Plato's unwritten doctrines
Plato's so-called unwritten doctrines are metaphysical theories ascribed to him by his students and other ancient philosophers but not formulated in his writings. In recent research, they are sometimes known as Plato's'principle theory' because they involve two fundamental principles from which the rest of the system derives. Plato is thought to have orally expounded these doctrines to Aristotle and the other students in the Academy and they were afterwards transmitted to generations; the credibility of the sources that ascribe these doctrines to Plato is controversial. They indicate that Plato believed certain parts of his teachings were not suitable for open publication. Since these doctrines could not be explained in writing in a way that would be accessible to general readers, their dissemination would lead to misunderstandings. Plato therefore limited himself to teaching the unwritten doctrines to his more advanced students in the Academy; the surviving evidence for the content of the unwritten doctrines is thought to derive from this oral teaching.
In the middle of the twentieth century, historians of philosophy initiated a wide-ranging project aiming at systematically reconstructing the foundations of the unwritten doctrines. The group of researchers who led this investigation, which became well-known among classicists and historians, came to be called the'Tübingen School', because some of its leading members were based at the University of Tübingen in southern Germany. On the other hand, numerous scholars had serious reservations about the project or condemned it altogether. Many critics thought. Others contested the existence of the unwritten doctrines or at least doubted their systematic character and considered them mere tentative proposals; the intense and sometimes polemical disputes between the advocates and critics of the Tübingen School were conducted on both sides with great energy. Advocates suggested; the expression'unwritten doctrines' refers to doctrines of Plato taught inside his school and was first used by his student Aristotle.
In his treatise on physics, he wrote that Plato had used a concept in one dialogue differently than'in the so-called unwritten doctrines.' Modern scholars who defend the authenticity of the unwritten doctrines ascribed to Plato lay stress on this ancient expression. They hold that Aristotle neutrally; the scholarly literature sometimes uses the term'esoteric doctrines.' This has nothing to do with the meanings of'esoteric' common today: it does not indicate a secret doctrine. For scholars,'esoteric' indicates only that the unwritten doctrines were intended for a circle of philosophy students inside Plato's school, they had the necessary preparation and had studied Plato's published doctrines his Theory of Forms, called his'exoteric doctrine'. Modern advocates of the possibility of reconstructing the unwritten doctrines are called in a short and casual way'esotericists' and their skeptical opponents are thus'anti-esotericists.'The Tübingen School is sometimes called the Tübingen School of Plato studies to distinguish it from an earlier'Tübingen School' of theologians based at the same university.
Some refer to the'Tübingen paradigm.' Since Plato's unwritten doctrines were vigorously defended by the Italian scholar Giovanni Reale, who taught in Milan, some refer to the'Tübingen and Milanese School' of Plato interpretation. Reale introduced the term'protology,' i.e.'doctrine of the One,' for the unwritten doctrines, since the highest of the principles ascribed to Plato is known as the'One.' The case for the unwritten doctrines involves two steps. The first step consists in the presentation of the direct and circumstantial evidence for the existence of special philosophical doctrines taught orally by Plato. This, it is claimed, shows that Plato's dialogues, which have all survived, do not contain all of his teaching, but only those doctrines suitable for dissemination by written texts. In the second step, the range of sources for the supposed content of the unwritten doctrines is evaluated and the attempt made to reconstruct a coherent philosophical system; the chief evidence and arguments for the existence of Plato's unwritten doctrines are the following: Passages in Aristotle's Metaphysics and Physics the one in the Physics where Aristotle explicitly refers to the'so-called unwritten doctrines.'
Aristotle was for many years a student of Plato, it is assumed that he was well-acquainted with the teaching activity in the Academy and thus a good informant. The report of Aristoxenus, a student of Aristotle, about Plato's public lecture'On the Good.' According to Aristoxenus, Aristotle told him that the lecture contained mathematical and astronomical illustrations and Plato's theme was the'One,' his highest principle. This together with the title of the lecture implies it dealt with the two principles at the heart of the unwritten doctrines. According to Aristotle's report, the philosophically unprepared audience met the lecture with incomprehension; the criticism of writing in Plato's dialogues. Many dialogues accepted as authentic are skeptical about the written word as a medium for transferring knowledge and express a preference for oral transmission. Plato's Phaedrus explains this position in detail. There the superiority of oral over written teaching for transmitting
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, known as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period. Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop and, despite his death at 37, leaving a large body of work. Many of his works are found in the Vatican Palace, where the frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, the largest, work of his career; the best known work is The School of Athens in the Vatican Stanza della Segnatura. After his early years in Rome, much of his work was executed by his workshop from his drawings, with considerable loss of quality, he was influential in his lifetime, though outside Rome his work was known from his collaborative printmaking. After his death, the influence of his great rival Michelangelo was more widespread until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael's more serene and harmonious qualities were again regarded as the highest models.
