Timaeus of Locri ( // ; Ancient Greek : Τίμαιος ὁ Λοκρός, romanized: Tímaios ho Lokrós; Latin : Timaeus Locrus) is a character in two of Plato's dialogues, Timaeus and Critias . In both, he appears as a philosopher of the Pythagorean school. If there ever existed a historical Timaeus of Locri, he would have lived in the fifth century BC, but his historicity is dubious since he only appears as a literary figure in Plato's works; all other ancient sources are either based on Plato or are fictional accounts.
In Plato's works, Timaeus appears as a wealthy aristocrat from the Greek colony of Lokroi Epizephyrioi (present-day Locri in Calabria) in Magna Graecia, who had served in high offices in his native town before coming to Athens, where the dialogue of Timaeus is set. Plato does not explicitly label Timaeus a Pythagorean, but leaves enough hints for the reader to infer this. He appears competent in all areas of ancient philosophy, especially natural philosophy and astronomy.
In antiquity, Timaeus's historical existence was beyond dispute. Cicero reports that Plato traveled to Italy to study with Timaeus and other Pythagoreans.The report of this meeting led Macrobius, a writer of late antiquity, to conclude that Timaeus could not have been in a face-to-face dialogue with Socrates, who, by Timaeus's time, was long dead. Iamblichus lists Timaeus among the notable members of the Pythagorean school. Diogenes Laërtius in his Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers , suggests that the character of Timaeus was based on the Pythagorean Philolaus. Further references to Timaeus are found in Proclus, Commentary on Plato's Timaeus (II, 38, I); in commentaries on Aristotle by Simplicius; and in Porphyry, where Timaeus mentions the house of Pythagoras in Croton.
Modern scholarship tends to dismiss Timaeus's historicity, : 83 ff. As a counterargument, it has been pointed out that most characters appearing in Plato's dialogues are in fact historical persons.treating him as a literary figure constructed by Plato from features of the Pythagoreans known to him, such as Archytas. The main reason for assigning the status of a literary fiction to Timaeus is the lack of any information that does not stem ultimately from Plato's dialogues.
A work in Doric Greek entitled On the Nature of the World and the Soul (Ancient Greek : Περὶ φύσιος κόσμω καὶ ψυχᾶς, romanized: Peri phýsios kósmō kai psychās), also called the Timaeus Locrus after its purported author, starts out by declaring that: "Timaeus of Locri said the following", and proceeds to summarize the theories that Timaeus defends in Plato's Timaeus. The book has been preserved fully, in more than fifty manuscripts. : 76 ff. It is mostly consistent with Plato; : 1205–20 it notably omits the Theory of Forms.
On the World and the Soul was first mentioned in sources of the second century AD (Nicomachus and the commentary on Timaeus by Calvisius Taurus) and its authenticity was not doubted in antiquity. The work was even believed to have been a main source for Plato's dialogue; a rumor dating back to the third century BC held that Plato's Timaeus was plagiarized from a Pythagorean book, and this became connected to the Timaeus Locrus.
Modern philology has shown that On the World and the Soul is a pseudepigraphon from somewhere between the early first century BC : 1–3, 20–26 : 3–7 The Pseudo-Timaeus employs a simplified mode of reasoning and presentation, presenting conclusions rather than arguments and omitting any dialogue, meaning that it was perhaps intended as a summary of the notoriously difficult original for use in a classroom setting. While it may have originated in part as a set of lecture notes to the Platonic original, it tends to omit difficult sections of the Timaeus rather than provide explanations. Some of Pseudo-Timaeus's theses are very hard to understand without knowledge of Plato's work. : 1219–1221to the early first century AD, and is based on Plato's Timaeus, rather than the other way around.
On the World and the Soul shows traces of middle Platonist ideas and terminology; in particular, it resembles works by Eudorus of Alexandria and Philo, making it plausible that the author lived in Alexandria and was familiar with Eudorus's philosophy. : 20–26 He modernized the natural philosophy of Plato's Timaeus by incorporating insights from Hellenistic astronomy and medicine.
