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Marinus of Neapolis



Marinus of Neapolis (Ancient Greek: Μαρίνος ὁ Νεαπολίτης; born c. 440 AD) was a Neoplatonist philosopher born in Flavia Neapolis (modern Nablus), Palestine. He was a student of Proclus in Athens. His surviving works are an introduction to Euclid's Data; a Life of Proclus; and two astronomical texts.

Marinos of Neapolis (probably around 440 in Neapolis, Nablus in Palestine today; † after 486 ) was a late ancient philosopher ( Neoplatonist ) and head of the Neoplatonic school of philosophy in Athens.

Life

Marinus was born in the city of Neapolis in the region of Samaria, now Nablus in Palestine. His family belonged to the religious community known as the Samaritans, which in his hometown had their own place of worship; near the area of Shechem researchers have found a 2nd century BC destroyed city of the Samaritans. In his youth Marinus got into a conflict with his co-religionists, whom he accused of innovations (obviously about religious ideas), so he took a more conservative approach. Later (probably around 460 AD), he moved to Athens, and although many Samaritans were living there, Marinus eventually turned away from the Samaritan faith.

He joined the Neo-Platonic school, which aimed, since its foundation to revive the tradition of the Platonic Academy. At that time, the head of the school was the famous philosopher Proclus.

Marinus, soon after entering the school, earned the praise of the school's fellow members. Proclus dedicated to him his Commentary on the Myth of Er, in Plato's dialogue Politeia, and considered him as a possible successor to the office of the headmaster; but hesitated due to Marinus poor health. As Proclus died 485, Marinus took up the psoition as the leader of the Neoplatonic School.

Among Marinus' were Isidore, Damascius and Agapios. Nevertheless, between Marinos and Isidore, there was a disagreement on specific points of the Platonic doctrine; yet, Marinus considered Isidore as his successor. Moreover, although Damascius received, from Marinus, lessons in geometry and arithmetic, he did not think much of his teacher's skills. He claimed Marinus reputation did not live up to his skills and talents. In Damascius' opinion, Marinus failed to maintain the school's prestige that had existed under Proclus. The negative opinion that Damascius and Isidore had of Marinos was probably due to philosophical disagreements.

As the Athenian Neoplatonists' were more and more accused of practising Paganism, a tension between them and the Christians started to boil (publicly practicing any form of religion that was not Christian, was considered already illegal). Adding to this the fact that Marinus and the rich citizen Theagenes, who had been a benefactor for the Neo-Platonic school, did not see exactly eye-to-eye anymore, troubles appeared on the horizon for the school's feature. Finally, Marinus fearing for his life, due to the Christians, fled to Epidaurus, from where he never returned. 486 is the last time we have a testament of his life but time and place of his death remain unknown.

Works

Marinus wrote a commentary on the Data of Euclid; of which only the preface has been preserved. He also wrote a long comment to Plato's dialogue Philebus. Researchers suggest that Marinus burned this work after Isidore's statement that: "the existing Philebus Commentary of Proclus was sufficient".

Also the comment of Marinus to Plato's dialogue Parmenides is lost. Nevertheless, preserved is his obituary of Proclus under the title "The Life of Proclus or Concerning Happiness".

In essence, it is a speech, which he had held on the first anniversary of Proclus' death. It is considered an important source-material for the history regarding the Neo-Platonic school in Athens.

Marinus was of the opinion that Proclus had been the happiest among the famous men because he had perfected his virtues. In addition, Marinus wrote a biography of Proclus in verse, which is considered lost.

What is more, further researches in later philosophical reviews, narrated to Marinus, illustrated the possibility that Marinus commented various works, such as: Aristotle's (De anima, Analytica priora), Claudius Ptolemy's (Almagest) or on works of Theon of Alexandria.

Text editions and translations

Rita Masullo (ed.): Marino di Neapolis: Vita di Proclo. Testo critico introduzione, traduzione e Commentario. D' Auria Editore, Napoli 1985

Maurice Michaux: Le commentaire de Marinus aux Data d' Euclide. Louvain, 1947 ( French translation of the preface of the commentary and analysis )

January Radicke (ed.): Felix Jacoby ' The fragments of Greek historians ' continued, Part IV A: Biography, Fasc. 7: Imperial and undated authors, Brill, Leiden 1999, pp. 268-273 ( 1083 )

Alexandre N. Oikonomides (ed.): Marinos of Neapolis: The Extant Works, or The Life of Proclus and the Commentary on the Dedomena of Euclid. Ares Publishers, Chicago 1977, ISBN 0-89005-218-2 (Greek text with English and French translations)

Henri Dominique Saffrey and Alain -Philippe Segonds (ed.): Marinus: Proclus ou Sur le bonheur. Les Belles Lettres, Paris 2001, ISBN 2-251-00496-3 ( critical edition of the Greek text with French translation and commentary )

[1]

Sources

[1] "Memim Encyclopedia" by Rita Masullo and Alexandre N. Oikonomides



January Radicke (ed.): Felix Jacoby ' The fragments of Greek historians ' continued, Part IV A: Biography, Fasc. 7: Imperial and undated authors, Brill, Leiden 1999, pp. 268-273 ( 1083 )

Rita Masullo (ed.): Marino di Neapolis: Vita di Proclo. Testo critico introduzione, traduzione e Commentario. D' Auria Editore, Napoli 1985

Maurice Michaux: Le commentaire de Marinus aux Data d' Euclide. Louvain, 1947 ( French translation of the preface of the commentary and analysis )

Alexandre N. Oikonomides (ed.): Marinos of Neapolis: The Extant Works, or The Life of Proclus and the Commentary on the Dedomena of Euclid. Ares Publishers, Chicago 1977, (Greek text with English and French translations)

Henri Dominique Saffrey and Alain -Philippe Segonds (ed.): Marinus: Proclus ou Sur le bonheur. Les Belles Lettres, Paris 2001, ( critical edition of the Greek text with French translation and commentary )




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