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Transcript by Pier Asdentz of an Italian translation of the philosophical work by the Reverend Father Pier Maria Ferrari: ‘"Introduzione d`Alcinoo Filosofo agli Insegnamenti di Platone". Tradotta dalla Greca favella nella nostra Italiana dal R.P. Pier Maria Ferrari, Genovese delle Scuole Pie, trascritta dall`originale da me. Pier Maria Asdentz, Genova: 1737’.

Identifier: Adv.MS.18.8.2

Scope and Contents

Bound with the transcript is the Greek text ‘Alkinoou Philosophou Eis Ta Ton Platonos Dogmata Eisagoge/Alcinoi Philosophi ad Platonis Dogmata Introductio’, printed in Venice by Aldus, 1521 (folios 56-83 verso).

Alcinous, 2nd century AD Middle Platonist philosopher (long misidentified with another Middle Platonist philosopher, Albinus), wrote a handbook of Platonism entitled ‘Didaskalikos ton Platonos dogmaton’ (cf. ‘Alcinoos, Enseignement des Doctrines de Platon’ and ‘Alcinous, the Handbook of Platonism’), meant to give a brief and systematic survey of Plato`s doctrines. In spite of the different title, not corresponding to any of the two titles reported in the Greek manuscripts (‘Didaskalikos’ at the beginning of the text, and ‘Epitome ton Platonos dogmaton’ at the end), and which may be derived from the declaration made in the epilogue that `what has been said so far is enough as an introduction to the doctrines of Plato` – ‘pros eisagogen eis ten Platonos dogmatopoian’ (cf. ‘Alkinoou Eis ta tou Platonos eisagoge/Alcinoi in Platonicam Philosophiam Introductio’) - this manuscript is a translation of the ‘Didaskalikos’ and includes, together with the translation and the original Greek text, an initial presentation of Alcinous and an index to the chapters. These last are marked by hand beside the Greek text. They are 34 plus epilogue, instead of the 36 in Whittaker`s edition (chapters 27 and 28 being joined into a single chapter), and are arranged in a different way in the final part, with chapters 28 and 29 of the Whittaker`s edition corresponding to 29 and 30 of the manuscripts, 30 roughly to 31, but 31 and 32 corresponding respectively to chapters 33 and 32, 33 and 34 to 34 and 35, and the epilogue to chapter 36. However the work is, as well as in Whittaker`s edition, divided into three main parts, in the following way:

(i-iii) Introductory Chapters:

(i) definition of philosophy (folio 5).

(ii) requirements for the philosopher (folio 2 verso).

(iii) enumeration of the parts of philosophy (folio 4 verso).

(iv-vi) Dialectic (Logic) (folio 6 verso).

(vii-xxvi) Physics (Theoretical Philosophy) (folio 16 verso).

(xxvii-xxxiv) Ethics (Practical Philosophy) (folio 41 verso).

Epilogue (folio 54).

The Italian translation reports also a particular mark (÷) beside every point in the text which is not in accordance with the Christian faith.


  • Creation: 1737.


0.00 Linear metres (iv + 83 folios. Octavo.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The manuscript was acquired by the Advocates’ Library, presumably in 1819.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, 1925, by the Faculty of Advocates to the nation on the foundation of the National Library of Scotland.


‘Alcinoos, Enseignement des Doctrines de Platon’, edited by J Whittaker (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1990) (NLS pressmark = H2.91.524).

‘Alcinous, the Handbook of Platonism’, translated by J Dillon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993) (NLS pressmark = H3.93.4462).

‘Alkinoou Eis ta tou Platonos eisagoge/Alcinoi in Platonicam Philosophiam Introductio’ (Oxoniae: Lichfieldianis, 1667) (NLS pressmark = K.28.f).
National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland
03 02 2015
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Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository