He said that once upon a time in making a voyage to Italy he embarked on a ship carrying freight and many passengers. It was already evening when, near the Echinades Islands, the wind dropped, and the ship drifted near Paxi. Almost everybody was awake, and a good many had not finished their after-dinner wine. Suddenly from the island of Paxi was heard the voice of someone loudly calling Thamus, so that all were amazed. Thamus was an Egyptian pilot, not known by name even to many on board. So, when he came opposite Palodes, and there was neither wind nor wave, Thamus from the stern, looking toward the land, said the words as he had heard them: As many persons were on the vessel, the story was soon spread abroad in Rome, and Thamus was sent for by Tiberius Caesar.
He himself, by the emperor's order, had made a voyage for inquiry and observation to the nearest of these islands which had only a few inhabitants, holy men who were all held inviolate by the Britons. Shortly after his arrival there occurred a great tumult in the air and many portents ; violent winds suddenly swept down and lightning-flashes darted to earth.
When these abated, the people of the island said that the passing of someone of the mightier souls had befallen. Moralia, a - a. What, in fact, is there to prevent our accepting an utterance that is impressive and most highly philosophical? For if it be rejected, it does away with many things which are possible but cannot be proved ; and if it be allowed as a principle, it brings in its train many things that are impossible or non-existent. For by this reasoning Epicurus will be shown to be a worse man than Gorgias the sophist, and Metrodorus worse than Alexis the comic poet; for Alexis lived twice as long as Metrodorus and Gorgias more than a third as long again as Epicurus.
For example, many of the animals that are sluggish in movement and slow in their reactions and many that are lascivious and ungovernable live a longer time than the quick and the clever. Therefore they do not well who make God's eternal existence to be the result of watchfulness and the thrusting aside of destructive agencies.
No, immunity from emotion and destruction ought to reside in the blessed Being, and should require no activity on His part. Perhaps, however, to speak thus with reference to people that are not present does not show great consideration. So it is right that Cleombrotus should resume the topic which he discontinued a few moments ago about the migration and flight of the demigods. Yet it seems to be close to the subject of natural phenomena and Plato 1 has given the key-note for it, not by an unqualified pronouncement, but as the result of a vague concept, cautiously suggesting also the underlying idea in an enigmatic way ; but, for all that, there has been loud disparagement of him on the part of other philosophers.
But there is set before us for general use a bowl of myths and stories combined, and where could one meet with more kindly listeners for testing these stories, even as one tests coins from foreign lands? It was near the Persian Gulf that I found him, where he holds a meeting with human beings once every year ; and there I had an opportunity to talk with him and met with a kindly reception.
The other days of his life, according to his statement, he spends in association with roving nymphs and demigods. He was the handsomest man I ever saw in personal appearance and he never suffered from any disease, inasmuch as once each month he partook of the medicinal and bitter fruit of a certain herb. He was practised in the use of many tongues ; but with me, for the most part, he spoke a Doric which was almost music. While he was speaking, a fragrance overspread the place, as his mouth breathed forth a most pleasant perfume. Besides his learning and his knowledge of history, always at his command, he was inspired to prophesy one day in each year when he went down to the sea and told of the future.
Potentates and kings' secretaries would come each year and depart. His power of prophecy he referred to the demigods. He made most account of Delphi and there was none of the stories told of Dionysus or of the rites performed here of which he had not heard ; these too he asserted were the momentous experiences of the demigods and so, plainly, were those which had to do with the Python.
Such also, he said, were the stories about Typhons and Titans 3 ; battles of demigods against demigods had taken place, followed by the exile of the vanquished, or else judgement inflicted by a god upon the sinners, as, for example, for the sin which Typhon is said to have committed in the case of Osiris, or Cronus in the case of Uranus ; and the honours once paid to these deities have become quite dim to our eyes or have vanished altogether when the deities were transferred to another world. In fact, I learn that the Solymi, who live next to the Lycians, paid especial honour to Cronus.
Many accounts similar to these are to be had from theological history. But, as that man said, if we call some of the demigods by the current name of gods, that is no cause for wonder ; for each of them is wont to be called after that god with whom he is allied and from whom' he has derived his portion of power and honour.
Cleombrotus said nothing more, and his account appeared marvellous to all. The inner area of the triangle is the common hearth of all, and is called the Plain of Truth, in which the accounts, the forms, and the patterns of all things that have come to pass and of all that shall come to pass rest undisturbed ; and round about them lies Eternity, whence Time, like an ever-flowing stream, is conveyed to the worlds.