His career falls into three phases and three styles, first described by Giorgio Vasari: his early years in Umbria a period of about four years absorbing the artistic traditions of Florence, followed by his last hectic and triumphant twelve years in Rome, working for two Popes and their close associates. Raphael was born in the small but artistically significant central Italian city of Urbino in the Marche region, where his father Giovanni Santi was court painter to the Duke; the reputation of the court had been established by Federico da Montefeltro, a successful condottiere, created Duke of Urbino by Pope Sixtus IV – Urbino formed part of the Papal States – and who died the year before Raphael was born. The emphasis of Federico's court was rather more literary than artistic, but Giovanni Santi was a poet of sorts as well as a painter, had written a rhymed chronicle of the life of Federico, both wrote the texts and produced the decor for masque-like court entertainments, his poem to Federico shows him as keen to show awareness of the most advanced North Italian painters, Early Netherlandish artists as well.
In the small court of Urbino he was more integrated into the central circle of the ruling family than most court painters. Federico was succeeded by his son Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, who married Elisabetta Gonzaga, daughter of the ruler of Mantua, the most brilliant of the smaller Italian courts for both music and the visual arts. Under them, the court continued as a centre for literary culture. Growing up in the circle of this small court gave Raphael the excellent manners and social skills stressed by Vasari. Court life in Urbino at just after this period was to become set as the model of the virtues of the Italian humanist court through Baldassare Castiglione's depiction of it in his classic work The Book of the Courtier, published in 1528. Castiglione moved to Urbino in 1504, when Raphael was no longer based there but visited, they became good friends, he became close to other regular visitors to the court: Pietro Bibbiena and Pietro Bembo, both cardinals, were becoming well known as writers, would be in Rome during Raphael's period there.
Raphael mixed in the highest circles throughout his life, one of the factors that tended to give a misleading impression of effortlessness to his career. He did not receive a full humanistic education however, his mother Màgia died in 1491 when Raphael was eight, followed on August 1, 1494 by his father, who had remarried. Raphael was thus orphaned at eleven, he continued to live with his stepmother when not staying as an apprentice with a master. He had shown talent, according to Vasari, who says that Raphael had been "a great help to his father". A self-portrait drawing from his teenage years shows his precocity, his father's workshop continued and together with his stepmother, Raphael evidently played a part in managing it from a early age. In Urbino, he came into contact with the works of Paolo Uccello the court painter, Luca Signorelli, who until 1498 was based in nearby Città di Castello. According to Vasari, his father placed him in the workshop of the Umbrian master Pietro Perugino as an apprentice "despite the tears of his mother".
The evidence of an apprenticeship comes only from Vasari and another source, has been disputed—eight was early for an apprenticeship to begin. An alternative theory is that he received at least some training from Timoteo Viti, who acted as court painter in Urbino from 1495. Most modern historians agree that Raphael at least worked as an assistant to Perugino from around 1500. Vasari wrote that it was impossible to distinguish between their hands at this period, but many modern art historians claim to do better and detect his hand in specific areas of works by Perugino or his workshop. Apart from stylistic closeness, their techniques are similar as well, for example having paint applied thickly, using an oil varnish medium, in shadows and darker garments, but thinly on flesh areas. An excess of resin in the varnish causes cracking of areas of paint in the works of both masters; the Perugino workshop w
Platonism, rendered as a proper noun, is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered derived from it. In narrower usage, rendered as a common noun, refers to the philosophy that affirms the existence of abstract objects, which are asserted to "exist" in a "third realm" distinct both from the sensible external world and from the internal world of consciousness, is the opposite of nominalism. Lower case "platonists" need not accept any of the doctrines of Plato. In a narrower sense, the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism; the central concept of Platonism, a distinction essential to the Theory of Forms, is the distinction between the reality, perceptible but unintelligible, the reality, imperceptible but intelligible. The forms are described in dialogues such as the Phaedo and Republic as transcendent perfect archetypes of which objects in the everyday world are imperfect copies. In the Republic the highest form is identified as the Form of the Good, the source of all other forms, which could be known by reason.
