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human possibilities of the age to establish a philosophy of reality and life, and link therewith practical morality and religion.

With Plotinus, speculative interest was dominant. His pupil, Porphyry, set himself the task of uniting NeoPlatonism with the popular polytheism; yet he Porphyry. protested always against the grosser modes of superstition, and sought to reform religion through philosophy. Even more sharply than Plotinus, Porphyry set all virtue within the idea of purification, and held to ascetic abstention from sense-pleasure. He disapproved

the popular modes of worship, denouncing animal sacrifices. God is to be honored through recognition and imitation of his nature. He needs nothing beside himself; the wise man needs only God; the true temple of God is the wise man's soul. God is to be approached in silence; for even audible words, pertaining as they do to things sensible, are too impure for him. Yet the gods of lower rank may be called on in words, though only the Good should be asked from them, for that alone is of their nature. But Porphyry bends to popular religious practices in admitting that these lower gods may be worshipped with bloodless gifts; and he stoops still further through the admission that evil dæmons should be propitiated by customary theurgic rites, at least by the State in the interest of the whole community. In these propitiations wise men need take no part; for evil dæmons have no power over pure souls. Practically, Porphyry's intended religious reform would extend only to the wise minority; let them have purer modes of worship. As for the State and the people, let the usual worship go on, and each man honor God after the custom of his country.

In the next generation the man of overweening authority in the School, and in the polytheistic world, was Porphyry's pupil, the Syrian Iamblichus, no philosophic thinker, but a setter forth and inculcator of religion, or rather of all forms of superstition and magical prac


Iamblichus; the Philosophy of Super


His philosophy consisted in attempted justification of every practice of polytheism. The help of the gods, more than philosophy, is needed to purify men's souls; men may look to religion for everything, since the gods bring everything about; how, we know not, but must believe that everything is possible to them. And as superrationality was predicated by Plotinus of the nature of the absolute First God and man's apprehension of it, so Iamblichus brought down this principle to the natures and actions of his innumerable gods and dæmons, alleging that the logical principle of contradiction did not apply to them or their functions,-a philosophic way of justifying every absurdity'

Iamblichus had many scholars; his school flourished and his memory expanded after his death. Thereafter came methodical thinkers at Athens, where Greek philosophy went to die. This latter-day Athenian school, among whom is the name of Proclus, endeavored to bring Neo-Platonism and its forerunners to systematic presentation. Attention was paid to Aristotle as a preparation for Plato; but perhaps the Orphic Mysteries held the supreme place of honor. Proclus was a scholastic dialectician, arranging and discussing all the philosophic past, deeply learned, given to asceticism and devotional practices. To him the dialogues of Plato were revelation, like the poems of Homer or the Oracles. The weakness of his understanding shows in his setting Plato with Iamblichus. It was fitting that the last breath of Greek philosophy should pass at Athens—it had indeed passed, only its veriest phantom lingered when Justinian closed the schools of philosophy in the year of grace 529.

There is no reason to think that the religious beliefs and superstitions of the uneducated classes throughout

1 See Ueberweg, Hist. of Philosophy, i, p. 254.

This at least was stated in the book De Mysteriis, a work of one of Iamblichus' pupils.

2 Zeller, ib., 3, p. 683.

Abidingness of


Italy and the rest of the Roman world had weakened in the last century of the Republic and the first decades of the Empire. The abidingness of religious feeling made the strength of the GræcoRoman polytheism. It was the system handed down from times long past, and would not have become what it was, had it not been suited to the peoples among whom it existed. It continued to evolve new forms of deification; it had unlimited capacity for adopting heterogeneous foreign elements; and it proved its enduring strength by its long contest with Christianity, a strength which consisted in habits of thought and daily life and recreation as much as in definite beliefs. Early in the histories of both Greece and Rome, Oriental elements had been taken into the received religion. At Rome, successive foreign importations were at first decried or forbidden as pernicious superstitions; in the end they fastened themselves upon the accepted religion, and acquired respect as part of it, and that too despite the opposition between the Greek and Roman spirit and the mysterious ceremonies, ascetic purification, and ecstatic abandonment usual with Oriental cults. The extreme excesses of these cults were mitigated on the soil of Greece and Italy; the originally Oriental conceptions of deity became Hellenized. This is true of earlier as well as later periods. In the later times of the pagan Empire the Persian Mithra became the Sun, and Astarte became the Heavenly Juno,' just as probably, many centuries before, Istar-Astarte had been Hellenized to Aphrodite.