Opportunity to see and to contemplate these things is vouchsafed to human souls once in ten thousand years if they have lived goodly lives ; and the best of the initiatory rites here are but a dream of that highest rite and initiation; and the words of our philosophic inquiry are framed to recall these fair sights there — else is our labour vain.
Surely he liked to see, or else was given to filching 1 beliefs and tales of all sorts. He had ranged widely in literature and was no foreigner, but a Greek by birth, and replete with Greek culture to a high degree. Of these he leaves two to be held in common, the earth for all below and Olympus for all above, and the three that lie between were assigned to the three gods.
Plato, however, is very far from calling the five different divisions of the world five different worlds ; and in those passages again, in which he contends against those who postulate an infinite number of worlds, he says that his opinion is that this world is the only-begotten and beloved of God, having been created out of the corporeal whole, entire, complete, and sufficient unto itself.
Wherefore one might well be surprised that he, in stating the truth himself, has supplied others with a source for a doctrine that is unconvincing and lacking in reason. We will not spend much time on it, but only touch upon it long enough to inquire into its plausibility ; and then we will follow up the original proposition.
Then again it is more consistent with reason that the world should not be the only-begotten of God and quite alone. For He, being consummately good, is lacking in none of the virtues, and least of all in those which concern justice and friendliness ; for these are the fairest and are fitting for gods. Nor is it in the nature of God to possess anything to no purpose or for no use.
Therefore there exist other gods and other worlds outside, in relation with which He exercises the social virtues. For not in relation with Himself nor with any part of Himself is there any exercise of justice or benevolence or kindness, but only in relation with others. Thus it is not likely that this world, friendless, neighbourless, and unvisited, swings back and forth in the infinite void, since we see that Nature includes individual things in classes and species, like seeds in pods and envelopes.
For there is nothing in the whole list of existing things for which there is not some general designation, nor does anything that does not possess certain qualities, either in common with others or solely by itself, obtain such an appellation. Now the world is not spoken of as having qualities in common with others.
If in all creation such a thing as one man, one horse, one star, one god, one demigod does not exist, what is there to prevent creation from having, not one world, but more than one? For he who says that creation has but one land and one sea overlooks a matter which is perfectly plain, the doctrine of similar parts 1 ; for we divide the earth into parts which bear similar names, and the sea likewise.
A part of the world, however, is not a world, but something combined from the differing elements in Nature. For if there are more worlds than one, and each of them has received, as its meet portion, substance and matter having a restricted measure and limit, then there will be nothing left unplaced or unorganized, an unused remnant, as it were, to crash into them from the outside. For the law of reason over each world, having control over the matter assigned to each, will not allow anything to be carried away from it nor to wander about and crash into another world, nor anything from another world to crash into it, because Nature has neither unlimited and infinite magnitude nor irrational and disorganized movement.
For if each of the bodies has its own particular place, as he asserts, the earth must of necessity turn toward the centre from all directions and the water be above it, settling below the lighter elements because of its weight. If, therefore, there be more worlds than one, it will come to pass that in many places the earth will rest above the fire and the air, and in many places below them ; and the air and the water likewise, in some places existing in positions in keeping with nature and in other places in positions contrary to nature.
As this, in his opinion, is impossible, the inference is that there are neither two worlds nor more, but only this one, composed of the whole of matter and resting firmly in keeping with Nature, as befits the diversity of its bodies. All this, however, has been put in a way that is more plausible than true. And if a man could force himself, by reasoning, to dare the concept of a violent motion of the infinite, what difference, if referred to this, is created for the bodies in their movements?
For in the void there is no power in the bodies, nor do the bodies have a predisposition and an impetus, by virtue of which they cling to the centre and have a universal tendency in this one direction. It is equally difficult, in the case of inanimate bodies and an incorporeal and undifferentiated position, to conceive of a movement created from the bodies or an attraction created by the position. Thus one conclusion is left: For in this world of ours, which has a single unity in its organization from numerous dissimilar elements, these differences necessarily create various movements towards various objects.
Evidence of this is found in the fact that everything, when it undergoes transformation, changes its position coincidently with the change in its substance. For example, dispersion distributes upwards and round about the matter rising from the centre and condensation and consolidation press it down towards the centre and drive it together. Moralia, b and b. Because one may postulate as the author of these occurrences and changes, that cause will keep each of the worlds together within itself; for each world has earth and sea, and each has its own centre and occurrences that [p.
