The Six Books of Proclus, the Platonic Successor, on the Theology of Plato/Book VI

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The Platonic Successor,











On Providence and Fate;






As preserved in the Bibliotheca Gr. of Fabricius.


Αλλ’ εστιν, εστι, καν τις εγγελᾳ λογῳ,
Ζευς, και θεοι, βροτεια λευσσοντες παθη.
There are, there are, though laugh the scoffer may,
Jove and the Gods, who mortal ills survey.
ωσπεϱ εισι θεοι πολλοι, και κυϱιοι πολλοι.Corinth. I. Cap. 8. v. 5.
As there be Gods many, and Lords many.





By A. J. Valpy, Tooke’s Court, Chancery Lane.






The Theology of Plato.

BOOK VI.[edit]

CHAPTER I.[edit]

The hebdomatic aion (eternity) therefore, of the intellectual Gods has been through these things celebrated by us, following the mystic conceptions of Plato. But after this, let us in the next place contemplate the multiform progressions of the ruling orders, and refer the one union of them to the intellectual theory of Parmenides. For this order is woven together in continuity with the demiurgus and father of wholes, proceeds from, is perfected by, and converted to him, according to his perfective power. Hence also, it is necessary to connect the narration about the governors of the universe, with the discussion concerning the demiurgus, and to assimilate words to the things of which they are the interpreters. For all the series of the ruling Gods, are collected into the intellectual fabrication as into a summit, and subsist about it. And as all the fountains are the progeny of the intelligible father, and are filled from him with intelligible union, thus likewise, all the orders of the principles or rulers, are suspended according to nature from the demiurgus, and participate from thence of an intellectual life. And let no one be offended with me, on hearing in this place the names of fountain and principle, nor accuse these names, as not at all pertaining to Plato. For, as we have before observed, Plato does not leave unnoticed any one of these mystic names. But in his discussions about souls, when he denominates them the fountains and principles of motion, he at the same time indicates the difference between the peculiarity of fountain, and the peculiarity of principle, and the inferiority of principle with respect to the exempt transcendency of fountain.

He likewise manifests that the self-vital extends to all things as far as to soul, from fountain; but the unbegotten from principle. And this is because the fontal genus indeed of the Gods is self-begotten, and first-effective, and produces other things from itself; but the ruling genus of the Gods, and which has the relation of a principle, though it proceeds from the fountains, and is allotted a more partial order among beings, yet it is expanded above every thing which is generated, and neither is in a certain respect connected with generated natures, nor communicates with a sensible nature. For the mundane Gods, indeed, are in a certain respect generated; whence also, they are denominated generated by Timæus, and this whole world is likewise called by him a generated god. But the ruling Gods, and who have the relation of principles, are perfectly exempt from generated natures, and are not co-arranged with them. Hence also, the unbegotten is most particularly adapted to them. Those Gods, however, who preside over the liberated dominion being the media between the unbegotten and generated Gods, come into contact indeed with the latter, but do not give completion to the choir of mundane Gods. Hence, they are in a certain respect both generated and unbegotten. The Gods, therefore, who are the summits of super-mundane natures, and the rulers of wholes, are alone allotted an unbegotten subsistence in the orders that proceed from the demiurgus. Hence, likewise, this peculiarity is from thence derived to souls. For, as Plato says, principle is unbegotten. For it is necessary that every thing which is generated should be generated from a principle, but that the principle should not be generated from any thing.

At the same time, therefore, it is manifest through these things, how the [ruling] principles proceed from the Gods prior to them. For they are not allotted a progression from them according to motion, nor in short, according to mutation; but the orders of the ruling Gods subsist by their very being, according to their prolific power, and unenvying and exuberant will; and the self-begotten power of the intellectual Gods, gives to the principles also the first generation from itself. Whether, therefore, some one is willing to adopt these, or other names of the divine orders, we shall consider it as a thing of no consequence. But receiving the peculiarity of them, whatever it may be, according to the rumours of theologists, we shall transfer their mystic tradition to the Platonic narration. For thus we shall make the investigation of what follows conformable to what has been before said, and what we assert will be adapted to the things themselves.


Again therefore, let us assume the principles of the science concerning these Gods, and demonstrate that the theory pertaining to them is consequent to the first causes. The intelligible Gods therefore, surpass wholes according to supreme transcendency, and primarily participate the union and divine light, in which all the Gods perfectly establish their hypostases. They likewise unically produce all things from themselves, according to the paternal and exuberant will of the communication of good, and preestablish is themselves occultly the first effective causes of secondary natures. For the whole and common measures of forms presubsist in them, and they comprehend according to one cause the uniform genera of being, and prior to these, bound and infinity, from which the superessential orders of the Gods generate all beings.

But in the second rank after these, the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods subsist, being divided indeed according to the same number, and preserving the measure of the all-perfect triad in a second order, but producing into multitude the unities of intelligibles, and transferring the unical boundaries of those triads into essential hypostases, and which participate of the one. Instead of powers however, which are whole, without separation, and occult, they are transferred into divided causes, and which proceed far from the one.

Again, in the third rank after the intelligible Gods, those that are called intellectual are arranged at one and the same time indeed, proceeding into an order diminished with respect to that which is prior to it, and changing the number according to which they subsist. For instead of the perfective triads, they are intellectually divided according to hebdomads. And with respect to the hebdomads, the division of them into two triads, is supernally derived from the first triads; but the terminations of them into monads, express the ends of those orders. For every thing which is the peculiarity of difference and multitude, proceeds from thence to all the genera.

Again, therefore, from these, the multiform orders of the ruling principles are generated, being divided indeed analogous to all the intelligible Gods, and to those that are prior to these intellectual Gods, viz. to those that are called intelligible and at the same time intellectual; They have however, their proximate and peculiar hypostasis from the one fabrication; but their united generation together with intellectuals, from the third triad of intelligibles. For that all-perfect cause produces also from itself, the whole orders of the Gods. Hence likewise Parmenides denominates it infinite multitude, as unfolding into light all the genera of being, and all the orders of divine natures, and as being sufficient through one all-perfect power to the generation of wholes.

Farther still, we may also assert this of these leading and ruling Gods, that the intellectual monads make their progression according to imparticipable intellect, in the same manner as the Gods prior to them illuminate imparticipable life, and prior to all things, the intelligible Gods constitute about themselves truly existing and intelligible essence. For every God is participated indeed by beings, and on this account falls short of the unity which is imparticipable and exempt from all things. But a different deity proceeds according to a different peculiarity. And some of the Gods indeed, being defined according to the ineffable good itself, comprehend the intelligible causes of wholes. But others produce the vivific powers, and connectedly contain the first genera of the Gods. Others again, unfold into light all the intellectual involutions, and preside over the participants of the unities that produce divided hypostases. Since therefore, the intellectual Gods primarily subsist according to imparticipable intellect, and on this account are denominated intellectual, the orders that first proceed immediately after them, illuminate the summit of participated intellect, and are intellectual indeed, as with reference to the inferior orders, and which are now divided according to providential energies about the world. But they are secondary to the first intellectuals, and are allotted a more partial government; just as the first of intellectuals, are indeed intelligible with respect to the Gods produced from them, but fall short of the union of first intelligibles. As therefore, they unfold into light the first and imparticipable life, which the intelligible monads preestablished in themselves according to cause only, and occultly; (for all the causes of wholes are pre-assumed there according to one ineffable union) after the same manner also, these Gods, shining forth the first of the intellectuals, express the Gods from whom they derive their subsistence, and are intellectual indeed, but produce the pure, uniform, and total hyparxis of the fathers, into a secondary, and multiplied progression, which is divided about themselves, and into a diminution of essence. By first emissions also from the first-effective, and self-subsistent fountains, they shine forth similarly to the intellectual Gods.

Hence also, they bind to themselves the ruling and generative causes of all the partial orders, and which exist prior to these orders both in dignity and power. And in short, they have the same transcendency with respect to the other Gods [subordinate to them,] which the intelligible Gods have to those that are produced from them. For the intelligible Gods being expanded above all the intellectual genera, have preestablished the intelligible hyparxis, by itself, unmingled and pure; and these ruling Gods have also established in themselves the supermundane union, and this peculiarity perfectly exempt from mundane natures. And as in the imparticipable and total hypostases, there is indeed, the intelligible genus, itself by itself; there is also the intellectual which is foreign from this; and there is that which is collective of both, which is celebrated as subsisting in the middle, and is denominated intelligible and at the same time intellectual,—thus also, in these partial orders, the peculiarity of the supermundane Gods, preexists by itself exempt from the parts of the universe, uncoordinated with this world, and on all sides comprehending it according to cause.

But the essence of all the mundane Gods is allotted the third order, being proximately carried as in a vehicle in the parts of the world, giving completion to this one and only begotten God, and connectedly-containing the different progressions in it. The government however of the liberated Gods is allotted the middle bond of the extremes, possessing sovereign authority over all [mundane] natures, and in a certain respect communicating with the divisions about the world, but unitedly ascending at the same time into many of its parts, and collecting the divided numbers of the mundane Gods into unical bounds, and more simple causes. Every genus likewise, of the mundane Gods is spread under this liberated order, being on all sides connected, contained, and perfected by it, and filled with the first of goods. If therefore, there is any thing supermundane in the Gods, and if it imparts a certain definite hyparxis of essence to them, and defines a certain peculiarity of powers and a transcendency of order by itself, we must admit that it primarily subsists in the ruling Gods, being derived to them from the intellectual fathers, unmingled with a mundane nature. And this supermundane order indeed is universal, as with reference to all the partible rivers of the Gods, but it is partial, as with reference to the all-perfect, one and whole kingdom of the intellectual Gods. For it is every where necessary that the leading causes of secondary orders, should be in a certain respect assimilated to the terminations of the orders established above them.

And thus the progression of the Gods is one and continued, originating supernally from the intelligible and occult unities, and ending in the last division of a divine cause. For, as in sensibles the most gross and solid bodies, are not immediately connascent with the etherial expanse, but those which are simple and more immaterial than others, are proximately spread under the celestial periods, and of containing bodies, those which are primarily contained, are allotted a greater communion than those which are situated remotely, and are conjoined to them through other media; thus also, in the divine essences prior to the world, the second orders are in continuity with those prior to them. The progressions of beings however, are completed through similitude. But the termination of the higher orders are united to the beginnings of second orders. And one series and indissoluble order, extends from on high, through the surpassing goodness of the first cause, and his unical power. For because indeed, he is one, he is the supplier of union; but because he is the good, he constitutes things similar to him, prior to such as are dissimilar. And thus all things are in continuity with each other. For if this continuity were broken, there would not be union. And things dissimilar to each other being placed in a consequent order, that which is more similar to the principle, would not have a more ancient and honourable progression into being. If therefore, we assert these things rightly, it is necessary that the first hypostases of the partial orders should be total, according to an intellectual transcendency which they are allotted in the divided genera of the Gods, and thus that they should causally comprehend all secondary natures, and conjoin them to the Gods prior to themselves. The order of the ruling Gods therefore, is in continuity with the kingdom of the intellectual Gods. Hence also, Parmenides proximately constitutes it from the demiurgic monad. These things however, will afterwards be apparent.


For the present, however, let us survey the common peculiarity of the whole of this order, that we may to the utmost of our power admire the divinely-inspired intellection of Plato, which unfolds to us the most mystic of dogmas. The progression, therefore, of these Gods is said to be supermundane, as we have observed, and to have the second dominion in wholes, after the intellectual Gods. But being defined according to the hyparxis itself of this essence, it unfolds indeed the united nature of the intellectual Gods; but produces into multitude the causes comprehended in them. It also arranges and adorns the more partial genera of beings, from total and first-effective monads, divides them according to the best order, and co-arranges them to each other. But it collects and binds all secondary natures, and inserts in them an admirable communion of essences and powers. Besides this, likewise, it conjoins all the natures posterior to itself, to those prior to itself, and calls forth the beneficent will of exempt causes, into the providential care of secondary natures, but establishes the hyparxes of subordinate in first essences, and imparts to all beings continuity, and one series of hypostasis. Conferring also all these benefits, it comprehends in itself the supply of them according to one peculiarity. For it assimilates all things, subordinate natures, to those prior to them, and co-ordinate natures, to each other. And through this similitude, atone, and the same time, indeed, it unfolds the essences and multiform powers of them, and is the collector of many things into union, and of divided natures, into the divine communion of goods.

From hence, therefore, the orders of different images primarily subsist. For every image is produced according to a similitude to its paradigm. But that which assimilates secondary to first natures, and binds all things through similitude, especially pertains to these Gods. For what else is able to assimilate the world itself, and every thing in the world to their paradigms, but this supermundane genus of Gods? For all intellectuals constitute the natures in the world according to one union, and an all-perfect providence, and impartibly preside over the essence of them. But the liberated genus of Gods, in a certain respect now comes into contact with the world, and co-operates with the mundane Gods. It is necessary, therefore, that the assimilating nature should every where according to essence indeed be exempt from the things assimilated, and which are impressed through similitude; but that it should adorn secondary natures with separation, and a division according to species. For how would it be possible for it to assimilate some things to others, and appropriately conjoin all things to their paradigms, unless it proceeded as far as to the last forms, and separated all those things from each other, of which there are immoveable pre-existing causes? For the demiurgus, indeed, appears to assimilate all things to himself, as Timæus says, being good, he produced all things similar to himself on account of his beneficent will. He likewise imparts to the world the order of time, by this mean rendering the world more similar to intelligible animal. And in short, on account of the similitude of the universe to its paradigm, he produces all things, and perfects his own fabrication.

In the demiurgus, however, all things, and likewise the second genera of Gods, are according to cause. And as he is the plenitude of all the natures prior to himself, thus also, he comprehends the united causes of the natures posterior to himself. Hence, he perfects the universe, energizes assimilatively, vivifies wholes, is the father of souls, the plastic framer of bodies, this supplier of harmony, the author of bonds, the cause of the impartible and partible genera, and the maker of all figures. And these things, indeed, he constitutes unically; but the Gods posterior to him in a divided manner. Let not, however, any one assert, that the assimilative nature is primarily in the demiurgus, but [let him rather say] that existence is present to the demiurgus according to sameness. But if from him similitude subsists in all things, and his very being is in sameness, as Parmenides teaches us, we must indeed admit, that such a genus of Gods [as the assimilative is proximate to him, which also first unfolds his whole fabrication, and inserts it in secondary natures, but is essentially different from and posterior to him, and falls short of the first-effective principle of all things which he contains. In short, the demiurgic monad, and all the multitude co-arranged with it, presides over the similitude of wholes, uniformly, originally, and impartibly; but the order of the ruling Gods, divides indeed that which is united in the demiurgic fabrication, expands that which is total in the energy of the intellectual Gods, and produces into variety the simplicity of their providence. Hence similitude extends from these to all the natures in the world, and to the first, middle, and last forms of life. For that which is assimilated presides over a second form of communion with, appropriate principles, on account of progression from causes.

If, however, you are willing by investigating each particular to survey the providence pervading to all things through similitude, you will find that the whole world is the image of the perpetual Gods on account of this, and also that all the wholenesses in it are in a similar manner suspended from their paradigms, that whole souls always dance about the intelligible, and that the more excellent genera that follow the Gods and such of our souls as are happy, are on account of similitude extended from the wandering produced by generation, to their proper fountain. In short, you will find, that all progressions and conversions are effected and perfected on account of the cause of similitude. For every thing, which proceeds subsists through similitude to its generator; and every thing which is converted, in consequence of being assimilated to its proper principles, makes a conversion to them. Moreover, similitude eternally guards the never-failing nature of all the forms in the world, extending supernally from the Gods themselves. And the stable similitude of forms, brings back again to the circle of generation, the unstable mutation of particulars, not only in immaterial, but also in material forms which are conversant with mutability. And it closes in a finite period, the infinite variety of generated natures. But it refers the all-various division of reasons [i. e. of productive principles] to their united and first-effective cause. And on this account, the world being perpetually all-perfect, is completely filled by total genera and species. Hence also, it is similar to intelligible animal, possessing and comprehending all such things after the manner of an image, as all-perfect animal possesses paradigmatically.

We must not, therefore, suppose that the genus of similitude is something small, and extended only to a few things, since it is the cause of perfection to the whole world, gives completion through similitude to its first generation and self-sufficiency, and supplies from itself, its entire comprehension of all things. But neither must we admit that a production of this kind, is to be referred to one certain intellectual form. For that which extends to all the superessential, essential, psychical, incorporeal, and corporeal genera, exists prior to all forms and genera, and to incorporeal and corporeal causes. For the Gods in the world, do not proceed assimilated to their causes, on account of the intellectual form of similitude. Nor on account of the paradigmatic idea of the dissimilar, are the superessential unities of the Gods divided, the intellectual nature separated from itself, and the psychical essences allotted a progression in order; but, I think, that both similitude and dissimilitude have their hypostasis analogous to intellectual sameness and difference. And as they are primarily in the Gods themselves, but secondarily in intellectual forms, being unfolded into light together with the hyparxes of the Gods, thus also, this similitude and dissimilitude, are allotted indeed a precedaneous hyparxis in the superessential unities, but a successive hyparxis in the descending progressions of beings. And on this account Parmenides, as he evinced that the one is moved and stands still, is same and different, separate from being, thus also he demonstrates to us the similar and the dissimilar in the uniform hyparxes themselves of the Gods. And Socrates indeed presents to our view in the beginning of the dialogue, the similar and the dissimilar, and defines each paradigm of these to be separate, and exempt from the many similars and dissimilars. But Parmenides recurring to the superessential hypostases of wholes, produces beings from thence, according to the peculiarities of the first causes.

