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Stephen of Alexandria

Stephen of Alexandria (Stephanus Alexandrinus, Stephanos of Alexandria) was a 7th century Byzantine philosopher, astronomer and teacher. He was a public lecturer in the court of Heraclius (610-641 AD). In the manuscripts he is called the Universal Philosopher.

He taught on Plato and Aristotle, and on Geometry, Arithmetic, Astronomy and Music.


1. A commentary on Aristotle. Editions:

  • Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca ed. consilio et auctoritate Academiae litt. reg. Boruss., Berlin, Bd. XV
  • Ioannes Philoponus de anima, ed. Michael Hayduck, 1897 p. 446-607 (see praef. p. V); Vol. XVIII/3
  • Stephanus de interpretatione, ed. M. Hayduck, 1885 (Vol. XXI/2: Stephanus in artem rhetoricam is by a Byzantine Rhetor Stephanos of the 12th century).

2. A commentary on the Isagogue of Porphyry. Editions:

  • Anton Baumstark, Aristot. b. den Syrern v. 5.-8. Jh., Vol. 1: Syr.-arab. Biographien des Aristot., syr. Kommentare z. Eisag.des Porph., Leipzig 1900, 181-210 (with a translation of the fragments of the commentary of Stephanos).

3. Astronomical and chronological works. Editions:

  • Explanatio per propria exempla commentarii Theonis in tabulas manuales, Ed. Usener, De Stephano Al. p. 38-54 (= Kl. Schriften. III, 295-319).

4. Alchemical works. These were not in fact by Stephen of Alexandria, but were composed later and are attributed to him by mistake in the manuscripts that have reached us.

A compendium of alchemical texts including the poem De Chrysopoeia (On how to make gold) is extant in two manuscripts, Venice Cod. Marcianus 299 and Paris BNF 2327.


  • De magna et sacra arte, Ed. Julius Ludwig Ideler in Physici et medici Graeci minores II, Berlin 1842 (Reprinted Hakkert, Amsterdam 1963) p. 199-253.
  • F. Sherwood Taylor, The alchemical works of S. of Al., in: Ambix, the Journal of the Society for the study of alchemy and early chemistry 1, London 1937, 116-139; 2, 1938, 38-49 (with English translation and commentary).

5. Astrological works. These also are apocryphal.

  • Opusculum apotelesmaticum, Ed. Usener in De Stephano Al. p. 17-32 (= Kl. Schrr. III, 266-289).

6. Other apocrypha include a 'Weissagungsbuch', a prophecy of Mohammed and the rise of Islam, and probably date from around 775 AD.



  • Julius Ludwig Ideler, Physici et medici Graeci minores II, Berlin 1842 (Reprinted by Hakkert, Amsterdam 1963) p. 199-253. Greek text (only) in full online at Google books here
  • F. Sherwood Taylor, "The Alchemical Works of Stephanos of Alexandria", in "Ambix" (1937). Vol. 1, pp. 116-39; Vol 2, pp.39-49. Greek text and facing English translation of 3 of the 9 lectures of the work.


  • Albert Ehrhard Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur von Justinian bis zum Ende des Oströmischen Reiches, 2nd Ed. (1897). At google books in full (for US viewers), pp. 480f, 614, 621 *, 625, 633.

Articles and studies:

  • H. Usener, "De Stephano Alexandrino" Bonn (1880)
  • Alb. Jahn, "Chemica graeca ex codicibus Monacensi 112 et Bernensi 579", Revue de Philologie 15 (1891) 101-115. Short intro to his alchemical works.
  • F. Sherwood Taylor, "The Origins of Greek Alchemy", Ambix, I, May 1937, pp. 30-47.
  • Maria Papathanassiou, (1992), "Stephanos von Alexandreia und sein alchemistisches Werk", Ph. D. Thesis, Humboldt Universität zur Berlin, Berlín.
  • Maria Papathanassiou, (1990-1991) "Stephanus of Alexandria: Pharmaceutical notions and cosmology in his alchemical work", "Ambix", nº 37, pp. 121-133; nº 38, p. 112 [addenda].
  • Maria Papathanassiou, (1996), "Stephanus of Alexandria: On the structure and date of his alchemical work", in "Medicina nei Secoli 8", 2, pp. 247-266.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Stephen_of_Alexandria". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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