The Six Books of Proclus, the Platonic Successor, on the Theology of Plato/Book IV
Let the discussion, therefore, of the intelligible Gods, unfolding the mystic doctrine of Plato concerning them be here terminated by us. But it entirely follows in the next place, that we should consider after the same manner the narration concerning the intellectual Gods. Since, however, of intellectuals some are both intelligible and intellectual, viz. such as according to the Oracle perceiving intellectually are at the same time intellectually perceived; but others are intellectual only;—this being the case, beginning from those that are intellectual and at the same time intelligible, we will in the first place determine what pertains to them in common, from which we shall render the doctrine concerning each order of them more perspicuous. Again, therefore, let us recal to our memory those things which we a little before demonstrated, viz. that there are three total monads which are entirely beyond the Gods that are divided according to parts, viz. essence, life and intellect. And these prior to the partial participate of the superessential unities. Essence, however, is exempt from the rest. Life is allotted the middle order. But intellect converts the end of this triad to the beginning. And all these are indeed intelligibly in essence; but intelligibly and intellectually in life; and intellectually in intellect. And as secondary natures always participate of the natures placed above them, but these prior to participation presubsist themselves by themselves; and as in each order there are these three things, the cause of abiding, the cause of proceeding, and the cause of conversion, though intellect is more formalized according to conversion, but life according to progression, and essence according to permanency;—this being the case, it is certainly necessary that the first intellectual Gods being essentialized according to life should conjoin imparticipable intellect, and the intelligible genus of Gods, and that they should uniformly connect the various progressions of secondary, but unfold and expand the stable hyparxis of precedaneous causes. For imparticipable life is a thing of this kind, circumscribing that which is primarily being and intellect, and participating indeed of being, but participated by intellect. But this is the same thing as to assert that intelligence is filled indeed from the intelligible, but fills intellect from itself. For being is the intelligible, but life is intelligence. And being indeed is characterized according to a divine hyparxis; but life according to power; and intellect according to intelligible intellect. For as being is to hyparxis, so is intellect to being. And as intelligible power is to each of the extremes, so is life to the intelligible and to intellect. And as power is generated from the one and hyparxis, but constitutes in conjunction with the one the nature of being, so life proceeds indeed from being, and gives subsistence to a power different from that which is in being. As also the one itself which exists prior to being, imparts to being from itself a second unity, so likewise life being allotted an hypostasis prior to intellect, generates intellectual life. For true being and the intelligible which precede the rest, supply both life and intellect with union. Imparticipable life, therefore, but which participates of the intelligible monads is the second after being, is generative of imparticipable intellect, and giving completion to this medium, and containing the bond of intelligibles and intellectuals, is illuminated by Gods who are allotted a union secondary to the occult subsistence of intelligibles, but preceding according to cause the separation of intellectual natures. For the unical, indivisible, simple, and primary nature of intelligibles, subsides through the medium of these Gods into multitude and separation, and the inexplicable evolution of the divine orders. Whence also, I think, the Gods who connectedly contain life which is infinite, being the middle of the intelligible and intellectual Gods, and carried in the divisions of themselves as in a vehicle, are called intelligible and at the same time intellectual; being filled indeed, from the first intelligibles, but filling the intellectual Gods. For we call the intelligible Gods intelligible, not as coordinate with intellect. For the intelligible which is in intellect is one thing, and that which produces the intellectual Gods another: and we denominate the Gods that subsist according to life intelligible and at the same time intellectual, not as giving completion to intellect, nor as being established according to intellectual intelligence, and imparting to intellect the power of intellectual perception, but to the intelligible the power of being intellectually perceived, but we give them this appellation, as deriving their subsistence from the intelligible monads, but generating all the intellectual hebdomads. And because they are illuminated indeed with intelligible life, but subsist prior to intellectuals, according to a generative cause, we think fit to denominate them in common, connecting their names from the extremes, in the same manner as they also are allotted a peculiarity collective of wholes in the divine orders.
It is evident, therefore, that they subsist according to this medium, and that they are proximate to the intelligible Gods, who are both monadic and triadic. For the intelligible triads, with reference indeed to the highest union and which is exempt from all things, are triads; but with reference to the divided essence of triads, they are monads, unfolding into light from themselves total triads. Since intelligibles, therefore, in their triadic progression, do not depart from a unical hyparxis, the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods subsist triadically, exhibiting in themselves the separation of the monads, and through divine difference, proceeding into multitude, and a variety of powers and essences. For the natures which subsist more remote from the one principle [of all things,] are more multiplied than the natures which are prior to them; and are diminished indeed in powers, and the comprehensions of secondary natures, but are divided into more numbers, and such as are more distant from the monad. They likewise relinquish the union which is the cause of primarily efficient natures, and variety is assumed by them in exchange for the occult hyparxis of those primary essences. According to this reasoning, therefore, the intelligible and intellectual separation is greater than the separation which is only intelligible. And of these again, the partial orders are allotted a much greater division, so as to unfold to us a multitude of Gods which cannot be comprehended in the numbers within the decad. Their peculiarities also are indescribable, and inexplicable by our conceptions, and are manifest only to the Gods themselves, and to the causes of them. Such, therefore, are the intelligible and intellectual Gods, and such is the peculiarity which they are allotted, a peculiarity connective of extremes, and which unfolds into light precedaneous, but converts secondary natures. For they intellectually perceive the Gods prior to them, but are objects of intellection to the Gods posterior to them. Hence also Timæus establishes all-perfect animal to be the most beautiful of intelligibles, because there are intelligibles posterior to it, which it surpasses in beauty, as being superior to them, and because it is the boundary of the first intelligibles, the natures posterior to it subsisting intellectually. According to this reasoning, therefore, the first intellectual Gods are also intelligible; and we do not, deriving these things from a foreign source, ascribe them to Plato, but they are asserted by us in consequence of receiving auxiliaries from him. This, however, will be more manifest through what follows.
In the next place, therefore, we shall discuss the manner in which the Gods who illuminate the breadth of imparticipable life proceed from the intelligible Gods. Since then the intelligible Gods establish in themselves uniformly things multiplied, occultly such as are divided, and according to a certain admirable transcendency of simplicity, the various genera of beings,—hence the first intellectual Gods, unfolding their indistinct union, and the unknown nature of their hypostasis, and being filled through intelligible power and essential life with the prolific abundance of wholes, are allotted a kingdom which ranks as the second after them. And they always indeed produce, perfect, and connect them selves, but receive from the intelligible Gods an occult generation; from intelligible power indeed, receiving a peculiarity generative of all things; but from intelligible life which preexists according to cause in the intelligible, receiving the nature which is spread under them. For life is primarily indeed in intelligibles; but secondarily in intelligibles and intellectuals; and in a third degree in intellectuals; existing indeed according to cause in the first, but according to essence in the second, and according to participation in the last of these. The first intellectual, therefore, proceed from the intelligible Gods, multiplying indeed their union, and their unical powers, unfolding their occult hyparxis, and through prolific, connective, and perfective causes assimilating themselves to the essential, entire, and all-perfect transcendencies of intelligibles. For in intelligibles there were three primarily effective powers; one indeed constituting the essence of wholes; another measuring things which are multiplied; and another being productive of the forms of all generated natures.
And conformably to these, the intelligible and intellectual powers subsist; one indeed, by its very essence producing the life of secondary natures, according to a certain intelligible comprehension; but another being connective of every thing which is divided, and imparting by illumination the intelligible measure to those natures that relinquish the one union [of all things;] and another supplying all things with figure, and form and perfection. The intelligible and intellectual orders of the Gods, therefore, are generated according to all the intelligible causes. From power indeed, being allotted the peculiarity of progression; but from life receiving the portion of being which is suspended from them. For life is conjoined with power; since life is of itself infinite, all motion having infinity consubsistent with its nature, and the power of infinity, is generative of the whole of things. But from the triadic hypostasis of intelligibles, they receive a distribution into first, middle and last. For it is necessary that all things should be detained by a triadic progression, and that this should be the case prior to all [other] things with the intelligible and at the same time intellectual genera of Gods. For because they subsist as the middle of wholes, and give completion to the bond of the first orders, according to their summit indeed, they are assimilated to intelligibles, but according to their extremity, to intellectuals. And they are partly indeed intelligible, and partly intellectual. For everywhere the progressions of the divine genera are effected through continued similitude. And the first of subordinate are united to the ends of preexistent causes. As however, the first and the last in the middle of wholes are both intelligible and intellectual, it is necessary there should be a connective medium of these, according to which medium the peculiarity of these Gods is principally apparent. For that which is intelligible and at the same time intellectual, in one part indeed is more abundant than, but in another equally communicates with both these. From these things, therefore, the continuity of the progression of the divine orders appears to be admirable. For the extremity of intelligibles indeed was intellectual, yet as in intelligibles. But the summit of intelligibles and at the same time intellectuals, is intelligible indeed, yet it possesses this peculiarity vitally. And again, the end of intelligibles and at the same time intellectuals, is intellectual, but it is vitally so. But the beginning of intellectuals, is intelligible, and presides over the intellectual Gods, yet it has the intelligible intellectually. And thus all the divine genera are allotted an indissoluble connexion and communion, an admirable friendship, and well-ordered diminution, and a transcendency, partly coordinate and partly exempt. That which proceeds too, is always in continuity with its producing cause; and secondary natures together with a firm establishment in their causes, make a progression from them. There is likewise one series and alliance of all things; secondary natures always subsisting from those prior to them, through similitude. After what manner, therefore, the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, unfold themselves into light from the intelligible Gods, may through these things be recollected.
In the next place, let us show how they are divided in their progressions, and what difference the triads of these Gods are allotted with respect to the intelligible triads. These Gods, therefore, are also divided triply, after the above mentioned manner; being conjoined indeed to the intelligible, through their summit; but to the intellectual through their end; and through the middle bond of the extremes, being allotted the peculiarity of each equally, and extending to both the intelligible and intellectual genera of Gods, as the centre of these two-fold orders, uniformly containing the communion of wholes. They are likewise divided triply, because in these all things, viz. essence, life, and intellect, are vitally, in the same manner as they are intelligibly in the Gods prior to them, and intellectually in the Gods that derive their subsistence from these. And essence indeed is the intelligible of life; but life is the middle and at the same time the peculiarity of this order; and intellect is the extremity, and that which is proximately carried in intellectuals as in a vehicle. All things therefore subsisting in these Gods, there will be a division of them into first, middle, and last genera. And in the third place, they are divided triply, because it is necessary that life should abide, proceed, and be converted to its principles; since of beings, the first triad was said to establish all things, and prior to other things the second triad. Eternity, therefore, abides stably in the first triad. But the triad posterior to this, is the supplier to wholes [and therefore to all things,] of progression, motion, and life according to energy. And the third triad is the supplier of conversion to the one, and of perfection which convolves all secondary natures to their principles. Hence it is necessary that the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, should primarily participate of these three powers, and should abide indeed in the summit of themselves; but proceeding from thence, and extending themselves to all things, should again be converted to the intelligible place of survey, and conjoin to the beginning of their generation the end of their whole progression.
The intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods therefore are, as I have said, triply divided. And essence indeed is that which ranks as first in them, but life is the middle, and intellect the extremity of them. Since however, each of these three is perfect, and participates of the intelligible monads, I mean of the essence which is there, of intelligible life, and of intelligible intellect, they are tripled according to the participation of primarily efficient causes. And the intelligible of life indeed possesses essence, intellect, and life intelligibly; but the intelligible and intellectual of it, possesses essence, life and intellect, intelligibly and at the same time intellectually; and the intellectual of it possesses these intellectually and intelligibly. And every where indeed, there is a triad in each of the sections, but in conjunction with an appropriate peculiarity. Hence three intelligible and at the same time intellectual triads present themselves to our view, which are indeed illuminated by the divine unities, but each of them contains an all-various multitude. For since in intelligibles, there was an all-powerful and all-perfect multitude, how is it possible that this multitude should not in a much greater degree, be evolved and multiplied, in the Gods secondary to the intelligible order, according to the prolific cause of them? Each triad therefore comprehends in itself a multitude of powers, and a variety of forms, producing intelligible multitude into energy, and unfolding into light the generative infinity of intelligibles. And we indeed, being impelled from the participants, discover the peculiarity of the participated superessential Gods. But according to the order of things, the intelligible and intellectual monads generate about themselves essences, and all lives, and the intellectual genera. And through these, they unfold the unknown transcendency of themselves, preserving by itself the preexistent cause of the whole of things. There are however, as we have said, three intelligible triads. And there are also three triads posterior to these, which appear to be tripled from them, according to their prolific perfection.
But it is necessary that the peculiarity of the intelligible, and also of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual triad, should be defined according to another mode. For in the intelligible order indeed, each, triad had only the third part of being; for it consisted of bound, and infinity, and from both these. But this was essence indeed in the first triad, intelligible life in the second, and intelligible intellect in the third. The natures however prior to these were unities and superessential powers, which give completion to the whole triads. But in the intelligible and at the same time intellectual order, each triad has essence, life and intellect; one indeed intelligibly and at the same time intellectually, but more intelligibly, so far as it is in continuity with the first intelligibles; but another intellectually and intelligibly, but more intellectually, because it is proximately carried in intellectuals; and another according to an equal part, as it comprehends in itself both the peculiarities. Hence the first triad, that we may speak of each, was in intelligibles, bound, infinity, and essence; for essence was that which was primarily mixed. But here the first triad is essence, life and intellect, with appropriate unities. For essence is suspended from the first deity [of this triad,] life from the second, and intellect from the third. And these three superessential monads, unfold the monads of the first triad. But again, the second triad after this, was in the intelligible order, a superessential unity, power, and intelligible and occult life. Here however, essence, life and intellect are all vital, and are suspended from the Gods who contain the one bond of the whole of this order. For as the first unities were allotted a power unific of the middle genera, so the second unities after them, exhibit the connective peculiarity of primarily efficient causes. After these therefore, succeeds the third triad, which in the intelligible order indeed was unity, power, and intelligible intellect; but here it consists of three superessential Gods, who close the termination of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, and begird all things intellectually, I mean essence, life and intellect. They are likewise the suppliers of divine perfection, imitating the all-perfect intelligible triad, just as the connectedly containing Gods imitate the intelligible measure, and the Gods prior to these, the generative cause of intelligibles. The three intelligible therefore, and at the same time intellectual triads, are thus generated, and are allotted such a difference as this, with respect to the intelligible triads.
Again however, returning to Plato, let us accord with him, and exhibit the science which preexists with him concerning each of these triads. And in the first place, let us assume what is written in the Phædrus, and survey from the words themselves of Socrates, how he unfolds to us the whole of the orderly distinction of these triads, and the differences which it contains. In the Phædrus therefore, there are said to be twelve leaders who preside over the whole [of mundane concerns,] and who conduct all the mundane Gods, and all the herds of dæmons, and convert them to the intelligible nature. It is also said that Jupiter is the leader of all these twelve Gods, that he drives a winged chariot, adorns and takes care of all things, and brings all the army of Gods that follow him, first indeed to the place of survey within the heaven, and to the blessed spectacles, and discursive energies of the intelligibles which are there. But in the next place Jupiter brings them to the subcelestial arch which proximately begirds the heaven, and is contained in it, and after this to the heaven itself, and the back of heaven; where also divine souls stand, and being borne along together with the heaven, survey all the essence that is beyond it. Socrates further adds, that prior to the heaven there is what is called the supercelestial place, in which true and real essence, the plain of truth, the kingdom of Adrastia, and the divine choir of virtues subsist, and that souls being nourished through the intellection of these monads, are happily affected, following [in their contemplation] the circulation of the heaven.
These things therefore, are asserted in the Phædrus, Socrates being clearly inspired by divinity, and discussing mystic concerns. It is necessary however, prior to other things, to consider what the heaven is of which Socrates speaks, and in what order of beings it is established. For having discovered this, we may also survey the subcelestial arch, and the supercelestial place. For each of these is assumed according to habitude towards the heaven; the one indeed being primarily placed above it, but the other being primarily arranged under it.
