Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Gods and Daimones - The Ethical Treatises, being the Treatises of the First Ennead
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The Gods and Daimones - Plotinus, The Ethical Treatises, being the Treatises of the First Ennead [253 AD]
The Ethical Treatises, being the Treatises of the First Ennead, with Porphry’s Life of Plotinus, and the Preller-Ritter Extracts forming a Conspectus of the Plotinian System, translated from Greek by Stephen Mackenna (Boston: Charles T. Branford, 1918).
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The Gods and Daimones
“The Gods” are frequently mentioned in the Enneads: the words are generally little more than a fossil survival, an accident of language not a reality of thought. Where, however, Plotinus names Ouranios (Cœlius) Kronos (Saturn) Zeus (Jupiter), he indicates the three Hypostases of the Divine-Being: this is part of his general assumption that all his system is contained already in the most ancient knowledge of the world.
Where we meet “The Gods” without any specification we are to understand, according to the context; sometimes the entire Divine Order; sometimes the Divine-Thoughts, The Ideas or Archetypes; sometimes exalted Beings vaguely understood to exist above man as ministers of the Supreme: sometimes the stars and earth, thought of, at least in their soul-part, as Divine-Beings: sometimes the words indicate, vaguely, the souls of lofty men; sometimes there is some vague, sleepy acceptance of the popular notion of the Olympian personalities.
The Daimones are, strictly speaking, lofty powers beneath the “Gods”: in practice they are often confounded with the Gods: the same word is translated here, according to context and English connotation, by “Supernals,” Celestials, Divine Spirits, Blessed Spirits.