In the Sophist, a work, the forms being and difference are listed among the primordial "Great Kinds". In the 3rd century BC, Arcesilaus adopted skepticism, which became a central tenet of the school until 90 BC when Antiochus added Stoic elements, rejected skepticism, began a period known as Middle Platonism. In the 3rd century AD, Plotinus added mystical elements, establishing Neoplatonism, in which the summit of existence was the One or the Good, the source of all things. Platonism had a profound effect on Western thought, many Platonic notions were adopted by the Christian church which understood Plato's forms as God's thoughts, while Neoplatonism became a major influence on Christian mysticism, in the West through St Augustine, Doctor of the Catholic Church whose Christian writings were influenced by Plotinus' Enneads, in turn were foundations for the whole of Western Christian thought; the primary concept is the Theory of Forms. The only true being is founded upon the forms, the eternal, perfect types, of which particular objects of moral and responsible sense are imperfect copies.
The multitude of objects of sense, being involved in perpetual change, are thereby deprived of all genuine existence. The number of the forms is defined by the number of universal concepts which can be derived from the particular objects of sense; the following excerpt may be representative of Plato's middle period metaphysics and epistemology: "Since the beautiful is opposite of the ugly, they are two." "Of course." "And since they are two, each is one?" "I grant that also." "And the same account is true of the just and unjust, the good and the bad, all the forms. Each of them is itself one, but because they manifest themselves everywhere in association with actions and one another, each of them appears to be many." "That's right." "So, I draw this distinction: On one side are those you just now called lovers of sights, lovers of crafts, practical people. "How do you mean?" "The lovers of sights and sounds like beautiful sounds, colors and everything fashioned out of them, but their thought is unable to see and embrace the nature of the beautiful itself."
"That's for sure." "In fact, there are few people who would be able to reach the beautiful itself and see it by itself. Isn't that so?" "Certainly." "What about someone who believes in beautiful things, but doesn't believe in the beautiful itself and isn't able to follow anyone who could lead him to the knowledge of it? Don't you think he is living in a dream rather than a wakened state? Isn't this dreaming: whether asleep or awake, to think that a likeness is not a likeness but rather the thing itself that it is like?" "I think that someone who does, dreaming." "But someone who, to take the opposite case, believes in the beautiful itself, can see both it and the things that participate in it and doesn't believe that the participants are it or that it itself is the participants--is he living in a dream or is he awake? "He's much awake." Book VI of the Republic identifies the highest form as the Form of the Good, the cause of all other Ideas, that on which the being and knowing of all other Forms is contingent.
Conceptions derived from the impressions of sense can never give us the knowledge of true being. It can only be obtained by the soul's activity within itself, apart from the troubles and disturbances of sense. Dialectic, as the instrument in this process, leading us to knowledge of the forms, to the highest form of the Good, is the first of sciences. Neoplatonism, beginning with Plotinus, identified the Good of the Republic with the so-called transcendent, absolute One of the first hypothesis of the Parmenides. Platonist ethics is based on the Form of the Good. Virtue is the recognition of the supreme form of the good. And, since in this cognition, the three parts of the soul, which are reason and appetite, all have their share, we get the three virtues, Wisdom and Moderation; the bond which unites the other virtues is the virtue of Justice, by which each part of the soul is confined to the performance of its proper function. Platonism had a profound effect on Western thought. In many interpretations of the Timaeus Platonism, like Aristotelianism, poses an eternal universe, as opposed to the nearby Judaic tradition that the universe had bee
In the Platonic, Middle Platonic, Neoplatonic schools of philosophy, the demiurge is an artisan-like figure responsible for fashioning and maintaining the physical universe. The Gnostics adopted the term "demiurge". Although a fashioner, the demiurge is not the same as the creator figure in the monotheistic sense, because the demiurge itself and the material from which the demiurge fashions the universe are both considered to be consequences of something else. Depending on the system, they may be considered to be either uncreated and eternal or the product of some other entity; the word "demiurge" is an English word derived from demiurgus, a Latinized form of the Greek δημιουργός or dēmiourgos. It was a common noun meaning "craftsman" or "artisan", but came to mean "producer", "creator"; the philosophical usage and the proper noun derive from Plato's Timaeus, written c. 360 BC, where the demiurge is presented as the creator of the universe. The demiurge is described as a creator in the Platonic and Middle Platonic philosophical traditions.