For as every thing in generation is adorned with forms from essences thus also the peculiarities of hyparxes extend to all essences from superessential natures. For generation is the image of essence; but essence has its progression according to superessential union. The genus of similitude, therefore, is primarily in the Gods; but is divided secondarily in intellectual forms. And on this account the progressions of the whole of things are according to similitude; but the conversions of all things to their principles are through similitude, it being said that all things proceed, and receive the power of conversion from divinity. The intelligible paradigm indeed preassumes in itself the occult cause of the assimilative Gods. For it is not sluggish from itself, and established unprolific. But it produces all things essentially assimilated to itself, constitutes them paternally, and is by its very being alone. It likewise imparts by illumination hyparxis to secondary natures, and the power of assimilation to itself. But again, that which is demiurgic of the divine genera, being suspended from the precedaneous cause of the intelligible paradigm, and adhering to, and energizing about it, assimilates indeed all things both to itself and the paradigm, but does not define its proper hyparxis in the genus of similitude. For it comprehends intellectually and unitedly the causes of the similitude of wholes, and employs such like genera of Gods as ministrant to the generation of secondary natures. But the tribe of ruling Gods, being wholly arranged in the partible orders, but first unfolding the intellectual fabrication of the father, is suspended indeed from him through the similitude of the causes preexisting in him, but extends and expands all things to the demiurgic union. It converts, however, the partible genera of the Gods to impartible intellectual sameness. But it assimilates the proceeding orders to the intelligible paradigms, and gives completion to the one series of all beings. Very properly, therefore, do those who are wise in divine concerns assert, that the last triad of intelligibles is the cause of the fontal and ruling Gods, and that the whole series of rulers subsists about the intellectual father. For the genus of assimilating natures pertains to the perfect paradigm, just as the genus of things assimilated pertains to the extremity of the intellectual order.

For all things are assimilated to the first paradigm, and the conversion of all secondary natures to it is through similitude. And with the demiurgus of wholes, the cause of intellectual sameness and difference is united, being partibly unfolded into light through the power of similitude and dissimilitude, and producing the one and whole form of that fabrication in all beings through divided energies,and the separations of essence. Through these things, therefore, we have reminded the reader, that the first and most total of the partible divine genera, and which is united to the intellectual orders, is allotted the assimilative peculiarity, and being defined according to this, conjoins all things to the demiurgic monad; and [we have also shown] how it proceeds from the intelligible paradigm to all mundane natures, and is the primary origin of their generation.


Again, it follows In addition to what has been said, that we should separate all the assimilative powers, properly arrange them, and survey them proceeding about the one essence of the Gods. Plato, therefore, asserts that the first and most ruling of these powers, are those that unfold the intellectual production of the father, and expand it to all the divided orders of beings. But that the second, are those which are connective of wholes, and which preserve one series and indissoluble connexion of the divine progressions. And that the third, are those which are the primary leaders of perfection to all secondary natures, and produce through similitude self-perfect conversions to principles. But next to these he arranges those powers that extend all the proceeding genera of the Gods to impartible monads, and which preexist as the collectors of partible natures. Farther still, he likewise asserts that other assimilative powers give subsistence to the divided genera, and are definitely the suppliers of existence and essence to first and last natures. And besides all these, that other powers are the causes of undefiled distribution, and of perpetually stable perfection.

Moreover, together with these, I should arrange the authors of prolific production, and those that pour upon and distribute to all secondary natures the partible rivers of life. And farther still, after these, I should arrange the powers that elevate secondary beings, cut off every thing material, confused, and inordinate, and are the suppliers of all goods. For there is no one of all the beautiful things in the world that does not proceed from this order of Gods, which fills its participants with divine goods. Or whence indeed is the world always established in its proper principles, whence does its circulation remain immutable, and whence is the universe connected by indissoluble bonds? For the ends of its periods become the principles of the subsequent revolutions. But the circle of generation imitates the invariable supply of the celestial orbs, and all things are converted to more divine natures. Matter, indeed, is assimilated to beings, through the last representations of the production of form. But that which is moved in a confused and disordered manner, is circularly led to order and bound by demiurgic reasons, being assimilated to natures which always subsist with invariable sameness and permanency. Things, however, which are borne along in a diversified generation, and multiform mutations, are assimilated to the celestial orbs, and being moved in an all-various manner, follow the revolutions of the heavenly bodies. But the convolutions of the heavens, represent as in images the psychical periods; and the circulations of the spheres inscribe as it were the intellections of the celestial souls. Time itself, likewise, which proceeds according to number, and forms a circular dance, is in a certain respect assimilated to stable intellections, and to [eternity] the measure of all intelligibles. For the whole of this time was generated an image of eternity abiding in one, since it is evolved after the same manner according to number. All things, therefore, are allotted a progression into existence, and the distribution of perfection according to measure from the assimilative leaders, and connect the essence of themselves through similitude.

Moreover, this order of Gods in a particular manner, presides over the sympathy of things in the world, and their communion with each other. For all things concur with each other through similitude, and communicate the powers which they possess. And first natures, indeed, impart by illumination the gift of themselves to secondary natures, in unenvying; abundance. But effects are established in their causes. An indissoluble connexion, likewise, and communion of wholes and a colligation of agent and patients, are surveyed in the world. For in effects their generative causes subsist through similitude. And in causes, the progeny that proceed from them are contained according: to comprehension. All things, likewise, are in each other, and similitude is the collector of all things. On this account, also celestial, impart to sublunary natures, an exuberant and unenvying communication of their own effluxions; but sublunary, being in a certain respect assimilated to celestial natures, participate of an appropriate perfection. A chain likewise extends from on high, as far as to the last of things, secondary, always expressing the powers of the natures prior to them, progression indeed diminishing the similitude, but all things at the same time, and even such as most obscurely participate of existence, bearing a similitude to the first causes, and being co-passive with each other, and with their original causes. For there is naturally a two-fold similitude in things which have proceeded from their causes. For they are assimilated to each other, according to their progression from the one, and their conversion again to it, and they are also assimilated to their ruling and first-effective causes. And through the former similitude, indeed, the elements conspire, are connascent, and are mingled with each other. But through the latter, they hasten to their proper principles, and are conjoined with their paradigms. On this account, all things which participate of the solar effluxion, are suspended from the circulation of the sun; I mean, not only the genera that are more excellent than us, but likewise the number of souls, animals, plants, and stones. But all things adhere to the Mercurial circulation, which receive the peculiarity of this God. And the like takes place in the other [mundane] Gods. For all of them are leaders and rulers in the universe. And many orders indeed of angels dance round them; many numbers of demons; many herds of heroes; the copious multitude of partial souls; the multiform genera of mortal animals; and the various powers of plants. And all things indeed aspire after their leaders, and in all things there is an impression of their proper monad; but in some this impression is more clear, and in others more obscure; since similitude also subsists in a greater degree, in the first progeny, but is obscured in the middle, and last progeny, according to the ratio of progression. Images, therefore, and paradigms, are allotted their hypostasis on account of collective similitude. And every thing on account of similitude is familiar to itself, and to coordinate natures. But there is an unshaken friendship between the coordinate natures in the world through the presence of similitude; since contraries, also, and things which are most distant from each other, are irreprehensibly bound through it, and connected so as to produce the perfection of the universe.

In short, therefore, we may say, that the assimilative leaders of wholes, produce and generate all things from themselves. For progressions are through similitude; and every thing which is constituted, is wont to be assimilated to its generative cause. The assimilative rulers also convert all things to their principles; for every conversion is through similitude. They likewise bind coordinate natures to each other. For the communion of the one cause [of all] produces similitude indeed in its participants, but from this, it inserts in them an indissoluble connexion. They also cause all things to sympathize, be friendly, and familiar with each other; exhibiting indeed, through participation, more elevated in more abject natures; but subordinate in more perfect essences, through causal comprehension. They likewise extend series and periods from on high, as far as to the last of things. And they produce monads indeed, into diminution, through appropriate numbers; but collect multitudes into union, through communion according to essence. They also adapt wholes to parts; but comprehend parts in wholes. And things imperfect, indeed, they perfect, through contact with ends; but they guard immutably perfect natures, through a similar cause. They likewise lead into definite order, by similar forms and reasons, the sea of dissimilitude; but they terminate the very-mutable generation of sublunary natures, by stable paradigms. Thus much, therefore, we have to say in common concerning the order of divine natures, which we assert to be proximate indeed to the intellectual Gods, but to be the leader, and cause of the assimilation of all secondary natures to their proper principles.

CHAPTER V.[edit]

In the next place, I wish prior to the theory of Parmenides to teach, what the Gods are, possessing this peculiarity, of whom Plato makes mention in other dialogues. For perhaps thus the doctrine of Parmenides will become more credible, and more manifest to reason. The ruling Gods, therefore, are divided in a threefold manner; and some of them indeed are united to the intellectual kings, and extend the whole series under themselves to a union with those kings; but others give completion to the middle genera, and distribute the all-perfect progression of these Gods; and others close the end of this order, and unfold the powers of these divinities to secondary natures. This being the case, those Gods that are arranged in the summits, do not immediately participate of the similitude of the assimilative Gods; but some of them are in a certain respect established above it, and are essentially connected with the intellectual Gods; but others proceed from it, and are mingled with the secondary genera. Hence, those only who give completion to the middle breadth, genuinely define in themselves the hyparxis of this order. We, therefore, likewise beginning from these, shall embrace by a reasoning; process the whole theory of Plato. For we shall find in these, the perfect measures of the ruling order, perfectly delivered to us by him.

Again, therefore, let us refer the whole progression of these middle orders, to a triad, it being allotted a division of this kind supernally, from the three intellectual fathers. Hence, indeed, this whole order of Gods, is, suspended from the demiurgic monad. But the demiurgic intellect produces indeed some of them from itself and the intellectual father; but others from itself, and the whole vivification; and others from appropriate rivers. Hence, also, of the Gods that thus derive their subsistence, some are allotted a paternal dignity, and are ruling fathers; but others are allotted a generative; and others an elevating and convertive dignity. But since a certain order of the Unpolluted Gods is conjoined with each of the intellectual kings, it is indeed necessary that in the ruling Gods also, a second progression from them should shine forth to the view, and that on this account the guardian order should be connascent with the above-mentioned triple orders, being appropriately consubsistent with each of them; viz. paternally indeed in the first; but vivifically in the middle; and intellectually and convertively in the third order. And thus it is necessary that this whole order of Gods should be divided by paternal powers, and prolific progressions, by powers that lead upward all secondary natures, and by those that are of an undefiled guardian characteristic. For being allotted their hypostasis from the intellectual Gods, some indeed ascend totally into parts, but others partibly pour on wholes, the exuberant powers of themselves. They likewise distribute the providence of the demiurgus and father, some indeed arranging and adorning the universe with the first, middle, and last forms of production; others educing the rivers of life, and pouring them on all things; others elevating the natures that have proceeded, and recalling them to the father; and others presiding over purity, and being the guardians of secondary natures.


Again, therefore, receiving the beginning of the theory of Plato from the paternal cause, we assert as follows: The demiurgus and father of this universe, being allotted this order in the intellectual kings, as was before demonstrated, as he produced wholes totally, and referred all things to the one form of the world, and the one perfection of the universe, thus also he arranged and adorned the parts of the world, and gave completion to the whole, contriving that all immortal and mortal natures should be generated for the sake of the universe. And this is what Plato introduces him saying in the Timæus to the junior Gods: “That mortal natures therefore may exist, and that this universe may be truly all, convert yourselves according to nature to the fabrication of animals.” Since, however, after the monad, it is every where necessary that a multitude should be generated proximate to the monad, and that prior to an all perfect division, united number should subsist (for that which has proceeded to all things is not allied to that which abides, nor is it possible that what is all-variously divided, should be connascent with that which is impartible)—this being the case, the demiurgus of wholes, produces indeed from himself, and his father a number proximate to the monad of the fathers. But the three [fathers] deriving their subsistence from one father, and first receiving the power and dominion of fabrication, produce other second and third fabricators from themselves, till through a diminution proceeding according to, [appropriate] measures, they evolve the whole demiurgic number, the cause of which indeed, the demiurgic monad comprehends in itself.

The orderly progression, however, of multitude becomes at length apparent. And thus the three ruling fathers of wholes, separate their productions, by first, middle, and last boundaries of fabrication, and are all of them total, but they are fabricators and fathers of parts totally; through being in continuity indeed with the monad, not changing the form of production; but on account of diminished progression, not possessing an energy impartibly extended to all things. And the one demiurgus indeed, being arranged prior to the triad, comprehends in himself uniformly the productions of all [the demiurgi]. But these three fathers multiply the unical dominion and power of the first demiurgus, divide his impartible production, and lead forth into secondary natures the stable energy of the father. And the exempt monad indeed comprehends in itself the all-perfect measure of the triad, according to supreme union; but the triad unfolds into light from itself the undivided power of the monad.

Plato, therefore, celebrates indeed, in other dialogues, these three fabricators and fathers, but particularly in the Gorgias, adducing as a witness of the theory concerning them, divinely-inspired poetry, he refers the whole progression of them to Saturn the father of the intellectual Gods, and from thence gives to them their first production into light. He exempts, however, the demiurgic intellect from the triadic division of them, coarranges it with the father, and says, that they have an intellectual dominion secondary to him. He likewise calls them the sons of Saturn, but indicates that they are allotted their progression from Jupiter. For there is a twofold Jupiter both according to Plato, and all the theology, as I may say, of the Greeks; the one indeed convolving the end of the intellectual triad to the beginning; but the other being allotted the summit of the ruling triad. And the one being the demiurgus of wholes totally; but the other being allotted the first parts of divided fabrication. And the one indeed being arranged prior to the three fathers; but the other being the first of the three, and proximate to the remaining fathers. Whence, also, I think that many who discuss these particulars are ignorant that Jupiter the demiurgus of the universe, is not the first of the three fathers, and that Saturn the leader and ruler of the intellectual kings, is not the same with the demiurgic intellect. For of those who immediately suspend the triad of the ruling fathers from the paternal kingdom of Saturn, some indeed refer the whole fabrication of things to Saturn himself; but others ascribe to the summit of the triad the generation of wholes. Is not, however, each of these impossible? For the one abiding in himself, and converting to himself every thing which has proceeded, is exempt from demiurgic production; but the other being divided oppositely to the total fathers, will not be the impartible fabricator of wholes. For it is necessary that the whole and all-perfect demiurgus of the world, should neither be connumerated with the many demiurgi, nor be the same with the cause which is stable, and perfectly established in itself. For he has a subsistence contrary to the cause which recalls that which has proceeded, and again exhibits it unemanent from itself. To be present likewise to all things by no means accords with that nature which energizes separately, and takes away its generative power. How, therefore, can he who converts his own children to himself, and shuts his own progeny in himself, possess the same power with the demiurgus who unfolds all things into light, and produces them into multitude? And how can he who is allotted the universe in conjunction with the remaining demiurgi, be uniformly the cause of the universe?

For, if you are willing, consider each of these three demiurgi, and survey what will happen from this assertion. For we say that the first of them is the cause of essence, and of existence to the fabrications in the world; but that the second is the source of the motion, life, and generation of sensibles; and that the third is the Cause of the divided production of forms of partible circumscription, and of the circular conversion of wholes to their one principle. We likewise definitely assert these things, admitting that the fabrication of each of the three extends to the whole world. But surveying the peculiar mode of fabrication in each, we say that the first is the effector of essence, the second of life, and the third of intellect. And that the first is the cause of hyparxis, the second of motion, and the third of conversion. Hence, the whole world, so far as it participates of being, is produced from the first father; but so far as it subsists through motion, and is generation, it receives its progression from the second father; and so far as it is perfectly divided, and after all-various division, is converted to its proper principle, it is produced from the third father.


These things, therefore, being thus determined, we may see how in the Timæus, the demiurgus and father of this universe, at one and the same time impartibly constitutes the world, gives to it essence, and supplies it with existence, fashioning bodies, generating souls in the middle of an impartible and partible essence, and constituting intellects ingenerably i. e. without generation] and indivisibly, from the first genera. And farther still, besides these things, he distributes different motions to souls and bodies, divides each of them all-variously, according to harmonic reasons, binds them by analogies, and converts them to himself, and his own will. How, therefore, can we any longer rank such a demiurgus as this in the same order with one of these three fathers. For those things which they are said to give to the universe divisibly, he constitutes impartibly from himself. Nor does be produce some things precedaneously, and others according to accident, but by his very being he generates essence, supplies motions, and extends the divisions of mundane forms, and after the progression of other things, converts all things to himself, abiding in his own accustomed manner.

