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

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The mundane Gods, or those divinities who give completion to the sensible world, are assigned the last order of deific progression, as we are informed by Proclus in the preceding book. They also divide the universe, and obtain perpetual allotments and receptacles in it, and through these weave one and the best polity of the universe. Each of the mundane genera likewise 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. The mundane Gods also perfectly unfold the psychical peculiarity into light; and receive the illuminations of all the divinities prior to them. Hence too, 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 pour 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 unite themselves to this fountain.

Again, the world is said by Plato in the Timæus to be the image of the eternal, i. e. of the intelligible Gods. For it is filled from them with deity, and the progressions into it of the mundane Gods, are as it were certain rivers and illuminations of the intelligible Gods. These progressions also the world receives, not only according to the celestial part of it, but according to the whole of itself. For in the air, the earth and sea, there are advents of terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial Gods. Hence the world is throughout filled with deity; and on this account is according to the whole of itself the image of the intelligible Gods. Not that it receives indeed these Gods themselves; for images do not receive the exempt essences of the total Gods; but illuminations poured from thence on the secondary orders, to the reception of which they are commensurate.

Farther still, of the mundane Gods, some are the causes of the existence of the world; others animate it; others again harmonize it thus composed of different natures; and others, lastly, guard and preserve it when harmonically arranged. And since these orders are four, and each consists of things first, middle and last, it is necessary that the disposers of these should be twelve. Hence Jupiter, Neptune, and Vulcan, fabricate the world; Ceres, Juno and Diana animate it; Mercury, Venus, and Apollo harmonize it; and lastly, Vesta, Minerva, and Mars, preside over it with a guardian power. But the truth of this may be seen in statues as in enigmas. For Apollo harmonizes the lyre; Pallas is invested with arms; and Venus is naked; since harmony generates beauty, and beauty is not concealed in objects of sensible inspection.

Since, however, these Gods primarily possess the world, it is necessary to consider the other mundane Gods as subsisting in these; as Bacchus in Jupiter, Esculapius in Apollo, and the Graces in Venus. We may likewise, behold the spheres with which they are connected; viz. Vesta with earth, Neptune with water, Juno with air, and Vulcan with fire. But the six superior Gods we denominate from general custom. For Apollo and Diana are assumed for the sun and moon; but the orb of Saturn is attributed to Ceres; æther to Pallas; and heaven is common to them all. And thus much concerning the mundane Gods in general, the sources of their progression, their orders, powers, and spheres.[1]


The division, however, of the mundane Gods is into the celestial and sublunary. And of the celestial, the divinity of the inerratic sphere his the relation of a monad to the divinities of the planets. But the triad under this monad consists of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars; of which the first is the cause of connected comprehension, the second of symmetry, and the third of division and separation. And again, with respect to the sublunary deities, the moon ranks as a monad, being the cause of all generation and corruption. But the triad under it, consists of the divinities who preside over the elements of air, water and earth. Between these are the planets that revolve with an equal velocity. And of these, the sun indeed unfolds truth into light, Venus beauty, and Mercury the symmetry of reasons or productive principles, conformably to the analogy of the three monads mentioned by Plato in the Philebus, as subsisting in the vestibule of the good. It may also be said that the moon is the cause of nature to the mortal genera, being the visible image of the fontal nature existing in the goddess Rhea. But the sun is the fabricator of all the senses, because he is the author of seeing and of being seen. Mercury is the cause of the motions of the phantasy; for the sun gives subsistence to the essence of the phantasy, so far as it is the same with sense. But Venus is the cause of the appetites of that irrational part of the soul which is called desire; and Mars, of those irascible motions which are conformable to nature. Jupiter also, is the common cause of all vital, and Saturn of all gnostic powers. For all the irrational forms may be divided into these. The causes, therefore, of these, are antecedently comprehended in the celestial Gods, and in the spheres with which they are connected.

The allotments also of the mundane Gods are conformable to the divisions of the universe. But the universe is divided by demiurgic numbers, viz. by the duad, triad, tetrad, pentad, hebdomad, and dodecad. For after the one fabrication of things by the demiurgus, the division of the universe into two parts, heaven and generation (or the sublunary region), gives subsistence to twofold allotments, the celestial and the sublunary. After this, the triad divides the universe, to which Homer alludes when he says that Neptune is allotted the hoary deep, Jupiter, the extended heavens, and Pluto, the subterranean darkness. But after the triple distribution, the tetradic follows, which gives a fourfold arrangement to the elements in the universe, as the Pythagoreans say, viz. the celestial and the ethereal, above the earth and under the earth. The universe also receives a division into five parts. For the world is one and quintuple, and is appropriately divided by celestial, empyreal, aerial, aquatic and terrestrial figures and presiding Gods. After this follows its division into seven parts. For the heptad beginning supernally from the inerratic sphere, pervades through all the elements. And in the last place is the division of the universe by the dodecad, viz. into the sphere of the fixed stars, the spheres of the seven planets, and the spheres of the four elements.

Moreover, the allotment of angels and dæmons is co-suspended from the divine allotments, but has a more various distribution. For one divine allotment comprehends in itself many angelic, and a still greater number of dæmoniacal allotments; since every angel rules over many dæmons, and every angelic allotment is surrounded with numerous dæmoniacal allotments. For what a monad is in the Gods, that a tribe is among dæmons. Here, therefore, instead of the triad we must assume three compositions, and instead of the tetrad or dodecad, four or twelve choirs following their respective leaders. And thus we shall always preserve the higher allotments. For as in essences, powers and energies, progressions generate multitude; thus also in allotments, such as are first, have a precedency in power, but are diminished in multitude, as being nearer to the one father of the universe, and the whole and one providence which extends to all things. But secondary allotments, have a diminution of power, but an increase of multitude. And thus much concerning allotments in general.

Since, however, according to a division of the universe into two parts, we have distributed allotments into the celestial and sublunary, there can be no doubt what the former are, and whether they posses an invariable sameness of subsistence. But the sublunary allotments are deservedly a subject of admiration, whether they are said to be perpetual or not. For since all things in generation are continually changing and flowing, how can the allotments of the providential rulers of them be said to be perpetual? For things in generation are not perpetual. But if their allotments are not perpetual, how is it possible to suppose that divine government can subsist differently at different times? For an allotment is neither a certain separate energy of the Gods, so that sublunary natures changing, we might say that it is exempt and remains immutable, nor is it that which is governed alone, so that no absurdity would follow from admitting that an allotment is in a flowing condition, and is conversant with all-various mutations; but it is a providential inspection, and unrestrained government of divinity over sublunary concerns. Such being the doubts with which this subject is attended, the following appears to be the only solution of the difficulty.

We must say then, that it is not proper to consider all the natures that are in generation and generation itself, as alone consisting of things mutable and flowing, but that there is also something immutable in these, and which is naturally adapted to remain perpetually the same. For the interval which receives and comprehends in itself all the parts of the world, and which has an arrangement through all bodies, is immoveable, lest being moved it should require another place, and thus should proceed from one receptacle to another ad infinitum. The etherial vehicles also of divine souls with which they are circularly invested, and which imitate the lives in the heavens, have a perpetual essence, and are eternally suspended from these divine souls themselves, being full of prolific powers, and performing a circular motion, according to a certain secondary revolution of the celestial orbs. And in the third place the wholeness (ολοτης) of the elements has a permanent subsistence, though the parts are all-variously corrupted. For it is necessary that every form in the universe should be never failing, in order that the universe may be perfect, and that being generated from an immoveable cause, it may be immoveable in its essence. But every wholeness is a form; or rather it is that which it is said to be through the participation of one all-perfect form.

And here we may see the orderly progression of the nature of bodies. For the interval of the universe is immoveable according to every kind of motion. But the vehicles of divine souls alone receive a mutation according to place; for such a motion as this, is most remote from essential mutation. And the wholeness of the elements admits in its parts the other motions of bodies, but the whole remains perfectly immutable. The celestial allotments also which proximately divide the interval of the universe, co-distribute likewise the heavens themselves. But those in the sublunary region, are primarily indeed allotted the parts which are in the interval of the universe, but afterwards they make a distribution according to the definite vehicles of souls. And in the third place, they remain perpetually the same according to the total parts of generation. The allotments of the Gods therefore do not change, nor do they subsist differently at different times; for they have not their subsistence proximately in that which may be changed.

How therefore do the illuminations of the Gods accede to these? How are the dissolutions of sacred rites effected? And how is the same place at different times under the influence of different spirits? May it not be said, that since the Gods have perpetual allotments, and divide the earth according to divine numbers, similarly to the sections of the heavens, the parts of the earth also are illuminated, so far as they participate of aptitude. But the circulation of the heavenly bodies, through the figures which they possess produce this aptitude; divine illumination at the same time imparting a power more excellent than the nature which is present to these parts of the earth. This aptitude is also effected by nature herself as a whole inserting divine impressions in each of the illuminated parts, through which they spontaneously participate of the Gods. For as these parts depend on the Gods, nature inserts in such of them as are different, different images of the divinities. Times too co-operate in producing this aptitude, according to which other things also are governed; the proper temperature of the air; and in short, every thing by which we are surrounded contributes to the increase and diminution of this aptitude. When therefore conformably to a concurrence of these many causes, an aptitude to the participation of the Gods is ingenerated in some one of the natures which are disposed to be changed, then a certain divinity is unfolded into light, which prior to this was concealed through the inaptitude of the recipients; possessing indeed his appropriate allotment eternally, and always extending the participation of himself, similarly to illuminations from the sun, but not being always participated by sublunary natures, in consequence of their inaptitude to such participation. For as with respect to partial souls such as ours, which at different times embrace different lives, some of them indeed, choose lives accommodated to their appropriate Gods, but others foreign lives, through oblivion of the divinities to whom they belong; thus also with respect to sacred places, some are adapted to the power which there receives its allotment, but others are suspended from a different order. And on this account, as the Athenian guest in Plato says, some places are more fortunate, but others more unfortunate.

The divine Iamblichus however, doubts how the Gods are said to be allotted certain places according to definite times, as by Plato in the Timæus, Minerva is said to have been first allotted the guardianship of Athens, and afterwards of Sais. For if their allotment commenced from a certain time, it will also at a certain time cease. For every thing which is measured by time is of this kind. And farther still was the place which at a certain time they are allotted, without a presiding deity prior to this allotment, or was it under the government of other Gods? For if it was without a presiding deity, how is it to be admitted that a certain part of the universe was once entirely destitute of divinity? How can any place remain without the guardianship of superior beings? And, if any place is sufficient to the preservation of itself, how does it afterwards become the allotment of some one of the Gods? But if it should be said that it is afterwards under the government of another God, of whom it becomes the allotment, this also is absurd. For the second God does not divulse the government and allotment of the former, nor do the Gods alternately occupy the places of each other, nor dæmons change their allotments. Such being the doubts on this subject, he solves them by saying that the allotments of the Gods remain perpetually unchanged, but that the participants of them, at one time indeed enjoy the beneficent influence of the-presiding powers, but at another are deprived of it. He adds that these are the mutations measured by time, which sacred institutes frequently call the birth-day of the Gods.[2]


In the next place, it is necessary to observe of the mundane Gods that they do not obtain the rank which they hold in the universe from any habitude or arrangement towards bodies; for they are all of them essentially liberated from body, unrestrained in their energies, and have no proximity or alliance to a corporeal nature. For bodies are ministrant to them, and are subservient to the generation of mutable essences. Hence they are not in bodies, but rule over them externally; so that they are not changed together with them. Farther still, they impart from themselves to bodies, every good which they are capable of receiving, but do not in return receive any thing from bodies; and consequently they do not receive certain peculiarities from them. For if indeed they had a subsistence like the habits of bodies, or like material forms, or were corporeal after any other manner, it might perhaps be possible for them to be transmuted together with the differences of bodies. But if they antecedently subsist separate from bodies, and are essentially unmingled with them, what reasonable distinction can they derive from a corporeal nature? To which may be added, that such an hypothesis makes bodies to be better than the divine genera, if they afford a seat to more excellent causes, and essentially insert in them characteristic peculiarities. He therefore, who co-arranges the allotments and distributions of the governors with the governed, will evidently ascribe authority and dominion to better natures. For because the presiding powers possess such peculiarities, on this account they chuse such an allotment, and give it essentially a specific distinction; but the allotment itself is not assimilated to the nature of the recipient.

With respect indeed to partial souls such as ours it is requisite to admit that such as is the life which it emitted before it was inserted in a human body, such also will be the organic body with which it is connected, and such will be the nature consequent to it, and which receives from the soul a more perfect life. But with respect to the natures superior to man, and which have dominion as wholes, it must be admitted, that inferior are produced in more excellent natures, bodies in incorporeal essences, and fabrications in the fabricators of them, and that being circularly comprehended in them, they are governed according to invariable rectitude. The circulations therefore of the celestial orbs are primarily inserted in the celestial circulations of the etherial soul, in which they are perpetually inherent. And the souls of the spheres being, extended to the intellect which they participate, are perfectly comprehended by, and are primarily generated in it. Intellect also, both that which is partial, and that which is universal, are comprehended in the more excellent genera. Since therefore secondary natures are always converted to such as are first, and superior natures as paradigms are the leaders of those that are subordinate, both essence and form are derived from more excellent beings to those of an inferior rank, and the latter are primarily produced in the former, so as to derive from them order and measure, and the properties by which they are characterized; while on the contrary such properties do not flow from subordinate natures to such as have a precedency and a greater dignity of essence.

In short, neither are the Gods held in subjection by certain parts of the world, nor are terrestrial natures destitute of their all-preserving influence; but superior powers at the same time that they comprehend all things in themselves, are not comprehended by any thing. And terrestrial natures having their very being in the plenitudes of the Gods, when they become adapted to divine participation, immediately prior to their own proper essence manifestly possess the Gods which latently pre-subsisted in it.[3]

Farther still, divinity whether it is allotted certain portions of the universe, such as the heavens or the earth, or sacred cities and regions, or certain groves and sacred statues, illuminates all these externally, viz. without any alliance to the things themselves, in the same manner as the sun externally enlightens all things with its rays; except that in the latter instance, the illuminating cause is locally, but in the former is impassively, unextendedly, and in short incorporeally external. As therefore, the solar light comprehends in itself the illuminated objects, thus also the power of the Gods, externally comprehends its participants. And as light is present with the air, without being essentially mingled with it; which is evident from no light remaining in the air, when once the illuminating source has departed, though heat is present with it when that which heated is entirely withdrawn; thus also the light of the Gods illuminates in a separate manner, and being firmly established in itself, pervades totally through all things. Indeed, this visible light of the sun, is one, continued, and is every where the same whole, so that it is not possible for any part of it to be separated and cut off from the rest, nor to inclose it on all sides, nor divulse it from its source. After the same manner therefore, the whole world being partible, is divided about the one impartible light of the Gods. But this light is one and everywhere the same whole, and is impartibly present to all the natures that are able to partake of it. It likewise fills all things through an all-perfect power, and bounds in itself wholes, by a certain infinite causal transcendency; is everywhere united to itself, and conjoins the terminations with the beginnings of things. But all heaven and the world imitating this light, is circularly convolved, is united to itself, conducts the elements in their circular motion, causes all things to be in, and tend to each other, and ends to have juxtaposition with their principles, and produces one connexion and consent of wholes with wholes.

He therefore who surveys this visible image of the Gods (the world) thus united in itself, will be ashamed to have a different opinion of the Gods the causes of it, and to introduce in them divisions, obstructions, and corporeal circumscriptions. For if there is no ratio, no habitude of symmetry, no communion of essence, no connexion either according to power or energy, between the adorning cause and adorned effect; if this be the case, in the former there is neither a certain extension according to interval, nor any local comprehension, or any partible interception, nor any other similar innate equalization in the manner in which the Gods are present. For in things which are of a kindred nature either according to essence or power, or which are in a certain respect similar in species, or homogeneous, a certain mutual comprehension or retention, may be perceived; but what coercion, or transition through the universe, or partible circumscription, or local comprehension, or any thing else of the like kind can there be in natures perfectly exempt from the whole of things? For the participants indeed of the divinities are such, that some of them participate etherially, others aerially, and others aquatically of a divine nature. And this the ancients perceiving, employed in their divine operations, adaptations and invocations, conformably to a division of this kind. And. thus much concerning, the distribution of the Gods in the world.[4]


If, however, the mundane as well as the supermundane Gods are incorporeal, it may be asked how the visible celestial orbs can be Gods? To this we reply, that the celestial Gods are not comprehended by bodies, but that they contain bodies in their divine lives and energies; that they are not converted to body, but that the body which is suspended from their essence is converted to a divine cause; and that body is no impediment to their intellectual and incorporeal perfection, and is not the cause of any molestation to them by its intervention. Hence it does not require an abundant care and attention, but spontaneously and after a certain manner self-motively follows the divinities with which it is connected, not being in want of any manuduction, but by its elevation to the one of the Gods, is also itself uniformly raised by itself.

Indeed, a celestial body is allied in the most eminent degree to the incorporeal essence of the Gods. For as the latter is characterized by unity, so the former is simple. As that is impartible, this is indivisible. And as that is immutable, this after a similar manner is unchanged in quality. If also it is admitted that the energies of the Gods are uniform, this body likewise has one circulation. Besides this, it imitates the sameness of the Gods, by its perpetual and invariable motion according to, and towards the same things, conformably to one reason and order. It likewise imitates the divine life of the Gods by the life which is connascent with the etherial bodies. Hence neither is a celestial body so constituted as if composed of contrary and different natures, as is the case with our bodies; nor does the soul of the celestial Gods so coalesce with the body suspended from it, as to form one animal from the two; but the animals of these divinities are perfectly similar and united to the Gods from whom they depend; and are throughout whole, uniform, and free from all composition. For more excellent natures always subsisting with invariable sameness in themselves, but inferior being suspended from the dominion of superior beings, yet so as never to draw down this dominion to themselves, wholes likewise being collected into one order and one perfection, and after a certain manner all things in the celestial Gods being incorporeal and throughout divine, because the divine form universally predominates in them,—this being the case, one total essence in the nature of these divinities every where prevails. And thus the visible celestial orbs are all of them Gods, and are after a certain manner incorporeal.[5]

If, therefore, these divinities as being incorporeal, intellectual, and united, ride as it were in the celestial spheres, they have their origin in the intelligible world, and there intellectually perceiving the divine forms of themselves, they govern the whole of heaven according to one infinite energy. And if being present to the heavens in a separate manner, they lead its perpetual circulations by their will alone, they are themselves unmingled with a sensible nature, and are consubsistent with the intelligible Gods. Indeed, the celestial orbs, those visible statues as it were of the Gods, are generated from, and subsist about, the intelligible Gods, and being thus generated are established in them, and have the image elevated to them which from them also receives its perfection. The divine intellectual forms also which are present to the visible bodies of the Gods, have a subsistence prior to them in a separate manner; but the unmingled and supercelestial intelligible paradigms of them, abide in themselves, containing all things simultaneously in one, according to the eternal transcendency of their nature.

Hence there is one common indivisible bond of them according to intellectual energies. There is also the same bond between them according to the common participations of forms, since there is nothing to intercept them, nor any intervening medium. Indeed, an immaterial and incorporeal essence, being neither separated by places nor subjects, nor defined by any divisible circumscriptions of parts, immediately coalesces in sameness; and the elevation of wholes to the one, and the universal dominion of the one, collects the communion of the mundane Gods with the divinities that presubsist in the intelligible world.

Farther still, the intellectual conversion of secondary to first natures, and the gift of the same essence and power from the primary to the secondary Gods connects their congress into an indissoluble one. In things of different essences indeed, such as soul and body, and in things of different, species, such as material forms, and those natures which in any other way are separated from each other, the connascent union is adventitious, being derived from supernal causes, and lost in certain definite periods of time. But the higher we ascend, to the sameness of first causes, both according to form and according to essence, and the more we raise ourselves from parts to wholes, by so much the more shall we discover and survey that union which is eternal, precedaneous and more principal, and which contains about and in itself difference and multitude.

Since, however, the order of all the Gods consists in union, and the first and second genera of them, and the multitude which germinates about them coexist in unity; since also every thing in them is characterized by the one; hence the beginning, middle, and end of their essence consubsists according to the one. It is not proper, therefore, to enquire whence unity extends to all things in them; for their very being, whatever it may be, consists in the one. And secondary genera indeed remain with invariable sameness in the one of the first genera. But the latter impart from themselves union to the former; while all of them possess in each other the communion of an indissoluble connexion.

From this cause, therefore, the perfectly incorporeal Gods, are united to the sensible Gods who are connected with bodies. For the visible Gods themselves are external to bodies, and on this account are in the intelligible world. And the intelligible Gods on account of their infinite union comprehend in themselves the apparent divinities; while in the mean time both these are established according to a common union and one energy. In a similar manner, this likewise is the illustrious prerogative of a deific clause and orderly distribution, that the same union of all things pervades from on high as far as to the end of the divine order. And thus much concerning the contact of the sensible with the intelligible Gods.[6]

CHAPTER V.[edit]

What has been above delivered concerning the mundane Gods is perfectly conformable to the doctrine of Plato, as delivered by him in the Timæus, in the speech[7] of the demiurgus to the junior Gods. For it is there said, “When, therefore, all such Gods as visibly revolve, and all such as become apparent when they please, were generated, he who fabricated this universe thus addressed them: Gods of Gods, of whom I am the demiurgus and father, whatever is generated by me is indissoluble, such being my will in its fabrication. Indeed every thing which is bound is dissoluble; but to be willing to dissolve that which is beautifully harmonized and well composed is the property of an evil nature. Hence, so far as you are generated, you are not immortal, nor in every respect indissoluble, yet you shall never be dissolved, nor become subject to the fatality of death; my will being a much greater and more excellent bond than the vital connectives with which you were bound at the commencement of your generation. Learn now, therefore, what I say to you indicating my desire. Three genera of mortals yet remain to be produced. Without the generation of these, therefore, the universe will be imperfect; for it will not contain every kind of animal in its spacious extent. But it ought to contain them, that it may be sufficiently perfect. Yet if these are generated and participate of life through me they will become equal to the Gods. That mortal natures, therefore, may subsist, and that the universe may be truly all, convert yourselves according to your nature to the fabrication of animals, imitating the power which I employed in your generation. And whatever among these is of such a nature as to deserve the same appellation with immortals, which is called divine, obtains sovereignty in them, and willingly pursues justice and reverences you,—of this I myself will deliver the seed and beginning. It is your business to accomplish the rest; to weave together the mortal and immortal nature; by this mean fabricating and generating animals, causing them to increase by supplying them with nutriment, and receiving them back again when dissolved by corruption.”

As the commentary of Proclus on this speech most admirably unfolds its recondite meaning, and is at the same time replete with the most interesting information respecting the mundane Gods, I shall give the following extracts from it, in which the most magnificent exuberance of diction is combined with the greatest fecundity and scientific accuracy of conception.

“The scope of this speech (says Proclus) is to insert demiurgic power and providence in the mundane genera of Gods, to lead them forth to the generation of the remaining kinds of animals, and to place them over mortals, analogously to the father of wholes over the one orderly distribution of the universe. For it is necessary that some things should be primarily generated by the demiurgic monad, and others through other media; the Demiurgus, indeed, producing all things from himself, at once and eternally, but the things produced in order, and first proceeding from him, producing together with him the natures posterior to themselves. Thus, for instance, the celestial produce sublunary Gods, and these generate mortal animals; the Demiurgus at the same time fabricating these in conjunction with the celestial and sublunary divinities. For in speaking he understands all things, and by understanding all things he also makes the mortal genera of animals; these requiring another proximate generating cause, so far as they are mortal, and through this receiving a progression into being. But the character of the words is enthusiastic, shining with intellectual intuitions, pure and venerable as being perfected by the father of the Gods, differing from and transcending human conceptions, delicate and at the same time terrific, full of grace and beauty—at once concise and perfectly accurate. Plato, therefore, particularly studies these things in the imitations of divine speeches; as he also evinces in the Republic, when he represents the Muses speaking sublimely, and the prophet ascending to a lofty seat. He also adorns both these speeches with conciseness and venerableness, employing the accurate powers of colons, directly shadowing forth divine intellections through such a form of words. But in the words before us he omits no transcendency either of the grand and robust in the sentences and the names adapted to these devices, or of magnitude in the conceptions and the figures which give completion to this idea. Besides this, also, much distinction and purity, the unfolding of truth, and the illustrious prerogatives of beauty, are mingled with the idea of magnitude, this being especially adapted to the subject things, to the speaker, and to the hearers. For the objects of this speech are, the perfection of the universe, an assimilation to all-perfect animal [i. e. to its paradigm], and the generation of all mortal animals; the maker of all things, at the same time, presubsisting and adorning all things through exempt transcendency; but the secondary fabricators adding what was wanting to the formation of the universe. All, therefore, being great and divine, as well the persons as the things, and shining with beauty and a distinction from each other, Plato has employed words adapted to the form of the speech.

“Homer, also, when energizing enthusiastically, represents Jupiter speaking, converting to himself the two-fold co-ordinations of Gods; becoming himself, as it were, the centre of all the divine genera in the world, and making all things obedient to his intellection. But at one time he conjoins the multitude of Gods with himself without a medium, and at another through Themis as the medium.

But Jove to Themis gives command to call
The Gods to council.

“This Goddess pervading everywhere collects the divine number, and converts it to the demiurgic monad. For the Gods are both separate from mundane affairs, and eternally provide for all things, being at the same time exempt from them through the highest transcendency, and extending their providence every-where. For their unmingled nature is not without providential energy, nor is their providence mingled with matter. Through transcendency of power they are not filled with the subjects of their government, and through beneficent will, they make all things similar to themselves; in permanently abiding, proceeding, and in being separated from all things, being similarly present to all things. Since, therefore, the Gods that govern the world, and the dæmons the attendants of these, receive after this manner unmingled purity, and providential administration from their father; at one time he converts them to himself without a medium, and illuminates them with a separate, unmingled, and pure form of life. Whence also I think he orders them to be separated from all things, to remain exempt in Olympus, and neither convert themselves to Greeks nor Barbarians; which is just the same as to say, that they must transcend the two-fold orders of mundane natures, and abide immutably in undefiled intellection. But at another time he converts them to a providential attention to secondary natures, through Themis, and calls upon them to direct the mundane battle, and excites different Gods to different works. These divinities, therefore, especially require the assistance of Themis, who contains in herself the divine laws, according to which providence is intimately connected with wholes. Homer, therefore, divinely delivers two-fold speeches, accompanying the two-fold energies of Jupiter; but Plato, through this one speech, comprehends those two-fold modes of discourse. For the Demiurgus renders the Gods unmingled with secondary natures, and causes them to provide for, and give existence to, mortals. But he orders them to fabricate in imitation of himself: and in an injunction of this kind, both these are comprehended, viz. the unmingled through the imitation of the father, for he is separate, being exempt from mundane wholes; but providential energy, through the command to fabricate, nourish, and increase mortal natures. Or rather, we may survey both in each; for in imitating the demiurgus, they provide for secondary natures, as he does for the immortals; and in fabricating they are separate from the things fabricated. For every demiurgic cause is exempt from the things generated by it; but that which is mingled with and filled from them is imbecil and inefficacious, and is unable to adorn and fabricate them. And thus much in common respecting the whole of the speech.

“Let us then, in the first place, consider what we are to understand by “Gods of Gods,” and what power it possesses: for that this invocation is collective and convertive of multitude to its monad, that it calls upwards the natures which have proceeded to the one fabrication of them, and inserts a boundary and divine measure in them, is clear to those who are not entirely unacquainted with such-like discourses. But how those that are allotted the world by their father are called Gods of Gods, and according to what conception, cannot easily be indicated to the many; for there is an unfolding of one divine intelligence in these names.” Proclus then proceeds to relate the explanations given by others of these words; which having rejected as erroneous, he very properly, in my opinion, adopts the following, which is that of his preceptor, the great Syrianus. “All the mundane Gods are not simply Gods, but they are wholly Gods which participate: for there is in them that which is separate, unapparent, and supermundane, and also that which is the apparent image of them, and has an orderly establishment in the world. And that, indeed, which is unapparent in them is primarily a God, this being undistributed and one: but this vehicle which is suspended from their unapparent essence is secondarily a God. For if, with respect to us, man is two-fold, one inward, according to the soul, the other apparent, which we see, much more must both these be asserted of the mundane Gods; since divinity also is two-fold, one unapparent and the other apparent. This being the case, we must say, that “Gods of Gods” is addressed to all the mundane divinities, in whom there is a connection of unapparent with apparent Gods: for they are Gods that participate. In short, since twofold orders are produced by the Demiurgus, some being supermundane, and others mundane, and some being without, and others with participation [of body], if the Demiurgus now addressed the supermundane orders, he would have alone said to them, “Gods:” for they are without participation [i. e. without the participation of body], are separate and unapparent:—but since the speech is to the mundane Gods, he calls them Gods of Gods, as being participated by other apparent divinities. In these also dæmons are comprehended; for they also are Gods, as to their order with respect to the Gods, whose peculiarity they indivisibly participate. Thus also Plato, in the Phædrus, when he calls the twelve Gods the leaders of dæmons, at the same time denominates all the attendants of the divinities Gods, adding, “and this is the life of the Gods.” All these, therefore, are Gods of Gods, as possessing the apparent connected with the unapparent, and the mundane with the supermundane.


And thus much concerning the whole conception of the speech. It is necessary, however, since we have said the words are demiurgic or fabricative, that they should be received in a manner adapted to demiurgic providence. But if these words are intellectual conceptions, and the intellectual conceptions themselves are productions, what shall we say the demiurgus effects in the multitude of mundane Gods by the first words of his speech? Is it not evident we must say that this energy of his is deific? For this one divine intellectual conception which is the first and most simple proceeding from the demiurgus, deifies all the recipients of it, and makes them demiurgic Gods, participated Gods, and Gods unapparent, and at the same time apparent. For this, as has been said, is the meaning of “Gods of Gods.” For the term Gods is not alone adapted to them; since they are not alone unapparent; nor the word Gods twice enunciated, as if someone should say Gods and Gods; for every bond of this kind is artificial, and foreign from divine union.

It is also necessary to observe that every mundane God has an animal suspended from him, according to which he is denominated mundane. He has likewise a divine soul, which rules over its depending vehicle; and an immaterial and separate intellect, according to which he is united to the intelligible, in order that he may imitate the world in which all these are contained. And by the animal suspended from him, he is indeed a part of the sensible universe; but by intellect he belongs to an intelligible essence; and by soul he conjoins the impartible life which is in him, with the life that is divisible about body. Such a composition, however, being triple in each mundane God, neither does Plato here deliver the demiurgus speaking to intellects; for intellects subsist in unproceeding union with the divine intellect, and are entirely unbegotten; but soul is the first of generated natures, and a little after the demiurgus addresses these when he says, “since ye are generated.” Nor does he represent the demiurgus as speaking only to the animals which are suspended from the souls of these Gods; for they pertain to corporeal natures, and are not adapted to enjoy the one demiurgic intelligence, without a medium. Nor yet does he represent him as speaking to souls by themselves; for they are entirely immortal; but the Gods whom he now addresses are said by him not to be in every respect immortal. If therefore it be requisite for me to say what appears to me to be the truth, the words of the demiurgus are addressed to the composite from soul and animal, viz. to the animal which is divine, and partakes of a soul. For intellect does not know the demiurgic will through reason, but through intelligence, or in other words, through intellectual vision; nor through conversion, but through a union with that intellect which ranks as a whole, as being itself intellect, and as it were of the same colour with it. But soul as being reason, and not intellect itself, requires appropriately to its essence the energy of reason, and a rational conversion to the intelligible. To these, therefore, as being essentially rational, and as being essentialized in reasons, the demiurgic speech proceeds. And it is adapted to them in a twofold respect; first, as being participated by bodies; for they are Gods of those Gods; and secondly, as participating of intellects; for they are Gods of [viz. derived from] intellects which are also Gods. And they participate of intellects, and are participate by bodies. Hence the assertions that they are generated, and that they are not entirely immortal, and every thing else in the speech, are appropriately adapted to them, so far as they have a certain co-ordination and connection with mundane natures, and so far as they are participated by them. But the mandates “learn and generate,” and every thing else of this kind which is more divine than generated natures, are adapted to them as intellectual essences.

Let us in the next place attend to the meaning of the words, “Of whom I am the demiurgus and father, whatever is generated by me is indissoluble, such being my will in its fabrication.” Plato then appears to give a triple division to the energy of the one demiurgus in his production of the junior Gods, viz. a division into the deific, into that which imparts connection and into that which supplies a similitude to animal itself. For the address of the demiurgus evinces those to be Gods that proceed from him. But the assertions respecting the indissoluble and dissoluble, by defining the measure of a medium between these, impart a distribution and connexion commensurate to the order of the mundane Gods.

And the words calling on them to the fabrication of mortal natures, cause them to be the sources of perfection to the universe, and the fabricators of secondary animals, conformably to the imitation of the paradigm. But through these three energies the demiurgus elevates his offspring to all the intelligible Gods, and establishes them in the intelligible triads. In the one being indeed, [or the summit of these triads] through the first of these energies; for that is primarily deified, in which the one is deity, but being is the first participant of it. For the one itself is alone deity, without habitude to any thing, and is not participable; but the one being in which there is the first participation is God of God. And being is deity as the summit of all things; but the one of it is deity as proceeding from the one itself, which is primarily God. But through the second of these energies the demiurgus establishes his offspring in the second of the intelligible triads, i. e. in eternity itself. For eternity is the cause of this indissoluble permanency to every thing which continues perpetually undissolved. Hence all mundane natures are bound according to the demiurgic will, and have something of the indissoluble through the participation of him; the natures which are primarily indissoluble being different from these, and those that are truly immortal subsisting for his sake. And he establishes them in all-perfect animal [or the third, of the intelligible triads] through the third of these energies. For to this the vivific assimilates the mundane Gods, and inserts in them the paradigms of animals which they generate. And this, indeed, will be one scope of generation, the converting and perfecting the proceeding multitude of the Gods. But after the one there will be a triple design, which establishes them in the three intelligible orders.

This second demiurgic intelligence, therefore, after the first which is deific, illuminates the mundane Gods with a firm establishment, an immutable power, and an eternal essence, through which the whole world, and all the divine allotments subsist always the same, participating through the father of an immutable nature and undecaying power. For every thing which is generated from an immoveable cause, is indissoluble and immutable; but all the progeny of a moveable cause are moveable. Hence among mundane natures, such as proceed from the demiurgic cause alone, in consequence of being generated according to an invariable sameness are permanent, and are exempt from every mutable and variable essence. But such as proceed both from this cause, and from other moveable principles, are indeed immutable so far as they proceed from the demiurgus, but mutable so far as they proceed from the latter. For those natures which the demiurgus alone generates, these he fabricates immutable and indissoluble, both according to their own nature, and according to his power and will. For he imparts to them a guardian and preserving power, and he connects their essence in a manner transcendent and exempt. For all things are preserved in a twofold respect, from the power which he contains, and from his providential goodness, which is truly able and willing to preserve every thing which may be lawfully perpetually saved. The most divine of visible natures therefore, are, as we have said, from their own nature indissoluble; but they are likewise so from the demiurgic power which pervades through all things, and eternally connects them. For this power is the guard and the divine law which connectedly contains all things. But a still greater and more principal cause than these is the demiurgic will which employs this power in its productions. For what is superior to goodness, or what bond is more perfect than this, which imparts by illumination union, connects an eternal essence, and is the bound and measure of all things; to which also the demiurgus now refers the cause of immutable power, saying, “such being my will in its fabrication” For he established his own will as a guard over bis own proper works, as that which gives union, connexion and measure to the whole of things.

Who the demiurgus, however, is, and who father is, has been unfolded by us before, and will be now also concisely shown. There are then these four; father alone; maker alone; father and maker; maker and father. And father indeed is æther [or bound] being the first procession from the one. Father and maker is the divinity who subsists according to the intelligible paradigm [at the extremity of the intelligible order,] and whom Orpheus says, the blessed Gods call Phanes Protogonus. But maker and father is Jupiter, who is now called by himself the demiurgus, but whom the Orphic writers would call the father of works. And maker alone, is the cause of partible fabrication,[8] as the same writers would say. To father alone, therefore, all intelligible, intellectual, supermundane and mundane natures are in subjection. To father and maker, all intellectual, supermundane, and mundane natures are subordinate. To maker and father who is an intellectual deity, supermundane and mundane natures are subservient. But to maker alone, mundane natures alone are in subjection. And all these particulars we learn from the narration of Orpheus; for according to each peculiarity of the four there is a subject multitude of Gods.


In the next place, the demiurgus says “Every thing, therefore, which is bound is dissoluble, but to be willing to dissolve that, which is beautifully harmonized and well composed, is the province of an evil nature.” It is requisite then to consider how the dissoluble and indissoluble are asserted of the Gods, and to conjoin proper modes of solution with appropriate bonds. For every thing is not bound after a similar manner, nor is that which is bound in one way, dissolved in different ways. But that which is in a certain respect bound, has also its dissolution according to this mode. That which is in every respect bound, is likewise in every respect dissolved. And that which is bound by itself is also by itself dissolved. But that which is bound by something different from itself, has also on that its dissolution depending. That likewise which is bound in time, is also dissolved according to time. But that which is allotted a perpetual bond, must also be said to be perpetually dissolved. For in short, dissolution is conjoined with every bond. For a bond is not union without multitude; since the one does not require a bond. Nor is it an assemblage of many and different things, no longer preserving their characteristic peculiarities. For a thing of this kind is confusion; and that which results from them is one thing, consisting of things corrupted together, but does not become bound. For it is necessary that things that are bound should remain as they are, but not be bound when corrupted. Hence a bond then alone takes place, when there are many things, and which are preserved, having one power connective and collective of them, whether this power be corporeal or incorporeal. If this, however, be the case, things that are bound are united through the bond, and separated, because each preserves its own proper nature.

Every where, therefore, as we have said, a bond has also dissolution connected with it. Bonds, however, and their dissolutions differ in subsisting in a certain respect, and simply, from themselves, and from others, according to time, and perpetually. For in these their differences consist. We must not, therefore, wonder if the same thing is both dissoluble and indissoluble; and if it is in a certain respect indissoluble, and in a certain respect dissoluble. So that the works of the father, if they are indeed indissoluble, are so, as not to be dissolved according to time. But they are dissoluble, as having together with a bond, a separation of the simple things of which they consist, according to the definite causes of things that are bound, existing in him that binds. For as that which is self-subsistent is said to be so in a twofold respect; one, as supplying all things from itself alone, but another, as subsisting indeed from itself, and also from another which is the cause of it, thus also the indissoluble is so, from another, and from itself; just as that which is moved is twofold, and subsists in a similar manner.

To these two modes, however, two modes of dissolution are also opposed; viz. that which is dissoluble from another and from itself is opposed to that which is indissoluble from another and from itself. And this, indeed, is dissoluble in itself, as consisting of things that are separate. But in consequence of having in something else prior to itself the causes of its subsistence, by this cause, and according to this mode alone it becomes dissoluble. Again, that which is simply dissoluble in a twofold respect, and which contains in itself the cause of its dissolution, and also receives it from another, is opposed to that which is simply indissoluble in a twofold respect, from itself and from another. These, therefore, ale four in number, viz. that which is simply indissoluble from another and from itself. And again, that which is indissoluble after a certain manner in a twofold respect; that which is dissoluble after a certain manner in a twofold respect; and that which is dissoluble simply from itself, and from another. Of these four, however, the first pertains to intelligibles; for they are indissoluble, as being entirely simple, and receiving no composition or dissolution whatever. But the fourth belongs to mortal natures, which are dissoluble from themselves and from others, as consisting of many things, and being composed by their causes in such a way, as to be at a certain time dissolved. And the middles pertain to the mundane Gods; for the second and the third of these four concur with them. For after a certain manner, these as being the works of the father are indissoluble; and they are saved from themselves and through his will. And again, they are in a certain respect dissoluble, because they are bound by him; and he contains the productive principle of those simple natures from which they are composed. Every thing, therefore, which is bound is dissoluble; and this is also the case with the works of the father. For these are, all bodies, the composition of animals, and the number of participated souls. But intellects which ride as it were in souls as in a vehicle, cannot be called the works of the father; for they were not generated, but were unfolded into light in an unbegotten manner, as if fashioned within the adyta of his essence, and not proceeding out of them. For there are no paradigms of these, but of middle and last natures; since soul is the first of images. But the wholes such as animals, the participants of soul and intellect, and generated natures, derive their subsistence from intellectual paradigms, of which animal itself is the comprehending cause.

Bodies, therefore, are bound through analogy; for this is the most beautiful bond of them. But animals are bound with animated bonds. And souls which contain something of a partible nature are bound by media, [viz. by geometrical, arithmetical and harmonical ratios;] for Plato calls these and all the productive principles of which the soul consists, bonds. Hence the indissoluble in the mundane Gods subsists according to nature; for each of them is generated indissoluble; such being the works of the father through the power, which he contains. They arc also indissoluble from the demiurgic will, since they are of a composite nature, and possess the indissoluble with a bond. But there is likewise in a certain respect a dissolution of them, so far as they consist of things of a simple nature, of which the father contains in himself the definite causes. At one and the same time, therefore, they are indissoluble and dissoluble. They are not, however, so indissoluble as the intelligible; for that is indissoluble through transcendency of simplicity. But these are at the same time indissoluble and dissoluble, as consisting of simple natures, and as being perpetually bound. For all the natures that are bound being dissoluble, such as are perpetual, possessing through the whole of time, beauty from the intelligible, divine union, and demiurgic harmony, are indissoluble. But mortal natures are dissoluble alone, because they are connected with the deformity and inaptitude of matter. And the former indeed are beautifully harmonized through the union inserted in them by their harmonizing cause; but this is not the case with the latter, on account of the multitude of causes which no longer insert in them a similar union; for their union is dissipated through the multitude which is mingled in their composition: so that they are very properly allotted a remitted harmony.

Hence, every thing which is bound is dissoluble. But one thing is thus dissoluble and indissoluble, and another is dissoluble only, just as the intelligible is alone indissoluble. Why, therefore, is that which is primarily bound at one and the same time dissoluble and indissoluble? Because it is beautifully harmonized, and is well composed. For from being well composed it obtains union; since goodness is unific. But from the intelligible it obtains the beautifully; for from thence beauty is derived. And from fabricating power it obtains harmony; for this is the cause of the Muses, and is the source of harmonical arrangement to mundane natures. Hence we again have the three causes, the final through the well, the paradigmatic through the beautifully; and the demiurgic through the harmonized. But it is necessary that a composition of this kind, harmonized by the one fabricating power, filled with divine beauty, and obtaining a boniform union, should be indissoluble; for the demiurgus says, that to dissolve it is the province of an evil nature.

