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					                STUDY AND LOVE: ARISTOTLE’S FALL


                                 Ayers Bagley
                             University of Minnesota


                                              . . . if she be fair, she will bring him back
                                              from his grammar to his hornbook, or else
                                              with kissing and dalliance she will hinder his
                                              study.
                                                                             --Robert Burton
                                                          The Anatomy of Melancholy, 1621



Introduction
   Aristotle, “the teacher of Europe in logic, metaphysics, and ethics,” can be
seen in a fourteenth-century tapestry with his fingers tucked beneath a young
woman’s chin.1 (fig. 1) The character of the gesture is uncertain. It may be a
tickle or a fondle; it might even be a pinch. Tapestry threads are telltale only to a
limited degree. This much is clear: Aristotle is seated in a room, reaching his left
hand through a window to touch his female visitor. Beside him is a lectern which
supports four open books. From this it may be inferred that the philosopher is
in his study.2 But he has turned away from his tomes in favor of a feminine
presence. Moreover, he extends himself to manipulate her tenderness. What are
we to think of the relationships depicted? What bearing have they on the history
of ideas and imagery of education?

                                         I

A thirteenth-century tale
    There is no mystery regarding the source from which the tapestry image
derives. One of the best loved medieval tales, the so-called “Lai d’Aristote,” is
at the base of it.3 Henri d’Andeli, a thirteenth-century Norman poet, amused and
scandalized French readers of his narrative.
    Lai d’Aristote. Summarily, the story of the Lai is this: Aristotle, tutor and
counselor to Alexander the Great, sought to separate the youthful monarch from
his paramour—now usually known as Phyllis—who was absorbing all his time
and energy, and causing him to neglect his political duties.4 Reluctantly,
Alexander agreed to the separation, but soon revealed the fact to Phyllis. She
thereupon contrived a scheme to nullify Aristotle’s influence, aiming to regain
her lover’s attentions.
    The plan was simple. Early in the morning, when good scholars should be
laboring at their books, Phyllis slipped into the garden next to Aristotle’s study
and, not far from his open window, she softly sang and danced. Her hair was
loose, her feet were bare, her belt was off her gown.5 Aristotle heard her song,
and then he turned to look at her: “that made him close his books and cry: ‘Oh
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


God !’,” it being clear that the deity invoked was Eros.6 When Phyllis came
close enough to the window, Aristotle reached out and seized her firmly. He told
her of his ardent wish; she promised to fulfill it, if he would first satisfy a trifling
whim of hers. He must pretend to be a horse, get on all fours, wear a saddle, and
let her ride around the garden on his back. The besotted Aristotle did exactly
what was asked, yielding up an image that approached the essence of burlesque.
(fig. 2) “In this was grammar betrayed and logic much dumbfounded,”
remarked the commentator in Le Livre de Leesce (c. 1373).7
   Riding on the Master’s back, Phyllis loudly sang a song of triumph: “Master
Silly carries me. / ‘Love leads on, and so he goes, / by Love’s authority’.”8 The
song was a signal for Alexander to look into the garden from his window.
“Master, can this be?” he called, going on to question Aristotle’s flagrantly
quadruped behavior.9 The old sage answered that there was a lesson to be
learned from his example. If a wise philosopher, aged and grey as he, is unable
to resist the power of Love, then Alexander, yet youthful and hot blooded, must
be immeasureably more cautious in exposing himself to such danger.1 0 Amused
by the sophistical defense, Alexander forgives Aristotle’s ridiculous indiscretion
and then, presumably, reunites himself with Phyllis. The philosopher would
trouble them no more, having lost his credibility.1 1
   Bishop de Vitry’s version. Andeli’s tale of Aristotle was retold across the
centuries throughout western Europe.1 2 One of the earliest reworkings, written
by Bishop Jacques de Vitry, appeared shortly after the Lai.1 3 It was in the form
of an exemplum intended for use in sermons. De Vitry’s “Exemplum of Aris-
totle” is short, not much over three hundred words, lacking in artistic merit, and
of a darker morality than the Lai. The good Bishop, later Cardinal, phrased
Aristotle’s defense not in terms of his having been a victim of Amor and Nature,
but rather on grounds of “the deceit and malice of a woman,” who is
Alexander’s wife in the “Exemplum.”1 4

                                              II

Iconic choices
   Whether by the Lai itself or by its legatees, countless image makers were in-
spired to visualize the main events in the narrative: Aristotle lecturing Alexander;
Phyllis tempting Aristotle from his study; Aristotle ridden (i.e., Aristote
chevauché, Aristoteles cavalcato, etc.), sometimes with Alexander looking on.1 5
   Lecture, temptation, chevauché. The chevauché scene was extraordinarily
popular. Often it was used alone, epitomizing the story in the image of its cli-
max. If a second episode were illustrated, preference went to Aristotle’s admon-
ishment of Alexander. Panels on ivory caskets represent the two scenes side by
side.1 6 (fig. 3) The temptation from the study was understandably a tertiary
choice. It appears on the Malterer tapestry in the Augustiner Museum (Freiburg
i/Br.), for example, but not on a companion piece in that collection (fig. 4), and
not on kindred tapestries in Regensburg or Basel.1 7(figs. 5, 6) It illuminates a
margin in at least one medieval manuscript (fig. 7), and in another it is combined
with the scenes of lecture and chevauché.18 (fig. 8)
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


   The temptation from the study in the Malterer tapestry exhibits one feature in-
consistent with the order of the Lai. The schoolmaster’s virga or birches held by
Aristotle as he sits cross-legged in his study, reaching out for Phyllis, is asyn-
chronymous with the unfolding of the narrative; nor does it correspond in any
clear prosaic sense with the supposed relationship of Aristotle and Alexander
when the latter no longer was a lad.1 9 The tapestry designer may have intended a
pictorial conflation of events, i.e., Aristotle teaching, Aristotle tempted. Or
perhaps the virga was included as an ironic reminder of Aristotle’s moral
authority over Alexander, which Phyllis was about to terminate: He who has the
whip hand now, soon will be the whipt. (Visual image makers usually bridled
Aristotle and gave Phyllis a striker of some kind to animate her mount.) But it
must be admitted that symbolic meanings of the virga may not have entered the
mind of the tapestry designer, who may have been seduced by the special apti-
tude of threads to represent the branching lineality of the birches. More in
keeping with the iconography of medieval study space are the several open vol-
umes on the lectern. In contrast, medieval classroom scenes and tutorials nor-
mally show pedagogues either with no book or with no more than one.2 0
   Mounting up, “Aristote chevauché”. When and where does Phyllis climb on
Aristotle’s back, i.e., the image known as “Aristote chevauché”? The Lai is not
specific on the point. Aristotle urged Phyllis to come and appease his desire
(“mon desirrier m’apaiez”), but he does not say where. In his study? Study
space, of course, was not Phyllis’ natural environment. Ordinarily, it would have
been outside her purview all together. Only when her position at court was
threatened by Aristotle did she approach his sanctum, and then it was for pur-
poses of conquest. She had no intrinsic interest in the citadel of learning. She
wanted only to surmount its occupant; not, however, as he was driven to hope,
but in a way to humiliate him openly and, by that subordination, to win back her
lover. Phyllis insisted on having her ride first; it had to be in the garden to
achieve her purpose. There, forcing Aristotle to stoop, she conquered scholar-
ship and study space as well, but with no need to occupy the territory she had
taken.
   A garden is the usual setting for Aristotle chevauché. With the deed done
close to nature, the oblique reference to man’s first temptation in Eden would
not likely have escaped a Christian audience. Even so, one designer was moved
to make the connection explicit in sculptural reliefs on a pilaster which once was
part of a chapel in the convent of the Grands-Augustins (Paris).2 1 (fig. 9)
Phyllis is astride Aristotle in the medallion at the bottom of the pilaster; above
them stand Adam and Eve au naturel. More discrete is the Regensberg tapestry
allusion to the theme, wherein a well dressed woman proffers apples to her male
companion. (fig. 10) The latter stands in a child’s walker, indicating that he has
been reduced to the foolishness of childhood.2 2
   Bishop De Vitry’s version of the story, and the series to which it gave rise,
consigned the ride to Aristotle’s study.2 3 A sketch by Leonardo di Vinci illus-
trates the scene.2 4 (fig. 11) But it was an unknown artist of the Baroque who
visualized the conflict down to bare essentials.25 (fig. 12) Abandoned on a desk
are the rectangular volumes that bespeak the orderly ideal of rational cognition.
They are now far beyond the grasp of an Aristotle sunken to the floor. He bears
the weight of Phyllis, whose unclad form denies rectangularity in terms all non-
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


Euclidian. Her ample shapeliness proclaims the opulence of sense, not airy
intellect.

