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Im Land des Silberfarns by Emma Temple
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About Emma Temple. Emma Temple. Books by Emma Temple. Scholars of Greek religion had other reasons to doubt these views, and even to doubt the importance given to animal offerings. Burkert, Vernant, and Detienne trafficked in social science with more or less staying power; and Burkert did the same with natural science. Archeologists had always known there was more to worship than animal sacrifice. Literary critics knew that the stress on rituals, coupled with a divorce of ritual from mythic antecedents, had done a kind of violence to Greek experience, which was as much about gods and heroes known though myth as it was about rites known through anthropology and sociology.
And they knew that the gods of the poets and historians responded to acts of sacrifice less predictably than in the two prevailing views. Further discussion at chapter 6 here. In contrast, Greek tuphein and its English cognate, "smoke," have no sacrificial character. I The Invention of a Ritual. When an ancient Greek prayed, he or she might burn an offering. After noticing the smoke from the fire, a god might grant the prayer and accept the offering, or he might not.
Odysseus experienced both responses. At the start of the Illiad , when the Achaeans suffered from a plague, Odysseus brought a hecatomb of animals to the priest of Apollo, Chryses, hoping that the pries would sacrifice them and pray to Apollo for relief.
Chryses was a likely intercessor, for the god had inflicted the plague after Agamemnon refused to release his daughter, a captive. Odysseus returned the girl to her father. With this wrong righted, the priest performed the rite, and Apollo "heard him," ending the plague. After he escaped from the Cyclops, he sacrificed the ram that had carried him to safety from the monster's cave - an apt thanksgiving. When the smoke rose into the air, Zeus "paid no heed. This time, Odysseus was at a disadvantage. Before, he was not. It did not matter what the offering was.
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The Achaeans gave some number of ca cattle, Odysseus a particular ram. Other worshippers in Homer gave incense and a woven dress. Odysseus and Chryses offered the hecatomb on behalf of the army, but Odysseus offered the ram on behalf of his crew. The conduct of the worshippers did matter. The Achaeans had satisfied Apollo, but Odysseus had not satisfied Zeus. The god also mattered. After Apollo granted Chryses's prayer, the Achaeans sang and danced.
Sacrifice let the worshippers commune with the god. Or, if the god were displeased, as Zeus was, the rite failed to achieve this effect. The two sides communicated, but did not commune. The same animal: Stanford ad 9. Whence have these prejudices against you arisen? For certainly this great report and talk has not arisen while you were doing nothing more out of the way than the rest, unless you were doing something other than most people; so tell us.
So listen. And perhaps I shall seem to some of you to be joking; be assured, however, I shall speak perfect truth to you. What kind of wisdom is this? Just that which is perhaps human wisdom. For perhaps I really am wise in this wisdom; and these men, perhaps,. You know Chaerephon, I fancy.
And you know the kind of man Chaerephon was, how impetuous in whatever he undertook. Now the Pythia replied that there was no one wiser. And about these things his brother here will bear you witness, since Chaerephon is dead. For I am conscious that I am not wise either much or little. What then does he mean by declaring that I am the wisest? He certainly cannot be lying, for that is not possible for him.
I went to one of those who had a reputation for wisdom,. I seem, then, in just this little thing to be wiser than this man at any rate, that what I do not know I do not think I know either. So I had to go, investigating the meaning of the oracle, to all those who were reputed to know anything. So I must relate to you my wandering as I performed my Herculean labors, so to speak, in order that the oracle might be proved to be irrefutable.
For after the public men I went to the poets, those of tragedies, and those of dithyrambs,. So, taking up the poems of theirs that seemed to me to have been most carefully elaborated by them, I asked them what they meant, that I might at the same time learn something from them. Now I am ashamed to tell you the truth, gentlemen; but still it must be told. For there was hardly a man present, one might say, who would not speak better than they about the poems they themselves had composed.
So again in the case of the poets also I presently recognized this,. And at the same time I perceived that they, on account of their poetry, thought that they were the wisest of men in other things as well, in which they were not. So I went away from them also thinking that I was superior to them in the same thing in which I excelled the public men. And in this I was not deceived; they did know what I did not, and in this way they were wiser than I.
