Translated from the Greek
PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE:
SOCRATES, CRITIAS, TIMAEUS, and HERMOCRATES
17a SOC. I see one, two, three, but where, friend Timaeus, is that fourth person, who being received by me yesterday at a banquet of disputation, ought now in his turn to repay me with a similar repast?
TIM. He labours, Socrates, under a certain infirmity; for he would not willingly be absent from such an association as the present.
SOC. It remains therefore for you, O Timaeus, and the company present, to fill up the part of this absent guest.
17b TIM. Entirely so, Socrates. And we shall endeavour, to the utmost of our ability, to leave nothing belonging to such an employment unaccomplished. For it would be by no means just that we, who were yesterday entertained by you, in such a manner as guests ought to be received, should not return the hospitality with readiness and delight.
SOC. Do you recollect the magnitude and nature of the things which I proposed to you to explain?
TIM. Some things, indeed, I recollect; but such as I have forgotten do you recall into my memory. Or rather, if it be not too much trouble, run over the whole in a cursory manner from the beginning, that it may be more firmly established in our memory.
17c SOC. Let it be so. And to begin: The sum of yesterday’s dispute was, what kind of republic appeared to me to be the best, and from what sort of men such a republic ought to be composed.
TIM. And by us, indeed, Socrates, all that you said was approved in the highest degree.
SOC. Did we not, in the first place, separate husbandmen and other artificers from those whom we considered as the defenders of the city?
SOC. And when we had assigned to every one that which was accommodated to his nature, and had prescribed only one particular employment to every particular art, we likewise assigned to the military 17d tribe one province only, I mean that of protecting the city; and this as well from the hostile incursions of internal as of external enemies; but yet in such a manner as to administer justice mildly to the subjects of 18a their government, as being naturally friends, and to behave with warlike fierceness against their enemies in battle.
TIM. Entirely so.
SOC. For we asserted, I think, that the souls of the guardians should be of such a nature, as at the same time to be both irascible and philosophic in a remarkable degree; so that they might he gentle to their friends, and hold and ferocious to their enemies.
TIM. You did so.
SOC. But what did we assert concerning their education? Was it not that they should be instructed in gymnastic exercises, in music, and other becoming disciplines?
TIM. Entirely so.
18b SOC. We likewise established, that those who were so educated should neither consider gold, or silver, or any goods of a similar kind, as their private property; hut that rather, after the manner of adjutants, they should receive the wages of guardianship from those whom they defend and preserve; and that their recompense should he no more than is sufficient to a moderate subsistence. That, besides this, they should use their public stipend in common, and for the purpose of procuring a common subsistence with each other; so that, neglecting every other concern, they may employ their attention solely on virtue, and the discharge of their peculiar employment.
TIM. These things also were related by you.
18c SOC. Of women too we asserted, that they should be educated in such a manner, as to be aptly conformed similar to the natures of men; with whom they should perform in common both the duties of war, and whatever else belongs to the business of life.
TIM. This too was asserted by you.
SOC. But what did we establish concerning the procreation of children? Though perhaps you easily remember this, on account of its novelty. For we ordered that the marriages and children should he common; as we were particularly careful that no one might he able to distinguish his own children, but that all might consider all as their 18d kindred; that hence those of an equal age might regard themselves as brothers and sisters; but that the younger might reverence the elder as their parents and grandfathers, and the elder might esteem the younger as their children and grandsons.
TIM. These things, indeed, as you say, are easily remembered.
SOC. But that they might from their birth acquire a disposition as far as possible the best, we decreed that the rulers whom we placed over the marriage rites should, through the means of certain lots, take care that 18e in the nuptial league the worthy were mingled with the worthy; that no discord may arise in this connection when it does not prove prosperous in the end; but that all the blame may he referred to fortune, and not to the guardians of such a conjunction.
TIM. We remember this likewise.
19a SOC. We also ordered that the children of the good should be properly educated, hut that those of the had should he secretly sent to some other city; yet so that such of the adult among these as should he found to he of a good disposition should be recalled from exile; while, on the contrary, those who were retained from the first in the city as good, but proved afterwards had, should he similarly banished.
TIM. Just so.
SOC. Have we, therefore, sufficiently epitomized yesterday’s disputation; or do you require any thing further, friend Timaeus, which I have omitted?
19b TIM. Nothing, indeed, Socrates; for all this was the subject of your disputation.
SOC. Hear now how I am affected towards this republic which we have described; for I will illustrate the affair by a similitude. Suppose then that some one, on beholding beautiful animals, whether represented in a picture, or really alive, but in a state of perfect rest, should desire to behold them in motion, and struggling as it were to imitate those gestures which seem particularly adapted to the nature of bodies; in such 19c a manner am I affected towards the form of that republic which we have described. For I should gladly hear any one relating the contests of our city with other nations, when it engages in a becoming manner iii war, and acts during such an engagement in a manner worthy of its institution, both with respect to practical achievements and verbal negotiations. For indeed, O Critias and Hermocrates, I ant conscious of 19d my own inability to praise such men and such a city according to their desert. indeed, that I should be incapable of such an undertaking is not wonderful, since the same imbecility seems to have attended poets both of the past and present age. Not that I despise the poetic tribe; but it appears from hence evident, that, as these kind of men are studious of imitation, they easily and in the best manner express things in which they have been educated; while, on the contrary. whatever is foreign 19e from their education they imitate with difficulty in actions, and with still more difficulty in words. But with respect to the tribe of Sophists, though I consider them as skilled both in the art of speaking and in many other illustrious arts; yet, as they have no settled abode, but wander daily through a multitude of cities, I am afraid lest, with respect to the institutions of philosophers and politicians, they should not he able to conjecture the quality and magnitude of those concerns which wise and politic men are engaged in with individuals, in warlike undertakings, both in actions and discourse. It remains, therefore, that I should apply to you, who excel in the study of wisdom and civil administration, as well naturally as through the assistance of proper discipline and institution. For Timaeus here of Locris, an Italian city 20a governed by the best of laws, exclusive of his not being inferior to any of his fellow-citizens in wealth and nobility, has arrived in his own city at the highest posts of government and honours. Besides, we all know that Critias is not ignorant of the particulars of which we are new speaking. Nor is this to be doubted of Hermocrates, since a multitude of circumstances evince that he is both by nature and education adapted 20b to all such concerns. Hence, when you yesterday requested me to dispute about the institution of a republic, I readily complied with your request; being persuaded that the remainder of the discourse could nor he more conveniently explained by any one than by you, if you were but willing to engage in its discussion. For, unless you properly adapt the city for warlike purposes, there is no one in the present age from whom it can acquire every thing becoming its constitution. As I have, therefore, hitherto complied with your request, I shall now require you to comply with mine in the above-mentioned particulars. Nor have you indeed refused this employment, but have with common consent determined to repay my hospitality with the banquet of discourse. I 20c now, therefore, stand prepared to receive the promised feast.
HERM. But we, O Socrates, as Timaeus just now signified, shall cheerfully engage in the execution of your desire; for we cannot offer any excuse sufficient to justify neglect in this affair. For yesterday, when we departed from hence and went to the lodging of Critias, where we are accustomed to reside, both in his apartment and prior to this in the way thither we discoursed on this very particular. He therefore related to us a certain ancient history, which I wish, O Critias, you 20d would now repeat to Socrates, that he may judge whether it any way conduces to the fulfilment of his request.
CRIT. It is requisite to comply, if agreeable to Timaeus, the third associate of our undertaking.
TIM. I assent to your compliance.
CRIT. Hear then, O Socrates, a discourse surprising indeed in the extreme, yet in every respect true, as it was once related by Solon, the 20e most wise of the seven wise men. Solon, then, was the familiar and intimate friend of our great-grandfather Dropis, as he himself often relates in his poems. But he once declared to our grandfather Critias, 2la (as the old man himself informed us,) that great and admirable actions had once been achieved by this city, which nevertheless were buried in oblivion, through length of time and the destruction of mankind. In particular he informed me of one undertaking more illustrious than the rest, which I now think proper to relate to you, both that I may repay my obligations, and that by such a relation I may offer my tribute of praise to the Goddess in the present solemnity, by celebrating her divinity, as it were, with hymns, justly and in a mariner agreeable to truth.
SOC. You speak well. But what is this ancient achievement which was not only actually related by Solon, hut was once really accomplished by this city?
CRIT. I will acquaint you with that ancient history, which I did not indeed receive from a youth, hut from a man very much advanced in years; for at that time Critias, as he himself declared, was almost ninety 2lb years old, and I myself was about ten. When, therefore, that solemnity was celebrated among us which is known by the name of Cureotis Apaturiorurn,1 nothing was omitted which boys in that festivity are accustomed to perform. For, when our parents had set before us the rewards proposed for the contest of singing verses, both a multitude of verses of many poets were recited, and many of us especially sung the poems of Solon, because they were at that time entirely new. But then one of our tribe, whether he was willing to gratify Critias, or whether it was his real opinion, affirmed that Solon appeared to him most wise 2lc in other concerns, and in things respecting poetry the most ingenious of all poets. Upon hearing this, the old man (for I very well remember) was vehemently delighted; and said, laughing—If Solon, O Amnynancler, had not engaged in poetry as a casual affair, hut had made it, as others do, a serious employment; and if through seditions and other fluctuations of the state, in which he found his country involved, he had not been compelled to neglect the completion of the history which he brought from Egypt, I do not think that either Hesiod or Homer, or 2ld any other poet, would have acquired greater glory and renown. In consequence of this, Amynander inquired of Critias what that history was. to which he answered, that it was concerning an affair the greatest and most celebrated which this city ever performed; though through length of time, and the destruction of those by whom it was undertaken, the fame of its execution has not reached the present age. But I beseech you, O Critias, (says Amynander,) relate this affair from the beginning; and inform me what that event was which Solon asserted as a fact, and on what occasion, and from whom he received it.
2le There is then (says he) a certain region of Egypt called Delta, about the summit of which the streams of he Nile are divided. In this place a government is established called Saitical; and the chief city of this region of Delta is Sais, from which also king Aniasis derived his origin. The city has a presiding divinity, whose name is in the Egyptian tongue Neith, and in the Greek Athena, or Minerva. These men were friends of the Athenians, with whom they declared lucy were very familiar, through a certain bond of alliance. In this country Solon, ri his arrival 22a thither, was, as he himself relates, very honourably received. And upon his inquiring about ancient affairs of those priests who possessed a knowledge in such particulars superior to others, he perceived, that neither himself, nor any one of the Greeks, (as he himself declared), had any knowledge of very remote antiquity. Hence, when he once desired to excite them to the relation of ancient transactions, he for his purpose began to discourse about those most ancient events which formerly happened among us. I mean the traditions concerning the first Phoroneus and Niobe. and alter the deluge, of Deucalion and Pyrrha, (as 22b described by the mythologists,) together with their posterity; it the same time paying a proper attention to the different ages in which these events are said to have subsisted. But upon this one of those more ancient priests exclaimed, O Solon, Solon. you Greeks are always children, nor is there any such thing as an aged Grecian among you! But Solon, when he heard this—What (says he) is the motive of your exclamation? To whom the priest: Because all your souls are juvenile; neither containing any ancient opinion derived from remote tradition, nor any discipline hoary from its existence in former periods of time. 22c But the reason of this is the multitude and variety of destructions of the human race, which formerly have been, and again will be: the greatest of these, indeed, arising from fire and water; but the lesser from ten thousand other contingencies. For time relation subsisting among you, that Phaeton, the offspring of the Sun, on a certain time attempting to drive the chariot of his father, and not being able to keep the track observed by his parent, burnt up the natures belonging to the earth, and perished himself, blasted by thunder—is indeed considered as fabulous, 22d yet is in reality true. For it expresses the mutation of the bodies revolving in the heavens about the earth, and indicates that, through long periods of time, a destruction of terrestrial natures ensues from the devastations of fire. Hence, those who either dwell on mountains, or in lofty and dry places, perish more abundantly than those who dwell near rivers, or on the borders of the sea. To us indeed the Nile is both salutary in other respects, and liberates us from the fear of such-like depredations. But when the Gods, purifying the earth by waters, deluge its surface, then the herdsmen and shepherds inhabiting the mountains 22e are preserved, while the inhabitants of your cities are hurried away to the sea by the impetuous inundation of the rivers. On the contrary, in our region, neither then, nor at any other time, did the waters descending from on high pour with desolation on the plains; but they are naturally impelled upwards from the bosom of the earth. And from these causes the most ancient traditions are preserved in our country. For, indeed, it may he truly asserted, that in those places where neither intense cold nor immoderate heat prevails, the race of mankind is always preserved, though sometimes the number of individuals is increased, and 23a sometimes suffers a considerable diminution. But whatever has been transacted either by us, or by you, or in any other place, beautiful or great, or containing any thing uncommon, of which we have heard the report, every thing of this kind is to be found described in our temples, and preserved to the present day. While, on the contrary, you and other nations commit only recent transactions to writing, and to other inventions which society has employed for transmitting information to posterity; and so again, at stated periods of time, a certain celestial defluxion rushes on them like a disease; from whence those among you 23b who survive are both destitute of literary acquisitions and the inspiration of the Muses. Hence it happens that you become juvenile again, and ignorant of the events which happened in ancient times, as well among us as in the regions which you inhabit.
The transactions, therefore, O Solon, which you relate from your antiquities, differ very little from puerile fables. For, in the first place, you only mention one deluge of the earth, when at the same time many have happened. And, in the next place, you are ignorant of a most illustrious and excellent race of men, who once inhabited your country; from whence you and your whole city descended, though a small seed 23c only of this admirable people once remained. But your ignorance in this affair is owing to the posterity of this people, who were for many ages deprived of the use of letters, and became as it were dumb. For prior, O Solon, to that mighty deluge which we have just mentioned, a city of Athenians existed, informed according to the best laws both in military concerns and every other duty of life; and whose illustrious actions and civil institutions are celebrated by us as the most excellent of all that 23d have existed under the ample circumference of the heavens. Solon, therefore, upon hearing this, said that he was astonished; and, burning with a most ardent desire, entreated the priests to relate accurately all the actions of his ancient fellow-citizens. That afterwards one of the priests replied: Nothing of envy, O Solon, prohibits us from complying with your request. But for your sake, and that of your City, I will relate the whole; and especially on account of that Goddess who is allotted the guardianship both of your city and ours, and by whom they have been educated and founded: yours, indeed, by a priority to ours of a thousand years, receiving the seed of your race from Vulcan it and the Earth. But the description of the transactions of this our city during the space of eight thousand years, is preserved in our sacred is writings. I will, therefore, cursorily run over the laws and more illustrious actions of those cities which existed nine thousand years ago. 24a For when we are more at leisure we shall prosecute an exact history of every particular, receiving for this purpose the sacred writings themselves. In the first place, then, consider the laws of these people, and compare them with ours: for you will find many things which then subsisted in your city, similar to such as exist at present. For the priests passed their life separated from all others. The artificers also exercised their arts in such a manner, that each was engaged in his own employment without being mingled with other artificers. The same 24b method was likewise adopted with shepherds, hunters and husbandmen. The soldiers too, you will find, were separated from other kind of men; and were commanded by the laws to engage in nothing but warlike affairs. A similar armour too, such as that of shields and darts, was in employed by each. These we first used in Asia; the Goddess in those places, as likewise happened to you, first pointing them out to our use, as you may perceive too from the beginning what great attention was paid so by the laws to prudence and modesty; and besides this, to divination and 24c medicine, as subservient to the preservation of health. And from these, which are divine goods, the laws, proceeding to the invention of such as are merely human, procured all such other disciplines as follow from those we have just enumerated. From such a distribution, therefore, and in such order, the Goddess first established and adorned your city, choosing for this purpose the place in which you were born; as she foresaw that, from the excellent temperature of the region, men would in arise distinguished by the most consummate sagacity and wit. For, as 24d the Goddess is a lover both of wisdom and war, she fixed on a soil capable of producing men the most similar to herself; and rendered it in every respect adapted for the habitation of such a race. The ancient Athenians, therefore, using these laws, and being formed by good institutions, in a still higher degree than I have mentioned, inhabited this region; surpassing all men in every virtue, as it becomes those to do who are the progeny and pupils of the Gods.
But though many and mighty deeds of your city arc contained in our
sacred writings, and are admired as they deserve, yet there is one
transaction which surpasses all of them in magnitude and virtue. For
these writings relate what prodigious strength your city formerly tamed,
when a mighty warlike power, rushing from the Atlantic sea, spread
itself with hostile fury over all Europe and Asia. For at that time the
Atlantic sea was navigable, and had an island before that mouth which
is called by you the Pillars of Hercules. But this island was greater than
25a both Libya and all Asia together, and afforded an easy passage to other
neighbouring islands; as it was likewise easy to pass from those islands
to all the continent which borders on this Atlantic sea. For the waters
which are beheld within the mouth which we just now mentioned, have
the form of a bay with a narrow entrance; but the mouth itself is a true
sea. And lastly, the earth which surrounds it is in every respect truly
denominated the continent. In this Atlantic island a combination of
kings was formed, who with mighty and wonderful power subdued the
whole island, together with many other islands and parts of the
continent; and, besides this, subjected to their dominion all Libya, as far
25b to Egypt; and Europe, as far as to the Tyrrhene sea. And when they
were collected in a powerful league, they endeavoured to enslave all our
regions and yours, and besides this all those places situated within the
mouth of the Atlantic sea. Then it was, O Solon, that the power of
your city was conspicuous to all men for its virtue and strength. For,
as its armies surpassed all others both in magnanimity and military skill,
so with respect to its contests, whether it was assisted by the rest of the
Greeks, over whom it presided in warlike affairs, or whether it was
deserted by them through the incursions of the enemies, and became
situated in extreme danger, yet still it remained triumphant. In the
mean time, those who were riot yet enslaved it liberated from danger;
and procured the most ample liberty for all those of us who dwell
within the Pillars of Hercules. But in succeeding time prodigious
earthquakes and deluges taking place, and bringing with them desolation
in the space of one day and night, all that warlike race of Athenians was
at once merged under the earth; and the Atlantic island itself, being
absorbed in the sea, entirely disappeared. And hence that sea is at
present innavigable, arising from the gradually impeding mud which the
subsiding island produced. And this, O Socrates, is the sum of what the
elder Critias repeated from the narration of Solon.
