On the Life of Plotinus. The Six Enneads


Under the influence of Italian humanism and of his book-collector tutor János Vitéz, the Archbishop of Esztergom, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–1490), developed a passion for books and learning. Elected king of Hungary in 1458 at the age of 14, Matthias won great acclaim for his battles against the Ottoman Turks and his patronage of learning and science. He created the Bibliotheca Corviniana, in its day one of Europe’s finest libraries. After his death, and especially after the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, the library was dispersed and much of the collection was destroyed, with the surviving volumes scattered all over Europe. This codex, one of eight manuscripts originally in the Corvinus Library and now preserved in the Bavarian State Library, contains the collected philosophical works, the so-called Enneads, of Plotinus (circa 204–70), known as the founder of Neoplatonic philosophy. Also included in the codex is the biography of Plotinus by Porphyrios (234–circa 305), one of the philosopher’s most prominent disciples and the compiler of the Enneads. Copied by two different scribes who are well known to modern scholarship, the codex most likely was bought by Corvinus shortly after its production. The Bibliotheca Corviniana Collection was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2005.

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Πορφυρίου περὶ τοῦ Πλωτίνου βίου καὶ τῆς τάξεως τῶν βιβλίων αὐτοῦ Πλωτίνου φιλοσόφου ἐννεάδες


Type of Item

Physical Description

297 sheets, paper : 28 x 19 centimeters


  • BSB Shelfmark Cod.graec. 449

Last updated: April 21, 2014