Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases. However, this is without conventions or rules dictating how or which theories were combined, it can sometimes seem inelegant or lacking in simplicity, eclectics are sometimes criticized for lack of consistency in their thinking. It is, common in many fields of study. For example, most psychologists accept certain aspects of behaviorism, but do not attempt to use the theory to explain all aspects of human behavior. Eclecticism in ethics and religion is known as syncretism. Eclecticism was first recorded to have been practiced by a group of ancient Greek and Roman philosophers who attached themselves to no real system, but selected from existing philosophical beliefs those doctrines that seemed most reasonable to them. Out of this collected material they constructed their new system of philosophy.
The term comes from the Greek ἐκλεκτικός "choosing the best", that from ἐκλεκτός, "picked out, select". Well known eclectics in Greek philosophy were the Stoics Panaetius and Posidonius, the New Academics Carneades and Philo of Larissa. Among the Romans, Cicero was eclectic, as he united the Peripatetic and New Academic doctrines. Philo's successor and Cicero's teacher Antiochus of Ascalon is credited with influencing the Academy so that it transitioned from Scepticism to Eclecticism. Other eclectics included Seneca the Younger. According to Rošker and Suhadolnik, however though eclecticism had a Greek origin, the term was used and it was given a negative connotation by historians of Greek thought, associating it with the description for impure and unoriginal thinking. Scholars such as Clement of Alexandria maintained that eclecticism had a long history in Greek philosophy and it is underpinned by a deeper metaphysical and theological conviction concerning the absolute/God as the source of all noble thoughts and that all parts of the truth can be found among the various philosophical systems.
The term eclecticism is used to describe the combination, in a single work, of elements from different historical styles, chiefly in architecture and, by implication, in the fine and decorative arts. The term is sometimes loosely applied to the general stylistic variety of 19th-century architecture after neoclassicism, although the revivals of styles in that period have, since the 1970s been referred to as aspects of historicism. Eclecticism plays an important role in critical discussions and evaluations but is somehow distant from the actual forms of the artifacts to which it is applied, its meaning is thus rather indistinct; the simplest definition of the term—that every work of art represents the combination of a variety of influences—is so basic as to be of little use. In some ways Eclecticism is reminiscent of Mannerism in that the term was used pejoratively for much of the period of its currency, unlike Mannerism, Eclecticism never amounted to a movement or constituted a specific style: it is characterized by the fact that it was not a particular style.
Some martial arts can be described as eclectic in the sense that they borrow techniques from a wide variety of other martial arts. In textual criticism, eclecticism is the practice of examining a wide number of text witnesses and selecting the variant that seems best; the result of the process is a text with readings drawn from many witnesses. In a purely eclectic approach, no single witness is theoretically favored. Instead, the critic forms opinions about individual witnesses, relying on both external and internal evidence. Since the mid-19th century, eclecticism, in which there is no a priori bias to a single manuscript, has been the dominant method of editing the Greek text of the New Testament. So, the oldest manuscripts, being of the Alexandrian text-type, are the most favored, the critical text has an Alexandrian disposition. In ancient philosophy, the Eclectics use elements from multiple philosophies, life experiences and their own philosophical ideas; these ideas include life as connected with existence, values, reason and language.
Antiochus of Ascalon, was the pupil of Philo of Larissa, the teacher of Cicero. Through his influence, Platonism made the transition from New Academy skepticism to Eclecticism. Whereas Philo had still adhered to the doctrine that there is nothing certain, Antiochus returned to a pronounced dogmatism. Among his other objections to skepticism was the consideration that without firm convictions no rational content of life is possible. Antiochus pointed out that it is a contradiction to assert that nothing can be asserted or to prove that nothing can be proved, he expounded the Academic and Stoic systems in such a way as to show that these three schools deviate from one another only in minor points. Antiochus himself was chiefly interested in ethics, in which he tried to find a middle way between Zeno and Plato. For instance, he said that virtue suffices for happiness, but for the highest grade of happiness bodily and external goods are necessary as well; this eclectic tendency was favoured by the lack of dogmatic works by Plato.
