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Proclus on the Theology of Plato, Book Seven (Taylor collection)

Proclus on the Theology of Plato, Book Seven (Taylor collection)

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Published by Martin Euser
This book contains information painstakingly collected by Thomas Taylor respecting the mundane Gods, daimons and heroes. Some intricate details about Goddesses are given too, like Venus combining form and substance; Rhea, as the flow of Nature, or the Power of Jupiter (Pater Zeus).
This book contains information painstakingly collected by Thomas Taylor respecting the mundane Gods, daimons and heroes. Some intricate details about Goddesses are given too, like Venus combining form and substance; Rhea, as the flow of Nature, or the Power of Jupiter (Pater Zeus).

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Published by: Martin Euser on May 02, 2010
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11/24/2012

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THE mundane Gods, or those divinities who give completion to thesensible world, are assigned the last order of deific progression, as weare informed by Proclus in the preceding book. They also divide theuniverse, and obtain perpetual allotments and receptacles in it, andthrough these weave one and the best polity of the universe. Each of the mundane genera likewise enjoy the energy of the liberated governorsof the universe, according to a measure adapted to each, and especiallysuch as are able to follow the powers of these Gods. For in the Godsthemselves we may perceive a twofold energy, the one indeed beingco-arranged with the subjects of their providential care, but the other  being exempt and separate. According, therefore, to the first of theseenergies, the mundane Gods govern sensibles, and convolve and convertthem to themselves; but according to the other, they follow theliberated Gods, and together with them are elevated to an intelligiblenature. The mundane Gods also perfectly unfold the psychical peculiarityinto light; and receive the illuminations of all the divinities prior to them. Hence too, they rule over the universe imitating the liberatedGods, adorn sublunary natures with forms, and assimilate them tointellectual paradigms, imitating the ruling Gods. They likewise pour forth the whole of the life which is inseparable from body, from the onefountain of souls, establishing it as an image of the life which is separatefrom a corporeal nature, and unite themselves to this fountain.Again, the world is said by Plato in the Timaeus to be the image of theeternal, i. e. of the intelligible Gods. For it is filled from them with deity,and the progressions into it of the mundane Gods, are as it were certainrivers and illuminations of the intelligible Gods. These progressions alsothe world receives, not only according to the celestial part of it, butaccording to the whole of itself. For in the air, the earth and sea, thereare advents of terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial Gods. Hence the world isthroughout filled with deity; and on this account is according to thewhole of itself the image of the intelligible Gods. Not that it receivesindeed these Gods themselves; for images do not receive the exemptessences of the total Gods; but illuminations poured from thence on thesecondary orders, to the reception of which they are commensurate.Farther still, of the mundane Gods, some are the causes of theexistence of the world; others animate it; others again harmonize it thuscomposed of different natures; and others, lastly, guard and preserve itwhen harmonically arranged. And since these orders are four, and eachconsists of things first, middle and last, it is necessary that the disposersof these should be twelve. Hence Jupiter, Neptune, and Vulcan, fabricate
 
