On the Life of Plotinus
and the Arrangement
of his Work


 Shepherd, 3rd c. Rome


1. PLOTINUS, the philosopher our contemporary, seemed ashamed of being in the body.

1. Πλωτῖνος ὁ καθ΄ ἡμᾶς γεγονὼς φιλόσοφος ἐῴκει μὲν αἰσχυνομένῳ ὅτι ἐν σώματι εἴη.

So deeply rooted was this feeling that he could never be induced to tell of his ancestry, his parentage, or his birthplace.

Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς τοιαύτης διαθέσεως οὔτε περὶ τοῦ γένους αὐτοῦ διηγεῖσθαι ἠνείχετο οὔτε περὶ τῶν γονέων οὔτε περὶ τῆς πατρίδος.

He showed, too, an unconquerable reluctance to sit to a painter of a sculptor, and when Amelius persisted in urging him to allow of a portrait being made he asked him, ‘Is it not enough to carry about this image in which nature has enclosed us? Do you really think I must also consent to leave, as a desired spectacle to posterity, an image of the image?’

Ζωγράφου δὲ ἀνασχέσθαι ἢ πλάστου τοσοῦτον ἀπηξίου ὥστε καὶ λέγειν πρὸς Ἀμέλιον δεόμενον εἰκόνα αὐτοῦ γενέσθαι ἐπιτρέψαι· οὐ γὰρ ἀρκεῖ φέρειν ὃ ἡ φύσις εἴδωλον ἡμῖν περιτέθεικεν͵ ἀλλὰ καὶ εἰδώλου εἴδωλον συγχωρεῖν αὐτὸν ἀξιοῦν πολυ χρονιώτερον καταλιπεῖν ὡς δή τι τῶν ἀξιοθεάτων ἔργων;

In view of this determined refusal Amelius brought his friend Carterius, the best artist of the day, to the Conferences, which were open to every comer, and saw to it that by long observation of the philosopher he caught his most striking personal traits. From the impressions thus stored in mind the artist drew a first sketch; Amelius made various suggestions towards bringing our the resemblance, and in this way, without the knowledge of Plotinus, the genius of Carterius gave us a lifelike portrait.

Ὅθεν ἀπαγορεύοντος καὶ καθεδεῖσθαι ἕνεκα τούτου ἀρ νουμένου ἔχων φίλον ὁ Ἀμέλιος Καρτέριον τὸν ἄριστον τῶν τότε γεγονότων ζωγράφων εἰσιέναι καὶ ἀπαντᾶν εἰς τὰς συνουσίας ποιήσαςἐξῆν γὰρ τῷ βουλομένῳ φοιτᾶν εἰς τὰς συνουσίαςτὰς ἐκ τοῦ ὁρᾶν φαντασίας πληκτικωτέρας λαμβάνειν διὰ τῆς ἐπὶ πλέον προσοχῆς συνείθισεν. Ἔπειτα γράφοντος ἐκ τοῦ τῇ μνήμῃ ἐναποκειμένου ἰνδάλματος τὸ εἴκασμα καὶ συνδιορθοῦντος εἰς ὁμοιότητα τὸ ἴχνος τοῦ Ἀμελίου εἰκόνα αὐτοῦ γενέσθαι ἡ εὐφυία τοῦ Καρτερίου παρέσχεν ἀγνοοῦντος τοῦ Πλωτίνου ὁμοιοτάτην.

2. PLOTINUS was often distressed by an intestinal complaint, but declined clysters, pronouncing the use of such remedies unbecoming in an elderly man: in the same way he refused such medicaments as contain any substance taken from wild beasts or reptiles: all the more, he remarked, since he could not approve of eating the flesh of animals reared for the table.

2 Κωλικῇ δὲ νόσῳ πολλάκις καταπονούμενος οὔτε κλυστῆρος ἠνέσχετο͵ οὐκ εἶναι πρὸς τοῦ πρεσβύτου λέγων ὑπομένειν τὰς τοιαύτας θεραπείας͵ οὔτε τὰς θηριακὰς ἀντιδότους λαβεῖν ὑπέμεινε͵ μηδὲ τῶν ἡμέρων ζῴων τὰς ἐκ τοῦ σώματος τροφὰς προσίεσθαι λέγων.

He abstained from the use of the bath, contenting himself with a daily massage at home: when the terrible epidemic carried off his masseurs he renounced all such treatment: in a short while he contracted malign diphtheria.

Λουτροῦ δὲ ἀπεχόμενος καὶ τρίψεσι καθ΄ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν χρώμενος ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκίας͵ ἐπειδὴ τοῦ λοιμοῦ ἐπιβρίσαντος συνέβη τοὺς τρίβοντας αὐτὸν ἀποθανεῖν͵ ἀμελήσας τῆς τοιαύτης θεραπείας κατ΄ ὀλίγον τὴν τοῦ κυνάγχου ἀγριότητα κατα σκευαζομένην ἔσχε.

During the time I was about him there was no sign of any such malady, but after I sailed for Sicily the condition grew acute: his intimate, Eustochius, who was with him till his death, told me, on my return to Rome, that he became hoarse, so that his voice quite lost its clear and sonorous note, his sight grew dim and ulcers formed on his hands and feet.

Κἀμοῦ μὲν παρόντος οὐδέν πω τοιοῦτον ὑπεφαίνετο· ἀποπλεύσαντος δὲ εἰς τοσοῦτον ἠγριώθη τὸ πάθος͵ ὡς ἔλεγεν ἐπανελθόντι Εὐστόχιος ὁ ἑταῖρος ὁ καὶ παραμείνας αὐτῷ ἄχρι θανάτου͵ ὡς καὶ τῆς φωνῆς περιαιρε θῆναι τὸ τορὸν καὶ εὔηχον βραγχῶντος αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν ὄψιν συγχυθῆναι καὶ τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τοὺς πόδας ἑλκωθῆναι·

As he still insisted on addressing everyone by word of mouth, his condition prompted his friends to withdraw from his society: he therefore left Rome for Campania, retiring to a property which had belonged to Zethos, an old friend of his at this time dead. His wants were provided in part out of Zethos’ estate, and for the rest were furnished form Minturnae, where Castricius’ property lay.

ὅθεν ἐκτρεπομένων αὐτοῦ τὰς συναντήσεις τῶν φίλων διὰ τὸ ἀπὸ στόματος πάντας προσαγορεύειν ἔθος ἔχειν͵ τῆς μὲν πόλεως ἀπαλλάττεται͵ εἰς δὲ τὴν Καμπανίαν ἐλθὼν εἰς Ζήθου χωρίον ἑταίρου παλαιοῦ αὐτῷ γεγονότος καὶ τεθνηκότος κατάγεται. Τὰ δ΄ ἀναγκαῖα αὐτῷ ἔκ τε τῶν τοῦ Ζήθου ἐτελεῖτο καὶ ἐκ Μητουρνῶν ἐκομίζετο ἐκ τῶν Καστρικίου· ἐν Μητούρναις γὰρ ὁ Καστρίκιος τὰς κτήσεις εἶχε.

Of Plotinus’ last moments Eustochius has given me an account. He himself was staying at Puteoli and was late in arriving: when he at last came, Plotinus said: ‘I have been a long time waiting for you; I am striving to give back the Divine in myself to the Divine in the All.’ As he spoke a snake crept under the bed on which he lay and slipped away into a hole in the wall: at the same moment Plotinus died.

Μέλλων δὲ τελευτᾶν͵ ὡς ὁ Εὐστόχιος ἡμῖν διηγεῖτο͵ ἐπειδὴ ἐν Ποτιόλοις κατοικῶν ὁ Εὐστόχιος βραδέως πρὸς αὐτὸν ἀφίκετο͵ εἰπὼν ὅτι σὲ ἔτι περιμένω καὶ φήσας πειρᾶσθαι τὸν ἐν ὑμῖν θεὸν ἀνάγειν πρὸς τὸ ἐν τῷ παντὶ θεῖον͵ δράκοντος ὑπὸ τὴν κλίνην διελθόντος ἐν ᾗ κατέκειτο καὶ εἰς ὀπὴν ἐν τῷ τοίχῳ ὑπάρχουσαν ὑποδεδυκότος ἀφῆκε τὸ πνεῦμα ἔτη γεγονώς͵

This was at the end of the second year of the reign of Claudius (A.D. 270), and, as Eustochius tells me, Plotinus was then sixty-six, I myself was at Lilybaeum at the time, Amelius at Apamea in Syria, Castricius at Rome; only Eustochius was by his side.

ὡς ὁ Εὐστόχιος ἔλεγεν͵ ἕξ τε καὶ ἑξήκοντα͵ τοῦ δευτέρου ἔτους τῆς Κλαυδίου βασιλείας πληρουμένου. Τελευτῶντι δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγὼ μὲν ὁ Πορφύριος ἐτύγχανον ἐν Λιλυβαίῳ διατρίβων͵ Ἀμέλιος δὲ ἐν Ἀπαμείᾳ τῆς Συρίας͵ Καστρίκιος δὲ ἐν τῇ Ρώμῃ· μόνος δὲ παρῆν ὁ Εὐστόχιος.

Counting sixty-six years back from the second year of Claudius, we can fix Plotinus’ birth at the thirteenth year of Severus (A.D. 204-5); but he never disclosed the month or day. This was because he did not desire any birthday sacrifice or feast; yet he himself sacrificed on the traditional birthdays of Plato and of Socrates, afterwards giving a banquet at which every member of the circle who was able was expected to deliver an address.

Ἀναψηφίζουσι δὲ ἡμῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ δευτέρου ἔτους τῆς Κλαυδίου βασιλείας εἰς τοὐπίσω ἔτη ἕξ τε καὶ ἑξήκοντα ὁ χρόνος αὐτῷ τῆς γενέσεως εἰς τὸ τρισκαιδέκατον ἔτος τῆς Σεβήρου βασιλείας πίπτει. Οὔτε δὲ τὸν μῆνα δεδήλωκέ τινι καθ΄ ὃν γεγέννηται͵ οὔτε τὴν γενέθλιον ἡμέραν͵ ἐπεὶ οὐδὲ θύειν ἢ ἑστιᾶν τινα τοῖς αὐτοῦ γενεθλίοις ἠξίου͵ καίπερ ἐν τοῖς Πλάτωνος καὶ Σωκράτους παραδεδομένοις γενεθλίοις θύων τε καὶ ἑστιῶν τοὺς ἑταί ρους͵ ὅτε καὶ λόγον ἔδει τῶν ἑταίρων τοὺς δυνατοὺς ἐπὶ τῶν συνελθόντων ἀναγνῶναι.

3. DESPITE his general reluctance to talk of his own life, some few details he did often relate to us in the course of conversation.

3 Ἃ μέντοι ἡμῖν αὐτὸς ἀφ΄ ἑαυτοῦ ἐν ταῖς ὁμιλίαις πολλάκις διηγεῖτο͵ ἦν τοιαῦτα.

Thus he told how, at the age of eight, when he was already going to school, he still clung about his nurse and loved to bare her breasts and take suck: one day he was told he was a ‘perverted imp’, and so was shamed out of the trick.

 Προσφοιτᾶν μὲν γὰρ τῇ τροφῷ καίπερ εἰς γραμματοδιδασκάλου ἀπιόντα ἄχρις ὀγ δόου ἔτους ἀπὸ γενέσεως ὄντα καὶ τοὺς μαζοὺς γυμνοῦντα θηλάζειν προθυμεῖσθαι· ἀκούσαντα δέ ποτε ὅτι ἀτηρόν ἐστι παιδίον͵ ἀποσχέσθαι αἰδεσθέντα.

At twenty-seven he was caught by the passion for philosophy: he was directed to the most highly reputed professors to be found at Alexandria; but he used to come from their lectures saddened and discouraged. A friend to whom he opened his heart divined his temperamental craving and suggested Ammonius, whom he had not yet tried. Plotinus went, heard a lecture, and exclaimed to his comrade: ‘This was the man I was looking for.’

 Εἰκοστὸν δὲ καὶ ὄγδοον ἔτος αὐτὸν ἄγοντα ὁρμῆσαι ἐπὶ φιλοσοφίαν καὶ τοῖς τότε κατὰ τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρειαν εὐδοκιμοῦσι συσταθέντα κατιέναι ἐκ τῆς ἀκροάσεως αὐτῶν κατηφῆ καὶ λύπης πλήρη͵ ὡς καί τινι τῶν φίλων διηγεῖσθαι ἃ πάσχοι· τὸν δὲ συνέντα αὐτοῦ τῆς ψυχῆς τὸ βούλημα ἀπενέγκαι πρὸς Ἀμμώνιον͵ οὗ μηδέπω πεπείρατο. Τὸν δὲ εἰσελθόντα καὶ ἀκούσαντα φάναι πρὸς τὸν ἑταῖρον· τοῦτον ἐζήτουν.

From that day he followed Ammonius continuously, and under his guidance made such progress in philosophy that he became eager to investigate the Persian methods and the system adopted among the Indians. It happened that the Emperor Gordian was at that time preparing his campaign against Persia; Plotinus joined the army and went on the expedition. He was then thirty-eight, for he had passed eleven entire years under Ammonius. When Gordian was killed in Mesopotamia, it was only with great difficulty that Plotinus came off safe to Antioch.

 Καὶ ἀπ΄ ἐκεί νης τῆς ἡμέρας συνεχῶς τῷ Ἀμμωνίῳ παραμένοντα τοσαύ την ἕξιν ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ κτήσασθαι͵ ὡς καὶ τῆς παρὰ τοῖς Πέρσαις ἐπιτηδευομένης πεῖραν λαβεῖν σπεῦσαι καὶ τῆς παρ΄ Ἰνδοῖς κατορθουμένης.
 Γορδιανοῦ δὲ τοῦ βασιλέως ἐπὶ τοὺς Πέρσας παριέναι μέλλοντος δοὺς ἑαυτὸν τῷ στρατο πέδῳ συνεισῄει ἔτος ἤδη τριακοστὸν ἄγων καὶ ἔννατον.
 Ἕνδεκα γὰρ ὅλων ἐτῶν παραμένων τῷ Ἀμμωνίῳ συνεσχό λασε.
 Τοῦ δὲ Γορδιανοῦ περὶ τὴν Μεσοποταμίαν ἀναιρε θέντος μόλις φεύγων εἰς τὴν Ἀντιόχειαν διεσώθη.

At forty, in the reign of Philip, he settled in Rome.

 Καὶ Φιλίππου τὴν βασιλείαν κρατήσαντος τεσσαράκοντα γεγονὼς ἔτη εἰς τὴν Ρώμην ἄνεισιν.

Erennius, Origen, and Plotinus had made a compact not to disclose any of the doctrines which Ammonius had revealed to them. Plotinus kept faith, and in all his intercourse with his associates divulged nothing of Ammonius’ system. But the compact was broken, first by Erennius and then by Origen following suit: Origen, it is true, put in writing nothing but the treatise On the Spirit-Beings, and in Gallienus’ reign that entitled The King the Sole Creator. Plotinus himself remained a long time without writing, but he began to base his Conferences on what he had gathered from his studies under Ammonius. In this way, writing nothing but constantly conferring with a certain group of associates, he passed ten years.

Ἐρεννίῳ δὲ καὶ Ὠριγένει καὶ Πλωτίνῳ συνθηκῶν γεγονυιῶν μηδὲν ἐκκαλύπτειν τῶν Ἀμ μωνίου δογμάτων ἃ δὴ ἐν ταῖς ἀκροάσεσιν αὐτοῖς ἀνεκεκά θαρτο͵ ἔμενε καὶ ὁ Πλωτῖνος συνὼν μέν τισι τῶν προσιόν των͵ τηρῶν δὲ ἀνέκπυστα τὰ παρὰ τοῦ Ἀμμωνίου δόγματα.
 Ἐρεννίου δὲ πρώτου τὰς συνθήκας παραβάντος͵ Ὠριγένης μὲν ἠκολούθει τῷ φθάσαντι Ἐρεννίῳ.
 Ἔγραψε δὲ οὐδὲν πλὴν τὸ Περὶ τῶν δαιμόνων σύγγραμμα καὶ ἐπὶ Γαλιή νου Ὅτι μόνος ποιητὴς ὁ βασιλεύς.
 Πλωτῖνος δὲ ἄχρι μὲν πολλοῦ γράφων οὐδὲν διετέλεσεν͵ ἐκ δὲ τῆς Ἀμμωνίου συνουσίας ποιούμενος τὰς διατριβάς· καὶ οὕτως ὅλων ἐτῶν δέκα διετέλεσε͵ συνὼν μέν τισι͵ γράφων δὲ οὐδέν.

He used to encourage his hearers to put questions, a liberty which, as Amelius told me, led to a great deal of wandering and futile talk.

 ῏Ην δὲ ἡ διατριβή͵ ὡς ἂν αὐτοῦ ζητεῖν προτρεπομένου τοὺς συνόντας͵ ἀταξίας πλήρης καὶ πολλῆς φλυαρίας͵ ὡς Ἀμέλιος ἡμῖν διηγεῖτο.

Amelius had entered the circle in the third year of Philip’s reign, the third, too, of Plotinus’ residence in Rome, and remained about him until the first year of Claudius, twenty-four years in all. He had come to Plotinus after an efficient training under Lysimachus: in laborious diligence he surpassed all his contemporaries; for example, he transcribed and arranged nearly all the works of Numenius, and was not far from having most of them off by heart. He also took notes of the Conferences and wrote them out in something like a hundred treatises which he has since presented to Hostilianus Hesychius of Apamea, his adopted son.

 Προσῆλθε δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Ἀμέλιος τρίτον ἔτος ἄγοντι ἐν τῇ Ρώμῃ κατὰ τὸ τρίτον ἔτος τῆς Φιλίππου βασιλείας καὶ ἄχρι τοῦ πρώτου ἔτους τῆς Κλαυδίου βασιλείας παραμείνας ἔτη ὅλα συγγέγονεν εἴκοσι καὶ τέσσαρα͵ ἕξιν μὲν ἔχων ὅτε προσῆλθεν ἀπὸ τῆς Λυσιμάχου συνουσίας͵ φιλοπονίᾳ δὲ ὑπερβαλλόμενος τῶν καθ΄ αὑτὸν πάντων διὰ τὸ καὶ σχεδὸν πάντα τὰ Νουμηνίου καὶ γράψαι καὶ συναγαγεῖν καὶ σχεδὸν τὰ πλεῖστα ἐκμαθεῖν· σχόλια δὲ ἐκ τῶν συνουσιῶν ποιούμενος ἑκατόν που βιβλία συνέταξε τῶν σχολίων͵ ἃ Οὐστιλλιανῷ Ἡσυχίῳ τῷ Ἀπαμεῖ͵ ὃν υἱὸν ἔθετο͵ κεχάρισται.

4. I MYSELF arrived from Greece in the tenth year of Gallienus’ reign, accompanied by Antonius of Rhodes, and found Amelius an eighteen-years’ associate of Plotinus, but still lacking the courage to write anything except for the notebooks, which had not reached their century. Plotinus, in this tenth year of Gallienus, was about fifty-nine: when I first met him I was thirty.