The book also appears to incorporate material from one or more now-lost commentaries on Timaeus. R. Harder hypothesized that the composition of On the World and the Soul was a two-step process, whereby Pseudo-Timaeus, the author of the preserved version of the book, would have edited an earlier, Hellenistic variant of Timaeus. : 1220–1226 Th. Tobin, by contrast, believes the work to have been composed at once, then translated into Doric. : 17–19
On the Nature of the World and the Soul was known to the Neoplatonists Iamblichus, Syrianus, Proclus, and Simplicius. : 88–110 The work of Pseudo-Timaeus supported the widely held Neoplatonist conviction that Pythagoreanism and Platonism constituted a singular theory, reflecting the pseudonymous author's intention of placing Plato in the Pythagorean tradition.
Giorgio Valla, in the fifteenth century, translated On the Nature of the World and the Soul into Latin. His translation was printed in Venice in 1498. The Greek text appeared as part of Aldo Manuzio's collected works of Plato, first published in 1513 and reprinted many times. In the sixteenth century, it was considered a Vorlage of the Timaeus (so in Henri Estienne's edition) and often printed along with the works of Plato.
The Suda and various scholia on Plato's Timaeus ascribe to Timaeus of Locri a work entitled Mathēmatiká, of which nothing else is known. This is possibly a false attribution, confusing Timaeus with an astronomer bearing the same name. He is also reported to have authored a biography of Pythagoras, but this may be a confusion with the historian Timaeus of Tauromenium, who devoted part of his history to Pythagoras's life and work.
In the Platonic, Neopythagorean, Middle Platonic, and Neoplatonic schools of philosophy, the demiurge is an artisan-like figure responsible for fashioning and maintaining the physical universe. The Gnostics adopted the term demiurge. Although a fashioner, the demiurge is not necessarily the same as the creator figure in the monotheistic sense, because the demiurge itself and the material from which the demiurge fashions the universe are both considered consequences of something else. Depending on the system, they may be considered either uncreated and eternal or the product of some other entity.
Plato was an ancient Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. In Athens, Plato founded the Academy, a philosophical school where he taught the philosophical doctrines that would later become known as Platonism. Plato was a pen name derived, apparently, from the nickname given to him by his wrestling coach – allegedly a reference to his physical broadness. According to Alexander of Miletus quoted by Diogenes of Sinope his actual name was Aristocles, son of Ariston, of the deme Collytus.
Pythagoras of Samos was an ancient Ionian Greek philosopher, polymath and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graecia and influenced the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and, through them, the West in general. Knowledge of his life is clouded by legend, but he appears to have been the son of Mnesarchus, a gem-engraver on the island of Samos or the city of Tyre. Modern scholars disagree regarding Pythagoras's education and influences, but they do agree that, around 530 BC, he travelled to Croton in southern Italy, where he founded a school in which initiates were sworn to secrecy and lived a communal, ascetic lifestyle. This lifestyle entailed a number of dietary prohibitions, traditionally said to have included vegetarianism, although modern scholars doubt that he ever advocated complete vegetarianism; he was said to have advised athletes to "feast on flesh" exclusively.
Proclus Lycius, called Proclus the Successor, was a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher, one of the last major classical philosophers of late antiquity. He set forth one of the most elaborate and fully developed systems of Neoplatonism and, through later interpreters and translators, exerted an influence on Byzantine philosophy, Early Islamic philosophy, and Scholastic philosophy.
Crantor of Soli was a Ancient Greek philosopher and member of the Old Academy who was the first philosopher to write commentaries on the works of Plato.
Philolaus was a Greek Pythagorean and pre-Socratic philosopher. He was born in a Greek colony in Italy and migrated to Greece. Philolaus has been called one of three most prominent figures in the Pythagorean tradition and the most outstanding figure in the Pythagorean school. Pythagoras developed a school of philosophy that was dominated by both mathematics and mysticism. Most of what is known today about the Pythagorean astronomical system is derived from Philolaus's views. He may have been the first to write about Pythagorean doctrine. According to August Böckh (1819), who cites Nicomachus, Philolaus was the successor of Pythagoras.
Pythagoreanism originated in the 6th century BC, based on and around the teachings and beliefs held by Pythagoras and his followers, the Pythagoreans. Pythagoras established the first Pythagorean community in the ancient Greek colony of Kroton, in modern Calabria (Italy). Early Pythagorean communities spread throughout Magna Graecia.
