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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Porphyry (c. 234–c. 305)

Porphyry (por-fī’rē-us). A celebrated Neo-Platonic philosopher; born at Batanea, Syria, about 234 A.D.; died at Rome, about 305 A.D. He was a disciple first of Longinus, then of Plotinus, whose works he edited, and whom he succeeded as master of a school of philosophy at Rome. But few of his writings have come down to us. He wrote a ‘History of Philosophy,’ to which probably belongs the extant ‘Life of Pythagoras.’ Some fragments of his work against the Christian religion—condemned to the flames by the emperor Theodosius II. in 453—are preserved in the writing of his adversaries. We have his tractate ‘On Abstinence from Animal Food’; also his ‘Homeric Questions,’ in 32 chapters; his ‘Epistle to Marcella’ on the right conduct of life; his letter to the Egyptian priest Anebon in condemnation of magic and theurgy; ‘Introduction to Philosophy,’ in which the question of realism and nominalism is first mooted; ‘On Deriving a Philosophy from Oracles’; and ‘On the Cave of the Nymphs.’