But when yesterday you was discoursing about a republic and its citizens, I was surprised on recollecting the present history: for I perceived how divinely, from a certain fortune, and not wandering from the mark, you collected many things agreeing with the narration of 26a Solon. Yet I was unwilling to disclose these particulars immediately, as, from the great interval of time since I first received them, my remembrance of them was not sufficiently accurate for the purpose of repetition. I considered it, therefore, necessary that I should first of all diligently revolve the whole in my mind. And on this account I yesterday immediately complied with your demands: for I perceived that we should not want the ability of presenting a discourse accommodated to your wishes, which in things of this kind is of principal importance. In consequence of this, as Hermocrates has informed you, immediately 26b as we departed from hence, by communicating these particulars with my friends here present, for the purpose of refreshing my memory, and afterwards revolving them in my mind by night, I nearly acquired a complete recollection of the affair. And, indeed, according to the proverb, what we learn in childhood abides in the memory with a wonderful stability. For, with respect to myself, for instance, I am not certain that I could recollect the whole of yesterday’s discourse, yet I should be very much astonished if any thing should escape my remembrance which I had heard in some past period of time very distant 26c from the present. Thus, as to the history which I have just now related, I received it from the old man with great pleasure and delight; who on his part very readily complied with my request, and frequently gratified me with a repetition. And hence, as the marks of letters deeply burnt in remain indelible, so all these particulars became firmly established in my memory. In consequence of this, as soon as it was day I repeated the narration to my friends, that together with myself they might be better prepared for the purposes of the present association. But now, with respect to that for which this narration was undertaken, I am prepared, O Socrates, to speak not only summarily, but so as to descend to the particulars of every thing which I heard. But the citizens and city which you fabricated yesterday as in a fable, we shall transfer to reality; considering that city which you established as no other than this 26d Athenian city, and the citizens which you conceived as no other than those ancestors of ours described by the Egyptian priest And indeed the affair will harmonize in every respect; nor will it be foreign from the purpose to assert that your citizens are those very people who existed at that time. Hence, distributing the affair in common among us, we will endeavour, according to the utmost of our ability, to accomplish in a becoming manner the employment which you have assigned us. It is requisite, therefore, to consider, O Socrates, whether this discourse is reasonable, or whether we should lay it aside, and seek after another.
26e SOC. But what other, O Critias, should we receive in preference to this? For your discourse, through a certain affinity, is particularly adapted to the present sacred rites of the Goddess. And besides this, we should consider, as a thing of the greatest moment, that your relation is not a mere fable, but a true history. It is impossible, therefore, to say how, and from whence, neglecting your narration, we should find another more convenient. Hence it is necessary to confess that you have spoken with good fortune; and it is equally necessary that I, on account 27a of my discourse yesterday, should now rest from speaking, and he wholly attentive to yours.
CRIT. But now consider, Socrates, the manner of our disposing the mutual banquet of disputation. For it seems proper to us that Timaeus, who is the most astronomical of us all, and is particularly knowing in the nature of the universe, should speak the first; commencing his discourse from the generation of the world, and ending in the nature of men. But that I after him, receiving the men which he has mentally produced, but which have been excellently educated by you, and introducing them to you according to the law of Solon, as to proper 27b judges, should render them members of this city; as being in reality no other than those Athenians which were described as unknown to us in the report of the sacred writings. And that in future we shall discourse concerning them as about citizens and Athenians.
SOC. I seem to behold a copious and splendid banquet of disputation set before me. It is, therefore, now your business, O Timaeus, to begin the discourse; having first of all, as is highly becoming, invoked the Gods according to law.
27c TIM. Indeed, Socrates, since those who participate hut the least degree of wisdom, in the beginning of every undertaking, whether small or great, call upon Divinity, it is necessary that we (unless we are in every respect unwise) who are about to speak concerning the universe, whether it is generated or without generation, invoking the Gods and Goddesses, should pray that what we assert may be agreeable to their divinities, and that in the ensuing discourse we may he consistent with ourselves. And such is my prayer to the Gods, with reference to myself; 27d but as to what respects the present company, it is necessary to pray that you may easily understand, and that I may be able to explain my meaning about the proposed subjects of disputation. In the first place, therefore, as it appears to me, it is necessary to define what that is which is always real being,2 but is without generation; and what that is which is generated indeed, or consists in a state of becoming to be, but which never really is. The former of these indeed is apprehended by intelligence in conjunction with reason, since it always subsists according 28a to same.3 But the latter is perceived by opinion in conjunction with irrational sense; since it subsists in a slate of generation and corruption, and never truly is. But whatever is generated is necessarily generated from a certain cause. For it is every way impossible that any thing should he generated without a cause. When, therefore, an artificer, in the fabrication of any work, looks to that which always subsists according to same, and, employing a paradigm of this kind, expresses the 28b idea and power in his work, it is then necessary that the whole of his production should be beautiful. But when he beholds that which is in generation, and uses a generated paradigm, it is alike necessary that his work should be far from beautiful.
I denominate, therefore, this universe heaven, or the world, or by any other appellation in which it may particularly rejoice. Concerning which, let us in the first place consider that which, in the proposed inquiry about the universe, ought in the very beginning to be investigated; whether it always was, having no principle of generation,4 or whether it was generated, commencing its generation from a certain cause it was generated. For this universe is visible, and has a body.5 28c But all such things are sensible. And sensibles are apprehended by opinion, in conjunction with sense. And such things appear to have their subsistence in becoming to be, and in being generated. But we have before asserted, that whatever is generated is necessarily generated from some cause. To discover, therefore, the artificer and father of the universe is indeed difficult;6 and when found it is impossible to reveal him through the ministry of discourse to all men.
Again: this is to be considered concerning him, I mean, according to what paradigm extending himself, he fabricated the world—whether towards an exemplar, subsisting according to that which is always the same, and similarly affected, or towards that which is generated. But, 29a indeed, if this world is beautiful, and its artificer good, it is evident that he looked towards an eternal exemplar in its fabrication. But if the world be far from beautiful, which it is not lawful to assert, he necessarily beheld a generated instead of an eternal exemplar. But it is perfectly evident that he regarded an eternal paradigm. For the world is the most beautiful of generated natures, and its artificer the best of causes. But, being thus generated, it is fabricated according to that which is comprehensible by reason and intelligence, and which subsists in an abiding sameness of being. And from hence it is perfectly necessary that this world should be the resemblance of something. But 29b to describe its origin according to nature is the greatest of all undertakings. In this manner, then, we must distinguish concerning the image and its exemplar. As words are allied to the things of which they are the interpreters, hence it is necessary, when we speak of that which is stable7 and firm, and intellectually apparent, that our reasons should be in like manner stable and immutable, and as much as possible irreprehensible. With every perfection of a similar kind. But that, when 29c we speak concerning the image of that which is immutable, we should employ only probable arguments, which have the same analogy to the former as a resemblance to its exemplar. And, indeed, as essence8 is to generation so is truth to faith. You must not wonder, therefore, O Socrates, since many things are asserted by many concerning the Gods and the generation of the universe, if I should not be able to produce the most approved and accurate reasons on so difficult a subject. But you ought to rejoice if it shall appear that I do not employ reasons less 29d probable than others: at the same time remembering, that I who discourse, and that you who are my judges, possess the human nature in common; so that you should be satisfied if my assertions are but assimilative of the truth.
SOC. You speak excellently well, Timaeus; and we shall certainly act in every respect as you advise. This introduction, indeed, of your discourse we wonderfully approve: proceed, there, with the subsequent disputation.
29e TIM. Let us declare then on what account the composing artificer constituted generation and the universe. The artificer, indeed, was good; but in that which is good envy never subsists about any thing which has being. Hence, as he was entirely void of envy, he was willing to produce all things as much as possible similar to himself. If, therefore, 30a any one receives this most principal cause of generation and the world from wise and prudent men, he will receive him in a manner the most perfect and true. For, as the Divinity was willing that all things should be good, and that as much as possible nothing should be evil; hence, receiving every thing visible, and which was not in a state of rest, but moving with confusion9 and disorder, he reduced it from this wild inordination into order, considering that such a conduct was by far the best. For it neither ever was lawful, nor is, for the best of causes to produce any other than the most beautiful of effects. In consequence of 30b a reasoning prccess,10 therefore, he found that among the things naturally visible10a there was nothing, the whole of which, if void of intelligence, could ever become more beautiful than the whole of that which is endued with intellect: and at the same time he discovered, that it was impossible for intellect to accede to any being, without the intervention of soul. Hence, as the result of this reasoning, placing intellect in soul and soul in body, he fabricated the universe; that thus it might be a work naturally the most beautiful and the best. In this manner, therefore, according to an assimilative reason, it is necessary to call the world an animal, endued with intellect, and generated through the providence of Divinity.
30c This being determined, let us consider what follows; and, in the next place, after the similitude of what animals the composing artificer constituted the world. Indeed, we must by no means think that he fashioned it similar to such animals as subsist in the form of a part, or have a partial subsistence: for, if it had been assimilated to an imperfect animal, it certainly would not have been beautiful. But we should rather establish it as the most similar of all things to that animal, of which other animals, both considered separately and according to their genera, are nothing more than parts. For this, indeed, contains all intelligible animals comprehended in itself; just as this world contains us 30d and the other animals which are the objects of sight. For, the Divinity being willing to assimilate this universe in the most exquisite degree to that which is the most beautiful and every way perfect of intelligible objects, he composed it one visible animal, containing within itself all as 31a such animals as are allied to its nature. Do we therefore rightly conclude that there is but one universe; or is it more right to assert that there are many and infinite? But indeed there can be but one, if it be only admitted that it is fabricated according to an exemplar. For that which comprehends all intelligible animals whatever can never be the second to any other. For another animal again would be required about these two, of which they would be parts; and it would be more proper to assert that the universe is assimilated to this comprehending third, rather than to the other two. That the world, therefore, from its being singular or alone, might he similar to all-perfect animal—on this account the 31b artificer neither produced two nor infinite worlds; but heaven, or the universe, was generated and will he one and only begotten.
But since it is necessary that a corporeal nature should be visible and tangible, and since nothing can be visible without fire, and nothing tangible without something solid, and nothing solid without earth—hence the Divinity, beginning to fabricate, composed the body of the universe from fire and earth. But it is impossible for two things alone 31c to cohere together without the intervention of a third; for a certain collective bond is necessary in the middle of the two. And that is the most beautiful of bonds which renders both itself and the natures which are bound remarkably one. But the most beautiful analogy naturally produces this effect. For when either in three numbers, or masses, or powers, as is the middle to the last, so is the first to the middle; and again, as is the last to the middle, so is the middle to the first: then the middle becoming both first and last, and the last and the first passing 32a each of them into a middle position, they become all of them necessarily the same, as to relation to each other. But, being made the same with each other, all are one. If, then, it. were necessary that the universe should be a superficies only, and have no depth, one medium would indeed be sufficient, both for the purpose of binding itself and the 32b natures which it contains. But now it is requisite that the world should be a solid; and solids are never harmonized together by one, but always with two mediums. Hence, the Divinity placed water and air in the middle of fire and earth, and fabricated them as much as possible in the same ratio to each other; so that fire might be to air as air to water; and that as air is to water so water might be to earth. And from this conjunction and composition he rendered the world visible and tangible. 32c Hence, from things of this kind, which are four in number, it must he confessed that the body of the universe was generated through analogy, conspiring into friendship with itself from their conjunction, and so aptly cohering in all its parts, as to be indissoluble except by its artificer, who bound it in this union and consent.
The composition of the world, therefore, received one whole of each of these four natures. For its composing artificer constituted it from all fire, water, air. and earth; leaving no part of any one of these, nor any power external to the world. For by a reasoning process he concluded 32d that it would thus be a whole animal, in the highest degree perfect from 33a perfect parts: that, besides this, it would be one, as nothing would be left from which any other such nature might be produced; and lastly, that it would be neither obnoxious to old age nor disease. For he perceived that the heat and cold from which bodies are composed, and all such things as possess vigorous powers, when surrounding bodies externally, and acceding to them unseasonably, dissolve their union, and, introducing diseases and old age, cause them to perish by decay. Hence, through this cause and this reasoning process, he fabricated the universe one whole, composed from all wholes, perfect, undecaying, and without 33b disease. He likewise gave to it a figure becoming and allied to its nature. For to the animal which was destined to comprehend all animals in itself, that figure must be the most becoming which contains within its ambit all figures of every kind. Hence, he fashioned it of a spherical shape, in which all the radii from the middle are equally distant from the bounding extremities; as this is the most perfect of all figures, and the most similar to himself. For he considered that the similar was infinitely more beautiful than the dissimilar.
33c Besides this, he accurately polished the external circumference of the spherical world, and rendered it perfectly smooth.11 Nor was the addition of eyes12 requisite to the universe; for nothing visible remained external to itself. Nor were ears necessary; as there was nothing externally audible. Nor was the universe invested with surrounding air, that it might be indigent of respiration. Nor, again, was it in want of any organ through which it might receive nutriment into itself, and discharge it when concocted: for there was no possibility that any thing could either accede to or depart from its nature, since there was nothing through which such changes could he produced. For, indeed, the universe affords nutriment to itself through its own consumption; and, being artificially fabricated, suffers and acts all things in itself, and from its own peculiar operations. For its composing artificer considered that it would be much more excellent if sufficient to itself, than if indigent 33d of foreign supplies. But he neither thought that hands13 were necessary to the world, as there was nothing for it either to receive or reject; nor 34a yet feet, nor any other members which are subservient to progression and rest. For from among the seven species of kcal motion he selected one, which principally subsists about intellect and intelligence, and assigned it to the world as properly allied to its surrounding body. Hence, when he had led it round according to some, in same, and in itself, he caused it to move with a circular revolution, But he separated the other six motions from the world, and framed it void of their wandering progressions. Hence, as such a conversion was by no means indigent of feet, he generated the universe without legs and feet. When, therefore, that God who is a perpetually reasoning divinity cogitated about the God who was destined to subsist at some certain period of 34b time, he produced his body smooth and equable; and every way from the middle even and whole, and perfect from the composition of perfect bodies. But, placing soul in the middle of the world, he extended it through the whole; and besides this, he externally invested the body of the universe with soul; and, causing circle to revolve in a circle, established the world one single, solitary nature, able through virtue to converse with itself, indigent of nothing external, and sufficiently known and friendly to itself. And on all these accounts he rendered the universe a happy14 God. But indeed the artificer did not produce soul, 34c as we just now began to say, junior to body: for he who conjoined these would never permit that the more ancient nature should he subservient to the younger. But we, as being much conversant with that which casually occurs, assert things of this kind in an assimilative way; while, on the contrary, the artificer of the world constituted soul both in generation and virtue prior to, and more ancient than, body, as being the proper lord and ruler of its servile nature; and that in the following manner:
35a From an essence impartible,15 and always subsisting according to sameness of being, and from a nature divisible about bodies, he mingled from both a third form of essence, having a middle subsistence between the two. And again, between that which is impartible and that which is divisible about bodies, he placed the nature of same and different. And taking these, now they are three, he mingled them all into one idea. But as the nature of men could not without difficulty he mingled in same he harmonized them together by employing force in their conjunction. But after he had mingled these two with essence, and had 35b produced one from the three, he again divided this whole into becoming parts; at the same time mingling each part from same, different, amid essence. But he began to divide as follows: In the first place he received one part from the whole.16 Then he separated a second part, double of the first; afterwards a third, sesquialter of the second, but triple of the first: then a fourth, double of the second; in the next place a fifth, triple 35c of the third; a sixth, octuple of the first; and lastly a seventh, twenty-seven times more than the first. After this, he filled up the 36a double and triple intervals, again cutting off parts from the whole; and placed them so between the intervals, that there might be two mediums in every interval; and that one of these might by the same part exceed one of the extremes, and be exceeded by the other; and that the other part might by an equal number surpass one of the extremes, and by an equal number be surpassed by the other. But as from hence sesquialter, sesquitertian and sesquioctave intervals were produced, from those 36b bonds in the first spaces, he filled with a sesquioctave interval all the sesquitertian parts, at the same time leaving a part17 of each of these. And then again the interval of this part being assumed, a comparison is from thence obtained in terms of number to number, subsisting between 256 and 243. But now the whole of that mixture from which these were separated was consumed by such a section of parts. Hence he then cut the whole of this composition according to length, and produced two from one; and adapted middle to middle, like the form of the letter X. 36c Afterwards he bent them into a circle, connecting them, both with themselves and with each other, in such a manner that their extremities might be combined in one directly opposite to the point of their mutual intersection; and externally comprehended them in a motion revolving according to sameness, and in that which is perpetually the same. And besides this, he made one of the circles external, but the other internal; and denominated the local motion of the exterior circle, the motion of that nature which subsists according to sameness; but that of the interior one, the motion of the nature subsisting according to difference. He likewise caused the circle partaking of sameness to revolve laterally towards the right hand; but that which partakes of difference diametrically towards the left. But he conferred dominion on the circulation of that which is same and similar: for he suffered this alone 36d to remain undivided. But as to the interior circle, when he had divided it six times, and had produced seven unequal circles, each according to the interval of the double and triple; as each of them are three, he ordered the circles to proceed in a course contrary to each other: and three of the seven interior circles he commanded to revolve with a similar swiftness; but the remaining four with a motion dissimilar to each other, and to the former three; yet so as not to desert order and proportion in their circulations.
After, therefore, the whole composition of the soul was completed according to the intention of its artificer, in the next place he fabricated within soul the whole of a corporeal nature; and, conciliating middle 36e with middle, he aptly harmonized them together. But soul17a being every way extended from the middle to the very extremities of the universe, and investing it externally in a circle, at the same time herself revolving17b within herself, gave rise to the divine commencement of an unceasing 37a and wise life, through the whole of time. And, indeed, the body of the universe was generated visible; but soul is invisible, participating of a rational energy and harmony,17c and subsisting as the best of generated natures, through its artificer, who is the best of intelligible and perpetual beings. Since, therefore, soul was composed from the mixture of the three parts same, different, and essence, and was distributed and bound according to analogy, herself at the same time returning by a circular energy towards herself; hence, when she touches18 upon any thing endued with a dissipated essence, and when upon that which is indivisible, being moved through the whole of herself, she pronounces concerning the nature of each—asserts what that is with which any thing 37b is the same,19 from what it is different, to what it is related, where it is situated, how it subsists; and when any thing of this kind happens either to be or to suffer both in things which are generated and in such as possess an eternal sameness of being. Reason indeed, which is becoming to be,20 true according to sameness, when it is conversant as well with different as same, evolving itself without voice or sound in that which is moved by itself; when in this case it subsists about a sensible nature, and the circle characterized by difference properly revolving, enunciates any circumstance to every part of the soul with which it is connected; then 37c stable and true opinions and belief are produced. But when again it evolves itself about that which is logistic,21 and the circle of sameness aptly revolving announces any particular thing, intellect and science are necessarily produced in perfection by such an operation. Whoever, therefore, asserts that this21a is ingenerated in any other nature than soul, asserts every thing rather than the truth.
But when the generating father understood that this generated resemblance of the eternal Gods,21b moved and lived, he was delighted with his work, and in consequence of this delight considered how he might fabricate it still more similar to its exemplar. Hence, as that is an eternal animal, he endeavoured to render this universe such, to the utmost of his ability. The nature indeed of the animal its paradigm is eternal, and this it is impossible to adapt perfectly to a generated effect. 37d Hence he determined by a dianoetic energy to produce a certain movable image of eternity: and thus, while he was adorning and distributing the universe, he at the same time formed an eternal image flowing according to number, of eternity abiding in one;22 and which receives from us the appellation of time. But besides this he fabricated 37e the generation of days23 and nights, and months and years, which had no subsistence prior to the universe, but which together with it rose into existence. And all these, indeed, are the proper parts of time. But the terms it was and it will be, which express the species of generated time, are transferred by us to an eternal essence, through oblivion of the truth. 38a For we assert of such an essence that it was, is, and will be; while according to truth the term it is is alone accommodated to its nature. But we should affirm, that to have been and to be hereafter are expressions alone accommodated to generation, proceeding according to the flux of time: for these parts of time are certain motions. But that which perpetually subsists the same and immovable, neither becomes at any time older or younger; neither has been generated in some period of the past, nor will be in some future circulation of time; nor receives any circumstance of being, which generation adapts to natures hurried away by its impetuous whirl. For all these are nothing more than species of time imitating eternity, and circularly rolling itself according to number. Besides this, we likewise frequently assert that a thing 38b which was generated, is generated: that what subsists in BECOMING TO BE, is in generation; that what WILL BE, IS TO BE; and that NON-BEING IS NOT: no one of which assertions is accurately true. But perhaps a perfect discussion of these matters is not adapted to the present disputation.