In the second place, therefore, we say that the three demiurgi differ from each other, because the first paternally comprehends the rest, and is the father of this whole triad. But the second is the power of the triad, and participates of the extremes according to the peculiarity of powers. And the third is the intellect of the triad, and contains the paternal, and intellectual power [by participation]. And in short, the first is the father of both; but the second is the power of both; and the third is the intellect of both. How, therefore, can the demiurgus of wholes be the same with one of the above mentioned fathers? For he, as Timæus says, is the father of all the world, and is allotted in himself a paternal power and divine intellect, converting all things to the watch-tower of himself. Again, therefore, we find that the partible peculiarities of the three demiurgi, preexist in him impartibly and uniformly. And as the demiurgic triad participates of union with him, on account of the uncircumscribed transcendency of the monad, thus also the monad antecedently and occultly comprehends in itself the triad, according to the power of causes? Nor is it proper to confound these with each other, but it is requisite exempt the monad from the triad, and to suspend the triad from the monad. And neither ought we to make the three fathers, the rulers of total fabrication, nor to rank the first of them in the same order with the one demiurgus. For a coordinated entirely differs from an exempt cause. And that which produces all things according to comprehension perfectly differs from that which is similarly present to all things, and is equally distant from all things. Besides this also, multitude is every where suspended from its proper monad. And as the one precedes the total orders of things, so likewise each order of the Gods has its progression from a monad; since also, each God is allotted a union which antecedes the multitude he contains. But if the whole genus of the Gods, and each God proceed after the same manner, it is also necessary that each of the divided orders should have the same mode of subsistence.

In the third place we say that both Plato and the ancient theology of the Greeks assert, that these three demiurgi divide the uniform kingdom of their father Saturn. And that one of these three every where arranges and adorns the first of wholes, another the middles, and another the extremities of wholes; and that each is allotted this order, not in fabrication only, but also in the providence of partial souls. For of these, some indeed are arranged and perfected under the first, prior to generation; but others, that give completion to generation, are arranged under the second; and others, that require purification after generation, are perfected under the third. Moreover, the first demiurgus, as it is written in the Timæus, produces the whole world. For he constitutes the circulation of the same, and arranges and adorns the circulation of the different, and all sublunary natures as far as to the earth, which he fabricated to be the guardian of night and day, being immoveably fixed about the axis which is extended through the poles of the universe. He also fills the whole parts of the world with their proper numbers, and gives generation to all of them, both to those that revolve manifestly, and to those that become manifest when they please. Again, he defines the whole period to partial souls, the measures of their descent into generation, the vicissitudes of the present life, and their restitutions to their kindred star, and he is also said to unfold to them all the laws of Fate, and to point out to them the nature of the universe. Hence, he is not one of these three fathers, nor is he co-arranged with them, but is perfectly exempt from the triad. According likewise to the proper prerogative of his empire, he is expanded separately above each, and in common above all of them. And the operations indeed, of these fathers, are divided about him, and are distinguished by more partial boundaries. But his fabrication is uncircumscribed, is one whole, and is impartible.


Let it therefore, from these things be manifest, that the demiurgic monad, is exempt from the ruling fathers, and that according to one undivided cause he generates beings eternally. But if Jupiter is according to Plato, the one and whole fabricator of the only-begotten world, as we have before demonstrated, and we grant these things without being deceived, and if, as it is now said, and Socrates in the Gorgias teaches us, the first of the demiurgi that divide the kingdom of Saturn, is in a similar manner called Jupiter, there will be according to this theory a twofold Jupiter, the one being an intellectual God prior to the three fathers; but the other being of a ruling, assimilative, and principal nature, and arranged at the summit of the three. For Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, divide, says Plato, the kingdom of their father, three leaders of wholes subsisting from one great king as it were, and producing the one fountain of the demiurgic series, into one all-perfect principal triad, which Plato also indicating, denominates the providence divided in the three a kingdom, attributing the first-effective, and the uniform to the Gods prior to these. If these however, are not the only orders of Jupiter, but there is also another Jovian multitude, how this proceeds will be evident in what follows. For all these three fathers participate of the same appellation, and are after the same manner celebrated by poets inspired by Phœbus; but one is called simply Jupiter, another marine Jupiter, and another subterranean Jupiter. The leader however of the three, possesses primarily the paternal dignity in the triad, and the appellation of the great Jupiter. For on account of the supreme union which he is allotted with the fontal demiurgus, who is beyond the three, he also participates of the same name as the total Jupiter, without any distinction. And on this account, I think, Socrates, in the Cratylus, unfolding to us the arcane and mystic discipline concerning the Gods, from names, and at one time co-arranging Jupiter with Saturn, and at another with the remaining demiurgi, does not think it worth while to speak twice about the same things, but in the intellectual conceptions about the all-perfect demiurgus, he also thinks fit to deliver the arcane discipline concerning the first of the three demiurgi, through the truth of names. For in a certain respect, it was not possible for him to do otherwise who shows that the theory in things accords with names; since also, the father of this triad, is inseparably united to the whole demiurgus. But of these things enough.

If you are willing however, we will add the following observations to what has been said. For perhaps some one may apprehend that the fable in the Gorgias, gives to the three sons of Saturn, a progression from Saturn proximately, but not, as we have said, through the demiurgic monad as a medium. For again, the three are said to divide the kingdom of Saturn, but not of the whole demiurgus and father. That we may not however, ignorantly wander beyond measure from the conception of Plato, and the truth of things, in consequence of following fabulous fictions, we must affirm from the beginning, that both the whole demiurgus, and this triad of the ruling fathers, proceed from the father of the intellectual Gods. But the whole demiurgus proceeding from a whole, impartibly participates of his father. For he abides in the allness of his power, and imitates, if it be lawful so to speak, his uniform and unmultiplied nature, by being monadic and whole, and the father of things first, middle and last. But the three demiurgi, in a divided manner participate of, and proceed from their generating cause, being divided indeed from each other, but dividing his unical providence. And Saturn indeed, is a God one and numerous, establishing multitude in himself, and occultly comprehending it in appropriate boundaries. But Jupiter expresses the paternal monad, and produces the unical nature of it into the providence of wholes. And the three sons of Saturn unfold into light the multitude which is there, in the all-perfect boundary of the triad. Hence also they are said to divide the kingdom of their father, which Jupiter possessed indivisibly. Hence, if it be requisite to speak boldly, he indeed is a proceeding father, hastening to arrange and adorn, and being parturient in order to the generation of wholes. But they distribute his providence. This however, is the same thing as to say they distribute the providence of Jupiter. For the progression to them was from each of these divinities, from Saturn indeed, according to the from which (αφ’ου), but from Jupiter according to the by which, υφ’ου.[1] For Jupiter indeed, unfolds them into light; but they proceed from the Saturnian adyta.

If again, you are willing [to consider the affair] according to the Parmenides of Plato, since in the Saturnian order there are both wholeness and parts, if you assume the subsistence there of that which is in another, according to whole, but of that which is in itself, according to parts, Jupiter indeed, who is prior to the three, proceeds from his father according to whole; but the three demiurgi, according to parts. Hence, Jupiter reigns, possessing in himself, as Socrates says in the Philebus, a royal intellect. But they reign in a divided manner, and are allotted the universe according to parts. Hence therefore, the Elean guest in the Politicus, celebrates these two intellectual kings, one indeed, being the cause of the unapparent life to wholes, and of the other circulation, but the other being the source of the manifest order of things, and of the present period; and he attributes to Jupiter the cause of both these, periods. But at one time indeed, he ascribes this cause to Jupiter, as leading all things in the universe to the kingdom of Saturn; but at another, as binding to himself the providence of secondary natures. For he is united to his father by intellectual bonds, of which Socrates makes mention in the Cratylus. He is likewise a whole extended to a whole, and as it were adapts himself by his own light to the light of his father, and possesses a second dominion. Hence also, he is said to define the providence of his father. The Athenian guest however [in the Laws,] extending us to the one demiurgic kingdom, to the law, and the total justice which are there asserts, “that God, as it is said, possesses the beginning, middle, and end of all beings, and bounds all things by a circular progression according to nature, in a direct path.” For because we do not think it right to consider Plato here as speaking of the first God, or of any other of the intellectual or intelligible fathers-, but of the whole demiurgus, it is sufficient for those who are moderately able to understand things of this kind, that he is said to bound all things in a direct path, and to proceed circularly according to nature. It is also sufficient, that Justice is said to be the attendant of this God, being the avenger of those who transgress the divine law. For the first God, and all the Gods who are established above the perfective order, are exempt from this rectilinear, and also from the circular progression, as Parmenides teaches us. They likewise transcend all motion. But the first that proceeds after motion, is the whole and all-perfect demiurgus. To this divinity therefore, it pertains to bound wholes in a direct path, to proceed circularly, and to be followed by Justice. For we say indeed, that the thing which follows, follows that which is moved.

Moreover, the Gods who are secondary to the demiurgus, have not a unical dominion over wholes as he has, nor do they antecedently assume the beginnings, middles and ends of all beings. But some of them indeed, preside over partial natures totally, as these three fathers; but others preside over wholes partibly, as those who pour upon all things the rivers of life, in a divided manner; and others preside over parts partibly, as the last of the demiurgi, and who are conversant with the world. The one and impartible demiurgus of wholes therefore, alone comprehends in himself, the beginning, middle, and end of all beings, and equally rules over all secondary natures according to one cause. But Justice follows him, bounding the desert of the whole of things, and circumscribing each thing in its proper limits. And these things the Athenian guest manifests in the above-mentioned words; but Orpheus clearly refers them to the whole demiurgus. For he says that total Justice follows him, now reigning over, and beginning to arrange and adorn the universe.

Justice th’ abundant punisher of crimes,
Aid and defence of all things, follows Jove.

Moreover, that Jupiter comprehends the beginnings, middles and ends of wholes, the theologist says, in addition to these things,

Jove’s the beginning, and the middle’s Jove, And all things flow from Jove’s prolific mind.

And it appears to me that Plato looking to all the Grecian theology, and particularly to the Orphic-mystic discipline says, that God, according to the ancient assertion, possesses the beginning, middle, and end of all things, bounding the whole of things in a direct path, and proceeding circularly according to nature, and that he has Justice for his attendant, through which every thing that departs from the providential empire of Jupiter is converted to it, and obtains an appropriate end. Through these things therefore, we have reminded the reader, that the Athenian guest also looking to the whole demiurgus, proclaims things of this kind to his pupils. If however, these things are rightly determined, it is indeed entirely necessary to exempt the one demiurgus, according to essence, from these three [demiurgi]. For if one of them indeed, comprehends the beginnings of every thing in the world, but another the middles, and another, every where convolves the ends, is it not necessary that he who uniformly rules over the universe, should be established above divided causes? But, the Athenian guest gives to him a power generative of this triad [of demiurgi]. For if he comprehends the beginnings, middles, and ends of the whole of things, according to the primary cause indeed, he generates the demiurgus, who arranges and adorns first natures; but according to middle causes, the demiurgus who gives completion to the middle boundaries of fabrication; and according to the end, the demiurgus who adapts an appropriate production to the last of things.


The Athenian guest therefore, does all but clearly say, that the distribution to the three sons of Saturn, the measures of providence, and in short, progression, are suspended from the great Jupiter, and that it is he who supernally defines their allotments, and uniformly comprehends all of them in himself. Moreover, with respect to the assertions, that he bounds all things in a direct path, and that he proceeds circularly according to nature, the former of these, manifests the progression of wholes from him; for the direct is a symbol of progression; but the latter manifests the conversion of wholes to him. For he being intellectually converted in, and to himself, convolves all things to the watch-tower of himself. But if the straight and the circular first subsist in the perfective Gods, the demiurgus of wholes is filled indeed from thence, but fills the natures posterior to himself with the powers that proceed from him. And as according to the triple cause of wholes, he constitutes the triad of demiurgi in conjunction with his father, thus also according to these twofold powers, he generates twofold [orders of] Gods; one indeed, which adorns a sensible nature, according to the straight which is in him; but the other which elevates all things to him, according to the circular. Moreover, because he proceeds indeed from the whole fabrication, (i. e. from Rhea) but participates of the perfective triad, he connects this straight and circular with motion. For to bound according to the straight, and to proceed circularly, designate motion; the former indeed, being significant of motion proceeding to all things, and adorning all things with boundaries, forms and reasons; but the latter, of motion convolving to itself, and calling upward all things to itself.

Again, therefore, Plato placing in the one demiurgus the cause of the triad, exempts him, who abides as it were in himself, from production according to parts; but attributes to the triad a division according to the demiurgus. For Timæus also, by placing in him a paternal cause, a generative power, and a royal intellect, theologizes the same things about him as the Athenian guest. The paternal, indeed, is every where principal; but power belongs to the middle; and intellect closes the end of the triad. For power, according to the Oracle, is with them; [i. e. with father and intellect], but intellect is from him, [i. e. from the father]. Hence, of the natures which have proceeded, one is the father of the whole triad, but another the intellect of it. And one indeed is allotted the beginning of total fabrication; but another, gives completion to the middle of the generation of wholes; and another, bounds the end of it. Nor must we here omit to observe the accuracy of Plato, but survey how the Athenian guest magnificently celebrates the extremities of the three demiurgi, by more singular names, calling one the beginning, and the other the end, but that which is between the extremes even in causes, he manifests through multitude. For he denominates it middles; since power also, as being co-ordinate with the infinite, or rather being a certain infinity, is the cause of multitude and division to wholes. Hence also, of the three demiurgi, one indeed, is the cause to mundane natures of a stable collocation; but another, of generation proceeding to all things; and another, of the circulation of things to the principle of their progression.

Let us, however, return whence we digressed, to the discussion concerning the first demiurgus, in which it was said, that Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto divide the kingdom of their father. For prior to these, the demiurgus received the kingdom of his father in an undivided and uniform manner. For both the demiurgic monad and the triad, were thence allotted their progression from the beginning, and their dominion over secondary natures; but the former impartibly, and the latter partibly; and the former monadically, but the latter triadically. That you may not, therefore, think that these three proceed after the same manner from the father, as the one king who is prior to the three, Socrates, [in the Gorgias] in the form of a fable, says that they divide the kingdom of the father, and on this account require secondary laws, and a subordinate order, and which is adapted to parts. For the law under Saturn, and the law of Jupiter who recently possesses the kingdom [of his father] appear to be by no means adapted to the providence of those powers who produce a partial and various form of life. And do you not see how Socrates gives to total Jupiter and to Saturn an exempt transcendency, and connects one law with both kingdoms; but to the three demiurgi that divide the kingdom, he definitely assigns as it were another polity, and more various laws commensurate to the subjects of their providential care? For he says that Pluto, and the curators were present enquiring of Jupiter respecting the second legislation; but that he placed over partible lives, other judges, and laws adapted to these lives. Again, therefore, Jupiter, who definitely assigns things of this kind, and who generates the three judges, is not the same with the Jupiter who is prior to the three [demiurgi]. For the latter was together with his father according to a prior law, and the simplicity of a divine life; but the former together with Pluto, leads into order and bound the variety of partial natures, and is the leader of secondary laws.

The divine law, therefore, is with the intellectual kings, Saturn and Jupiter; and also Justice the avenger of those who transgress the divine law, as the Athenian guest says. But other more various laws are with the three sons of Saturn, and also judges co-ordinate to such like laws, as it is written in the Gorgias. And there indeed, [i, e. with the intellectual kings,] all things are impartibly, and unitedly; but here, [i. e. with the three sons of Saturn], all things subsist in a divided and partible manner. And the things which are there being primary, the law indeed is more Saturnian. But Justice follows the great Jupiter. And the laws indeed pertaining to secondary natures, confer perfection under the first of the sons of Saturn. But the judges give completion to the empire of the third of these sons. And Pluto participates from the second Jupiter of the separation of the laws; in the same manner as the total Jupiter receives from Saturn the one law which is to be the co-administrator with him in the total fabrication of things. In short, the Jupiter who is co-arranged with Neptune and Pluto, is the summit of the ruling triad; but the Jupiter who is co-arranged with Saturn and the mistress Rhea, is the third of the intellectual triad. Hence also, Socrates, in the Cratylus, at one time ascends from Jupiter to Saturn, and conjoins the two kingdoms; but at another time he proceeds from Jupiter to Neptune and Pluto, and unfolds this one ruling triad; just as in the Gorgias, he weaves together the Saturnian and Jovian order, when he says that there is one and the same law in both. He co-arranges therefore, the second and more partial Jupiter with Pluto, according to the apparent correction of the prior law, and the distribution of the second laws. And thus much may suffice concerning these particulars.

CHAPTER X.[2][edit]

It now remains that we should begin to speak about these three fathers, following the mystic narrations of Plato, since all of them are suspended from the demiurgic monad, and present themselves to our view as the second [in rank] after it. These three leaders, therefore, of wholes, and rulers, are emitted indeed from the intellectual fathers, and are divided according to them; but they are unfolded into light in all the partible orders, of the Gods. For among the rulers they are allotted the first order, and are analogous to the intelligible and intellectual fathers, in the whole assimilative series, and having made a second progression in the liberated Gods, they rule over the universe. Together also with the mundane Gods, they give completion to the apparent order of things, being allotted in one way an essence in the heavens, but in another way distributing the total parts in the sublunary region, but every where energising paternally and demiurgically, expanding the one fabrication, and adapting it to parts.

