Aristotle, Metaphysics, Volume I

LCL 271: xxxiv-xxxv

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on I.–V. and of the pseudo-Alexander on VI.–XIV., and those of Asclepius (6th century), Syrianus (5th century), and Themistius (4th century). Finally there is the Aldine editio princeps of 1498, which in some cases helps to determine the true reading.

The text of this edition is based upon that of Bekker (Berlin 1831, Oxford 1837); and I have added critical notes only where I have rejected his readings or consider them to be doubtful. Among more recent scholars to whom I am indebted for various improvements and emendations, Schwegler, Bonitz, Christ and Jaeger call for special mention; and above all Professor W. D. Ross, whose monumental edition has helped me very greatly in the preparation both of my text and of my translation. A complete critical apparatus would have been far too unwieldy for a volume in this series; but I hope that I have noted all the most important variations.

As regards the translation, my chief object has naturally been to make Aristotle’s meaning as clear as possible without too great a sacrifice of brevity or literalness; and in pursuing this object I have not scrupled to vary the rendering of the same Greek words in different contexts, even where it was not absolutely necessary to do so. Where the sense of the Greek is really doubtful I have thought it best to be non-committal. In rendering the more difficult passages I have often referred to Professor Ross’s translation, which has afforded invaluable guidance.

Finally I wish to express my very real gratitude to my friend and colleague Professor E. S. Forster, who has given me the benefit of his criticism and suggestions throughout nearly the whole of my task.

Bibliography (revised to 1989)


  • I. Bekker: Aristotelis Opera (providing the standard numeration [page, column, line]), Berlin 1831–1870
  • H. Bonitz: Text and commentary, 2 vols, Bonn 1849 (repr. 1960)
  • W. D. Ross: Metaphysics (revised text with introduction and commentary) 2 vols, Oxford 1924 (corrected repr. 1958)
  • Werner Jaeger: Metaphysica (OCT Series), Oxford 1957
  • J. Tricot: Aristote: La métaphysique (revised text and commentary), 2 vols, Paris 1974

Translations and Commentaries

  • W. D. Ross: Metaphysics (vol. VIII Oxford trans.), Oxford 1908
  • A. Carlini: La metafisica (Italian trans, and commentary), Bari 1950
  • L. Elders: Aristotle’s Theory of the One: A Commentary on Book X of the Metaphysics, Assen 1961
  • C. Kirwan: Books G, D, Ε (Clarendon Aristotle Series: trans, with notes), Oxford 1971
  • L. Elders: Aristotle’s Theology: A Commentary on Book L of the Metaphysics, Assen 1972
  • J. Annas: Books Μ and Ν (Clarendon Aristotle Series), Oxford 1976
  • M. Burnyeat and others: Notes on Book Ζ (Study Aids Monograph No. 1), Oxford 1979