I replied then to myself and to the oracle that it was better for me to be as I am. Therefore I am still even now going about and searching and investigating at the god's behest anyone, whether citizen or foreigner, who I think is wise; and when he does not seem so to me, I give aid to the god and show that he is not wise. And by reason of this occupation I have no leisure to attend to any of the affairs of the state worth mentioning, or of my own , but am in vast poverty. And in addition to these things, the young men who have the most leisure, the sons of the richest men, accompany me of their own accord, find pleasure in hearing people being examined, and often imitate me themselves, and then they undertake to examine others; and then, I fancy, they find a great plenty of people who think they know something, but know little or nothing.
From among them Meletus attacked me, and Anytus and Lycon, Meletus angered on account of the poets, and Anytus on account of the artisans and the public men,. And whether you investigate. Now so far as the accusations are concerned which my first accusers made against me, this is a sufficient defence before you; but against Meletus, the good and patriotic, as he says, and the later ones, I will try to defend myself next.
So once more, as if these were another set of accusers, let us take up in turn their sworn statement. It is about as follows: it states that Socrates is a wrongdoer because he corrupts the youth and does not believe in the gods the state believes in, but in other.
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Such is the accusation. But let us examine each point of this accusation. He says I am a wrongdoer because I corrupt the youth. And that this is so I will try to make plain to you also. Come here, Meletus, tell me: don't you consider it. For it is evident that you know, since you care about it.
For you have found the one who corrupts them, as you say, and you bring me before these gentlemen and accuse me; and now, come, tell who makes them better and inform them who he is. Do you see, Meletus, that you are silent and cannot tell? And yet does it not seem to you disgraceful and a sufficient proof of what I say, that you have never cared about it? But tell, my good man, who. Are these gentlemen able to instruct the youth, and do they make them better?
But how about this? Now that I do not lie against God I have the following proof: I have revealed to many of my friends the counsels which God has given me, and in no instance has the event shown that I was mistaken. Once on a time when Chaerephon made inquiry at the Delphic oracle concerning me, in the presence of many people Apollo answered that no man was more free than I, or more just, or more prudent. However, do not believe the god even in this without due grounds, but examine the god's utterance in detail. Who in the world more free,—for I accept neither gifts nor pay from any one?
Whom would you with reason regard as more just than the one so reconciled to his present possessions as to want nothing beside that belongs to another? And would not a person with good reason call me a wise man, who from the time when I began to understand spoken words have never left off seeking after and learning every good thing that I could? And what shall we say is accountable for this fact, that although everybody knows that it is quite impossible for me to repay with money, many people are eager to make me some gift?
Or for this, that no demands are made on me by a single person for the repayment of benefits, while many confess that they owe me a debt of gratitude? Or for this, that while other men get their delicacies in the markets and pay a high price for them, I devise more pleasurable ones from the resources of my soul, with no expenditure of money? And now, if no one can convict me of misstatement in all that I have said of myself, do I not unquestionably merit praise from both gods and men? Now very likely the god repulsed him from his attempt to investigate an ancient myth as though it were a painting to be tested by the touch.
He had recently been at the shrine of Ammon, and it was plain that he was not particularly impressed by most of the things there, but in regard to the everburning lamp he related a story told by the priests which deserves special consideration ; it is that the lamp consumes less and less oil each year, and they hold that this is a proof of a disparity in the years, which all the time is making one year shorter in duration than its predecessor ; for it is reasonable that in less duration of time the amount consumed should be less.
Besides, Demetrius, not to allow that small things are indication of great stands directly in the way of many arts ; for it will result in taking away from us the demonstration of many facts and the prognostication of many others. This was what one might hear from the priests of the prophetic shrine there ; so some other rejoinder must be offered to them, if we would make for the sun the wonted order of its course immutable, in accord with the tradition of the ages.
In fact, the eclipses will prove it, as the sun more frequently casts a shadow on the moon and the moon on the earth ; the other facts are clear, and there is no need to disclose in further detail the imposture in the argument. But on the assumption that the report is true, is it not better to assign the cause to some coldness or moisture in the air by which the flame is made to languish, and so very likely does not take up nor need very much to support it?
Or, quite the reverse, may we assign the cause to spells of dryness and heat? For great was the ancient repute of the divine influence there, but at the present time it seems to be somewhat evanescent. What need to speak of others, when in Boeotia, which in former times spoke with many tongues because of its oracles, the oracles have now failed completely, even as if they were streams of flowing water, and a great drought in prophecy has overspread the land? For nowhere now except in the neighbourhood of Lebadeia has Boeotia aught to offer to those who would draw from the well-spring of prophecy.
As for the rest, silence has come upon some and utter desolation upon others. All this was in harmony, as it were, with events to come ; for Mardonius was vanquished while the Greeks were led, not by a king, but by a guardian and deputy of a king 4 ; and he fell, struck by a stone j ust as the Lydian dreamed that he was struck in his sleep.
While they were wondering and questioning the mere possibility that the god had been born, not in their island, but somewhere else, the prophetic priestess told them in another oracle that a crow would show them the spot. So they went away and, when they reached Chaeroneia, they heard the woman who kept their inn conversing about the oracle with some strangers who were on their way to Tegyrae. There have been also more recent manifestations than these at these oracles, but now the oracles are no more ; so it is well worth while, here in the precinct of the Pythian god, to examine into the reason for the change.
Thucydides, v. Proceeding onward from the temple, we had by this time reached the doors of the Cnidian Clubhouse. There was quiet among the other people there because of the hour, as they were engaged in taking a rub-down or else watching the athletes. The foundations may still be seen. Thus those maladies and emotions of the soul which it would be good to disclaim and conceal in the presence of an older man, they bring naked and exposed before the god.
Moralia, e. The fact is that the man who holds that the obsolescence of such of the oracles as have ceased to function has been brought about by some other cause and not by the will of a god gives reason for suspecting that he believes that their creation and continued existence was not due to the god, but was brought about in some other way. For prophecy is something created by a god, and certainly no greater or more potent force exists to abolish and obliterate it. Now I do not like what Planetiades said, and one of the reasons is the inconsistency which it creates regarding the god,[p.
Now moderation, adequacy, excess in nothing, and complete selfsufficiency are above all else the essential characteristics of everything done by the gods ; and if anyone should take this fact as a starting-point, and assert that Greece has far more than its share in the general depopulation which the earlier discords and wars have wrought throughout practically the whole inhabited earth, and that to-day the whole of Greece would hardly muster three thousand men-at-arms, which is the number that the one city of the Megarians sent forth to Plataeae 1 for the god's abandoning of many oracles is nothing other than his way of substantiating the desolation of Greece , in this way such a man would give some accurate evidence of his keenness in reasoning.
For who would profit if there were an oracle in Tegyrae, as there used to be, or at Ptoiim, where during some part of the day one might possibly meet a human being pasturing his flocks? And regarding the oracle here at Delphi, the most ancient in time and the most famous in repute, men record that for a long time it was made desolate and unapproachable by a fierce creature, a serpent; they do not, however, put the correct interpretation upon its lying idle, but quite the reverse ; for it was the desolation that attracted the creature rather than that the creature caused the desolation.
But to-day there is one priestess and we do not complain, for she meets every need. There is no reason, therefore, to blame the god ; the exercise of the prophetic art which continues at the present day is sufficient for all, and sends away all with their desires fulfilled. In the same way, in those days, prophecy employed more voices to speak to more people, but to-day, quite the reverse, we should needs be surprised at the god if he allowed his prophecies to run to waste, like water, or to echo like the rocks with the voices of shepherds and flocks in waste places.
Herodotus, ix. But from the demigods a few souls still, in the long reach of time, because of supreme excellence, come, after being purified, to share completely in divine qualities. Peiper But I cannot brook this talk of universal destruction ; and such impossibilities, in recalling to our minds these utterances, especially those about the crow and the stag, must be allowed to revert upon those that indulge in such exaggeration.
Is not that so? Either process gives forty, and when this is multiplied five times by three it gives the specified number. Caerellium, xviii. Of all these things there are, in many places, sacrifices, ceremonies, and legends which preserve and jealously guard vestiges and tokens embodied here and there in their fabric.
Moralia, c, and the lines of Empedocles there quoted. Moralia, c. Moralia, c and d. Moralia, b and e.
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But the greatest error in regard to the truth is that of the theologians of Delphi who think that the god[p. And as for the story which I have heard before about this flight and the removal to another place, it is dreadfully strange and paradoxical, but if it has any vestige of truth in it, let us not imagine that what was done in those days about the oracle was any slight or common affair.
Let this statement be ventured by us, following the lead of many others before us, that coincidently with the total defection of the guardian spirits assigned to the oracles and prophetic shrines, occurs the defection of the oracles themselves ; and when the spirits flee or go to another place, the oracles themselves lose their power, but when the spirits return many years later, the oracles, like musical instruments, become articulate, since those who can put them to use are present and in charge of them.
