Born: 205, in Lyco or Lycopolis (now Asyut, Egypt)
Died: 270, in Campania
Plotinus was an ancient Roman philosopher who founded Neoplatonism. He was the leader of a group of intellectuals who flourished in third century Rome.
The little that is known about his life is based on the writings of his disciple and editor, Porphyry, as a preface to Enneads. The preface focuses on the last six years of Plotinus' life when he came to Rome and was met by Porphyry in 263.
When Plotinus was 28, he traveled to Alexandria to study and became a disciple of Ammonius Saccas for the next ten years. He barely escaped with his life after taking part in an unsuccessful expedition to Persia with the Roman Emperor Gordian II.
In Rome, he established a school to teach Pythagorean and Platonis wisdom and asceticism. His orations made such impressions on some listeners, that they gave up all their worldly possessions. He converted many to the study of ascetic piety.
At the age of sixty he tried to establish a society based upon the model of the Republic, as written by Plato. Although the commonwealth was sanctioned by emperor Gallienus, the commune failed because of opposition from imperial advisors.
Plotinus wrote the Greek text, Six Enneads, for his disciples from 253 to 270. Based on Plato's Theory of Ideas, Plotinus expressed the notion that by replacing earthly interests with meditation, people could lift themselves to an euphoric state of oneness with God.
In his later life, he was afflicted with a painful and disfiguring disease. He retired to a country home of an admirer, where he died.