With respect, however, to the allotment and distribution of them, in the first place, if you please, it is according to the whole universe, the first of them producing essences, the second lives and generations, and the third administering formal divisions. And the first indeed establishing in the one demiurgus all things that thence proceed; but the second calling all things into progression; and the third converting all things to itself. In the second place, the allotment and division of them are according to the parts of the universe. For the first of them adorns the inerratic sphere, and the circulation of it; but the second governs the planetary regions and perfects the multiform, efficacious, and prolific motions in it; and the last administers the sublunary region, and. intellectually perfects the terrestrial world. Again, in the third place, we may survey in that which is generated, these three demiurgic progressions; since Timæus also here makes mention of the offspring of Saturn. Jupiter, therefore, administers the summit of generated natures, and governs the spheres of fire and air. But Neptune all-variously moves the middle and very-mutable elements, and is the inspective guardian of every moist essence, which is beheld in air and water. And Pluto providentially attends to the earth, and to every thing in the earth. Hence also he is called terrestrial Jupiter.

In the fourth place, therefore, in the whole of generation, Jupiter indeed is allotted the summits, and the parts which are raised above others, in which also are the allotments of happy souls, as Socrates says in the Phædrus, because they then live under Jupiter, beyond generation. But Neptune is allotted cavities, and cavernous places, with which generation, motion, and the incursion of concussions are conversant. Hence, they call this God, the earth-shaker. And Pluto is allotted the places under the earth, various streams, Tartarus itself, and in short, the places in which souls are judged and punished. Whence also, of souls themselves, they say that such of them as have not yet proceeded into generation, but abide in the intelligible, are Jovian; but that such as are conversant with generation, are arranged under Neptune; and that such as are purified and punished after generation, and wander under the earth, according to a journey of a thousand years, or which are again converted and led back to their principle, are perfected under Pluto.

In the fifth place, therefore, we must say that the allotments of these divinities, are divided according to the centres of the universe. And Jupiter, indeed, has the eastern centre, as being allotted an order analogous to fire; but Neptune, the middle centre, which pertains to vivification, and according to which especially generation enjoys celestial natures; and Pluto the western centre, since we say that the west is coordinate to earth, as being nocturnal, and the cause of the unapparent. For shadow is from earth, and earth is the privation of light from west to east. In short, according to every division of the world, we admit that the first and most leading parts are Jovian; but we say that the middle parts pertain to the kingdom of Neptune; and we consider the last parts as belonging to the empire of Pluto.


Through these things, therefore, the triad of the ruling fathers has been celebrated by us. Let us, however, survey another order in this progression, prolific, and vivific, and which is delivered by Plato in a divinely-inspired manner. For the proximate decrements and generations from all the intellectual fathers, are unfolded into light in the assimilative Gods. For here the partible progressions exist of things which there subsist uniformly, since it is lawful for progeny which every where are allotted an order inferior to their causes, to give multitude to the monads, and to multiply the stable hypostases of them, and to render the energies of the simplicity, which is in first natures, more composite. As, therefore, from the paternal monad [Saturn] a triad subsists of ruling demiurgi, thus also from the vivific fountain [Rhea] which is allotted the middle centre in the intellectual Gods, the vivific order of the assimilative Gods is emitted. And here also there is a triad connectedly contained by one monad; since the paternal triad also subsists according to one perfect intellect, and was, as we have said, monadic. After the same manner, therefore, the triad which is the supplier of life is monadic, being indeed full of prolific power, and full of undefiled perfection. It likewise participates of the whole vivification, and through the rivers of life, fills all secondary natures with generative, goods, and produces the vivific light, into the unenvying and exuberant participation of subordinate essences. And it converts indeed all things to itself, but is present to all things, and imparts to them its own appropriate powers. It likewise pervades from on high, as far as to the last parts of the world, but everywhere preserves the union of itself unmingled with its participants. And it embosoms indeed the generative, perfect, and beneficent light of the demiurgic monad; but weaves together with the third father [Pluto] the order of life; and coarranges the boundaries of wholes in a becoming manner. In short, it extends itself from the middle to all the genera of rulers, both the first and the last. And together with them indeed, it perfects all secondary natures, and coarranges that which is generative with the demiurgus. In addition to these things also, it illuminates all things with an analogous power, and connects the undefiled with the convertive peculiarity. For stable power pertains indeed to the demiurgic genera, but undefiled purity to the elevating genera.

Plato, therefore, in the same manner as Orpheus, calls this triad by one name; but in a certain respect he also indicates the multitude of the powers it contains. For all the theology of the Greeks denominates the second vivification Coric, (i. e. Virginal) and conjoins it with the whole vivific fountain. Plato also says, that it has its hypostasis from this fountain, and energizes together with it. For effects are never divulsed from the providence of their causes. But wanderings indeed, and investigations, [belong to the powers that energize providentially, just as] participations according to periods pertain to the subjects of providential energy. The divine cause, however, of a partible life [i. e. Proserpine]; conjoins herself from eternity with the whole vivific fountain [i. e. with Ceres] which theologists call the mother of the ruling Goddess. And Plato every where conjoins Proserpine with Ceres. And he preestablishes indeed, the latter as a generative cause; but he celebrates the former as being filled from the latter, and filling secondary natures. Since, however, the Coric order is twofold, one indeed shining forth above the world, where it is also coarranged with Jupiter, and constitutes with him the one demiurgus of partible natures [i. e. Bacchus], but the other, and which is secondary, shining forth in the world, where also it is said to be ravished by Pluto, and to animate the extremities of the universe, which are under the administration of Pluto,—this being the case, Plato perfectly unfolds to us both these, at one time indeed conjoining Proserpine with Ceres, but at another with Pluto, and evincing that she is the wife of this God. For the rumour of theologists who delivered to us the most holy mysteries in Eleusis, says, that above indeed, Proserpine abides in the dwellings of her mother, which her mother had fabricated in inaccessible places, exempt from the universe, but that beneath she governs terrestrial concerns in conjunction with Pluto, rules over the recesses of the earth, extends life to the extremities of the universe, and imparts soul to things which are of themselves inanimate, and dead. Where also you may wonder that Proserpine associates with Jupiter indeed and Pluto, the former, as fables say violating, but the latter ravishing the Goddess, but is not connected with Neptune. For he alone of the sons of Saturn, is not conjoined with Proserpine. [The reason, however, of this is,] that Neptune possessing the middle centre in the triad, is allotted a vivific dignity and power, and is characterized according to this. From himself, therefore, he has the vivific cause, animates the whole of his proper allotment, and fills it with middle life from his own peculiarity. For Pluto indeed is the supplier of wisdom and intellect to souls according to Socrates in the Cratylus. But Jupiter is the cause of existence to beings, as the father of the triad. Proserpine, therefore, being coarranged with the extremes, and prior to the world, with Jupiter indeed paternally, but in the world with Pluto, according to the beneficent will of the father, in the former case she is said to be violated by Jupiter, but in the latter, to be ravished by Pluto, in order that the first and last of fabrications may participate of vivification. For as the whole fountain of life [Rhea] being conjoined with the whole, according to one impartible cause, illuminates all things with life, thus also Proserpine, weaving in conjunction with the leaders of the universe, things first, middle, and last, illuminates them with the vivification of herself.

Moreover, we may know from Plato, through these signs, the union of the whole triad, since denominating it Core (i. e. a virgin or Proserpine) he celebrates it with Ceres. But again, we must survey where it is that he indicates the division of the triad. For there are three monads in it, and one of them is arranged, as being the highest, according to hyparxis, but another is arranged according to the power which is definitive of life, and another according to vivific intellect. And theologists indeed are accustomed to call the first of these Coric, (i. e. virginal) Diana, but the second Proserpine, and the third, Coric Minerva. I speak, however, of the authors of the Grecian theology, since among the barbarians [i. e. the Chaldeans] the same things are manifested through other names. For they indeed call the first monad, Hecate, but the middle monad, Soul, and the third, Virtue. Since, therefore, these things are made known to us after this manner by the names of the Greeks, Plato indeed indicates the order of Coric Minerva, by denominating Minerva Mistress, celebrating her as Core, asserting that she is the cause of the whole of virtue, and calling her the lover of wisdom, and the lover of war, and also Ethonoe, as being intelligence in manners. For all these names sufficiently represent to us her intellectual and ruling nature, and that power of her which promptly supplies the whole of virtue. But in the same dialogue, he indicates the order of Proserpine, celebrating her as Pherephatta, and employing this name, which is likewise used by all other theologists. These things he manifests in the Cratylus, where he unfolds the truth concealed in the name of Pherephatta. And in the same dialogue he indicates the order of Diana, by calling her skilful in virtue. For it is evident that the whole triad being united to itself, the first [monad] of the triad, unically comprehends the third, the third is converted to the first, and the middle has a power extending to both. There are, therefore these three vivific monads, viz. Diana, Proserpine, and our mistress Minerva. And the first of these indeed is the summit of the whole triad, and which also converts to herself the third. But the second is a power vivific of wholes. And the third is a divine and undefiled intellect, comprehending in one, ma?? ruling manner, total virtues. Timæus, therefore, manifests this, calling the third monad (Minerva) philosophic, as being full of intellectual knowledge, and true wisdom; but philopolemic, as the cause of undefiled power, and the inspective guardian of the whole of fortitude. And again, the Athenian guest calls her Core, as being a virgin, and as purifying from all conversion to externals.

If, however, you are willing, we will survey the triad of Core, from what is said in the Cratylus concerning Pherephatta. She is called, therefore, wisdom, and is said to come into contact with that which is generated and borne along: she also produces fear in those that hear her name, and excites astonishment in the multitude. With respect to the appellation of wisdom, therefore, it is evident that it is a sign [of the characteristic property] of Minerva, and the summit of virtue. For if in us all the sciences are the first of the virtues, how is it possible that wisdom should not be rightly denominated, the first-effective cause of all the virtues? And if philosophy pertains to her, so far as she is wisdom, and immaterial intelligence, but not because she is indigent of wisdom, (for no one of the Gods, says Diotima, philosophizes), on this account, therefore, she is not indigent of wisdom; and the intellectual good of the ruling order entirely pertains to her. But to come into contact with that which is borne along, and with generation, will in a particular manner be adapted to soul. For it is soul that knows every thing which is generated, and continually communicates with it. She, likewise, in a certain respect comes entirely into contact with that which is borne along. Moreover, the incommensurability of Pherephatta with multitude, and the terror and astonishment which she excites, are indicative of the power in her which is exempt from all things, which is unapparent to the many and unknown. For the Barbarians also [i. e. the Chaldeans,] call the Goddess who is the leader of this triad, dire and terrible. Hence Plato does not more clearly indicate these things to us about this mighty Goddess [than the Barbarians;] but he announces names adapted to the theology concerning her.

To the Core, therefore, that is beneath, and that associates with Pluto, all the above-mentioned particulars are inherent according to participation, and, as some one might say, according to similitude to the total Core; but they are inherent in the ruling Core, according to the first hypostasis. And in reality these three Goddesses are consubsistent. As, likewise, the whole vivific deity comprehends in herself the fountains of virtue and soul, which the demiurgus also imparts to the world, causing it to subsist perfectly, thus too, this deity [Core] possessing the primary cause of all the partible forms of life, possesses likewise the principle of souls, and of the virtues, and on this account, the ascent to partial souls [such as ours], is through similitude, and virtue is a similitude to the Gods. Hence also, the form of each of these, I mean of virtue and soul, pre-subsist in the assimilative Gods; since, likewise, the immortality of souls is inferred by Socrates, from their similitude to divinity. If, therefore, they are allotted immortality essentially, it is indeed necessary that the cause which assimilates them [to divinity] should primarily be in the Gods. For they are assimilated to their fountain. But they participate of similitude from the assimilative causes. Hence in these, the cause of such an immortality of souls as this, shines forth. On this account also, Socrates arguing from similitude says, it is fit that souls should govern and despotically rule over bodies, since they are allotted the power of governing and despotically ruling, from the same cause from which they derive their similitude [to divinity.] The one cause itself, therefore, of all the partible forms of life, pre-exists in the assimilative rulers. But one, whole, and impartible virtue exists prior to all the virtues which afford a similitude [to a divine nature.] And neither is the essential similitude of souls, nor the similitude of virtue, derived from any other source than that of these rulers and principles.

Since, however, there are, as we have said, triple monads in Core; and one, indeed, establishes all things in itself; but another leads all things into generation; (for it belongs to soul to generate) and another converts all things to itself; (for this is the illustrious work of virtue) and since all things are perfectly pre-arranged in Core,—this being the case, the monad which associates with Pluto, participates, indeed, in a certain respect of the extremes, but is particularly allotted its progression according to the middle. Hence also, it is called Proserpine, because it comes into contact, as we have observed, with generation and things which are borne along. For the unmingled and the virginal were adapted to the extremes. But mixture, and a contact with generated natures, are adapted to the middle, which rejoices in progressions and multiplications. This ravishment therefore, of Core, is indeed perfectly established in Proserpine. But she also imparts herself, and the vivification proceeding from herself to the last of things. Hence likewise, Socrates in the Cratylus co-arranges Proserpine with Pluto, but every where ranks total Core with Ceres, and comprehends her in the name of Core. The power however, which proceeds from her to the realms beneath, he comprehends in the name of Proserpine. For the psychical nature is in this power essentially; but the remaining things are in it, as we have said, according to representation, and not primarily. And thus much concerning the vivific triad, since Plato has delivered to us but few auxiliaries about it, from which as from firestones rubbed against each other, it is possible to enkindle the light of truth.


In the third place, let us discuss the elevating, among the ruling Gods, and the triad which converts all things to their principle. For since there are three intellectual monads, as we have said, which are prearranged in the Gods prior to these, three triads of the ruling Gods proceed conformably to those monads; the paternal triad indeed, conformably to the first intellectual monad; (whence also they are called the sons of Saturn, and are said to have divided the kingdom of their father) but the vivific triad conformably to the middle monad; (whence also we are accustomed to co-arrange Core with Ceres as with a precedaneous cause) and the convertive triad, conformably to the third monad. Hence likewise we establish the peculiar cause of this triad in the demiurgus. For ail the triads of the ruling Gods, are suspended from the demiurgic monad, and the progression to all of them is from this. One of them however, he constitutes in conjunction with his father; another in conjunction with the vivific Goddess; and another from the fountain in himself. For in the all-perfect demiurgus there are many fountains, which exist prior to all the second and third generations. For there the fountain of ideas subsists, according to which he adorns the universe, fashions the several particulars in it with forms and reasons, and arranges, and leads them into bound and morphe. For the fountain of souls likewise, and the fountain of all the intellectual Gods which proceed from him, are there. For he possesses a royal soul, and a royal intellect, according to the power of cause, as Socrates says, in the Philebus. For there also the fontal sun subsists. Hence Timæus, after the generation of the seven bodies, and their position into total circulations, says, that the demiurgus enkindled that light which we now call the sun in the second of the revolutions from the earth, as affording an hypostasis to the sun from his own essence. For that which enkindles the whole sun, produces it, and constitutes that which is enkindled.

The demiurgus therefore, possessing, and comprehending in himself the solar fountain, generates likewise in conjunction with the principles and rulers of wholes, solar powers, and the triad of solar Gods, through which all things are elevated, perfected, and filled with intellectual goods; from one monad indeed, participating unpolluted light, and intelligible harmony, but from the remaining two, efficacious power, acme, and demiurgic perfection. How therefore, does Plato deliver to us these divine orders, and where does he indicate concerning them? Here then, he comprehends the whole triad through one name, in the same manner as he does the triad prior to it. And as there he manifests the whole genus of the vivific principles by the name of Core, so likewise in these, he denominates the whole triad Apolloniacal. But he indicates the multitude in this triad by the many powers of this God.

In the first place therefore, let us survey how Plato, in the same manner as Orpheus, considers the sun to be in a certain respect the same as Apollo, and how he venerates the communion of these Gods. For Orpheus clearly says that the sun is the same with Apollo, and asserts this (as I may say) through the whole of his poetry. But the Athenian guest indicates this through the union of these divinities, constructing a common temple to Apollo and the sun, and at one time making mention of both, but at another, of one only, in consequence of their subsisting according to one union. But he says as follows: “Every year after the conversions of the sun from summer to winter, it is requisite that the whole city should assemble in the temple common to the sun and Apollo, consecrating three of the citizens to the God.” In these words therefore, speaking in common about both these divinities, that it is fit there should be a temple of Apollo and the sun, into which it is necessary the whole city should assemble, after the summer solstice, he discourses in what follows about both, as if they were one, adding, that three of the citizens should be consecrated to the God; thus recurring from the division to the union of both. But elsewhere, he latently indicates the communion of them with each other. And again, in what follows, at one time he says that the citizens [consecrated to the God] should offer common first fruits to the sun and Apollo, but at another to the sun alone, in consequence of Apollo being in the sun. According to Plato therefore, there is a kindred conjunction of these divinities, a communion of powers, and an ineffable union.

Socrates also in the Cratylus, proposing to discover the essence of Apollo from his appellation, ascends to the simplicity of his hyparxis, to his power of unfolding truth into light, and to his intellect which is the cause of knowledge, thus sufficiently indicating to us the unmultiplied, simple, and uniform nature of the God. But in the [6th book of the] Republic, arranging the sun analogous to the good, and sensible light, to the light proceeding from the good to the intelligible, and calling the light which is present to the intelligible from the good, truth, connecting likewise intellect and the intelligible with each other, he evidently collects together these two series, I mean the Apolloniacal and the solar. For each of these is analogous to the good. But sensible light, and intellectual truth, are analogous to superessential light. And these three lights are successive to each other, viz. the divine, the intellectual, and sensible light; the last indeed pervading to sensibles from the visible sun; but the second extending from Apollo to intellectuals; and the first, from the good to intelligibles.