But you unwittingly take back what you concede ; for you agree that these demigods exist, but by your postulating that they are not bad nor mortal you no longer keep them ; for in what respect do they differ from gods, if as regards their being they possess immortality and as regards their virtues freedom from all emotion or sin? The father of Aemilianus the orator, to whom some of you have listened, was Epitherses, who lived in our town and was my teacher in grammar.
He said that once upon a time in making a voyage to Italy he embarked on a ship carrying freight and many passengers. It was already evening when, near the Echinades Islands, the wind dropped, and the ship drifted near Paxi. Almost everybody was awake, and a good many had not finished their after-dinner wine. Suddenly from the island of Paxi was heard the voice of someone loudly calling Thamus, so that all were amazed. Thamus was an Egyptian pilot, not known by name even to many on board.
As many persons were on the vessel, the story was soon spread abroad in Rome, and Thamus was sent for by Tiberius Caesar. Herodotus, ii. He himself, by the emperor's order, had made a voyage for inquiry and observation to the nearest of these islands which had only a few inhabitants, holy men who were all held inviolate by the Britons. Shortly after his arrival there occurred a great tumult in the air and many portents ; violent winds suddenly swept down and lightning-flashes darted to earth.
When these abated, the people of the island said that the passing of someone of the mightier souls had befallen. Moralia, a - a. What, in fact, is there to prevent our accepting an utterance that is impressive and most highly philosophical? For if it be rejected, it does away with many things which are possible but cannot be proved ; and if it be allowed as a principle, it brings in its train many things that are impossible or non-existent. For by this reasoning Epicurus will be shown to be a worse man than Gorgias the sophist, and Metrodorus worse than Alexis the comic poet; for Alexis lived twice as long as Metrodorus and Gorgias more than a third as long again as Epicurus.
For example, many of the animals that are sluggish in movement and slow in their reactions and many that are lascivious and ungovernable live a longer time than the quick and the clever. Therefore they do not well who make God's eternal existence to be the result of watchfulness and the thrusting aside of destructive agencies. No, immunity from emotion and destruction ought to reside in the blessed Being, and should require no activity on His part. Perhaps, however, to speak thus with reference to people that are not present does not show great consideration.
So it is right that Cleombrotus should resume the topic which he discontinued a few moments ago about the migration and flight of the demigods. Yet it seems to be close to the subject of natural phenomena and Plato 1 has given the key-note for it, not by an unqualified pronouncement, but as the result of a vague concept, cautiously suggesting also the underlying idea in an enigmatic way ; but, for all that, there has been loud disparagement of him on the part of other philosophers. But there is set before us for general use a bowl of myths and stories combined, and where could one meet with more kindly listeners for testing these stories, even as one tests coins from foreign lands?
It was near the Persian Gulf that I found him, where he holds a meeting with human beings once every year ; and there I had an opportunity to talk with him and met with a kindly reception. The other days of his life, according to his statement, he spends in association with roving nymphs and demigods. He was the handsomest man I ever saw in personal appearance and he never suffered from any disease, inasmuch as once each month he partook of the medicinal and bitter fruit of a certain herb.
He was practised in the use of many tongues ; but with me, for the most part, he spoke a Doric which was almost music. While he was speaking, a fragrance overspread the place, as his mouth breathed forth a most pleasant perfume. Besides his learning and his knowledge of history, always at his command, he was inspired to prophesy one day in each year when he went down to the sea and told of the future. Potentates and kings' secretaries would come each year and depart.
His power of prophecy he referred to the demigods. He made most account of Delphi and there was none of the stories told of Dionysus or of the rites performed here of which he had not heard ; these too he asserted were the momentous experiences of the demigods and so, plainly, were those which had to do with the Python. Such also, he said, were the stories about Typhons and Titans 3 ; battles of demigods against demigods had taken place, followed by the exile of the vanquished, or else judgement inflicted by a god upon the sinners, as, for example, for the sin which Typhon is said to have committed in the case of Osiris, or Cronus in the case of Uranus ; and the honours once paid to these deities have become quite dim to our eyes or have vanished altogether when the deities were transferred to another world.