Moreover, prior to this Plato had said, that the universe is indissoluble except by him by whom it was bound. If, however, it is entirely impossible for the universe to be dissolved by any other, but the father alone is able to dissolve it, and it is impossible for him to effect this, for it is the province of an evil nature,—it is impossible for the universe to be dissolved. For either he must dissolve it, or some other. But if some other, who is it that is able to offer violence to the demiurgus? For it is impossible that a dissolution of it should be effected, except by him that bound it. But if he dissolves it, how being good, can he dissolve that which it beautifully harmonised and well composed. For that which is subversive of these, is productive of evil; just as that which is subversive of evil is allotted a beneficent nature. Hence, there is an equal necessity that the demiurgus should be depraved, if it be lawful so to speak, or that this world should be dissolved, [viz. each of these is equally impossible.] Such, therefore, is the necessity which Plato assigns to the incorruptibility of the universe. Hence, that Plato gives the indissoluble to the composition of the mundane Gods, he clearly manifests when he orders them to bind mortal natures, not with those indissoluble bonds with which they are connected. For if the connective bonds of these Gods are indissoluble, they themselves must be essentially indissoluble. Here, however, he says that they are not in every respect indissoluble. It is evident, therefore, from both these assertions, that they are indissoluble, and at the same time dissoluble, and that they are not in every respect indissoluble, in consequence of their being appropriately bound. But if these things are true, there is every necessity that the dissolution of them should be very different from that which we call corruption. For that which is dissoluble after such a manner as the corruptible, not being indissoluble, is so far from being not in every respect indissoluble, that it is in every respect dissoluble. Hence it is not proper to say that the mundane Gods are of themselves corruptible, but remain incorruptible through the will of the father; but we ought to say that they are in their own nature incorruptible.


In the next place let us attend to the meaning of the following part of the speech of the demiurgus to the mundane Gods, at beautifully unfolded by Proclus: “Hence so far as you are generated, you are not immortal, nor in every respect indissoluble, yet you shall never be dissolved, nor become subject to the fatality of death; my will being a much greater and more excellent bond than the vital connectives with which you were bound at the commencement of your generation.” Since all the mundane Gods to whom these words are addressed consist of divine souls, and animals suspended from them, or in other words, since they are participated souls, and since the demiurgus denominates them indissoluble and at the same time dissoluble, in the way above explained, he now wishes to collect in one point of view, and into one truth, all that he had said separately about them. For at one and the same time he takes away from them the immortal and the indissoluble, and again confers these on them through a subversion of their opposites. For media are allotted this nature, not receiving the nature of the extremes, and appearing to comprehend the whole of both. Just as if some one should call the soul impartible and at the same time partible, as consisting of both, and neither impartible, nor partible, as being different from the extremes. For see how a middle of this kind may be surveyed in the mundane Gods.

That is principally and primarily called immortal, which supplies itself with immortality; since that also is primarily being which is being from itself; intellect which is intellect from itself; and one which is from itself one. For everywhere that which primarily possesses any thing is such from itself; since if it were not so from itself but from another, that other would be primarily, either intellect, or life, or the one, or something else; and either this would be primarily so, or if there is nothing primarily, the ascent will be to infinity. Thus therefore, that is truly immortal, which is immortal from itself, and which imparts to itself immortality. But that which is neither vital according to the whole of itself, nor self-subsistent, nor possesses immortality from itself, is not primarily immortal. Hence as that which is secondarily being is not being, so that which is secondarily immortal is not immortal, yet it is not mortal; for this is entirely a defection or departure from the immortal, neither possessing a connascent life, nor infinite power. For these three are in a successive order: That which possesses from itself infinite life; that which receives infinite life from another; and that which neither from itself nor another exhibits the infinity of life. And the first indeed, is immortal; the second is not immortal; the third is mortal; and the mean is adapted to the mundane Gods. For they neither have the immortal from themselves, so far as they derive it from that which is truly and primarily immortal, and so far as bodies are suspended from them; nor have they a finite life; but they are filled indeed from the eternal Gods, and produce mortal natures. For the second fabrication is connected with the first, proceeds about it, is governed by it, and refers to it the production of the mortal genera.

Again, with respect to the indissoluble, that which is principally and primarily so is simple and free from all composition. For where there is no composition what representation can there be of dissolution? But that is secondarily indissoluble, which is indissoluble with a bond; which is at the same time dissoluble in consequence of proceeding from divided causes. For it is not simply dissoluble, but dissoluble by its cause. For that which is bound prior to all time, is alone bound according to cause; but that which is alone causally bound, is alone causally dissolved. And the third from that which is properly indissoluble, is that which was indissoluble for a certain time; because the first indeed, is properly indissoluble in conjunction with simplicity; but the second is subordinately so, together with composition: and the third, falling off from both, is in its own nature dissoluble.

Neither therefore, are the mundane Gods entirely indissoluble; for this pertains to the most simple natures. Nor are they dissoluble according to time; for the composition of them proceeds from the demiurgic union. As therefore in the cause union precedes things of a simple nature, after the same manner here also, a bond precedes dissolution; for it is more excellent, and the resemblance of a more divine power. And this is seen in souls; for there were bonds and media in them, as has been before observed in the generation of the soul. It is also seen in bodies; for analogy is a bond. And likewise in animals; for being bound with animated bonds they became animals. Hence, the immortal and the indissoluble, do not entirely pertain to the mundane Gods; yet at the same time they do pertain to them. And because they are not in every respect present with them nor in such a manner as in intelligibles, immortality must be taken from them. For in the Banquet also, Plato does not think fit to call Love immortal, yet he does not denominate it mortal; but asserts it to be something between both these. For there is a great extent of the mortal and immortal, and they are bound together by many media. It appears likewise, with respect to the immortal, that one kind of it is common to all the beings that differ from a mortal nature, and which consists in not being deprived of the life which it possesses. According to this sense of the word, Plato says that the demiurgus is the cause of immortal natures, but the junior Gods, of such as are mortal. But another kind of the immortal is the peculiarity of intelligibles, being eternally so. And another belongs to the mundane Gods, which is an immortality perpetually rising into existence, and having its subsistence in always becoming to be. Hence, it may be said that the immortal and mortal are oppositely divided without a medium, if the common signification of the immortal is assumed; and that they are not opposed to each other without a medium, if that which is primarily immortal is considered; and this is that which is always immortal. For the medium between this and the mortal, is that which is always becoming to be immortal. But that which is properly immortal possesses the whole of its life in eternity. That however which has its life evolved through the whole of time, and has not always one and the same indivisible life, this possesses an immortality co-extended with the flux of generation, but is not immortal according to the stability of being. And again, the medium between the immortality of the mundane Gods and that of partial souls, is that which has a life always rising into existence, and which ascends and descends in intellectual energy, so as to be nearer to mortal natures, leaving indeed a more excellent intellection, but transferring itself into one that is subordinate, and again recurring to its pristine condition without oblivion. And of these, the former indeed, is the peculiarity of the mundane Gods; but the latter, of dæmons the attendants on these Gods. But if the nature which remains is filled with, oblivion in descending, becomes most proximate to mortals, entirely destroys the true life which it contains, and alone possesses the essential life,—such an immortality as this belongs to partial souls. Hence, the demiurgus in his speech calls the immortality in these homonymous to that of the immortals. If however, there is any nature after these which casts aside its essential life, this is alone mortal. Hence, the primarily immortal and the mortal are the extremes. But the immortality of the mundane Gods, and that of partial souls, are the sub-extremes. And the immortality which is truly the medium between these, is that of dæmons. Hence too, dæmons are in reality entirely of a middle nature.


After this, the demiurgus sublimely addresses the mundane Gods in the following words: “Learn now therefore what I say to you indicating my desire.” The first address to the mundane Gods, says Proclus, was deific of or deified the auditors; for it evinced all of them to be Gods, and to be participated by the bodies in which they ride. For these very bodies also are Gods , as being the statues [at it were] of Gods; since Plato likewise calls the earth the first and most ancient of the Gods within the heavens. But these deified bodies are participants of the Gods truly so called, from which they are suspended, and which are prior to generation. For these bodies have, as we have observed, generation. But the second address to the mundane Gods, inserted in them an eternal power, through the participation of an indissoluble connexion. And the present words fill them with divine, and demiurgic conceptions, proceeding supernally from intelligible animal [the paradigm of the universe.] For the being instructed in the fabrication of animals, so far as it is mathesis or learning, is adapted to soul. But these words fill the multitude of Gods with the demiurgic intelligence of all the forms that are contained in intelligible animal. And through the word now indeed, the eternal is after a manner indicated; through the word what the united, and convolved; through I say, that which proceeds into multitude, and is disseminated about the many Gods; and through indication a plenitude derived from intelligible and unapparent causes is signified. For we only indicate in things unapparent to the multitude. But through all the words together it is evident that the demiurgus establishes himself analogous to intelligible intellect, and fills the mundane number, of Gods with intellectual conceptions. Farther still, these words convert this multitude to the one demiurgic intelligence, and prior to a providential attention to secondary natures, illuminate it with unmingled purity, and stable intellection. For as the demiurgus makes by energizing intellectually, and generates from inward, externally proceeding energy, thus also he wishes the mundane Gods first to learn and understand the will of their father, and thus afterwards to imitate his power.

In the next place, the demiurgus says, “Three genera of mortals yet remain to be produced. Without the generation of these therefore, the universe will be imperfect; for it will not contain every kind of animal in its spacious extent. But it ought to contain them that it may be sufficiently perfect. Yet if these are generated and participate of life through me they will become equal to the Gods.” On these words Proclus observes: The most total, first, and most divine of ideas, not only give subsistence to such mundane natures as are perpetual, in an exempt manner, but likewise to all mortal natures, according to one united cause. For the idea of winged natures, which is there is the paradigm of all winged animals whatever; the idea of the aquatic, of all aquatic; and the idea of the pedestrial, of all pedestrial animals. But the progressions of intelligibles into the intellectual orders, become the sources of division to united ideas, produce into multitude total causes, and unfold the definite principles of multiform natures. For there is no longer in intelligibles one intellectual cause of all aerial animals; since there is not a separate intellection of perpetual animals of this kind; nor one intellectual cause of aquatic, nor in a similar manner of terrestrial animals; but the power of difference [in the intellectual order] minutely distributes the whole into parts, and monads into numbers. Hence the causes of divine animals, according to which the demiurgus gives subsistence to the orders of Gods and dæmons that produce generation, exist in him separate from the causes of mortal natures, according to which he calls on the junior Gods to generate mortal animals. For the demiurgus precedes the generative energy of these Gods, and makes by merely saying that a thing is to be made. For the words of the father are demiurgic intellections, and his intellections are creations; but a proximate making is adapted to the multitude of Gods. And again you see how the order of effective and generative causes is unfolded into light. For the choir of mundane Gods produces indeed mortal animals, but in conjunction with motion and mutation. And the demiurgus also produces them but by speaking,viz. by intellection. For he speaks indeed, intellectually perceiving, and immoveably and intellectually. Animal itself also produces them; for it contains the one cause of all winged, of all aquatic, and of all terrestrial animals. But it produces them with silence, by its very essence and intelligibly. For the demiurgic speech receives indeed the paternal silence, but the intellectual production, the intelligible cause, and the generation which subsists according to energizing, the providence according to existence. Motion also receives the demiurgic words, but the orderly distribution which is mingled with a sensible nature, receives the intellectual energy. For the fabrications which exist at the extremity of things require a producing cause of this kind. Every thing therefore which is mutable, which is changed in quality, which is generated and corruptible, is generated from a cause, immoveable indeed according to essence, but moved according to energy. For the motion which is there separated from essence, here produces an essence which is moved. Hence, because that which makes, makes both according to essence and according to energy, both which are as it were woven together, mutation of essence thence derives its progression. Mortal natures therefore require moveable causes, and those that are very mutable, many such causes. For it is impossible that they should remain only-begotten; since the mortal genera would not have an existence.

It is necessary however, that the mortal nature should exist, in the first place, in order that every thing may have a subsistence which is capable of being generated, via. both perpetual beings, and those which at a certain time cease to exist. For beyond these is that which in no respect whatever is. In the next place this is necessary, in order that divine natures and being may not be the last of things; since that which is generative of any thing is more excellent and more divine than the thing which it generates. And in the third place it is necessary in order that the world may not be imperfect, not comprehending every thing the causes of which are contained in animal itself. For the ideas which are there, are the causes of every thing whether divine or mortal. Hence Orpheus says that the vivific cause[9] of partible natures, while she remained on high weaving the order of celestials, was a nymph, as being undefiled, and in consequence of this connected with Jupiter, and abiding in her appropriate manners; but that proceeding from her proper habitation, she left her webs unfinished,was ravished, having been ravished was married, and being married generated, in order that she might animate things which have an adventitious life. For the unfinished state of her webs indicates, I think, that the universe is imperfect or unfinished as far as to perpetual animals. Hence Plato says, that the one demiurgus calls on the many demiurgi to weave together the mortal and immortal natures, after a manner reminding us that the addition of the mortal genera is the perfection of the textorial life of the universe, and also exciting our recollection of the divine Orphic fable, and affording us interpretative causes of the unfinished webs [of Proserpine].

The divine number therefore, has its proper boundary and end, and is perfect. But it is also necessary that the mortal nature should exist, and have an appropriate limit; and this triply, aerially, aquatically and terrestrially. For celestially, is impossible, because the summit, and the first genus of every order is undefiled and perpetual, in consequence of being assimilated to the cause which is prior to it. As therefore, the first of intellectuals is intelligible, and the first of angels is a God, thus also the first of sensibles is perpetual and divine.

When however the demiurgus says, “Yet if these are generated and participate of life through me they will become equal to the Gods,” he confirms what has been before asserted, that every thing which is produced by an immoveable cause is unbegotten and immutable; but that every thing which is produced indeed by an immoveable cause, yet through the medium of a cause that is moved, is partly unbegotten, and partly mutable. For from the immoveable cause indeed it receives unity, but from the moveable cause multitude. And from the former it derives being and form, but from the latter individuality, and a flowing existence; through which the form or species is preserved, but the individual is destroyed.

CHAPTER X.[edit]

After this, the demiurgus says, “That mortal natures therefore may subsist, and that the universe may be truly all, convert yourselves according to nature to the fabrication of animals, imitating the power which I employed in your generation.” A twofold scope of fabrication, says Proclus, is here delivered, one indeed providential, but the other assimilative; the one being more proximate, but the other more total. For to fabricate for the sake of giving subsistence to mortal natures, indicates providence, and the perfection of power. For all super-plenitude of power is prolific of other things subordinate to itself. But to fabricate for the sake of giving completion to the universe, indicates an energy according to assimilative power, in order that this universe may be rendered similar to all-perfect animal, in consequence of being adorned with all the numbers of divine and mortal animals. For if all things were immortal, the most divine of sensible natures would be unprolific. And if the universe was not filled with all the forms of life, it would not be perfect, nor sufficiently similar to all-perfect animal. That neither of these defects therefore might happen, the first demiurgus excites the second fabrication supernally from his own exalted place of survey. He also pours on the mundane Gods vivific and demiurgic power, through which they generate from themselves secondary essences, fill them with life, and give them a specific distinction. For the peculiarity of vivific deity is to vivify, but of demiurgic deity to be productive of form. The expression therefore “convert yourselves” is of an exciting, nature, and is similar to the mandate of Jupiter to the Gods in Homer,

Haste, to the Greek and Trojan hosts descend.[10]

For as that calls them to the war of generation, so this in Plato excites them to the fabrication of mortals, which they effect through motion. And this indeed is accomplished by all the mundane Gods, but especially by the governors of the world [or the planets], and in the most eminent degree by the sovereign sun. For the demiurgus gave him dominion over wholes, fabricated him as a guardian, and ordered him, as Orpheus says,

─────── O’er all to rule.

The words likewise, “according to nature,” bound their fabrication according to measure and the good: and besides this, spread under them all physical production as an instrument to their energies. This therefore which is subservient to their will they move and govern. And in the third place, these words define their subsistence as media; for it pertains to the middle to fabricate the extremes according to nature. For things which sometimes have an existence are suspended from those that are perpetual according to time; and the latter are suspended from eternal entities. And primary natures indeed are generative of media; but these are productive of such beings as are last in the series of things. The word “yourselves” also which denotes manual operation, excites the divine lives themselves to fabrication. Nor ought we to wonder whence demiurgic power is derived to divine souls, this being the peculiarity of the superessential Gods. For as Orpheus, placing an intellectual essence in Jupiter, renders it demiurgic, thus also Plato producing words from the father, evinces that the souls which rank as wholes are divine and demiurgic. Nor must we doubt why of mundane natures some are immortal, but others mortal, since all of them are generated according to intelligible causes; for some of them proceed from one, but others from another proximate producing cause. And it is necessary to look to these, and not to paradigms alone. Nor must we investigate ideas of Socrates, Plato, or of any thing that ranks as a particular. For the demiurgus divides mortal animals according to genera, and stops at total intellections; and through these comprehends every thing of a partial nature. For as the demiurgus makes that which is material immaterially, and that which is generated ingenerably, thus also he produces mortal natures immortally. For he makes these indeed, but through the junior Gods; since prior to their making, he made by intellection alone. Nor must we deny that mortal natures subsist also divinely, and not mortally only. For the things which the demiurgus now extends in his speech are hypostases or subsisting natures about the junior or mundane Gods, which the heavens primarily receive; and according to which the Gods fabricate the mortal genera. For the monads of every mortal-formed life proceed into the heavens from the intelligible forms. But from these monads which are divine, all the multitude of material animals is generated. For if we adopt these conceptions, we shall accord with Plato, and shall not wander from the nature of things.

Again, when the demiurgus says, “Imitating the power which I employed about your generation,” we must understand by this that an assimilation to the one exempt fabrication of things, and a conversion to it, is the highest end of the second fabrication. For it is necessary that self-motive should follow immoveable natures, and such as are very mutable, such as are always moved, and that there should be perpetually a series of secondary beings assimilated to those that are prior to them. Since however there was a divine will and a divine power in the demiurgus, he unfolds his will to the mundane Gods through learning; and through this perfects their demiurgic will. But be unfolds his power to them through this imitation, according to which he orders them to imitate the power of the one demiurgus, conformably to which they were generated by him. For by saying that which he wills,he imparts to them will; and by saying that which he is able to effect, he supplies them with power. And in the last place he demonstrates them to be secondary fabricators imitators of their father. Whether, therefore, there is a mundane power, or an efficacious energy of dæmons, or a fortitude and supernatural strength of heroes, to all this the demiurgus gives subsistence, and imparts it to those that give completion to the whole of the second fabrication. For the first power is in him, and the monad of demiurgic powers. Since, however, he is also intellect and father, all things will be in him, viz. father, the power of the father, and the paternal intellect. Hence Plato was not ignorant of this division; and on this account the demiurgus as being father, calls power his power. This also he manifests by adding, “which I employed about your generation.” For the father is the cause of this in conjunction with power; just as father here in conjunction with the female is the cause of the propagation of the human species. [For power is of a feminine characteristic.]


And thus much for the development of such particulars in the speech of the demiurgus as relate to the junior or mundane Gods. Others, however, no less important respecting the fabrication of these Gods remain to be collected from another part of the Timæus; and which accompanied with the admirable elucidations of Proclus are as follow: After the demiurgus had instructed souls in all that was necessary to their well being, and had disseminated some of them into the earth, others into the moon, and others into the remaining different instruments of time, Plato adds: “But after this semination he delivered to the junior Gods the province of fabricating mortal bodies, and generating whatever else remained necessary to the human soul; and gave them dominion over every thing consequent to their fabrications.” Who the junior Gods are, says Proclus, must now be shown; for that the mundane Gods are thus denominated is evident. But it seems they are thus called by Plato, either from a comparison with the more ancient dignity of the unapparent [i. e. the intellectual] fabrication, and with the transcendency of the power in it, and the perfection of intellectual vision. For that which is more intellectual is with the Gods more ancient.

“But Jove was born the first, and more he knows,” says Homer. Or they are thus denominated, because they always make generation to be new; and when it becomes old and imbecil through its subject nature, again recall it to a subsistence according to nature by their motions, sending into it effluxions of all-various productive principles and powers, and thus render it perpetually new. Or, they are thus called, because having intellectual essences suspended from them, they eternally energize with the acme of intellectual vigor. For as the poets say, Hebe pours out their wine, and they drink nectar, and survey the whole sensible world. Employing, therefore, immutable and undeviating intellections, they fill all things with their demiurgic providence. Or they have this appellation, because Curetic deity is present with them, [or deity belonging to the order of the Curetes,] illuminating their intellectual conceptions with purity, their motion with inflexibility, and supplying the whole of them with rigid power, through which they govern all things without departing from the characteristics of their nature. Or, which is the truest reason of all the preceding, they are thus denominated, because the monad of them is called the recent God. For theologists give this appellation to Bacchus, who is the monad of all the second fabrication. For Jupiter established him the king of all the mundane Gods, and distributed to him the first honours. On this account also, theologists are accustomed to call the sun a recent God, and Heraclitus says, that the sun is a diurnal youth, as participating of Dionysiacal power. Or, for a reason most appropriate to Platonic principles, they are thus denominated, because bodies which have generation are suspended from them; and the essence of these is not allotted a subsistence in eternity, but in the whole of time. They are junior, therefore, not as once beginning to exist, but as being always generated, and as we have before observed, subsisting in becoming to be, or perpetually rising into existence. For every thing which is generated has not the whole of what it possesses present at once, nor a simultaneous infinity, but an infinity which is perpetually supplying. Thus, therefore, they are called junior, as having a subsistence co-extended with time, and always advancing into existence, and as possessing a renovated immortality.

Again, the delivery of the first fabrication is a communication and generation of demiurgic powers, exempt from every thing which the second fabrication produces proximately, a progression of production, from the unapparent into the apparent, and a division of uniform power into the multiplied government of the world. But the formation of bodies assimilates the junior Gods to the unapparent fabrication. For that was the cause of bodies that rank as wholes, just as they are the causes of partial bodies, at the same time exhibiting a diminution of power. For of the body of which they are the makers and formers, the demiurgus also is the cause; but they are the formers of partial bodies, which are bodies endued with certain qualities. Hence body indeed is simply unbegotten as from time, and incorruptible as was also the opinion of Aristotle. “For,” says he “there would be a vacuum if body could be generated, external to the body of the universe. But this particular body is corruptible, as being of a partial nature; for the wholes of the elements derived their subsistence from total fabrication. The accession, however, of the human soul which remained to be generated, assimilates the mundane Gods to the paternal power. For it is the province of a father to generate life; since the first father, and every father is the cause of life; the intelligible father, indeed, of intelligible, but the intellectual of intellectual, and the supermundane of supermundane life. And hence, the mundane Gods who generate corporeal life are fathers. The fabrication, however, adapted to these Gods, produces the nature of partial animals. For this partial animal which is suspended from the immortal soul, consists of soul and body. But the dominion which the demiurgus gave the junior Gods, excites their providential inspection, their connective power, and their guardian comprehensions. For without these, the bodies that are fashioned, and the mortal form of life, would rapidly vanish into non-entity. Prior therefore, to the generation of these, the demiurgus made their ruling Gods to be the guardians and saviours of them. In the junior Gods, therefore, there are demiurgic powers, according to which they invest generated natures with forms; vivific powers, according to. which they give subsistence to a secondary life; and perfective powers, through which they give completion to what is deficient in generation. There are also many other powers in. them besides these, which are inexplicable by our conceptions.


After this, Plato adds, “He likewise commanded them to govern as much as possible in the best and most beautiful manner the mortal animal, that it might not become the cause of evil to itself.” On these words Proclus observes: Of all that the one demiurgus delivers to the junior Gods, it must be admitted that there are three most beautiful boundaries, the boniform will of him that delivers, the perfect power of the recipients, and the symmetry of both these with each other. Of the demiurgic production, however, of the junior Gods themselves, three elements and these the greatest must be again surveyed, a reduction to the good, a conversion to intelligible beauty, and a liberated power sufficient to rule over all the subjects of its government. For as Phanes,[11] himself the demiurgus of wholes, rendered the whole world as much as possible the most beautiful and the best, thus also he was willing that the second fabricators should govern the mortal animal in a way the most beautiful and the best; pouring on them indeed from intelligibles, beauty, but filling them with that boniform power and will, which he himself possessing fabricated the whole world. For thus generation also will participate of beauty and goodness, as far as it is naturally adapted to such participation, if the Gods by whom it is connected and contained, adorn it, who are themselves transcendently decorated with beauty and good.

If, however, the second demiurgi have such a nature as this, nothing evil or preternatural is generated from the celestial Gods; nor is it proper to divide the Gods in the heavens after this manner, as many do, viz. into the beneficent and malignant; for being Gods this is impossible. But the mortal animal is the cause of evil to itself. For neither disease, nor poverty, nor any thing else of this kind is evil; but the depravity of the soul, intemperance, timidity, and every vice. Of these things, however, we are the causes to ourselves. For though being impelled by others to these vices we are badly affected, yet again it is through ourselves; since we have the power of associating with the good, and separating ourselves from the bad. According to Plato, therefore, we must not think that of the Gods some are malignant and others beneficent, but we must admit that all of them are the sources to mortals of all the good which they are able to receive; and that things which are truly evils are not produced, but are only signified by them, as we have before observed. For they extend terrific appearances and signs to those who are able to see and read the letters in the universe, which the framers of mortal natures during their revolutions write by their configurations. And though some one should derive a certain evil from the motions of the celestial Gods, so as to become timid or intemperate, yet they operate in one way, and their influences are participated by souls in another. For the efflux of intellect, says Plotinus, becomes craft in him who receives the efflux badly; the gift of an elegant life becomes intemperance through a similar cause; and in short, while they produce beneficently, their gifts are participated by terrestrial natures, after a contrary manner. Hence the givers who bestow beneficently are not to be accused as the authors of evil, but the recipients who pervert their gifts by their own inaptitudes. Thus also Jupiter in Homer blames souls as in vain accusing the Gods, while they themselves are the causes of evils. For the Gods are the sources of good, and the suppliers of intellect and life, but are not the causes of any evil; since even a partial nature is not the cause of evil to its offspring. What, therefore, ought we to think concerning the Gods themselves? Is it not, that they are much more the causes of good to their productions; since with them there is power, with them there is a self-perfect nature, with them there is universal goodness, to all which evil is contrary. For in its own nature it is powerless, imperfect, and without measure.

In the next place Plato says, “At the same time he who orderly disposed all these particulars, remained in his own accustomed manner.” And Proclus observes, that Plato every where after having employed many words, summarily comprehends the multitude of them in the conclusion. For he knew that in the Demiurgus, one intellectual perception comprehends the multitude of intellectual conceptions; that one power connects many powers; and that a uniform cause collects into one union divided causes. Hence the words [prior to these], “Having, therefore, instructed souls in all these particulars” and the words before us, “He who orderly disposed all these particulars” lead the distinct energy of the Demiurgus to an united cause. Farther still, the word all manifests that which is consummated from all its appropriate boundaries. But the words orderly disposed, indicate the order pervading through all beings, which the Demiurgus introduced to the mundane Gods, and to partial souls; demonstrating the former to be demiurgi, but inscribing in the latter the laws of Fate. Moreover, the word remained, does not manifest station, and inflexible intellection, but an establishment in the one. For according to this, he is exempt from wholes, and is separated from the beings that intellectually perceive him. But this establishment itself is eternal, and always invariably permanent. These things, therefore, are also indicated by the words accustomed and manner; the one exhibiting sameness of permanency; but the other the peculiarity of the demiurgic stability. For manner is indicative of peculiarity; since connective is different from immutable, and both these from demiurgic permanency.


“But in consequence of his abiding, says Plato, as soon as his children understood the order of their father, they became obedient to it.” When the Demiurgus speaks, says Proclus, then the junior Gods have the order of hearers. When he intellectually perceives, then they learn; for learning is dianoetic. When he abides according to union itself, then his children intellectually perceive. For they always receive from him an inferior order. And as filled indeed from him, they preserve the analogy of hearers with reference to him; but as evolving his one power, they are analogous to learners. For he who learns evolves the intellect of his preceptor. As being deified, however, by him, they have the analogy of those that perceive intellectually. For intellect becomes deific, by its contact with the one. The father, therefore, abiding, his children very properly intellectually perceive. For they are intellects participated by divine souls, that ride in the vehicles of undefiled bodies. But they intellectually perceive the order of the father presubsisting in him prior to the arranged effects, according to which order he became all things. Mortal natures, therefore, were fashioned and animated by the demiurgic intellection alone. But the junior Gods unfold his total production, through their own manifest fabrication; being filled from the demiurgic monad.

In the last place, Plato adds, “And receiving the immortal principle of mortal animal, in imitation of their artificer, they borrowed from the world the parts of fire and earth, water and air, as things which they should restore back again; and conglutinated the received parts together, but not with the same indissoluble bonds by which they were connected.” On these words Proclus admirably comments as follows: Plato indicates to us, the separation of the second from the first fabrication, through many words and steps. For if the Demiurgus orderly disposes, but the junior Gods are obedient to his mandates, the former by merely commanding is the cause of generated natures, but the latter being excited by the Demiurgus, receive from thence the boundary of the whole of their fabrication. And if, indeed, he abides in himself, but they are moved about him, it is evident that he is eternally the cause of things which subsist in time, but that they being filled from him energize according to the whole of time. And if he perfectly establishes himself in his own accustomed manner, but they proceeding from him, unfold into light this united and ineffable disposition of himself, they derive from him secondary measures of fabrication.

Moreover, he is said to have a paternal dignity, but they are denominated his children, as expressing his prolific power, and his single goodness. And he indeed, is celebrated as delivering from his exalted abode the principles of fabrication; but they are celebrated as receiving the immortal principle contributing to the orderly distribution of mortals. He is said to have the fountain of the vivification of perpetual natures; but they are the causes of the subsistence of mortal-formed animals. And he indeed extends himself as a paradigm to the many Gods; but they are said to imitate the demiurgic intellect. He is said to produce the whole world, and the plenitudes of it; but they are said to borrow parts from the fabrications of their father, in order to the completion of their proper works. And he indeed employs all incorporeal powers; but they also employ such as are corporeal. He gives subsistence to indissoluble bonds; but they to such as are dissoluble. And he, indeed, is said to insert a union more ancient than the natures which it unites; but they are said to introduce an adventitious union, and which is of an origin posterior to this, to the beings that consist of many contrary natures. And he is said to produce all things impartibly; but they with division, minutely distributing the subsistence of mortal natures into small and invisible nails. From these things, therefore, the separation of the two fabrications may be assumed; but the union and contact of them may be surveyed from the words before us. For here a contact is effected of the second with the first fabrication; of apparent with unapparent, and of divided with monadic production.

Hence it is necessary that the lowest part of the first and unapparent fabrication, should coalesce with the summit of the second. For thus also the heavens are conjoined with generation [or the sublunary region]--> the lowest of the celestial bodies exhibiting the principle of mutation; but the summit of the essence of sublunary natures, being moved in conjunction with the heavens. Hence too, here also the rational soul is conjoined with the mortal form of life; viz. the lowest and most partial of the productions of the father, with the highest of the natures generated by the junior Gods. For they, indeed, as being certain fathers produce lives; but as fabricators, bodies. And they imitate indeed Vulcan by the fabrication of bodies; but Juno by vivification. But through both these they imitate the whole Demiurgus. For he is maker and father; but they fashion bodies by borrowing parts from wholes. For every where parts derive their composition from wholes. When, however, the wholes are incorporeal, they remain undiminished by the subsistence of the parts; but when they are corporeal, the parts that are generated from them diminish the wholes. Hence an ablation always taking place, but the parts always remaining, the wholes perish. And thus generation will no longer exist, and the works of the first fabrication will all vanish through the second, which it is not lawful to assert. That nothing of this kind, therefore, may take place in the universe, the composite parts are again dissolved, in order to fill up their wholes. And the generation of one thing is the corruption of another; but the corruption of one thing is the generation of another; in order that generation and corruption may always remain. For if generation existed only once, it would at a certain time stop, in consequence of consisting of finite things, and these being consumed. But these perishing corruption also would stop, all things being destroyed. Hence if it is necessary that one of these should exist, the other also will exist. Every thing, therefore, which is generated from the second fabrication is a composite and dissoluble, and deriving its composition from time, will also in time be again dissolved. The junior Gods, therefore, are very properly said to borrow parts which are again to be restored to their wholes. Bat they borrow them from the universe. For that which they borrow is fire, earth, water and air; and they again restore them to the universe. The father, therefore, wishes the wholes to remain which he generated and arranged. And thus much concerning all the fabrication of the junior Gods.


Having, therefore, thus largely presented to the reader what pertains to the mundane Gods in general, it is now requisite to descend to particulars, and to discuss separately the peculiarities of the celestial, and those of the sublunary Gods. The order of the celestial Gods then consisting of the fixed stars and the planets, the sphere in which the former are placed has the relation of a monad, as we have before observed, to the starry deities which that sphere contains. For the first of the four ideas in the paradigm of the universe being an exempt monad, the multitude of the stars proceeding from it is comprehended by a coordinate monad, which is the inerratic sphere. This sphere is called by Plato in the Timæus a true world, because it is more properly a world than the sublunary region, which always requires a foreign arrangement, and is conversant with unceasing mutation. It is also a world thus variegated with stars, as expressing intellectual variety, and receiving from thence as it were in the whole of itself the uniform flowers with which the intellectual world is surrounded, and which imitate the beauty of the celestial paradigms. But Plato very accurately says, that the Demiurgus gave this sphere a circular distribution about the whole of the heavens. For to distribute and to distribute in a circle, is adapted to this sphere; since the former signifies intellectual distribution, but the latter demiurgic order. Hence theologists[12] establish Eunomia in the inerratic sphere, who separates the multitude it contains, and always preserves each of the stars in its proper order. Hence also celebrating Vulcan as the maker of the heavens, they conjoin with him Aglaia, as causing all heaven to be splendid through the variety of the stars. And again, of the Seasons, they place Dice or Justice over the planetary region, as bringing in a circular order the inequability of the motions of the planets to an equability according to reason; but of the Graces, Thalia, as causing their lives to be ever-flourishing. And in the sublunary region, they establish Irene or peace, as conciliating the war of the elements; but of the Graces Euphrosune, as conferring on every thing a facility of natural energy.

But the planets are called the Governors of the world, (κοσμοκρατορες) and are allotted a total power. As the inerratic sphere too, has a number of starry animals, so each of the planets is the leader of a multitude of animals, or of certain other things of this kind. Hence the doubt may be solved, why the one sphere of the fixed stars comprehends a multitude of stars, but each of the planetary spheres convolves only one star. For it must be said, that in the former case the sphere indeed is a monad, comprehending in itself an appropriate multitude, and is sufficient to the comprehension of a mundane multitude which ranks as the first. But in the latter case, the governing power is twofold, viz. the sphere, and each of the governors of the world, who is a monad co-arranged with multitude. The sphere itself, however, is a leader, a co-arranged monad and a wholeness; (ολοτης) but each of the governors of the world is a leader and a monad, but is not a wholeness. Indeed, subordinate natures require a greater number of leaders, and a multitude in each of the spheres unapparent on account of diminution. But in the sublunary region, the orders which are the leaders of the genera in each of the elements are still more numerous than those of the planets, as we learn from the Grecian theogony.

In each of the planetary spheres, therefore, there is a number of satellites analogous to the choir of the fixed stars, subsisting with proper circulations of their own. The revolution also of these satellites is similar to that of the planets which they follow; and this according to Plato is a spiral revolution. With respect, likewise, to these satellites, the first in order about every planet are Gods; after these dæmons revolve in lucid orbicular bodies; and these are followed by partial souls such as ours. That in each of the planetary spheres, however, there is a multitude coordinate to each may be inferred from the extremes. For if the inerratic sphere has a multitude co-ordinate to itself, and earth is with respect to terrestrial animals what the inerratic sphere is to such as are celestial, it is necessary that every wholeness should entirely possess certain partial animals co-ordinate to itself, through which also the spheres derive the appellation of wholenesses.[13] But the natures situated in the middle are concealed from our sense, while in the mean time those contained in the extremes are apparent,—one kind through their transcendently luminous essence, and the other through their alliance to ourselves. If also partial souls are disseminated about these spheres, some indeed about the sun, but others about the moon, and others about each of the remaining spheres; and if prior to souls, there are dæmons giving completion to the herds of which they are the leaders; it is evident that it is beautifully said, that each of the spheres is a world. And this is conformable to the doctrines of theologists,[14] when they teach us that there are Gods in every sphere prior to dæmons, the government of some receiving its perfection under that of others. As for instance, with respect to our queen the moon, that she contains the Goddess Hecate, and Diana; and with respect to the sovereign sun, and the Gods which he contains, theologists celebrate Bacchus as subsisting there

The sun’s assessor, who with watchful eye
Inspects the sacred pole.

They also celebrate Jupiter as seated there, Osiris, and a solar Pan, as likewise other divinities, of which the books of theologists and theurgists are full. From all which it is evident how true it is that each of the planets is the prefect of many Gods, who give completion to its proper circulation.[15]


Owing to the loss of a seventh book On the Theology of Plato, written by Proclus, copious information respecting the peculiarities of all the celestial Gods is unfortunately not to be obtained. All that can be procured, however, on this subject, and which I have diligently collected from Platonic writings, I shall now present to the philosophic reader, beginning in the first place with the moon. This divinity then has the relation of nature and of a mother with respect to generation, or the sublunary region. For all things are convolved and co-increased by her when she increases; but are diminished when she diminishes. This Goddess, too, benevolently leads into light the unapparent productive principles of nature. She likewise gives perfection to souls through a life according to virtue; but imparts to mortal animals a restitution to form.

Next to the moon is Mercury, who is the cause of symmetry to all mundane natures, having the relation of reason to things in generation. For all symmetry proceeds according to one ratio, and according to number of which this God is the giver. This deity, too, is the inspective guardian of gymnastic exercises; and hence hermæ, or carved statues of Mercury were placed in the Palæstræ; of music, and hence he is honoured as the lyrist (λυραιος) among the celestial constellations; and of disciplines, because the invention of geometry, reasoning and discourse is referred to this God. He presides, therefore, over every species of discipline, leading us to an intelligible essence from this mortal abode, governing the different herds of souls, and dispersing the sleep and oblivion with which they are oppressed. He is likewise the supplier of recollection, the end of which is a genuine intellectual apprehension of divine natures. Hence, among the Athenians, certain images of these things were preserved; grammar having a reference to dialectic discipline; playing on the harp pertaining to music; and wrestling to gymnastic, in which those youths that were well born were instructed.

In the next place follows Venus, who is the cause of beauty to generated natures, which is an imitation of intelligible beauty. This goddess also is the source of the union of form with matter; connecting and comprehending the powers of all the elements; and her principal em­ployment consists in beautifully illuminating the order, harmony, and communion of all mundane concerns. She likewise governs all the coordinations in the celestial world and the earth, binds them to each other, and perfects their generative progressions through a kindred conjunction. And she unites and leads into communion the Hermaic production which has a remitted subsistence, and is in subjection to the solar fabrication.

The next celestial divinity in order after Venus is the sovereign Sun, whose essence and dignity are so great, according to the theology of Plato, as to possess a supermundane prerogative among mundane natures. This Plato indicates in the Timæus, when speaking of the sun he says: “In order that these circles might possess a certain manifest measure of slowness and swiftness with reference to each other, and that the motion of the eight circulations might be conspicuous, the divinity enkindled a light which we now denominate the sun, in the second revolution from the earth; that the heavens might become eminently apparent to all things, and that such animals might participate of number as are adapted to its participation, receiving numerical information from the revolution of a nature similar and the same.” On these words Proclus admirably comments as follows:[16] Plato here delivers the one ruling cause of the generation of apparent time. For as the Demiurgus gives subsistence to unapparent time, thus also the sun to the time which is apparent, and which measures the motion of bodies. For through light he leads into visibility every temporal interval, gives bound to all periods, and exhibits measures of restoration to a pristine state. Deservedly, therefore, is the sun a manifest measure, as especially unfolding the progression[17] of time according to number, into the universe. For it has a more accurate period than that of the five planets, its motions being less anomalous than theirs; and also than that of the moon, by always terminating at the same point, its progressions to the north and the south. But if it has a more accurate period, it is deservedly a measure of measures, and from itself bounds the periodic measures of the other planets, and the swiftness of their motions with reference to each other. It also in a greater degree imitates the perpetual permanency of eternity, by always revolving after the same manner. In this way, therefore, it differs from the planets.

After another manner, likewise, the sun is a more manifest measure than the measure of the inerratic sphere. For though this sphere has a certain appropriate measure, a proper interval, and one immutable number of its peculiar motion, yet the solar light causes this measure and all the evolution of apparent time to be manifest and known. Hence Plato says, “In order that there might be a certain manifest measure.” For though there is a certain measure in the other planets, yet it is not clear and manifest. But the sun unfolds into light both other intelligibles and time. You must not however on this account say that the solar light was generated for the sake of measurement. For how is it possible that wholes should subsist for the sake of parts; governing natures for the sake of the governed; and perpetual for the sake of corruptible natures? But we should rather say that light possessing an evolving power unfolds total time, and calls forth its supermundane monad, and one measure into the measurement of the periods of bodies. And this makes time to be, as it were, sensible. Hence, it is the light of the sun which causes every thing that is moved to have a clear and manifest measure. And this indeed is its whole good. After wholes, however, it likewise benefits parts in a secondary degree. For it imparts the generation of number, and measure to the natures which are adapted to participate of these. For irrational beings indeed are destitute of these; but the genera of dæmons who follow the periods of the Gods, and men become partakers of them. The supply of good, therefore, through the solar light, beginning supernally from wholes, descends as far as to parts. And if beginning from visible natures, you are willing to speak of such as are invisible, the light of the sun gives splendor to the whole world, causes a corporeal-formed nature to be divine, and wholly filled through the whole of itself with life. But it leads souls through undefiled light, imparts to them a pure and elevating power, and governs the world by its rays. And it likewise fills souls with empyrean fruits. For the order of the sun is supernally derived from supermundane natures. Hence Plato does not here fabricate the solar light, but says that the Demiurgus enkindled it, as giving subsistence from his own essence to this sphere, and emitting from the solar fountain a life extended into interval and continually renewed. And this also is asserted by theologists concerning the supermundane firmaments.

