Archytas of Tarentum is one of the three most important philosophers in the Pythagorean tradition, a prominent mathematician, who gave the first solution to the famous problem of doubling the cube, an important music theorist, and the leader of a powerful Greek city-state. He is famous for sending a trireme to rescue Plato from the clutches of the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius II, in 361 BC. This 2005 study was the first extensive enquiry into Archytas' work in any language. It contains original texts, English translations and a commentary for all the fragments of his writings and for all testimonia concerning his life and work. In addition there are introductory essays on Archytas' life and writings, his philosophy, and the question of authenticity. Carl A. Huffman presents an interpretation of Archytas' significance both for the Pythagorean tradition and also for fourth-century Greek thought, including the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.
Review of the hardback: 'Huffman's book offers expert discussion of a variety of difficult topics ... a much needed and authoritative commentary ... Lucid argued, helpfully organised, and impressive in its scholarship, this book sets a high standard indeed ... a rich volume of over 600 pages ... there is much of real value here ... a detailed and scholarly treatment of dauntingly difficulty material. Scholars owe Huffman a debt for undertaking this task, and executing it with such authority. It is a work to emulate'. Sylvia Berryman, The University of British Columbia
Review of the hardback: 'We have here another blockbuster offering from Carl Huffman who has already put us in his debt by a definite study of Philolaus. This work will serve in turn to establish Archytas as a philosopher in his own right, and not simply a footnote to Pythagoras, as has all too often been the case hitherto.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review
"Huffman gives readers the clearest picture yet of this important thinker about whom Aristotle wrote more books that about anyone else. Highly recommended."
"We have here another blockbuster offering from Carl Huffman (hereafter H.), who has already put us in his debt by a definitive (and similarly vast) study of (Philolaus of Croton, Pythagorean and Presocratic, Cambridge, 1993). This work will serve in turn to establish Archytas as a philosopher in his own right, and not simply a footnote to Pythagoras, as has all too often been the case hitherto. Archytas had views on other aspects of philosophy and science as well, such as optics and the theory of motion, as well as some suggestions of a theory of first principles, and all these H. expounds with great fullness. One can only salute his immense industry, while wondering how many punters are actually going to get through the 620 pages of text. Those who do, however, will be rewarded, learning much, not only about Archytas himself, but about many other areas of antiquity as well."
John Dillon, Trinity College, Dublin, Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews
"Archytas of Tarentum is a major achievement. It will stand as the starting point for any serious engagement with the Pythagorean's philosophy, and more generally will enrich the study of ancient music and mathematics, of the Pythagorean movement, of those like Plato who have been presumed to be sympathetic to it, and of those like Aristotle who have been held to react against it." - William Wians, Merrimack College Classical Bulletin
"Aristotle's extant writings mention Archytas only three times, but among his lost writings there were three books about the Archytan philosophy -more than he wrote about any other single figure. Huffman is the first modern scholar to follow Aristotle's lead, devoting an entire work to this philosophy."
Patrick Lee Miller, Journal of the History of Philosophy