This paper examines Vergil’s profile as a Platonic philosopher in the Vitae and its employment by Dante and Petrarch. Vergil’s alleged interest in Plato facilitated the conflation of poetry and philosophy in medieval thinkers, urging Dante and Petrarch, already in the trecento, to render their Vergils in Platonic terms, and to advocate the model of the philosopher-poet. However, their portrayals of Vergil are quite antithetical, with Petrarch following Cicero’s Republican dream and Dante advocating esoteric salvation. Here I argue that under the guise of discussing Vergil’s life, Dante and Petrarch project opposing images of the poet-prophet they aspired to become.
Although the theme of Phyllis seated astride the great Aristotle was a familiar theme from the 13th to 16th centuries, Henri d’Andeli’s Lai d’Aristote occupies a singular position in medieval French Literature. It is entitled a lai, but it is often classified as a fabliau due to its burlesque qualities and role reversal. Whereas most lais were Breton with Celtic themes, this one has a classical theme. The German version names the lady Phyllis; however, d’Andeli calls her the Indian girl. While the Lai d’Aristote appears familiar to the reader, this paper reveals the otherness and uniqueness of this work.