Again therefore, these Gods are demonstrated to be connascent with each other, according to their analogy to the good. But together with union, they have also a separation adapted to them. Hence by poets inspired by Phœbus, the different generative causes and fountains of them are celebrated, from which being allotted their hypostasis, they are separated from each other. But they are likewise celebrated by these poets, as mutually connascent and united, and are praised by the appellations of each other. For the sun vehemently rejoices, to be celebrated in hymns as Apollo. And Apollo when be is invoked as the sun, benevolently causes the light of truth to shine forth. If therefore, the hyparxes of these divinities are united to, and subsist together with each other, but many powers of Apollo are delivered to us by Plato himself, and are happily allotted an appropriate theory, it is certainly proper to collect from these by a reasoning process, the solar progressions. But I say these things, looking to Socrates in the Cratylus, and his conceptions through images, which are there delivered, of the Apolloniacal powers. For the name of this God being one, unfolds all his powers, to the lovers of the contemplation of truth. This therefore is a very illustrious indication of the Apolloniacal peculiarity, viz. to collect multitude into one, to comprehend number in unity, to produce many things from one, and through intellectual simplicity to convolve to himself all the variety of secondary natures, and by one hyparxis to unite in one, multiform essences and powers. This Socrates says happens to the name Apollo, it being sufficient to signify in one, the various and different powers of the God, so that receiving his last image, and the most obscure representation from him, it is assimilated to his unific, and collective hyparxis, and contributes to our recollection of the Apolloniacal peculiarity. This one name therefore, possesses occultly many indications of the powers of the God. And by this simplicity indeed, which is exempt from multitude, the truth which the God through prophesy unfolds to secondary natures, is presented to our view. For the simple is the same with the true. But by the representation [in his name] of dissolution and liberation, the purifying and undefiled nature of the God is signified, and also his power which is the saviour of wholes. By his emission of arrows, his power is indicated which is subversive of every thing inordinate, confused, and incommensurate, through a cause which is the source of the jaculation of arrows. And by his revolution, the harmonious motion of wholes, and the symphony which coalesces in itself, and binds all things, are indicated. Referring therefore, these four powers of the God to forms adapted to the powers, we may thus accommodate them to the solar monads. Hence the first of these monads is enunciative of truth and the intellectual light which subsists occultly in the Gods themselves. But the second is subversive of every thing confused, and exterminative of all disorder. And the third renders all things commensurate and friendly to each other, through harmonic reasons. An undefiled however, and most pure cause presides over these monads, illuminating all things with perfection, and a subsistence according to nature, and expelling the contraries to these.

Of the solar triad, therefore, the first monad, indeed, unfolds intellectual light, and announces it to all secondary natures, fills all things with total truth, and elevates them to the intellect of the Gods. And this we say is the employment of the prophetic power of Apollo, viz. to lead forth into light the truth comprehended in divine natures, and to perfect that which is unknown to secondary natures. But the second and third monads, emit efficacious and demiurgic acme, in order to the production of wholes, and perfect energy, according to which they adorn indeed every thing sensible, but exterminate the inordinate and indefinite from the universe. And one of these monads is analogous to the production in wholes through music, and to the harmonious providence of things that are moved. But another is analogous to the power which is subversive of all disorder, and of the confusion and tumult which are contrary to form, and to the arrangement of wholes. And the remaining monad which supplies all things with an unenvying and exuberant communication of what is beautiful, which extends the beneficial, and imparts true blessedness, closes indeed the solar principles, but guards its triple progression. In a similar manner also, it illuminates ascending natures, with the perfect and intellectual measure of a happy life, presiding in the sun analogous to the purifying and Pœonian powers of the king Apollo.

From what is written likewise in the Republic concerning the sun, we may be able to collect the same things by a reasoning process. For Socrates there gives to it a transcendency exempt from every thing generated, and says that it is established above things which are borne, along in a sensible nature; just as the good is perfectly exempt from intelligibles. He likewise says that the sun generates sense, that which is sensible, and generated natures, just as the good produces essence and true being, and is antecedently the cause of intellect and intelligibles, If, therefore, this sensible world is generated and generation, as Timæus says, and a divine generated nature, as it is asserted in the Republic, but the sun is beyond generation, as Socrates affirms, and in short, is allotted an essence different from sensibles, it is perfectly evident that it is allotted a supermundane order in the world, and exhibits an unbegotten transcendency in generated natures, and an intellectual dignity in sensibles. Hence, Timæus also delivers a twofold progression of the sun from the demiurgus, one indeed being co-arranged with the other planets, but the other exempt, supernatural, and unknown. For the demiurgus, when producing the seven bodies of the planets, and placing them in their proper circulations, at the same time constitutes the sun with the other planets arranging the moon the first from the earth, but the sun in the second circulation; and after these, he enkindles a light in the solar sphere, similar to none of the others; nor does he receive this light from the subject matter, but himself produces and generates it from himself, and extends as it were from certain adyta to mundane natures, a symbol of intellectual essences, and unfolds to the universe that which is arcane in the Gods that are above the world. Hence also the sun when he [first] appeared, astonished the [mundane] Gods, and all of them were desirous to dance round him, and to be filled with his light. This world likewise is beautiful and solar-form.

As we have said, therefore, from the fabrication [of the universe,] in the Timæus, the sun is demonstrated to possess this order beyond sensibles, and to be allotted an essence above every thing which is generated, but every thing in the world receives from him, perfection and essence. Hence also, Socrates in the Republic calls the sun the offspring of the good, the demiurgus of a generated nature, and the author of all mundane light. These things, therefore, we must likewise understand analogously about the ruling order of the God; for they are thence communicated to this visible sun. And on this account, here also, the sun is allotted an exempt transcendency with respect to the Gods in the world, because he possesses a precedaneous hypostasis among the leaders and rulers of wholes.

Farther still, in those Gods likewise, the first effective cause of light subsists, generating those supermundane and intellectual rays, through which souls, and all the more excellent genera obtain an elevating progression. With these Gods also, there is the demiurgic duad which produces both simple and composite natures, those that are of a more ruling, and those that are of an inferior order. And in short, this demiurgic duad governs the twofold co-ordinations of the world. Hence those who are wise in divine concerns call this primary cause of light, and the demiurgic duad hands, as being efficacious, motive, and fabricative of wholes. But they establish them to be twofold, the one indeed being dexter, but the other sinister; which things also Timæus admits to be primarily in the celestial periods, and says that this division is derived from the first demiurgus. If, therefore, the demiurgic monad constituted the solar order prior to the world, why is it wonderful that in that order he should establish this division according to the right and left? For Socrates also calls the motive powers of the Parcæ hands, and says that the eldest of the three moves the universe with both her hands; so that we must not refuse to transfer the name of hands to divine concerns. Moreover, will not likewise the last of the solar principles according to Plato be that from which the interpreters of divine concerns say, a happy life, and unpolluted fruits are derived to wholes? Since he calls the sun the offspring of the good, and this essentially pertains to it. For it is evident that as the good extends felicity to all beings, thus also the sun extends to mundane natures measures of felicity adapted to each, and gives completion to this through similitudes, and a tendency to the whole demiurgus. Hence also I think, felicity is said to consist in an assimilation to divinity. And felicity pertains to all the Gods in the world, according to the one ruling cause of them. For thence perfection and blessedness flow upon all things.


And thus much, following Plato, we have collected by a reasoning process, concerning these particulars. We shall add, however, to what has been said, the theory pertaining to the unpolluted Gods, among the ruling divinities. For Plato also gives us an opportunity of mentioning these, since it is necessary that the rulers and leaders of wholes should subsist analogous to the intellectual kings, though they make their progression in conjunction with division and a separation into parts. For as they imitate the paternal, generative, and convertive powers of the intellectual kings, thus also it is necessary that they should deceive the immutable monads in themselves, according to the ruling peculiarity, and establish over their own progressions secondary causes of a guardian characteristic. And the mystic tradition indeed of Orpheus, makes mention of these more clearly. But Plato being persuaded by the mysteries, and by what is performed in them, indicates concerning these unpolluted Gods. And in the Laws indeed he reminds us of the inflation of the pipe by the Corybantes, which represses every inordinate and tumultuous motion. But in the Euthydemus, he makes mention of the collocation on a throne, which is performed in the Corybantic mysteries; just as in other dialogues he makes mention of the Curetic order, speaking of the armed sports of the Curetes. For they are said to surround and to dance round the demiurgus of wholes, when he was unfolded into light from Rhea. In the intellectual Gods, therefore, the first Curetic order is allotted its hypostasis. But the order of the Corybantes which precedes Core, (i. e. Proserpine) and guards her on all sides, as the theology says, is analogous to the Curetes in the intellectual order. If, however, you are willing to speak according to Platonic custom, because these divinities preside over purity, and preserve the Curetic order undefiled, and also preserve immutability in their generations, and stability in their pro-ancient natures, will through these very things become perfectly known to us.

What, therefore, are the peculiarities of this order, which is celebrated as of a ruling and leading nature by others, but is demonstrated by arguments to be of an assimilative nature? Every thing then which is assimilative, imparts the communication of similitude, and of communion with paradigms to all the beings that are assimilated by it. Together with the similar, however, it produces and commingles the dissimilar; since in the images [of the similar] the genus of similitude is not naturally adapted to be present, separate from its contrary. If, therefore, this order of Gods assimilates sensibles to intellectuals, and produces all things posterior to itself according to an imitation of causes, it is indeed the first-effective cause of similitude to natures posterior to itself. But if it is the cause of this, it is also of the dissimilitude which is coordinate with similitude. For it is necessary that all things which participate of the similar, should also participate of the dissimilar. And this order of Gods indeed imparts the similar in a greater degree than the dissimilar to the progeny that are more proximate to their principles; but it constituted the essence of things that proceed farther from their principles, according to dissimilitude rather than similitude.

For, in short, similitude will have in itself an hypostasis analogous to the paternal causes, and to the causes which convert to principles. But the hypostasis of dissimilitude is analogous to prolific causes, and to those that preside over multitude and division. For similitude indeed proceeds analogous to intelligible bound, but dissimilitude to intelligible infinity. Hence the former is collective, but the latter separative of progressions. Since, however, every divine nature begins its own energy from itself, and though its energy is directed to secondary natures, and it imparts its own peculiarity to things subordinate, yet it establishes and defines itself according to that energy, prior to other things;—this being the case, that which supplies other things with the participation of the similar and the dissimilar, from itself, will entirely possess in itself this similitude and dissimilitude. It is also mingled from both these, though here similitude is emitted in a greater degree, and there dissimilitude. For generative are united to paternal causes, and unpolluted causes to those that hasten to proceed to every thing. Twofold coordinations likewise of the divine genera, are connected with each other, energize together with, and subsist in each other. For the genus of the ruling Gods, is similar and dissimilar to itself, and to other things. But being similar and dissimilar to itself, it conjoins itself to, and separates itself from its principles, preserving the proper boundaries of progression. That, however, which is similar and dissimilar to other things, converts and congregates other things to itself, and separates them from itself. Such, therefore, are the peculiarities of these Gods.

But that the similar and the dissimilar proceed from the demiurgic monad, and the signs which there preexist, into this order, Parmenides sufficiently demonstrates to us. For the demiurgic same and different, are the antecedently-existing causes, as he says, of the similitude and dissimilitude in this order. Since, however, though this order of Gods is the summit of the partible genera, and of genera which energize partibly, yet it has a total transcendency with respect to them, in order that being in continuity with the total orders of the Gods, its progression may not be separately allotted its generation from divided causes, but that each of the opposites, as it were, may proceed from the whole demiurgus. For the similar is from same and different, and the dissimilar receives its hypostasis from both these; and thus each participates of the whole demiurgic monad. And this is an indication, of total hyparxis, viz. to refer each of the parts that are, as it were different, to the whole. Sameness, therefore, and difference generate similitude; but the one indeed paternally, and the other in an unpolluted manner; and the one generatively, but the other separatively. And again, each constitutes dissimilitude in a manner appropriate to itself. And thus the genera of the assimilative Gods are varied, subsisting as paternal, generative, and collective of wholes. For they are allotted their evolution into light, doubled according to preexistent causes. And the demiurgic duad energizing through each of the causes that are preestablished in him, makes a progression from each into secondary natures. The whole conclusions, likewise, are dyadic, (or pertaining to the duad) but they are comprehended by the demiurgic tetrad in pre-arranged boundaries. And the multitude of the assimilative progressions is convolved to union, by the simplicity of the intellectual genera.

Each also of the progressions, has indeed one progression supernatural and unknown to the multitude, but the other apparent and known to all. I mean, for instance, that the similar, so far as it is constituted by difference, has a progression from thence difficult to be known; but that so far as it proceeds from sameness, it exhibits a manifest reason of cause. After the same manner, dissimilitude has difference for the manifest principle of its proper hyparxis; but sameness, for its principle difficult to be known. Hence also Parmenides beginning from things unknown to the multitude, and which are alone apparent to science and intellect, ends in things which are known to all men, and are effable. For in the Gods themselves, the ineffable precedes the effable. And the latent and unknown mode of their hypostasis, precedes that which is known according to progression. And thus much concerning these Gods from the Parmenides of Plato.


Making, however, another beginning, let us discuss the orders that follow successively. Since the partial orders of the Gods, therefore, are divided in a threefold manner, according to the all-perfect measure of the triad, proceeding supernally from the first intelligibles, as far as to the last of things, measuring and defining all things as the Oracles say,—the ruling Gods, indeed, are allotted the first and highest rank [among the partial orders,] making their progression proximately after the intellectual order, elevating secondary natures and conjoining them with the demiurgus of wholes, unfolding all impartible and united intellectual goods to things subordinate, and connecting and containing exemptly, their essence and perfection. But the Gods who give completion to the sensible world are allotted the last order, and close the end of the divine progression. These divide the universe, and obtain perpetual allotments and receptacles in it, and through these weave one and the best polity of the world. Between these mundane Gods, however, who are our rulers and saviours, and the supermundane leaders, those Gods subsist who preside over the separable and at the same time inseparable order of sensibles, and define according to this their proper progression, being at one and the same time exempt from the Gods in the universe, and co-arranged with them. And they are expanded, indeed, above the allotment which is adequate to the divided parts of the world, and supernally ascend into many numbers of the mundane Gods; but they make a progression sub-ordinate to the government which extends to all things and to wholes.

For in short, being the media between the supermundane and mundane Gods, they in a certain respect communicate with both, and have an indissoluble communion with both, being mundane, and at the same time supermundane according to order. And above indeed, they are united by the ruling leaders, but beneath, they are produced into multitude by the junior Gods, as Timæus says. For they ride on the mundane Gods, and are in an undefiled manner established on their summits; but they are suspended from the supermundane Gods, and subsist about them. They are also more united than the former; but are more multiplied than the latter. And they divide indeed, the whole monads of the supermundane Gods, into perfect numbers; but they collect the multitudes and the numbers of the mundane Gods into united bounds, converting these Gods to their exempt principles, but calling forth the Gods that are above the world into the generation and providential care of sensible natures, and immutably preserving in themselves the middle form of empire. For the middle bonds give completion to all the genera of the Gods. Thus in intelligibles, between the intelligible and occult order, and the paradigmatic triad, and all-perfect multitude, the intelligible centre subsists, being parturient indeed, with multitude and the first (forms,) but vanquished by the uniform comprehension of the first order. Again, in intelligibles and intellectuals, the connective genus extending from the middle to all the extremes, conjoins and binds all their essences, powers and providential energies.

After the same manner therefore, in these orders also, viz. in the kings exempt from, and in those that are co-arranged with the universe, those Gods that emit in themselves uniformly the peculiarities of both these kings, afford a communication to them with each other. Whence also it belongs to them to transport first to second natures, to convert second to first natures, to unite both by an indissoluble connexion, and to guard the whole order in the world. The immutable, therefore, the inflexible, the indissoluble in providential energies, dominion over wholes, the administration of many partible allotments of the Gods at once, and the elevating to supermundane perfection many of their progressions and orders, pertain to these Gods. Hence, we are accustomed to celebrate this genus of Gods as liberated, in consequence of being freed from all division according to parts; as supercelestial, in consequence of proximately establishing itself above the Gods in the heavens; as undefiled, in consequence of not verging to subordinate natures, nor dissolving its exempt transcendency by a providential attention to the world; as elevating, in consequence of extending the mundane Gods to the intellectual and intelligible place of survey; and as perfect, in consequence of illuminating all the celestials with the measures of perfection. Since therefore, this order is in continuity with the assimilative rulers, but is arranged prior to the mundane Gods, it is indeed proper to evince that the theology pertaining to it is suspended from the doctrine concerning the ruling Gods, and at the same time affords from itself the principles of the conceptions about the sensible Gods.