But time24 was generated together with the universe, that being produced together they might together be dissolved, if any dissolution should ever happen to these. And time was generated according to the exemplar of an eternal nature, that this world might be the most similar possible to such a nature. For its exemplar is permanent being, through 38c the whole of eternity; but the universe alone was generated, is, and will be, through the whole of time. After this manner, therefore, and from such a dianoetic energy of Divinity about the generation of time,25 that he might give birth to its flowing subsistence, he generated the sun and moon, and the five other stars, which are denominated planets, for the purpose of distinguishing and guarding the numbers of time. But the Divinity, as soon as he had produced the bodies of these stars, placed 38d them, being seven in number, in the seven circulations formed by the revolution of the nature distinguished by difference. The moon, indeed, he fixed in the first circulation about the earth; the sun in the second above the earth; the star called Lucifer [i.e. Venus], and that which is sacred to Mercury, in circulations revolving with a swiftness equal to the sun, to whom at the same time they are allotted a contrary power; in consequence of which, these stars, the Sun, Lucifer, and Mercury, mutually comprehend and are mutually comprehended by each other in a similar manner. But with respect to the other stars,26 if any one should think proper to investigate their circulations, and through what causes they are established, the labour would be greater than that of the 38e discourse itself, for the sake of which they were introduced. An accurate discussion, therefore, of these particulars may, perhaps, be undertaken by us hereafter, if convenient leisure should fall to our lot.
When, therefore, each of the natures necessary to a joint fabrication of time had obtained a local motion adapted to its condition, and their bodies became animals through the connecting power of vital bonds, they then learned their prescribed order; that according to the oblique revolution of the circle of difference, which moves in subjection to the 39a circle of sameness, these orbs should, by their revolution, partly form a more ample and partly a more contracted circle; and that the orb which formed a lesser circle should revolve swifter; but that which produced a greater, more slow: but that in consequence of the motion of the circle of sameness, the orbs which circulate most swiftly, comprehending other orbs as they revolve, should themselves appear to he comprehended by the revolution of the more slow. But all these circles revolve with a spiral motion, because they are agitated at one and the 39b same time in two contrary directions: and in consequence of this, the sphere endued with the slowest revolution is nearest to that to which its course is retrograde, and which is the swiftest of all. And that these circles might possess a certain conspicuous measure of slowness and swiftness with reference to each other, and that the motion of the eight circulations might he manifest, the Divinity enkindled a light which we now denominate the Sun,27 in the second revolution from the earth; that the heavens might become eminently apparent to all things, and that such animals might participate of number as are adapted to its participation, receiving numerical information from the revolution of a 39c nature similar and the same. From hence, therefore, night and clay arose; and through these revolving bodies the period of one most wise circulation was produced.
And month indeed was generated, when the moon having run through her circle passed into conjunction with the sun. But year, when the sun had completely wandered round his orb. As to the periods of the other stars, they are not understood except by a very few of mankind; nor do the multitude distinguish them by any peculiar appellation; nor do they measure them with relation to each other, regarding the numbers 39d adapted to this purpose. Hence, it may he said, they are ignorant that the wanderings of these bodies are in reality time; as these wanderings are endued with an infinite multitude, and an admirable variety of motions. But it is easy to conceive, that a perfect number of time will then accomplish a perfect year, when the eight circulations concurring in their courses with each other become bounded by the same extremity; being at the same time measured by the circle subsisting according to sameness. But the stars, whose revolutions are attended with a procession through the heavens, were generated, that the whole of this 39e visible animal the universe might become most similar to the most perfect intelligible animal from an imitation of a perpetual nature. And indeed the artificer fabricated other forms, as far as to the generation of time, according to the similitude of the world’s exemplar.
But as the universe did not yet contain all animals in its capacious
receptacle, in this respect it was dissimilar to its exemplar. Its artificer,
therefore, supplied this defect by impressing it with forms, according to
the nature of its paradigm. Whatever ideas, therefore, intellect perceived
by the dianoëtic energy in animal itself,28 such and so many he
conceived it necessary for the universe to contain. But these ideas are
40a four:29 One, the celestial genus of Gods; another, winged and
air-wandering; a third, the aquatic form; and a fourth, that which is pedestrial and terrene. The idea, therefore, of that which is divine, or
the inerratic sphere, he for the most part fabricated from fire, that it
might he most splendid and beautiful to behold. And as he meant to
assimilate it to the universe, he rendered it circular; placed it in the
wisdom of the best nature; ordered it to become the attendant of that
which is best; and gave it a circular distribution about the heavens, that
it might be a true world, adorned with a fair variety in its every part. But he adapted to each of the divine bodies two motions; one by which
40b they might revolve in same according to same, by always cogitating the
same things in themselves about same; the other through which they
might he led with an advancing motion from the dominion of the same
and similar circulation. He likewise rendered them immovable and
stable as to the other five motions, that each of them might become in
an eminent degree the best. And on this account such of the stars as are
inerratic were generated, which are divine animals; and, in consequence
of this, always abide revolving in that which is same. But, the stars,
which both revolve and at the same time wander in the manner we have
described above, were produced next to these. But he fabricated the
earth the common nourisher of our existence; which being conglobed
about the pole extended through the universe, is the guardian and
artificer of night and day, and is the first and most ancient of the Gods
which are generated within the heavens. But the harmonious
progressions of these divinities, their concursions with each other, the
revolutions and advancing motions of their circles, how they are situated
with relation to each other in their conjunctions and oppositions,
whether direct among themselves or retrograde, at what times and in
what manner they become concealed, and, again emerging to our view,
40d cause terror, and exhibit tokens of future events to such as are able to
discover their signification—of all this to attempt an explanation,
without inspecting the resemblances of these divinities, would be a
fruitless employment. But of this enough; and let this be the end of our
discourse concerning the nature of the visible and generated Gods.
But to speak concerning the other demons,30 and to know their generation, is a talk beyond our ability to perform. It is, therefore, necessary in this case to believe in ancient men; who being the progeny 40e of the Gods, as they themselves assert, must have a clear knowledge of their parents. It is impossible, therefore, not to believe in the children of the Gods, though they should speak without probable and necessary arguments: but as they declare that their narrations are about affairs to which they are naturally allied, it is proper that, complying with the law, we should assent to their tradition. In this manner, then, according to them, the generation of these Gods is to be described:
That Ocean and Tethys were the progeny of heaven and earth. That from hence Phorcys, Saturn, and Rhea, and such as subsist together with these, were produced. That from Saturn and Rhea, Jupiter, Juno, and 41a all such as we know are called the brethren of these descended. And lastly, others which are reported to be the progeny of these. When, therefore, all such Gods as visibly revolve, and all such as become apparent when they please, were generated, the Artificer of the universe thus addressed them: "Gods of Gods,31 of whom I am the demiurgus and father, whatever is generated by me is indissoluble, such being my will 41b in its fabrication. Indeed every thing which is bound is dissoluble; but to be willing to dissolve that which is beautifully harmonized, and well composed, is the property of an evil nature. Hence, so far as you are generated, you are not immortal, nor in every respect indissoluble: yet you shall never be dissolved, nor become subject to the fatality of death; my will being a much greater and more excellent bond than the vital connectives with which you were bound at the commencement of your generation. Learn, therefore, what I now say to you indicating my desire. Three genera of mortals yet remain to be produced. Without the 41c generation of these, therefore, the universe will be imperfect; for it will not contain every kind of animal in its spacious extent. But it ought to contain them, that it may become sufficiently perfect. Yet if these are generated, and participate of life through me, they will become equal to the Gods. That mortal natures, therefore, may subsist, and that the universe may he truly all, convert yourselves, according to your nature, to the fabrication of animals, imitating the power which I employed in your generation. And whatever among these is of such a nature as to deserve the same appellation with immortals, which obtains sovereignty in these, and willingly pursues justice, and reverences you—of this I myself will deliver the seed and beginning: it is your business to accomplish the rest; to weave32 together the mortal and immortal nature; by this means fabricating and generating animals, causing them 41d to increase by supplying them with aliment, and receiving them hack again when dissolved by corruption."
Thus spoke the demiurgus; and again into the same crater,[i.e. Juno] in which mingling he had tempered the soul of the universe, he poured mingling the remainder33 of the former mixture: in a certain respect indeed after the same manner,34 yet not similarly incorruptible according to the same, hut deficient from the first in a second and third degree. And having thus composed the universe, he distributed souls equal in number to the stars, inserting each in each: and causing them to ascend as into a 41e vehicle,35 he pointed out to them the nature of the universe, and announced to them the laws of fate; showing them that the first generation orderly distributed to all was one, lest any particular soul should he allotted a less portion of generation than another. But when he had disseminated them through the several instruments of time adapted to each, he declared to them it was necessary that an animal the 42a most religious of all others should make its appearance. But as the human nature is twofold, he showed them that the more excellent kind was that which would afterwards be called man. And as souls are from necessity engrafted in bodies, and as something accedes to and something departs from such bodies, he declared to them that, in the first place, one connate sense36 produced by violent passions was necessary to all; 42b and, in the second place, love mingled with pleasure and grief. That after these, fear and anger were necessary, with whatever else is either consequent to these, or naturally discordant from a contrary nature. That such souls as subdue these would live justly, but such as are vanquished by them unjustly. And again, that he who lived well during the proper time of his life, should, again returning to the habitation of his kindred star37, enjoy a blessed life. But that he whose conduct was depraved, should in his second generation he changed into the nature of a woman. That both these, at the expiration of a thousand years, should return to the allotment and choice of a second life; each soul receiving a life agreeable to its choice. That in this election the human soul 42c should pass into the life of a brute: and that in case the inclination to evil should not even then cease, but the defilement of vice remain according to a similitude of the mode of generation, then the Soul should he changed into the nature of a brute correspondent to its disposition. And that it should not be freed from the allotment of labours,38 till, following the revolution of that same and similar nature contained in its essence, it vanquishes those abundantly turbulent affections, tumultuous and irrational, adhering to it afterwards from fire, water, air, and earth, and returns to the first and best disposition of its nature.
42d When he had instructed souls in all these particulars, that he might be in no respect the cause of the future evil of each, he disseminated some of them into the earth, others into the moon, and others into the remaining different instruments of time. But after this semination he delivered to the junior Gods the province of fabricating mortal bodies, 42e and generating whatever else remained necessary to the human soul; and gave them dominion over every thing consequent to their fabrications. He likewise commanded them to govern as much as possible in the best and most beautiful manner the mortal animal, that it might not become the cause of evil to itself. At the same time he who orderly disposed all these particulars remained in his own accustomed abiding habit. But in consequence of his abiding, as soon as his children understood the order of their father, they immediately became obedient to this order; and receiving the immortal principle of mortal animal, in imitation of their artificer, they borrowed from the world the parts of fire and earth, water and air, as things which they should restore back again; and 43a conglutinated the received parts together, not with the same indissoluble bonds which they themselves participated, but gave them a tenacious 44a adherence from thick set nails, invisible through their smallness; fabricating the body of each, one from the composition of all; and binding the circulations of the immortal soul in the influxive and effluxive nature of body.
43b But these circulations,39 being merged in a profound river, neither govern nor are governed, but hurry and are hurried along with violence: in consequence of which, the whole animal is indeed moved, yet in a disorderly manner: since from every kind of motion its progression is fortuitous and irrational. For it proceeds backwards and forwards, to the right and left, upwards and downwards, and wanders every way according to the six differences of place. For though the inundating40 and effluxive waves pour along with impetuous abundance, which afford nutrition to the animal, yet a still greater tumult and agitation is produced through the passions arising from external impulsions: and this 43c either when the body is disturbed by the sudden incursion of external fire, or by the solidity of earth, or receives an injury from the whirling blasts of the air. For from all these, through the medium of the body, various motions are hurried along, and fall with molestation on the soul. But on this account all these were afterwards, and are even now, denominated senses. And these, indeed, both at first and at present,41 are 43d the sources of an abundant and mighty motion, in conjunction with that perpetually flowing river, moving and vehemently agitating the circulations of the soul, every way fettering the revolution of the nature characterized by sameness, through flowing in a contrary direction, and restraining its energies by their conquering and impetuous progressions. But they agitate and tear in pieces the circulation of the nature distinguished by difference. Hence, they whirl about with every kind of revolution each of the three intervals of the double and triple, together with the mediums and conjoining bonds of the sesquitertian, sesquialter, and sesquioctave ratios, which cannot be dissolved by any one except the artificer by whom they were bound: and besides this, they induce all the fractures and diversities of circles which it is possible to effect; so that, 43e scarcely being connected with each other, they are borne along indeed, yet in an irrational manner, at one time in a contrary, at another time in an oblique, and then again in a resupine situation. just as if any one, in an inverted position, should fix his head on the earth and raise his feet on high; for in such a situation both the inverted person and the spectators would mutually imagine the right hand parts to be on the left, and the left to be on the right. So with respect to the circulations of the soul, the very same affections, and others of a similar kind, vehemently 44a take place; and hence, when this is the case, if any thing external occurs, characterized by the nature of same or different, they denominate things the same with, or different from, others in a manner contrary to the truth. Hence they become false, and destitute of intelligence; nor is any revolution to be found among them in such a situation which energizes with the authority of a ruler and chief.
But when certain senses, borne along externally, strike against the soul and attract the whole of its receptacle, then the circulations which are 44b in reality in subjection appear to have dominion: and hence, in consequence of all these passions, the soul becomes insane at present, and was so from the first period of her being hound in a mortal body. However, when the river of increase and nutrition flows along with a more gentle and less abundant course, the circulations, being again restored to tranquillity, proceed in their proper path; in process of time become more regular and steady, and pass into a figure accommodated to their nature. Hence, in this case, the revolutions of each of the circles becoming direct, and calling both same and different by their proper appellations, they render the being by whom they are possessed 44c prudent and wise. If any one, therefore, receives a proper education in conjunction with convenient nutrient, such a one will possess perfect health, and will every way avoid the most grievous disease. But when this is neglected by any individual, such a one, proceeding along the path of life in a lame condition, will then pass into Hades imperfect and destitute of intelligence. These are particulars, however, which happen posterior to the production of mankind. But it is our business at present to discourse more accurately concerning the first composition of our nature, and to show, in the first place, from assimilative reasons, through what cause and providence of the Gods the several members of the body were accommodated to the several employments of the soul.
44d In the first place, then, the Gods bound the two divine circulations of the soul in a spherical body, in imitation of the circular figure of the universe: and this part of the body is what we now denominate the head; a most divine member, and the sovereign ruler of our whole corporeal composition, through the decree of the Gods, who considered that it would participate of all possible motions. Lest, therefore, the head, by rolling like a cylinder on the earth, which is distinguished by 44e all-various heights and depths, should be unable to pass over its inequalities and asperities, the Gods subjected this upright figure of the body, as a pliable vehicle to the head. Hence. in consequence of the body being endued with length, the extended four naturally flexible members; Divinity fabricating a progression through which the body might apprehend any object, might receive a stable support, and might 45a be able to pass through every place, hearing on high the head, our most divine and sacred habitation. For this purpose. therefore, they furnished us with legs and hands. And as the Gods considered that the anterior parts are more honourable and adapted to rule than the posterior, they gave us a motion for the most part consisting of a forward progression. Beside this, it was requisite that the anterior parts of our body should be divided from each other, and be dissimilar: and on this account they first placed about the cavity of the head the face; fixed in it organs subservient to all the providential energies of the soul, and determined 45b that the natural government of man should consist in this anterior part of the body. But they fabricated the luciferous eyes the first of all the corporeal organs, binding them in the face on the following account. Of that fire which does not burn, indeed, but which comprehends our proper diurnal light, the Gods fabricated the orbs of the eyes. For the fire contained within our body, and which is the genuine brother of this diurnal fire, they caused to flow through the eyes with smoothness, and collected abundance, condensed indeed in the whole, but especially in the 45c middle of these lucid orbs; so as that the more dense fire might remain concealed within the recesses of the eyes, and the pure might find a passage and fly away. When, therefore, the diurnal light subsists about the effluxive river of the sight, then, similar concurring and being mingled with similar, one domestic body is constituted according to the direct procession of the eyes; and this too in that part where the internally emitted light resists that which is externally adduced. But the 45d whole becoming similarly passive through similitude, when it either touches any thing else or is itself touched by another, then the motion produced by this contact diffusing itself through the whole body of the eye, as far as to the soul, causes that sensation which we denominate sight. But when this kindred fire departs into night, the conjunct on being dissolved, sight loses its power. For in this case, proceeding into a dissimilar nature, it is changed, and becomes extinct: since it is by no connate with the proximate surrounding air, which is naturally destitute of fire. Hence it ceases from seeing; and, besides this, becomes the 45e introducer of sleep. For the Gods fabricated the nature of the eyelids as a salutary guardian of the sight; that, these being compressed, the inward fiery power of the eye might be restrained from any further emission; that, besides this, they might sprinkle over and equalize the eye’s internal motions; and that, when equalized, rest might be produced.
46a But when much rest takes place, sleep attended with few dreams is produced. On the contrary, if certain more vehement motions remain, then such as is the nature of these relics, and the places in which they were produced, such and so many will be the similar phantasms within, and of which we shall possess the remembrance when we are externally roused. But with respect to the images produced in mirrors, and all such things as are visible in that which is apparent and smooth, there is nothing in these difficult of solution, nor, from the communication of the external and internal fire with each other, and from that fire which subsists about the smooth body, and becomes abundantly multiplied. All 46b such appearances are necessarily produced as take place when the fire of the eyes mingles itself with the fire diffused about the smooth and splendid object of vision. But the right hand parts appear to be the left, because a contact takes place between the contrary parts of the sight and the contrary parts of the object, different from the accustomed mode of perception. On the contrary, the right hand parts appear on the right, and the left hand on the left, when the mingled light leaps forth, together with that with which it is mingled. When the smoothness of the mirrors receives this here and there in an elevated manner, it repels the 46c right hand part of the sight to the left of the mirror, and the left to the right. But if the mirror is turned according to the length of the countenance, it causes the whole face to appear resupine, by repelling the downward part of the splendour towards the upward part, and again 46d the upper towards the downward part. All such particulars as these, therefore, are but causal assistants, which the Divinity employed as subservient to rendering the idea of that which is best as far as possible complete. But the multitude are of opinion that these are not causal assistants, but the real causes of all things; I mean such things as are capable of giving cold and heat, rarity and density, with whatever produces such-like actions, but is incapable of possessing reason and intellect. For soul must he considered as the only thing among beings by which intellect can be possessed. And this is invisible. But fire and water, air and earth, are 46e all of them visible bodies. It is, however, necessary that the lover of intellect and science should explore the first causes of prudent nature; and that he should consider such things as are moved by others, and at the same time necessarily give motion to other things, as nothing more than secondary causes. Hence it is proper that we should speak concerning both kinds of causes; separately of such as fabricate things beautiful and good in conjunction with intellect, and of such as, being left destitute of wisdom, produce each particular in a casual and disorderly manner. Concerning the second causes of the eyes, therefore, which contribute to the possession of the power they are now allotted, what has been already said is sufficient.
