Posted in Ancient Greece

κατα το χρεων· διδοναι γαρ αυτα αλλήλοις τίσιν καί δίκην τἣς άδικίας.


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∇ ‘Immortal and indestructible,’ ‘surrounds all and directs all.’ ‘(To that they return when they are destroyed) of necessity; for he says that they suffer punishment and give satisfaction to one another for injustice’


“The Earth is cylindrical, three times as wide as it is deep, and only the upper part is inhabited. But this Earth is isolated in space, and the sky is a complete sphere in the center of which is located, unsupported, our cylinder, the Earth, situated at an equal distance from all the points of the sky.”

There is no beginning of the infinite, for in that case it would have an end. But it is without beginning and indestructible, as being a sort of first principle; for it is necessary that whatever comes into existence should have an end, and there is a conclusion of all destruction. Wherefore as we say, there is no first principle of this [i.e. the infinite], but it itself seems to be the first principle of all other things and to surround all and to direct all, as they say who think that there are no other causes besides the infinite (such as mind, or friendship), but that it itself is divine; for it is immortal and indestructible, as Anaximandros and most of the physicists say.



But it is not possible that infinite matter is one and simple; either, as some say, that it is something different from the elements, from which they are generated, or that it is absolutely one. For there are some who make the infinite of this character, but they do not consider it to be air or water, in order that other things may not be blotted out by the infinite; for these are mutually antagonistic to one another, inasmuch as air is cold, water is moist, and fire hot; if one of these were infinite, the rest would be at once blotted out; but now they say that the infinite is something different from these things, namely, that from which they come.

In order that generation may actually occur, it is not necessary to prove that the infinite should actually be matter that sense can perceive; for it is possible that destruction of one thing is generation of another, provided the all is limited.


Please listen again:


For some say that there is only one underlying substance; and of these some say that it is water, some that it is air, some that it is fire, and some that it is more rarefied than water and denser than air; and these last say that being infinite it surrounds all the heavens.



It is natural that this very thing should be unintelligible to those who say that at first when the earth was moist and the universe including the earth was warmed by the sun, then air was formed and the whole heavens were dried, and this produced the winds and made the heavens revolve.

So not only is it very properly admitted that all things are generated from not-being, but also that they all come from being:—potentially from being, actually from not-being; and this is the unity of Anaxagoras (for this is better than to say that all things exist together [ομοὓ πάντα]), and it is the mixture [μιγμα] of Empedokles and Anaximandros.


Anaximandros was a pupil of Thales. He was a Milesian, son of Praxiades. He said that the first principle of things is of the nature of the infinite, and from this the heavens and the worlds in them arise. And this (first principle) is eternal and does not grow old, and it surrounds all the worlds. He says of time that in it generation and being and destruction are determined. He said that the first principle and the element of beings is the infinite, a word which he was the earliest to apply to the first principle. Besides this, motion is eternal, and as a result of it the heavens arise. The earth is a heavenly body, controlled by no other power, and keeping its position because it is the same distance from all things; the form of it is curved, cylindrical like a stone column; it has two faces, one of these is the ground beneath our feet, and the other is opposite to it. The stars are a circle of fire, separated from the fire about the world, and surrounded by air. There are certain breathing-holes like the holes of a flute through which we see the stars; so that when the holes are stopped up, there are eclipses. The moon is sometimes full and sometimes in other phases as these holes are stopped up or open. The circle of the sun is twenty-seven times that of the moon, and the sun is higher than the moon, but the circles of the fixed stars are lower. Animals come into being through vapours raised by the sun. Man, however, came into being from another animal, namely the fish, for at first he was like a fish. Winds are due to a separation of the lightest vapours and the motion of the masses of these vapours; and moisture comes from the vapour raised by the sun from them; and lightning occurs when a wind falls upon clouds and separates them. Anaximandros was born in the third year of the forty-second Olympiad.


… and  again:


that lightning is due to wind; for when it is surrounded and pressed together by a thick cloud and so driven out by reason of its lightness and rarefaction, then the breaking makes a noise, while the separation makes a rift of brightness in the darkness of the cloud.

The soul is like air in its nature.

that the first animals were generated in the moisture, and were covered with a prickly skin; and as they grew older, they became drier, and after the skin broke off from them, they lived for a little while.

that gods have a beginning, at long intervals rising and setting, and that they are the innumerable worlds. But who of us can think of god except as immortal?







"If he's honest, he'll steal; if he's human, he'll murder; if he's faithful, he'll deceive. Being at a loss to resolve these questions, I am resolved to leave them without any resolution." I have so much to say to you that I am afraid I shall tell you nothing."

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