Parmenides Publishing

Titles by Ryan C. Fowler

Imperial Plato

Imperial Plato:
Albinus, Maximus, Apuleius
Text and Translation, with an
Introduction and Commentary


December 2016
372 pages • 6 x 9 • Paperback



Ryan C. Fowler

is a Visiting Professor of Classics at Franklin and Marshall College; he also teaches Koine Greek at Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is the author of Plato in the Third Sophistic (Millennium Studies, De Gruyter, 2014). He lives in Lancaster, PA with Amy and Milo.

Imperial Plato
presents new translations of three introductions to Plato’s thought from the second half of the second century CE: the Introduction to Plato by Albinus of Smyrna, Dissertation 11 of Maximus of Tyre, and On Plato and his Teaching by Apuleius of Madaurus. These three presentations of Plato’s ideas—one a Greek dialectic introduction with a suggested reading order for Plato’s dialogues, another a Greek speech in the sophistic style of the time, and one a lengthy doxological study in Latin—are examples by three distinct authors using divergent methods of the assorted ways in which Plato and Platonism were understood and discussed during the revival of Hellenism and Greek Philosophy, and the period of the Roman Empire often referred to as the Second Sophistic.

“The best introduction to the ancient genre of the Platonic handbook available and, finally, a new English translation of Apuleius’ On Plato and his Doctrine, which, alongside Albinus’ Introduction and Maximus of Tyre’s Dissertation 11, offers a compelling picture of the nuances of 2nd Century CE Platonism and its teaching. With its lucid translations and meticulous notes, Fowler’s Imperial Plato presents an indispensable guide to the diversity of the Platonic handbook genre in the 2nd Century CE for a new generation of students, teachers, and scholars alike.

—Richard Fletcher
Associate Professor of Classics
Ohio State University

“An impressive work of scholarship that will soon become an indispensable starting-point, especially in the English-speaking world, for those setting out to study the remarkable influence that Plato had on intellectuals living under Roman rule in the first centuries of our common era. In addition to an insightful general introduction, each text is accompanied by a thorough and lucid overview and synopsis, a clean Greek text with manuscript illustrations, and detailed and helpful notes. The bibliography is substantial and wide-ranging. Anyone interested in the reception of Plato’s ideas in the competitive world of the second century of our era will find an excellent guide here. Fowler has done the hard yards well.”

—John Hilton
Professor of Classics
University of KwaZulu-Natal

“A very helpful overview of three of the most significant so-called Middle Platonic texts, representing three different approaches to the founding figure of all Platonisms: Plato. Fowler’s general introduction on the imperial reception of Plato rightly stresses, among other important points, the impact of Plato and Platonism on early Christian thought. Patristic philosophy was indeed part and parcel of ancient philosophy, and varieties of Middle Platonism were its cradle, as the texts presented here help to clarify.”

—Ilaria L.E. Ramelli
Professor of Theology and
Bishop Kevin Britt Chair in Dogmatics – Christology
Catholic University; Angelicum; Oxford; Princeton

“These fine translations of three less well-known texts bring to life a fascinating period from the history of Platonism. The reliable introductions and generous notes make the book a pleasure to use. Those who want to read the original will not be disappointed: they do not just get critical texts from authoritative editions but also marvelous photos of selected manuscript folia. Fowler has done a tremendous service to all those interested in the Platonic tradition.”

—Jan Opsomer
Professor of Philosophy
De Wulf-Mansion Centre for
Ancient Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
KU Leuven University