It is fair to say that Sumer was the birth of all civilization, where the invention of writing took place, as well as maybe one of the first elaborate forms of religion. Some of the most important esoteric principles and practices were passed into Egypt, where they became associated with the Magical knowledge of the early Egyptians. It became in this process an integral part of the Mediterranean heritage.
The "Ogdoadic Tradition" and the "Golden Chain" (the chain of the adepts)
The God Thot and the Goddesses Isis are the real founders of the divine Magic transmitted into Egypt and of the Hermetic Tradition called today Aurum Solis. Several centuries later, the human founders of the Aurum Solis tradition were the masters of the Platonic and Neoplatonic tradition who were initiated in both these mysteries and in the Theurgic tradition. The heart of this tradition is what Orpheus, Plato, Iamblicus, Proclus and the other masters called "the sacred path of return".
Hermeticism and Neoplatonic Tradition
Hermetism is the heart of the Neoplatonic heritage. From his birth as Thoth, to his manifestation as Hermes Trismegistus, this divine founder has given power and blessings to our Tradition. Hermetism is an amazing tradition which associates the practice of Theurgy with a rational approach to the mysteries of the life.
09academiaplatonicaIn the main, Neoplatonism is a religious philosophy. Neoplatonism is a form of idealism which combines various elements of Polytheism. Its beliefs are deeply connected to traditional spirituality. The core of the Neoplatonic tradition contains both theoretical and practical parts: the first part deals with the highest origins of the human soul, and explains how the soul has departed from its high estate; the second part reveals the path by which the soul may again return to its Eternal and Supreme.
The dark days
During the early days of the Christian religion, the Emperor Justinian declared that the Orthodox Nicene Christian faith was the official (and only permitted) religion that could be practiced in the Empire. The Emperor’s Codex contained two statutes which mandated the total destruction of all pagan practices, even in private life.
In 529 the Neoplatonic Academy of Athens was closed by order of the Emperor. From that day forward, Paganism was actively suppressed, as were all related pagan creative works (books, art, etc.) by fanatical monks, encouraged by the authorities of the Empire.
As a result of that decree, an uncounted number of male and female initiates were captured, tortured and killed in the name of “pure Christian love”. The secrecy of our Tradition and beliefs became an obligation, a simple matter of survival.
In the fifteenth century, the Theurgic Neoplatonic tradition (the Ogdoadic tradition) reappeared. Gemistus Pletho (1355–1452) met Cosimo de Medici in Florence and influenced the latter's decision to found a new Platonic Academy there. Cosimo subsequently appointed Marsilio Ficino as head of the newly formed Academy. He proceeded to translate all Plato's works into Latin, including the Enneads of Plotinus, and various other Neoplatonic writings.
The group that met at the Villa Careggi was simultaneously initiated by Plethon into both the initiatic mysteries of the Neoplatonist tradition and the Theurgic initiation. This group’s remarkable activities marked the rebirth of this ancient tradition.
Just before the dawn of the 20th Century, a number of "antiquarian" and "folklore" societies in England were engaged into chronicling curiosities of the ancient times, and pursued their own chosen researches. Some of them were connected to the Cambridge Platonists.
One of these societies became known as Societas Rotae Fulgentis (Society of the Blazing Wheel). It restored the link with the last Neoplatonician initiates, heir to the antique Tradition that was transmitted by Pletho. This society took the name of Order of the Aurum Solis in 1897, thereby continuing the Golden Chain of the Adepts under its various aspects.
Short history of the Ogdoadic Tradition
THE CHAIN OF THE ADEPTS
These Masters were the true founders of the Aurum Solis tradition. Strongly connected to the Pythagorean, Platonist and Neoplatonist schools, these initiates constituted the Ogdoadic Mysteries. Many know the names of Plato, Iamblichus, Plotinus, Proclus. For our Order, paying due respect to the Masters who gave the light of this Tradition to our Order is of paramount importance.
May their memory, always and forever, be honored under the auspices of the Immortal Divinities!
