefers to withdraw into the inner regions of the body. This retraction of blood has to do with the movement of the innate heat, which for the most part consists in blood. Naturally, when blood and innate heat make their way to the inner regions of the body, this leaves the outer regions cold.83 The reason why the innate heat retracts into the body is the process of digestion, which takes place in the inner regions of the body. Aristotle already linked the processes of digestion to the innate heat, and in Galen’s work this idea still held its ground: the more innate heat is present in the belly, the better digestion of food will be.84

  • 85 De Causis Pulsuum 3.9 (9.132 K.); 10 (9.140 K.).
  • 86 De Causis Pulsuum 1.8 (9.141-2 K.). The idea that digestion takes place particularly in sleep is r (...)
  • 87 Ordinary people, he says, can eat things that would be indigestible for people of the upper classe (...)
  • 88 In Hippocratis De Victu Acutorum 2.55 (15.624-5 K.).
  • 89 De Causis Pulsuum 3.9 (9.138 K.).

36In his De Causis Pulsuum, Galen further explains the relations between heat, digestion and sleep. The dunamis that is responsible for digestion is the innate heat. In sleep, this dunamis directs itself towards the food situated in the inner regions of the body because, just as the dunamis that is responsible for perception, it is in need and in search of moisture.85 Interestingly, it appears that, according to Galen, the innate heat only changes direction when sleep has already set in: “The genesis of natural sleep [...] as has been discussed before, is when the heat that is naturally present in the living being both lacks and needs plenty moisture, and gathers in the intestines and the stomach, while sleep comes about [...].”86 Practical evidence of the cooking properties of sleep Galen gives in his On the Properties of Foodstuffs,87 from which it is clear that Galen believes that the deeper one sleeps, the more thorough digestion is. The digestive processes that take place in sleep also have a side-effect: they produce a vaporous residue (perittôma), which causes the head to feel heavy and the body to become slow.88 Finally, waking ensues when all the dunameis have been replenished. The perceiving dunamis can now resume its duties and returns to the head, just as the innate heat, which ‘remembers’ its natural movement outward, will resume its course in this direction.89

  • 90 Cf. Arist. De som. 455a4-455bl3. Galen himself even refers to the fact that they agree that sleep (...)
  • 91 Cf. Arist. De som. 454a19-b9; 458a29-32.

37On the basis of this overview, one would think that Galen’s ideas appear very similar to Aristotle’s. They both see sleep as an incapacitation of the primary sense-organ,90 and both again see the need for relaxation of the processes of sense perception, but in a slightly different way. In Aristotle’s theory, relaxation must occur in order to avoid damage to the sense-organs, but if it were not interrupted by the effects of the digestive processes, perception could continue – until of course damage ensues.91 According to Galen, however, perception cannot continue when the need for relaxation arises, because at that point the preconditions for the processes of sense-perception are no longer present. In other words, Galen’s explanation provides for a failsafe in the system, something that Aristotle’s theory lacks.

  • 92 Cf. Arist. De som. 456b17-457a22.

38In both theories, fullness of the head plays an important role in the inception of sleep.92 Yet there are some distinct differences between the two approaches, differences of which Galen was well aware. It is therefore not surprising that Galen explicitly addresses Aristotle’s views on sleep in his De Symptomatum Causis:

  • 93 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.141-142 K.); tr. I. Johnston, Galen on Diseases and Symptoms, Cambrid (...)

But, in fact, that the head being full brings sleep was adequately demonstrated by Aristotle, so there is no need for us now to go over the argument in detail. Indeed, anyone who has read his book on sleep and waking will know this very point clearly – that when the head is full sleep comes upon animals.93

39Galen commends Aristotle for recognising the fact that a full head brings sleep, and he says that the mechanics of the process have already been set out satisfactorily by Aristotle in his treatise On Sleep and Waking. But Galen goes on to point out what is missing from Aristotle’s account, and where, in his opinion, Aristotle goes wrong:

  • 94 DeSymptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.142 K.); tr. I. Johnston, ibid., with minor modifications.

And in addition to this, he will understand as well what is lacking in his argument. For although he was most competent to make the attempt, and most persuasive whither he would wish to lead the argument, nevertheless he was able to discover nothing very plausible as to why, when the head is full, the primary sensorium situated in the heart, as he supposes, rests.94

  • 95 Cf. Arist. De som. 455b34-456a4.
  • 96 A parallel case is smell, discussed by Galen in De instrumente odoratus, where Galen voices simila (...)

40Despite the ostensible reverence for Aristotle’s astuteness in broaching the subject at all and for his overall skill of logical argumentation, Galen almost disdainfully observes that Aristotle was incapable of finding any plausible explanation for the fact that the primary sense-organ – which Aristotle locates in the heart95 – comes to rest when the head is full.96 Galen goes on to point out a further inconsistency in Aristotle’s reasoning:

  • 97 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.142 K.); tr. I. Johnston, op. cit., n. 93, with minor modifications.

For it would, of course, be far more plausible for sleep to occur in moistenings of the lung, which Nature placed in a circle around the heart for no other reason than to serve it.97

  • 98 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.142-143 K.).

41In Galen’s view, Aristotle not only went wrong in placing the primary sense-organ in the heart, he was not even able to come up with a fitting explanation as to how the primary sense-organ would be overcome by moisture. For, clearly, it would have made much more sense if he had identified moistness of the lungs as the origin of this moistening, because of their proximity to the heart. Galen proceeds to support his own view with that of doctors who, aware of the fact that sleep and the head are closely interrelated, apply treatment to the head in all sorts of somnolent diseases.98 Next comes his own explanation of matters. How exactly is it that fullness of the brain causes sleep?

  • 99 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.143 K.); tr. I. Johnston, op. cit., n. 93.