In the various branches of the Neoplatonic school, the demiurge is the fashioner of the real, perceptible world after the model of the Ideas, but is still not itself "the One". In the arch-dualist ideology of the various Gnostic systems, the material universe is evil, while the non-material world is good. According to some strains of Gnosticism, the demiurge is malevolent, as it is linked to the material world. In others, including the teaching of Valentinus, the demiurge is ignorant or misguided. Plato, as the speaker Timaeus, refers to the Demiurge in the Socratic dialogue Timaeus, c. 360 BC. The main character refers to the Demiurge as the entity who "fashioned and shaped" the material world. Timaeus describes the Demiurge as unreservedly benevolent, so it desires a world as good as possible; the world remains imperfect, because the Demiurge created the world out of a chaotic, indeterminate non-being. Plato's work Timaeus is a philosophical reconciliation of Hesiod's cosmology in his Theogony, syncretically reconciling Hesiod to Homer.
In Numenius's Neo-Pythagorean and Middle Platonist cosmogony, the Demiurge is second God as the nous or thought of intelligibles and sensibles. Plotinus and the Platonists worked to clarify the Demiurge. To Plotinus, the second emanation represents an uncreated second cause. Plotinus sought to reconcile Aristotle's energeia with Plato's Demiurge, which, as Demiurge and mind, is a critical component in the ontological construct of human consciousness used to explain and clarify substance theory within Platonic realism. In order to reconcile Aristotelian with Platonian philosophy, Plotinus metaphorically identified the demiurge within the pantheon of the Greek Gods as Zeus; the first and highest aspect of God is described by Plato as the source, or the Monad. This is the God above the Demiurge, manifests through the actions of the Demiurge; the Monad emanated the demiurge or Nous from its "indeterminate" vitality due to the monad being so abundant that it overflowed back onto itself, causing self-reflection.
This self-reflection of the indeterminate vitality was referred to by Plotinus as the "Demiurge" or creator. The second principle is organization in its reflection of the nonsentient force or dynamis called the one or the Monad; the dyad is energeia emanated by the one, the work, process or activity called nous, mind, consciousness that organizes the indeterminate vitality into the experience called the material world, cosmos. Plotinus elucidates the equation of matter with nothing or non-being in The Enneads which more is to express the concept of idealism or that there is not anything or anywhere outside of the "mind" or nous. Plotinus' form of Platonic idealism is to treat the Demiurge, nous as the contemplative faculty within man which orders the force into conscious reality. In this, he claimed to reveal Plato's true meaning: a doctrine he learned from Platonic tradition that did not appear outside the academy or in Plato's text; this tradition of creator God as nous, can be validated in the works of pre-Plotinus philosophers such as Numenius, as well as a connection between Hebrew and Platonic cosmology.
The Demiurge of Neoplatonism is the Nous, is one of the three ordering principles: Arche – the source of all things, Logos – the underlying order, hidden beneath appearances, Harmonia – numerical ratios in mathematics. Before Numenius of Apamea and Plotinus' Enneads, no Platonic works ontologically clarified the Demiurge from the allegory in Plato's Timaeus; the idea of Demiurge was, addressed before Plotinus in the works of Christian writer Justin Martyr who built his understanding of the Demiurge on the works of Numenius. The Neoplatonist Iamblichus changed the role of the "One" altering the role of the Demiurge as second cause or dyad, one of the reasons that Iamblichus and his teacher Porphyry came into conflict; the figure of the Demiurge emerges in the theoretic of Iamblichus, which conjoins the transcendent, incommunicable “One,” or Source. Here, at the summit of this system, the Source and Demiurge coexist via the process of henosis. Iamblichus describes the One as a monad whose first principle or emanation is intellect, while among "the many" that follow it there is a second, super-existent "One", the
The Academy was founded by Plato in c. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle studied there for twenty years before founding the Lyceum; the Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC. The Platonic Academy was destroyed by the Roman dictator Sulla in 86 BC; the Akademia was a school outside the city walls of ancient Athens. It was located in or beside a grove of olive trees dedicated to the goddess Athena, on the site before Cimon enclosed the precincts with a wall; the archaic name for the site was Ἑκαδήμεια, which by classical times evolved into Ἀκαδημία, explained, at least as early as the beginning of the 6th century BC, by linking it to “Akademos”, a legendary Athenian hero. The site of the Academy was sacred to Athena; the site was also associated with the twin hero-gods Castor and Polydeuces, since the hero Akademos associated with the site was credited with revealing to the brothers where the abductor Paris had hidden their sister Helen.
