|Plato, according to Raphael Sanzio|
Among Plato’s dialogues, Timaeus has always captured the attention of scholars, for it represents the first description in Greek philosophy of a coherent cosmological model, which reached great resonance by becoming part of the medieval model through the partial translation into Latin of this dialogue by the mysterious Roman philosopher Calcidius.
Very little is known about Calcidius. Although he lived in the fourth century, we do not know his date of birth or death, nor the place where he lived. It is not even known whether he was a Christian or a pagan (a Neo-Platonist). His book is dedicated to a certain Hosius, who may or may not be the bishop of Cordoba who participated in the Council of Nicaea.
It is often said that medieval philosophy in Western Europe was based initially on Plato, and from the twelfth century on Aristotle. This happened because, in the realm of the Western Roman Empire, the knowledge of the Greek language had been lost, therefore the Greek classics could no longer be read in their original language. There were no Latin translations, for the illustrated Romans of the imperial period could read the Greek language perfectly, so did not need them. What is not usually mentioned is that Plato’s works had also become inaccessible, with the sole exception of the Timaeus, which in the partial translation by Calcidius knew an unexpected boom during the Middle Ages, even stronger than Calcidius’s work during his life.