What is useful to the present aspects of the discussion is that when the brain itself wishes to rest from fullness of function, it brings to the animal a natural sleep, and especially whenever the nutritive capacity is able to benefit from abundant moisture in itself.99

  • 100 For an explanation of digestion and its consequences for the sleeping process, see Arist. De som. (...)
  • 101 Most clearly voiced at De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.143 K.).

42To Galen, then, it is clear that the cause of sleep is not only in the brain, it is the brain: it instigates sleep because it wants to – or so Galen has it – and especially so when the brain contains an abundance of moisture. For Aristotle, on the other hand, sleep was not a deliberate process, but a process that was the result, or by-product, of another process, i.e. digestion.100 And this brings us to another common element in both theories, namely a movement downward from the head that is connected with the inception of sleep. There are again several noticeable differences. Firstly, in Aristotle’s theory, cooled-off matter flows down from the head to the area of the heart, whereas in Galen’s explanation it is the perceiving dunamis that moves to the area of the belly. Secondly, while for Aristotle the movement is simply a matter of overflowing, Galen’s downward flow is a guided process, for it has a driving force, a purpose: the dunamis is attracted to the food in the inner regions of the body. As shown above, both theories tell us that a full head causes sleep. But the mechanics differ: in Aristotle’s view, fullness of the head is only required to make it overflow, as this is what brings about the next step in the sleeping process; Galen, however, argues that moisture in the head is what the desiccated brain needs, and what will distract it, so to speak, from sense perception.101 Additionally, a full head brings about nodding and the sensation of weariness for Aristotle, but for Galen it is almost the other way round: weariness is the reason why we need a full head and why we need sleep.

  • 102 According to Aristotle, the heart is the hottest part of the body and the centre of innate heat. C (...)

43A further point of comparison is the role of digestion. Both theories show that the innate heat is responsible for the processing of food.102 Yet while in Aristotle’s view sleep is a result of digestion – the primary sense organ is affected when mixed blood and cold reach the area of the heart – Galen holds that digestion not only helps to bring about sleep, but also helps to end it, because it provides the right conditions for waking.

  • 103 We adopt this distinction from M.E.M.P.J. Leunissen, Explanation and Teleology in Aristotle’s Phil (...)
  • 104 De som. 458a28-32.
  • 105 De Causis Pulsuum 3.9 (9.133 K.).

44A final, more theoretical point on which Aristotle’s and Galen’s theories of sleep diverge is in the sphere of teleology. As have already stated, Galen often feels the need to ‘complete’ Aristotle’s account of the purposes of things, and this is also the case here. The difference between Galen’s and Aristotle’s teleological account of sleep could be expressed in terms of ‘primary’ vs. ‘secondary’ teleology.103 While in primary teleology, things exist specifically for a purpose, in secondary teleology things have a purpose, but their existence is entirely dependent on other factors. It may be compared to a game of dominoes: if one piece fails to fall, the whole progression comes to a halt. In Aristotle’s theory, sleeping depends on digestion and is, in a way, a by-product of this process – even though it occurs of necessity because its function is to preserve the living being.104 However, whether or not it comes about depends on the process of digestion, and hence it is an instance of secondary teleology. This is different in Galen’s theory, and this difference provides a further explanation (apart from Aristotle’s cardiocentrism) for his dissatisfaction with Aristotle’s claims: for Galen, the brain is an autonomous part of the living being – and precisely this is the failsafe in the system – one that has the ability to look after its own well-being. If it is tired and dry, it brings sleep upon the living being to remedy that condition. Only after this has happened does digestion set in, because the inception of sleep is the ‘cue’ for the innate heat to turn inward to power digestion and so feed the dunameis that “are all simultaneously affected”105 and come to find their nourishment where digestion takes place: the belly. For Galen, then, sleep is an instance of primary teleology.

8. CONCLUSION

45My study has of course been selective, but it suggests at least a tentative explanation for the rather mixed reception and the relatively limited impact of the Parv. nat. in late antiquity. This seems due to a combination of several factors: the marginal position occupied by the topics discussed in the Parv. nat.– and especially the specific, hylomorphic, treatment they had been given by Aristotle – within the philosophical curriculum of late antiquity, and the obsolete nature of Aristotle’s cardiocentrism in medicine, with its implications for other areas such as anatomy and physiology.

  • 106 On the difference between the two thinkers regarding the role of the liver see I.M. Lonie, “Erasis (...)
  • 107 Michael mentions Galen also on p. 109, 20 (on Long. 469 b 23), with a reference to his work On Dif (...)

46As far as the latter is concerned, it is interesting to observe, by way of coda, that on two occasions in his commentary on De som. and De ins., Michael of Ephesus dwells on the relationship between Aristotle and Galen. Thus on p. 52, 19-20, when commenting on De som. 456b3, where Aristotle explains the process of digestion, he supplements the picture with references to Aristotle’s Parv. nat. and Hist. an. and says that the “evaporation” (anathumiasis) of nutriment takes place in the blood vessels of the liver (an organ that is not mentioned in De som.), and then he states as Aristotle’s view that the blood in the liver is “unprocessed (akatergaston) and not blood in the proper sense, even though this is not the view of Galen the physician”. Apparently, Michael feels under some expectation to show that he is aware that Galenists might regard the Aristotelian view as having been superceded by the Galenic theory of the liver as the source of blood.106 And on p. 67, 21, commenting on the critical role of reason in judging erroneous sense impressions in De ins. 460b 16-18, Michael first paraphrases Aristotle’s statement to the effect that “when sensation is moved and imagination is in a state of illness yet the intellect is still sound” and then interrupts this paraphrase with a parenthesis: “on these things, many good things have been said by Galen; for in these he follows Aristotle”. Again, there is no obvious need to mention Galen, but apparently Michael feels under some pressure to do so, and here he is clearly glad to be able to record agreement between the two, almost as if to counterbalance the earlier passage. These two mentions of Galen in Michael’s commentary107 clearly show a tendency to compare Aristotle with Galen, probably from the awareness that the relationship between the two was far from unproblematic.