In what lies beyond, whether it be nothing or an infinite void, no centre exists, as has been said; and if there are several worlds, in each one is a centre which belongs to it alone, with the result that the movements of its bodies are its own, some towards it, some away from it, and some around it, quite in keeping with the distinctions which these men themselves make. But anyone who insists that, while there are many centres, the heavy substances are impelled from all sides towards one only,1 does not differ at all from him who insists that, while there are many men, the blood from all shall flow together into a single vein and the brains of all shall be enveloped in a single membrane, deeming it a dreadful thing in the case of natural bodies if all the solids shall not occupy one place only and the fluids also only one place.
Such a man as that will be abnormal, and so will he be who is indignant if everything constituting a whole has its own parts, of which it makes use in their natural arrangement and position in every case. For that would be preposterous, and so too if anybody called that a world which had a moon somewhere inside it2; as well call that a man who carries his brains in his heels or his heart in his head!
For the land and the sea and the heavens in each will be placed to accord with nature, as is fitting ; and each of the worlds has its above and below and its round [p. For that would be preposterous, and so too if anybody called that a world which had a moon somewhere inside it 2 ; as well call that a man who carries his brains in his heels or his heart in his head! For how is it either to remain fixed, if it has weight, or to move towards the world like other heavy substances when it is no part of the world and has no place in the order of its being?
Land embraced in another world and bound up with it ought not to raise any question as to how it comes about that it does not break away from the whole and transfer itself to our world, because we see the nature and the tension under which each of the parts is held secure. For, in the first place, if it is preposterous that there should be many supreme gods bearing this name, then surely these persons' ideas will be far more preposterous ; for they make an infinite number of suns and moons and Apollos and Artemises and Poseidons in the infinite cycle of worlds.
But the second point is this: Or again, what shall prevent all worlds from being subject to the Destiny and Providence of Zeus, and what shall prevent his overseeing and directing them all in turn and supplying them all with first principles, material sources, and schemes of all that is being carried out?
Yet such an organization is altogether appropriate for the gods. In fact, the Deity is not averse to changes, but has a very great joy therein, to judge, if need be, by the alternations and cycles in the heavens among the bodies that are visible there. Infinity is altogether senseless and unreasoning, and nowhere admits a god, but in all relations it brings into action the concept of chance and accident.
But the Oversight and Providence in a limited group and number of worlds, when compared with that which has entered one body and become attached to one and reshapes and remodels it an infinite number of times, seems to me to contain nothing involving less dignity or greater labour. Having spoken at this length, I stopped. He follows it up in this way: It happens, however, that they do not all have one form of construction, nor have they all a similar origin, but the pyramid is the simplest and smallest, while the dodecahedron is the largest and most complicated.
Of the remaining two the icosahedron is more than double the octahedron in the number of its triangles. For this reason it is impossible for them all to derive their origin from one and the same matter. Hence it follows that the only primal body is the pyramid, and not one of the others, since by their nature they are outdistanced by it in coming into being. But for us it will suffice to acquire the knowledge in brief form. Since air is formed when fire is extinguished, and when rarefied again gives off fire out of itself, we must observe the behaviour of each of the generative elements and their transmutations.
Therefore one element of air is produced from two corpuscles of fire combined and united ; and that of air again, when divided, is separated into two corpuscles of fire, and again, when compressed and condensed, it goes off into the form of water. For he insists that all the five shall not undergo construction at the same time, but the simplest always, which requires the least trouble to construct, shall first issue forth into being.
Then, as a corollary to this, and not conflicting with it, he lays down the principle that not all matter brings forth the simplest and most rudimentary form first, but that sometimes the ponderous and complex forms, in the time of their coming into being, are earlier in arising out of matter. But apart from this, five bodies having been postulated as primary, and on the strength of this the number of worlds being put as the same, he adduces probability with reference to four only ; the cube he has taken off the board, as if he were playing a game with counters, since, because of its nature, it cannot transmute itself into them nor confer upon them the power of transmutation into itself, inasmuch as the triangles are not homologous triangles.
For in the others the common triangle which underlies them all is the half-triangle ; but in this, and peculiar to it alone, is the isosceles triangle, which makes no convergence towards the other nor any conjunction that would unify the two. I leave out of account the fact that they make the element of the dodecahedron, as it is called, something else and not that scalene from which Plato constructs the pyramid and the octahedron and the icosahedron. I repeat, therefore, what I said at the beginning, that if two natures be postulated, one evident to the senses, subject to change in creation and dissolution, carried now here now there, while the other is essentially conceptual and always remains the same, it is a dreadful thing that, while the conceptual nature has been parcelled out and has variety within itself, we should feel indignant and annoyed if anyone does not leave the corporeal and passive nature as a unity knit together and converging upon itself, but separates and parts it.