Middle Platonism was promoted by the necessity of considering the main theories of the post-Platonic schools of philosophy, such as the Aristotelian logic and the Stoic psychology and ethic
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens known as Clement of Alexandria, was a Christian theologian who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. A convert to Christianity, he was an educated man, familiar with classical Greek philosophy and literature; as his three major works demonstrate, Clement was influenced by Hellenistic philosophy to a greater extent than any other Christian thinker of his time, in particular by Plato and the Stoics. His secret works, which exist only in fragments, suggest that he was familiar with pre-Christian Jewish esotericism and Gnosticism. In one of his works he argued that Greek philosophy had its origin among non-Greeks, claiming that both Plato and Pythagoras were taught by Egyptian scholars. Among his pupils were Origen and Alexander of Jerusalem. Clement is regarded as a Church Father, he is venerated as a saint in Ethiopian Christianity and Anglicanism. He was revered in the Roman Catholic Church, but his name was removed from the Roman Martyrology in 1586 by Pope Sixtus V on the advice of Baronius.
Neither Clement's birthdate or birthplace is known with any degree of certainty. It is conjectured that he was born sometime around 150 CE. According to Epiphanius Scholasticus, he was born in Athens, but there is a tradition of an Alexandrian birth, his parents were pagans, Clement was a convert to Christianity. In the Protrepticus he displays an extensive knowledge of Greek mythology and mystery religions, which could only have arisen from the practice of his family's religion. Having rejected paganism as a young man due to its perceived moral corruption, he travelled in Greece, Asia Minor and Egypt. Clement's journeys were a religious undertaking. In Greece, he encountered an Ionian theologian, identified as Athenagoras of Athens. In around 180, Clement reached Alexandria, where he met Pantaenus, who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. Eusebius suggests that Pantaenus was the head of the school, but it is controversial whether the institutions of the school were formalized in this way before the time of Origen.
Clement studied under Pantaenus, was ordained to the priesthood by Pope Julian before 189. Otherwise nothing is known of Clement's life in Alexandria, he may have been married, a conjecture supported by his writings. During the Severian persecutions of 202–203, Clement left Alexandria. In 211, Alexander of Jerusalem wrote a letter commending him to the Church of Antioch, which may imply that Clement was living in Cappadocia or Jerusalem at that time; the date and location of his death are unknown. Three of Clement's major works have survived in full, they are collectively referred to as the trilogy: the Protrepticus – written c. 195. The Paedagogus – written c. 198. The Stromata – written c. 198 – c. 203. The Protrepticus is, as its title suggests, an exhortation to the pagans of Greece to adopt Christianity, within it Clement demonstrates his extensive knowledge of pagan mythology and theology, it is chiefly important due to Clement's exposition of religion as an anthropological phenomenon. After a short philosophical discussion, it opens with a history of Greek religion in seven stages.
Clement suggests that at first, men mistakenly believed the Sun, the Moon and other heavenly bodies to be gods. The next development was the worship of the products of agriculture, from which he contends the cults of Demeter and Dionysus arose. Man paid reverence to revenge, deified human feelings of love and fear, among others. In the following stage, the poets Hesiod and Homer attempt to enumerate the Gods. Men proclaimed other men, such as Asclepius and Heracles, deities. Discussing idolatry, Clement contends that the objects of primitive religion were unshaped wood and stone, idols thus arose when such natural items were carved. Following Plato, Clement is critical of all forms of visual art, suggesting that artworks are but illusions and "deadly toys". Clement criticizes Greek paganism in the Protrepticus on the basis that its deities are both false and poor moral examples, he attacks the mystery religions for their obscurantism and trivial rituals. In particular, the worshippers of Dionysus are ridiculed for their ritual use of children's toys.
