'Archytas: Author and Authenticator of Pythagoreanism'

In Constantinos Macris, Luc Brisson & Tiziano Dorandi (eds.), Pythagoras Redivivus: Studies on the Texts Attributed to Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans. Academia – ein Verlag in der Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft. pp. 141-76 (2021)
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This paper critically examines the use of the name 'Pseudo-Archytas' to refer to two aspects of the reception of Archytas of Tarentum in antiquity: the 'author-inflection' and the 'authority-inflection'. In order to make progress on our understanding of authority and authorship within the Pythagorean tradition, it attempts to reconstruct Porphyry's views on the importance of Archytas as guarantor of Pythagorean authenticity in the former's lost work On the History of the Philosophers by considering a fragment preserved in Arabic by Ibn Abī Uṣaybi‘a. The article finally argues that a range of problems attend our use of the term 'pseudo-Archytas', which is not fit for purpose when considering the evidence regarding authorship and authority in the Pythagorean tradition. It recommends a more critical approach to the notion of authenticity within the Pythagorean tradition and suggests a new term, 'Archytism', as a more useful point of reference.

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Phillip Sidney Horky
Durham University


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