But the greatest employment of the eyes, with respect to the use 47a which they were bestowed on us by the Divinity, we shall now endeavour to explain. For, in my opinion, the sight is the cause of the greatest emolument to us on the present occasion; since what we are now discoursing concerning the universe could never have been discovered without surveying the stars, the sun, and the heavens. But now, from beholding day and night, we are able to determine by arithmetical calculation the periods of months and years; to acquire a conception of time, and to scrutinize the nature of the universe. But 47b from all this we obtain the possession of philosophy; a greater good than which never was nor ever will be bestowed by the Gods on the mortal race. And this is what I call the greatest benefit of the eyes. But why should I celebrate other particulars of less consequence. which he who is not a philosopher, since destitute of sight, may attempt to explore, but will explore in vain? By us, indeed, it is asserted that Divinity bestowed sight on us for this purpose, that on surveying the circulations of intellect in the heavens we may properly employ the revolutions of our dianoetic part, which are allied to their circulations; and may recall the tumultuous motions of our discursive energies to the orderly processions 47c of their intellectual periods. That besides this, by learning these and participating right reason according to nature, and imitating the revolutions of Divinity which are entirely inerratic, we may give stability to the wanderings of our dianoetic energy.
But concerning voice and hearing, we again assert that they were bestowed on us by the Gods on the same account. For the acquisition of speech pertains to these, and is of the greatest advantage to their possession. And whatever utility musical voice brings to the sense of 47d hearing, was bestowed for the sake of harmony. But harmony, possessing motions allied to the revolutions of our soul, is useful to the man who employs the Muses in conjunction with intellect; but is of no advantage to irrational pleasure, though it appears to he so at present. Indeed, it was given us by the Muses for the purpose of reducing the dissonant circulation of the soul to an order and symphony accommodated to its nature. Rhythm too was bestowed on us for this 47e purpose; that we might properly harmonize that habit in our nature, which for the most part is void of measure, and indigent of the Graces. And thus far, a few particulars excepted, have we shown the fabrications of intellect. But it is likewise requisite to give a place in our discourse to the productions of necessity. For, the generation of the world being mingled, it was produced from the composition of intellect and necessity. But intellect ruling over necessity persuaded it to lead the 48a most part of generated natures to that which is best; and hence necessity being vanquished by wise persuasion, from these two as principles the world arose. If, then, any one truly asserts that the universe was generated according to these, he should also mingle with it the form of an erratic cause, which it is naturally adapted to receive, in this manner 48b then let us return; and, assuming a convenient principle of these, again discourse concerning them as about the former particulars, commencing our discussion from their origin. Let us, therefore, speculate the nature and passions of fire and water, air and earth, prior to the generation of the heavens. No one, indeed, as yet has unfolded the generation of these: but we speak of fire, and the other elements, as if the nature of each was known; and place them as the principles of the universe, when at the same time they ought not to be assimilated to elements, not even 48c as in the rank of syllables, by men who in the smallest degree merit the appellation of wise. But now we shall not speak of the principle or principles, or whatever other denomination they may receive, of all things; and this for no other reason than the difficulty of delivering what appears to be the truth about these in the present mode of disputation. Neither, therefore, is it possible that we should expert us to 48d speak, nor that I should persuade myself into a belief of being able to speak with perfect rectitude on so difficult a subject. But it is proper, as I told you in the beginning of this discourse, that, preserving all the force of assimilative reasons, we should endeavour to deliver that which is not less assimilative of the truth than the doctrine of others; and that in this manner we should discourse from the beginning concerning particulars and the whole. In the first place, therefore, invoking the Divinity who is the saviour of discourse, and beseeching him to lead us from an absurd and unusual exposition to an assimilative doctrine, we 48e shall again begin to speak.
But it is necessary that the beginning of our present disputation should receive a more ample division than the later one. For then we made a distribution into two species: but now a third sort must be added. In he former disputation two species were explained; one of which is as established as the form of an exemplar intelligible and always subsisting according to same; but the other was to belong no more than the imitation 49a of the paradigm, generated and visible. But we did not then distribute a third, because we considered these two as sufficient. However, now reason seems to urge as a thing necessary, that we should endeavour to render apparent by our discourse the species which subsists as difficult and obscure. What apprehension then can we form of its power and nature? Shall we say that it is in an eminent degree the receptacle, and 49b as it were nurse, of all generation? Such an assertion will, indeed, be true; but it is requisite to speak more clearly concerning it. And this will certainly be an arduous undertaking on many accounts. but principally because it will be necessary to account previous to its discussion concerning fire and the rest of the elements, why any one of these should be called water rather than fire, or air rather than earth; or why any one should be denominated some definite particular rather than all. For it is indeed difficult to frame any certain opinion, or to employ any stable discourse about such intricate forms. After what manner, then, and in what respect, and what of of an assimilative nature shall assert in this dubious inquiry?
In the first place, then, that which we now denominate water, when 49c it loses its fluidity by concretion, appears to become stones and earth; but, when liquefied and dispersed, it forms vapour and air. Likewise, air when burnt up becomes fire. And, on the contrary, fire becoming concrete and extinct passes again into the form of air. And again, air becoming collected and condensed produces mists and clouds. But from these still more compressed rain descends And from water, again, earth and stones derive their subsistence, And thus, as it appears, they 49d mutually confer on each other generation in a certain circular progression. But since these never appear to be the same, who without being covered with confusion can confidently assert that any one of these is this rather than that? Certainly, no one. Hence it will be far the most safe method of proceeding to speak about them as follows:
That the nature which we always perceive becoming something different at different times, such, for instance, as fire, is not fire absolutely, but something fiery. And again, that the nature which we denominate water is not absolutely so, but such-like, or watery; and that it is not at any time any thing else, as if it possessed any stability of essence. And lastly, that 49e they cannot be distinguished by any word, such as we are accustomed to employ when endeavouring to show that any particular is either this thing or that. For they fly away, incapable of sustaining the affirmation which asserts them to be this thing, of such a nature, belonging to this; and all such appellations as would evince them to be something permanent and real. Hence, we ought not to denominate any one of these either this, or that; but something such-like, and a perpetually revolving similitude, Thus, we should assert that fire is every where such-like, and should speak in the same manner of every 50a thing endued with generation. But we should alone distinguish by the appellations of this, or that, the subject in which each of these appears to be generated, and again to suffer a dissolution, But this subject is by no means to he denominated such-like, as for instance hot or white, or any quality belonging to contraries, or any thing which contraries compose. However, let us endeavour to explain more clearly what we mean to express. for if any one, fashioning possible figures from gold, should without ceasing transform each figure into all: and if, during this operation, some one who is present should, pointing to one 50b of these figures, inquire what it is; it might most safely, with respect to truth, be replied, that it was gold: but he who should assert that it is a triangle, or any other of the figures which are continually generated, and which ought by no means to be denominated beings, would tell from the truth in the midst of his assertion. But we ought to be content with that answer as most safe, which denominates it such-like, or of such a determinate nature.
In the same manner we should speak concerning that nature which is the general receptacle of all bodies. For it never departs from its own proper power, but perpetually receives all things; and never contrasts any form in any respect similar to any one of the intromitted forms. It 50c lies indeed in subjection to the forming power of every nature, becoming agitated and figured through the supernally intromitted forms: and through these it exhibits a different appearance at different times. But the forms which enter and depart from this receptacle are the imitations of perpetually true beings; and are figured by them in a manner wonderful and difficult to describe, as we shall afterwards relate. At present, however, it is necessary to consider three sorts of things: one, that which is generated; another, that in which it is generated; and 50d the third, that from which the generated nature derives its similitude. But it is proper to assimilate that which receives to a mother; that from whence it receives to a father; and the nature situated between these to an offspring, it is likewise necessary to understand that the figured nature can never become distinguished with an all-possible variety of forms, unless its receptacle is well prepared for the purpose, and is 50e destitute of all those forms which it is about to receive. For, if it were similar to any one of the supernally intromitted forms, when it received a nature contrary to that to which it is similar, or any form whatever, it would very imperfectly express its similitude, while at the same time it exhibited the very same appearance with the supernally acceding form. And hence it is necessary, that the receptacle which is destined to receive all possible forms should itself be destitute of every form. Just as those who are about to prepare sweet-smelling unguents, so dispose a certain humid matter as the subject of the ensuing odour, that it may possess no peculiar smell of its own; and as those who wish to impress certain figures in a soft and yielding matter, are careful that it may not appear 51a impressed with any previous figure, but render it as much as possible exquisitely smooth. In the same manner, it is necessary that the subject which is so often destined to receive in a beautiful manner, through the whole of itself, resemblances of eternal beings, should be naturally destitute of all that it receives. Hence, we should not denominate this mother and receptacle of that which is generated, visible and every way sensible, either earth, or air, or fire, or water; nor, again, any one of the composites from these, or any thing from which these are generated: but 51b we should call it a certain invisible species, and a formless universal recipient, which in the most dubious and scarcely explicable manner participates of an intelligible nature. Of itself, indeed, we cannot speak without deception; but so far as ii is possible to apprehend its nature from what has been previously said, we may with the greatest rectitude assert as follows: that fire appears to be its inflamed part; water its moist part; and that earth and air are its parts in a similar manner, 51c so far as it receives the imitations of these. But we ought rather thus to inquire about these, distinguishing and separating them by a reasoning process; whether there is a certain fire, itself subsisting in itself; and whether this is the case with all such particulars which we perpetually assert to subsist from themselves; or whether such things alone as are the objects of a sight, and which are perceived through the ministry of the body, possess being and truth; so that nothing besides these has in any respects subsistence; that we in vain assert there is a certain intelligible form on each of these; and that all such forms are nothing but words. Indeed, whether such a doctrine is true or not, must not be asserted rashly and without examination: nor is it proper to add to the present disputation, 51d which is naturally prolix, any thing tedious and foreign from the purpose. But if any definition can he employed in this affair, comprehending things of great moment in a short compass, such a one it will be very opportune to our present design. In this manner then I shall relate my opinion on the subject.
If intellect and true opinion are two kinds of things, it is every way necessary that there should be forms, subsisting by themselves, which are not the objects of sense, but which are apprehended by intelligence alone. But if, as appears to some, true opinion differs in no respect from intellect, 51e every thing which is perceived through body is to be considered as possessing the most certain and stable nature. But in reality these ought to he denominated two distinct things, because they are generated separate from each other, and are dissimilar. For the one of these subsists in us through learning, but the other through persuasion. And the one is indeed always attended with true reason, but the other is irrational. The one is not to he moved by persuasion; the other, on the contrary, is subject to this mutation. And lastly, of true opinion every man participates; but of intellect all the Gods, and but 52a few of mankind. Such then being the case, we must confess that the form which subsists according to same, is unbegotten and without decay; neither receiving any thing into itself externally, nor itself proceeding into any other nature. That it is invisible, and imperceptible by sense; and that this is the proper object of intellectual speculation. But the form which is synonymous and similar to this, must be considered as sensible, generated always in agitation, and generated in a certain place, 52b from which it again recedes, hastening to dissolution; and which is re apprehended by opinion in conjunction with sense. But the third nature is that of place; which never receives corruption, but affords a seat to all generated forms. This indeed is tangible without tangent perception; and is scarcely by a certain spurious reasoning the object of belief. Besides, when we attempt to behold this nature, we perceive nothing but the delusions of dreams, and assert that every being must necessarily be somewhere, and be situated in a certain place: and we by no means think that any thing can exist, which is neither in the earth nor comprehended by the heavens. All these, and all such opinions as are the sisters of these, we are not able to separate from our cogitation of that which subsists about a vigilant and true nature: and this because we 52c cannot rouse ourselves from this fallacious and dreaming energy, and perceive that in reality it is proper for an image to subsist in something different from itself; since that in which it is generated has no proper resemblance of its own, but perpetually exhibits the phantasm of something else; and can only participate of essence in a certain imperfect degree, or it would become in every respect a perfect non-entity. But to true being, true reason bears an assisting testimony, through the accuracy of its decisions; affirming, that as long as two things are different from each other, each can never become so situated in either, as to produce at the same time one thing, arid two things essentially the same.
52d This, then, is summarily my opinion: that, prior to the generation of the universe, these three things subsisted in a triple respect, viz. being, place, and generation. And that the nurse of generation, fiery and moist, receiving the forms of earth and air, and suffering such other passions as are the attendants of these, appeared of an all-various nature 52e to the view. But because it was neither filled with similar powers, nor with such as are equally balanced, it possessed no part in equilibrium; but through the perfect inequality of its libration it became agitated by these passions, and again through its motion gave agitation to these. But the parts in motion, being separated from each other, were impetuously hurried along in different directions, similar to the agitations and ventilations which take place in the operations of textorial instruments, 53a and such as are employed in the purgation of corn. For in this case the dense and the heavy parts are borne along one way, and the rare and the light are impelled into a different seat. In the same manner, these four natures being agitated by their receptacle tumultuously moving like the instrument of corn, such as were dissimilar became far separated from each other, and such as were similar became again amicably united. And hence they passed into different seats before the universe was from the mixture of these distributed into beautiful order; but at the same time they all subsisted irrationally, and without the limitation of measure.
53b But when the artificer began to adorn the universe, he first of all figured with forms and numbers fire and earth, water and air, which possessed indeed certain traces of the true elements, but were in every respect so constituted, as it becomes any thing to be from which Deity is absent. But we should always persevere in asserting that Divinity rendered them as much as possible the most beautiful and the best, when they were in a state of existence opposite to such a condition. 53c I shall now, therefore, endeavour to unfold to you the distribution and generation of these by a discourse unusual indeed, but, to you who have trod in all the paths of erudition, through which demonstration is necessarily obtained, perspicuous and plain. In the first place, then, that fire and earth, water and air, are bodies, is perspicuous to every one. But every species of body possesses profundity; and it is necessary that every depth should comprehend the nature of a plane. Again, the rectitude of the base of a plane is composed from triangles. But 53d all triangles originate from two species; one of which possesses one right angle, and the other two acute angles. And one of these contains one right angle distributed with equal sides; but in the other unequal angles are distributed with unequal sides. Hence, proceeding according to assimilative reasons, conjoined with necessity, we shall establish a principle of this kind, as the origin of fire and all other bodies. The supernal principles of these indeed are known to Divinity, and to the who is in friendship with Divinity.
53e But it is necessary to relate by what means four most beautiful bodies were produced; dissimilar indeed to each other, but which are able from certain dissolutions into each other to become the sources of each other’s generation. For, if we are able to accomplish this, we shall obtain the truth concerning the generation of earth and fire, and of those elements which are situated according to analogy between these. And then we shall not assent to any one who should assert that there are visible bodies more beautiful than these, each of which subsists according to one kind. We must endeavour, therefore, to harmonize the 54a four sorts of bodies excelling in beauty; and to evince by this means that we sufficiently comprehend the nature of these. Of the two triangles indeed the isosceles is allotted one nature, but the oblong scalene is characterized by infinity. We ought therefore to choose the most beautiful among infinites, if we wish to commence our investigation in a becoming manner. And if any one shall assert that he has chosen something more beautiful for the composition of these, we shall suffer his opinion to prevail; considering him not as an enemy, but as a friend. Of many triangles, therefore, we shall establish one as most beautiful (neglecting the rest); I mean the equilateral, which is composed from 54b three parts of a scalene triangle. To assign the reason of this would indeed require a prolix dissertation; but a pleasant reward will remain for him who by a diligent investigation finds this to be the case. We have, therefore, selected two triangles out of many from which the body of fire and of the other elements is fabricated; one of which is isosceles, but the other is that which always has its longer side triply greater in power than the shorter.
But that which we formerly asserted without sufficient security, it is 54c now necessary more accurately to define. For it appeared to us, though improperly, that all these four natures were mutually generated from each other: but they are in reality generated from the triangles which we have just described: three of them, indeed, from one triangle containing unequal sides; but the fourth alone is aptly composed from the isosceles triangle. All of them, therefore, are not able, by a dissolution into each other, to produce from many small things a mighty few, or the contrary. This indeed can he effected by three of them. For, as all the three are naturally generated from one triangle, when the greater parts arc dissolved, many small parts are composed from them, receiving 54d figures accommodated to their natures. And again, when the many small parts being scattered according to triangles produce a number of bulk, they complete one mighty species of a different kind. And thus much may suffice concerning their mutual generation.
It now remains that we should speak concerning the quality of each of their kinds, and relate from what concurring numbers they were collected together. The first species indeed is that which was composed from the fewest triangles, and is the element of that which has its longer 54e side twice the length of the shorter side, which it subtends. But two of these being mutually placed according to the diameter, and this happening thrice, the diameters and the shorter sides passing into the same, as into a centre, hence one equilateral triangle is produced from six triangles. But four equilateral triangles being composed, according to three plane angles, form one solid angle; and this the most obtuse of 55a all the plane angles from which it composed. Hence, from four triangles of this kind receiving their completion, the first solid species was constituted, distributive of the whole circumference into equal and similar parts. But the second was formed from the same triangles, but at the same time constituted according to eight equilateral triangles, which produced one solid angle from four planes: so that the second body received its completion from the composition of six triangles of 55b this kind. And the third arose from the conjunction of twice sixty elements, and twelve solid angles each of which having twenty equilateral bases is contained by five plane equilateral triangles. In this manner, then, the other elements generated these. But the isosceles triangle, being constituted according to four triangles, and collecting the right angles at the centre, and forming one equilateral quadrangle, generated the nature of the fourth element. But six such as these being 55c conjoined produced eight solid angles, each of which is harmonized together, according to three plane right angles. Hence the figure of the body thus composed is cubical, obtaining six plane quadrangular equilateral bases. There is also a certain fifth composition, which Divinity employed in the fabrication of the universe, and when he delineated those forms the contemplation of which may justly lead some one to doubt whether it is proper to assert that the number of worlds is infinite or finite; though indeed to affirm that there are infinite worlds, can only be the dogma of one who is ignorant about things in 55d which it is highly proper to be skilful. But it may with much less absurdity be doubted whether there is in reality but one world, or whether there are five. According to our opinion, indeed, which is founded on assimilative reasons, there is but one world: though some one, regarding in a certain respect other particulars, may be of a different opinion. But it is proper to dismiss any further speculations of this kind.
