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Porphyry’s Letter to Marcella - an exploration

Porphyry's letter to his wife Marcella - philosophy as a guide for the inner and outer life

Porphyry’s philosophical letter to his wife Marcella is an extraordinary work which offers a range of profound and valuable reflections on living a philosophical life, as well as telling us much about women’s involvement in philosophy. Porphyry wrote this letter to his wife while he was away undertaking important business for the Greeks and, within the letter, he encourages her to be philosophically independent and self-sufficient. Porphyry also draws on Diotima’s speech (in Plato’s Symposium) to encourage Marcella to see philosophy as a path of ascent to the gods. He reflects on what we are as human beings and how we can live the best life possible, even under difficult or challenging circumstances. Exploring the relationship between the soul and the body, the roles of the virtues or excellences in human life, and the nature of reality itself, Porphyry offers Marcella – and his reader in a wider sense – intimate personal reflections and advice on living a philosophical way of life, including how to overcome and move beyond obstacles, distractions and difficulties. We will read an extract from the Letter to Marcella and consider the philosophical way of life encouraged and advised by Porphyry.

No previous experience of formal philosophy is required.

Entrance in free, but donations between £3-5 will be welcomed.

A PDF download of the extract we will be reading is available on our website together with further details of this and other Prometheus Trust's activities: www.prometheustrust.co.uk (the PDF is on the "London Monday Evenings" page.)


Dr Crystal Addey | talks | www


Date and Time:

30 July 2018 at 7:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Cecil Sharp House
2 Regent’s Park Road

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Organised by:

The Prometheus Trust
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