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Biography of Plotinus
Plotinus was born in Upper Egypt, more
specifically in Lycopolis in 204 CE. When he was
twenty-eight he moved to Alexandria to study
philosophy. While in Alexandria, he was
tremendously influenced by Plato and Aristotle
and therefore studied their works immensely.
Subsequent to working under Ammonius for
approximately ten years, he joined the Emperor
Gordian’s campaign against the Parthians
(Persians) in 243 AD. He joined the campaign,
partly because he was somewhat intrigued by the
Persians’ philosophies, but mainly because he was
greatly interested in the philosophers of India and
Persia. Plotinus’s plan failed: the emperor was
assassinated in Mesopotamia and he was coerced
to escape to Antioch in order to save his life.
In 244 AD, he made his way to Rome and started
his own school of philosophy. He was such a
distinguished teacher, that he received rave
reviews from highly eminent people, including the
Emperor Gallienus and his wife Salonina. Not long
after the school was founded, he thought up the
idea for a model city, Platonopolis, in a city called
Campania in Southern Italy. His idea was for the
city to live according to the laws of Plato. Even
though Gallienus was completely supportive of
this plan, the other "imperial counselors" were not;
therefore, the idea did not go any further. He
continued to teach at his school in Rome until 268
AD. From that point, he retired to a rural estate of
one of his disciples in Campania. During the last
few years of his life, he began to put down in
writing, his responses to the most common
questions that were raised during his seminars.
These responses were written in essays, primarily
because the extent of most of the answers could not
fully be answered in depth in the seminars. It was
there where he died, in 270, of what was thought to
Although Plotinus wrote several of these essays,
he did not publish them. Porphyry, one of his
students, fifty four of these essays in six
"Enneades." He put them in "logical order" and
"chronological sequence." Marsilio Ficino in
Florence printed the "Enneades" in Latin in 1492.
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Neoplatonists, Plotinus, Gallienus, Porphyry, Neoplatonism, Ammonius Saccas
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