What therefore is the heaven to which Jupiter leads the Gods? For, if we should say that it is the sensible heaven, as certain other persons say it is, it will be necessary that the more excellent genera should be converted to things naturally subordinate to themselves. For if Jupiter the mighty leader in the heaven proceeds to this sensible heaven, and leads to it all the Gods that follow him, he will have a conversion to things subordinate, and posterior to himself. And together with Jupiter, this will also be the case with all the leaders, and the Gods and dæmons suspended from these; though the same Socrates in the Phædrus says, that even a partial soul when perfected is conversant with sublime concerns, and governs the whole world. How is it possible therefore, that the leaders of whole souls should be converted to the sensible heaven, and exchange the intelligible place of survey for an inferior allotment, when through these souls they preside over the universe, in order that they may illuminate mundane natures with a liberated and unrestrained power? In addition to these things also, what are the blessed intellections of the Gods within this sensible heaven, and what are the evolutions of all the knowledge of sensibles? For in short the Gods know sensibles, not by a conversion to them, but by containing in themselves the causes of them. Hence intellectually perceiving themselves, they know sensibles causally, and rule over them, not by looking to them, and verging to the subjects of their government, but by converting through love inferior natures to themselves. Neither therefore, is it lawful for the Gods who adorn the whole of heaven, and think it worthy their providential care, to be ever situated under the circulation of this heaven; nor is there any blessedness in the contemplation of the things which exist under it; nor are the souls that are converted to this contemplation among the number of those that are happy, and that follow the Gods, but they rank among those that exchange intelligible for doxastic nutriment, such as Socrates says, the souls are that are lame, that have broken their wings, and are in a merged condition. Since therefore passions of this kind belong to partial souls, and these not such as are happy, how can we refer a conversion to the sensible heaven to the ruling and leading Gods?
Farther still, Socrates says that souls standing on the back of the heaven, are carried round by the circumvolution itself of the heaven; but Timæus, and the Athenian guest say, that souls lead every thing in the heavens by their own motions, externally cover bodies with their motions, and living their own life through the whole of time, impart to bodies secondarily efficient powers of motion. How therefore do these things accord with those who make this heaven to be sensible? For souls do not contemplate and dance round intelligibles, through the circulation of the heavens; but through the unapparent convolution of souls, bodies revolve in a circle, and about these perform their circulations. If therefore any one should say that the sensible heaven circumvolves souls, and that it is divided according to the back, the profundity, and the subcelestial arch, many absurdities must necessarily be admitted.
But if some one should say that the heaven is intelligible, to which Jupiter is the leader, but all the Gods, and together with these, dæmons follow him, he will unfold the divinely-inspired narrations of Plato consentaneously to the nature of things, and will follow the most celebrated of his interpreters. For Plotinus and Jamblichus are of opinion that this heaven is a certain intelligible. And prior to these, Plato himself in the Cratylus following the Orphic theogonies calls the father indeed of Jupiter, Saturn, but of Saturn, Heaven. And he evinces that Jupiter is the demiurgus of the whole of things through the names [by which he is called,] investigating for this purpose the truth concerning them. But he shows that Saturn is connective of a divine intellect; and that Heaven is the intelligence, or intellectual perception of the first intelligibles. For sight, says he, looking to the things above, is Heaven. Hence Heaven subsists prior to every divine intellect, with which the mighty Saturn is replete; but intellectually perceives the things above, and such as are beyond the celestial order. The mighty Heaven therefore, is allotted a kingdom which is between the intelligible and intellectual orders. For the circulation mentioned in the Phædrus is intelligence, through which all the Gods and souls obtain the contemplation of intelligibles. But intelligence is a medium between intellect and the intelligible. It must be said therefore, that the whole of heaven is established according to this medium, and that it contains the one bond of the divine orders, being the father indeed of the intellectual genus, but being generated from the kings prior to it, which also it is said to see. But on one side of it the supercelestial place, and on the other the subcelestial arch must be arranged.
Again therefore, if indeed the supercelestial place is the imparticipable and occult genus of the intelligible Gods, how can we establish so great a divine multitude there, and this accompanied with separation, viz. truth, science, justice, temperance, the meadow, and Adrastia? For neither do the fountains of the virtues, nor the separation and variety of forms, pertain to the intelligible Gods. For the first and most unical of forms extend the demiurgic intellect of wholes to the intelligible paradigm, and the comprehension of forms which is there. But Socrates in the Phædrus says that a partial intellect contemplates the supercelestial place. For this intellect is the governor of the soul, as it is well said by the philosophers prior to us. If therefore, it be necessary from this analogy to investigate the difference of intelligibles, as the demiurgic intellect indeed, is imparticipable, but a partial intellect is participable, so with respect to the intelligible, one indeed which is the first paradigm of the demiurgus, pertains to the first intelligibles, but another which is the first paradigm of a partial intellect pertains to the second intelligibles, which are indeed intelligibles, but are allotted an intelligible transcendency, as subsisting at the summit of intellectuals. But if the supercelestial place is beyond the celestial circulation, but is inferior to those intelligible triads, because it is more expanded; for it is the plain of truth, and is not unknown, is divided according to a multitude of forms, and possesses a variety of powers, and the meadow which is there nourishes souls, and is visible to them, the first intelligibles illuminating souls with ineffable union, but not being known by them through intelligence;—if this be the case, it is certainly necessary that the supercelestial place should subsist between the intelligible nature, and the celestial circulation. If Plato himself also admits that essence which truly is, exists in this place, how is it possible that he should not also admit it to be intelligible, and to participate of the first intelligibles? For because indeed it is essence it is intelligible; but because it truly is, it participates of being.
Moreover, possessing in itself a multitude of intelligibles, it will not be arranged according to the first triad; for the one being is there, and not the multitude of beings. But possessing a various life which the meadow indicates, it is subordinate to the second triad; for intelligible life is one, and without separation. And again, since it shines forth to the view with divided forms, all-various orders, and prolific powers, it falls short of the all-perfect triad [in intelligibles]. If therefore it is the second to these in dignity and power, but is established above the celestial order, it is intelligible indeed, but is the summit of the intellectual Gods. On this account also, nutriment is derived to souls from thence. For the intelligible is nutriment, since the first intelligibles also, viz. the beautiful, the wise and the good, are said to nourish souls. For by these, says Socrates the wing of the soul is nourished; but by the contraries to these it is corrupted and destroyed. These things however, are indeed effected by the first intelligibles exemptly, and through union and silence. But the supercelestial place is said to nourish through intelligence and energy, and to fill the happy choir of souls with intelligible light, and the prolific rivers of life.
After the supercelestial place however and the heaven itself, is the subcelestial arch, which it is obvious to every one ought to be arranged under the heaven, and not in the heaven. For it is not called by Plato the celestial, but the subcelestial arch. That it is also proximately situated under the celestial circulation, is evident from what is written concerning it. But if it be necessary to make the subcelestial arch being such, the same with the summit of intellectuals, and not with the end of the intelligible and intellectual Gods, it will be now necessary to contemplate what remains. For the summit of intellectuals separates itself from the kingdom of the heaven, but the subcelestial arch is on all sides comprehended by it. And the former indeed constitutes the whole of intellect, intellectual multitude, and as Socrates says, the blessed discursive energies of the Gods; but the latter only bounds the celestial series, and supplies the Gods with the means of ascending to the heaven. For when the Gods are elevated to the banquet and the delicious food, and are filled with intelligible goods, then they proceed ascending, to the subcelestial arch, and through it are raised to the celestial circulation. Hence, if you say that the subcelestial arch is perfective of the Gods, and converts them to the whole of the heaven, and the supercelestial place, you will not wander from the meaning of Plato. For the Gods are indeed nourished by the intelligible, by the meadow, and by the divine forms, which the place above the heaven comprehends; but they are filled with this nutriment through the subcelestial arch. For through this they also participate of the celestial circulation. Hence they are converted indeed, through the subcelestial arch; but they receive a vigorous intellectual perception from the celestial order; and they are filled with intelligible goods from the supercelestial place. It is evident therefore, that the supercelestial place is allotted an intelligible summit; but the circulation of the heaven, the middle breadth; and the arch, the intelligible extremity. For all things are in it. And intellect indeed is convertive, but the intelligible is the object of desire. But divine intelligence gives completion to the middle, perfecting indeed the conversions of divine natures, and binding them to such as are first, but unfolding the tendencies to intelligibles, and filling secondary natures with precedaneous goods. I think however, that through these things we have sufficiently reminded the reader of the order of these three.
Perhaps however, some one may ask us, why we here characterize the whole progression of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, according to the middle, and why we call one of the extremes supercelestial, but the other subcelestial, from their habitude to the middle, indicating the exempt transcendency of the one, but the proximate and connected diminution of the other. Perhaps therefore, we may concisely answer such a one, that this whole genus of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, binds together both the extremes, being to the one the cause of conversion, but to the other of becoming unfolded into light, and being present with secondary natures. As therefore, we denominate all the intelligible Gods paternal and unical, characterizing, them from the summit, and as we say that they are the boundaries of the whole of things, viz. those that are effective of essence, those that are the causes of perpetuity, and those that are the sources of the production of forms, after the same manner we unfold these middle Gods as the leaders of all bonds, from the middle which is in them. For the whole of this middle order is vivific, connective and perfective. But the summit of it indeed, unfolds the impressions of intelligibles, and their ineffable union. The termination of it converts intellectuals, and conjoins, them to intelligibles. And the middle collects into, and fixes in itself as in a centre the. whole genera of the Gods. For to the extremes also through reference to the middle we attribute the habitude of transcendency and diminution, calling the one above, but the other under the middle.
Through these things therefore, we may concisely answer him, as I have said, who doubts concerning these names. Here however it is fit that we should admire the divine science of Plato, because he has narrated the mode of the ascent of the whole of things to the intelligible conformably to the highest of initiators. For in the first place, he elevates souls and the Gods themselves to the fountains, through the liberated leaders. For the blessed and most abundant spectacles and discursive energies are particularly in these fountains, in which also theurgists place all their hope of salvation. They are therefore blessed through the unpolluted monads; but they are most abundant through the cause of divine difference; and they are spectacles and discursive energies, through the intellectual and paternal powers. But in the second place, Plato elevates souls and Gods from the fountains, and through the fountains to the leaders of perfection. For after many and divided intellections the good of the perfective Gods shines forth, being supernally expanded from the intellectual Gods themselves, and illuminating us, and prior to our souls, whole souls, and prior to these, the Gods themselves. But from the perfective Gods Plato elevates souls and Gods to the divinities, who are connective of all the intellectual orders. For the perfective Gods are suspended from these divinities, subsist together with them, and are comprehended by them. Such also is the communion and union of these Gods, that some of the most celebrated [interpreters of Plato] have supposed that there is an all-perfect and indivisible sameness among them, in consequence of not being able to apprehend by a reasoning process the separation which is in them. For here also, it may appear to some one that Plato calls the extremity of the celestial circulation, the arch. This however is not the case. For he does not denominate the arch celestial, but subcelestial. As therefore, the supercelestial is essentially exempt from the heaven, thus also the subcelestial is inferior to the kingdom of the heaven. For the former indeed is indicative of transcendency, but the latter of a proximately-arranged diminution.
After this circulation however, which is connective of the whole of things, Plato elevates souls and the Gods to the supercelestial place, and the intelligible union of intellectuals, where also the Gods abiding, are nourished, are in a happy condition, and are filled with ineffable and unical goods. For with theurgists also, the ascent to the ineffable and intelligible powers which are the summits of all intellectuals, is through the connective Gods. In what manner however, the Gods are here conjoined to the first intelligibles, Plato no longer unfolds through words; for the contact with them is ineffable, and through ineffables, as he also teaches in what he says about them in the Phædrus. And through this order the mystic union with the intelligible and first-producing causes is effected. With us therefore, there is also the same mode of conjunction. And through this, the mode of theurgic ascent is more credible. For as wholes ascend to exempt principles, through the natures proximately placed above them, thus also parts imitating the ascent of wholes, are conjoined through middle steps of ascent, with the most simple and ineffable causes. For what Plato has delivered in this dialogue concerning whole souls, he afterwards unfolds concerning ours. And in the first place indeed, he conjoins them with the liberated Gods. Afterwards, through these he elevates them to the perfective Gods. Afterwards, through these, to the connective Gods, and in a similar manner, as far as to the intelligible Gods. Socrates therefore, narrating the mode of ascent to intelligible beauty, and how following the Gods prior to bodies and generation, we were partakers of that blessed spectacle, says: “For it was then lawful to see splendid beauty, when we obtained together with that happy choir, this blessed vision and spectacle, we indeed following Jupiter, but others in conjunction with some other God, perceiving, and being initiated in those mysteries, which it is lawful to call the most blessed of mysteries.” How then were we once conjoined with intelligible beauty? Through being initiated, says he, in the most blessed of mysteries. What else therefore, does this assert, than that we were conjoined with the perfective leaders, and were initiated by them, in order to our being replenished with beauty? Of what goods therefore, is the initiation the procurer? “Which orgies,” says he, “were celebrated by us, when we were entire and impassive, and were initiated in, and became spectators of entire, simple, and quietly stable visions.” The entire therefore, is derived to souls from the celestial circulation. For this contains, and is connective of all the divine genera, and also of our souls. Every thing however, which in the whole contains parts, comprehends also that which is divided, and collects that which is various into union and simplicity. But the entire, quietly stable, and simple visions, are unfolded to souls supernally from the supercelestial place, through the connectedly-containing Gods. For the mystic impressions of intelligibles, shine forth in that place, and also the unknown and ineffable beauty of characters. For muesis and epopteia are symbols of ineffable silence, and of union with mystic natures through intelligible visions. And that which is the most admirable of all is this, that as theurgists order the whole body to be buried, except the head, in the most mystic of initiations, Plato also has anticipated this, being moved by the Gods themselves. “For being pure,” says he, “and liberated from this surrounding vestment, which we now denominate body, we obtained this most blessed muesis and epopteia, being full of intelligible light. “For the pure splendor [which he mentions] symbolically unfolds to us intelligible light. Hence, when we are situated in the intelligible, we shall have a life perfectly liberated from the body. But elevating the head of the charioteer to the place beyond the heaven, we shall be filled with the mysteries which are there, and with intelligible silence. It also appears to me that Plato sufficiently unfolds the three elevating causes, love, truth, and faith, to those who do not negligently read what he has written. For what besides love conjoins with beauty? Where is the plain of truth, except in this place? And what else than faith is the cause of this ineffable muesis? For muesis in short, is neither through intelligence nor judgment, but through the unical silence imparted by faith, which is better than every gnostic energy, and which establishes both whole souls and ours, in the ineffable and unknown nature of the Gods. These things however, have proceeded to this length from my sympathy about such like concerns.
But again returning to the proposed theology, let us unfold the conceptions which Plato indicates to us concerning each order of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods. The supercelestial place therefore is intelligible. Hence also Plato says that it is essence which truly is, and that it is visible to the intellect of the soul. It is likewise the one comprehension and union of the intellectual Gods. For it is not intelligible after such a manner as animal itself, nor as the first eternity, nor as that which is itself primarily the one being. For as these are primarily intelligibles, they are exempt from all other intelligibles, and presubsist by themselves. But the supercelestial place, is proximately established above the celestial circulation, and of this is the intelligible; yet it is not simply intelligible. And that we assert these things rightly, Socrates also testifies, imparting the intellection of this intelligible to souls likewise, through the heaven. For in this period, according to which they are carried round together with the circulation of the heaven, they behold indeed justice, they behold temperance, and they also behold science, and each of the beings which have a true and real existence; so that if the supercelestial place is intelligible, and real being, yet it is intelligible, as being above the heaven. The first intelligibles however, are intelligible according to their own essence, and according to the exempt and first efficient cause of all intellectual natures. For the mighty Saturn likewise, though he is an intellectual God, and the fullness of intellect, is intelligible as with reference to the demiurgus; for he is the summit of the intellectual triad. Thus therefore, the place also which is above the heaven, is allotted an intelligible transcendency with respect to the celestial circulation, and is intelligible as in the first intellectuals. Hence also it subsists analogous to the first triad of intelligibles. That triad however, was simply intelligible. For the intelligible which is in intelligibles, at once exists prior to all second and third intelligibles. But the supercelestial place is not simply intelligible; for it is the summit of intellectuals, and not of intelligibles. Hence Plato calls the first triad of intelligibles the one being; but he denominates the supercelestial place, truly-existing essence. For the former indeed, antecedes all beings in an admirable simplicity, and in the occult unity of being. For that being is the intelligible itself, and is not in one respect intelligible, but in another intellectual, nor is it that which is passive to [viz. participates of] being; but it is the seat, and the most ancient monad of being. This order however, [viz. the supercelestial place] falls short of the union of that triad, and participates of being, but is not simply being. Hence also Plato calls it essence, and essence which truly is, as receiving this intelligible and essential according to the essence of that which is primarily being. And the first triad indeed of intelligibles was paternal; for it subsists according to divine union and bound, and is the occult, and highest boundary of all intelligibles. But the supercelestial place is maternal, subsisting according to infinity, and the power of infinity. For this order is feminine and prolific, and produces all things by intelligible powers. Hence also, Plato calls it a place, as being the receptacle of the paternal causes, and bringing forth, and producing the generative powers of the Gods into the hypostasis of secondary natures. For having denominated matter also a place, he calls it the mother and nurse of the reasons [i. e. of the productive principles], which proceed into it from being, and the paternal cause.