In fact, I learn that the Solymi, who live next to the Lycians, paid especial honour to Cronus. Many accounts similar to these are to be had from theological history. But, as that man said, if we call some of the demigods by the current name of gods, that is no cause for wonder ; for each of them is wont to be called after that god with whom he is allied and from whom' he has derived his portion of power and honour. Moralia, b-c. Cleombrotus said nothing more, and his account appeared marvellous to all.
The inner area of the triangle is the common hearth of all, and is called the Plain of Truth, in which the accounts, the forms, and the patterns of all things that have come to pass and of all that shall come to pass rest undisturbed ; and round about them lies Eternity, whence Time, like an ever-flowing stream, is conveyed to the worlds. Opportunity to see and to contemplate these things is vouchsafed to human souls once in ten thousand years if they have lived goodly lives ; and the best of the initiatory rites here are but a dream of that highest rite and initiation; and the words of our philosophic inquiry are framed to recall these fair sights there — else is our labour vain.
He had ranged widely in literature and was no foreigner, but a Greek by birth, and replete with Greek culture to a high degree. Of these he leaves two to be held in common, the earth for all below and Olympus for all above, and the three that lie between were assigned to the three gods. Enough of legends! Plato, however, is very far from calling the five different divisions of the world five different worlds ; and in those passages again, in which he contends against those who postulate an infinite number of worlds, he says that his opinion is that this world is the only-begotten and beloved of God, having been created out of the corporeal whole, entire, complete, and sufficient unto itself.
Wherefore one might well be surprised that he, in stating the truth himself, has supplied others with a source for a doctrine that is unconvincing and lacking in reason. We will not spend much time on it, but only touch upon it long enough to inquire into its plausibility ; and then we will follow up the original proposition. Then again it is more consistent with reason that the world should not be the only-begotten of God and quite alone. For He, being consummately good, is lacking in none of the virtues, and least of all in those which concern justice and friendliness ; for these are the fairest and are fitting for gods.
Nor is it in the nature of God to possess anything to no purpose or for no use. Therefore there exist other gods and other worlds outside, in relation with which He exercises the social virtues. For not in relation with Himself nor with any part of Himself is there any exercise of justice or benevolence or kindness, but only in relation with others. Thus it is not likely that this world, friendless, neighbourless, and unvisited, swings back and forth in the infinite void, since we see that Nature includes individual things in classes and species, like seeds in pods and envelopes.
For there is nothing in the whole list of existing things for which there is not some general designation, nor does anything that does not possess certain qualities, either in common with others or solely by itself, obtain such an appellation. Now the world is not spoken of as having qualities in common with others. If in all creation such a thing as one man, one horse, one star, one god, one demigod does not exist, what is there to prevent creation from having, not one world, but more than one? For he who says that creation has but one land and one sea overlooks a matter which is perfectly plain, the doctrine of similar parts 1 ; for we divide the earth into parts which bear similar names, and the sea likewise.
A part of the world, however, is not a world, but something combined from the differing elements in Nature. For if there are more worlds than one, and each of them has received, as its meet portion, substance and matter having a restricted measure and limit, then there will be nothing left unplaced or unorganized, an unused remnant, as it were, to crash into them from the outside.
For the law of reason over each world, having control over the matter assigned to each, will not allow anything to be carried away from it nor to wander about and crash into another world, nor anything from another world to crash into it, because Nature has neither unlimited and infinite magnitude nor irrational and disorganized movement. For if each of the bodies has its own particular place, as he asserts, the earth must of necessity turn toward the centre from all directions and the water be above it, settling below the lighter elements because of its weight.
If, therefore, there be more worlds than one, it will come to pass that in many places the earth will rest above the fire and the air, and in many places below them ; and the air and the water likewise, in some places existing in positions in keeping with nature and in other places in positions contrary to nature. As this, in his opinion, is impossible, the inference is that there are neither two worlds nor more, but only this one, composed of the whole of matter and resting firmly in keeping with Nature, as befits the diversity of its bodies. All this, however, has been put in a way that is more plausible than true.
And if a man could force himself, by reasoning, to dare the concept of a violent motion of the infinite, what difference, if referred to this, is created for the bodies in their movements? For in the void there is no power in the bodies, nor do the bodies have a predisposition and an impetus, by virtue of which they cling to the centre and have a universal tendency in this one direction. It is equally difficult, in the case of inanimate bodies and an incorporeal and undifferentiated position, to conceive of a movement created from the bodies or an attraction created by the position.
