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Stoicism in Plotinus' "Enneads" VI 9,1


Author(s): P. A. Meijer
Source: Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica, New Series, Vol. 30, No. 3 (1988), pp. 61-76
Published by: Fabrizio Serra editore
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Stoicism in Plotinus' Enneads VI 9,1


P. A. Meijer

as
E. Br?hier describes
the treatise VI 9 of the Enneads
Although
"le plus clair" and "le plus classique",
there are a number
of obscure
For some of them we already have
passages which need to be explained.
a tradition

in the works
find solutions
of E. Br?
of interpretation. We
van
V. Cuento3,
hier \ R. Harder2,
and M.
Winden5,
J. Igal4, J.C.M.
as
as
in
P.
H.-R.
the
and
edition
of
well
(abbr.
Puelma6,
Henry
Schwyzer
H. Schw.)7
and in a translation
8.1 propose
like the one of S. MacKenna
to concentrate

1 (VI 9, l-17a), which


the pr?ambule
of chapter
has
studied by K. Reinhardt9, W. Theiler
R.E.
Witt
A.
H.
10,
n,
12
most
13.
A.
and
Graeser
These
scholars
focused
Armstrong
recently by
on the question
in the
their attention
of the extent of Stoic influence
already been

1E.
Br?hier, Plotin, Enn?ades VI2, Paris 1938, p. 163.

R. Harder,
Plotins
Schriften,
a
b.
short
170-207,1
Commentary,

3V.

pp.

(short, mostly

linguistic

notes),

pp.

238-248.

J. Igal, 'Commentaria in Plotini De Bono sive Uno librum (Enn.VI 9)', Helm?n

tica 22,
5

pp. 273-303.
van Winden,
173, pp. 61-62.

1971,
J.C.M.

1962,

and Translation,

C?ento, Plotino, Enneadi, Bari 1947-1948, III 1Translation, pp. 418-438; III 2

Commentary

a. Text

1956-19712,1
Hamburg
pp. 466-489.

p.
6
M.

'A Crucial

Passage

in Plot.

Enn.

VI

9, 7', Mnemosyne

15,

zu Plotin
Enn. VI9
(keqi x' ayaikyu
'Vorschl?ge
f\ xov ?vo?)', Mus.
Ein Nachtrag',
Mus. Helv.
and id., 'Zu Plotin VI9.
37, 1980,
1979, pp. 90-100
pp. 133-134.
7
P. Henry
H.
R. Schwyzer,
Plotini
Paris-Bruxelles
1951-1973
(VI 9
Opera,
in 1973). See also their Oxford-edition,
omnia III, Oxford
1982.
Plotini.
appeared
Opera
8
S. MacKenna,
1969 4.
Plotinus
the Enneads,
revised by B.S. Page, London

Helv.

Puelma,

36,

9 K.

Reinhardt, Kosmos und Sympathie, Munich

10
W. Theiler,
11
R.E. Witt,

1926.

Die

des Neuplatonismus,
Berlin
19642, pp. 97, 98.
Vorbereitung
and Posidonius',
Class. Quart.
'Plotinus
24, 1930, pp. 198-207,
spec.

203.

12A. H.
Armstrong, The Architecture of the Intelligible Universe in the Philosophy
of Plotinus, Cambridge 1940 (Amsterdam 1967), spec. p. 79.
13
A. Graeser,

Plotinus

and

the Stoics,

Leiden

1972,

pp.

72-75.

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62

P.A. Meijer

and of
pr?ambule
himself.
Plotinus
The Pr?ambule

the significance

(VI 9, 1,1-17a;

of

I follow

this

influence

the numbering

in the thought

of H.

of

Schw.)

1. Introduction
x? ?vta ico ?v? ?axiv ?vxa, boa xe jtouVcco? ?axiv ?vxa,
n?vta
xai ?aa ?jtoooo?jv X?yexai ?v xo?? oij?lv e?vca. T? y?o ?v xai e?n,, et
xo? ?v ? X?yexai o?jx ?oxiv
\i?] ?v 8?T); 'Ejteijieo ?c^atQeo?vxa
et
?xe?va. Ouxe y?o oxoax??
?axiv,
\ir\ ?v ?oxai, oi3xe x??o? ovxe
?v
?vxa.
'AXX'
otj??
oixia
?yehi] fxf]
f\ vax)? x? ?v o?jx exovxa, ?rcei
jteo f| o?x?a ?v xai f| va??, ? ei ajro?aXoi,
oi3x' ?v f| o?x?a ?xi o?x?a
ouxe f| vafi?. Ta xoivuv ovvE%f\ \iBy?Qr], ei jif] x? ?v a?xo?? Jtaoeir],
ovK ?v e?/n/ xjirio?vxa yo?v, xa?oaov
x? ?v ajt?Muaiv,
?Xkaooei
xo eivai. Kai ?f) xai x? x v fyvxibv xai ?cp v o?)\iaxa ?v ?vxa ?xa
axa et c^enyoi x? ?v ei? JtMjooc Boimx?jieva,
xfjv o?aiav airc v, f\v
a
?vxa
aXka
?jccoXeaev
??
xai ?xeiva
o?x?xi
yevoiieva
fjv,
e?xev,
?aa ?v ?axi. Kai f| iryieia ??, ?xav ei? ?v anvxax?rj x? aa)|ia, xai
?xav f| xov ?v?? x? ji?Qia xax?axTl
xaMo?,
<jn>ai?*xai ?oexr) ??
?v
?xav
xai
ei?
ei? jx?av ?^oXoy?av
?vco0f]. *Aq' o?v,
tyuxfic,
xai JiX?xxonaa
?jtei?f| ipDxf) x? Jt?vxa ei? ?v ?yei ormionoyouaa
?jri xa?xnv ?X,8ovxa? ?e? ?iyeiv,
xai no?(()o{)aa xai awtaxxonaa
? anxr] x? ?v xognyei xai avxr\ ?axi x? ?v;
a series of entities
we encounter
In the pr?ambule
that all display
some kind of unity. Lines l-14a provide examples
of somatic unity, whe
reas 14b-17a demonstrate
non-somatic
unity. It is here that we find a
to the level of the psyche. The psyche is the first entity not only
transition
to demonstrate
but also to bestow unity, and we might
therefore be tem
to regard it as the One itself, which,
of the subject. Within
quent treatment

pted

as such, is rejected in the subse


the framework
of our problem

(the determination of Stoic influence in the pr?ambule) it is first of all


lines

l-14a

reafter

that deserve

I intend

our attention.