47Thus it seems that only in authors and contexts that were most faithful to the main tenets of the Aristotelian tradition – such as Alexander and Themistius in antiquity, Michael of Ephesus in the Byzantine era, the Aristotelianising strands within medieval philosophy and science (such as Albert the Great, Adam of Buckfield and Avicenna) and the revival of Aristotelianism in the Renaissance – did the Parv. nat. continue to be used and consulted as a source of philosophical, medical and scientific truth.

Notes

2 It is not always easy to distinguish ‘reception’ from ‘influence’. In this paper, we will be concerned with cases of explicit and/or acknowledged use of Aristotle’s texts or cases in which familiarity with the Aristotelian texts can safely be assumed.

3 First attested in Aegidius Romanus (13th century); see W.D. Ross, Aristotle. Parva naturalia, Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 1.

4 See P.J. Van der Eijk, Aristoteles. De insomniis. De divinatione per somnum, Berlin, Akademie Verlag, 1994, p. 69-73 and P.-M. Morel, Aristote. Petits traités d’histoire naturelle. Traduction et présentation, Paris, Flammarion, 2000, p. 10-24.

5 Arist., De an. 433b 19-21; De sens. 436a8; De part. an. 643a35-6.

6 See the pertinent discussion in P.-M. Morel, De la matière à l’action. Aristote et le problème du vivant, Paris, Vrin, 2007, p. 18-31; see also P.J. Van der Eijk, Aristoteles. De insomniis. De divinatione per somnum, Berlin, 1994, p. 69 n. 67, and M. Rashed, “Agrégat de parties ou vinculum substantiale? Sur une hésitation conceptuelle et textuelle du corpus aristotélicien”, in A. Laks, M. Rashed eds., Aristote et le mouvement des animaux. Dix études sur le De motu animalium, Villeneuve-d’Ascq, Presses universitaires du Septentrion, p. 185-202; 191-202.

7 Nutrition (and growth) is, of course, considered in Somn. and Juv., although Aristotle sometimes also seems to refer to a separate treatment of the topic (De som. 456b6; Peri trophês). See R.H.A. King, Aristotle on Life and Death, Londres, Duckworth, 2001, p. 49-58.

8 See De gen.an. 781a21; 786b25; 788bl.

9 See P. Moraux, Les listes anciennes des ouvrages d’Aristote, Louvain, Peeters, 1951, p. 297: only the so-called “catalogue of Ptolemy” (preserved in Arabic) refers to some of the treatises in the Parv. nat.

10 In Arist. Sens. 6, 16-20 (CAG), tr. A. Towey, Alexander of Aphrodisias. On Aristotle On Sense Perception. Londres, Duckworth, 2000, p. 21, slightly modified. Cf. also a passage slightly earlier in Alexander’s introduction to his commentary on Sens.: "... this is the inquiry into what the activities of animals are and why they come about, and [he makes clear that] it is not the case that, having proposed to discuss animals, he first discusses certain other things, as some people thought, discussing now sense-organs and perceptibles, next life and death and sleep and waking and prophecy in sleep, and only after that animals, but rather that these things also pertain to this inquiry – for some of the common [activities] belong to all animals and others even to the things that possess life.” (In Arist. Sens. 5,1-8, tr. A. Towey, ibid., p. 19-20). Who these “some people” are is uncertain, but it does indicate that discussions of the systematic status and interconnections between De an., the Parv. nat. and the zoological writings were already taking place in or before Alexander’s time.

11 Cf. also the passage slightly earlier in Alexander’s introduction to his commentary on Sens. in the previous note.

12 The surviving commentary on De gen. an. attributed to Philoponus is believed by P. Wendland (in the Preface to his CAG edition) also to be by Michael of Ephesus.

13 H.J. Blumenthal , Aristotle and Neoplatonism in Late Antiquity. Londres, Duckworth, 1996, p. 129.

14 94, 7-100, 17 (CAG), on which see T.L. Tieleman, “The hunt for Galen’s shadow: Alexander of Aphrodisias, De anima 94.7-100.17 Bruns reconsidered”, in K.A. ALGRA et al. eds., Polyhistor. Studies in the History and Historiography of Ancient Philosophy, Leyde, Brill, 1996, p. 265-283 and P. Accattino and P. Donini, Alessandro di Afrodisia. L’anima, Bari, Laterza, 1996, p. 300-310.

15 It has been suggested that the reference en allots (“elsewhere”) in Alexander’s De Anima p. 69, 20 might refer to a commentary on the other writings of the Parv. nat. The context is a discussion of the difference between memory (mnêmê) and recollection (anamnêsis), and in the preceding lines Alexander also sets out the mechanism by which “after-effects” (enkataleimmata) of sense perceptions can remain present after the perception is gone and be reactivated by phantasia-a mechanism very similar to what Aristotle refers to in his discussion of dreams (De ins. 459a24-27). But it is also possible that this refers to a different work not in the form of a commentary (that Alexander discussed recollection elsewhere appears from Quaestiones 3.1, where it is defined as “the discovery by searching of an impression which once came about in the body in which the soul capable of sensation is” [tr. Sharples]). All this is not to deny that Alexander, in his own De Anima, reflects usage of the Parv. nat. and the De mot. an. on a number of occasions, e.g. in 37, 4-38, 11 (cf. ARIST. De long. 467al8-23, De resp. 471b20ff), in 40, 1-3 (cf. Arist. De long. 466al8-9, De iuv. 469b6, De som. 458a15-16, 457a7, De mot. an. 703al4-16) in 77, 5-19 (cf. De mot. an. 703a4ff., b25ff.), and in 94, 7-100, 17 (see previous note); see the comments by P. Accattino and P. Donini, ibid., p. 171, p. 177-178, p. 262, p. 300-310.

