World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Plutarch of Athens

Article Id: WHEBN0014499543
Reproduction Date:

Title: Plutarch of Athens  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Proclus, Hegias, Asclepigenia, Neoplatonism, Plotinus
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Plutarch of Athens

Plutarch of Athens (Greek: Πλούταρχος; c. 350 – 430 AD) was a Greek philosopher and Neoplatonist who taught at Athens at the beginning of the 5th century. He reestablished the Platonic Academy there and became its leader. He wrote commentaries on Aristotle and Plato, emphasizing the doctrines which they had in common.


He was the son of Nestorius and father of Hierius and Asclepigenia, who were his colleagues in the school. The origin of Neoplatonism in Athens is not known, but Plutarch is generally seen as the person who reestablished Plato's Academy in its Neoplatonist form. Plutarch and his followers (the "Platonic Succession") claimed to be the disciples of Iamblichus, and through him of Porphyry and Plotinus. Numbered among his disciples were Syrianus, who succeeded him as head of the school, and Proclus.


Plutarch's main principle was that the study of Aristotle must precede that of Plato, and that the student should be taught to realize primarily the fundamental points of agreement between them. With this object he wrote a commentary on Aristotle's On the Soul (De Anima) which was the most important contribution to Aristotelian literature since the time of Alexander of Aphrodisias; and a commentary on the Timaeus of Plato. His example was followed by Syrianus and others of the school. This critical spirit reached its greatest height in Proclus, the ablest exponent of this latter-day syncretism.

Plutarch was versed in all the theurgic traditions of the school, and believed, along with Iamblichus, in the possibility of attaining to communion with the Deity by the medium of the theurgic rites. Unlike the Alexandrists and the early Renaissance writers, he maintained that the soul which is bound up in the body by the ties of imagination and sensation does not perish with the corporeal media of sensation.

In psychology, while believing that Reason is the basis and foundation of all consciousness, he interposed between sensation and thought the faculty of Imagination, which, as distinct from both, is the activity of the soul under the stimulus of unceasing sensation. In other words, it provides the raw material for the operation of Reason. Reason is present in children as an inoperative potentiality, in adults as working upon the data of sensation and imagination, and, in its pure activity, it is the transcendental or pure intelligence of God.


  • Suda, Domninos, Hegias, Nikolaos, Odainathos, Proklos o Lukios.
  • Marinus, Vita Procli, 12.
  • Photius, Bibliotheca, 242.
  • Andron, Cosmin (2008), "Ploutarchos of Athens",The Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Natural Scientists, eds. Georgia Irby-Massie and Paul Keyser, Routledge.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.