to speak about

lines

I shall call them complex


II.
14b-17a, complex

I. The

2. Three Types of Unity in Complex I


to demonstrate
lines Plotinus
does his utmost
the unity
in the case of several somatic entities. He dwells emphati
which
emerges
to be
is supposed
of how the unity of the entities
cally on the question
we
to
existence
entities.
for
the
of
those
First
have
distin
responsible
In these

guish

three

types.

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Stoicism in Plotinus'Enneads VI 9,1

63

shows the effect of unity on a choir, a


Type A. In type A Plotinus
14, ie. the arrange
flock, or an army. Without
unity in terms of syntaxis
an
ment of individuals
into a useful military
army is nothing
formation,

but a hotch potch of single individuals,which hardly deserves the title of

?
a flock, a choir, an army ?
occur elsewhere
in
army. These examples
as they are here 15.
but not as fully and carefully elaborated
Plotinus,
They appear to have a standard form, but in the pr?ambule
they are sub
a
more
to
since
into the
fit
eleborated
treatment,
jected
they
completely
to the unique unity of the One.
a more
intensive unity
Type B (6-19). A house or a ship displays
an army for example,
built up from distant elements,
than in A. Unlike
character. Hence
have a continuous
they are formed by unities which
systematic

Plotinus'
a house

ascent

characteristic:
and a ship.

Type C (11-14).

x? ouvexn
It is now

[ley??fri. The

that Plotinus

standard

examples

are

up with a class with


and living creatures x? x

comes

of plants
still stronger unity: the organisms
qxuxcov xai ?(?kdv acbjxaxa). The form of unity here is expressed
by the
8V ?vxa and the unity is far more obvious
than in types A and B.
words

3. Unity and Being


to Plotinus

According

unity

and being

(existence)

chable bond. In the 3 types of unity mentioned


can be detected

by examining

loss of unity

what

have

an unrea

the effect of this unity


entails

for the existence

of the entities distinguished as typesA, B and C.


Type A. After having stated that all beings are through unity, both
in the case of primary beings and in the case of all those lower beings that
?
can still be regarded as beings ?
in other words down to matter
Plo
"For what could be, if itwas
tinus asks in a somewhat
rhetorical manner:

14Cf. VI
6, 13, 19 ei? ?v xexay^?vou?.

15

In Reinhardt,

op.

cit. p. 38 other

examples

occur

which

we

do not

find

in Ploti

nus. In Plotinus (V5,4,31) we have: A house displays a greater unity than an army and in
VI2, 10, 1-4 Plotinus distinguishes the unity presenting and manifesting itself in a thing
(x? xi ?v) from the One. Every kind of unity is essentially and basically plurality. Then
the one

operates

just as it does
VI

in the case

of

an army,

not
It is possible
6, 13,
also in the case of a house, where
18-26.

a choir

etc. Which
to see oneness

are one

and

in manifol

many,
only
simultaneously
as in an army, but
ismuch more
conspi
plurality
intense. Undivided
and at the same time unity much more
cuous,
(em xov
unity
(if) jieqi
See also Graeser,
than the latter form of unity.
ranks higher
op. cit. p. 74.
oxou)
dness,

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64

P.A. Meijer

not one

a
1<s?
For ifwe deprive all these entities of their unity (acpaiQeiv,
term embracing
all types) namely the one that is said of them (this
17
refers to the type of unity)
expression
they are no longer what
they
were before being deprived
If it is not one, an
of their unity (?xe?va).
army or a flock is nothing".
wide

as a specific
category by ak\'
Type B. This type is distinguished
o?)??. To this class (ship, house) we can also apply the rule that its mem
bers exist through unity. If we cut the compounds
into the original pie
ces (x\i?]$?vxa
in
B
in
which
type
extremely
apposite
unity is built up of
continuous

pieces)
they modify
loose parts on their own.

gle,

their being,

i. e. they are reduced

to sin

Type C. This type is distinguished as a specific class by xai of] xai.


of living plants or living creatures,
each being one (?v
to
loose
their
into
and
?vxa),
unity
pieces
split
they loose at the
same time their essence no longer being what
were.
they
They become
matter
from which
the essence has disappeared
In my opinion
(o?oia).
If the bodies
come

this goes much further and is to be considered more radical than what
is
xo eivai
in type B. Plotinus
called aXkaooEiv
adds in the same breath:
"but they have become
other things (just as in the case of A and B) ?
even

are one". I read this addition


those things which
in a different man
a
comma
a
to Harder
who
?vxa
after
18,
puts
high
f|v, and prefer a
comma
on
same
H.
I
the
level as ?vxa a f|v,
(with
Schw.).
put yevojieva
more
to
to refer to o?>\iaxa
believe xai
and finally
force, ?xe?va
give
ooa ?v ?axi to the qualification
i. e. ?v ?vxa ?xaaxa. We
of 0(h\iaxay
ner

a completely
different
statement,
sentence:
Harder
renders
the
satisfactory.

thus get

16
Harder
He

takes

es nicht
other

Jt?vxa
eines

thing

one which
"Indem

I regard as more
sie dann etwas ande

makes
the sentence
otherwise,
though
translating
quite understandable.
as subject of
x? ?vxa
es sein, wenn
instead
xi:
"Denn was k?nnte
of
e??|
I assume
ist?". Yet
us to understand
some
that Plotinus
himself
intends

and does

not wish

to tell us what

Harder

will

have

us understand.

