Aristoteles Latinus I 1-5, Categoriae uel praedicamenta. Translatio Boethii - editio composita, Translatio Guillelmi de Meorbeka, Lemmata e Simplici commentario decerpta, Pseudo-Augustini Paraphrasis Themistiana, edidit L. Minio Paluello, Bruges-Paris 1961, 5-41 (Corpus Philosophorum Medii Aeui).
We know that Boethius was not the first person to translate Aristotle’s Categories into Latin. Cassiodorus tells us that Marius Victorinus completed a Latin rendering of this work (in addition to versions of the Isagoge and the Peri hermeneias); unfortunately, no other traces of this translation have survived. We also possess a Latin paraphrase of the Categories that was composed near the end of the 4th c. AD; although this is attributed to St. Augustine, most scholars doubt that he was really its author. Indeed, it seems more likely that this work is actually a Latin paraphrase of Themistius’ commentary on the Categories that was composed by Vettius Agorius Praetextatus, a Roman rhetorician who also translated paraphrases of the same Greek commentator on the Prior and Posterior Analytics (Hadot 1971). Another possibility is that the author of the pseudo-Augustine work should be identified with a certain Albinus whom Boethius mentions as an author of logical works (Minio Paluello AL: 1.1-5). In any case, the paraphrase of Themistius does not constitute a real translation, but rather a free adaptation that explains the Categories from the perspective of practical oratory (Brams 2003).
The Latin version created by Boethius, on the other hand, is a translation in every sense of the term: it is presented both as a textus continuus and as a series of lemmata inserted into his commentary on the Categories. The translation contained in the commentary includes about two thirds of Aristotle’s original text; there is no doubt that Boethius was the author of this version, which is transmitted in the form of a complete textus continuus by three or four manuscripts of the 11th c.
A majority of manuscripts that include the continual text also contain a “composite” version that consists of Boethius’ collated lemmata and another translation of the work from the original Greek; the author of the latter work is hard to identify. Sections of it that do not derive from the lemmata appear rougher than the rest. It is possible that these were integrated by a medieval editor who wanted to reconstruct the complete translation of the continual text, and so integrated Boethius’ Commentarius and lemmata with the original Greek of the Categories. It is also possible, however, that the rougher sections of the “composite” version derive from an original translation that Boethius corrected and improved upon at a later time after consulting another Greek manuscript: indeed, some of the terminological changes in the two versions find parallel in those present in the two translations of the Topics and the Peri hermeneias. In short it remains entirely unclear why these two texts have been collated (Brams 2003). [M. Ferroni; tr. C. L. Caterine].