4 Τῷ δεκάτῳ δὲ ἔτει τῆς Γαλιήνου βασιλείας ἐγὼ Πορφύριος ἐκ τῆς Ἑλλάδος μετὰ Ἀντωνίου τοῦ Ροδίου γεγονὼς καταλαμβάνω μὲν τὸν Ἀμέλιον ὀκτωκαιδέκατον ἔτος ἔχοντα τῆς πρὸς Πλωτῖνον συνουσίας͵ μηδὲν δέ πω γράφειν τολμήσαντα πλὴν τῶν σχολίων ἃ οὐδέπω εἰς ἑκατὸν τὸ πλῆθος αὐτῷ συνῆκτο. ῏Ην δὲ ὁ Πλωτῖνος τῷ δεκάτῳ ἔτει τῆς Γαλιήνου βασιλείας ἀμφὶ τὰ πεντήκοντα ἔτη καὶ ἐννέα. Ἐγὼ δὲ Πορφύριος τὸ πρῶτον αὐτῷ συγ γέγονα αὐτὸς ὢν τότε ἐτῶν τριάκοντα.

From the first year of Gallienus Plotinus had begun to write upon such subjects as had arisen at the Conferences: when I first came to know him in this tenth year of the reign he had composed twenty-one treatises.

 Ἀπὸ μέντοι τοῦ πρώτου ἔτους τῆς Γαλιήνου ἀρχῆς προτραπεὶς ὁ Πλωτῖνος γράφειν τὰς ἐμπιπτούσας ὑποθέσεις͵ τὸ δέκατον ἔτος τῆς Γαλιήνου ἀρχῆς͵ ὅτε τὸ πρῶτον αὐτῷ ἐγὼ ὁ Πορφύριος ἐγνωρίσθην͵ γράψας εὑρίσκεται εἴκοσι καὶ ἓν βιβλίον ἃ καὶ κατείληφα ἐκδεδομένα ὀλίγοις.

They were, as I was able to establish, by no means given about freely. In fact the distribution was still grudging and secret; those that obtained them had passed the strictest scrutiny.

 Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἦν πω ῥᾳδία ἡ ἔκδοσις οὐδὲ εὐσυνειδήτως ἐγίγνετο οὐδ΄ ἁπλῶς κἀκ τοῦ ῥᾴστου͵ ἀλλὰ μετὰ πάσης κρίσεως τῶν λαμβανόντων.


Plotinus had given no titles to these treatises; everybody headed them for himself: I cite them here under the titles which finally prevailed, quoting the first words of each to facilitate identification.

῏Ην δὲ καὶ τὰ γεγραμμένα ταῦτα ἃ διὰ τὸ μὴ αὐτὸν ἐπιγράφειν ἄλλος ἄλλο ἑκάστῳ τοὐπίγραμμα ἐτίθει. Αἱ δ΄ οὖν κρατή σασαι ἐπιγραφαί εἰσιν αἵδε· θήσω δὲ καὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς τῶν βιβλίων͵ εἰς τὸ εὐεπίγνωστον εἶναι ἀπὸ τῶν ἀρχῶν ἕκαστον τῶν δηλουμένων βιβλίων·

1. On Beauty (I.6)

 α Περὶ τοῦ καλοῦ· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸ καλὸν ἔστι μὲν ἐν ὄψει πλεῖστον.

2. On the Immortality of the Soul (IV.7)

 β Περὶ ψυχῆς ἀθανασίας· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· εἰ δέ ἐστιν ἀθάνατος ἕκαστος.

3. On Fate (III.1)

 γ Περὶ εἱμαρμένης· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· πάντα τὰ γινόμενα.

4. On the Essence of the Soul (IV.2)

 δ Περὶ οὐσίας τῆς ψυχῆς· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὴν τῆς ψυχῆς οὐσίαν.

5. On the Intellectual-Principle, on the Ideas, and on the Authentic-Existent (V.9)

 ε Περὶ νοῦ καὶ τῶν ἰδεῶν καὶ τοῦ ὄντος· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· πάντες ἄνθρωποι ἐξ ἀρχῆς γενόμενοι.

6. On the Descent of the Soul into Bodies (IV.8)

  Περὶ τῆς εἰς τὰ σώματα καθόδου τῆς ψυχῆς· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· πολλάκις ἐγειρόμενος.

7. How the Post-Primal derives from the Primal; and on The One(V.4)

 ζ Πῶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πρώτου τὸ μετὰ τὸ πρῶτον καὶ περὶ τοῦ ἑνός· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· εἴ τι ἐστὶ μετὰ τὸ πρῶτον.

8. Whether all the Souls are One (IV.9)

 η Εἰ αἱ πᾶσαι ψυχαὶ μία· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρα ὥσπερ ψυχήν.

9. On the Good or the One (VI.9)

 θ Περὶ τἀγαθοῦ ἢ τοῦ ἑνός· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἅπαντα τὰ ὄντα.

10. On the Three Primal Hypostases (V.1)

 ι Περὶ τῶν τριῶν ἀρχικῶν ὑποστάσεων· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τί ποτε ἄρα ἐστὶ τὸ πεποιηκὸς τὰς ψυχάς.

11. On the Origin and Order of the Post-Primals (V.2)

 ια Περὶ γενέσεως καὶ τάξεως τῶν μετὰ τὸ πρῶτον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸ ἓν πάντα.

12. On the Two Orders of Matter (II.4)

 ιβ Περὶ τῶν δύο ὑλῶν· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὴν λεγομένην ὕλην.

13. Various Questions (III.4)

 ιγ Ἐπισκέψεις διάφοροι· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· νοῦς φησιν ὁρᾷ ἐνούσας ἰδέας.

14. On the Circular Movement (II.2)

 ιδ Περὶ τῆς κυκλοφορίας· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· διὰ τί κύκλῳ κινεῖται.

15. On our Tutelary Spirit (III.4)

 ιε Περὶ τοῦ εἰληχότος ἡμᾶς δαίμονος· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τῶν μὲν αἱ ὑποστάσεις.

16. On the Reasoned Dismissal (I.9)

 ι Περὶ εὐλόγου ἐξαγωγῆς· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· οὐκ ἐξάξεις͵ ἵνα μὴ ἐξίῃ.

17. On Quality (II.6)

 ιζ Περὶ ποιότητος· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρα τὸ ὂν καὶ ἡ οὐσία.

18. Whether there are Ideas even of Particulars (V.7)

 ιη Εἰ καὶ τῶν καθέκαστά εἰσιν ἰδέαι· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· εἰ καὶ τοῦ καθέκαστον.

19. On the Virtues (I.2)

 ιθ Περὶ ἀρετῶν· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἐπειδὴ τὰ κακὰ ἐνταῦθα.

20. On Dialectic (I.3)

 κ Περὶ διαλεκτικῆς· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τίς τέχνη ἢ μέθοδος.

21. Why the Soul is described as Intermediate between the Existent having parts and the undisparted Existent (IV.1)

 κα Πῶς ἡ ψυχὴ τῆς ἀμερίστου καὶ μεριστῆς οὐσίας μέση εἶναι λέγεται· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τῷ νοητῷ.

These are the twenty-one treatises which, as I have said, Plotinus had already written, by his fifty-ninth year, when I first came to him.

 Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν εἴκοσι καὶ ἓν ὄντα͵ ὅτε αὐτῷ τὸ πρῶτον προσῆλθον ὁ Πορφύριος͵ εὕρηται γεγραμμένα· πεντηκοσ τὸν δὲ καὶ ἔννατον ἔτος ἦγε τότε ὁ Πλωτῖνος.

5. I HAD been, it is true, in Rome a little before this tenth year of Gallienus, but at that time Plotinus was taking a summer holiday, engaging merely in conversation with his friends. After coming to know him I passed six years in close relation with him. Many question were threshed out in the Conferences of those six years and, under persuasion from Amelius and myself, he composed two treatises to establish:

5 Συγγεγονὼς δὲ αὐτῷ τοῦτό τε τὸ ἔτος καὶ ἐφεξῆς ἄλλα ἔτη πέντεὀλίγον γὰρ ἔτι πρότερον τῆς δεκαετίας ἐγεγόνειν ὁ Πορφύριος ἐν τῇ Ρώμῃ͵ τοῦ Πλωτίνου τὰς θερινὰς μὲν ἄγοντος ἀργούς͵ συνόντος δὲ ἄλλως ἐν ταῖς ὁμιλίαιςἐν δὴ τοῖς ἓξ ἔτεσι τούτοις πολλῶν ἐξετάσεων ἐν ταῖς συνουσίαις γιγνομένων καὶ γράφειν αὐτὸν ἀξιούν των Ἀμελίου τε καὶ ἐμοῦ͵ γράφει μὲν Περὶ τοῦ τί τὸ ὂν πανταχοῦ ὅλον εἶναι ἓν καὶ ταὐ τὸν βιβλία δύο·

22, 23. That the Authentic-Existent is universally an integral, self-indentical Unity (VI.4,5)

α τούτων δὲ τὸ πρῶτον ἀρχὴν ἔχει· ἆρα γε ἡ ψυχὴ πανταχοῦ·
β τοῦ δὲ δευτέρου ἡ ἀρχή· ἓν καὶ ταὐτὸν ἀριθμῷ.

In immediate succession to these he composed two more: one is entitled:

Γράφει δὲ ἐφεξῆς ἄλλα δύο͵ ὧν γ τὸ μὲν

24. That there is no Intellectual Act in the Principle which transcends the Authentic-Existent; and on the Nature that has the Intellectual Act Primally and that which has it Secondarily (V.6)

Περὶ τοῦ τὸ ἐπέκεινα τοῦ ὄντος μὴ νοεῖν καὶ τί τὸ πρώτως νοοῦν καὶ τί τὸ δευτέρως· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸ μέν ἐστι νοεῖν ἄλλο ἄλλο͵ τὸ δὲ αὐτὸ αὑτό·


The other:


25. On Potentiality and Actuality (II.5)

 δ τὸ δὲ Περὶ τοῦ δυνάμει καὶ ἐνεργείᾳ· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή·

After these come the following twenty:

λέγεται τὸ μὲν δυνάμει.

26. On the Impassibility of the Bodiless (III.6)

ε Περὶ τῆς τῶν ἀσωμάτων ἀπαθείας· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὰς αἰσθήσεις οὐ πάθη λέγοντες.


27. On the Soul, First (IV.3)

Περὶ ψυχῆς πρῶτον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· περὶ ψυχῆς ὅσα ἀπορήσαντας δεῖ.

28. On the Soul, Second (IV.4)

 ζ Περὶ ψυχῆς δεύτερον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τί οὖν ἐρεῖ.

29. On the Soul, Third; or, How We See (IV.5)

 η Περὶ ψυχῆς τρίτον ἢ περὶ τοῦ πῶς ὁρῶμεν· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἐπειδήπερ ὑπερεθέμεθα.

30. On Contemplation (III.8)

 θ Περὶ θεωρίας· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· παίζοντες τὴν πρώτην.

31. On Intellectual Beauty (V.8)

 ι Περὶ τοῦ νοητοῦ κάλλους· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἐπειδή φαμεν.

32. That the Intelligibles are not outside the Intellectual-Principle; and on the Good (V.5)

 ια Περὶ νοῦ καὶ ὅτι οὐκ ἔξω τοῦ νοῦ τὰ νοητὰ καὶ περὶ τἀγαθοῦ· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸν νοῦν τὸν ἀληθῆ νοῦν.

33. Against the Gnostics (II.9)

 ιβ Πρὸς τοὺς γνωστικούς· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἐπειδὴ τοίνυν ἐφάνη ἡμῖν.

34. On Numbers (VI.6)

 ιγ Περὶ ἀριθμῶν· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρ΄ ἐστὶ πλῆθος.

35. Why Distant Objects appear Small (II.8)

 ιδ Πῶς τὰ πόρρω ὁρώμενα μικρὰ φαίνεται; οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρά γε τὰ πόρρω ὁρώμενα.

36. Whether Happiness depends upon Extension of Time (I.5)

 ιε Εἰ ἐν παρατάσει χρόνου τὸ εὐδαιμονεῖν; οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸ εὐδαιμονεῖν.

37. On Coalescence (II.7)

 ι Περὶ τῆς δι΄ ὅλων κράσεως· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· περὶ τῆς δι΄ ὅλων λεγομένης.

38. How the Multitude of Ideas Exists; and on the Good (VI.7)

 ιζ Πῶς τὸ πλῆθος τῶν ἰδεῶν ὑπέστη καὶ περὶ τἀγαθοῦ· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· εἰς γένεσιν πέμπων ὁ θεός.

39. On Free-Will (VI.8)

 ιη Περὶ τοῦ ἑκουσίου· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρ΄ ἐστὶ περὶ θεῶν.

40. On the World (II.1)

 ιθ Περὶ τοῦ κόσμου· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸν κόσμον ἀεὶ λέγοντες.

41. On Sensation and Memory (IV.6)

 κ Περὶ αἰσθήσεως καὶ μνήμης· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὰς αἰσθήσεις οὐ τυπώσεις.

42. On the Kinds of Being, First (VI.6)

 κα Περὶ τῶν τοῦ ὄντος γενῶν πρῶτον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· περὶ τῶν ὄντων πόσα καὶ τίνα.

43. On the Kinds of Being, Second (VI.2)

 κβ Περὶ τῶν τοῦ ὄντος γενῶν δεύτερον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἐπειδὴ περὶ τῶν λεγομένων.

44. On the Kinds of Being, Third (VI.3)

 κγ Περὶ τῶν τοῦ ὄντος γενῶν τρίτον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· περὶ μὲν τῆς οὐσίας ὅπῃ δοκεῖ.

45. On Eternity and Time (III.7)

 κδ Περὶ αἰῶνος καὶ χρόνου· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸν αἰῶνα καὶ τὸν χρόνον.

Thus we have twenty-four treatises composed during the six years of my association with him and dealing, as the titles indicate, with such problems as happened to arise at the Conferences; add the twenty-one composed before my arrival, and we have accounted for forty-five treatises.

 Ταῦτα τὰ εἴκοσι καὶ τέτταρα ὄντα ὅσα ἐν τῷ ἑξαέτει χρόνῳ τῆς παρουσίας ἐμοῦ Πορφυρίου ἔγραψεν͵ ἐκ προσ καίρων προβλημάτων τὰς ὑποθέσεις λαβόντα͵ ὡς ἐκ τῶν κεφαλαίων ἑκάστου τῶν βιβλίων ἐδηλώσαμεν͵ μετὰ τῶν πρὸ τῆς ἐπιδημίας ἡμῶν εἴκοσι καὶ ἑνὸς τὰ πάντα γίνεται τεσσαρακονταπέντε.

6. THE following five more Plotinus wrote and sent to me while I was living in Sicily, where I had gone about the fifteenth year of Gallienus:

6 Ἐν δὲ τῇ Σικελίᾳ διατρίβοντός μουἐκεῖ γὰρ ἀνεχώρησα περὶ τὸ πεντεκαιδέκατον ἔτος τῆς βασιλείας Γαλιήνου͵ ὁ Πλωτῖνος γράψας πέντε βιβλία ἀποστέλλει μοι ταῦτα·

46. On Happiness (I.4)

α Περὶ εὐδαιμονίας· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸ εὖ ζῆν καὶ εὐδαιμονεῖν.

47. On Providence, First (III.2)

 β Περὶ προνοίας πρῶτον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸ μὲν τῷ αὐτομάτῳ.

48. On Providence, Second (III.3)

 γ Περὶ προνοίας δεύτερον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τί τοίνυν δοκεῖ περὶ τούτων.

49. On the Conscious Hypostases and the All-Transcending (V.3)

 δ Περὶ τῶν γνωριστικῶν ὑποστάσεων καὶ τοῦ ἐπέκεινα· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρα τὸ νοοῦν ἑαυτὸ ποικίλον δεῖ εἶναι.

50. On Love (III.5)

 ε Περὶ ἔρωτος· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· περὶ ἔρωτος πότερα θεός.

These five he sent me in the first year of Claudius: in the early months of the second year, shortly before his death, I received the following four:

Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν τῷ πρώτῳ ἔτει τῆς Κλαυδίου πέμπει βασιλείας· ἀρχομένου δὲ τοῦ δευτέρου͵ ὅτε καὶ μετ΄ ὀλίγον θνῄσκει͵ πέμπει ταῦτα·

51. On Evil (I.8)

 α Τίνα τὰ κακά· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· οἱ ζητοῦντες πόθεν τὰ κακά.

52. Whether the Stars have Causal Operation (II.3)

 β Εἰ ποιεῖ τὰ ἄστρα· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἡ τῶν ἄστρων φορά.

53. On the Animate (I.1)

 γ Τί τὸ ζῷον; οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἡδοναὶ καὶ λῦπαι.

54. On Happiness (I.7)

 δ Περὶ εὐδαιμονίας· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρ΄ ἄν τις ἕτερον εἴποι.

Adding these nine to the forty-five of the first and second sets we have a total of fifty-four treatises.

 Ταῦτα μετὰ τεσσαρακονταπέντε τῶν πρώτων καὶ δευτέ ρων γραφέντων γίνεται τέτταρα καὶ πεντήκοντα.

According to the time of writing--early manhood, vigorous prime, worn-out constitution--so the tractates vary in power. The first twenty-one pieces manifest a slighter capacity, the talent being not yet matured to the fulness of nervous strength.

 Ὥσπερ δὲ ἐγράφη͵ τὰ μὲν κατὰ πρώτην ἡλικίαν͵ τὰ δὲ ἀκμάζον τος͵ τὰ δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ σώματος καταπονουμένου͵ οὕτω καὶ τῆς δυνάμεως ἔχει τὰ βιβλία. Τὰ μὲν γὰρ πρῶτα εἴκοσι καὶ ἓν ἐλαφροτέρας ἐστὶ δυνάμεως καὶ οὐδέπω πρὸς εὐτονίαν ἀρκοῦν μέγεθος ἐχούσης͵

The twenty-four produced in the mid-period display the utmost reach of the powers, and except for the short treatises among them, attain the highest perfection. The last nine were written when the mental strength was already waning, and of these the last four show less vigour even than the five preceding.

 τὰ δὲ τῆς μέσης ἐκδόσεως τυχόντα τὸ ἀκμαῖον τῆς δυνάμεως ἐμφαίνει καί ἐστι τὰ κδ πλὴν τῶν βραχέων τελεώτατα͵ τὰ μέντοι τελευταῖα ἐννέα ὑφειμένης ἤδη τῆς δυνάμεως γέγραπται καὶ μᾶλλόν γε τὰ τελευταῖα τέσσαρα ἢ τὰ πρὸ τούτων πέντε.

7. PLOTINUS had a large following. Notable among the more zealous students, really devoted to philosophy, was Amelius of Tuscany, whose family name was Gentilianus. Amelius preferred to call himself Amerius, changing L for R, because, as he explained, it suited him better to be named from Amereia, Unification, then from Ameleia, Indifference.

7 Ἔσχε δὲ ἀκροατὰς μὲν πλείους͵ ζηλωτὰς δὲ καὶ διὰ φιλοσοφίαν συνόντας Ἀμέλιόν τε ἀπὸ τῆς Τουσκίας͵ οὗ τὸ ὄνομα ἦν Γεντιλιανὸς τὸ κύριον͵ αὐτὸς δὲ διὰ τοῦ ρ Ἀμέριον αὐτὸν καλεῖν ἠξίου ἀπὸ τῆς ἀμερείας ἢ τῆς ἀμελείας πρέπειν αὐτῷ καλεῖσθαι λέγων.

The group included also one Paulinus, a doctor of Scythopolis, whom Amelius used to call Mikkalos in allusion to his blundering habit of mind.

 Ἔσχε δὲ καὶ ἰατρικόν τινα Σκυθοπολίτην Παυλῖνον ὃν ὁ Ἀμέλιος Μίκκαλον προσηγόρευε͵ παρακουσμάτων πλήρη γεγονότα.