The intelligible king[3] therefore, of all intellectuals, luminously emitting from himself the first causes, and which measure wholes, according to the all-perfect triad in himself, defines all wholes as far as to the last of things, and triples the progressions of the Gods from himself, so as to generate indeed three orders, but refer each of them to one monad, and an intelligible transcendency. On this account he constitutes three collective, three connective, and three perfective causes of all intellectuals; extending the triadic light to all things, and imparting by illumination the perfect in the progressions of its proper offspring, to the beginnings, middles, and ends of all separated natures. But again, the demiurgus and father, imitating his father and grandfather,[4] to the latter of whom he extends his total intelligence, being the same in intellectuals, as he is in intelligibles, and terminating the genus of the intellectual fathers, in the same manner as his grandfather closes the paternal profundity of intelligibles, produces from himself three orders of Gods. And as the total progressions were divided from his grandfather triadically, so the partial progressions are perfected on account of him, according to the triad. Hence, there are also three orders from the demiurgus; but they proceed according to the end adapted to each. And one of them indeed, is supermundane alone; another is mundane; and another is in a certain respect the middle of both. They are likewise allotted the triple proximately from the paternal cause; but each derives the peculiarity of hyparxis from definite principles, and a diminution proceeding according to measures. For they have neither an hypostasis of equal dignity, as mathematical monads have in the triad, nor a disorderly difference of dignity, but they receive the difference of a subordinate essence, and arrangement in their generation from the first causes. And thus, the ruling Gods indeed, are allotted the highest order in the partial progressions, and the exempt cause of the proceeding natures. But the liberated Gods are allotted the second order, being arranged indeed under the ruling, but riding on the mundane Gods. And the mundane Gods are allotted the third order, being elevated through the liberated, but united by the ruling, to the intellectual Gods. In what manner however, the Gods in the world and all the mundane genera participate of the ruling Gods, we have already shown.

But each of the mundane genera enjoy the energy of the liberated governors of the universe, according to a measure adapted to each, and especially such as are able to follow the powers of these Gods. For in the Gods themselves, we may perceive a twofold energy, the one indeed, being co-arranged with the subjects of their providential care, but the other being exempt and separate. According therefore, to the first of these energies, the mundane Gods govern sensibles, and convolve, and convert them to themselves; but according to the other, they follow the liberated Gods, and together with them are elevated to an intelligible nature. And on this account, the Elean guest, makes the periods of the whole world, and of each of the Gods in it to be twofold. For, he says, that the sun, and each of the heavenly bodies, subsist according to both these circulations, viz. the intellectual and the mundane; or, if you are willing so to speak, according to the power which is motive of secondary natures, and the power which ascends in conjunction with the liberated Gods.

Moreover, he says, that our souls, and all the natures that have a life separate from bodies, at one time live according to that elevating progression, and at another according to the mundane; and now indeed we proceed from youth to old age, since we have departed from a flourishing and undefiled life, and are borne to earth, and generation; but then on the contrary, we proceeded from old age to youth. On which account, we were led round to a flourishing, intellectual, and liberated form of energy. Hence also, the corporeal-formed nature [with which we are connected,] was gradually obliterated, and whatever causes us to tend downward, and renders us inseparable from the universe. But an incorporeal, and immaterial nature shone forth, and was filled with the Gods who are the leaders of a life of this kind.

If also, you are willing, we may collect the same thing by a reasoning process, from what is written in the Phædrus. Socrates, therefore, says in that dialogue, that the soul which is perfect and winged, revolves on high, and governs the whole world; and that this will be the case with our soul, when it arrives at the summit of a happy life. But this is in a much greater degree present with the genera superior to us, and with the Gods themselves. For our souls obtain this end, and this true blessedness, through the Gods. For whence do you think, and from what other causes, is a disencumbered energy, and which has dominion over wholes, imparted to us, and to the genera in the world more excellent than us, but from the liberated Gods? For each of the mundane Gods obtains the administration of its allotment, and of the proper series over which it rules, and which it constitutes about itself, according to the will of the father. For the demiurgus arranges under the several mundane Gods, the herds of dæmons, and partial souls, as Timæus says. But to energize through the whole world, is a supernatural good, and the peculiarity of the exempt government of the supercelestial Gods. Hence, from these this good is imparted to the mundane Gods, and to our souls. Or how can that which is partial extend its proper energy to the whole? And how departing from its own divided peculiarity, can it change its life? For that which directs its energy to the universe, withdraws itself from an energy which is arranged in a part. We must not therefore bay, that this divine good is by any means present to mundane natures from any other source than these Gods, who establish their kingdom proximately above the world. As, therefore, the progression to all things through similitude, and the conversion according to similitude to causes, are imparted from the assimilative rulers to the celestial Gods, to the more excellent genera, and to us, thus also, that which is liberated from partial natures, which is disencumbered and which tends spontaneously to many energies, is an impression derived from the liberated rulers. And thus much concerning the providence of these rulers which pervades to all things, and the goods which they impart to subordinate natures. But we shall add to what has been before said, the peculiarity of their essence, according to which they are allotted this order.


From the intellectual[5] Gods, therefore, [i. e. from the assimilative rulers] an immaterial and divine intellect is suspended. But a separate and total intellect is an intellect of this kind. Hence also these Gods are called intellectual. For according to their hyparxes, they are beyond essence and multitude; but according to the participations of them which receive the illumination of a progression of this kind, they are called assimilative. For because they have intellectual hypostases, and perfect powers, since intellect is the last of their participants, and the intellectual peculiarity defines their whole essence,—hence they are allotted this appellation. Of the mundane Gods, indeed, an intellectual nature participates primarily, an undefiled soul also participates of them, and that portion of the world together with which they render the whole world, an intellectual and divine animal, emitting the splendour of themselves as far as to bodies, and imparting to these a vestige of their own peculiarity. It is necessary, therefore, that the orders which are between both these, should rejoice in certain additions, by which they are more multitudinous than the intellectual Gods, and in progressions into participants; but that they should be more singular and simple than the mundane Gods. For the diminutions of the divine essences multiply the receptacles that are suspended from them. Hence, together with the intellectual peculiarity, these Gods assume the psychical power, in order that by the incorporeal nature, they may have the supermundane [property,] but by the psychical, they may be more manifold than the intellectual Gods.

For again, considering the affair in another way, since soul presents itself to the view, and the one fountain of whole souls, in pure [intellectuals,] and constitutes all things in conjunction with the demiurgus, is it not necessary that the supermundane Gods should participate of the psychical peculiarity? For the Gods that are divided about the world, are not filled with the unical soul without a medium, but through other more total media, which do not proceed out of the monad, [i. e, out of Juno, or the crater,] and possess an eternal life. From thence, therefore, that is, from the crater of souls, the presence of soul is derived to the ruling and liberated Gods. For the demiurgus Jupiter also, as Socrates says in the Philebus, possessing in himself a royal soul, and a royal intellect, according to the reason of cause, and generating according to the whole of himself those Gods that are of a ruling characteristic among the supermundane and mundane divinities, entirely likewise imparts the intellectual and the psychical peculiarity. But the supermundane Gods indeed, being primarily unfolded into light, participate more of an intellectual essence. Hence also, the psychical peculiarity is in them occultly. But the Gods who are allotted the middle order, cause the psychical peculiarity, indeed, to shine forth, yet subsisting with a more abundant separation [than in the supermundane Gods.] The mundane Gods, however, perfectly unfold the psychical peculiarity into light; since intellect also, was indeed occultly in the first intellectuals, but exhibits a forerunning light in the middle, and shines forth in the last intellectuals. And the supermundane Gods, indeed, being perfectly [supermundane] derive the power of soul from the intellectual[6] crater, or the royal soul in the demiurgus; but they pre-establish in themselves another monad of the divided psychical genera. The liberated however, now communicating in essence With the mundane Gods, have the psychical peculiarity from a twofold source, i. e. from the fountain of total animations, and from the assimilative principle. And in the last place, the mundane Gods receive the illuminations of all the divinities prior to them. Hence also, they rule over the universe, imitating the liberated Gods, adorn sublunary natures with forms, and assimilate them to intellectual paradigms, imitating the ruling Gods. They likewise poor forth the whole of the life which is inseparable [from body,] from the one fountain of souls, establishing it as an image [of the life which is separate from a corporeal nature] and conjoin themselves to this fountain.

In short, all the genera[7] being mingled by the demiurgus in the fountain of souls, in order to the generation of the different ranks of souls, some of these ranks have one thing, but others a different thing at hand. And in some indeed, the essential has dominion over the remaining genera; in others sameness; and in others difference. But those souls that are connascent with the assimilative Gods, have their whole hypostasis according to essence. Hence they are near to an intellectual hyparxis, and are allotted in the genera of souls, an intelligible and occult transcendency. But those that are co-arranged with the liberated Gods, characterize their proper progression, according to sameness. Hence also, they are consubsistent with the Gods that bind together and congregate the supermundane and mundane Gods. And those souls that are co-divided with the mundane Gods, define the essence of themselves according to difference: and on this account also, the demiurgus, in constituting the soul of the universe, is said to co-adapt difference to other souls by force.

Moreover, the separation into parts in these, the union through harmony, and the energy according to time are effected through the illuminations of difference. But [in the souls] above these essence and sameness subsist, with which there are eternal life, and a union of powers. And thus much concerning these particulars.

From what has been said, however, we may collect by a reasoning process, that intellect, essence, and intellectual life, are suspended from the liberated Gods. In them also soul, and the nature of the supercelestial souls shine with a forerunning light. For they are established above the celestial Gods who ride in bodies, just as the celestial Gods are exempt from the sublunary divinities, and from those who are allotted the government of matter. If, however, the genus of the liberated Gods is of this kind, they are very properly said to belong to the partial orders, in the same manner as the Gods prior to them. But they indeed are more total, because the psychical peculiarity was in them occultly. But the liberated Gods have that which is partial in providential energies more apparent because the psychical power also in these is more manifest, just as the mundane Gods who now preside over partial allotments, perfectly unfold into light the psychical essence. The whole, however, and impartible genera of the Gods shine forth as far as to the intellectual hypostasis. For intellect according to its own nature is impartible.

The liberated leaders, therefore, being such as we have shown them to be, let us survey the multiform orders of them adapted to this order. Some of them, therefore, we call transporters, and these are such as unfold to secondary natures, the progressions of the assimilative genera. But others are elevators, who draw upward the mundane orders, to a separate energy. Others are colligators, who administer equally the communion of the extremes. Others are undefiled, and these are such as entirely obliterate matter, and impart by illumination the disencumbered to the providential energies of secondary natures. Others are perfective, and these are such as are the suppliers of perfection to mundane natures. And others are prolific, who multiply the progressions of subordinate essences. For according to these, and far more numerous powers, incomprehensible by our conceptions, they preside over the Gods in the world, and give completion to the divine genera which subsist between the Gods that are exempt, and those that are co-arranged with the parts of the universe.

Moreover, we must assign to them energies in symphony with their powers, viz. such energies as are disencumbered, every where apparent, amputating every thing material, and corporeal-formed, emitting an idea undefiled, without contact, and incorporeal, and converting all secondary natures to themselves, and extending them to intellectual light. And farther still, we must ascribe to them energies that unfold the exempt principles of the universe, and also energies more excellent than these, which draw upward to the intellectual Gods, and others still more elevated which conjoin themselves with the intellectual Gods, and exhibit an essence uncoloured, unfigured, and without contact. Again, according to another mode, [we must admit] that some of their energies operate about the secondary Gods, and are collectors of their divine unities to a union prior to the world. But others operate about the mundane intellects, and extend the intellections of them from co-ordinate intelligibles to such as, are first, and exempt from the universe. Others again, are elevators of souls to the one fountain of them. And some of their energies, indeed, are the leaders of divine souls themselves; but others preside over the genera that are more excellent than us. And others convolve the multitude of intelligible [souls[8]] to an undefiled life. For being as it were certain leaders of herds, they ascend supernally into all the natures in the world, and as dæmon Gods, they proximately rule over Gods, and are the leaders of the progression to the intelligible, to some in one, and to others in a different way, according to the order which is adapted to the elevated natures. For every thing [mundane] participates of the liberated Gods. But the participation is different. For it is either according to the divine, dæmoniacal, and partible, or according to the uniform, intellectual, and psychical. For all things, as I may say, are allotted a separate life, a disencumbered energy, a supernatural providence, and a common prefecture, from this order of Gods. Let the common definition, therefore, of the liberated Gods, be such as this.


In the next place it follows that we should unfold the theory of Plato, first, that which may be obtained in other dialogues, and afterwards, the all-perfect doctrine concerning these Gods, which is to be found in the Parmenides. In the Phædrus therefore, Socrates energizing enthusiastically, and expanding his intellect to the whole connexion of the divine orders, and not only mystically surveying the mundane progressions of them, but also their indescribable and blessed visions, and discursive energies above the world, divides indeed, in a threefold manner, all the separate hypostases in the world, from the subjects of their government. And he calls the first of these hypostases divine; but the middle dæmoniacal; and he gives completion to the last from our souls. He also suspends partial souls [such as ours] from dæmons. Hence he denominates them co-attendants, and extends them through dæmons as media, to the divine empire. But he suspends the dæmoniacal orders from the mundane Gods. For dæmons are the attendants of these. He refers however, these whole divine principalities, the dæmoniacal herds, and choirs of partial souls, to the liberated order; and he says that the triadic army of mundane souls is elevated under this order, to the intellectual and intelligible Gods, together at the same time with their first causes.

Here therefore, he defines according to the measure of the dodecad (i. e. the number twelve) all this liberated Gods, though the multitude of them is incomprehensible, and not to be numbered by human conceptions; and though none of those theologists that have written any thing concerning them, have been able to define their whole number, in the same manner as they have the ruling multitude (i. e. the multitude of supermundane Gods,) or the multitude of the intellectual, or intelligible Gods. Plato however, apprehended that the number of the dodecad is adapted to the liberated Gods, as being all-perfect, composed from the first numbers, and completed from things perfect; and he comprehends in this measure all the progressions of these Gods. For he refers all the genera and peculiarities of them to this dodecad, and defines them according to it. But again dividing the dodecad into two monads and one decad; he suspends all [mundane natures] from the two monads, but delivers to us each of these energizing on the monad posterior to itself, according to its own hyparxis. And one of these monads indeed, he calls Jovian, but he denominates the other Vesta. He likewise makes mention of other more partial principalities, and which give completion to the aforesaid decad, such as those of Apollo, Mars, and Venus. And he suspends indeed, the prophetic form of life from the Apolloniacal principality; but the amatory from the principality of Venus; and the divisive, from that of Mars; for hence the most total and first genera of lives are derived; just as when he introduces into the world souls recently fashioned, he says that some preside over one, and others over another form of life. And it appears to me, that as Timæus makes the division of souls, at one time supermundane, but at another mundane, for he distributes souls equal in number to the stars, and disseminates one into the moon, another into the earth, and others into the other instruments of time; after the same manner also Socrates prearranges twofold rulers and leaders of them; proximately indeed the mundane Gods, but in a still higher rank than these, the liberated Gods.

As we have said however, the twelve Gods convolve every mundane genus, whether it be divine, or dæmoniacal, to the vision of intelligibles, and perfect their separate energy. They likewise comprehend in themselves all the supercelestial genera, so that whether there be a paternal genus of the liberated Gods, or a vivific, or an undefiled and guardian genus, they are comprehended in this number. For this number must not be surveyed as if it was such as twelve is in units; for number in the Gods is not of this kind; but it must be beheld in the peculiarity of hyparxis. For as the duad in the Gods presides over prolific power, and the triad, over the first perfection, thus also the dodecad [in the Gods,] is a symbol of all-perfect progression. For since these Gods close the end of the powers that are unapparent and exempt from the world, and ride on the celestial Gods, according to each of these, the dodecad pertains to them, viz. it belongs to them as terminating the all-perfect in the progression of the supermundane, and as presiding over the celestial Gods. For they impart to the latter a distribution from themselves into the dodecad, and especially guard them in this number. The ruling dodecad therefore, was all-perfectly supermundane; but the celestial, is evidently mundane only; and the dodecad of the liberated rulers contains the communion of the extremes, and binds the order posterior, to that which is prior to itself. And on this account indeed, the liberated Gods are perfective of the mundane Gods, and lead them upward. But they are proximately suspended from the ruling Gods, are emitted from them, and administer the indissoluble connexion of both. [i. e. of the supermundane and mundane Gods.]


That we may not however present the reader with our conceptions, but may unfold to the utmost of our power the theory of Plato, to the lovers of the contemplation of truth, let us consider by ourselves, where those leaders must be arranged, which Socrates celebrates in the Phædrus, and with whom it is fit to connumerate, and with what orders of Gods, it is proper to co-arrange the great ruler of those leaders, who drives a winged chariot. For it is necessary either to give to him an intellectual, or an assimilative, or a liberated, or a mundane order. For these are the decrements accompanying the progression of the great God Jupiter. If however, be is the intellectual Jupiter, whom we have denominated the demiurgus of the universe, and have made Plato bear testimony to our assertion, how is he the leader of the above mentioned dodecad? And how is he divided oppositely to the principality of Vesta? For the demiurgic monad closes indeed, the intellectual breadth, but is exempt from all other numbers, and uncoordinated with all [the monads of other, numbers.] For it neither was, nor is lawful for effects to have an hypostasis opposed in division to their causes. It is not therefore proper to make twelve leaders of wholes, but to make the number of causes to be one, as Timæus says. Moreover, Jupiter the demiurgus is exempt from the universe, as being himself the author of the apparent order of things. But the first of the twelve leaders; is said by Socrates to drive a winged chariot in the heavens. How therefore, can he who is connected with the world, and who approximates to the Gods in the heavens, be considered as the same with him who is exempt from all [mundane natures,] and who abides, as Timæus says, in his own accustomed manner?

