Jamblicus

, a native of Chalcis in Ccelosyria, an eminent philosopher, flourished about the beginning of the fourth century, and was the scholar first of Anatolius, and afterwards of Porphyry. Having become perfect master of the mysteries of the Piotinian system, he taught it with great credit and success, and gained the profound reverence of his scholars by certain wonders which he professed to perform, by means of an intercourse with invisible beings. His writings discover extensive reading, but his style is deficient in accuracy and elegance, and he borrows freely from other writers, particularly Porphyry, without the smallest acknowledgment. His philosophical works are | exceedingly obscure, but valuable as authentic documents respecting the Alexandrian school. Those extant are, “The Life of Pythagoras” “An exhortation to the study of Philosophy” “Three books on Mathematical learning” “A commentary upon Nicomachus’s Institutes of Arithmetic,” and a “Treatise on the Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians.” The time and place of his death are uncertain; but it appears probable that he died about the year 333. This Jarnblicus must be distinguished from the person of the same name, to whom the emperor Julian dedicates his epistles; for Julian was scarcely born at the time when Porphyry’s successor died.

The school of Jamblicus produced many eclectic philosophers, who were dispersed through various parts of the Roman empire. But the fate of one of their number, Sopater, who was put to death by order of the emperor (probably for insidious practices against the peace of the state), and the discredit into which the Pagan theology was now, through the general spread of Christianity, almost universally fallen, induced these philosophers to propagate their tenets, and practise their mysteries, with caution and concealment. In this state of depression the sect continued through the reigns of Constantine and Constantius. But under the emperor Julian, who apostatised from the Christian faith, the Alexandrian sect revived, and again flourished in great vigour. The best editions of Jamblicus’s works are those “De Myst. Ægypt. Chald. et Assyr. necnon et alii Tractatus Philosophici,” printed by Aldus, at Venice, 1497, fol. “De Myst Ægypt, necnon Porphyrii Epistola, &.c. Gr. et Lat. ex Interpretatione et cum Notis Thomae Gale,” Oxon. 1678, fol.; and “De Vita Pythag. Liber. Gr. et Lat. ex emendatione et cum notis Ludolphi Kusteri,” Amster. 1707, 4to. 1

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Brucker. Lardner’s Works, Fabric. Bibl. Grace. —Saxii Onomast.