Bekker numbering

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Bekker numbering is the standard form of referencing to works in the Corpus Aristotelicum, are based on the page numbers used in the Prussian Academy of Sciences edition of the complete works of Aristotle.[1] They take their name from the editor of that edition, the classical philologist August Immanuel Bekker (1785-1871).

Bekker numbers take the format of up to four digits, a letter for column 'a' or 'b', then the line number. For example, the beginning of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics is 1094a1, which corresponds to page 1094 of Bekker's edition of the Greek text of Aristotle's works, first column, line 1.[2]

All modern editions or translations of Aristotle intended for scholarly readers use Bekker numbers, in addition to or instead of page numbers. Contemporary scholars writing on Aristotle use the Bekker number so that the author's citations can be checked by readers without having to use the same edition or translation that the author used.

While Bekker numbers are the dominant method used to refer to the works of Aristotle, Catholic or Thomist scholars often use the medieval method of reference by book, chapter, and sentence, albeit generally in addition to Bekker numbers.

Stephanus pagination is the comparable system for referring to the works of Plato.


  1. ^ Aristotelis Opera edidit Academia Regia Borussica, ex recognitione Immanuelis Bekkeri, 5 voll. Berlin, Georgium Reimerum, 1831-1870 (the last volume contains the Index Aristotelicus by Hermann Bonitz)
  2. ^ Jonathan Barnes, The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle, Cambridge 1995 xxi