For it is surely fitting that things permanent and divine should hold more closely together and escape, so far as may be, all segmentation and separation. But even on these the power of Differentiation has laid its hand and has wrought in things conceptual dissimilarities in reasons and ideas, which are vaster than the separations in location. Granted, then, that these five exist, it is not surprising if each of these five corporeal elements has been made into a copy and image of each of them respectively, not unmixed and unalloyed, but it is because of the fact that each of them participates most in its corresponding faculty.
The cube is patently a body related to rest because of the security and stability of its plane surfaces. In the pyramid everybody may note its fiery and restless quality in the simplicity of its sides and the acuteness of its angles. The nature of the dodecahedron, which is comprehensive enough to include the other figures, may well seem to be a model with reference to all corporeal being.
Of the remaining two, the icosahedron shares in the nature of Differentiation mostly, and the octahedron in that of Identity. For this reason the octahedron contributed air, which in a single form holds all being in its embrace, and the icosahedron water, which by admixture assumes the greatest variety of qualities. If, therefore, Nature demands an equal distribution in all things, there is a reasonable probability that the worlds which have been created are neither more nor less in number than the patterns, so that each pattern in each world may have the leading rank and power just as it has acquired it in the construction of the primary bodies.
Now these first principles make their appearance at the beginning in connexion with number; rather, however, larger amounts are not number at all unless the number one, created from the illimitability of infinity, like a form of matter, cuts off more on one side and less on the other. Then, in fact, any of the larger amounts becomes number through being delimited by the number one.
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But if the number one be done away with, once more the indeterminate duality throws all into confusion, and makes it to be without rhythm, bounds, or measure. Inasmuch as form is not the doing away with matter, but a shaping and ordering of the underlying matter, it needs must be that both these first principles be existent in number, and from this has arisen the first and greatest divergence and dissimilarity. For the indeterminate first principle is the creator of the even, and the better one of the odd.
So when the twro were paired, the better one prevailed over the indeterminate as it was dividing the corporeal and checked it; and when matter was being distributed to the two, it set unity in the middle and did not allow the whole to be divided into two parts, but there has been created a number of worlds by differentiation of the indeterminate and by its being carried in varying directions ; yet the power of Identity and Limitation has had the effect of making that number odd, but the kind of odd that did not permit Nature to progress beyond what is best.
If the number one were unalloyed and pure, matter would not have any separation at all ; but since it has been combined with the dividing power of duality, it has had to submit to being cut up and divided, but there it stopped, the even being overpowered by the odd. For example, she has allotted to ourselves five senses and five parts to the soul 7: Five, too, are the orbits of the planets, if the Sun and Venus and Mercury follow the same course. For example, if fire is generated from air by the breaking up of the octahedron and its resolution into pyramids, or again if air is generated from fire by its being forced together and compressed into an octahedron, it is not possible for it to stay where it was before, but it escapes and is carried to some other place, forcing its way out and contending against anything that blocks its course or keeps it back.
Thus, when matter was in that state in which, in all probability, is the universe from which God is absent, the first five properties, having tendencies of their own, were at once carried in different directions, not being completely or absolutely separated, because, when all things were amalgamated, the inferior always followed the superior in spite of Nature.
Then, after establishing Reason in each as a governor and guardian, he creatjed as many worlds as the existing primal bodies. Let this, then, be an offering for the gratification of Plato on Ammonius's account, but as for myself, I should not venture to assert regarding the number of wbrlds that they are just so many ; but the opinion that sets their number at more than one, and yet not infinite, but limited in amount, I regard as no more irrational than either of the others, when I observe the dispersiveness and divisibility implicit by nature in Matter, and that it neither abides as a unit nor is permitted by Reason to progress to infinity.
For it is not possible to hold that the desertion by the demigods is the reason for the silence of the oracles unless we are convinced as to the manner in which the demigods, by having the oracles in their charge and by their presence there, make them active and articulate. To my mind the difference between man and man in acting tragedy or comedy is the difference between soul and soul arrayed in a body suitable for its present life. It is, therefore, not at all unreasonable or even marvellous that souls meeting souls should create in them impressions of the future, exactly as we do not convey all our information to one another through the spoken word, but by writing also, or merely by a touch or a glance, we give much information about what has come to pass and intimation of what is to come.
Unless it be, Lamprias, that you have another story to tell. For not long ago a rumour reached us about your having had a long talk on these subjects with strangers at Lebadeia, but the man who told of it could recall none of it with exactness. For if the souls which have been severed from a body, or have had no part with one at all, are demigods according to you and the divine Hesiod, 1 Holy dwellers on earth and the guardian spirits of mortals, why deprive souls in bodies of that power by virtue of which the demigods possess the natural faculty of knowing and revealing future events before they happen?