Among closer personal friends was Eustochius of Alexandria, also a doctor, who came to know Plotinus towards the end of his life, and attended him until his death: Eutochius consecrated himself exclusively to Plotinus’ system and became a veritable philosopher.

 Ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ Ἀλεξανδρέα Εὐστόχιον ἰατρικὸν ἔσχεν ἕτερον͵ ὃς περὶ τὰ τελευταῖα τῆς ἡλικίας γνωρισθεὶς αὐτῷ διέμενε θεραπεύων ἄχρι τοῦ θανάτου καὶ μόνοις τοῖς Πλωτίνου σχολάζων ἕξιν περιεβάλλετο γνησίου φιλο σόφου.

Then there was Zoticus, at once critic and poet, who has amended the text of Antimachus’ works and is the author of an exquisite poem upon the Atlantis story: is sight failed, and he died a little before Plotinus, as also did Paulinus.

 Συνῆν δὲ καὶ Ζωτικὸς κριτικός τε καὶ ποιητικός͵ ὃς καὶ τὰ Ἀντιμάχου διορθωτικὰ πεποίηται καὶ τὸν Ἀτλαντικὸν εἰς ποίησιν μετέβαλε πάνυ ποιητικῶς͵ συγ χυθεὶς δὲ τὰς ὄψεις πρὸ ὀλίγου τῆς Πλωτίνου τελευτῆς ἀπέθανεν. Ἔφθασε δὲ καὶ ὁ Παυλῖνος προαποθανὼν τοῦ Πλωτίνου

Another friend was Zethos, an Arabian by descent, who married a daughter of Ammonius’ friend Theodosius. Zethos, too, was a doctor. Plotinus was deeply attached to him and was always trying to divert him from the political career in which he stood high. Plotinus was on the most familiar terms with him, and used to stay with him at his country place, six miles from Minturnae, a property which had formerly belonged to Castricius Firmus.

 Ἔσχε δὲ καὶ Ζῆθον ἑταῖρον͵ Ἀράβιον τὸ γένος͵ Θεοδοσίου τοῦ Ἀμμωνίου γενομένου ἑταίρου εἰς γάμον λαβόντα θυγατέρα.  ῏Ην δὲ καὶ οὗτος ἰατρικὸς καὶ σφόδρα πεφίλωτο τῷ Πλωτίνῳ· πολιτικὸν δὲ ὄντα καὶ ῥοπὰς ἔχοντα πολιτικὰς ἀναστέλλειν ὁ Πλωτῖνος ἐπειρᾶτο. Ἐχρῆτο δὲ αὐτῷ οἰκείως͵ ὡς καὶ εἰς τοὺς ἀγροὺς πρὸς αὐτὸν ἀναχωρεῖν πρὸ ἓξ σημείων Μητουρνῶν ὑπάρχοντας͵ οὓς Καστρίκιος ἐκέκτητο ὁ Φίρμος κεκλημένος͵

Castricius was excelled by none of the group in appreciation of the finer side of life: he venerated Plotinus; he devoted himself in the most faithful comradeship to Amelius in every need, and was in all matters as loyal to myself as though I were his own brother.

 ἀνδρῶν τῶν καθ΄ ἡμᾶς φιλοκαλώτατος γεγονὼς καὶ τόν τε Πλωτῖνον σεβόμενος καὶ Ἀμελίῳ οἷα οἰκέτης ἀγαθὸς ἐν πᾶσιν ὑπηρετούμενος καὶ Πορφυρίῳ ἐμοὶ οἷα γνησίῳ ἀδελφῷ ἐν πᾶσι προσεσχηκώς.

This was another example of a politician venerating the philosopher. There were also among Plotinus’ hearers not a few members of the Senate, amongst whom Marcellus Orontius and Sabinillus showed the greatest assiduity in philosophical studies.

 Καὶ οὗτος οὖν ἐσέβετο Πλωτῖνον τὸν πολιτικὸν ᾑρημένος βίον. Ἠκροῶντο δὲ αὐτοῦ καὶ τῶν ἀπὸ τῆς συγκλήτου οὐκ ὀλίγοι ὧν ἔργον ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ μάλιστα ἐποίουν Μάρκελλος Ὀρρόντιος καὶ Σαβινῖλλος.

Another Senator, Rogatianus, advanced to such detachment from political ambitions that he gave up all his property, dismissed all his slaves, renounced every dignity, and, on the point of taking up his praetorship, the lictors already at the door, refused to come out or to have anything to do with the office. He even abandoned his own house, spending his time here and there at this friends’ and acquaintances’, sleeping and eating with them and taking, at that, only one meal every other day. He had been a victim of gout, carried in a chair, but this new regime of abstinence and abnegation restored his health: he had been unable to stretch out his hands; he came to use them as freely as men living by manual labour. Plotinus took a great liking to Rogatianus and frequently praised him very highly, holding him up as a model to those aiming at the philosophical life.

 ῏Ην δὲ καὶ Ρογατιανὸς ἐκ τῆς συγκλήτου͵ ὃς εἰς τοσοῦτον ἀπο στροφῆς τοῦ βίου τούτου προκεχωρήκει ὡς πάσης μὲν κτήσεως ἀποστῆναι͵ πάντα δὲ οἰκέτην ἀποπέμψασθαι͵ ἀποστῆναι δὲ καὶ τοῦ ἀξιώματος· καὶ πραίτωρ προιέναι μέλλων παρόντων τῶν ὑπηρετῶν μήτε προελθεῖν μήτε φροντίσαι τῆς λειτουργίας͵ ἀλλὰ μηδὲ οἰκίαν ἑαυτοῦ ἑλέσθαι κατοικεῖν͵ ἀλλὰ πρός τινας τῶν φίλων καὶ συνήθων φοιτῶντα ἐκεῖ τε δειπνεῖν κἀκεῖ καθεύδειν͵ σιτεῖσθαι δὲ παρὰ μίαν· ἀφ΄ ἧς δὴ ἀποστάσεως καὶ ἀφροντιστίας τοῦ βίου ποδαγρῶντα μὲν οὕτως͵ ὡς καὶ δίφρῳ βαστάζεσθαι͵ ἀναρρωσθῆναι͵ τὰς χεῖρας δὲ ἐκτεῖναι μὴ οἷόν τε ὄντα χρῆσθαι ταύταις πολὺ μᾶλλον εὐμαρῶς ἢ οἱ τὰς τέχνας διὰ τῶν χειρῶν μετιόντες.
 Τοῦτον ἀπεδέχετο ὁ Πλωτῖνος καὶ ἐν τοῖς μάλιστα ἐπαινῶν διετέλει εἰς ἀγαθὸν παράδειγμα τοῖς φιλοσοφοῦσι προβαλλόμενος.

Then there was Serapion, an Alexandrian, who began life as a professional orator and later took to the study of philosophy, but was never able to conquer the vices of avarice and usury.

 Συνῆν δὲ καὶ Σεραπίων Ἀλεξανδρεὺς ῥητορικὸς μὲν τὰ πρῶτα͵ μετὰ ταῦτα δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ φιλοσόφοις συνὼν λόγοις͵ τοῦ δὲ περὶ χρήματα καὶ τὸ δανείζειν μὴ δυνηθεὶς ἀποστῆναι ἐλαττώματος.

I myself, Porphyry of Tyre, was one of Plotinus’ very closest friends, and it was to me he entrusted the task of revising his writings.

 Ἔσχε δὲ καὶ ἐμὲ Πορφύριον Τύριον ὄντα ἐν τοῖς μάλιστα ἑταῖρον͵ ὃν καὶ διορθοῦν αὐτοῦ τὰ συγγράμματα ἠξίου.

8. SUCH revision was necessary: Plotinus could not bear to go back on his work even for one re-reading; and indeed the condition of his sight would scarcely allow it: his handwriting was slovenly; he misjoined his words; he cared nothing about spelling; his one concern was for the idea: in these habits, to our general surprise, he remained unchanged to the very end.

8 Γράψας γὰρ ἐκεῖνος δὶς τὸ γραφὲν μεταλαβεῖν οὐδέ ποτ΄ ἂν ἠνέσχετο͵ ἀλλ΄ οὐδὲ ἅπαξ γοῦν ἀναγνῶναι καὶ διελθεῖν διὰ τὸ τὴν ὅρασιν μὴ ὑπηρετεῖσθαι αὐτῷ πρὸς τὴν ἀνάγνωσιν.
 Ἔγραφε δὲ οὔτε εἰς κάλλος ἀποτυπούμενος τὰ γράμματα οὔτε εὐσήμως τὰς συλλαβὰς διαιρῶν οὔτε τῆς ὀρθογραφίας φροντίζων͵ ἀλλὰ μόνον τοῦ νοῦ ἐχόμενος καί͵ ὃ πάντες ἐθαυμάζομεν͵ ἐκεῖνο ποιῶν ἄχρι τελευτῆς διετέλεσε.

He used to work out his design mentally from first to last: when he came to set down his ideas, he wrote out at one jet all he had stored in mind as though he were copying from a book.

 Συντελέσας γὰρ παρ΄ ἑαυτῷ ἀπ΄ ἀρχῆς ἄχρι τέλους τὸ σκέμμα͵ ἔπειτα εἰς γραφὴν παραδιδοὺς ἃ ἐσκέπτετο͵ συνεῖρεν οὕτω γράφων ἃ ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ διέθηκεν͵ ὡς ἀπὸ βιβλίου δοκεῖν μεταβάλλειν τὰ γραφόμενα·

Interrupted, perhaps, by someone entering on business, he never lost hold of his plan; he was able to meet all the demands of the conversation and still keep his own train of thought clearly before him; when he was fee again, he never looked over what he had previously written--his sight, it has been mentioned, did not allow of such re-reading--but he linked on what was to follow as if no distraction had occurred.

ἐπεὶ καὶ διαλεγόμενος πρός τινα καὶ συνείρων τὰς ὁμιλίας πρὸς τῷ σκέμματι ἦν͵ ὡς ἅμα τε ἀποπληροῦν τὸ ἀναγκαῖον τῆς ὁμιλίας καὶ τῶν ἐν σκέψει προκειμένων ἀδιάκοπον τηρεῖν τὴν διάνοιαν· ἀποστάντος γοῦν τοῦ προσδιαλεγομένου οὐδ΄ ἐπαναλαβὼν τὰ γεγραμμένα͵ διὰ τὸ μὴ ἐπαρκεῖν αὐτῷ πρὸς ἀνάληψιν͵ ὡς εἰρήκαμεν͵ τὴν ὅρασιν͵ τὰ ἑξῆς ἂν ἐπι συνῆψεν͵ ὡς μηδένα διαστήσας χρόνον μεταξὺ ὅτε τὴν ὁμιλίαν ἐποιεῖτο.

Thus he was able to live at once within himself and for others; he never relaxed from his interior attention unless in sleep; and even his sleep was kept light be an abstemiousness that often prevented him taking as much as a piece of bread, and by this unbroken concentration upon his own highest nature.

 Συνῆν οὖν καὶ ἑαυτῷ ἅμα καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις͵ καὶ τήν γε πρὸς ἑαυτὸν προσοχὴν οὐκ ἄν ποτε ἐχάλασεν͵ ἢ μόνον ἐν τοῖς ὕπνοις͵ ὃν ἂν ἀπέκρουεν ἥ τε τῆς τροφῆς ὀλιγότηςοὐδὲ γὰρ ἄρτου πολλάκις ἂν ἥψατοκαὶ ἡ πρὸς τὸν νοῦν αὐτοῦ διαρκὴς ἐπιστροφή.

9. SEVERAL women were greatly attached to him, amongst them Gemina, in whose house he lived, and her daughter, called Gemina, too, after the mother, and Amphiclea, the wife Ariston, son Iamblichus; all three devoted themselves assiduously to philosophy.

9 Ἔσχε δὲ καὶ γυναῖκας σφόδρα φιλοσοφίᾳ προσκειμένας͵ Γεμίναν τε͵ ἧς καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ κατῴκει͵ καὶ τὴν ταύτης θυγατέρα Γεμίναν͵ ὁμοίως τῇ μητρὶ καλουμένην͵ Ἀμφί κλειάν τε τὴν Ἀρίστωνος τοῦ Ἰαμβλίχου υἱοῦ γεγονυῖαν γυναῖκα͵ [σφόδρα φιλοσοφίᾳ προσκειμένας].

Not a few men and women of position, on the approach of death, had left their boys and girls, with all their property, in his care, feeling that with Plotinus for guardian the children would be in holy hands. His house therefore was filled with lads lasses, amongst them Potamon, in whose education he took such interest as often to hear the boy recite verses of his own composition.

 Πολλοὶ δὲ καὶ ἄνδρες καὶ γυναῖκες ἀποθνῄσκειν μέλλοντες τῶν εὐγενεσ τάτων φέροντες τὰ ἑαυτῶν τέκνα͵ ἄρρενάς τε ὁμοῦ καὶ θηλείας͵ ἐκείνῳ παρεδίδοσαν μετὰ τῆς ἄλλης οὐσίας ὡς ἱερῷ τινι καὶ θείῳ φύλακι.  Διὸ καὶ ἐπεπλήρωτο αὐτῷ ἡ οἰκία παίδων καὶ παρθένων. Ἐν τούτοις δὲ ἦν καὶ  Ποτάμων͵ οὗ τῆς παιδεύσεως φροντίζων πολλάκις ἓν καὶ μεταποιοῦντος ἠκροάσατο.  Ἠνείχετο δὲ καὶ τοὺς λογισμούς͵ ἀναφερόντων τῶν [ἐν] ἐκείνοις παραμενόντων͵

He always found time for those that came to submit returns of the children’s property, and he looked closely to the accuracy of the accounts: ‘Until the young people take to philosophy,’ he used to say, ‘their fortunes and revenues must be kept intact for them.’ And yet all this labour and thought over the worldly interests of so many people never interrupted, during waking hours, his intention towards the Supreme.

καὶ τῆς ἀκριβείας ἐπεμελεῖτο λέγων͵ ἕως ἂν μὴ φιλοσοφῶσιν͵ ἔχειν αὐτοὺς δεῖν τὰς κτήσεις καὶ τὰς προσόδους ἀνεπάφους τε καὶ σῳζομένας.
 Καὶ ὅμως τοσούτοις ἐπαρκῶν τὰς εἰς τὸν βίον φροντίδας τε καὶ ἐπιμελείας τὴν πρὸς τὸν νοῦν τάσιν οὐδέποτ΄ ἂν ἐγρηγορότως ἐχάλασεν.

He was gentle, and always at the call of those having the slightest acquaintance with him. After spending twenty-six years in Rome, acting, too, as arbiter in many differences, he had never made an enemy of any citizen.

 ῏Ην δὲ καὶ πρᾶος καὶ πᾶσιν ἐκκείμενος τοῖς ὁπωσοῦν πρὸς αὐτὸν συνήθειαν ἐσχηκόσι.
 Διὸ εἴκοσι καὶ ἓξ ἐτῶν ὅλων ἐν τῇ Ρώμῃ δια τρίψας καὶ πλείστοις διαιτήσας τὰς πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἀμφισ βητήσεις οὐδένα τῶν πολιτικῶν ἐχθρόν ποτε ἔσχε.

10. AMONG those making profession of Philosophy at Rome was one Olympius, an Alexandrian, who had been for a little while a pupil of Ammonius.

10 Τῶν δὲ φιλοσοφεῖν προσποιουμένων Ὀλύμπιος Ἀλεξανδρεύς͵ Ἀμμωνίου ἐπ΄ ὀλίγον μαθητὴς γενόμενος͵ καταφρονητικῶς πρὸς αὐτὸν ἔσχε διὰ φιλοπρωτίαν· ὃς καὶ οὕτως αὐτῷ ἐπέθετο͵ ὥστε καὶ ἀστροβολῆσαι αὐτὸν μαγεύσας ἐπεχείρησεν.

This man’s jealous envy showed itself in continual insolence, and finally he grew so bitter that he even ventured sorcery, seeking to crush Plotinus by star-spells. But he found his experiments recoiling upon himself, and he confessed to his associates that Plotinus possessed ‘a mighty soul, so powerful, as to be able to hurl every assault back upon those that sought his ruin’. Plotinus had felt the operation and declared that at that moment Olympius’ ‘limbs were convulsed and his body shrivelling like a money-bag pulled tight’. Olympius, perceiving on several attempts that he was endangering himself rather than Plotinus, desisted.

 Ἐπεὶ δὲ εἰς ἑαυτὸν στρεφομένην ᾔσθετο τὴν ἐπιχείρησιν͵ ἔλεγε πρὸς τοὺς συνήθεις μεγάλην εἶναι τὴν τῆς ψυχῆς τοῦ Πλωτίνου δύναμιν͵ ὡς ἀπο κρούειν δύνασθαι τὰς εἰς ἑαυτὸν ἐπιφορὰς εἰς τοὺς κακοῦν αὐτὸν ἐπιχειροῦντας.
 Πλωτῖνος μέντοι τοῦ Ὀλυμπίου ἐγχει ροῦντος ἀντελαμβάνετο λέγων αὐτῷ τὸ σῶμα τότε ὡς τὰ σύσπαστα βαλάντια ἕλκεσθαι τῶν μελῶν αὐτῷ πρὸς ἄλληλα συνθλιβομένων.
 Κινδυνεύσας δὲ ὁ Ὀλύμπιος πολ λάκις αὐτός τι παθεῖν ἢ δρᾶσαι τὸν Πλωτῖνον ἐπαύσατο.


In fact Plotinus possessed by birth something more than is accorded to other men. An Egyptian priest who had arrived in Rome and, through some friend, had been presented to the philosopher, became desirous of displaying his powers to him, and he offered to evoke a visible manifestation of Plotinus’ presiding spirit. Plotinus readily consented and the evocation was made in the Temple of Isis, the only place, they say, which the Egyptian could find pure in Rome.

῏Ην γὰρ καὶ κατὰ γένεσιν πλέον τι ἔχων παρὰ τοὺς ἄλλους ὁ Πλωτῖνος. Αἰγύπτιος γάρ τις ἱερεὺς ἀνελθὼν εἰς τὴν Ρώμην καὶ διά τινος φίλου αὐτῷ γνωρισθεὶς θέλων τε τῆς ἑαυτοῦ σοφίας ἀπόδειξιν δοῦναι ἠξίωσε τὸν Πλωτῖνον ἐπὶ θέαν ἀφικέσθαι τοῦ συνόντος αὐτῷ οἰκείου δαίμονος καλου μένου.
 Τοῦ δὲ ἑτοίμως ὑπακούσαντος γίνεται μὲν ἐν τῷ Ἰσίῳ ἡ κλῆσις· μόνον γὰρ ἐκεῖνον τὸν τόπον καθαρὸν φῆσαι εὑρεῖν ἐν τῇ Ρώμῃ τὸν Αἰγύπτιον.

At the summons a Divinity appeared, not a being of the spirit-ranks, and the Egyptian exclaimed: ‘You are singularly graced; the guiding-spirit within you is not of the lower degree but a God.’ It was not possible, however, to interrogate or even to contemplate this God any further, for the priest’s assistant, who had been holding the birds to prevent them flying away, strangled them, whether through jealousy or in terror. Thus Plotinus had for indwelling spirit a Being of the more divine degree, and he kept his own divine spirit unceasingly intent upon that inner presence. It was this preoccupation that led him to write his treatise upon Our Tutelary Spirit, an essay in the explanation of the differences among spirit-guides.