Thus one conclusion is left : when the centre is spoken of it is not with reference to any place, but with reference to the bodies. For in this world of ours, which has a single unity in its organization from numerous dissimilar elements, these differences necessarily create various movements towards various objects. Evidence of this is found in the fact that everything, when it undergoes transformation, changes its position coincidently with the change in its substance.
For example, dispersion distributes upwards and round about the matter rising from the centre and condensation and consolidation press it down towards the centre and drive it together. Moralia, b and b. Because one may postulate as the author of these occurrences and changes, that cause will keep each of the worlds together within itself; for each world has earth and sea, and each has its own centre and occurrences that [p.
In what lies beyond, whether it be nothing or an infinite void, no centre exists, as has been said; and if there are several worlds, in each one is a centre which belongs to it alone, with the result that the movements of its bodies are its own, some towards it, some away from it, and some around it, quite in keeping with the distinctions which these men themselves make. But anyone who insists that, while there are many centres, the heavy substances are impelled from all sides towards one only,1 does not differ at all from him who insists that, while there are many men, the blood from all shall flow together into a single vein and the brains of all shall be enveloped in a single membrane, deeming it a dreadful thing in the case of natural bodies if all the solids shall not occupy one place only and the fluids also only one place.
Such a man as that will be abnormal, and so will he be who is indignant if everything constituting a whole has its own parts, of which it makes use in their natural arrangement and position in every case. For that would be preposterous, and so too if anybody called that a world which had a moon somewhere inside it2; as well call that a man who carries his brains in his heels or his heart in his head! For the land and the sea and the heavens in each will be placed to accord with nature, as is fitting ; and each of the worlds has its above and below and its round [p.
Moralia, a-b. Demosthenes, Oration vii. For that would be preposterous, and so too if anybody called that a world which had a moon somewhere inside it 2 ; as well call that a man who carries his brains in his heels or his heart in his head! For how is it either to remain fixed, if it has weight, or to move towards the world like other heavy substances when it is no part of the world and has no place in the order of its being?
Land embraced in another world and bound up with it ought not to raise any question as to how it comes about that it does not break away from the whole and transfer itself to our world, because we see the nature and the tension under which each of the parts is held secure. Moralia, b.
For, in the first place, if it is preposterous that there should be many supreme gods bearing this name, then surely these persons' ideas will be far more preposterous ; for they make an infinite number of suns and moons and Apollos and Artemises and Poseidons in the infinite cycle of worlds. But the second point is this : what is the need that there be many gods bearing the name of Zeus, if there be more worlds than one, and that there should not be in each world, as pre-eminent governor and ruler of the whole, a god possessing sense and reason, such as the one who among us bears the name of Lord and Father of all?
Or again, what shall prevent all worlds from being subject to the Destiny and Providence of Zeus, and what shall prevent his overseeing and directing them all in turn and supplying them all with first principles, material sources, and schemes of all that is being carried out? Yet such an organization is altogether appropriate for the gods. In fact, the Deity is not averse to changes, but has a very great joy therein, to judge, if need be, by the alternations and cycles in the heavens among the bodies that are visible there.
Infinity is altogether senseless and unreasoning, and nowhere admits a god, but in all relations it brings into action the concept of chance and accident. But the Oversight and Providence in a limited group and number of worlds, when compared with that which has entered one body and become attached to one and reshapes and remodels it an infinite number of times, seems to me to contain nothing involving less dignity or greater labour.
Having spoken at this length, I stopped. It happens, however, that they do not all have one form of construction, nor have they all a similar origin, but the pyramid is the simplest and smallest, while the dodecahedron is the largest and most complicated.
Of the remaining two the icosahedron is more than double the octahedron in the number of its triangles. For this reason it is impossible for them all to derive their origin from one and the same matter. Hence it follows that the only primal body is the pyramid, and not one of the others, since by their nature they are outdistanced by it in coming into being.
But for us it will suffice to acquire the knowledge in brief form. Since air is formed when fire is extinguished, and when rarefied again gives off fire out of itself, we must observe the behaviour of each of the generative elements and their transmutations. Therefore one element of air is produced from two corpuscles of fire combined and united ; and that of air again, when divided, is separated into two corpuscles of fire, and again, when compressed and condensed, it goes off into the form of water.