For it is not likely that any power or portion accrues to souls when they have left the body, if they did not possess them before ; but the souls always possess them ; only they possess them to a slight degree while conjoined with the body, some of them being completely imperceptible and hidden, others weak and dim, and about as ineffectual and slow in operation as persons that try to see in a fog or to move about in water, and requiring much nursing and restoring of the functions that properly belong to them and the removal and clearing away of the covering which hides them.
We ought not to feel surprised or incredulous at this when we see in the soul, though we see naught else, that faculty which is the complement of prophecy, and which we call memory, and how great an achievement is displayed in preserving and guarding the past, or rather what has been the present, since nothing of all that has come to pass has any existence or substantiality, because the very instant when anything comes to pass, that is the end of it — of actions, words, experiences alike ; for Time like an everflowing stream bears all things onward.
But this faculty of the soul lays hold upon them, I know not how, and invests with semblance and being things not now present here. But memory is for us the hearing of deeds to which we are deaf and the seeing of things to which we are blind. Hence, as I said, it is no wonder that, if it has command over things that no longer are, it anticipates many of those which have not yet come to pass, since these are more closely related to it, and with these it has much in common ; for its attachments and associations are with the future, and it is quit of all that is past and ended, save only to remember it.
But that which foretells the future, like a tablet without writing, is both irrational and indeterminate in itself, but receptive of impressions and presentiments through what may be done to it, and inconsequently grasps at the future when it is farthest withdrawn from the present. Its withdrawal is brought about by a temperament and disposition of the body as it is subjected to a change which we call inspiration. Often the body of itself alone attains this disposition. Moreover the earth sends forth for men streams of many other potencies, some of them producing derangements, diseases, or deaths ; others helpful, benignant, and beneficial, as is plain from the experience of persons who have come upon them.
It is likely that by warmth and diffusion it opens up certain passages through which impressions of the future are transmitted, just as wine, when its fumes rise to the head, reveals many unusual movements and also words stored away and unperceived. All in the linen is blended the splendour of glorious scarlet,. But regarding the Cydnus and the sacred sword of Apollo in Tarsus we used to hear you say, my dear Demetrius, that the Cydnus will cleanse no steel but that, and no other water will cleanse that sword. There is a similar phenomenon at Olympia, where they pile the ashes against the altar and make them adhere all around by pouring on them water from the Alpheius ; but, although they have tried the waters of other rivers, there is none with which they can make the ashes cohere and stay fixed in their place.
The most learned of the people of Delphi still preserve the tradition of his name, which they say was Coretas. But I incline most to the opinion that the soul acquires towards the prophetic spirit a close and intimate connexion of the sort that vision has towards light, which possesses similar properties.
For, although the eye has the power of vision, there is no function for it to perform without light 1 ; and so the prophetic power of the soul, like an eye, has need of something kindred to help to kindle it and stimulate it further. Hence many among earlier generations regarded Apollo and the Sun as one and the same god ; but those who understood and respected fair and wise analogy conjectured that as body is to soul, vision to intellect, and light to truth, so is the power of the sun to the nature of Apollo ; and they would make it appear that the sun is his offspring and progeny, being for ever born of him that is for ever.
For the sun kindles and promotes and helps to keep in activity the power of vision in our perceptive senses, just as the god does for the power of prophecy in the soul. But in the case of the powers associated with the earth it is reasonable that there should come to pass disappearances in one place and generation in another place, and elsewrhere shifting of location and, from some other source, changes in current, 2 and that such cycles should complete many revolutions within it in the whole course of time, as we may judge from what happens before our eyes.
For in the case of lakes and rivers, and even more frequently in hot springs, there have occurred disappearances and complete extinction in some places, and in others a stealing away, as it were, and sinking under ground 3 ; later they came back, appearing after a time in the same places or flowing out from below somewhere near. And it is no long time since the rock in Euboea ceased to yield, among its other products, soft petrous[p.
To-day all this has disappeared, and there are scarcely any attenuated fibres or hairs, as it were, running through the mines. The hardness and temper of cold-forged copper is well attested. Plainly the same sober opinion is to be held regarding the spirits that inspire prophecy ; the power that they possess is not everlasting and ageless, but is subject to changes.
For excessive rains most likely extinguish them, and they probably are dispersed by thunderbolts, and especially, when the earth is shaken beneath by an earthquake and suffers subsidence and ruinous confusion in its depths, the exhalations shift their site or find completely blind outlets, as in this place they say that there are still traces of that great earthquake which overthrew the city. And in Orchomenos they relate that a pestilence raged and many persons died of it, and the oracle of Teiresias become altogether obsolescent and even to this day remains idle and mute.
