PROCLUS

, an eminent philosopher and mathematician among the later Platonists, was born at Constantinople in the year 410, of parents who were both able and willing to provide for his instruction in all the various branches of learning and knowledge. He was first sent to Xanthus, a city of Lycia, to learn grammar: from thence to Alexandria, where he was under the best masters in rhetoric, philosophy, and mathematics: and from Alexandria he removed to Athens, where he attended the younger Plutarch, and Syrian, both of them celebrated philosophers. He succeeded the latter in| the government of the Platonic school at Athens; where he died in 485, at 75 years of age.

Marinus of Naples, who was his successor in the school, wrote his life; the first perfect copy of which was published, with a Latin version and notes, by Fabricius at Hamburgh, 1700, in 4to; and afterwards subjoined to his Bibliotheca Latina, 1703, in 8vo.

Proclus wrote a great number of pieces, and upon many different subjects; as, commentaries on philosophy, mathematics, and grammar; upon the whole works of Homer, Hesiod, and Plato's books of the republic: he wrote also on the construction of the Astrolabe. Many of his pieces are lost; some have been published; and a few remain still in manuscript only. Of the published, there are four very elegant hymns; one to the Sun, two to Venus, and one to the Muses. There are commentaries upon several pieces of Plato; upon the four books of Ptolomy's work de Judiciis Astrorum; upon the first book of Euclid's Elements; and upon Hesiod's Opera et Dies. There are also works of Proclus upon philosophical and astronomical subjects; particularly the piece De Sph<*>ra, which was published, 1620, in 4to, by Bainbridge, the Savilian professor of astronomy at Oxford. He wrote also 18 arguments against the Christians, which are still extant, and in which he attacks them upon the question, whether the world be eternal? the affirmative of which he maintains.

The character of Proclus is the same as that of all the later Platonists, who it seems were not less enthusiasts and madmen, than the Christians their contemporaries, whom they represented in this light. Proclus was not reckoned quite orthodox by his own order: he did not adhere so rigorously, as Julian and Porphyry, to the doctrines and principles of his master: “He had, says Cudworth, some peculiar fancies and whimsies of his own, and was indeed a confounder of the Platonic theology, and a mingler of much unintelligible stuff with it.”

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Entry taken from A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary, by Charles Hutton, 1796.

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PRINCIPAL
PRINGLE (Sir John)
PRISM
PRISMOID
PROBLEM
* PROCLUS
PROCYON
PRODUCING
PRODUCT
PROFILE
PROGRESSION