Moralia, d. For he insists that all the five shall not undergo construction at the same time, but the simplest always, which requires the least trouble to construct, shall first issue forth into being. Then, as a corollary to this, and not conflicting with it, he lays down the principle that not all matter brings forth the simplest and most rudimentary form first, but that sometimes the ponderous and complex forms, in the time of their coming into being, are earlier in arising out of matter.
But apart from this, five bodies having been postulated as primary, and on the strength of this the number of worlds being put as the same, he adduces probability with reference to four only ; the cube he has taken off the board, as if he were playing a game with counters, since, because of its nature, it cannot transmute itself into them nor confer upon them the power of transmutation into itself, inasmuch as the triangles are not homologous triangles.
For in the others the common triangle which underlies them all is the half-triangle ; but in this, and peculiar to it alone, is the isosceles triangle, which makes no convergence towards the other nor any conjunction that would unify the two. I leave out of account the fact that they make the element of the dodecahedron, as it is called, something else and not that scalene from which Plato constructs the pyramid and the octahedron and the icosahedron.
I repeat, therefore, what I said at the beginning, that if two natures be postulated, one evident to the senses, subject to change in creation and dissolution, carried now here now there, while the other is essentially conceptual and always remains the same, it is a dreadful thing that, while the conceptual nature has been parcelled out and has variety within itself, we should feel indignant and annoyed if anyone does not leave the corporeal and passive nature as a unity knit together and converging upon itself, but separates and parts it.
For it is surely fitting that things permanent and divine should hold more closely together and escape, so far as may be, all segmentation and separation. But even on these the power of Differentiation has laid its hand and has wrought in things conceptual dissimilarities in reasons and ideas, which are vaster than the separations in location. Granted, then, that these five exist, it is not surprising if each of these five corporeal elements has been made into a copy and image of each of them respectively, not unmixed and unalloyed, but it is because of the fact that each of them participates most in its corresponding faculty.
The cube is patently a body related to rest because of the security and stability of its plane surfaces. In the pyramid everybody may note its fiery and restless quality in the simplicity of its sides and the acuteness of its angles. The nature of the dodecahedron, which is comprehensive enough to include the other figures, may well seem to be a model with reference to all corporeal being.
Of the remaining two, the icosahedron shares in the nature of Differentiation mostly, and the octahedron in that of Identity. For this reason the octahedron contributed air, which in a single form holds all being in its embrace, and the icosahedron water, which by admixture assumes the greatest variety of qualities.
If, therefore, Nature demands an equal distribution in all things, there is a reasonable probability that the worlds which have been created are neither more nor less in number than the patterns, so that each pattern in each world may have the leading rank and power just as it has acquired it in the construction of the primary bodies. Now these first principles make their appearance at the beginning in connexion with number; rather, however, larger amounts are not number at all unless the number one, created from the illimitability of infinity, like a form of matter, cuts off more on one side and less on the other.
Then, in fact, any of the larger amounts becomes number through being delimited by the number one. But if the number one be done away with, once more the indeterminate duality throws all into confusion, and makes it to be without rhythm, bounds, or measure. Inasmuch as form is not the doing away with matter, but a shaping and ordering of the underlying matter, it needs must be that both these first principles be existent in number, and from this has arisen the first and greatest divergence and dissimilarity.
For the indeterminate first principle is the creator of the even, and the better one of the odd. So when the twro were paired, the better one prevailed over the indeterminate as it was dividing the corporeal and checked it; and when matter was being distributed to the two, it set unity in the middle and did not allow the whole to be divided into two parts, but there has been created a number of worlds by differentiation of the indeterminate and by its being carried in varying directions ; yet the power of Identity and Limitation has had the effect of making that number odd, but the kind of odd that did not permit Nature to progress beyond what is best.
If the number one were unalloyed and pure, matter would not have any separation at all ; but since it has been combined with the dividing power of duality, it has had to submit to being cut up and divided, but there it stopped, the even being overpowered by the odd. For example, she has allotted to ourselves five senses and five parts to the soul 7 : physical growth, perception, appetite, fortitude, and reason; also five fingers on each hand, and the most fertile seed when it is divided five times, for there is no record that a woman ever had more than five children together at one birth.