                                             III

Women in study space
   When Phyllis begins her ride in Aristotle’s study, the image is a desecration
of his educational space. The implications of the scene are as derogatory for
woman as they are humiliating for the scholar. In the circumstances, her role has
been reduced to flesh, an intrusion that has no proper place in the domain of the
study. A view of woman as “the flesh” was shared widely among writers for
the clergy, but this was not the only view.2 6 Countering the image of Eve’s
daughters were visions of the Virgin Mary and virginal saints akin to her.
   Medieval women and study. Prior to the Renaissance, women rarely were
depicted in study space. This is not to say there were no women scholars; it is
certainly not to say that no women studied. Nuns in certain convents were liable
to chastisements, if they failed in their reading duties.2 7 Herrad, Abbess of
Landsberg, must have lived years of her life in study to complete the encyclo-
pedic Hortus Deliciarum. Marie de France must have had a retreating place to
permit uninterrupted thought and reference when she wrote her lais and fables.
Yet it is exceptional to find images of women at their intellectual labors in study
carrels or chambers during the twelfth or thirteenth centuries. We glimpse them
only now and then, as in an illuminated manuscript of the mid-twelfth century by
Abbess Hildegarde of Bingen, wherein we see the author receiving spiritual light
and preparing to inscribe on a wax tablet what heaven has revealed.2 8 (fig. 13)
But is it study space she occupies? No book, no other object of study, is
anywhere in sight. The moment chosen for the image is one of inspiration, not
study. Also not to be confused with students, savants, and writers in their studies
are the fair numbers of medieval female personifications of the liberal arts.2 9
They may be shown teaching; they do not need to study.
   The Imagery well established. It is not clear precisely when the iconography
of education first comes to include portrayals of female figures in study space.
By the fifteenth century, the issue is no longer in doubt. In an illuminated book
of hours (c.1410), the erudite St. Catherine of Alexandria sits quietly at her
studies; eight volumes or more are immediately accessible.3 0 (fig.14)
Amalthea’s lectern cannot hold all her books; two have been consigned to the
floor.31 (fig. 15) Portraits of the learned writer Christine de Pisan (c. 1364–c.
1431) in her study appear in illuminated copies of her works.3 2 (fig. 16) There
are portrayals, too, of the Virgin as a learned lady interrupted at her studies by an
intrusive Annunciation.33 (fig. 17)

                                             IV

Alexander’s sexual education
  Phyllis in the study utterly contradicts Aristotle’s admonition in the Secret of
Secrets, which was one of the most popular texts on morals of the Middle
Ages.3 4 The concoction of an unknown author, the work was long attributed to
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


Aristotle himself. Digests of it were prepared as study aids for university stu-
dents.3 5 If one had been asked to name the text from which Aristotle lectured
Alexander, as seen on fourteenth-century ivory panels, the Secreta Secretorum
would have been the likeliest of titles.3 6
   A Threat to reason and study. Not for the king, much less for the sagacious
scholar, is there any fully positive place for woman in the Secrets. Judging by its
strictures, her only natural habitat seems to be the bedroom, a locale that
Alexander should avoid, except “if necessyte were that thou must have company
of a woman.”3 7 And then precautions must be carefully observed, for one is in
dangerous space “whan thy persone is betwene the armes of a woman.”3 8
Alexander should rather spend his time studying when not engaged by the
administrative and ceremonial duties of his office. Music, not the indulgence of
carnal appetite, is to be his solace.3 9
   From the perspective of the Secrets, Phyllis as the mistress of Aristotle’s
study is a moral incongruity. This is not because of her personal character, but
because of basic assumptions in the text concerning sexuality and male/female
relations. Given the assumption that sexual intercourse demotes man from his
highest calling, and the implication that sexual congress is the main or only
cause for heterosexual relations, Phyllis’ tangible flesh in the study threatens to
subvert this shelter of pristine reason and virtue. The opposition of flesh to rea-
son is evident in lines of advice from the Secrets, which follow Aristotle’s prayer
that Alexander be enabled to refrain from “carnall and beestly desyres”:4 0
         Alexander . . . leue thy beestly desyres of thy flesshly appetyte ...
         The flesshely desyres draweth thy hert to beestly corrupcyon of
         the soul . . . & dryeth the body . . . Souerayne Emperour enclyne
         not to lechery of women / for it is a swynysshe lyfe. And no glory
         shall be to the[e] yf thou govern the[e] after the lyvynge of bestes
         without reason . . . lechery is destruccyon of the body / the
         abregement/ & corrupcyon of all vertues . . .
   What would be true in this regard for Alexander must also be true for Aristo-
tle. Hence, from the life of the intellect, represented by the study, Phyllis
(woman) has succeeded in degrading Aristotle to the level of animal impulses. It
is to such ideas that Alexander ironically refers when he challenges Aristotle:
“The other day you told me not to visit her, no matter what, / now here you are
brought so in thrall, no sense remains in you at all; / you keep the law of beasts,
instead” (“vos tenez a loi de beste”).4 1

                                              V

Study visualized in the moral order
   The superiority of study and intellectual virtue to the sensual life is illustrated
in a graph.42 (fig. 18) Although it dates from the sixteenth century, it delineates
relationships familiar to the medieval mind.
   Bovillus’ Book of Intellect (1509). The graph exhibits the orders of nature and
man in a moral hierarchy. The highest level of natural existence, that of
intelligent life, is occupied by two male figures. On the left stands the warrior.
Grasping the shaft of his upright weapon, he is the man of action, the archetype
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


of the vita activa. To the right is the contemplative man. He sits before a lectern,
which suggests interior architectural space; he has one hand on a book, a small
pen poised in the other. (Even Freudians will admit that a pen is sometimes just
a pen.) The warrior faces the natural order, looking toward a prancing horse and
the outdoor world of trees and eroded cliffs. The studious man faces the moral
order, which descends from him by steps to the sensualist (on a level with the
horse), the glutton (vegetative life), ending with an inert, huddled body in a state
of sloth (accidia), that paralysis of spirit analogous to the merely lumpish
existence of a rock.4 3
   The horse, the lusty steed, may symbolize the warrior’s most characteristic
vice.4 4 It is not gluttony. “In his diet,” Plutarch says of Alexander, “he was
most temperate.”4 5 Sexual appetite was “the only passion which he, the most
temperate of men, was overcome by.”4 6 But even in this, Alexander was able to
restrain himself until he could obtain his ends “in a lawful and honourable
way.”4 7 In contrast, there was Achilles, that least temperate of warriors, who, in
one of the first of his many outrages, raped Deidama, daughter of his host. It is
the castle of love, not the pantry, that knights attack on ivory caskets which
include Aristotle/Alexander panels.4 8 Inciting the knights to exert themselves is
Eros on a parapet, shooting off his arrows, while women waiting atop the wall
throw down their roses at the vigorous besiegers.
   The chevalier, the horse-man, the athletic warrior of lance and sword, corre-
sponds to imagery of sexual prowess. If he departs from virtue, convention
assigns to him abuse of wine and women. The transgressions of the scholar-
cleric indicated on the graph, are more closely associated with the sins of the
table and, perhaps, a melancholic form of accidia.4 9 Reflecting now on the
Aristotle/Phyllis mismatch, another ludicrous incongruity becomes apparent.5 0
Aristotle, no stallion he, was attempting to perform the wrong sin.5 1 What is
predictable vice for the flexing sinews of virility is ridiculous folly for an old
man of the cloth, the grey-haired lover of the yellowed parchment. Aristotle and
Phyllis are absurdly asymmetrical.
   Equally incongruous from the outlook of the Lai was Aristotle’s effort to
make a study-bound, ascetic clerk of young king Alexander. For Alexander’s
destiny was not to maintain residence in the house of intellect; it was to ride
Bucephalous to the limits of the world, eventually to conquer it and govern all he
found.5 2 It took a different type of man to rule the realm of books. While it is
true that an adulatory tradition had made a learned prince of Alexander, the
satirical purpose of the Lai called for turn abouts on standard expectations.5 3
Thus Henri d’Andeli, master of inversions, plays reversals on the horse motif:
whereas the legendary Alexander had once transmuted a vicious, monstrous
beast into the disciplined Bucephalous, Phyllis undertook the opposite on the
Philosopher, reducing him to snorts and horsey urges.

