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33700322 Proclus Commentary on the Timaeus of Plato All Five Books

33700322 Proclus Commentary on the Timaeus of Plato All Five Books

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PROCLUS ON THE TIMAEUS OF PLATO
Books 1-5, with extended notes
Proclus Diadochus, the Platonic successorTranslated by Thomas TaylorEdited by Martin Euser, June, 2010
 
 
Directory of contents
 Thomas Taylor 
Of that golden chain of philosophers, who, having themselves happilypenetrated, luminously unfolded to others the profundities of thephilosophy of Plato, Proclus is indisputably the largest and most refulgentlink. Born with a genius transcendently great, and accompanied through lifewith a fortune singularly good, he exhibited in his own person a union of the rarest kind, in which power concurred with will, the benefit resultingfrom genuine philosophy with the ability of imparting it, and in whichWisdom was inseparable from Prosperity. The eulogium therefore of Ammonius Hermeas, "that Proclus possessed the power of unfolding theopinions of the ancients, and a scientific judgement of the nature of things,in the highest perfection possible to humanity,"* will be immediatelyassented to by every one, who is an adept in the writings of thisincomparable man. I rejoice therefore, in the opportunity which is now afforded me of presenting to the English reader a translation of one of the greatestproductions of this Coryphean philosopher; though unfortunately like mostof his other works, it has been transmitted to us in a mutilated state. Forthese Commentaries scarcely explain a third part of the
Timaeus;
and froma passage in Olympiodorus On the Meteors of Aristotle,* there is everyreason to believe that Proclus left no part of the
Timaeus
without hismasterly elucidations. This is likewise more than probable, from whatMarinus says in his life of him, "that he was a man laborious to a miracle;"
 
for it cannot be supposed that such a man would leave the greater part of one of the most important dialogues of Plato unelucidated, and particularlyas these Commentaries were written by him (as the same Marinus informsus) in the flower of his age, and that he preferred them beyond all his other
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Amnion, de Interpret, p.
1,7 •
13For important particulars respecting this extraordinary man, see my translation of theLife of Proclus by Marinus. He was born about the year 412 of Christ.$ See this passage in note 42 to my translation of the
 Meteors
of Aristotle [TTS vol.XXV.
The Works of Aristotle VII,
p. 561-2].
works.* Fortunately however, the most important part of this work ispreserved; or that part in which the demiurgic, paradigmatic, and finalcauses of the universe are unfolded; the corporeal nature of it is representedas
 
fabricated with forms and demiurgic sections, and distributed with divinenumbers; and soul is produced from the Demiurgus, and is filled withharmonic ratios, and divine and fabricative symbols. The whole mundaneanimal too, is here shown to be connected, according to the unitedcomprehension which subsists in the intelligible world; and the parts whichit contains are so disposed as to harmonize with the whole, both such as arecorporeal, and such as are vital. For partial souls such as ours, areintroduced into its spacious receptacle, are placed about the mundane Gods,and become mundane through the luciform vehicles with which they areconnected. The progression of the elements likewise from their firstincorporeal subsistence to their subterranean termination, and the nature of the heavens and heavenly bodies, are beautifully developed. And as theresult of the most scientific reasoning, it is shown that every planet issurrounded with satellites,* that the fixed stars have periodic revolutions ontheir axes, though the length of their duration is to us unknown; and thatthe stars, which at times disappear and again become visible, are the satellitesof other fixed stars of a more primary dignity, behind the splendours of which they are occasionally concealed.5 These and many other mostinteresting particulars, are unfolded in these Commentaries, with anaccuracy and perspicuity which have seldom been equalled, and have neverbeen excelled.When I speak however, of the perspicuity with which these particulars aredeveloped, I do not mean that they are delivered in such a way, as to beobvious to every one, or that they may be apprehended as soon as read; for