16 See R.W. Sharples, “Dicaearchus on the soul and on divination”, in W.W. Fortenbaugh, E. Schütrumpf eds., Dicaearchus of Messana. Text, Translation and Discussion, New Brunswick and Londres, Transactions, 2001, p. 143-173, and Id., “Common to Body and Soul: Peripatetic approaches after Aristotle”, in R.A.H. King ed., Common to Body and Soul, Berlin, De Gruyter, 2006, p. 165-186.

17 See the overview by H.J. Blumenthal, op. cit., n. 13. For Plotinus’selective reception of Aristotle’s Parv. nat. see the study by King elsewhere in this volume.

18 J. Lennox, “The disappearance of Aristotle’s biology: a Hellenistic mystery”, in T.D. Barnes ed., The Sciences in Greco-Roman Society, Edmonton, Academic Press and Printing, 1994, p. 7-24.

19 A note of caution should be sounded here, for our knowledge of Hellenistic biology is severely hampered by the loss of most of our direct sources, and we know very little about the theoretical framework(s) in which investigations into biology and human physiology took place; see J. Althoff, “Biologie im zeitalter des Hellenismus (ca. 322-31 v. Chr.)”, in G. Wohrle ed., Biologie, Stuttgart, Steiner, 1999, p. 156-167, and R.W. Sharples, “Natural Philosophy in the Peripatos after Strato”, in W.W. Fortenbaugh and S.A. White eds.. Arista of Ceos (Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities, 13), New Brunswick, Transactions, 2006, p. 307-327.

20 Many of these parallels have been noted by commentators. For the Problemata see H. Flashar, Aristoteles. Problemataphysica, Berlin, Akademie Verlag, 1962, and C. Marenghi, Aristotele. Problemi di medicina, Milan, Istituto Editoriale Italiano, 1961; for De spiritu see C.I. Toul, Peri pneumatospseudepigraphon Aristotelous, Athens, Academic Press, 1977 and A. Roselli, [Aristotele]. De spiritu, Pisa, ETS Editrice, 1992; for Theophrastus see W.W. Fortenbaugh, R.W. Sharples, M. Sollenberger, Theophrastus On Sweats, On Dizziness and On Fatigue, Leyde, Brill, 2003 and R.W. Sharples, Theophrastus of Eresus. Commentary 5: Sources on Biology, Leyde, Brill, 1995; for Strato see L. Repici, La natura e l'anima. Saggi su Stratone di Lampsaco, Turin, Tirrenia Stampatori, 1988 and R.W. Sharples (forthcoming).

21 See S. Kapetanaki, R.W. Sharples, Pseudo-Aristoteles (Pseudo-Alexander), Supplementa Problematorum, Berlin, Akademie Verlag, 2006.

22 It has been argued that usage of Aristotle’s views on sleep and dreams in physiological contexts can be traced in Lucretius: see P.H. Schrijvers, “La pensée d’Epicure et de Lucrèce sur le sommeil”, in J. Bollack, A. Laks eds., Études sur l'Épicurisme antique, Lille, Presses Universitaires, 1976, p. 231-259, Id. “La classification des rêves selon Hérophile”, Mnemosyne30 (1977), p. 13-27, Id., “Die Traumtheorie des Lukrez”, Mnemosyne 33 (1980), p. 128-151. The case of the medical writer Herophilus is less clear: see H. von Staden, Herophilus. The Art of Medicine in Early Alexandria, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 386-7 and p. 306-10.

23 Cf. the list of echoes of Aristotle’s theory of sleep and dreams in P.J. Van der Eijk, op. cit., n. 4, p. 60-61 n. 43, to which should be added the paraphrase of Aristotle’s account of sleep and waking offered in Anonymus Londiniensis XXIII.42-XXIV.9-for a discussion of the peculiarities of the Anonymus interpretation see D. Manetti, “22T”, Corpus deipapiri filosofici greci e latini, Parte I: Autori Noti, vol. 1*, Florence, Olschki, 1989, p. 307-311-and Pseudo-Plutarch, Opinions of the Philosophers 5.25. To the list of secondary literature on the reception of these treatises should be added L. Martinez, La théorie du rêve chez Aristote: Principes physiologiques et psychologiques, Villeneuve-d’Ascq, Presses universitaires du Septentrion, 1999 and J. De Raedemaeker, “Une ébauche de catalogue des commentaires sur les Parva naturalia, parus aux xiiie, xive et xve siècles”, Bulletin de Philosophie Médiévale 7 (1965), p. 95-108; an update of studies on the Parv. nat. in general (and on De mem. in particular) can be found in C. Veloso and F. Rey Puente, “Note sur la bibliographie récente (2000-2005) du de memoria d’Aristote”, Methexis 18 (2005), p. 97-117.

24 The Problemata in their present form are probably to be regarded as post-Aristotelian, even though in many respects they continue along lines set out by Aristotle himself and make use of material derived from Aristotle’s genuine works. Their later date (mid or late third century BC?) therefore does not exclude the possibility that some sections of the Problemata may actually reproduce Aristotle’s own ideas. But there are also clear signs of later development, and as such they are an important source for the study of the development of scientific and medical thought in the Peripatos and its influence on medicine and science in the Hellenistic period, and conversely for the extent to which developments in medical thought influenced the Peripatetic tradition; an example of the latter is the view (Probl. 18.1, 916b 16) that the intellect is located in the head, which of course represents a departure from the Aristotelian position and which may be explained as a result of contact with the developments in Alexandria (contra P. Louis, Aristote. Problèmes XXVIII-XXXVIII, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1993, who defends the Aristotelian authorship of the whole of Probl. but who in his note to this passage [p. 250 n. 8] has to concede; “Sur la localisation du nous dans la tête, Aristote a souvent hésité”).

25 See P.J. Van der Eijk, Medicine and Philosophy in Classical Antiquity, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ch. 5, where this is argued in relation to the famous section 30, 1 on the melancholic peritton; see also the contribution by A.L. Carbone elsewhere in this volume.