Let us now, therefore, distribute the four sorts of things which we have generated, into fire, earth, water, and air. And to earth indeed let 55e us assign a cubical form for earth is the most immovable of all these four kinds, and the most plastic, or adapted to formation, of all corporeal natures. But it is in the most eminent degree necessary that this should be the case with that which possesses the most secure and stable bases. Among the triangles, indeed, established at the beginning, such as are equilateral possess firmer bases than such as contain unequal sides. And hence, among the plane figures composed from each, it will be found that the isosceles is necessarily more stable than the equilateral, and the square than the triangle, both when considered according to 56a parts and to the whole. On this account, by distributing this figure to the earth, we shall preserve an assimilative reason. This will he the case too by assigning to water that figure which is more difficultly movable than the other three; to fire, the most easily movable form; and to air, that figure which possesses a middle nature. Besides this, we should assign the smallest body to fire, the greatest to water, and one of a middle kind to air. And again, the most acute body to fire, the second from this to air, and the third to water. But, among all these, it is necessary that the body which possesses the fewest bases, should be the 56b most easily movable: for, being every way the most acute, it becomes the most penetrating and incisive of all. It is likewise the most light, because composed from the fewest parts. But that which is second to this, possesses these properties in a secondary respect; and that which ranks as the third, in a third gradation. Hence, according to right and assimilative reason, the solid form of the pyramid is the element and seed of fire. But we must assign that form which is second according to 56c generation to air; and that which is the third to water. And it is necessary to consider all these such, with respect to their smallness, that one of the several sorts can be discerned by us, on account of its parvitude; but that, when many of them are collected together, their bulks become the objects of our perception. And besides this, all these were accurately absolved and harmonized by the Divinity, both as to their multitude, motions, and powers, in such a proportion as the willing and persuaded nature of necessity was able to receive.
56d But, among all those natures whose kinds we have above related, the following circumstances appear to take place. And first with respect to earth: when it meets with fire, becoming dissolved by its acuteness, it is borne along; and remains in this dissolved state either in fire, or in the bulk of air, or in that of water till its parts, associating themselves together, and again becoming mutually harmonized, produce again a body of earth; for it can never pass into another form. But water, when it is distributed into parts by fire or air, when its parts become again 56e collected, produces one body of fire, but two bodies of air. And the sections of air form from one dissolved part two bodies of fire. Again, when fire receives into itself either air or water, or a certain earth, and, being itself small, is moved in many natures; and besides this, when, through opposing, being vanquished by the agitated forms, it becomes broken in pieces, then two bodies of fire coalesce into one form of air. And when air becomes vanquished and separated into parts, then from two wholes and a half, one whole form of water is produced. But, 57a again, let us consider this matter as follows: When any one of the other forms, becoming invested by fire, is cut by the acuteness of its angles and sides, then, passing into the nature of fire, it suffers no further discerption. For no species is ever able to produce mutation or passivity, or any kind of alteration, in that which is similar and the same is in itself: but as long as it passes into something else, and the more imbecile contends with the more powerful, it will not cease to be dissolved.
57b Again, when the lesser are comprehended in the greater many, and the few being lacerated are extinguished. If they are willing to pass into the idea of the conquering nature, they cease to be extinguished, and air becomes generated from fire, and water from air. But if, when this transition is accomplished, the composite opposes any of the other species, the agitated parts will not cease to be dissolved, till, on account of their dissoluble subsistence being every way impelled, they fly to their 57c kindred nature; or being vanquished, and becoming one from many, similar to their vanquisher, they abide with the victor in amicable conjunction. But, in consequence of these passions, they all of them mutually change the receptacles which they once possessed. For the multitude of each kind is distinguished, according to its proper place, through the motion of its recipient seat. But such as become dissimilar to each other are borne along through the agitation to the place of the natures to which they are similar. Such bodies, therefore, as are unmixed, and the first, are generated from such causes as these. But that other genera are naturally inherent in these forms, is owing to the composition of each element; which not only from the first produces a 57d triangle, together with magnitude, but also such things as are greater and less: and this so many in number as there are different kinds in the forms themselves. And hence, these being mingled in themselves, and with each other, produce an infinite variety; which it is proper he should contemplate who is about to employ assimilative reasons in the investigation of nature. He, therefore, who does not apprehend in what manner, and in conjunction with what particulars, the motion and composition of these take place, will find many impediments in the remaining part of this disputation. And these indeed we have already 57e partly discussed; but a part still remains for our investigation.
And, in the first place, motion is by no means willing to reside in smoothness: for it is difficult, or rather impossible, that a thing in motion should subsist without a mover, or a mover without that which is in motion. Hence, it is impossible that these should be at any time 58a equable and smooth. And, in consequence of this, we should always place an abiding nature in smoothness, and motion in that which is unequal and rough. Inequality, indeed, is the cause of roughness: and have already treated concerning the generation of inequality. But we have by no means explained how the several sorts, being undistributed according to their kinds, cease to he moved and borne along through each other. This, therefore, must he the subject of our present discussion. The circulation then of the universe, since it comprehends the different sorts of things in its circumference, being of a circular form, and naturally desiring to pass into union with itself, compresses all things within its spacious receptacle, and does not suffer a void place 58b any where to subsist. On this account, fire in the most eminent degree penetrates through all things; and air next to this, ranking as the second to fire, on account of the subtility and tenuity of its parts. And the same reasoning must he extended to the other elements, which are posterior to these. For such as are composed from the greatest parts leave also the greatest vacuity in their composition; but, on the contrary, such as are the smallest leave the least vacuity. But the coalition of compression thrusts the small parts into the void spaces of the large; and on this account, the small parts being placed with the large, and the former separating the latter, but the larger being mingled with the 58c smaller, all of them are borne upwards and downwards to their respective places of abode. For each, upon changing its magnitude, changes also its situation. Hence, through these causes the generation of a nature contrary to smoothness being always preserved, affords a perpetual motion of these, both at present and in all future periods of time.
But, in the next place, it is necessary to understand that there are many kinds of fire: as for instance, flame, and that which is enkindled from 58d flame; which burns, indeed: but exhibits no light to the eyes—and which, when the flame is extinguished, abides in the ignited nature. In like manner, with respect to air, one kind is most pure, which is denominated ether; hut another most turbulent, and at the same time obscure and dark; and after this nameless kind is produced, through the inequality of the triangles. But, with respect to water, it is in the first place twofold; one kind of which is humid, but the other fusile. The humid, therefore, through its participating such parts as are 58e small and unequal, becomes movable, both from itself another, through inequality and the idea of its figure. But that which is composed from large and smooth parts is more stable than this kind of water, and coalesces into a heavy body through smoothness and equality of parts. But through fire entering into and dissolving its composition, in consequence of losing its equability and smoothness, it participates more of a movable nature. Hence, becoming easily agile, driven about by the proximate air, and extended over the earth, it liquefies, which is denominated a purification of bulk, and falls upon the earth, which is 59a called a defluxion. Again, fire flying upwards from hence, since it does not depart into a vacuum, the proximate air being agitated, impels the moist bulk as yet movable into the seats of fire, with which at the same time it mingles itself. But when the bulk becomes collectively thrust downwards, and again receives equability and smoothness of parts, then fire, the artificer of inequality, departing, the whole mass passes into a sameness with itself. And this departure of fire we denominate refrigeration; but the coalition which takes place when fire is absent we 59b call a concretion, and cold rigidity. But among all those which we denominate fusile waters, that which, becoming most dense from the most attenuated and equable parts, is of a uniform kind, and participates a splendid and yellow colour, is that most honoured and valuable possession gold, which is usually impelled through a rock. And a branch of gold, on account of its density most hard and black, is called 59c a diamond. But that which contains parts proximate to gold, which possesses more than one species, surpasses gold in density, and participates but a small and attenuated part of earth, so that it becomes of a harder nature, but from its internally possessing great intervals is lighter; this is one kind of splendid and concrete waters, and is denominated brass. But when an earthly nature, being mingled with this, is through antiquity separated from other parts of the brass, and becomes of itself conspicuous, it is then denominated rust. In a similar manner other particulars of this nature may he investigated without much labour by the assistance of assimilative reasons. And if any one, for the sake of relaxation, omitting for a while the speculation of eternal beings, should pursue the assimilative arguments concerning generation 59d and should by this means possess a pleasure unattended with repentance, such a one will establish for himself in life a moderate and prudent diversion.
This being admitted, let us run over the assimilative reasons concerning the particulars which yet remain for discussion. When such water then as is attenuated and moist is mingled with fire, (being denominated moist through its motion and rolling progression on the earth, and likewise soft, because its bases being less stable than those of earth easily to impulsion,) this, when separated from fire and deserted by air, becomes more equable, and through the departure of these is compelled into itself: and being thus collected, if it suffers this alteration above the 59e earth, it becomes hail; but if upon the earth, ice; which then takes place in consequence of extreme congelation. But when it is less congealed, if this happens above the earth, it becomes snow; but when upon the earth, and this from collected dew, it then becomes frost. But when many species of water are mingled with each other, the whole kind, which is strained from the earth through plants, is called moisture or 60a liquor. These liquors, being dissimilar on account of their mixtures, exhibit many other nameless kinds: but four, which are of a fiery species, and which become in an eminent degree diaphanous are allotted appellations. And that which heats the soul in conjunction with the body is called wine. But that which is smooth, and segregative of the sight, and on this account splendid, refulgent, and unctuous to the view, is an oleaginous species, and is pitch, gum, oil, and other things 60b endued with a similar power. Again, that which possesses a power of diffusing the things collected about the mouth, and this as far as nature will permit, at the same time bringing sweetness with its power, is generally denominated honey. And lastly, that which dissolves the flesh by burning, is of a frothy nature, and is secreted from all liquors, is called juice. But the species of earth strained through water produces a stony body in tile following manner: When collected water fails in mingling, 60c it passes into the form of air; but, becoming air, it returns to its proper place. Hence, as there is no vacuum, it impels the proximate air; and this, if the impulsion is weighty, being poured round the bulk of earth, becomes vehemently compressed, and betakes itself to those seats from whence the new air ascended. But earth, when indissolubly associated with water, through the ministry of air composes stones: the more beautiful sort indeed being such as are resplendent from equal and plane parts, but the deformed being of a contrary composition. But when all the moisture is hurried away by the violence of fire, and the body by 60d this means becomes more dry then a species of earth which is denominated fictile is produced. Sometimes, likewise, when the moisture is left behind, and the earth becomes fusile through fire, then through refrigeration a stone with a black colour is generated. But when this species of strained earth in a similar manner through mixture is deprived of much moisture, but is composed from more attenuated parts of earth, is salt and semi-concrete, and again emerges through water; then it is partly called nitre, a cathartic kind of oil, and earth, and partly salt, a substance most elegantly and legitimately adapted to the common 60e wants of the body, and most grateful to divinity. But the parts common to both these are not soluble by water, but through some such thing are thus collected together by fire. Again, fire and air do not liquefy the bulk of earth. For since these naturally consist of parts smaller than the void spaces of earth, they permeate through its most capacious pores without any violence, and neither subject it to dissolution nor liquefaction. But the parts of water, because they are greater and pass 61a along with violence, dissolve and liquefy the mass of earth. Hence, water alone dissolves earth when violently composed, but fire alone when it is properly composed; for an entrance in this case is afforded to nothing but fire.
Again, fire alone permeates the most violent association of the parts of water; but both fire and air diffuse themselves through its more debile collection; air through its void, and fire through its triangular spaces. But nothing is capable of dissolving air when collected together by violence, except it operates according to an element: but when it coheres together without force, it is resolved by fire alone. Again, bodies which 61b are so composed from water and earth that the water compressed by force obstructs the void spaces of earth, cannot in this case afford an ingress to the water externally approaching; and in consequence of this, the water flowing round such a body suffers the whole mass to remain without liquefaction. But the parts of fire entering into the void spaces of water, as water into those of earth, and influencing water in the same manner as fire influences air, become in this case the causes of liquefaction to a common body. But these partly possess less water than earth; such as the whole genus of glass, and such stones as are denominated fusile: and partly, on the contrary, they possess more of 61c water; such as all those bodies which coalesce into waxen and vaporific substances. And thus we have nearly exhibited all those species, which are varied by figures, communications and mutations into each other: but it is now necessary that we should endeavour to render apparent the causes through which the passions of these are produced.
In the first place, then, sense ought always to be present with discourses of this kind. But we have not yet run through the generation of flesh, and such things as pertain to flesh, together with that part of 61d the soul which is mortal. For all these are inseparable from the passions subsisting with sense, and cannot without these passions be sufficiently explained; though, indeed, even in conjunction with these, it is scarcely possible to unfold their production. We should, therefore, first of all establish other things; and then consider such things as are consequent to these. That in our disputation, therefore, the passions themselves may follow the genera in succession, let our first investigations he concerning such things as pertain to body and soul. Let us then first of all inquire why fire is called hot. And the reason of this we shall be able to perceive by considering the separation and division of fire about our bodies: for that this passion is a certain sharpness is nearly evident 61e to all. But we ought to consider the tenuity of its angles, the sharpness of its sides, the smallness of its parts, and the velocity of its motion, 62a through all which it becomes vehement and penetrating, and swiftly divides that with which it meets; calling to mind for this purpose the generation of its figure. For fire, indeed, and no other nature, separate in our bodies and distributing them into small parts, produces in us that passion which is very properly denominated heat. But the passion contrary to this, though sufficiently manifest, ought not to pass without an explanation. For the moist parts of bodies larger than our humid parts, entering into our bodies, expel the smaller parts; but, not being 62b able to penetrate into their receptacles, coagulate our moisture, and cause it through equability to pass from an unequable and agitated state into immovable and collected. But that which is collected together contrary to nature, naturally opposes such a condition, and endeavours by repulsion to recall itself into a contrary situation. In this contest and agitation a trembling and numbness takes place; and all this passion, together with that which produces it, is denominated cold. But we call that hard to which our flesh gives way; and soft, which yields to the pressure of our flesh. And we thus denominate them with reference to each other. But every thing yields to pressure which is established on a small base. But that which rests on triangular bases, on account of its being vehemently firm, is of a most resisting nature; and, because it is 62c dense in the highest degree, strongly repels all opposing pressure.
Again, the nature of heavy and light will become eminently apparent, when investigated together with upwards and downwards. But indeed it is by no means rightly asserted that there are naturally two certain places distant by a long interval from each other: one denominated downwards, to which all bodies tend endued with bulk, but the other upwards, to which every thing is involuntarily impelled. For, the whole 62d universe being spherical, all such things as by an equal departure from the middle become extremes, ought to become naturally extremes in a similar manner. But the middle, being separated from the extremes according to the same measures, ought to be considered as in a situation just opposite to all things. Such, then, being the natural disposition of the world, he who places any one of the above-mentioned particulars either upwards or downwards, will justly appear by such appellations to wander from the truth. For the middle place in the universe cannot be properly called either naturally downwards or upwards, but can only be denominated that which is the middle. But that which environs is neither the middle, nor contains any parts in itself differing from each other with reference to the middle, nor does it possess any thing corresponding to an opposite direction. But to that which is every way 62e naturally similar how can any one with propriety attribute contrary names? For, if there be any thing solid, and endued with equal powers, 63a in the middle of the universe, it will never tend to any part of the extremities, through the perfect similitude which they every where possess. But if any one moves about this solid in a circle, he will often stand with his feet in opposite directions, and will denominate the same part of himself both upwards and downwards. Since the universe, therefore, as we have just observed, is of a spherical figure, it is not the part of a prudent man to assert that it has any place which is either upwards or downwards. But from whence these names originate, and, in what things existing, we transfer them from thence to the universe, 63b it is our business at present to investigate. If any one then should be seated in that region of the world which for the most part belongs to the nature or fire, and to which it on all sides tends, and if such a one should acquire a power of taking away the parts of fire, and of causing them to balance; or, placing the parts in a scale, should violently seize on the beam, and, drawing out the fire, hurl it downwards into dissimilar air—it is evident that in this case a less portion of fire would 63c be more easily compelled than a greater. For, when two things are at the same time suspended from one power, it is necessary that the less quantity should more easily, and the greater with less readiness, yield to the oppressive force. Hence, the one is called heavy, and tending downwards; but the other light, and tending upwards. The same thing happens to us who inhabit this terrestrial region. For, walking on the earth, and separating the terrene genera from each other, we sometimes violently hurl a fragment of earth into its dissimilar air, and this with a motion contrary to its nature; each region at the same time retaining that to which it is allied. But the less portion, being more 63d easily impelled into a dissimilar place than the larger, first of all yields to the violence: and this we denominate light, and call the place into which it is violently hurled, upwards. But the passion contrary to this we denominate heavy and downwards. Hence it is necessary that these should mutually differ from each other; and this through the multitude of genera obtaining contrary situations. For that which is light in one place is contrary to that which is light in a contrary situation: likewise the heavy to the heavy, the downward to the downward, and the 63e upward to the upward. For all these will he found to be contrary, transverse, and every way different from each other. One thing however is to be understood concerning all these, that the progression of each, tending to its kindred nature, renders the proceeding body heavy, and the place to which it tends, downwards. But this progression influences in a different manner such as are differently affected. And thus have I unfolded the causes of these passions.
But again, any one who beholds the cause of the passion of smoothness 64a and roughness may be able to disclose it to others. For hardness mingled with inequality produces the one, and equality with density the other. But among the common passions which subsist about the whole body, that is the greatest which is the cause of pleasure and pain: to which may he added, such as through the parts of the body detain the senses, and have in these pleasures and pains as their attendants. In this manner, then, we should receive the causes of every passion, both sensible and insensible, calling to mind the distinctions which we 64b formerly established concerning the easily and difficultly movable nature. For in this manner we ought to pursue all such things as we design to apprehend. Thus, with respect to that which is naturally easily movable, when any slender passion falls upon it, the several parts give themselves up to each other in a circular progression, producing the same effect; till, having arrived at the seat of prudence, they announce the power of that by which the passion was induced. But that which is affected in a contrary manner, being stable and without a circular progression, alone suffers; but does not move any of the parts to which it is proximate. Hence, the parts not mutually giving themselves up to 64c each other, and the first passion in them becoming immovable with respect to the whole animal, that which suffers is rendered void of sensation. This last case indeed happens about the hones and hairs, and such other parts of our composition as are mostly terrene. But the circumstances belonging to the easily movable nature take place about the instruments of sight and hearing, through their containing the most abundant power of fire and air. But it is necessary to consider the peculiarities of pleasure and pain as follows: When a passion is produced 64d in us contrary to nature, and with violence and abundance, then it becomes the occasion of pain. And again, when a passion conformable to our nature is excited, and this with abundance, it causes pleasure and delight. But that which is contrary to these produces contrary effects. But a passion, the whole of which is induced with great facility, is eminently indeed the object of sensation, but does not participate of pleasure and pain. And of this kind are the passions subsisting about the sight; to which, as we have above asserted, our body is allied. For such objects as exhibit sections and burnings, and other passions of a similar kind, do not cause pain to the sight; nor; again, does the sight receive 64e pleasure when it is restored to the same form as before. But the most vehement and clear sensations influence it with pain, so far as it suffers any thing, strikes against, or comes into contact with, any object. For no violence subsists in the separation or concretion of the sight. But such bodies as are composed from larger parts, and which scarcely yield to impulsion, when they transfer the induced motions to the whole body, contain in themselves pleasures and pains; when varied, indeed, 65a pains, but, when restored to their pristine situation, pleasures. Again, whatever bodies in a small degree receive departures and evacuations of themselves, accompanied at the same time with abundant repletions,—since such bodies have no sense of evacuation, but are sensible of repletion, they do not affect the mortal part of the soul with any pain. but, on the contrary, influence it with the greatest delight. And the 65b truth of this is manifest from the sensation of sweet odours. But such bodies as suffer an abundant variation, and are scarce able to be restored in a small degree to their pristine situation, are totally affected in a manner contrary to those we have just described. And the truth of this is manifest in the burnings and sections of the body. And thus have we nearly discussed the common passions of the whole body, and the appellations assigned to the causes by which they are produced.
