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Plutarch

Category: Mystic

Plutarch later named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus (Λούκιος Μέστριος Πλούταρχος); lived from around. 46 – 120 AD).  He  was a Greek historian, biographer, and essayist, known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia.  

Plutarch was born to a prominent family in the small town of Chaeronea about twenty miles east of Delphi in the Greek region known as Boeotia. His family was wealthy. He had two brothers, Timon and Lamprias, who are frequently mentioned in his essays and dialogues, where Timon is spoken of in the most affectionate terms.  Plutarch studied mathematics and philosophy at the Academy of Athens under Ammonius from 66 to 67.

According to Wikipedia “He is considered today to be a Middle Platonist”.  Except that they are not quite right, for Plutarch was yet another person who had been initiated in the Mysteries and thus could rightly call himself a mystic.

He lived most of his life at Chaeronea, and was initiated into the Mysteries of the Greek god Apollo. He became the senior of the two priests of Apollo at the Oracle of Delphi (where he was responsible for interpreting the auguries of the Pythia) .  He thus became an Adept and a hierophant.

In some respects Plutarch manages to dispel the myth that mystics somehow have to be ascetic castaways, lonely and cut off from reality.  By his writings and lectures Plutarch became a celebrity in the Roman empire, yet he continued to reside where he was born, and actively participated in local affairs, even serving as mayor. At his country estate, guests from all over the empire congregated for serious conversation, presided over by Plutarch in his marble chair. Many of these dialogues were recorded and published, and the 78 essays and other works which have survived are now known collectively as the Moralia.

Plutarch also married, his wife’s name being, Timoxena. A letter is still extant, addressed by Plutarch to his wife, bidding her not give way to excessive grief at the death of their two-year-old daughter, who was named Timoxena after her mother.  He also had sons, although the exact number of his sons is not certain.  Two of them, Autobulus and second Plutarch, are often mentioned. Plutarch's treatise De animae procreatione in Timaeo is dedicated to them.

Plutarch's writings had an enormous influence on English and French literature. Shakespeare paraphrased parts of Thomas North's translation of selected Lives in his plays, and occasionally quoted from them verbatim.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was greatly influenced by the Moralia — so much so, in fact, that Emerson called the Lives "a bible for heroes" in his glowing introduction to the five-volume 19th-century edition. He also said that it was impossible to read Plutarch "without a tingling of the blood; and I accept the saying of the Chinese Mencius: 'A sage is the instructor of a hundred ages. When the manners of Loo are heard of, the stupid become intelligent, and the wavering, determined"

References

The following is also on the site, but as the vision was that of Aridaeus of Soli, it can be found under this heading, please follow the link

ECHOES FROM THE GNOSIS - VOL. III. BY G. R. S. MEAD ; THE VISION OF ARIDÆUS - Plutarch.  The story of Aridaeus is dated to around A.D.79.  It was given in Plutarch's On the Delay of Divine Justice. And an account, based on that of Bernardakis, published in the Bibliotheca Teuberiana Series (Leipzig, 1891) was given by G.R. S. Mead.

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