Out of respect for its long tradition and its association with the Dioscuri – who were patron gods of Sparta – the Spartan army would not ravage these original ‘groves of Academe’ when they invaded Attica. Their piety was not shared by the Roman Sulla, who axed the sacred olive trees of Athena in 86 BC to build siege engines. Among the religious observances that took place at the Akademeia was a torchlit night race from altars within the city to Prometheus’ altar in the Akademeia; the road to Akademeia was lined with the gravestones of Athenians, funeral games took place in the area as well as a Dionysiac procession from Athens to the Hekademeia and back to the city. The site of the Academy is located near Colonus 1.5 kilometres north of Athens' Dipylon gates. The site was rediscovered in the modern Akadimia Platonos neighbourhood. Visitors today can visit the archaeological site of the Academy located on either side of the Cratylus street in the area of Colonos and Plato's Academy. On either side of the Cratylus street are important monuments, including the Sacred House Geometric Era, the Gymnasium, the Proto-Helladic Vaulted House and the Peristyle Building, the only major building that belonged to the actual Academy of Plato.
What was to be known as Plato's school originated around the time Plato inherited the property at the age of thirty, with informal gatherings which included Theaetetus of Sunium, Archytas of Tarentum, Leodamas of Thasos, Neoclides. According to Debra Nails, Speusippus "joined the group in about 390 BC", she claims, "It is not until Eudoxus of Cnidos arrives in the mid-380s BC that Eudemus recognizes a formal Academy." There is no historical record of the exact time the school was founded, but modern scholars agree that the time was the mid-380s sometime after 387 BC, when Plato is thought to have returned from his first visit to Italy and Sicily. The meetings were held on Plato's property as as they were at the nearby Academy gymnasium. Though the Academic club was exclusive and not open to the public, it did not, at least during Plato's time, charge fees for membership. Therefore, there was not at that time a "school" in the sense of a clear distinction between teachers and students, or a formal curriculum.
There was, however, a distinction between junior members. Two women are known to have studied with Plato at the Academy, Axiothea of Phlius and Lasthenia of Mantinea. In at least Plato's time, the school did not have any particular doctrine to teach. There is evidence of lectures given, most notably Plato's lecture "On the Good". According to an unverifiable story, dated of some 700 years after the founding of the school, above the entrance to the Academy was inscribed the phrase "Let None But Geometers Enter Here."Many have imagined that the Academic curriculum would have resembled the one canvassed in Plato's Republic. Others, have argued that such a picture ignores the obvious peculiar arrangements of the ideal society envisioned in that dialogue; the subjects of study certainly included mathematics as well as the philosophical topics with which the Platonic dialogues deal, but there is little reliable evidence. There is some evidence for what today would be considered scientific research: Simplicius reports that Plato had instructed the other members to discover the simplest explanation of the observable, irregular motion of heavenly bodies: "by hypothesizing what uniform and ordered motions is it possible to save the appearances relating to planetary motions."
Plato's Academy is said to have been a school for would-be politicians in the ancient world, to have had many illustrious alumni. In a recent survey of the evidence, Malcolm Schofield, has argued that it is difficult to know to what extent the Academy was interested in practical politics since much of our evidence "reflects ancient polemic for or against Plato", it is believed that above the door of Plato's Academy was written Ἀγεωμέτρητος μηδεὶς εἰσίτω ("Let
The School of Athens
The School of Athens is a fresco by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1509 and 1511 as a part of Raphael's commission to decorate the rooms now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican; the Stanza della Segnatura was the first of the rooms to be decorated, The School of Athens, representing Philosophy, was the third painting to be finished there, after La Disputa on the opposite wall, the Parnassus. The picture has long been seen as "Raphael's masterpiece and the perfect embodiment of the classical spirit of the Renaissance"; the School of Athens is one of a group of four main frescoes on the walls of the Stanza that depict distinct branches of knowledge. Each theme is identified above by a separate tondo containing a majestic female figure seated in the clouds, with putti bearing the phrases: "Seek Knowledge of Causes," "Divine Inspiration," "Knowledge of Things Divine", "To Each What Is Due." Accordingly, the figures on the walls below exemplify Philosophy, Poetry and Law.
