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Under the reign of Antoninus Pius flourished Calvisius Taurus, of Beryta, who is mentioned as a Platonist of some note. Among his pupils was Aulus Gellius, a man of various learning, who has preserved several specimens of his preceptor's method of philosophising. He examined all sects, but preferred the Platonic: in which he had at least the merit of avoiding the infection of that spirit of confusion, which at this period seized almost the whole body of the philosophers, especially those of the Platonic school. In a work which he wrote concerning the differences in opinion among the Platonists, Aristotelians, and Stoics, he strenuously opposed the attempts of the Alexandrian philosophers, and others, to combine the tenets of these sects into one system. He wrote several pieces, chiefly to illustrate the Platonic philosophy. He lived at Athens, and taught, not in the schools, but at his table. A. Gellius, who was frequently one of his guests, and whose Noctes Atticæ," Attic Evenings," are, doubtless, much indebted to these philosophical entertainments, gives the following account of the manner in which they were conducted: 65" Taurus, the philosopher, commonly invited a select number of his friends to a frugal supper, consisting of lentils, and a gourd, cut into small pieces upon an earthen dish and during the repast, philosophical conversation, upon various topics, was introduced, His constant dişciples, whom he called his Family, were expected to contribute their share towards the small expense which attended these simple repasts, in which interesting conversation supplied the place of luxurious provision. Every one came furnished with some new subject of inquiry, which he was allowed in his turn to propose, and which, during a limited time, was debated. The subjects of discussion, in these conversations, were not of the more serious and important kind, but such elegant questions as might afford an agreeable exercise of the faculties in the moments of convivial enjoyment; and these Taurus afterwards frequently illustrated more at large with sound erudition."
64 Suidas. Euseb. Chron. 148. Syncellus, p. 351.
Noct. Att. 1. vi. c. 13. Conf. 1. i. c. 26. 1. ii. c. 2. l. vi. c. 13. 1. xii. c. 5. 1. xviii. c. 8. 1. xviii. c. 2.
The same period produced Lucius Apuleius,6% of Medaura, a city in Africa, on the borders of Numidia and Getulia, subject to Rome. From some particulars which occur in his writings, it is probable that he lived under the Antonines, With considerable ability he united indefatigable. industry, whence he became acquainted with almost the whole circle of sciences and literature. His own account of himself is, that he not only tasted of the cup of literature, under grammarians and rhetoricians at Carthage, but at Athens drank freely of the sacred fountain of poesy, the clear stream of geometry, the sweet waters of music, the rough current of dialectics, and the nectarious but unfathomable deep of philosophy; and, in short, that, with more good will indeed than genius, he paid equal homage to every muse. Upon his removal to Rome, he studied the Latin tongue with so much success, that he became an eminent pleader in the Roman courts. He expended a large patrimony in his travels, which he undertook chiefly for the sake of gaining information concerning the religious rites and customs of different countries.68 In order to repair his fortune, he married a rich widow of Oca in Africa.69 A rumour was upon this circulated, that he had employed magical incantations to obtain her love. It was to refute this report that he wrote his Apology; a work replete with learning. Although it may be easily believed that this was a false accusation, Apuleius was commonly ranked among the professors of magic, and was, probably, no mean proficient in those arts of imposture which he had learned from priests of different countries. This opinion is confirmed by his Milesian fable, or the Metamorphosis of Lucius into an Ass, commonly known under the title of "The Golden Ass.” Apuleius chiefly owes his celebrity to this fanciful work, in which the story of Cupid and Psyche is a curious philosophical romance. In philosophy, his principal piece is, De Dogmate Platonis, “A summary View of the Doctrine of Plato;" which may be read with great advantage, together with the Introductions to the Platonic system, written by
66 Apul. Apol. p. 203. ed. Pet. Scriv.
67 Apul. Flor. c. 18. p. 366. Apol. p. 190, 370. Metamorph. 1. i. c. 5. Apol, p. 203. Met. 1. iii. p. 47. l. xi. p. 177, 183.
£9 Apol. Met. I. ii. p. 18.
Alcinous and Albinus. Apuleius also wrote an interpretation of Aristotle's treatise De Mundo; "An Apology for Socrates;" and a work entitled Florida, which, though rather rhetorical than philosophical, serves in many particulars to illustrate the history of philosophy.70
Another Platonist, who flourished under M. Aurelius Antoninus, was Atticus; chiefly memorable for the laudable pains he took to ascertain the exact points of difference between the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle. Several fragments of his work are preserved by Eusebius, in which he argues against Aristotle concerning the ultimate end of man, providence, the origin of things, the immortality of the soul, and other topics. Plotinus, in the Eclectic school, held the writings of Atticus in high estimation, and recommended them as exceedingly useful in obtaining an accurate knowledge of the Platonic system. Atticus pronounced it impossible for those who had imbibed the Peripatetic notions, to elevate their minds to a capacity of understanding and relishing the sublime conceptions of Plato."1
Numenius, of Apamea in Syria, was a writer of the same class with Atticus. Eusebius ranks him among the Plato ́nists; and Origen and Plotinus mention him with respect: but none of his works are extant, except some fragments preserved by Eusebius.7%
Maximus Tyrius, though chiefly distinguished by his eloquence, has obtained some degree of celebrity as a philosopher. According to Suidas he lived under Commodus; according to Eusebius and Syncellus, under Antoninus Pius. The accounts of those chronologers may be reconciled, by supposing that Maximus flourished under Antoninus, and reached the time of Commodus. Although he was frequently at Rome, he probably spent the greater part of his time in Greece. Several writers suppose him to have been the preceptor, of whom the emperor Marcus Antoninus speaks under the name of Maximus; but it is more
Apol.p. 204, 205. 216. Florid. p. 362. Fab. Bibl. Lat. t. i. P. 516,518. 71. Syncell. p. 353. Euseb. Chron. sub. Aurel. A. 179. Prep. l. xv. c. 4. &c. Fab. Bib. Gr. v. ii. p. 54.