the world; Ceres, Juno and Diana animate it; Mercury, Venus, andApollo harmonize it; and lastly, Vesta, Minerva, and Mars, presideover it with a guardian power. But the truth of this may be seen instatues as in enigmas. For Apollo harmonizes the lyre; Pallas isinvested with arms; and Venus is naked; since harmony generates beauty, and beauty is not concealed in objects of sensible inspection.Since, however, these Gods primarily possess the world, it is necessaryto consider the other mundane Gods as subsisting in these; as Bacchusin Jupiter, Esculapius in Apollo, and the Graces in Venus. We maylikewise, behold the spheres with which they are connected ; viz. Vestawith earth, Neptune with water, Juno with air, and Vulcan with fire.But the six superior Gods we denominate from general custom. For Apollo and Diana are assumed for the sun and moon ; but the orb of Saturn is attributed to Ceres; aether to Pallas; and heaven is commonto them all. And thus much concerning the mundane Gods in general,the sources of their progression, their orders, powers, and spheres.** Vid. Sallust. de Diis et Mundo, Cap. 6.
CHAPTER II.
THE division, however, of the mundane Gods is into the celestial andsublunary. And of the celestial, the divinity of the inerratic sphere histhe relation of a monad to the divinities of the planets. But the triadunder this monad consists of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars; of which thefirst is the cause of connected comprehension, the second of symmetry,and the third of division and separation. And again, with respect to thesublunary deities, the moon ranks as a monad, being the cause of allgeneration and corruption. But the triad under it, consists of thedivinities who preside over the elements of air, water and earth. Betweenthese are the planets that revolve with an equal velocity. And of these,the sun indeed unfolds truth into light, Venus beauty, and Mercury thesymmetry of reasons or productive principles, conformably to the analogyof the three monads mentioned by Plato in the Philebus, as subsisting inthe vestibule of 
the good 
. It may also be said that the moon is the causeof nature to the mortal genera, being the visible image of the fontalnature existing in the goddess Rhea. But the sun is the fabricator of all the senses, because he is the author of seeing and of being seen.Mercury is the cause of the motions of the phantasy; for the sun givessubsistence to the essence of the phantasy, so far as it is the same withsense. But Venus is the cause of the appetites of that irrational part of the soul which is called desire; and Mars, of those irascible motionswhich are conformable to nature. Jupiter also, is the common cause of all vital,and Saturn of all gnostic powers. For all the irrational forms may be divided intothese. The causes, therefore, of these, are antecedently comprehended in thecelestial Gods, and in the spheres with which they are connected.
 
The allotments also of the mundane Gods are conformable to the divisions of theuniverse. But the universe is divided by demiurgic numbers, viz. by the duad,triad, tetrad, pentad, hebdomad, and dodecad. For after the one fabrication of things by the demiurgus, the division of the universe into two parts, heaven andgeneration (or the sublunary region), gives subsistence to twofold allotments, thecelestial and the sublunary. After this, the triad divides the universe, to whichHomer alludes when he says that Neptune is allotted the hoary deep, Jupiter, theextended heavens, and Pluto, the subterranean darkness.But after the triple distribution, the tetradic follows, which gives a fourfoldarrangement to the elements in the universe, as the Pythagoreans say, viz. thecelestial and the ethereal, above the earth and under the earth. The universe alsoreceives a division into five parts. For the world is one and quintuple, and isappropriately divided by celestial, empyreal, aerial, aquatic and terrestrial figuresand presiding Gods. After this follows its division into seven parts. For the heptad beginning supernally from the inerratic sphere, pervades through all the elements.And in the last place is the division of the universe by the dodecad, viz. into thesphere of the fixed stars, the spheres of the seven planets, and the spheres of thefour elements.Moreover, the allotment of angels and daemons is co-suspended from the divineallotments, but has a more various distribution. For one divine allotmentcomprehends in itself many angelic, and a still greater number of daemoniacalallotments; since every angel rules over many daemons, and every angelicallotment is surrounded with numerous daemoniacal allotments. For what amonad is in the Gods, that a tribe is among daemons. Here, therefore, instead of the triad we must assume three compositions, and instead of the tetrad or dodecad, four or twelve choirs following their respective leaders.And thus we shall always preserve the higher allotments. For as in essences, powers and energies, progressions generate multitude;thus also in allotments, such as are first, have a precedency in power, but arediminished in multitude, as being nearer to the one father of the universe, and thewhole and one providence which extends to all things. But secondary allotments,have a diminution of power, but an increase of multitude. And thus muchconcerning allotments in general.Since, however, according to a division of the universe into two parts,we have distributed allotments into the celestial and sublunary, therecan be no doubt what the former are, and whether they posses aninvariable sameness of subsistence. But the sublunary allotments aredeservedly a subject of admiration, whether they are said to be perpetualor not. For since all things in generation are continually changing andflowing, how can the allotments of the providential rulers of them be said to be perpetual?For things in generation are not perpetual. But if their allotmentsare not perpetual, how is it possible to suppose that divine government can subsist

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