He suggests at some points that the pagan deities are based on humans, but at others that they are misanthropic demons, he cites several classical sources in support of this second hypothesis. Clement, like many pre-Nicene fathers, writes favourably about Euhemerus and other rationalist philosophers, on the grounds that they at least saw the flaws in paganism. However, his greatest praise is reserved for Plato, whose apophatic views of God prefigure Christianity; the figure of Orpheus is prominent throughout the narrative, Clement contrasts his song, representing pagan superstition, with the divine Logos of Christ. According to Clement, through conversion to Christianity alone can man participate in the Logos, universal truth; this work's title, translatable as "tutor", refers to Christ as the teacher of all mankind, it features an extended metaphor of Christians as children. It is not instructional: the author intends to show how the Christian should respond to the Love of God authentically.
Clement, following Plato, divides life into three elements: character and passions. The first having been dealt with in the Protrepticus, he devotes the Paedagogus to reflections on Christ's role in teaching us to act morally and to control our passions. Des
Augustine of Hippo
Saint Augustine of Hippo was a Roman African, early Christian theologian and philosopher from Numidia whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius in north Africa and is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Period. Among his most important works are The City of De doctrina Christiana and Confessions. According to his contemporary Jerome, Augustine "established anew the ancient Faith". In his youth he was drawn to Manichaeism and to neoplatonism. After his baptism and conversion to Christianity in 386, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and perspectives. Believing that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, he helped formulate the doctrine of original sin and made seminal contributions to the development of just war theory; when the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine imagined the Church as a spiritual City of God, distinct from the material Earthly City.
His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. The segment of the Church that adhered to the concept of the Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople identified with Augustine's On the Trinity. Augustine is recognized as a saint in the Catholic Church, the Eastern Christian Church, the Anglican Communion and as a preeminent Doctor of the Church, he is the patron of the Augustinians. His memorial is celebrated on 28 August, the day of his death. Augustine is the patron saint of brewers, theologians, the alleviation of sore eyes, a number of cities and dioceses. Many Protestants Calvinists and Lutherans, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of the Protestant Reformation due to his teachings on salvation and divine grace. Protestant Reformers and Martin Luther in particular, held Augustine in preeminence among early Church Fathers. Luther himself was, from 1505 to 1521, a member of the Order of the Augustinian Eremites. In the East, his teachings are more disputed, were notably attacked by John Romanides.
But other theologians and figures of the Eastern Orthodox Church have shown significant approbation of his writings, chiefly Georges Florovsky. The most controversial doctrine associated with him, the filioque, was rejected by the Orthodox Church. Other disputed teachings include his views on original sin, the doctrine of grace, predestination. Though considered to be mistaken on some points, he is still considered a saint, has had influence on some Eastern Church Fathers, most notably Saint Gregory Palamas. In the Orthodox Church his feast day is celebrated on 15 June. Historian Diarmaid MacCulloch has written: " impact on Western Christian thought can hardly be overstated. Augustine of Hippo known as Saint Augustine, Saint Austin, is known by various cognomens throughout the Christian world across its many denominations including Blessed Augustine, the Doctor of Grace Hippo Regius, where Augustine was the bishop, was in modern-day Annaba, Algeria. Augustine was born in the year 354 AD in the municipium of Thagaste in the Roman province of Numidia.
His mother, Monica or Monnica, was a devout Christian. Augustine considered the father like a stranger. Scholars agree that Augustine and his family were Berbers, an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa, but that they were Romanized, speaking only Latin at home as a matter of pride and dignity. In his writings, Augustine leaves some information as to the consciousness of his African heritage. For example, he refers to Apuleius as "the most notorious of us Africans," to Ponticianus as "a country man of ours, insofar as being African," and to Faustus of Mileve as "an African Gentleman". Augustine's family name, suggests that his father's ancestors were freedmen of the gens Aurelia given full Roman citizenship by the Edict of Caracalla in 212. Augustine's family had been Roman, for at least a century when he was born, it is assumed that his mother, was of Berber origin, on the basis of her name, but as his family were honestiores, an upper class of citizens known as honorable men, Augustine's first language is to have been Latin.
