Vida de Plotino

Biografia de Plotino escrita por Porfírio, seu discípulo, que organizou a edição das Enéadas. Neste biografia explica a cronologia dos tratados das Enéadas e a organização que adotou.

Porfírio: Plotino — Corpo

1. Plotinus, the philosopher our contemporary, seemed ashamed of being in the body.

So deeply rooted was this feeling that he could never be induced to tell of his ancestry, his parentage, or his birthplace.

He showed, too, an unconquerable reluctance to sit to a painter of a sculptor, and when Amelius persisted in urging him to allow of a portrait being made he asked him, 'Is it not enough to carry about this image in which nature has enclosed us? Do you really think I must also consent to leave, as a desired spectacle to posterity, an image of the image?'

Taylor: Introdução a Plotino (8)

And thus much for the life of Plotinus, who was a philosopher pre-eminently distinguished for the strength and profundity of his intellect, and the purity and elevation of his life. He was a being wise without the usual mixture of human darkness, and great without the general combination of human weakness and imperfection. He seems to have left the orb of light solely for the benefit of mankind; that he might teach them how to repair the ruin contracted by their exile from good, and how to return to their true country, and legitimate kindred and allies.

Taylor: Introdução a Plotino (7)

If such then is the decision of Longinus concerning the abilities and writings of this extraordinary man; of Longinus, who is celebrated by one of our first poets, as " inspired by all the Nine ; " and whose literary reputation is universal; what judgement must we form of the philosophic taste of the present age, when we find that the very name of Plotinus is known but to a few, and his works scarcely to any ? The inference is obvious; let the reader draw it and lament. But, says Porphyry, if it be requisite to employ the testimony of the wise, who is wiser than a God ?

Taylor: Introdução a Plotino (6)

Plotinus likewise applied himself to the canons concerning the stars, but not according to a very mathematical mode. That is, we may presume, he very little regarded the calculation of eclipses, or measuring the distance of the sun and moon from the earth, or determining the magnitudes and velocities of the planets. For he considered employments of this kind, as more the province of the mathematician, than of the profound and intellectual philosopher. The mathematical sciences are indeed the proper means of acquiring wisdom, but they ought never to be considered as its end.

Taylor: Introdução a Plotino (5)

Plotinus likewise appears to have possessed a most extraordinary skill in physiognomy, as is evinced by the following circumstance. A lady named Chion, who together with her daughters resided in his house, and there happily passed a chaste widowhood, was fraudulently deprived of a very valuable necklace. In consequence of this, all the servants and domestics were summoned into the presence of Plotinus, who regarded their several countenances, selected one of them, and accused him of the theft.

Taylor: Introdução a Plotino (3)

Plotinus had many auditors, and likewise a multitude of zealous partisans, and philosophic familiars. Among the latter of these, Amelius the Tuscan, and Paulinus the Scythopolitan, a physician, held a distinguished rank. To which may be added Eustochius of Alexandria, a physician, who enjoyed the familiarity of Plotinus to the last, was present at his death, and giving himself entirely to the doctrines of Plotinus, assumed the habit of a genuine philosopher.

Taylor: Introdução a Plotino (2)

It was a long time before Plotinus committed his thoughts to writing; and gave the world a copy of his inimitable mind. That light which was shortly to illuminate mankind, as yet shone with solitary splendour, or at best beamed only on a beloved few. It was now, however, destined to emerge from its sanctuary, and to display its radiance with unbounded diffusion. But a disciple like Porphyry, was requisite to the full perfection of its appearance. Amelius was indeed laborious, but he was at the same time verbose.

Taylor: Introdução a Plotino (1)

Plotinus was by birth an Egyptian, and was a native of Lycopolis, as we are informed by Eunapius ; for Porphyry is wholly silent as to this particular. Indeed, this is not wonderful, if we consider what Porphyry asserts of him in the beginning of his life, viz. that he was ashamed that his soul was in body. Hence, says he, he would neither tell the race, nor the parents from whom he originated, nor would he patiently relate in what country he was born.