And if a like fate has befallen those in Cilicia, as we have been told, there is nobody, Demetrius, who could give us more certain information than you. But, when I was there, both the oracle of Mopsus and that of Amphilochus were still flourishing. I have a most amazing thing to tell as the result of my visit to the oracle of Mopsus. The ruler of Cilicia was himself still of two minds towards religious matters. This, I think, was because his scepticism lacked conviction, for in all else he was an arrogant and contemptible man.
The man accordingly, as is the custom, passed the night in the sacred precinct and went to sleep, and in the morning reported a dream in this fashion: The thing seemed passing strange to us, and raised much inquiry, but the ruler was astounded and fell down and worshipped ; then opening the tablet he showed written there the question: When Demetrius had told this tale he lapsed into silence. They seemed to me to be desirous of saying something to us, and again I checked myself.
I do not know how it happened, but a little time ago we yielded to logic in wresting the prophetic art from the gods and transferring it merely to the demigods. But now it seems to me that we are thrusting out these very demigods, in their turn, and driving them away from the oracle and the tripod here, when we resolve the origin of prophecy, or rather its very being and power, into winds and vapours and exhalations. But there is one difference: What possesses us to do so, if our souls carry within themselves the prophetic power, and it is some particular state of the air or its currents which stirs this to activity?
Shaking the head is not enough, as in other sacrifices, but the tossing and quivering must extend to all parts of the animal alike accompanied by a tremulous sound ; and unless this takes place they say that the oracle is not functioning, and do not even bring in the prophetic priestess.
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Yet it is only on the assumption that they ascribe the cause almost entirely to a god or a demigod that it is reasonable for them to act and to believe thus ; but on the basis of what you say it is not reasonable. For the presence of the exhalation, whether the victim be excited or not, will produce the inspiration and will dispose the soul auspiciously, not only the soul of the priestess, but that of any ordinary person with whom it may come into contact.
Wherefore it is silly to employ one woman alone for the purpose of the oracles and to give her trouble by watching her to keep her pure and chaste all her life. As a matter of fact, this Coretas, who the people of Delphi say was the first, because he fell in, to supply any means of knowing about the power with which the place is endowed, was not, I think, any different from the rest of the goatherds and shepherds, if so be that this is not a fable or a fabrication as I, for one, think it is.
When I take into account the number of benefactions to the Greeks for which this oracle has been responsible, both in wars and in the founding of cities, in cases of pestilence and failure of crops, I think it is a dreadful thing to assign its discovery and origin, not to God and Providence, but to chance and accident. For what you have said has set us all thinking. I shall defend myself by citing Plato as my witness and advocate in one. Plato himself was the first of the philosophers, or the one most prominently engaged in prosecuting investigations of both sorts, to assign to God, on the one hand, the origin of all things that are in keeping with reason, and on the other hand, not to divest matter of the causes necessary for whatever comes into being, but to realize that the perceptible universe, even when arranged in some such orderly way as this, is not pure and unalloyed, but that it takes its origin from matter when matter comes into conjunction with reason.
Observe first how it is with the artists. And, indeed, the author and creator of these likenesses and portraits here stands recorded in the inscription But without pigments ground together, losing their own colour in the process, nothing could achieve such a composition and sight. In fact there are some who question the properties of medicinal agents, but they do not do away with medical science.
Of interest also in this connexion is the dedication recorded in the Sigeum inscription. Zeus the beginning, Zeus in the midst, and from Zeus comes all being 1 ;. On the other hand the younger generation which followed them, and are called physicists or natural philosophers, reverse the procedure of the older school in their aberration from the beautiful and divine origin, and ascribe everything to bodies and their behaviour, to clashes, transmutations, and combinations.
He who was the first to comprehend clearly both these points and to take, as a necessary adjunct to the agent that creates and actuates, the underlying matter, which is acted upon, clears us also of all suspicion of wilful misstatement. The fact is that we do not make the prophetic art godless or irrational when we assign to it as its material the soul of a human being, and assign the spirit of inspiration and the exhalation as an instrument or plectrum for playing on it. For, in the first place, the earth, which generates the exhalation, and the sun, which endows the earth with all its power of tempering and transmutation, are, by the usage of our fathers, gods for us.
Secondly, if we leave demigods as overseers, watchmen, and guardians of this tempered constitution, as if it were a kind of harmony, slackening here and tightening there on occasion, taking from it its too distracting and disturbing elements and incorporating those that are painless and harmless to the users, we shall not appear to be doing anything irrational or impossible. Nor again, in offering the preliminary sacrifice to learn the god's will and in putting garlands on victims or pouring libations over them, are we doing anything to contradict this reasoning.
