Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

The Fragments of Aristotle: A Reconstruction of his Lost Works

Project description

Reconstructing the lost Aristotle

Do we truly understand the ideas and thoughts of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle? Funded by the European Research Council, the FragArist project will answer this question by shedding new light on what were initially considered the most representative among the many works of Aristotle. Specifically, the project will combine methods taken from philology, papyrology, philosophy, ancient history and digital humanities, as well as novel editing and imaging techniques. The goal is to move our attention from the long-studied extant works, which were primarily addressed to Aristotle’s students, to reconstructing and interpreting fragments: lost works on politics, history, ethics, poetry, rhetoric, science, and other writings cited by later authors. FragArist will enable a comprehensive understanding of Aristotelian philosophy and its impact on the western world.


"One of the greatest minds of antiquity was no doubt Aristotle. He left a lasting impression on Western civilization, influencing among others the Founding Fathers in designing the US constitution. But what many do not know is that only a fraction of his works survive. Those preserved through medieval transmission - his so-called esoteric works - go back to college lectures and were intended to be used by his small circle of students. But Aristotle also wrote many works for a wider audience, which survive only in ""fragments,"" i.e. citations in later authors, and a number of epitomes. In fact, what is preserved today is not what Aristotle was famous for throughout most of antiquity or even what he intended to be known for. Yet modern research focuses almost exclusively on the esoteric works. The result is that the Aristotle one meets in contemporary scholarship is really only the Aristotle of the preserved school writings. In order to truly understand his views on politics, ethics, poetry, rhetoric, logic and the soul or his approach as a scientist and historian, we must also study the lost works. The fragments are essential to understand his philosophy and assess his impact on Western thought. FragArist aims to shift the attention back to what were initially his most important works and establish a new understanding of Aristotle by reconstructing and interpreting his lost works. We will combine methods taken from philology, papyrology, philosophy, ancient history and Digital Humanities and apply pioneering editing techniques and the latest cutting-edge imaging techniques. For the first time we will also incorporate the fragments found in Syriac and Arabic sources. We will create a radically new perspective on Aristotle's personality and elucidate his influence on later authors, including the Alexandrian grammarians, Roman philosophers, Neoplatonic philosophers and Christian authors. This will also revolutionize our knowledge of the history of literature and science."



Net EU contribution
€ 1 500 000,00
Via 8 febbraio 2
35122 Padova

See on map

Nord-Est Veneto Padova
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00