Titles of Aristotle’s works and their abbreviations

Aristotle’s works are often referred to by Latin forms of their titles, and equally often by abbreviations derived from these Latin forms. Since he wrote in Greek, this may seem a silly practice for English-speaking audiences, but we do it anyway (at least Latin titles and abbreviations are the same for English, French, German, Italian, etc., writers). This table may be useful in figuring out references.

The order of works in this table descends from Andronicus’ edition (1st. C. BCE). Andronicus grouped the works by category and arranged them in an order of study: first logic, then natural science, then ethics and politics. Note that the Metaphysics, as its title suggests, follows next in order after the works on natural science, and just before the works on ethics and politics. This order is reflected in the standard page, column, and line numbers given in modern editions of Aristotle's works: actually, those numbers correspond to the pagination of Immanuel Bekker’s edition of 1831. All of this is merely a matter of convenience: the order certainly has nothing to do with chronology (a very difficult subject when it comes to the Aristotelian treatises), nor can it be taken for granted that it reflects Aristotle's own views. Several works generally regarded as spurious are omitted from the table below.

Latin Title English titles Common abbreviations
Categoriae Categories Cat., Catg.
De Interpretatione On Interpretation De Int., Int., DI
Analytica Priora Prior Analytics An. Pr., APr., Pr. An.
Analytica Posteriora Posterior Analytics An. Post., APo., APst., Post. An.
Topica Topics Top.
De Sophisticis Elenchis On Sophistical Refutations SE, Soph. El.
Organon Organon (collective title for the preceding six works)
Physica Physics Phys.
De Generatione et Corruptione On Coming-to-Be and Passing Away; On Generation and Corruption GC, De Gen. et Corr.
De Caelo On the Heavens De Cael., DC, Cael.
Meteorologica Meteorology Meteor., Metr.
De Anima On the Soul An., De An., DA
De Sensu et Sensibilibus On Sense and Sensibles, On Sense and Sensibilia Sens., SS
De Memoria et Reminiscentia On Memory and Recollection Mem., Mem. et Rem.
De Somno et Vigilia On Sleep and Waking Somn., Somn. et Vig.
De Insomniis On Dreams Insomn.
De Divinatione per Somnum On Divination by Dreams Div., Div. Somn.
De Longitudine et Brevitate Vitae On Longness and Shortness of Life Long., Long. Vit.
De Juventute et Senectute [De Vita et Morte] On Youth and Old Age [On Life and Death] Juv.
De Respiratione On Respiration Resp.
Parva Naturalia Little Physical Treatises (collective title for the preceding eight works) PN
De Spiritu On Breath Spir., Spirit.
Historia Animalium History of Animals; Natural History of Animals Hist. An., HA
De Partibus Animalium On the Parts of Animals PA, Part. An.
De Motu Animalium On the Motion of Animals MA
De Generatione Animalium On the Generation of Animals GA
De Incessu Animalium On the Beginnings of Animals, Progression of Animals IA
Metaphysica Metaphysics Met., Metaph. (Greek letters for individual books are often used alone)
Ethica Nicomachea Nicomachean* Ethics Eth. Nic., EN
Ethica Eudemia Eudemian Ethics Eth. Eud., EE
Magna Moralia Magna Moralia MM
Politica Politics Pol.
Rhetorica, Ars Rhetorica Rhetoric; Art of Rhetoric Rhet.
Poetica Poetics Poet.

*The most extreme penalties attach to anyone who spells this ‘Nichomachean’

Table courtesy of Prof. Robin Smith, Texas A & M University

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