Let us now endeavour to explain those passions which take place in particular parts of our bodies, and relate from whence they arise, and by what causes they are induced. In the first place, let us if possible 65c complete what we formerly left unfinished concerning humours; since these are passions subsisting about the tongue. But these, as well as many other things, appear to be produced by certain separations and concretions; and, besides this, to employ smoothness and roughness 65d more than the rest. For certain small veins extend themselves from the tongue to the heart, and are the messengers of tastes. And when any thing falls upon these so as to penetrate the moist and delicate texture of the flesh, which through its terrestrial nature is moderately liquefied, it then contracts and dries the veins. Hence, if these penetrating substances are of a more rough nature, they produce a sharp taste; but, if less rough, a sour taste. But such things are purgative of these veins, and which wash away whatever is found adhering to the tongue, if they accomplish this in an immoderate degree, so as to liquefy something of the nature of the tongue, such as is the power of nitre; 65e all such as these are denominated bitter. But whatever is subordinate to this property of nitre, and purges in a more moderate degree, appears to us to be salt, without the roughness of bitterness, and to be more friendly to our nature. Again, such things as, communicating with the heat of the mouth, and being rendered smooth by it, heat also in their turn the mouth and which through their lightness are elevated towards the senses of the head, at the same time dividing whatever they meet 66a with in their ascent; all these, through powers of this kind, are denominated sharp. But sometimes these several particulars, becoming attenuated through rottenness, enter into the narrow veins, and compel the interior parts, as well the terrene as those containing the symmetry of air, to be mingled together by moving about each other; and when mingled cause some of the parts to glide around, some to enter into others, and when entered to render them hollow and extended; and this 66b in the place where a hollow moisture is extended about the air. This moisture too being at one time terrene and at another pure, a moist orbicular receptacle of air is produced from the hollow water. But that which is produced from pure water is on all sides diaphanous, and is called a bubble. On the contrary, that which owes its subsistence to a more earthly moisture, and which is at the same time agitated and elevated, is denominated fervid, and a fermentation, But the cause of all these passions receives the appellation of acute. And a passion contrary to all that has been asserted concerning these proceeds from a contrary 66c cause. But when the composition of the things entering into moist substances is naturally accommodated to the quality of the tongue, it polishes and anoints its asperities, and collects together or relaxes such parts as were either assembled or dissipated contrary to nature, and restores them to their proper and natural habit. Hence, all such substances are pleasant and friendly to every one, become the remedies of violent passions, and are denominated sweet. And thus much may suffice concerning particulars of this kind.
66d There are, however, no species about the power of the nostrils: for all odours are but half begotten. But it happens to no species to be commensurate with any odour. And our veins, with respect to particulars of this kind, are too narrow to admit the genera of earth and water, and too broad to receive those of fire and air; and hence no one ever perceives an odour of any one of these. But odours are always produced from the malefaction, corruption, liquefaction or evaporation 66e of the elements. For, water becoming changed into air, and air into water, odours are generated in the middle of these. And all odours are either smoke or mists. But, of these, that which passes from air into water is a mist; but that which is changed from water into air, smoke. And hence it comes to pass that all odours are more attenuated than water, and more dense than air. But the truth of this is sufficiently evident when any one, in consequence of a disagreeable smell, violently draws his breath inwards; for then no odour is washed off, but breath 67a alone follows unattended by smell. On this account, the varieties of these subsist without a name; as they are neither composed from many nor from simple species. But two of these alone receive an appellation, the pleasant and the disagreeable: the latter of which disturbs and violently assaults all that cavity which lies between the top of the head and the navel; but the former allures this part of the body, and by its amicable ingress preserves it in a condition accommodated to its nature. But we ought to consider the third sensitive part of our composition, hearing, in such a manner that we may explain through what causes the 67b passions with which it is conversant subsist. We ought, therefore, entirely to define voice a certain pulsation of the air, penetrating through the ears, brain, and blood, as far as to the soul: and we should call the motion arising from hence, which commences from the head and ends in the seat of the liver, hearing. When this motion is swift, a sharp sound is produced; but, when slow, a flat sound. And the former 67c of these is equal and smooth, but the latter rough. Many voices too produce a great sound, but a small sound is the result of a few. But it is necessary that we should speak about the symphonies of these in the subsequent part of this discourse. The fourth sensitive genus now remains for our discussion; which contains in itself an abundant variety, all which are denominated colours. But colour is a flame flowing from bodies, and possessing parts commensurate to the sight with respect to perception. But we have already considered the causes from which sight 67d is produced. It appears then that we may now speak of colours according to assimilative reasons as follows:
Of things which, proceeding from other parts, fall on the sight, are greater, others less, and others equal to the parts of the sight. Such as are equal, therefore, cannot be perceived; and these we denominate diaphanous. But, among such as are larger or smaller, some of these 67e separate, but others mingle the sight, similar to the operations of heat and cold about the flesh, or to things sour, acute and hot about the tongue. But things which affect the sight in this manner are called black and white; which are indeed the passions of those particulars we have just related, being their sisters, as it were, and the same with them in a different genus; but which, nevertheless, through these causes appear to be different. We should, therefore, speak of them as follows: That the colour which is segregative of the sight is white; but that which produces an effect contrary to this, black. But when a more acute motion, and of a different kind of fire, falls upon and separates the sight, as far as to the eyes, at the same time violently propelling and liquefying 68a the transitions of the eyes, then a collected substance of fire and water flows from thence, which we denominate a tear; but the motion itself is a fire meeting with the sight in an opposite direction. And, indeed, when a fire, leaping as it were from a certain coruscation, becomes mingled with another fire, penetrating and extinguished by moisture, from this mixture colours of all-various kinds are produced. in this case we call the passion a vibrating splendour, and that which produces it 68b fulgid and rutilating. But a kind of fire which subsists in the middle of these, arriving at the moisture of the eyes, and becoming mingled with it, is by no means splendid: but in consequence of the rays of fire being mingled through moisture, and producing a bloody colour, we denominate the mixture red. And when splendour is mingled with red and white, it generates a yellow colour. But to relate in what measure each of these is mingled with each, is not the business of one endued with intellect, even though he were well informed in this affair; since he would not be able to produce concerning these either a necessary or an assimilative reason. But red, when mingled with black and white, 68c produces a purple colour. And when to these, mingled and burnt together, more of black is added, a more obscure colour is produced. A ruddy colour is generated from the mixture of yellow and brown; but brown from the mixture of black and white. A pallid colour arises from the mingling of white and yellow. But that which is splendid conjoined with white, and falling upon abundance of black, gives completion to an azure colour. And azure mingled with white generates a grey colour. But from the temperament of a ruddy colour with black, green is 68d produced. All the rest will be nearly evident from these, to any one who, imitating the former mixtures, preserves assimilative reasons in his discourse. But if any one undertakes the investigation of these, for the sake of the things themselves, such a one must be ignorant of the difference between a divine and human nature: since a God is indeed sufficient for the purpose of mingling many things into one, and of again dissolving the one into many, as being at the same time both knowing and able: but there is no man at present who is able to accomplish either of these undertakings, nor will there ever be one in 68e any future circulation of time. But all these which thus naturally subsist from necessity, were assumed in the things which are generated by the artificer of that which is most beautiful and best, when he produced a self-sufficient and most perfect God; employing, indeed, causes which are subservient to these, but operating himself in the best manner in all generated natures. On this account it is requisite to distinguish two species of causes; the one necessary, but the other divine. And we 69a should inquire after the divine cause in all things, for the sake of obtaining a blessed life in as great a degree as our nature is capable of receiving it; but we should investigate the necessary cause for the sake of that which is divine. For we should consider, that without these two species of causes, the objects of our pursuit can neither be understood nor apprehended, nor in any other way become participated. But since to us at present, as to artificers, matter lies in subjection, the genera of causes serving as prepared materials from which the remaining discourse is to be woven, let us again return with brevity to our first discussions, and swiftly pass from thence to the place at which we are now arrived; 69b by this means endeavouring to establish an end and summit to our disputation which may harmonize with its beginning.
Indeed, as we asserted towards the commencement of our discourse, when all sensible natures were in a disordered state of subsistence, Divinity rendered each commensurate with all and all with one another, and connected them as much as possible with the bands of analogy and symmetry. For then nothing participated of order except by accident; nor could any thing with propriety he distinguished by the appellation which it receives at present, such for instance as fire, water, 69c and the rest of this kind. But the demiurgus in the first place adorned all these, afterwards established the world from their conjunction, and rendered it one animal, containing in itself all mortal and immortal animals. And of divine natures, indeed, he himself became the author; but he delivered to his offspring the junior Gods the fabrication of mortal natures. Hence, these imitating their father’s power, and receiving the immortal principle of the soul, fashioned posterior to this the mortal body, assigned the whole body as a vehicle to the soul, and 69d fabricated in it another mortal species of soul, possessing dire and necessary passions through its union with the body. The first indeed of these passions is pleasure, which is the greatest allurement to evil; but the next is pain, which is the exile of good. After these follow boldness and fear, those mad advisers; anger, hard to be appeased; hope, which is easily deceived; together with irrational sense, and love, the general invader of all things. In consequence, therefore, of mingling these together, the junior Gods necessarily composed the mortal race. And religiously fearing lest the divine nature should he defiled through this 69e rout of molestations more than extreme necessity required, they lodged the moral part, separate from the divine, in a different receptacle of the body; fabricating the head and breast, and placing the neck between as an isthmus and boundary, that the two extremes might be separate from each other.
In the breast, therefore, and that which is called the thorax, they seated the moral genus of the soul. And as one part of it is naturally better, but another naturally worse, they fabricated the cavity of the thorax; distributing this receptacle in the woman different from that of the man, 70a and placing in the middle of these the midriff or diaphragm. That part of the soul, therefore, which participates of fortitude and anger, and is fond of contention, they seated nearer the head, between the midriff and the neck; that becoming obedient to reason, and uniting with it in amicable conjunction, it might together with reason forcibly repress the race of desires, whenever they should be found unwilling to obey the mandates of reason, issuing her orders from her lofty place of abode. 70b But they established the heart, which is both the fountain of the veins, and of the blood, which is vehemently impelled through all the members of the body in a CIRCULAR PROGRESSION, in an habitation corresponding to that of a satellite; that when the irascible part becomes inflamed, reason at the same time announcing that some unjust action has taken place externally, or has been performed by some one of the inward desires, then every thing sensitive in the body may swiftly through all the narrow pores perceive the threatenings and exhortations, may he in every respect obedient, and may thus permit that which is the best in all these to maintain the sovereign command.
70c But as the Gods previously knew that the palpitation of the
heart in the expectation of dreadful events, and the effervescence of anger, and
every kind of wrathful inflation, would be produced by fire, they implanted in
the body the idea of the lungs, artificially producing them as a guardian to the
heart. And, in the first place, they rendered them soft and bloodless, and
afterwards internally perforated with hollow pipes like a sponge; that through
their receiving spirit and imbibing moisture, they might become themselves
refrigerated, and might afford 70d respiration and remission to the heart in its
excessive heat. Hence they deduced the arteries as so many canals through the
substance of the lungs; and placed the lungs like a soft thicket round the
heart, that when anger rages in it with too much vehemence it may leap into
submission, and becoming refrigerated may be subject to less endurance, and may
be able together with anger to yield with greater facility to the authority of
reason. But they seated that part of the soul which is desiderative of meats and
drinks, and such other things as it requires through the nature
70e of body, between
the praecordia and the boundary about the navel; fabricating all this place as a
manger subservient to the nutriment of the body, and binding in it this part of
the soul as a rustic and savage animal. But it is necessary that this part
should nourish its conjoined body, if the mortal race has a necessary existence
in the nature of things. That this part, therefore, might be always fed at the manger,
and might 71a dwell remote from the deliberative
part, molesting it in the smallest degree with its tumults and clamours, and
permitting it, as that which is most excellent in our composition, to consult in
quiet for the common utility of the whole animal; on this account the Gods
assigned it such a subordinate situation.
However, as the Divinity perceived that this part would not be obedient to reason, but that it would naturally reject its authority in consequence of every sensible impression, and would he animastically hurried away by images and phantasms both by day and night—considering this, he constituted the form of the liver, and placed it in the 71b habitation of this desiderative part; composing it dense and smooth, splendid and sweet, and at the same time mingled with bitterness; that the power of cogitations, descending from intellect into the liver as into a mirror receiving various resemblances and exhibiting images to the view, might at one time terrify this irrational nature by employing a kindred part of bitterness and introducing dreadful threats, so that the whole liver being gradually mingled might represent bilious colours, and becoming contracted might he rendered throughout wrinkled and rough; 71c and that, besides this, it might influence its lobe, ventricle, and gates, in such a manner, that by distorting and twisting some of these from their proper disposition, and obstructing and shutting in others, it might be the cause of damages and pains. And again, that at another time a certain inspiration of gentleness from the dianoetic power, by describing contrary phantasms and affording rest to bitterness, through its being unwilling either to excite or apply itself to a nature contrary to its own; and besides this, by employing the innate sweetness of the liver, and rendering all its parts properly disposed, smooth, and free, might cause 71d that part of the soul which resides about the liver to become peaceful and happy, so that it might even refrain from excess in the night, and employ prophetic energies in sleep: since it does not participate of reason and prudence. For those who composed us, calling to mind the mandate of their father, that they should render the mortal race as far as possible the best, so constituted the depraved part of our nature that it might 71e become connected with truth; establishing in this part a prophetic knowledge of future events. But that Divinity assigned divination to human madness may be sufficiently inferred from hence; that no one while endued with intellect becomes connected with a divine and true prophecy; but this alone takes place either when the power of prudence is fettered by sleep, or suffers some mutation through disease, or a certain enthusiastic energy: it being in this case the employment of 72a prudence to understand what was asserted either sleeping or waking by a prophetic and enthusiastic nature; and so to distinguish all the phantastic appearances as to be able to explain what and to whom anything of future, past, or present good is portended. But it is by no means the office of that which abides and is still about to abide in this enthusiastic energy, to judge of itself either concerning the appearances or vociferations. Hence it was well said by the ancients, that to transact and know his own concerns and himself, is alone the province of a prudent man. And on this account the law orders that the race of 72b prophets should preside as judges over divine predictions; who are indeed called by some diviners—but this in consequence of being ignorant that such men are interpreters of pragmatical visions and predictions, and on this account should not be called diviners, but rather prophets of divinations. The nature, therefore, of the liver was produced on this account, and seated in the place we have mentioned, viz. for the sake of prediction. And besides this, while each of such like parts is living, it possesses clearer indications; but when deprived of life it then becomes blind, and the divination is rendered too obscure to 72c signify any thing sufficiently clear. But an intestine which subsists for the sake of the liver, is placed near it on the left hand, that it may always render the liver splendid and pure, and prepared like a mirror for the apt reception of resemblant forms. On this account, when certain impurities are produced about the liver through bodily disease, then the spleen, purifying these by its rarity, receives them into itself from its 72d being of a hollow and bloodless contexture. Hence, being filled with purgations, it increases in bulk, and becomes inflated with corruption. And again, when the body is purified, then becoming depressed it subsides into the same condition as before. And thus we have spoken concerning both the mortal and divine part of the soul, and have related where they are situated, in conjunction with what natures, and why they are separated from each other. That all this indeed is unfolded according to indisputable truth, can only be asserted when confirmed by the vocal attestation of a God: but that it is spoken according to assimilative reasons, we should not hesitate to evince both now and hereafter by a more diligent discussion of what remains.
72e It is proper to investigate in a similar manner the subsequent part of our disputation; and this is no other than to relate how the other members of the body were produced. It is becoming, therefore, in the most eminent degree that they should be composed as follows: Those artificers then of our race well knew that we should he intemperate in the assumption of meats and drinks, and that we should often through gluttony use more than was moderate and necessary. Hence, lest sudden destruction should take place through disease, and the mortal race thus 73a becoming imperfect should presently cease to exist; the Gods previously perceiving this consequence, fabricated in the lower parts a hollow receptacle for the purpose of receiving a superabundance of solid and liquid aliment; and, besides this, invested it with the spiral folds of the intestines, lest, the assumed nutriment swiftly passing away, the body should as swiftly require an accession of new aliment; and, by producing an insatiable appetite through gluttony, should render our whole race void of philosophy and the muses, and unobedient to the most divine 73b part of our composition. But the nature of the bones and flesh, and other things of this kind, was constituted as follows: In the first place, the generation of the marrow serves as a principle to all these. For the bonds of that life which the soul leads through its conjunction with the body, being woven together in the marrow, become the stable roots of the mortal race. But the marrow itself is generated from other particulars. For, among the triangles, such as are first, being unbent and smooth, were particularly accommodated to the generation of fire and 73c water, air and earth; and the Divinity separating each of these apart from their genera, and mingling them commensurate with each other, composing by this means an all-various mixture of seeds for the mortal race, produced from these the nature of the marrow. But afterwards disseminating in the marrow, he bound in it the genera of souls. Besides, in this first distribution, he immediately separated as many figures and of such kinds as it was requisite the marrow should possess. And he fashioned indeed that part of the marrow in which as in a cultivated field the divine seed was to be sown, every way globular, and 73d called it [Greek], or the brain; because in every animal, when it has acquired the perfection of its form, the receptacle of this substance is denominated the head. But he distinguished with round and at the same time oblong figures, that receptacle of the body which was destined to contain the remaining and mortal part of the soul; and was willing that the whole should receive the appellation of marrow. And besides this, hurling from these as anchors the bonds of all the soul, he fabricated the whole of our body about the substance of the marrow, and invested it on all sides with a covering of bones.
73e But he thus composed the nature of the bones. In the first place, bruising together pure and smooth earth, he mingled and moistened it with marrow; after this he placed it in fire, then merged it in water, then again seated it in fire, and after this dipped it in water. And thus, by often transferring it into each, he rendered it incapable of being liquefied by both. Employing therefore this nature of bone, he fashioned like one working with a wheel a bony sphere, and placed it 74a round the brain; leaving a narrow passage in the sphere itself. And besides this, forming certain vertebrae from bone about the marrow of the neck and back, he extended them like hinges, commencing from the head and proceeding through the whole cavity of the body. And thus he preserved all the seed, by fortifying it round about with a stony vestment. He likewise added joints, for the purpose of motion and inflection, employing the nature of that which is distinguished by difference in their fabrication, as this is endued with a certain middle 74b capacity. But, as he thought that the habit of the bony nature would become more dry and inflexible than it ought to be, and that, when it became heated and again cooled, it would in consequence of ulceration swiftly corrupt the seed which it contained, on this account he fashioned the genus of nerves and flesh; that the nerves, by binding all the other members, and becoming stretched and remitted about those hinges the vertebrae, might render the body apt to become inflected and extended as occasion required: but that the flesh might serve as a covering from the heat and a protection from the cold; and, besides this, might defend 74c it from falls, in the same manner as external supports, gently and easily yielding to the motions of the body. He likewise placed a hot moisture in the nature of the flesh, that, becoming in summer externally dewy and moist, it might afford a kindred refrigeration to the whole body; and that again in winter, through its own proper fire, it might moderately repel the externally introduced and surrounding cold. Then therefore, the plastic artificer of our bodies had perceived all this through a dianoetic energy, having mingled and harmonized together 74d water, fire, and earth, and added to the mixture a sharp and salt ferment, he gradually composed soft and succulent flesh.