26 This is a continuation of a tendency found in Aristotle as well; see e.g. Physics 247b 1 ff., discussed in P.J. Van der Eijk, ibid., ch. 7.

27 I.e. the body in which the soul resides; cf. De ins. 460b24-7.

28 H. Flashar, op. cit., n. 20, p. 727.

29 H. Flashar suspects that the confusion has arisen as a result of the copying of this text from a different context, possibly Theophrastus’ treatise on melancholy, which according to Flashar is also the source for section 1 of book 30 on melancholy. An indication for this would be the reference to the melancholics in 957a32-35.

30 957a5-6. Cf. Phys., 247blff.; An. post. 100al-15; De an. 407a32-33; De mot. an. 701a27.

31 Cf. De ins. 461 a8-21.

32 957a9-13 seems based on De ins. 461a5-14 (and more generally on De som. ch. 3, esp. 457b 1-5); 957al9-21 almost verbatim coincides with De ins. 461 a11-13 and 462b5; 957a23-25 corresponds to De div. 463a23-27; 957a25-27 corresponds to Eth. Nic. 1 101 b9-10; 957a28-32 corresponds to De ins. 462b 1-11; and 957a32-35 corresponds to De div. 464a32-b5.

33 Cf. also Plato, Rest). 571 C-E.

34 See the discussion by P.J. Van der Eijk, op. cit., n. 25, p. 186.

35 Careful consideration of the sense in which the terms “movement” and “rest” are used is also important when it comes to comparing several other passages from Probl. which at first sight may seem to contradict the interpretation we have proposed. Thus in 33.15, the “rest” which sleep is said to provide relates to sense – perception, which is at rest in sleep (which, again, is in accordance with genuine Aristotelian doctrine); and the passage leaves open the possibility that dreams may appear when the internal heat mentioned in that passage is locked up in the head. In 18.1, the “rest” which sleep is said to provide concerns rest from the activity of mental concentration-and the case referred to in lines 15-16 refers to a “natural (kata phusin) process of normal tiredness, when the mind has been concentrated for a long time, as opposed to cases such as referred to in the beginning of the passage, when falling asleep in spite of reading is caused by pathological circumstances such as the cooling effect of “pneumatic humours” (which is contrasted with the case of being unable to fall asleep, even when wanted, as a result of a heating movement). Finally, 11.33 does not discuss sleep, but being awake: hearing is enhanced, and so is dianoia, because vision is at rest (because it is dark) and dianoia is not distracted.

36 L. Repici, La natura e l'anima. Saggisu Stratone di Lampsaco, Turin, Tirrenia Stampatori, 1988, p. 57 ff.

37 There is also a variant reading in the tradition allé phusis tês dianoias (fr. 130B). The use of dianoia in combination with alogos is striking here, but may be similar to that in the opening sentence of the Pseudo-Aristotelian Physiognomonica in the broad sense of “mental activity”.

38 For a discussion of the passages in Eth. Eud. 8.2 and Magn. Mor. 2.8 and their relationship to Div. see P.J. Van der Eijk, op. cit., n. 25, ch. 8.

39 This has been argued in P.J. Van der Eijk, “Aristotelian elements in Ciceros De divinatione" Philologus, 137 (1993), p. 223-231 against J. Kany-Turpin and P. Pellegrin, “Cicero and the Aristotelian theory of divination by dreams”, in W.W. Fortenbaugh, P. Steinmetz eds., Cicero’s Knowledge of the Peripatos, New Brunswick, Transactions, 1989, p. 220-245. On the reception of Aristotle’s views on divination in Cicero and Stoicism see also L. REPICI, “Aristotele, gli Stoici e il libro Dei Sogni nel De divinatione di Cicerone”, Metis, 6 (1991), p. 167-209 [also printed in Atti dell’Accademia delle Scienze di Torino, 125 (1991), p. 93-126], and Id., “Gli Stoici e la divinazione secondo Cicerone”, Hermes, 123 (1995), p. 175-192.

40 “Aristotle thought that those who are insane as a result of a problem of (bodily) health and who are called melancholics have something prophetic and divine in their minds. However, I doubt that this should be attributed to people with ‘heart’ disease or to people suffering from phrenitis; for divination belongs to a healthy mind, not to a defective body.” (.Aristoteles quidem eos etiam qui valetudinis vitio furerent et melancholici dicerentur censebat habere aliquid in animis praesagiens atque divinum. Ego autem baud scio an nec cardiacis hoc tribuendum sit nec phreneticis; animi enim integri, non vitiosi est corporis divinatio.) (1.38.81-2). The association of melancholics with phreneticis is presumably related to the ‘manic’, ‘ecstatic’ sides of melancholy; cardiacis makes sense in relation to what in Greek medicine was sometimes called ‘cardiac’ disease, where kardia refers not to the heart, but to the “mouth of the stomach”, which is exactly what the medical writer Diodes (fr. 109 vdE) regards as the location of the inflammation giving rise to the disorders mentioned under melancholy. A similar association is found in a passage in Celsus, On Medicine 3.19.1.

41 P.J. Van der Eijk, “Aristotelian elements in Cicero’s De divination", Philologus 137 (1993), p. 223-231.

42 This is a big if, for the indirect tradition also attributes to Aristotle himself the idea that the soul can foretell the future when it is freed from the body in sleep (On Philosophy fr. 10 Rose = Sextus Empiricus Against the Professors 9.20-22); but it is far from certain even in that work that Aristotle himself subscribed to this view: see P.J. Van der Eijk, op. cit., n. 4, p. 89-91.

43 Dicaearchus, frs. 30-32 in W.W. Fortenbaugh and F. Schütrumpf eds., Dicaearchus of Messana. Text, Translation and Discussion, New Brunswick and Londres, Transactions, 2001, with the discussion by R.W. Sharples, “Dicaearchus on the soul and on divination”, in ibid., p. 143-173.

