Logic with Martianus Capella

The late antique writer Martianus Capella seems to have been reserved at the enthusiasm of his Carthaginian contemporaries for scientific drawings. The cosmological sections of his notable work, De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii (On the Marriage of Philology and Mercury), lack drawings. Medieval commentators did what they could to fill the gap.

The sole authorial drawing in the book instead deals with logic, and is exemplary for its clarity. It is what is now termed a square of opposition. The reconstruction below is by Dick and the English translation shown is that of William H Stahl.

Although Parsons asserts the drawing of such squares before the present era, I have so far found no earlier documented example than that of Martianus.[*]Parsons, Terence. “The Traditional Square of Opposition.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, 2017.

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