I understand that I took certain liberties in my previous post when describing Hellenistic philosophy and thought schools. This post serves as an ancillary source on that topic. (Seriously, holism is the most important aspect to all of my research, and I want to extend that to anyone who is using my website as a research medium). A strong understanding of Hellenism is one of many necessary blocks for building a holistic tapestry depicting the truth of human spiritual evolution and degradation. For our purposes, since this is a macro historical inquiry, and we are trying to cover as much ground as possible, I’ll be going over the philosophical evolution of the larger Hellenistic age (approximately 624 BCE-30 BCE) rather than the Hellenistic period which begins with the death of Alexander the Great. ( 323 BCE- 30 BCE). ‘Hellenistic’, connotatively and for our purposes as theosophists, is a descriptor used to detail aspects of the latter period of Greek cultural prominence; that which coincides with subsequent Roman takeover, and significant historical convergence of Greek and Roman culture and philosophy. (The specifics of the life and death of Alexander the Great will have to be saved for a later essay.) There are many academic propositions for the exact dates which define Hellenism, but I have attempted to compile the data as simply as possible by focusing on the philosophical schools that developed during this time. This is a very generalized timeline and description of a subject that scholars have devoted their entire lives to; I cannot stress that enough. I have included an additional index of academic sources that helped me with this timeline and essay, and which I strongly encourage my readers to take a look at. Additionally, for simplicity’s sake I have approximated the dates which punctuate the timeline. The years provided are the generally agreed upon birth dates of the mentioned philosopher, as the influence and impact of the mentioned philosophies cannot be accurately dated. Once again, I insist that my readers strive for a holistic understanding of the information presented on this blog, and that includes properly notifying you of any of my shortcomings or approximations made in the name of simplicity or the bigger picture. And of course providing comprehensive academic sources to make up for it. After the timeline there will be explanations for the main schools of Hellenistic philosophy: Pythagoreanism, Sophism, Socratic and Platonic Philosophy, Cynicism, Stoicism, and the introduction of Judaism.
A Time Line for Your Consideration
The Hellenistic Age in Philosophical Thought
624 BC: Thales of Miletus
Considered to be the “first Greek Philosopher”, and historically recognized as the first person in western civilization known to have entertained and engaged in scientific philosophy. He was one of the seven sages of Greece.
570 BC: Pythagoras of Samos
510 BC: Anaxagoras
Credited with bringing western philosophy into Athens from the fringes of Greece. He gave notable and novel scientific descriptions of natural processes and phenomena, most notably eclipses and the sun.
490 BC: Protagoras of Abdera
Prominent Sophist, and practitioner of “radical relativism”. He is famous for his “3 Claims”: 1. Man is the measure of all things”, 2. “make the worse argument and appear the better”, and 3. “one cannot tell if the gods exist of not.”
469 BC: Socrates
Popularized and generalized western philosophy. Largely enigmatic, he is credited with popularizing epistemological thinking and pedagogical teaching styles in western academia.
460 BC: Democritus
Considered the father of modern science.
427 BC: Plato
384 BC: Aristotle
365 BC: Pyrrho and Pyrrhonism
341 BC: Epicurius and Epicureanism
333 BC: Zeno of Citium and The Beginning of Stoicism
323 BC: Euclid
316 BC: Arcesilaus and Academic Skepticism
121 BC: Marcus Aurelius and Stoicsm
106 BC: Cicero and Eclecticism
30 BC: Philo of Alexandria and Hellenistic Judaism
(You’ll notice a trend after Aristotle- the philosophers begin naming philosophies after themselves, and the field is controlled by stoicism for an entire century before monotheism begins rearing its head. This is no coincidence, and everything leading up to that primes elite followers, and to a lesser extent, population centers, to embrace whatever comes next with blind faith in established pedagogy. Hopefully, my analysis will convince you, to any degree, to agree that the evolution of Hellenistic philosophy by itself lays out a decent roadmap to illustrate the retroactive shift from Aries age belief to Piscean age belief.)
