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Greatest Minds and Ideas of the Western World

Website Created By Phil Norfleet

Home Philosophers Scientists Mathematicians Greatest Ideas 6th Century BC

 

What is an Ennead?

The term "ennead" means a structure of nine entities and is taken from the ancient Greek word "ennea" or the number nine. 

In modern times, the word has been frequently utilized when speaking of the books written by the Neoplatonist philosopher Plotinus.  After Plotinus died in about 275 A. D., his biographer, Porphyry, arranged the extant writings of Plotinus into six groups, each group containing nine treatises; collectively, these writings are called "The Enneads."

However, in ancient Greece, the term usually referred to the Great Ennead of the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, i.e., the nine great Egyptian gods worshiped in that city as follows:  Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Seb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys.  The ancient Greeks also had a grouping of nine goddesses, the nine muses:  Clio (History), Urania (Astronomy), Melpomene (Tragedy), Thalia (Comedy), Terpsichore (Dance), Calliope (Epic Poetry), Erato (Love Poetry), Polyhymnia (Sacred Poetry), Euterpe (Lyric Poetry).

Because a principal purpose of this web site is to identify the greatest Western mathematicians, scientists and philosophers, I consider it appropriate to select those who, in my opinion, are the nine greatest thinkers in each of these categories.  In a sense, these people do indeed constitute the "great gods" of mathematics, science and philosophy!