The Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens

The Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens, also known as the Olympieion, was built over several centuries starting in 174 BCE and only finally completed by Roman emperor Hadrian in 131 CE. Its unusually tall columns and ambitious layout made the temple one of the largest ever built in the ancient world.

Zeus Temple

Submitted by , published on 18 August 2015 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Plotinus and Neo-Platonism

Plotinus and Neo-Platonism

Neo-Platonism is a modern term which defines the resurgence of Platonic thought, mixed with elements of mysticism and Christianity, which flourished in the 3rd century CE, with the work of Plotinus, and ended with the closing of Plato’s Academy by the emperor Justinian in 529 CE. It must be emphasized that the term ‘Neo-Platonism’ is a modern designation and neither Plotinus nor those who came after him would have labeled themselves ‘Neo-Platonists’ but would have simply considered themselves students and teachers of Plato’s thought. Unlike modern academic categorizations, they did not consider the study of the works of Aristotle to be fundamentally different from the study of Plato’s concepts. To the ancient Neo-Platonists, Aristotle was a Platonist and an important one, as he had studied directly with the master. Aristotle, then, instead of being taught as a separate philosophy, was studied in preparation for reading Plato. Plotinus held that, just because Aristotle disagreed with his master on certain points, this did not mean the student broke from his master’s teachings and nothing was found in Aristotle’s work which fundamentally contradicted Plato’s vision, not even their disagreement over Plato’s Theory of Forms.

Porphyry wrote down and edited Plotinus’ teachings into six groups of nine called the Enneads (which is simply Greek for ‘nine’) and also tried his best to write his master’s biography but without much success. Plotinus’ insistence on the life of the mind meant that small details of one’s daily life were beneath notice. It is known, however, that he corresponded with a number of other philosophers, among them Cassius Longinus, friend and advisor to Queen Zenobia of Palmyra, who was executed when she was defeated by Aurelian in 273 CE.

Written by , published on 23 August 2015 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

The Hill of Tara is an ancient Neolithic Age site in County Meath, Ireland

The Hill of Tara is an ancient Neolithic Age site in County Meath, Ireland. It was known as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, the site of coronations, a place of assembly for the enacting and reading of laws, and for religious festivals. The oldest monument at the site is the Mound of the Hostages, a Neolithic passage tomb, dating from c. 3000 BCE.  The ring forts and evidence of other enclosures, such as the Banquet Hall, date from a later period. The Lia Fail (stone of destiny), by which the ancient kings were inaugurated, still stands on the hill. The site is also associated with the Tuatha De Danaan, the pre-Celtic peoples of Ireland and with the mystical elements they came to embody. The great sabbats of pagan Ireland were announced by a bonfire on the hill which, at an elevation of 646 feet (197 metres), would have been seen for many miles in every direction. It is said that St. Patrick announced the arrival of Christianity in Ireland by lighting his own large bonfire across from Tara at the Hill of Slane before going there to preach before King Laoghaire in 432/433 CE. The name comes from the Gaelic Cnoc na Teamhrach, which is often translated as “place of great prospect”, though it has also been argued it comes from a corruption of Tea-Mur, burial place of the ancient queen Tea.

Written by , published on 26 August 2015 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.