On this account, it appears to me that Plato delivers a two-fold generation of the sun; one indeed in conjunction with the seven governors of the world, when he fashions the bodies of them, and inserts them in their circulations; but the other according to the enkindling of light, through which he imparts to the sun supermundane power. For it is one thing to generate the bulk of the sun itself by itself, and another in conjunction with a ruling characteristic, through which the sun is called the king of every visible nature, and is established analogous to the one fountain of good. For as this fountain being better than the intelligible essence, illuminates both intellect and the intelligible, thus also the sun being better than a visible nature, illuminates both that which is visible and sight. But if the sun is beyond a visible essence, it will have a supermundane nature. For the world is visible and tangible, and has a body. Hence, we must survey the sun in a twofold respect; viz. as one of the seven planets, and as the leader of wholes; and as mundane and supermundane, according to the latter of which he splendidly emits a divine light. For in the same manner as the good luminously emits truth which deifies the intelligible and intellectual orders; as Phanes in Orpheus sends forth intelligible light which fills with intelligence all the intellectual Gods; and as Jupiter enkindles an intellectual and demiurgic light in all the supermundane Gods; thus also the sun illuminates every thing visible through this undefiled light. The illuminating cause too is always in an order superior to the illuminated natures. For neither is the good intelligible, nor Phanes intellectual, nor Jupiter supermundane. In consequence of this reasoning, therefore, the sun being supermundane emits the fountains of light. And according to the most mystic doctrines, the wholeness of the sun is in the supermundane orders; for in them there is a solar world, and a total light, as the Chaldæan oracles[18] assert, and which I am persuaded is true.

That the stars, however, and the whole of the heavens receive their light from the sun may easily be perceived. For that which is common in many things derives its subsistence from one cause; and in one way indeed from an exempt, but in another from a co-arranged cause. But this cause is that which primarily participates of that form. The primary participant, however, is that in which either primarily or especially this form exists. If, therefore, light especially subsists in the sun, this will be the first light; and from this that which is in other things will be derived.


Conformably, also, to this doctrine of Plato concerning the sun, the emperor Julian sublimely theologizes about this divinity in his very elegant oration to him, from which the following is an extract. The apparent and splendid orbicular sun is the cause of well-being to sensible natures. And whatever we have asserted as flowing from the mighty intellectual sun among the intellectual Gods,[19] the same perfections the apparent sun communicates to apparent forms; the truth of which will be clearly evinced by contemplating invisible natures from the objects of sensible inspection. And in the first place, is not light the incorporeal and divine form of that which is diaphanous in energy? But whatever that which is diaphanous may be, which is subjected to all the elements, and is their proximate form, it is certain that it is neither corporeal nor mixed, nor does it display any of the peculiar qualities of body. Hence, you cannot affirm that heat is one of its properties, nor its contrary cold; you can neither ascribe to it hardness nor softness, nor any other tangible difference; nor attribute taste or smell as peculiarities of its essence. For a nature of this kind, which is called forth into energy by the interposition of light, is alone subject to the power of sight. But light is the form of a diaphanous essence which resembles that common matter the subject of bodies, through which it is everywhere diffused; and rays are the summit, and as it were flower of light, which, is an incorporeal nature. According to the opinion of the Phœnicians, however, who are skilled in divine science and wisdom, the universally-diffused splendour of light is the unmingled energy of an intellect perfectly pure. And this doctrine will be found agreeable to reason, when we consider that since light is incorporeal, its fountain cannot be body, but the pure energy of intellect, illuminating in its proper habitation the middle region of the heavens: and from this exalted situation scattering its light, it fills all the celestial orbs with powerful vigour, and illuminates the universe with divine and incorruptible light.

Whatever, likewise, we first perceive by the sight, is nothing but a mere name of honourable labour, unless it receives the ruling assistance of light. For how can any thing be visible, unless, like matter, it is moved to the artificer that it may receive the supervening investments of form? Just as gold in a state of simple fusion is indeed gold, but is not a statue or an image till the artificer invests it with form. In a similar manner all naturally visible objects cease to be apparent, unless light is present with the perceiver. Hence, since it confers vision on the perceiver, and visibility on the objects of perception, it perfects two natures in energy, sight and that which is visible. Perfections, however, are form and essence; though perhaps an assertion of this kind is more subtle than is suited to our present purpose.

Of this, however, all men are persuaded, both the scientific and the illiterate, philosophers and the learned, that day and night are fabricated by the power of this rising and setting divinity; and that he manifestly changes and convolves the world. But to which of the other stars does a province of this kind belong? Do we not, therefore, derive conviction from hence, that the unapparent and divine race of intellectual Gods,[20] above the heavens, are replenished from the sun with boniform powers; to whose authority the whole choir of the stars submits; and whose nod generation, which he governs by his providence, attentively obeys? For the planets, indeed, dancing round him as their king, harmoniously revolve in a circle, with definite intervals, about his orb; producing certain stable energies, and advancing backwards and forwards; terms by which the skilful in the spheric theory signify such like phenomena of the stars. To which we may add, as manifest to every one, that the light of the moon is augmented or diminished according to her distance from the sun.

Is it not then highly probable that the orderly disposition of the intellectual Gods, which is more ancient than that of bodies, is analogous to the mundane arrangement? Hence we infer his perfective power from the whole phenomena, because he gives vision to visive natures; for he perfects these by his light. But we collect his demiurgic and prolific power from the mutation of the universe; and his capacity of collecting all things into one, from the properties of motion conspiring into union and consent; and middle position, from his own central situation. Lastly, we infer his royal establishment among the intellectual Gods, from his middle order between the planets. For if we perceived these, or as many other properties, belonging to any other of the apparent Gods, we should not ascribe the principality among them to the sun.

Again, that we may consider this affair in a different mode, since there is one demiurgus of the universe, but many demiurgic Gods, who revolve round the heavens, it is proper to place in the midst of these the mundane administration of the sun. Besides, the fertile power of life is copious and redundant in intelligibles, and the world is full of the same prolific life. Hence it is evident that the fertile life of the sovereign sun is a medium between the two, as the mundane phenomena perpetually evince. For with respect to forms, some he perfects, and others he fabricates; some he adorns, and others he excites; nor is anything capable of advancing into light and generation without the demiurgic power of the sun. Add too, that if we attend to the unmingled, pure and immaterial essence of intelligibles, to which nothing extrinsical flows, and nothing foreign adheres, but which is full of its own appropriate simplicity, and afterwards consider the defecated nature of that pure and divine body which is conversant with mundane bodies revolving in an orb, and which is free from all elementary mixture, we shall find that the splendid and incorruptible essence of the royal sun, is a medium between the immaterial purity of intelligibles and that which in sensibles is unmingled and remote from generation and corruption.

The greatest argument, however, for the truth of this is derived from hence, that the light which flows from the sun upon the earth will not suffer itself to be mingled with any thing; nor is it polluted by any sordid nature, or by any contagion; but it abides everywhere pure, undefiled, and impassive. Again, if we consider not only immaterial and intelligible forms, but such as are sensible, subsisting in matter, the middle intellectual situation of forms about the mighty sun will be no less certain and clear. For these afford continual assistance to forms merged in matter: so that they could neither exist, nor preserve themselves in existence, unless this beneficent deity co-operated with their essence. In short, is he not the cause of the separation of forms and the concretion of matter? From whom we not only possess the power of understanding his nature, but from whom our eyes are endued with the faculty of sight? For the distribution of rays throughout the world, and union of light, exhibit the demiurgic separation of the artificer.

Again, the solar orb is moved in the starless, which is far higher than the inerratic sphere. Hence, he is not the middle of the planets, but of the three worlds, according to the mystic hypothesis;[21] if it be proper to call them hypotheses, and not rather dogmas; confining the appellation of hypotheses to the doctrine of the sphere. For the truth of the former is testified by men who audibly received this information from Gods, or mighty dæmons; but the latter is founded on the probability arising from the agreement of the phenomena. But besides those which I have mentioned, there is an innumerable multitude of celestial Gods, perceived by such as do not contemplate the heavens indolently and after the manner of brutes. As the sun quadruply divides these three worlds, on account of the communion of the zodiac with each, so he again divides the zodiac into twelve powers of Gods, and each of these into three others, so that thirty-six are produced in the whole. Hence, as it appears to me, a triple benefit of the Graces proceeds to us from the heavens, I mean from those circles which the God quadruply dividing produces in consequence of this, a quadripartite beauty and elegance of seasons and times. But the Graces also imitate a circle in their resemblances on the earth. Add too, that Bacchus is the source of joy, who is said to obtain a common kingdom with the sun. But why should I here mention the epithet Horus, or other names of the Gods, all of which correspond with the divinity of the sun? Mankind, indeed, may conceive the excellence of the God from his operations; since he perfects the heavens with intellectual goods, and renders them partakers of intelligible beauty. For as he originates from this beauty, he applies himself both wholly and by parts, to the distribution of good.

In the last place, as the sun is the source of our existence, so likewise of the aliment by which that existence is supported. And, indeed, he confers on us more divine advantages peculiar to souls; for he loosens these from the bands of a corporeal nature, reduces them to the kindred essence of divinity, and assigns them the subtile and firm texture of divine splendor, as a vehicle in which they may safely descend to the realms of generation. And these benefits of the God have been celebrated by others according to their desert, and require the assistance of faith more than the evidence of demonstration.


From the MS. Scholia likewise of Proclus on the Cratylus of Plato, we derive the following very important information concerning Apollo; in which the principal powers of the God are unfolded by him with his usual magnificence of diction, and divine fecundity of conception. Socrates, therefore, in the Cratylus says, “that there is no other name [than that of Apollo] which can more harmonize with the four powers of this God, because it touches upon them all, and evinces in a certain respect his harmonic, prophetic, medicinal, and arrow-darting skill.” And shortly after he adds, “that the name is so composed that it touches upon all the powers of the God, viz. his simplicity, perpetual jaculation, purifying, and joint-revolving nature.” On these words Proclus observes, that very rationally after Proserpine, Plato analyzes Apollo. For there is a great communion between the Coric and the Apolloniacal series; since the former is the unity of the middle triad of the supermundane Gods, and emits from herself vivific powers; but the latter converts the solar principles to one union; and the solar principles are allotted a subsistence immediately after the vivific. Hence, according to Orpheus, when Ceres delivered up the government to Proserpine, she thus admonished her:

Αυταρ Απολλωνος θαλερον λεχος εισαναβασα,
Τεξεται αγλαα τεκνα πυριφλεγεθοντα προσωποις.[22]

But next Apollo’s florid bed ascend;
For thus the God fam’d offspring shall beget,
Refulgent with the beams of glowing fire.

But how could this be the case, unless there was a considerable degree of communion between these divinities?

It is necessary however, to know thus much concerning Apollo, that according to the first and most natural conception, his name signifies the cause of union, and that power which collects multitude into one; and this mode of speculation concerning his name harmonizes with all the orders of the God. But Socrates alone considers his more partial powers: for the multitude of the powers of Apollo are not to be comprehended, nor described by us. For when will man who is merely rational, be able to comprehend not only all the peculiarities of Apollo, but all those of any other God? Theologists indeed deliver to us a great multitude of Apolloniacal peculiarities; but Socrates now only mentions four of them. For the world is as it were a decad, being filled from all productive principles, receiving all things in itself, and being converted to the proper principle of the decad, of which tetrad proximately contains the cause, but in an exempt manner the monad. And the former without separation and occultly, but the latter with separation; just as Apollo proximately, unites the multitude of mundane natures, but the demiurgic intellect exemptly. Why then does Socrates use an order of this kind? For beginning from the medicinal power of the god, and proceeding through his prophetic and arrow-darting powers, he ends in his harmonic power. We reply, that all the energies of this god, are in all the orders of beings, beginning from on high and proceeding as far as to the last of things; but different energies appear to have more or less dominion in different orders. Thus for instance the medicinal power of Apollo is most apparent in the sublunary region, for

There slaughter, rage, and countless ills beside,
Disease, decay, and rottenness reside.[23]

And as these are moved in an inordinate manner, they require to be restored from a condition contrary, into one agreeable to nature, and from incommensuration and manifold division, into symmetry and union.

But the prophetic energy of the god is most apparent in the heavens; for there his enunciative power shines forth, unfolding intelligible good to celestial natures, and on this account he revolves together with the sun, with whom he participates the same intellect in common; since the sun also illuminates whatever the heavens contain, and extends a unifying power to all their parts. But his arrow-darting energy mostly prevails among the liberated gods; for there ruling over the wholes which the universe contains, he excites their motions by his rays, which are always assimilated to arrows, extirpates every thing inordinate, and fills all things with demiurgic gifts. And though he has a separate and exempt subsistence, he reaches all things by his energies. Again, his harmonic power is more predominant in the ruling supermundane order; for it is this divinity who harmonizing the universe, establishes about himself according to one union the choir of the Muses, and produces by this mean as a certain Theurgist says “the harmony of exulting light.” Apollo therefore as we have shown is harmonic, and this is likewise the case with the other Apollos which are contained in the earth and the other spheres; but this power appears in some places more, and in others less. These powers too subsist in the god himself in an united manner, and exempt from other natures, but in those attendants of the Gods who are superior to us, divisibly, and according to participation; for there is a great multitude of medicinal, prophetic, harmonic, and arrow-darting angels, dæmons, and heroes, suspended from Apollo, who distribute in a partial manner the uniform powers of the god.

But it is necessary to consider each of these powers according to one definite characteristic; as for instance, his harmonic power, according to its binding together separated multitude; his prophetic power according to the enunciative; his arrow-darting power, according to its being subvertive of an inordinate nature; and his medicinal power, according to its perfective energy. We should likewise speculate these characteristics differently in Gods, angels, dæmons, heroes, men, animals, and plants; for the powers of the Gods extend from on high to the last of things, and at the same time appear in an accommodated manner in each; and the telestic (i. e. mystic) art endeavours through sympathy to conjoin these ultimate participants with the Gods. But in all these orders we must carefully observe, that this God is the cause of union to multiplied natures: for his medicinal power, which takes away the multiform nature of disease, imparts uniform health; since health is symmetry and a subsistence according to nature, but that which is contrary to nature is multifarious. Thus too, his prophetic power, which unfolds the simplicity of truth, takes away the variety of that which is false; but his arrow- darting power, which exterminates every thing furious and wild, but prepares that which is orderly and gentle to exercise dominion, vindicates to itself unity, and exterminates a disordered nature tending to multitude; and his musical power, through rhythm and harmony, places a bond, friendship and union in wholes, and subdues the contraries to these.

And all these powers indeed, subsist primarily, in an exempt manner, and uniformly in Jupiter the demiurgus of wholes, but secondarily and separately in Apollo. Hence Apollo is not the same with the demiurgic intellect; for this comprehends these powers totally and paternally, but Apollo with subjection, imitating his father; since all the energies and powers of secondary Gods, are comprehended in the demiurgus according to cause. And the demiurgus fabricates and adorns the universe according to all these powers, and in a collected manner; but the other deities which proceed from him, co-operate with their father according to different powers.

Purification however being seen not only in the medicinal, but also in the prophetic art evinces, that the cathartic power of Apollo comprehends the two powers: for it illustrates the world with the glittering splendors of light, and purifies all material immoderation by Pæonian energies; which physicians and prophets among us imitating, the former purify bodies, and the latter through sulphureous preparations render themselves and their associates pure. For, as Timæus says, the Gods purify the universe, either by fire or water; and prophets also in this respect imitate the Gods. In the most sacred of the mysteries too, purifications are employed prior to initiation into them, in order to take away every thing foreign from the proposed sacred mystery. We may likewise add, that the referring multiform purifications to the one cathartic power of the Gods, is adapted to him. For Apollo every where unites and elevates multitude to the one, and uniformly comprehends all the modes of purification; purifying all heaven, generation, and all mundane lives, and separating partial souls from the grossness of matter. Hence the theurgist who is the leader of the mysteries of this God begins from purifications and sprinklings:

Αυτος δ’ εν πρωτοις ιερευς πυρος εργα κυβερνων,
Κυματι ραινεσθω παγερῳ βαρυηχετος αλμης.

i. e. “The priest in the first place governing the works of fire, must sprinkle with the cold water of the loud-sounding sea,” as the Oracle says concerning him. But the assertion that the God presides over simplicity according to knowledge, and unfolds truth into light, presents him to our view as analogous to the good, which Socrates celebrates in the Republic; in which place he calls the sun the progeny of the good, and says that the former is analogous to the latter. Apollo therefore being the source of union, and this to the mundane Gods, is arranged analogous to the good; and through truth, he unfolds to us his similitude to it, if it be lawful so to speak. For the simple is a manifestation of the one, and the truth which subsists according to knowledge is a luminous representation of superessential truth, which first proceeds from the good. But the perpetually prevailing might of the God in the jaculation of arrows, evinces his dominion which vanquishes every thing in the world. For on high from the supercelestial order, he scatters the rivers of Jupiter, and pours his rays oh the whole world: for his arrows obscurely signify his rays. Again, the assertion that he presides over music, represents to us that this God is the cause of all harmony, both unapparent and apparent, through his ruling supermundane powers, according to which he generates together with Mnemosyne and Jupiter, the Muses, But he orderly disposes everything sensible by his demiurgic powers, which the sons of theurgists denominate hands; since the energy of the harmony of sounds is suspended from the motion of the hands. He likewise orderly disposes souls and bodies through harmonic reasons, using their different powers as if they were sounds; and he moves all things harmoniously and rhythmically by his demiurgic motions. The whole of the celestial order too, and motion, exhibit the harmonious work of the God; on which account also, partial souls are no otherwise perfected than through an harmonic similitude to the universe, and abandoning the dissonance arising from generation; for then they obtain the most excellent life, which is proposed to them by the God.


As the Muses derive their subsistence from Apollo, and are perpetually united to him, it is necessary to consider the nature of these divinities in the next place, and the good which they confer on the universe in conjunction with their leader Apollo. Plato therefore in the Cratylus says “That the name of the Muses, and universally that of music, was derived, as it seems, from μωσθαι, to inquire, and from investigation and philosophy.” On which Proclus in his MS. Scholia on that dialogue observes as follows:

“From discoursing about king Apollo, Plato proceeds to the Muses, and the name of music; for Apollo is celebrated as Musagetes, or the leader of the Muses. And he indeed is a monad with respect to the harmony in the world; but the choir of the Muses is the monad of all the number of the ennead (i. e. nine): From both likewise the whole world is bound in indissoluble bonds, and is one and all-perfect, through the communications of these divinities; possessing the former through the Apolloniacal monad, but its all-perfect subsistence through the number of the Muses. For the number nine which is generated from the first perfect number (that is 3) is, through similitude and sameness, accommodated to the multiform causes of the mundane order and harmony; all these causes at the same time being collected into one summit for the purpose of producing one consummate perfection. For the Muses generate the variety of reasons with which the world is replete; but Apollo comprehends in union all the multitude of these. And the Muses give subsistence to the harmony of soul; but Apollo is the leader of intellectual and impartible harmony. The Muses distribute the phenomena according to harmonical reasons; but Apollo comprehends unapparent and separate harmony. And though both give subsistence to the same things, yet the Muses effect this according to number, but Apollo according to union. And the Muses indeed distribute the unity of Apollo; but Apollo unites harmonic multitude, which he also converts and comprehends. For the multitude of the Muses proceeds from the essence of Musagetes, which is both separate, and subsists according to the nature of the one; and their number evolves the one and primary cause of the harmony of the universe.

That such being the etymology of the name of the Muses, since Plato calls philosophy the greatest music, as causing our psychical powers to be moved harmoniously, in symphony with real beings, and in conformity to the orderly motions of the celestial orbs; and since the investigation of our own essence and that of the universe leads us to this harmony, through a conversion to ourselves and more excellent natures,—hence also we denominate the Muses from investigation. For Musagetes himself unfolds truth to souls, according to one intellectual simplicity; but the Muses perfect our various energies elevating them to an intellectual unity. For investigations have the relation of matter, with reference to the end from invention; just as multitude with respect to the one, and variety with respect to simplicity. We know therefore, that the Muses impart to souls the investigation of truth, to bodies the multitude of powers, and that they are everywhere the sources of the variety of harmonies.

In the fable likewise in the Phædrus about the grass-hoppers Plato speaks of the four Muses, Terpsichore, Erato, Calliope, and Urania, as follows: “It is said the race of the grasshoppers received this gift from the Muses, that they should never want nutriment, but should continue singing without meat or drink till they died; and that after death they should depart to the Muses, and inform them what Muse was honoured by some particular person among us. Hence that by acquainting Terpsichore with those who reverence her in the dance, they render her propitious to such. By informing Erato of her votaries, they render her favourable in amatory concerns; and the rest in a similar manner, according to the species of veneration belonging to each. But that they announce to the most ancient Calliope, and after her to Urania, those who have lived in the exercise of philosophy, and have cultivated the music over which they preside; these Muses more than all the rest being conversant with the heavens, and with both divine and human discourse; and sending forth the most beautiful voice.”

On what Plato here says of these Muses, Hermeas in his MS. Commentary On the Phædrus, makes the following beautiful remarks: “Dancing here must not be understood literally, as if Terpsichore was propitious to those who engage in that kind of dancing which is the object of sense; for this would be ridiculous. We must say therefore, that there are divine dances; in the first place, the dance of the Gods; and in the second place, that of divine souls. In the third place, the revolution of the celestial divinities, viz. of the seven planets, and the inerratic sphere, is called a dance. In the fourth place, those who are initiated in the mysteries perform a certain dance. And in the last place, the whole life of a philosopher is a dance. Who then are those that honour the Goddess in the dance? Not those who dance well, but those who live well through the whole of the present existence, elegantly arranging their life, and dancing in symphony with the universe. Again, Erato is denominated from Love, and from making the works of Love, lovely; for she co-operates with Love. But Calliope is denominated from the eye; and Urania presides over astronomy. Through these two Goddesses we preserve our rational part from being in subjection to the irrational nature. For through sight surveying the order of the celestial Gods, we properly arrange our irrational part. And farther still, through rhythms, philosophy, and hearing, we elegantly dispose that which we contain of the disorderly and void of rhythm.”


The triad of celestial Gods immediately above the sun consists of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, of which the first who is the source of division and motion, perpetually separates, nourishes and excites the contrarieties of the universe, that the world may exist perfect and entire from all its parts. He requires, however, the assistance of Venus, that he may insert order and harmony into things contrary and discordant. But Jupiter is the cause of a royal and, political life, and is the supplier of a ruling prudence and a practical and adorning intellect And Saturn is the source of intellect, in consequence of being an intellectual deity, and ascending as far as to the first cause. Hence, as there is nothing disordered and novel in intellect, Saturn is represented as an old man, and as slow in his motion: and on this account, astrologers say, that such as have Saturn well situated in their nativity are endued with intellect.

Plato in the Timæus delivers to us the manner in which each of these seven divinities becomes an animal, and is suspended from a more divine soul, and what kind of perfection it affords to the universe. For he says, “When therefore, each of the natures necessary to a joint fabrication of time had arrived at a local motion adapted to its condition, and their bodies became animals through the connecting power of vital bonds, they then learned their prescribed order.” For each of them, says Proclus, is allotted an appropriate life and motion. For since the demiurgic sacred law distributes to every mortal nature that which is adapted to it, and co-arranges every thing with a view to the blessedness of the universe, what ought we to say concerning the governors of the world? Ought we not to assert that they have received from their father, every thing appropriate and every good; and that shining with the splendors of beauty, they not only fabricate the generation of time in conjunction with the father, but also lead and govern the whole world? For by thus speaking of them we shall speak rightly. In addition to these things likewise, we ought to assert, that they not only receive the beautiful and the good from the demiurgic monad, but also that being self-motive, they impart these to themselves; and that from themselves the giving of good originates. Plato indeed, indicating this says, “that each of them arrives (αφικεσθαι) at a local motion, adapted to its condition” as defining from itself the measure of the life, the order, and the motion which it is allotted in the universe.

Since, however, each of the seven bodies has a twofold life, the one inseparable, but the other separable; and the one indeed intellectual, and in a ruling manner established in itself, but the other divided about body, which it connects and moves; according to the latter indeed, it is an animal, but according to the former a God. Plato, therefore, distinguishing both these, and rightly conceiving that a divine and intellectual soul, and which does not depart from intelligibles, is one thing, but another, the animal which is suspended from it, possesses life from, and is the image of it says, “that, their bodies became animals through the connecting power of vital bonds, and that they then learned their prescribed order” For a divine soul learns indeed the demiurgic will, understands the works of the father, and fabricates in conjunction with him mundane natures; and this, through intellectually perceiving him, and being filled from him with divine powers. For it is not possible for either intellect or soul to provide for wholes in an exempt manner in any other way than by the participation of deity, and through a deific life. The words, therefore, “a joint fabrication of time,” manifest that they are allotted a secondary power in the generation of it; in consequence of their father possessing a primary power. For he, indeed, generated the wholeness of time; but these divinities co-operate with him in the production of the parts of which time consists. For the periods of these are the parts of the whole of time; just as they also were generated parts of the world.

But the animated body is an animal bound with vital bonds, possessing life from the soul which it receives according to the demiurgic allotments. For if with us also, the animal is different from the man, and the visible Socrates is one thing, but the true another, much more are the true sun and the true Jupiter different from the visible orbs of these divinities, and not composites of body and soul. Conformably to this Socrates in the Phædrus says, that we do not sufficiently understand that a God is an immortal animal, possessing indeed a soul and a body, connascent through the whole of time.” Indeed the unity in each of these divinities, and the ineffable participation of the fountain of all the numbers characterized by unity, form that which is primarily a God. But the intellect which connects each of these deities stably, uniformly, and invariably, is secondarily a God. And the soul which is filled from intellect, and evolves the one comprehension of it, is a God in the third place. And the first indeed of these is truly a God; the second is most divine; and the third is itself also divine, but illuminates the animal with which it is connected with the peculiarity of deity; according to which this likewise is divine, being bound with animated bonds, which may be said to be vivific, demiurgic and indissoluble bonds, as Plato himself afterwards asserts. For the whole of the divine bodies, are bound in souls, are comprehended by and established in them; the being bound indeed indicating the stable and immutable comprehension of bodies in souls, and their undisjoined communion with them. Such therefore being the nature of divine bodies, they fabricate time in conjunction with the demiurgus, call forth its one and unapparent power, and impart a progression to it into the world, which unfolds many temporal measures.


The celestial Gods therefore, according to Plato subsisting after this manner, and the unity in each of them ineffably proceeding from the fountain of good, it is evident that they are all of them beneficent, and after a similar manner the causes of good. The bodies also which are suspended from their divine souls possess indescribable powers, some indeed being firmly established in the divine bodies themselves, but others proceeding from them into the nature of the world and into the world itself, descending in an orderly manner through the whole of generation, and without impediment extending as far as to particulars. With respect to the powers therefore, which remain in the divine celestial bodies themselves, there can be no doubt but that they are all similar; hence those powers remain to be considered which are sent to this terrestrial region, and are mingled with generation.

These then descend after the same manner for the safety of the universe, and connect with invariable sameness the whole of generation. They are likewise impassive and immutable, though they arrive at that which is mutable and passive. Generation indeed, being multiform, and consisting of things of a different nature, it receives the unity and simplicity of these Gods through its appropriate contrariety and division, in a hostile and partible manner. It likewise receives that which is impassive passively: and in short it participates of these Gods according to its own nature, and not according to their power. Hence, as that which is generated participates of being according to a flux of existence; and body participates of an incorporeal nature corporeally; thus also the natural and material substances which are in generation, participate of the immaterial and etherial bodies which are above nature and generation, in a confused and disorderly manner. Those therefore are absurd who attribute colour, figure and contact to intelligible forms, because the participants of them are coloured, figured and tangible; and they are no less absurd who ascribe evil to the celestial bodies, because the participants of them are sometimes evil. For there could be no participation, if the participant was not different from that which it participates. But if that which is participated is received in something different from itself, this something different, is in terrestrial places that which is evil and disorderly.

This participation therefore, becomes the cause of the abundant difference in secondary natures, and also the mixture of material with immaterial influences. To which may be added likewise, as another cause, that what is imparted in one way, is received after another in these inferior realms. Thus for instance, the influence of Saturn is connective, but that of Mars motive. In these material realms however, the passive receptacle of generation, receives the former according to congelation and frigidity; but the latter according to immoderate heat. Hence, corruption and the privation of symmetry are to be ascribed to the alterant, material and passive nature of the recipients.

Farther still, the imbecility of material and terrestrial places, not being able to receive the genuine power and most pure life of the etherial natures, ascribes its own defects to first causes. Just as if some one being weak in his body, and not able to bear the vivifying heat of the sun, should falsely dare to say, influenced by his own infirmities, that the sun is not advantageous to health and life. A thing of this kind likewise, may take place in the harmony and temperament of the universe, I mean, that the same things which are salutary to the whole, through the perfection of the recipients and things received, may be noxious to the parts though their partible privation of symmetry. In the motion of the universe therefore, all the circulations preserve the whole world after a similar manner, though frequently one certain part is injured by another; just as in a dance, where the order of the whole choir is still preserved, though a foot or a finger may happen to be hurt. Again, to be corrupted, and to be changed, are affections connascent with particulars. But it is not proper to accuse on this account wholes and first causes, either as containing these in themselves, or as if these proceeded from them into these inferior realms. And thus it appears, that neither the celestial Gods themselves, nor their gifts are productive of evil.[24]


And thus much concerning the planetary deities, who were called by the ancients, the governors of the world. In the next place therefore, let us direct our attention to what Plato and his best interpreter Proclus have transmitted to us concerning Minerva, who as a mundane divinity is connected with ether, and has also an allotment in the celestial regions. Plato then in the Timæus describes this Goddess as both a lover of war, and a lover of wisdom; for he says that she is philopolemic and philosophic. As she every where however exerts this twofold power, according to her intellectual, supermundane, and mundane subsistence, I shall present the reader with the whole of what Proclus says[25] respecting these two powers of the goddess, in his commentary on that part of the Timæus where she is celebrated by Plato.

In the demiurgus and father, says he, of the whole world, many orders of Gods that have the form of the one present themselves to the view. And those are of a guardian, or demiurgic, or elevating, or connective, or perfective characteristic. But the undefiled and untamed deity Minerva, is one of the first intellectual unities subsisting in the demiurgus, according to which he himself remains firm and immutable, and all things proceeding from him participate of inflexible power; and through which he intellectually perceives every thing, and is separate in an exempt manner from all beings. All theologists therefore, call this divinity Minerva, as being brought forth indeed from the summit of her father, and abiding in him, being a demiurgic, separate, and immaterial intelligence. Hence Socrates in the Cratylus, celebrates her as theonoe (θεονοη) or deific intellection. But as, in conjunction with other divinities sustaining all things in the one demiurgus, and arranging wholes, together with her father;—through the first of these, they denominate her philosophic, but through the second philopolemic. For she who according to the form of one connectedly-contains all the paternal wisdom is a philosopher. And she who invariably rules over all contrariety, may be properly called a lover of war. Hence Orpheus speaking of her birth says, that Jupiter generated her from his head,

With armour shining like a brazen flower.

Since however, it was necessary that she should proceed into second and third orders, she appears in the order to which Proserpine belongs, according to the undefiled heptad; but she generates every virtue from herself, and elevating powers, and illuminates secondary natures with intellect, and an undefiled life. Hence she is called Core Tritogenes. She likewise appears among the liberated Gods, uniting the lunar order with intellectual and demiurgic light, causing the productions of those divinities to be undefiled, and demonstrating the one unity of them to be unmingled with their depending powers. She also appears in the heavens and the sublunary region; and according to the united gift of herself, imparts the cause both of the philosophic and the philopolemic power.

For her inflexibility is intellectual, and her separate wisdom is pure and unmingled with secondary natures; and the one characteristic peculiarity of Minerval providence, extends as far as to the last orders. For since wherever there are partial souls that resemble her divinity, they exert an admirable prudence, and exhibit an unconquerable strength, what ought we to say of her attendant choirs of dæmons or divine, mundane, liberated, and ruling orders? For all these receive as from a fountain the twofold peculiarity of this Goddess. Hence also the divine poet [Homer] indicating both these powers of Minerva, in conjunction with fabulous devices says,

The radiant veil her sacred fingers wove,
Floats in rich waves, and spreads the court of Jove.
Her father’s warlike robe her limbs invest.[26]

In which verses by the veil which she wove, and to which she gave subsistence by her intellections, her intellectual wisdom is signified. But by the warlike robe of Jupiter we must understand her demiurgic providence, which immutably takes care of mundane natures, and prepares more divine beings always to have dominion in the world. Hence also, I think Homer represents her as an associate in battle with the Greeks against the Barbarians; just as Plato here relates that she was an associate with the Greeks against the inhabitants of the Atlantic island; in order that everywhere more intellectual and divine natures may rule over such as are more irrational and vile. For Mars also is a friend to war and contrarieties, but with a separation and division more adapted to the things themselves. Minerva however, connects contrariety, and illuminates the subjects of her government with union. Hence likewise she is said to be philopolemic. For,

Strife, fighting, war, she always loves.

And she is a friend to war indeed, because she is allotted the summit of separation; but she is a lover of contrarieties, because these are in a certain respect congregated through this goddess, in consequence of better natures having dominion. On this account likewise, the ancients co-arranged Victory with Minerva.

If therefore, these things are rightly asserted, she is philosophic indeed, as being demiurgic intelligence, and as separate and immaterial wisdom. Hence also, she is called Metis by the Gods. But she is philopolemic, as connecting the contrarieties in wholes, and as an untamed and inflexible deity. On this account likewise, she preserves Bacchus undefiled, but vanquishes the giants in conjunction with her father. She too alone shakes the ægis, without waiting for the mandate of Jupiter. She also hurls the javelin,

Shook by her arm, the massy javelin bends,
Huge, ponderous, strong! that when her fury burns
Whole ranks of heroes tames and overturns.[27]

Again, she is Phosphoros, as every way extending intellectual light; the Saviour, as establishing every partial intellect in the total intellections of her father; Ergane, or the artificer, as presiding over demiurgic works. Hence the theologist Orpheus says, that the father produced her,

That she the queen might be of mighty works.

But she is Calliergos, or the beautiful fabricator, as connecting by beauty all the works of the father; a Virgin, as exerting an undefiled and unmingled purity; and Aigiochos, or ægis-bearing, as moving the whole of fate, and being the leader of its productions.

With respect to the spear and shield with which this Goddess, in the statues of her, is represented as armed, Jamblichus, as we are informed by Proclus,[28] explains these in a most divinely-inspired manner as follows: Since every divine nature ought to act and not to suffer; in order that by operating it may not have the inefficacious which is similar to matter, but by not suffering, it may not have that efficacy which resembles material natures, that produce accompanied with passion,—that it may have neither of these, he asserts that shields are powers, through which a divine nature remains impassive and pure, surrounding itself with an infrangible guard. But spears are powers, according to which it proceeds without contact through all things, operates in all things, amputating a material nature, and giving assistance to every generation-producing form. These powers, however, are first seen about Minerva. Hence also in the statues of her she is armed with a spear and shield. For she vanquishes every thing, and according to theologists, remains inflexibly, and uncontaminated in her father. But these things are seen in a secondary degree in the Minerval powers, both in such as are whole, and such as are partial. For as the Jovian and demiurgic multitudes imitate their monads; and as the prophetic and Apolloniacal multitudes participate of the characteristic peculiarity of Apollo; thus also the Minerval number adumbrates the uncontaminated and unmingled nature of Minerva. And they are seen ultimately in Minerval souls. For in these also the shield is the untamed and inflexible power of reason; but the spear is that which is incisive of matter, and which liberates souls from the perturbations arising from dæmons or destiny.

With respect to the mundane allotment also of this Goddess who proceeds supernally from intellectual causes to the earth, Proclus observes, (in Tim. p. 43.) that she primarily subsists in her father; but secondarily in the supermundane Gods; that her third progression is in the twelve liberated rulers; and that after this, she unfolds into light a liberated authority in the heavens. In one way indeed in the inerratic sphere; for there also, a certain allotment of this Goddess is expanded; whether it be the place about the ram, or that about the virgin, or whether it be some one of the northern stars, as the Electra which is there is by certain persons asserted to be. But she unfolds this power in another way in the sun. For there also an admirable power, and a Minerval order, fabricates wholes, according to theologists, in conjunction with the sun. And again, in another way in the moon, being the monad of the triad[29] which is there. But in another way in the earth, according to the similitude of the allotments of the earth to the celestial distributions. And lastly, she unfolds this liberated authority differently in different parts of the earth, according to the peculiarities of providential energy. This being the case, it is by no means wonderful that one deity, Minerva, is said by Plato to have been allotted Athens, and Saïs in Egypt. For it must not be supposed, that because partial souls are not naturally adapted to inhabit two bodies at once, this is also impossible to the Gods. But there is a participation of the same divine power according to different places, yet in the one power there is also multitude. And by this place, indeed, it is participated in one way; but by other places in a different way. And in some sameness is more abundant, but in others difference.

In another part, likewise, of the same admirable work (p. 30) Proclus observes of this Goddess, that it is manifest from the Greeks, that her dominion extends from on high as far as to the last of things; for they say she was generated from the summit or head of Jupiter. But the Egyptians relate that this inscription was written in the adytum of the Goddess: I am the things that are, that will be, and that have been. No one has ever laid open the garment by which I am concealed. The fruit which I brought forth was the sun.[30] The Goddess, therefore, being demiurgic, and at the same time apparent and unapparent, has an allotment in the heavens, and illuminates generation with forms. For of the signs of the zodiac, the ram is ascribed to the Goddess, and the equinoctial circle itself, where especially a power motive of the universe is established. And thus much concerning the philopolemic and philosophic Goddess Minerva.


Let us in the next place direct our attention to that great mundane divinity the earth, and consider what it is, whence it proceeds, and how it is said by Plato in the Timæus to be our nurse, and the most ancient and first of the Gods within the heavens, deriving our information about this Goddess also from Proclus, (in Tim. p. 280). Earth then proceeds primarily from the intelligible earth which comprehends all the intelligible orders of the Gods, and is eternally established in the father.[31] It also proceeds from the intellectual Earth which is co-arranged with Heaven, and all the productions of which it receives. For being analogous to these, it also abides perpetually as in the centre of the heavens, and being contained, on all sides by them, is full of generative power, and demiurgic perfection. The true earth, therefore, is neither this corporeal-formed and gross bulk; for it will not be the most ancient of the Gods from its bulk, nor the first of the Gods that are arranged within the heavens; nor is it the soul of this body; for it would not be, as Plato says it is, extended about the pole of the universe, since not the soul, but the body of the earth is a thing of this kind; but if it be necessary to speak what is most true concerning it, it is an animal consisting of a divine soul, and a living body. Hence the whole is, as Plato says, an animal. For there are in it an immaterial and separate intellect; a divine soul dancing round this intellect; an etherial body proximately suspended from its informing soul; and in the last place, this visible bulk, which is on all sides inspired with life by the vehicle of this soul, with which also being filled, it generates and nourishes all-various animals. For some animals[32] are rooted in it, but others about it. And this likewise, Aristotle perceiving, was ashamed not to give to the earth a natural life. For whence is it that plants while they remain in the earth live, but when divulsed from it die, unless this earthly mass was full of life? It is necessary, also, to assume universally, that wholes are animated prior to parts. For it would be ridiculous that man indeed should participate of a rational soul and of intellect, but that no soul should be assigned to the earth and the air, supernally riding in [as it were] and governing the elements, and preserving them in their proper boundaries. For wholes, as Theophrastus says, would have less authority than parts, and perpetual than corruptible natures, if they were destitute of soul. Hence, it is necessary to grant that a soul and an intellect are in the earth; the former causing it to be prolific, but the latter connectedly-containing it in the middle of the universe.

Earth herself, therefore, being a divine animal, is also a plenitude of intellectual and psychical essences, and of immaterial powers. For if a partial soul has besides a material body an immaterial vehicle, what ought we to think of a soul so divine as that of the earth? Is it not, that by a much greater priority visible bodies are suspended from this soul through other vehicles as media, and that through these, the visible bodies are able to receive the illuminations of soul? Such then being the nature of earth herself, she is said to be our nurse; in the first place, indeed, as possessing a power in a certain respect equivalent to Heaven. For as that comprehends in itself divine animals, thus also earth is seen to contain terrestrial animals. But in the second place, she is our nurse, as inspiring our lives from her own proper life. For she not only produces fruits, and nourishes our bodies through these, but she also fills our souls with the illuminations of herself. For being a divine animal, and generating us who are partial animals, through her own body indeed she nourishes and connectedly-contains our bulk; but from her own soul perfects ours. By her own intellect, likewise, she excites the intellect which is in us; and thus according to the whole of herself becomes the nurse of our whole composition. On this account it appears to me that Plato calls her our nurse, indicating by this her intellectual nutritive energy. For if she is our nurse, but we are truly souls and intellects, according to these especially, she will be the perfector of our essence, moving and exciting our intellectual part. But being a divine animal, and comprehending in herself many partial animals, she is said by Plato to be con-globed about the pole which is extended through the universe; because she is contained and compressed about its axis. For the axis also is the pole. And the pole is thus now denominated, because the universe revolves about it. Because, however, the pole [properly so called] is impartible, but the axis is a pole with interval, just as if someone should say that a line is a flowing point,—on this account, the pole is said by Plato to be extended through the universe, as entirely pervading through the centre of the earth.

But we must survey the poles as powers that give stability to the universe, exciting indeed the whole bulk of it to intelligible love, and impartibly connecting that which is partible, and unitedly and without interval that which is extended by interval. Hence, also, Plato in the Republic, makes the spindle of Lachesis of adamant, indicating, as we have said, their inflexible and untamed power. And we must consider the axis, as that one divinity which collects the centres of the universe, which is connective of the whole world, and motive of the divine circulations; and as that about which wholes dance and are convolved, and as sustaining all heaven, being on this account denominated Atlas, as possessing an immutable and unwearied energy. The word τεταμενον also, or extended, used here by Plato, indicates that this one power is Titannic, guarding the circulations of wholes. But if, as the divine Jamblichus says, we understand by the pole extended through the universe, the heavens, neither thus shall we wander from the conception of Plato. For, as Plato says in the Cratylus, those who are skilled in astronomy call the heavens the pole, as harmoniously revolving. According to this conception, therefore, you may call heaven the pole extended through the universe, as being incurvated through the whole of itself, in consequence of being without an angle. For after this manner the superficies of a circle is extended. About this, however, earth is conglobed, not locally, but through a desire of becoming assimilated to it, converging to the middle, in order that as heaven is moved about the centre, so she by tending to the centre, may become similar to that which is essentially spherical, being herself as much as possible conglobed. Hence she is compressed about the heaven in such a way as to be wholly extended about it.