44 Clearchus’dialogue On Sleep seems to have understood Aristotle as saying that he has come to a realisation ot the separability of the soul, and the soul’s ability to acquire knowledge of the spiritual world in such states of ecstasy, after observing an exorcism.

45 The idea that the soul can foretell the future when it is freed from the body in sleep is attributed to the Peripatetics Dicaearchus (4th century BCE) and Cratippus (1st century BCE) by Cicero, On Divination 1.70 (Cratippus only), 1.113 and 2.100 (both); see R.W. Sharples, ibid., p. 164-173; and Aetius, Placita 5.1 says that of all types of divination Aristotle and Dicaearchus acknowledged only divination through dreams and ecstatic inspiration.

46 Nemesius, On the Nature of Man 12 (p. 68, 4-5 Morani) says that “thought (dianoia) foretells the future to us through dreams”; in ch. 14 (p. 71, 11 Morani) he says that “we speak to ourselves (or ‘deliberate’, dialegometha) in our dreams”. And in ch. 3 (p. 40, 13-22 Morani) we read: “But it is clear that the soul also remains uncompounded from the fact that the soul is in a way separated from the body in sleep; it leaves the body lying like a corpse, and merely breathes life into it lest it should perish utterly, but in itself it is active in its dreams, foretelling the future and associating with things intelligible. The same thing happens also when the soul reviews some reality on its own: for then also it separates itself as far as possible from the body and comes to be by itself in order that it may thus fix its gaze on realities. For being incorporeal it has permeated [the body] throughout as do things that have perished together with one another, while remaining incorruptible and uncompounded, preserving its own unity and making the things in which it comes to be conform to its life while not being transmuted by them” (tr. Sharples)

47 See also R. Hansberger, “HOW Aristotle came to believe in God-given dreams: the Arabic version of De divinatione per somnum”, in M. Ashtiany ed., Dreaming Across Boundaries: the Interpretation of Dreams in Islamic Lands, Washington and Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 2008; H. Daiber, “Salient trends of the Arabic Aristotle”, in G. Endress, R. Kruk eds., The Ancient Tradition in Christian and Islamic Hellenism. Studies on the Transmission of Greek Philosophy and the Sciences dedicated to H.J. Drossaart Lulofs on his ninetieth birthday, Leyde, Brill, 1997, p. 29-41, and C. Di Martino, “La memoria nell’epitome dei Parva naturalia di Ibn Rushd”, in C. Crisciani, R. Lambertini, R. Martorelli VICO eds., Parva naturalia. Sapere medievali, natura e vita, Pisa and Rome, Istituti Editoriale e Poligrafici Internazionale, 2004, p. 189-199.

48 Cf. also Nemesius, On the Nature of Man 13 (p. 68, 16 Morani): “According to Aristotle memory is the imagination left behind by an actually appearing sensation”. The case of Nemesius’ reception of Aristotle’s Parv. nat. is difficult: on the one hand, he mentions Aristotle about 25 times, and the subject matter of his work shows strong similarities with Aristotle’s Parv. nat., yet I have been unable to find a single example of what could count as ‘usage’ of any of the Parv. nat. in the strict sense. Moreoever, in the case of Nemesius, more than in that of the Aristotelian commentators, his knowledge of Aristotle may have been filtered through intermediaries.

49 See further Themistius, In Arist. De an. p. 76, 16, which can be associated with De sens. 439al-2 and De iuv. 469al2-l4 (see R.B. Todd Themistius. On Aristotle On the Souk Londres, Duckworth, 1996, p. 97), and p. 89, 30, which can be associated with De me?n. 450a32 (see R.B. Todd, ibid... p. 112).

50 Another example can be found in p. 10, 26-28, where Philoponus quotes the famous passage about the intellect entering from outside (De gen. an., 736b27ff.) but attributes it to De part. an.

51 See W.W. Charlton, “Philoponus”. On Aristotle On the Soul 3.9-13, with Stephanus. On Aristotle On Interpretation, Londres, Duckworth, 2000.

52 See H.J. Blumenthal, op. cit., n. 13, p. 137-51.

53 See A. Sheppard, “Phantasia and mental images: Neoplatonist interpretations of De Anima 3.3”, in H.J. Blumenthal and H.M. Robinson eds., Aristotle and the Later Tradition, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1991, p. 165-175.

54 Philoponus’ knowledge and use of De mem. has been argued for by P. Lautner, “Philoponean accounts on phantasia, Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 34 (1992), p. 160-170; and one passage, also from his commentary on De an., relating to the physical conditions affecting memory, clearly reflects knowledge of Aristotle’s treatise: “They even extend this to the higher cognitive faculties and claim that people whose brain has a dryer mixture have better memories, but are slower in thinking, whereas those people who have the opposite mixture are confronted with the opposite affection, and similarly with imagination and the other affections.” (CAG p. 51, 4-5, which strongly echoes De mem. 449b7-8 and 450a31).

55 Some other references to the Parv. nat. in Philoponus’DA commentary: p. 348,11, p. 605,31 and p. 321,35 refer to the treatise Sens., as do p. 400,17.18 and p. 396,4-6; p. 575,32 refers to Somn.; and p. 381,5 refers to Respir. The De an. commentary by Ps.-Simplicius also contains a number of references that can be traced to individual writings of the Parv. nat., although in some of these cases Ps.Simplicius does not specify the name of the treatise but only says that the topic is discussed en allois·. see p. 248, 7-8, which refers to the concept of phantaston in De mem. 450a24; p. 149, 3 which refers to De respire.; p. 158,19 which can be traced to De sens. 439al (cf. also p. 164,16), and p. 130,20 which can be traced to De sens. 439b11 (cf. p. 132,27).

56 For Philoponus’ awareness and use of medical literature see P.J. Van der Eijk, Philoponus. On Aristotle On the Soul 1.1-2, Londres, Duckworth, 2005, p. 4-5.