Farther still, this Jupiter indeed, presides over a philosophic life, and souls [that follow him] perpetually lead this life. But another God presides over the prophetic, amatory, and poetic life. The demiurgus of wholes, however, contains in himself the paradigms of all lives; and as he uniformly comprehends the essence of souls, after the same manner also, he comprehends all the different mutations of their lives. He is not, therefore, divisibly the cause of the lives in the soul, but pre-establishes according to one demiurgic cause, all the periods of souls, all the variety, and all the measures of life. And as the mundane sun is not the cause of some things, but the demiurgus of others, but of whatever the sun is the author, the demiurgus is in a greater degree the fabricator, and precedaneous cause,—thus also in the lives of souls, it is not proper to refer the cause to the demiurgus in a divided manner. For the demiurgic monad, presides as the impartible, common, and one cause of all lives; but the divisions according to lives, and the different paradigms of mundane natures, pertain to the Gods posterior to him.

If, however, some one should think that we ought to abandon this hypothesis, but that we should assert this Jupiter, and the other leaders to be mundane, where must we arrange the Gods that follow him? For Socrates says, “that the army, of Gods and dæmons divided into eleven parts, follows Jupiter.” For there are more comprehensive and partial orders of Gods in the universe than these, and some of them have the relation of leaders, but others of followers. The magnitude, however, of the principality celebrated by Socrates, does not manifest to us a transcendency co-arranged with, but exempt from mundane natures. For in incorporeal causes, the great, imparts a peculiarity of this kind to those to whom it is present. And as Love being not simply called a dæmon by Diotima, but a great dæmon, is demonstrated to be expanded above all dæmons, and is a god, but is not arranged in the genus of dæmons, thus also Jupiter, being celebrated as the great leader, not as the mundane leader of mundane natures, but as exempt from, and transcending the mundane order, is allotted this appellation. But if Jupiter is exempt from the Gods in the world, it is necessary that the other leaders also should have an essence antecedent to those that follow Jupiter. For all of them are allotted a ruling dignity. But if the other leaders are arranged as mundane, and Jupiter alone is a leader beyond these, again we must transfer the whole principality from the dodecad, to the Jovian monad. It is necessary, however, to attribute a ruling power to all of them, and to preserve to Jupiter the principal authority among them.

It remains, therefore, that a principality such as this of the Gods, must either be that of the assimilative Gods, or of those that are allotted a liberated dominion in the universe, as, we say it must. If, however, we should admit it to belong to the assimilative orders, it will be the leader of a demiurgic triad, but not of the dodecad which is now celebrated. The Jupiter, therefore, who is among the assimilative Gods, and whom we have before unfolded, is the first of the sons of Saturn, For these sons, as Socrates says, in the Gorgias, divide the whole kingdom of Saturn. And the first of them indeed is the author of first, the second of middle, and the third of last natures. The division, therefore, of mundane natures being threefold, the first of the sons of Saturn maybe called the leader of the triadic division, and the multitude proximately suspended from him will be the first of the triadic division in the universe. But the leader of the twelve Gods, presides over an army distributed into eleven parts. Hence the one defines his proper dominion in the thirds of wholes, but the other in the twelfths. And according to the power of comprehension, one of them defines his principality conformably to the triad, but the other according to the endecad [or the number eleven.] By no means, therefore, is each of these allotted the same order. The demiurgus, therefore, and saviour Jupiter is uncoarranged with all these. But live assimilative Jupiter is the leader of the division of wholes into a triad. And the mundane Jupiter is among the number of leaders that follow, and not of those that are exempt. The Jupiter, however, who is celebrated by Socrates in the Phædrus, is co-arranged with the other leaders, and presides over those that are disposed in an orderly manner according to eleven parts, and not over those that receive a tripartite division; and he is also exempt from all mundane natures on account of the magnitude of his ruling transcendency. Hence he is different from all the above-mentioned orders, and exhibits, in no one of them the peculiarity which is now presented to our view. It remains, therefore, that we should connumerate him with the liberated Gods, in order that he may be proximate to the mundane Gods; and on this account he is said to be in the heavens, and to be exempt from the mundane divinities. On this account, likewise, he is celebrated as great. For frequently media present themselves to our view, from the extremes being surveyed according to mixture. Since therefore, Jupiter is said to drive a winged chariot in the heavens, and is denominated great, he is in a certain respect co-arranged with the celestial Gods, and is exempt from them. But he who is at one and the same time co-arranged with the Gods in the universe, among whom the celestial Jupiter is allotted the highest dignity, and is exempt from them, ranks among the liberated Gods, if in what has been before said, we have rightly determined. Hence, of the Gods, some are exempt from the universe; but others give completion to it; and others are at one and the same time allotted a co-arranged, and an exempt transcendency. This great leader in the heavens therefore Jupiter, is liberated and supercelestial, and the whole dodecad shines forth in this order of Gods. For there is one all-perfect and divine number, to which the twelve leaders give completion. So that it is necessary the whole number should be placed in this order of Gods, but we must not call in a divided manner some of the leading and ruling Gods mundane, and others supermundane. But if the first of them is supermundane, the rest also will after the same manner establish themselves above the Gods in the world. Each also is the leader of an appropriate multitude, and is surrounded with a great number of Gods and dæmons. But partial souls rank among the last of their followers. For they are co-divided with dæmons, and divine natures, and participate of the liberated principality of the Gods, as far as they are able. For, as Socrates says, “that which is willing and able always follows the Gods.” Through these things therefore, we have reminded the reader, that the twelve leaders of wholes celebrated by Socrates in the Phædrus, belong to the liberated Gods.


In the next place, let us show whence they derive the whole of this number. It is necessary therefore, that they should have their hypostasis from the Gods prior to them; since the progression to the assimilative Gods was from the intellectual fathers, and to the intellectual fathers supernally from the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, just as to these the progression was from the first intelligibles. For since the order of the assimilative rulers is prior to that of the liberated Gods; as is also the triad of the intellectual kings; or rather the demiurgic monad establishing in itself the all-perfect measure of the division of wholes into the triad,—this being the case we must survey the causes of the generation of the liberated Gods according to both these, viz. according to the demiurgic measure, and the genera of the assimilative Gods. For the different orders of them are imparted from these two.

Moreover, if we remember what has been before observed, we gave a fourfold division to the middle progressions of the assimilative Gods. And we said, that some of them are paternal, others prolific, others of an elevating, and others of a guardian nature. Since therefore, the demiurgic monad divides progressions into first, middle, and last, in the same manner as the intelligible father prior to it, but the Gods posterior to this monad, emit the rivers of themselves tetradically to secondary natures,—this being the case, the dodecad of liberated Gods presents itself to our view, above indeed proceeding according to the triad, but beneath being quadruply multiplied. Hence, of the genera which give completion to it; some indeed, are allotted the demiurgic and paternal triadically; others, the generative and vivific triadically; others, the elevating peculiarity triadically; and others after the same manner the undefiled and guardian characteristic. For all their peculiarities are derived from the multitude of the assimilative Gods. But the division of them into first, middle and last, proceeds from the demiurgic cause. And thus much concerning the number of the liberated Gods, whence, and how it is generated.


Since therefore, as we have before observed, there are twelve leaders of all the mundane Gods, of all dæmons, and farther still, of such partial souls as are able to be extended to the intelligible, again in this dodecad, the mighty Jupiter and Vesta are allotted the more ruling order. But the principality of the rest is co-arranged with these, and has a secondary dignity. And Jupiter indeed, being neither the intellect of the universe, as some say he is, nor the intellect in the sun, nor in short, any one of mundane intellects or souls, but being expanded above all these, and preexisting among the liberated Gods, elevates the choir of Gods, and of the genera superior to us that follow him, and imparts paternal goodness to the multitude converted to him. But he is the leader of all the other numbers that terminate under the twelve Gods. Again however, Vesta indeed governs an appropriate multitude, but she neither has the order of the first soul, nor is that which is called the earth in the universe. But prior to these, she is allotted a ruling power among the supercelestial Gods. She imparts however, her own peculiarity to the numbers of the other leaders, in the same manner as Jupiter. For the leaders that are suspended from the decad, participate also of these two monads.

Jupiter however, being indeed the cause of motion is the leader to all things of a progression to the intelligible. But Vesta illuminates all things with stable and inflexible power; though Jupiter also abiding in himself, is thus elevated to the intelligible place of survey; and Vesta on account of an inflexible and undefiled permanency in herself, is conjoined to the first causes. The emission however of a different peculiarity, affords the difference of dominion. For since there are twofold conversions in the Gods (for all things are converted to themselves and to their principles) each form of conversion indeed, was impartibly in king Saturn. For according to Parmenides he is demonstrated to be in himself, and in another. And the latter indeed, pertains to a conversion to a more excellent nature, but the former implies a conversion to himself. In the secondary however, and more partial Gods, both these forms shine forth in a divided manner. And Vesta indeed, imparts to the mundane Gods an undefiled establishment in themselves; but Jupiter imparts to them an elevating motion to first natures. For Vesta belongs to the undefiled, but Jupiter to the paternal series; but they are divided by a subsistence in self, and a subsistence in another, as we have before observed. It must be said therefore, that every thing stable and immutable, and which possesses an invariable sameness of subsistence, arrives to all mundane natures from the supercelestial Vesta, and that on this account all the poles are immoveable, and the axes about which the circulations of the spheres convolve themselves. It must also be said, that the wholenesses of the circulations are firmly established, that the earth abides immoveably in the middle, and that the centres have an unshaken permanency [from this supercelestial Vesta.]

Again therefore, it must be admitted that all motions, separate energies, and the conversions of secondary to first natures, are derived to wholes from Jupiter. For the intellectual orders are not only united to coordinate intelligibles, but also to such as are exempt, on account of the elevating progression of Jupiter. And divine souls following the mighty Jupiter are extended as far as to the first causes. The attendants of these also are collected together with the Gods, in consequence of being suspended from the paternal government of Jupiter. But again, with respect to all the remaining leaders, each presides over his proper series and imparts from himself his peculiarity to the whole multitude [suspended from him.] And one of them indeed, imparts as far as to the last of things an unfolding, another, a prolific, and another, an immutable peculiarity, being themselves allotted a supercelestial order, and drawing upward a numerous army of partible Gods. Hence Socrates also at one and the same time denominates them rulers, says that they have an arrangement, and that their energy is directed to secondary natures, ac-cording to the order in which they are placed. Each, however, of the other ruling Gods who are ranked in the number of the twelve, is a leader according to the order in which he is arranged. The ruling and leading peculiarity, therefore, alone, pertains to the supermundane Gods. But to be arranged, and that which is arranged itself by itself, pertain to the mundane Gods. For these are they who participate of order, and who are allotted order according to participation. Both these peculiarities, however, pertain to the liberated Gods. For they are rulers and leaders, as being in continuity with the ruling [supermundane] Gods, and they are arranged and participate of order, as being proximate to the mundane Gods. But being the middle of both, they connect the whole progressions of them according to one intellectual bond. Farther still, as presiding indeed over the ruling order in the heavens, they come into contact with the mundane Gods, and as being in themselves, and extended to the intelligible, they are allotted a transcendency separate from the universe, and exempt from their participants. Thus much, therefore, may suffice concerning the first division of these Gods. Since, however, we have before observed that their progression is tetradic and triadic, we shall concisely define the peculiarities of the arranged triads.


These, therefore, being arranged according to triads, as we have said, of the demiurgic triad, indeed, Jupiter is allotted the highest order, supernally from intellect governing souls and bodies, and as Socrates says, taking care of all things. But Neptune here also gives completion to the middle of the demiurgic [triad], and especially governs the psychical order. For this God is the cause of motion, and of all generation. But soul is the first of generated natures, and is essentially motion. And Vulcan inspires the nature of bodies, and fabricates all the mundane seats of the Gods. Again, of the guardian and immutable triad, the first indeed is Vesta, because she preserves the very being of things, and an undefiled essence. For Socrates in the Cratylus gives to her the highest order, as connectedly containing the summits of wholes. But Minerva preserves middle lives inflexible, through intellection, and a self-energizing life, sustaining them from [the incursions of] matter. And Mars illuminates corporeal-formed natures with power, and an infrangible strength, as Socrates says in the Cratylus. Hence he is perfected by Minerva, and participates of a more intellectual inspiration, as the poetry [of Orpheus] says, and of a life separate from generated natures.

Moreover, of the vivific triad, Ceres is the chief, entirely generating all mundane life, viz. the intellectual, the psychical, and that which is inseparable from body. But Juno contains the middle of the triad, and imparts the generation of soul. For the intellectual goddess emits from herself all the progressions of the other psychical genera. And Diana is allotted the end of the triad, moving all natural reasons into energy, and perfecting the imperfection of matter. Hence theologists, and Socrates in the Theætetus, call her Lochia, (or the power that presides over births) as being the inspective guardian of psychical progression and generation. Of the remaining triad, therefore, the anagogic, or elevating, Hermes indeed is the supplier of philosophy, and through this elevates souls, and by the dialectic powers, sends upward both total and partial souls to the good itself. But Venus is the first-effective cause of the amatory inspiration which pervades through wholes, and familiarizes to the beautiful the lives that are elevated by her. And Apollo perfects and converts all things through music, convolving, as Socrates says [in the Cratylus], and through harmony and rhythm attracting to intellectual truth, and the light which is there.

We say, however, in common respecting all of them, that establishing themselves above the mundane Gods, they contain all the choir of the liberated Gods. And souls indeed are suspended from them, but intellectual souls, and such as are as it were powers generative of. souls. Hence Socrates also gives to them chariots. For Jupiter is said to drive a winged chariot, and the other Gods after the same manner as Jupiter use secondary vehicles. But what else can we say these are than supermundane souls, on which they ride, and which are intellectual indeed, but the sources of partibility and division, from which mundane souls are allotted their hypostasis; a more abundant separation, and a greater number of parts appearing in them, in consequence of their being adapted to be bound through analogy? In the liberated Gods, therefore, the psychical peculiarity unites itself to intellect. Hence also, Jupiter is said to drive a winged chariot, without division, in consequence of this chariot being intellectual, and not departing from an immaterial and divine intellect But in the mundane Gods, divisions of horses and charioteers are delivered. [For Socrates says in the Phædrus], “All the horses, therefore, and chariots of the Gods are good, and consist of such things as are good.” Hence an energy according to time first shines forth in the mundane Gods, where there is a more abundant separation of powers. But in the liberated Gods, time is always with eternity, and partibility with union. For they are the principles of souls, and the causes of mundane natures, and are as it were intellectual seeds abiding in the intellectual comprehensions of themselves. And thus much concerning those things.


I wish, however, to show from other writings of Plato what the peculiarity is which he exhibits to us of the liberated order. In the Republic, therefore, teaching us the order of the universe which pervades through the mundane wholes, supernally from the inerratic sphere, and which governs the elections of human life that are different at different times, this life also varying the measure of justice adapted to it, he refers the first-effective cause of this order to a monad and triad exempt from the mundane] wholes. And to the monad indeed, he gives the power of dominion, extending the authority of it to all heaven, its empire being at one and the same time impartibly present to all things, governing all things indivisibly, and according to one energy, and moving wholes by the lowest powers of itself. Giving also to the triad a progression from the monad, he distributes from it into the universe a partible energy and production. For that which is simple and united in exempt providence, is educed into multitude through secondary inspection. Thus, therefore, the one cause of multitude possesses a greater authority, but the distributed cause appears to be more proximate to its effects. For all the variety of powers in the world, the infinity of motions, and the multiform difference of reasons, [i. e. of productive principles] are convolved under the triad of the Fates. But again this triad is extended to the one monad which is prior to the three Fates, and which Socrates denominates Necessity, not as ruling over wholes by violence, nor as obliterating the self-motive nature of our life, nor as deprived of intellect and the most excellent knowledge, but as comprehending all things intellectually, and introducing bound to things indefinite, and order to things inordinate. And farther still, he thus denominates it, as causing all things to be obedient to itself, and extending them to good, as subjecting them to demiurgic sacred laws, as guarding all things within the world, and as comprehending all things in the universe in a circle, and leaving nothing deprived of the justice pertaining to it, nor suffering it, besides this, to fly from the divine law.

Since, therefore, we give a twofold division to the causes of the order of the world, and we admit one of the causes to be monadic, but the other triadic, and we acknowledge that the monad is productive of the triad, being persuaded by Plato, and since we have shown that the triad is the offspring of the monad, let us see in what order it is possible to arrange each of these. For wishing to learn this, we have undertaken the present discussion concerning them. The monad, therefore, which, as we have said, Socrates calls Necessity, is perfectly exempt from mundane natures, and by the last of her powers imparts motion to all heaven, neither being converted to it, nor energizing about it, but imparting an orderly circulation to the world, by her very essence, and by being firmly established. For [Socrates says] that the spindle is moved on the knees of Necessity; but that she herself having royally established herself on a throne near to the universe, governs the heavens in a silent path. But the triad is now in a certain respect co-arranged with the circulations of the heavens, convolves them with hands, and energizes about them, and no longer causes them to revolve by its very being alone [in the same manner as the monad]. For the triad is the cause of the order and circulations of the universe, by producing and performing a certain thing; though in this also there is a different energy. For Lachesis indeed moves with both her hands; but each of the remaining Parcæ, with one hand only. This however we shall again discuss. But it is obvious to every one, that of this production which subsists according to the monad, and the triad proceeding from it, it must be granted that the monad is established in a more ancient order of Gods, but the triad in an inferior order.

