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POKPHYRIUS.

quitted Alexandria, and did not return to it. It was most likely at Caesareia that Porphyrius at­tended on the instructions of Origen. Eunapius has been charged with a gross blunder in making Origen the fellow-student of Porphyrius ; but it does not seem necessary to suppose that he meant the celebrated Christian writer of that name.

Porphyrius next removed to Athens, where he studied under Apollonius (Porph. Quaest. Horn. 25) and the celebrated Longinus, by whose exten­sive learning, and rhetorical and grammatical skill, he profited so much as to attract the commendation of Longinus (Vit. Plot. c. 21, p. 133). At the age of twenty he went to Rome for the first time, to hear Plotinus ; but as the latter had at that time intermitted his instructions, Porphyrius returned to the East, whether to the school of Longinus or not we do not know. Of the events of the next ten years we know nothing. At the age of thirty he came to Rome with Antonius of Rhodes, and applied himself to learn the philosophy of Plotinus, from Piotinus himself, and from his older disciple, Amelius, to whom Plotinus assigned the task of elucidating the difficulties in the doctrine of their common master which might be felt by the younger disciple ( Vit. Plot. c. 4). Porphyrius, having some doubts respecting a dogma of Plotinus, wrote a treat­ise, endeavouring to establish, in opposition to his master, on e|« rov vov v(peffrr)K€ to. vof}ra, hoping to induce Plotinus to reply. Plotinus, having read the treatise, handed it over to Amelius to answer, which he did, in a tolerably large book. To this Porphyrius replied in his turn, and was answered by Amelius in a rejoinder which satisfied him, upon which he wrote a recantation, and read it publicly in the school. He employed all his in­fluence, however, to induce Plotinus to develope his doctrines in a more extended and articulate form. He also inspired Amelius with a greater zeal for writing. Porphyrius gained so thoroughly the ap­probation and confidence of Plotinus, that he was regarded by the latter as the ornament of his school, and was admitted by him to terms of close intimacy. He frequently had assigned to him the task of re­futing opponents, and was entrusted with the still more difficult and delicate duty of correcting and arranging the writings of Plotinus ( Vit. Plot. c. 13, p. 115 ; c. 15. p. 117 ; c. 7. p. 107 ; c. 24. p. 139). Though he had abandoned Longinus for Plotinus, he still kept up a friendly intercourse with the former ( Vit. Plot. c. 20, comp. the letter which he received from Longinus while in Sicily, ib. c. 18). His connection with Plotinus continued for about six years, at the end of which period he went to Sicily ; for a naturally hypochondriacal disposition, stimulated perhaps by his enthusiastic attachment to the doctrines of Plotinus, had induced in him a desire to get free from the shackles of the flesh, and he had in consequence begun to entertain the idea of suicide. But Plotinus, perceiving his state of mind, advised him to leave Rome and go to Sicily. Porphyrius took his advice, and went to visit a man of the name of Probus, who lived in the neighbourhood of Lilybaeum (Vit. Plot. c. 11, comp. Eunap. I.e. p. 14, whose account of the matter differs, and of course errs, in some parti­culars). Plotinus shortly after died in Campania. It was while in Sicily, according to Eusebius (Hist. Ecd. vi. 19) and Jerome (Catal. Script. illust.\ that he wrote his treatise against the Christian religion, in 15 books, on which account

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PORPHYRIUS.

Augustine (Retract, ii. 31) styles him Siculum ilium cujus celcbcrrima fama est. The notion that this work was written in Bithynia is quite with­out foundation, being merely derived from a pas­sage of Lactantius (v. 2), referring to somebody whose name is not mentioned, and who wrote against the Christians, and which was supposed by Baronius to refer to Porphyrius. But the ac­count does not suit him in any respect. It was very likely about this period that Porphyrius took occasion to visit Carthage. That he also went to Athens after the death of Piotinus, has been in­ferred (by Holstenius) from a passage quoted by Eusebius, where, as the text stands, Porphyrius is made to speak of celebrating the birth-day of Plotinus at Athens with Longinus. There can be little doubt, however, that the reading should be, as Brucker (7. c. p. 248) suggests, nAarwj/eia, and that the incident refers to the earlier part of the life of Porphyrius, otherwise the allusion will not accord with the history of either Porphyrius or Longinus.

Of the remainder of the life of Porphyrius we know very little. According to Eunapius he re­turned to Rome, where he taught, and gave fre­quent public exhibitions of his acquirements and talents as a speaker, and was held in high honour by the senate and people till he died. A curious illustration of his excitable and enthusiastic tem­perament is afforded by what he says of himself ( Vit. Plot. c. 23), that in the 68th year of his age he himself, like Plotinus, was favoured with an ecstatic vision of the Deity. When probably at a somewhat advanced period of life he married Mar-cella, the widow of one of his friends, and the mother of seven children (ad Marc. 1), with the view, as he avowed, of superintending their educa­tion. About ten months after his marriage he had occasion to leave her and go on a journey; and to console her during his absence he wrote to her an epistle, which is still extant. The date of his death cannot be fixed with any exactness; it was pro­bably about a. d. 305 or 306.

It appears from the testimony even of anta­gonists, and from what we have left of his writings, that Porphyrius was a man of great abilities and very extensive learning. Eusebius speaks of him as one twv jUaAi(TTa fiiatyavtav /cat irdffi >yi/wpijucoj', eos re ov jJUKpbv <f)i\0(ro<pia.s Trap* "EAA7jcrfj> T€Vi]vey^vov (Praep. Ev. iii. 9) ; and Augus­tine styles him Jiominem non mediocri ingenio praeditum (de Civ. Dei, x. 32, comp. xix. 22). The philosophical doctrines of Porphyrius were in all essential respects the same as those of his master Plotinus. To that svstem he was

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ardently attached, and showed himself one of its most energetic defenders. His writings were all designed directly or indirectly to illustrate, com­mend, or establish it. His rhetorical training, extensive learning, and comparative clearness of style, no doubt did good service in the cause of his school. Nevertheless, he is charged with incon­sistencies and contradictions ; his later views being frequently at variance with his earlier ones. (Eunap. Vit. Porph. fin. ; Euseb. Praep. Ev. iv. 10 ; Iambi, ap. Stobaeum, Eel. i. p. 866). The reason of this may probably be found in the vacil­lation of his views with respect to theurgy and philosophy, a vacillation which would doubtless attract the greater attention, as it was in oppo­sition to the general tendencies of his age and

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