In VI9,

2,

15 Plotinus says: ?XX' ekeyev o XcVyo?, et ?icoXei ?xaaxov x? ?v, \ir\?? eaecrfrai x?
iraocutav.
This
refers to the pr?ambule.
It implies
that every thing, loo
logos obviously
cannot
but mean
"exist" because
of x? jmo?jtav
(?oecr?m
stops to exist
sing its unity,
and n-T|??). In my view we have here a decisive
in support
of Br?hier's
rende
argument
s'il n'?tait un?".
ring (op. cit. 170): "Quel ?tre existerait,
17
I assume
are generally
that the words
?v ? X?yexai
misunderstood.
They denote
the type of unity, which
is different
from stage to stage. Support
is provi
for my opinion
ded

in n. 20.
18
Harder,

op. cit. I a. p.

171.

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Stoicism in Plotinus Enneads VI 9,1

65

res geworden,
sind sie aber auch das nur soweit die Eines
sind" 19.The
are
were
into
which
unified,
parts. But here,
organisms
split
originally
to
now
the
of
the
shattered
too, according
Harder,
parts of
again
unity
is again responsible
the organism
for their being something
other, i.e. a
new entity (e.g. an arm, the branch of a tree). In this way a new idea,
to types A and B and alien to them, is introduced.
In these
no
was
in
is
of
the
What
the
way emphasized.
types
unity
original parts
is
the loss of the entity composed
of the original parts when
emphasized
to
unity is lost. It does not seem very likely to me, that Plotinus wished

different

about the so-called unity of arms, branches


and so on, but
say something
that comes to loose its unity. If
rather about the nature of the organism
we take the text in the sense given, we hear something
about the status of
are no longer what they were before,
the desintegrated
organisms, which
but which became other things (arms, branches)
just as in the case of the
as such
A
in
and
the
of
the
which
B,
types
original elements
examples
return through loss of unity. Plotinus
of the
actually says that something
of type C, although
this was not
also occurs in the case of organisms
to be expected,
form such an inte
the parts of those organisms
because
a greater degree of unity is invol
grated whole with the organism. Here

kind

than in type B, where unity is characterized


by ?v ?^ovxa, whereas
is
?v
?vxa.
C
characterized
type
by
But even organisms with such a high degree of unity and coherence
fall into pieces when
loosing their unity and even the entities which were

ved

are no longer what they were.


(?v ?vxa),
can be raised against Harders's
'Exe?va
view.
Other
objections
come into existence
can hardly refer to the parts which
after being split.
in their original
ismuch more
This word
likely to refer to the organisms
state of unity. One argument
is ?xe?va of line 4: eke?keq ?cpaiQ8?>?vxa
xov ?v ? ?iyexai
too ?xeiva obviously
o?x ?oxiv ?xeiva. Here
refers to
one

the orginal parts. This view


?v ?oxi are added to ?xeiva.
tic feature

of the bodies

by the fact that the words ?oa


refer to the characteris
undoubtedly

is supported

They
of line 11: 0(b\iaxa

?v ?vxa

?xaaxa.

This

pro

19
se
en d'autres
"il (singular!)
?tres, qui
op. cit. p. 170 translates:
Br?hier,
change
un ?tre". This
tant qu'ils
is characteristic
of Br?hier's
translation
sont, sont chacun
manner
is taken as a singular,
'Exe?va
and paraphrasing
of translating.
loose
rather
tous

although inPlotinus it is a plural; ?v from 00a ?v ?axi is left out (for these characteristic
short-comings,
second
edition,

see B.S.
p. XVIII).

Page

in S. MacKenna,

Besides,

he provides

Plotinus,
almost

The Enneads,
the same concept

in the Preface
as Harder

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the
does.

66

P.A. Meijer

ves that ?xe?va

has to refer to the organism


(bodies) and cannot be inter
as
came
the
isolated parts which
would,
designating
we
If he were
xa?e
rather
would
have
right,
expected

as Harder

preted,
into existence.

we can also object to taking ?oa


of ?xe?va. Moreover,
weit"
("aber auch das nur [?] soweit sie Eines
sind"). So there
sons enough
to accept our interpretation.
instead

We

can perceive

an increasing

are rea

in the types A, B and

of unity

degree

as "so

C, which is confirmed by Plotinus himself when he says (VI9, 1, 32) that


is more

the discontinuous

remote

from

the One

than

the continuous:

&?tceq
x?QO?,
JtOQQCox?xa) xov ?v, x? ??
??
?xi
xoivoovo?oa
xai avxr\. He
owex??
\iak\ov
tyyvxEQix). tyvyi]
to show that a kind of Jacob 's ladder can be construc
apparently wishes
to
of unity of things 20.Plotinus
ted from the gradation
hopes ultimately

xai

x?