57 In De an. p. 155, 22-29: “Also the fact that the body, when it is in this or that condition, hinders the soul or does not hinder it, is known to everybody, whereas this hindering of the soul through the body would not happen unless some sort of sympathetic reaction proceeded from the soul’s relationship with the body to the soul in this way, just as memory is affected when a particular cavity at the back of the brain is affected, as is the rational part of the soul when some other cavity is affected, and when [the brain] is in a certain state it is easy for the soul to exercise imagination, but when it is in a different state, it is very difficult for it to imagine.” (tr. P.J. Van der Eijk, Philoponus. On Aristotle On the Soul 1.3-5, Londres, Duckworth, 2006).

58 For references see P.J. Van der Eijk, ibid., p. 137-8.

59 See G. Strohmaier, “Al-Farabi über die verschollene Aristoteles-Schrift Über Gesundheit und Krankheit und über die Stellung der Medizin im System der Wissenschaften”, in J. Irmscher, R. Müller eds., Aristoteles als Wissenschaftstheoretike, Berlin, Akademie Verlag, 1983, p. 186-189.

60 For the possible existence of more specialised medical writings under Aristotle’s name see P.J. Van der Eijk, op. cit., n. 25, ch. 9.

61 This would require reading the final section of De respir. 480b21-30 as a conclusion of something that has already happened rather than the annoucement of a treatment that is about to start. The latter interpretation seems prima facie more likely; but perhaps one could take the contrast indicated by men oun... de as that between peri pantôn (“in all their respects”) as opposed to mekhri tou tas aitias eipein (“only up to the point of stating their causes”) and assume that Aristotle thinks that that – i.e. stating the causes of health and disease – is what he has done in the previous discussion. The following remarks about the difference between the phusikos and the iatros could then be seen as a kind of justification for the fact that what Aristotle has offered in the previous discussion is a rather different kind of treatment of health and disease than what one finds in a treatise by a medical writer. And the implication of his insistence on the importance of recognising this difference is that this might easily be overlooked (lanthanein) as opposed to the contiguity (sunoros) of the two fields, which is clear enough and evident from the behaviour of respectable practitioners of both fields. (So it seems that, rather than welcoming interdisciplinarity, Aristotle is insisting on the disciplinary boundaries between medicine and physics). Finally, the use of teleutôsin is, perhaps, also an indication that the discussion has finished.

62 On this tradition of “Aristotle and the physicians” see C.B. Schmitt, “Aristotle among the physicians”, in A. Wear, R.K. French, I.M. Lonie eds., The Medical Renaissance of the Sixteenth Century, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1985, p. 1-15; see also D. Des Chene, Life’s Form: Late Aristotelian Conceptions of the Soul, Ithaca, Cornell, 2000 and M. Edwards, “Digressing with Aristotle: Hieronymus Dandinus De corpore animate (1600) and the expansion of late Aristotelian philosophy”, Early Science and Medicine 13 (2008), p. 127-170.

63 One can think here of the translation and commentary activities of Joachim Périon (see C.B. Schmitt, Aristote à la Renaissance, Paris, PUF, 1992, p. 88-96), Conrad Gesner and Niccolò Tomeo (see D. De Bellis, “Niccolò Leoniceno Tomeo interprete di Aristotele naturalista”, Physis 17 (1975), p. 71-93); see also P.J. Van der Eijk, op. cit., n. 4, p. 99.

64 See P.J. Van der Eijk, “‘Aristotle! What a thing for you to say!’: Galen’s Engagement with Aristotle and Aristotelians”, in C.J. Gill, J. Wilkins, T. Whitmarsh eds., Galen and the World of Knowledge, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, with an extensive bibliography of earlier work on the subject.

65 Cf. PHP 6.3.10-26, echoing (though not explicitly mentioning) De iuv. 468al3 ff. and 468b17 ff.

66 In De temperamentis 2.2 (p. 46, 10 Helmreich, 1.581 K.), Galen expresses agreement with Aristotle's comparison of old age with the waning of a plant in De respir. 478b28 and 479b4 (cf. also De long. 467a13).

67 For a discussion of this work and Galen’s usage of Aristotle see G.E.R. Lloyd, “Scholarship, authority and argument in Galen’s Quod animi mores", in P. Manui.i, M. Vegetti eds., Le opera psichologiche di Galeno, Naples, Bibliopolis, 1988, p. 11-42.

68 Discussed in ΡΗΡ7.7.4-26 (p. 470, 13-474, 29 De Lacy, 5.638-644 K.).

69 See Galen, De instrumente odoratus 5.3-9 (p. 48, 18-50, 28 Kollesch).

70 However, it is clear from Galen’s discussion of respiration in his work De usu partium 8.3 that he was well aware of Aristotle’s theory.

71 The authenticity of the treatise De dignotione e somniis attributed to Galen is doubtful, and it seems to be a fragment derived from a different treatise, as suggested by a parallel passage in Galen’s Commentary on the First Book of Hippocrates’ Epidemics 3.1 (17a.2l4-5 K.).

72 Mainly De Causis Pulsuum 3.9-10 (9.131-142 K.) and De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.139-144 K.); also De Plenitude 11.23 (7.576-7 K.), In Hippocratis Prorrheticum 1.2 (16.592 K.), DeMotuMusculorum 2.4 (4.439 K.), DeInstrumentum Odoratusi (p. 58,9-20 Kollesch; 2.880-1 K.), De Alimentorum Facultatibus 1 (6.487 K.), In Hippocratis De Victu Acutorum 2.55 (15.624-5 K.). There is also a pseudo-Galenic treatise On Sleep and Waking in Arabic, which has been translated into German by R. Nabielek, Dieps.-Galenische Schrift “Über Schlaf und Wachsein”, zum ersten Male herausgegeben, übersetzt und erläutert, Berlin, Akademie Verlag, 1977. It is a compilation of information gained from various Galenic texts. A summary of this work seems to have been preserved in Oribasius, Collectiones Medicae 6.4 (p. 156-7 Raeder).