At the age of 11, Augustine was sent to school at Madaurus, a small Numidian city about 19 miles south of Thagaste. There he became familiar with Latin literature, as well as pagan practices, his first insight into the nature of sin occurred when he and a number of friends stole fruit they did not want from a neighborhood garden. He tells this story in The Confessions, he remembers that he did not steal the fruit because he was hungry, but because "it was not permitted." His nature, he says, was flawed.'It was foul, I loved it. I loved my own error—not that for which I erred, but the error itself." From this incident he concluded the human person is inclined to sin, in need of the grace of Christ. At the age of 17, through the generosity of his fellow citizen Romanianus, Augustine went to Carthage to continue his education in rhetoric, though it was above the financial means of his family. In spite of the good warnings of his mother, as a youth Augustine lived a hedonistic lif
Simplicius of Cilicia
Simplicius of Cilicia was a disciple of Ammonius Hermiae and Damascius, was one of the last of the Neoplatonists. He was among the pagan philosophers persecuted by Justinian in the early 6th century, was forced for a time to seek refuge in the Persian court, before being allowed back into the empire, he wrote extensively on the works of Aristotle. Although his writings are all commentaries on Aristotle and other authors, rather than original compositions, his intelligent and prodigious learning makes him the last great philosopher of pagan antiquity, his works have preserved much information about earlier philosophers which would have otherwise been lost. Simplicius was a disciple of Ammonius Hermiae, Damascius, was one of the last members of the Neoplatonist school; the school had its headquarters in Athens. It became the centre of the last efforts to maintain Hellenistic religion against the encroachments of Christianity. Imperial edicts enacted in the 5th century against paganism gave legal protection to pagans against personal maltreatment.
In the year 528 the emperor Justinian ordered. Some were robbed of their property, some put to death; the order specified that if they did not within three months convert to Christianity, they were to be banished from the Empire. In addition, it was forbidden any longer to teach jurisprudence in Athens; the property of the Platonist school, which in the time of Proclus was valued at more than 1000 gold pieces, was confiscated. Seven philosophers, among whom were Simplicius, Eulamius and others, with Damascius, the last president of the Platonist school in Athens at their head, resolved to seek protection at the court of the famous Persian king Chosroes, who had succeeded to the throne in 531, but they were disappointed in their hopes. Chosroes, in a peace treaty concluded with Justinian c. 533 stipulated that the philosophers should be allowed to return without risk and to practise their rites, after which they returned. Of the subsequent fortunes of the seven philosophers we learn nothing. We know little about where Simplicius taught.
That he not only wrote, but taught, is proved by the address to his hearers in the commentary on the Physica Auscultatio of Aristotle, as well as by the title of his commentary on the Categories. He had received his training in Alexandria, under Ammonius in Athens, as a disciple of Damascius; as to his personal history his migration to Persia, no definite allusions are to be found in the writings of Simplicius. Only at the end of his explanation of the treatise of Epictetus, Simplicius mentions, with gratitude, the consolation which he had found under tyrannical oppression in such ethical contemplations; the works which have survived are his commentaries upon Aristotle's de Caelo, Physica Auscultatio, Categories, as well as a commentary upon the Enchiridion of Epictetus. There is a commentary on Aristotle's de Anima under his name, but it is stylistically inferior and lacks the breadth of historical information used by Simplicius, it has been suggested that it was written by Priscian of Lydia, but other scholars see it as authentic.
The commentary on de Caelo was written before that on the Physica Auscultatio, not in Alexandria, since he mentions in it an astronomical observation made during his stay in that city by Ammonius. Simplicius wrote his commentary on the Physica Auscultatio after the death of Damascius, therefore after his return from Persia; when it was that he wrote his explanations of the Categories, whether before or after those on the above-mentioned Aristotelian treatises, it is impossible to ascertain. Besides these commentaries of Simplicius which have been preserved, the de Anima commentary mentions explanations on the metaphysical books, an epitome of the Physica of Theophrastus. Simplicius, as a Neoplatonist, endeavoured to show that Aristotle agrees with Plato on those points which he controverts, so that he may lead the way to their deeper, hidden meaning. In his view not only Plotinus, but Syrianus and Ammonius, are great philosophers, who have penetrated into the depths of the wisdom of Plato. Many of the more ancient Greek philosophers he brings into a connection with Platonism.