\iev ?ieoxr]xo?,

to such a height that the One comes


the One or, at least, to mount
our treatment of complex
into sight. It will appear (anticipating
II) that
in complex
the same increasing degree of unity can be perceived
II. It is
to
as
as
of
well
of
of
stages
types
justified
probably
speak
unity. Opera
in Greek
stages or types of unity was a locus communis
ting with
philo
sophy, a fact which did not go unnoticed
by scholars, and this brings us
to a tradition which will be the subject of the next section. This tradition
attain

shows

a Stoic

signature

4. Stoic Influence

as will be clear from the examples

on Complex

we will

quote.

texts in which
can be obser
There are many
the same distinctions
ved as in Plotinus:
Plut. Praec. con. 34, De defectu orac. 29 and Ach. Isag.
20

to the difference
in type of unity
out that
(see n. 17)1 already pointed
Returning
?v ? X?yexai
is usually misunderstood.
to
It is Plotinus'
one
that
the
differs
say
objective
from type to type, anticipating
later utterancers.
the type of unity
1, 27, where
Compare

comes to light: xc?v y?q ?v ^eyo^?vcov oikco? exaox?v ?oxtv ?v (b? ?/et xai ? ?oxiv.
Each of the things with the predicate one is one in themanner of the ?^i? it posses
ses

((b? ?xet),

i.e. according

to the

structure

of unity

belonging

to the

several

types

of

unity and each of them (and now I venture a conjecture) iswhat it is, (?oxiv ? ?oxiv).
This is precisely the philosophical theme of the context of 1, 26: the more being a thing
one it is. My
it has, the more
the more
?oxiv ? ?oxtv can be
unity
conjecture
on (b? exei xai ? eoxi
?vxa
? f)v. For other views
see H.
by 1,13 oiw?xi
supported
as subject of (b?
ad loc. : "sicut se habet
Schw.
I cannot
this
taking ? ?oxiv
?xei".
regard
as elegant,
the construction
of the Greek
rather awkward
interpretation
(xai) and
being

possesses,

the

sense

the next

being

far from

Schw.

see Puelma,

e^Eiv

(1, 28)

being

transitive.

clear. Against
H.
as a proof
for exei

But

art. cit. p. 90, who points


to
this does not seem to me

conclusive.

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Stoicism inPlotinus Enneads VI 9,1

67

14 (SVFII366, 367, 368 respectively):


praec. conjugalia cp. 34: T v a |xax v o? (piXo
x v X?yonaiv e?vai xad?jteo
x?
aocpoi (seil. Stoici)
\i?v ?x ?ieax
ax?Xov xai axQaxojte?ov,
x? ?' ?x auvajrrofi?vcov
? oixiav xai
v ?xa
?axi x v ?
va?v, x? ?' fjvcoji?va xai ovyicpv? xad?jteo
ajieo o? cpnaixoi x v vy?a)v X?yovoi ?i'
??
axov.-?e?
oux
oX v yev?cr?m xf]V xo?aiv,
etc.
367 Plutarchus de defectu oraculorum cp. 29. ov y?? ?vxa?da
a faa jtoXX?xi? ?x ?ieax
x v o
\x?v ?v anviaxaxai
|aax v, o?ov
?xx^naia xai axo?xenucx xai X0Q?c* v ?xaax
xai ?f)v xai (poo
ve?v xai juavdaveiv auji?e?nxev,
?v ?? x
? o?exai Xqvoikko?
366 Plutarchus

Jtavxi ??xa

x?ajionc-?vi

xQ^aftaL

Xoy-?owax?v

?axiv.

368 Achilles Isagoge 14 p. 134 in Petav. Uranol. (T? pi?v ?oxr)n,


xi ?? ?axQOv;) a jxaxa f|v (ui?va Xeyeadai
?aa im? |ai?? ?^e ?
o?ov Xido?, ^vXov ?axi ?? ??i? Jtve?\ia a
xoaxe?xai,
jbiaxo?awex
xix?v. anvr]pi|i?va ?? ?aa ov% imo ya??, ??e ? ???exai,
? jtXo?ov
xai o?x?a* x? ji?v y?o ?x jroM v aavi?
v, f| ?? ?x jtoX? v Xid v
xa ??
v ?ixxai ai ?ia
? xoQ??. x v ?? xoioux
?Tjyxeixai. ?ieax
a
v
x?
xai
eE,
cpooai.
fi?v y?o
(boiafi?vcov
fA-?x
aoiOfacp Xr]jTx v ?
v
??
x?
?ooiax
oiv
<?v> ? \ikv ?oxi]Q
?
e%
Xoqo?,
ox^o?. e?r]
a fia fjv ^?vov, x? ?? ?axoov
x v xai
?x ?ieax
oiofi?v v ?oi
v
?ax?o
?eixvuxai.
?x?axon
y?o
d|a??
?qp'
Texts

Epis t. mor.

like Seneca,

102, 5 are also worth

quoting

and

here we find a romanized example too (senatus), SVF III 160):


At quae a dialecticis
et

fuerunt

ideo

contra hanc opinionem


sunt.

seposita

Nunc

quia

dicuntur

omnia

segreganda
omnia

exigis,

quae

persequar. Deinde
singulis occurram. Nisi aliquid praedixero,
non
poterunt,
quae
refellentur, quid est quod praedicere
intellegi
velim?
dicunt,

ut navem,
in unum

esse

continua

Quaedam
posita
ctura

sunt.

coactae

ut hominem,

corpora,

omnia

domum,

quorum

denique,
ex

Quaedam

distantibus,

membra

separata sunt, tanquam exercitus populus


iure aut officio
per quos ista corpora efficiuntur,
diducti et singuli sunt.
1)

continua

2)

composita

3)

distantia

corpora,
corpora,
corpora,

e.g.

ship,
exercitus,

senatus.
cohaerent,

house.
populus,

partes

quorum

e.g. men.

e.g.

esse

quaedam
diversae

senatus.

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com
iun
adhuc

Illi enim
natura

P.A Meijer

68

texts is Sextus Emp.


and characteristic
important
IX 78. Unfortunately,
this text is in danger to loose its impor
as thoroughly
itmay be characterized
Stoic. We find it in
tance, although
of the most

One

Adv. math.

SVFII number 1013 21:


x v xe ooo^iaxoov x? \i?v ?axiv Y|voofx?va, x? ?? ?x oirvajtxoji?
x? ?? ?x ?ieaxcbxcov.
fjvoa^i?va \ikv ouv ?axi x? i)jto (ii??
v ??
?^eoo? XQaxo?(i8va,
qpux? xai ?cpa, ?x ouvajrxofx?v
xaMjte?
v auve
x? ?x xe JtaQaxei|i?v(ov xai jiqo? ?v xi xeqp?Xaiov veuovx
ax xa (b? ?Xuaei? xai jiVQyioKOi xai vf]e?, ?x ?ieax?Vc v ?? x? ?x
?ie?eiry^?voov xai [?x] xex Qio^?v v xai xaf}' aux? ?Jtoxei|i?v(ov

vcov,

auyxe?|ieva,
We

(b? oxQaxiai

the same examples

have

xai

jto?fivai xai xoQot.

or examples

of the same type:

1) qpux? xai t,(ba


2) ?Maei?,
vfje?
nvqy?onov,
3) oxQaxiai xai Jtoijivai xai xoqo?
So in the Stoa, too, we find a clear and well determined
difference
in degrees of unity. The sequence
of the several types or stages is deter
soon see that from the onto
of the context. We
mined by the viewpoint
and order of things is con
logical point of view in the Stoa the sequence
or increasing amount of Logos (pneuma) wit
with the decreasing
the things (see SVF II 391). Ontologically
Stoics think preeminently
as it were
a
status than earthly
downwards
(stars e.g. enjoying
higher
see
SVF
thinks upwards
in
also 650), whereas
Plotinus
681-692,
things
a
as
context
the road to the One
the
of
different perspective:
clarified by

nected
hin

the increasing amount of unity to be met within


things.
No
scholar denies
that Stoic
is present
in Plotinus,
influence
to
Graeser
this
22.
the
minimum
reduces
influence
He
believes
although
that to speak
21

about

"Stoicizing"

op. cit. p. 97. Theiler

See Theiler,

stein and Kidd (L.Edelstein


see also Graeser,
Posidonian

of Plotinus

sees Posidonius'

making

hand

because

in this passage.

we

But Edel

-LG.
Kidd, Posidonius I, The Fragments, Cambridge 1972,

op. cit. p. 13) did not wish

fragments,

is of little value,

clear

that we

to include
cannot

this passage
be

certain

in their
about

collection

Sextus'

of

passage

having its origin inPosidonius. This passage is liable and likely to be understimated as a
testimony of Stoic doctrine of unity. In SVF II 366-368 we do not find it under the hea
ding
SVF

the heading:
corpus, but we do find it under
"proof
II 1013, see also Graeser,
op. cit. p. 73 and n. 7.
22
op. cit. p. 75.
Graeser,

for the existence

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of the Gods",

in Plotinus'E^?W-y

Stoicism

VI

69

9,1

are dealing with the famous argumentum


e gradibus which has its origin
sources. Thus Plotinus may reasonably be called
in Platonic-Aristotelian
name is
for example, whose
the legal inheritor,
rather than Posidonius
not without
Plotinu's

as we

relevance
view

of

shall see. Graeser

the mundus

"Stoic

puts
between

sensibilis"

in

elements

inverted

comma's,

although he feels himself compelled to ackowledge that in the pr?am


comes

bule Plotinus
take

the Stoic

to Seneca, Epist. mor. 102,5. But if we


into account we cannot but conclude
that the
passages
are striking and hardly deniable.
But the statement
close

very

correspondences
that Stoic influence

exists, is inadequate. What we have to


undoubtedly
in
is
the
Stoic
doctrine of degrees of unity is used by
determine
what way
a
Is it
have some rele
Plotinus.
usage of Stoic ideas which
superficial
vance for Plotinus?
Ease and comfort can
And what are his objectives?
hardly have
Before

a philosopher

swayed

of his stature.

which
tment of the types of unity
by the fact that Plotinus

to examine

Iwish

these questions
was adapted.

treating
Stoic material

closer

the methods

with

into Plotinus'

trea

Looking
and his usage of Stoic material,
Stoic
employs
terminology

one
only

is struck
scantily,

although he makes full use of their examples. This will be the object of
my

in the next

investigation

5. Plotinus
We

section.

and Stoic Terminology

may

Stoic

summarize

of Unity
as follows:
continua

ov\iyva

f|vo)|ieva2i

II366

of unity

terminology

II366

(Plut.)

(Ill 160 Sen.)

(Plut.)

II368 (Ach.)
II 1013 (Sext.)
?vvajrxou.eva

ovv?]\i\ieva

composita

II366
II1013

II368

III 160
distantia

xa

?ieax

III 160

11366
11367
11368
II1013
23

Sometimes

we

come

across

stones

as examples

of f|VO)fx?va,

SVF

II368,

see also

Sext. Emp. Adv. math. IX 81, and compare, L. Edelstein, The Philosophical System of
Posidonius',

Am.

Journ.

Philol.

51,

1936,

p. 299,

n. 5. We

should

observe

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that

itwas

per

70

P.A. Meijer

differen
there are also obvious
striking correspondences
xa is not used in the case of type A, whereas
is in
ces. ?ieox
oieoxrjxoc
not
B
is
in Plotinus.
in VI 9, 1, 32, and elsewhere
the reference
Type
is
but by ouvexr|?.
described
missing:
eHvo)|i?va
by ouvajtx?fxeva
Besides

to denote
it is eminently
suitable
type C, Plotinus
obviously
so.
both
characterizes
it
that
The
ouvexT|?
impression
regard
:
as
correct
x?
??
B
is
from
and
C
VI9,1,33
emerges
ouve/??
tyyv
type
characterizes
(nearer to the One) where
xeq?? xxL
ouvex??
obviously
of types B and C raises two que
both types B and C. This telescoping
although
does not

stions: a) Why

should f|vo)|i?va be avoided? b) What makes ouvex??

to organisms?
suitable to type C, so as to be applicable
be answered by saying that
The first question
(a) can provisionably
as
ismainly used in connec
from
in Plotinus
evoco,
part. perf.
f|veo|i?va
of this word would
the One. The employment
a
to
rank too highly
that
would
such
they
degree
privilege
an
answer may be found in
in regard to what follows. As to question
b,
a
to
the idea of conti
the fact that ouvex??
greater degree
emphasises
stresses
connection
between
elements
the
whereas
ouvajtx?jieva
nuity,
tion with

which

unifying with
the organisms

not originally

were

connected.

Thus

ouvex??

is not

inappropriate

for designating type B (although it is less fit to denote type C than


we can say that it is not suitable for deno
r\v(?\i?va). Of ouvajtx?jieva
that Plotinus
In
this way it is understandable
of
the
unity
organisms.
ting
to
B
C.
denote both type
and
should employ ouvex??
as to the terminology
does not alter the
The presence
of differences
fact

that

examples
unitarian

have their value,


correspondences
are taken into account. The borrowing
seems to me unquestionable.
doctrine
the

the
when
especially
Stoic
Plotinus
of
by

6. Stoic Influence on Complex II (14b-17a)


Complex

II concerns

the existence

(as an effect

of unity)

of

1) a) thehealth of the body


2)

b) the beauty of the soul


the virtue of the soul

the problem
of coherence
that
especially
cit.
this
73
for
literature
about
p.
op.
question.

haps

the Stoics

were

interested

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in, see Graeser,

Stoicism

in Plotinus'Enneads

VI

71

9,1

the form of unity that manifests


itself in complex
II non
somatic.
It will appear from further treatment
that this does not hold
of the predo
good for the Stoa because of the Stoic's typical conception
minance
of the somatic 24.But in Plotinus we have to deal with the tran
sition from the somatic to the less somatic or even the non-somatic
(the
We

called

to
II means
of the psyche). What
the form of unity of complex
is
and how
this form is evaluated
form
apparent
by him,
Enneads VI 6, 13, 25-21. Here we learn that the unity of entities which
is to be regarded as superior to the unity
have no parts (x? y?\ \ieqioxov)
of entities which have parts:
virtue

Plotinus

ei ow

[iokXov ?jti xo? onvexo?? xai \iak\ov ?jxi xo? [if] [xeoiaxoti,
?xi
?vxo? xiv?? qruae ? xov ?v?? xai ?cpeax arj?.
bf\kov

When compared to complex Iwe find that complex II ranks higher


in the scale of unity. Here,
too, Stoic influence can be detected. W. Thei
ler25 has shown some, but not all of it.
about the unity which
How
did Plotinus
get the idea of speaking

reveals itself in health after the unity of organism (typeC of complex I) ?


To say that here the body is involved just as it is in type C of complex I, is
appears more
clearly if we take Stoic
case
of uyieia with naXkoc.
also in the
come
across
we
in
the remarkable
and conspi
Chrysippus
Already
cuous combination
of health and beauty in the body as well as in the soul

not

enough. Plotinus'
into account
influence

method

{SVF??I278 =Stobaeus, Eel. II 62, 15W.,

see also 279):

Tauxa?
(lev o?v x?? QnOeioa? ?oex?? xeXeia? eivai X?yovoi Jieoi xov
aweaxnxevai
?x de or]u.ax v ?Xka? ?? ?myiveadai
xai
xanxai?,
?iov
o?jx ?xi x?xva? oiiaa?, ?Xk? ?wa^iei? xiva?, ?x xfj? aaxf|ae
? jteQiyiyvo|i?
xai xtjv iax?v avxf\? xai
va?, o?ov xrjv ?yieiav xf\?tyvxf\?, xai xr)v ?oxi?xnxa
eivai x v ?v
x? naXkoc. "Q?Jteo y?o xfjv xov a ^iaxo? ?y?e?av e?xoaaiav
x a ^iaxi deofx v xai iJnjxQ v xai ^r]Q v xai vyo v, oftx
xai xf)v xfj?
x
v.
v
eivai
?v
Kai
?uoi
eijxoaaiav
?
xf\ tyv/j] ?oyuxix
ipnxfj? ?yieiav
ajteo iax?? xov a ucxxo? xovo? ?axiv ixav?? ?v ve?ooi?, oi3x xai f| xfj?
ipnxfj? ioyv? xovo? ?axiv ixav?? ?v x xoiveiv xai Jtoaxxeiv f\ \ir\' ajteo xe
x v a?x
xo xaMo? xov a ^iaxo? ?axi an|i|iexQ?a x v jie^ v xadeax
jtq??
xai x? xfj? i|njxfj? n?kXoq ?axi au^exnia
?Xk?\ka xe xai jto?? x? ?Xov, onx
xov X?you xai x v ^ten v a?)xo? Jto?? <x?> ?Xov xe a?xfj? xai Jto?? ?Xkr\ka.
24

For

the

somatic

and matter

in the Stoa,

see J. Mansfeld,

'Zeno

of Citium',

mosyne 1977, pp. 158 ff.; 169 ff.


25

Theiler,

op. cit. p. 98.

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Mne

P.A Meijer

72

to Chrysippus
is determined
health
by a well-balanced
According
That also applies to the
of cold and heat, etc. (euxQaoia).
proportion
is thus connected
both
'health' of the soul (uyteia xfj? ipuxfj?). Beauty

with the body and the soul. They both consist in ov\i\i?XQ?a; in the body
in the soul it is the reciprocal
it is the GV\i\iexQia
of the parts, whereas
In the Stoa all
the logos and its parts that counts.
between
relationship
as soon as the soul
not
in
But
Plotinus
for
this is purely
corporeal.
It has to be admitted
level is transcended.
the purely material
appears,
as
not play a direct
we
does
such
that for the Stoic passage
quoted, unity
as
one
an
it does play
the result of mingling
indirect
(eu
part although
ou|i(iexQia).
and Plotinus

XQaoia,
the Stoa

But
and

the connection
the associative

of health
connection

and beauty both in


of beauty of the

body with the virtue of the soul which could itself be called beauty, in
are hardly a coincidence.
is palpable.
Stoic influence
are confronted
is not
and odd phenomenon.
Plotinus
with
as a
to him as such ?
an idea which
averse to accepting
is not agreeable
I 6,1 Plotinus
shows him
of the Stoic impulse. In Enneads
consequence
in the power of the One exer
self averse to the idea that beauty consists

Plotinus,
We

ted on the parts

as is stated

in VI

9, 1, 15, 16 xai

x?XXoc,

?xav

f| xo?

?v?? x? [x?Qiaxaxaox?] (puoi?. In 16,1 he criticizes the (Stoic) idea that


in symmetria. Beauty does not, for how could an inde
is not built up from parts, be beautiful?
No,
unity, which
pendent
comes
to
Plotinus'
from
the
influence
seeing
teaching
beauty, according
in VI 9 Plotinus
and effects of the Idea. But nevertheless
adopts an idea
to
construct
to
in
his Jacob's
is repulsive
ladder.
order
which
him,
beauty

consists

In com
oddity of the text now becomes more understandable.
on
I
of
the
of
the
entities
enti
effects
of
loss
and
the
the
unity
unity
plex
treatment.
in
ties as such have a predominant
This
Plotinus'
position
so abruptly
is interrupted
train of thought
that it affects the
abruptly,
recurs:
text.
of the
The following
if X looses its
pattern
understanding
it used to be or even no longer exists. At
unity, then X is no longer what
An

II seems to follow in these steps, but then it suddenly chan


first complex
or
rather
ges,
looses, the structure of thought. Health
(and now we do
...
as
not read
hitherto: dissappears when unity falls off)
when etc.... The
points

should
to what

applies
the same

in by: exists
filled
apparently
is said about beauty. The virtue

syntactical
can best be explained
sidering

that Plotinus

construction.

same
(when etc.). The
of the soul is treated in

in the train of thought


rupture
in the background
and by con
by Stoic influence
connects
various
different
Stoic ideas or even
The

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Stoicism in Plotinus Enneads VI 9,1

texts.

73

If we

into account, we could be faced


do not take this background
so abruptly by
is introduced
with
the problem
that the idea of beauty
now treats,
Plotinus. We may ask now: is it beauty as such that Plotinus
or corporeal
the connection
beauty? Considering
in
is adduced,
health
the Stoic fragment which
doubt. It is corporeal beauty that is at stake. This

between

beauty and
no
room for
is

there
can also be shown

lin

are employed
in Plotinus, which
the particles
guistically
by examining
?? ... xai
with the greatest care; ?? connects various levels; xai uyieia
means
xai
'also', the second puts xaXXo?
xaXXo?. The first mentioned
on the same footing with ?ry ieia, which
is the reason why it is the corpo
in the passage.
is connected
real beauty that is concerned
by ??
'A?exf|
as
was
we
to both
entities.
In complex
I Plotinus
careful,
equally
a
to
demonstrated
earlier. So there is chain of conjunctions
be noticed.

Type B is opposed to typeA by ?hXJ ou?? and the increasing amount of


unity entailed by o???. Kai of) xai applies this form of unity to plants
and living beings, type C which displays still more unity than type B.
Complex II is added to this. Carefully elaborated though all thismay be,
I and complex
remains a break in the junction between
complex
is
the
best
of
combination
of diver
which
II,
assumption
by
explained
gent Stoic complexes.
that we have seen that there is a higher degree of unity in com
Now
there

to understand
why
plex II, we are in a better position
I.
C
the term r\v<x>\i?va to denote
of complex
type

Plotinus

left out

7. Why Plotinus did not Employ the Stoic Term y\vt?\i?va in denoting
Type C (of Complex I)
Since Plotinus
had to denote a higher degree of unity than the Stoa
ever had, namely
to
the unity of complex
II, he apparently
preferred
more
reserve the term evoco to designate
and
for
II,
complex
especially
is broadly discussed
after the pr?ambule.
the concept of the soul, which
a superior form of unity, conveying
The psyche displays
unity to other

entities (20 x? ?v XOQ^YS?)and it *sexpressely sid of it: 16, 17 ei? ?v xai


?i?av ?|i,oX,oy?av
?varorj. Since
the word
stretched
ble, Plotinus
Stoic

as a term f|vco|ji?va was no longer availa


to take over the function of the
ouvex^?

term f|vo)?x?va, ODvajtxo(i?va


for characterizing
organism.

suitable

being as we saw earlier (oooo), less


had the change to conti
Plotinus

nue a line of thought already present


in the Stoa, in the continua o? Epis t.
of which do occur in
Mor.
(see above p. 71), offshoots
102, 5 of Seneca

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74

P.A Meijer

Plotinus himself (VI 2, 11;VI 6, 13)26. Plotinus transposed ?v?o to a


level which

the Stoics were

determined

to reject. But we

have here

rea

ched a level where candidates must be found to be identified with the


for the
psyche as an entity bestowing
unity, responsable
in
to
the
and
itself
the
could
sensibilia,
unity
belonging
suprasensible,
itself be such a candidate. This did not of course apply in the case of the

One

itself. The

entities

of complex
I, although
they display
increasing unity. For they
are only receivers of unity and not conveyors.
is the privi
Candidature
of
transcendent
levels.
After
the
has
been
lege
psyche
rejected as a candi
a
to
next
the
rises
date,
argument
stage, the
candidate, Mind,
higher
finally to reach the One as the ultimate entity which bestows
unity.
We will ask at this point what ismeant by x? ?v in the pr?ambule.
It
is used interchangeably
with ?v. Are we to say that x? ?v in the first line
as the superiors. One or is it still on a lower
is already to be regarded
level of "unity"? MacKenna
the translation
preferred
"unity", whereas
translated:
"das Eine". In the first line there could be a question
of the One, but not in 11.3, 4. Here unity must be meant,
is
for Plotinus
able to suppose
that things can be deprived
of their x? ?v. This also

Harder

concerns
true of 1. 7, which
a ship possessing
unity. The same goes
for 1. 8 and 1. 11, where we read of bodies not having but being unity. In
1. 20 on the borderline
between
the sensible and the psychic
level, we
one
as
not
encounter
the
only
unity but also as amysterium
tremendum,

holds

the One, when Plotinus


asks whether
the entity which
confers being may
as being the One. This, as we know,
be viewed
is rejected. The road to
the One
still has a long way to go.
now how fundamental
Let us reconsider
was
the Stoic background
for the construction
of Plotinus'
ladder, in other words what
Jacob's
"stoicizing"

meant

8. Final Assessment;

in the case of Plotinus'

what

did Stoicizing

pr?ambule.
mean

to Plotinus?

I do not believe

that Plotinus',
doctrine of the One is fundamentally
Stoic
It seems to me that Plotinus'
on, or influenced
by,
thought.
a character
to allow a basic influence
doctrine
has too distinctive
from

based

elsewhere
of course). But in constructing
his scale
(Platonism
excepted
as
of unity he obviously
to
Stoic
I
ideas
have
tried
show in
incorporated
at
in
least
I.
Another
of
Stoic
ideas
my analysis,
group
complex
provided
26

Theiler,

op. cit. p. 98

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Stoicism inPlotinus'Enneads VI 9,1

15

in the case of complex


II, so as to have the possibi
inspiration
a
of
domain
of
transition
between
the purely somatic and
creating
lity
the purely psychic. Whether
he based the concept of the soul as the con

him with

as R.E.
veyor of unity on Stoic thought
(especially on that of Posidonius
am
is
I
to
Witt
events
unable
At
all
assumed)27
my ana
something
judge.
was
that
the
shows
formed
with
the
lysis
pr?ambule
actually
help of

Stoic material, both in the field of pure philosophy and that of linguistic
that in the case of beauty Plotinus
yielded to the
as
a
to
of
which
led
"Fremdk?r
symmetry,
temptation
regarding beauty
own
in
his
it
that the
per"
apparent
thought28. My analysis also makes
of Stoic influence will not do (against Graeser).
rejecting or minimizing
It also shows

technique.

mean closing one's eyes to some remarkable


corresponden
the Stoic doctrine
of unity.
But to state and outline this influence cannot be considered
the end
of our task. The question
is to be evalua
remains as to how this influence

That would
ces with

ted.
W.

Theiler's

efforts

to trace this influence


but are not wholly
to see in Posidonius

led to the discovery


of a
since they are
satisfactory

lot of correspondences,
one and only pur
conditioned
Plotinus'
by the wish
not
29.
The
him
material
adduced
does
veyor
support the conclusion
by
are possible
is isolated in this respect. Other positions
that Posidonius
and have actually been held. Armstrong
considers
the influence of Stoic
to
no
more
in
"to
the
scale
of
be
than a useful argu
thought
regard
unity
ment

to support his own teaching


in discussion with
to Stoic way of thinking"
30.He presents
the Stoica
a protreptic
aim. Ultimately,
Graeser,
wings with
at work. But here we have to observe
that
purposes
to minimize
that Plotinus

people habituated
as polemical
borro
too, sees polemical
Graeser's
attempts

to zero, are contradicted


influence
by his conclusion
at polemics.
isminimized,
If the Stoic influence
the
can not contain a polemical
no
one
to
needs
feel
attitude, for
Stoic

aimed

pr?ambule
in this very pr?ambule,
that he is adressed
and least of all a Stoic, for it
was
that the pr?ambule
had no, or almost no Stoic element,
'established'
or mark. My analysis shows that this Stoic influence was neither superfi

27
art. cit. p. 203, see also Armstrong,
Witt,
op. cit. p.79 and Graeser,
op. cit. p. 75.
28
See above p. 72.
29
Theiler,
op. cit. p. 97.
30
same point of view
in Harder,
op. cit. p. 79. The
op. cit. I b. p. 468:
Armstrong,

"F?r Plotin jedenfalls ist diese Einteilung lediglich Material".

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

76

cial

P.A Meijer

and

nor merely
in character,
adhortatively
even protreptical
cannot
Polemics,
polemics,

polemical

(Armstrong).
pr?ambule.

Polemics

polemical
the
explain

are certainly not Plotinus'


first objective,
if they are
are incorporated
to the
Stoic ideas or concepts
as
we
see
in Plotinus'
in complex
I. This view
thought

at all. The

any objective
full and absorded

is confirmed
in Plotinus
I appears to
by the fact that elsewhere
complex
can only be regarded possible
be a locus communis, which
if it is rooted
?
in his own thought. Armstrong's
"It (the Stoic scale of
conclusion
not
to
add anything
his system and does not repre
unity) does
important
sent any important
on him" ?
seems
Posidonius
demonstrates

or later Stoicism
influence of Posidonius
in general
to be an overreaction
to Theiler's
overestimation
of
as
or
even
is
and,
inexact,
such,
wrong.
Indeed, my analysis
that the scale of unity has its own place
in Plotinian

thought and it even suggest that Plotinus


such a Jacob's
ladder to reach the One
itself.

University

owed

the idea of constructing


doctrine
of unity

to the Stoic

of Leiden

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