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Proclus / Proclus Lycius / Proclo / Προκλος


Proclus, Proclus Lycius, Proclo, Προκλος (410/411-485 dC)



In the early fifth century, Plutarch   of Athens, who died in 432 AD (not the earlier Plutarch of Chaeroneia), provided a house in Athens for the Neoplatonist school, which archaeologists believe they have found  . He and his pupil Syrianus  , who was probably more critical of Aristotle   than the other commentators, both taught the young Proclus. It is recorded that the works of Aristotle were known as the Lesser Mysteries, being introductory [8] to the Greater Mysteries of Plato. In Proclus’ commentaries there is already visible the division into portions long enough for a one-hour delivery, and into separate discussions first of the doctrine and then of the wording of each Aristotelian passage. Proclus was encouraged by Plutarch to base a commentary on Plutarch’s lectures on Plato’s Phaedo  , and he based his commentary on Plato’s Timaeus   on the lectures of his teacher, Syrianus. This commentary has for the Sourcebook proved the most important of the non-Aristotle commentaries.

Proclus presented himself as a holy man, capable of miracles, and purified himself with sea bathing even in winter in old age. He often opposed Plotinus  . He rejected Plotinus’ idea   that part of our soul has never ceased from its uninterrupted contemplation of the Platonic Forms. And he rejected Plotinus’ attempt to downgrade the reality of evil by equating it with an amalgam of Aristotelian matter and privation. Evil is something more active for Proclus, which parasitically feeds on the good.

In the fifth century, the future of Neoplatonist teaching began to be cemented by pupils taking over the headship in Athens or Alexandria, and even by marriage. Hermeias, who headed the school in Alexandria, married a relative of his teacher Syrianus, a relative originally intended for Proclus, while Hermeias’ successor was his son Ammonius  , who first studied with Proclus. [SorabjiPC3  :8-9]