 Κληθέντα δὲ εἰς αὐτοψίαν τὸν δαίμονα θεὸν ἐλθεῖν καὶ μὴ τοῦ δαιμόνων εἶναι γένους· ὅθεν τὸν Αἰγύπτιον εἰπεῖν· μακάριος εἶ θεὸν ἔχων τὸν δαίμονα καὶ οὐ τοῦ ὑφειμένου γένους τὸν συνόντα.
 Μήτε δὲ ἐρέσθαι τι ἐκγενέσθαι μήτε ἐπιπλέον ἰδεῖν παρόντα τοῦ συνθεωροῦντος φίλου τὰς ὄρνεις͵ ἃς κατεῖχε φυλακῆς ἕνεκα͵ πνίξαντος εἴτε διὰ φθόνον εἴτε καὶ διὰ φόβον τινά.  Τῶν οὖν θειοτέρων δαιμόνων ἔχων τὸν συνόντα καὶ αὐτὸς διετέλει ἀνάγων αὐτοῦ τὸ θεῖον ὄμμα πρὸς ἐκεῖνον.  Ἔστι γοῦν αὐτῷ ἀπὸ τῆς τοιαύτης αἰτίας καὶ βιβλίον γραφὲν Περὶ τοῦ εἰληχότος ἡμᾶς δαίμονος͵ ὅπου πειρᾶται αἰτίας φέρειν περὶ τῆς διαφορᾶς τῶν συνόν των.

Amelius was scrupulous in observing the day of the New-Moon and other holy-days, and once asked Plotinus to join in some such celebration: Plotinus refused: ‘It is for those Beings to come to me, not for me to go to them.’

 Φιλοθύτου δὲ γεγονότος τοῦ Ἀμελίου καὶ τὰ ἱερὰ κατὰ νουμηνίαν καὶ τὰς ἑορτὰς ἐκπεριιόντος καί ποτε ἀξιοῦντος τὸν Πλωτῖνον σὺν αὐτῷ παραλαβεῖν ἔφη· ἐκείνους δεῖ πρὸς ἐμὲ ἔρχεσθαι͵ οὐκ ἐμὲ πρὸς ἐκείνους.

What was in his mind in so lofty an utterance we could not explain to ourselves and we dared not ask him.

 Τοῦτο δὲ ἐκ ποίας διανοίας οὕτως ἐμεγαληγόρησεν͵ οὔτ΄ αὐτοὶ συνεῖναι δεδυνήμεθα οὔτ΄ αὐτὸν ἐρέσθαι ἐτολμήσαμεν.

11. HE had a remarkable penetration into character.

11 Περιῆν δὲ αὐτῷ τοσαύτη περιουσία ἠθῶν κατα νοήσεως͵

Once a valuable necklace was stolen from Chione, who was living in honourable widowhood with her children in the same house as Plotinus: the servants were called before him: he scrutinized them all, then indicated one: ‘This man is the thief.’ The man was whipped but for some time persisted in denial: finally, however, he confessed, and restored the necklace.

ὡς κλοπῆς ποτε γεγονυίας πολυτελοῦς περιδε ραίου Χιόνης͵ ἥτις αὐτῷ συνῴκει μετὰ τῶν τέκνων σεμνῶς τὴν χηρείαν διεξάγουσα͵ καὶ ὑπ΄ ὄψιν τοῦ Πλωτίνου τῶν οἰκετῶν συνηγμένων ἐμβλέψας ἅπασιν· οὗτος͵ ἔφη͵ ἐστὶν ὁ κεκλοφώς͵ δείξας ἕνα τινά.
 Μαστιζόμενος δὲ ἐκεῖνος καὶ ἐπιπλεῖον ἀρνούμενος τὰ πρῶτα ὕστερον ὡμολόγησε καὶ φέρων τὸ κλαπὲν ἀπέδωκε.

Plotinus foretold also the future of each of the children in the household: for instance, when questioned as to Polemon’s character and destiny he said: ‘He will be amorous and short-lived’: and so it proved.

 Προεῖπε δ΄ ἂν καὶ τῶν συνόντων παίδων περὶ ἑκάστου οἷος ἀποβήσεται· ὡς καὶ περὶ τοῦ Πολέμωνος οἷος ἔσται͵ ὅτι ἐρωτικὸς ἔσται καὶ ὀλιγοχρόνιος͵ ὅπερ καὶ ἀπέβη.

I myself at one period had formed the intention of ending my life; Plotinus discerned my purpose; he came unexpectedly to my house where I had secluded myself, told me that my decision sprang not from reason but from mere melancholy and advised me to leave Rome. I obeyed and left for Sicily, which I chose because I heard that one Probus, a man of scholarly repute, was living there not far from Lilybaeum. Thus I was induced to abandon my first intention but was prevented from being with Plotinus between that time and his death.

 Καί ποτε ἐμοῦ Πορφυρίου ᾔσθετο ἐξάγειν ἐμαυτὸν διανοουμένου τοῦ βίου· καὶ ἐξαίφνης ἐπιστάς μοι ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ διατρίβοντι καὶ εἰπὼν μὴ εἶναι ταύτην τὴν προθυμίαν ἐκ νοερᾶς καταστάσεως͵ ἀλλ΄ ἐκ μελαγχολικῆς τινος νόσου͵ ἀποδημῆσαι ἐκέλευσε.
 Πεισθεὶς δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγὼ εἰς τὴν Σικελίαν ἀφικόμην Πρόβον τινὰ ἀκούων ἐλλόγιμον ἄνδρα περὶ τὸ Λιλύβαιον διατρίβειν· καὶ αὐτός τε τῆς τοιαύτης προθυμίας ἀπεσχόμην τοῦ τε παρεῖναι ἄχρι θανάτου τῷ Πλωτίνῳ ἐνεποδίσθην.

12. THE Emperor Gallienus and his wife Salonina greatly honoured and venerated Plotinus, who thought to turn their friendly feeling to some good purpose. In Campania there had once stood, according to tradition, a City of Philosophers, a ruin now; Plotinus asked the Emperor to rebuild this city and to make over the surrounding district to the new-founded state; the population was to live under Plato’s laws: the city was to be called Platonopolis; and Plotinus undertook to settle down there with his associates. He would have had his way without more ado but that opposition at court, prompted by jealousy, spite, or some such paltry motive, put an end to the plan.

12 Ἐτίμησαν δὲ τὸν Πλωτῖνον μάλιστα καὶ ἐσέφθησαν Γαλιῆνός τε ὁ αὐτοκράτωρ καὶ ἡ τούτου γυνὴ Σαλωνίνα.
 Ὁ δὲ τῇ φιλίᾳ τῇ τούτων καταχρώμενος φιλοσόφων τινὰ πόλιν κατὰ τὴν Καμπανίαν γεγενῆσθαι λεγομένην͵ ἄλλως δὲ κατηριπωμένην͵ ἠξίου ἀνεγείρειν καὶ τὴν πέριξ χώραν χαρίσασθαι οἰκισθείσῃ τῇ πόλει͵ νόμοις δὲ χρῆσθαι τοὺς κατοικεῖν μέλλοντας τοῖς Πλάτωνος καὶ τὴν προσηγορίαν αὐτῇ Πλατωνόπολιν θέσθαι͵ ἐκεῖ τε αὐτὸς μετὰ τῶν ἑταίρων ἀναχωρήσειν ὑπισχνεῖτο.
 Καὶ ἐγένετ΄ ἂν τὸ βού λημα ἐκ τοῦ ῥᾴστου τῷ φιλοσόφῳ͵ εἰ μή τινες τῶν συν όντων τῷ βασιλεῖ φθονοῦντες ἢ νεμεσῶντες ἢ δι΄ ἄλλην μοχθηρὰν αἰτίαν ἐνεπόδισαν.

13. AT the Conferences he showed the most remarkable power of going to the heart of a subject, whether in exposition or in explanation, and his phrasing was apt; but he made mistakes in certain words; for example, he said ‘anamnemisketai’ for ‘anamimnesketai’--just such errors as he committed in his writing.

13 Γέγονε δ΄ ἐν ταῖς συνουσίαις φράσαι μὲν ἱκανὸς καὶ εὑρεῖν καὶ νοῆσαι τὰ πρόσφορα δυνατώτατος͵ ἐν δέ τισι λέξεσιν ἁμαρτάνων· οὐ γὰρ ἂν εἶπεν ἀναμιμνήσκε ται͵ ἀλλὰ ἀναμνημίσκεται͵ καὶ ἄλλα τινὰ παράσημα ὀνόματα ἃ καὶ ἐν τῷ γράφειν ἐτήρει.

When he was speaking his intellect visibly illuminated his face: always of winning presence, he became at these times still more engaging: a slight moisture gathered on his forehead; he radiated benignity.

 ῏Ην δ΄ ἐν τῷ λέγειν ἡ ἔνδειξις τοῦ νοῦ ἄχρι τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ τὸ φῶς ἐπιλάμ ποντος· ἐράσμιος μὲν ὀφθῆναι͵ καλλίων δὲ τότε μάλιστα ὁρώμενος· καὶ λεπτός τις ἱδρὼς ἐπέθει καὶ ἡ πραότης διέ λαμπε

He was always as ready to entertain objections as he was powerful in meeting them.

καὶ τὸ προσηνὲς πρὸς τὰς ἐρωτήσεις ἐδείκνυτο καὶ τὸ εὔτονον.

At one time I myself kept interrogating him during three days as to how the soul is associated with the body, and he continued explaining; a man called Thaumasius entered in the midst of our discussions; the visitor was more interested in the general drift of the system than in particular points, and said he wished to hear Plotinus expounding some theory as he would in a set treatise, but that he could not endure Porphyry’s questions and answers: Plotinus asked, ‘But if we cannot first solve the difficulties Porphyry raises what could go into the treatise?’

 Τριῶν γοῦν ἡμερῶν ἐμοῦ Πορφυρίου ἐρωτήσαν τος͵ πῶς ἡ ψυχὴ σύνεστι τῷ σώματι͵ παρέτεινεν ἀποδεικ νύς͵ ὥστε καὶ Θαυμασίου τινὸς τοὔνομα ἐπεισελθόντος τοὺς καθόλου λόγους πράττοντος καὶ εἰς βιβλία ἀκοῦσαι αὐτοῦ λέγοντος θέλειν͵ Πορφυρίου δὲ ἀποκρινομένου καὶ ἐρωτῶντος μὴ ἀνασχέσθαι͵ ὁ δὲ ἔφη· ἀλλὰ ἂν μὴ Πορ φυρίου ἐρωτῶντος λύσωμεν τὰς ἀπορίας͵ εἰπεῖν τι καθάπαξ εἰς τὸ βιβλίον οὐ δυνησόμεθα.

14. IN style Plotinus is concise, dense with thought, terse, more lavish of ideas than of words, most often expressing himself with a fervid inspiration. He followed his own path rather than that of tradition, but in his writings both the Stoic and Peripatetic doctrines are sunk; Aristotle’s Metaphysics, especially, is condensed in them, all but entire.

14 Ἐν δὲ τῷ γράφειν σύντομος γέγονε καὶ πολύνους βραχύς τε καὶ νοήμασι πλεονάζων ἢ λέξεσι͵ τὰ πολλὰ ἐνθουσιῶν καὶ ἐκπαθῶς φράζων  καὶ τὸ συμπαθείας ἢ παραδόσεως.
 Ἐμμέμικται δ΄ ἐν τοῖς συγγράμμασι καὶ τὰ Στωικὰ λανθάνοντα δόγματα καὶ τὰ Περιπατητικά· κα ταπεπύκνωται δὲ καὶ ἡ Μετὰ τὰ φυσικὰ τοῦ Ἀριστο τέλους πραγματεία.

He had a thorough theoretical knowledge of Geometry, Mechanics, Optics, and Music, though it was not in his temperament to go practically into these subjects.

Ἔλαθε δὲ αὐτὸν οὔτε γεωμετρικόν τι λεγόμενον θεώρημα οὔτ΄ ἀριθμητικόν͵ οὐ μηχανικόν͵ οὐκ ὀπτικόν͵ οὐ μουσικόν· αὐτὸς δὲ ταῦτα ἐξεργάζεσθαι οὐ παρεσκεύαστο.

At the Conferences he used to have treatises by various authors read aloud--among the Platonists it might be Severus of Cronius, Numenius, Gaius, or Atticus; and among the Peripatetics Aspasius, Alexander, Adrastus, or some such writer, at the call of the moment. But it was far from his way to follow any of these authors blindly; he took a personal, original view, applying Ammonius’ method to the investigation of every problem.

 Ἐν δὲ ταῖς συνουσίαις ἀνεγινώσκετο μὲν αὐτῷ τὰ ὑπομνήματα͵ εἴτε Σεβήρου εἴη͵ εἴτε Κρονίου ἢ Νουμηνίου ἢ Γαίου ἢ Ἀττικοῦ͵ κἀν τοῖς Περιπατητικοῖς τά τε Ἀσπασίου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἀδράστου τε καὶ τῶν ἐμπεσόντων.
 Ἐλέγετο δὲ ἐκ τούτων οὐδὲν καθάπαξ͵ ἀλλ΄ ἴδιος ἦν καὶ ἐξηλλαγμένος ἐν τῇ θεωρίᾳ καὶ τὸν Ἀμμω νίου φέρων νοῦν ἐν ταῖς ἐξετάσεσιν.


He was quick to absorb; a few words sufficed him to make clear the significance of some profound theory and so to pass on. After hearing Longinus’ work On Causes and his Antiquary, he remarked: ‘Longinus is a man of letters, but in no sense a philosopher.’

Ἐπληροῦτο δὲ ταχέως καὶ δι΄ ὀλίγων δοὺς νοῦν βαθέος θεωρήματος ἀνίστατο.
 Ἀναγνωσθέντος δὲ αὐτῷ τοῦ τε Περὶ ἀρχῶν Λογγίνου καὶ τοῦ Φιλαρχαίου͵ φιλόλογος μέν͵ ἔφη͵ ὁ Λογγῖνος͵ φιλόσοφος δὲ οὐδαμῶς.

One day Origen came to the conference-room; Plotinus blushed deeply and was on the point of bringing his lecture to an end; when Origen begged him to continue, he said: ‘The zest dies down when the speaker feels that his hearers have nothing to learn from him.’

 Ὠριγένους δὲ ἀπαντήσαντός ποτε εἰς τὴν συνουσίαν πληρωθεὶς ἐρυθή ματος ἀνίστασθαι μὲν ἐβούλετο͵ λέγειν δὲ ὑπὸ Ὠριγένους ἀξιούμενος ἔφη ἀνίλλεσθαι τὰς προθυμίας͵ ὅταν ἴδῃ ὁ λέγων͵ ὅτι πρὸς εἰδότας ἐρεῖ ἃ αὐτὸς λέγειν μέλλει· καὶ οὕτως ὀλίγα διαλεχθεὶς ἐξανέστη.

15. ONCE on Plato’s feast I read a poem, ‘The Sacred Marriage’; my piece abounded in mystic doctrine conveyed in veiled words and was couched in terms of enthusiasm; someone exclaimed: ‘Porphyry has gone mad’; Plotinus said to me so that all might hear: ‘You have shown yourself at once poet, philosopher and hierophant.’

15 Ἐμοῦ δὲ ἐν Πλατωνείοις ποίημα ἀναγνόντος Τὸν ἱερὸν γάμον͵ καί τινος διὰ τὸ μυστικῶς πολλὰ μετ΄ ἐνθου σιασμοῦ ἐπικεκρυμμένως εἰρῆσθαι εἰπόντος μαίνεσθαι τὸν Πορφύριον͵ ἐκεῖνος εἰς ἐπήκοον ἔφη πάντων· ἔδειξας ὁμοῦ καὶ τὸν ποιητὴν καὶ τὸν φιλόσοφον καὶ τὸν ἱερο φάντην.

The orator Diophanes one day read a justification of the Alcibiades of Plato’s Banquet and maintained that the pupil, for the sake of advancement in virtue, should submit to the teacher without reserve, even to the extent of carnal commerce: Plotinus started up several times to leave the room but forced himself to remain; on the breaking up of the company he directed me to write a refutation. Diophanes refused to lend me his address and I had to depend on my recollection of his argument; but my refutation, delivered before the same audience, delighted Plotinus so much that during the very reading he repeatedly quoted: ‘So strike and be a light to men.’

 Ὅτε δὲ ὁ ῥήτωρ Διοφάνης ἀνέγνω ὑπὲρ Ἀλκι βιάδου τοῦ ἐν τῷ Συμποσίῳ τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἀπολογίαν δογματίζων χρῆναι ἀρετῆς ἕνεκα μαθήσεως εἰς συνουσίαν αὑτὸν παρέχειν ἐρῶντι ἀφροδισίου μίξεως τῷ καθηγεμόνι͵ ἤιξε μὲν πολλάκις ἀναστὰς ἀπαλλαγῆναι τῆς συνόδου͵ ἐπισχὼν δ΄ ἑαυτὸν μετὰ τὴν διάλυσιν τοῦ ἀκουστηρίου ἐμοὶ Πορφυρίῳ ἀντιγράψαι προσέταξε.
 Μὴ θέλοντος δὲ τοῦ Διοφάνους τὸ βιβλίον δοῦναι διὰ τῆς μνήμης ἀναληφθέντων τῶν ἐπιχειρημάτων ἀντιγράψας ἐγὼ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν αὐτῶν ἀκροατῶν συνηγμένων ἀναγνοὺς τοσοῦτον τὸν Πλωτῖνον ηὔφρανα͵ ὡς κἀν ταῖς συνουσίαις συνεχῶς ἐπιλέγειν· Βάλλ΄ οὕτως͵ αἴ κέν τι φόως ἄνδρεσσι γένηαι.

When Eubulus, the Platonic Successor, wrote from Athens, sending treatises on some questions in Platonism. Plotinus had the writings put into my hands with instructions to examine them and report to him upon them.

 Γράφοντος δὲ Εὐβούλου Ἀθήνηθεν τοῦ Πλατωνικοῦ διαδόχου καὶ πέμποντος συγγράμματα ὑπέρ τινων Πλατω νικῶν ζητημάτων ἐμοὶ Πορφυρίῳ ταῦτα δίδοσθαι ἐποίει καὶ σκοπεῖν καὶ ἀναφέρειν αὐτῷ τὰ γεγραμμένα ἠξίου.

He paid some attention to the principles of Astronomy though he did not study the subject very deeply on the mathematical side. He went more searchingly into Horoscopy; when once he was convinced that its results were not to be trusted he had no hesitation in attacking the system frequently both at the Conferences and in his writings.

 Προσ εῖχε δὲ τοῖς μὲν περὶ τῶν ἀστέρων κανόσιν οὐ πάνυ τι μαθηματικῶς͵ τοῖς δὲ τῶν γενεθλιαλόγων ἀποτελεσμα τικοῖς ἀκριβέστερον.
 Καὶ φωράσας τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τὸ ἀνεχέγγυον ἐλέγχειν πολλαχοῦ κατ΄ αὐτῶν ἐν τοῖς συγγράμμασιν οὐκ ὤκνησε.

16. MANY Christians of this period--amongst them sectaries who had abandoned the old philosophy, men of the schools of Adelphius and Aquilinus--had possessed themselves of works by Alexander of Libya, by Philocomus, by Demostratus, and bby Lydus, and exhibited also Revelations bearing the names of Zoroaster, Zostrianus, Nicotheus, Allogenes, Mesus, and others of that order. Thus they fooled many, themselves fooled first; Plato, according to them, had failed to penetrate into the depth of Intellectual Being.

