Plato - Foxius / Acanthius
Ethices compendium / Philosophia Platonica — Basel 1554
Foxius Morzillus, Sebastianus. Ethices philosophiae compendium, ex Platone, Aristotele, aliisque optimis quibusque auctoribus collectum. — Basel, J. Oporinus, 1554. Bound with:
Plato – Acanthius Kelhaimerus, Georgius. Philosophiae Platonicae Libri tres. — Basel, J. Oporinus, (1554). [sold]
8vo (101 x 162 mm). (8) leaves ,256 pp., ,(12) leaves, last a blank. Acanthius: 366 pp.,(13) leaves. Contemporary blindstamped pigskin over wooden boards, one of two claps. Spine pasted with 18th century marbled paper and red letterpiece. – Adams F 808 and A 69; VD16 F 1960 (Berlin, Stuttgart, Trier) and A 79. Fine copies.
¶ Sebastian Fox Morzillo (1526?-1559), Spanish humanist and philosopher, studied at Louvain, wrote amongst other works commentaries on Plato’s Republic and Timaeus, tried to show the coincidence of the philosophies of Aristotle and Plato, with great sympathy for the latter. Our book is not a reader in ethics, but Foxius’ elaboration of his own ethical doctrine, and, as he says in the prefatory epistle, the complement to his philosophy of nature developed in his commentary on Plato’s Timaeus.
Acanthius: Only a very few biographical details are known. Born in Kelhaim/Bavaria, he travelled through Europe, settled in Freiburg in South Germany around 1550. Published a commentary on Cicero’s Rhetorica ad Herennium, Basel 1549, stayed in Venice in the house of Paulo Manuzio, who published his Lamentatio de periculosa ac turbulenta nostri seculi Republica (Renouard I, 154).
Our book deals with the origin of philosophy, the differences between the doctrines of Plato, the Pythagoreans and Socrates. In the second part Acanthius develops the dialectic as nucleus of Plato’s philosophy (dialectica omnium artium dux & magistra), followed by the description of platonic philosophy of nature, mathematics and ethics. The third and last part is dedicated to the question, if the philosophy of Plato (omnium philosophorum princeps) is compatible to Jewish and Christian doctrines, and Acanthius’ answer is: Plato Mose atticus. The book is finished by extracts of the work of Cicero as Platonis discipulus, a letter to the Augsburg patrician Karl Relinger (nemo rector civitatis potest, nisi idem sit philosophus), Acanthius’ Lamentatio de periculosa ac turbulenta nostri seculi Republica, and at the very end a little poem Autor ad libellum: Vade liber sine me, flexum liber ito per orbem …