                                             VI

Insulation from distraction and temptation
   Aristotle’s study space was in some ways substandard in provisions for
security. It failed the crucial function of shielding the scholar from incursions on
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


his concentration. While study space requirements, like other needs, are
conditioned by imagery and symbolism as much as they are delimited by physi-
cal prerequisites, institutional regulations, and even political circumstance, pro-
tecting concentration from all external assailants is a wish shared across the
centuries.
    Study versus pleasure garden. From a monkish scholar’s point of view,
Aristotle’s study was architecturally vulnerable to attacks from the world, the
flesh, the devil. Study space is semi-sacred, metaphorically if not doctrinally. To
be secure, it should be cloistered.5 4 Special precautions would have been
advisable for the scholar living in the ambience of mundane princely power.
Foresight here was clearly lacking. First, Aristotle’s study was located by a
flower garden. That would be a danger in itself.5 5 Sweet fragrances, gay colors,
both assault the senses, distracting due attention from the rare and subtile flora
of the mind. The garden is a sensuous trap.5 6 Second, the garden space by
Aristotle’s study was evidently not restricted to males, or else supervision was
lax. Phyllis was able to gain access and to show herself quite openly. Third,
Aristotle’s study had a low window (“la fenestre, qui ert basse”) facing onto
the garden, admitting all its titillations.5 7 This increased the scholar’s level of
risk intolerably. Hence, when Phyllis arrived in her gossamer chemise and
nothing else, gathering flowers, weaving them into chapelets, and singing to
make Aristotle think of love (“faire li sovint d’amors”), he was insufficiently
immured to protect against such devastating weaponry.5 8
    Saintly models offered guidance for the proper choice of study space. Con-
sider the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke and John; they knew better than
to write where flower gardens bloomed.5 9 (fig. 19) Similarly, medieval scholars
like the learned doctors of the early church, especially St. Augustine and St.
Jerome, were seen to choose their places very carefully.60 (fig. 20) No study site
was safer than a monastery cell.
    From 1300 onward, a study space in a monastery library would have been
considered ideal, until Reformation policies came to deny that possibility in
many places.6 1 But study space, wherever it could be found, was to be a sanctum
safe from environments beset by the impurities of life. Heinsius, the sixteenth-
century Dutch scholar, worked all year long in the Leyden University Library,
where he was Keeper of the books: “I no sooner (saith he) come into the
Library, but I bolt the door to me, excluding lust, ambition, avarice, and all such
vices . . ..” 6 2 Solitude, the bolting of the door against intrusions, is a common
feature of the sense of study space. “The study,” wrote Comenius beneath an
illustration of a lesson on the subject, “is a place where a student, apart from
men, sitteth alone . . . . ”6 3 (fig. 21) Openings on the world would be a
problematic necessity for the study. Study space must be quiet. “Beshrew me if
I think anything more requisite than silence for a man who secludes himself in
order to study,” declared the Roman Seneca, proving that even a mature Sto-
icism had limits of toleration for annoyances.6 4
    Medieval clerics seemed particularly concerned about the visual environment
and its distractions, which implied a special concern with windows. For neces-
sary illumination, high windows or a clerestory should serve the study. If one
had to work where windows were at eye level, either they should be kept closed,
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


or one should turn away from them.6 5 No window view should be allowed to
occupy attention. Sixteenth-century eyes that wandered from the page might best
be disciplined by concentration on a fleshless skull.6 6 This sight should be a
salutary aid to memento mori. The presence of an hour glass could also help
enhance a sense of the brevity of life.

                                             VII

A deep antithesis
   The opposition of study and sensual love had been a standing theme in west-
ern civilization long before the church fathers came to center stage. Its origins
trace deep into a written heritage. Hesiod’s Theogony attributes to Eros “ a
power that is the enemy of reason.”6 7 Expressions of the theme have taken
many forms.
   Eros against study. The Greco-Roman poet, Marcus Argentarius (1st cen-
tury A. D.), expressed the conflict light heartedly in a verse now titled “Love
and the Scholar”:6 8
                Lately thumbing the pages of Works and Days,
                I saw my Pyrrhe coming.
                          Goodbye book!
                “Why in the world should I cobweb my days,” I cried,
                “With the works of Old Man Hesiod?”
The Argentarian deserter of his book was, of course, no Aristotle; “thumbing
pages” suggests something less than scholarly zeal.6 9
   A grosser treatment of the conflict, intriguing in its allusion to Aristotle, was
provided by Alciphron, a Greek-speaking Syrian of the second century A.D.7 0
He casts his ripe material in epistolary form. Thais, a prostitute, writes to the
young lover who has recently abandoned her in favor of a new infatuation with
academic pursuits:7 1
             Ever since you took it into your head to study philosophy you
          have put on airs and have raised your eyebrows above your
          temples. Then, in a pompous fashion and with a book in your
          hands, you stalk along to the Academy and walk past my house
          as if you had never so much as set eyes on it before. You’ve
          gone mad, Euthydemus; don’t you know what sort of person that
          sophist is, the man with the solemn countenance who delivers
          those wonderful lectures to you? But how about me? How long
          do you think it is that he’s been pestering me for an
          appointment? And he’s crazy over Megara’s maid Herpyllis.

It should be noted that Herpyllis was the name of Aristotle’s concubine. She
was the mother of his son, Nicomachus, named after Aristotle’s father. (It is not
clear, however, that the name of the father or son accounts for the title of the
Nicomachean Ethics.7 2) Thais maintains that she has heretofore denied her bed
to the philosopher, preferring Euthydemus’ love to his teacher’s ready money.
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


Now she has second thoughts: “Since he is apparently turning you away from
your intimacy with me, I’ll let him come; and, if you like,” here blending irony
with triple slander, “I’ll show you that your woman-hating schoolmaster is not
content with the usual pleasures of a night.”7 3 In sum, Alciphron’s Aristotle is a
hypocrite and a lecher, and—to top it off—a pervert.
   Thais concludes by identifying herself as an educator of youth in the Epi-
curean tradition, which opposed the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. Epicu-
rus, it may be recalled, had formed a school called the Garden; courtesans were
welcomed to membership.7 4 Thais asks: “Do you think a sophist is any better
than a courtesan?” She thinks not, and maintains that “We teach young men
just as well as they do.” She urges Euthydemus to abandon his foolishness and
return to her:7 5
           come to your sweetheart as you are when you have come back ...
           from the Lyceum wiping off the sweat, that we may carouse a bit
           and give each other a demonstration of that noble end, pleasure ...
           The deity gives us no long time to live; do not wake up to find
           you’ve wasted yours on riddles and on nonsense.
Thais and Phyllis share much in common across a full millennium, although
they are the products of vastly different imaginations and ethnicities. The
authors locate their two young women in different social strata, one at the pin-
nacle of courtly life, the other near the lower end of the body politic. Yet it is
Aristotle, the personification of academic values and intellect, that divides them
both from their lovers.
   A more detailed, if less lurid, account of the antithetical relations between
Love and Study, is told by Peter Abelard (d. 1142), one of the foremost scholars
of the twelfth century.7 6 In the Historia Calamitatum, he describes the bliss and
misery of his love affair with Heloise:7 7
               Under the pretext of study we spent our hours in the happi-
           ness of love . . . Our speech was more of love than the books
           which lay open before us; our kisses far outnumbered our rea-
           soned words. Our hands sought less the book than each others
           bosoms; love drew our eyes together far more than the lesson
           drew them to the pages of our text. In measure as this pas-
           sionate rapture absorbed me more and more, I devoted less
           time to philosophy and to the work of the school. Indeed it
           became loathsome to go to school or to linger there . . . My
           lecturing became utterly careless and lukewarm . . . As for the
           sorrow, the groans, the lamentations of my students when they
           perceived the preoccupation, nay, rather the chaos, of my mind,
           it is hard even to imagine them.
That Heloise was equally distracted from her private study is a point that
Abelard does not elaborate.7 8 Her predicament has been sensitively described by
a modern student of the medieval soul: “. . . Heloise would never again be sure
that she was not becoming an accomplice to Abelard’s moral fall for the purpose
of satisfying her personal interest. . . . She felt she had sinned against Abelard,
not against God. The real tragedy of the action lies in the profound sincerity
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


with which they both played the comedy of sanctity.”79 In the end, both Heloise
and Abelard retired to their chaste studies.