But he mingled the nature of the nerves from bone and unfermented flesh, composing one middle substance from the power of both, and tingeing it with a yellow colour. And on this account it comes to pass that the power of the nerves is more intense and viscous than that of the flesh, but more soft and moist than that of the bones. Hence, the Divinity bound the bones and marrow to each other with the nerves, and afterwards invested them all supernally with the flesh, as with a 74e dark concealing shade. Such of the bones, therefore, as were the most animated he covered with the least flesh; but such as were the least animated he invested with flesh the most abundant and dense. And, besides this, he added but a small quantity of flesh to the joints of the bones, except where reason evinces the necessity of the contrary: and this lest they should be a hindrance to the inflections, and retard the motions of the body; and again, lest in consequence of their being many and dense, and vehemently compressed in one another, they should cause through their solidity a privation of sense, a difficulty of recollection, and a remission of the dianoetic energy. On this account 75a he invested with abundance of flesh the bones of the groin, legs, loins, the upper part of the arms, and that part which extends from the elbow to the wrist, and such other parts of our bodies as are without articulation, together with such inward bones as through the paucity of soul in the marrow are destitute of a prudential energy. But he covered with a less quantity of flesh such bones as are endued with prudence: unless, perhaps, the fleshy substance of the tongue, which was produced for the sake of sensation, is to be excepted. In other parts, the case is 75b such as we have described. For a nature which is generated and nourished from necessity can by no means at one and the same time receive a dense bone and abundant flesh, united with acuteness of sensation. But this would be most eminently the case with the composition of the head, if all these were willing to coalesce in amicable conjunction: and the human race, possessing a fleshy, nervous, and robust head, would enjoy a life twice as long, or still more abundantly extended, healthy and unmolested, than that which we at present possess.
75c Again, in consequence of those artificers of our generation considering whether they should fabricate our race possessing a life more lasting indeed but of a worse condition, or of a shorter extent but of a more excellent condition, it appeared to them that a shorter but more excellent life was by all means to be preferred to one more lasting but of a subordinate condition. Hence they covered the head with a thin bone, but did not invest it with flesh and nerves, because it was destitute of inflections. On all these accounts, therefore, the head was added to the body as the most sensitive and prudent, but at the same time by far 75d the most imbecile part of all the man. But through these causes, and in this manner, the Divinity placing the nerves about the extreme part of the head, conglutinated them in a circle about the neck, (after a certain similitude), and bound with them those lofty cheekbones situated under the countenance; but he disseminated the rest about all the members, connecting joint with joint. Besides, those adorners of our race ornamented us with the power of the mouth, teeth, tongue, and lips, and this for the sake of things which are at the same time both necessary 75e and the best; producing ingression for the sake of necessaries, but egression for the sake of such as are at best every thing, indeed, which being introduced affords nutriment to the body, is necessary; but the stream of words flowing forth externally, and becoming subservient to prudence, is the most beautiful and best of all effluxions. Besides, it was not possible that the head could remain without any other covering than that of a naked bone, through the extremities of heat and cold in the different seasons; nor, again, could it become the instrument of knowledge when invested with darkness, dulled, and without sensation, through the perturbation of flesh. Hence, part of a fleshy nature, not 76a entirely dried, and surpassing the residue, was separated from the rest; and which is now denominated a membrane. This membrane passing into union with itself, and blossoming about the moisture of the brain, circularly invests the head. But the moisture flowing under the sutures of the head irrigates this membrane, and, causing it to close together at the crown, connects it, as it were, in a knot. But an all-various species of sutures is generated through the power of the circulations and the nutriment; the variety becoming greater when these oppose each other with greater violence, but less when they are in a state of less opposition. All this membrane the divine artificer of our bodies circularly pierced with fire. And hence, becoming as it were wounded, 76b and the moisture externally flowing through it, whatever is moist, hot, and pure, passes away; but whatever is mingled from the same natures as the membrane itself, this, in consequence of receiving an external production, becomes extended into length, and possesses a tenuity equal to the punctuation of the membrane. But this substance, from the slowness of its motion, being continually thrust back by the externally surrounding spirit, again revolves itself under the membrane, and there 76c fixes the roots of its progression. Hence, from these passions the race of hairs springs up in the membrane of the head, being naturally allied to, and becoming, as it were, the reins of this membrane, at the same time that they are more hard and dense through the compression of cold. For every hair, when it proceeds beyond the membrane, becomes hardened through cold. After this manner, then, the artificer planted our head with hairs, employing for this purpose the causes which we have mentioned.
76d But at the same time he understood by a dianoetic energy, that instead of flesh a light covering was necessary for the security of the brain; which might sufficiently shade and protect it like a garment from the extremities of heat and cold, but by no means under the acuteness of sensation. But that comprehension of nerve, skin, and bone about the fingers, being a mixture of three substances, and her being of a drier nature, produced one common hard membrane from the whole. These indeed were the ministrant causes of its fabrication; but the most principal cause consists in that cogitation which produced this membrane for the sake of future advantage. For those artificers of our 76e nature well knew that at some time or other women and other animals would be generated from men; and that nails would be of the greatest advantage in many respects to the bestial tribes. Hence they impressed in men the generation of nails, at the very period of their production. But from this reason, and through these causes, they planted the skin, hairs, and nails in the members situated at the extremities of the body. 77a However, as all the parts and members of a mortal animal were generated in alliance with each other, and necessarily possessed their life in the union of fire and spirit, lest the animal becoming resolved and exhausted by these should swiftly decay, the Gods devised the following remedy: For mingling a nature allied to the human with other forms and senses, they planted, as it were, another animal; such as those trees, plants, and seeds, which, being now brought to perfection through the exercise of agriculture, are friendly to our nature; though prior to 77b this they were of a rustic kind, being more ancient than such as are mild. For whatever participates of life we may justly and with the greatest rectitude denominate an animal. But this which we are now speaking of participates the third species of soul, which we place between the praecordia and the navel: and in which there is neither any thing of opinion, reason, or intellect; but to which a pleasant and painful sense, together with desires, belongs. For it continually suffers all things. But when it is converted in itself, about itself, and, rejecting external, employs its own proper motion, it is not allotted by its generation a nature capable of considering its own concerns by any thing 77c like a reasoning energy. On this account it lives, and is not different from an animal; but, becoming stably rooted, abides in a fixed position, through its being deprived of a motion originating from itself.
But when those superior artificers of our composition had implanted all these genera for the purpose of supplying nutriment to our nature, they deduced various channels in our body as in a garden, that it might he irrigated as it were by the accession of flowing moisture. And, in the first place, they cut two occult channels under the concretion of the skin 77d and flesh, viz. two veins in the back, according to the double figure of the body on the right hand and the left. These they placed with the spine of the back, so as to receive the prolific marrow in the middle, that it might thus flourish in the most eminent degree; and, by copiously flowing from hence to other parts, might afford an equable irrigation. But after this, cutting the veins about the head, and weaving 77e them with each other in an opposite direction, they separated them; inclining some from the right hand to the left hand parts of the body, and some from the left to the right, that the head, together with the skin, might be bound to the body, as it is not circularly divided with nerves about its summit; and besides this, that the passion of the senses might from each of these parts he deduced on all sides through the whole of the body. In this manner, then, they deduced an aqueduct from hence; the truth of which we shall easily perceive by assenting to 78a the following position. That all such things as are composed from lesser parts are able to contain such as are greater; but such as consist from greater cannot invest those composed from lesser parts. But fire, among all the genera of things, is constituted from the smallest parts. Hence, it penetrates through water, earth, and air, and the composites from these; and this in such a manner, that nothing can restrain its pervading 78b power. The same must be understood of that ventricle our belly; that it is able to retain the intromitted meat and drink, but cannot stay spirit and fire, because these consist of smaller parts than those from which the belly is composed. These, therefore, the Divinity employed for the purpose of producing an irrigation from the belly into the veins; weaving from fire and air a certain flexible substance like a bow-net, and which possesses a twofold gibbosity at the entrance. One of these he again wove together, divided into two parts; and circularly extended these parts from the curvatures like ropes through the whole body, as far 78c as to the extremities of the net. All the interior parts therefore of the net-work he composed from fire; but the gibbositics and the receptacle itself from air. And lastly, receiving these, he disposed them in the animal new formed as follows: In the first place, one of the gibbous parts he assigned to the mouth; but, as the gibbosity of this part is twofold, he caused one part to pass through the arteries into the lungs, but the other along with the arteries into the belly. But having divided the other gibbous part according to each of its parts, he caused it to pass in common to the channels of the nose, so that, when the one part does 78d not reach the mouth, all its streams may be filled from this. But he placed the other cavity of this gibbous substance about the hollow parts of the body; and caused the whole of this at one time to flow together gently into the gibbous parts, as they were of an aurial texture, and at another time to flow back again through the convex receptacles. But he so disposed the net, as being composed from a thin body, that it might inwardly penetrate and again emerge through this substance. Besides this, he ordered that the interior rays of fire should follow in continued succession, the air at the same time passing into each of the parts; and 78e that this should never cease to take place as long as the mortal animal continued to subsist. But, in assigning an appellation to a motion of this kind, we denominate it expiration and respiration. But all this operation and the whole of this passion in our nature take place in the body by a certain irrigation and refrigeration conducive to our nutriment and life.
For, when the breath passes inwardly and outwardly, an interior fire attends it in its course; and being diffused through the belly, when it 79a meets with solid and liquid aliments, it reduces them to a state of fluidity; and, distributing them into the smallest parts, educes them as from a fountain through the avenues of its progression: pouring these small particles into the channels of the veins, and deducing rivers through the body as through a valley of veins.
79b But let us again consider the passion of respiration, and investigate through what causes it was generated, such as we perceive it at present. We should consider it, therefore, as follows: As there is no such thing as a vacuum into which any thing in motion can enter, and as breath passes from us externally, it is evident to every one that it cannot proceed into a void space, but must thrust that which is nearest to it from its proper seat; that again the repulsed nature must always expel its neighbour; and that from a necessity of this kind every thing which is impelled into that seat from which the emitted breath is excluded, must, 79c when it has entered into and filled up this space, attend on the breath in its progression. And all this must take place like the revolution of a wheel, through the impossibility of a vacuum. Hence, when the breast and the lungs externally dismiss the breath, they are again replenished through the air which surrounds the body entering into and riding round the avenues of the flesh. But the air being again externally dismissed, and flowing round the body, impels the respiration inward, through the passages of the mouth and nostrils.
But we should establish the following as the cause from which the origin of these was derived. Every animal belonging to the universe possesses a heat in the veins and the blood, like a certain fountain of 79d fire; and this heat we compared to a bow-net, extended through the middle of the body, and wholly from fire; all such things, as are external being composed from air. But it must be confessed that heat naturally proceeds externally into a region to which it is allied. But as there are two progressions, one according to the body externally, but the other again according to the mouth and nostrils, hence, when the breath 79e is impelled inward, it again thrusts back that by which it was impelled. And that which is drawn back, meeting with fire, becomes heated; while that which is exhaled becomes refrigerated. In consequence, therefore, of the heat being changed, and such things as subsist according to the other transition becoming more hot, and that again which is more fervid verging to its own nature, hence, one thing strikes against and repels another in its course, and as they always suffer and mutually influence each other in the same manner, leaping this way and that in a circular progression, they give birth to the expiration and respiration of the breath. But in this manner also we should investigate the causes of those passions which arise from medical cupping-glasses, from drinking, 80a from things violently hurled, whether upwards or on the ground together with such sounds as appear swift and slow, sharp and flat, and which are at one time borne along unharrnoniously, through the dissimilitude of the motion which they cause within us, and at another time attended with harmony, through the similitude of motion which they produce. For, the motions of such sounds as are prior and swifter erasing, and proceeding to a nature similar to their own, are comprehended by such as are slower, which now succeed to the swifter, 80b and set them again in motion. But during their comprehension of these they do not disturb them by introducing another motion, but lead on the beginning of the slower lation in conformity to that of the swifter. And these, adapting to themselves a similitude of the ceasing motion, mingle together one passion from the union of sharp and flat. From whence they afford pleasure to the unwise, but joy to the wise, through the imitation of divine harmony subsisting in mortal motions. And, 80c indeed, with respect to all effluxions of water, the falling of thunder, and the wonderful circumstances observed in the attraction of amber, and of the herculean stone; in all these, nothing in reality of an attraction takes place: but, as a vacuum cannot any where be found, and these particulars mutually impel each other, hence, from the individuals when separated and mingled together tending to their proper seats, and from these passions being interwoven with each other, such admirable effects 80d present themselves to the view of the accurate investigator. And indeed respiration (from whence our discourse originated) is generated from these causes, and after this manner, as we asserted above. For fire, dividing the aliment and becoming elevated internally, attending at the same time the breath in its ascent, fills the veins from the belly by this joint elevation; and this in consequence it drawing upwards from thence the dissected parts: so that by this means, through the whole body of every animal, the streams of nutriment are abundantly diffused. But the parts which are recently dissected and separated from their kindred natures, some of which are fruits and others grass, and which were 80e produced by Divinity for the nourishment our bodies, possess all-various colours through their mixture with each other: but for the most part a red colour predominates in them, whose nature is fabricated from a section of fire, and an abstersion in a moist substance. And hence, the colour of that which flows about the body is such as appears to the sight, and which we denominate blood; being the pasture of the 81a flesh and of the whole body; from whence an irrigation becoming every where diffused, it copiously replenishes all the exhausted parts.
But the manner of impletion and evacuation is produced in the same way as in the universe the lation of every thing takes place, viz. from that cause through which every kindred nature tends to itself. For the natures by which we are externally invested perpetually liquefy and distribute our bodies, dismissing every species to its kindred form. But the sanguineous parts, being distributed and comprehended within us, 81b as is the case with every animal constituted under the heavens, are compelled to imitate the local motion of the universe. Each, therefore, of the divided parts within us, being borne along to its kindred nature, replenishes again that which is void. But when the effiuxions surpass the accessions, a corruption of the whole animal ensues; and when the contrary takes place it receives an increase. The recent composition, therefore, of every animal possessing new triangles, like ships formed from timbers unimpaired by age, causes a strong enclosure of them within each other: but the whole of its delicate bulk unites in 81c amicable conjunction, as being generated from most recent marrow, and nourished in milk. These triangles, therefore, from which the liquid and solid aliments are composed. approaching externally, and being received into the animal, as they are more ancient and imbecile than its own proper triangles, are vanquished and cut in pieces by the triangles: and the animal is rendered of a large size, through its being nourished from a multitude of similar parts. But when it relaxes the root of its triangles, in consequence of becoming wearied and tamed, through many contests with many particulars in a long course of time; then it is no 81d longer able to reduce by section the received aliment into a similitude of itself, but its own parts become easily dissipated by the natures which are external and produced. Hence the whole animal, becoming by this means vanquished, decays: and the passion itself is denominated old age. But the end of its existence then arrives, when the jointly harmonized bonds of the triangles about the marrow no longer possess a detaining power, but becoming separated through the weariness of labour, desert the bonds of the soul. The soul, however, in this case being concealed in a state according to nature, flies away with pleasure and delight. For 81e every thing contrary to nature is painful; but that, which happens naturally is pleasant. Hence, the death which is produced through wounds and disease is painful and violent; but that which is caused from old age, proceeding to an end according to nature, is of all deaths the most free from labour, and is rather accompanied with pleasure than pain.
82a But it must be obvious to every one from whence diseases are produced. For, since there are four genera from which the body is composed, viz. earth, fire, water, and air, the unnatural abundance and defect of these, and a translation from their own proper to a foreign seat, in consequence of which each of these does not receive that which is accommodated to its nature, together with all such circumstances as 82b these, produce contentions and disease. For, each of these subsisting and being transferred in a manner contrary to nature, such things as were formerly heated become cold, such as were once dry become moist, such as were light heavy, and every thing receives possible mutations. For we assert that when the same thing approaches to, and departs from, the same, in the same manner, and according to analogy, then alone it permits that which is the same to abide healthy and safe. But that which inordinately wanders, either in acceding or departing, produces all-various mutations, diseases, and infinite corruptions. Likewise a 82c second apprehension of diseases may be obtained by any one who is so disposed, from the second compositions of things constituted according to nature. For, since the concretion of marrow, bone, flesh, and nerve, is derived from these, as likewise the blood, though from a different mode of coalition, hence many events happen in the same manner as those we have mentioned above; but the greatest and most severe diseases subsist as follows: When the generation of these second compositions takes place inversely, then they become subject to corruption. For the flesh and nerves are naturally generated from blood: the nerves indeed from fibres, through the alliance subsisting between 82d these; but the flesh from the coalition of that which when separated from the fibres passes into a state of concretion. But that substance again which arises from nerves and flesh, being and fat, increases at the same time by nutrition the flesh, which for the most part subsists about the nature of the bones; and likewise the bone itself, with which the marrow is surrounded. And again, that which trickles through the density of the bones, being the most pure kind of the triangles, and the most smooth and unctuous, while it drops and distils 82e from the bones, irrigates the marrow. And hence, when each particular subsists in this manner, a healthy condition of body is produced; but a diseased condition when the contrary is the case. For, when the flesh becoming liquefied again transmits the consumption into the veins, then the blood, together with spirit, becoming abundant and all-various in the veins, diversified with colours and density, and infected with acid and salt qualities, generates all-various bile, corruption, and phlegm. And all these, being again thus generated and corrupted, in the first place destroy 83a the blood itself; and this, no longer affording nutriment to the body, is every where borne along through the veins, without observing a natural order in its circulations. But these indeed are unfriendly to each other, because they derive no mutual advantages from the properties with which each is endued. They likewise wear upon the natural habit of the body, and its perseverance in its proper state, by introducing dissolutions and liquefactions.
