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Medieval manuscript of Calcidius' Latin translation of Plato's Timaeus

Calcidius (or Chalcidius) was a 4th-century philosopher (and possibly a Christian) who translated the first part (to 53c) of Plato's Timaeus from Greek into Latin around the year 321 and provided with it an extensive commentary. This was likely done for Bishop Hosius of Córdoba. Very little is otherwise known of him.

His translation of the Timaeus was the only extensive text of Plato known to scholars in the Latin West for approximately 800 years.[1] His commentary also contained useful accounts of Greek astronomical knowledge.[1] In the 12th century commentaries on this work were written by Christian scholars including Hisdosus[2] and philosophers of the Chartres School, such as Thierry of Chartres and William of Conches. Interpreting it in the light of the Christian faith, the academics in the School of Chartres understood the dialogue to refer to creation ex nihilo.[3]


  1. ^ a b Edward Grant, (2004), Science and Religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1550, pages 93–4. Greenwood Publishing Group
  2. ^ Terence Irwin, (1995), Classical philosophy: collected papers, page 206. Taylor & Francis
  3. ^ Stiefel, Tina (1985). The Intellectual Revolution in Twelfth Century Europe. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-41892-2.


  • Jan Hendrik Waszink (ed.), Timaeus a Calcidio translatus commentarioque instructus. The Warburg Institute, London 1962 (Plato Latinus. Vol. 4)
  • J. Den Boeft, Calcidius on Demons (Commentarius Ch. 127-136), E.J. Brill Publisher, 1977, ISBN 90-04-05283-6
  • J. Den Boeft, Calcidius on Fate: His Doctrine and Sources, Brill Academic Publishers, 1997, ISBN 90-04-01730-5
  • Stephen Gersh, Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism: The Latin Tradition, Publications in Medieval Studies, vol. 23. University of Notre Dame Press, 1986, ISBN 0-268-01363-2, p. 421–492
  • J. C. M. van Winden, Calcidius on Matter: His Doctrine and Sources; a Chapter in the History of Platonism, E.J. Brill Publisher, 1959, (no ISBN)
  • Bruce Eastwood, "Calcidius' Commentary on Plato's Timaeus in Latin Astronomy of the Ninth to Eleventh Centuries; a chapter in Between Demonstration and Imagination, ed. by L. Nauta and A. Vanderjagt", Brill, 1999, ISBN 90-04-11468-8
  • Calcidius, trans. by John Magee, “On Plato’s Timaeus,” Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, Harvard University Press (2016).

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