Podcast episode

Episode 188: Graeme Miles on Proclus the Commentator

There are two manuscripts – Laurentian MS LXXX 9 and Vat. gr. 2197 (Vatican Greek MS 2197)  – which were once a single codex that someone chopped in half. Put them together, as Wilhelm Kroll did in preparing his Teubner edition of the text – and you get the unique witness to Proclus’ Commentary on Plato’s Republic.

Our interview is with Graeme Miles, part of the team bringing Proclus’ Commentary into English translation for the Cambridge University Press. We discuss Proclus’ practice of commentary, regarded both hermeneutically and as part of the integrated spiritual practice of the hardest working man in late antiquity. We then turn to the Republic commentary and discuss a number of case-studies, examining how Proclus reads Plato reading Homer, how he deals with the problem of the Good in Plato’s dialogue, and how he reads the Myth of Er at the dialogue’s end. Along the way we touch on arithmologico-mathematical mysteries, astrology, and much else to interest the student of the curious and esoteric in late antiquity.

Interview Bio:

Graeme Miles is Senior Lecturer in Classics at University of Tasmania, Hobart. He has been involved in an ongoing Proclus translation-project working alongside an eminent team bringing first the Timæus-commentary, and currently the Republic commentary into English for the Cambridge University Press. He has published three collections of poems: Infernal Topographies (UWA Press, 2020) Recurrence (John Leonard Press, 2012) and Phosphorescence (Fremantle Press, 2006).

Works Cited in this Episode:


Numenius of Apamea on the view from the ship: fr. 2 Petty = 11 Leemans = Eus. Pr. ev. XI, 21, 7-22, 2.

Proclus’ Commentary on Plato’s Republic:

  • Achilles’ slaying of unarmed prisoners as a figure of a theurgic immortalisation ritual: In R. 1.151.24-1.153.20, commenting on Iliad XXIII l. 175.
  • Stripping away all that which is not the Good: In R. 1.281.8-1.287.17.
  • The commentary on the Myth of Er: In R. 2.96.1-2.359.10.


Dirk Baltzly, John F. Finamore, and Graeme Miles, editors. Proclus. Commentary on Plato’s Republic, Volume I, Essays 1-6. The University Press, Cambridge, 2020.

Francis MacDonald Cornford. The Republic of Plato Translated with Introduction and Notes. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1941.

Robert Lamberton. Homer the Theologian: Neoplatonist Allegorical Reading and the Growth of the Epic Tradition. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1989.

Recommended Reading:

SHWEP Episode 188 Recommended Reading



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