For when the priests and holy men say that they are offering sacrifice and pouring the libation over the victim and observing its movements and its trembling, of what else do they take this to be a sign save that the god is in his holy temple? For what is to be offered in sacrifice must, both in body and in soul, be pure, unblemished, and unmarred. In the case of the goat, they say, cold water gives positive proof; for indifference and immobility against being suddenly wet is not characteristic of a soul in a normal state.
But for my part, even if it be firmly established that the trembling is a sign of the god's being in his holy temple and the contrary a sign of his not being there, I cannot see what difficulty in my statements results therefrom. For every faculty duly performs its natural functions better or worse concurrently with some particular time ; and if that time escapes our ken, it is only reasonable that the god should give signs of it. Of the proof on which I depend I have as witnesses many foreigners and all the officials and servants at the shrine.
It is a fact that the room in which they seat those who would consult the god is filled, not frequently or with any regularity, but as it may chance from time to time, with a delightful fragrance coming on a current of air which bears it towards the worshippers, as if its source were in the holy of holies ; and it is like the odour which the most exquisite and costly perfumes send forth. It is likely that this efflorescence is produced by warmth or some other force engendered there. For many annoyances and disturbances of which she is conscious, and many more unpereeived, lay hold upon her body and filter into her soul; and whenever she is replete with these, it is better that she should not go there and surrender herself to the control of the god, when she is not completely unhampered as if she were a musical instrument, well strung and well tuned , but is in a state of emotion and instability.
But especially does the imaginative faculty of the soul seem to be swayed by the alterations in the body, and to change as the body changes, a fact which is clearly shown in dreams ; for at one time we find ourselves beset in our dreams by a multitude of visions of all sorts, and at another time again there comes a complete calmness and rest free from all such fancies. We ourselves know of Cleon here from Daulia and that he asserts that in all the many years he has lived he has never had a dream ; and among the older men the same thing is told of Thrasymedes of Heraea.
As it happened, a deputation from abroad had arrhed to consult the oracle. The victim, it is said, remained unmoved and unaffected in any way by the first libations ; but the priests, in their eagerness to please, went far beyond their wonted usage, and only after the victim had been subjected to a deluge and nearly drowned did it at last give in. What, then, was the result touching the priestess?
She went down into the oracle unwillingly, they say, and halfheartedly ; and at her first responses it was at once plain from the harshness of her voice that she was not responding properly ; she was like a labouring ship and was filled with a mighty and baleful spirit. Finally she became hysterical and with a frightful shriek rushed towards the exit and threw herself down, with the result that not only the members of the deputation fled, but also the oracle-interpreter Nicander and those holy men that were present.
However, after a little, they went in and took her up, still conscious ; and she lived on for a few days. The power of the spirit does not affect all persons nor the same persons always in the same way, but it only supplies an enkindling and an inception, as has been said, for them that are in a proper state to be affected and to undergo the change. The power comes from the gods and demigods, but, for all that, it is not unfailing nor imperishable nor ageless, lasting into that infinite time by which all things between earth and moon become wearied out, according to our reasoning. And there are some who assert that the things above the moon also do not.
So let them be postponed until another time, and likewise the question which Philip raises about the Sun and Apollo. English Translation by Frank Cole Babbitt.
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She was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family. Regarding the nature of her cult, it has been remarked, "she is more at home on the fringes than in the center of Greek polytheism. Intrinsically ambivalent and polymorphous, she straddles conventional boundaries and eludes definition.
Some suggestions derive the name from a Greek root: While many researchers favor the idea that she has Anatolian origins, it has been argued that "Hecate must have been a Greek goddess. This line of reasoning lies behind the widely accepted hypothesis that she was a foreign deity who was incorporated into the Greek pantheon. Shrines to Hecate were placed at doorways to both homes and cities with the belief that it would protect from restless dead and other spirits.
Likewise, shrines to Hecate at three way crossroads were created where food offerings were left at the new moon to protect those who did so from spirits and other evils. Dogs were sacred to Hecate and associated with roads, domestic spaces, purification, and spirits of the dead. Dogs were also sacrificed to the road.
This can be compared to Pausanias' report that in the Ionian city of Colophon in Asia Minor a sacrifice of a black female puppy was made to Hecate as "the wayside goddess", and Plutarch's observation that in Boeotia dogs were killed in purificatory rites. Dogs, with puppies often mentioned, were offered to Hecate at crossroads, which were sacred to the goddess. As Hecate Phosphorus Venus she is said to have lit the sky during the Siege of Philip II in , revealing the attack to its inhabitants. The Byzantines dedicated a statue to her as the "lamp carrier.