Conclusion with a coda
   A poet’s license. The medieval travesties of Aristotle that began with Andeli’s
Lai gave rise to an enduring motif in European imagery. In all the media of the
visual arts, the wise man can be seen on hands and knees, ridden like a beast.
His rider is usually, but not always, some tantalizing incarnation of erotic love.8 0
Departures from the norm occur when the image maker was more more
interested in the theme of hen-pecked husband or when Socrates/Xantippe was
confused with Aristotle chevauché.
   For the reader of the Lai, Andeli’s rhetorical success in bringing Aristotle
down to earthy lust and foolishness depended on establishing the Master’s
character as worthy of a fall. And so we are presented with an austere Aristotle,
one who would unfeelingly impose an ascetic regimen on others; a sour, aged
martinet intent on destroying the sweet raptures of young lovers. This warden of
the spirit would confine princely youth itself, that fleeting age of life, to a prison
house of study. Whatever satisfaction may ensue from seeing such a one
discomfited need not be lessened by doubt concerning factual authenticity. The
story, like its illustrations, would have validity or lack of it subservient to canons
of the arts of composition, not to confirmation from verifiable facts about
Aristotle’s life.
   The true character of the historical Aristotle will likely always be elusive.
There would be some justice in Andeli’s delineation, if Aristotle were the author
of the Secret of Secrets. But he was not. Ancient biographies of the philosopher,
apart from the works of a few obvious detractors, tend to be encomiastic when
not merely honorific.8 1 A search for signs of character in Aristotle’s own works,
or those thought to be by him, reveal a generous, understanding man, although
his estimate of women’s capabilities was evidently more conventional than the
extraordinary vision outlined in Plato’s utopian Republic.8 2
   Ideal study space for the historical Aristotle would have varied, depending on
the kind of inquiry he was pursuing.8 3 The medieval image of study space, ex-
cepting perhaps astronomy, was defined by architectural interiors (e.g., a carrel
in a cloister, a cell, an isolated chamber), a lectern, and a few or several vol-
umes.8 4 Such accommodations would probably have sufficed for Aristotle or
any other inquirer when thought was centered on fields such as logic and meta-
physics. In contrast, Aristotle’s zoological and biological inquiries would have
required field work and something akin to a laboratory where specimens might
be stored.
   The psychic quality of study space for Aristotle was more an affirmation of
meaningfulness than the fulfillment of a duty.8 5 Rather than an escape from the
world, rather than an activity motivated by the threat that death would soon cut
short one’s existence, the driving force was much more aptly named
“philosophy.” The term “philos” includes an active sense of loving or having
a fondness for something, even when its object is wisdom. Aristotle’s devotion
to study, to inquiry, was no self-denying abstinence from satisfaction; it was the
most satisfying of all life’s opportunities. He was prepared to accept the
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


probability that this ideal would not be equally attractive to all, but he did pro-
pose that society would be better governed if those in charge were of a character
that loved to study problems and alternatives, to comprehend the true relation-
ship of things before grasping at conclusions.8 6


                                             NOTES
1. This is Charles Homer Haskin’s well known phrase, quoted from his book, The Rise o f
Universities (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1969), p. 5. The tapestry depiction is a detail in the
“Malterer Teppich,” 1310/20, Augustiner Museum (Inv. no. 11508), Freiburg im Breisgau. See: H.
Gombert, Mittelalterliche Kunst im Augustinermuseum Freiburg im Breisgau (Freiburg i/Br.: K.
Alber, 1965), no pagination. See also: Friedrich Maurer, “Der Topos von den ‘Minnesklaven’,”
Deutsche Vierteljahrschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, vol. 27 (1953), pp.
182-206.
2. The virga or birch switch held by Aristotle, used for corporal punishment of students, i s
inconsistent with the theme of study. See text at paragraphs 7 and 8.
3. For a critical representation of the text, see: Maurice Delbouille, “Le Lai d’Aristote de Henri
d’Andeli,” Bibliothèque de la Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres de L’Université de Liège, fasicule
CXXIII (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1951); also W. Hertz, Aristoteles in altfranzösischen Romanen.
Gesammelte Abhandlungen (Stuttgart and Berlin, 1905). For an English translation with an
unidentified version of the Old French text on facing pages, see: Robert Harrison, Gallic Salt (Los
Angeles: University of California Press Berkeley, 1974), pp. 257-289. There is an ample literature
on the “Lai d’Aristote” and related works as well as on associated illustrations in visual media. See
especially: A. Borgeld, Aristoteles en Phyllis (Groningen: Wolters, 1902). Raffaele de Cesare, “Di
Nuovo sulla Leggenda di Aristotele Cavalcato,” Miscellanea del Centro di Studi Medievali [Milan,
Universita Cattolica de S. Cuore] N.S. vol. LVIII (l956), pp.181-247 (7 illus., b/w). Jane Cambell
Hutchison, “The Housebook Master and the Folly of the Wise Man,” The Art Bulletin, vol. 4 8
(1966), pp. 73-78 (1 illus., b/w), and her volume,.The Master of the Housebook (New York:
Collectors Editions, 1972). Giuseppe Livrani, “Un’ <<istoriato>> nella Maiolica Arcaica Faentina
ed una tarda eco,” Faenza vol. 62, no. 3 (1976), pp. 51-56 (5 illus., b/w). Raimond van Marle,
Iconographie de l’Art Profane au Moyen Age et a la Renaissance, 2 vols. (La Haye: M. Nijhoff,
1932), Vol. 2, pp. 492-495, figures 493-4, 509-520 (13 illus., b/w). Fr. Moth, Aristotelessagnet
eller Elskovs Magt (Kristiania and Copenhagen, 1916), 13 illus., b/w. Louis Réau, Iconographie de
l’Art Chrétien (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1955), vol. 1, pp. 171-174. George Sarton,
“Aristotle and Phyllis,” Isis, vol. 14 l(1930), pp. 8-19 (illus., 4 b/w). Wolfgang Stammler,
“Aristoteles” in: Otto Schmitt, ed., Reallexicon zur Deutscher Kunstgeschichte (Stuttgart: Metzler,
1937), Vol. 1 columns 1027-1040 (illus. , 8 b/w). Wolfgang Stammler, Wort and Bild (Berlin: E.
Schmitt, 1962), “Der Philosoph als Liebhaber,” pp. 12-44, plates 1-4 (b/w). Joachim Storost, “Zur
Aristoteles-Sage im Mittelalter. Geistesgeschichtliche, folkloristische und literarische Grundlagen
zu ihrer Erforschung,” in: Monumentum Bambergense: Festgabe für Benedikt Kraft (Munich, 1955),
pp. 293-398.
4. Medieval writers accepted traditional accounts of Aristotle as Alexander’s tutor. The idea
continued to find acceptance much longer than might have been expected. See, for example: John
Herman Randall, Jr., Aristotle (N.Y.: Columbia University Press, 1960), p. 17. More recent
scholarship raises serious questions about the facts. The best that can be said on the basis of the
extant evidence is weak. It amounts to this: the possibility that Aristotle tutored Alexander cannot
be ruled out. Aristotle would have been younger than tradition had it, and not yet widely famed. See:
A. H. Chroust, “Was Aristotle Actually the Preceptor of Alexander the Great?” Classical Folia, vol.
XVIII (1964), pp. 26-33; A. H. Chroust, “Was Aristotle Actually the Chief Preceptor of Alexander
the Great?” as Chapter X in the author’s Aristotle, op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 125-132; Apostolos
Daskalakis, “La Jeunesse d’Alexandre et l’ Enseignement de l’ Aristotle,” Studii Clasce, vol. VII
(1965): pp. 169-80. It might be noted also that the Lai is totally fanciful in suggesting that
Aristotle accompanied Alexander to India, the asserted locale of Henri’s tale. “Phyllis” is the name
most commonly assigned to Alexander’s belle amie in the general literature, and especially i n
works pertaining to the iconography of “Aristote chevauché.” The other name most frequently
assigned is “Campaspe.” Henri d’Andeli never names her; she is identified only as an “Indienne,”
but nothing he attributes to her is distinctive of Indus valley culture. She is described as young,
attractive, and blond (“sa bele tresce longue et blonde”). The elements of her attire correspond to
French court fashions of the thirteenth century. Harrison, Gallic, op. cit., pp. 274-275. For
costume, see: Joan Evans, Dress in Medieval France (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952).
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