16 Γεγόνασι δὲ κατ΄ αὐτὸν τῶν Χριστιανῶν πολλοὶ μὲν καὶ ἄλλοι͵ αἱρετικοὶ δὲ ἐκ τῆς παλαιᾶς φιλοσοφίας ἀνηγμένοι οἱ περὶ Ἀδέλφιον καὶ Ἀκυλῖνον οἳ τὰ Ἀλεξάνδρου τοῦ Λίβυος καὶ Φιλοκώμου καὶ Δημοστράτου καὶ Λυδοῦ συγ γράμματα πλεῖστα κεκτημένοι ἀποκαλύψεις τε προφέρον τες Ζωροάστρου καὶ Ζωστριανοῦ καὶ Νικοθέου καὶ Ἀλλογε νοῦς καὶ Μέσσου καὶ ἄλλων τοιούτων πολλοὺς ἐξηπάτων καὶ αὐτοὶ ἠπατημένοι͵ ὡς δὴ τοῦ Πλάτωνος εἰς τὸ βάθος τῆς νοητῆς οὐσίας οὐ πελάσαντος.

Plotinus fequently attacked their position at the Conferences and finally wrote the treatise which I have headed Against the Gnostics: he left to us of the circle the task of examining what he himself passed over. Amelius proceeded as far as a fortieth treatise in refutation of the book of Zostrianus: I myself have shown on many counts that the Zoroastrian volume is spurious and modern, concocted by the sectaries in order to pretend that the doctrines they had embraced were those of the ancient sage.

 Ὅθεν αὐτὸς μὲν πολλοὺς ἐλέγχους ποιούμενος ἐν ταῖς συνουσίαις͵ γράψας δὲ καὶ βιβλίον ὅπερ Πρὸς τοὺς Γνωστικούς ἐπεγράψαμεν͵ ἡμῖν τὰ λοιπὰ κρίνειν καταλέλοιπεν.  Ἀμέλιος δὲ ἄχρι τεσ σαράκοντα βιβλίων προκεχώρηκε πρὸς τὸ Ζωστριανοῦ βιβλίον ἀντιγράφων.  Πορφύριος δὲ ἐγὼ πρὸς τὸ Ζωροά στρου συχνοὺς πεποίημαι ἐλέγχους͵ ὅλως νόθον τε καὶ νέον τὸ βιβλίον παραδεικνὺς πεπλασμένον τε ὑπὸ τῶν τὴν αἵρεσιν συστησαμένων εἰς δόξαν τοῦ εἶναι τοῦ παλαιοῦ Ζωροάστρου τὰ δόγματα͵ ἃ αὐτοὶ εἵλοντο πρεσβεύειν.

17. SOME of the Greeks began to accuse Plotinus of appropriating the ideas of Numenius.

17 Τῶν δ΄ ἀπὸ τῆς Ἑλλάδος τὰ Νουμηνίου αὐτὸν ὑποβάλλεσθαι λεγόντων

Amelius, being informed of this charge by the Stoic and Platonist Trypho, challenged it in a treatise which he entitled The Difference between the Doctrines of Plotinus and Numenius. He dedicated the work to me, under the name of Basileus (or King). This really is my name; it is equivalent to Porphyry (Purple-robed) and translates the name I bear in my own tongue; for I am called Malchos, like my father, and ‘Malchos’ would give ‘Basileus’ in Greek. Longinus, in dedicating his work On Impulse to Cleodamus and myself, addressed us as ‘Cleodamus and Malchus’, just as Numenius translated the Latin ‘Maximus’ into its Greek equivalent ‘Megalos’.

καὶ τοῦτο πρὸς Ἀμέλιον ἀγ γέλλοντος Τρύφωνος τοῦ Στωικοῦ τε καὶ Πλατωνικοῦ γέ γραφεν ὁ Ἀμέλιος βιβλίον ὃ ἐπέγραψε μὲν Περὶ τῆς κατὰ τὰ δόγματα τοῦ Πλωτίνου πρὸς τὸν Νουμήνιον διαφορᾶς͵ προσεφώνησε δὲ αὐτὸ Βασιλεῖ ἐμοί· Βασιλεὺς δὲ τοὔνομα τῷ Πορφυρίῳ ἐμοὶ προσῆν͵ κατὰ μὲν πάτριον διάλεκτον Μάλκῳ κεκλημένῳ͵ ὅπερ μοι καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ὄνομα κέκλητο͵ τοῦ δὲ Μάλκου ἑρμηνείαν ἔχοντος βασιλεύς͵ εἴ τις εἰς Ἑλληνίδα διάλεκτον μεταβάλλειν ἐθέλοι.
 Ὅθεν ὁ Λογγῖνος μὲν προσφωνῶν τὰ Περὶ ὁρμῆς Κλεοδάμῳ τε κἀμοὶ Πορφυρίῳ Κλεόδαμέ τε καὶ Μάλκε προὔγραψεν· ὁ δ΄ Ἀμέλιος ἑρμηνεύσας τοὔνομα͵ ὡς ὁ Νουμήνιος τὸν Μάξιμον εἰς τὸν Μεγάλον͵ οὕτω τὸν Μάλκον οὗτος εἰς τὸν Βασιλέα͵

Here followed Amelius’ letter:


‘Amelius to Basileus, with all good wishes.

Ἀμέλιος Βασιλεῖ εὖ πράττειν.

‘You have been, in your own phrase, pestered by the persistent assertion that our friend’s doctrine is to be traced to Numenius of Apamea.

 Αὐτῶν μὲν ἕνεκα τῶν πανευφήμων ἀνδρῶν͵ οὓς διατεθρυλληκέναι ἐς ἑαυτὸν φής͵ τὰ τοῦ ἑταίρου ἡμῶν δόγματα εἰς τὸν Ἀπαμέα Νουμήνιον ἀναγόντων͵ οὐκ ἂν προηκάμην φωνήν͵ σαφῶς ἐπίστασο.

‘Now, if it were merely for those illustrious personages who spread this charge, you may be very sure I would never utter a word in reply. It is sufficiently clear that they are actuated solely by the famous and astonishing facility of speech of theirs when they assert, at one moment, that he is an idle babbler, next that he is a plagiarist, and finally that his plagiarisms are feeble in the extreme. Clearly in all this we have nothing but scoffing and abuse.

 Δῆλον γὰρ ὅτι καὶ τοῦτο ἐκ τῆς παρ΄ αὐτοῖς ἀγαλλομένης προελήλυθεν εὐστομίας τε καὶ εὐγλωττίας͵ νῦν μὲν ὅτι πλατὺς φλήναφος͵ αὖθις δὲ ὅτι ὑποβολιμαῖος͵ ἐκ τρί των δὲ ὅτι καὶ τὰ φαυλότατα τῶν ὄντων ὑποβαλλόμε νος͵ τῷ διασιλλαίνειν αὐτὸν δηλαδὴ κατ΄ αὐτοῦ λεγόντων.

‘But your judgement has persuaded me that we should profit by this occasion firstly to provide ourselves with a useful memorandum of the doctrines that have won our adhesion, and secondly to bring about a more complete knowledge of the system--long celebrated thought it be--to the glory of our friend, a man so great as Plotinus.

 Σοῦ δὲ τῇ προφάσει ταύτῃ οἰομένου δεῖν ἀποχρῆσθαι πρὸς τὸ καὶ τὰ ἡμῖν ἀρέσκοντα ἔχειν προχειρότερα εἰς ἀνάμνη σιν καὶ τὸ ἐπ΄ ὀνόματι ἑταίρου ἀνδρὸς οἵου τοῦ Πλωτίνου μεγάλου εἰ καὶ πάλαι διαβεβοημένα ὁλοσχερέστερον γνῶναι ὑπήκουσα͵ καὶ οὖν ἥκω ἀποδιδούς σοι τὰ ἐπηγγελμένα ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις͵ ὡς καὶ αὐτὸς οἶσθα͵ πεπονημένα.

‘Hence I now bring you the promised Reply, executed, as you and your self know, in three days. You must judge it with reasonable indulgence; this is no orderly and elaborate defence composed in step-by-step correspondence with the written indictment: I have simply set down, as they occurred to me, my recollections of our frequent discussions. You will admit, also, that it is by no means easy to grasp the meaning of a writer who (like Numenius), now credited with the opinion we also hold, varies in the terms he uses to express the one idea.

 Χρὴ δὲ αὐτὰ ὡς ἂν μὴ ἐκ τῆς τῶν συνταγμάτων ἐκείνων παραθέ σεως οὔτ΄ οὖν συντεταγμένα οὔτε ἐξειλεγμένα͵ ἀλλ΄ ἀπὸ τῆς παλαιᾶς ἐντεύξεως ἀναπεπολημένα καὶ ὡς πρῶτα προὔ πεσεν ἕκαστα οὕτω ταχθέντα ἐνταῦθα νῦν συγγνώμης δικαίας παρὰ σοῦ τυχεῖν͵ ἄλλως τε καὶ τοῦ βουλήματος τοῦ ὑπὸ τὴν πρὸς ἡμᾶς ὁμολογίαν ὑπαγομένου πρός τινων ἀνδρὸς οὐ μάλα προχείρου ἑλεῖν ὑπάρχοντος διὰ τὴν ἄλλοτε ἄλλως περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν ὡς ἂν δόξειε φοράν.

‘If I have falsified any essential of the doctrine, I trust to your good nature to set me right: I am reminded of the phrase in the tragedy: A busy man and far from the teachings of our master I must needs correct and recant. Judge how much I wish to give you pleasure. Good health.’

 Ὅτι δέ͵ εἴ τι τῶν ἀπὸ τῆς οἰκείας ἑστίας παραχαράττοιτο͵ διορθώσει εὐμενῶς͵ εὖ οἶδα.
 Ἠνάγκασμαι δ΄ ὡς ἔοικεν͵ ὥς πού φησιν ἡ τραγῳδία͵ ὢν φιλοπράγμων τῇ ἀπὸ τῶν τοῦ καθηγεμόνος ἡμῶν δογμάτων διαστάσει εὐθύνειν τε καὶ ἀποποιεῖσθαι.
 Τοιοῦτον ἄρα ἦν τὸ σοὶ χαρίζεσθαι ἐξ ἅπαντος βούλεσθαι.

18. THIS letter seemed worth insertion as showing, not merely that some contemporary judgement pronounced Plotinus to be parading on the strength of Numenius’ ideas, but that he was even despised as a word-spinner.

18 Ταύτην τὴν ἐπιστολὴν θεῖναι προήχθην οὐ μόνον πίστεως χάριν τοῦ τοὺς τότε καὶ ἐπ΄ αὐτοῦ γεγονότας τὰ Νουμηνίου οἴεσθαι ὑποβαλλόμενον κομπάζειν͵ ἀλλὰ καὶ ὅτι πλατὺν αὐτὸν φλήναφον εἶναι ἡγοῦντο

The fact is that these people did not understand his teaching: he was entirely free from all the inflated pomp of the professor: his lectures had the air of conversation, and he never forced upon his hearers the severely logical substructure of his thesis.

καὶ κατεφρόνουν τῷ μὴ νοεῖν ἃ λέγει καὶ τῷ πάσης σοφιστικῆς αὐτὸν σκηνῆς καθαρεύειν καὶ τύφου͵ὁμιλοῦντι δὲ ἐοικέναι ἐν ταῖς συνουσίαις καὶ μηδενὶ ταχέως ἐπιφαίνειν τὰς συλλογιστικὰς ἀνάγκας αὐτοῦ τὰς ἐν τῷ λόγῳ λαμβανομένας.

I myself, when I first heard him, had the same experience. It led me to combat his doctrine in a paper in which I tried to show that the Intelligibles exist outside of the Intellectual-Principle. He had my work read to him by Amelius: at the end he smiled and said: ‘You must clear up these difficulties, Amelius: Porphyry doesn’t understand our position.’ Amelius wrote a tract of considerable length In answer to Porphyry’s Objections; I wrote a reply to the reply: Amelius replied to my reply; at my third attempt I came, though even so with difficulty, to grasp the doctrine: then only, I was converted, wrote a recantation, and read it before the circle. From that time on I was entrusted with Plotinus’ writings and sought to stir in the master himself the ambition of organizing his doctrine and setting it down in more extended form. Amelius, too, under my prompting, was encouraged in composition.

 Ἔπαθον δ΄ οὖν τὰ ὅμοια ἐγὼ Πορφύριος͵ ὅτε πρῶτον αὐτοῦ ἠκροασά μην.
 Διὸ καὶ ἀντιγράψας προσήγαγον δεικνύναι πειρώμε νος ὅτι ἔξω τοῦ νοῦ ὑφέστηκε τὸ νόημα.
 Ἀμέλιον δὲ ποιήσας ταῦτα ἀναγνῶναι͵ ἐπειδὴ ἀνέγνω͵ μειδιάσας σὸν ἂν εἴη͵ ἔφη͵ ὦ Ἀμέλιε͵ λῦσαι τὰς ἀπορίας͵ εἰς ἃς δι΄ ἄγνοιαν τῶν ἡμῖν δοκούντων ἐμπέπτωκε.
 Γράψαντος δὲ βιβλίον οὐ μικρὸν τοῦ Ἀμελίου πρὸς τὰς τοῦ Πορφυρίου ἀπορίας͵ καὶ αὖ πάλιν πρὸς τὰ γραφέντα ἀντιγράψαντός μου͵ τοῦ δὲ Ἀμελίου καὶ πρὸς ταῦτα ἀντειπόντος͵ ἐκ τρίτων μόλις συνεὶς τὰ λεγόμενα ἐγὼ ὁ Πορφύριος μετε θέμην καὶ παλινῳδίαν γράψας ἐν τῇ διατριβῇ ἀνέγνων· κἀκεῖθεν λοιπὸν τά τε βιβλία τὰ Πλωτίνου ἐπιστεύθην͵ καὶ αὐτὸν τὸν διδάσκαλον εἰς φιλοτιμίαν προήγαγον τοῦ διαρθροῦν καὶ διὰ πλειόνων γράφειν τὰ δοκοῦντα.
 Οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ Ἀμέλιος εἰς τὸ συγγράφειν πρόθυμον ἐποίησεν.

19. LONGINUS’ estimate of Plotinus, formed largely upon indications I myself had given him in my letters, will be gathered from the following extract from one of his to me. He is asking me to leave Sicily and join him in Phoenicia, and to bring Plotinus’ works with me. He says:

19 ῝Ην δὲ ἔσχε καὶ Λογγῖνος περὶ τοῦ Πλωτίνου δόξαν ἐξ ὧν μάλιστα πρὸς αὐτὸν ἐγὼ γράφων ἐσήμαινον͵ δηλώσει μέρος ἐπιστολῆς γραφείσης πρός με ἐπέχον τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον. Ἀξιῶν γάρ με ἀπὸ τῆς Σικελίας κατιέναι πρὸς αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν Φοινίκην καὶ κομίζειν τὰ βιβλία τοῦ Πλωτίνου φησί·

‘And send them at your convenience or, better, bring them; for I can never cease urging you to give the road towards us the preference over any other. If there is no better reason--and what intellectual gain can you anticipate form a visit to us?--at least there are old acquaintances and the mild climate which would do you good in the weak state of health you report. Whatever else you may be expecting, do not hope for anything new of my own, or even for the earlier works which you tell me you have lost; for there is a sad dearth of copyists here. I assure you it has taken me all this time to complete my set of Plotinus, and it was done only by calling off my scribe from all his routine work, and keeping him steadily to this one task.

 Καὶ σὺ μὲν ταῦτά τε πέμπειν͵ ὅταν σοι δοκῇ͵ μᾶλλον δὲ κομίζειν· οὐ γὰρ ἂν ἀποσταίην τοῦ πολλάκις δεῖσθαί σου τὴν πρὸς ἡμᾶς ὁδὸν τῆς ἑτέρωσε προκρῖναι͵ κἂν εἰ μηδὲν δι΄ ἄλλοτί γὰρ ἂν καὶ σοφὸν παρ΄ ἡμῶν προσδοκῶν ἀφίκοιο; τήν τε παλαιὰν συνήθειαν καὶ τὸν ἀέρα μετριώτατον ὄντα πρὸς ἣν λέγεις τοῦ σώματος ἀσθένειαν· κἂν ἄλλο τι τύχῃς οἰηθείς͵ παρ΄ ἐμοῦ δὲ μηδὲν προσδοκᾶν καινότερον͵ μηδ΄ οὖν τῶν παλαιῶν ὅσα φὴς ἀπολωλεκέναι.
 Τῶν γὰρ γραψάντων τοσαύτη σπάνις ἐνταῦθα καθέστηκεν͵ ὥστε νὴ τοὺς θεοὺς πάντα τὸν χρόνον τοῦτον τὰ λειπόμενα τῶν Πλωτίνου κατασκευάζων μόλις αὐτῶν ἐπεκράτησα τὸν ὑπογραφέα τῶν μὲν εἰωθότων ἀπάγων ἔργων͵ πρὸς ἑνὶ δὲ τούτῳ τάξας γενέσθαι.

‘I think that now, with what you have sent me, I have everything, though in a very imperfect state, for the manuscript is exceeding faulty. I had expected our friend Amelius to correct the scribal errors, but he evidently had something better to do. The copies are quite useless to me; I have been especially eager to examine the treatises On the Soul and On the Authentic-Existent, and these are precisely the most corrupted. It would be a great satisfaction to me if you would send me faithful transcripts for collation and return--though again I suggest to you not to send but to come in person, bringing me the correct copies of these treatises and of any that Amelius may have passed over. All that he brought with him I have been careful to make my own: how could I be content not to possess myself of all the writings of a man so worthy of the deepest veneration?

 Καὶ κέκτημαι μὲν ὅσα δοκεῖν πάντα καὶ τὰ νῦν ὑπὸ σοῦ πεμφ θέντα͵ κέκτημαι δὲ ἡμιτελῶς· οὐ γὰρ μετρίως ἦν διημαρτη μένα͵ καίτοι τὸν ἑταῖρον Ἀμέλιον ᾤμην ἀναλήψεσθαι τὰ τῶν γραφέων πταίσματα· τῷ δ΄ ἦν ἄλλα προυργιαίτερα τῆς τοιαύτης προσεδρείας.
 Οὔκουν ἔχω τίνα χρὴ τρόπον αὐτοῖς ὁμιλῆσαι καίπερ ὑπερεπιθυμῶν τά τε Περὶ ψυχῆς καὶ τὰ Περὶ τοῦ ὄντος ἐπισκέψασθαι· ταῦτα γὰρ οὖν καὶ μάλιστα διημάρτηται.
 Καὶ πάνυ βουλοίμην ἂν ἐλθεῖν μοι παρὰ σοῦ τὰ μετ΄ ἀκριβείας γεγραμμένα τοῦ παραναγνῶναι μόνον͵ εἶτα ἀποπέμψαι πάλιν.
 Αὖθις δὲ τὸν αὐτὸν ἐρῶ λόγον͵ ὅτι μὴ πέμπειν͵ ἀλλ΄ αὐτὸν ἥκειν ἔχοντα μᾶλλον ἀξιῶ ταῦτά τε καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν εἴ τι διαπέφευγε τὸν Ἀμέλιον. Ἃ μὲν γὰρ ἤγαγεν͵ ἅπαντα διὰ σπουδῆς ἐκτησάμην.
 Πῶς δ΄ οὐκ ἔμελλον ἀνδρὸς ὑπομνήματα πάσης αἰδοῦς ἄξια καὶ τιμῆς κτήσασθαι;

‘I repeat, what I have often said in your presence and in your absence, as on that occasion when you were at Tyre, that while much of the theory does not convince me, yet I am filled with admiration and delight over the general character of the work, the massive thinking of the man, the philosophic handling of problems; in my judgement investigators must class Plotinus’ work with that holding the very highest rank.’

