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The “Mirabilia” between Late Antiquity and Byzantium

Ciro Giacomelli, Università degli Studi di Padova, Summer Fellow 2018–2019

I completed in-depth research on the reception of the pseudo-Aristotelian Mirabilia in Byzantium. The project was directly related to my PhD dissertation (defended in March 2018), which consisted of a critical edition and commentary on the treatise “De mirabilibus auscultationibus,” attributed to Aristotle. This ancient paradoxographical work is a collection of short narratives and anecdotes dealing with incredible events. Almost all these texts are anonymous and their chronology is difficult to assess: in my opinion, at least three of them should be placed in the Byzantine millennium (the so-called Paradoxographi Vaticanus, Florentinus, and Palatinus). The Mirabilia is probably the oldest paradoxographical collection of its kind (possibly 1st century CE) but it includes a later addition (chapters 152–178) probably dating from the early Byzantine period: it is tempting to relate this section to the Palatinus Heidelbergensis 398 (9th century, part of the “philosophical collection”). This later addition could then be connected with the (pagan?) Platonist movement in the Eastern Empire and is representative of the interest toward paradoxography that can be traced from the early Byzantine period up to the 11th century.