5. Harrison, Gallic, op. cit., pp. 274-275: “nuz piez, desloiee, desçainte.” She also raised her
chemise somewhat.
6. Aristotle twice invokes the deity of Love. Ibid., pp. 276-277; 282-283.
7. Livre de Leesce, my translation. The Old French reprinted in: Cesare, “Le Lai,” op. cit., p. 198
(“En ce fu grammaire traïe / Et logique moult esbaïe”).
8. Harrison, Gallic, op. cit., pp. 284-285.
9. loc. cit. Regarding quadruped behavior, Alexander’s reference is to Arisotle’s earlier sarcasm:
“My King, you might as well be led / to pasture with the other stock . . .” Ibid., pp. 266-267.
10. For text, see Harrison, Gallic, op. cit., pp. 284-287, or Delbouille, “Le Lai,” op. cit., lines
480-502, p. 87. The passage has received special attention from students of the Lai. Ross translates
the passage as follows: “You see, sire, how right I was. If Love is so strong that even I, for all my
wisdom and old and feeble as I am, am unable to avoid his power, how much more dangerous is he t o
you in all the fire of youth?” See D. J. A. Ross, “Allegory,” op. cit., p. 119. Less accurate than
Ross, George Sarton offers a fuller statement: “If a woman can make such a fool of a man of my age
and wisdom, how much more dangerous must she not be for younger ones? I added an example to my
precept, it is your privilege to benefit by both.” See Sarton, “Aristotle,” op. cit., p. 9. In blaming
“a woman” rather than “Nature” or “Amor,” Sarton is closer in spirit to de Vitry than Andeli.
Sarton’s final paragraph conveys a misogynous tenor: “This warning is just as timely today . . . for
we are all the time surrounded by dangerous creatures.” p. 19
11. Henri d’Andeli quotes a maxim attributed to Cato: “Turpe est doctori, cum culpa redarguit
ipsum,” which is rendered: “a man’s a fool to censure us for sins that he himself commits.”
Harrison, Gallic, op. cit., pp. 286-287. (“Turpe” includes the sense of “shameful,” “disgraceful,”
“ugly.”) Note a variant on the principle in Aristotle’s lecture to Alexander in another well known
text of the time (Liber Philosophorum Moralium Antiquorum, translated as Les Dits Moraulx): “if
thou wilt put away the filth of other men, cleanse thyself first.” (spelling modernized) See: Curt F.
Bühler, ed., The Dicts and Sayings of the Philosophers (London: Milford, for Oxford University
Press, 1941), pp. 156-157.
12. From France, the story and the iconography of Aristote chevauché radiated throughout most of
continental Europe (Réau, note 3, above), as far north as the Scandinavian countries (Fr. Moth, note
3, above) to Spain and Italy in the south (R. Cesare, G. Livrani, R. v. Marle, note 3, above), and
through German speaking countries (A. Borgeld, W. Stammler, J. Storost, note 3, above) into
Poland (Johann von Antoniewicz, “Ikonographisches zu Chrestien de Troyes,” Romanische
Forschungen [Erlangen], vol. 5 (1890), pp. 241-268, esp. p. 246).
13. Delbouille presents persuasive arguments on the problem of dating the Lai and DeVitry’s
Exemplum. See, “Le Lai,” op. cit., pp. 48-53. Delbouille reprints DeVitry’s Exemplum and three
others. pp. 39-42. A slightly different version of DeVitry’s Exemplum is reprinted in: Jean
Adhémar, Influences Antiques dans l’Art du Moyen Age Français, Studies of the Warburg Institute,
no. 7 (London: The Warburg Institute, 1939), Appendix III, pp. 313-314.
14. Delbouille, ibid., p. 40; Adhémar, ibid., p. 314.
15. For references to works discussing and representing the imagery, see note 3, above. With regard
to the term “chevauché,” note the observation in: Jean-Paul Clébert, Bestiaire Fabuleaux (Paris: A.
Michel, 1971) “. . . le vocabulaire érotique associe l’ acte amoureux à une chevauchée.” p. 103.
16. For examples, see: Olivier Beigbeder, Ivory (London: Weidenfeld und Nicolson, 1965); Thomas
Hoopes, “An Ivory Casket in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” Art Bulletin, vol. 8, number 3
(March, 1926). Raymond Koechlin, Les Ivoires Gothiques Français (Paris: A. Picard, 1924); H.
Kohlhausen, Minnekästchen im Mittelalter (1928); Margaret Longhurst, Catalogue of Carvings i n
Ivory. (London: Board of Education, 1929); Richard H. Randall, Medieval Ivories in the Walters Art
Gallery (Baltimore, 1969), number 18. David J. A. Ross, “Allegory and Romance on a Medieval
French Marriage Casket,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. XI (1948): pp. 112-
142; Philippe Verdier, “Les Ivoires de Walters Art Gallery,” Art International, vol. VII, no. 4
(1963), p. 29; William D. Wixom, “Eleven Additions to the medieval Collection,” Bulletin of the
Cleveland Museum of Art (March/April, 1979), pp. 87-151, esp. section VII; A. McLaren Young,
“A French Medieval Ivory Casket at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts,” Connoisseur, vol. CXX, no.
505 (Sept., 1947), pp. 16-21.
17. See note 1, above, for the Malterer tapestry. The “companion” mentioned is a section from a
wall hanging (c. 1320, Inv. no. 11506), originally from Kloster Adelhausen. Also see:Stammler,
“Aristoteles,” op. cit., vol. 1, column 1029. Van Marle reproduces a photograph of the Basel
tapestry in Iconographie, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 476, fig. 494. A color plate reproducing the
Regensberg tapestry serves as Frontispiece in: Hella Frühmorgen-Voss, Text und Illustration i m
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


Mittelalter (Munich: C.H. Beck’sche, 1975). See also: Heinrich Gobel, Wandteppiche, 3 vols. in 6
(Leipzig, 1923-34); Betty Kurth, Die deutsche Bildteppiche des Mittelalters, 3 vols. (Vienna,
1926).
18. Lillian M. C. Randall, Images in the Margins of Gothic Manuscripts (Berkeley and Los
Angeles: University of California Press, 1966), plate CXVI, no. 556. An illumination in a
manuscript in the Bibliothèque Inguimbertine (Carpentras, France) combines three scenes in one
composition: Aristotle lecturing Alexander from a tome in which the Philosopher’s name i s
inscribed; Phyllis tempting Aristotle from his study; Aristotle chevauché in the garden, with
Alexander looking-on from his window. A photo of the page is in the files of the Warburg Institute
(London).
19. Aristotle’s crossed-legs may be symbolic, but the meaning is uncertain. It has been noted that
in illuminated manuscripts dating from the second half of the twelfth century, and increasingly
thereafter, authority figures are shown with crossed legs, particularly when giving an order.
Meaning varies with situation. In some circumstances, the order may be wicked. See: François
Garnier, Le Langage de l’Image au Moyen Age (Paris: Le Leopard d’Or, 1982) p. 229. It might also
be observed that wooing males are sometimes depicted with crossed legs. Tristan, for example, in a
thirteenth-century illumination, holding Isolde with both hands while they are seated on a bench,
has his right leg crossed over his left thigh. See: Jean Porcher, Medieval French Miniatures (N.Y.:
Abrams, 1959), plate 46. Fourteenth century ivory carvings showing males with crossed legs are
reproduced in: Beigbeder, Ivories, op. cit., pp. 28, 46-47. Two of the men are seated with women,
but are not touching. Beigbeder suggests that the crossed legs may “indicate the strict discipline t o
which man must submit, and the necessity of keeping instinct in check.” p. 47. Also reproduced i s
an ivory casket depicting Aristotle lecturing Alexander and Aristotle chevauché (p. 46). Alexander
has his legs crossed in the lecture scene, which would confirm the idea of submitting to discipline,
although the author does not mention it.
20. See, for example, the late examples from incunabula represented in: Schreiber, W.L. and Paul
Heitz. Die deutschen “Accipies” und Magister cum Discipulis . . . (Strassburg: Heitz & Mündel,
1908).
21. The fragments are from the Commines chapel, which were long deposited in the École nationale
des Beaux-Arts (Paris), and have since been moved to the Louvre. See: Michèle Beaulieu,
Description raisonné des Sculptures de la Renaissance française (Paris: Editions de la reunion des
musées nationaux, 1978), pp. 114-118, 120, 122.
22. Reference here is to the Regensberg tapestry. See note 16, above.
23. Delbouille, “Le Lai,” op. cit., pp. 39-42. Cesare describes a variety of medieval and later works
which recount the story or refer to it, in: “Di Nuovo,” op. cit.
24. See Leonardo’s “Aristoteles und Phyllis,” reproduced in: Italienische Zeichnungen 1500-1800,
exhibition catalogue (Hamburg: Kupferstichkabinetts Hamburger Kunsthalle, 1957), entry number
13, plate 2. l; also see van Marle, Iconographie, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 480, fig. 513. The textual basis
for this imagery may trace to De Vitry or to Etienne de Bourbon’s version of the Exemplum. For the
pertinent texts, see: Delbouille, op. cit., pp. 42-43. The hour glass in the background i s
independent of the literary sources.
25. Van Marle, Iconographie, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 482, fig. 515. Compare this image to the print
image by Sadeler and that on the painted ceramic plate reproduced in: Giuseppe Liverani, “La
Leggenda di Aristotele e Fillide nella Maiolica,” in Scritti di Storia dell’ Arte in Onore di Ugo
Procacci (Milan: Electra Editrice, 1977), vol. 1, pp. 314-320, esp. pp. 318-319.
26. Joan M.Ferrante, Woman as Image in Medieval Literature (N.Y.: Columbia University Press,
1975), esp. chs. 1 and 4. See also: Maurice Bardeche, Histoire des Femmes (Paris: Stock, 1968);
Vern L. Bullough, The Subordinate Sex, A History of Attitudes Toward Women (Urbana: University
of Illinois Press, 1973); Yves Lefèvre, “La Femme au Moyen Age en France dans la Vie Littéraire et
Spirituelle,” in Histoire Mondiale de la Femme, L’Occident, Des Celtes a la Renaissance (Paris:
Nouvelle Librairie de France, 1966).
27. See: Francis Wormald, “The Monastic Library” in: Ursula E. McCracken, L.M.C. Randall, and
R. Randall, eds., Gatherings in Honor of Dorothy E. Miner (Baltimore: The Walters Art Gallery,
1974), pp. 93-109. Wormald quotes from the Customary of the Benedictine nuns of Barking Abbey:
“After Terce on the first Monday in Lent the librarian shall spread a carpet in the middle of the
chapter house . . . When anyone shall hear her name called out she shall rise at once and bring her
book to the carpet . . . Those who have not read through their book shall prostrate themselves
before the abbess and ask her pardon.” p. 100. See also: James Westfall Thompson, The Literacy o f
the Laity in the Middle Ages (N.Y.: Franklin, 1960). Queen Mathilda, mother of Duke Henry of
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


