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424

PLOTINUS.

until in his thirty-ninth year the desire he expe­rienced to learn the philosophy of the Persians and Indians, induced him to join the expedition of the emperor Gordian (a. d. 242). After the death of Gordian he retreated with great difficulty to An-tioch, and from thence went, in his fortieth year, to Rome. There he held communication with some few individuals, but kept the doctrines of Ammonius secret, as he had concerted to do with two others of the same school, namely, Herennius and Origen. Even after Herennius and Origen had successively, in opposition to the agreement, begun to make known these doctrines in their books, Plotinus continued only to make use of them-in oral communications (e/c ttjs 'A/uy-owiov <rvvov-ffias iroLoti/jiGvos rus Siarpi§d?^ in order to excite his friends to investigation, which communications, however, according to the testimony of Amelius, were characterised by great want of order and superfluity of words (j\v §e ij Siarpig?).... dramas •jr\ripr)$ Ko.1 TroAArjs ^Auaptas, Porphyr. c. 3), until, in the first year of the reign of Gallienus (254), he was induced by his friends to express himself in writing upon the subjects treated of in his oral communications (ypdtyeiv rds ejuttitttoveras utto-6eff€LS9 Porph. c. 4). In this manner when, ten years later, Porphyry came to Rome and joined himself to Plotinus, twenty-one books of very various contents had been already composed by him, which were only dispersed, however, with discretion and put into the hands of the initiated. (76. c. 4.) During the six years that Porphyry lived with Plotinus at Rome, the latter, at the in­stigation of Amelius and Porphyry, wrote twenty-three books on the subjects which had been earnestly discussed in their meetings, to which nine books were afterwards added. (Porphyry had re­turned to Sicily in the year 268.) Of the fifty-four books of Plotinus, Porphyry remarks, that the first twenty-one were of a lighter character, that only the twenty-three following were the pro­duction of the matured powers of the author, and that the other nine, especially the four last, were evidently written with diminished vigour. Al­though Porphyry's judgment, however, might only have approved of the edition which he had himself arranged, yet he has carefully given tJie titles to all three of the portions, as, with little variation, they again appear in the Enneads. (cc. 5, 6.)

The correction of his writings Plotinus himself committed to the care of Porphyry, for on account of the weakness of his sight he never read them through a second time, to say nothing of making corrections ; intent simply upon the matter, he was alike careless of orthography, of the division of the syllables, and the clearness of his handwriting. He was accustomed, however, to think out his con­ceptions so completely, that what he had sketched out in his mind seemed copied as though from a book. He could always, with the utmost confi­dence, take up the thread of the investigation where he had broken off, without being obliged to read the preceding paragraph anew, even though foreign investigations might have filled up the in­tervening time. He lived at the same time with himself and with others, and the inward activity of his spirit only ceased during the hours of sleep, which, moreover, this very activity, as well as the scantiness of food to which he had accustomed himself, greatly abridged (cc. 7, 8) ; even bread itself he but seldom enjoyed (c, 8), and when suf-

PLOTINUS.

fering from pains of the stomach denied himself the bath as well as treacle (a kind that was made of viper's flesh and poppies), the latter because he generally abstained from flesh altogether, (c. 2, ib. Kreuzer.) His written style was close (crwropos), pregnant (tto\vvovs\ and richer in thoughts than in words, yet enthusiastic, and always pointing entirely to the main object (eKirad&s (ppd^wv^ c. 14). Probably he was more eloquent in his oral communications, and was said to be very clever in finding the appropriate word, even if he failed in accuracy on the whole. Beside this, the beauty of his person was increased when discoursing ; his countenance was lighted up with genius, and co­vered with small drops of perspiration. Although he received questions in a gentle and friendly manner, yet he knew well how to answer them forcibly or to exhaust them. For three whole days, on one occasion, he discussed with Porphyry the relation of the soul to the body. (c. 1.3.) He ever expressed himself with the great warmth of acknowledgment respecting any successful at­tempts of his younger friends ; as, for example, respecting a poem by Porphyry. Immoral prin­ciples he met bv exciting opposition against them. (c. 15.)

At a time when, notwithstanding the reigning demoralisation, a deep religious need was awakened, noble minds, which had not yet obtained satisfac­tion from the open teaching of Christianity, must have attached themselves with great confidence and affection to a personality so fraught with deep reflection as was that of Plotinus. It was not only men of science like the philosophers Amelius, Porphyry, the physicians Paulinus, Eustochius, and Zethus the Arab, who regarded him with deep respect, but even senators and other statesmen did so as well. One of them, named Rogatianus, respected him to such a degree, that he stripped himself of his dignity (he had attained the praetorian rank) and renounced all kind of luxury ; this he did, however, to his own bodily comfort, for having been previously lame both in his hands and feet, he perfectly recovered by this simple habit of living the use of all his limbs, (c. 7.) Even women attached themselves to him, and his house was filled with youths and maidens, whom their dying parents had entrusted to his direction. He did not either appear at all deficient in the practical skill that was requisite to manage their affairs. His sharp penetrating judgment and good sense in such matters are highly extolled (c. 11), and the care with which he looked through all the accounts respecting their fortune is much praised (c. 9).

He enjoyed the favour of the emperor Gallienus and the empress Salonina to such a degree, that he obtained almost the rebuilding of two destroyed towns in Campania, with the view of their being governed according to the laws of Plato (c. 12), Even envy itself was constrained to acknowledge his worth. It is said that the attempt of a certain Alexandrian, named Olympius (who for a short time had been a pupil of Ammonius), to injure Plotinus by magical arts (dcrrpogoArjorai avrov payeveras) recoiled upon himself, and revenged itself on him by causing the contraction of all his limbs. It is further related, that an Egyptian priest, in the temple of Isis, essayed in the pre­sence of Plotinus to make his attending 8ai/j.wv appear, but that instead of this a god presented

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