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Proclus Lycaeus (8 February 412 – 17 April 485 AD), called "The Successor" or "Diadochos" (Greek Πρόκλος ὁ Διάδοχος Próklos ho Diádokhos), was a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher, one of the last major Classical philosophers (see Damascius). He set forth one of the most elaborate and fully developed systems of Neoplatonism. He stands near the end of the classical development of philosophy, and was very influential on Western medieval philosophy (Greek and Latin) as well as Islamic thought.



Proclus was born Feb. 8, 412 AD (his birth date is deduced from a horoscope cast by a disciple, Marinus) in Constantinople to a family of high social status in Lycia (his father Patricius was a high legal official, very important in the Byzantine Empire's court system) and raised in Xanthus. He studied rhetoric, philosophy and mathematics in Alexandria, with the intent of pursuing a judicial position like his father. Before completing his studies, he returned to Constantinopole when his rector, his principal instructor (one Leonas), had business there.

Proclus became a successful practicing lawyer. However, the experience of the practice of law made Proclus realize that he truly preferred philosophy. He returned to Alexandria, and began determinedly studying the works of Aristotle under Olympiodorus the Elder (he also began studying mathematics during this period as well with a teacher named Heron- no relation to Hero of Alexandria who was also known as Heron). Eventually, this gifted student became dissatisfied with the level of philosophical instruction available in Alexandria, and went to Athens, the preeminent philosophical center of the day, in 431 to study at the Neoplatonic successor of the famous Academy founded 800 years (in 387 BC) before by Plato; there he was taught by Plutarch of Athens, Syrianus, and Asclepigenia; he succeeded Syrianus as head of the Academy, and would in turn be succeeded on his death by Marinus of Neapolis.

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