According to each of these conceptions, therefore, Plato delivers the cause through which earth is contained in the middle. For the axis is a power connective of the earth; and the earth is on all sides compressed by the circulation of the heaven, and is collected together into the centre of the universe. Earth, therefore, being such, Timæus afterwards clearly shows what utility she affords to the universe; for he calls her the guardian and artificer of day and night. And indeed that she is the maker of night, is evident. For she produces a conical shadow; and her magnitude and figure, are the causes of the dimension and quality of the figure of this shadow. But after what manner is she likewise the fabricator of day? Or does she not produce this day which is conjoined with night? For about her the risings and settings of the sun are surveyed. And that Plato assumes this day which is convolved with night, is evident from his arranging the former under the latter; as also prior to this, when he says, night therefore and day were thus generated. Earth, therefore, is the fabricator of both these, producing both in conjunction with the sun; the sun indeed being in a greater degree the cause of day, but the earth of night.

Being, however, the fabricator, she is also the guardian of them, preserving their boundaries and contrariety with reference to each other, and also their augmentations and diminutions, according to a certain analogy. Hence, some denominate her Isis, as equalizing the inequality, and bringing to an analogy the increase and decrease of both day and night. But others looking to her prolific power call her Ceres, as Plotinus, who denominates the intellect of the earth Vesta, but the soul of it Ceres. We, however, say that the first causes of these divinities are intellectual, ruling and liberated; but that from these causes illuminations and powers extend to the earth. Hence there is a terrestrial Ceres and Vesta, and a terrestrial Isis, in the same manner as there is a terrestrial Jupiter, and a terrestrial Hermes; these terrene deities being arranged about the one divinity of the earth; just as a multitude of celestial Gods proceeds about the one divinity of the heavens. For there are progressions and terminations of all the celestial Gods into the earth; and all things are in her terrestrially, which are contained in the heavens celestially. For the intellectual earth receives the paternal powers of heaven, and contains all things after a generative manner. Thus, therefore, we say that there is a terrestrial Bacchus, and a terrestrial Apollo, who is the source of prophetic waters in many parts of the earth, and of openings which predict future events. But the Pæonian and judicial powers which proceed into it, render other places of it of a purifying or medicinal nature. All the other powers of the earth, however, it is impossible to enumerate. For divine powers are indeed inexplicable. But the orders of angels and dæmons that follow these powers are still more numerous, and are circularly allotted the whole earth, and dance round its one divinity, its one intellect, and one soul.


It remains in the next place, that we should survey how the earth is said to be the most ancient, and the first of the Gods within the heavens. For this will be taken literally by those who are accustomed to look only to its material, gross and dark bulk. But we indeed grant them that there is something of such a kind in the bulk of the earth as they say there is; but we think it proper that they should likewise look to the other goods of the earth, through which it surpasses the prerogatives of the other elements, viz. its stability, its generative power, its concord with the heavens, and its position in the centre of the universe. For the centre has great power in the universe, as being connective of every circulation. Hence also the Pythagoreans call the centre the tower of Jupiter, in consequence of containing in itself a demiurgic guard. We shall likewise remind our opponents of the Platonic hypothesis concerning the earth, mentioned by Socrates in the Phædo, where he says that the place of our abode is hollow and dark, and bound by the sea; but that there is another true earth, containing the receptacles of the Gods, and possessing a beauty resembling that of the heavens. We ought not, therefore, to wonder if now the earth is said to be the most ancient and the first of the Gods within the heavens, since she possesses so great an altitude, and such a surpassing beauty, and as Socrates afterwards says, was fashioned by the Demiurgus resembling a sphere covered with twelve skins, just as the heaven is similar to a dodecahedron. We must likewise understand that the Demiurgus gave to the earth alone among the elements to have all the elements separately, causing her to be wholly a world, variegated analogous to the heavens. For she contains a river of fire, of air, and of water, and of another earth, which has the same relation to her which she has to the universe, as Socrates says in the Phædo. But if this be the case, she very much transcends the other elements as imitating the heavens, and possessing every thing in herself terrestrially, which is celestially contained in the heavens.

To this also we may add, that the Demiurgus produced these two elements the first, earth and fire; but the others for the sake of these, in order that they might have the ratio of bonds with respect to them. And that the four elements are both in the heavens, and in the sublunary region; but in the former, indeed, according to a fiery characteristic, since fire there predominates, as Plato says, but in the latter according to a terrestrial peculiarity. For the profundity of air, and the bulk of water are spread round the earth, and possess much of an earthly property, on which account they are in their own nature dark. In the heavens, therefore, there is a predominance of fire, but in the sublunary region of earth. Since, however, generation is connascently conjoined with the heavens, the end of the latter is earth, so far as earth is in the heavens, but the beginning of generation is fire, considered as subsisting in generation. For it is usual to call the moon earth, as having the same ratio to the sun, which earth has to fire. “But [the Demiurgus] says Orpheus, fabricated another infinite earth, which the immortals call Selene, but terrestrials Mene.” And it is usual to denominate the summit of generation fire, which Aristotle also does, when he calls ether fire. In another place, however, he does not think it proper to call ether fire, but fiery-formed. Hence, the end of the heavens is not entirely destitute of mutation, in consequence of its propinquity to generation; but the beginning of generation is moved in a circle imitating the heavens.

Farther still, this likewise must be considered, that we ought not to judge of the dignity of things from places, but from powers and essence. By what peculiarities, therefore, are we to form a judgement of transcendencies? By what others than those which the divine orders exhibit? For transcendency truly so called is with the Gods. From the divine orders, therefore, we must assume the monadic, the stable, the all-perfect, the prolific, the connective, the perfective, the every-way extended, the vivific, the adorning, the assimilative, and the comprehending power. For these are the peculiarities of all the divine orders. According to all these however, the earth surpasses the other elements, so that she may justly be called the most ancient, and the first of the Gods.

Again, a two-fold nature of things may be surveyed, the one indeed according to progression, which always makes things that have a secondary arrangement subordinate to those that are prior to them; but the other according to conversion, which conjoins extremes to primary natures through similitude, and produces one circle of the whole generation. Since also the world is spherical, but a figure of this kind is the peculiarity of things that subsist according to conversion, earth likewise must be conjoined in it to the heavens, through one circle, and one similitude. For thus also the centre is most similar to the poles. For the heavens indeed entirely comprehend wholes, being moved about the poles; but the earth is allotted permanency in the centre. For it is appropriate to generation that the immoveable should be more ancient than that which is moved. Hence, according to all these conceptions it may be said, that earth as co-ordinate with heaven, is the most ancient of the Gods within the heavens. For she is within them, as being on all sides comprehended by them. For as the demiurgus fashioned the whole of a corporeal nature within the soul of the world, thus also he fabricated earth within the heavens, as compressed and contained by them, and in conjunction with them fabricating wholes.

She has, however, so far as she is the first of the Gods, an indication of transcendency according to essence; but so far as she is the most ancient, she exhibits to our view the dignity which she is allotted. For how is it possible not to admit that she is allotted a great portion in the world, and is very honourable, in whom there are the tower of Jupiter, and the progression of Saturn? For not only Tartarus, which is the extremity of the earth, is on all sides comprehended by Saturn, and the Saturnian power, but also whatever else may be conceived subordinate to this. For Homer says that this is connectedly-contained through the sub-tartarean Gods. Not that he arranges Gods beyond Tartarus, as the words indicate; but that Tartarus itself is on all sides comprehended by them.

Farther still, we may survey the analogy which earth has to the intellectual earth. For as the latter comprehends and gives subsistence to perfective, guardian, and Titanic orders of Gods, of which the Orphic theologies are full, so likewise the former possesses various powers. And as a nurse indeed she imitates the perfective order, according to which the Athenians also are accustomed to call her κουροτροφος, or the nourisher of youth, and ανησιδωρα, or scattering gifts, as producing and nourishing plants and animals. But as a guard she imitates the guardian, and as conglobed about the pole which is extended (τεταμενη) through the universe, the Titannic order. Since, however, the intellectual earth prior to other divinities generated Aigle and the Hesperian Erithya, thus also our earth is the fabricator of day and night. And the analogy of the latter to the former is evident.

In the last place, Proclus adds, if also you are willing after another manner to understand that she is the first and most ancient of the Gods, as deriving her subsistence from the first and most ancient causes, this reason also will be attended with probability, since first causes proceed by their energies to the utmost extent of things; and besides this, the last of things frequently preserve the analogy of such as are first, as possessing their order from them alone. Hence, every way the assertion of Plato is true, whether you are willing to look to the bulk of the earth, or to the powers which she contains. And thus much from Proclus, concerning that great mundane divinity, the earth, who in the language of Theophrastus[33] is the common Vesta of Gods and men; and on whose fertile surface reclining, says he, as on the soft bosom of a mother or a nurse, we ought to celebrate her divinity with hymns, and incline to her with filial affection, as to the source of our existence.


Having thus amply discussed the theory pertaining to the celestial Gods, it is necessary in the next place, that we should direct our attention to the sublunary deities, who are denominated γενεσιουργοι, or the fabricators of generation. Plato in the Timæus calls these Gods dæmons, because they are so with reference to the celestial Gods. For they are suspended from them, and together with them providentially attend to their appropriate allotments. Conformably to this, also, in the Banquet he calls Love a dæmon, as being the attendant of Venus, and as proceeding from the God Porus, who is truly the source of abundance; though in the Phædrus he admits Love to be a God, as with reference to the life of which he is the leader. What Plato, therefore, says of these Gods in the Timæus is as follows: “But to speak concerning the other dæmons, and to know their generation, is a task beyond our ability to perform. It is, therefore, necessary in this case to believe in ancient men; who being the progeny of the Gods, as they themselves assert, must have a clear knowledge of their parents. It is impossible, therefore, not to believe in the children of the Gods, though they should speak without probable and necessary arguments: but as they declare that their narrations are about affairs to which they are naturally allied, it is proper that complying with the law, we should assent to their tradition. In this manner then, according to them, the generation of these Gods is to be described. That Ocean and Tethys were the progeny of Heaven and Earth. That from hence Phorcys, Saturn, and Rhea, and such as subsist together with these, were produced. That from Saturn and Rhea, Jupiter, Juno, and all such as we know are called the brethren of these descended. And lastly others, which are reported to be the progeny of these.”

Proclus, in his usual admirable manner, copiously elucidates these words of Plato, and in his comment fully unfolds the theory of the sublunary Gods. But unfortunately there are many chasms in some of the most important parts of his elucidations, which no critical acumen, nor sagacious conjecture, can fully supply. I shall endeavour, however, to extract from his commentary, in the best manner I am able, all the information on this subject which can at present be derived from this invaluable work, occasionally attempting to restore the sense, where from the mutilated state of the original it is wanting.

Plato then, intending now to speak of the sublunary Gods, says, that the discourse about them is admirable, and beyond our ability to perform, if we intend to discover the generation of them, and promulgate it to others. For what he before said of the demiurgus, that it is difficult to discover him,and impossible to speak of him to all men, this he now says of the sublunary Gods, that to know and to speak of the generation of them, surpasses our ability. What, therefore, does Plato mean by this mode of indication? For as he has delivered so many and such admirable things concerning all heaven, and the intelligible paradigm, how is it that he says, that to speak of the Gods who are the fabricators of generation, is a task beyond our ability to perform? Perhaps it is because many physiologists considered these sublunary elements to be inanimate natures casually borne along, and destitute of providential care. For they acknowledged that the celestial bodies, on account of their orderly motions, participate of intellect and the Gods; but they left generation, as being very mutable and indefinite, deprived of providential inspection. In order, therefore, that we might not be affected in the sane manner as they were, he antecedently celebrates and proclaims the generation of the sublunary Gods to be divine and intellectual, requiring no such mode of indication in speaking of the celestial Gods. Perhaps also it may be said, that souls more swiftly forget things nearer to themselves, but have a greater remembrance of superior principles. For they in a greater degree operate upon them through transcendency of power, and appear through energy to be present with them. The same thing also happens with respect to our sight. For though we do not see many things that are situated on the earth, yet at the same time we appear to see the inerratic sphere, and the stars themselves, because they illuminate our sight with their light. The eye of the soul, therefore, becomes in a greater degree oblivious of, and blind to, more proximate than to higher and more divine principles. Thus, all religions and sects acknowledge that there is a first principle of things, and all men invoke God as their helper; but all do not believe that there are Gods posterior to this principle, and that a providential energy proceeds from them into the universe. For the one is seen by them in a clearer manner than multitude. Others, again, believe indeed that there are Gods, but after the Gods, admitting the dæmoniacal genus, they are ignorant of the heroic order. And in short, this is the greatest work of science, subtilly to distinguish the media and the progressions of beings. If, therefore, we rightly assert these things, Plato, when speaking of the celestial Gods, very properly indicates nothing of the difficulty of the subject; but when speaking of the sublunary Gods, says that it surpasses our ability. For the discussion of these is more difficult, because we cannot collect any thing about them from apparent objects, but it alone requires a divinely-inspired energy, and intellectual projection. And thus much concerning this doubt.

Again, though we have assigned a reason why Plato calls the sublunary Gods dæmons, we may likewise say according to another conception, that in the celestial regions there are dæmons, and in the sublunary, Gods; but that in the former the genus is indeed divine, though dæmons also are generated according to it; and that in the latter the whole multitude are dæmons. For there indeed, the divine peculiarity, but here the dæmoniacal predominates, to which some atone looking; have divided the divine and the dæmoniacal, according to the heavens and generation. They ought however, to have arranged both in both; but in the former indeed the divine nature, and in the latter the dæmoniacal predominates; though in the former there is also the divine peculiarity. For if the whole world is a blessed God, no one of the parts which give completion to it is destitute of divinity, and providential inspection. But if all things participate of deity and providence, the world is allotted a divine nature. And if this be the case, appropriate orders of Gods preside over its different parts. For if the heavens through souls and intellects as media participate of one soul, and one intellect, what ought we to think of these sublunary elements? How is it possible, that these should not in a much greater degree participate through certain middle divine orders, of the one deity of the world?

Farther still, it would also be absurd that the telestic art (or the art pertaining to mystic ceremonies) should establish on the earth places fitted for oracles, and statues of the Gods, and through certain symbols should cause things generated from a partial and corruptible matter, to become adapted to the participation of deity, to be moved by him, and to predict future events; but that the demiurgus of wholes, should not place over the whole elements which are the incorruptible plenitudes of the world, divine souls, intellects and Gods. For whether was he unwilling? But how could he be unwilling, since he wished to make all things similar to himself? Was he then unable? But what could hinder him? For we see that this is possible from telestic works. But if he was both willing and able, it is evident that he gave subsistence to Gods, who have allotments in, and are the inspective guardians of generation. Since however the genus of dæmons is everywhere an attendant on the Gods, there are also dæmons who are the fabricators of generation; some of whom indeed rule over the whole elements, but others are the guardians of climates, others are the rulers of nations, others of cities, others of certain families, and others are the guardians of individuals. For the guardianship of dæmons extends as for as to the most extreme division.


Having therefore solved the problem pertaining to the essence, let us in the next place consider the order of the sublunary Gods, and the meaning of the subsequent words of Plato. For let them be Gods, and let them be called dæmons for the cause above assigned, where must we arrange them? Must it be, as we have before said, under the moon, or prior to the celestial Gods? For this may appear to be proper for these two reasons; one indeed, because Plato indicates that he ascends to a greater order, by saying that it exceeds our ability to speak concerning them, having already spoken concerning the celestial Gods; but the other, because he follows in what he says, those who have delivered to us Theogonies. For they prior to the world and the demiurgus, delivered these generations of Gods proceeding from Heaven and Earth. In answer to this query however, we must say, that he produces them after the celestial Gods, and through this from Heaven and Earth. For on this account he said that Earth was the most ancient of the Gods within the Heaven, because from this and Heaven, he was about to produce the other Gods which the heavens contain. This we demonstrate from the demiurgus addressing his speech to these Gods, and to all the rest, as being produced by him within the universe. Why, however, Plato says that he follows the Theogony, and why he shall omit to speak concerning the sublunary deities, we must refer to his having no clear indications of the subsistence of these from the phenomena, as he had of the celestial divinities, from the order of their periods, which is adapted to the government of Gods. It exceeds the province therefore of physiology to speak of beings, concerning whom natural effects afford us no stable belief. Hence Plato says, as a physiologist, that it surpasses his ability to speak of these.

If, however, he says that he follows those who are divinely inspired, but they speaking concerning the supercelestial Gods, he adopts a similar Theogony, though discoursing of the sub-celestial divinities, we must not consider this as wonderful. For he knew that all the orders of the Gods, proceed as far as to the last of things, from the arrangement which is the principle of their progression, everywhere generating series from themselves analogous to the superior deities from which they proceed. Hence, though the orders of these Gods which are celebrated by theologists, are above the world, yet they subsist also in the sensible universe. And as this visible heaven is allied to that which is supermundane, so likewise our earth is allied to the earth which is there, and the orders subsisting from the one to the orders proceeding from the other. From these things too, this also may be assumed, that according to Plato as well as according to other theologists, first natures as they proceed, produce things subordinate in conjunction with the causes of themselves. For these sublunary Gods proceeding from the demiurgus, are also said to be generated from Heaven and Earth that first proceed from him. The demiurgus therefore says to all of them that they ought to fabricate mortal natures, imitating his power about their generation. Hence all of them proceed from one producing cause, though those of a secondary order proceed likewise from the Gods that are prior to them. It follows therefore from this, that not every thing which is produced by the junior Gods is mortal, since some of these proceed from other junior Gods; but the contrary alone is true, that every thing mortal is generated by these divinities. And again, it follows from this, that the junior Gods produce some things according to the immoveable, but others according to the moveable hyparxes of themselves. For they would not be the causes of immortals, if they produced all things according to moveable hyparxes; if it be true that everything which subsists from a moveable cause, is essentially mutable.

Again, when Plato says, “It is therefore necessary to believe in ancient men, who being the progeny of the Gods as they themselves assert, must have a clear knowledge of their parents; for it is impossible not to believe in the children of the Gods, though they should speak without probable and necessary arguments,” we may collect from this, that he who simply believes in things which seem difficult to be known, and which are of a dubious nature, runs in the paths of abundance, recurring to divine knowledge, and deific intelligence, through which all things become apparent and known. For all things are contained in the Gods. But that which antecedently comprehends all things, is likewise able to fill other things with the knowledge of itself. Hence, Timæus here sends us to theologists, and to the generation of the Gods celebrated by them. Who therefore are they, and what is their knowledge? They indeed are the progeny of the Gods, and clearly know their progenitors; being the progeny and children of the Gods, as preserving the form of their presiding deity according to the present life. For Apolloniacal souls, in consequence of choosing a prophetic, or telestic life, are called the children and progeny of Apollo; children indeed, so far as they are souls pertaining to this God, and adapted to this series; but progeny because they demonstrate their present life to be conformable to these characteristics of the God. All souls therefore, are the children of the Gods; but all do not know their presiding God. Such however, as have this knowledge and chose a similar life, are called the children and progeny of the Gods. Hence Plato adds, “as they say” for they unfold the order from which they came. Thus the Sibyl[34] as soon as she was born, uttered oracles; and Hercules appeared at his birth with demiurgic symbols. But souls of this kind convert themselves to their progenitors, and are filled from them with deific knowledge. Their knowledge however, is enthusiastic, being conjoined to deity through divine light, and exempt from all other knowledge, both that which is probable, and that which is demonstrative. For the former is conversant with nature, and the universal in particulars; but the latter with an incorporeal essence, and the objects of science. Divinely-inspired knowledge however, alone, is conjoined with the Gods themselves.

Timæus, or in other words Plato, afterwards adds: “But as they declare that their narrations are about affairs, to which they are naturally allied, it is proper that complying with the law, we should assent to their tradition” From these words, he who considers them accurately may assume many things, such as that divinely-inspired knowledge is perfected through familiarity with and alliance to the Gods. For the sun is seen through solar-form light, and divinity becomes apparent through divine illumination. It may likewise be inferred that the divine law defines the orders of the Gods which the divinely-inspired conceptions of the ancients unfold, according to which also souls energizing, though not enthusiastically, are persuaded by those that enthusiastically energize. Complying with this law, Timæus in the beginning of this dialogue says that he shall invoke the Gods and Goddesses. From these words also we may infer, that all the kingdoms both in the heavens and the sublunary region, are adorned and distributed in order, according to the first and intellectual principles; and that all of them are everywhere according to the analogous. Likewise that the order of things precedes our conceptions. But it is Pythagoric to follow the Orphic genealogies. For the science concerning the Gods proceeded from the Orphic tradition through Pythagoras, to the Greeks, as Pythagoras himself says in the Sacred Discourse.


Again then, following Proclus, we say that the theory of the sublunary is immediately connected with that of the celestial Gods; and in consequence of being suspended from it, possesses the perfect and the scientific. For the generation-producing choir of Gods, follows the Gods in the heavens, and in imitation of the celestial circle, convolves also the circle in generation. For secondary follow the natures prior to them, according to an indivisible and united progression. Because however, the divinities that govern generation, subsist immediately from the celestial Gods, on this account also they are converted to them according to one undisjoined union; just as the celestial are converted to the supercelestial deities, from whom they were proximately generated; but the supercelestial to the intellectual, by whom they were adorned and distributed; and again the intellectual to the intelligible Gods, from whom they were ineffably unfolded into light, and who indescribably and occultly comprehend all things.

Of the whole of this truly golden chain therefore, the summit is indeed the genus of the intelligible Gods, but the end is that of the sublunary deities, who govern generation in an unbegotten, and nature in a supernatural manner, to which the demiurgic intellect now gives subsistence; the dominion of the Gods extending supernally from the heavens, as far as to the last of things. Of these sublunary deities however, it is necessary to observe in the first place, that all of them preserve the generative and perfective energy of their generating cause, and also his demiurgic and stable productive power. They likewise receive measures, boundaries, and order from their father. And such things as he governs exemptly and totally, they being divided according to allotments, fabricate, generate, and perfect. Some of them also are proximate to the celestial Gods; but others proceed to a greater distance from them. Hence, some preserve the idea of these Gods, so far as it can be preserved in the sublunary order; but others are established according to their appropriate power. For of every order, the summit is analogous to the order prior to it. Thus the summit of intelligibles is unity; of intellectuals is intelligible; of the supermundane order, is intellectual; and of the mundane order, supermundane. And some of the sublunary Gods indeed, are in a greater degree united to the demiurgic monad; but others are more distant from it. Hence, some being analogous to it, are the leaders of the whole of this series; but others have a more partial similitude to it For the father established in every order powers analogous to him in their arrangement; since in all the divine orders a certain cause pre-subsists analogous to the good.

Conformably to these causes which are thus analogous to the ineffable principle of things, and which with reference to it are called monads, the sublunary Gods proceed, and adorn and distribute generation in a becoming manner. And some indeed, give completion to this, but others to some other will of their father. For some complete his connective, others his prolific, others his motive, others his guardian will, and others, some other will of the demiurgus pertaining to the wholes in the sublunary region. And some of them have dominion over souls, others over dæmons, and others over Gods. All of them however are intellectual according to essence, but mundane according to allotment. They are also perfective, and powerful, governing generation in an unbegotten manner, beings deprived of intellect, intellectually, and inanimate natures, vitally. For they adorn all things according to their own essence, and not according to the imbecility of the recipients. But Plato is evidently of opinion that these Gods use certain other bodies more simple and perpetual than these elements by saying, that they appear when they please and become visible to us. That he likewise gives them souls is manifest from his saying that every mundane God is conjoined to bodies through soul. For he then first called the world itself a God, when he had established a soul in it. And again that he suspends intellects from them, through which their souls are intellectual, and are immediately converted to the demiurgus, is evident from the speech of the demiurgus to them.

If likewise it is requisite that the whole world should be perfect, it is necessary that together with the divine genera we should conceive that the dæmoniacal order was generated prior to our souls, and which receives a triple division, viz. into angels, dæmons properly so called and heroes. For the whole of this order fills up the middle space between Gods and men; because there is an all-perfect separation or interval between our concerns, and those of the Gods. For the latter are eternal, but the former are frail and mortal. And the former indeed are satisfied with the enjoyment of intellect in energy partially; but the latter ascend into total intellects themselves. On this accounts there is a triad which conjoins our concerns with the Gods, and which proceeds, analogous to the three principal causes of things; though Plato is accustomed to call the whole of this triad dæmoniacal. For the angelic is analogous to being, or the intelligible which is first unfolded into light from the ineffable and occult fountain of beings. Hence also, it unfolds the Gods themselves, and announces that which is occult in their essence. But the dæmoniacal is analogous to infinite life. On which account it proceeds everywhere according to many orders, and is of a multiform nature. And the heroic is analogous to intellect and conversion. Hence also, it is the inspective guardian of purification, and is the supplier of a magnificent and elevated life. Farther still, the angelic indeed proceeds according to the intellectual life of the demiurgus. Hence it also is essentially intellectual, and interprets, and transmits a divine intellect to secondary natures. But the dæmoniacal proceeds according to the demiurgic providence of wholes, governs nature, and rightly gives completion to the order of the whole world. And the heroic again proceeds according to the convertive providence of all these. Hence, this genus likewise is elevated, raises souls on high, and is the cause of a grand and vigorous energy.

Such therefore being the nature of these triple genera, they are suspended from the Gods; some indeed from the celestial Gods, but others from the divinities who are the inspective guardians of generation. And about every God there is an appropriate number of angels, heroes and dæmons. For every God is the leader of a multitude which receives his characteristic form. Hence of the celestial Gods, the angels, dæmons and heroes are celestial; but of the fabricators of generation, they have a generation-producing characteristic. Of the elevating Gods, they have an elevating property: but of the demiurgic, a demiurgic; of the vivifier a vivific property. And so of the rest. And again, among the elevating Gods, of those that are of a Saturnian characteristic, the angels, dæmons, and heroes are Saturnian; but of those that are Solar, they are Solar. Among the vivific Gods likewise of those that are Lunar, the ministrant powers are Lunar; but of the Aphrodisiacal, or those that have the characteristic of Venus, they are Aphrodisiacal; For they bear the names of the Gods from whom they are suspended, as being in connected continuity with them, and receiving one and the same idea with an appropriate subjection. Nor is this wonderful, since partial souls also, when they know their patron, and leading Gods, call themselves by their names. Or whence were the Esculapiuses, the Bacchuses, and the Dioscuri denominated, who being men of an heroic character, took the names of the deities from whom they descended?[35] As therefore, of the celestial, as likewise of the Gods who are the fabricators of generation, it is necessary to survey about each of them, a co-ordinate angelical, dæmoniacal; and heroical multitude; and that the number suspended from them retains the appellation of its producing monad. Hence, there is a celestial God, angel and hero; and the like is also true of the earth. In a similar manner we must say that Ocean and Tethys proceed into all the orders; and conformably to this the other Gods. For there is likewise a Jovian, a Junonian, and a Saturnian multitude, which is called by the same appellation of life. Nor is there any absurdity, in calling man both the intelligible and the sensible man; though in these, there is a much greater separation and interval. And thus much in common concerning the Gods and dæmons who are the fabricators of generation.


It now remains to show what conceptions we ought to have of the Gods mentioned by Plato in the passage before cited from the Timæus. For of the ancients, some referred what is said about them to fables, others to the fathers of cities, others to guardian powers, others to ethical explanations, and others to souls. These, however, are sufficiently confuted by the divine Jamblichus, who demonstrates that they wander from the meaning of Plato, and from the truth of things. After this manner, therefore, we must say, that Timæus being a Pythagorean, follows the Pythagorean principles. But these are the Orphic traditions. For what Orpheus delivered mystically through arcane narrations, these Pythagoras learned, being initiated by Aglaophemus in the mystic wisdom which Orpheus derived from his mother Calliope. For these things Pythagoras says in the Sacred Discourse. What then are the Orphic traditions, since we are of opinion that the doctrine of Timæus about the Gods should be referred to these? They are as follow: Orpheus delivered the kingdoms of the Gods who preside over wholes, according to a perfect number, viz. Phanes, Night, Heaven, Saturn, Jupiter, Bacchus. For Phanes is the first that bears a sceptre, and the first king is the celebrated Ericapæus. But the second is Night, who receives the sceptre from her father [Phanes.] The third is Heaven, who receives it from Night. The fourth is Saturn, who, as they say, offered violence to his father. The fifth is Jupiter, who subdued his father. And after him, the sixth is Bacchus. All these kings, therefore, beginning supernally from the intelligible and intellectual Gods, proceed through the middle orders, and into the world, that they may adorn mundane affairs. For Phanes is not only in intelligibles, but also in intellectuals, in the demiurgic, and in the supermundane order; and in a similar manner, Heaven and Night. For the peculiarities of them proceed through all the middle orders. And with respect to the mighty Saturn, is he not arranged prior to Jupiter, and does he not after the Jovian kingdom, divide the Bacchic fabrication in conjunction with the other Titans? And this indeed, he effects in one way in the heavens, and in another in the sublunary region; in one way in the inerratic sphere, and in another among the planets. And in a similar manner Jupiter and Bacchus. These things, therefore, are clearly asserted by the ancients.

If, however we are right in these assertions, these divinities have everywhere an analogous subsistence; and he who wishes to survey the progressions of them into the heavens, or the sublunary region, should look to the first and principal causes of their kingdoms. For from thence, and according to them, their generation is derived. Some, therefore, say, that Plato omits to investigate the Gods who are analogous to the two kings in the heavens, I mean Phanes and Night. For it is necessary to place them in a superior order, and not among the mundane Gods; because prior to the world, they are the leaders of the intellectual Gods, being eternally established in the adytum, as Orpheus says of Phanes, who by the word adytum signifies their occult and immanifest order. Whether, therefore, we refer the circulation; of same and different, mentioned by Plato in this dialogue, to the analogy of these, as male and female, or paternal and generative, we shall not wander from the truth. Or whether we refer the sun and moon, as opposed to each other, among the planets, to the same analogy, we shall not err. For the sun indeed through his light preserves a similitude to Phanes, but the moon to Night. Jupiter, or the demiurgus, in the intellectual, is analogous to Phanes in the intelligible order. And the vivific crater Juno is analogous to Night, who produces all life in conjunction with Phanes from unapparent causes; just as Juno is parturient with, and emits into light, all the soul contained in the world. For it is better to conceive both these as prior to the world; and to arrange the demiurgus himself as analogous to Phanes; since he is said to be assimilated to him according to the production of wholes; but to arrange the power conjoined with Jupiter, (i. e. Juno) and which is generative of wholes, to Night, who produces all things from the father Phanes. After these, however, we must consider the remaining, as analogous to the intellectual kingdoms.

If, likewise, it should be asked why Plato does not mention the kingdoms of Phanes and Night, to whom we have said Jupiter and Juno are analogous? It may be readily answered, that the tradition of Orpheus contains these; on which account Plato celebrates the kingdom of Heaven and Earth as the first, the Greeks being more accustomed to this than to the Orphic traditions; as he himself says in the Cratylus, where he particularly mentions the Theogony of Hesiod, and recurs as far as to this kingdom according to that poet. Beginning, therefore, from this Theogony as more known, and assuming Heaven and Earth as the first kingdoms above the world, he produces the visible Heaven and Earth analogous to those in the intellectual order, and celebrates the latter as the most ancient of the Gods within the former. From these also, he begins the Theogony of the sublunary Gods. These things, however, if divinity pleases, will be manifest from what follows. At present we shall only add, that it is requisite to survey all these names divinely or dæmoniacally, and according to the allotments of these divinities in the four elements. For this ennead is in ether and water, in earth and in air, all-variously, according to the divine, and also according to the dæmoniacal peculiarity. And again, these names are to be surveyed aquatically and aerially, and likewise in the earth terrestrially, in order that all of them may be everywhere, according to an all-various mode of subsistence. For there are many modes of providence divine and dæmoniacal, and many allotments according to the division of the elements.


Let us, therefore, now return to the words of Plato. In the first place then he says that Ocean and Tethys were the progeny of Heaven and Earth. And here we may observe, that as this whole world is ample and various, as adumbrating the intellectual order of forms, it contains these two extremities in itself, Earth and Heaven; the latter having the relation of a father, but the former of a mother. On this account Plato calls Earth the most ancient of the Gods within the heavens, in order that conformably to this he might say, that Earth is the mother of all that Heaven is the father; at the same time evincing that partial causes are not only subordinate to their progeny, as Poverty, in the Banquet of Plato to Love, but are likewise superior to them, as alone receiving the offspring proceeding from the fathers. These two extremities, therefore, must be conceived in the world, Heaven as the father, and Earth as the mother of her common progeny. For all the rest terminate in these, some giving completion to the celestial number, but others to the wholeness of Earth. After the same manner, likewise, in each of the elements of the world, these two principles, Heaven and Earth, must be admitted, subsisting aerially indeed in air, but aquatically in water, and terrestrially in earth; and according to all the above-mentioned modes; in order that each may be a perfect world, adorned and distributed from analogous principles. For if man is said to be a microcosm, is it not necessary that each of the elements by a much greater priority should contain in itself appropriately all that the world contains totally? Hence, it appears to me that Plato immediately after speaking about Heaven and Earth, delivers the theory of these Gods, beginning from those two divinities; for the other divinities proceed analogous to Heaven and Earth. These two divinities, however, are totally the causes of all the Gods that are now produced. And these divinities that are the progeny of Heaven and Earth, are analogous to the whole of each. These two, likewise, as we have before observed, are in each of the elements, aerially, or aquatically, or terrestrially. For Heaven is in Earth, and Earth in Heaven.[36] And here, indeed, Heaven subsists terrestrially, but there Earth celestially. For Orpheus calls the moon celestial earth. Nor is it proper to wonder that this should be the case. For we may survey the same things everywhere, according to the analogous, in intelligibles, in intellectuals, in the supermundane order, in the heavens, and in generation, conformably to the proper order of each.

With respect, however, to each of these divinities, some of the interpreters of Plato understand by Earth, this solid bulk which is the object of sensible inspection; others as that which has an arrangement analogous to matter, and is supposed to exist prior to generated natures; others, as intelligible matter; others, as the power of intellect; others, as life; others, as an incorporeal form inseparable from earth; others conceive it to be soul; and others intellect. In a similar manner with respect to Heaven, some suppose it to be the visible heavens; others, the motion about the middle of the universe; others, power aptly proceeding in conjunction with motion; others, that which possesses intellect; others, a pure and separate intellect; others, the nature of circulation; others, soul; and others, intellect. I know, likewise, that the divine Jamblichus understands by Earth, every thing stable and firm, according to the essence of the mundane Gods, and which according to energy and a perpetual circulation, comprehends more excellent powers and total lives. But by Heaven, he understands the total and perfect energy proceeding from the demiurgus, which is full of appropriate power, and subsists about the demiurgus, as being the boundary of itself and of wholes. I know, likewise, that the admirable Theodorus establishes both these powers in the life which subsists according to habitude.

In order, however, that we may avoid erroneous opinions, and may adhere to the most pure conceptions of Jamblichus, and the traditions of Syrianus, it is necessary in the first place to recollect, that Plato is now speaking of the sublunary Gods, that all of them are every where, and that they proceed according to the analogy of the intelligible and intellectual kings. And in the second place we must say, that as the first Heaven is the boundary of and connectedly contains the intellectual Gods, containing the measure which proceeds from the good and the intelligible Gods, into the intellectual orders, after the same manner the Heaven which is now mentioned by Plato, is the boundary and container of the Gods that are the fabricators of generation, comprehending in one bound the demiurgic measure, and also that which proceeds from the celestial Gods to those divinities that are allotted the realms of generation, and connecting them with the celestial government of the Gods. For as the demiurgus is to the good itself, so is the one divinity of this Heaven, to the intellectual Heaven. Hence, as there, measure and bound proceeds from the good through Heaven to all the intellectual Gods, so likewise here a bound arrives to the Gods the fabricators of generation and to the more excellent genera [viz. to angels, dæmons and heroes] from the demiurgus, and the summit of the mundane Gods; viz. through the connectedly-containing medium of this Heaven. For the every-where proceeding Heaven is allotted this order; in one procession of things indeed, unitedly and occultly; but in another manifestly and separately. For in one order, it introduces bound to souls; in another to the works of nature; and in another in a different manner to other things. And in air indeed, it effects this primarily; but in the aquatic orders secondarily; and in earth, and terrestrial works, in an ultimate degree. But there are also complications of these. For the divine mode of subsistence, and also the dæmoniacal are different in the air, and in the earth. For in one place, the mode is the same in different orders; but in another the mode is different in one allotment. And thus much concerning the power of Heaven.


In the next place, directing our attention to Earth, we shall derive the whole of the theory concerning her from her first evolution into light. She first becomes manifest, therefore, in the middle triads of the intellectual Gods, together with Heaven who connectedly contains the whole intellectual order. She likewise proceeds analogous to the intelligible Earth, which we find to be the first of the intelligible triads. And as ranking in the vivific orders, she is assimilated to the first infinity. But she is the receiving bosom of the generative deity of Heaven, and the middle centre of his paternal goodness. She also reigns together with him, and is the power of him who ranks as a father. The Earth, however, which is analogous to her, and presides in the sublunary regions, is as it were the prolific power of the Heaven pertaining to the realms of generation, unfolding into light his paternal, definitive, measuring and containing providence, which prolifically extends to all things. She likewise generates all the sublunary infinity; just as Heaven who belongs to the coordination of bound, introduces termination and end to secondary natures. Bound, therefore, and end define the hyparxis of everything according to which Gods and dæmons, souls and bodies are connected and made to be one, imitating the one unity of wholes, or in other words, the ineffable principle of things; but infinity multiplies the powers of every being. For there is much bound in all sublunary natures, and likewise much infinity, which through divinity, and after the Gods extends to all things. We have, therefore, these two orders, which are generative of the divine or dæmoniacal progressions, in all the sublunary genera and elements; and one kingdom of them in the same manner as in the intellectual orders. From these, however, a second duad proceeds, Ocean and Tethys, this generation not being effected by copulation, nor by any conjunction of things separated, nor by division, nor according to a certain abscission, for all these are foreign from the Gods; but they are accomplished according to one union and indivisible conjunction of powers. And this union theologists are accustomed to call marriage. For marriage, as the theologist Orpheus says, is appropriate to this order. For he calls Earth the first Nymph, and the union of her with Heaven the first marriage; since there is no marriage in the divinities that are in the most eminent degree united. Hence there is no marriage between Phanes and Night, who are intelligibly united to each other. And marriage appears on this account to be adapted to the Heaven and Earth which we are at present considering, so far as they adumbrate the intellectual Heaven and Earth; which the sacred laws of the Athenians likewise knowing, ordered that the marriages of Heaven and Earth should be celebrated, as preparatory to initiation into the mysteries. Directing their attention to these also, in the Eleusinian mysteries looking upward to the heavens, they exclaimed, O son! but looking downward to the earth, O parent! According to this union, therefore, in conjunction with separation, Heaven and Earth produce through their goodness Ocean and Tethys. Or rather, they do not immediately produce these, but prior to these two monads, two triads, and duple hebdomads, among which are Ocean and Tethys. And the monads indeed, together with the triads, remain with the father. But of the hebdomads, Ocean, together with Tethys, abide, and at the same time proceed. All the rest, however, proceed into another order of Gods. And this indeed is the mode of their subsistence in the intellectual order. But here, Plato entirely omits the causes that abide in the father, but delivers to us those that proceed and at the same time abide, because his intention is to speak of the Gods that are the fabricators of generation. To these, however, progression, motion, and difference, are adapted, and a co-arrangement of the male with the female; in order that there may be generation, that matter may be adorned with forms, and that difference may be combined with sameness. Hence Plato commences from the duad, proceeds through it, and again returns to it. For the duad is adapted to material natures, as well as difference, on account of the division of forms about matter. Having mentioned a duad, likewise, he begins from Earth; for this is more adapted to things pertaining to generation.

With respect to these two divinities, however, Ocean and Tethys, who abide in their causes and at the same time proceed from them, some say that Ocean is a corporeal essence; others, that it is a swiftly pervading nature; others, that it is the motion of a humid essence; others, that it is ether, through the velocity of its motion; and others, that it is the intelligible profundity itself of life. The divine Jamblichus, however, defines it to be the middle motive divine cause, which middle souls, lives, and intellections, efficacious natures, and those elements that are pneumatic, such as air and fire, first participate. And with respect to Tethys, some say that it is a humid essence; others, that it is a very-mutable nature; and others, that it is the hilarity of the universe. But the divine Jamblichus asserts it to be a productive power, possessing in energizing an efficacious establishment, the stable intellections of which, souls, natures, and powers participate, and which is likewise participated by certain solid receptacles, either of earth or water, which prepare a seat for the elements.

We, however, again assuming our principles, say, that the causes of these are indeed in the intellectual Gods, and that they are likewise in the sensible universe. For Ocean everywhere distinguishes first from second orders, in consequence of which poets do not improperly call it the boundary of the earth. But the Ocean which is now the subject of discussion, is the cause of motion, progression, and power; inserting in intellectual lives indeed, acme, and prolific abundance; but in souls, celerity and vigour, in their energies, and purity in their generations; and in bodies facility of motion. And in the Gods indeed it imparts a motive and providential cause; but in angels an unfolding and intellectual celerity and vigour. Again, in dæmons it is the supplier of efficacious power; but in heroes, of a magnificent and flourishing life. It likewise subsists in each of the elements, according to its characteristic peculiarity. Hence, the aerial Ocean is the cause of all the mutation of aerial natures, and of the circle of the meteors, as also Aristotle says. But the aquatic Ocean gives subsistence to fertility, facility of motion, and all-various powers. For according to the poets,

From this all seas and every river flow.

And the terrestrial ocean is the producing cause of generative perfection, of the separation of forms, and of generation and corruption. Whether also there are certain terrestrial orders, vivific and demiurgic, it is the source of their distinction; or whether there are powers connective of the productive principles of the earth, and the inspective guardians of generation,—these also it excites and multiplies, and calls into motion.

With respect to Tethys, as the name indeed evinces, she is the most ancient, and the progenitor, of the Gods, in the same manner as it is fit to acknowledge of the mother Rhea. For theologists denominate another Goddess prior to her, Maia. Thus, Orpheus,

Maia, of Gods supreme, immortal Night,
What mean you, say?