Five, too, are the orbits of the planets, if the Sun and Venus and Mercury follow the same course. For example, if fire is generated from air by the breaking up of the octahedron and its resolution into pyramids, or again if air is generated from fire by its being forced together and compressed into an octahedron, it is not possible for it to stay where it was before, but it escapes and is carried to some other place, forcing its way out and contending against anything that blocks its course or keeps it back. Thus, when matter was in that state in which, in all probability, is the universe from which God is absent, the first five properties, having tendencies of their own, were at once carried in different directions, not being completely or absolutely separated, because, when all things were amalgamated, the inferior always followed the superior in spite of Nature.
Then, after establishing Reason in each as a governor and guardian, he creatjed as many worlds as the existing primal bodies.
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Let this, then, be an offering for the gratification of Plato on Ammonius's account, but as for myself, I should not venture to assert regarding the number of wbrlds that they are just so many ; but the opinion that sets their number at more than one, and yet not infinite, but limited in amount, I regard as no more irrational than either of the others, when I observe the dispersiveness and divisibility implicit by nature in Matter, and that it neither abides as a unit nor is permitted by Reason to progress to infinity. For it is not possible to hold that the desertion by the demigods is the reason for the silence of the oracles unless we are convinced as to the manner in which the demigods, by having the oracles in their charge and by their presence there, make them active and articulate.
To my mind the difference between man and man in acting tragedy or comedy is the difference between soul and soul arrayed in a body suitable for its present life. It is, therefore, not at all unreasonable or even marvellous that souls meeting souls should create in them impressions of the future, exactly as we do not convey all our information to one another through the spoken word, but by writing also, or merely by a touch or a glance, we give much information about what has come to pass and intimation of what is to come.
Unless it be, Lamprias, that you have another story to tell. For not long ago a rumour reached us about your having had a long talk on these subjects with strangers at Lebadeia, but the man who told of it could recall none of it with exactness. For if the souls which have been severed from a body, or have had no part with one at all, are demigods according to you and the divine Hesiod, 1 Holy dwellers on earth and the guardian spirits of mortals, why deprive souls in bodies of that power by virtue of which the demigods possess the natural faculty of knowing and revealing future events before they happen?
For it is not likely that any power or portion accrues to souls when they have left the body, if they did not possess them before ; but the souls always possess them ; only they possess them to a slight degree while conjoined with the body, some of them being completely imperceptible and hidden, others weak and dim, and about as ineffectual and slow in operation as persons that try to see in a fog or to move about in water, and requiring much nursing and restoring of the functions that properly belong to them and the removal and clearing away of the covering which hides them.
We ought not to feel surprised or incredulous at this when we see in the soul, though we see naught else, that faculty which is the complement of prophecy, and which we call memory, and how great an achievement is displayed in preserving and guarding the past, or rather what has been the present, since nothing of all that has come to pass has any existence or substantiality, because the very instant when anything comes to pass, that is the end of it — of actions, words, experiences alike ; for Time like an everflowing stream bears all things onward.
But this faculty of the soul lays hold upon them, I know not how, and invests with semblance and being things not now present here. But memory is for us the hearing of deeds to which we are deaf and the seeing of things to which we are blind. Hence, as I said, it is no wonder that, if it has command over things that no longer are, it anticipates many of those which have not yet come to pass, since these are more closely related to it, and with these it has much in common ; for its attachments and associations are with the future, and it is quit of all that is past and ended, save only to remember it.
Thucydides, i. But that which foretells the future, like a tablet without writing, is both irrational and indeterminate in itself, but receptive of impressions and presentiments through what may be done to it, and inconsequently grasps at the future when it is farthest withdrawn from the present. Its withdrawal is brought about by a temperament and disposition of the body as it is subjected to a change which we call inspiration. Often the body of itself alone attains this disposition.
Moreover the earth sends forth for men streams of many other potencies, some of them producing derangements, diseases, or deaths ; others helpful, benignant, and beneficial, as is plain from the experience of persons who have come upon them. It is likely that by warmth and diffusion it opens up certain passages through which impressions of the future are transmitted, just as wine, when its fumes rise to the head, reveals many unusual movements and also words stored away and unperceived.
All in the linen is blended the splendour of glorious scarlet,. But regarding the Cydnus and the sacred sword of Apollo in Tarsus we used to hear you say, my dear Demetrius, that the Cydnus will cleanse no steel but that, and no other water will cleanse that sword. There is a similar phenomenon at Olympia, where they pile the ashes against the altar and make them adhere all around by pouring on them water from the Alpheius ; but, although they have tried the waters of other rivers, there is none with which they can make the ashes cohere and stay fixed in their place.