A most ancient portion of flesh, therefore, when it is liquefied and rendered difficult of digestion, grows black through ancient burning; but 83b through its being entirely macerated it becomes bitter, and adverse to all the other parts of the body which are not yet infected with corruption. And then indeed the black colour possesses sharpness instead of bitterness; that which was bitter becoming more attenuated: and the bitterness, being again tinged with blood, possesses a redder colour; but, from the black which is mingled with this, becomes of a bilious nature. But, besides this, a yellow colour is mingled with bitterness, when the 83c new flesh liquefies through the fire subsisting about flame. And, indeed, either some physician will assign to all these the common appellation of bile, or some one who is able to consider things many and dissimilar, and to behold one genus in many particulars deserving one denomination. But such other things as are called species of bile receive an appellation peculiar to each, according to colour. But corruption, which is the defluxion or whey of the blood, is gentle and mild: but that which is the sediment of black and sharp bile is of a ferocious and rustic nature, when it is mingled through heat with a saline power. And a substance of this kind is denominated acid phlegm. But a portion of recent and delicate flesh is often liquefied together with the air, and 83d is afterwards inflated and comprehended by moisture: and from this passion bubbles are produced, which taken separately are invisible account of their smallness, but which, when collected into a large bulk, become conspicuous, and possess a white colour on account of the generation of froth. And we denominate all this liquefaction of delicate flesh, and which is woven together with spirit, white phlegm. But we 83e call the sediment of recent phlegm tears and sweat; together with every thing of that kind into which the body is every day resolved. And all these, indeed, become the instruments of disease, when the blood does not naturally abound from liquid and solid aliment, but increases from 84a contraries in such a manner as to violate the laws of nature. When, therefore, any part of the flesh is cut off, but at the same time the foundation of it remains, the calamity possesses hut half its power; or it is capable of being easily recovered. But when that which binds the flesh to the bones becomes diseased, and the blood flowing from it and the nerves no longer nourishes the bones and binds the flesh, but, instead of being fat, smooth, and glutinous, becomes rough and salt through bad diet; then, in consequence of suffering all this, and being separated from the bones, it is refrigerated under the flesh and nerves. 84b For the flesh, falling from its roots, leaves the nerves hare, and drenched in a salt humour; and hence, gliding again into the circulation of the blood, it increases the number of the diseases we have already described. And these passions, indeed, which subsist about the body, are of a grievous nature: but those which precede these are still more afflictive and troublesome. But this takes place when the bone through the density of the flesh does not admit sufficient respiration, but, being 84c heated through filthiness, becomes rotten, receives no nutriment, but falls upon the flesh, which is on the contrary refrigerated; and the flesh again falls on the blood, so that by this means diseases more severe than the former are produced. But the extremity of all maladies then happens, when the nature of the marrow becomes diseased through some defect or excess: for then it produces the most vehement and fatal diseases; as the whole nature of the body is in this case necessarily dissipated and dissolved.
But it is requisite after this to understand that the third species of diseases receives a tripartite division. For one of the divisions is 84d produced by spirit, the other by phlegm, and the other by bile. For when the lungs, those distributive guardians of the breath, being obstructed by defluxions, cannot afford a free passage to the breath; then, as there is no emission of the breath in one part, and more is received into another part than is requisite, the parts without refrigeration become rotten; but that which is received in too great abundance passing through the veins, distorts them and liquefies the diaphragm situated in the middle of the body: and thus ten thousand grievous diseases arise from hence, together with an abundance of sweat. 84e But often, when the flesh becomes separated within the body, breath is produced; and this being incapable of departing externally, causes the same torments as the breath when entering from without. It produces, however, the greatest pains, when surrounding the nerves and neighbouring veins it inflates them, and stretches and distorts the ligaments and nerves continued from the back. And these diseases, from the stretching and inflating passion, are denominated tensions and contortions from behind; and of which it is difficult to find a cure. For, fevers taking place dissolve these diseases in a most eminent degree. But 85a the white phlegm possessing a difficulty of respiring externally, through the spirit of the bubbles, variegates the body indeed in a milder nature, yet sprinkles it with white spots, and generates other diseases of a similar 85b kind. But when this white phlegm is mingled with black bile, and becomes dissipated about the circulations of the head, which are of a most divine nature, then it disturbs these circulations; and if this happens in sleep, the perturbation is less violent; but if to those who are awake, it cannot without difficulty be expelled. And as this is a disease of a sacred nature, it is most justly denominated a sacred disease. A sharp and salt phlegm is the fountain of all such diseases as are produced by a defluxion of humours: and because the places into which this phlegm flows an omniform variety, it generates all-various diseases. But whatever parts of the body are said to be inflated are thus 85c affected from the inflammation of bile: which, when it expires, produces externally various tumours from its fervid nature; but, when inwardly restrained, generates many inflammatory diseases. It is, however, then greatest, when, being mingled with pure blood, it removes the fibres from their natural order, which are scattered into the blood for this purpose, that it may possess tenuity and density in a commensurate degree; and that it may neither through heat (as it is of a moist nature) flow from the thin body, nor, when becoming more dense, and of consequence more unadapted to motion, may scarcely be able to flow 85d back again through the veins. The fibres, therefore, are very serviceable on this occasion, which if any one should collect together in the blood when dead, and in a state of frigidity, all the remaining blood would become diffused; and when poured forth they would he swiftly coagulated, together with the cold by which they are surrounded. But as the fibres possess this power in the blood, and the bile naturally becomes ancient blood, and is again liquefied from flesh into this, such things as are hot and moist falling gradually the first of all, hence it becomes collected together through the power of the fibres, When the 85e bile is coagulated and violently extinguished, it causes a tempest and tremor within. But when it flows more abundantly, vanquishing the fibres by its own proper heat, and becoming fervid in an inordinate degree, it then preserves the body: and if it retains its conquering power to the end, it penetrates into the marrow; and burning the bonds of the soul, as if they were the cables of a ship, dissolves her union, and dismisses her from thence entirely free. But when it flows with less abundance, and the body becoming liquefied its passage, then finding itself vanquished, it either falls through the whole body, or, being compelled through the veins into the upper or lower belly, like 86a one flying from a seditious city, it escapes from the body and introduced defluxions, dysenteries, or gripings of the intestines, and all diseases of a similar kind. When the body, therefore, is eminently diseased through excess of fire, it then labours under continued burnings and fever; but when through excess of air, under quotidian fevers; under tertian through water, because water is more sluggish than fire and air; under quartan, through excess of earth. For earth, being the most sluggish of all these, is purified in quadruple periods of time; and on this account introduces quartan fevers, which it is scarcely possible to disperse. And in this manner are the diseases of the body produced.
86b But the diseases of the soul, which subsist through the habit of the body, are as follow: We must admit that the disease of the soul is folly, or a privation of intellect. But there are two kinds of folly; the one madness, the other ignorance. Whatever passion, therefore, introduces either of these must he called a disease. And we should establish excessive pleasures and pains as the greatest diseases of the soul. For, when a man is too much elevated with joy or depressed with grief, while 86c he hastens immoderately either to retain the one or to fly from the other, he is not able either to perceive or hear any thing properly, but is agitated with fury, and is very little capable of exercising the reasoning power. But he who possesses a great quantity of fluid seed about the marrow, and who, like a tree laden with a superabundance of fruit, riots in the excess, such a one being influenced by many pains and pleasures in desires, and their attendant offspring will be agitated with fury for 86d the greatest part of his life through mighty pleasures and pains: and though the soul of such a one will be diseased and unwise, from the body with which it is connected, yet it will be falsely considered not as diseased, but as voluntarily had. But in reality venereal intemperance for the most part becomes a disease of the soul, through a habit of one kind, from the tenuity of the bones, in a body fluid and moist. And, indeed, it may be nearly asserted, that all intemperance of pleasures of whatever kind, and all disgraceful conduct, is not properly blamed as the consequence of voluntary guilt. For no one is voluntarily bad: but he 86e who is depraved becomes so through a certain ill habit of body, and an unskilful education. But these two circumstances are inimical to all, and productive of a certain ill. And again, the soul, when influenced by pain, suffers much depravity from this through the body. For, when sharp and salt phlegm, and likewise bitter and bilious humours, wandering through the body, are prevented from passing forth externally, but, revolving inwardly, mingle their exhalations with the circulation of the soul; in this case they produce all-various diseases of 87a the soul, in a greater and less degree, and less and more numerous. They are introduced, indeed, to three seats of the soul; and according to the diversity of the place, each generates all-various species of difficulty and sorrow, of boldness and timidity, and, still further, of oblivion and indocility. But, besides this, the vicious manners of cities, and discourses 87b both private and public, often contribute to increase this malady: nor are any disciplines taught in the early part of life, which might serve as remedies for such mighty ills. And thus all such as are vicious are so through two involuntary causes; the existence of which we should always rather ascribe to the planters than to the things planted, and to the educators rather than to the educated. We should, therefore, endeavour to the utmost of our ability, by education, studies, and disciplines, to fly from vice, and acquire its contrary, virtue. But these particulars, indeed, belong to another mode of discourse.
87c Again, therefore, with respect to the contrary of these, it is now proper to explain in a becoming manner by what culture, and from what causes, we may preserve both the body and dianoetic energies of the soul. For it is more just to discourse concerning good things than of such as are evil. But every thing good is beautiful; and that which is beautiful is not destitute of measure. An animal, therefore, which is about to he beautiful and good, must possess commensuration. But, perceiving certain small particulars of things commensurate, we syllogize concerning them; while at the same time we are ignorant of such as are 87d greatest and the chief. For, indeed, no symmetry and immoderation is of greater consequence with respect to health and disease, virtue and vice, than that of the soul towards the body. But we consider no circumstance of these; nor do we perceive that when a more imbecile and inferior form is the vehicle of a robust and every way mighty soul, and when, on the contrary, these two pass into a state of concretion, then the whole animal cannot subsist in a beautiful manner: for it is incommensurate through the want of the greatest symmetry. But the animal whose composition is contrary to this, affords a spectacle to him who is able to behold it, of all spectacles the most beautiful and lovely. 87e When the body, therefore, possesses legs immoderately large, or any other member surpassing its just proportion, and becomes through this incommensurate with itself, it is rendered at the same time base, in the endurance of labour suffers many molestations and many convulsions, and through an aggregation of accidents becomes the cause of innumerable maladies to itself. The same too must be understood concerning that composition of body and soul which we denominate an 88a animal. As, for instance, that when the soul in this composite is more robust than the body, and possesses is raging and transported, then the soul, agitating the whole of it, inwardly fills it with diseases; and, when she vehemently applies herself to certain disciplines, causes it to liquefy and waste away. Lastly, when the soul employs herself in teaching and literary contests, both in public and private, through a certain ambitious strife, then inflaming the body, she dissolves its constitution; and besides this, introducing distillations of humours, she deceives the most part of those who are called physicians, and induces them to consider these effects as proceeding from contrary causes.
88b But again, when a mighty body and above measure frigid is conjoined with a small and imbecile dianoetic part, since there are naturally twofold desires in man, one of aliment through the body, but the other of prudence through the most divine part of our nature; in this case, the motions of that which is more powerful prevail, arid increase that which is their own: but render the dianoetic part of the soul dull, indocile, and oblivious, and thus produce ignorance, which is the greatest of all diseases. But this one thing alone is the health and safety of both—neither to move the soul without the body, nor the body without the soul; that, being equally balanced in their mutual contentions, the health 88c of the whole composite may he preserved. Hence, he who vehemently applies himself to the mathematics, or to any other dianoetic exercise, should also employ the motion of the body, and be familiar with gymnastic. And again, he who is careful in forming his body aright should at the same time unite with this the motions of the soul, employing music and all philosophy; if he is to be rendered such a one as can be justly called beautiful, and at the same time truly good. In the 88d same manner, too, we ought to take care of the parts of the body, imitating the form of the whole. For when the body, through such things as are introduced from without, is inflamed and refrigerated, and is again rendered dry and moist by externals, and suffers every thing consequent to these affections; then, if any one in a quiet state gives up his body to motions, he will be vanquished by them and dissolved. But if any one imitates that nature which we called the nourisher of the universe, so as never to suffer the body to be in a state of rest, but perpetually moves and agitates it throughout, he will then assist the 88e internal and external motions according to nature; and, in consequence of a moderate agitation, will reduce into order and adorn the wandering passions and parts of the body, according to their alliance with each other. Such a one, indeed, as we said in our former discourse about the universe, will not, by placing foe against foe, suffer war and disease to be produced in the body; but, combining friend with friend, will thus render the body healthy and sound. But, of all motions, that is the best 89a in any nature which takes place in itself from itself: for this is particularly allied to the dianoetic motion of the universe. But that motion is of the worse kind which is produced by another. And that is the worst of all motions, when the body, being in a recumbent and quiet state, is moved by others according to parts. And hence, of all the purgations and concretions of the body, that is the best which subsists through gymnastic. The next to this is that which takes place through easy carriage, whether in a ship or any other convenient vehicle. But 89b the third species of motion is only to be used when vehemently necessary, and at no other time by any one endued with intellect: and this is that medical motion which is performed by pharmaceutical purgations. For diseases, unless they are extremely dangerous, are not to be irritated by medicines. For every composition of diseases is in a certain respect similar to the nature of animals. And indeed the association of the animal nature is allotted stated periods of life; both the 89c whole genus, and every individual, containing in itself a fatal term of living, separate from the passions which necessity produces. For the triangles, which from the very beginning possessed the power of each animal, are sufficiently able to cohere together for a certain time: but life beyond this period cannot be extended to any one. The same mode of composition likewise subsists about diseases; which if any one destroys by medicine before the fated time, he will only produce great diseases from small ones, and many from a few. On this account it is necessary to discipline all such maladies by proper diet, according as every one’s 89d leisure will permit; and to avoid irritating by medicines a most difficult disease. And thus much may suffice concerning the common animal and its corporeal part; and how these may be disciplined and governed in such a manner as to produce a life according to reason in the most eminent degree.
But that which is destined to govern, ought much more and by far the first to be furnished as much as possible with such materials as may render it capable of disciplinative sway, in a manner the most beautiful and the best. To discuss accurately indeed particulars of this kind would require a treatise solely confined to such a discussion: but if any one 89e slightly considers this affair in a manner consequent to what has been above delivered, such a one by thus proceeding will not unseasonably arrive at the end of his pursuit. We have often then previously asserted that there are three species of soul within us, triply distributed; and that each has its own proper motions. And we shall now, therefore, briefly affirm, that when any one of them is in a torpid state, and rests from its own proper motions, it necessarily becomes most imbecile; but that, when it is employed in convenient exercises, it becomes most vigorous 90a and robust. We should, therefore, be careful that the several species may preserve their motions, so as to he commensurate to each other.
With respect, however, to the most principal and excellent species of
the soul, we should conceive as follows: that Divinity assigned this to
each of us as a daemon; and that it resides in the very summit of the
body, elevating us from earth to an alliance with the heavens; as we are
not terrestrial plants, but blossoms of heaven. And this indeed is most
truly asserted. For, from whence the first generation of the soul arose,
90b from thence a divine nature being suspended from our head and root,
directs and governs the whole of our corporeal frame. In him, therefore,
who vehemently labours to satisfy the cravings of desire and ambition,
all the conceptions of his soul must he necessarily mortal; and himself
as much as possible must become entirely mortal, since he leaves
nothing unaccomplished which tends to increase his perishable part. But
it is necessary that he who is sedulously employed in the acquisition of
knowledge, who is anxious to acquire the wisdom of truth, and who
employs his most vigorous exertions in this one pursuit; it is perfectly
90c necessary that such a one, if he touches on the truth, should
with wisdom about immortal and divine concerns; and that he should
participate of immortality, as far as human nature permits, without
leaving any part of it behind. And besides, as such a one always
cultivates that which is divine, and has a daemon most excellently
adorned residing in his essence, he must he happy in the most eminent
degree. The culture of all the parts is indeed entirely one, and consists
in assigning proper nutriment and motion to each. But the motions
which are allied to the divine part of our nature are the dianoetic
energies and circulations of the universe. These, therefore, each of us
ought to pursue; restoring in such a manner those revolutions in our
head (which have been corrupted by our wanderings about generation),
through diligently considering the harmonies and circulations of the
universe, that the intellective power may become assimilated to the
object of intelligence, according to its ancient nature. For, when thus
assimilated, we shall obtain the end of the best life proposed by the
Gods to men, both at present and in all the future circulations of time.
90e And now that disputation which we announced at the beginning
concerning the universe, as far as to the generation of man, has almost
received its consummation. For we shall briefly run over the generation
of other animals, and this no further than necessity requires: for thus
any one may appear to himself to preserve a convenient measure in such
a disputation. Let us, therefore, speak concerning these as follows:
9la Those who on becoming men are timid, and pass through life unjustly, will according to assimilative reasoning be changed into women in their second generation. And at the same time through this cause the Gods devised the love of copulation; composing an animal or animated substance, and placing one in us, but another in the female nature. But they produced each in the following manner. That procession of liquid aliment which passes through the lungs under the reins into the bladder, and which being compressed by the breath is emitted externally, this the Gods receiving, they deduced it after the manner of a pipe into the concrete marrow, through the neck and spine of the back: and this is 9lb what we called seed in the former part of our discourse. But this, in consequence of being animated and receiving respiration, produces in the part where it respires a vital desire of effluxion; and thus perfects in us the love of begetting. On this account, that nature which subsists about the privy parts of men, becoming refractory and imperious, and as it 9lc were an animal unobedient to reason, endeavours through raging desire to possess absolute sway In like manner the privities and matrix of women forming an animal desirous of procreating children when it remains without fruit beyond the flower of its age, or for a still more extended period suffers the restraint of the difficulty and indignation; and wandering every way through the body, obstructs the passage of the breath, does not permit respiration to take place, introduces other extreme difficulties, and causes all-various diseases; till the desire and love 9ld of the parts educes like fruit from a tree: but, when educed, they scatter it into the matrix as into a field. Hence women conceive animals invisible at first through their smallness, rude and unformed; when they become large, through dispersion of the seed, nourish them within; and, lastly, leading them into light perfect the generation of animals. In this manner, therefore, is the generation of women and every thing female performed. But the tribe of birds succeeds in the next place, fashioned 9le from men, and receiving wings instead of hairs. These are produced from such men as are indeed innocent, but inconstant and light; who are curious about things situated on high; but are so infatuated as to think, from the testimony of the sight, that demonstrations about things of this kind are the most firm and incontrovertible of all. But the pedestrian and savage tribe of animals was generated from men,41a who being entirely destitute of philosophy, never elevated their eyes to any object in the heavens; and this because they never employed the circulations in the head, but followed the impulse of those parts of the soul which rule in the belly and breast. Hence from studies of this kind drawing the anterior members and head to the ground, they fix them through proximity of nature in the earth. Besides this, they possess long and all-various heads; as the circulations of each are through idleness compressed and broken: and by this means their race becomes 92a quadruped and multiped; the Divinity assigning many feet to such as are unwise, that they may be more strongly drawn towards the earth. But the most unwise of these, and every way extending their body on the earth, as if there was no longer any occasion of feet, the Gods generated without feet, and destined them to creep on the earth. The 92b fourth genus is the aquatic, which was produced from such men as were stupid and ignorant in the most remarkable degree; and whom those transformers of our nature did not think deserving of a pure respiration, on account of their possessing a soul in an unpurified state, through extreme transgression. And hence they impelled them into the turbid and profound respiration of water, instead of the attenuated and pure respiration of air: from whence the genus of fish and oysters, and the multitude of all aquatic animals arose; and who are allotted habitations in the last regions of the universe, as the punishment of extreme 92c ignorance. And thus after this manner, both formerly and now, animals migrate into each other; while they are changed by the loss and acquisition of intellect and folly. Our discourse, therefore, concerning the universe has now obtained its conclusion. For this world, comprehending and receiving its completion from mortal and immortal animals, is thus rendered a visible animal containing visible natures, the image of an intelligible God, sensible, the greatest and best, the most beautiful and perfect; being no other than this one and only-begotten heaven.
This page last updated: 08/02/2014