The traditional title is not Raphael's. The subject of the "School" is "Philosophy," or at least ancient Greek philosophy, its overhead tondo-label, "Causarum Cognitio", tells us what kind, as it appears to echo Aristotle's emphasis on wisdom as knowing why, hence knowing the causes, in Metaphysics Book I and Physics Book II. Indeed and Aristotle appear to be the central figures in the scene. However, all the philosophers depicted sought knowledge of first causes. Many lived before Plato and Aristotle, hardly a third were Athenians; the architecture contains Roman elements, but the general semi-circular setting having Plato and Aristotle at its centre might be alluding to Pythagoras' circumpunct. Commentators have suggested that nearly every great ancient Greek philosopher can be found in the painting, but determining which are depicted is difficult, since Raphael made no designations outside possible likenesses, no contemporary documents explain the painting. Compounding the problem, Raphael had to invent a system of iconography to allude to various figures for whom there were no traditional visual types.
For example, while the Socrates figure is recognizable from Classical busts, the alleged Epicurus is far removed from his standard type. Aside from the identities of the figures depicted, many aspects of the fresco have been variously interpreted, but few such interpretations are unanimously accepted among scholars; the popular idea that the rhetorical gestures of Plato and Aristotle are kinds of pointing is likely. But Plato's Timaeus –, the book Raphael places in his hand – was a sophisticated treatment of space and change, including the Earth, which guided mathematical sciences for over a millennium. Aristotle, with his four-elements theory, held that all change on Earth was owing to motions of the heavens. In the painting Aristotle carries his Ethics, which he denied could be reduced to a mathematical science, it is not certain how much the young Raphael knew of ancient philosophy, what guidance he might have had from people such as Bramante, or whether a detailed program was dictated by his sponsor, Pope Julius II.
The fresco has recently been interpreted as an exhortation to philosophy and, in a deeper way, as a visual representation of the role of Love in elevating people toward upper knowledge in consonance with contemporary theories of Marsilio Ficino and other neo-Platonic thinkers linked to Raphael. According to Vasari, the scene includes Raphael himself, the Duke of Mantua and some Evangelists. However, to Heinrich Wölfflin, "it is quite wrong to attempt interpretations of the School of Athens as an esoteric treatise... The all-important thing was the artistic motive which expressed a physical or spiritual state, the name of the person was a matter of indifference" in Raphael's time. Raphael's artistry orchestrates a beautiful space, continuous with that of viewers in the Stanza, in which a great variety of human figures, each one expressing "mental states by physical actions," interact, in a "polyphony" unlike anything in earlier art, in the ongoing dialogue of Philosophy. An interpretation of the fresco relating to hidden symmetries of the figures and the star constructed by Bramante was given by Guerino Mazzola and collaborators.
The main basis are two mirrored triangles on the drawing from Bramante, which correspond to the feet positions of certain figures. The identities of some of the philosophers in the picture, such as Plato and Aristotle, are certain. Beyond that, identifications of Raphael's figures have always been hypothetical. To complicate matters, beginning from Vasari's efforts, some have received multiple identifications, not only as ancients but as figures contemporary with Raphael. Vasari mentions portraits of the young Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, leaning over Bramante with his hands raised near the bottom right, Raphael himself, he was writing over 40 years after the painting, never knew Raphael, but no doubt reflects what was believed in his time. Many other popular identifications of portraits are dubious. Luitpold Dussler counts among those who can be identified with some certainty: Plato, Socrates, Euclid, Zoroaster, Raphael and Diogenes of Sinope. Other identifications he holds to be "more or less speculative".