But according to the etymology of Plato, she is a certain fontal deity. For the undefiled and pure, and that which percolates are signified through her name. For since Ocean produces all things, and is the source of all motions, whence also it is called the generation of the Gods, Tethys separates the unical cause of his motions into primary and secondary motions. Hence Plato says, that she derives her appellation from leaping and percolating. For these are separative names, in the same manner, as he says in the Sophista, (το ξαινειν και κερκιζειν) to card, and to separate threads in weaving with a shuttle. Ocean, therefore, generating all motion collectively, whether divine, or intellectual, or psychical, or physical, Tethys separating both internal and external motions, is so called from causing material motions to leap and be percolated from such as are immaterial. Hence, the separating characteristic is adapted to the female, and the unical to the male. Plato, therefore, would assert such peculiarities as these, of Ocean and Tethys, and does assert them in the Cratylus. But according to the divine Jamblichus, Tethys must be defined to be the supplier of position and firm establishment. From all that has been said, however, it may be summarily asserted that Tethys is the cause of permanency, and a firm establishment of things in herself, separating them from the motions that proceed externally.

In short, Ocean is the cause of all motion, intellectual, psychical, and physical to all secondary natures; but Tethys is the cause of all the separation of the streams proceeding from Ocean, imparting to each a proper purity in the motion adapted to it by nature; through which each, though it may move itself, or though it may move other things, yet moves in a transcendent manner. But theologists manifest that Ocean is the supplier of all motion, when they say that he sends forth ten streams, nine of which proceed into the sea; because it is necessary, that of motions nine should be corporeal, but that there should be one alone of the essence which is separate from bodies, as we are informed by Plato in the Laws.[37] Such divine natures, therefore, as the mighty Ocean generates, these he excites to motion, and renders them efficacious. But Tethys distinguishes these, preserving generative causes pure from their progeny, and establishing them in energies more ancient than those that proceed into the external world. And thus much concerning each of these divinities, Ocean and Tethys.

Since, however, as we have said, the generation of these, is from the prior divinities, Heaven and Earth, but is not effected either by a copulation such as that which is in sensibles, nor according to such a union as that of Night and Phanes in intelligibles, it very properly follows that their progeny are separated from each other, analogously to their parents, and that each receives a similitude to both. For Ocean indeed, as being the male, is assimilated to the paternal cause, Heaven; but as the supplier of motion to the maternal cause, Earth, who is the cause of progressions. And Tethys indeed, as the female, is assimilated to the prolific cause; but as producing a firm establishment of her progeny in their proper lives, she is assimilated to the fabricating cause. For the male is analogous to the monadic; but the female to the dyadic. And the stable is adapted to the former; but the motive to the latter. A duad, therefore, proceeding from a duad, and being assimilated according to the whole of itself to the duad which is generative of it, defines and distinguishes the causes of itself, and all the number posterior to itself; in order that everywhere we may ascribe that which defines and separates, to the order of Ocean and Tethys.


In the next place Plato says, “that from Ocean and Tethys, Phorcys, Saturn, and Rhea, and such as subsist together with these were produced;” the theory of which divinities is as follows. In the former progeny, a duad generative and motive, was produced from a terminating and definitive duad; viz. Ocean and Tethys, from Heaven and Earth; but in the second progeny, a multitude converted to its causes through the triad, is generated from the duad; indicating likewise an all-perfect progression. For this multitude also is divided, into the analogous to bound, and the co-ordinate to infinity. For the triad is the bound in this multitude; but the nameless number is the infinity in it. And of the triad itself, likewise, one thing is analogous to the monad and bound, but another to the duad and infinity. And in the former progression, indeed, the progeny alone proceeded according to bound and the intellectual; but in this there is also a mixture of the indefinite. But after the boundary from the triad, Plato adds, “And such as subsist together with these” indicating the entire progression and separation of these triple orders; so that the progeny of this progression is triadic through the peculiarity of conversion, and dyadic through the intervention of the infinite and indefinite.

Since, however, these differ according to their intellectual causes, in the same manner as the. before-mentioned orders; but in them Ocean and Tethys were said to be the brethren, and not the fathers of Saturn and Rhea; for the progression to these was from Heaven and Earth, and all the Titanic order is thence derived; let us see on what account Plato here gives subsistence to Phorcys, Saturn and Rhea, from Ocean and Tethys. For he may appear to say this not conformably to the Orphic principles. For “Earth latently bore from Heaven, as the theologist says, seven pure beautiful virgins with rolling eyes, and seven sons that were kings, with fine long hair. And the daughters indeed were Themis, and the joyful Tethys, Mnemosyne with thick-curled hair, and the blessed Thea. She likewise bore Dione having a very-graceful form, and Phœbe, and Rhea the mother of king Jupiter. But the venerable Earth brought forth those celestial youths, who are called by the appellation of Titans, because they revenged the mighty starry Heaven. And she also bore Cæus, the great Cræus, and the strong Phorcys, and likewise Saturn, and Ocean, Hyperion and Japetus.” These things then having been written by the theologist prior to Plato, how is it that Timæus produces Saturn and Rhea, from Ocean and Tethys? In answer to this, as we have before arranged Ocean and Tethys above Saturn and Rhea, as being the media between these and the fathers, and guardians of the boundaries of both, as it is usual to celebrate them; we must say in the first place, indeed, that it is not wonderful that the same divinities should be brothers, and yet through transcendency of dignity should be called the fathers of certain Gods. For such things as are first, when they proceed from their causes, produce in conjunction with those causes, the natures posterior to themselves. Thus all souls indeed are sisters, according to one demiurgic cause, and according to the vivific principle and fountain from which they proceed; at the same time divine souls produce partial souls together with the demiurgus and vivific causes, in consequence of first proceeding into light, and abiding in their wholeness, receiving the power of fabricating natures similar to themselves. Besides, in the Gods themselves, all the offspring of Saturn are brethren, according to the one generative monad by which they were produced; yet at the same time Jupiter is called father, in the divine poet Homer, both by Juno and Neptune. So that it is not at all wonderful, if Ocean and Tethys are called both brethren and fathers of Saturn and Rhea; in consequence of preserving as among brethren the paternal peculiarity. In the first place, therefore, the doubt may after this manner be solved.

In the next place, it may be said, that of the divine Titanic hebdomads, Ocean indeed both abides and proceeds, uniting himself to his father, and not departing from his kingdom. But all the rest rejoicing in progression, are said to have given completion to the will of Earth, but to have assaulted their father, dividing themselves from his kingdom, and proceeding into another order. Or rather, of all the celestial genera, some alone abide in their principles, as the two first triads. For, as soon as Heaven understood that they had an implacable heart, and a lawless nature, he hurled them into Tartarus, the profundity of the earth, [says Orpheus]. He concealed them, therefore, in the unapparent, through transcendency of power. But others both abide in, and proceed from, their principles, as Ocean and Tethys. For when the other Titans proceeded to assault their father Heaven, Ocean prohibited them from obeying the mandates of their mother, being dubious of their rectitude. He, therefore, abides, and at the same time proceeds, together with Tethys; for she is conjoined with him according to the first progeny. But the other Titans are induced to separation and progression. And the leader of these is the mighty Saturn, as the theologist says; though he evinces that Saturn is superior to Ocean, by saying, that Saturn himself received the celestial Olympus, and that there being throned he reigns over the Titans; but that Ocean obtained all the middle allotment. For he says, that he dwells in the divine streams which are posterior to Olympus, and that he environs the Heaven which is there, and not the highest Heaven, but as the fable says, that which fell from Olympus, and was there arranged.[38]

Ocean and Tethys, therefore, so far as they abide, and are united to Heaven, produce in conjunction with him the kingdom of Saturn and Rhea; and so far as they are established in the first power of their mother, so far they produce Phorcys in conjunction with her. For she produces him together with Nereus and Thaumas, from being mingled through love with the sea. For Phorcys is not celestial, but Ocean, as is evident from the Theogony.[39] And so far as Tethys is full of Earth, so far being as it were a certain Earth, she may be said to produce this Phorcys in conjunction with Ocean; so far as Ocean also comprehends the intelligible in himself. Hence Tethys, so far as she is Earth according to participation, and Ocean so far as he is causally the sea, give subsistence in conjunction with Saturn and Rhea to this God. If, however, any arguments should demonstrate that in the intellectual order Saturn is above Ocean, or Rhea above Tethys, it must be said that this arrangement is indeed there; for in that order the causes of intellection are superior to those of motion; but that here on the contrary, all things are in mutation and a flowing condition, so that here Ocean is very properly prior to Saturn, since it is the fountain of motion, and Tethys is prior to Rhea. Hence, after another manner, the doubt may be thus solved.

That we may speak, however, about each of these Gods, Theodorus refers souls that subsist in habitude to these divinities, and arranges them as presiding over the three divisions of the world. And Phorcys indeed, he arranges in the starless sphere, as moving the lation of the universe. He ought, however, to persuade us that Plato was acquainted with a certain starless sphere, and afterwards, that he thus arranged Phorcys in this sphere. But he places Saturn over the motions of the stars, because time is from these, and the generations and corruptions of things. And he places Rhea over the material part of the world, because by materiality she has a redundancy with respect to the divinities prior to herself. But the divine Jamblichus arranges them in the three spheres between the heavens and the earth. For some of the sublunary deities give a two-fold division to the sublunary region, but these divide it in a three-fold manner. And Phorcys indeed, according to him, presides over the whole of a humid essence, containing all of it impartibly. But Rhea is a divinity connective of flowing and aerial-formed spirits. And Saturn governs the highest and most attenuated sphere of ether, having a middle arrangement according to Plato; because the middle and the centre in incorporeal essences, have a greater authority than the powers situated about the middle. We, indeed, admire this intellectual explanation of Jamblichus; but we think it proper to survey these Gods everywhere, both in all the elements, and all orders. For thus we shall behold that which is common in them, and which extends to all things. And we say, indeed, that Phorcys is the inspective guardian of every spermatic essence, and of physical, and as it were spermatic productive principles, as being pregnant with, and the cause of generation. For there are spermatic productive principles in each of the elements; and different orders of Gods and dæmons preside over them, all which Plato comprehends through Phorcys. But king Saturn divides forms and productive principles, and produces more total into more partial powers. Hence he is not only an animal but pedestrious, aquatic and a bird. And he is not only pedestrious, but likewise man and horse. For the productive principles in him are more partial than in the celestial deities. Among the intellectual Gods, therefore, he is allotted this power, viz. to multiply and divide intelligibles. Hence, he is the leader of the Titans, as being especially characterized by the dividing peculiarity.

Again, we say that Rhea receives the unapparent powers of king Saturn, leads them forth to secondary natures, and excites the paternal powers to the fabrication of visible objects. For thus also, her first order is moved, is filled with power and life, and produces into that which is apparent, the causes that abide in Saturn. Hence Saturn is every where the supplier of intellectual forms; Rhea is the cause of all souls, and of every kind of life; and Phorcys is prolific with physical productive principles. Since however another number of Gods pertains to the kingdom of these, and which Saturn and Rhea comprehend, on this account Plato adds, “and such as subsist together with these.” For he not only through this comprehends dæmons, as some say, but both the angelic and the dæmoniacal Saturn have with themselves a multitude, the one angelic, but the other dæmoniacal. And the multitude which is in the Gods is divine; that which is in the air is aerial; and in a similar manner in the other elements, and in the other more excellent genera; arranged under these Gods.

By the words also “such as subsist together with these,” Plato appears to signify the remaining Titans, viz. Cæus and Hyperion, Creus, Japetus, and likewise the remaining Titanidæ, viz. Phœbe, Theia, Mnemosyne, Themis, and Dione, with whom Saturn and Rhea proceeded into light. Also, those that proceeded together with Phorcys, viz. Nereus and Thaumas, the most motive Eurybia, and those who especially contain and connect the whole of generation. Moreover, it is worthwhile to observe that it is not proper to discuss accurately the arrangement in these divinities, and whether Saturn or Phorcys is the superior deity; for they are united and similar to each other. But if it be requisite to make a division, it is better to adopt the arrangement of the divine Jamblichus, viz. that Saturn is a monad; but Rhea a certain duad calling forth the powers that are in Saturn; and that Phorcys gives perfection to their progression.


It now remains that we direct our attention to the other kings, who produce the apparent sublunary order of things; for such is the arrangement which they are allotted. Plato adds therefore, “That from Saturn and Rhea, Jupiter, Juno, and all such as we know are called the brethren of these descended.” This is the third progression of the Gods who are the fabricators of generation, but the fourth order, closing as a tetrad the nomination of the leading Gods. For the tetrad is comprehensive of the divine orders. But as a duad this progression is assimilated to the first kingdom; because that as well as this is dyadic. There are, however, present with it, the all-perfect according to progression, and the uncircumscribed according to number. But Plato here not only adds the words “such as,” as in the progression prior to it, but likewise the word “all,” that he may indicate the progression of them to every thing. For we use the term το οσον such as in speaking of things united, but the term το παντας all, in speaking of things now divided and multiplied. The total (το ολικον) likewise pertains to this progression. For the Gods which are denominated in it, and those that proceed every where together with them, are characterized according to this form of fabrication. For all demiurgi are total. Who therefore are they, and what kind of order do they possess?

The divine Jamblichus then asserts that Jupiter is the perfector of all generation; but that Juno is the cause of power, connexion, plenitude and life to all things; and that the brethren of them are those that communicate with them in the fabrication of generation, being also themselves intellects, and receiving a completion according to a perfection and power similar to them. But Theodorus, again dividing the life which animates the total in habitude, and forming it as he is accustomed to do into triads, calls Jupiter the power that governs the upper region as far as to the air; but Juno the power who is allotted the aerial part of the world; and the brethren of them those that give completion to the remaining parts. For Jupiter is the essential of the soul that subsists in a material habit, because there is nothing more vital than essence. But Juno is the intellectual part of such a soul, because the natures on the earth are governed by the productive principles proceeding from the air. And the other number is the psychical distributed into particulars.

We, however, consequently to what has been before asserted, say, that according to Plato there are many orders of Jupiter. For one is the demiurgus, as it is written in the Cratylus; another, is the first of the Saturnian triad, as it is asserted in the Gorgias; another is the liberated, as it is delivered in the Phædrus; and another is the celestial, whether in the inerratic sphere, or among the planets. Moreover, as the first Jupiter produced into the visible fabrication the power of his father, which was concealed in the unapparent, being excited to this by his mother Rhea; after the same manner the Jupiter delivered here, who is the fabricator of generation, causes the unapparent divisions and separations of forms made by Saturn to become apparent; but Rhea calls them forth, into motion and generation; and Phorcys inserts them in matter, produces sensible natures, and adorns the visible essence, in order that there may not only be divisions of productive principles in natures and in souls, and in intellectual essences prior to these, but likewise in sensibles. For this is the peculiarity of fabrication. And if it be requisite to speak what appears to me to be the truth, Saturn indeed produces intellectual sections, but Rhea such as are psychical, and Phorcys such as are physical. For all spermatic productive principles are under nature. But Jupiter adorning sensible and visible sections, gives a specific distinction to such beings in the sublunary region as are totally vital, and causes them to be moved. Since, however, these sensible forms which are generated and perfected, are multiformly evolved, being moved and changed according to all-various evolutions, on this account, the queen Juno is conjoined with Jupiter, giving perfection to this motion of visible natures, and to the evolution of forms. Hence fables represent her as at one time sending mania to certain persons, but ordering others to undergo severe labours, in order that through intellect being present with all things, and partial souls energizing divinely both theoretically and practically, every progression, and all the generation of the sublunary region may obtain complete perfection.

Such, therefore, being the nature of this duad, there are also other demiurgic powers which triply divide the apparent world of generation; one of these being allotted the government of air; another, that of water; and another that of earth, conformably to demiurgic allotments. Hence they are said to be the brothers of these, because they also preside over the visible fabrication. And farther still, there are others the progeny of these; which is the last progression of the divinities mentioned in this place by Plato. Hence, they are delivered anonymously; Plato by this indicating the diminution of it as far as to the last division: For as in the Gods that are above the world, the partible proceeds from the total fabrication, and the series of kings terminates in this; after the same manner also among the sublunary Gods, the progeny of Jupiter proceed from the Jovian order; among which progeny, likewise, is the choir of partible fabrication. For the before-mentioned demiurgi producing sensibles totally, it is necessary that those deities should have a subsistence who distribute different powers and peculiarities to different natures, and divide the sublunary generation into multitude. Hence Plato alone denominates them others, and does not employ the expressions such as, and all, because they associate with all-various diversity.

With respect, therefore, to this ennead of Gods, Heaven terminates, Earth corroborates, and Ocean moves all generation. But Tethys establishes every thing in its proper motion; intellectual essences in intellectual; middle essences in psychical; and such as are corporeal in physical, motion; Ocean at the same time collectively moving all things. Saturn alone divides intellectually; Rhea vivifies; Phorcys distributes spermatic productive principles; Jupiter perfects things apparent from such as are unapparent; and Juno evolves according to the all-various mutations of visible natures. And thus through this ennead all the sublunary world derives its completion, and is fitly arranged; divinely indeed from the Gods, but angelically, as we say, from angels, and dæmoniacally from dæmons; the Gods indeed subsisting about bodies, souls and intellects; but angels exhibiting their providence about souls and bodies; and dæmons being distributed about the fabrication of nature, and the providential care of bodies. But again, the number of the ennead is adapted to generation. For it proceeds from the monad as far as to the extremities without retrogression;[40] which is the peculiarity of generation. For reasons (i. e. productive principles) fall into matter, and are unable to convert themselves to the principles of their existence. Moreover, the duad is triadic; for three dyadic orders were assumed; viz. Heaven and Earth; Ocean and Tethys; Jupiter and Juno. And this last duad ranks as the fourth progression, because prior to it, is the triad Phorcys, Saturn, and Rhea; which manifests the complication here, of the perfect and the imperfect, and of bound with infinity. For all celestial natures are definite, and as Aristotle says, are always in the end. But things in generation proceed from the imperfect to the perfect, and receive the same boundary indefinitely. Besides this, the tetrad arising from the generation of these divinities is adapted to the orders of the fabricators of the sublunary region; in order that they may contain multitude unitedly, and the partible impartibly; and also to the natures that exist in generation. For the sublunary elements are four; the seasons according to which generation is evolved are four; and the centres are four. And in short, there is an abundant dominion of the tetrad in generation.

Why, however, it may be said, does Plato comprehend all the multitude of the Gods that fabricate generation, in this ennead? I answer, because this ennead gives completion to all the fabrication of generation. For in the sublunary realms there are bodies and natures, souls, and intellects, and this both totally and partially. And all these are in both respects in each of the elements. This ennead in each of the elements, is as follows, viz. total and partial bodies, total and partial natures, total and partial souls, and total and partial intellects, and the monad which contains these, viz. the elementary sphere itself; because wholes and parts are consubsistent with each other. Heaven and Earth, however, generate the unapparent essences of these, i. e. of wholes and parts, the former indeed according to union, but the latter according to multiplication. And the former according to bound, but the latter according to infinity; being the leaders of essence to all things. But Ocean and Tethys give perfection to both the common and divided motion of them. There is, however, a different motion of different things, viz. of total intellect, of total soul, and of total nature; and in a similar manner in such of these as are partial. The sublunary wholes, therefore, being thus adorned and distributed, Saturn, indeed, divides partial from total natures, but intellectually; Rhea, calls forth this division from intellectuals, into all-various progressions, as far as to the last forms of life, being a vivific deity; but Phorcys produces the Titannic separation, to physical productive principles. After these three, are the fathers of composite natures. And Jupiter indeed, adorns sensibles totally, according to an imitation of Heaven. For the Jupiter in the intellectual order, proceeds analogous to the intellectual Heaven, in the royal series. But Juno moves wholes, fills them with powers, and evolves, according to every progression. And the Gods posterior to these fabricate the partial works of sensibles, some according to one, but others according to another peculiarity, either demiurgic, or vivific, or perfective, or connective, being evolved and dividing themselves, as far as to the last of things, analogously to the Saturnian order. For the dividing peculiarity originates from the Saturnian dominion.


In the last place, let us consider why Plato denominates the sublunary deities, “such as become apparent when they please.” Shall we say it is because these material elements are hurled forth before them as veils of the splendour of the etherial vehicles which are proximately suspended from them? For it is evident that being mundane they must also necessarily have a mundane starry vehicle. The light of them, however, shines forth to the view, when they are about to benefit the places that receive their illumination. But if Plato says that they become visible when they please, it is necessary that this appearance of them should either be an evolution into light of the incorporeal powers which they contain, or of the bodies which are entirely spread under them. But if it is an evolution of their incorporeal powers, this is also common to the visible Gods. For they are not always apparent by their incorporeal powers, but only sometimes, and when they please. It is not proper, therefore, to divide the sublunary oppositely to the visible Gods, according to that which is common to both, but so far as they have entirely something peculiar. But if they produce a luminous evolution of certain bodies when they please, they must necessarily use other bodies prior to these material elements; and which then become visible to us, when it seems fit to the powers that use them. Hence, other bodies more divine than such as are apparent, are spread under the invisible Gods; and according to these, they are said to be, and are mundane. Through these also as media, they ride in and govern these elements. For they impart to them as much of themselves as they are able to receive, and contain the forms and the natures of them in their powers. For since no one of these is an object of sense, and it is necessary that the vehicles of rational souls should be things of this kind, it is evident that they must use other vehicles prior to these visible bodies.

With respect, however, to all the Gods that govern generation, we must not say, that they have an essence mingled with matter, as the Stoics assert they have. For nothing which verges to matter is able to govern with intellect and wisdom, nor is properly a producing cause, but an organ of something else. Nor must we say that they have an essence unmingled with matter, but powers and energies mingled with it, as Numenius and his followers assert. For the energies of the Gods concur with their essences, and their inward subsist prior to their externally proceeding energies; since a partial soul also prior to the life which is inserted in the animal suspended from it, contains a more principal life in itself; and prior to the externally proceeding motion, through which it moves other things, it is moved with a motion converted to itself. The sublunary Gods, therefore, are entirely unmingled with matter; adorning indeed things mingled in an unmingled, and things generated, in an unbegotten manner. They likewise contain partibles impartibly, are the causes of life, the suppliers of intellect, the replenishers of power, the givers of soul, the primary leaders of all good, and the sources of order, providence, and the best administration. They also give subsistence to more excellent animals about themselves, are the leaders of angels, the rulers of dæmons, and the prefects of heroes; governing through this triple army the whole of generation. If, therefore, we assert that the appropriate order of these divinities about generation, is the basis and seat of the total Gods, we shall speak rightly. And we shall likewise not err in asserting that they convolve the end of the divine decrement to the beginning. Such then being the nature of these divinities, Plato indeed looking to the Gods that are both intelligible and intellectual, and to those that are properly called intellectual, surveyed four progressions of them in common. But they also contain powers derived from the supermundane Gods; whether they proceed from the twelve leaders, or from certain other deities.

From the celestial choir of Gods likewise, a certain order proceeds into generation, which, as the divine Jamblichus says, is doubled in its progression. For from the twenty-one leaders, forty-two governments of Gods who are the fabricators of generation, are derived, according to each elementary allotment. But from the thirty-six decadarchs,[41] seventy-two sublunary rulers proceed; and in a similar manner other Gods; being the double of the celestial Gods in multitude, but falling short of them in power. It is likewise necessary to survey their triple progressions, their quintuple divisions, and their divine generation according to the hebdomad. For they receive an orderly distribution in a threefold, fivefold, and sevenfold manner analogous to the whole world; in order that each of the elements may be a world, and may be truly an imitation of the universe. Such, therefore, is the concise doctrine concerning the sublunary Gods, according to twofold essences, lives, and allotments; just as Plato also makes the ruling progeny of them to be dyadic.


Having therefore discussed the theory pertaining to the celestial and sublunary Gods, it now remains that we ascend to the summit or monad of all the mundane Gods, Bacchus, in whose divinity they all subsist and are rooted, similarly to the fixed stars in the inerratic sphere. For after this manner, every monad analogously contains its co-ordinate multitude.

Bacchus therefore, is the mundane intellect, from which the soul and body of the world are suspended. With respect however, to intellect it is necessary to observe that one kind is imparticipable and total; another is participable indeed but essentially so; and a third is participable, and subsists as a habit. All intellects unconnected with soul belong to the first kind. The mundane intellect, and the intellects of all the mundane Gods and beneficent dæmons, rank in the second division. And to the third class such intellects as ours belong. This deity also is the monad of the Titans, or ultimate fabricators of things, by whom he is said in divine fables to have been torn in pieces; because the mundane soul which participates of this divinity, and is on this account intellectual, is participated by the Titans, and through them distributed into every part of the universe. Plato in the Cratylus says of this divinity “that he is the giver of wine; and that οιονος wine may most justly be denominated οιονους because it is accustomed to deprive those of intellect who possessed it before” On which words Proclus in his MS Scholia on that dialogue observes as follows: “The young man Cratylus appears to inquire about our sovereign master Bacchus, as if it were about things of small importance, and on this account he is silenced by Socrates.[42] And he does not indeed pay attention to the occult, but only to the last and mundane progressions of the Gods. These indeed, the wise man venerates, though as he says, they are sports, through these Gods [Bacchus and Venus] being lovers of sport. For as he says of the terminations of the other Gods, that they are terrible, and that they avenge and punish, and thus give perfection to souls; as for instance, that Justice follows Jupiter, the avenger of the divine law, and that this divinity is benevolent to those whose manners are orderly, and who live according to intellect, but that she is baneful to those who mingle their life with insolence and ignorance, till she has entirely subverted them, their houses and cities;—in like manner, he venerates the terminations of Bacchus and Venus, which produce γλυκυθυμια sweetness of sensation; everywhere purifying our conceptions concerning the Gods, and preparing us to understand that all things look to the best end, whatever it may be. For because the terminations of these divinities strengthen the infirmity of the mortal nature, and alleviate corporeal molestation, on this account the Gods the causes of these things, are φιλοπαιγμονες lovers of sport. Hence, of statues, they make some of them laughing and dancing, and exhibiting relaxation, but others austere, astonishing, and terrible to the view, analogously to the mundane allotments of the Gods.

But theologists frequently call Bacchus wine, from the last of his gifts, as for instance, Orpheus [says]

Οινου παντα μελη κοσμῳ λαβε, και μοι ενεικε.

i. e. “Take all the members of Wine [that are distributed] in the world, and bring them to me.” If however the God is thus denominated, certainly his first and middle energies will be thus called, as well as his last; so that Socrates now looking to this calls the God διδοινυσος, beginning from wine, which as we have said manifests all the powers of Bacchus. Thus also in the Phædrus, Socrates calls Love in common great, both that which is divine, and that which is a lover of body. By this epithet wine therefore, we must understand that the peculiarity of a partial intellect, is in common presented to our view. For the word οιουν such as, is nothing else than intellectual form separated from a total intellect, and in consequence of this becoming participated, particular and alone. For an all-perfect intellect is all things, and energises according to all things with invariable sameness: but a partial and participated intellect, is indeed all things, but this according to one form, such as a solar, lunar, or mercurial form. This therefore, the peculiarity of which is to be separated from the rest, wine indicates, signifying an intellect such as, and particular. (σημαινων τον οιον και τινα νουν)

Since, therefore, every partial fabrication is suspended from the Dionysiacal or Bacchic monad, which distributes participated mundane intellects from total intellect, (or that intellect which ranks as a whole) many souls from one soul, and all sensible forms from their proper wholenesses; on this account theologists call both this God and all his fabrications wine. For all these are the progeny of intellect. And some things participate of the partial distribution of intellect in a more distant, but others in a nearer degree. Wine therefore energizes in things analogous to its subsistence in them; in body indeed, after the manner of an image, according to a false opinion and imagination; but in intellectual natures, according to an intellectual energy and fabrication. For in the laceration of Bacchus by the Titans, the heart of the God is said to have alone remained undistributed, i. e. the indivisible or impartible essence of intellect.

With respect to the mundane soul which is the immediate participant of this Bacchic intellect, the composition of it is most accurately delivered by Plato in the Timæus, and admirably unfolded by Proclus in his Commentaries on that dialogue. For full information therefore on this subject I refer the reader to those works; and shall only summarily observe at present that there are five genera of being, from which all things after the first being are composed; viz. essence, permanency, motion, sameness, and difference. For everything must possess essence; must abide in its cause, from which also it must proceed, and to which it must be converted; must be the same with itself and certain other natures, and at the same time different from others, and distinguished in itself. But Plato for the sake of brevity, assumes only three of these in the composition of the mundane soul, viz. essence, sameness, and difference; for the other two must necessarily subsist in conjunction with these.

When therefore Plato says, “that from an essence impartible, and always subsisting according to sameness of being, and from a nature divisible about bodies, the demiurgus mingled from both a third form of essence, having a middle subsistence between the two,”—by the impartible essence he means intellect, and by the nature which is divisible about bodies, a corporeal life. Hence the mundane soul is a medium between the mundane intellect, and the whole of that corporeal life which the world participates. We must not however suppose that when the soul is said to be mingled from these two, the indivisible and divisible natures are consumed in the mixture, as is the case when corporeal substances are mingled together; but we must understand that the soul is of a middle nature between these, so as to be different from each, and yet a participant of each. In short, the intellect participated by soul, is called by Plato impartible; but the nature which is divisible about bodies is the corporeal-formed life proceeding from the mundane soul, and which has the relation of splendour to it. For intellect is analogous to the Sun; soul, to the light proceeding from the sun; and a divisible life to the splendour proceeding from light.

Proclus observes on the above cited words of Plato, that they are conformable to the Orphic traditions. “For, says he,[43] Orpheus does not predicate the impartible of every intelligible or intellectual order, but according to him there are certain natures superior to this appellation, in the same manner as others are superior to other names. For king and father are not adapted to all the divine orders. Where, therefore, according to Orpheus, shall we first survey, the impartible, in order that we may understand the divine conception of Plato? Orpheus therefore establishes one demiurgus of every divisible fabrication, analogous to the one father who generates the total fabrication, and from him produces the whole intellectual mundane multitude, the number of souls, and corporeal compositions. And this one demiurgus indeed (i. e. Bacchus) generates all these unitedly; but the Gods that surround him, divide and separate his fabrications. Orpheus however says, that all his other fabrications were distributed into parts by the Gods whose characteristic is of a dividing nature; but that his heart alone was preserved impartible, through the providence of Minerva. For since he gives subsistence to intellects, souls and bodies; but souls and bodies indeed, receive in themselves an abundant division and distribution into parts, intellect remaining united and indivisible, being all things in one, and comprehending total intelligibles in one intellection;—this being the case, he says that the intellectual essence alone, and the intellectual number was saved entire by Minerva. For says he,

The intellectual heart alone was left,

directly calling it intellectual.

If therefore the impartible heart is intellectual, it will evidently be intellect and an intellectual number; not indeed every intellect, but the mundane; for this is the impartible heart, since the divided God was also the fabricator of this. Orpheus therefore calls the impartible essence of Bacchus intellect. But he denominates the life which is divisible about body, which is physical, and pregnant with seeds, the genitals of the God. And he says that Diana who presides over all the generation in nature, and is the midwife of physical productive principles, extends these genitals, distributing as far as to subterranean natures, the prolific power of the God. But all the remaining body of Bacchus was, he says, the psychical essence, this also being divided into seven parts. For they divided all the seven parts of the body, says the theologist, speaking of the Titans; just as Timæus divides the soul into seven parts. And perhaps Timæus, when he says that soul is extended through the whole world, will remind the followers of Orpheus of the Titanic division, through which soul is not only spread round the universe like a veil, but is also extended through it. Very properly therefore, does Plato call the essence which is proximately above soul, an impartible essence. And in short, he thus denominates the intellect which is participated by soul, following the Orphic fables, and wishing to be as it were an interpreter of what is said in the mysteries” And thus much concerning Bacchus, or the monad of the mundane Gods.


In the next place let us direct our attention to the Parmenides of Plato, and see how in that most theological dialogue the mundane Gods are characterized. In the first hypothesis therefore of that dialogue, in which all the divine orders are denied of the one, Parmenides characterizes the mundane Gods by the equal and the unequal as follows: “ But since the one is such, it will neither be equal nor unequal either to itself or to another. How so? If it were equal, indeed, it would be of the same measures with that to which it is equal. Certainly. But that which is greater or less than the things with which it is commensurate, will possess more measures than the less quantities, but fewer than the greater. Certainly. But to those to which it is incommensurable, with respect to the one part, it will consist of less; and with respect to the other of greater measures. How should it not? Is it not therefore impossible that a thing which does not participate of same should either be of the same measures, or admit any thing in any respect the same? It is impossible. It will therefore neither be equal to itself nor to another, if it does not consist of the same measures. It does not appear that it will. But if it consists of more or fewer measures, it will be of as many parts as there are measures; and so again, it will no longer be the one, but as many as there are measures. Right. But if it should be of one measure, it would become equal to that measure. It has, however, appeared that the one cannot be equal to any thing. It has appeared so. The one, therefore, neither participates of one measure, nor of many, nor of a few; nor (since it in no respect participates of same) can it ever, as it appears, be equal to itself or to another, nor again greater or less either than itself or another. It is in every respect so.”

As the commentary of Proclus on the second hypothesis of the Parmenides, in which the equal and the unequal are affirmed of the one, is lost, and in which I have no doubt, the properties of the mundane Gods were most fully unfolded, I shall present the reader with the following extract from his commentary on the above passage in the Parmenides of Plato. The peculiarity of the mundane Gods is the equal and the unequal, the former of these indicating their fullness, and their receiving neither any addition nor ablation; (for such is that which is equal to itself, always preserving the same boundary;) but the latter, the multitude of their powers, and the excess and defect winch they contain. For in these, divisions, variety of powers, differences of progressions, analogies, and bonds through these, are, according to ancient theologists, especially allotted a place. Hence, Timæus also constitutes souls through analogy, the causes of which must necessarily presubsist in the Gods that proximately preside over souls. And as all analogies subsist from equality, Plato very properly indicates the peculiarity of these divinities by the equal and the unequal. But he now rightly frames the demonstrations of the negations of the equal and the unequal from sameness and the many, and not from the similar and the dissimilar, though immediately before he spoke of these. For every mundane deity proceeds from the demiurgic monad, and the first multitude which he denies of the one.

Of this then we must be entirely persuaded, that the things of which demonstrations consist are the preceding causes of the particulars about which Parmenides discourses; so that the equal and the unequal, so far as they proceed from the one, and subsist through sameness and the many, so far through these they are denied of the one. Hence, Plato thus begins his discussion of them:—“But since it (viz. the one) is such,” i. e. not as we have just now demonstrated, but as was formerly shown, that it neither receives same nor different, and is without multitude,—being such, it is neither equal nor unequal, neither to itself, nor to others. For again, there are here twofold conclusions, in the same manner as concerning the similar and the dissimilar, and the same and the different. But that the equal and the unequal are suspended from the twofold co-ordinations of divine natures is not immanifest. For the equal is arranged under the similar, and the same, subsistence in another, the round, and the whole; but the unequal, under the dissimilar, the different, subsistence in itself, the straight, and the possession of parts. And again, of these the former are suspended from bound, but the latter from infinity. Plato also appears to produce the discourse through certain oppositions, as it were, that he may show that the one is above all opposition. For the one cannot be the worse of the two opposites, since this would be absurd; nor can it be the better of the two, since in this case it would not be the cause of all things. For the better opposite is not the cause of the worse, but in a certain respect communicates with it, without being properly its cause. For neither does sameness give subsistence to difference, nor permanency to motion; but comprehension and union pervade from the better to the worse.

It is, however, by no means wonderful that the demonstrations of the equal and the unequal, which are here assumed as symbols of mundane deity, should be adapted to physical and mathematical equals, to the equals in the reasons of soul, and to those in intellectual forms. For it is necessary that demonstrations in all these negations should begin supernally, and should extend through all secondary natures, that they may show that the one of the Gods is exempt from intellectual, psychical, mathematical, and physical forms. All such axioms, therefore, as are now assumed concerning things equal and unequal, must be adapted to this order of Gods. Hence, as it contains many powers, some of which are co-ordinate with each other, and extend themselves to the self-perfect and the good, but others differ according to transcendency and subjection—the former must be said to be characterized by equality, but the latter by inequality. For the good is the measure of every thing: and hence such things as are united by the same good are measured by the same measure, and are equal to each other. But things which are uncoordinated with each other make their progression according to the unequal.

Since, however, of things unequal, some are commensurate and others incommensurate, it is evident that these also must be adapted to divine natures. Hence commensuration must be referred to those Gods, through whom secondary natures are mingled with those prior to them, and participate of the whole of more excellent beings. For thus, in things commensurate, the less is willing to have a common measure with the greater, the same thing measuring the whole of each. But incommensuration must be ascribed to those divinities from whom things subordinate, through the exempt transcendency of more excellent natures, participate of them in a certain respect, but are incapable through their subjection of being conjoined with the whole of them. For the communion proceeding from first to partial and multifarious natures is incommensurate to the latter. If, indeed, the equal and the unequal are symbols of the mundane Gods, the commensurate and the incommensurate are here very properly introduced. For in things incorporeal and immaterial this opposition has no place, all things being there effable; but where there is a material subject, and a mixture of form and something formless, there an opposition of commensuration very properly subsists. Hence, as the mundane Gods are proximately connective of souls and bodies, form and matter, a division appears in them, according to the equal and the unequal.


After the mundane Gods, the scientific order of discussion requires that we should consider divine souls, and the triple genera of natures more excellent than man, viz. angels, dæmons, and heroes. Previous, however, to this, that I may as much as possible unfold to the reader the whole of the Platonic theory about the Gods, I shall present him with a development of the nature of certain other divinities mentioned by Plato; and which, owing to the loss of the seventh book of Proclus, and of other theological works of the most genuine Platonists, cannot at this remote and barren period be scientifically classed.

In the first place, then, I shall present the reader with what Plato says in the Phædrus of Boreas and Orithya, the Centaurs, Chimæras, Gorgons, Pegasuses, Typhons, Achelous, and the Nymphs, accompanied with the elucidations of Ammonius Hermeas. “Phædr. Inform me, Socrates, whether this is not the place in which Boreas is reported to have ravished Orithya from Ilissus. Soc. It is reported so indeed. Phædr. Was it not just here then? for the brooks hereabouts appear to be grateful to the view, pure and transparent, and very well adapted to the sports of virgins. Soc. It was not, but two or three stadia lower down, where we meet with the temple of Diana, and in that very place there is a certain altar sacred to Boreas. Phædr. I did not perfectly know this. But tell me by Jupiter, Socrates, are you persuaded that this fabulous narration is true? Soc. If I should not believe in it, as is the case with the wise, I should not be absurd: and afterwards, speaking sophistically, I should say that the wind Boreas hurled from the neighbouring rocks Orithya, sporting with Pharmacia; and that she dying in consequence of this, was said to have been ravished by Boreas, or from the hill of Mars. There is also another report, that she was not ravished from this place, but from that. But for my own part, Phædrus, I consider interpretations of this kind as pleasant enough, but at the same time, as the province of a man vehemently curious and laborious, and not entirely happy; and this for no other reason, than because after such an explanation, it is necessary for him to correct the shape of the Centaurs, and Chimæra. And besides this, a crowd of Gorgons and Pegasuses will pour upon him for an exposition of this kind, and of certain other prodigious natures, immense both in multitude and novelty. All which, if any one, not believing in their literal meaning, should draw to a probable sense, employing for this purpose a certain rustic wisdom, he will stand in need of most abundant leisure. With respect to myself, indeed, I have not leisure for such an undertaking; and this because I am not yet able, according to the Delphic precept, to know myself. But it appears to me to be ridiculous, while I am yet ignorant of this, to speculate things foreign from the knowledge of myself. Hence, bidding farewell to these, and being persuaded in the opinion which I have just now mentioned respecting them, I do not contemplate these, but myself, considering whether I am not a wild beast, possessing more folds than Typhon, and far more raging and fierce; or whether I am a more mild and simple animal, naturally participating of a certain divine and modest condition. But are we not, my friend, in the midst of our discourse arrived at our destined seat? And is not yonder the oak to which you were to lead us? Phædr. That indeed is it. Soc. By Juno, a beautiful retreat. For the plane-tree very widely spreads its shady branches, and is remarkably tall; and the height and opacity of the willow, are perfectly beautiful, being now in the vigour of its vegetation, and, on this account, filling all the place with the most agreeable odour. Add too, that a most pleasant fountain of extreme cool water flows under the plane-tree, as may be inferred from its effect on our feet, and which appears to be sacred to certain Nymphs, and to Achelous, from the virgins and statues with which it is adorned.”

On this very beautiful passage, Hermes comments as follows: The Athenians established a temple of Rural Diana, because this Goddess is the inspective guardian of every thing rural, and represses every thing rustic and uncultivated. But the altars and temples of the Gods signify their allotments; as you may also call this mundane body, or apparent solar orb, the altar and temple of the sun, and of the soul of the sun.

With respect to the fable, a two-fold solution may be given of it; one from history, more ethical, but the other transferring us to wholes. And the former of these is as follows: Orithya was the daughter of Erectheus, and the priestess of Boreas; for each of the winds has a presiding deity, which the telestic art, or the art pertaining to sacred mysteries, religiously cultivates. To this Orithya, then, the God was so very propitious, that he sent the north wind for the safety of the country; and besides this, he is said to have assisted the Athenians in their naval battles. Orithya, therefore, becoming enthusiastic, being possessed by her proper God Boreas, and no longer energizing as a human being (for animals cease to energize according to their own peculiarities when possessed by superior causes) died under the inspiring influence, and thus was said to have been ravished by Boreas. And this is the more ethical explanation of the fable.

But the second, which transfers the narration to wholes, is as follows, and does not entirely subvert the former: for divine fables often employ transactions and histories in subserviency to the discipline of wholes. They say, then, that Erectheus is the God that rules over the three elements, air, water, and earth. Sometimes, however, he is considered as alone the ruler of the earth, and sometimes as the presiding deity of Attica alone. Of this deity, Orithya is the daughter. And she is the prolific power of the earth, which is indeed co-extended with the word Erectheus, as the unfolding of the name signifies. For it is the prolific power of the earth flourishing and restored according to the seasons. But Boreas is the providence of the Gods supernally illuminating secondary natures; for the providence of the Gods in the world is signified by Boreas, because this divinity blows from lofty places. But the elevating power of the Gods is signified by the south wind, because this wind blows from low to lofty places; and besides this, things situated towards the south are more divine. The providence of the Gods, therefore, causes the prolific power of the earth, or of the Attic land, to ascend, and proceed into the apparent.

