ABSTRACT

Some o f the ancient Vitae Aristotelis attempt to portray Aristotle, touching upon his character, outlook on life, prominent virtues (and vices), scholarly attitude and the like. How reliable these reports are is difficult to assess, especially since most o f the extant biographies arc enthusiastically laudatory.1 On the other hand, a number o f more casual references to the Stagirite in Hellenistic and Patristic literature are often blatantly prejudiced and even deliberately hostile. Thus, the general impression we gain o f Aristotle’s character seems to depend to a large extent on the source or sources we consult. There is, however, a third ample and, it appears, reliable source which offers almost unlimited possibilities to ‘ reconstruct ’ Aristotle’s main traits o f character —a source which has hardly been tapped: His own writings as they have been preserved either in the extant Corpus Aristotelicum2 or in some o f the fragments from his Tost’ works. It is reasonable to assume that in his many writings Aristotle should divulge something about himself. Authors, especially prolific authors, frequently project their own personality into their compositions-a fact which is known to all who are familiar with literary criticism.