Bavaria (d. 955), is said to have “often visited the school for nuns at her own foundation on
Nordhausen, in order to supervise personally the studies of the inmates.” p. 82.
28. Hildegard of Bingen, Scito vias Domini, folio 1 of a manuscript in the Hessische Landes-
bibliothek, Wiesbaden. A reproduction of the illumination is in: Frances and Joseph Gies, Women
in the Middle Ages (N.Y.: T. Crowell, 1978), p. 77.
29. Reproductions of artes liberales personifications can be seen in: d’Ancona, Paolo, “Le
Rappresentazioni Allegoriche delle Arti Liberali nel Medio Evo e nel Rinascimento,” L’Arte [Rome]
V (1902), pp. 137-55, 211-28, 269-89, 370-85; Evans, Michael, “Allegorical Women and Practical
Men: The Iconography of the Artes Reconsidered,” in: Medieval Women, edited by Derek Baker
(Oxford: B. Blackwell, 1978), pp.305-329, plts. 1-33; Katzenellenbogen, Adolf, “The
Representation of the Seven Liberal Arts,” in: Marshall Clagett, ed. Twelfth- Century Europe and
the Foundations of Modern Society (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1961);
Iconographie de l’Art Profane au Moyen Age et à la Renaissance. Allegories et Symboles (The
Hague, 1932), vol. 2, chap. 3, “Les Sciences et les Arts,” pp. 203-79; Verdier,
Philippe,“L’iconographie des Arts Libéraux dans l’Art du Moyen Age jusqu’ à la Fin du Quinzième
Siècle,” in: Arts Libéraux et Philosophie au Moyen Age, Actes du Quatrième Congrès International
de Philosophie Médiévale (Montreal and Paris, 1969), pp. 305-355; von Schlosser Julius,
“Giusto’s Fresken in Padua und die Vorläufer der Stanza della Segnatura,” Jahrbuch der
kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses, vol XVII (1896), pp. 13-100,
plts.
30. From the Belles Heures of Jean, Duke de Berry (c. 1410/12), produced by the Limbourg brothers.
The manuscript is in the Cloisters, New York Metropolitan Museum. For a color reproduction, see:
Millard Meiss, The Belle Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry (N.Y.: Braziller, 1974), folio 15. St.
Catherine of Alexandria “was chosen as patroness of scholars and of the University of Paris.”
Meiss, loc. cit.
31. The miniature appears in the Boccaccio prepared for Charles the Bold, ca. 1402. Amalthea i s
seated in a chair, writing on a scroll. For a reproduction, see: Charles D. Cutler, Northern Painting,
From Pucelle to Bruegel (N.Y.: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1968), p. 39, fig. 48.
32. Several illuminations from different manuscripts depicting Christine in her study are reproduced
in: Françoise du Castel, Damoiselle Christine de Pizan (Paris: Picard, 1972). See also: “Christine de
Pisan at work in her study,” reproduced in: Dorothy Gardiner, English Girlhood at School (London:
Oxford University Press, 1929), plate III, p. 50. The original is in a manuscript in the British
Museum (MS Harl. 4431).
33. A fine example dating from ca. 1440 is found in a book of Hours made for Catherine of Cleves.
For a color reproduction see: John Plummer, The Hours of Catherine of Cleves (N.Y.: Braziller,
n.d.), plate 10.
34. M. A. Manzalaoui, ed., Secretum Secretorum 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, for the
Early English Text Society, 1977); Robert Steele, ed., Secretum Secretorum, Opera hactenus inedita
Rogeri Baconi, fasc. V (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1920); Oliver A. Beckerlegge, ed., Le Secré de
Secrez, Anglo-Norman Texts V (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1944). “The S.[ecret of] S.[ecrets]
enjoyed an immense popularity during the whole of the Middle Ages.” p. xxi. Cary, too, notes the
popularity of the Secrets, but suggests that its widest distribution would have come after it was
translated into vernacular languages. This should not be taken to mean that the work was unknown
in court circles before such translation. It has been observed that medieval knowledge of Latin texts
was wider than the limits of those who could write or read Latin, given the option of oral
translations and paraphrases. See: Franz H. Bäuml, “Medieval Literacy and Illiteracy,” Speculum,
vol. 55 (April, 1980), pp. 237-265.
35. Jaqueline Hamesse, Les Auctoritates Aristotelis. Philosophes Médiévaux, vol. XVII (Louvain:
Publications Universitaires, 1974).
36. See the ivory caskets in the collections of the Barber Institute (Birmingham), the British
Museum, the Bargello (Florence), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Victoria and
Albert Museum (London), the Walters Gallery (Baltimore). For references, see note 15, above.
37. Manzalaoui, Secrets, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 329.
38. loc. cit.
39. Steele, Secretum, op. cit., p. 51.
40. Manzalaoui, Secrets, op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 303, 317-319. Aegidius Romanus attributes the same
metaphor to Aristotle, “li philosophe”: “de vivre en delit corporel, qui est vie de beste mue.” See:
Samuel P. Molenaer, ed., Li Livres du Gouvernement des Rois. A XIIIth century French version o f
Egidio Colonna’s treatise De Regimine Principum (N.Y.: Macmillan, for the Columbia University
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


Press, 1899), p. 14. See also pp. 15, 58, 153. Aegidius Romanus was a student of Thomas Aquinas,
a graduate of the University of Paris, then a member of the faculty there, tutor of Louis IX, preceptor
of Philip the Fair, and finally Archbishop of Bourges. pp. xvi-xix. Although Aegidius is said t o
have drawn principally on Aristotle’s Politics and Nicomachean Ethics, it is likely that he also had
reference to the Secretum Secretorum.
41. Harrison, Gallic, op. cit., pp. 284-285.
42. Bovillus, Liber de Intellectu (1509). A copy is in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. For a
reproduction, see: André Chastel, The Age of Humanism (N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1963), p. 27. The
imagery may suggest a sharper divisioning between vita activa and the vita contemplativa than was
typically recommended in the large literature which addressed the subject of education suitable for
the nobility. Consider, for example, lines from a letter by Philip of Harvengt, an abbot, to Count
Philip of Flanders (1168-1191): The prince “would, at least in an hour of quiet seclusion, rather
attend to a book than unworthily give his ear to idle tales or his hand to rattling dice. . . . For
knighthood, or the profession of arms, does not preclude a sound knowledge of letters; indeed, in a
prince, the union of both these things is as useful as it is becoming . . ..” Thompson, Literacy, op.
cit., p. 140. But this is not to say that knights and princes were expected to enter very far into a life
of study: “. . . Patritius therefore in the Institution of Princes, would not have them be great
students. For (as Machiavel holds) study weakens their bodies, dulls their spirits, abates their
strength and courage; and good scholars are never good soldiers . . .” Robert Burton, The Anatomy
of Melancholy (New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1927), p. 259. See also: Lester K. Born, “The
Perfect Prince: A Study in Thirteenth and Fourteenth-Century Ideals,” Speculum, vol. II (1928),pp.
470-504; L.K. Born, Education of a Christian Prince (N.Y.: Columbia University Press, 1936).
43. “Then too greed for food . . . weighs down and binds to earth the mind as with fetters,” wrote
John of Salisbury in his Policraticus (1159). See: Joseph B. Pike, ed. and trans., Frivolities o f
Courtiers and Footprints of Philosophers (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1938), p .
315.
44. Regarding horse symbolism, see: J. E. Cirlot, A Dictionary of Symbols (London: Routledge and
Kegan Paul, 1971, 2nd ed.), entry for “Horse.” Note associations with “intense desires and
instincts,” with “the natural, unconscious, instinctive zone,” with “Man’s baser forces,” etc. See
also: Jean-Paul Clébert, Bestiaire, op. cit., “Cheval,” pp. 100-110, “ . . . le cheval . . . passait pour
un animal priapique.” p. 109.
45. Plutarch, in: Arthur H. Clough, ed., Plutarch, The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans
(N.Y.: Random House, n.d.), p. 816.
46. ibid., p. 835.
47. loc. cit.
48. For discussions of the symbolism of the carvings on the caskets, see: Frederick Baekeland,
“Two Kinds of Symbolism in a Gothic Ivory Casket,” The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, vol. VI
(1974), pp. 20-52; Olivier Beigbeder, “Le Château d’amour et son symbolism dans l’ ivoirerie,”
Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6th pér, vol. XXXVIII (April-June 1951), pp. 65-76; Roger Sherman
Loomis, “A Medieval Ivory Casket,” Art in America vol. 5 (Dec., 1916), pp. 19-27; Roger Sherman
Loomis, “The Allegorical Siege in the Art of the Middle Ages,” American Journal of Archeology,
2nd series, vol. XXIII, no. 3 (1919), pp. 255-269.
49. For a classic survey of the miseries of scholars, including the melancholic consequences of
immoderate study, see: Burton, Melancholy, op. cit., pp. 259-282. Study in proper measure,
however, is a tonic and a boon: “But amongst those exercises , or recreations of the mind within
doors, there is none so general, so aptly to be applied to all sorts of men, so fit and proper to expell
Idleness and Melancholy, as that of Study.” p. 453 “To most kind of men it is an extraordinary
delight to study.” p. 455.
50. Alison G. Stewart, Unequal Lovers (New York: Abaris Books, 1978). Stewart’s study
concentrates on the theme of ill-matched lovers in Northern European art of the late fifteenth
andsixteenth centuries.
51. Both are quadrapedic, according to John of Salisbury: “For since these two forms of physical
delight, gluttony and carnal love, are characteristic of beasts, the one seems to possess the filth of
swine and the other the stench of goats.” * * * “They who make pleasure, not to say dissipation, of
taste and touch the highest good of life are more akin to swine than to any other kind of animal.”
Pike, Frivolities, op. cit, pp. 363 and 365, respectively.
52. “I had rather excel others in the knowledge of what is excellent , than in the extent of my power
and dominion . . . it was to Aristotle that he owed the inclination he had, not to the theory only, but
likewise to the practice of the art of medicine . . . He was naturally a great lover of all kinds of
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