Orithya, also, may be said to be a soul[44] aspiring after things above, from ορουω and θειω, according to the Attic custom of adding a letter at the end of a word, which letter is here an ω. Such a soul, therefore, is ravished by Boreas supernally blowing. But if Orithya was hurled from a precipice, this also is appropriate. For such a soul dies a philosophic, not receiving a physical death, and abandons a proairetic,[45] at the same time that she lives a physical life. And philosophy, according to Socrates in the Phædo, is nothing else than a meditation of death.

According to some, however, Socrates in what he here says about Orithya and Boreas does not admit the explanation of fables. But it is evident that he frequently does admit and employ fables. Now, indeed, he blames those explanations which make fables to be nothing more than certain histories, and unfold them into material causes, airs, and earth, and winds, which do not revert to true beings, nor harmonize with divine concerns. Hence, Socrates now says, If unfolding this fable I should recur to physical causes, and should assert that the wind Boreas, blowing vehemently, hurled Orithya as she was playing from the rock, and thus dying she was said to have been ravished by Boreas,—should I not speak absurdly? For this explanation which is adopted by the wise, viz. by those who are employed in physical speculations, is meagre and conjectural; since it does not recur to true beings, but to natures, and winds, airs and vortices, as he also says in the Phædo. He rejects, therefore, these naturalists, and those who thus explain this fable, as falling into the indefinite and infinite, and not recurring to soul, intellect, and the Gods. But when Socrates says that he considers such interpretations as the province of a man very curious and laborious, and not entirely happy, these words indicate the being conversant with things sensible and material. And the Centaurs, Chimæras, Gorgons, and Pegasuses, are powers which preside over a material nature, and the region about the earth.[46]

When Socrates also says, that he is not yet able to know himself, his meaning may be, either that he does not yet know himself as pure soul itself, but that as being in body he knows himself; or that he does not yet know himself, as he is known by divinity. For if ever any man knew himself, this was certainly the case with Socrates.

When likewise he says, “I do not contemplate these, but myself;” this is because he who knows himself knows all things. For in consequence of the soul being παμμορφον αγαλμα an omniform image, he beholds all things in himself. But by Typhon here we must understand that power which presides over the confused and disordered in the universe, or in other words over the last procession of things. The term manifold, therefore, in this place, must not be applied to the God Typhon, but to that over which he presides, as being in its own nature moved in a confused, disordered, and manifold manner. For it is usual with fables to refer the properties of the objects of providential care to the providing powers themselves.

Farther still, Socrates mentions Juno, as generating and adorning the beauty of the mundane fabrication; and hence she is said to have received the Cestus from Venus. But Achelous is the deity who presides over the much-honoured power of water. For by this mighty river, the God who is the inspective guardian of potable water is manifested. And Nymphs are Goddesses who preside over regeneration, and are ministrant to Bacchus the offspring of Semele. But this Bacchus supplies the regeneration of the whole sensible world.

I shall only add, that Nymphs according to Servius on the first Æneid are distributed into three classes. But Nymphs belonging to mountains are called Oreades; to woods, Dryades; those that are born with woods, Hamadryades; those that belong to fountains, Napæ, or Naiades; and those that belong to the sea, Nereides.


Again, the following divinities are also mentioned by Plato in different parts of his works. In the first place, Pan, at the end of the Phædrus; to which divinity Socrates addresses the following admirable prayer: “O beloved Pan, and all ye other Gods, who are residents of this place, grant that I may become beautiful within, and that whatever I possess externally may be friendly to my inward attainments! Grant also, that I may consider the wise man as one who abounds in wealth; and that I may enjoy that portion of gold, which no other than a prudent man is able either to bear, or properly manage!” In this prayer, by Pan and the other Gods, we must understand local deities under the moon. But Pan is denominated as it were all, because he possesses the most ample sway in the order of local Gods. For as the supermundane Gods are referred to Jupiter, and the celestial to Bacchus, so all the sublunary local Gods and dæmons are referred to Pan.

In the next place, Tartarus is mentioned by Plato in the Phædo, as one of the greatest chasms of the earth; and of which, says he, Homer[47] thus speaks:

Far, very far, where under earth is found
A gulf, of every depth, the most profound.

But Tartarus, says Olympiodorus, is the extremity of the universe, and subsists oppositely to Olympus. It is also a deity, the inspective guardian of that which is last in every order. Hence, there is a celestial Tartarus, in which Heaven concealed his offspring; a Saturnian Tartarus, in which likewise Saturn concealed his offspring; and also a Jovian of this kind, which is demiurgic. Again, the characteristic peculiarity of Prometheus, as mentioned by Plato in the Gorgias, is thus unfolded by Olympiodorus in his MS. Scholia on that dialogue: Prometheus is the inspective guardian of the descent of rational souls. For to exert a providential energy is the employment of the rational soul, and, prior to any thing else, to know itself. Irrational natures indeed perceive through percussion, and prior to impulsion know nothing; but the rational nature is able, prior to information from another, to know what is useful. Hence, Epimetheus is the inspective guardian of the irrational soul, because it knows through percussion, and not prior to it. Prometheus, therefore, is that power which presides over the descent of rational souls. But fire signifies the rational soul itself; because, as fire tends upwards, so the rational soul pursues things on high. But you will say, why is this fire said to have been stolen? Because that which is stolen is transferred from its proper place to one that is foreign. Hence, since the rational soul is sent from its proper place of abode on high, to earth, as to a foreign region, on this account the fire is said to be stolen. But why was it concealed in a reed? Because a reed is full of cavities, and therefore signifies the flowing body in which the soul is carried. But why was the fire stolen contrary to the will of Jupiter? Again, the fable speaks as a fable. For both Prometheus and Jupiter are willing that the soul should abide on high; but as it is requisite that she should descend, the fable fabricates particulars accommodated to the persons. And it represents indeed the superior character, which is Jupiter, as unwilling; for he wishes the soul always to abide on high. But the inferior character, Prometheus, obliges her to descend: Jupiter, therefore, ordered Pandora to be made. And what else is this than the irrational soul, which is of a feminine characteristic? For as it was necessary that the soul should descend to these lower regions, but being incorporeal and divine, it was impossible for her to be conjoined with body without a medium, hence she becomes united with it through the irrational soul. But this irrational soul was called Pandora, because each of the Gods bestowed on it some particular gift. And this signifies that the illuminations which terrestrial natures receive take place through the celestial bodies.[48]

Again, in the Phædo, mention is made by Plato of Cadmus, who, according to Olympiodorus, is the sublunary world, as being Dionysiacal, on which account Harmonia or Harmony is united to the God, and also as being the father of the four Bacchuses. The four elements likewise he informs us are said to be Dionysiacal, viz. fire to be Semele; earth, Agave, tearing in pieces her own offspring; water, Ino; and lastly, air, Autonoe. There is great beauty in conjoining Harmony, the daughter of Venus and Mars, with Cadmus. For Venus, as we have before observed, is the cause of all the harmony and analogy in the universe, and beautifully illuminates the order and communion of all mundane concerns. But Mars excites the contrarieties of the universe, that the world may exist perfect and entire from all its parts. The progeny, therefore, of these two divinities must be the concordant discord, or harmony of the sublunary world. Farther still, the Syrens are mentioned by Plato, both in the 10th book of the Republic, and in the Cratylus. And Proclus, in the 6th book of this work, has explained the meaning of what Plato says of them in the former of those dialogues. But in his MS. Scholia on the Cratylus he says, “The divine Plato knew that there are three kinds of Sirens; the celestial, which is under the government of Jupiter; that which produces generation, and is under the government of Neptune; and that which is cathartic, and is under the government of Pluto. It is common to all these, to incline all things through an harmonic motion to their ruling Gods. Hence, when the soul is in the heavens, the Sirens are desirous of uniting it to the divine life which flourishes there. But it is proper that souls living in generation should sail beyond them, like the Homeric Ulysses, that they may not be allured by generation, of which the sea is an image. And when souls are in Hades, the Sirens are desirous of uniting them through intellectual conceptions to Pluto. So that Plato knew that in the kingdom of Hades there are Gods, dæmons, and souls, who dance as it were round Pluto, allured by the Sirens that dwell there.”


In the next place, let us direct our attention to Plato’s theological conceptions of Nature, Fate, and Fortune. From the Timæus, therefore, it appears that Plato does not consider either matter, or material form, or body, or natural powers, as worthy to be called Nature, though it has been thus denominated by others. Nor does he think proper to call Nature soul; but establishing its essence between soul and corporeal powers, he considers it as inferior to the former through its being divided about bodies, and its incapacity of conversion to itself, but as surpassing the latter through containing the productive principles, and generating and vivifying every part of the visible world. For Nature verges towards bodies, and is inseparable from their fluctuating empire. But soul is separate from body, is established in herself, and subsists both from herself and another; from another, that is, from intellect through participation; and from herself, on account of not verging to body, but abiding in her own essence, and at the same time illuminating the obscure nature of matter with a secondary life. Nature, therefore, is the last of the causes which fabricate this corporeal and sensible world; bounds the progressions of incorporeal essences; and is full of reasons and powers through which she governs mundane affairs. And she is a Goddess indeed considered as deified, and not according to the primary signification of the word; for divine bodies also are called Gods, as being the statues or images of the Gods. But she governs the whole world by her powers; by her summit comprehending the heavens; but through heaven governing generation. And she every where weaves partial natures in amicable conjunction with wholes.

Nature, however, thus subsisting, she proceeds from the vivific Goddess Rhea; (for “immense Nature, says the Chaldean oracle, is suspended from the shoulders of the Goddess;”) from whom all life it derived, both that which is intellectual, and that which is inseparable from the subjects of its government. But Nature being from thence suspended, she pervades through and inspires all things without impediment. Hence, the most inanimate beings participate of a certain soul, and corruptible natures remain perpetually in the world, being connected and comprehended by the causes of forms which she contains. And those indeed who call Nature demiurgic art, if they mean by this the Nature which abides in the demiurgus himself, they do not speak rightly; but if they mean that which proceeds from him, their conception is accurate. For art must be considered as having a three-fold subsistence; one, that which does not proceed out of the artist; the second, that which proceeds indeed, but is converted to him; and the third, that which has now proceeded, and has its subsistence in something else. The art, therefore, which is in the demiurgus, abides indeed in him; but the intellectual soul is art, yet at the same time both abiding and proceeding. And Nature is art, alone proceeding into something different from herself. Hence, she is said to be the organ of the Gods, not deprived of life, nor alter-motive alone, but having in a certain respect, a self-motive power, in consequence of energizing from herself. For the organs of the Gods are essentialized in efficacious powers, are vital, and concur with their energies. And thus much concerning Nature according to the conceptions of Plato, as unfolded by Proclus.

In the next place with respect to Fate, in the fable in the Politicus, Plato says, that “Fate and connate desire convolve the world, when it is considered by itself as a corporeal nature, without the intellectual Gods.” And in the Timæus he represents the demiurgus exhibiting to souls the nature of the universe, and announcing to them the laws of Fate. On which Proclus admirably comments as follows: It must not be said, that Fate is a partial nature, as some of the Peripatetics assert it is; as for instance, Alexander; for such a nature is imbecil and not perpetual. For from common conceptions, we pre-assume that the power of Fate is something very great and stable. Nor must it be said, that it is the order of the mundane periods, as Aristotle asserts it to be, who denominates the increase which is contrary to order preterfatal, as if order and Fate were the same. For the cause of order is one thing, but order itself is another. Nor is it soul subsisting in habitude, as Theodorus says; for such a form of life in wholes is not a principle. Nor is it simply Nature, as Porphyry says it is. For many things which are supernatural, and out of the dominion of Nature are produced by Fate, such as nobility, renown, and wealth. For where is it seen that physical motions become the cause of these? Nor is it the intellect of the universe, as again Aristotle says in a certain place, if the treatise On the World was written by him. For intellect produces everything which it produces at once, and is not at all in want of an administration which proceeds according to a certain period, and a continued and well-ordered series of things. But the chain, the order, the periodic production of many causes constitute the peculiarity of Fate.

If, however, it be requisite to comprehend the whole form of it concisely, we must say, that the subject matter as it were of it is Nature herself, but considered as deified, and filled with divine, intellectual, and psychical illuminations. For the order of Gods called the presidents of destiny, (των μοιρηγετων καλουμενων) and the genera that are more excellent than man terminate in Nature. For these impart powers from themselves to the one life of Nature; and the demiurgus of wholes collects and unites all these gifts, and demonstrates them to be one power. For if visible bodies [i, e. the celestial bodies], are filled with divine powers, Nature, is by a much greater priority divine. And if the whole visible world is one, much more is the whole essence of Fate one, and derives, from many causes the completion of its composition. For being suspended from the providence of the Gods, and from demiurgic goodness, it is united and governed by it, being a productive principle subsisting from productive principles, one multiform power, a divine life, and an order of things that have a prior arrangement. Hence, the ancients looking to this its various and multiform nature, were led to form different opinions concerning it. And some indeed said that it is a Goddess, on account of that which is divine in it; others, that it is a dæmon, on account of the efficacious and at the same time multiform nature of its production; others, that it is intellect, because a certain participation of intellect reaches it; but others, that it is order, so that every thing which has an arrangement is invisibly comprehended by it. Plato, however, alone surveyed the essence of it, asserting indeed that it is Nature, but Nature suspended from the demiurgus. For how could the demiurgus exhibit Nature to souls, otherwise than by containing the principle of it in himself? And how could he announce to them the laws of Fate, after exhibiting to them the Nature of the universe, except by constituting Nature as the one power that comprehends these laws?

Farther still, in the Politicus, Plato more clearly suspends the second life of the universe from Fate, after the departure of the one dæmon that governed it, and the many dæmons that were the followers of that one. Hence, he separates all the providential care of these powers from the universe, and alone leaves it the government according to Fate; the world, indeed, always possessing both these, but the fable separating the first from the second. For he says, “that Fate and connate desire convolve the world,” just as the Chaldæan oracles say, “that unwearied Nature rules over the worlds and works, and draws downward in order that the heavens may run an eternal course; and that the other periods of the sun, the moon, the seasons, night and day may be accomplished.” Thus, therefore, Plato also says, that the second period of the world is convolved by Fate, and not the first and intellectual period, all but clearly asserting that Fate is the power which proximately moves the sensible world, and is suspended from the invisible providence of the Gods. For establishing Necessity the mother of the Fates prior to these, he represents her in the Republic convolving the world on her knees. And if it be requisite to give my opinion Plato arranges these three causes of order successive to each other, viz. Adrastia, Necessity, and Fate; the first being intellectual, the second supermundane, and the third mundane. For the demiurgus as Orpheus says, was nourished indeed by Adrastia, but associated with Necessity, and generated Fate. And as Adrastia was comprehensive of divine institutions and the collector of all-various laws, thus also Fate is comprehensive of all the mundane laws, which the demiurgus now inscribes in souls, that he may lead them in conjunction with wholes, and may define what is adapted to them according to the different elections of lives. Hence, a vicious life tends to that which is dark and atheistical, but a pious life leads the soul to the heavens to which she is also conducted by wholes; because each of these lives is full of the laws of Fate; and souls lead themselves, as Plotinus says, thither where the law that is in them announces. For this is the peculiarity of the providence of the Gods, to conduct inwardly the subjects for which it provides. And why is it wonderful that this should be the case, since Nature also inserting material and corporeal-formed powers in bodies, moves them through these powers; earth indeed through gravity, but fire through levity. In a much greater degree, therefore, do the Gods move souls through the powers which they disseminate in them. Hence, if they lead souls according to the laws of Fate, these laws also subsist in souls. And they pre-exist indeed intellectually in the demiurgus; for the divine law is established with him. But they exist in divine souls; for according to these laws they govern the universe. And they are participated by partial souls; for through these they conduct themselves to an appropriate place, themselves moving themselves. And through deliberate choice, indeed, they act erroneously and with rectitude; but through law they distribute to themselves an order adapted to their former conduct.

In the last place with respect to Fortune, it is necessary to observe that Plato does not assert as the Stoics do, that the worthy man has no need of the assistance of this divinity; but he is of opinion that the energies of our reasoning power, since according to their external progression they are complicated with corporeal energies, require the inspiration of good Fortune, in order that they may be prosperous and benefit others. Hence in the Timæus and the Parmenides, the persons of the dialogues are represented as meeting together through a certain good Fortune. And in the Laws he says, that God, and after God, Fortune and Time govern all human affairs. “Fortune, therefore,” says Proclus,[49] “and her gifts, are not things destitute of design and indefinite; but she is a power collective of many dispersed causes, and which adorns things disordered, and gives completion to the allotments assigned to everything from the universe.” According to Sallust in his elegant treatise On the Gods and the World, “Fortune must be considered as a power of the Gods, disposing things differing from each other, and happening contrary to expectation, to beneficent purposes.” He adds, “On this account it is proper that cities should celebrate this Goddess in common; since every city is composed of different particulars. But this Goddess holds her dominion in sublunary concerns, since every thing fortuitous is excluded from the regions above the moon.”

In conformity to this, Simplicius also, in his Commentary On the Physics of Aristotle,[50] admirably observes concerning Fortune as follows: “The power of Fortune particularly disposes in an orderly manner the sublunary part of the universe, in which contingencies subsist, and which being essentially disordered, Fortune, in conjunction with other primary causes, directs, places in order, and governs. Hence she is represented guiding a rudder, because she governs things sailing on the sea of gene- ration. Her rudder too is fixed on a globe, because she directs that which is unstable in generation. In her other hand, she holds the horn of Amalthea, which is full of fruits, because she is the cause of obtaining all divine fruits. And on this account, we venerate the fortunes of cities and houses, and of each individual; because being very remote from divine union, we are in danger of being deprived of its participation, and require in order to obtain it the assistance of the Goddess Fortune, and of those natures[51] superior to the human who possess the characteristic of this divinity. Indeed, every fortune is good; for every attainment respects something good, nor does any thing evil subsist from divinity. But of things that are good, some are precedaneous, and others are of a punishing or revenging characteristic, which we are accustomed to call evils. Hence we speak of two Fortunes, one of which we denominate Good, and which is the cause of our obtaining precedaneous goods, but the other Evil, which prepares us to receive punishment or revenge.” And thus much concerning Fortune.


It remains that we should consider in the next place, what Time, Day and Night, Month and Year are, so far as they are deities, according to the theology of Plato; the Commentaries of Proclus on the Timæus fortunately presenting us with much valuable information respecting the nature of these divinities. The speculation also of Time in this place will be very appropriate, as immediately after, the discussion of divine souls, angels, dæmons and heroes will naturally follow, with whose essence Time is intimately and inseparably connected. Plato therefore in the Timæus says, “that while the demiurgus was adorning and distributing the universe, he at the same time formed an eternal image flowing according to number, of eternity abiding in one; and which receives from us the appellation of time. But besides this he fabricated the generation of days and nights, and months and years, which had no subsistence prior to the universe, but which together with it rose into existence. And all these indeed, are the proper parts of Time.” Proclus[52] in commenting on what Plato here says about Time, after having shown that it is neither any thing belonging to motion, nor an attendant on the energy of soul, nor, in short, the offspring of soul, investigates what it is in the following admirable manner:

“Perhaps, says he, it is not sufficient to say that it is the measure of mundane natures, nor to enumerate the goods of which it is the cause, but to the utmost of our power we should endeavour to apprehend its peculiarity. May we not therefore say, since its essence is most excellent, perfective of soul, and present to all things, that it is an intellect not only abiding but also subsisting in motion? Abiding indeed according to its inward energy, and by which it is truly eternal, but being moved according to its externally proceeding energy, by which it becomes the boundary of all transition. For eternity possessing permanency, both according to its inward energy, and that which it exerts to things eternal, Time being assimilated to it, according to the former of these energies, becomes separated from it according to the latter, abiding and being moved. And as with respect to the essence of the soul, we say that it is intelligible and at the same time generated, partible, and at the same time impartible, and are no otherwise able to apprehend its middle nature than by employing after a manner opposites, what wonder is there if, perceiving the nature of Time to be partly immoveable, and partly subsisting in motion, we, or rather not we, but prior to us, the philosopher, through the eternal, should indicate its intellectual monad abiding in sameness, and through the moveable its externally proceeding energy, which is participated by soul and the whole world? For we must not think that the expression the eternal simply indicates that Time is the image of eternity; for if this were the case, what would have hindered Plato from directly saying that it is the image, and not the eternal image of eternity? But he was willing to indicate this very thing, that time has an eternal nature, but not in such a manner as animal itself [the paradigm of the universe] is said to be eternal. For that is eternal both in essence and energy; but Time is partly eternal, and partly, by its external gift, moveable. Hence theurgists call it eternal; and Plato very properly denominates it not only so. For one thing is alone moveable, both essentially and according to the participants of it, being alone the cause of motion, as soul, and hence it alone moves itself and other things; but another thing is alone immoveable, preserving itself without transition, and being the cause to other things of a perpetual subsistence after the same manner, and to moveable natures through soul. It is necessary therefore, that the medium between these two extremes should be that which, both according to its own nature, and the gifts which it imparts to others, is immoveable and at the same time moveable, essentially immoveable indeed, but moved in its participants. A thing however of this kind is Time.

Hence Time is truly, so far as it is considered in itself, immoveable; but so far as it is in its participants, it is moveable, and subsists together with them, unfolding itself into them. It is therefore, eternal, and a monad and center essentially, and according to its own abiding energy; but it is at the same time, continuous, and number, and a circle, according to its proceeding and being participated. Hence, it is a certain proceeding intellect, established indeed in eternity, and on this account is said to be eternal. For it would not otherwise contribute to the assimilation of mundane natures to more perfect paradigms, unless it were itself previously suspended from them. But it proceeds and abundantly flows, into the things which are guarded by it. Whence I think the chief of theurgists celebrate Time as a God, as Julian in the seventh of the Zones, and venerate it by those names, through which it is unfolded in its participants, causing some things to be older, and others to be younger, and leading all things in a circle. Time therefore, possessing a certain intellectual nature, circularly leads according to number, both its other participants and souls. For Time is eternal, not in essence only, but also in its inward energy; but so far as it is participated by externals, it is alone moveable, coextending and harmonizing with them the gift which it imparts. But every soul is transitively moved, both according to its inward and external energies, by the latter of which it moves bodies. And it appears to me that those who thus denominated Time χρονος had this conception of its nature, and were therefore willing to call it as it were χορευοντος νους, an intellect moving in measure; but dividing the words, perhaps for the sake of concealment, they called it χρονος. Perhaps too, they gave it this appellation because it abides and is at the same time moved in measure; by one part of itself abiding, and by the other proceeding with measured motion. By the conjunction therefore of both these, they signify the wonderful and demiurgic nature of this God. And it appears, that as the demiurgus being intellectual began from intellect to adorn the universe, so Time being itself supermundane, began from soul to impart perfection. For that Time is not only mundane, but by a much greater priority supermundane, is evident; since as eternity is to animal itself, the paradigm of the universe, so is Time to the world, which is animated and illuminated by intellect, and wholly an image of animal itself, in the same manner as Time of eternity. And thus much concerning Time, according to its first subsistence, and considered as a God.

With respect to Day and Night, according to their more principal subsistence, they are demiurgic measures of Time, exciting and convolving all the apparent and unapparent life and motion, and orderly distribution of the inerratic sphere. For these are the true parts of Time, are present after the same manner to all things, and comprehend the primary cause of apparent day and night, each of these having a different subsistence in apparent time; to which also Timæus looking reminds us how time was generated together with the world. Hence he says in the plural number nights and days, and also months and years. But these are obvious to all men. For the unapparent causes of these have a uniform subsistence prior to things multiplied, and which circulate infinitely. Things immoveable also subsist prior to such as are moved, and intellectual natures are prior to sensibles. Such therefore, must be our conceptions of Night and Day according to their first subsistence.

By Month we must understand that truly divine temporal measure which convolves the lunar sphere, and every termination of the circulation about the zodiac. But Year is that which perfects and connects the whole of middle fabrication, according to which the Sun is seen possessing the greatest strength, and measuring all things in conjunction with Time. For neither Day nor Night, nor Month is without the Sun, nor much more Year, nor any other mundane nature. I do not here speak according to the apparent fabrication of things alone; for the apparent Sun is the cause of these measures; but also according to that fabrication which is unapparent. For, ascending higher, we shall find that the more true Sun[53] measures all things in conjunction with Time, being itself in reality Time of Time, according to the Chaldæan oracle concerning it. For that Plato not only knew these apparent parts of Time, but also those divine parts to which these are homonymous, is evident from the 10th book of his Laws. For he there asserts that we call Hours and Months divine, as having the same divine lives, and divine intellects presiding over them, as the universe. Let these therefore be the parts of Time, of which some are accommodated to the inerratic Gods, others to the Gods that revolve about the poles of the oblique circle, and others to other Gods, or attendants of the Gods, or to mortal animals, or the more sublime or more abject parts of the universe.

Farther still, concerning Night and Day, Plato afterwards says, “that through these, the period of one most wise circulation [i. e. the circulation of the inerratic sphere,] was produced;” on which Proclus observes as follows: “It may be doubted how Plato calls Night and Day the measure of the circulation of this sphere. For this measure is every where, originating supernally from the one intelligible cause of the universe, and the first paradigm; but in the sublunary region it is the space of day and night. In answer to this, it must be said that the temporal interval which first subsists in the circulation of the inerratic sphere, and the solar light are productive of the nycthemeron or space of day and night. From the last of things therefore, and which are known to us, the whole measure is defined. For this nycthemeron is one thing, but another that which subsists in unapparent time. And the former is the image and ultimate termination of the latter. For there are many orders of Night and Day, intelligible and intellectual, supermundane, celestial and sublunary, as we are taught by the Orphic theology. And some of these indeed, are prior to fabrication; but others are comprehended in it; and others proceed from it. Some also are unapparent, but others are apparent. For with respect likewise to Month and Year, one order of these is unapparent, measures, connectedly contains, and gives perfection to the intellectual and corporeal periods of the sun and moon; but another is apparent, which terminates and is the measure of the solar revolution. Thus too in the other Gods, the unapparent Saturnian number is one thing, and the apparent another. And in a similar manner the unapparent and apparent Martial, Jovian and Mercurial numbers differ from each other. For with respect to Month and Year, each of these being one according to each period, and always the same, is a certain God, immoveably bounding the measure of motion. For whence have the periods always an invariable sameness, except from a certain immoveable cause? And whence do they derive the difference of their restitutions to their pristine state, except from different immoveable causes? Whence also the unceasing, and the again and again to infinity, except from the infinite powers they contain? But Plato considering all this series as temporal, arranges it under one and that the first Time, which defines the periodic time of a perpetually circulating body, and is, as we have before observed, true number. From these invisible causes however, we must conceive the visible periodic times are derived, proceeding from them according to that which is numbered, since they are able both to number and generate them. And in all these astronomy beautifully instructs us, doxastically apprehending the number of the periodic restitutions of each; and making comparisons of the ratios of the periods to each other; such as that the Saturnian period, is the double and a half of the period of Jupiter, and in a similar manner of the rest. For though their restitutions differ, yet they have a ratio to each other. Sacred rumour also venerates the unapparent causes of these, proclaiming the divine names of Night and Day, and also the causes that constitute, and the invocations, and self-manifestations of Month and Year. Hence, they are not to be surveyed superficially, but as having a subsistence in divine hyparxes. And these the laws of sacred institutions, and the oracles of Apollo ordered to be worshiped and honoured by statues and sacrifices, as histories inform us. When these also are reverenced, mankind are supplied with the benefits arising from the periods of the Seasons, and of the other divinities in a similar manner; but a preternatural disposition of every thing about the earth, is the consequence of the worship of these being neglected.”[54] Plato likewise in the Laws proclaims that all these are Gods, viz. the Seasons, Years and Months, in the same manner as the stars and the sun; and we do not introduce any thing new by thinking it proper to direct our attention to the unapparent powers of these prior to those that are apparent.” And thus much concerning Time, Day and Night, Month and Year, considered according to their first subsistence, by which they are Gods.


After the Gods, it is necessary in the next place to consider the order of divine souls, who are deified by always participating of the Gods. This order, Plato in the Parmenides denies of the one as follows: “Does it appear that the one can be either older or younger, or be of the same age? What should hinder? If it had in any respect the same age, either with itself, or with another, it would participate equally of time and similitude, which we have nevertheless asserted the one does not participate. We have asserted so. And this also we have said, that it neither participates of dissimilitude nor inequality. Entirely so. How therefore being such, can it either be older or younger than any thing, or possess the same age with any thing? It can in no respect. The one therefore, will neither be younger nor older, nor will it be of the same age, either with itself or with another. It does not appear that it will. Will it not therefore, be impossible that the one should be at all in time, if it be such? Or, is it not necessary that, if any thing is in time, it should always become older than itself? It is necessary. But is not that which is older, always older than the younger? What then? Hence that which is becoming to be older than itself, is at the same time becoming to be younger than itself, if it is about to have that through which it may become older. How do you say? Thus: It is requisite that nothing should subsist in becoming to be different from another, when it is already different, but that it should be now different from that which is different, have been from that which was, and will be from that which is to be hereafter. But from that which is becoming to be different, it ought neither to have been, nor to be hereafter, nor to be, but to subsist in becoming to be different, and no otherwise. It is necessary. But the older differs from the younger, and no other. Certainly. Hence, that which is becoming to be older than itself, must necessarily at the same time subsist in becoming to be younger than itself. It seems so. But likewise it ought not to subsist in becoming to be in a longer time than itself, nor yet in a shorter; but in a time equal to itself it should subsist in becoming to be, should be, have been, and be hereafter. For these are necessary. It is necessary, therefore, as it appears, that such things as are in time, and participate an affection of this kind, should each one possess the same age with itself, and should subsist in becoming to be both older and younger than itself. It seems so. But no one of these passions belongs to the one. None. Neither, therefore, is time present with it, nor does it subsist in any time. It does not indeed according to the decisions of reason.”

Plato having proceeded, says Proclus, as far as to the mundane Gods, always taking away things in a consequent order from the one, through the middle genera, or, to speak more clearly, the negations always producing things secondary, through such as are proximate to the one, from the exempt cause of wholes, he is now about to separate from the one the divine essence itself, which first participates of the Gods, and receives their progression into the world; or, to speak more accurately, he is now about to produce this essence from the ineffable fountain of all beings. For, as every thing which has being derives its subsistence from the monad of beings, both true being, and that which is assimilated to it, which of itself indeed is not, but through its communion with true being receives an obscure representation of being; in like manner from the one unity of every deity, the peculiarity of which, if it be lawful so to speak, is to deify all things according to a certain exempt and ineffable transcendency, every divine number subsists, or rather proceeds, and every deified order of things. The design, therefore, as we have before observed, of what is now said, is to show that the one is exempt from, and therefore produces this essence.

And here we may see how Parmenides subverts their hypothesis who contend that the first cause is soul, or any thing else of this kind, and this by showing that the one does not participate of time. For it is impossible that a nature which is exempt from time should be soul; since every soul participates of time, and uses periods which are measured by time. The one also is better than, and is beyond intellect, because every intellect is both moved and permanent; but it is demonstrated that the one neither stands still, nor is moved. Hence through these things, the three hypostases which rank as principles, viz. the one, intellect, and soul, become, known to us. But that the one is perfectly exempt from time, Parmenides demonstrates by showing in the first place, that it is neither older nor younger, nor of the same age with itself, nor with any other. For every thing which participates of time necessarily participates of these; so that by showing that the one is exempt from these which happen to every thing that participates of time, he also shows that the one has no connexion with time. This, however, is incredible to the many, and appeared so to the physiologists prior to Plato, who thought that all things were comprehended in time, and that, if there is any thing perpetual, it is infinite time, but that there is not any thing which time does not measure. For, as they were of opinion that all things are in place, in consequence of thinking that all things are bodies, and that nothing is incorporeal, so they thought that all things subsist in time, and are in motion, and that nothing is immoveable; for the conception of bodies introduces with itself place, but motion time. As, therefore, it was demonstrated that the one is not in place, because it is not in another, and on this account is incorporeal,—in like manner through these arguments it is also shown that neither is it in time, and on this account that it is not soul, nor any thing else which requires and participates of time, either according to essence or according to energy.

And here it is well worthy our observation that Parmenides no longer stops at the dyad as in the former conclusions, but triadically enumerates the peculiarities of this order, viz. the older, the younger, and the possession of the same age, though he might have said dyadically, of an equal age, and of an unequal age, as there the equal and the unequal. But there indeed having previously introduced the dyad, he passes from the division of the unequal to the triadic distribution; but here he begins from the triad. For there union precedes multitude, and the whole the parts; but in this order of things multitude is most apparent, and a division into parts, as Timæus says, whom Parmenides, in what is now said imitating, begins indeed from the triad, but proceeds as far as to the hexad. For, the older and the younger, and the possession of the same age, are doubled, being divided into itself and relation to another. That the triad, indeed, and the hexad are adapted to this order is not immanifest. For the triple nature of soul, consisting of essence, same and different, and its triple power, which receives its completion from the charioteer and the two horses, as we learn from the Phædrus,[55] evince its alliance with the triad; and its essence being combined from both these shows its natural alliance with the hexad.

It is likewise necessary to observe, that as the discourse is about divine souls who are deified by always participating of the Gods, Time according to its first subsistence pertains to these souls,—not that which proceeds into the apparent, but that which is liberated, and without habitude; and this is the Time which is now denied of the one. All the periods of souls, their harmonious motions about the intelligible, and their circulations, are measured by this Time. For it has a supernal origin, imitates eternity, and connects, evolves, and perfects every motion, whether vital, or pertaining to soul, or in whatever other manner it may be said to subsist. This Time also is indeed essentially an intellect, as we have before observed; but it is the cause to divine souls, of their harmonic and infinite motion about the intelligible, through which these likewise are led to the older and to the same age: and this in a twofold respect. For the older in these with respect to themselves takes place, so far as with their more excellent powers they enjoy in a greater degree the infinity of Time, and participate it more abundantly. For they are not filled with similar perfection from more divine natures, according to all their powers, but with some more, and with others less. But that is said to be older which participates more of time. That which is older in these divine souls with respect to other things is effected, so far as some of these receive the whole measure of Time, and the whole of its extension proceeding to souls, but others are measured by more partial periods. Those therefore are older, whose period is more total, and is extended to a longer time. They may also be said to be older and at the same time younger with respect to themselves, by becoming hoary as it were above, through extending themselves to the whole power of Time, but juvenile beneath, by enjoying Time more partially. But, as with respect to others, they may be said to be older and at the same time younger according to a diminution of energy. For that which has its circulation measured by a less period is younger than that whose circulation is measured by a more extended period.

Again, among things co-ordinate, that which has the same participation and the same measure of perfection with others may be said to be of the same age with itself and others. But every divine soul, though its own period is measured according to one Time, and that of the body which is suspended from it according to another, yet it has an equal restitution to the same condition; itself always according to its own Time, and its body also according to its time. Hence, again, it is of the same age with itself and its body, according to the analogous. By thus interpreting what is now said of the one, we shall accord with Plato in the Timæus, who there evinces that Time is the measure of every transitive life, and who says that soul is the origin of a divine and wise life through the whole of time. And we shall also accord with his assertion in the Phædrus, that souls see true being through Time, because they perceive temporally and not eternally.

Farther still, Plato here demonstrates that the one is neither older nor younger than itself, or another. For it was necessary to show that the one is beyond every divine soul, prior to other souls, in the same manner as it is demonstrated to be prior to true beings, and to be the cause of all things. Hence, since it is the cause of every divine soul, so far as these derive their subsistence as well as all beings from the divine unities, with great propriety is it necessary to show that the one is beyond the order of deified souls. For these souls so far as they are intellectual have intellect for their cause; so far as they are essences they originate from being; and so far as they have the form of unity, they are derived from the one; receiving their subsistence from this, so far as each is a multitude consisting of certain unities, and of these as elements.

Again, that which participates of time is twofold, the one proceedings as it were, in a right line, and beginning from one thing, and ending in another; but the other proceeding circularly, and having its motion from the same to the same, to which both the beginning and the end are the same, and the motion is unceasing, everything in it being both beginning and end. That, therefore, which energizes circularly, participates of time periodically: and so far as it departs from the beginning it becomes older, but so far as it approaches to the end it becomes younger. For becoming nearer the end, it becomes nearer to its proper beginning. But that which becomes nearer to its beginning becomes younger. Hence, that which circularly approaches to the end becomes younger, the same also according to the same becoming older; for that which approximates to its end proceeds to that which is older. That to which the beginning therefore is one thing, and the end another, to this the younger is different from the older; but that to which, the beginning and the end are the same, is in no respect older than younger, but as Plato says, at the same time becomes younger and older than itself. Every thing, therefore, which participates of time, if it becomes both older and younger than itself, is circularly moved. But divine souls are of this kind: for they participate of time, and the time of their proper motion is periodical.


Having in the preceding chapters presented the reader from the most genuine sources, with all the information that can at present be obtained concerning the mundane Gods, the order of scientific theology requires that those perpetual attendants of the Gods, denominated angels, dæmons and heroes, should be in the next place considered. As all these ministrant powers however, are frequently called by one name dæmons; and as Love is denominated by Plato a great dæmon, and contains in himself the paradigm of the whole dæmoniacal series, it is necessary that the development of the nature of Love should precede the discussion, of the peculiarities of dæmons. The following admirable account therefore of this mighty divinity, by Proclus the Coryphæus of all true philosophers, is extracted from his MS. Commentary on the First Alcibiades of Plato.

There are different properties of different Gods. For some are the fabricators of wholes, of the form of beings, and of their essential ornament. But others are the suppliers of life, and are the sources of its various genera. Others again preserve the unchangeable order, and guard the indissoluble connexion of things. And others lastly, who are allotted a different power, preserve all things by their beneficent energies. In like manner every amatory order is the cause to all things of conversion to divine beauty, leading back, conjoining, and establishing all secondary natures in the beautiful, replenishing them from thence, and irradiating all things with the gifts of its light. On this account it is asserted in the Banquet of Plato that Love is a great dæmon, because Love first demonstrates in itself a power of this kind, and is the medium between the object of desire and the desiring nature, and is the cause of the conversion of subsequent to prior natures. The whole amatory series therefore, being established in the vestibule of the cause of beauty, calls upwards all things to this cause, and forms a middle progression between the object of Love and the natures which are recalled by Love. Hence it pre-establishes in itself the paradigm of the whole dæmoniacal order, obtaining the same middle situation among the Gods as dæmons between divine and mortal natures. Since therefore, every amatory series possesses this property among the Gods, we must consider its uniform and occult summit as ineffably established in the first orders of the Gods, and conjoined with the first and intelligible beauty; its middle process as shining forth among the supermundane Gods, with an intellectual condition; its third progression as possessing an exempt power among, the liberated Gods; and its fourth as multifariously distributed about the world, producing many orders and powers from itself,, and distributing gifts of this kind to the different parts of the world.

But after the unific and first principle of Love, and after the tripartite essence perfected from thence, a various multitude of Loves shines forth with divine light, from whence the choirs of angels are filled with Love; and the herds of dæmons full of this God attend on the Gods who are recalled to intelligible beauty. Add too, that the army of heroes, together with dæmons and angels, are agitated about the participation of the beautiful with divine bacchanalian fury. Lastly, all things are excited, revive and flourish through the influx of the beautiful. But the souls of such men as receive an inspiration of this kind, and are naturally allied to the God, assiduously move about beauty, and fall into the realms of generation, for the purpose of benefiting more imperfect souls, and providing for those natures which require to be saved. The Gods indeed, and the attendants on the Gods, abiding in their proper habits, benefit all following natures, and convert them to themselves; but the souls of men descending, and touching on the coasts of generation, imitate the benefi­cent providence of the Gods. As, therefore, souls established according to some other God descend with purity into the regions of mortality, and benefit souls that revolve in it; and some indeed benefit more imperfect souls by prophecy, others by mystic ceremonies, and others by, divine medicinal skill;—thus also souls that chose an amatory life, are moved about the deity who presides over beautiful natures, for the purpose of taking care of well-born souls. But from apparent beauty they are led back to divine beauty, and together with themselves elevate those who are the objects of their love. And this also divine Love primarily effects in intelligibles. For he unites himself to the object of love, extends to it the participants of his power, and inserts in all things one bond, and one indissoluble friendship with each other, and with the beautiful itself. Souls therefore possessed with Love, and participating the inspiration thence derived, in consequence of using an undefiled vehicle, are led from apparent to intelligible beauty, and make this the end of their energy. Likewise enkindling a light in more imperfect souls, they also lead these back to a divine nature, and are divinely agitated together with them about the fountain of all-perfect beauty.

But such souls as from a perverse education fall from the gift which is thence derived, yet are allotted an amatory nature, these, through their ignorance of true beauty, are busily employed about that which is material and divisible, at which also they are astonished in consequence of not knowing the passion which they suffer. Hence, they abandon every thing divine, and gradually decline into impiety and the darkness of matter. They appear indeed to hasten to a union with the beautiful, in the same manner as perfectly amatory souls; but they are ignorant of the union, and tend to a dissipated condition of life, and to matter, which Plato calls the sea of dissimilitude. They are also conjoined with the base itself, and material privation of form. For where are material natures able to pervade through each other? Or where is apparent beauty, pure and genuine, being thus mingled with matter, and replete with the deformity of its subject? Some souls therefore genuinely participate the gifts of Love, and by others these gifts are perverted. For as according to Plotinus the defluxion of intellect produces craft, and an erroneous participation of wisdom sophistry, so likewise the illumination of Love when it meets with a depraved recipient, produces a tyrannic and intemperate life.


In another part, likewise, of the same admirable Commentary, Proclus presents us, as he says, with some of the more arcane assertions concerning Love; and these are as follow:

Love is neither to be placed in the first, nor among the last of beings. Not in the first, because the object of Love is superior to Love: nor yet among the last, because the lover participates of Love. It is requisite, therefore, that love should be established between the object of Love and the lover, and that it should be posterior to the beautiful, but prior to every nature endued with love. Where then does it first subsist? How does it extend itself through the universe, and with what monads does it leap forth?