Τοῦτο γὰρ οὖν καὶ παρόντι σοι καὶ μακρὰν ἀπόντι καὶ περὶ τὴν Τύρον διατρίβοντι τυγχάνω δήπουθεν ἐπεσταλκὼς ὅτι τῶν μὲν ὑποθέσεων οὐ πάνυ με τὰς πολλὰς προσίεσθαι συμβέβηκε· τὸν δὲ τύπον τῆς γραφῆς καὶ τῶν ἐννοιῶν τἀνδρὸς τὴν πυκνότητα καὶ τὸ φιλόσοφον τῆς τῶν ζητημάτων διαθέσεως ὑπερβαλλόντως ἄγαμαι καὶ φιλῶ καὶ μετὰ τῶν ἐλλογιμωτάτων ἄγειν τὰ τούτου βιβλία φαίην ἂν δεῖν τοὺς ζητητικούς.

20. THIS extended quotation from the most acute of the critics of our day--a writer who has passed judgement on nearly all his contemporaries--serves to show the estimate he came to set upon Plotinus of whom, at first, misled by ignorant talk, he had held a poor opinion.

20 Ταῦτα ἐπιπλέον παρατέθεικα τοῦ καθ΄ ἡμᾶς κριτι κωτάτου γενομένου καὶ τὰ τῶν ἄλλων σχεδὸν πάντα τῶν καθ΄ αὑτὸν διελέγξαντος δεικνὺς οἵα γέγονεν ἡ περὶ Πλωτίνου κρίσις· καίτοι τὰ πρῶτα ἐκ τῆς τῶν ἄλλων ἀμαθίας καταφρονητικῶς ἔχων πρὸς αὐτὸν διετέλει.

His notion, by the way, that the transcripts he acquired from Amelius were faulty sprang from his misunderstanding of Plotinus’ style and phraseology; if there were ever any accurate copies, these were they, faithful reproductions from the author’s own manuscript.

 Ἐδό κει δὲ ἃ ἐκτήσατο ἐκ τῶν Ἀμελίου λαβὼν ἡμαρτῆσθαι διὰ τὸ μὴ νοεῖν τοῦ ἀνδρὸς τὴν συνήθη ἑρμηνείαν.
 Εἰ γάρ τινα καὶ ἄλλα͵ καὶ τὰ παρ΄ Ἀμελίῳ διώρθωτο ὡς ἂν ἐκ τῶν αὐτογράφων μετειλημμένα.

Another passage from the work of Longinus, dealing with Amelius, Plotinus, and other metaphysicians of the day, must be inserted here to give a complete view of the opinion formed upon these philosophers by the most authoritative and most searching of critics. The work was entitled On the End: in Answer to Plotinus and Gentilianus Amelius. It opens with the following preface:

 Ἔτι δὲ τοῦ Λογγίνου ἃ ἐν συγγράμματι γέγραφε περὶ Πλωτίνου τε καὶ Ἀμελίου καὶ τῶν καθ΄ ἑαυτὸν γεγονότων φιλοσόφων ἀναγ καῖον παραθεῖναι͵ ἵνα καὶ πλήρης γένηται ἡ περὶ αὐτῶν κρίσις οἵα γέγονε τοῦ ἐλλογιμωτάτου ἀνδρὸς καὶ ἐλεγκτι κωτάτου.
 Ἐπιγράφεται δὲ τὸ βιβλίον Λογγίνου πρὸς Πλω τῖνον καὶ Γεντιλιανὸν Ἀμέλιον περὶ τέλους.

‘In our time, Marcellus, there have been many philosophers--especially in our youth--for there is a strange scarcity at present. When I was a boy, my parents’ long journeys gave me the opportunity of seeing all the better-known teachers; and in later life those that still lived became known to me as my visits to this and that city and people brought me where they happened to live.

 Ἔχει δὲ τοιόνδε προοίμιον· Πολλῶν καθ΄ ἡμᾶς͵ ὦ Μάρκελλε͵ γεγενημένων φιλοσόφων οὐχ ἥκιστα παρὰ τοὺς πρώτους τῆς ἡλικίας ἡμῶν χρόνους· ὁ μὲν γὰρ νῦν καιρὸς οὐδ΄ εἰπεῖν ἔστιν ὅσην σπάνιν ἔσχηκε τοῦ πράγματος· ἔτι δὲ μειρακίων ὄντων ἡμῶν οὐκ ὀλίγοι τῶν ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ λόγων προέστησαν͵ οὓς ἅπαντας μὲν ὑπῆρξεν ἰδεῖν ἡμῖν διὰ τὴν ἐκ παίδων ἐπὶ πολλοὺς τόπους ἅμα τοῖς γονεῦσιν ἐπιδημίαν͵ συγγενέσθαι δὲ αὐτῶν τοῖς ἐπιβιώσασι κατὰ ταὐτὸ συχνοῖς ἔθνεσι καὶ πόλεσιν ἐπιμίξαντας

‘Some of these undertook the labour of developing their theories in formal works and so have bequeathed to the future the means of profiting by their services. Others thought they had done enough when they had convinced their own immediate hearers of the truth of their theories..

· οἱ μὲν καὶ διὰ γραφῆς ἐπεχείρησαν τὰ δοκοῦντα σφίσι πραγματεύεσθαι καταλιπόντες τοῖς ἐπιγιγνομένοις τῆς παρ΄ αὐτῶν ὠφελείας μετασχεῖν͵ οἱ δ΄ ἀποχρῆναι σφίσιν ἡγήσαντο τοὺς συνόντας προβιβάζειν εἰς τὴν τῶν ἀρεσκόντων ἑαυτοῖς κατάληψιν.

‘First of those that have written.

Ὧν τοῦ μὲν προτέρου

‘Among the Platonists there are Euclides, Democritus, Proclinus the philosopher of the Troad, and the two who still profess philosophy at Rome, Plotinus and his friend Gentilianus Amelius. Among the Stoics there are Themistocles and Phoibion and the two who flourished only a little while ago, Annius and Medius. And there is the Peripatetic, Heliodorus of Alexandria.

 γεγόνασι τρόπου Πλατωνικοὶ μὲν Εὐκλείδης καὶ Δημόκριτος καὶ Προκλῖνος ὁ περὶ τὴν Τρῳάδα διατρίψας οἵ τε μέχρι νῦν ἐν τῇ Ρώμῃ δημοσιεύοντες Πλωτῖνος καὶ Γεντιλιανὸς Ἀμέλιος ὁ τούτου γνώριμος͵ Στωικῶν δὲ Θεμιστοκλῆς καὶ Φοιβίων οἵ τε μέχρι πρῴην ἀκμάσαντες Ἄννιός τε καὶ Μήδιος͵ Περιπατητικῶν δὲ ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεὺς Ἡλιόδωρος.

‘For those that have not written, there are among the Platonists Ammonius and Origen, two teachers whose lectures I myself attended during a long period, men greatly surpassing their contemporaries in mental power; and there are the Platonic Successors at Athens, Theodotus and Eubulus.

Τοῦ δὲ δευτέρου Πλατωνικοὶ μὲν Ἀμμώνιος καὶ Ὠριγένης͵ οἷς ἡμεῖς τὸ πλεῖστον τοῦ χρόνου προσεφοι τήσαμεν͵ ἀνδράσιν οὐκ ὀλίγῳ τῶν καθ΄ ἑαυτοὺς εἰς σύνεσιν διενεγκοῦσιν͵ οἵ τε Ἀθήνησι διάδοχοι Θεόδοτος καὶ Εὔβουλος·

‘No doubt some writing of a metaphysical order stands to the credit of this group: Origen wrote On Spirit-Beings, Eubulus On the Philebus and Gorgias, and the objections urged by Aristotle to Plato’s Republic; but this is not enough to class either of them with systematic authors. This was side-play; authorship was not in the main plan of their careers.

καὶ γὰρ εἴ τι τούτων γέγραπταί τισιν͵ ὥσπερ Ὠριγένει μὲν τὸ Περὶ τῶν δαιμόνων͵ Εὐβούλῳ δὲ τὸ Περὶ τοῦ Φιλήβου καὶ τοῦ Γοργίου καὶ τῶν Ἀρισ τοτέλει πρὸς τὴν Πλάτωνος Πολιτείαν ἀντειρημένων͵ οὐκ ἐχέγγυα πρὸς τὸ μετὰ τῶν ἐξειργασμένων τὸν λόγον αὐτοὺς ἀριθμεῖν ἂν γένοιτο πάρεργον τῇ τοιαύτῃ χρησαμέ νων σπουδῇ καὶ μὴ προηγουμένην περὶ τοῦ γράφειν ὁρμὴν λαβόντων.

‘Among Stoic teachers that refrained from writing we have Herminus and Lysimachus, and the two living at Athens, Musonius and Athenaeus; among Peripatetics, Ammonius and Ptolemaeus.

Τῶν δὲ Στωικῶν Ἑρμῖνος καὶ Λυσίμαχος οἵ τε ἐν ἄστει καταβιώσαντες Ἀθηναῖος καὶ Μουσώνιος͵ καὶ Περιπατητικῶν Ἀμμώνιος καὶ  Πτολεμαῖος

‘The two last were the most accomplished scholars of their time, Ammonius especially being unapproached in breadth of learning; but neither produced any systematic work; we have from them merely verses and duty-speeches; and these I cannot think to have been preserved with their consent; they did not concern themselves about formal statement of their doctrine, and it is not likely they would wish to be known in after times by compositions of so trivial a nature.

φιλολογώτατοι μὲν τῶν καθ΄ ἑαυτοὺς ἄμφω γενόμενοι καὶ μάλιστα ὁ Ἀμ μώνιος· οὐ γὰρ ἔστιν ὅστις ἐκείνῳ γέγονεν εἰς πολυμαθίαν παραπλήσιος· οὐ μὴν καὶ γράψαντές γε τεχνικὸν οὐδέν͵ ἀλλὰ ποιήματα καὶ λόγους ἐπιδεικτικούς͵ ἅπερ οὖν καὶ σωθῆναι τῶν ἀνδρῶν τούτων οὐχ ἑκόντων οἶμαι· μὴ γὰρ ἂν αὐτοὺς δέξασθαι διὰ τοιούτων βιβλίων ὕστερον γενέ σθαι γνωρίμους͵ ἀφέντας σπουδαιοτέροις συγγράμμασι τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀποθησαυρίσαι διάνοιαν.

 ‘To return to the writers; some of them, like Euclides, Democritus, and Proclinus, confined themselves to the mere compilation and transcription of passages from earlier authorities. Others diligently worked over various minor points in the investigations of the ancients, and put together books dealing with the same subjects. Such were Annius, Medius, and Phoibion, the last especially choosing to be distinguished for style rather than for systematic thinking. In the same class must be ranked Heliodorus; his writings contribute nothing to the organization of the thought which he found to his hand in the teaching of earlier workers.

 Τῶν δ΄ οὖν γραψάντων οἱ μὲν οὐδὲν πλέον ἢ συναγωγὴν καὶ μεταγραφὴν τῶν τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις συντεθέντων ἐποιήσαντο͵ καθάπερ Εὐκλείδης καὶ Δημόκριτος καὶ Προκλῖνος͵ οἱ δὲ μικρὰ κομιδῇ πράγματα τῆς τῶν παλαιῶν ἱστορίας ἀπομνημονεύσαντες εἰς τοὺς αὐτοὺς τόπους ἐκείνοις ἐπεχείρησαν συντιθέναι βιβλία͵ καθάπερ Ἄννιός τε καὶ Μήδιος καὶ Φοιβίων͵ οὗτος μὲν ἀπὸ τῆς ἐν τῇ λέξει κατασκευῆς γνωρίζεσθαι μᾶλλον ἢ τῆς ἐν τῇ διανοίᾳ συντάξεως ἀξιῶν· οἷς καὶ τὸν Ἡλιό δωρον συγκατανείμειέ τις ἄν͵ οὐδ΄ ἐκεῖνον παρὰ τὰ τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις ἐν ταῖς ἀκροάσεσιν εἰρημένα πλέον τι συμβαλλόμενον εἰς τὴν τοῦ λόγου διάρθρωσιν.

‘Plotinus and Gentilianus Amelius alone display the true spirit of authorship; they treat of a great number of questions and they bring a method of their own to the treatment.

Οἱ δὲ καὶ πλήθει προβλημάτων ἃ μετεχειρίσαντο τὴν σπουδὴν τοῦ γράφειν ἀποδειξάμενοι καὶ τρόπῳ θεωρίας ἰδίῳ χρησάμενοι Πλωτῖνός εἰσι καὶ Γεντιλιανὸς Ἀμέλιος·

‘Plotinus, it would seem, set the principles of Pythagoras and of Plato in a clearer light than anyone before him; on the same subjects, Numenius, Cronius, Moderatus, and Thrasyllus fall far short of him in precision and fullness. Amelius set himself to walk in Plotinus’ steps and adopted most of Plotinus’ opinions; his method, however, was diffuse an, unlike his friend, he indulges in an extravagance of explanation. ‘Only these two seem to me worth study. What profit can anyone expect from troubling the works of any of the others to the neglect of the originals on which they drew?

ὃς μὲν τὰς Πυθαγορείους ἀρχὰς καὶ Πλατωνικάς͵ ὡς ἐδόκει͵ πρὸς σαφεστέραν τῶν πρὸ αὐτοῦ καταστησάμενος ἐξήγησιν· οὐδὲ γὰρ οὐδὲν ἐγγύς τι τὰ Νουμηνίου καὶ Κρονίου καὶ Μοδεράτου καὶ Θρασύλλου τοῖς Πλωτίνου περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν συγγράμμασιν εἰς ἀκρίβειαν· ὁ δὲ Ἀμέλιος κατ΄ ἴχνη μὲν τούτου βαδίζειν προαιρούμενος καὶ τὰ πολλὰ μὲν τῶν αὐτῶν δογμάτων ἐχόμενος͵ τῇ δὲ ἐξεργασίᾳ πολὺς ὢν καὶ τῇ τῆς ἑρμηνείας περιβολῇ πρὸς τὸν ἐναντίον ἐκείνῳ ζῆλον ὑπαγόμενος. Ὧν καὶ μόνων ἡμεῖς ἄξιον εἶναι νομίζομεν ἐπισκοπεῖσθαι τὰ συγγράμματα.


They bring us nothing of their own, not even a novel augment, much less a leading idea, and are too unconcerned even to set side by side the most generally adopted theories or to choose the better among them.

Τοὺς μὲν γὰρ λοιποὺς τί τις ἂν κινεῖν οἴοιτο δεῖν ἀφεὶς ἐξετάζειν ἐκείνους͵ παρ΄ ὧν ταῦτα λαβόντες οὗτοι γεγράφασιν οὐδὲν αὐτοὶ παρ΄ αὑτῶν προσθέντες οὐχ ὅτι τῶν κεφαλαίων͵ ἀλλ΄ οὐδὲ τῶν ἐπιχειρημάτων͵ οὐδ΄ οὖν ἢ συναγωγῆς τῶν παρὰ τοῖς πλείοσιν ἢ κρίσεως τοῦ βελτίονος ἐπιμεληθέντες;

‘My own method has been different; as for example when I replied to Gentilianus upon Plato’s treatment of Justice and in a review I undertook of Plotinus’ work On the Ideas. This latter was in the form of a reply to Basileus of Tyre, my friend as theirs. He had preferred Plotinus’ system to mine and had written several works in the manner of his master, amongst them a treatise supporting Plotinus’ theory of the Idea against that which I taught. I endeavoured, not, I think, unsuccessfully, to show that his change of mind was mistaken.

 ῎Ηδη μὲν οὖν καὶ δι΄ ἄλλων τουτὶ πεποιήκαμεν͵ ὥσπερ καὶ τῷ μὲν Γεντιλιανῷ περὶ τῆς κατὰ Πλάτωνα δικαιοσύνης ἀντειπόντες͵ τοῦ δὲ Πλωτίνου τὸ Περὶ τῶν ἰδεῶν ἐπισκε ψάμενοι· τὸν μὲν γὰρ κοινὸν ἡμῶν τε κἀκείνων ἑταῖρον ὄντα͵ Βασιλέα τὸν Τύριον͵ οὐδ΄ αὐτὸν ὀλίγα πεπραγματευ μένον κατὰ τὴν Πλωτίνου μίμησιν͵ ὃν ἀποδεξάμενος μᾶλλον τῆς παρ΄ ἡμῖν ἀγωγῆς ἐπεχείρησε διὰ συγγράμματος ἀποδεῖξαι βελτίω δόξαν περὶ τῶν ἰδεῶν τῆς ἡμῖν ἀρεσκούσης ἔχοντα͵ μετρίως ἀντιγραφῇ διελέγξαι δοκοῦμεν οὐκ εὖ παλινῳδήσαντα κἀν τούτοις οὐκ ὀλίγας τῶν ἀνδρῶν τούτων κεκινηκότες δόξας͵

‘In these two essays I have ranged widely over the doctrines of this school, as also in my Letter to Amelius which, despite the simple title with which I contented myself, has the dimensions of a book, being a reply to a treatise he addressed to me from Rome under the title On Plotinus’ Philosophic Method.’

ὥσπερ κἀν τῇ πρὸς τὸν Ἀμέλιον ἐπιστολῇ͵ μέγεθος μὲν ἐχούσῃ συγγράμματος͵ ἀποκρινομένῃ δὲ πρὸς ἄττα τῶν ὑπ΄ αὐτοῦ πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τῆς Ρώμης ἐπεσταλμένων͵ ἣν αὐτὸς μὲν ἐπιστολὴν Περὶ τοῦ τρόπου τῆς Πλωτίνου φιλοσοφίας ἐπέγρα ψεν͵ ἡμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸ μόνον προσηρκέσθημεν τῇ κοινῇ τοῦ συγγράμματος ἐπιγραφῇ Πρὸς τὴν Ἀμελίου ἐπιστολὴν αὐτὸ προσαγορεύσαντες.

21. THIS Preface leaves no doubt of Longinus’ final verdict: he ranks Plotinus and Amelius above all authors of his time in the multitude of questions they discuss; he credits them with an original method of investigation: in his judgement they by no means took their system from Numenius or gave a first place to his opinions, but followed the Pythagorean and Platonic schools; finally he declares the writings of Numenius, Cronius, Moderatus, and Thrasyllus greatly inferior in precision and fullness to those of Plotinus.

21 Ἐν δὴ τούτοις τότε ὡμολόγησε μὲν πάντων τῶν ἐπ΄ αὐτοῦ γεγονότων πλήθει τε προβλημάτων διενεγκεῖν Πλωτῖνόν τε καὶ Ἀμέλιον͵ τρόπῳ δὲ θεωρίας ἰδίῳ μάλιστα τούτους χρήσασθαι͵ τὰ Νουμηνίου δὲ οὐχ ὅτι ὑποβάλλεσθαι καὶ τἀκείνου πρεσβεύειν δόγματα͵ ἀλλὰ τὰ τῶν Πυθαγο ρείων αὐτοῦ τε ἑλομένου μετιέναι δόγματα͵ καὶ οὐδ΄ ἐγγὺς εἶναι τὰ Νουμηνίου καὶ Κρονίου καὶ Μοδεράτου καὶ Θρασύλλου τοῖς Πλωτίνου περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν συγγράμμασιν εἰς ἀκρίβειαν.