According to this analogy, therefore, Plato thus denominates the supercelestial place, as feminine, and as being the cause of those things maternally, of which the intelligible father is the cause paternally. Matter however receives forms alone; but the mother and nurse of the Gods, not only receives, but also constitutes and generates secondary natures, together with the father. Nor does this generative deity produce from herself into an external place, her progeny, and separate them from her own comprehension, in the same manner as the natures which generate here, deliver their offspring into light external to themselves; but she generates, comprehends and establishes all things in herself. Hence also she is the place of them, as being a seat which on all sides contains them, and as by her prolific, and primarily efficient powers, preoccupying and containing in herself, all the progressions, multitude and variety of secondary natures. For all beings subsist in the Gods, and are comprehended and saved by them. For where can they recede from the Gods, and from the comprehension which is in them? And how, if they depart from them, can they remain even for the smallest portion of time? In a particular manner however the powers which are generative of divine natures, are said to comprehend their progeny, so far as they are the proximate causes of them, and constitute their essence with a more abundant division, and a more particular providence. For paternal causes produce secondary natures uniformly, exemptly, and without coordination, and comprehend, but unically their own progeny. And in simplicity indeed, they preoccupy the variety of them; but in union their multitude. It is evident therefore, from what has been said, that the supercelestial place is intelligible, and after what manner it is intelligible. In addition to these things also it is evident, how it is feminine; for place is adapted to generative Gods through the above-mentioned causes. And the meadow is the fountain of a vivific nature, as will be shortly demonstrated. Socrates likewise assumes all the divine natures that are in this place to be of this kind, [viz. to be of the feminine genus] I mean science herself, justice herself temperance herself, truth herself, and Adrastia; which may especially be considered as a certain indication, that Plato particularly attributes the feminine to this order, and not only other theologists.
What therefore is the cause through which Plato in the first place celebrates this deity negatively, analogous to the one? And what are the negations? For he denominates it, without colour, without figure, and without contact. And he takes away from it these three hyparxes, colour, figure, and contact. I say therefore, that this order being the summit of the intellectual Gods, is unknown and ineffable, according to its peculiarity, and is [only] to be known through intelligible impressions. For being the summit of intellectuals, it conjoins itself with intelligibles. For how could intellectuals be conjoined with intelligibles, unless they antecedently constituted an intelligible transcendency of themselves? But what connexion and communion could be surveyed of the whole orders of things, unless the extremities of such as are first possessed a certain similitude to the beginnings of such as are second? For on account of this similitude, these are connascent with each other, and all things subsist according to one series. As therefore, the end of intelligibles was intellectual, so likewise the beginning of intellectuals is allotted an intelligible hyparxis. And each of these indeed is intelligible; but the one is intelligible simply; and the other is not intelligible without the addition of the intellectual. These therefore, are consubsistent with each other. And the one indeed, is the paternal cause of the whole of things, so far as it is intelligible, and the intellectual which is in it is extended intelligibly. But the other is generatively constitutive of the same things, because it is intellectual, and intelligible good presides in the intellectual genus. All things therefore, are from both, exemptly indeed, from the intellectual of intelligibles, but coordinately, from the intelligible of intellectuals. And both indeed, rejoice in unknown hyparxes; and are alone, as Plato says, known by intelligible, mystic, and ineffable impressions. Hence also he calls the attempt boldness which endeavours to unfold the arcana concerning them, and to explain by words their unknown union.
From the end of the intelligible order however, the summit of intellectuals possesses its unknown peculiarity. For so far as it conjoins itself to the first intelligibles, and is filled with their unical, ineffable, and paternal hyparxis, so far also it exists in an unknown manner prior to intellectuals. Hence it is incomprehensible by the natures posterior to it; but it is known by those prior to it, being super-expanded into a continued union with them. It likewise knows the natures prior to itself intelligibly; but this does not at all differ from uniform and ineffable knowledge. For intelligible knowledge is the union, cause, summit, and unknown and occult hyparxis of all knowledge. Since therefore, the one and united triad is, if it be lawful so to speak, the intellectual image of the unknown union of intelligibles, and presides over the same uniform and unknown power in intellectuals, as its own cause does, hence Plato mystically unfolds it through negations. For every where that which is highest, and that which is unknown, are analogous to the unical God. As therefore, we are taught to celebrate this God through negations, after the same manner we endeavour to unfold negatively the uniform and unknown summits of secondary orders. And in short, since Socrates in the Phædrus makes the ascent as far as to the supercelestial place, arranging it analogous to the first, as in this order, and in the ascent of souls, he celebrates it by negations. For in the Timæus, Plato contends that the one demiurgus through whom every demiurgic genus of Gods subsists, is ineffable and unknown; and every where that which is highest has this transcendency with respect to secondary natures. For it imitates the cause which is at once unically exempt from all beings. We celebrate this cause however, through negations alone, as existing prior to all things; but we unfold the summits which proceed analogous to it, affirmatively and at the same time negatively. As participating indeed, the natures prior to themselves, we celebrate them affirmatively. For Plato calls the supercelestial place essence which truly is, the plain of truth, the meadow, and the intelligible place of survey of the Gods, and he does not only call it without colour, without figure, and without contacts thus mingling affirmations with negations. For this order is a medium between the intelligible Gods and the first intellectual divine orders, containing the bond of both. And it guards indeed intellectually according to a uniform and unknown transcendency, but transmits the plenitudes of intelligibles as far as to the last of things. It likewise elevates all things at once, according to one common union, as far as to the intelligible father, and generates and produces them as far as to matter. Being therefore established between the unical and the multiplied Gods, it is unfolded, negatively indeed, through the unknown manner in which it transcends secondary natures, but affirmatively through its participation of the first natures. For the first demiurgus is called in the Timæus fabricator and father, and good, and all such names, so far as he participates of preexistent causes; but so far as he is the monad of all fabrication, Plato leaves him unknown and ineffable, exempt from all the fabricators of things. For he says, “it is difficult to discover him, and when found, it is impossible to speak of him to all men.” Thus therefore Plato unfolds the supercelestial place, affirmatively indeed, as being filled from the first causes, at one time indeed calling it essence which truly is, at another the plain of truth, and at another, something else of this kind; but so far as it transcends the intellectual Gods, and so far as it is supreme and unical, he celebrates it negatively, in the same manner as the principle which is exempt from all things.
It follows therefore, in the next place, that we should consider what the negations are, and from what orders they are generated. In the Parmenides then, the negations of the one are produced from all the divine orders, because the one is the cause of all of them. And every thing divine according to the hyparxis of itself participates of the first principle; and the one in consequence of transcending these is in a much greater degree exempt from the natures posterior to these. For from these all things proceed; since they receive partibly the peculiarities of these. This however is evident from the other hypotheses, in which the same conclusions are again circulated, at one time being connected together negatively, and at another affirmatively. For what is there which could be able to subsist, unless it was antecedently comprehended according to cause in wholes? But in the Phædrus, the things which are denied of the intelligible summit of all intellectuals are the natures which are proximately established after this summit, viz. the sacred genera, the connective, the perfective, and the paternal of what are properly called intellectuals. For this summit being exempt from these, it also transcends all the intellectual Gods. For what every genus of the Gods is to the one, that the three orders posterior to this summit, are to it. Plato therefore denominates the celestial order which connectedly contains wholes, and illuminates them with intelligible light, colour; because likewise the apparent beauty of this sensible heaven is resplendent with all various colours, and with light. Hence he calls that heaven intellectual colour, and light. For the light proceeding from the good is [in the orders] above [the heaven] unknown and occult, abiding in the adyta of the Gods; but it shines forth in this order, and from being unapparent becomes manifest. Hence it is assimilated to colour the offspring of light.
Farther still, if the heaven is sight beholding the things above, the intelligible of it may very properly be called colour which is conjoined with the sight. The cause therefore of the intelligibles in the heaven is without colour, but is exempt from them; for sensible colour is the offspring of the solar light. But Plato denominates the order which proximately subsists after the celestial order, and which we have called the subcelestial arch, figure. For the arch itself is the name of a figure. And in short, in this order, Parmenides also places intellectual figure. But Plato first attributes contact to the summit of intellectuals, as is evident from the conclusions of the Parmenides. For in the first hypothesis taking away figure from the one, he uses this as a medium, viz. that the one does not touch itself. “But the one” says he, “does not touch itself.” And the conclusion is evident. Here therefore contact first subsists, and subsists according to cause. For of those things of which the demiurgus is proximately the cause, the father who is prior to him is paradigmatically the cause. In this order therefore, contact is the paradigm of the liberated Gods. Hence these three orders are successive, viz. colour, figure, and contact. And from these the supercelestial place is essentially exempt. Hence it is without colour, without figure, and without contact. Nor does it transcend these three privatively, but according to causal excellence. For it imparts to colour from intelligibles the participation of light; on figure it confers by illumination intellectual bound; and in contact it supernally inserts union and continuity, and perfects all things by its power, things which are touched indeed, through union, those that are figured, through the participation of bound, and those that are coloured, through the illumination of light. But it draws upward, and allures to itself every thing ineffably and through intelligible impressions, and fills every thing with unical goods.
If therefore, we assert these things rightly, we must not admit the interpretation of those who are busily occupied in sensible colours, and contacts, and figures, and who assert that the supercelestial place is exempt from these. For these are trifling, and by no means adapted to that place. For even nature, not only that which exists as a whole, but that also which is partial, is exempt from sensible colours, from apparent figures, and from corporeal contact. What therefore is there venerable in this, if it is also present to natures themselves? But it is necessary to extend colours, and figures, and contacts, from on high as far as to the last of things, and to evince that the supercelestial place, is similarly exempt from all these. For soul also and intellect participate of figure; and contact is frequently in incorporeal natures, according to the communion of first with secondary beings, and it is usual to call these communications contacts, and to denominate the touchings of intellectual perceptions adhesions. We should not therefore be carried from things first to things last, nor compare the highest order of intellectuals with the last of beings, above which both soul and nature are established. For in so doing we shall err, and shall not attend to Plato, who exclaims that it is boldness to assert these things concerning it. For where is the boldness, and what the unknown power transcending our conceptions, in contemplating the truth of sensible colours, figures, and contacts. For an hypostasis of this kind is known by physiologists, and not by the sons of theologists. Such therefore is the power possessed by the negations through which Plato celebrates the supercelestial place.
Again then, let us in the next place survey the affirmations, how they exist according to the participation of the first intelligibles themselves. The supercelestial place therefore, is said to be essence which truly is, because it participates of that which is primarily being. For to be, and truly to be are present to all things, as the progeny of the intelligible essence. For as the one is from the first principle which is prior to intelligibles, so the nature of being is from intelligibles. For there the one being subsists, as Parmenides a little before taught us. But the supercelestial place is beheld by the governor of the soul, because it is allotted an intelligible transcendency with respect to the other intellectual Gods. Hence the intelligible good of it is rendered manifest from its being known by intellect. This intelligible therefore, in the same manner as that which is truly being, arrives to it from the unical Gods. For they are primarily and imparticipably intelligibles, and the first efficient causes of all intelligibles. These things also concur with each other, viz. that which is truly being, and the intelligible. For every intelligible is truly being, and every thing which is truly being is intelligible. For intellect is intelligible according to the being which is in it; but according to its gnostic power it is intellect. Hence also every intellect is the supplier of knowledge; but every intelligible is the supplier of essence. For that which each is primarily, it imparts by illumination to the secondary orders.
In the third place therefore, the genus of true science is said to be established about the supercelestial place. For these two things ascend to the contemplation of that essence, viz. intellect the governor of the soul (but this is a partial intellect established indeed above souls, and elevating them to their paternal port) and true science which is the perfection of the soul. This therefore energizes about that place, as transitively revolving in harmonic measure about being. But intellect contemplates it, as employing simple intellection. Farther still, the science which is in us is one thing, but that which is in the supercelestial place another. And the former indeed is true, but the latter is truth itself. What therefore is it, and whence does it subsist? It is indeed a deity which is the fountain of all intellectual knowledge, and the first efficient cause of undefiled and stable intelligence. But it shines forth in the first triad of intellectuals, because this is perfective of all other things, and likewise of divine souls. For these ascending to this uniform power of all knowledge, perfect their own knowledge. For each of the undefiled souls, says Socrates, revolving together with Jupiter and the heaven, surveys justice, temperance and science. Hence, these three fountains are there, being intelligible deities, and the fountains of the intellectual virtues, and not being, as some think they are, intellectual forms. For Plato is accustomed to characterize these by the term itself, as for instance science itself and justice itself; and this Socrates says somewhere in the Phædo. By here when he says justice herself, temperance herself, and science herself, he appears to unfold to us certain self-perfect and intelligible deities, which have a triadic subsistence. And of these science indeed is the monad; but temperance has the second order; and justice the third. And science indeed is the supplier of undefiled, firm and immutable intelligence; but temperance imparts to all the Gods the cause of conversion to themselves; and justice imparts to them the cause of the distribution of the whole of good according to desert. And through science indeed, each of the Gods intellectually perceives the natures prior to himself, and is filled with intelligible intelligence; but through temperance he is converted to himself and enjoys a second union, and a good coordinate to the conversion to himself: and through justice he rules over the natures posterior to himself, in a silent path, as they say measures their desert, and supplies a distribution adapted to each. These three fountains therefore contain all the energies of the Gods. And science indeed proceeds analogous to the first triad of intelligibles. And as that triad imparts essence to all things, so this illuminates the Gods with knowledge. But temperance proceeds analogous to the second triad of intelligibles. For temperance imitates the connective and measuring power of that triad; since it measures the energies of the Gods, and converts each of them to itself. And justice proceeds analogous to the third triad of intelligibles. For it also separates secondary natures according to appropriate desert, in the same manner as that triad separates them intelligibly by the first paradigms.
After these things therefore, we may survey another triad preexisting in this place, which also Socrates celebrates, viz. the plain of truth, the meadow, and the nutriment of the Gods. The plain of truth therefore, is intellectually expanded to intelligible light, and is splendid with the illuminations that proceed from thence. For as the one emits by illumination intelligible light, so the intelligible imparts to secondary natures a participation productive of essence. But the meadow is the prolific power of life, and of all-various reasons, is the comprehension of the first efficient causes of life, and is the cause of the variety, and generation of forms. For the meadows also which are here are productive of all-various forms and reasons, and bear water which is the symbol of vivification. And the nourishing cause of the Gods, is a certain intelligible union, comprehending in itself the whole perfection of the Gods, and filling the Gods with acme and power, in order that they may bestow a providential attention to secondary natures, and may possess an immutable intellectual perception of such natures as are first. Above however, the Gods participate of these uniformly; but in a divided manner in their progressions.
With respect to the nutriment likewise, one kind is called by Plato ambrosia, but the other nectar. “For the charioteer,” says he, “stopping the horses at the manger, places before them ambrosia, and afterwards gives them nectar to drink.” The charioteer therefore, being nourished with intelligibles, unically participates of the perfection which is imparted through illumination by the Gods. But the horses participate of this divisibly; first indeed of ambrosia, and afterwards of nectar. For it is necessary that from ambrosia, they should stably and undeviatingly abide in more excellent natures; but that through nectar they should immutably provide for secondary natures. For they say that ambrosia is solid, but nectar liquid nutriment; which Plato also indicates when he says that the charioteer places before the horses ambrosia and afterwards gives them nectar to drink. Hence the nutriment of nectar manifests the unrestrained and indissoluble nature of providence, and its proceeding to all things in an unpolluted manner. But the nutriment of ambrosia manifests stability, and a firm settlement in more excellent natures. From both these however, it is evident that the Gods both abide and proceed to all things, and that neither their undeviating nature, and which is without conversion to subordinate beings, is unprolific, nor their prolific power and progression is unstable; but abiding they proceed, and being established in the divinities prior to themselves, they provide for secondary natures without being contaminated. Nectar and ambrosia therefore, are the perfections of the Gods, so far as they are Gods; but other things are the perfections of intellect, nature, and bodies. Hence Plato having assumed these in souls, calls the souls [which are nourished with these,] Gods. For so far as they also participate of the Gods, so far they are filled with nectar and ambrosia. These however in their progressions have a bipartite division; the one indeed, being the supplier to the Gods of stable and firm perfection; but the other, of undeviating providence, of liberated administration, and of an unenvying and abundant communication of good, according to the two principles of the whole of things, which preside over a distribution of this kind. For it must be admitted that ambrosia is indeed analogous to bound, but nectar to infinity. Hence the one is as it were humid, and not bounded from itself; but the other is as it were solid, and has a boundary from itself. Nectar therefore is prolific, and is perfective of the secondary presence of the Gods, and is the cause of power, of a vigour which provides for the whole of things, and of infinite and never-failing supply. But ambrosia is stable perfection, is similar to bound, is the cause to the Gods of an establishment in themselves, and is the supplier of firm and undeviating intellection. Prior to both these however, is the one fountain of perfection, and seat to all the Gods, which Plato calls nutriment, and the banquet, and delicious food, as unically perfecting indeed the divided multitude of the Gods, but converting all things to itself through divine intelligence. For δαις [the banquet] indeed manifests the divided distribution of divine nutriment; but θοινη [delicious food] the united conversion of the whole of things to it. For it is the intellectual perception of the Gods, so far as they are Gods. But nutriment connectedly contains both these powers, being the plenitude of intelligible goods, and the uniform perfection of divine self-sufficiency.