There are three hypostases, therefore, among the intelligible and occult Gods. And the first, indeed, is characterized by the good, understanding the good itself, and residing in that place where according to the oracle the paternal monad abides. But the second is characterized by wisdom, where the first intelligence flourishes. And the third by the beautiful, where, as Timæus says, the most beautiful of intelligibles abides. There are, however, three monads according to these intelligible causes, subsisting uniformly and causally in intelligibles, but first unfolding themselves into light in the ineffable order of the Gods,[56] I mean Faith, Truth, and Love. And Faith indeed establishes all things in good; but Truth unfolds all the knowledge in beings; and lastly, Love converts all things, and congregates them into the nature of the beautiful. This triads indeed, thence proceeds through all the orders of the Gods, and imparts to all things, by its light, a union with intelligible itself. It also unfolds itself differently in different orders, every where combining its powers with the peculiarities of the Gods. And among some it subsists ineffably, incomprehensibly, and unifically; but among others, as the cause of connecting and binding; and among others, as endued with a perfective and forming power. Here again, it subsists intellectually and paternally; but there in a manner, entirely motive, vivific, and effective. Here, as governing and assimilating; there in a liberated and undefiled manner; and elsewhere according to a multiplied and dividing mode. Love, therefore, supernally descends from intelligibles to mundane natures, calling all things upwards to divine beauty. Truth also proceeds through all things, illuminating all things with knowledge. And lastly, Faith proceeds through the universe, establishing all things unically in good. Hence the Chaldæan oracles assert that all things are governed by, and abide in, these. And on this account they order Theurgists to conjoin themselves to divinity through this triad. Intelligibles themselves, indeed, do not require the amatory medium, on account of their ineffable union. But where there is a union and separation of beings, there also Love abides. For it is the binder and conciliator of natures posterior and prior to itself; but the converter of subsequent into prior, and the elevating and perfecting cause of imperfect natures.

The Chaldæan oracles, therefore, speak of Love as binding, and residing in all things: and hence, if it connects all things, it also copulates us with the governments of dæmons. But Diotima in the Banquet, calls Love a great dæmon, because it everywhere fills up the medium between desiring and desirable natures. And indeed that which is the object of Love vindicates to itself the first order; but that which loves is in the third order from the beloved object. Lastly, Love usurps a middle situation between each, congregating and collecting together that which desires and that which is desired, and filling subordinate from better natures. But among the intelligible and occult Gods, it unites intelligible intellect to the first and secret beauty by a certain life better than intelligence. Hence, the theologist of the Greeks [Orpheus], calls this Love, blind; for he says,

In his breast feeding, eyeless, rapid Love.[57]

But in natural posterior to intelligibles, it imparts by illumination an indissoluble bond to all things perfected by itself; for a bond is a certain union, but accompanied with much separation. On this account the Chaldæan oracles are accustomed to call the fire of this Love a copulator. For proceeding from intelligible intellect, it binds all following natures to each other, and to itself. Hence, it conjoins all the Gods with intelligible beauty, and dæmons with Gods; but it conjoins us both with Gods and dæmons. In the Gods indeed it has a primary subsistence; in dæmons a secondary one; and in partial souls a subsistence through a certain third procession from principles. Again, in the Gods it subsists above essence; for every genus of Gods is superessential. But in dæmons it subsists according to essence; and in souls according to illumination. And this triple order appears similar to the triple power of intellect. For one intellect subsists as imparticipable, being exempt from all partial genera; but another as participated, of which also the souls of the Gods participate as of a better nature; and another is from this ingenerated in souls, and which is indeed their perfection. And these three distinctions of intellect Timæus himself indicates. Hence, that Love which subsists in the Gods must be considered as analogous to imparticipable intellect; for this it exempt from all the beings which receive and are illuminated by its nature. But dæmoniacal Love is analogous to participated intellect; for this is essential and is perfected from itself, in the same manner as participated intellect is proximately resident in souls. And the third Love is analogous to intellect which subsists as a habit, and which inserts an illumination in souls. Nor is it unjustly that we consider Love as co-ordinate with this intellectual difference; for in intelligible intellect it possesses its first and occult subsistence. And if it thence leaps forth, it is also established there according to cause. It likewise appears to me that Plato finding that intelligible intellect was called by Orpheus both Love and a great dæmon, was himself pleased to celebrate Love in a similar manner. Very properly, therefore, does Diotima call it a great dæmon. And Socrates conjoins the discourse about Love with that concerning dæmons. For as every thing dæmoniacal is suspended from the amatory medium, so likewise the discourse concerning a dæmoniacal nature is conjoined with that concerning Love, and is allied to it. For Love is a medium between the object of Love and the lover; and a dæmon is a medium between man and divinity.


The nature of dæmons, therefore, remains in the next place to be more fully disclosed; for the reader has been already presented with some very important information concerning them, in the discussion of the sublunary Gods. As there is no vacuum then in corporeal, so neither in incorporeal natures. Hence, between divine essences which are the first of things, and partial essences such as ours, which are nothing more than the dregs of the rational nature, there must necessarily be a middle rank of beings, in order that divinity may be connected with man, and that the progression of things may form an entire whole, suspended like the golden chain of Homer from the summit of Olympus. This middle rank of beings, considered according to a two-fold division, consists of dæmons and heroes, the latter of which is proximate to partial souls such as ours, and the former to divine natures, just as air and water subsist between fire and earth. Hence, whatever is ineffable and occult in the Gods, dæmons and heroes express and unfold. They likewise conciliate all things, and are the sources of the harmonic consent and sympathy of all things with each other. They transmit divine gifts to us, and equally carry back ours to the divinities. But the characteristics of divine natures are unity, permanency in themselves, a subsistence as an immoveable cause of motion, transcendent providence, and which possesses nothing in common with the subjects of their providential energies. And these characteristics are preserved in them according to essence, power and energy. On the other hand, the characteristics of partial souls are, a declination to multitude and motion, a conjunction with the Gods, an aptitude to receive something from other natures, and to mingle together all things in itself, and through itself. And these characteristics they also possess according to essence, power and energy. Such then being the peculiarities of the two extremes, we shall find that those of dæmons are to contain in themselves the gifts of divine natures, in a more inferior manner indeed than the Gods, but yet so as to comprehend the conditions of subordinate natures, under the idea of a divine essence. In other words, the prerogatives of deity characterize and absorb as it were by their powerful light, whatever dæmons possess peculiar to inferior beings. Hence, they are multiplied indeed but unitedly; mingled, but yet so that the unmingled predominates; and are moved, but with stability. On the contrary, heroes possess unity, identity, permanency, and every excellence, under the condition of multitude, motion, and mixture; viz. the prerogatives of subordinate predominate in these over the characteristics of superior natures, yet so as never to induce a cessation of energy about, or oblivion of, divinity. In short, dæmons and heroes are composed of the properties of the two extremes—Gods and partial souls; but in dæmons there is more of the divine, and in heroes more of the human nature.

Having premised thus much, I shall next present the reader with all the information I have been able to collect from the most genuine Platonists, and especially from Proclus, on the nature of this middle order of beings. In the first place, therefore, what follows on this subject is derived from the MS. Commentary of Proclus On the First Alcibiades, in which extract also the nature of the dæmon of Socrates is unfolded, about which modern wit has been so much puzzled, and so egregiously mistaken.

Let us now speak first, concerning dæmons in general; secondly, concerning those that are allotted us in common; and thirdly, concerning the dæmon of Socrates. For it is always requisite that demonstrations should begin from things more universal, and proceed from these as far as to individuals. For this mode of proceeding is natural, and is more adapted to science. Dæmons, therefore, deriving their first subsistence from the vivific Goddess [Juno], and flowing from thence as from a certain fountain, are allotted an essence characterized by soul. This essence in those of a superior order is more intellectual, and more perfect according to hyparxis; in those of a middle order it is more rational; and in those which rank in the third degree, and which subsist at the extremity of the dæmoniacal order, it is various, more irrational, and more material. Possessing, therefore, an essence of this kind, they are distributed in conjunction with the Gods, as being allotted a power ministrant to deity. Hence, they are in one way subservient to the liberated Gods, who are the leaders of wholes prior to the world; and in another to the mundane Gods, who proximately preside over the parts of the universe. For there is one division of dæmons according to the twelve supercelestial Gods, and another according to all the peculiarities of the mundane Gods. For every mundane God is the leader of a certain dæmoniacal order, to which he proximately imparts his power; viz. if he is a demiurgic God, he imparts a demiurgic power; if immutable, an undefiled power; if telesiurgic, a perfective power. And about each of the divinities, there is an innumerable multitude of dæmons, and which are dignified with the same appellations as their leading Gods. Hence, they rejoice when they are called by the names of Jupiter, Apollo, and Hermes, &c. as expressing the peculiarity of their proper deities. And from these, mortal natures also participate of divine influxions. And thus animals and plants are fabricated, bearing the images of different Gods; dæmons proximately imparting to these the representations of their leaders. But the Gods in an exempt manner supernally preside over dæmons; and through this last natures sympathize with such as are first. For the representations of first are seen in last natures; and the causes of things that are last are comprehended in primary beings. The middle genera, too, of dæmons give completion to wholes, the communion of which they bind and connect; participating indeed of the Gods, but participated by mortal natures. He, therefore, will not err who asserts that the mundane artificer established the centres of the order of the universe in dæmons; since Diotima also assigns them this order, viz. that of binding together divine and mortal natures, of deducing supernal streams, elevating all secondary natures to the Gods, and giving completion to wholes through the connexion of a medium.

Hence, we must not assent to their doctrine, who say that dæmons are the souls of men that have changed the present life. For it is not proper to consider a dæmoniacal nature according to habitude, as the same with a nature essentially dæmoniacal; nor to assert that the perpetual medium of all mundane natures consists from a life conversant with multiform mutations. For a dæmoniacal guard subsists always the same, connecting the mundane wholes. But soul does not always thus retain its own order, as Socrates says in the Republic; since at different times it chooses different lives. Nor do we praise those who make certain of the Gods to be dæmons, such as the erratic Gods, [i. e. the planets] according to Amelius. But we are persuaded by Plato, who calls the Gods the rulers of the universe, but subjects to them the herds of dæmons. And we shall everywhere preserve the doctrine of Diotima, who assigns the middle order, between all divine and mortal natures, to a dæmoniacal essence. Let this then be the conception respecting the whole of the demoniacal order in common.


In the next place, let us speak concerning the dæmons, who are allotted the superintendence of mankind. For of these dæmons, which, as we have said, rank in the middle order, the first and highest are divine dæmons, and who often appear as Gods, through their transcendent similitude to the divinities. For, in short, that which is first in every order preserves the form of the nature prior to itself. Thus, the first intellect is a God, and the most ancient of souls is intellectual. Hence, the highest genus of dæmons, as being proximate to the Gods, is uniform and divine. The next to these in order are those dæmons who participate of an intellectual peculiarity, and preside over the ascent and descent of souls, and who unfold into light and deliver to all things the productions of the Gods. The third are those who distribute the productions of divine souls to secondary natures, and complete the bond of those that receive effluxions from thence. The fourth are those that transmit the efficacious powers of whole natures to things generated and corrupted, and who inspire partial natures with life, order, reasons, and the all-various perfect operations which things mortal are able to effect. The fifth are corporeal, and bind together the extremes in bodies. For, how can perpetual accord with corruptible bodies, and efficients with effects, except through this medium? For it is this ultimate nature which has dominion over corporeal goods, and provides for all natural prerogatives. The sixth in order are those that revolve about matter, connect the powers which descend from celestial to sublunary matter, perpetually guard this matter, and defend the shadowy representation of forms which it contains.

Dæmons, therefore, as Diotima also says, being many and all-various, the highest of them conjoin souls proceeding from their father to their leading Gods. For every God, as we have said, is the leader in the first place of dæmons, and in the next of partial souls. For the demiurgus disseminated these, as Timæus says, into the sun and moon, and the other instruments of time. These divine dæmons, therefore, are those which are essentially allotted to souls, and conjoin them to their proper leaders. And every soul, though it revolves together with its leading deity, requires a dæmon of this kind. But dæmons of the second rank preside over the ascensions and descensions of souls; and from these the souls of the multitude derive their elections. For the most perfect souls, who are conversant with generation in an undefiled manner, as they choose a life conformable to their presiding God, so they live according to a divine dæmon, who conjoined them to their proper deity when they dwelt on high. Hence, the Egyptian priest admired Plotinus, as being governed by a divine dæmon. To souls, therefore, who live as those that will shortly return to the intelligible world whence they came, the supernal is the same with the dæmon which attends them here. But to imperfect souls the essential is different from the dæmon that attends them at their birth.

If these things then are rightly asserted, we must not assent to those who make our rational soul a dæmon. For a dæmon is different from man, as Diotima says, who places dæmons between Gods and men, and as Socrates also evinces, when he divides a dæmoniacal oppositely to the human nature. “For,” says he, “not a human but a dæmoniacal obstacle detains me.” But man is a soul using the body as an instrument. A dæmon, therefore, is not the same with the rational soul.

This also is evident from Plato in the Timæus, where he says that intellect has in us the relation of a dæmon. But this is only true as far as pertains to analogy. For a dæmon according to essence is different from a dæmon according to analogy. For in many instances, that which proximately presides, subsisting in the order of a dæmon with respect to that which is inferior, is called a dæmon. Thus Jupiter in Orpheus calls his father Saturn an illustrious dæmon; and Plato in the Timæus calls those Gods who proximately preside over, and orderly distribute the realms of generation, dæmons. “For,” says he, “to speak concerning other dæmons, and to know their generation, exceeds the ability of human nature.” But a dæmon according to analogy is that which proximately presides over any thing, though it should be a God, or though it should be some one of the natures posterior to the Gods. And the soul that through similitude to the dæmoniacal genus produces energies more wonderful than those which belong to human nature, and which suspends the whole of its life from dæmons, is a dæmon κατα σχεσιν, according to habitude, i. e. proximity or alliance. Thus, as it appears to me, Socrates in the Republic calls those dæmons, who have lived well, and who in consequence of this are transferred to a better condition of being, and to more holy places. But an essential dæmon is neither called a dæmon through habitude to secondary natures, nor through an assimilation to something different from itself; but is allotted this peculiarity from himself, and is defined by a certain hyparxis, by appropriate powers, and by different modes of energies. In short, the rational soul is called in the Timæus the dæmon of the animal; but we investigate the dæmon of man, and not of the animal; that which governs the rational soul itself, and not its instrument; and that which leads the soul to its judges, after the dissolution of the animal, as Socrates says in the Phædo. For when the animal is no more, the dæmon which the soul was allotted while connected with the body, conducts it to its judge. For, if the soul possesses that dæmon while living in the body, which is said to lead it to judgement after death, this dæmon must be the dæmon of the man, and not of the animal alone. To which we may add, that beginning from on high, it governs the whole of our composition.

Nor again, dismissing the rational soul, must it be said that a dæmon is that which energizes in the soul: as for instance, that in those who live according to reason, reason is the dæmon; in those that live according to anger, the irascible part; and in those that live according to desire, the epithymetic or desiring part. Nor must it be said that the nature which proximately presides over that which energizes in our life, is a dæmon: as for instance, that reason is the dæmon of the irascible, and anger of those that live according to desire. For, in the first place, to assert that dæmons are parts of our soul, is to admire human life in an improper degree, and oppose the division of Socrates in the Republic, who after Gods and dæmons places the heroic and human race, and blames the poets for introducing in their poems heroes in no respect better than men, but subject to similar passions. By this accusation, therefore, it is plain that Socrates was very far from thinking that dæmons, who are of a sublimer order than heroes, are to be ranked among the parts and powers of the soul. For from this doctrine it will follow that things essentially more excellent give completion to such as are subordinate. And in the second place, from this hypothesis, mutations of lives would also introduce multiform mutations of dæmons. For the avaricious character is frequently changed into an ambitious life, this again into a life which is formed by right opinion, and this last into a scientific life. The dæmon, therefore, will vary according to these changes; for the energizing part will be different at different times. If, therefore, either this energizing part itself is a dæmon, or that part which has an arrangement prior to it, dæmons will be changed together with the mutation of human life, and the same person will have many dæmons in one life; which is of all things the most impossible. For the soul never changes in one life the government of its dæmon; but it is the same dæmon which presides over us till we are brought before the judges of our conduct, as also Socrates asserts in the Phædo.

Again, those who consider a partial intellect, or that intellect which subsists at the extremity of the intellectual order, as the same with the dæmon which is assigned to man, appear to me to confound the intellectual peculiarity with the dæmoniacal essence. For all dæmons subsist in the extent of souls, and rank as the next in order to divine souls. But the intellectual order is different from that of soul, and is neither, allotted the same essence, nor power, nor energy.

Further still, this also may be said, that souls enjoy intellect then only when they convert themselves to it, receive its light, and conjoin their own with intellectual energy; but they experience the presiding care of a dæmoniacal nature through the whole of life, and in every thing which proceeds from fate and providence. For it is the dæmon that governs the whole of our life, and that fulfils the elections which we made prior to generation, together with the gifts of fate, and of those Gods that preside over fate. It is likewise the dæmon that supplies and measures the illuminations from providence. And as souls indeed, we are suspended from intellect, but as souls using the body we require the aid of a dæmon. Hence, Plato in the Phædrus calls intellect the governor of the soul; but he everywhere calls a dæmon the inspector and guardian of mankind. And no one who considers the affair rightly, will find any other one and proximate providence of every thing pertaining to us, besides that of a dæmon. For intellect, as we have said, is participated by the rational soul, but not by the body; and nature is participated by the body, but not by the dianoëtic part. And further still, the rational soul rules over anger and desire, but it has no dominion over fortuitous events. But the dæmon alone moves, governs, and orderly disposes all our affairs. For he gives perfection to reason, measures the passions, inspires nature, connects the body, supplies things fortuitous, accomplishes the decrees of fate, and imparts the gifts of providence. In short, he is the king of every thing in and about us, and is the pilot of the whole of our life. And thus much concerning our allotted dæmons.


In the next place, with respect to the dæmon of Socrates, these three things are to be particularly considered. First, that he not only ranks as a dæmon, but also as a God. For in the First Alcibiades Socrates clearly says, “I have long been of opinion that the God did not as yet direct me to hold any conversation with you” He calls the same power therefore a dæmon and a God. And in the Apology he more clearly evinces that this dæmon is allotted a divine transcendency, considered as ranking in a dæmoniacal order. And this is what we before said, that the dæmons of divine souls, and who make choice of an intellectual and elevating life, are divine, transcending the whole of a dæmoniacal genus, and being the first participants of the Gods. For, as is a dæmon among Gods, such also is a God among dæmons. Among the divinities however the hyparxis is divine; but in dæmons on the contrary, the peculiarity of their essence is dæmoniacal, but the analogy which they bear to divinity evinces their essence to be godlike. For on account of their transcendency with respect to other dæmons they frequently appear as Gods. With great propriety therefore, does Socrates call his dæmon a God; for he belonged to the first and highest dæmons. Hence Socrates was most perfect, being governed by such a presiding power, and conducting himself by the will of such a leader and guardian of his life. This then was one of the illustrious prerogatives of the dæmon of Socrates. The second was this: that Socrates perceived a certain voice proceeding from his dæmon. For this is asserted by him in the Theætetus and in the Phædrus. This voice also is the signal from the dæmon, which he speaks of in the Theages. And again in the Phædrus, when he was about to pass over the river, he experienced the accustomed signal from the dæmon. What then, does Socrates indicate by these assertions, and what was the voice through which he says the dæmon signified to him his will?

In the first place, we must say that Socrates, through his dianoëtic power, and his science of things, enjoyed the inspiration of his dæmon, who continually recalled him to divine love. In the second place, in the affairs of life, Socrates supernally directed his providential attention to more imperfect souls. And according to the energy of his dæmon, he received the light proceeding from thence, neither in his dianoëtic part alone, nor in his doxastic powers, but also in his spirit, the illumination of the dæmon suddenly diffusing itself through the whole of his life, and now moving sense itself. For it is evident that reason, imagination, and sense, enjoy the same energy differently; and that each of our inward parts is passive to, and is moved by the dæmon in a peculiar manner. The voice therefore, did not act upon Socrates externally with passivity; but the dæmoniacal inspiration, proceeding inwardly through his whole soul, and diffusing itself as far as to the organs of sense, became at last a voice, which was rather recognized by consciousness than by sense. For such are the illuminations of good dæmons and the Gods.

In the third place, let us consider the peculiarity of the dæmon of Socrates; for it never exhorted, but perpetually recalled him. This also must be again referred to the Socratic life. For it is not a property common to our allotted dæmons, but was the characteristic of the guardian of Socrates. We must say therefore, that the beneficent and philanthropic disposition of Socrates, and his great promptitude with respect to the communication of good, did not require the exhortation of the dæmon. For he was impelled from himself, and was ready at all times to impart to all men the most excellent life. But since many of those that came to him were unadapted to the pursuit of virtue and the science of wholes, his governing good dæmon restrained him from a providential care of such as these. Just as a good charioteer alone restrains the impetus of a horse naturally well adapted for the race, but does not stimulate him, in consequence of his being excited to motion from himself, and not requiring the spur, but the bridle. And hence Socrates, from his great readiness to benefit those with whom he conversed, rather required a recalling than an exciting dæmon. For the inaptitude of auditors, which is for the most part concealed from human sagacity, requires a dæmoniacal discrimination; and the knowledge of favourable opportunities can by this alone be accurately announced to us. Socrates therefore being naturally impelled to good, alone required to be recalled in his unseasonable impulses.

But farther still, it may be said, that of dæmons, some are allotted a purifying and undefiled power; others a perfective; and others a demiurgic power. And in short, they are divided according to the characteristic peculiarities of the Gods, and the powers under which they are arranged. Each likewise, according to his hyparxis, incites the object of his providential care to a blessed life; some of them moving us to an attention to inferior concerns; and others restraining us from action, and an energy verging to externals. It appears therefore, that the dæmon of Socrates being allotted this peculiarity, viz. cathartic, and the source of an undefiled life, and being arranged under this power of Apollo, and uniformly presiding over the whole of purification, separated also Socrates from too much commerce with the vulgar, and a life extending itself into multitude. But it led him into the depths of his soul, and an energy undefiled by subordinate natures. And hence it never exhorted, but perpetually recalled him. For, what else is to recall, than to withdraw him from the multitude to inward energy? And of what is this the peculiarity except of purification? Indeed, it appears to me, that as Orpheus places the Apolloniacal monad over king Bacchus, which recalls him from a progression into Titanic multitude, and a desertion of his royal throne, in like manner the dæmon of Socrates conducted him to an intellectual place of survey, and restrained his association with the multitude. For the dæmon is analogous to Apollo, being his attendant, but the intellect of Socrates to Bacchus; for our intellect is the progeny of the power of this divinity.


From the MS. Scholia also of Proclus on the Cratylus, we derive the following important information concerning this order of beings who connect the divine and human nature together. Of the genera posterior to the Gods, and which are indeed their perpetual attendants, but produce, in conjunction with them mundane fabrications from on high, as far as to the last of things,—of these genera, some unfold generation into light; others are transporters of union; others of power; and others call forth the knowledge of the Gods, and an intellectual essence. But of these, some are called angelic, by those that are skilful in divine concerns, in consequence of being established according to the hyparxis itself of the Gods, and making that which is uniform in their nature commensurate with things of a secondary rank. Hence, the angelic tribe is boniform, as unfolding into light the occult goodness of the Gods. Others among these are called by theologists dæmoniacal, as binding the middle of all things, and as distributing divine power, and producing it as far as to the last of things. For δαισαι is το μερισαι. But this genus possesses abundance of power, and is multifarious, as giving subsistence to those last dæmons who are material, who draw down souls, and proceed to the most partial and material form of energy. Others again, are denominated by them heroic, who lead human souls on high through love, and who are the suppliers of an intellectual life, of magnitude of operation, and transcendency of wisdom. In short, they are allotted a convertive order and providence, and an alliance to a divine intellect, to which they also convert secondary natures. Hence, they are allotted this appellation, as being able to raise and extend souls to the Gods. (ως αιρειν και ανατεινειν τας ψυχας επι θεους δυναμενα)

These triple genera posterior to, are indeed, always suspended from the Gods, but they are divided from each other. And some of them are essentially intellectual; others are essentialized in rational souls; and others subsist in irrational and phantastic lives, i. e. in lives characterised by imagination. It is also evident that such of them as are intellectual; are allotted a prudence or wisdom transcending that of human nature, and which is eternally conjoined with the objects of their intellection. But such of them as are rational, energize discursively according to prudence. And the irrational kind are destitute of prudence. For they dwell in matter, and the darkest parts of the universe. They also bind souls to image-producing bosoms, (και συνδει τας ψυχας τοις ειδωλοποιοις κολποις) and strangle such as are brought into that region, until they have suffered the punishment which is their due. These three genera therefore, which are more excellent than us, Socrates now calls dæmons. And thus much concerning these triple genera, according to Proclus.

Again, with respect to dæmons properly so called, there are three species of them according to the Platonic theology; the first of which is rational only, and the last is irrational only; but the middle species is partly rational and partly irrational. And again, of these the first is perfectly beneficent, but many among the other two species are malevolent and noxious to mankind: not indeed essentially malevolent (for there is nothing in the universe, the ample abode of all-bountiful Jove, essentially evil), but only so from the office which they are destined to perform. For nothing which operates naturally, operates as to itself evilly. But the Platonic Hermeas in his MS. Commentary on the Phædrus, and on that part of it in which Plato says, “There are indeed, other evils besides these, but a certain dæmon immediately mingles pleasure with most of them” admirably observes respecting dæmons as follows: “The distribution of good and evil originates from the dæmoniacal genus. For every genus transcending that of dæmons, uniformly possesses good. There are therefore, certain genera of dæmons, some of which adorn and administer certain parts of the world; but others certain species of animals. Hence, the dæmon who is the inspective guardian of life, hastens souls into that condition which he himself is allotted; as for instance, into injustice or intemperance, and continually mingles pleasure in them as a snare. But there are other dæmons transcending these, who are the punishers of souls, converting them to a more perfect and elevated life. And the first of these it is necessary to avoid; but the second sort we should render propitious. There are other dæmons however, more excellent than these, who distribute good in an uniform manner”

Farther still, Plato in the Phædo, says, “that the dæmon of each person, which was allotted to him while living, endeavours to lead each to a certain place, where it is necessary that all of them being collected together, after they have been judged, should proceed to Hades, together with their leader, who is ordered to conduct them from hence thither. But there receiving the allotments proper to their condition, and abiding for a necessary time, another leader brings them back hither again, in many and long periods of time.” Olympiodorus in his MS. Commentary on that dialogue, observes on this passage as follows:

“Since there are in the universe, things which subsist differently at different times, and since there are also natures which are conjoined with the superessential unities, it is necessary that there should be a certain middle genus, which is neither immediately suspended from deity, nor subsists differently at different times according to better and worse, but which is always perfect, and does not depart from its proper virtue; and is immutable indeed but is not conjoined with the superessential. The whole of this genus is dæmoniacal. There are also different genera of dæmons; for they are arranged under the mundane Gods. The highest of these subsists according to the one of the Gods, which is called an unific and divine genus of dæmons. The next according to the intellect which is suspended from Deity, and is called intellectual. The third subsists according to soul, and is called rational. The fourth according to nature, and is denominated physical. The fifth according to body, and is called corporeal-formed. And the sixth according to matter, and this is denominated material. Or after another manner it may be said, that some of these are celestial, others ethereal, others aerial, others aquatic, others terrestrial, and others subterranean. With respect also to this division, it is evident that it is derived from the parts of the universe. But irrational dæmons originate from the aerial governors, whence also the [Chaldean] Oracle says,

ηεριων ελατηρα κυνων χθονιων τε και υγρων.

i. e. “being the charioteer of the aerial, terrestrial and aquatic dogs.” Our guardian dæmons, however, belong to that order of dæmons, which is arranged under the Gods that preside over the ascent and descent of souls.”

Olympiodorus further observes, “that the dæmon endeavours to lead the soul as exciting its conceptions and imaginations, at the same time, however, yielding to the self-motive power of the soul. But in consequence of the dæmon exciting, one soul follows voluntarily, another violently, and another according to a mode subsisting between these. There is also one dæmon who leads the soul to its judges from the present life; another who is ministrant to the judges, giving completion, as it were, to the sentence which is passed; and a third who is allotted the guardianship of life.”

In the next place, with respect to irrational dæmons, it remains to investigate how they subsist. For if they derive their subsistence from the junior Gods, how, since these are the fathers of mortal natures, are these dæmons immortal? But if from the demiurgus how are they irrational? For he is the father of things in conjunction with intellect. This doubt is beautifully solved by Proclus as follows: irrational dæmons derive their subsistence from the junior Gods, yet are not on this account mortal, since of these Gods some generate others. And perhaps the generated Gods are called by Plato, in the Timæus, dæmons, because those that are truly dæmons are produced by the junior Gods. But they likewise proceed from the one demiurgus. For as Timæus says, he is the cause of all immortal natures. If, however, the demiurgus imparts intellect to all things, there is also in irrational dæmons an ultimate vestige of the intellectual peculiarity, so far as they have a facility of imagination; for this is the last echo as it were of intellect. And on this account the phantasy is not improperly called by others passive intellect.

Lastly, after essential heroes, an order of souls follows, who proximately govern the affairs of men, and are dæmoniacal according to habitude or alliance, but not essentially. These souls likewise are the perpetual attendants of the Gods, but they have not an essence wholly superior to man. Of this kind, as we are informed by Proclus in his MS. Scholia on the Cratylus, are the Nymphs that sympathize with waters, Pans with the feet of goats and the like. They also differ from those powers that are essentially of a dæmoniacal characteristic in this, that they assume a variety of shapes (each of the others immutably preserving one form) are subject to various passions, and are the causes of every kind of deception to mankind. Proclus likewise observes, that the Minerva which so often appeared to Ulysses and Telemachus belonged to this order of souls.


After the triple genera that are the perpetual attendants of the Gods, those human souls follow that are of an heroic characteristic, are undefiled, associating with generation, and abandoning their proper order but for a little time. For the souls that descend and are defiled with vice, are very remote from those that abide on high with immaculate purity. The media, therefore, between these, are the souls that descend indeed, but without defilement; since it is not lawful for the contrary to take place, viz. to be defiled with vice, and yet to abide on high. For evil is not in the Gods, but in the regions of mortality, and material affairs. The first genus of souls, therefore, is divine. For every where, that which is the recipient of deity has a ruling and leading order, in essences, in intellects, in souls and in bodies. But the second genus of souls is always conjoined to the Gods, in order that through this those that sometimes depart from, may again be recalled to them. The third genus is that which descends indeed into generation, but descends with purity, exchanges a more divine life for one of a subordinate nature, but is exempt from vice, and liberated from the dominion of the passions. For this genus exists in continuity with that which always abides on high, and is always undefiled. And the fourth and last genus is that of the souls of the bulk of mankind, which wanders abundantly, descends as far as to Tartarus, and is again excited from thence. It likewise evolves all-various forms of life, uses a variety of manners, is under the influence of different passions at different times, and assumes the forms of dæmons, men, and irrational animals. At the same time, however, it is corrected and amended by Justice, recurs from earth to heaven, and is led round from matter to intellect, but according to certain orderly periods of wholes.

Plotinus beautifully alludes to this undefiled genus of human souls in the 9th book of his 5th Ennead, On Intellect, Ideas, and Being, as follows: “Since all men from their birth employ sense prior to intellect, and are necessarily first conversant with sensibles, some proceeding no farther pass through life, considering these as the first and last of things, and apprehending that whatever is painful among these is evil, and whatever is pleasant is good; thus thinking it sufficient to pursue the one and avoid the other. Those too, among them, who pretend to a greater share of reason than others, esteem this to be wisdom, being affected in a manner similar to more heavy birds, who, collecting many things from the earth, and being oppressed with the weight, are unable to fly on high, though they have received wings for this purpose from nature. But others are in a small degree elevated from things subordinate, the more excellent part of the soul recalling them from pleasure to a more worthy pursuit As they are, however, unable to look on high, and as not possessing any thing else which can afford them rest, they betake themselves together with the name of virtue to actions and the election of things inferior, from which they at first endeavoured to raise themselves, though in vain. In the third class is the race of divine men, who through a more excellent power, and with piercing eyes, acutely perceive supernal light, to the vision of which they raise themselves above the clouds and darkness as it were of this lower world, and there abiding despise every thing in these regions of sense; being no otherwise delighted with the place which is truly and properly their own, than he who after many wanderings is at length restored to his lawful country.”

These undefiled souls are called by the author of the Golden Verses, “terrestrial dæmons,” because, as Hierocles observes, they are by nature men, but by habitude dæmons, and possess a scientific knowledge of divinity. For since all men are terrestrial, as ranking in the third degree of rational beings, but all are not skilful (δαημονων) and wise, the author of the verses very properly calls wise men both terrestrial and dæmons conjointly. For neither are all men wise, nor are all the beings that are wise, men. But the illustrious heroes[58] and the immortal Gods, being naturally more excellent than men, are wise and good. The verses therefore exhort vis to reverence those men who are co-arranged with the divine genera, and who (according to habitude) are equal to angels and dæmons, and are similar to the illustrious heroes.

Plato, in the Cratylus, calls these undefiled souls both dæmons and heroes, and speaks of them as follows: “Soc. Do you not know who those dæmons are which Hesiod speaks of? Herm. I do not. Soc. And are you ignorant that he says the golden race of men was first generated? Herm. This I know. Soc. He says, therefore, that after this race was concealed by Fate, it produced dæmons denominated holy, terrestrial, good, expellers of evil, and guardians of mortal men, Herm. But what then? Soc. I think, indeed, that he calls it a golden race, not as naturally consisting of gold, but as being beautiful and good. I infer this, however, from his denominating our race an iron one. Herm. You speak the truth. Soc. Do you not therefore think, that if any one of the present times should appear be good, Hesiod would say he belonged to the golden race? Herm. It is probable he would. Soc. But are the good any other than such as are [intellectually] prudent? Herm. They are not. Soc. On this account, therefore, as it appears to me, more than any other he calls them dæmons, because they were prudent and learned (δαημονες), And in our ancient tongue this very name is to be found. Hence both he and many other poets, speak in a becoming manner, when they say that a good man after death will receive a mighty destiny and renown, and will become a dæmon, according to the surname of prudence. I therefore assert the same, that every good man is learned and skilful; that he is dæmoniacal both while living and when dead; and that he is properly denominated a dæmon. Herm. And I also, Socrates, seem to myself to agree with you perfectly in this particular. But what does the name hero signify? Soc. This is by no means difficult to understand. For this name is very little different from its original, evincing that its generation is derived from love. Herm. How is this? Soc. Do you not know that heroes are demigods? Herm. What then? Soc. All of them were doubtless generated either from the love of a God towards a mortal maid, or from the love of a man towards a Goddess. If, therefore, you consider this matter according to the ancient Attic tongue, you will more clearly understand the truth of this derivation. For it will be evident to you that the word hero is derived from love, with a trifling mutation for the sake of the name.”

The meaning of Plato in this passage, and also the characteristic properties of terrestrial heroes are beautifully unfolded by Proclus as follows, in his very rare and invaluable MS. Scholia on the Cratylus. “Every where the extremities of a prior, are conjoined with the summits of a secondary order. Thus for instance, our master Hermes (ο δεσποτης ημων Ερμης) being an archangelic monad, is celebrated as a God. But Plato calls the whole extent between Gods and men dæmons. And they indeed, are dæmons by nature. Those dæmons, however, that are now mentioned, together with the demigods heroes, are not dæmons and heroes by nature, for they do not always follow the Gods; but they are only so from habitude, being souls who naturally deliver themselves to generation, such as was the great Hercules, and others of the like kind. But the peculiarity of heroic souls is magnitude of operation, elevation and magnificence. Such heroes also it is necessary to honour, and to perform funeral rites to their memory, conformably to the exhortation of the Athenian guest in the Laws. This heroic genus of souls, therefore, does not always follow the Gods, but is undefiled, and more intellectual than other souls. And it descends indeed for the benefit of the life of men, as partaking of a destiny inclining downwards; but it has much of an elevated nature, and which is properly liberated from matter. Hence souls of this kind are easily led back to the intelligible world, in which they live for many periods; while on the contrary, the more irrational kind of souls, are either never led back, or this is accomplished with great difficulty, or continues for a very inconsiderable period of time.

Each of the Gods indeed is perfectly exempt from secondary natures, and the first and more total of dæmons are likewise established above a habitude of this kind. They employ, however, terrestrial and partial spirits in the generations of some of the human race, not physically mingling with mortals, but moving nature, perfecting its power, expanding the path of generation, and removing all impediments. Fables, therefore, through the similitude of appellation conceal the things themselves. For spirits of this kind are similarly denominated with the Gods, the leading causes of their series. Hence they say, either that Gods have connexion with women, or men with Goddesses. But if they were willing to speak plainly and clearly, they would say that Venus, Mars, Thetis, and the other divinities, produce their respective series, beginning from on high, as far as to the last of things; each of which series comprehends in itself many essences differing from each other; such as the angelical, dæmoniacal, heroical, nymphical, and the like. The lowest powers, therefore, of these orders, have much communion with the human race; for the extremities of first are connascent with the summits of secondary natures. And they contribute to our other natural operations, and to the production of our species. On this account it is frequently seen that from the mixture of these powers with men heroes are generated, who appear to possess a certain prerogative above human nature. Not only a dæmoniacal genus, however, of this kind, physically sympathizes with men, but a different genus sympathizes with other animals, as Nymphs with trees, others with fountains, and others with stags, or serpents.

But how is it that at one time the Gods are said to have connexion with mortal females, and at another time mortal females with the Gods? We reply, that the communion of Gods with Goddesses gives subsistence to Gods or dæmons eternally; but heroic souls having a two-fold form of life, viz. doxastic and dianoëtic, the former of which is called by Plato in the Timæus the circle of difference, and the latter, the circle of sameness, and which are characterized by the properties of male and female;—hence these souls at one time exhibit a deiform power, by energizing according to the masculine prerogative of their nature, or the circle of sameness, and at another time according to their feminine prerogative, or the circle of difference; yet so as that according to both these energies they act with rectitude, and without merging themselves in the darkness of body. They likewise know the natures prior to their own, and exercise a providential care over inferior concerns, without at the same time having that propensity to such concerns which is found in the bulk of mankind. But the souls which act erroneously according to the energies of both these circles, or which, in other words, neither exhibit accurate specimens of practical, nor of intellectual virtue—these differ in no respect from gregarious souls, or the herd of mankind, with whom the circle of sameness is fettered, and the circle of difference sustains all-various fractions and distortions.

As it is impossible therefore, that these heroic souls can act with equal vigour and perfection, according to both these circles at once, since this is the province of natures more divine than the human, it is necessary that they should sometimes descend and energize principally according to their doxastic part, and sometimes according to their more intellectual part. Hence, one of these circles must energize naturally, and the other be hindered from its proper energy. On this account heroes are called demigods, as having only one of their circles illuminated by the Gods. Such of these therefore, as have the circle of sameness unfettered, as are excited to an intellectual life, and are moved about it according to a deific energy,—these are said to have a God for their father, and a mortal for their mother, through a defect with respect to the doxastic form of life. But such, on the contrary, as energize without impediment according to the circle of difference, who act with becoming rectitude in practical affairs, and at the same time enthusiastically, or in other words, under the inspiring influence of divinity,—these are said to have a mortal for their father, and a Goddess for their mother. In short, rectitude of energy in each of these circles is to be ascribed to a divine cause.[59] Hence when the circle of sameness has dominion, the divine cause of illumination is said to be masculine and paternal; but when the circle of difference predominates, it is said to be maternal. Hence too, Achilles in Homer acts with rectitude in practical affairs,[60] and at the same time exhibits specimens of magnificent, vehement, and divinely-inspired energy, as being the son of a Goddess. And such is his attachment to practical virtue, that even when in Hades, he desires a union with body, that he may assist his father. While on the contrary, Minos and Rhadamanthus, who were heroes illuminated by Jupiter, raised themselves from generation to true being, and meddled with mortal concerns no further than absolute necessity required.

In the last place Proclus adds, that heroes are very properly denominated from Love, since Love is a great dæmon: and from the co-operation of dæmons heroes are produced. To which may also be added, that Love originated from Plenty as the more excellent cause, and from Poverty as the recipient and the worse cause; and heroes are analogously produced from different genera.”

Plato who was one of these heroes or demigods, was the offspring of Apollo in the way above explained by Proclus, as we are informed by Olympiodorus in his life of him. For he says, “It is reported that an Apolloniacal spectre had connection with Perictione the mother of Plato, and that appearing in the night to Aristo the father of Plato, it commanded him not to sleep with Perictione during the time of her pregnancy—which mandate Aristo obeyed.” The like account of the divine origin of Plato is also given by Apuleius in his treatise on the dogmas of Plato, and by Plutarch in the 8th book of his Symposiacs. Epimenides likewise, Eudoxus and Xenocrates asserted that Apollo becoming connected with Parthenis the mother of Pythagoras, and causing her to be pregnant, had in consequence of this predicted concerning Pythagoras by his priest.[61] And thus much concerning those undefiled souls who were called by the ancients terrestrial dæmons, heroes and demigods, and who descended into the regions of mortality for the benevolent purpose of benefiting those apostate souls, who are elegantly called by Empedocles,

Heaven’s exiles straying from the orb of light.


The triple genera that are the perpetual attendants of the Gods, and which have been unfolded in the preceding chapters, are indicated by the following division of time, in the first hypothesis of the Parmenides; from which division the one is shown to be exempt: “Do not the terms it was, it has been, it did become, seem to signify the participation of the time past? Certainly. And do not the terms it will be, it may become, and it will be generated, signify that which is about to be hereafter? Certainly. But are not the terms it is, and it is becoming to be, marks of the present time? Entirely so. If then the one participates in no respect of any time, it neither ever was, nor has been, nor did become. Nor is it now generated, nor is becoming to be, nor is, nor may become hereafter, nor will be generated, nor will be. It is most true.”

The commentary of Proclus on this passage is as follows: “This division of time accords with the multitude of the divine genera, which are suspended from divine souls, viz. with angels, dæmons, and heroes. And in the first place, this division proceeds to them supernally, according to a triadic distribution into the present, past, and future; and in the next place, according to a distribution into nine, each of these three being again subdivided into three. For the monad of souls is united to the one whole of time, but this is participated secondarily by the multitude of souls. And of this multitude, those participate of this whole totally, that subsist according to the past, or the present, or the future; but those participate of it partially, that are essentialized according to the differences of these. For to each of the wholes a multitude is co-ordinated, divided into things first, middle, and last. For a certain multitude subsists in conjunction with that which is established conformably to the past, the summit of which is according to the was, but the middle according to it has been, and the end according to it did become. With that also which is established according to the present, there is another multitude, the principal part of which is characterized by the is, the middle by it is generated, and the end by it is becoming to be. And there is another triad with that which subsists according to the future, the most elevated part of which is characterized by the will be, that which ranks in the middle by it may become, and the end by it will be generated. And thus there will be three triads proximately suspended from these three totalities, but all these are suspended from their monad.