We say, therefore, that Necessity who is called the mother of the Parcæ, first subsists in the intellectual Gods, analogous to the intelligible and intellectual monad of Adrastia; and that thence being unfolded into light in the ruling orders, she generates this triad of the Parcæ. For that which is total in providence, energy, and the convolution of wholes by the very being itself of that which convolves them, are indications of intellectual transcendency, To extend, likewise, impartibly production to all things, is coequalized with demiurgic dominion. And this Goddess appears to me to illuminate all the progeny of the demiurgus with an ineffable guard. As likewise be is the generator of wholes impartibly, thus too Necessity guards inflexibly all things in herself, and comprehends them monadically, preserving indissoluble the order which proceeds from the demiurgus into the world. Necessity, therefore, being allotted such an authority and kingdom in wholes, the triad of the Parcæ rules over the universe in a liberated manner. For it comes into contact with the heavens, and for a time relinquishes the contact, as Socrates says. And through contact indeed, it is co-arranged with the bodies that are moved, and is connascent with them; but through a retention of energies, it is without contact, is separate from the things governed, and is exempt from them. Being, however, at one and the same time allotted both these peculiarities, it exists in the liberated Gods. For to touch, and not to touch, to move and not to move, as the fable relates, are not according to a part in the Gods, but are coexistent, and subsist with each other at once. For divine natures do not change their energies according to time, nor like partial souls, do they at one time energize separately, and at another providentially attend to secondary natures; but abiding in themselves they are every where present, and being present to all things, they do not depart from the watch-tower of themselves. At one and the same time, therefore, the being without contact, and the coming into contact with the celestial periods, are present with the Parcæ, and they also comprehend that which is exempt and liberated from sensibles, according to one peculiarity, and that which is coarranged with, and allied to them. And on this account, they possess a liberated order with reference to the whole heaven.

If, however, there is also a mundane triad of the Parcæ, and a providence proximate to the subjects of their government, it is not wonderful. For of Jupiter, and Juno, Apollo and Minerva, there are common progressions and rearrangements, after the supercelestial allotment, and together with the mundane Gods. For powers which give completion to the last order of the Gods, approximate to the universe from all the liberated Gods. But Socrates, celebrating the liberated and supermundane kingdoms of the Parcæ, has represented them to us as touching and not touching the whole circulations, dividing the limitation of their peculiarities, by mutation according to time. For to relinquish [the contact] for a time, affords a representation of a temporal mutation of energies. This, however, pertains to the concealment which is adapted to divine fables. For fables introducing generations of things unbegotten, compositions of things simple, and distributions of things impartible, obumbrate under many veils the truth of things. If, however, as fables call the transition from cause to existence, generation, denominate the causal comprehension of composite in simple natures, composition itself, and say that the division of secondary about first natures, is the distribution of the latter into parts,—thus also, if we do not apprehend according to time, the alternately coming into contact with, and being separated from things that are moved, conformably to the apparent meaning of the fable, but according to the different peculiarities of the Parcæ, and an hypostasis mingled from the extremes, we shall be most near to the conception of Plato. Here, therefore, let us terminate this, which does not require much discussion at present.

But let us consider the order of the Parcæ by itself. For of these, some think that Lachesis should be arranged as the first, but others as the last of the three. And of the remaining two, some give a prior arrangement to Atropos, and place her in the order of a monad, but others to Clotho. Since, however, Plato in the Laws clearly says, that Lachesis is the first, Clotho the second, and Atropos the third, I think that what is said in the Republic should be referred to this definite order in them, and that we should not make any innovation by following the mutable opinions of interpreters. Socrates, therefore, says, that Lachesis sings the past, but Clotho the present, and Atropos the future; here also in a similar manner using an order of division conformably to their energies. And to Lachesis indeed he gives predominance, and a uniform dominion over the rest. But he gives to Clotho a dominion subordinate to that of Lachesis, but more comprehensive than the kingdom of Atropos. And to Atropos he attributes the third kingdom, which is comprehended by both the others, and is arranged under them. The multitude, therefore, are ignorant that Socrates uses the parts of time as symbols of the comprehension according to cause. For the past was once the future, and the present, but the future is not yet the past, but has the whole of its essence in existing in some after time. We must assume, therefore, the triple causes analogous to these three parts of time; and say that the cause which is the most perfect, and the most comprehensive of the others, sings the past, as the cause of the others, and the source of their energy. For the past is comprehensive of the future and the present. But the second cause is the present, which partly comprehends, and is partly comprehended. For this prior to its being the present was the future. And the third cause, and which is comprehended by both the others, is the future. For this requires the present and the past, the one unfolding it, but the other bounding its progression. Lachesis, therefore, is the first-effective cause, comprehending the other causes in herself; but each of the remaining Parcæ is comprehended by her. And Clotho indeed is allotted a superior, but Atropos an inferior order. And on this account, Lachesis indeed moves with both her hands, as giving completion in a greater and more total manner to those things which are effected by them more partially. But Clotho turns the spindle with her right, and Atropos with her left hand, so far as the former indeed is the primary leader of the energies, but the latter follows, and governs all things in conjunction with the former. For in mortal animals, the right hand is the principle of motion; and in wholes, the motion to the right is comprehensive of the motion to the left hand. On this account, therefore, the triad of the Fates, in the Laws and in the Republic, is divided by Plato according to the same order, into first, middle, and last.

And not only in the before mentioned passages, but also at the end of the fable, in which he leads the soul to the mortal place, and to a polity the work of generation under the dæmon allotted to it as a ruler, supernally from the heavens, and the summit of the universe, he arranges souls under Lachesis as the first, under Clotho as the second, and under Atropos as the third. And after these, when they become perfectly situated under the throne of Necessity, he leads them to the plain of Oblivion, and the river of Negligence. It is necessary, therefore, either to disturb the descent of souls, and subvert the continuity of remission, which the prefecture of the governing dæmon affords to souls, or to assign to Lachesis a rank more elevated than that of the other Parcæ; but to give to Clotho the second, and to Atropos after the same manner the third rank. For the progression into generation beginning from more perfect natures, and subsiding according to a tendency to an earthly nature, originates indeed from Lachesis, but ends in Atropos.

Farther still, the lots, and the paradigms of lives, are extended to souls from the knees of Lachesis, through the prophet as a medium. And as the fable before said that the whole spindle is turned on the knees of Necessity, thus also it suspends the providence about partial souls from the knees of Lachesis, who moves the universe perpetually with her hands, as with more elevated powers, but in her knees possesses subordinate the causes of the psychical periods. Hence the prophet in a remarkable manner celebrates this daughter of the Goddess: “This is the speech of the virgin Lachesis, the daughter of Necessity.” But again, Clotho is said to weave things consequent to the elections made by souls, and to distribute to each of them an appropriate destiny. And after her, Atropos imparts to the webs the immutable and the definite, giving completion to the end of the canons of the Fates, and to the order which extends from the universe to us. If, therefore, Lachesis energizes in souls prior to their election, and after their choice is made, defines all the periods of them in the realms of generation, by the most beautiful boundaries; but the other Parcæ after the election made by souls, allot them what is convenient, and connect their lives with the order of the universe, does it not appear that Lachesis precedes Clotho and Atropos, and that they follow her, and together with her give completion to their appropriate providence? Lachesis, therefore, appears to possess the second dignity of a mother with respect to the other Parcæ, and to be a certain monad coarranged with them, just as Necessity in an exempt manner comprehends the powers of all of them. But the other Parcæ are proximately indeed perfected under Lachesis, but still higher than her, under Necessity. Such, therefore, is the order of them according to the narration of Plato.

The symbols, however, which the fable attributes to them, magnificently celebrate their kingdoms. For their walking on the [celestial] circles, signifies their exempt and separate dominion. But their sitting on thrones, and not on the circles themselves, as the Sirens do, indicates that the receptacles which are primarily illuminated by them, are established above the celestial bodies. For a throne is the vehicle and receptacle of those that are seated on it. And all the participants of the participate Gods, are placed under them like vehicles, and the [participable] Gods are eternally established in, ride on, and energize through them. But the Fates being seated at equal distances from each other, manifest the orderly separation of them, their remission proceeding according to analogy, and the distribution supernally derived to them from their mother. For from thence, that which is arranged in progression, and that which is according to desert in energies, are imparted to the Fates.

Moreover, the having a crown on their heads, signifies that their summits are surrounded with a divine light, and that they are adorned by prolific and undefiled causes, through which also they fill the heavens with generative power, and immutable purity. But their being invested with white garments evinces that all their externally emitted reasons, and the lives which they propose to themselves, are intellectual and luciform, and full of divine splendour. And the garments indeed appear to indicate the essences which participate of the Fates; but the thrones, the receptacles in the first firmaments. For with us also, garments are proximately connected with our bodies; but vehicles are apprehended to be more remote from us. This, however, is assumed from another theology, from which we are instructed in the orders that are above the inerratic sphere. But the assertion that one of the Fates sings the past, another the pre sent, and the third the future, evinces that all their externally proceeding energies are elegant and intellectual, and full of harmony. For the Fates perfect the songs of the Sirens, and the very orderly and elegant motions of the heavens, and fill all things with their hymns; calling forth indeed the production of their mother into the universe, through intellectual hymns, but converting all things to themselves through the harmonious motion of wholes. All these particulars, however, sufficiently demonstrate to us the perfect, undefiled, and supercelestial order of the Fates.


It remains, therefore, for us to adduce the Parmenides as a witness of the doctrine concerning these gods. For Plato in that dialogue most clearly delivers the one peculiarity of them. For after the progression of the assimilative orders, in which the similar and dissimilar shine forth to the view from intellectual sameness and difference, at one time indeed according to analogy, but at another according to a generation which is different [from that of the other orders], and difficult to be surveyed, he demonstrates that the one touches and does not touch, both itself and other things. For all the divine genera after the demiurgic monad double their energies. For they are naturally adapted to energize both towards themselves, and other things posterior to themselves, rejoicing in progressions, being subservient to the providence of secondary natures, through the will of their father, and calling forth his supernatural, impartible, and all-perfect production, and communicating the streams of it to secondary natures. Does not, therefore, this contact and division with things subordinate, represent to us the liberated peculiarity? For to touch, is an indication of alliance with us, and of a co-arranged providence. But again, not to touch, is an indication of a transcendency exempt and separate from mundane natures. In what has been before said, therefore, we have demonstrated that a thing of this kind pertains to the genus of the liberated Gods, who at one and the same time come into contact with celestial natures, and are expanded above them, and proceed to all things with an unrestrained energy, and free from all habitude. On this account also, we have placed the Fates in the supercelestial order. For Socrates says that they touch the [celestial] circulations; and in the Cratylus he asserts that the mundane Core (or Proserpine) who associates with Pluto, and administers the whole of generation, comes into contact with a mutable essence, and that through this contact she is called Pherephatta.

Farther still, in the Phædo, teaching us what the mode of the cathartic life of souls is, he says “that the soul when it does not associate with the body, comes into contact with [true] being.” Through all these particulars, therefore, he indicates that contact is the work of an inseparable providence, and of a co-arranged administration; but that the negation of contact is the business of a prefecture, separate, unrestrained, and exempt from the subjects of government. The one, therefore, which touches and does not touch other things, is conjoined with other things, and established above them. Hence, at one and the same time it is allotted the power of things established above the world, and of mundane natures. For being in the middle of both, it comprehends in one the divided peculiarities of the extremes. And moreover, it touches, and does not touch itself prior to other things; because there are in it multitude, a separation of wholeness, and the parts of wholeness, and a union collective of all the multitude. For if it has proceeded from its principles, and if it energizes partibly, it is various and multiform. For every progression diminishes indeed, the powers of the proceeding natures, but increases the multitude which is in them, and if it has not entirely proceeded, the uniform nature of its essence shines forth to the view, at one and the same time, with the multitude it contains. This genus of Gods, therefore, is co-arranged with the mundane Gods, and transcends the subjects of its government. It is also liberated, being separated from things which are perfectly divided. Hence, if it is one and multitude, producing indeed into secondary natures the many rivers of the fountains, but surpassing partible allotments, it will at one and the same time touch and not touch itself. On account of its separate union indeed, it is not in want of contact; but on account of its progression into multitude, it touches itself. “For it comprehends many things in itself, and touches itself, so far as it is in itself,” says Parmenides. In short, so far as it is without contact, it is separate; but so far as it proceeds from itself, and is again established in itself, it touches itself. And so far indeed, as it is in other things, it comes into contact with other things; but so far as it is uncoarranged with others, and so far as it has not a co-ordinate number in them, it is separated from them. At one and the same time therefore, this genus of Gods is uniform and multiplied, and is uniformly varied. It also abides and proceeds, and is participated by more imperfect natures, and is imparticipable, existing prior to them. All these particulars, however, are the elements of the supercelestial order, presenting to our view an hypostasis mingled from perfectly divided peculiarities. And thus much concerning the essence and hyparxis of these Gods, which Parmenides exhibits to us in the above citation.

It is necessary, however, to assume from the things placed before us, the causes of the generation of these Gods. Since it is demonstrated, therefore, that these divinities are according to union itself beyond all partible separation, and contact, they will have their progression from the one. For union is thence derived to all things, from the first unity, which is exempt from all multitude, and all division. But in consequence of their having pre-assumed the power of touching themselves, according to a subsistence in self they derive their existence from the unpolluted Gods. For the subsistence in self in the first of the intellectual fathers, was the symbol of a cause inflexible, and which immutably sustains multitude from secondary natures. If, therefore, this one touches itself, on account of a subsistence in self, it establishes multitude in the one, and contains parts in wholeness, on account of undefiled power in progression. And in the intellectual fathers, indeed, a subsistence in self primarily shines forth to the view, and comprehends contact causally, as was demonstrated to us through the first hypothesis. But in the liberated Gods, a subsistence in self is according to participation. Contact, however, is in this one according to essence, and is consubsistent with the multitude it contains.

Farther still, [the one] being in other things touches other things; but not being co-arranged with them according to any common number, it is separated from them. By this, therefore, Parmenides appears indeed to form his reasoning from a subsistence in another; since that the one touches itself, was before demonstrated, through a subsistence in itself. It is, however, wonderful that a subsistence in another is, in the first progression, superior to a subsistence in self, but in the participation of the liberated Gods is subordinate to a subsistence in self. For we say, that for a thing to come into contact, and be co-arranged with other things, is in every respect more imperfect than for it to convert multitude to itself. We must, therefore, say that the liberated Gods have their progression from the demiurgic and the assimilative order. Hence Parmenides does not say that the one is in another thing, but in other things. But other things are primarily suspended from the [demiurgic] monad; but secondarily from the assimilative Gods. The liberated Gods, therefore, from thence receive their subsistence in others. For the demiurgic one being same and different, imparts to them sameness and union exemptly. But the assimilative one illuminates them with a separate similitude. But the one of the liberated Gods subsists now with others, so far as it is co-arranged with them, and proximately presides over them. Again, however, because it differs from the mundane unities, it is allotted the whole of its appropriate number exempt from others. And thus other things participating of no number which is common with this one, cannot proximately participate of it. Hence the progression to the liberated Gods, is from the first causes, and from causes that are arranged near to them. For their progression is from the one; since as the one is exempt from intelligibles, thus also the liberated Gods are exempt from sensibles. And their progression is likewise from the undefiled order. For they have not the disencumbered from any other source than that of immutable power, and the demiurgic cause. Being likewise generated from the assimilative Gods, they receive a communion with other things, and from themselves they are established above others. For they establish their appropriate number above the subsistence of other things. And thus much concerning these Gods may be assumed from the Parmenides. But we have elsewhere accurately explained the several particulars relating to them, and there is no occasion to write the same things in the present treatise [as we have there written].

  1. αφ’ου signifies an occult, but υφ’ου, a manifest progression.
  2. The following observations were written in the margin of the manuscript copy of this work of Proclus, by some scholiast or commentator: “For end and that which is perfected, and the possession of beginning, middles and end, first subsist in the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods. And on this account figure, also, there presents itself to the view. This triad, therefore, in the whole assimilative series is analogous to intelligibles and intellectuals, as having from them the beginning, middles, and end. For the demiurgus produced this triad according to the similitude of the perfective triad, and connected the straight and the circular with motion. For to bound in a direct path, and to proceed circularly, are definitive of motion, as was said by Proclus in the chapter prior to this. And as this triad has these properties from intelligibles and intellectuals, thus also the whole series of assimilative Gods possess them from this triad. Hence this triad of partial demiurgi, is analogous to the intelligible and intellectual fathers, i. e. to the perfective power.”
  3. i. e. Phanes, or in Platonic language animal itself, subsisting at the extremity of the intelligible order.
  4. i. e. Imitating Saturn and Phanes.
  5. The Greek scholiast observes on this part of the text of Proclus as follows: “By the intellectual Proclus means the ruling Gods; but by an immaterial and separate intellect the whole demiurgus. And by essence he means a partial hypostasis, such as that of soul, of a dæmon, and of the intellect which is coordinate to partial souls.”
  6. For νοητου here, it is necessary to read νοερου.
  7. viz. The genera of being, essence, sameness, difference, motion and permanency.
  8. By intelligible souls we must understand partial, but undefiled souls.