Concerning these things therefore, thus much may suffice as to the present theory. But it follows that we should discuss the division of the supercelestial place into three parts. For the intelligible summit of intellectuals is, as we have before observed, a triad. Immediately therefore, according to the first conception of this place, Plato unfolds its triadic nature, assuming indeed, three negatives, the uncoloured, the unfigured, and the untangible. Having likewise established three divinities in it, viz. science, temperance, and justice, our preceptor and leader [Syrianus] thinks fit to divide this triad into three monads, and also demonstrates this conformably to the Orphic theologies. If, however, it be requisite to discover the definite peculiarities of these three Goddesses, from what has been already laid down, we must understand, that the plain of truth, the meadow, and the nourishing cause of the Gods are posited there. To nourish therefore is the province of intelligible perfection. Hence the elevating impulse is given to the wing of the soul, and also intellectual perfection, according to the nourishment which flows from thence into the soul. But the peculiarity of the meadow, is to possess a power generative of reasons and forms; and of the causes of the production of animals. Hence also souls are fed about the meadow; and the pabulum (νομη) is indeed nutriment, but in a divided manner.
The plain however of truth is the expansion and manifestation of intelligible light, the evolution of inward reasons, and perfection proceeding every where. This therefore is the peculiarity of the third monad. But fecundity is the peculiarity of the second; and intelligible plenitude of the first. For all the supercelestial place is indeed illuminated with the light of truth. Hence all the natures that are contained in it are called true. And Socrates says, “that whatever soul attending on divinity has beheld any thing of reality shall be free from damage, till another period takes place.” For every thing in that place is truly being and intelligible, and is full of divine union. In the first monads however [i. e. in the plain of truth and the meadow,] this intelligible light subsists contractedly, and is occultly established as it were in the adyta; but in the third monad [viz. in the nourishing cause of the Gods] it shines forth, and is co-expanded, and is co-divided with the multitude of powers. We may therefore from these things survey the differences of the three monads, in a manner conformable to the Platonic hypotheses. But if indeed science pertains to the first monad, temperance to the second, and justice to the third, from these things also the triad will be perfectly apparent. And does not science which is stable, and the uniform intelligence of wholes, and which at the same time is consubsistent with intelligibles, pertain to the power which is united to the intelligible father, and which does not proceed, nor separate its union from the deity of that father? but does not the genus of justice pertain to the power which is divided, which separates the intellectual genera, leads the intelligible multitude into order, and imparts by illumination distribution according to desert? And does not the genus of temperance pertain to the power which is the medium of both these, which is converted to itself, and possesses the common bond of this triad? For the harmonic, and a communication with the extremes according to reason, are the illustrious good of this middle power.
That we may not therefore be prolix, what has been said being sufficient to remind us of the meaning of Plato, those three deities are celebrated by us, which dividing the supercelestial place, are indeed all of them intelligible as in intellectuals, and are likewise summits, and collective of all things into one intelligible union. One of these however is so stably; another generatively; and another convertively, possessing a primary effective power in intellectuals. For one of them indeed, unites the monads of all the Gods and collects them about the intelligible; but another effects this about the progressions of the Gods; and another about their conversions. All of them however at the same time collect into one the whole of an hyparxis which always abides, proceeds, and returns. Hence also Plato elevates the Gods that are distributed in the world, to this one place, and converts them energizing about this as collective of the whole orders of the Gods to the participation of intelligibles. These monads, therefore, educe intelligible forms, fill them with the participation of divine union, and again recall the natures that have proceeded, and conjoin them to intelligibles. Concerning this whole triad however, what has been said may suffice.
It remains therefore, that we should pass to the discussion of Adrastia, Socrates indicating that she possesses her kingdom in this place. For that which defines the measures of a blameless life to souls from the vision of these intelligible goods, is certainly there allotted its first evolution into light. For the elevating cause, being secondary to the objects of desire, may be able to raise both itself and other things to the supercelestial place, through conversion. But that which defines and measures the fruits of the vision of the intelligible to souls, since it has its hyparxis in the intelligible, imparts by illumination beatitude to them from thence. It is established therefore, as I have said, in that place. But it rules over all the divine laws uniformly, from on high, as far as to the last of things. It likewise binds to the one sacred law of itself, all the sacred laws, viz. the intellectual, the supermundane, and the mundane. Whether therefore, there are certain Saturnian laws, as Socrates in the Gorgias indicates there are, when he says, “The law therefore which was in the time of Saturn is now also among the Gods; or whether there are Jovian laws, as the Athenian guest asserts there are, when he says, “But justice follows Jupiter, which is the avenger of those that desert the divine law;” or whether there are fatal laws, as Timæus teaches there are, when he says, “That the demiurgus announced to souls the laws of fate;”—of all these the sacred law of Adrastia is connective according to one intelligible simplicity, and at the same time imparts existence to all of them, and the measures of power. And if it be requisite to relate my own opinion, the inevitable guardian power of this triad, and the immutable comprehension of order pervading every where, presubsist in this goddess. For these three deities not only unfold and collect all things, but they are also guardians according to the Oracle of the works of the father, and of one intelligible intellect.
This guardian power therefore, the sacred law of Adrastia indicates, which nothing is able to escape. For with respect to the laws of Fate, not only the Gods are superior to them, but also partial souls, when they live according to intellect, and give themselves up to the light of providence. And the Saturnian Gods are essentially exempt from the Jovian laws, and the connective and perfective Gods from the Saturnian laws; but all things are obedient to the sacred law of Adrastia, and all the distributions of the Gods, and all measures and guardianships subsist on account of this. By Orpheus also, she is said to guard the demiurgus of the universe, and receiving brazen drumsticks, and a drum made from the skin of a goat, to produce so loud a sound as to convert all the Gods to herself. And Socrates imitating this fabulous sound which extends a certain proclamation to all things, in a similar manner produces the sacred law of Adrastia to all souls. For he says, “This is the sacred law of Adrastia, that whatever soul has perceived any thing of truth, shall be free from harm till another period,” all but expressing the Orphic sound through this proclamation, and uttering this as a certain hymn of Adrastia. For in the first place indeed, he calls it θεσμος, a sacred law, and not νομος, a law, as he does the Saturnian and Jovian laws. For θεσμος is connected with deity, and pertains more to intelligibles [than to the intellectuals]; but νομος indicating intellectual distribution, is adapted to the intellectual fathers. And in the second place, he speaks of it in the singular and not in the plural number, as Timæus does of the fatal laws. In the third place therefore, he extends it to all the genera of souls, and evinces that it is the common measure of their happy and blessed life, and the true guard of those souls that are able to abide on high free from all passivity. For such is the meaning of the words, “And the soul that is able to do this always, shall always be free from harm.” This sacred law therefore, comprehends all the undefiled life of divine souls, and the temporal blessedness of partial souls. And it guards the former indeed intelligibly, but measures the latter by the vision of intelligible goods. And thus much concerning Adrastia.
With respect to what remains therefore, we shall summarily say, that the supercelestial place is the first triad of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, possessing three peculiarities, the unfolding into light, the collective, and the defensive. It likewise comprehends all these intelligibly, and in an unknown manner, conjoining indeed intellectuals to intelligibles, but calling forth the prolific powers of intelligibles, receiving in itself the plenitude of forms from the intelligible paradigms, and producing its own meadow from the fontal summit which is there. But from the one intellect it gives subsistence to the three virtues, perfects all itself by intelligible impressions, and in its ineffable bosoms receives the whole of intelligible light. At one and the same time also it abides in the occult nature of the intelligible Gods, and proceeds intelligibly from thence, shines forth to the view of intellectuals, and converts and draws upward by ineffable powers all the images of its proper union which it has disseminated in every thing. To this place likewise it is necessary that we should mystically approach, leaving in the earth all the generation-producing life, and the corporeal nature, with which on coming hither we were surrounded as with a wall, but exciting alone the summit of the soul to the participation of total truth, and the plenitude of intelligible nutriment.
After this intelligible and unknown triad however, which presides over all the intellectual genera, let us survey the triad which connectedly contains the bond of them, intelligibly and at the same time intellectually. For it is necessary that prior to intellect and the intellectual Gods, the cause of connectedly containing should be in these Gods; and that this being established in the middle of the intelligible and intellectual order, should extend to all the divine multitudes, all the genera of beings, and all the divisions of the world. For what is it which primarily connects things? If, as some say, the nature of spirit and local motion, body itself which is connective of other things will require connexion. For every body according to its own composition is dissipable and divisible; which also the Elean guest indicating to those who make corporeal principles, says that the essence which is so much celebrated by them, is broken and dissipated. Body therefore, is not naturally adapted to be connective of other things, nor even if a power of this kind pertained to bodies, would spirit be able to afford us this power, because it is always defluous and dissipated, and diffusing itself beyond that which bounds it. But if we suppose that habits and connective forms which are divided about bodies illuminate their subjects with connexion, it is perfectly necessary that they should effect this by being present with them; but how will these habits and forms connect themselves? For it is difficult to devise how this can be effected. For these being distributed about material bulks, and divided together with their subjects, require a boundary and connexion. But they are not naturally adapted to be bounded or connected from themselves; because they have not an essence self-begotten and self-subsistent. That however, which neither produces nor perfects itself, cannot connect itself. And moreover, every habit, and every material form is alter-motive, and depends on another more ancient cause, and on this account is inseparable from subjects, not being able to verge to itself.
But if abandoning these, we should assert that souls which are incorporeal and self-begotten, are the first efficient causes of connexion, where shall we place the partible and at the same time impartible nature of souls, that which is mixed from the partible and impartible, that which participates of the genera of being, and that which is divided into harmonic reasons? For souls indeed, connect bodies and natures, because they participate of an impartible peculiarity; but they are in want of another connective nature which may impart the first principle of mixture to the genera, and of connexion to divided reasons. For the self-motive nature of souls being transitive, and extended to time, requires that which may connect its one life, and may render it total and indivisible. For the whole which is connective of parts, exists prior to parts; since the whole which consists of parts receives connexion introduced from something different from itself. But if proceeding with the reasoning power beyond souls, we survey intellect, whether the intellect which is participated, or if you are willing, that which is imparticipable and divine, and in short, if we survey at once the intellectual genus of the Gods, if this is primarily connective of beings, we shall find also in this all-various multitude, divisions of genera, and as Socrates says, many and blessed visions, and discursive energies. For the separation of divine natures, and the variety of forms, present themselves to the view in intellectuals, and also fabulous sections and generative powers. How therefore, can that which connects be primarily here, where the divisive genus shines forth? And how is it possible that intellectual multitude should not refer to another more ancient cause the participation of its proper connexion? For intellectual multitude is that which is primarily connected (since it is that which is primarily divided, and that which requires connexion is divisible, but the indivisible itself is beyond the connective hyparxis), but it is not that which primarily connects. For every thing which is connected, is connected by another thing which primarily possesses the power of connexion. It is evident therefore, from what has been said, that the connective order of beings is established prior to the intellectual Gods.
The intelligible indeed, and occult hyparxis, is the supplier of union to all things, as proximately subsisting after the one, and being indivisible and uniform. But connexion is the contraction of multitude into impartible communion; on which account it subsists as secondary to intelligibles. For the medium which was there was intelligible, and the united primarily-efficient cause of connexion. The connective however, of intelligibles and intellectuals, imitates the unific power of intelligibles. For there the three triadic monads were the unions of wholes; one of them indeed according to transcendency; another according to the middle centre; and another according to conversion. But in the intelligible and at the same time intellectual orders, these three triads are the second after those unions, and are connascent with multitude. Hence one of these triads is collective; another is connective of multitude; and another is of a perfective nature. For that which is collected, that which is connected, and that which is perfected, is multitude. Whether therefore it is intellectual, or supermundane, or mundane, or any other multitude, it is collected, connected, and perfected through these three triads. And when collected indeed, it is elevated to the union of intelligibles, and is firmly established in them. When it is connected, it abides impartible and undissipated in its progeny. And when it is perfected, it receives completion from its proper parts or powers.
Since however, it is necessary that beings abiding, proceeding and returning should enjoy this triple providence, there are indeed three preexistent collective monads, three connective, and three perfective, monads. And we do not say this, that on account of the good of secondary natures, first natures are thus divided, and preside over so many orders and powers; but they indeed are always the primary causes of good to things subordinate, while we from inferior natures recur to the causes of wholes. The intelligible therefore, and intellectual triads, perfect things triadically, and always connect and collect them into union. But the intelligible monads generate without separation and unically, their permanencies, progressions and conversions. With respect to other things however, we have partly spoken, and shall again partly speak concerning them.
Let us therefore speak at present concerning the connective triad. This then, Socrates, in the Phædrus, calls the celestial circulation. Because indeed, it possesses the middle centre of imparticipable life, and is that which is most vital itself of life, he calls it circulation, as comprehending circularly, and on all sides all other lives, and divine intellections. For on account of this, souls also which are elevated to it, are perfected according to intellection, and are conjoined with intelligible spectacles. The circulation of the heaven, however, is always established after the same manner. For it is an eternal, whole, one, and united intelligence. But the circulation of souls is effected through time, subsists in a more partial manner, and is not an at-once-collected comprehension of intelligibles. Souls, therefore, are carried round in a circle, and are restored to their pristine state, the celestial circulation always remaining the same. Because, however, it gives completion to the bond of the intelligible and intellectual Gods, and connects all the orders in their abiding, proceeding, and returning, Socrates calls it celestial. For Timæus says, that this [sensible] heaven also, compresses on all sides the elements that are under it, and that on this account, no place is left for a vacuum. As, therefore, the apparent heaven is connective of all things that are under it, and is the cause of continuity, coherence and sympathy, (for the intervention of a vacuum would interrupt the continuity of things, and the subversion of this continuity would destroy the sympathy of bodies) thus also that intellectual heaven, binds all the multitudes of beings into an impartible communion, illuminating each with an appropriate portion of connexion. For intellect participates of the connective cause in one way, the nature of soul in another, and a corporeal state of being in another. For through the highest participation of connexion, intellect is impartible; but through second measures of participation, soul is partible and impartible, according to one mixture; and through an ultimate diminution, bodies possessing a partible hypostasis, at the same time remain connected, and do not in consequence of being dissipated perish, but enjoy their own division and imbecility. The whole of the connective triad therefore, is denominated heaven according to the hyparxes of itself; but the breadth of life which is spread under it is called circulation. For in things apparent to sense, the period of theheavens is motion, and is as it were the life of body.
If however it be requisite to discover the triadic nature of it from what has been laid down, we must employ the mode of analogy. Since therefore Plato himself calls the back of the heaven one thing, and its profundity another, it is evident that the celestial arch is the third thing; for the arch which is under this, he directly calls subcelestial. But as we say that the supercelestial place is established above the back of the heaven, so likewise we must grant that the subcelestial is different from the celestial arch. For the heaven is bounded, supernally indeed by the back, but beneath by the arch. And it is comprehended indeed by the supercelestial place, but it comprehends the subcelestial arch. It is evident therefore from these things, that the heaven presents itself to our view as triadic, according to its back indeed, connectedly containing all things in one simplicity; but according to its arch bounding the whole triad; and according to its profundity, itself proceeding into itself, and constituting the middle breadth of connexion and coherence. The back however, of the whole celestial order, is an intelligible deity, being perhaps allotted from hence this appellation. But it is intelligible as in the connective triad, externally compressing, and connectedly comprehending all the kingdom of the heaven. It likewise imparts to all the Gods by illumination a uniform and simple comprehension of secondary natures, and is supernally filled with intelligible union. Hence also, divine souls being led through all the celestial profundity, stand indeed on the back of the heaven, but the circulation carries them round as they stand; and thus they survey what is called the supercelestial place. The station therefore, is the establishment of souls in the intelligible watch tower of the heaven, extending to souls sameness, undefiled power, and undeviating intellection. But the circumduction is the participation of a life full of vigour, and the most acute energy. And the common presence of both these, comprehends the prolific energy, the quiet motion, and the stable intellection of intelligibles. But the celestial profundity, is the one continuity of the whole triad, and the middle deity which conjoins the whole celestial order, proceeding indeed from the intelligible comprehension, but ending in the celestial arch, which defines the boundary of the whole of the heaven. There is therefore, one union and connexion of all this triad, and an indissoluble progression from the back as far as to the arch, through this middle deity which is connascent with both the extremes, and which unfolds indeed the connective multitude, but on each side is bounded by the extremes; one of which comprehends it supernally, but the other from beneath bounds its progression.