Notice, by the way, that while AMelius id described as following in Plotinus’ footsteps, it is indicated that his temperamental prolixity led him to delight in an extravagance of explanation foreign to his master: in the reference to myself, though I was then only at the beginning of my association with Plotinus--’Basileus of Tyre, my friend as theirs, who has written a good deal, has taken Plotinus as his model’--Longinus recognizes that I entirely avoided Amelius’ unphilosophical prolixity and made Plotinus’ manner my standard.

 Εἰπὼν δὲ περὶ Ἀμελίου͵ ὅτι κατ΄ ἴχνη μὲν τοῦ Πλωτίνου ἐβάδιζε͵ τῇ δὲ ἐξεργασίᾳ πολὺς ὢν καὶ τῇ τῆς ἑρμηνείας περιβολῇ πρὸς τὸν ἐναντίον ἐκείνῳ ζῆλον ὑπήγετο͵ ὅμως μνησθεὶς ἐμοῦ Πορφυρίου ἔτι ἀρχὰς ἔχοντος τῆς πρὸς τὸν Πλωτῖνον συνουσίας φησὶν ὅτι ὁ δὲ κοινὸς ἡμῶν τε κἀκείνων ἑταῖρος Βασιλεὺς ὁ Τύριος οὐδ΄ αὐτὸς ὀλίγα πεπραγματευμένος κατὰ τὴν Πλωτίνου μίμησιν. Συνέθηκε ταῦτα ὄντως κατιδών͵ ὅτι τῆς Ἀμελίου περιβολῆς τὸ ἀφιλόσοφον παντελῶς ἐφυλαξάμην καὶ πρὸς ζῆλον τὸν Πλωτίνου γράφων ἀφεώρων.

Such a pronouncement upon the value of Plotinus’ work, coming from so great an authority, the first of critics then as now, must certainly carry weight, and I may remark that if I had been able to confer with him, during such a visit as he proposed, he would not have written to combat doctrines which he had not thoroughly penetrated.

 Ἀρκεῖ τοίνυν ὁ τοσοῦτος ἀνὴρ καὶ ἐν κρίσει πρῶτος ὢν καὶ ὑπειλημμένος ἄχρι νῦν τοιαῦτα γράφων περὶ Πλωτίνου͵ ὡς͵ εἰ καὶ καλοῦντί με τὸν Πορφύριον συνέβη δυνηθῆναι συμμῖξαι αὐτῷ͵ οὐδ΄ ἂν ἀντέγραψεν͵ ἃ πρὶν ἀκριβῶσαι τὸ δόγμα γράψαι ἐπεχείρησεν.

22. BUT why talk, to use Hesiod’s phrase, ‘About Oak and Rock’? If we are to accept the evidence of the wise--who could be wiser than a God? And here the witness is the same God that said with truth:

22 Ἀλλὰ τιή μοι ταῦτα περὶ δρῦν ἢ περὶ πέτρανφησὶν ὁ Ἡσίοδοςλέγειν; Εἰ γὰρ δεῖ ταῖς μαρτυρίαις χρῆσθαι ταῖς παρὰ τῶν σοφῶν γεγενημέναις͵ τίς ἂν εἴη σοφώτερος θεοῦ͵ καὶ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀληθῶς εἰρη κότος·

‘I have numbered the sands and taken the measure of the sea; I understand the dumb and hear where there has been no speech.’

Οἶδα δ΄ ἐγὼ ψάμμου τ΄ ἀριθμὸν καὶ μέτρα θαλάσσης καὶ κωφοῦ ξυνίημι καὶ οὐ λαλέοντος ἀκούω;

Apollo was consulted by Amelius, who desired to learn where Plotinus’ soul had gone. And Apollo, who uttered of Socrates that great praise, ‘Of all men, Socrates the wisest’--you shall hear what a full and lofty oracle Apollo rendered upon Plotinus.

Ὁ γὰρ δὴ Ἀπόλλων ἐρομένου τοῦ Ἀμελίου͵ ποῦ ἡ Πλωτίνου ψυχὴ κεχώρηκεν͵ ὁ τοσοῦτον εἰπὼν περὶ Σωκράτους· Ἀνδρῶν ἁπάντων Σωκράτης σοφώτατος͵ ἐπάκουσον͵ ὅσα καὶ οἷα περὶ Πλωτίνου ἐθέσπισεν·

I raise an undying song, to the memory of a gently friend, a hymn of praise woven to the honey-sweet tones of my lyre under the touch of the golden plectrum.

Ἄμβροτα φορμίζειν ἀναβάλλομαι ὕμνον ἀοιδῆς ἀμφ΄ ἀγανοῖο φίλοιο μελιχροτάταισιν ὑφαίνων φωναῖς εὐφήμου κιθάρης χρυσέῳ ὑπὸ πλήκτρῳ.

The Muses, too, I call to lift the voice with me in strains of many-toned exultation, in passion ranging over all the modes of song: even as of old they raised the famous chant to the glory of Aeacides in the immortal ardours of the Homeric line.

 Κλῄζω καὶ Μούσας ξυνὴν ὄπα γηρύσασθαι παμφώνοις ἰαχαῖσι παναρμονίαισί τ΄ ἐρωαῖς͵ οἷον ἐπ΄ Αἰακίδῃ στῆσαι χορὸν ἐκλήιχθεν ἀθανάτων μανίαισιν Ὁμηρείαισί τ΄ ἀοιδαῖς.

Come, then, Sacred Chorus, let us intone with one great sound the utmost of all song, I Phoebus, Bathychaites, singing in the midst.

Ἀλλ΄ ἄγε Μουσάων ἱερὸς χορός͵ ἀπύσωμεν εἰς ἓν ἐπιπνείοντες ἀοιδῆς τέρματα πάσης· ὕμμι καὶ ἐν μέσσαισιν ἐγὼ Φοῖβος βαθυχαίτης·

Celestial! Man at first but now nearing the diviner ranks! the bonds of human necessity are loosed for you and, strong of heart, you beat your eager way from out the roaring tumult of the fleshly life to the shores of that wave-washed coast free from the thronging of the guilty, thence to take the grateful path of the sinless soul: where glows the splendour of God, where Right is throned in the stainless place, far from the wrong that mocks at law.

δαῖμον͵ ἄνερ τὸ πάροιθεν͵ ἀτὰρ νῦν δαίμονος αἴσῃ θειοτέρῃ πελάων͵ ὅτ΄ ἐλύσαο δεσμὸν ἀνάγκης ἀνδρομέης͵ ῥεθέων δὲ πολυφλοίσβοιο κυδοιμοῦ ῥωσάμενος πραπίδεσσιν ἐς ᾐόνα νηχύτου ἀκτῆς νήχε΄ ἐπειγόμενος δήμου ἄπο νόσφιν ἀλιτρῶν στηρίξαι καθαρῆς ψυχῆς εὐκαμπέα οἴμην͵ ἧχι θεοῖο σέλας περιλάμπεται͵ ἧχι θέμιστες ἐν καθαρῷ ἀπάτερθεν ἀλιτροσύνης ἀθεμίστου.

Oft-times as you strove to rise above the bitter waves of this blood-drenched life, above the sickening whirl, toiling in the mid-most of the rushing flood and the unimaginable turmoil, oft-times, from the Ever-Blessed, there was shown to you the Term still close at hand:

 Καὶ τότε μὲν σκαίροντι πικρὸν κῦμ΄ ἐξυπαλύξαι αἱμοβότου βιότοιο καὶ ἀσηρῶν εἰλίγγων ἐν μεσάτοισι κλύδωνος ἀνωίστου τε κυδοιμοῦ πολλάκις ἐκ μακάρων φάνθη σκοπὸς ἐγγύθι ναίων.

Oft-times, when your mind thrust out awry and was like to be rapt down unsanctioned paths, the Immortals themselves prevented, guiding you on the straightgoing way to the celestial spheres, pouring down before you a dense shaft of light that your eyes might see from amid the mournful gloom.

 Πολλάκι σεῖο νόοιο βολὰς λοξῇσιν ἀταρποῖς ἱεμένας φορέεσθαι ἐρωῇσι σφετέρῃσιν ὀρθοπόρους ἀνὰ κύκλα καὶ ἄμβροτον οἶμον ἄειραν ἀθάνατοι θαμινὴν φαέων ἀκτῖνα πορόντες ὄσσοισιν δέρκεσθαι ἀπαὶ σκοτίης λυγαίης.

Sleep never closed those eyes: high above the heavy murk of the mist you held them; tossed in the welter, you still had vision; still you saw sights many and fair not granted to all that labour in wisdom’s quest.

 Οὐδέ σε παμπήδην βλεφάρων ἔχε νήδυμος ὕπνος· ἀλλ΄ ἄρ΄ ἀπὸ βλεφάρων πετάσας κληῖδα βαρεῖαν ἀχλύος ἐν δίνῃσι φορεύμενος ἔδρακες ὄσσοις πολλά τε καὶ χαρίεντα͵ τά κεν ῥέα οὔτις ἴδοιτο ἀνθρώπων͵ ὅσσοι σοφίης μαιήτορες ἔπλευν.

But not that you have cast the screen aside, quitted the tomb that held your lofty soul, you enter at once the heavenly consort: where fragrant breezes play, where all is unison and winning tenderness and guileless joy, and the place is lavish of the nectar-streams the unfailing Gods bestow, with the blandishments of the Loves, and delicious airs, and tranquil sky:

 Νῦν δ΄ ὅτε δὴ σκῆνος μὲν ἐλύσαο͵ σῆμα δ΄ ἔλειψας ψυχῆς δαιμονίης͵ μεθ΄ ὁμήγυριν ἔρχεαι ἤδη δαιμονίην ἐρατοῖσιν ἀναπνείουσαν ἀήταις͵ ἔνθ΄ ἔνι μὲν φιλότης͵ ἔνι δ΄ ἵμερος ἁβρὸς ἰδέσθαι͵ εὐφροσύνης πλείων καθαρῆς͵ πληρούμενος αἰὲν ἀμβροσίων ὀχετῶν θεόθεν ὅθεν ἐστὶν ἐρώτων πείσματα͵ καὶ γλυκερὴ πνοιὴ καὶ νήνεμος αἰθήρ͵

where Minos and Rhadamanthus dwell, great brethren of the golden race of mighty Zeus; where dwell the just Aeacus, and Plato, consecrated power, and stately Pythagoras and all else that form the Choir of Immortal Love, that share their parentage with the most blessed spirits, there where the heart is ever lifted in joyous festival.

χρυσείης γενεῆς μεγάλου Διὸς ἧχι νέμονται Μίνως καὶ Ραδάμανθυς ἀδελφεοί͵ ἧχι δίκαιος Αἰακός͵ ἧχι Πλάτων͵ ἱερὴ ἴς͵ ἧχί τε καλὸς Πυθαγόρης ὅσσοι τε χορὸν στήριξαν ἔρωτος ἀθανάτου͵ ὅσσοι γενεὴν ξυνὴν ἐλάχοντο δαίμοσιν ὀλβίστοις͵ ὅθι τοι κέαρ ἐν θαλίῃσιν αἰὲν ἐυφροσύνῃσι τ΄ ἰαίνεται.

O Blessed One, you have fought your many fights; now, crowned with unfading life, your days are with the Ever-Holy.

 Ἆ μάκαρ͵ ὅσσους ὀτλήσας ἀριθμοὺς ἀέθλων μετὰ δαίμονας ἁγνοὺς πωλέεαι ζαμενῇσι κορυσσάμενος ζωῇσι.

Rejoicing Muses, let us stay our song and the subtle windings of our dance; thus much I could but tell, to my golden lyre, of Plotinus, the hallowed soul.

 Στήσωμεν μολπήν τε χοροῦ τ΄ εὐδίνεα κύκλον Πλωτίνου͵ Μοῦσαι͵ πολυγηθέος· αὐτὰρ ἐμεῖο χρυσείη κιθάρη τόσσον φράσεν εὐαίωνι.

23. GOOD and kindly, singularly gentle and engaging: thus the oracle presents him, and so in fact we found him. Sleeplessly alert--Apollo tells--pure of soul, ever striving towards the divine which he loved with all his being, he laboured strenuously to free himself and rise above the bitter waves of this blood-drenched life: and this is why to Plotinus--God-like and lifting himself often, by the ways of meditation and by the methods Plato teaches in the Banquet, to the first and all-transcendent God--that God appeared, the God who has neither shape nor form but sits enthroned above the Intellectual-Principle and all the Intellectual-Sphere.

23 Ἐν δὴ τούτοις εἴρηται μὲν ὅτι ἀγανὸς γέγονε καὶ ἤπιος καὶ πρᾶός γε μάλιστα καὶ μείλιχος͵ ἅπερ καὶ ἡμεῖς οὕτως ἔχοντι συνῄδειμεν· εἴρηται δ΄ ὅτι ἄγρυπνος καὶ καθαρὰν τὴν ψυχὴν ἔχων καὶ ἀεὶ σπεύδων πρὸς τὸ θεῖον͵ οὗ διὰ πάσης τῆς ψυχῆς ἤρα͵ ὅτι τε πάντ΄ ἐποίει ἀπαλ λαγῆναι͵ πικρὸν κῦμ΄ ἐξυπαλύξαι τοῦ αἱμοβότου τῇδε βίου.  Οὕτως δὲ μάλιστα τούτῳ τῷ δαιμονίῳ φωτὶ πολλάκις ἐνάγοντι ἑαυτὸν εἰς τὸν πρῶτον καὶ ἐπέκεινα θεὸν ταῖς ἐννοίαις καὶ κατὰ τὰς ἐν τῷ Συμποσίῳ ὑφηγημένας ὁδοὺς τῷ Πλάτωνι ἐφάνη ἐκεῖνος ὁ θεὸς ὁ μήτε μορφὴν μήτε τινὰ ἰδέαν ἔχων͵ ὑπὲρ δὲ νοῦν καὶ πᾶν τὸ νοη τὸν ἱδρυμένος.  Ὧι δὴ καὶ ἐγὼ Πορφύριος ἅπαξ λέγω πλησιάσαι καὶ ἑνωθῆναι ἔτος ἄγων ἑξηκοστόν τε καὶ ὄγδοον.

‘There was shown to Plotinus the Term ever near’: for the Term, the one end, of his life was to become Uniate, to approach to the God over all: and four times, during the period I passed with him, he achieved this Term, by no mere latent fitness but by the ineffable Act.

 Ἐφάνη γοῦν τῷ Πλωτίνῳ σκοπὸς ἐγγύθι ναίων.
 Τέλος γὰρ αὐτῷ καὶ σκοπὸς ἦν τὸ ἑνωθῆναι καὶ πελάσαι τῷ ἐπὶ πᾶσι θεῷ.  Ἔτυχε δὲ τετράκις που͵ ὅτε αὐτῷ συνήμην͵ τοῦ σκοποῦ τούτου ἐνεργείᾳ ἀρρήτῳ [καὶ οὐ δυνάμει].

To this God, I also declare, I Porphyry, that in my sixty-eighth year I too was once admitted and I entered into Union.

 Καὶ ὅτι λοξῶς φερόμενον πολλάκις οἱ θεοὶ κατ εύθυναν θαμινὴν φαέων ἀκτῖνα πορόντες͵ ὡς ἐπισκέψει τῇ παρ΄ ἐκείνων καὶ ἐπιβλέψει γραφῆναι τὰ γραφέντα͵ εἴρηται.

We are told that often when he was leaving the way, the Gods set him on the true path again, pouring down before him a dense shaft of light; here we are to understand that in his writing he was overlooked and guided by the divine powers.

 Ἐκ δὲ τῆς ἀγρύπνου ἔσωθέν τε καὶ ἔξωθεν θέας ἔδρακες͵ φησίν͵ ὄσσοις πολλά τε καὶ χαρίεντα͵ τά κεν ῥέα οὔτις ἴδοιτο ἀνθρώπων τῶν φιλοσοφίᾳ προσε χόντων.

‘In this sleepless vision within and without,’ the oracle says, ‘your eyes have beheld sights many and fair not vouchsafed to all that take the philosophic path’: contemplation in man may sometimes be more than human, but compare it with the True-Knowing of the Gods and, wonderful though it be, it can never plunge into the depths their divine vision fathoms.

 Ἡ γὰρ δὴ τῶν ἀνθρώπων θεωρία ἀνθρωπίνης μὲν ἂν γένοιτο ἀμείνων· ὡς δὲ πρὸς τὴν θείαν γνῶσιν χαρίεσσα μὲν ἂν εἴη͵ οὐ μὴν ὥστε τὸ βάθος ἑλεῖν ἂν δυνη θῆναι͵ ὥσπερ αἱροῦσιν οἱ θεοί.
 Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ὅ τι ἔτι σῶμα περικείμενος ἐνήργει καὶ τίνων ἐτύγχανε δεδήλωκε.

Thus far the Oracle recounts what Plotinus accomplished and to what heights he attained while still in the body: emancipated from the body, we are told how he entered the celestial circle where all is friendship, tender delight, happiness, and loving union with God, where Minos and Rhadamanthus and Aeacus, the sons of God, are enthroned as judges of souls--not, however, to hold him to judgement but as welcoming him to their consort to which are bidden spirits pleasing to the Gods--Plato, Pythagoras, and all the people of the Choir of Immortal Love, there where the blessed spirits have their birth-home and live in days filled full of ‘joyous festival’ and made happy by the Gods.

 Μετὰ δὲ τὸ λυθῆναι ἐκ τοῦ σώματος ἐλθεῖν μὲν αὐτόν φησιν εἰς τὴν δαιμονίαν ὁμήγυριν͵ πολιτεύεσθαι δ΄ ἐκεῖ φιλότητα͵ ἵμερον͵ εὐφροσύνην͵ ἔρωτα ἐξημμένον τοῦ θεοῦ͵ τετάχθαι δὲ καὶ τοὺς λεγομένους δικαστὰς τῶν ψυχῶν͵ παῖδας τοῦ θεοῦ͵ Μίνω καὶ Ραδάμανθυν καὶ Αἰακόν͵ πρὸς οὓς οὐ δικασθησόμενον οἴχεσθαι͵ συνεσόμενον δὲ τούτοις͵ οἷς καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι ὅσοι ἄριστοι.
 Σύνεισι δὲ τοιοῦτοι Πλάτων͵ Πυθαγόρας ὁπόσοι τε ἄλλοι χορὸν στήριξαν ἔρωτος ἀθανάτου· ἐκεῖ δὲ τὴν γένεσιν τοὺς ὀλβίστους δαίμονας ἔχειν βίον τε μετιέναι τὸν ἐν θαλείαις καὶ εὐφροσύναις καταπε πυκνωμένον καὶ τοῦτον διατελεῖν καὶ ὑπὸ θεῶν μακα ριζόμενον.

24. I HAVE related Plotinus’ life; something remains to tell of my revision and arrangement of his writings. This task he himself had imposed upon me during his lifetime and I had pledged myself to him and to the circle to carry it out.

24 Τοιοῦτος μὲν οὖν ὁ Πλωτίνου ἡμῖν ἱστόρηται βίος. Ἐπεὶ δὲ αὐτὸς τὴν διάταξιν καὶ τὴν διόρθωσιν τῶν βιβλίων ποιεῖσθαι ἡμῖν ἐπέτρεψεν͵

I judged that in the case of treatises which, like these, had been issued without consideration of logical sequence it was best to disregard the time-order.