He is, distinguished from his predecessors, whom he so admires, in making less frequent application of Orphic, Hermetic and other Theologumena of the East. His commentaries can, therefore, be regarded as the richest in their contents of any that have come down to us concerning Aristotle, but for them, we should be without the most important fragments of the writings of the Eleatics, of Empedocles, Diogenes of Apollonia, others, which were at that time very scarce, as well as without many extracts from the lost books of Aristotle and Eudemus: but f
Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman statesman, orator and philosopher, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, is considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists, his influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose, not only in Latin but in European languages up to the 19th century, was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary distinguishing himself as a translator and philosopher. Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement, it was during his consulship that the second Catilinarian conspiracy attempted to overthrow the government through an attack on the city by outside forces, Cicero suppressed the revolt by summarily and controversially executing five conspirators.
During the chaotic latter half of the 1st century BC marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government. Following Julius Caesar's death, Cicero became an enemy of Mark Antony in the ensuing power struggle, attacking him in a series of speeches, he was proscribed as an enemy of the state by the Second Triumvirate and executed by soldiers operating on their behalf in 43 BC after having been intercepted during an attempted flight from the Italian peninsula. His severed hands and head were as a final revenge of Mark Antony, displayed on The Rostra. Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs and classical Roman culture. According to Polish historian Tadeusz Zieliński, "the Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity." The peak of Cicero's authority and prestige came during the 18th-century Enlightenment, his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers and political theorists such as John Locke, David Hume and Edmund Burke was substantial.
His works rank among the most influential in European culture, today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history the last days of the Roman Republic. Cicero was born in 106 BC in a hill town 100 kilometers southeast of Rome, he belonged to the tribus Cornelia. His father possessed good connections in Rome. However, being a semi-invalid, he studied extensively to compensate. Although little is known about Cicero's mother, Helvia, it was common for the wives of important Roman citizens to be responsible for the management of the household. Cicero's brother Quintus wrote in a letter. Cicero's cognomen, or personal surname, comes from the Latin for cicer. Plutarch explains that the name was given to one of Cicero's ancestors who had a cleft in the tip of his nose resembling a chickpea. However, it is more that Cicero's ancestors prospered through the cultivation and sale of chickpeas. Romans chose down-to-earth personal surnames.
The famous family names of Fabius and Piso come from the Latin names of beans and peas, respectively. Plutarch writes that Cicero was urged to change this deprecatory name when he entered politics, but refused, saying that he would make Cicero more glorious than Scaurus and Catulus. During this period in Roman history, "cultured" meant being able to speak both Greek. Cicero was therefore educated in the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers and historians. Cicero used his knowledge of Greek to translate many of the theoretical concepts of Greek philosophy into Latin, thus translating Greek philosophical works for a larger audience, it was his broad education that tied him to the traditional Roman elite. Cicero's interest in philosophy figured in his career and led to him providing a comprehensive account of Greek philosophy for a Roman audience, including creating a philosophical vocabulary in Latin. In 87 BC, Philo of Larissa, the head of the Academy, founded by Plato in Athens about 300 years earlier, arrived in Rome.
Cicero, "inspired by an extraordinary zeal for philosophy", sat enthusiastically at his feet and absorbed Plato's philosophy. Cicero said of Plato's Dialogues. According to Plutarch, Cicero was an talented student, whose learning attracted attention from all over Rome, affording him the opportunity to study Roman law under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. Cicero's fellow students were Gaius Marius Minor, Servius Sulpicius Rufus, Titus Pomponius; the latter two became Cicero's friends for life, Pomponius would become, in Cicero's own words, "as a second brother", with both maintaining a lifelong correspondence. In 79 BC, Cicero left for Asia Minor and Rhodes; this was to avoid the potential wrath of Sulla, as Plutarch claims, though Cicero himself says it was to hone his skills and improve his p
This page lists some links to ancient philosophy. In Western philosophy, the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire marked the ending of Hellenistic philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of Medieval philosophy, whereas in Eastern philosophy, the spread of Islam through the Arab Empire marked the end of Old Iranian philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of early Islamic philosophy. Genuine philosophical thought, depending upon original individual insights, arose in many cultures contemporaneously. Karl Jaspers termed the intense period of philosophical development beginning around the 7th century and concluding around the 3rd century BCE an Axial Age in human thought. Chinese philosophy is the dominant philosophical thought in China and other countries within the East Asian cultural sphere that share a common language, including Japan and Vietnam; the Hundred Schools of Thought were philosophers and schools that flourished from the 6th century to 221 BCE, an era of great cultural and intellectual expansion in China.
Though this period – known in its earlier part as the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period – in its latter part was fraught with chaos and bloody battles, it is known as the Golden Age of Chinese philosophy because a broad range of thoughts and ideas were developed and discussed freely. The thoughts and ideas discussed and refined during this period have profoundly influenced lifestyles and social consciousness up to the present day in East Asian countries; the intellectual society of this era was characterized by itinerant scholars, who were employed by various state rulers as advisers on the methods of government and diplomacy. This period ended with the subsequent purge of dissent; the Book of Han lists ten major schools, they are: Confucianism, which teaches that human beings are teachable and perfectible through personal and communal endeavour including self-cultivation and self-creation. A main idea of Confucianism is the development of moral perfection. Confucianism holds that one should give up one's life, if necessary, either passively or for the sake of upholding the cardinal moral values of ren and yi.
Legalism. Compared with Machiavelli, foundational for the traditional Chinese bureaucratic empire, the Legalists examined administrative methods, emphasizing a realistic consolidation of the wealth and power of autocrat and state. Taoism, a philosophy which emphasizes the Three Jewels of the Tao: compassion and humility, while Taoist thought focuses on nature, the relationship between humanity and the cosmos. Harmony with the Universe, or the source thereof, is the intended result of many Taoist rules and practices. Mohism, which advocated the idea of universal love: Mozi believed that "everyone is equal before heaven", that people should seek to imitate heaven by engaging in the practice of collective love, his epistemology can be regarded as primitive materialist empiricism. Mozi advocated frugality, condemning the Confucian emphasis on ritual and music, which he denounced as extravagant. Naturalism, the School of Naturalists or the Yin-yang school, which synthesized the concepts of yin-yang and the Five Elements.
Agrarianism, or the School of Agrarianism, which advocated peasant utopian communalism and egalitarianism. The Agrarians believed that Chinese society should be modeled around that of the early sage king Shen Nong, a folk hero, portrayed in Chinese literature as "working in the fields, along with everyone else, consulting with everyone else when any decision had to be reached." The Logicians or the School of Names, which focused on definition and logic. It is said to have parallels with that of the Ancient Greek dialecticians; the most notable Logician was Gongsun Longzi. The School of Diplomacy or School of Vertical and Horizontal, which focused on practical matters instead of any moral principle, so it stressed political and diplomatic tactics, debate and lobbying skill. Scholars from this school were good orators and tacticians; the Miscellaneous School, which integrated teachings from different schools. This school tried to avoid their perceived flaws; the School of "Minor-talks", not a unique school of thought, but a philosophy constructed of all the thoughts which were discussed by and originated from normal people on the street.
Another group is the School of the Military that studied the philosophy of war. However, this school was not one of the "Ten Schools" defined by Hanshu; the founder of the Qin Dynasty, who implemented Legalism as the official philosophy, quashed Mohist and Confucianist schools. Legalism remained influential until the emperors of the Han Dynasty adopted Daoism and Confucianism as official doctrine; these latter two became the determining forces of Chinese thought until the introduction of Buddhism. Confucianism was strong during the Han Dynasty, whose greatest thinker was Dong Zhongshu, who integrated Confucianism with the thoughts of the Zhongshu School and the theory of the Five Elements, he was a promoter of the New Text school, which considered Confucius as a divine figure and a spiritual ruler of
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