Timaeus is one of Plato's dialogues, mostly in the form of long monologues given by Critias and Timaeus, written c. 360 BC. The work puts forward reasoning on the possible nature of the physical world and human beings and is followed by the dialogue Critias.
Neopythagoreanism was a school of Hellenistic and Roman philosophy which revived Pythagorean doctrines. Neopythagoreanism was influenced by middle Platonism and in turn influenced Neoplatonism. It originated in the 1st century BC and flourished during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition describes Neopythagoreanism as "a link in the chain between the old and the new" within Hellenistic philosophy. Central to Neopythagorean thought was the concept of a soul and its inherent desire for a unio mystica with the divine.
Critias, supposedly one of Plato's late dialogues, recounts the story of the mighty island kingdom Atlantis and its attempt to conquer Athens, which failed due to the ordered society of the Athenians. Critias is the second of a projected trilogy of dialogues, preceded by Timaeus and followed by Hermocrates. The latter was possibly never written and the ending to Critias has been lost. Because of their resemblance, modern classicists occasionally combine both Timaeus and Critias as Timaeus-Critias.
Timaeus is a Greek name. It may refer to:
Moderatus of Gades was a Greek philosopher of the Neopythagorean school, who lived in the 1st century AD. He was a contemporary of Apollonius of Tyana. He wrote a great work on the doctrines of the Pythagoreans, and tried to show that the successors of Pythagoras had made no additions to the views of their founder, but had merely borrowed and altered the phraseology.
Platonism is the philosophy of Plato and philosophical systems closely derived from it, though contemporary Platonists do not necessarily accept all doctrines of Plato. Platonism had a profound effect on Western thought. In its most basic fundamentals, Platonism affirms the existence of abstract objects, which are asserted to exist in a third realm distinct from both the sensible external world and from the internal world of consciousness, and is the opposite of nominalism. This can apply to properties, types, propositions, meanings, numbers, sets, truth values, and so on. Philosophers who affirm the existence of abstract objects are sometimes called Platonists; those who deny their existence are sometimes called nominalists. The terms "Platonism" and "nominalism" also have established senses in the history of philosophy. They denote positions that have little to do with the modern notion of an abstract object.
Numenius of Apamea was a Greek philosopher, who lived in Apamea in Syria and Rome, and flourished during the latter half of the 2nd century AD. He was a Neopythagorean and forerunner of the Neoplatonists.
Calcidius was a 4th-century philosopher who translated the first part of Plato's Timaeus from Greek into Latin around the year 321 and provided with it an extensive commentary. This was likely done for Bishop Hosius of Córdoba. Very little is otherwise known of him.
This page is a list of topics in ancient philosophy.
David Neil Sedley FBA is a British philosopher and historian of philosophy. He was the seventh Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Cambridge University.
Eudorus of Alexandria was an ancient Greek philosopher, and a representative of Middle Platonism. He attempted to reconstruct Plato's philosophy in terms of Pythagoreanism.
Many interpreters of Plato held that his writings contain passages with double meanings, called allegories, symbols, or myths, that give the dialogues layers of figurative meaning in addition to their usual literal meaning. These allegorical interpretations of Plato were dominant for more than fifteen hundred years, from about the 1st century CE through the Renaissance and into the 18th century, and were advocated by major Platonist philosophers such as Plotinus, Porphyry, Syrianus, Proclus, and Marsilio Ficino. Beginning with Philo of Alexandria, these views influenced the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic interpretation of these religions' respective sacred scriptures. They spread widely during the Renaissance and contributed to the fashion for allegory among poets such as Dante Alighieri, Edmund Spenser, and William Shakespeare.
The Italian School of Pre-Socratic philosophy refers to Ancient Greek philosophers in Italy or Magna Graecia in the 6th and 5th century BC. The doxographer Diogenes Laërtius divides pre Socratic philosophy into the Ionian and Italian School. According to classicist Jonathan Barnes, "Although the Italian 'school' was founded by émigrés from Ionia, it quickly took on a character of its own." According to classicist W. K. C. Guthrie, it contrasted with the "materialistic and purely rational Milesians."