ἐγὼ δὲ κἀκείνῳ ζῶντι ὑπεσχόμην καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἑταίροις ἐπηγγειλάμην ποιῆσαι τοῦτο͵ πρῶτον μὲν τὰ βιβλία οὐ κατὰ χρόνους ἐᾶσαι φύρδην ἐκδεδομένα ἐδικαίωσα͵

Apollodorus, the Athenian, edited in ten volumes the collected works of Epicharmus, the comedy writer; Andronicus, the Peripatetic, Classified the works ofAristotle and of Theoophrastus according to subject, bringing together the discussions of related topics: I have adopted a similar plan.

 μιμησάμενος δ΄ Ἀπολλόδωρον τὸν Ἀθηναῖον καὶ Ἀνδρόνικον τὸν Περι πατητικόν͵ ὧν ὁ μὲν Ἐπίχαρμον τὸν κωμῳδιογράφον εἰς δέκα τόμους φέρων συνήγαγεν͵ ὁ δὲ τὰ Ἀριστοτέλους καὶ Θεοφράστου εἰς πραγματείας διεῖλε τὰς οἰκείας ὑποθέσεις εἰς ταὐτὸν συναγαγών· οὕτω δὴ

I had fifty-four treatises before me: I divided them into six sets of nine, an arrangement which pleased me by the happy combination of the perfect number six with the nines: to each such ennead I assigned matter of one general nature, leading off with the themes presenting the least difficulty.

καὶ ἐγὼ νδ ὄντα ἔχων τὰ τοῦ Πλωτίνου βιβλία διεῖλον μὲν εἰς ἓξ ἐννεάδας τῇ τελειότητι τοῦ ἓξ ἀριθμοῦ καὶ ταῖς ἐν νεάσιν ἀσμένως ἐπιτυχών͵ ἑκάστῃ δὲ ἐννεάδι τὰ οἰκεῖα φέρων συνεφόρησα δοὺς καὶ τάξιν πρώτην τοῖς ἐλαφρο τέροις προβλήμασιν.

THE FIRST ENNEAD, on this method, contains the treatises of a more ethical tendency:

Ἡ μὲν γὰρ πρώτη ἐννεὰς ἔχει τὰ ἠθικώτερα τάδε·

1. On the Animate and the Man.

α Τί τὸ ζῷον καὶ τίς ὁ ἄνθρωπος· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἡδοναὶ καὶ λῦπαι.

2. On the Virtues.

 β Περὶ ἀρετῶν· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἐπειδὴ τὰ κακὰ ἐνταῦθα.

3. On Dialectic.

 γ Περὶ διαλεκτικῆς· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τίς τέχνη ἢ μέθοδος.

4. On Happiness.

 δ Περὶ εὐδαιμονίας· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸ εὖ ζῆν καὶ τὸ εὐδαιμονεῖν.

5. Whether Happiness depends on Extension of Time.

 ε Εἰ ἐν παρατάσει χρόνου τὸ εὐδαιμονεῖν· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· εἰ τὸ εὐδαιμονεῖν ἐπίδοσιν.  Περὶ τοῦ καλοῦ· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸ καλὸν ἔστι μὲν ἐν ὄψει.

6. On Beauty.

 ζ Περὶ τοῦ πρώτου ἀγαθοῦ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἀγαθῶν· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρ΄ ἄν τις ἕτερον εἴποι ἀγαθὸν ἑκάστῳ.

7. On the Primal Good and Secondary forms of Good.

 η Πόθεν τὰ κακά· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· οἱ ζητοῦντες πόθεν τὰ κακά.

8. On Evil.

 θ Περὶ τῆς ἐκ τοῦ βίου εὐλόγου ἐξαγωγῆς· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· οὐκ ἐξάξεις ἵνα μὴ ἐξίῃ.

9. On the Reasoned Withdrawal from Life.

 Ἡ μὲν οὖν πρώτη ἐννεὰς τάδε περιέχει ἠθικωτέρας ὑποθέσεις περιλαβοῦσα.

THE SECOND ENNEAD, following the more strictly ethical First, is physical, containing the disquisitions on the world and all that belongs to the world:

 Ἡ δὲ δευτέρα τῶν φυσικῶν συναγωγὴν ἔχουσα τὰ περὶ κόσμου καὶ τὰ τῷ κόσμῳ ἀνήκοντα περιέχει. Ἔστι δὲ ταῦτα·

1. On the World.

α Περὶ τοῦ κόσμου· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸν κόσμον ἀεὶ λέγοντες καὶ πρόσθεν εἶναι.

2. On the Circular Movement.

 β Περὶ τῆς κυκλοφορίας· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· διὰ τί κύκλῳ κινεῖται.

3. Whether the Stars have Causal Operation.

 γ Εἰ ποιεῖ τὰ ἄστρα· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ὅτι ἡ τῶν ἄστρων φορὰ σημαίνει.

4. On the Two Orders of Matter.

 δ Περὶ τῶν δύο ὑλῶν· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὴν λεγομένην ὕλην.

5. On Potentiality and Actuality.

 ε Περὶ τοῦ δυνάμει καὶ ἐνεργείᾳ· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· λέγεται τὸ μὲν δυνάμει͵ τὸ δὲ ἐνεργείᾳ.

6. On Quality and Form.

  Περὶ ποιότητος καὶ εἴδους· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρα τὸ ὂν καὶ ἡ οὐσία ἕτερον.

7. On Coalescence.

 ζ Περὶ τῆς δι΄ ὅλων κράσεως· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· περὶ τῆς δι΄ ὅλων.

8. Why Distant Objects appear Small.

 η Πῶς τὰ πόρρω ὁρώμενα μικρὰ φαίνεται· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρα τὰ πόρρω ἐλάττω φαίνεται.

9. Against those Declaring the Creator of the World, and the World itself, to be Evil.

 θ Πρὸς τοὺς κακὸν τὸν δημιουργὸν τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τὸν κόσμον κακὸν εἶναι λέγοντας· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἐπειδὴ τοίνυν ἐφάνη ἡμῖν.

THE THIRD ENNEAD, still keeping to the World, discusses the philosophical implications of some of its features:

Ἡ δὲ τρίτη ἐννεὰς ἔτι τὰ περὶ κόσμου ἔχουσα περι είληφε τὰ περὶ τῶν κατὰ τὸν κόσμον θεωρουμένων ταῦτα·

1. On Fate.

α Περὶ εἱμαρμένης· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἅπαντα τὰ γιγνόμενα.

2. The First Treatise on Providence.

 β Περὶ προνοίας πρῶτον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸ μὲν τῷ αὐτομάτῳ.

3. The Second Treatise on Providence.

 γ Περὶ προνοίας δεύτερον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τί τοίνυν δοκεῖ περὶ τούτων.

4. On Our Tutelary Spirit.

 δ Περὶ τοῦ εἰληχότος ἡμᾶς δαίμονος· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τῶν μὲν αἱ ὑποστάσεις.

5. On Love.

 ε Περὶ ἔρωτος· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· περὶ ἔρωτος πότερα θεός τις.

6. On the Impassibility of the Bodiless.

  Περὶ τῆς ἀπαθείας τῶν ἀσωμάτων· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὰς αἰσθήσεις οὐ λέγοντες πάθη.

7. On Eternity and Time.

 ζ Περὶ αἰῶνος καὶ χρόνου· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸν αἰῶνα καὶ τὸν χρόνον.

8. On Nature, Contemplation, and The One.

 η Περὶ φύσεως καὶ θεωρίας καὶ τοῦ ἑνός· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· παίζοντες δὴ τὴν πρώτην.

9. Various Questions.

 θ Ἐπισκέψεις διάφοροι· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· νοῦς φησιν ὁρᾷ ἐνούσας.

25. THESE first three Enneads constitute in my arrangement one self-contained section.

25 Ταύτας τὰς τρεῖς ἐννεάδας ἡμεῖς ἐν ἑνὶ σωματίῳ τάξαντες κατεσκευάσαμεν.

The treatise on Our Tutelary Spirit is placed in the Third Ennead because this Spirit is not discussed as it is in itself, and the essay by its main content falls into the class dealing with the origin of man. Similar reasons determined the inclusion in this set of the treatise on Love.

 Ἐν δὲ τῇ τρίτῃ ἐννεάδι ἐτάξαμεν καὶ τὸ Περὶ τοῦ εἰληχότος ἡμᾶς δαίμονος͵ ὅτι καθόλου θεωρεῖται τὰ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔστι τὸ πρόβλημα καὶ παρὰ τοῖς τὰ κατὰ τὰς γενέσεις τῶν ἀνθρώπων σκεπτο μένοις.
 Ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ὁ Περὶ ἔρωτος τόπος.

That on Eternity and Time is placed in this Third Ennead in virtue of its treatment of Time: that on Nature, Contemplation, and The One, because of the discussion of Nature contained in it.

 Τὸ δὲ Περὶ αἰῶνος καὶ χρόνου διὰ τὸ περὶ τοῦ χρόνου ἐνταῦθα ἐτάξαμεν.
 Τὸ δὲ Περὶ φύσεως καὶ θεωρίας καὶ τοῦ ἑνὸς διὰ τὸ περὶ φύσεως κεφάλαιον ἐνταῦθα τέτακται.

Next to the two dealing with the world comes the FOURTH ENNEAD containing the treatises dealing with the Soul:

 Ἡ δὲ τετάρτη ἐννεὰς μετὰ τὰ περὶ κόσμου τὰ περὶ ψυχῆς εἴληχε συγγράμματα. Ἔχει δὲ τάδε·

1. On the Essence of the Soul (I)

α Περὶ οὐσίας ψυχῆς πρῶτον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὴν τῆς ψυχῆς οὐσίαν τίς ποτέ ἐστι.

2. On the Essence of the Soul (II)

 β Περὶ οὐσίας ψυχῆς δεύτερον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τῷ νοητῷ.

3. Questions referring to the Soul (I)

 γ Περὶ ψυχῆς ἀποριῶν πρῶτον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· περὶ ψυχῆς ὅσα ἀπορήσαντας δεῖ εἰς εὐπορίαν καταστῆναι.

4. Questions referring to the Soul (II)

 δ Περὶ ψυχῆς ἀποριῶν δεύτερον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τί οὖν ἐρεῖ.

5. Questions referring to the Soul (III)

 ε Περὶ ψυχῆς ἀποριῶν τρίτον ἢ περὶ ὄψεως· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἐπειδὴ ὑπερεθέμεθα σκέψασθαι.

6. On Sensation and Memory.

  Περὶ αἰσθήσεως καὶ μνήμης· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὰς αἰσθήσεις οὐ τυπώσεις.

7. On the Immortality of the Soul.

 ζ Περὶ ἀθανασίας ψυχῆς· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· εἰ δέ ἐστιν ἀθάνατος ἕκαστος.

8. On the Descent of the Soul into Bodies.

 η Περὶ τῆς εἰς τὰ σώματα καθόδου τῆς ψυχῆς· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· πολλάκις ἐγειρόμενος.

9. Whether all Souls are One.

 θ Εἰ αἱ πᾶσαι ψυχαὶ μία· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρα ὥσπερ τὴν ψυχὴν ἑκάστου φαμέν.

THE FIFTH ENNEAD--following upon that dealing with the Soul--contains the treatises upon the Intellectual-Principle, each of which had also some reference to the All-Transcending and to the Intellectual-Principle in the Soul, and to the Ideas:

 Ἡ μὲν οὖν τετάρτη ἐννεὰς τὰς περὶ ψυχῆς αὐτῆς ὑποθέσεις ἔσχε πάσας. Ἡ δὲ πέμπτη ἔχει μὲν τὰς περὶ νοῦ͵ περιέχει δὲ ἕκαστον τῶν βιβλίων ἔν τισι καὶ περὶ τοῦ ἐπέκεινα καὶ περὶ τοῦ ἐν ψυχῇ νοῦ καὶ περὶ τῶν ἰδεῶν. Ἔστι δὲ τάδε·

1. On the three Primal Hypostases.

 α Περὶ τῶν τριῶν ἀρχικῶν ὑποστάσεων· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τί ποτέ ἐστιν ἄρα τὸ πεποιηκός.

2. On the Origin and Order of the Post-Primals.

 β Περὶ γενέσεως καὶ τάξεως τῶν μετὰ τὸ πρῶτον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸ ἓν πάντα.

3. On the Conscious Hypostases and the All-Transcending.

 γ Περὶ τῶν γνωριστικῶν ὑποστάσεων καὶ τοῦ ἐπέκεινα.

4. How the Post-Primal derives from the Primal, and on the One.

 οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρα τὸ νοοῦν ἑαυτὸ ποικίλον δεῖ εἶναι.

5. That the Intelligibles are not outside the Intellectual-Principle, and on the Good.

 δ Πῶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πρώτου τὸ μετὰ τὸ πρῶτον καὶ περὶ τοῦ ἑνός· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· εἴ τι ἔστι μετὰ τὸ πρῶτον͵ ἀνάγκη ἐξ ἐκείνου εἶναι.

6. That there is no Intellectual Act in the Principle which transcends the Authentic-Existent; and on the Nature that has the Intellectual Act Primally and that which has it Secondarily.

 ε Ὅτι οὐκ ἔξω τοῦ νοῦ τὰ νοητὰ καὶ περὶ τἀγαθοῦ· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸν νοῦν τὸν ἀληθῆ νοῦν.

7. Whether there are Ideas even of Particulars.

  Περὶ τοῦ τὸ ἐπέκεινα τοῦ ὄντος μὴ νοεῖν· καὶ τί τὸ πρώτως νοοῦν καὶ τί τὸ δευτέρως· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸ μέν ἐστι νοεῖν.

8. On Intellectual Beauty.

 ζ Περὶ τοῦ εἰ καὶ τῶν καθέκαστά ἐστιν εἴδη· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· εἰ καὶ τοῦ καθέκαστον.

9. On the Intellectual-Principle, on the Ideas, and on the Authentic-Existent.

 η Περὶ τοῦ νοητοῦ κάλλους· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἐπειδή φαμεν τὸν ἐν θέᾳ τοῦ νοητοῦ.

26. THESE Fourth and Fifth Enneads, again, I have arranged in the form of one distinct section.

 θ Περὶ νοῦ καὶ τῶν ἰδεῶν καὶ τοῦ ὄντος· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· πάντες ἄνθρωποι ἐξ ἀρχῆς γενόμενοι.

The last Ennead, the Sixth, constitutes one other section, so that we have the entire work of Plotinus in three sections, the first containing three Enneads, the second two, the third one Ennead.

26 Καὶ τὴν τετάρτην οὖν καὶ πέμπτην ἐννεάδα εἰς ἓν σωμάτιον κατελέξαμεν. Λοιπὴν δὲ τὴν ἕκτην ἐν νεάδα εἰς ἄλλο σωμάτιον͵ ὡς διὰ τριῶν σωματίων γε γράφθαι τὰ Πλωτίνου πάντα͵ ὧν τὸ μὲν πρῶτον σω μάτιον ἔχει τρεῖς ἐννεάδας͵ τὸ δὲ δεύτερον δύο͵ τὸ δὲ τρίτον μίαν.

The content of the third section, that is of the SIXTH ENNEAD, is as follows:

Ἔστι δὲ τὰ τοῦ τρίτου σωματίου͵ ἐννεάδος δὲ ἕκτης͵ ταῦτα·

1,2,3. On the Kinds of Being.

α Περὶ τῶν γενῶν τοῦ ὄντος πρῶτον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· περὶ τῶν ὄντων πόσα καὶ τίνα.


 β Περὶ τῶν γενῶν τοῦ ὄντος δεύτερον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἐπειδὴ περὶ τῶν λεγομένων δέκα γενῶν ἐπέσκεπται.


 γ Περὶ τῶν γενῶν τοῦ ὄντος τρίτον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· περὶ μὲν τῆς οὐσίας ὅπῃ δοκεῖ.

4,5. That the Authentic-Existent, on and identical, is everywhere present, integrally.

 δ Περὶ τοῦ τὸ ὂν ἓν καὶ ταὐτὸ ὂν ἅμα πανταχοῦ εἶναι ὅλον πρῶτον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρά γε ἡ ψυχὴ πανταχοῦ τῷ παντὶ πάρεστι.


 ε Περὶ τοῦ τὸ ὂν ἓν καὶ ταὐτὸ ὂν ἅμα πανταχοῦ εἶναι ὅλον δεύτερον· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· τὸ ἓν καὶ ταὐτὸν ἀριθμῷ πανταχοῦ ἅμα ὅλον εἶναι.

6. On Numbers.

  Περὶ ἀριθμῶν· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρα ἐστὶ τὸ πλῆθος ἀπόστασις τοῦ ἑνός.

7. How the Multitude of Ideas Exists; and on the Good

 ζ Πῶς τὸ πλῆθος τῶν ἰδεῶν ὑπέστη καὶ περὶ τἀγαθοῦ· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· εἰς γένεσιν πέμπων ὁ θεός.

8. On Free-Will and the Will of the One.

 η Περὶ τοῦ ἑκουσίου καὶ θελήματος τοῦ ἑνός· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἆρα ἐστὶν ἐπὶ θεῶν εἴ τι ἔστιν ἐπ΄ αὐτοῖς ζητεῖν.

9. On the Good, or The One.

 θ Περὶ τἀγαθοῦ ἢ τοῦ ἑνός· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ἅπαντα τὰ ὄντα τῷ ἑνί ἐστιν ὄντα.

Thus, in sum, I have arranged the fifty-four treatises, constituting Plotinus’ entire work, into six sets of nine: to some of the treatises I have further added commentaries--irregularly, as friends asked for enlightenment on this or that point; finally for all the treatises, except that on Beauty, which was not to hand, I have written Summaries which follow the chronological order: in this department of my work besides the Summaries will be found Developments; the numbering of these also adopts the chronological order.

 Τὰ μὲν οὖν βιβλία εἰς ἓξ ἐννεάδας τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον κατετάξαμεν τέσσαρα καὶ πεντήκοντα ὄντα· καταβε βλήμεθα δὲ καὶ εἴς τινα αὐτῶν ὑπομνήματα ἀτάκτως διὰ τοὺς ἐπείξαντας ἡμᾶς ἑταίρους γράφειν εἰς ἅπερ αὐτοὶ τὴν σαφήνειαν αὐτοῖς γενέσθαι ἠξίουν.
 Ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ τὰ κεφάλαια τῶν πάντων πλὴν τοῦ Περὶ τοῦ καλοῦ διὰ τὸ λεῖψαι ἡμῖν πεποιήμεθα κατὰ τὴν χρονικὴν ἔκδοσιν τῶν βιβλίων· ἀλλ΄ ἐν τούτῳ οὐ τὰ κεφάλαια μόνον καθ΄ ἕκασ τον ἔκκειται τῶν βιβλίων͵ ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐπιχειρήματα͵ ἃ ὡς κεφάλαια συναριθμεῖται.

Now I have only to go once more through the entire work, see to the punctuation, and correct any verbal errors; what else has solicited my attention, the reader will discover for himself.

 Νυνὶ δὲ πειρασόμεθα ἕκαστον τῶν βιβλίων διερχόμενοι τάς τε στιγμὰς αὐτῶν προσθεῖναι καὶ εἴ τι ἡμαρτημένον εἴη κατὰ λέξιν διορθοῦν· καὶ ὅ τι ἂν ἡμᾶς ἄλλο κινήσῃ͵ αὐτὸ σημαίνει τὸ ἔργον.

Porphyry: On the Life of Plotinus and the Arrangement of his Work





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