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Aristotle advising a king on the natures of animals and men, in Pseudo-Aristotle's 'About the Secrets of Secrets'

Aristotle advising a king on the natures of animals and men, in Pseudo-Aristotle's 'About the Secrets of Secrets'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1327

Shelfmark: Additional MS 47680

Item number: f.37r

Length: 23.7

Width: 15.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

Believed in the middle ages to be Aristotle's letter to Alexander the Great, 'About the Secrets of Secrets' concerns government and is a Latin translation of an Arabic work. A London scribe and King's Clerk, Walter of Milemete, and a team of artists probably made this richly decorated copy in 1326-1327. Milemete intended it to accompany his own treatise on royal virtues for presentation to Edward III. The 'Secrets' was owned by the Earls of Leicester, at Holkham Hall in Norfolk, from the 17th to the 20th centuries.

Psychology is covered in this section, in which 'Aristotle' advises the king to compare and contrast the different traits of animals in order to gain an understanding of men, because humans combine all the manners and customs of beasts. In the picture, Aristotle has brought in a lion and a hare as teaching aids, while the king responds to the lesson with a comment or question.

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