learning and reading . . . his violent thirst after and passion for learning, which were once
implanted, still grew up with him, and never decayed . . .” Clough, Plutarch, op. cit., pp. 805-806.
Less emphasis on Alexander’s education and his alleged interest in learning is found in medieval
Western European views of Alexander. For more on Alexander’s education, see: George Cary, The
Medieval Alexander (Cambridge University Press, 1956), pp. 105-110; W. Hertz, “Aristoteles i n
den Alexanderdichtungen des Mittelalters,” Abhandlungen der Königlichen bayerischen Akademie
der Wissenschaften, vol. 19, Abeteilung 1, Munich, 1890; K. Sneyders de Vogel, “L’education
d’Alexandre le Grand,” Neophilologus, vol. 28, no. 1 (1942), pp. 161-171. More generally, see:
Lester K. Born, “Perfect Prince,” op. cit., and Education, op. cit., at note 41, above.
53. For other “turn abouts,” see text at paragraph 7, also paragraph 18, by note 49. The device of
inverting expected relations is sometimes called “topsy-turvey,” “monde renversé,” and “mundus
inversus.” See: Randall, Images, op. cit., pp. 18-19. For bibliography, Randall cites O. Odenius,
“Mundus Inversus,” ARV, vol. X (1954), pp. 142-170.
54. For descriptions of monastic libraries, see: Wormald, “Monastic,” op. cit.
55. Garden symbolism is manifold. See: Stammler, “Der Allegorische Garten,” in Wort, op. cit.,
pp. 107-116. For the garden as a perilous place, see Kenneth Bleeth’s review of Terry Comito, The
Idea of the Garden in the Renaissance (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1978) in Speculum
vol. 55, no. 1 (Jan., 1980). Phyllis lures Aristotle into a flower garden,i.e., a garden of love. Being
old, he does not belong there, according to Jean de Meun’s Roman de la Rose. See also: Douglas
Percy Bliss, “Love Gardens in Early German Engravings and Woodcuts,” Print Collectors Quarterly,
vol. 15 (1928), pp. 90-109; Roberta Smith Favis, The Garden of Love in Fifteenth Century
Netherlandish and German Engravings: Some Studies in Secular Iconography in the Late Middle
Ages and Early Renaissance (University of Pennsylvania, 1974). Unpublished doctoral
dissertation.
56. Fear of the senses was not confined to cloistered monks. Consider the views of John of
Salisbury, Archbishop of Chartres Cathedral(1176-1180), as expressed in his Policraticus (1159):
“Although the enticements of luxury enter equally through the gates of the five senses, that of the
ear seems to approach closer to cleanliness and that having its origin in taste or touch, t o
filthiness; while the delight of smell and sight holds a position between . . . death does indeed enter
through the windows of the eye when one takes delight in . . . the shapely forms of women . . . and
all else by which the liberty of the mind is enslaved.” Pike, Frivolities, op. cit., p. 314.
57. Harrison, Gallic, op. cit., pp. 280-281.
58. Harrison, Gallic, op. cit., pp. 278-279.
59. “The Evangelists are usually shown at their desks, absorbed in their work, just as scholars,
philosophers, and poets had been represented on antique memorial reliefs, mosaics, and
manuscripts.” From: D. V. Ainalov, The Hellenistic Origins of Byzantine Art, Cyril Mango, ed., E.
and S. Sobolevitch, trans. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1961), p. 122. A muse or two
might accompany an ancient author, and Ainalov provides an example of St. Mark accompanied b y
a figure much like personifications of Heuresis and Urania. The imagery is successfully devoid of
sensuality. Typically, the Gospel writers in Western imagery are alone or with a scribe. If
inspiration is personified, it may come in the form of an androgynous angelic figure or a dove.
Note, for example, Cimabue’s angel inspiring St. Mark in the upper church of St. Francis in Assisi.
See: John White, Art and Architecture in Italy: 1250 to 1400, The Pelican History of Art
(Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1966), Plate 51. In a twelfth-century manuscript, the hand of God
holds a dove which inspires St. John, who writes in an undefined architectural space. See: Porcher,
Miniatures, op. cit., plate 34. In a fourteenth-century manuscript, a divine dove perches on St.
Matthew’s shoulder, inspiring him as he writes. See: Lieselotte E. Stamm, Die Rüdiger Schopf-
Handschriften (Aarau/Frankfurt a/M/Salzburg: Sauerländer, 1981), p. 55. For examples in various
media, see: Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra 800-1200 (Harmmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1972). For a
general survey, see “Evangelisten” in: Otto Schmitt, Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte,
vol. VI (München: A. Druckenmüller, 1973), cols. 448-517, 54 b/w illus.; also
“Evangelistensymbole,” op. cit., cols. 517-572, 38 b/w illus., although few instances of the latter
exhibit iconography related to study space.
60. See: J. Couvalle, Iconographie de Saint Augustin: Les Cycles du XVI Siècle et du XVII Siècle
(Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes, 1972); J. Lavalleye, “Le Cycle iconographie de Saint Augustin,”
Gazette de Beaux-Arts, Series 6, vol. 64 (Nov., 1964), p. 314; Millard Meiss, “French and Italian
Variations on an Early Fifteenth-Century Theme: St. Jerome in his Study,” Gazette de Beaux-Arts,
series 6, vol. 62 (Sept. 1963), pp. 147-160; Millard Meiss, “Scholarship and Penitence in the Early
Renaissance,” Pantheon, vol. 32 (April 1974), pp. 134-140; Eugene F. Rice, Saint Jerome in the
Renaisssance (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985). Millard Meiss’ obsevations
conerning St. Jerome and study space are particularly indicative:
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


     The image of a learned saint reading or writing is of course old in Christian art, but it was i n
     the painting of Trecento Italy that his environment was first fully described. St. Jerome,
     especially, acquired a characteristic setting—not in the austere cell mentioned by the early
     sources, but the studium , the books, and the professional furnishings of a contemporary
     theologian or professor . . . In painting of the second half of the century, representations
     of St. Jerome stress his scholarly activity. Tommaso da Modena’s figure in S. Nicolo,
     Treviso, painted probably towards 1360, sits in a well-stocked cubicle with an
     exceptionally convenient bilateral arrangement of lecterns and bookshelves. Meiss,
     “French and Italian,” op. cit., pp. 157-158.
See also Tommaso da Modena’s fresco of “St. Albertus Magnus,” (ca. 1352) in the Capitolo di San
Niccolo of the Vescovile Seminary, Treviso, Italy; reproduced in: L. Coletti, Tommaso da Modena
(Venice : Neri Pozza, 1963), plate 4. For lesser figures, see the portrait of Ezra writing in his
study, an illumination (8th century) in the Codex Amiatinus (Biblioteca Laurenziana, Florence). For
a color reproduction, see: C. Bertelli, Miniatura Medievale Prima Parta (Milan: Fabbri, 1966), plate
vi. See also the “Portrait of Eadwine” in the Canterbury Psalter (ca. 1148), an illuminated
manuscript in the Trinity College Library, Cambridge. A color reproduction appears in: A.
Martindale, The Rise of the Artist . . . (N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1972), p. 69.
61. James F. O’Gorman, The Architecture of the Monastic Library in Italy 1300-1600. (N.Y.: New
York University Press, 1972), pp. 3-4. To illustrate study space in the monastery library,
O’Gorman chose Antonella da Messina’s painting of “St. Jerome in His Study,” which serves as the
frontispiece to his monograph.
62. Robert Burton, Anatomy, op. cit., p. 457.
63. John Amos Comenius, Orbis Sensualium Pictus (Nürnberg, 1658), “The Study,” lesson XCVIII.
64. Richard M. Grummere, trans., Seneca ad Lucilium Epistolae Morales. 3 vols. (London:
Heineman, 1961), Epistle LVI, vol. 1, p. 373.
65. On windows in colleges, see: Hastings Rashdall, The Universities of Europe in the Middle
Ages, F.M. Powicke and A.B. Emden, eds. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1936, new edition), vol. 3, p .
416. Regarding windows for scribes, see: Urban T. Holmes, Daily Living in the Twelfth Century
(Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1966), pp. 70, 97, and 278 note 74. Generally o n
window symbolism in architecture, see the entry for “fenster” in: Otto Schmitt, Reallexikon zur
Deutschen Kunstgeschichte, vol. VII (München: C. H. Beck’schen, 1981),columns 1253-1466;
also, Adolf Reinle, Zeichensprache der Architektur: Symbol, Darstellung und Brauch in der Baukunst
des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit (Zürich/München: Verlag für Architektur Artemis, 1976), “Fenster,”
pp. 227-233.
66. See, for example: J. Metsys, “Philosopher in His Study,” in: Burlington Magazine (Oct.,
1969), ad. sect., p. lxi.
67. See the entry for “Love,” by George Boas, in: Paul Edwards, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy
(N.Y.: Macmillan, 1972), vol. 5, p. 89.
68. See “Argentarius” in The Oxford Classical Dictionary (2d ed., 1970), p. 104. The translation
represented here is from: Dudley Fitts, Poems from the Greek Anthology (N.Y.: New Directions,
1956), p. 32.
69. The speaker’s lack of commitment to study is also suggested in the more literal translation
provided by J.W. Mackail, trans., Select Epigrams from the Greek Anthology (London: Longmans,
1928): “Once when turning over the Book of Hesiod in my hands, suddenly I saw Pyrrhe
approaching; and casting the book to the ground from m y hand, I cried out, Why bring your
works to me, old Hesiod?” p. 4, number iv.
70. Allan R. Benner and Francis H. Fobes, translators, The Letters of Alciphron, Aelian and
Philostratus (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1949). Charles Astruc, Chief of the Department
of Manuscripts, Bibliotheque Nationale, notes that the thirteenth-century Alciphron manuscript
(Parisinus Suppl. gr. 352) identified in the Benner and Fobes volume (p. 19) was probably brought
from Greece or Turkey to Italy in the second half of the fifteenth century, and that it did not arrive i n
Paris until 1798. (Personal correspondence, March 3, 1981) Benner and Fobes identify other
twelfth- and thirteenth-century manuscripts of Alciphron, but offer no discussion of the extent to
which western Europeans were aware of his works in the middle ages.
71. Benner and Fobes, Letters, op. cit., pp. 262-267.
72. Ibid., p. 265, note b. Werner Jaeger suggests that “Nicomachean” may refer to the publisher of
one set of Aristotle’s lecture notes on ethics. See his Aristotle, trans. Richard Robinson (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1948, 2d ed.), p. 230. The ultimate meaning of the title remains an issue. See:
Ayers Bagley . . . Study and Love: Aristotle’s Fall


Anton-Hermann Chroust, Aristotle (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1973), vol.
2, p. 291 at note 31.
73. Benner and Fobes, Letters, op. cit, p. 265, after 3.
74. Regarding Epicurus as a slanderer of Aristotle, see: Chroust, Aristotle, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 291 at
note 29; also see Düring, Aristotle, op. cit., p. 463.
75. Benner and Fobes, Letters, op. cit., p. 267. “Aristotle and Theophrastus and the circle of
scholars and students around them met and lectured in the Lyceum, a public gymnasium open t o
everybody . . ..” From: Ingemar Düring, Aristotle in the Ancient Biographical Tradition, Studia
Graeca et Latina Gothoburgensia V (Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell, 1957), p. 461.
76. David E. Luscombe, Peter Abelard (London: Histrical Association, c. 1979); also David E.
Luscombe, The School of Peter Abelard (London: Cambridge Unversity Press, 1969). For a
collection of recent studies of Abelard, see: Pierre Abelard - Pierre le Vénérable, Les Courants
Philosophiques, Littéraires et Artistiques en Occident au Milieu du XIIe Siècle, number 546 in Actes
et Memoires du Colloque International (Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1975).
77. The Story of My Misfortunes, Henry Adams Bellow, trans. (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1958), pp.
18-19.
78. For new insights into the value milieu of Abelard and Heloise, see esp.: Mary M. McLaughlin,
“Peter Abelard and the Dignity of Women: Twelfth Century ‘Feminism’ in “Theory and Practice”;
Peter von Moos, “Le Silence d’Héloïse et les Ideologies Modernes”; John F. Benton, “Fraud,
Fiction and Borrowing in the Correspondence of Abelard and Heloise” in: Pierre Abelard - Pierre le
Vénérable, op. cit.
79. Etienne Gilson, Heloise and Abelard, trans. K.L. Shook (London: Hollis & Carter, 1953), p. 47,
quoted in: James L. Henderson, A Bridge Across Time (London: Touchstone, 1975), p. 72.
80. Of the abundant imagery of female figures riding on the backs of males, many are not connected
directly with Henri d’Andeli’s Lai or with DeVitry’s Exemplum. Some female figures ride demons;
some are jousters; some are related to the Apocalypse; some have clearer reference to the “hen-
pecked husband” theme, suggesting Socrates/Xantippe rather than Aristotle/Phyllis.
81. Among the detractors, Chroust notes especially Epicurus and Timeaus. Aristotle, op. cit., vol.
2, p. 291 at note 29, and p. 345, note 8. See also: Düring, Aristotle, op. cit., p. 463. The “anti-
Aristotelian tradition,” which Düring characterizes as “strong and persistent,” and as “vigorous i n
Aristotle’s life-time” survived Hellenistic times in little more than fragments.
82. Regarding Aristotle’s character generally, see: Chroust, Aristotle, op. cit., vol. 1, Ch. XVII.
For a sampling of Aristotle’s estimate of women, see the Politics: “Again, the male is by nature
superior, and the female inferior . . .” Book I, ch. 4, 1254 b; “ . . . woman has [a deliberative
faculty], but it is without authority.” Book 1, ch. 13, 1260 A; “Silence is a woman’s glory.” loc.
cit. The citations are from: Richard McKeon, ed., The Basic Works of Aristotle (N.Y.: Random
House, 1941), pp. 1132, 1144, 1145. The quoted expressions, or close approximations, are also
found in the Auctoritates: “Masculinum genus naturaliter dignius est feminino”; “Consilium
mulieris est invalidum”; “Silentium mulieris praestat ornatum.”
83. See: John P. Lynch, Aristotle’s School (Berkeley: University of California,1972); also:
Chroust, Aristotle, op. cit., vol.1. Ch. XVII.
84. An astronomer, scribe, and mathematician are represented in an exterior setting in a thirteenth-
century Psalter (ca. 1225) in the Arsenal Library in Paris. A color reproduction appears in: P.
Francastel, Medieval Painting (N.Y.: Dell, 1968), p. 96. But an interior setting is used for an
astronomy teaching scene in a thirteenth-century illumination of Aristotle’s De Caelo. See: Robert
Branner, Manuscript Painting in Paris During the Reign of Saint L o u i s (Berkeley/Los
Angeles/London: University of California Press, 1977), fig. 372.
85. Chroust, Aristotle, op. cit., vol. 1, Ch. XVII, pp. 236-237, 247. Also: Jaeger, Aristotle, op.
cit., “Aristotle’s Place in History,” Ch. 15.
86. See his prescriptions for the citizen’s education, for example, in the Politics, Book VIII.

				
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