The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

Alexander of Aphrodisias, De Fato: some Parallels*

R. W. Sharplesa1

a1 University College London

As was first pointed out by Gercke, there are close parallels, which clearly suggest a common source, between Apuleius, de Platone 1.12, the treatise On Fate falsely attributed to Plutarch, Calcidius' excursus on fate in his commentary on Plato's Timaeus, and certain sections of the treatise de Natura hominis by Nemesius. Gercke traced the doctrines common to these works to the school of Gaius; recently however Dillon has pointed out that, while Albinus shares with these works the characteristic Middle-Platonic notion of fate as conditional or hypothetical – our actions are free, but once we have acted the consequences of our actions are fated and inevitable – he does not share certain other common features, such as the identification of fate as substance with the world-soul and the hierarchy of three providences.


* This article is largely composed of material from my 1977 Cambridge Ph.D. thesis, ‘Studies in the De fato of Alexander of Aphrodisias; I am particularly grateful to my supervisor, Dr. G. E. R. Lloyd, for his interest and advice.