The celestial arch therefore remains, which is the boundary beneath of the triad, and this is also the case with the intellect which is in it, being filled indeed by life, but united by the intelligible, and converting all the triad to its principle. For the arch also is similar to the back of the heaven, though according to interval it is less. Through subjection therefore it is diminished; but through similitude it is converted to the celestial summit. And this is the celestial intellect which is the proximate sunocheus of the subcelestial arch. Hence each arch is called the intellectual boundary of the intelligible and intellectual Gods. The whole connective triad therefore, is allotted such a division as this; the back (το νωτον) according to the intelligible (κατα το νοητον); the profundity according to life; and the arch according to intellect. But the whole of it is one and continued, because that which connects all other things, ought much more to be connective of itself. For each peculiarity of the Gods begins its energy from itself; the peculiarity indeed, which is collective, fixing itself collectively in the highest union; that which is convertive of wholes, converting itself to the principle; and that which is undefiled preserving itself prior to other things pure from matter. Hence the connective peculiarity also, prior to its participants, connects itself intelligibly and intellectually, and through this connexion the nature of the heaven is asserted to be one and continued. For all the triad converges to itself, and preserves its proper wholeness united, and most similar to itself according to nature. And the arch indeed, proximately connects all intellectuals, and compresses them on all sides. But prior to this, the celestial profundity itself, which also comprehends the arch, binds together the whole orders. And prior to these, the celestial back uniformly comprehends according to one ambit of simplicity, all the celestial kingdom itself, and all things that are contained under it, and binds them to themselves, by connective power and hyparxis. For in the things also that are apparent to sense, the concave circumference of the heavens, proximately compresses the elements, and does not suffer them in their indefinite motions on all sides, to be dissipated and blown away. And still prior to these, the celestial bulk strongly compresses and impels all things to the middle, and leaves no void place. But there is one comprehension of all these, viz. the back of the heavens, which is the cause to the heavens of similitude, and to the elements of contact with the heavens. For the smooth and equable nature of the back of the heavens as Timæus says, makes the whole of heaven similar to itself; and always the natures which comprehend are connective of the natures that are comprehended. It is necessary therefore from things that are apparent, to transfer the similitude to the father of the intellectual Gods, Heaven, and to survey how he is both one and triple, supernally indeed, and beneath, possessing the intelligible and intellect; but according to the middle possessing life, which being the cause of progressions and intervals, and generative powers, we have properly arranged according to interval under the celestial profundity; since Plato himself also calls the summit the back. “For those”, says he,” that are called immortals, when proceeding beyond the heaven they arrive at the summit, stand on the back of the heaven.” He calls therefore, the summit of the celestial order, and beyond, the back of the heaven; which things are in a remarkable manner the prerogatives of the first of the Synoches. For connectedly containing all things in the one summit of his hyparxis, according to the Oracle, he wholly exists beyond, and is united to the supercelestial place, and to the ineffable power of it, being enclosed on all sides by it, and shutting himself in the uniform comprehension of intelligibles. For what difference is there between saying that the first of the Synoches is shut in the intelligible place of survey, and evincing that it is proximately comprehended by the supercelestial place, which was intelligible, but expanded in intellectuals? If however, that which is beyond is the first, the summit is evidently coarranged with the rest, and is exempt from them. But if the first is a thing of this kind, being established according to the intelligible summit, and imparting by illumination to the other Gods, contact with the intelligible, and with the paternal port, it is indeed necessary that there should be a middle and an extremity, the one according to the celestial profundity, but the other according to the termination of the whole circulation. If however the circulation of the whole of the heaven is one and continued, the peculiarity of this order must be assigned as the cause of this. For being connective of the whole orders of the Gods, and prior to other things of itself, and being as it were the centre and bond of the divine genera, it in the first place binds and connects itself, and extends itself to one life. the heaven therefore is one and at the same time triple, and proceeds into three monads, being both unapparent and apparent, and that which is between these, and imitating the intelligible Gods who subside into intelligible triads.
If you are willing however from what is written in the Cratylus, to see the peculiarity of this order, in the first place, let this be considered by you as an argument of the Synoche established in the middle, that a twofold habitude of it is delivered, one, towards intelligibles, but the other towards intellectuals. For it is said to see the things above, and to generate a pure intellect. Hence, of intelligibles it is the intelligence, but of intellectuals the intelligible. For the cause of intellect subsists prior to an intellectual cause, and that which is at once both these, especially gives completion to the middle order of intelligibles and intellectuals. For the collective deity, perceiving intelligibles, or rather being united to them, does not primarily give subsistence to a divine intellect. And the perfective deity, producing together with the middle divinity intellectuals, proximately perceives intellectually the celestial order, and not the intelligibles prior to the heaven. But the middle divinity alone, occupying the intelligible and intellectual centre, equally indeed extends to both, but perceiving intelligibles intellectually, it is the cause of intellectuals intelligibly. Since however, habitude to its causes precedes the power in it which is generative of intellectuals, Socrates beginning from this habitude, delivers also a second power as suspended from it. But sight directed to things above is very properly assigned the appellation of celestial, as seeing the things above. This therefore, perfectly defines for us a habitude more ancient than the connectedly-containing order, jointly assuming it to be intellectual as with reference to intelligibles, and sight as with reference to the objects of sight, though it intellectually perceives itself, and is intelligible in itself. But the intelligible of it, as with reference to that which is primarily intelligible, is allotted an intellectual order. What follows however, unfolds the habitude of this middle to intellectuals. (For Socrates adds,) “Whence also, O Hermogenes, those who are conversant with things on high say that Heaven generates a pure intellect, and that this name is properly assigned to it.” The order therefore, of the Heaven is expanded as a middle in the middle intellectual and intelligible Gods, comprehending at once the intelligible and intellectual in one impartible connexion, subsisting similarly with respect to each of these, and being equally distant from the first intellectuals, and the unical intelligibles. Hence it is said to perceive intellectually the things above, and thus to produce (a pure) intellect.
Assuming this therefore, in the first place from what has been laid down, in the next place we should attend to this, that the celestial order being triple, and the whole of it intellectually perceiving intelligibles, and producing intellectuals, the first monad indeed in an eminent manner intellectually perceives intelligibles. For it mingles itself with intelligibles, knows intelligible intellect, is united to the natures prior to itself, and is impartible as in impartibles, super-expanding itself towards intelligible simplicity. But the third monad is especially generative of intellectuals; since it is the intellect of the whole connective triad. And with the Orphic theologists also, Heaven the father of Saturn is the third. But the middle monad produces together with the third the intellectual order of the Gods; but is conjoined together with the first to intelligibles, and is filled indeed with intelligible union from the first, but fills the third with prolific powers. Do you not see therefore, how Plato through the peculiarity of the extremes, unfolds to us the whole celestial order? Conjoining indeed, the intelligible hyparxis of it to intelligibles; but its intellectual hyparxis to intellectuals; and affording us the means of collecting its hyparxis which is the middle of both these, and which proceeds according to a common peculiarity. For if you likewise wish to assume this from what has been said, the celestial light is conjoined to the light of intelligibles. For sight is nothing else than light. The middle order therefore, by its own light, and by the divine summit of itself is conjoined to the first natures; but by an intellectual nature, and the boundary of the whole triad, it generates intellect, and all the unpolluted deity of intellectuals. For it does not produce intellect by itself, but in conjunction with purity. For this Socrates himself asserts: “Whence also, they say, that a pure intellect is generated by it.” Hence the celestial order is the first-efficient cause of the intellectual hyparxis, and of undefiled power. If however it is necessary that purity should not be inherent in intellect from accident, it is the deity of those beings that are exempt from secondary natures, and is the supplier of immutable power, which the mighty Heaven producing in conjunction with intellect, is at the same time the efficient cause of the Gods who are the sources of purity, and of the intellectual fathers. These indications therefore of the truth concerning the connective Gods, may also be assumed from the Cratylus.
It remains therefore that in conformity to what is written in the Phædrus, we should survey the subcelestial arch, and the peculiarity of the Gods that are there. Before however we begin the doctrine concerning it, I wish to premise thus much, that some of the most celebrated of the interpreters prior to us, conceiving that this subcelestial arch is a divine order arranged under the heaven, have thought fit to rank it immediately after the first God, calling the first God Heaven. But others have arranged both the heaven, and the subcelestial arch in the breadth of intelligibles. For the Asinæan philosopher indeed [Theodorus] being persuaded by Plotinus, calls that which proximately proceeds from the ineffable, the subcelestial arch, as in his treatise concerning names he philosophizes about these things. But the great Iamblichus conceiving the mighty heaven to be a certain order of the intelligible Gods, (and in one place he considers it to be the same with the demiurgus,) asserts that the order proximately established under the heaven, and as it were begirding it, is the subcelestial arch. And these things he has written in his Commentaries on the Phædrus. Let no one therefore think that we make any innovation concerning the theology of this order, and that we are the first who divide the subcelestial arch from the heaven; but that we are principally persuaded by Plato, who distinguishes these three orders, the supercelestial place, the celestial circulation, and the subcelestial arch; and that after Plato, we are persuaded by those who investigate his theory in a divinely-inspired manner, viz. by Iamblichus and Theodorus. For why is it necessary to speak of our leader [Syrianus,] who was truly a Bacchus, [i. e. one agitated with divine fury,] and who in a remarkable manner was full of deity about Plato, and caused as far as to us the admirable nature of the Platonic theory, and the astonishment with which it is attended, to shine forth?
He therefore in his treatise on the concord [of Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Plato, has most perfectly unfolded the peculiarity of this order, the subcelestial arch.] The two above-mentioned wise men, however, differ very much from each other in their theory. For Theodorus, in calling the first cause Heaven, does not any longer permit Heaven to be sight perceiving the things above, as Socrates in the Cratylus etymologises it to be. For the first God neither sees, nor is sight, nor is inferior to any thing. Neither therefore does Theodorus admit this explanation of the name, nor does he celebrate the supercelestial place, as Socrates does wider the influence of divine inspiration. For there is neither any place, nor intelligible of the one, nor any multitude of forms, nor does the genus of souls ascend beyond the first God; since there is not any thing beyond him. But the divine Iamblichus, as he supposes that Heaven subsists indefinitely after the first cause, and as he has not delivered the peculiarity of its hyparxis, he is indeed pure from the above-mentioned doubts, but he should teach us what the celestial order is, how it subsists, and what genus of Gods prior to the demiurgus gives completion to it. He however who has perfected every thing [on this subject,] and has confirmed all that he has said by invincible arguments, is our preceptor [Syrianus,] who has surveyed all the orders between the first God, and the kingdom of the heaven, and who has intellectually beheld the peculiarity of this order, and has delivered to us his mystics the accurate truth concerning it. In this way therefore, our fathers and grandfathers differ from each other; but all of them in common distinguish the subcelestial arch from the celestial circulation.
This therefore must also be supposed by us, and likewise in addition to this, that this order of Gods (the subcelestial arch,) is proximately arranged under the heaven. Hence, since the heaven being one and triple, is allotted the connective order, but the supercelestial place is allotted the highest order of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, it is undoubtedly necessary that the subcelestial arch should terminate the middle progression of the Gods, should close this whole order, and convert it to its principle, and that it should receive an order which is secondary indeed to the heaven, but which it convolves to the highest union, and should be connascently conjoined with the middle genera, but exist, prior to intellectuals. For these indeed separate their kingdom from the celestial power; but the subcelestial arch is united to the heaven, and is comprehended by the celestial order. Whence also it is denominated subcelestial. As it is conjoined therefore, to the celestial circulation, and subsists proximately from it, it converts all secondary natures to intelligibles, and perfects them according to the intellectual place of survey. For since the intellectual Gods are generated according to conversion, and are convolved to themselves according to one spherical union, it is necessary that the perfective empire should be proximately established above them.
Hence, I am led to wonder at those who are ignorant of this divine order, and do not maintain the whole fountain of perfection; but some of them betake themselves to entelechias, of whom we admit thus much alone, that they also conjoin the perfect with the form of connexion. They are ignorant therefore, of the perfection which is separate from subjects, willingly embrace the resemblances of true perfections, and are conversant with these. Others again assign soul as the cause of perfection, who are ignorant that they do not vindicate to themselves a perfection preexisting in eternity, and who begin from the life which energizes according to time, and possesses its perfection in periods. It is necessary, however, that a perfection the whole of which subsists at once, should be prior to that which is divided, and that stable perfection should be prior to that which is moved. For the motion itself which is according to time, is indigent of end, and of the desirable, and is evolved about it according to parts. In the third place, after these, others recur to intellect, and suppose the first perfection to be intellectual. For intellect indeed, is energy and intellectual perfection; but it aspires after divine perfection, subsists about it, and is converted to itself through it. It is necessary therefore, that the cause of conversion should exist prior to the intellectual genera which are converted to divine perfection, and that the leader of the perfection which is one, should be expanded above the natures which are perfected.
Deservedly therefore, does the subcelestial arch prior to all intellectual natures, preestablish an order of Gods convertive and perfective of all the secondary divine genera. And on this account, Plato elevates the Gods and dæmons that follow Jupiter, to this arch, and through this to the heaven, and the supercelestial place. For when they proceed to the banquet, and delicious food, they ascend to the subcelestial arch. Hence through this they are perfected, participate of the circulation of the heaven, and are extended to the intelligible. For the intelligible is that which nourishes and fills all things. The perfective therefore is established under the connective order. And it perfects indeed all the natures that ascend to the intelligible, dilates souls to the reception of divine goods, and illuminates intellectual light. But comprehending in the bosoms of itself, the second genera of the Gods, it establishes all things in the connective circulation of wholes.
Through these things therefore, Socrates also shortly after says, that the souls that are elevated together with the twelve Gods, to intelligible beauty, are initiated [viz. rendered perfect] in the most blessed of the mysteries, and through this initiation receive the mysteries with a pure soul, and become established in, and spectators of things ineffable. Hence the initiation of the Gods is there; the first mysteries are there. Nor is it at all wonderful, if Plato also tolerates us in calling the Gods [of this order] Teletarchs since he says, that the souls that are there are initiated, the Gods themselves indeed initiating them. But how is it possible otherwise to denominate those who are the primary sources of telete or initiation, than Teletarchs? For I indeed, perceiving so great an energy even as far as to the names themselves, do not see how they can be called differently. Initiation however, being one and triple, (for the perfective are co-divided with the connective Gods,) Plato calls the one union of it the subcelestial arch, in the same manner as he calls the connective order Heaven. But the depth which is in it is indicated by his admitting that there is in it an extreme subjection, and a steep path to the summit of the arch. As therefore, in the order prior to this, we thought it proper to arrange the intelligible according to the summit, the vital according to the profundity, and the intellectual according to the extremity, which defines the whole celestial circulation, so likewise in this perfective order, we must consider the intelligible of the arch as its summit, denominating it after the same manner as the back of the heaven, because these are coordinate to each other; but we must consider the profundity as coordinate to life, through which souls proceed to the summit; and the extremity which closes the whole arch, ascoordinate to intellect.
This whole order however, which is united to the order prior to it we must analogously divide. For the perfective Gods are spread under all the connective triad. And one of these indeed, is the supplier to the Gods of stable perfection, establishing all the Gods in, and uniting them to themselves. But another is the primary source of a perfection generative of wholes, exciting things which precede according to essence, to the providence of secondary natures. And a third is the leader of conversion to causes, convolving every thing which has proceeded, to its proper principle. For through this triad every thing which is perfect is self-sufficient, and subsists in itself; every thing which generates, is perfect, and generates full of vigour; and every thing which aspires after its proper principle, is conjoined to it, through its own perfection. Whether therefore, you assume the power of nature which is perfective of things that are generated, or the perfect number of the restitutions of the soul to its pristine state, or the perfection of intellect which is established according to energy in one, all these are suspended from the one perfection of the Gods, and being referred to it, some are allotted a greater, but others a less portion of a perfect hyparxis; and every perfection proceeds from thence. But in short, perfection is triple; one indeed being prior to parts, such as is the perfection of the Gods. For this has its subsistence in unity, preexisting self-perfectly, prior to all multitude. For such indeed is the we of the Gods, not being such as the one of souls, or of bodies; since these indeed are in a kindred manner conjoined with multitude, and are co-mingled with essences. But the unities of the Gods are self-perfect, and subsist prior to essences, generating multitudes, and not being generated together with them. But another perfection is that which consists of parts, and which derives its completion through parts, such as is the perfection of the world; for it possesses the all-perfect from its plenitudes. And a third other perfection, is that which is in parts. But thus also each part of the world is perfect. For as this universe is a whole consisting of wholes, so likewise it is perfect from the perfect parts that are in it, according to Timæus. And in short, perfection is divided after the same manner as wholeness; for, as Timæus says, they are conjoined with each other.
Hence also the perfective genus is connascent with the connective, and the perfective monad is arranged under all the connective genera. And as the wholeness of the heaven which connectedly contains parts is triple, so likewise perfection is triple. And if it be requisite to deliver my own opinion, all the perfections are derived from all the leaders; but the perfection which is prior to parts, pertains in a greater degree to the first leader; that which consists of parts, to the middle; and that which is in a part, to the third leader. But prior to this triad, is the intelligible triad, which is uniform perfection, and an all-perfect hyparxis, and which Timæus also denominates perfect according to all things. There, however, the three perfections pre-existed unitedly, or rather, there was one fountain of every perfection. As therefore the connective triad, is the evolution of the intelligible connexion, and the collective triad of the unific, and that which is the first in intelligibles, so likewise the perfective triad is the image of the all-perfect triad. For the intelligible and intellectual proceed analogous to the intelligible triads. Perfection therefore is triple, prior to parts, from parts, in a part. According to another mode also, perfection is stable, generative, convertive. And according to another conception, there is one perfection of intellectual and impartible essences, another of psychical essences, and another of the natures which are divisible about bodies. Very properly therefore, there are three leaders of perfection prior to the intellectual Gods, who constitute one order under the celestial circulation, who elevate through themselves all secondary natures to the intelligible, perfect them by intelligible light, convert and conjoin them to the kingdom of the heaven impart an unsluggish energy to the natures that are perfected, and are the guardians of their undefiled perfection.
Such are the conceptions which may be assumed from Plato concerning the third triad of the intelligible, and at the same time intellectual orders, which at one time he denominates the subcelestial arch, possessing a summit, middle, and extremity, but at another a blessed mystery, and of all mysteries the most ancient and august, through which he elevates souls and conjoins them to the mystic plenitude of intelligibles. For this triad opens the celestial paths, being established under the celestial circulation, and exhibits the self-splendid appearances of the Gods, which are both entire and firm, and expand to the mystic inspection of intelligible spectacles, as Socrates says in the Phædrus. For telete precedes muesis, and muesis, epopteia. Hence we are initiated [teleioumetha] in ascending, by the perfective Gods. But we view with closed eyes [i. e. with the pure soul itself, muoumetha] entire and stable appearances, through the connective Gods, with whom there is the intellectual wholeness, and the firm establishment of souls. And we become fixed in, and spectators of [epopteuomen] the intelligible watch tower, through the Gods who are the collectors of wholes. We speak indeed of all these things as with reference to the intelligible, but we obtain a different thing according to a different order. For the perfective Gods initiate us in the intelligible through themselves. And the collective monads are through themselves the leaders of the inspection of intelligibles. And there are indeed many steps of ascent, but all of them extend to the paternal port, and the paternal initiation, in which may the teletarchs, who are the leaders of all good, likewise establish us, illuminating us not by words, but by deeds. May they also think us worthy of being filled with intelligible beauty under the mighty Jupiter, and perfectly free us from those evils about generation with which we are now surrounded as with a wall. May they likewise impart to us by illumination this most beautiful fruit of the present theory, which, following the divine Plato, we have sufficiently delivered to those who love the contemplation of truth.
Let us now therefore again follow Parmenides in another way, who after the intelligible triads generates the intelligible, and at the same time, intellectual orders, and unfolds the continued progression of divine natures, through successive conclusions. For the connexion of the words, and their dependence on each other, imitates the indissoluble order of things, which always conjoins middles to extremes, and proceeds through middle genera to the last progressions of beings. This therefore we must survey prior to the several intellectual conceptions, how the intelligible, and at the same time, intellectual triads, proceed analogous to the intelligible triads, that we may comprehend by a reasoning process the well-arranged order of things. There were three intelligible triads therefore, viz. the one being, whole, and infinite multitude. And three intelligible, and at the same time, intellectual triads, have also presented themselves to our view, viz. number, whole, and the perfect. Hence from the one being, number is derived; from the intelligible whole, the whole that is in these; and from infinite multitude, the perfect. For the infinite which is there was all-powerful, and all-perfect, comprehending indeed all things, but being itself incomprehensible. To the all-powerful therefore and all-perfect, the perfect is analogous, possessing a perfection which is intellectual, and secondary to the first effective and intelligible perfection. The whole also which is both intelligible and intellectual is allied to the intelligible whole, but it differs from it, so far as the latter possesses wholeness according to the one union of the one being; but the one of the former appears to be itself by itself a whole, consisting of unical parts, and being appears to consist of many beings. These wholenesses therefore, being divided, differ from the wholeness which precedes according to union and is intelligible. For the wholenesses of this whole are parts of the intelligible wholeness.
In the third place therefore, we must consider number as analogous to the one being. For the one being is there indeed occultly, intelligibly, and paternally; but here in conjunction with difference it generates number, which constitutes the separation of forms and reasons. For difference itself first shines forth in this order, being power indeed, and the duad in intelligibles; but here it is maternal, and a prolific fountain. For there power was collective of the one, and the one being; on which account also it was ineffable, as existing occultly in the one and in hyparxis. But here difference separates indeed being and the one. After this likewise, it multiplies the one proceeding generatively, and calls forth being into second and third progressions; breaking indeed being into many beings, and dividing the one into more partial unities. But according to each of these completing the decrements, the wholes remaining. Very properly therefore does Plato make the negations of the one from this. For here the many subsist, through difference which divides being and the one; since the whole also which is denied of the one, is intellectual and not intelligible. The negation therefore says that the one is not a whole, so that the affirmation is, the one is a whole. This whole however is intellectual and not intelligible. Parmenides also denies the many as follows: “The one is not many; but the opposite to this is, the one is many. The multitude of intelligibles, however, does not make the one to be many, but causes the one being to be many. And in short, every intelligible is characterized by the one being. For in the intelligible being and the one are complicated, and are connascent with each other; and being is most unical. But when each of these proceeds into multitude, they are separated from each other, and evince a greater difference with respect to each other. Each of these also is divided into multitude through the prolific nature of difference. From these things therefore, it is evident that the intelligible and intellectual orders, being analogous to the intelligible orders, proceed in conjunction with diminution.
After this however, let us discuss each of them, beginning according to nature. First, therefore, the intelligible, and at the same timer intellectual number presents itself to our view; and which is connected with multitude. For every number is multitude; But with respect to multitude, one kind subsists unitedly, and another kind with separation. Number, however, is separate multitude; for there is difference in it. For in the intelligible there was power, and not difference, and this power generated multitude, and conjoined it to the monads. Number therefore is in continuity with intelligible multitude; and this is necessary. For the monad was there, and also the duad; since whole also was there, and was always monadic; and becoming to be two, has no cessation. Hence the monad and the duad were there, which are the first and exempt principles of numbers. And in these multitude was unitedly; since the monad which is the fountain of numbers, and the duad possess all multitude according to cause; the former paternally, but the latter maternally. And on this account intelligible multitude is not yet number, but is intelligibly established in the uniform principles, I mean the monad and the duad; generatively indeed, in the duad, but paternally in the monad. For the third God was father and mother; since if animal itself is in it, it is also necessary that the cause of the male and the female should there primarily preexist. For these are in animals. Hence according to Timæus, and according to Parmenides, the maternal and the paternal cause are there. And in these, intelligible animals, and intelligible multitudes are comprehended. From these first principles also number together with difference proceed, and they generate the monads and the duads which are in number, and all numbers. For both the generative and the paternal subsist in these in a feminine manner.
All the monads likewise of this triad are paternal. Hence prior to other things they participate of the monadic cause, but according to the power of difference. For there indeed, I mean in the intelligible, the maternal was paternally; but here the paternal subsists maternally; just as there, the intellectual subsists intelligibly, but here the intelligible, intellectually. From that order therefore, the first number subsists proximately, but being generated analogous to the first triad of intelligibles, it also evidently proceeds from it. Hence also, Parmenides beginning his discourse about number, reminds us of the first hypothesis through which he generates the one being, asserting that the one participates of essence, and essence of the one, in consequence of this subsisting according to that triad. And this very properly. For being intelligible and intellectual, so far indeed, as it is allotted an intelligible order in intellectuals, it proceeds from the summit of intelligibles, but so far as it precedes the intellectual orders, it proceeds from the intellectual of intelligibles. In that intelligible triad, however, the one was of being, and being of the one, through the ineffable and occult union of these two, and their subsistence in each other. But in the intelligible and at the same time intellectual triad, difference presenting itself to the view, which is the image of the concealed and ineffable power in the first triad of intelligibles, and luminously exerting its own energy, separates the one from being, and being from the one, leads each into divided multitude, and thus generates total number. For number, as we have frequently said, is divided and not united multitude, and subsists from the principles according to a second progression, but is not occultly established in the principles. Hence also, it is simply different from multitude. And in intelligibles indeed, there is multitude; but in intellectuals number. For there indeed, number is according to cause; but here multitude is according to participation. For there indeed, division subsists intelligibly; but here union has an intellectual subsistence. If therefore number proceeds from these, and is allotted such an order, Parmenides very properly especially mentions these triads, asserting that the one participates of essence, and essence of the one, and that through these the many become apparent. For one of these indeed, is the illustrious property of the first triad, but the other of the third triad. And in the first triad indeed, participation was the presubsistence of the union of the one and being; but in the third triad many intelligibles present themselves to the view, Plato all but proclaiming that the most splendid of intelligibles subsists according to intelligible multitude, though multitude is there occult, and uniformly. For according to each order of divine natures, multitude is appropriately generated in the extremities.
The intelligible number therefore of the intellectual genera, proceeds from these, and through these. And it possesses indeed properties incomprehensible by human reasonings, but which are divided into two first effective powers, viz. the power generative of wholes, and the power which collects into union all progressions. For according to the monad indeed, it collects intellectual multitude, and conjoins it to intelligibles; but according to the duad it produces multitude, and separates it according to difference. And according to the odd number indeed, it collects the many orders into indivisible union; but according to the even number, it prolifically produces into light all the genera of the Gods. For being established as the middle of the intelligible and intellectual Gods, and giving completion to the one bond of them, it is carried in its summit indeed, in intellectuals as in a vehicle, but being united to intelligibles, it evolves intelligible multitude, and calls forth its occult and unical nature into separation, and prolific generation. It also collects that which is intellectual into union and impartible communion. And not this only, but generating all things as far as to the last of things, according to the incomprehensible cause of the duad and the nature of the even number, it again unites the proceeding natures and convolves them according to the monad, and the sameness of the odd number. Through unity indeed, and the duad, it produces, collects and binds all things intelligibly, occultly, and in an unknown manner to the intelligible, and effects this even in the last matter and the vestigies of forms which it contains. But through the even and odd number it constitutes the two coordinations, viz. the vivific and the immutable, the prolific and the effective, all the impartible genera of fabricating and animal-producing powers, those powers that preside over a partible life, or partible production, the more intellectual and singular mundane natures, and which belong to the better coordination, and those natures that are more irrational and multiplied, and which give completion to the subordinate series. And again, through this divided generation we may see that each of the proceeding natures, is united and at the same time multiplied, is indivisible and divided in its causes, and through diminution is separated from them. And we attribute indeed things that are more excellent and more simple to the nature of the odd number, but things that are less excellent and more various, to the nature of the even number. For every where indeed, the odd number is the leader of impartible, simple, and unical goods; but the even number is the cause of divided, various, and generative progressions. And thus we may see all the orders of beings woven together according to divine number which is most ancient, intellectual, and exempt from all the dinumerated genera. For it is necessary that number should exist prior to the things that are numbered, and that prior to things which are separated there should be the cause of all separation, according to which the genera of the Gods are divided, and are distinguished in an orderly manner by appropriate numbers.
If therefore in intellectuals there are divisions, contacts, and separations of the proceeding natures, and likewise communications of coordinate natures, it is necessary that number should be prior to intellectuals, which divides and collects all things intelligibly by the powers of itself. And if all things subsist occultly, intelligibly, in an unknown manner and exemptly in this summit, there is a number of them, and a peculiarity unical and without separation. Number therefore subsists according to the middle bond of intelligibles and intellectuals, being indeed expanded above intellectuals through intelligible goods, but subordinate to intelligibles through intellectual separations. And it is assimilated indeed to intelligibles according to the power which is collective of many things into union, but to intellectuals according to the power which is generative of the many from the one. But from this highest place of survey of the intellectual Gods, it constitutes the first intellectual numbers themselves which have the nature of forms, are universal, and preside over the whole of generation and production. It likewise constitutes the second numbers, which are supermundane, and vivific, and measure the Gods that are in the world. But it constitutes as the third numbers, these celestial governors of the perpetual circulations, and who convolve all the orbs according to the intellectual causes of them. And it constitutes as the last numbers those powers that in the sublunary region connect and bound the infinity and unstable nature of matter by forms, and numbers and reasons, through which both the wholes and parts of all mortal natures are variegated with proper numbers. But it every where connects the precedaneous and more perfect genera of the Gods by the odd number, but the subordinate and secondary genera, by the even number. Thus for instance, in the intellectual orders, it produces the female and the prolific according to the even number, but the male and the paternal according to the odd number. But in the supermundane orders, it characterizes similitude and the immutable according to the odd number, but dissimilitude and a progression into secondary natures, according to the even number. For thus the Athenian guest also, orders that in sacred worship odd things should be distributed to the celestial, but even to the terrestrial powers. And according to each of these genera that which is of a more ruling nature must be referred to the odd number, but that which is subordinate, to the even number.
The nature of number, therefore, pervades from on high, as far as to the fast of things, adorning all things, and connecting them by appropriate forms. For how could a perfect number comprehend the period of the whole world, as the Muses in Plato assert that it does? Or how could numbers, some of which are productive of fertility, and others of sterility, comprehend the descents of souls? Or how could some of them define the ascents of souls in less, but others in greater periods, as Socrates says in the Phædrus, where he delivers to us restitutions consisting of three thousand and ten thousand years? Or how could time itself which is unically comprehensive of the psychical measures, proceed according to number, as Timæus says it does, unless divine number exists prior to all these, which imparts to all things a principal cause of order according to numbers? Since all things therefore subsist through numbers and forms, numbers are allotted a progression, from the intellectual summit. But forms have their generation from intelligible forms. For forms subsist primarily in the third triad of intelligibles. But numbers are primarily in the first triad of intellectuals; since also in the effects of these, every number indeed is form, but not every form is number.
If, however, it be requisite clearly to unfold the truth, numbers are also prior to forms. For there are indeed superessential numbers, but there are not superessential forms. And according to this reasoning every form is number, as also the Pythagoreans said. For Timæus being a Pythagorean, not only asserts that there are intelligible forms, but also intelligible numbers; for he says that the intelligible forms are four. There however, number is intelligibly, and monadically according to cause. For intelligible animal is a monad, occultly containing the whole of number. But in the summit of intellectuals, number subsists separately, evolving the number which preexists in the monad according to cause and uniformly. For there is a difference, I think, between saying multitude in its cause, and multitude from its cause, and between saying united, and saying separated multitude. And the one indeed is prior to number, but the other is number. So that according to Timæus there are intelligible numbers together with forms, and prior to forms. And according to Parmenides, number is after multitude. For Timæus calls uniform and occult multitude the number of forms. But since number is primarily in the Gods, but forms participate of the divine unities, he denominates the first ideas four. For monad and triad, were primarily indeed in the Gods themselves, but secondarily in intellectuals; and superessentially indeed in the former, but formally in the latter. In intelligibles therefore, multitude was unically; but in intellectuals it subsists separately. But where there is separation there also there is number, as we have frequently observed. Hence likewise all the genera of the Gods are from hence generated. And they are divided, the paternal indeed and generative, among intelligibles and intellectuals; but the demiurgic and vivific, among intellectuals. And the genera indeed, that bind through similitude, are divided among supermundane natures; but those that are both exempt and distributed, are divided among the liberated Gods. And the celestial and sublunary genera, are divided among the mundane Gods. And in short, all the coordinations of beings receive their distinction and separation from this order. From these things therefore, it is evident what the peculiarities are which intelligible and at the same time intellectual number possesses, and of what it is the cause to the Gods.
In the next place, we must likewise assert that the first number is of a feminine nature. For in this, difference first shines forth, separating the one from being, and dividing the one into many unities, and being into many beings. What therefore is the difference which is the cause of these things to the Gods? For if we should call it a genus of being, in the first place indeed, how is it prior to being? For separating being and the one, it is arranged between both of them. But existing as a middle, it calls forth indeed the one into generations, but it fills being with generative cause. If therefore, it is prior to being, how will it be one certain genus of being? And in the second place, after this, the different which is a genus of being, is every where essential, and is by no means inherent in superessential natures. But difference itself is primarily present with the unities themselves, and separates and produces many unities from one. How therefore, can superessential difference ever come to be the same with the difference which gives completion to essences?
In the third place, that different [which is a genus of being,] presents itself to the view in intellectuals, according to the demiurgic order. But difference itself is the intelligible summit of intellectuals. And the former indeed, subsists together with sameness; but the latter has by itself a subsistence in the intelligibles of intellectuals. To which also may be added, that in what follows, Plato as he proceeds makes mention of difference, and generates it in conjunction with sameness. How therefore, does he effect the same conclusion twice? For he does not employ such a repetition as this in any one of the other conclusions. For whole, which he seems to assume twice, is not the same whole, viz. the intellectual is not the same with the intelligible; but these, as we have said, differ from each other. For how could be unfold to us the different progressions of divine natures, if he collected the same conclusions? According to all these conceptions, therefore, we must separate the difference which is generative of numbers from the genus of beings.
But if difference itself is not the nature of the different, but a power generative of beings, it will be collective of being and the one. For every where power is allotted an hyparxis of this kind. For through power the one participates of being, and being of the one. Power therefore was the cause, not of division, but of communion, of contact without separation, and of the habitude of the one to being, and of being to the one. Hence it is necessary that it should neither be arranged according to intelligible power, nor according to the intellectual difference of beings; but that being the middle of both, it should subsist analogous to intelligible power, but should generate in the extremities of intellectuals the portion of the different. What else therefore is it than the feminine nature of the Gods? Hence also it imitates intelligible power, and is prolific of many unities, and of many beings. And how could it otherwise separate number from itself, and the forms and powers of number, unless it was the cause of the divine progressions in a feminine manner. Multitude therefore is paternally in intelligibles, but maternally in intellectuals. Hence, in the former indeed, it subsists monadically, but in the latter according to number. Very properly therefore, in the second genera of the Gods also, union is derived from the male, but separation from the female divinities. And bound indeed proceeds from the males, but infinity from the females. For the male is analogous to bound, but the female to infinity. The female, however, differs from infinite power, so far as power indeed, is united to the father, and is in him; but the female is divided from the paternal cause. For power is not only in the female divinities, but is also prior to them, since the intelligible powers are in the male divinities, according to Timæus, who says that the power of the demiurgus is the cause of the generation of perpetual natures. For [the demiurgus says to the junior Gods] “imitating my power, produce and generate animals.” Power therefore, is prior to the male and the female, and is in both, and posterior to both. For it pervades through all beings, and every being participates of power, as the Elean guest says. For power is every where. But the female participates in a greater degree of its peculiarity, and the male of union according to bound. That the first number therefore, which presents itself to the view from intelligibles, is of a feminine nature, is through these things evident.
It remains then, that we should speak concerning the triadic division of it, following Parmenides. These three things therefore, have appeared to us from the beginning, according to the separation of the one from being, viz. the one, difference, and being; difference not being the same either with the one or being. For though the one and being were in intelligibles, yet difference first subsists here. Since however power above [i. e. in intelligibles] was collective, but here is the separator of the extremes, there are not only three monads, but also three duads, viz. the one in conjunction with difference, difference in conjunction with being, and the one in conjunction with being. For difference also is the cause of a separation of this kind, not preserving the union of the one being with genuine purity. There are therefore three monads, and three duads. But these likewise may become three triads, when we begin, at one time from the one, at another time from being, and at another from difference. Hence this triad subsists monadically, and triadically. But this is the same thing as to assert that difference and the first feminine nature generates in itself, monads, duads, triads. For the divided assumption, generates for us different monads; but the conjoined assumption, duads, and triads, some indeed being vanquished by the one, others by difference, and others by being. And thus far the first deity presents itself to the view, being prolific of the first numbers; according to the one indeed, of unical numbers, but according to difference of generative, and according to being, of essential numbers.
Since however, from this deity which is intelligible, that which is posterior to it proceeds, it is evidently necessary that the monad, duad, and triad, should severally have prolific power. These powers therefore, Parmenides calls once, twice, thrice. For each of these is a power which is the cause of the above-mentioned essences that produce either separately, or connectedly. For there with respect to the generations of them, some of them are entirely peculiar, but others are common to secondary natures. The progeny therefore of these are, the oddly-odd, the evenly-even and the evenly-odd. And of these, the oddly-odd, indeed, as we have before observed, is collective into union of the divine progressions. But the evenly-even is generative of wholes, and proceeds as far as to the last of things. The evenly-odd however, is mixed, having its subsistence from both the even and the odd. Hence we must establish the first as analogous to bound, but the second as analogous to power, and the third as analogous to being. And you may see, how indeed in the first order all things had a primary subsistence, viz. monad, duad, triad; but how in this order, all things are secondarily and subordinately. And the mixture which is the triad, subsisted there indeed in one way, but here the evenly-odd subsists in another way. For there the extremes were odd, because they were intelligible; but here the even is more abundant, and the intelligible summit only is odd. For the middle of the triad is analogous to power. And there indeed, is the monad, which has all the forms of odd numbers according to cause, and the duad is there, which is occultly all the forms of even numbers, and also the triad, which is number primarily. But here both the odd and the even number now subsist in a twofold respect, in one place in an unmingled, and in another in a mingled manner. All things therefore, are here prolifically, but there, paternally and intelligibly. But that monad does not proceed from intelligibles, but subsists in them in unproceeding union. Hence, after these, and from these, we may survey the whole of number subsisting according to a third progression. “For these things,” says Parmenides, “preexisting, no number will be absent.”
Every number therefore, is generated through these in the third monad, and both the one and being become many, difference separating each of them. And every part indeed of being participates of the one; but every unity is carried as in a vehicle in a certain portion of being. Each of these however, is multiplied, intellectually separated, divided into minute parts, and proceeds to infinity. For as in intelligibles, we attribute infinite multitude to the third triad, so here, in this triad we assign infinite number to the third part of the triad. For in short every where, the infinite is the extremity, as proceeding in an all-perfect manner, and comprehending indeed all secondary natures, but being itself participated by none of them. In the first monad therefore, there were powers, but intelligibly. In the second, there were progressions and generations, but both intelligibly and intellectually. And in the third, there was all-powerful number, unfolding the whole of itself into light; and which also Parmenides denominates infinite. It is likewise especially manifest that it is not proper to transfer this infinity to quantity. For how can there be an infinite number, since infinity is hostile to the nature of number? And how are the parts of the one equal to the minute parts of being? For in infinites there is not the equal. But this indeed has been thought worthy of attention by those who wereprior to us.
The division therefore into three, having been demonstrated by us, we shall briefly observe, that the one appears to be many according to this order, the one itself proceeding into a multitude of unities, and being in a similar manner becoming generated in conjunction with the one. For those three monads are the intelligible comprehensions of all orders, and they at once preside over all the progressions from intelligibles, produce All of them in an exempt manner, and collect them to the intelligible causes. Since however, Plotinus admits that number is prior to animal itself, and says that the first being produces from itself number, and that this is established as a medium between the one being, and animal itself but is the basis and place of beings, it is worth while to speak likewise concisely about this. For if he says that animal itself has intelligible and occult number, as comprehended in the monad, he speaks rightly, and accords with Plato. But if he says that animal itself comprehends number, now separated, or which has a multiform subsistence, and is the progeny of difference, intelligible multitude is not a thing of this kind. For there indeed, the one is being, and being is the one. Hence animal itself is according to all things perfect. But in number, the one is separated from being, and being from the one, and each of the parts is no longer an intelligible whole, as an animal itself. For that is a whole of wholes, and every where the one was with being in the parts of it, and animal itself was only-begotten. But number proceeded after the twofold coordinations, I mean the monad and duad, the odd and the even number. How therefore, can we place in animal itself the first number? If however, some one should say that number exists there, it is according to cause and intelligibly. But it is intellectually separated by difference. And farther still, in addition to these things, if animal itself is surveyed by some one in the demiurgic order, and he denominates it the plenitude of forms, and the ineligible of the demiurgic intellect, it will thus have intellectual number, as being arranged near the intellectual end. But if he should call intelligible animal number, in this case there will be separation and difference in the Gods, whom we have asserted to be established above the whole of things, according to supreme union; For all section and division originate from the intellectual Gods; since here difference proceeds, adorning things in conjunction with the one and being. How therefore, does the division of the unities into minute parts, or the multiform nature of beings pertain to intelligibles? And how can the multitude of all forms accord with the first animal itself? For the tetrad was there, divided by the monad and triad, a division of this kind: being adapted to the third order of intelligible forms. For as the one being is a monad, but eternity is a monad and duad, (for to be is conjoined with the ever) so animal itself is a monad and triad. Since, however, it comprehends in itself the cause of all number, Timæus denominates it the tetrad which is comprehensive of the four first effective causes. For the tetrad itself preexists as the fountain of all the production of forms. But in intelligibles the monad, duad and triads subsist unically; but in intellectuals in a divided manner.
Difference therefore necessarily generates all these for us with separation. For every where, the first of subordinate natures have the peculiar form of the natures that exist prior to them. Hence, the first multitudes proceed indeed from the one, but they are unical, without separation, and without number, imitating the one principle of the whole of things. Very properly therefore, does Parmenides constitute multitude in intelligibles, according to the end [of the intelligible order]; but number in intellectuals according to the beginning [of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual order.] And these are conjoined with each other. Parmenides also pre-establishes unical and intelligible multitude, as the cause of intellectual numbers. And Timæus shows that animal itself is only-begotten, because it was monadically the cause of the whole of things, and not dyadically, nor according to divine difference. That number however, is the first thing in intellectuals, we have abundantly shown.
But Parmenides begins to speak about it as follows: “Proceed therefore, and still farther consider this. What? We have said that the one participates of essence, so far as it is being. We have said so. And on this account the one being appears to be many.” But he completes his discourse about the first monad thus: “Are not three (things odd, and two even? How should they not?” And about the second monad, as follows: “Hence there will be the evenly-even, and the oddly-odd, and the oddly-even, and the evenly-odd.” But he completes his discourse about the third and all the succeeding triad, as follows: “The one being therefore, is not only many, but it is likewise necessary that the one which is distributed by being should be many. Entirely so.” The first triad, therefore, of the intelligible, and at the same time, intellectual Gods, is through these things unfolded to us by Plato, and which possesses indeed, according to the first monad the first powers of numbers, I mean the odd and the even, and is completed through these principles which were in intelligibles occultly, viz. monad, duad, triad. But according to the second monad it possesses the second powers of numbers which subsist from these [i. e. from the first powers]. For the section of the forms of the even number, is allotted a second order. And the oddly-odd is subordinate to the first odd numbers. But according to the third monad, it possesses the more partial causes of divine numbers. Hence also, a separation into minute parts, infinity, all-perfect division, and unical and essential number are here; receiving indeed, the unical and the essential from unity and being, but the separation of number from difference. For every where difference is in the three monads, but it particularly unfolds the multitudes of numbers, according to the third monad, generates more partial Gods, and divides being in conjunction with the Gods. For neither is deity in these imparticipable, because unity is not separate from being, nor is essence destitute of deity, because neither is being deprived of the one.
Since however, all things are in each of the monads, but unically and intelligibly in the first, generatively, and according to the peculiarity of difference in the second, and intellectually, and according to being in the third;—this being the case, Plato when unfolding to us the first monad, very properly begins from the monad, and proceeds as far as to the triad; but when teaching about the second, he begins from evenly-even numbers, and proceeds as far as to those that are evenly-odd, both which belong to the nature of the even number. And when he adds the third monad, he begins from being, and recurs through difference to the one. For having shown that being participates of number, he from hence leads us round to unical number, employing the mode of conversion in the conception of this monad.
If, however, it be requisite to survey the unknown peculiarity of divine numbers, and how the first order of intelligibles and intellectuals, and number which subsists according to this order, is the most ancient of all numbers, in the first place, we should consider the infinity mentioned by Parmenides, and see whether he does not say that intelligible multitude is infinite on account of this number, in consequence of its being unknown and incomprehensible by partial conceptions. For the all-perfect, and all-powerful peculiarity of divine numbers is exempt from the comprehension of partible natures, [such as ours]. They are therefore unknown, and on this account are said to be inexplicable, and not to be investigated. For number also in the last of things, and multitude, together with the known have likewise the unknown. And we are not able to comprehend the progression of every number in consequence of being vanquished by infinity. The incomprehensibility therefore, of this power which is unknown according to a discursive energy, is comprehended according to cause, in intelligible numbers and multitudes. For there would not be a thing of this kind in the last of numbers, unless the unknown preexisted in intelligible numbers, and unless the former were ultimate imitations of the exempt incomprehensibility of the latter.
In the second place, after this, we may also add, that unical numbers are likewise of themselves unknown. For they are more ancient than beings, more single than forms, and being generative of, exist prior to the forms which we call intelligible. But the most venerable of divine operations manifest this, since they employ numbers, as possessing an ineffable efficacy, and through these effect the greatest, and most arcane of works. And prior to these nature ineffably, according to sympathy, imparts different powers to different things, to some solar, but to others lunar powers, and renders the productions of these concordant with numbers. For in these monadic numbers also, the forms of numbers, such as the triad, the pentad, and the heptad, are one thing, but the unions of the forms another thing. For each of these forms is both one, and multitude. Hence form is unknown according to the highest union.
If therefore, monadic number participates of a certain unknown power, much more must the first number possess this peculiarity unically exempt from the whole of things. And besides this, we may also assume the anagogic power of numbers, not only because they define the periods of the physical restitutions, circumscribing our indefinite lation by appropriate measures, perfecting us according to these measures, and conjoining us to our first causes, but because likewise, number in a remarkable manner possesses a certain power of attracting to truth, as Socrates says in the Republic, leading us to intelligibles from a sensible nature. As therefore, the last number is allotted this peculiarity, what ought we to say about the first number? Is it not this, that it unfolds intelligible light, especially persuades to an establishment in intelligibles, and through its own order announces to us the uniform power of principles? If therefore, we rightly assert these things, we shall in a greater degree admire Timæus, who having placed time over the perfections of souls, and the whole world, through which it would become more similar to animal itself says, that time proceeds according to number, and by number measures the existence of total souls. And as in intellectuals, number is established above the celestial circulation, collecting and causing it to be one, thus also in sensibles Timæus says, that time being number measures the celestial periods, and comprehends in itself the first causes of the perfection of the periods. If also, Socrates in the Republic, in the speech of the Muses, speaks about the one and entire period of the universe, which he says a perfect number comprehends, does it not through these things appear chat divine number is perfective of wholes, and restores them to their pristine state, and that it measures all periods? The power likewise of collecting things imperfect to the perfect, accedes to all things from number, which elevates souls from things apparent to those that are unapparent, illuminates the whole world with the perfection of motion, and defines to all things measures, and the order of periods. But if not only a perfect number contains the period of a divine generated nature, but another second number after this is the lord of better and worse generations as the same Socrates says, number will not only restore things to their pristine state, but will also be of a generative nature. And it is evident that these things subsist in a divided manner, according to the second and third periods of numbers; but at once, and contractedly in the first of numbers. The first number therefore, is generative, mensurative, and perfective of generated natures.
The first order therefore of intelligibles and intellectuals is thus surveyed by Parmenides. But after this the order which possesses the middle place of intelligibles and intellectuals, and which a little before we called connective, presents itself to the view. It is however denominated in a three-fold respect, viz. one, many, whole, parts, finite, infinite. For since the separation of unities and beings from number, extends to it, the one and being, which we have said difference divides, become wholes; But the things proceeding from these, are the parts of these; And wholeness indeed connectedly contains parts, but these are contained by their wholeness, in one way indeed, by the one, but in another by being. For there indeed, I mean in the summit of the intellectual Gods, unity was the cause of multitude, at the same time being exempt from multitude, and generative of the many. But here unity is coarranged with multitude. Hence also it is a whole which has reference to many unities as to parts. Since however, the connective order is triple, one division of it being intelligible, another intelligible and intellectual, and another intellectual, the first monad indeed subsists according to the one and the many; but the second, according to whole and parts; and the third, according to the finite and the infinite. For where the first triad ends, there the second has its beginning. Hence, in the triad prior to this, Parmenides infers that the one is many. And in this triad, he concludes the same thing together with what remains. There however, the one was generative of infinites; but here the one is comprehensive of many, the whole of parts, and the finite of infinites. Hence, there indeed, unity is exempt from the many; but here it is coarranged with multitude. Hence also, the first coarrangement generates whole together with parts; but the subsistence of whole and parts produces the finite and at the same time infinite. For these are successive to each other, viz. the one, the whole, the finite, and the things which are as it were in an opposite arrangement to these, the many, parts, infinites. And the one itself is indeed the principle of the rest. But whole has now a habitude with respect to parts, and a representation of the duad, and proceeds into a coarrangement with reference to the parts. The finite however, is now multitude, participating of bound and the one, and is as it were a triad. For it is neither bound alone, as the monad, nor infinite alone, as the duad, but it participates of bound, which is primarily a triad. Every thing finite therefore, is a whole, but not every whole is finite. For the infinite is a whole, whether it is multitude, or magnitude. And every whole indeed, is one, but not every one is a whole. For that which is without habitude to multitude is not a whole. The one therefore, is beyond whole; but whole is beyond the finite.
After the same manner also, infinite parts are said to be the parts of that which is finite. For the infinite of itself has no subsistence; by which also it is evident that the infinite is not in quantity in energy, but in capacity. All parts however are not infinite. For according to bound they are characterized by one of the parts. And again, parts indeed are many, but the many are not entirely parts. The many therefore, are prior to parts: and parts are prior to infinites. Hence, as the many are to the one, so are parts to whole, and so are infinites to the finite. And these three connectedly-containing monads, give completion to the middle order of intelligibles and intellectuals. For unity indeed, is the supplier of stable and intelligible connection to all the secondary orders. But wholeness connects the progressions of divine natures, and produces one habitude of the orderly, distribution of wholes. And the finite monad imparts by illumination to the conversions of second natures, connection with the natures prior to them. And one of these indeed is analogous to the one being, on which account also it is intelligible. But another is analogous to the third order, in which there was the one, and the duad which generates infinite multitude. Such is the connective triad, which Parmenides exhibits to us through these things. The one therefore, is one and many, whole and parts, finite and infinite multitude. Let no one however, be disturbed that Plato calls the one or being infinite multitude. For he calls the one and being when they have proceeded and are divided, infinite in multitude. For all multitude indeed, is referred to the intelligible infinity. But divided multitude, and which has proceeded perfectly, is most signally infinite.
Since therefore, all the primary causes of intellectuals are in this triad, and all things are disseminated in its bosoms, the first Synocheus indeed, comprehends these causes as multitude, being himself an intelligible unity, and the flower as it were of the triad. But the second comprehends indeed secondarily these causes, but co-arranged and co-multiplied with then. And the third, together with all-perfect division, connects the multitude comprehended in himself. Each of them also is connective, but one as bounding, another as giving completion to a whole, and another as uniting. Plato therefore made, and makes as he proceeds his demonstrations of the one. For the whole theory is concerning the one. But it is evident that being is co-divided with the one. For universally, it has been before observed, that every deity proceeding thence is participable, and that every portion of being participates of deity. It is necessary however, not to stop in the one alone, but to consider the same peculiarity as imparted to being in a secondary degree, since Plato also produces the one itself by itself according to the differences of the divine orders; which occasions me to wonder at those who think that all the conclusions of the second hypothesis are concerning intellect, and do not perceive that Plato omitting being surveys the one itself by itself, as proceeding and generated, and receiving different peculiarities. For how in discoursing concerning intellect could he omit being, according to which intellect has its subsistence, power, and energy. For the one is beyond the nature of intellect; but being gives hyparxis to intellect, and intellect is nothing else than being. This opinion however of these men may be confuted by many other arguments. But if the three connective Gods are divided after the above-mentioned manner, and the intelligible connective deity is one many, but the intelligible and at the same time intellectual deity is whole and parts, and the intellectual is finite and infinite, each of them is very properly called much. For each of the Synoches according to his own peculiarity is a multitude. For the first about the many, receives many Synoches of a more partial nature. The second receives these according to parts. And the third, according to infinites. If therefore, there are certain partial Gods who are allotted this peculiarity, they are comprehended in this first triad.
Moreover, it is easy for every one to see how these things accord with what is written in the Phædrus. for the connective one accords with the back of the heaven that comprehends these. For the one and the back are the same, comprehending according to one simplicity the whole circulation. But whole is the same with the profundity of the heaven, and with as it were the bulk of it. For the celestial profundity is a whole extended from the back as far as to the arch. And end is the same with the arch. This therefore, is evident beyond every thing, and each of the other conclusions, is to be referred to the same conceptions. Hence from what has been said, it may be collected, that these three things pertain in a remarkable degree to the Synoches, viz. the one, whole, and the end [or the finite]. For what is so able to connect multitude as the one which is co-arranged with it? What is so connectedly-comprehensive of parts as whole? And how is it possible that the end [or bound,] should not be the cause of binding together things which are borne along to infinity. It terminates therefore, their progression, and brings back their dispersed section to the one essence of connection. And thus much concerning the connective triad.
But the third, as they say, to the saviour, and let us also following Plato in what remains celebrate the perfective order of the Gods. Because, therefore, the end of the connective order was the finite, [or the bounded] the perfective order has extremes. For the end [or bound] is the extremity. There however indeed the one was said to be the finite, but here it is said to have an extremity, as receiving according to participation that which has the power of terminating many things. And there indeed, the one was end or bound, which also connectedly contains the infinite; but here having an extremity, it will also have a middle and beginning, and will be perfect. For that which receives its completion from all these, is perfect. Here, therefore, the perfection which consists of parts is apparent. For the consummation of the parts, produces the perfect. Moreover, because such a one as this has a middle and extremes, it will have the figure of a circumference, or it will be rectilinear, or it will be mixed [from the right and circular line]. For all these require a middle and extremes; some indeed with simplicity, but others with connexion. Three peculiarities, therefore, again present themselves to our view; the first, indeed, being that which we said was to have extremes; the second, being according to the perfect; and the third, according to figure. And there are also three perfective leaders of wholes; one indeed being intelligible; another, intelligible and intellectual; and the third, intellectual.
The intelligible leader, therefore, is said to have extremes, as being directly arranged under the end of the connective Gods, and in the boundaries of himself intelligibly comprehending all the intellectual orders. But the intelligible and intellectual leader, is defined according to the perfect, comprehending in himself the beginnings, middles, and ends of beings, and giving completion to the middle bond of the whole perfective triad. And the intellectual leader proceeds according to triadic figure, being the cause of bound and divine perfection; and imparting termination to things indefinite, but intellectual perfection to things imperfect. And this triad indeed is produced according to the connective triad. For the end in them is the cause of the possession of the extremity. But it is also produced from itself. For that which has extremes, having become a whole, constitutes the perfect through end [or bound]. But the perfect comprehending beginnings, middles and ends, unfolds figure. And thus the perfective triad proceeds supernally, as far as to the last of things, pervading to all things, and perfecting both whole and partial causes.
And do you not see how each of the triads conjoins the summit of itself with the ends placed above it? For the one many was the end of the collective and unknown triad; and the same is the beginning of the connective triad. The end of the connective triad was the finite; and this again is the beginning of the perfective triad. For to have extremes manifests that which consists of ends or bounds. And thus the whole middle order is connected with and united to itself, and is truly the bond of total orders, itself establishing an admirable communion with itself, but conjoining intellectuals to intelligibles, and convolving them to one impartible union; above indeed, having the intelligible and unknown triad, but in the middle producing the triad which is connective of progressions, and at the end, the convertive empire, through which it proximately converts the intellectual to the intelligible Gods.
For on what account does intellect look to itself, and is in itself? Is it not because it is on all sides finite or bounded, converges to itself, and convolves its appropriate energies about itself? But why is it perfect, and full of intellectual goods? Is it not because it first participates of the perfection [of the above mentioned] leaders, and subsists according, to them, possessing a self-perfect essence and intellectual perception? After what manner likewise, is it said to be a sphere, both by Plato, and other theologists? Is it not because it is the first participant of figure, and is intellectually figured according to it? All conversion, therefore, all perfection, and every intellectual figure, accede to the intellectual Gods, from the perfective triad. For the intelligible leader of perfection, gives perfection to the ends and summits and hyparxes of wholes. But the intelligible and intellectual leader terminates their progressions which extend from on high as far as to the last of things. And the intellectual leader comprehends in his own perfection, the conversions of all the Gods, and bounds and perfects through figures their progressions to infinity.
Looking therefore to this division, we may be able to survey causally many things which are to be found among other theologists. For why is one of the deities of the unknown triad carried in the first of the worlds, but another in the middle breadth, and another in the extremity? It is because the first of these was uniform, but the second proceeded according to difference, and the third, according to the infinite number of beings. But why of the three connective Gods, is the first empyrean, the second etherial, and the third material? It is because the first indeed subsists according to the one, and connectedly contains the one world. But the second subsists according to whole, and divides the etherial world. And the third according to the finite, and rules over material infinity. But why again, are the Teletarchs co-divided with the Synoches? Because the first having extremes governs like a charioteer the wing of fire. But the middle comprehending beginnings, ends and middles, perfects ether, which is also itself triple. And the third, which comprehends according to one union, the orbicular, the rectilinear, and the mixed figure, perfects unfigured and formless matter; giving form indeed (μορφωσας) to the inerratic sphere, and the first matter, by the orbicular; but to the planetary sphere, and the second matter, by the mixed figure. For the spiral is there. And it gives form to the sublunary region, and the last matter by the rectilinear. For the motions according to a right line are in this region. Hence, the first triad is uniformly the cause of the division of the worlds. But the second has a more abundant representation of section, and of progression into parts; yet does not exhibit to us the multitude of the worlds. And the third unfolds the seven worlds, and the monad together with two triads. So great is the divine conception of Plato, that from these things we may survey the causes of what after his time became apparent.
For this, indeed, from what has been said appears to be very admirable, that according to each of the triads, the middle is characteristic of the whole triad. Thus for instance, in the unknown triad, difference is established as the middle between the one and being. But in the connective triad whole is the characteristic, which is the middle of the one, and the finite. And in the perfective triad, the perfect is the characteristic, which is itself established as the middle of that which has extremes, and of figure. For difference is the feminine itself, and the prolific nature of the Gods. And whole is itself the form of connected comprehension, binding together many parts. And the perfect is itself the good of perfection, possessing a beginning, middle, and end, and conjoining the end to the beginning, according to the peculiarity of conversion. Being also nothing else than a perfect governor it is the cause of the peculiarity of these Gods subsisting every where according to the middle centres. Hence the whole order of the intelligible, and at the same time, intellectual Gods, may be surveyed as having its subsistence in the middle. For the intelligible Gods, indeed, are especially defined according to hyparxes and summits; on which account also, they are called fathers, and unical Gods. For the one and father are in them the same. But the intellectual Gods are defined according to ends or extremities; and on this account, all of them are denominated intellects and intellectual. The intelligible, and at the same time, intellectual Gods, however, being middles, especially present themselves to the view according to the middles of the triads.
Farther still, this also may be considered in common about all these triads, that each according to the end proceeds to infinity. For the end of the first triad is number; of the second, the infinite in multitude; and of the third, the rectilinear, which itself participates of the nature of the infinite. And of this the cause is, that each of the triads according to its extremity is carried as in a vehicle in the material worlds, and comprehends according to one cause the infinity of the natures that are generated in them. In addition, likewise, to what has been said, we may survey the order of the triads, from the ends that are in them. For the end of the first triad is number: but of the second, the finite and the infinite; and of the third, the orbicular, the mixed figure, and the rectilinear. It is evident, therefore, that the first triad is monadic; but the second dyadic; and the third triadic. And the first of these indeed is analogous to the one being; but the second to the intelligible whole; and the third, to the all-perfect whole. But that these have this order with respect to each other, has been before observed. In short, therefore, every intelligible, and at the same time intellectual triad, is according to its summit indeed conjoined to the intelligible; but according to its middle, unfolds its proper power; and according to its termination, comprehends the infinity of secondary natures. And here we shall end the doctrine concerning the intelligible and intellectual Gods.
- For αυτης it is necessary to read αυτων.
- It is necessary to supply in this place in the original, νοεϱοι θεοι.
- In the original, after και νουν in this sentence, it is necessary to supply νοητως και νοεϱως, το δε νοεϱον. And after νοερως, it is also requisite to supply και νοητως, as in the above translation.
- For τελειοτατοι it is necessary to read τελειοτητος.
- After την υπουϱανιαν αψιδα, it is obviously necessary to add και τον υπερουϱανιον τοπον.
- The sentence that immediately follows this in the original, is so defective, as to be perfectly unintelligible. I have not therefore, attempted to translate it.
- “The word τελετη or initiation,” says Hermeas, in his MS. Commentary on the Phædrus, “was so denominated from rendering the soul perfect. The soul therefore was once perfect. But here it is divided, and is not able to energize wholly by itself.” He adds: “But it is necessary to know that telete, muesis, and epopteia, τελετη, μυησις, and εποπτεια, differ from each other. Telete, therefore, is analogous to that which is preparatory to purifications. But muesis, which is so called from closing the eyes, is more divine. For to close the eyes in initiation is no longer to receive by sense those divine mysteries, but with the pure soul itself. And εποπτεια epopteia is to be established in, and become a spectator of the mysteries.”
- φυσει is omitted in the original.
- Instead of ως εν τοις πρωτιστοις νοητοις νοερος, it is necessary to read ως εν τοις πρωτιστοις νοεϱοις νοητος.
- For αυτην, it is necessary to read αυτοις.
- δε is omitted in the original, which the sense evidently requires to be inserted.
- For ενωσεως it is necessary to read νοησεως.
- Here also it is requisite to adopt the same reading as before, p. 252.
- Instead of κατα την πϱοσηκουσαν εκεινῃ, it seems requisite to read κατα την πϱοσηκουσαν αξιαν ωσπεϱ εκεινη, as in the translation.
- For εικων I read αιτιων.
- i. e. perfection proceeding everywhere.
- For κηρυγματι, it is necessary to read κηρυγμα τι.
- For νοητων, it is necessary to read νοερων.
- For συνεχον, it is necessary to read συνεχομενον.
- For των ολων it is necessary to read την ολην.
- i. e. That which connectedly contains.
- For εκατεϱον I read εκατεϱα, in order that it may agree with αψις.
- Viz. as forming the celestial profundity.
- For δυναμεων it is necessary to read δυναμεως.
- For πϱωτην it is necessary to read τϱιτην.
- For γονιμου it is necessary to read μονιμου.
- For εκεινη it is necessary to read συνεκτικη.
- For λογον it is necessary to read λογων.
- Here it is necessary to supply και την ουσιαν του ενος.
- Instead of ἢ μεθεξις, I read ἡ μεθεξις.
- It appears to me that the word προαγοι is wanting in the original, and I have therefore supplied it in the translation.
- It is requisite to supply in this place εν τῃ ακϱοτητι ταντῃ.
- For νοερων, it is necessary to read νοητων.
- For υπουρανια, it seems necessary that we should read ουρανια.
- In the original αϱιθμος is omitted.
- το αϱτιοπεϱισσον is omitted in the original.
- Instead of πανταχου γαϱ τα πϱωτιστα των υφισταμενων, την ιδιαν εχει μοϱφην, it is necessary to read πανταχου γαϱ τα πϱωτιστα των υφειμενων, των πϱοῦφισταμενων, την ιδιαν εχει μοϱφην.
- Instead of αλληλοις, I read αλλοις.
- Instead of απαγων ημας απο των νοητων επι την αισθητην φυσιν, it is necessary to read επαγων ημας επι των νοητων απο της αισθητης φυσεως.
- Every perpetually circulating body is called by Plato, a divine generated nature.
- εν τῃ ενεϱγειᾳ is omitted in the original.
- For αωνοτητος, it is necessary to read ιδιοτησος.
- το μικτον is omitted in the original.