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A Note on References to Ancient and Medieval Works

Anyone consulting Ephrem Filthaut's 1955 edition of the Quaestiones super de animalibus is immediately impressed by the depth of scholarship it exhibits. In addition to a meticulous critical study of the manuscripts, Filthaut provides many notes, notable for the breadth of authors consulted. The translators, therefore, have generally relied on his citations. We have checked all possible references, but in the case of obscure works, often very difficult to obtain (for example, "Witelo Optica, Alhacen Optica" at QDA 1.29), we have deferred to Fr. Filthaut.

Citing Aristotle for general readers poses more difficulties than one would expect. It has long been customary to cite the works of Aristotle in reference to the nineteenth-century edition of Immanuel Bekker, who printed the Greek text of Aristotle's collected works in parallel columns. Thus a reference to his Parts of Animals might appear as PA 669b35 and refers to page 669 of the Bekker edition, line 35 of the right-hand column.

This is the most precise way to cite Aristotle, but is virtually useless for those lacking Greek or access to these particular volumes. Modern editions of the Greek of Aristotle continue the practice even when the number of lines does not correspond to the number of Greek lines in a modern printing. Thus the gap in HA 548a2 2-32 might in fact be more than ten lines. The problem is infinitely worse when the text is translated into English.

Moreover, Filthaut, in his edition of QDA, tends to cite sections of Aristotle's works that are generally linked to Albert's thought in a given passage. Thus PA 669-35-40 may refer to a portion of Aristotle concerned with the same subject matter Albert is treating rather than being an exact quotation.

We have therefore adopted the following practice as best suited to the purposes and readership of this volume. Instead of citing HA 548a2 2-32, which may or may not correspond exactly with the Greek edition or translation consulted by a reader, we will rather cite both by book number and chapter number, followed by approximate Bekker numbers, for example, HA 5.15-16 (548a22-32). Interested readers will do well to consult Loeb editions, published by Harvard University Press, which have facing pages of Greek and English text. This will more readily enable those with English texts to compare, in general terms, parallel passages of Aristotle and Albert. When Albert is actually quoting Aristotle, or another author, we have attempted to cite exact lines, but the reader should not expect to find line-for-line correlation with the Greek.

Citing Avicenna poses similar difficulties. Many of the Latin editions of his works have not been translated, and few exist in modern editions. Here we have generally followed Filthaut, after consulting the editions of the Canon and De animalibus cited in the bibliography.

In addition to citing the Stadler edition of Albert's De ani malibus, we frequently refer the reader to our own heavily annotated edition of the work,[1] using the abbreviation SZ. Interested readers will find in-depth references for further research in these volumes.

As both Stadler and Filthaut point out, citing Galen presents many difficulties, not the least of which is determining what version of Galen Albert had before him at a given time.[2] The references given in this translation are those of Filthaut. Kühn's edition remains the standard for consulting the ancient text.[3]

  • [1] Kitchell and Resnick, 1999.
  • [2] Filthaut (1955), xlvi; Stadler (1916-20), 2.viii.
  • [3] C. G. Kühn, ed., Claudii Galeni Opera Omnia, 20 vols. (Leipzig, 1821-33; reprint, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1964-65).
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