This article focuses on the reception of Aristotle among Platonist philosophers from the first century BC down to Ammonius Saccas, Plotinus’ master in Alexandria. The first-century BC Platonist philosopher Eudorus of Alexandria aimed to integrate Aristotle’s philosophy into his Pythagorean reading of Plato. A passage from Plutarch’s Life of Alexander (V. Alex. 7) offers a valuable testimony about this approach: Aristotle’s metaphysics is read against the background of Plato’s theology (‘epoptics’). Eudorus’ exegetical methods show some interesting similarities with those of the Aristotelian commentators of his time (in particular Andronicus of Rhodes and Boethus of Sidon). This picture changed during the second century AD. On the one hand, Platonic authors such as Taurus, Nicostratus and Atticus focused on the differences between the theories of Plato and Aristotle. On the other, Alcinous extensively incorporated Aristotle’s theories into his Handbook of Platonism. The debate over the harmony or disagreement between Plato and Aristotle only emerged, then, in the second century. According to the Neoplatonist philosopher Hierocles of Alexandria (fifth century), Ammonius Saccas took up this debate and showed the consonance between Plato and Aristotle as regards their most essential doctrines. The new approaches to Aristotle by Plotinus and Porphyry (based on an extensive reading of both Aristotle and the Peripatetic commentary tradition) are best understood against this background.
Keywords: Middle Platonism, Aristotle, Atticus, commentators on Aristotle, Neoplatonism