From a western standpoint, Aries’ age belief consists of the early Babylonian and Egyptian mythologies all the way up until the end of the Western Roman Empire. It is generally the same stories echoed onto one another, with varying geographical, political, cultural nuances. These mythologies begin with primordial nothing, and then order is brought by giants and new immortal energies. From there, the second generation purifies itself from the first, and effectively establishes dominion over humans. These parties (with the exception of the giants), are inherently inaccessible to mortal kind, but still necessary for spirituality, and spiritual understanding in the age of Aries. They were symbolically generated into complex pantheons consisting of characters who embodied the best and worst aspects of both nature and humanity. This was the norm in the west, as well as many stories and oral traditions that further developed these characters and their interactions with mortal kind. The Greek and Roman stylizations of this pantheon are common, popular knowledge (Zues, Prometheus, the whole gang). Conversely, Pisces age belief is hallmarked by the villainizing of pantheon style worship, prominence of oppressive monotheism, and the introduction of the contemporary invisible devil archetype into the collective consciousness. The Hellenistic age and the philosophies developed therein effectively serve as a step ladder to Piscean monotheism. One day, men started questioning what they couldn’t see, and the trend only got more popular over time, until they eventually arrived at stylized, “logical” martyrdom and blind faith as a solution to questions that they found did not have absolute answers. What could have been a very interesting and informative foray into the nature of experience and empiricism proved to be too useful for Luciferian forces and was targeted or manipulated over the centuries as Greece and Egypt were overtaken by Rome. It is also worth noting that in addition to what is largely considered public knowledge about Hellenistic age philosophy, there is also an enigmatic, occult/esoteric aspect to most of the philosophies, about which little is known (sources available). These phenomena and their relationship to spiritual degradation will be discussed at length at a later date.
It all began with Thales of Miletus, born in 624 BC. A Greek man who one day decided to apply what we would call “scientific processes” to his experiences… and he was shocked by the results! He is heralded as the first Greek philosopher, and he is one of the seven sages of Greece. He began the domino effect by no means other than simple intellectual curiosity. The decision to sanction the deconstruction of the physical world and Aries age spiritual status quo was made when this man’s ideas began gaining prominence. One wrong choice made in curiosity also starts off the events in Genesis which leads to the rest of it. The next big philosophy is Pythagoreanism. Metempsychosis or “transmigration” and tools for navigating this such as early Hermetics (primarily numerology, mathematics/geometry, and music) and soul science are a large part of this early, enigmatic, and ascetic school of thought. Although incredibly covert, his teachings heavily influenced most of his contemporaries and many of the other famous Hellenistic philosophers that succeeded him. Pythagoras waltzed through the door opened by Thales and became an eccentric character in the world of western academia which only increased the intrigue in what was slowly becoming a sensation. A contemporary of Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, is credited with bringing the new philosophies from the fringes of Greece into Athens. Other contemporaries of Pythagoras would create comparatively minor thought practices as Sophism and Cynicism, both of which left an imprint on the cultural and political trends that followed their advent. Sophism is characterized by a certain type of educational rhetoric aimed at teaching “arete” (ethical excellence) to wealthy statesmen and nobles. These teachers played a significant, behind the scenes role in maintaining Greek and Athenian (and eventually Roman) political structure during the Hellenistic age. One sophist I’d like to mention by name is Protagoras of Abdera. His entry on the timeline; the 3 Sophist claims promote absolute humanity, absolute dominion, and absolute intellect of humans. While logically sound and particularly powerful for ego inflation, “radical relativism” successfully removed masses of people from their deeper spiritual and intuitive roots by giving them ethical grounds for total intellectual dominion, effectively instigating spiritual retrograde. That leads us to cynicism, which is characterized by living simply, supremely disciplined, and in accordance with nature. Diogenes took cynicism to logical extremes, and the practice ultimately became synonymous with rejecting all material pleasure in pursuit of greater spiritual happiness. He opted to live homeless on the street rather than ruin his relationship to nature with frivolous materialism… I think it borders on the absurd, (and definitely parallels biblical behavioral guidelines).