All these orders, likewise, which are distributed according to the parts of time, energize according to the whole of time; this whole containing in itself triple powers, one of which is perfective of all motion, the second connects and guards things which are governed by it, and the third unfolds divine natures into light. For, as all such things as are not eternal, are led round in a circle, the wholeness or the monad of time, perfects and connects their essence, and discloses to them the united infinity of eternity, evolving the contracted multitude which subsists in eternal natures; whence also this apparent time, as Timæus says, unfolds to us the measures of divine periods, perfects sensibles, and guards things which are generated in their proper numbers. Time, therefore, possesses triple powers prior to souls, viz. the perfective, the connective, and the unfolding, according to a similitude to eternity. For eternity, possessing a middle order in intelligibles, perfects the order posterior to itself, supplying it with union, but unfolds into light that which is prior to itself, producing into multitude its ineffable union, and connects the middle bond of intelligibles, and guards all things intransitively through its power. Time, therefore, receiving supernally the triple powers of eternity, imparts them to souls. Eternity, however, possesses this triad unitedly; but time both unitedly and distributively; and souls distributively alone. Hence, of souls, some are characterized according to one, and others according to another power of time; some imitating its unfolding, others its perfective, and others its connective power. Thus also with respect to the Fates, some of these being adapted to give completion and perfection to things, are said to sing the past, always indeed energizing, and always singing, their songs being intellections, and fabricative energies about the world: for the past is the source of completion. Others again of these are adapted to connect things present; for they guard the essence and the generation of these. And others are adapted to unfold the future; for they lead into essence and to an end that which as yet is not.

We may also say, since there is an order of souls more excellent than ours divided into such as are first, such as are middle, and such as are last, the most total of these are adapted to the past. For as this comprehends in itself the present and the future, so these souls comprehend in themselves the rest. But souls of a middle rank are adapted to the present; for this was once future, but is not yet the past. As, therefore, the present contains in itself the future, so these middle souls comprehend those posterior, but are comprehended in those prior to themselves. And souls of the third order correspond to the future. For this does not proceed through the present, nor has become the past, but is the future alone; just as these third souls are of themselves alone, but through falling into a more partial subsistence, are by no means comprehensive of others. For they convolve the boundary according to a triadic division of the genera posterior to the Gods.

The whole of the first triad, therefore, has the once, for this is. the pecu­liarity of the past, and of completion; but it is divided into the was, it was generated, and it did become. Again, therefore, of these three, the was signifies the summit of the triad, bounded according to hyparxis itself; but it was generated, signifies an at-once-collected perfection; and if did become,an extension in being perfected; these things being imitations of intelligibles. For the was is an imitation of being, it was generated, of eternity, and it did become, of that which is primarily eternal. For being is derived to all things, from the first of these; a subsistence at once as all, and a whole from the second; and an extension into multitude from the third.


Having, therefore, unfolded to the reader the orders and characteristic properties of the mundane Gods, and of the triple genera that are perpetually suspended from them, I shall in the next place present him with what Plato says, in celebration of the divinity of the World, the great monad; which comprehends all these, so far as the whole of it is a God, consisting of a superessential unity derived from the ineffable principle of all things, a divine intellect, a divine soul, and a deified body. In the Timæus then, Plato celebrates the world as a deity in the following manner; “When, therefore, that God who is an eternally reasoning divinity cogitated about the God who at a certain time would exist, he fabricated his body smooth and equable, and every way from the middle equal and whole, and perfect from the composition of perfect bodies. But placing soul in the middle of the world, he extended it through the whole; and besides this, externally surrounded the body of the universe with soul. And causing circle to revolve in a circle, he established heaven (i. e. the world) one, only, solitary nature, able through virtue to converse with itself, indigent of nothing external, and sufficiently known and friendly to itself. And on all these accounts the world was generated by him, a blessed God. The first part of this extract, as far as to the word “perfect bodies,” is admirably elucidated by Proclus as follows:

What is here said, imitating the one intellect which comprehends the intellection of wholes in one, collects all things into sameness, and refers to one summit all the fabrication of the corporeal system. It is necessary, therefore, that we should recall to our memory what has been already asserted. It has been said then, that the elements through analogy rendered all things in concord with each other. That the universe was generated a whole consisting of wholes. That it is spherical and smooth, and has itself a knowledge of itself, and a motion in itself. Hence, it is evident that the whole world is assimilated to [its paradigm] all-perfect animal. But the orderly distribution according to the wholes which it contains proceeds analogous to its second and third causes. And the number of its elements indeed, and the unifying bond of them through analogy, corresponds to the essence which is without colour, without figure, and without contact;[62] for number is there. The first wholeness of the world which adorns all things, and which consists of the wholes of the elements, proceeds analogous to the intellectual wholeness.[63] Its sphericity is analogous to intellectual figure.[64] Its sufficiency, intellectual motion, and sameness of convolution, are analogous to the God who absorbs all his offspring in himself.[65] Its animation corresponds to its vivific cause [Rhea]. And its possession of intellect is analogous to the demiurgic intellect; though from this all things proceed, and from the natures prior to it, different things being analogous to different causes. And the more excellent natures indeed are the causes of all that proceeds from secondary principles; but secondary principles are the causes of less numerous and less excellent effects. For with respect to the demiurgus himself, so far as he is intellectual, he produces all things intellectual; but so far as he is being, he is the father of all bodies and of every thing incorporeal; and so far as he is a God, he also gives subsistence to matter itself. In what is now said, therefore, Plato makes a summary repetition of every thing which the universe derives from the intellectual Gods. And thus much concerning the whole theory.

Let us survey, however, more particularly the truth of what is now said. When, therefore, Plato calls the demiurgus, “an eternally reasoning being,” he makes the essence and at the same time the intellection of him through which the world is perpetual, to be eternal. It is requisite, likewise, to observe how he arranges the demiurgus among beings that always exist, assigning to him an eternal order; so that he will not be soul. For in the Laws Plato says that soul is immortal indeed, and indestructible, but is not eternal. Hence, it appears that everyone who fancies soul is the demiurgus, is ignorant of the difference between the eternal and the indestructible. But reasoning is significant of distributed or divided fabrication. And the words, “who at a certain time would exist,” do not indicate a temporal beginning, as Atticus imagined they did, but an essence conjoined with time. For Plato says in this dialogue, “that time was generated together with the universe,” and the world is temporal, and time is mundane. For time and the world are consubsistent with each other, and co-produced from the one fabrication of things. And a temporal ever, may be said to be at a certain time, when compared with that which is eternal, just as that which is generatively being, is non-being, when compared with that which is intelligibly being. Though the world, therefore, exists through the whole of time, yet its being consists in becoming to be,and is in a part of time. But this is the ποτε or the at a certain time, mentioned by Plato, and is not a simultaneous subsistence in all time, but is always at a certain time. For the eternal is always in the whole of eternity; but the temporal in a certain time, is always differently in a different time. Hence, the world, as with reference to an eternally existing God, is very properly called a God, who at a certain time would exist. For the former is sensible with reference to the latter, who is intellectual. That which is sensible, therefore, is always generated, but is at a certain time. For it possesses existence partibly, and is perpetually advancing into being from that which always is. For since, as we have before observed, it derives from something else an infinite power of existing, and that which it possesses is finite, but it is perpetual by always receiving, the ability of existing infinitely, being numbered in that which is finite, it is evident that it is at a certain time; from a certain time always possessing existence; and in consequence of that which is imparted to it never ceasing, always becoming to be;1 but in its own nature existing at a certain time, and having, as Plato says in the Politicus, a renovated immortality. For subsisting in rising into existence, the whole of it does not at once participate of the whole of being, but again and again, not existing without an extension of being. Unless, perhaps, the expression at a certain time, signifies the whole of time. For the evolution of time, as with reference to an eternal infinity is ποτε a certain time. And the, whole of time has the same ratio to eternity, that a part of time the ποτε has to the whole.

If, also, you are willing, it may be said after another manner, that Plato denominates the world “a God that at a certain time would exist,” since he has now fashioned a corporeal nature, and given subsistence to intellect, but not yet to soul, because the world also as a God will have a subsistence in the course of his narration. For divinity produces at once both parts and the whole, but language divides things that are consubsistent, generates things that are unbegotten, and distributes eternal natures according to time. The God, therefore, that at a certain time would exist, is that which is fashioned in the narration of Plato, and according to which there are division and composition. For this, also, the Pythagoric Timæus himself indicates to those who are able to understand him, when he says in his treatise [On the soul of the world], “Before heaven (i. e. the world) was generated in words, there were idea and matter, and God the demiurgus.” For he clearly manifests that he fashions in words the generation of the world.

When Plato, likewise, says that the demiurgus fabricated the body of the world smooth and equable, this manifests the one comprehension in the world, and its supreme aptitude to the participation of a divine soul. But the words, “every way from the middle equal,” exhibit the peculiarity of a spherical figure; for this is every way equally distant according to all intervals. And the words “whole and perfect from the composition of perfect bodies,” give to the world a consummate similitude to all-perfect animal; for that was in all things perfect; and also to the demiurgus himself. For as he is the father of fathers, and the supreme of rulers, so the world is the most perfect of perfect natures, and the most total of wholes. You may also say, that Plato calls the world smooth, as not being in want of any motive, or nutritive, or sensitive organs; for this had just before been demonstrated by him. But that it is every way equal from the middle, as having a spherical figure. And that it is whole and perfect, as being all-perfect, and leaving nothing external to itself; for this is properly a whole and perfect. It likewise consists of perfect bodies, as being composed of the four elements. But Plato calls it in the singular number a body, as being only begotten. And thus beginning from the only-begotten, and proceeding as far as to perfection, he again returns to it through the above-mentioned words, imitating the progression of the world from its paradigm, and its perfect conversion to it.


In the next place, let us direct our attention to the words, “But placing soul in the middle of the world, he extended it through the whole; and besides this, externally surrounded the body of the universe with soul.” Divinity, says Proclus, at once and eternally produces all things. For according to his very being, and according to the eternal intellection of wholes, he generates all things from himself, supermundane and mundane beings, intellects, souls, natures, bodies, and matter itself. And indeed, an at-once-collected subsistence in a greater degree belongs to the demiurgic progeny, than to the solar illumination; though in this the whole light proceeds simultaneously with the sun. Burt it is evident that the sun imitating the father of the universe through visible fabrication is inferior to eternal and invisible production. All things, therefore, as we have said, being produced from the invisible fabrication at once and eternally, at the same time, the order of the effects is likewise preserved. For all things proceed collectively together with their own proper order. For in the producing cause, there was also an eternal intellection, and order prior to the things that were arranged, Hence, though all things proceed at once from one cause, yet some have a first, and others a diminished dignity. For some things proceed in a greater, but others in a less degree. And some are co-arranged with the demiurgus according to union, others according to contact, and others according to participation. For intellect is able to be connascent with intellect through union; but soul is naturally adapted to be conjoined with intellect; and bodies participate of it only, just as things in the profundity of the earth participate of the splendour of the sun. All these, therefore, subsisting in the world, viz. intellect, soul, add body, and all these being produced at once, and at the same time; there being an order in these proceeding from the demiurgus, language at one time beginning supernally according to progression, ends at the boundaries of fabrication, but at another time being incited from things last, according to conversion, recurs to the summits of the universe, conformably to things themselves. For all things proceed, and are converted to the cause and principle from which they proceeded; in so doing exhibiting a certain demiurgic circle.

Plato, however, delivered to us the order of the plenitudes (πληροματων)[66] of the world, according to progression, in what he before said, when the demiurgus placing intellect in soul, and soul in body fabricated the universe, but in the present passage, he unfolds to us the order according to conversion. And in the first place, he assumes two contraries in the universe, adds two media to these, and unites them through analogy. Afterwards giving completion to the world, by rendering it a whole of wholes, he surrounds it with an intellectual [i. e. with a spherical] figure, gives it the power of participating a divine life, and a motion imitating intellect.[67] Always, likewise, causing the world to be more perfect by the additions, he introduces soul into it as her proper place of abode, and fills all things with life, but different things with a different life. He also inserts intellect in soul, and through this conjoins her with her fountain. For the soul of the universe participating of intellect, is connected with intelligibles themselves. And thus he ends at the principle from which the mundane intellect, soul and the body of the world proceed. For giving a three-fold division to the universe, viz. into intellect, soul, and body, he discusses in the first place the two latter which are subordinate. For such is the mode according to conversion. And he terminates indeed the discussion of the body of the world, having unfolded its essence, its figure, and its motion. But the theory of soul is connected with this, just as the body itself of the world is suspended from a divine soul.

With respect, however, to the position of soul in the middle of the universe, it is differently explained by the different interpreters of Plato. For some call the centre of the earth the middle, but others the moon, as being the isthmus of generated and divine natures. Others again say that the sun is the middle, as being established in the place of a heart [in the world], others the inerratic sphere, others the equinoctial, as bounding the breadth of the universe, and others the zodiac And some indeed place the governing principle in the centre of the universe, others in the moon, others in the sun, others in the equinoctial, and others in the zodiac. And the power of the centre testifies in favour of the first of these, since it is connective of every circulation; the motion of the moon, in favour of the second, since it variously changes generation; the vivific heat of the sun, in favour of the third; the facility of the motion of the equinoctial circle, of the fourth; and in favour of the fifth, the circulation of the stars about the zodiac. Porphyry, however, and Jamblichus, oppose all these interpretations, and reprobate them as understanding the middle in a way accompanied with interval, and enclosing in a certain part the soul of the whole world, which is everywhere similarly present, which rules over all things, and leads all things by its own motions. Of these divine men, however, Porphyry assuming the soul to be the soul of the universe, interprets the middle according to the psychical essence; for soul is the middle of intelligibles and sensibles. This interpretation, however, does not appear to say anything as with reference to the words of Plato. But if we assume this, that the universe derives its completion from intellect, soul and body, and that it is a psychical and intellectual animal, we shall find in this system that soul is the middle. This, therefore, Plato had before asserted; and now he will appear to say nothing else, than that the soul of the world is extended through the universe, being allotted a middle order in it. But the philosopher Jamblichus thinks that by soul we should understand the exempt, supermundane, and liberated soul, and which has dominion over all things. For according to him, Plato does not here speak of the mundane soul, but of the soul which is not participated by body, and which is arranged as a monad above all mundane souls. For the first soul is of this kind, and the middle is asserted of this, as being similarly present to all things, because it does not belong to any body, has no manner of habitude whatever, similarly animates all things, and is equally distant from all things. For it is not distant from some things in a less, and from others in a greater degree, since it is without habitude; but it is alike distant from all things; though all things are not after the same manner distant from it. For in its participants there is the more and the less.

Our leader, however, [Syrianus] more aptly interprets the words of Plato. For the soul of the world has indeed that which is supermundane and exempt from the universe, according to which it is conjoined with intellect, which Plato in the Phædrus, and Orpheus in his verses concerning Ippa[68] denominate the head or summit of the soul. It has also another multitude of powers proceeding from this monad, divided about the world, and appropriately present to all the parts of the universe. And these subsist in one way indeed about the middle, in another way about the earth, in another about the sun, and in another about each of the spheres. Our leader, therefore, says that all these are comprehended in the present words of Plato, who indicates by them, that the soul of the world in one way animates the middle, in another the whole bulk, and that it leaves something else prior to these exempt from the universe.

That we may not, however, carelessly attend to what is here said by Plato, but may offer something demonstrative about the psychical powers, it must be said, that soul by a much greater priority than body is a vital world, and is both one and number. And by the one indeed, it is better than every form of habitude; but by the multitude it rules over the different parts of the universe. For in its guardian powers it contains the centre; since from thence the whole sphere is governed, to which also it converges. Farther still, every thing turbulent in the world is impelled to the middle, and requires a divine guard, which is able to arrange it, and detain it in its proper boundaries. Hence also, theologists terminate the progressions of the highest Gods in that place; and the Pythagoreans call the middle either the tower or the prison of Jupiter. But in its stable and at the same time vivific powers, it contains the sphere of the earth. In its perfective and generative powers, the sphere of water. In its connective and motive powers it comprehends the air. In its undefiled powers, fire. And in its intellectual powers, the whole heaven. In these powers, likewise, it in one way contains the lunar, in another the solar, and in another the inerratic sphere.

Such therefore, being the animation of the world, or its participation of soul, Plato, as it is usual with him, beginning according to conversion from things that are last, first imparts soul to the middle, afterwards to the universe, and in the third place leaves something of soul external to the universe. For as he gave subsistence to body prior to soul, and to parts prior to wholes, thus also he imparts soul to the world, beginning from things that have an ultimate existence. When Plato therefore delivered the order of the plenitudes of the world according to progression, beginning supernally, he placed intellect in soul, and soul in body. But here where he delivers the order according to conversion, he first animates the middle, and afterwards the universe itself. For the river of vivification proceeds as far as to the centre; as the Chaldæan oracles also assert, when speaking about the middle of the five centres, which from on high passes entirely to the opposite part, through the centre of the earth. For they say: “And another fifth middle fiery centre, where a life-bearing fire descends as far as to the material rivers.” Hence Plato beginning from those things in which animation ends, recurs to the whole vivification, and prior to this surveys the exempt power of the soul. We must not therefore place the ruling part of the soul in the centre; for this is exempt from the universe; but a certain power of it which guards the whole order of the world. For nothing else in the universe has so much the power of entirely subverting the whole of things, as the centre and the power of the centre, about which the universe with measured motion harmoniously revolves. Hence it appears to me that Plato divinely says that the demiurgus placed soul and not the soul in the middle of the universe. For these differ from each other, because the latter establishes the whole soul in the centre, but the former a certain power of it, and a different power in different parts.

The philosopher himself however, shortly after, when speaking of the animation itself of the world says, “But the soul being extended from the middle to the very extremities of the universe, and investing it externally in a circle, gave rise to the divine commencement of an unceasing and wise life through the whole of time.” For the words “to be every way extended from the middle,” have the same meaning as “to be extended from the middle to the very extremities of the universe.” But in the latter, the soul herself illuminates from herself the centre of the universe and the whole sphere of it by her powers; while in the former, the demiurgus is the cause of the animation, himself introducing the soul into the universe as into her proper place of abode. For the same thing is effected by both, but demiurgically indeed and intellectually by the cause, and self-motively by soul. Now however, the philosopher delivers the bond which proceeds from fabrication alone. For we particularly refer wholes and such things as are good to a divine cause; but we consider partial natures, and such things as are not good, to be unworthy of divine fabrication; and we suspend them from other proximate causes, though these also, as it is frequently said, subsist from divinity. Since therefore both a divine and a partial soul have communi­cation with bodies, the former indeed subsisting according to boniform will, and not departing from intelligible progressions is deific; but the latter which takes place through a defluxion of the wings of the soul, or through audacity, or flight, is atheistical, though the former is complicated with the self-motive energy, and the latter with providential care. But in the one a subsistence according to deity is apparent through the presence of divinity; and in the other, a subsistence from soul, through the representation of aberration.

CHAPTER L.[edit]

In the next place Timæus, or rather Plato adds, “And causing circle to revolve in a circle, he established heaven (i. e. the world) one, only, solitary nature;” on which Proclus observes as follows: The philosopher Porphyry well interprets the meaning of circle revolving in a circle. For it is possible, says he, for that which is not a circle to be moved in a circle, as a stone when whirled round; and also for a circle to be moved not in a circle, as a wheel when rolled along. But it is the peculiarity of the world, that being circular it is moved in a circle, through harmoniously revolving about the centre. In a still greater degree however, the divine Jamblichus well interprets the meaning of these words. For he says that the circle is twofold, the one being psychical, but the other corporeal, and that the latter is moved in the former. For this is conformable to what has been before said, and accords with what is afterwards asserted. For Plato himself shortly after moves the corporeal nature according to the psychical circle, and renders the twofold circulations analogous to the periods in the soul.

Moreover, to comprehend the whole blessedness of the world in three appellations, is most appropriate to that which subsists according to a triple cause, viz; the final, the paradigmatic, and the demiurgic. For of the appellations themselves, the first of them, viz. one, is assumed from the final cause; for the one is the same with the good. But the second, viz. only, is assumed from the paradigmatic cause. For the only-begotten and onlyness (μονωσις) were, prior to the universe, in all-perfect animal; And the third, viz. the solitary, is assumed from the demiurgic cause: For the ability of using itself, and through itself governing the worlds proceeds from the demiurgic goodness. The world therefore is one, so far as it is united, and is converted to the one. But it is only, so far as it participates of the intelligible, and comprehends all things in itself. And it is solitary, so far as it is similar to its father, and is able to save itself. From the three however, it appears that it is a God. For the one, the perfect, and the self-sufficient, are the elements of deity. Hence, the world receiving these, is also itself a God; being one indeed, according to hyparxis; but alone, according to a perfection which derives its completion from all sensible natures; and solitary, through being sufficient to itself. For those that lead a solitary life, being converted to themselves, have the hopes of salvation in themselves. And that this is the meaning of the term solitary, will be evident from the following words of Plato: “Able through virtue to converse with itself, indigent of nothing external, and sufficiently known and friendly to itself.” For in these words, he clearly manifests what the solitariness is which he ascribes to the world, and that he denominates that being solitary, who looks to himself, to that with which he is furnished, and to his own proper measure. For those that live in solitary places, are the saviours of themselves, so far as respects human causes. The universe therefore is likewise after this manner solitary, as being sufficient to itself, and preserving itself, not through a diminution, but from an exuberance of power; for self-sufficiency is here indicated; and as he says, through virtue. For he alone among partial animals [such as we are] who possesses virtue is able to associate with, and love himself with a parental affection. But the vicious man looking to his inward baseness, is indignant with himself and with his own essence, is astonished with externals, and pursues an association with others, in consequence of his inability to behold himself. On the contrary, the worthy man perceiving himself beautiful rejoices and is delighted, and producing in himself beautiful conceptions, gladly embraces an association with himself. For we are naturally domesticated to the beautiful, but hastily withdraw ourselves from deformity. Hence, if the world possesses virtue adapted to itself, in its intellectual and psychical essence, and in the perfection of its animal nature, looking to itself, it loves itself, and is present with, and sufficient to itself.

It is proper therefore to assert these things to those who place intelligibles external to intellect. For how can that which tends to other things, and as being deficient is indigent of externals, be blessed? Hence, if the world is through virtue converted to itself, must not intellect do this in a much greater degree? Intellect therefore intellectually perceives itself. And this is among the number of things immediately known. This also deserves to be remarked, that Plato when he gives animation to the world, directly imparts virtue to it. For the participation of soul is immediately accompanied with the fullness of virtue, in the being which subsists according to nature; since the one cause of the virtues,[69] is also co-arranged with the fountain of souls[70] and the progression of this fountain is conjoined with the progression of soul. For with respect to virtue, one indeed is unical, primary and all-perfect; but another subsists in the ruling supermundane Gods; another in the liberated Gods; and another is mundane, through which the whole world possesses undefiled intelligence, an undeviating life, an energy converted to itself, and a purity unmingled with the animals which it contains. From this virtue therefore, the world becomes known and friendly to itself. For knowledge precedes familiarity.

Since the universe also is intellectual, an animal, and a God, so far indeed, as it is intellectual, it becomes known to itself; but so far as it is a God, it is friendly to itself. For union is more perfect than knowledge. If therefore, the universe is known to itself, it is intellectual; for that which is primarily known to itself is intellect. And if it is friendly to itself, it is united. But that which is united is deified; for the one which is in intellect is a God. Again therefore, you have virtue, a knowledge of, and a friendship with itself, in the world; the first of these proceeding into it from soul; the second from intellect; and the third from deity. Hence Plato very properly adds, that on account of these things, the world was generated by the demiurgus a blessed God; for the presence of soul, the participation of intellect, and the reception of union, render the universe a God. And the blessed God which he now mentions is the God “who at a certain time would exist,” animated, endued with intellect, and united. Union however is present with it according to the bond of analogy; but much more from the one soul and the one intellect which it participates. For through these, greater bonds, and a more excellent union proceeded into the universe. And still beyond these unions, divine friendship, and the supply of good, contain and connect the whole world. For the bond which proceeds from intellect and soul is strong, as Orpheus also says; but the union of the golden chain [i. e. of the deific series] is still greater, and is the cause of greater good to all things.

Moreover, felicity must likewise be assumed in a way adapted to the universe. For since it is suspended from the paternal intellect and the whole fabrication of things, and since it lives conformably to these causes, it is consequently happy (ευδαιμων)[71] from them. For the demiurgus also is denominated a dæmon by Plato in the Politicus, and a great dæmon by Orpheus when he says,

One the great dæmon and the lord of all.

He therefore who lives according to the will of the father, and preserves the intellectual nature which was imparted to him from thence immutable is happy, and blessed. The first, and the all-perfect form of felicity likewise, is that of *he world. The second is that of the mundane Gods, whom Plato in the Phædrus calls happy Gods, following the mighty Jupiter. The third is that of the genera superior to us [viz. the felicity of angels, dæmons and heroes]. For there is one virtue of angels, another of dæmons, and another of the heroic genera: and the form of felicity is triple being different according to each genus. The fourth form of felicity is that which subsists in the undefiled souls, who make blameless descents [into the realms of generation,] and exert an inflexible and untamed life. The fifth is that of partial souls [such as ours]; and this is multiform. For the soul which is an attendant on the moon, is not similarly happy with the soul that is suspended from the solar order; but as the form of life is different, so likewise perfection is defined by different measures. And the last form of felicity is that which is seen in irrational animals. For every thing which obtains a perfection adapted to it according to nature, is happy. For through its proper perfection, it is conjoined to its proper dæmon, and partakes of his providential care The forms of felicity therefore, being so many, the first and highest must be placed in the world, and which also is now mentioned by Plato. We must not however wonder that he immediately calls the world a God, from its participation of soul. For every thing is deified through that which is proximately prior to it; the corporeal world indeed through soul; but soul through intellect, as the Athenian guest also says; and intellect through the one. Hence, intellect is divine, but not a God. The one however is no longer a God through any thing else, but is primarily a God; just as intellect is primarily gnostic, as soul is primarily self-motive, and as body is primarily in place.


In the last place, I shall present the reader with what Plato says in the Timæus about the name of the world, and add to it the elucidations of Proclus; for thus every thing pertaining to the mundane Gods, and their great recipient the universe will have been amply, and I trust satisfactorily discussed. Plato therefore says on this subject: “We shall denominate the universe, heaven, or the world, or by any other appellation in which it may especially rejoice.” These names, says Proclus, were attended with much ambiguity with the ancients. For some alone called the sublunary region κοσμος kosmos, the world, and the region above it ουρανος ouranos, heaven; but others called heaven a part of the world. And some indeed, considered the moon as the boundary of heaven; but others denominated the summits of generation heaven. Thus Homer,

Extended heaven in ether and the clouds
Fell to the lot of Jove.

Hence Plato very properly prior to the whole theory speaks definitively concerning these names, denominating the universe heaven and the world. And he calls it heaven indeed, as perceiving the things above, contemplating the intelligible, and participating an intellectual essence; but the world, as always being filled and adorned by true beings. He likewise denominates it heaven as being converted to the principles of its existence, but the world as proceeding from them. For it was generated by true beings, and is converted to them. As however, of statues which are established by the telestic (or mystic) art, some things are apparent in them, but others are inwardly concealed, which are symbolical of the presence of the Gods, and are known to the mystic framers of them alone; after the same manner the universe being the statue of the intelligible world, and perfected by the father, has some things apparent which are indications of its divinity, but others unapparent, which are the marks, seals, or impressions of the participation of true being, which it received from the father who gave it perfection; in order that through these it may be eternally rooted in real essence. The appellations also heaven and the world are names significant of the apparent powers in the universe; the latter indeed, so far as they proceed from the intelligible, but the former, so far as they are converted to it

It is necessary however, to know that the divine name of the abiding power of the universe, and which is a symbol of the demiurgic seal, according to which also it subsists in unproceeding union with real being, is ineffable, and not vocal, and is known to the Gods themselves. For there are appropriate names in every order of things; divine indeed, in the Gods; but dianoetic in the subjects of the discursive power of reason; and doxastic in the objects of opinion. And this also Plato asserts in the Cratylus, assenting to Homer who places one kind of names of the same things in the Gods, and another kind in the opinions of men, as

Gods call it Xanthus, but Scamander men.


Chalcis its name with those of heav’nly birth,
But call’d Cymindis by the sons of earth.

And in a similar manner in many other names. For as the knowledge of the Gods is of one kind, but that of partial souls of another, so names in the former are different from those in the latter. Divine names however, unfold the whole essence of the things named; but those of men only effect this partially, Plato therefore knowing that this preexisted in the world, omits to mention what the divine and ineffable name of it is which is different from the apparent, and with great caution speaks of it as a symbol of the divine impression which the world contains. For the words, “or by any other appellation in which it may especially rejoice,” are a latent hymn of the mundane name so far as it is allotted an unspeakable and divine essence, in order that it may be co-ordinate to that which is signified by him. Hence also, divine mundane names are delivered by theurgists; some being called by them ineffable, but others effable; and some of them being the names of the unapparent powers in the world, but others, of the visible elements from which it derives its completion. Plato therefore, here delivers both the apparent and the unapparent name of the world, the former indeed, dyadically, but the latter monadically; for the words, “or by any other,” are significant of oneness. And the ineffable name indeed of the universe, is indicative of its abiding in its father; the name world, of its progression; and heaven, of its regression. But through the three, you have the final cause, on account of which it is full of good, abiding indeed ineffably, but proceeding perfectly, and returning to the good, as to the preexisting object of desire.

  1. Vid. Sallust. de Diis et Mundo, Cap. 6.
  2. Vid. Procl. in Tim. p. 45.
  3. Vid. Jamblich. de Mysteriis Sect. I. Cap. 8.
  4. Vid. Jamblich. de Myst. Sect I. Cap. 9.
  5. Vid. Jamblich. de Myst. Sect. I. Cap. 17.
  6. Vid. Jamblich. de Myst. Sect. I. Cap. 19.
  7. See the 5th Book of this work, in which this speech is admirably discussed by Proclus, though not so fully as in these extracts.
  8. This divinity is Vulcan.
  9. i. e. Proserpine.
  10. Iliad xx. v. 24.
  11. i. e. Jupiter, who is so called in this place by Proclus, because he contains in himself by participation, the Phanes or Protogonus who is the paradigm of the universe.
  12. Vid. Proclum in Tim. p. 275.
  13. These ολοτητες, according to the Platonic philosophy, have so far as they are wholes, a perpetual subsistence, and are the spheres of the fixed stars, the spheres of the planets, the sphere of air, the globe on which we live, and the ocean. See more on this subject in my Dissertation on the Philosophy of Aristotle.
  14. Vid. Procl. in Tim. p. 257 and 279.
  15. Hence, we may perceive at one view, as I have elsewhere observed, why the sun in the Orphic hymns is called Jupiter, why Apollo is called Pan, and Bacchus the Sun; and why the moon seems to be the same with Rhea, Ceres, Proserpine, Juno, Venus, &c. For from this theory it follows, that every sphere contains a Jupiter, Neptune, Vulcan, Vesta, Minerva, Mars, Ceres, Juno, Diana, Mercury, Venus, Apollo, and in short, every deity,—each sphere at the same time conferring on these Gods the peculiar characteristics of its nature; so that for instance, in the sun they possess a solar property; in the moon a lunar one; and so of the rest. This theory too is one of the grand keys to the theology of the Greeks; as it shows why one God is so often celebrated by the appellations of another; an ignorance of the cause of which led Macrobius to think that all the Gods were nothing more than the different powers of the sun, and has been one great source of the idle conjectures of the moderns about the divinities of the ancients.
  16. Vid. Procl. in Tim. lib. 4. p. 263.
  17. For περεοδον, it is necessary to read προοδον.
  18. According to the Chaldaïc dogmas, as explained by Psellus, there are seven corporeal worlds, one empyrean and the first; after this three etherial; and then three material worlds, viz. the inerratic sphere, the seven planetary spheres, and the sublunary region. They also assert that there are two solar worlds; one which is subservient to the etherial profundity; the other zonaic, being one of the seven spheres.
  19. Viz. The supermundane Gods.
  20. It must be carefully observed, however, that this is only true of the Gods characteristically called supermundane. For it does not apply to the Gods who are primarily intellectual, since they are above the supermundane order, to which the sun and Apollo belong.
  21. That is, according to the Chaldæan oracles, the sun is the middle of the empyrean, etherial, and material worlds, the two last of which, as I have observed in a former note, receive a triple division.
  22. These verses are not in Gesner’s collection of the Orphic fragments.
  23. These lines are from Empedocles, and in the original are as follow:

    Ενθα κοτος τε φονος τε και αλλων εθνεα κηρων,
    Αυχμησαι τε νοσοι, και σηψιες, εργα τε ρευστα.

  24. Vide Jamblich. De Myst. lib. i, cap. 18.
  25. In Tim. lib. i., p. 51.
  26. Iliad. viii.
  27. Iliad. viii.
  28. In Tim. p. 48.
  29. This triad consists of Minerva, Diana, and Proserpine.
  30. The former part of this inscription is to be found in Plutarch’s treatise of Isis and Osiris; but the latter part, viz. the fruit which I brought forth was the sun, is only to be found in the above Commentary of Proclus. The original is, ον εγω καρπον ετεκον ηλιος εγενετο.
  31. viz. In ether or bound, the summit of the intelligible triad.
  32. For according to Plato, plants also, as having life, are animals.
  33. Apud Porphyr. de Abstin.
  34. This is doubtless the Sibyl, of whom Proclus also observes (in Tim. p. 325.) “that proceeding into light, she knew her own order, and manifested that she came from the Gods, saying I am the medium between Gods and men.” ειδε γαρ τοι Σιβυλλα προελθουσα εις φως, χαι την ταξιν εαυτης, και ως εκ θεων ηκει δεδηλωκεν, ειμι δ’ εγω μεση τε θεων ειπουσα μεση τ’ ἀνθρωπων.
  35. Some of the moderns, from being profoundly ignorant of this circumstance, have stupidly supposed that the Gods of the ancients were nothing more than dead men deified; taking for their guides on this important subject, mere historians, philologists, and rhetoricians, instead of philosophers.
  36. This is a very ancient Egyptian doctrine. And hence Kircher in his Oedipus Egyptiacus says that he read the following words engraved in a stone near Memphis: Coelum sursum, coelum deorsum, quod sursum id omne deorsum, hæc cape et beaberis, i. e. Heaven is above and heaven is beneath. Every thing which is above is also beneath. Understand this, and you will be blessed. Conformably to this also the celebrated Smaragdine Table, which is of such great authority with the Alchemists, and which whether originally written or not by Hermes Trismegistus, is doubtless of great antiquity, says that all that is beneath resembles all that is above. But the Table itself is as follows: Verum sine mendacio, certum et verissimum: quod est inferius, est sicut id quod est superius, et quod est superius, est sicut id, quod est inferius ad perpetrandum miraculum unius rei. Et sicut res omnes fuerunt ab uno mediatione unius, sic omnes res natæ ab hac re adoptatione. Pater ejus est sol, mater ejus luna. Portavit illud ventus in ventre suo. Nutrix ejus terra, pater omnis telesmi totius mundi est hic. Virtus ejus integra est, si versa fuerit in terram. Separabis terram ab igne, subtile a spisso suaviter cum magno ingenio. Ascendit a terra in coelum, iterumque descendit in terram, et recipit vim superiorum et inferiorum. Sic habebis gloriam totius mundi, ideo fugiet à te omnis obscuritas. Hæc est totius fortitudinis fortitudo fortis, quia vincet omnem rem subtilem, omniaque solida penetrabit. Sic mundus creatus est. Hinc erunt adoptationes mirabiles, quarum modus hic est. Itaque vocatus sum Hermes Trismegistus habens tres partes philosophiæ totius mundi. Completum est quod dixi de opere solis.” i. e. “It is true without a lie, certain, and most true, that what is beneath is like that which is above, and what is above is like that which is beneath, for the purpose of accomplishing the miracle of one thing. And as all things were from one through the mediation of one, so all things were generated from this thing by adoption [i. e. by participation.] The sun is its father, and the moon its mother. The wind carried it in its belly. The earth is its nurse. This is the father of all the perfection of the whole world. Its power is entire when it is converted into earth. You must separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the thick sweetly with great genius. It ascends from earth to heaven, and again descends to the earth, and receives the power of things superior and inferior. Thus you will have the glory of the whole world, and thus all obscurity will fly from you. This is the strong fortitude of all fortitude, because it vanquishes every subtle thing, and penetrates all solid substances. Thus the world was fabricated. Hence admirable adoptions will take place of which this is the mode. I am therefore called Hermes Trismegistus possessing three parts of the philosophy of the whole world. That which I have said concerning the work of the sun is complete.”
  37. Plato, in the 10th book of the laws, distinguishes the genus of motions into ten species, viz. circulation about an immoveable centre, local transition, condensation, rarefaction; increase, decrease, generation, corruption, mutation or alteration, produced in another by another, and a mutation produced from a thing itself, both in itself, and in another. This last is the motion of an essence separate from bodies, and is the motion of soul.
  38. As this is a remarkably curious Orphic fragment, and is not to be found in Gesner’s collection of the Orphic remains, I shall give the original for the sake of the learned reader. και τοι γε οτι ο κρονος υπερτερος εστι του ωκεανον, δεδηλωκεν ο θεολογος παλιν λεγων· τον μεν κρονον αντον καταλαμβανειν τον ονρανιον ολυμπον, κᾳκει θρονισθεντα, βασιλευειν των τιτανων· τον δε ωκεανον την ληξιν απασαν την μεσην· ναιειν γαρ αυτον εν τοις θεσπεσιοις ρειθροις τοις μετα τον ολυμπον, και τον εκει περιεπειν ουρανον, αλλ’ου τον ακροτατον, ως δε φησιν ὁ μυθος, τον εμπεσοντα του ολυμπου, και εκει τεταγμενον. Procl. in Tim. p. 296.
  39. The original here is evidently erroneous; for it is, ου γαρ εστιν ο φορκυς ουρανιδης αλλα ο φορκυς, ως εστι δηλον εκ της θεογονιας. For αλλα ο φορκυς, therefore, I read αλλα ο Ωκεανος; Ocean, according to the Theogony of Hesiod, being the progeny of Heaven and Earth.
  40. The meaning of Proclus in asserting that the ennead proceeds from the monad as far as to the extremities without retrogression is as follows: The ennead, according to the Pythagoreans, circulates all numbers within itself, and there can be no number beyond it. For the natural progression of numbers is as far as to 9, but after it their retrogression takes place. For 10 becomes as it were again the monad. Thus, if from each of the numbers 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19, the number 9 is subtracted, the numbers that remain will be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. And vice versa, the progression will receive an increase by the addition of 9. For, if to each of the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, &c. 9 is added, the numbers produced will be 10, 11, 12, 13, &c. Likewise by subtracting from 20 twice 9, from 30 thrice 9, from 40 four times 9, from 50 five times 9 &c., the numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, &c will be produced. By taking likewise from 100 eleven times 9, we again return to the monad. And after the same manner we may proceed to infinity. Hence it is not possible there should be any elementary number beyond the ennead. Hence too the Pythagoreans, called it Ocean and the Horizon, because all numbers are comprehended by and revolve within it. On this account likewise, it was called by them Halios, and Concord and Perseia because it congregates all numbers, and collects them into one, and does not permit the conspiration of the numbers beyond it to be dissipated. Vid. Anonym. in opere quod inscripsit τα θεολογουμενα της αριθμητικης.
  41. These thirty-six decadarchs are the divinities alluded to by the Emperor Julian in his Oration to the Sun, when he says, “that the Sun divides the zodiac into twelve powers of Gods, and each of these into three others, so that thirty-six are produced in the whole.”
  42. This is implied by Socrates telling him that he inquires about great things.
  43. In Tim. p. 184.
  44. This is according to the psychical mode of interpreting fables. See my translation of Sallust On the Gods and the World.
  45. This is a life pertaining to her own will; for the soul in this case gives herself up to the will of divinity.
  46. For an account of divine fables, and specimens of the mode in which they ought to be explained, see the Introduction to the second Book of the Republic, in Vol. I. of my translation of Plato.
  47. Iliad. lib. viii.
  48. For the irrational soul is an immaterial body, or in other words, vitalised extension, such as the mathematical bodies which we frame in the phantasy; and the celestial bodies are of this kind.
  49. In Tim. p. 59.
  50. Lib. ii. p. 81.
  51. i. e. Angels, dæmons, and heroes.
  52. Lib. iv. p. 240, &c.
  53. Viz. the Sun considered as subsisting in the supermundane order of Gods.
  54. “But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and out fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.” Jeremiah. Chap. xliv. v. 17, 18.
  55. In this dialogue, Plato assimilates the intimate form of the soul to a winged chariot and charioteer, drawn by two horses; and says, “that all the horses and chariots of the Gods are good, and composed of things that are good.” In which passage, by the chariots of the Gods are to be understood all the inward discursive powers of their souls, which pursue the intelligence of all things, and can at the same time equally contemplate and provide for inferior concerns. But the horses signify the efficacy and motive vigour of these powers. And the wings are elevating powers, which particularly belong to the charioteer, or intellect.
  56. i. e. In the summit of that order which is called intelligible and at the same time intellectual.
  57. μοιμαινων πραπεδεσσιν ανομματον ωκυν ερωτα.
  58. The author of these verses comprehends the triple genera that are more excellent than man, viz. angels, dæmons and heroes, under the appellation of illustrious heroes.
  59. It must however, be carefully observed, that this divine cause illuminates, invigorates, and excites these circles in the most unrestrained and impassive manner; without destroying freedom of energy in the circles themselves, or causing any partial affection, sympathy or tendency in illuminating deity.
  60. See a most masterly defence of the character of Achilles as a hero in my translation of Proclus’s noble apology for Homer, in the first Volume of my Plato.
  61. Vid. Iamblich. de vita Pythag. Cap. 2.
  62. And this essence, as is shown in the 4th book, subsists at the summit of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual order.
  63. 2 This forms the middle of the above-mentioned order.
  64. This forms the extremity of that order.
  65. Viz. to Saturn, who subsists at the summit of the intellectual order.
  66. Wholes whether corporeal or incorporeal are thus denominated.
  67. i. e. a circular motion.
  68. Proclus elsewhere informs us in these Commentaries, that the soul of the world is called by Orpheus Ippa.
  69. i. e. Vesta.
  70. i. e. Juno.
  71. i. e. Having a good dæmon.