Platonism

Greco-Roman philosophy

Platonism in Egypt during the period of the Ægyptus campaign (known as Middle Platonism) represents the heritage of the great Greek philosopher Plato, as his teaching was interpreted in this age hungry for religious experience and liberation. In this period, Platonism is less of an academic philosophy, and more like a mystery religion. In this sense it anticipates the developments of the Alexandrian Plotinus, who founded the Neoplatonic school in the early third century.

The tenets of Platonism represent, to some extent, the least common denominator of Greco-Roman religious thought. Platonic philosophers worked within as well as without many religious traditions, with Plutarch's treatise On Isis and Osiris and Philo's speculation upon the Jewish tradition being two examples of Middle Platonic interpretation of other distinct religious traditions. Still, the Platonic Academy in Athens continued functioning well past this period, and Alexandria in Egypt was a rival to the grandeur of Athens' philosophical heights. Under the aegis of these schools, Platonic teachers taught much as Plato himself had, and Socrates before him—holding discussions in public squares and initiating disciples into higher mysteries.

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Goal and Purpose of the Faith: The goal of the philosophical life, as it was expressed in Platonism, is "to become like God, as far as this is possible" (Plato, Theaet. 176B). In Middle Platonism, as in much of the rest of the contemporary religious world, this goal was expressed, not as an ethicized, de-spiritualized ideal but rather as a belief in the ultimate mystical experience of union with the Divine, achieved through knowledge (gnosis). 

Requirements of the Priesthood

Alignment: Priests may be of any good alignment.

Minimum Ability Scores: Wisdom 12, Intelligence 13. 

Either 16+ => +5% experience; both 16+ => +10%.

Races Allowed: Priests may be of any race and gender.

Nonweapon and Weapon Proficiencies: Nonweapon Proficiencies Required: Reading/Writing, Religion. Nonweapon Proficiencies Suggested: None. Weapon Proficiencies Required: None. Nonweapon Proficiency Group Crossovers: Priest, General.

Duties and Rights of the Priest: Devotions (personal meditation), Guidance. Education: The principal task of philosophical schools in general is teaching. Platonism, naturally, preserves the heritage of Plato's philosophy, so education includes (but is not limited to) Plato's writings. Vigilance: Platonic philosophers consider it their responsibility to defend against "superstition", which means (to them) any overly-anthropomorphic characterization of a deity, or other attributions to the Divine which do not do justice to its nature. While they have little influence over what goes on outside their schools, vigilance is important within the schools to prevent superstition from creeping into the ranks. Further, teachers like Plutarch considered it important to allegorize foreign myths to make them conform to "true religion". No extraordinary rights.

Restrictions and Limitations: Weapons Permitted: Bludgeoning weapons only. Armor permitted: None, any shield. Other Limitations: Celibacy, chastity. A degree of asceticism is expected in other areas as well—eating, clothing, sleeping, etc. Moderation is demanded in all things.

Spheres of Influence: Major Access to All, Astral, Charm, Divination, Elemental, Thought. Minor Access to Creation, Guardian, Protection, Summoning.

Powers: Charm/Fascination (in combat, three times per day). At third level, Prophecy.

Followers and Strongholds: At ninth level, the priest attracts these assistant priests, all of the same order: one 5th-level, three 3rd-level, and 16 first-level. This represents a school on a greater scale than any circle the priest/philosopher may have acquired to date. The order will finance half the cost of stronghold construction at or after ninth level.

Relations: Other Faiths: Monotheistic by dogma, in that "the Good", the Absolute Deity, is considered to be the only god, while other gods are symbols or conceptions of that Deity. Aristocracy: All the fashion among the educated upper classes. Even followers of other religions, if they are educated, tend to be strongly influenced by Platonism. People: No priestly caste. Not extremely popular—too esoteric. No control over the people at large. Non-indigenous. Foreign Faiths: "Absorbs" foreign faiths easily, by allegorization (viz. the Roman Platonist Plutarch with Isis and Osiris).

Requirements of the Followers

Alignment: Any non-evil.

Races Allowed: Any.

Restrictions: Moderation is expected, but not to the degree as it is of priests.


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