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The Form of Politics; Ancient and Medieval Concepts of Friendship; Scorpo Friendship in Medieval Iberia

Book Reviews by Heather Devere

John von Heyking: The Form of Politics: Aristotle and Plato on Friendship. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016. ISBN: 978-0-7735-4755-1 (hardcover), 978-0-7735-4756-8 (paper), 978-0-7735-9928-4 (ePDF), 978-0-7735-9929-1 (ePUB)

Suzanne Stern-Gillet and Gary M. Gurtler (eds): Ancient and Medieval Concepts of Friendship. State University of New York Press, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-4384-5365-1 (hardcover), 978-1-4384-5366-8 (e book)

Antonella Liuzzo Scorpo: Friendship in Medieval Iberia: Historical, Legal and Literary Perspectives. Ashgate, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-4724-1202-7 (hardcover), 978-1-4724-1203-4 (ePDF), 978-1-4724-1204-1 (ePUB)

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Devere, H. (2017) Reviews of The Form of Politics: Aristotle and Plato on Friendship by John von Heyking, Ancient and Medieval Concepts of Friendship by Suzanne Stern-Gillet and Gary M. Gurtler (eds) and Friendship in Medieval Iberia: Historical, Legal and Literary Perspectives by Antonella Liuzzo Scorpo. AMITY: The Journal of Friendship Studies, 4:1, pp. 32-37. doi: 10.5518/AMITY/21


These three books, published over the last few years, add to the ever-growing literature on the histories of ideas of friendship, focusing on ancient and medieval concepts of friendship. Von Heyking’s detailed analysis of the texts of Plato and Aristotle related to political friendship includes Plato’s Laws, Lysis, Phaedrus and Republic, and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Poetics and Politics. The edited volume by Stern-Gillet and Gurtler includes chapters on Plato, Aristotle, Zeno and Seneca, Epicurus, and Cicero from the ancient canon, and from medieval philosophy there are chapters on the writings on friendship of Gregory Nazianzen, Basil the Great, Augustine, Aelred of Rievaulx and Thomas Aquinas. The book ends with two chapters on enlightenment writers – Kant compared to Aristotle, and the Platonic roots of Hölderlin’s concept of friendship. Scorpo draws on the writings of the medieval King Alfonso of Castile, Cantigas de Santa Maria, Siete Partidas and the Estoria de España, to consider the vocabulary and rhetoric of friendship in the Iberian context.

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