Next we have the big three boys, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Yes, they essentially embody all of Hellenistic philosophy, but the truth is they were largely responsible for the pedantry that made philosophical learning inaccessible to the public at large. Socrates operated on the same level as his predecessors, but scaled up. While he was enigmatic, he was well known and sought out by many scholars. However, they were mostly wealthy individuals who had the time and resources to commit to memorizing the pedantics necessary to practice with Socrates. Plato knew all about it, and he attempted to make learning more accessible by writing books and telling stories, and Aristotle essentially sold out. (This is just my humorous opinion and there is plenty to learn from and about these individuals and the professionals who research them!). I chose to view them from this perspective because it supports my bias that Hellenism led directly to the rise of monotheism, and the evidence of this is present. I see a parallel between the gap of knowledge growing through the centuries where Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle held prominence in western academic circles during the Hellenistic age and the way the knowledge gap grew in the Piscean, European dark ages, leading to increased reliance on symbols and the word of more privileged and educated individuals. These three prominent Hellenistic philosophers drowned the practice in pedantry and pedagogy to the point where any lay men couldn’t have had the opportunity to learn effectively from masters. Spiritual guidance and formal ethical education was effectively reserved for the wealthy and powerful during this period of philosophical history.
Pyrrhonism and skepticism, Epicureanism, stoicism, academic skepticism, and eclecticism are the final purely philosophical practices before the popular advent of biblical monotheism. Pyrrhonism is the predecessor of skepticism, concerned with achieving “ataraxia”, or general peace of mind through “epoche” which essentially means withholding judgement about matters related to belief. Essentially, their strategy was resigning to willful ignorance and blind faith for the sake of emotional simplicity. Pyrrhonism and skepticism promote emotional martyrdom and spiritual complacency; letting go of any attachments to ego, ego manifestations, or situational control or power in order to sustain a life with little to no inner conflict. Epicureanism was considered skepticisms rival practice, and focused on the inevitable chaotic nature of the universe and is hallmarked by the disbelief and absence of divine influence in mortal affairs. Epicureans believed that absence of pain is the greatest pleasure, and they advocated for simple and pleasurable living. In my opinion, it is reminiscent of contemporary atheism, and there is some obvious seeds of polarity being planted here. Stoicism borrows heavily from the practice of cynicism, advocating living in accordance with nature by freeing oneself from self destructive emotions such as anger, envy, or sadness through self discipline. This practice was incredibly popular for a very long time, beginning with Zeno of Citium near 333 BC and reaching its peak with Roman scholar Cicero near 106 BC. Academic skepticism was similar to traditional skepticism, but challenged the practice epistemologically, attacking the logical and empirical lapses in the original skeptical beliefs. Finally, there was eclecticism, which was basically a buffet of all the already existing philosophies. Once the evolution of Hellenistic philosophy plateaued, it didn’t take long for Judeo-Christian characters to introduce themselves into the occasion. Scholars such as Philo of Alexandria, Clement of Alexandria, and Plotinus quickly boosted monotheism to the forefront of wealthy and powerful circles through mixing biblical ideas into well established Hellenistic ones.
That’s the essay everyone thanks for your time… I hope you learned something new because I certainly had to do a lot of boring philosophy research, but I’m glad to have it all consolidated now. To confirm, I believe, fully, that the hellenistic age was the beginning of the end of the great Greek civilization, and that the well meaning attempt at understanding experience spiraled into an intellectual trap that ultimately planted the seeds that would spur collective western spirituality into a retrograde. The logical and scientific approaches to religion practiced throughout the Hellenistic age deprived populations of the innately intuitive and personal aspects offered by the old mystic pantheon religions, and primed the leaders of the time and place to seek uniform ethics and moral simplicity above all else and at any cost. This inevitably led to the rise of and reliance on biblical monotheism and… well we all know how that’s turning out.
hellenistic period timeline
Thales of Miletus
Pyrrho + Pyrrhonism
Epicurus + Epicureanism
Zeno of Citium
Philo of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria