David the Invincible

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David the Invincible depicted in medieval manuscript of Definition of Philosophy (Matenadaran, Ms. 1746, c. 1280)

David the Invincible is the name given to a Neoplatonist philosopher of the 6th century.

His works survive in medieval Armenian translation, and he was given the byname of "invincible" (Classical Armenian: Անյաղթ; reformed: Անհաղթ, Anhağt' ) in Armenian tradition. This byname had earlier been given to a theologian and was transferred to the philosopher.

Due to confusion with other authors called David and due to an abundant body of medieval legend, almost nothing is known with certainty about the historical David. Armenian tradition makes him a navtive of Taron,[1] but this is not substantiated in contemporary sources and may be due to conflation with another person.[2] He was active in Alexandria in Byzantine Egypt, known as an expert in Aristotle's Physics.[3] He supposedly received the byname "invincible" for his exceptional oratory and argumentative skills.[1] David is said to have returned to his native Armenia later in life, where he was active as a teacher, but he was persecuted by the church and ultimately died in exile in Haghbat.[1]

Of the number of works attributed to him, many are pseudepigraphic or doubtful. The works which can be attributed to him with certainty or at least with some plausibility are not scholarly treatises but propedeutic (introductory) handbooks for use in teaching beginners. They were composed in Greek but survive only in Armenian translation. Philologically, these translations are important representatives of the "hellenizing" tradition in Armenian literature (Yownaban Dproc‘) of the 6th to 8th centuries.[4]

The statue of David Anhaght in Yerevan

The David Anhaght Medal, the highest-ranking medal granted by the Armenian Academy of Philosophy, is named after him.[5] David the Invincible (Դավիթ Անհաղթ - David Anhaght, Armenfilm) is a 1978 film by Levon Mkrtchyan.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hacikyan, Agop J. (2000). The heritage of Armenian literature. Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press. p. 288. ISBN 0814328156. 
  2. ^ Valentina Calzolari: David et la tradition arménienne. In: Valentina Calzolari, Jonathan Barnes (ed.): L’œuvre de David l’Invincible et la transmission de la pensée grecque dans la tradition arménienne et syriaque, Leiden 2009, S. 15–36 (22 f.); Gohar Muradyan (ed.): David the Invincible: Commentary on Porphyry's Isagoge, Leiden 2015, S. 1 f. Leendert Gerrit Westerink (ed.): Prolégomènes à la philosophie de Platon, Paris 1990, p. XXXVII.
  3. ^ Barnes, textes réunis et édites par Valentina Calzolari et Jonathan (2009). L'œuvre de David l'Invincible et la transmission de la pensée grecque dans la tradition arménienne et syriaque. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004160477. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Valentina Calzolari: Aux origines de la formation du corpus philosophique en Arménie: quelques remarques sur les versions arméniennes des commentaires grecs de David. In: Cristina D’Ancona (ed.): The Libraries of the Neoplatonists, Leiden 2007, 259–278, here: 261–264; Valentina Calzolari: David et la tradition arménienne. In: Valentina Calzolari, Jonathan Barnes (ed.): L’œuvre de David l’Invincible et la transmission de la pensée grecque dans la tradition arménienne et syriaque, Leiden 2009, 15–36, here: 15–20.
  5. ^ "Grand Medal of David the Invincible". International Progress Organization.