A more comprehensive list of proposed identifications is given below: 1: Zeno of Citium 2: Epicurus 3: unknown 4: Boethius or Anaximander 5: Averroes 6: Pythagoras 7: Alcibiades or Alexander the Great or Pericles 8: Antisthe
Plotinus was a major Greek-speaking philosopher of the ancient world. In his philosophy, described in the Enneads, there are three principles: the One, the Intellect, the Soul, his teacher was Ammonius Saccas, of the Platonic tradition. Historians of the 19th century invented the term Neoplatonism and applied it to Plotinus and his philosophy, influential in Late Antiquity. Much of the biographical information about Plotinus comes from Porphyry's preface to his edition of Plotinus' Enneads, his metaphysical writings have inspired centuries of Pagan, Jewish and Gnostic metaphysicians and mystics. Porphyry reported that Plotinus was 66 years old when he died in 270, the second year of the reign of the emperor Claudius II, thus giving us the year of his teacher's birth as around 205. Eunapius reported that Plotinus was born in the Deltaic Lycopolis in Egypt, which has led to speculations that he may have been a native Egyptian of Roman, Greek, or Hellenized Egyptian descent. Plotinus had an inherent distrust of materiality, holding to the view that phenomena were a poor image or mimicry of something "higher and intelligible", the "truer part of genuine Being".
This distrust extended including his own. Plotinus never discussed his ancestry, childhood, or his place or date of birth. From all accounts his personal and social life exhibited spiritual standards. Plotinus took up the study of philosophy at the age of twenty-seven, around the year 232, travelled to Alexandria to study. There he was dissatisfied with every teacher he encountered until an acquaintance suggested he listen to the ideas of Ammonius Saccas. Upon hearing Ammonius lecture, he declared to his friend, "this was the man I was looking for," and began to study intently under his new instructor. Besides Ammonius, Plotinus was influenced by the works of Alexander of Aphrodisias and various Stoics. After spending the next eleven years in Alexandria, he decided, at the age of around 38, to investigate the philosophical teachings of the Persian philosophers and the Indian philosophers. In the pursuit of this endeavor he left Alexandria and joined the army of Gordian III as it marched on Persia.
However, the campaign was a failure, on Gordian's eventual death Plotinus found himself abandoned in a hostile land, only with difficulty found his way back to safety in Antioch. At the age of forty, during the reign of Philip the Arab, he came to Rome, where he stayed for most of the remainder of his life. There he attracted a number of students, his innermost circle included Porphyry, Amelius Gentilianus of Tuscany, the Senator Castricius Firmus, Eustochius of Alexandria, a doctor who devoted himself to learning from Plotinus and attending to him until his death. Other students included: Zethos, an Arab by ancestry who died before Plotinus, leaving him a legacy and some land, he had students amongst the Roman Senate beside Castricius, such as Marcellus Orontius and Rogantianus. Women were numbered amongst his students, including Gemina, in whose house he lived during his residence in Rome, her daughter Gemina. Plotinus was a correspondent of the philosopher Cassius Longinus. While in Rome Plotinus gained the respect of the Emperor Gallienus and his wife Salonina.
At one point Plotinus attempted to interest Gallienus in rebuilding an abandoned settlement in Campania, known as the'City of Philosophers', where the inhabitants would live under the constitution set out in Plato's Laws. An Imperial subsidy was never granted, for reasons unknown to Porphyry. Porphyry subsequently went to live in Sicily, where word reached him that his former teacher had died; the philosopher spent his final days in seclusion on an estate in Campania which his friend Zethos had bequeathed him. According to the account of Eustochius, who attended him at the end, Plotinus' final words were: "Try to raise the divine in yourselves to the divine in the all." Eustochius records that a snake crept under the bed where Plotinus lay, slipped away through a hole in the wall. Plotinus wrote the essays that became the Enneads over a period of several years from ca. 253 until a few months before his death seventeen years later. Porphyry makes note that the Enneads, before being compiled and arranged by himself, were the enormous collection of notes and essays which Plotinus used in his lectures and debates, rather than a formal book.
Plotinus was unable to revise his own work due to his poor eyesight, yet his writings required extensive editing, according to Porphyry: his master's handwriting was atrocious, he did not properly separate his words, he cared little for niceties of spelling. Plotinus intensely disliked the editorial process, turned the task to Porphyry, who not only polished them but put them into the arrangement we now have. Plotinus taught that there is a supreme transcendent "One", containing no division, multiplicity, or distinction, his "One" "cannot be any existing thing", nor is it the sum of all things, but "is prior to all existents". Plotinus identified his "One" with the concept of'Good' and the principle of'Beauty', his "One" concept encompassed object. The self-co