Until recently, late antiquity was often considered the time of decline and lack of originality, producing only copious commentaries on the margins of the texts by great thinkers of the classical age. Contemporary studies, however, suggest a very different picture�not that of decline, but of an insightful and original epoch, often unsurpassed in subtlety of philosophical analysis and innovation, in many ways anticipating and similar to our own age. The central figure in late ancient philosophy is Plotinus, who was the first to introduce certain themes (such as the structure of the existent, infinity, transcendence and immanence, discursive and non-discursive thinking, etc.) in such a way that they became dominant in medieval philosophy (Augustine and Aquinas), the Renaissance (Ficino and Pico della Mirandola), and modernity (Schelling and Hegel). The readings for this class include various Enneads that discuss beauty, the constitution of the soul, the structure of the intellect, and the one and the many.