Fragments that Remain of the Lost Writings of Proclus, by Thomas Taylor, , at sacred-texts.com
Proclus having observed, that some persons in his time have been seen sitting or standing on the sepulchres in which they had been buried, which, says he, is also related by the ancients of Aristeas, Hermodorus, and Epimenides, subjoins the following examples, the first of which is taken from the History of Clearchus, the disciple of Aristotle.
Cleonymus, the Athenian, who was a man fond of hearing philosophic discourses, becoming
very sorrowful on the death of one of his associates, and giving himself up to despair, apparently died, and was laid out according to custom; but his mother, as she was folding him in her embraces, taking off his garment, and kissing him, perceived in him a gentle breathing, and, being extremely joyful on the occasion, delayed his burial. Cleonymus in a short time afterwards was restored to life, and narrated all that he saw and heard when he was in a separate state. He said, that his soul appeared, as if liberated from certain bonds, to soar from its body, and that having ascended above the earth, he saw in it places all-various both for their figure and colour, and streams of rivers unknown to men; and that at last he came to a certain region sacred to Vesta, which was under the direction of dæmoniacal powers in indescribable female forms.
The second example is from the historian Naumachius, who flourished (says Proclus) in the time of our ancestors, and is of one Polycritus, who was an illustrious and principal man among the Ætolians. This Polycritus died, and returned to life in the ninth month after his death; came to the general assembly of the Ætolians, and joined with them in their consultations about what measures were best to be
adopted. Hiero, the Ephesian, and other historians, testify the truth of this, in that account of transactions which they sent to king Antigonus, and their other absent friends.
The third is as follows: In Nicopolis, not long since, the same thing happened to one Eurynous. This man, who was buried in the front of the city, revived fifteen days after, and said that he saw and heard many wonderful things under the earth, which he was ordered not to relate. He lived some time after this, and his conduct was more just after his revival than before.
The fourth is of Rufus, a priest of the Thessalonians, who lived near the time of the historian Naumachius. This man was restored to life the third day after his death, for the purpose of performing certain sacred ceremonies, which he had promised to perform, and having fulfilled his promise, again died.
The fifth and last is of one Philonæa, who lived under the reign of Philip. She was the daughter of Demostratus and Charite, who lived in Amphipolis, and died soon after her marriage to one Craterus. She revived, however, in the sixth month after her death, and, through her love of a youth named Machates, who came to Demostratus from his own country Pelle, had
connexion with him privately for many nights successively: this amour, however, being at length detected, she again died; previous to which, she declared that she acted in this manner according to the will of terrestrial dæmons. Her dead body was seen by every one lying in her father's house; and on digging the place, which prior to this had contained her body, it was found to be empty, by those of her kindred who came thither, through unbelief of what had happened to her. * The truth of this narration is testified both by the epistles of Hipparchus and those of Arridæus to Philip, in which they give an account of the affairs of Amphipolis.
Proclus then, with his usual sagacity, observes, concerning the cause of this phænomenon, as follows: "Many other of the ancients have collected a history of those that have apparently died, and afterwards revived; and among these are the natural philosopher Democritus, in his writings concerning Hades, and that wonderful Conotes, the familiar of Plato †; * * * for the death was not, as it seemed, an entire desertion of the whole life of the body, but a cessation,
caused by some blow, or perhaps a wound; but the bonds of the soul yet remained rooted about the marrow, and the heart contained in its profundity the empyreuma of life; and this remaining, it again acquired the life which had been extinguished, in consequence of becoming adapted to animation."
Lastly, Proclus adds: "that it is possible for the soul to depart from, and enter into the body, is evident from him who, according to Clearchus, used a soul-attracting wand on a sleeping lad; and who persuaded Aristotle, as Clearchus relates in his Treatise on Sleep, that the soul may be separated from the body, and that it enters into the body, and uses it as a lodging. For, striking the lad with the wand, he drew out, and, as it were, led his soul, for the purpose of evincing that the body was immovable when the soul was at a distance from it, and that it was preserved uninjured; but the soul being again led into the body, by means of the wand, after its entrance narrated every particular. From this circumstance, therefore, both the spectators and Aristotle were persuaded that the soul is separate from the body."
109:* The learned reader, who is desirous of seeing the original of the above Translation, will find it in the Notes to my Translation of Plato's Republic.
112:* See this instance of revivification more fully detailed by Phlegon Tralliamis, in his Treatise de Mirabilibus et Longævis.
112:† There is an unfortunate chasm here in the Manuscript of two or three lines.