Memorial Day Offer

Discover your mystery discount!


Biography of Plotinus: – Plotinus died at around 66 years old in 270 CE according to Porphyry. – Speculations exist about his family background being […]

« Back to Glossary Index

Biography of Plotinus:
– Plotinus died at around 66 years old in 270 CE according to Porphyry.
– Speculations exist about his family background being Egyptian, Greek, or Roman.
– Historian Lloyd P. Gerson suggests Plotinus was likely Greek.
– Plotinus had a Greek education and native language.

Life and Works of Plotinus:
– At 38, Plotinus joined the Roman army to explore Persian and Indian philosophies.
– After returning to Rome during Emperor Philip the Arab’s reign, he attracted students like Porphyry and Amelius Gentilianus.
– Plotinus corresponded with Cassius Longinus and gained respect from Emperor Gallienus and his wife Salonina.
– He tried to interest Gallienus in rebuilding the City of Philosophers.
– Plotinus spent his final days in seclusion on an estate in Campania and died while a snake slipped away under his bed.

Concept of The One in Plotinus’ Philosophy:
– The One is a supreme, transcendent entity beyond all categories of being.
– It is identified with the concepts of Good and Beauty.
– Plotinus believed the One encompassed thinker and object and denied sentience or self-awareness to it.
– The One is described as sheer potentiality beyond attributes like being and non-being.
– Creation emanates from the One in stages of lesser perfection.

Emanation by the One in Plotinus’ Philosophy:
– Plotinus presents emanation as the transcendence of the One as the source of all things.
– The One remains unaffected by emanations.
– Emanation occurs in stages of decreasing perfection.
– It is similar to the Christian concept of Creation.
– Emanations from the One occur throughout time as a constant process.

Comparison of Entities in Plotinus’ Philosophy:
– Plotinus compares the One to light, Divine Intellect to the Sun, and Soul to the Moon.
– Each entity represents a different level of perfection.
– The first light can exist without any celestial body.
– The Divine Intellect is the first will towards Good.
– The Soul’s light is a derivative of the Sun’s light.

Plotinus (Wikipedia)

Plotinus (/plɒˈtnəs/; Greek: Πλωτῖνος, Plōtînos; c. 204/5 – 270 CE) was a Greek Platonist philosopher, born and raised in Roman Egypt. Plotinus is regarded by modern scholarship as the founder of Neoplatonism. His teacher was the self-taught philosopher Ammonius Saccas, who belonged to the Platonic tradition. Historians of the 19th century invented the term "neoplatonism" and applied it to refer to Plotinus and his philosophy, which was vastly influential during late antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. Much of the biographical information about Plotinus comes from Porphyry's preface to his edition of Plotinus' most notable literary work, The Enneads. In his metaphysical writings, Plotinus described three fundamental principles: the One, the Intellect, and the Soul. His works have inspired centuries of pagan, Jewish, Christian, Gnostic, and early Islamic metaphysicians and mystics, including developing precepts that influence mainstream theological concepts within religions, such as his work on duality of the One in two metaphysical states.

Head in white marble. The identification as Plotinus is plausible but not proven.
Bornc. 204/5 CE
Died270 (aged 64–65) CE
Campania, Roman Empire
Notable workThe Enneads
EraAncient philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
Platonism, metaphysics, mysticism
Notable ideas
Emanation of all things from the One
Three main hypostases: the One, Intellect, and Soul
« Back to Glossary Index
This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.