chapter  II
Philosophy and the Polis
Pages 15

Dante in his Divine Comedy places Aristotle in a privileged circle in Hell, surrounded by ‘his philosophical family’, among whom even Plato is included. Dante’s elevation of Aristotle to philosophical pre­ eminence as ‘il maestro di color che sanno’1 was in line with medieval scholastic tradition, for whom Aristotle was ‘The Philosopher’ without need for further qualification. This quasi-canonisation of Aristotle as supreme rational authority was not shared by antiquity, for which Aristoteleanism was merely one contestant, though an impressive contestant, for the philosophical palm. Stoicism, Platonism and Epicureanism were three other major rivals with whom Aristotle’s ‘Peripatetic’ school at first competed and was eventually conflated by the synthesising tendency of the later Graeco-Roman world.