Porph. Vit. Plot. c. 17. Euseb. Prep. I. xi. c. 9. 1. xiii. c. 5. l. xiv. c. 5. Orig. contr. Cels. 1. iv. p. 204. I. v. p. 276. Conf. Clem. Alex. Strom. I..i. p. 342. Theodoret. Therap. I. ii.
probable, that this was some other philosopher of the Stoical sect. That Maximus Tyrius possessed the most captivating powers of eloquence, sufficiently appears from his elegant Dissertations: they are for the most part written upon Platonic principles, but sometimes lead towards scepticism.73
To these ornaments of the Platonic school in Rome must be added two other celebrated writers, who, though they studied philosophy, are commonly ranked among the Platonists---Plutarch and Galen.
That Plutarch ought to be admitted among the philosophers of his time, no one will doubt who is conversant with his writings. He was a native of Charonea in Boeotia,75 but was far from partaking of the proverbial dulness of his country. The time of his birth is not exactly known; it is certain, however, that he flourished from the time of Nero to that of Adrian.76 His preceptor was Ammonius, a learned philosopher, sometimes confounded with Ammonius Sacca, the father of the Eclectic sect, who lived a century later.77
As soon as Plutarch had completed his juvenile studies he was engaged in civil affairs. He was first appointed, by a public decree, legate to the proconsul, and afterwards undertook the office of archon or prætor. The emperor Trajan, a friend to learned men, patronised him, and conferred upon him the consular dignity. Under Adrian, he was appointed procurator of Greece.78
Civil occupations did not, however, prevent Plutarch from devoting a great part of his time to literary and philo sophical studies. He both taught philosophy, and was a voluminous writer. A catalogue of his works, drawn up by his son Lamprius7,9 is still extant, from which it appears,
73 Max. Tyr. Diss. xi. Suidas. $15. Fabr. Bib. Gr. v. ii. p. 33. edit. Heins. Lugd. Bat. 1614, 8vo. Davis, Cantab. 1703.
Euseb. Chron. M. Ant. de Seipso. 1. i.
74 Suid. Vit. ap. Oper. ed. Rualdi Par. 1624. D. Celer. Par. 1617,
75 De Curios. t. ii. p. 237.
76 Photius. Cod. 145. p. 642. Plut. de Delph. Inscr. t, i. p. 555, Apothegm. Traj. i. p. 322. Syncellus, p. 349.
77 Junius ad Eunap. Voss. de Sect. c. 21. § 6.
76 Precept. de ger. Rep. t. ii. 457. Sympos. 1. vi. 2. 8. t.iii. p. 239. Suidas. 79 Vit. Demosth. t. iii. p. 21. Fabric. Bibl. Gr. v. iii. p. 333. Plut. Op. ed. Franc. 1620. Par. 1524.
that more of his pieces have been lost than have been preserved. Those of his writings which remain are a valuable treasure of ancient learning, serving to illustrate not only the Grecian and Roman affairs, but the history of philosophy. They abound with proofs of indefatigable industry and profound erudition; and, notwithstanding the harshness of the writer's style, they will always be read with pleasure, on account of the great variety of valuable and amusing information which they contain. But it is in this view chiefly that Plutarch is to be admired. In extent and variety of learning, he had few equals; but he does not appear to have excelled as much in depth and solidity of judgment. Where he expresses his own conceptions and opinions, he often supports them by feeble and slender arguments; where he reports, and attempts to elucidate, the opinions of others, he frequently falls into mistakes, or is chargeable with misrepresentation. In proof of this assertion, we may particularly mention what he had advanced concerning Plato's notion of the soul of the world, and concerning the Epicurean philosophy. To this we must add, that Plutarch is often inaccurate in method; and sometimes betrays a degree of credulity unworthy of a philosopher. On moral topics he is most successful. His didactic pieces not only abound with amusing anecdotes, but are enriched with many just and useful observations.
Plutarch appears to have derived his philosophical tenets from various sources. Aristotle was his chief guide in ethics: his doctrine of the soul he borrowed from the Egyptians, or more probably the Pythagoreans: in metaphysics, he principally followed Plato, and the Old Academy. We sometimes find him asserting with the Dogmatists, and sometimes doubting with the Pyrrhonists; but he always wages open war with the Epicureans and the Stoics. The truth seems to be, that Plutarch had not digested for himself any accurate system of opinions, and was rather a memorialist and interpreter of philosophers, than himself an eminent philosopher. He died about the fourth or fifth year of the reign of Adrian; that is, about the year 119, or 120.80 Galen, 81 whom, with Plutarch, we have ranked among
Num Seni ger. Rep. t. ii. p. 448.
Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. v. c. ult. Suidas. Fabr. Bib. Gr. v. iii. p. 509.