In Greek, deipnon means the evening meal, usually the largest meal of the day. The Deipnon consists of three main parts: Hecate was known by a number of bynames: Hecate was generally represented as three-formed. This has been speculated as being connected with the appearance of the full moon, half moon, and new moon. The earliest Greek depictions of Hecate were not three-formed.
Greek anthropomorphic conventions of art resisted representing her with three faces: Some classical portrayals show her as a triplicate goddess holding a torch, a key, serpents, daggers and numerous other items. Depictions of both a single form Hekate and triple formed, as well as occasional four headed descriptions continued throughout her history. In other representations her animal heads include those of a cow and a boar. It shows Hecate, with a hound beside her, placing a wreath on the head of a mare. She is commonly attended by a dog or dogs, and the most common form of offering was to leave meat at a crossroads.
Dogs were closely associated with Hecate in the Classical world. Her approach was heralded by the howling of a dog. The dog was Hecate's regular sacrificial animal, and was often eaten in solemn sacrament. Although in later times Hecate's dog came to be thought of as a manifestation of restless souls or demons who accompanied her, its docile appearance and its accompaniment of a Hecate who looks completely friendly in many pieces of ancient art suggests that its original signification was positive and thus likelier to have arisen from the dog's connection with birth than the dog's underworld associations.
The friendly looking female dog accompanying Hecate was originally the Trojan Queen Hekabe, who leapt into the sea after the fall of Troy and was transformed by Hecate into her familiar.
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Another metamorphosis myth explains why the polecat is also associated with Hecate. This maiden was playmate and companion of Alkmene, daughter of Elektryon. They remained seated, each keeping their arms crossed. Galinthias, fearing that the pains of her labour would drive Alkmene mad, ran to the Moirai and Eleithyia and announced that by desire of Zeus a boy had been born to Alkmene and that their prerogatives had been abolished.
At all this, consternation of course overcame the Moirai and they immediately let go their arms. The Moirai were aggrieved at this and took away the womanly parts of Galinthias since, being but a mortal, she had deceived the gods. They turned her into a deceitful weasel or polecat , making her live in crannies and gave her a grotesque way of mating. She is mounted through the ears and gives birth by bringing forth her young through the throat. Hekate felt sorry for this transformation of her appearance and appointed her a sacred servant of herself.
Aelian told a different story of a woman transformed into a polecat: It has also reached my hearing that Gale was her name then; that she was a dealer in spells and a sorceress Pharmakis ; that she was extremely incontinent, and that she was afflicted with abnormal sexual desires. Nor has it escaped my notice that the anger of the goddess Hekate transformed it into this evil creature. May the goddess be gracious to me: In relation to Greek concepts of pollution, Parker observes, "The fish that was most commonly banned was the red mullet trigle , which fits neatly into the pattern.
It 'delighted in polluted things,' and 'would eat the corpse of a fish or a man'. Blood-coloured itself, it was sacred to the blood-eating goddess Hecate. It seems a symbolic summation of all the negative characteristics of the creatures of the deep. After mentioning that this fish was sacred to Hecate, Alan Davidson writes, "Cicero, Horace, Juvenal, Martial, Pliny, Seneca and Suetonius have left abundant and interesting testimony to the red mullet fever which began to affect wealthy Romans during the last years of the Republic and really gripped them in the early Empire.
The main symptoms were a preoccupation with size, the consequent rise to absurd heights of the prices of large specimens, a habit of keeping red mullet in captivity, and the enjoyment of the highly specialized aesthetic experience induced by watching the color of the dying fish change. In her three-headed representations, discussed above, Hecate often has one or more animal heads, including cow, dog, boar, serpent and horse. In particular she was thought to give instruction in these closely related arts. Her attendants draped wreathes of yew around the necks of black bulls which they slaughtered in her honor and yew boughs were burned on funeral pyres.
It is presumed that the latter were named after the tree because of its superiority for both bows and poison. It has been suggested that the use of dogs for digging up mandrake is further corroboration of the association of this plant with Hecate; indeed, since at least as early as the 1st century CE, there are a number of attestations to the apparently widespread practice of using dogs to dig up plants associated with magic.
Hecate was associated with borders, city walls, doorways, crossroads and, by extension, with realms outside or beyond the world of the living. She appears to have been particularly associated with being 'between' and hence is frequently characterized as a " liminal " goddess. Enodia's very name "In-the-Road" suggests that she watched over entrances, for it expresses both the possibility that she stood on the main road into a city, keeping an eye on all who entered, and in the road in front of private houses, protecting their inhabitants. