tumblr tracker
DAMÁSKIOS - ΔΑΜΑΣΚΙΟΣ

HellenicGods.org

HOME               GLOSSARY              RESOURCE               ART              LOGOS             CONTACT


Damáskios - (Damascius; Gr. Δαμάσκιος, ΔΑΜΑΣΚΙΟΣ)  Born in Damascus Syria (hence his name) 458 CE - died after 538 CE. 

Damáskios traveled to Alexandria in the 480s, studying rhetoric at the school of Orapóllohn (Horapollo; Gr. Ὡραπόλλων), where Christians and pagans studied side-by-side. The school was, at that time, very much under the influence of Asclipiádis (Asclepiades; Gr. Ἀσκληπιάδης), the father of Orapóllohn, who was expert on the Egyptian religion and wrote on the syncretism it had with other religions. Isídohros (Isidore; Gr. Ἰσίδωρος), and Ammóhnios Ærmeiou (Ammonius Hermiae; Gr. Ἀμμώνιος ὁ Ἑρμείου) also taught at this school and became associated with Damáskios. He was also greatly influenced by Sarapíohn (Sarapio; Gr. Σαραπίων), a solitary whose life exemplified great virtue. Damáskios studied mathematics with Marínos of Næapolítis (Marinus of Neapolis; Gr. Μαρίνος ὁ Νεαπολίτης) while in Athens, as well as philosophy with the then elderly Próklos (Proclus; Gr. Πρόκλος) and Zinódotos (Zenodotus; Gr. Ζηνόδοτος). These are the last of the great philosophers of antiquity.

Damáskios was a philosopher, the last Diádokhos (Diadochus, Gr. Διάδοχὁς), the official head of the Neoplatonic Akadímeia (Academy; Gr. Ἀκαδήμεια) of Athens, succeeding Isídohros, and before it's forced closing by Justinian I (Gr. Φλάβιος Πέτρος Σαββάτιος Ἰουστινιανός) in 529 CE.

According to the historian Agathías (Gr. Ἀγαθίας Σχολαστικός), Damáskios then fled to Ktisiphóhn (Ctesiphon; Gr. Κτησιφῶν), the capitol of the Persian Empire, seeking refuge with the Sassanid King Khosrau I (Chrosroes I, Anushirwan the Just) under whose protection he was able to establish the Academy in Harrân (known as ῾Ελληνὀπολις meaning 'Greek city') in northern Mesopotamia, although these details are unclear. Platonic philosophy flourished into the tenth or eleventh centuries CE in these areas. [1]

Damáskios composed a number of philosophical works including On First Principles (
ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν) and commentaries of the Platohn's Parmænídis (Parmenides; Gr. Παρμενίδης), Phaidohn (Phaedo; Gr. Φαίδων), and Phílivos (Philebos; Gr. Φίληβος). 

Damáskios also wrote Philosophós Istoría (Philosophical History; Gr. Φιλοσοφός Ιστορία) which contains much biographical information on the later philosophers such as Isídohros, Marínos, Iæroklís (Hierocles; Gr. Ίεροκλῆς), Thæosǽvios (Theosebius; Gr. Θεοσέβιος), Próklos, and many others, as well as accounts of the final days when Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός) could be taught (somewhat) publicly. The text documents the struggles of the last Hellenes to practice their religion and the persecutions of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός) both in Alexandria and Athens. In these final years, as our religion was destroyed and driven underground, Damáskios laments:

"Already the mysteries of philosophy were turned into objects of mirth and great laughter by some of those people whose ears are shattered and perception destroyed, says Damascius about the fact that some people divulged (ed. under coercion) the mysteries of philosophy." [2]

In On First Principles Damáskios discusses three Orphic theogonies: the Eudemian Theogony, the Hieronyman Theogony, and the Rhapsodic Theogony. It is of the theogony of Iæróhnymos (Hieronymus; Gr. Ἱερώνυμος), where Damáskios writes very clearly of the two kozmogonic substances, Earth (Yi; Gr. Γῆ) and Water (Ýthor; Gr. Ὕδωρ), and the Unutterable Principle (Ἄρρητος Ἀρχή):

"Originally there was water, he (Orpheus) says, and mud, from which the earth solidified:  he posits these two as first principles, water and earth...The one before the two, however, he leaves unexpressed, his very silence being an intimation of its ineffable nature."  [3] 

Damáskios is known, however, not so much for his works as for having reorganized the Neoplatonic school after the death of Proklos.  He re-established the study of Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων), Aristotǽlis (Aristotle; Gr. Ἀριστοτέλης), and the Khaldaikós Khrizmós (Chaldean Oracles; Gr. Χαλδαϊκός Χρησμός) as the focal points of the school. [1] 


NOTES:

[1] Neoplatonism by Pauliina Remes, 2008, University of California Press (Berkeley & Los Angeles, USA), p. 29-30.

[2] Damáskios (Damascius; Gr. Δαμάσκιος) Philósophos Istoría (Philosophical History; Gr. Φιλόσοφος Ιστορία) I.58.A, trans. Polymnia Athanassiadi 1999 in Damascius: The Philosophical History 1999 Apamea Cultural Association [Athens Greece], Oxbow Books [Oxford UK], and The David Brown Book Co. [Oakville CT USA] p. 163.

[3] Damáskios, presenting the view of Ieróhnymos Ródios (Hieronymus of Rhodes; Gr. Ιερώνυμος Ῥόδιος) or Ællánikos (Hellanicus; Gr. Ἑλλάνικος)Princ. 123c bis {i. 317-19 R.}; = Orphic fragment 54. As found in The Orphic Poems by M.L. West, 1983; quoted here from the Sandpiper Books Ltd. 1998 edition, p. 178.



The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς). 



PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as 

, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

PHOTO COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: The many pages of this website incorporate images, some created by the author, but many obtained from outside sources. To find out more information about these images and why this website can use them, visit this link: Photo Copyright Information

DISCLAIMER: The inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) with the views of HellenicGods.org by the external sources from which they were obtained.

Further, the inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) by HellenicGods.org of the contents or views of any external sources from which they were obtained.

For more information: Inquire.hellenicgods@gmail.com

For answers to many questions: Hellenismos FAQ

© 2010 by HellenicGods.org.  All Rights Reserved.


HOME            GLOSSARY            RESOURCE             ART           LOGOS            CONTACT