Middle Platonism
The last head of the Academy of Athens was Philo of Larissa, who substantially continued the sceptical tradition of Arcelisaus and Carneades . Around 88 BC the Academy was disbanded, as philosophers left Athens and fled to Rome before the advance of Mithridates. At this time Antiochus of Ascalon made a celebrated break with the doctrines of Philo (recorded in Cicero's dialogue, Lucullus ), instigating a return to the ‘Old Academy’, or in other words to reliance on a positive science of philosophy, a system owing its inspiration to Plato . Antiochus himself was extremely close to Stoicism . New elements, such as an emphasis on the transcendence and immaterial nature of God, an interest in Pythagorean mystical numerology, and the attempt to work out a divine hierarchy of reality, were introduced by Publius Nigidius Figulus (98–45 BC) and Eudorus of Alexandria (fl. c. 25 BC). These continued with the reconciliation of pagan and Jewish writings by Philo Judaeus . The times were characterized by a conservative tone, leading philosophers to look to the past and to attempt to prove the essential unity of different philosophical schools, and by a flowering of many forms of occultism and mysticism. Prominent Middle Platonists include Plutarch, and the overall orientation is shared by many minor figures, of whom the last, Ammonius Saccus, was the teacher of Plotinus, with whom a fully-fledged new synthesis, or departure, Neoplatonism, is born.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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