Not only did polytheism retain its strength in the first centuries of the Empire, but a religious reaction set in. Among the influences promoting it, were the growth of feeling and those moods and thoughts of Neo

I See Friedlander, Römische Sittengeschichte, 6th ed., iii, pp. 507-607 for the pagan religious condition.

* See Friedlander, ib., iii, 534, etc.

Platonism which came from the perceived inadequacy of the mind to sustain itself by force of its own reason and satisfy the whole of man, as well as from desire

of the Religious Revival.

to supplement mortality with lasting life. Character This religious revival showed itself markedly among men heretofore given to philosophic speculation and to regulating their lives according to rules of conduct based on reason. Possibly religious thought in Greece and Italy might have remained at a higher level had not the wise, in turning from religion to philosophy, left religion to be moulded to the taste of women and the common people. As it was, when the educated classes turned again to religion, they were themselves in a mood reactionary against reason; and they were lacking in the union of sober thought with earnest religiousness, so marked in many Greeks of the greater periods, as in Eschylus, for instance, or Socrates. The Latin, still more the Greek literature of the second century shows religious feeling coming to that prevalence which it reached in the century following. It was no lofty mode of religion that was spreading, but rather tendencies to seek help and guidance in ways according with the cruder conceptions of supernatural aid and revelation. Never was there more general belief in oracles, in dreams, in omens, and astrology. The literature becomes filled with tales of dreams come true and disclosings of the future; and with tales of miraculous cures and callings back from death.' The desire was universal to see into the future and penetrate the secrets of nature or supernature by other means than reason. Hence came a passion for those mysterious eastern cults which disclosed the unknown, and gave magic control over superhuman agencies. Magicians, sorcerers, from being held disreputable witches, became imposing figures, making grave pretence to superhuman natures as well as powers. There took place a growth in the belief in dæmons with a dog. 1 See Friedlander, ib., iii, 551, etc.

matic development of it, which may be found in Plutarch, in Neo-Pythagoreanism and Neo-Platonism. And finally it became the custom to accept all deities that were imagined anywhere, keep open house for all the gods of all the world, although the universal votary might especially cultivate those gods more intimately connected with himself, his family, locality, or state.'

Julian and


Among the adherents of Neo-Platonism was that interesting person who, in view of his abilities, his zeal, and his great station in the world, may be taken as an embodiment of the pagan revival directed by special opposition to Christianity. Julian received Christian instruction under circumstances calculated to foster in him a hatred for everything Christian. That faith was held by the man at whose direction Julian's brother had been put to death, whose suspicions held Julian himself a hostage, and whose commands subjected him to instruction in the Christian faith. While forced to smile approval at persons and things detestable, he studied as he might the rhetoric and philosophy he loved, all of which with the religious and other traditions of the great pagan past he posited in his mind under the name of Hellenism. For Julian in

thought and sympathy was a Hellene rather than a Roman; and the polytheistic revival of which he was the soul was more general in the Hellenic East than in the Latin West.

Julian was a keen-minded man of versatile abilities. Study had been his recourse against the anxieties and tedium of his captivity. Philosophy had given him many thoughts; rhetoric had made him a facile writer. Save that he came of a race of generals, there was no reason to expect the signal military talents which he showed in Gaul, nor the administrative energy of his imperial rule. He was not above the superstitions of his

1 See Friedlander, ib., iii, p. 516, etc.

2 See Boissier, Fin du Paganisme, i, p. 109, etc.

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