Individual and Society: The Anonymus Iamblichi in the context of ancient moral and political philosophy

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Anders Dahl Sørensen


University of Copenhagen


DKK 995,758




Reintegration Fellowships


The project investigates a neglected source of evidence for the history of early Greek political and moral thought. ‘Anonymus Iamblichi’ is the (somewhat tortuous) name traditionally given to the unnamed ancient Greek author whose work have been partly preserved in the form of extended citations by the late ancient philosopher Iamblichus. The fragments contain a series of fascinating reflections on the cultivation of virtue and wealth, the origins of law and tyranny, and the relation between democracy, trust and economic flourishing in a society.


Despite his indubitable interest and importance for understanding pre-Platonic Greek moral and political thought, the Anonymus is not a household name in scholarship on ancient moral and political thought. By situating and exploring the fragments in their intellectual context, the project will lay the groundwork for future research on a number of little-explored themes in ancient philosophy, such as the nature and importance of 'civil society' and the sociology of moral virtue and economic activity.


The aim of the project is to compose the first book-length philosophical and historical commentary in English on the text of the Anonymus Iamblichi, including a thorough reassessment of the precise delineation of the fragments and an essay on the question of the identity and intellectual context of the unknown author.

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