73 De Plenitudine 11.23 (7.577 K.).

74 In Hippocratis Prorrheticum 1.2 (16.592 K.).

75 Cf. R.E. Siegel, Galen on Sense Perception, Basel & New York, Karger, 1970, 4, 30, p. 175.

76 For a more elaborate explanation of the workings of sense perception, see De Placitis Hippocratis et Platonis 7.4 ff. Galen uses the rather broad term dunamis in the explanation in De Symptomatum Causis. If we look at his account of sense perception in De Placitis Hippocratis et Platonis 7.4-5 it is likely that the power he is referring to may be identified with pneuma. There is no clarity as to the exact location of the primary sense-organ within the brain, but Rocca is keen to point out that it may be anywhere except in the ventricles, as this is the location where the (psychic) pneuma, the agent of the primary sense-organ, is concentrated, and it is clear that the two are not the same. Cf. J. Rocca, Galen on the Brain, Leyde, Brill, 2003, p. 196-7: 236: 245.

77 De Motu Musculorum 2.4 (4.439 K.).

78 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.139-140 K.).

79 Cf. also De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.140 K.); De Instrumenta Odoratus 3 (2.880-1 K.).

80 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.141-143 K.); De Locis Affectis 3 (8.162 K.). Cf. also C.J. Larrain, GalensKommentarzu Platons Timaios, Stuttgart, Saur Verlag, 1992, p. 149: 152.

81 De Plenitudine 11.23 (7.576-7 K.).

82 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.140-142 K.).

83 Cf. In Hippocratis Librum III Epidemiarum 30 (17b.298-9 K.). Cf. C.J. Larrain, op. cit., n. 80, p. 152.

84 Cf In Hippocratis Librum III Epidemiarum 25 (17b.205 K.).

85 De Causis Pulsuum 3.9 (9.132 K.); 10 (9.140 K.).

86 De Causis Pulsuum 1.8 (9.141-2 K.). The idea that digestion takes place particularly in sleep is reflected in the following Galenic aphorism: “Sport is beneficial for the flesh and joints, while food and sleep are beneficial for the intestines” (In Hippocratis Librum IV Epidemiarum 5.10, 17b.260-262 K.), which is Galen’s revised version of the Hippocratic aphoristic remark in Epidemiae 6.5.5: “Exercise is food for the joints and the flesh, sleep for the intestines.”

87 Ordinary people, he says, can eat things that would be indigestible for people of the upper classes, because they are engaged in manual labour on a daily basis. Most people who engage in heavy physical exertion sleep deeply, something that contributes greatly to digestion. This is exactly the reason why they can eat things that would not be digested by someone who has not exerted himself during the day and who would sleep normally (De Alimentorum Facultatibus 1, 6.487 K.).

88 In Hippocratis De Victu Acutorum 2.55 (15.624-5 K.).

89 De Causis Pulsuum 3.9 (9.138 K.).

90 Cf. Arist. De som. 455a4-455bl3. Galen himself even refers to the fact that they agree that sleep has its origin in the primary sense-organ. Cf. In Hippocratis Librum III Epidemiarum 1.7 (17a.540 K.).

91 Cf. Arist. De som. 454a19-b9; 458a29-32.

92 Cf. Arist. De som. 456b17-457a22.

93 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.141-142 K.); tr. I. Johnston, Galen on Diseases and Symptoms, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2006.

94 DeSymptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.142 K.); tr. I. Johnston, ibid., with minor modifications.

95 Cf. Arist. De som. 455b34-456a4.

96 A parallel case is smell, discussed by Galen in De instrumente odoratus, where Galen voices similar criticism of Aristotle’s apparent inability to connect the location of the organ of smell in the head with his belief that the central sense organ is located in the heart. See the discussion in J. Kollesch, Galen iiber das Riechorgan, Berlin, Akademie Verlag, 1964, p. 106-10. A further parallel can be found in Galen’s criticism of the medical writer Diodes of Carystus, a contemporary of Aristotle and also a cardiocentrist, for his inability to explain the psychological manifestations of melancholy (De Locis Affectis 3.9 [8.188 K.] = Diocles, fr. 109,60-61 P.J. Van der Eijk).

97 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.142 K.); tr. I. Johnston, op. cit., n. 93, with minor modifications.

98 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.142-143 K.).

99 De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.143 K.); tr. I. Johnston, op. cit., n. 93.

100 For an explanation of digestion and its consequences for the sleeping process, see Arist. De som. 456a30-456b9; 456bl7-28; 458al0-25.

101 Most clearly voiced at De Symptomatum Causis 1.8 (7.143 K.).

102 According to Aristotle, the heart is the hottest part of the body and the centre of innate heat. Cf. De gen. an. 735al4-29; 737al-2; De sens. 439a3-4; De part. an. 653a29-30. For Galen, too, the heart is the hottest part of the body. Cf. De Temperamentis 1 (1.570 K.).

103 We adopt this distinction from M.E.M.P.J. Leunissen, Explanation and Teleology in Aristotle’s Philosophy of Nature, Diss. Leyde, 2007, p. 188-9.

104 De som. 458a28-32.

105 De Causis Pulsuum 3.9 (9.133 K.).

106 On the difference between the two thinkers regarding the role of the liver see I.M. Lonie, “Erasistratus, the Erasistrateans, and Aristotle”, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 38 (1964), p. 426-443.

107 Michael mentions Galen also on p. 109, 20 (on Long. 469 b 23), with a reference to his work On Differences between Fevers, for having agreed with, but elaborated on Aristotle’s views on the causes of marasmus, and on p. 135, 28 (on Respir. 477 a 14), with a reference to his work That the Faculties of the Soul follow the Mixtures of the Body, agreeing with Aristotle on the fundamental importance of heat for the soul.

Auteurs

Humboldt Universität, Berlin

University of Amsterdam

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