ANTIQUITY in GREECE
Orpheus (6thcentury BCE) was the founder of Orphism, which constitutes a very important part of our Tradition. It was associated to the Egyptian tradition to evolve into the Hermetist tradition.
Aristaeos (son of Damophon)
Mnésarque (son of Pythagore)
Tydas of Crotone
Aresas of Lucanie
Diodore of Aspendie
Philolaos (teached Plato)
ANTIQUITY in EGYPT
Thot – founder of the Hermetist tradition
The names of the priests of Hermopolis and the other sacred places of this country have been largely lost. Some of their names are present in different books of our tradition, but one needs to remain aware of the difficulties of validating these references.
PLATONIC ACADEMY OF ATHENS
Here are the names of the chiefs of the Academy
Plato (427-348 before our era)
Speusippe , Plato's nephew (348/347-339/338) (Influence of Pythagorism)
Xenocrate (339/338-314/313) (Influence of Pythagorism. Real founder of Platonism)
Crates of Athens(276/275-274/273)
Second (or new) academy
Arcesilas of Pitane(268/264-241)
..... ? ...... We lost the other names.
Carneades of Cyrenia(167/166)
Carneades the young (son of Polemarcos)
Crates of Tarse
Philo of Larissa(110-85) (He takes refuge in Rome in 88 BCE. The institutional link of the Masters of the Academy of Plato was broken here.)
Antiochus of Ascalonia(85-69) (He opened its school in Athens -87- 84, under the name of "academy" in opposition to the Academy of Philo which exhibited sceptical tendency. Its school survived for a few years after its death. However he was never recognized as chief of the Platonic school.) The philosophical institutions did not survive the invasion of the city by Sylla in 87 BCE. They will reappear only into 176 CE, when Marcus Aurelius founded the four schools of philosophy: Platonician - Aristotelician - Stoicist - Epicurian.
During the 1st century CE.
Potamon (Father of eclectic Platonism. He followed the path of Philo of Alexandria.)
Plutarque of Cheronea (47-125)
Théo of Smyrna(2ndhalf of 2ndcentury CE)
Maximus of Tyr
Apuleus of Madaura
Numenius of Apamea
Alcinoos (He developed an exegesis of Plato using the teachings of Aristotle)
Rebirth of the platonism or the neoplatonism
Ammonius "Saccas" (175-243 CE) (Founder of the school of Alexandria in 232 CE. Students : Plotinus, Longinus, Herennius, Origen [not the christian one].)
Plotinus (204-270) (Borned in Lycopolis, he was the true founder of Neoplatonism. He founded a school in Rome, but its teaching were not perpetuated after its death)
Amelius (Continued the teaching in the school of Numenius in Apamée)
Porphyrus of Tyr(233-305) (he separated after 5 years from Plotinus, and moved to Sicily. He was however key in disseminating the teachings of Plotinus. He travelled a lot and teached Iamblichus. He also had an important influence in Rome on the rhetor Marius Victorinus. He became Christian and became the intermediary between Plotinus and Christian Neoplatonism that can be found in the texts of St Ambrose and St Augustine.)
SYRIAN SCHOOL OF APAMÉE
Iamblichus of Chalcis (+330) (Its teaching in Apamée continued during all the first quarter of the 4thcentury.
Aidesius (founder of a school in Bergama. It is there that the Emperor Julian made his contact with Neoplatonism in 351 CE, with disciples named Maximus, Chrysantes and Priscus)
Maximus teached in Ephesus (ancient Anatolia).
Chrysantes teached in Sardis.
Priscus Teached in Athens (establishing the link with the Neoplatonist tradition from Iamblichus).
SCHOOL OF ALEXANDRIA
Ammonius "Saccas" (Teacher of Plotinus)
Olympiodorus (who refused to convert to christianity)
Hypatia of Alexandria (v. 370 – 415 CE)mathematician and Greek philosopher. She directed the Neo-Platonist School of Alexandria. Her father Theon of Alexandria, was the last director of the Museum of Alexandria, editor and commentator of mathematical texts. He educated his daughter to the sciences of mathematics and philosophy. A women of extraordinary learning, she was brutally slaughtered by a mob of Christian fanatics.
SCHOOL OF ATHENS
(The Neoplatonician branch coming from Alexandria established a new school in Athens at the beginning of the 5th century CE)
Plutarch of Athens (350-430 CE) (Regarded as the founder of the Neoplatonician school of Athens, which he combined with Syrianus teaching. Hierocles was his student, he teached in Alexandria, then with Byzance).
Syrianus (Hermias was his student. He introduced in Alexandria the doctrines of the school of Athens).
Proclus (Chief of the school during 50 years)
The Emperor Justinian closed the school of Athens in 529 CE
Damascius and Simplicius(of Cilicia),
They requested asylum to Chosroës Nushirvan in Persia. Thanks to his powerful protection, they were able to securer from Justinian an authorization to return to their homeland in 533 CE. Athens was the place of their retirement. When he returned, Simplicius began to teach a small group of students:Emporius, Elamite, Priscian, Alcinous, Agathias, Hermias and Amonius,son ofHermias.They had their meetings in secrecy in the ruins of the temple of Demeter, close to the edges of the river Ilissus, and of another temple previously devoted to Athena.
Elamite(goes to Antiochus at the request of Simplicius)
Priscian(goes to Alexandria at the request of Simplicius)
Germanus(nephew of Justinian, a student of Simplicius. He was chief of "the Order" until he died in 550 CE)
Simplicius(continued to be the chief of the school during six months. His successor was Alcinous.)
Evagrius of Pontus
After the death of Simplicius and during 250 years, our tradition continue to exist in secrecy and with very few activities.
Leon Sophos (820- ?) (born around 820 CE. He became the archbishop of Thessaloniki. He founded a school connected to our Tradition around 840 CE. He went back to Byzantium after the death of Theophilus in 842 CE, remaining there 30 years.)
Worthy of notice is to the influence of the Emperor Constantine (867-886 CE) (grandson of Basileus who was accepted in the Magnaur Academy of at 22 years old.)
Michael Psellus (1018-1079) (He had number of students.)
John Italos (Follower of Psellus and also known as "the first of the philosophers". Under anathema in 1089.)
Michael of Ephesius (Follower of Psellus. He reopened the platonic studies in Byzantium in 1071 CE)
Eustratios of Nicaea (Follower of John Italos, he continued the work of the tradition but had to stop in 1117 CE his “visible activities")
Theodorus of Smyrna(Also follower of John Italos)
Michael Italikos (Secretary of Eustratios of Nicaea and known as "the second Plato". He was forced to leave Byzantium and escaped to Italy)
Nicephorus Brien (Successor of Psellus)
Emanuel Tornicus (Initiator ofNicetas Achominate)
Nicetas Achominate (Chief of the Order in 1191, he was forced to leave Byzantium in 1204, and went to Nicaea where he remained until his death.)
Manuel Taronites (Nicaea from 1204 to 1261 CE and then in Greece.)
The Order was protected by the Emperors Theodorus Lascaris (1206-1222 CE) and John Ducas (1222-1254 CE), who were both admitted before their coronation.
George Acropolites (1217-1282 CE) (successor of Manuel Taronites in 1248, and chief of the Order during 34 years)
7 Masters continued his work.
George Gemistos Plethon (1385-1452) (Chief of the Order around 1405)
Manuel Chrysoloras (1355-1415) (Nephew of an Emperor of the same name, was sent by Emperor Manuel II Paleologos (1391 à 1495) to meet theprinces of’ Occident. He remained in Italy.)
George Gemistos Plethon(he traveled to Italy, where he passed the tradition over to the New Academy of Firenze in Italy, starting the rebirth of the Hermetist and Neoplatonist tradition. He retired in 1441 in Mistra close to Sparta) Our tradition comes from a very ancient lineage of Masters and Initiates. All of them were a living link, passing over to us these initiatic Mysteries.
THE GOLD CHAIN OF THE OGDOADIC TRADITION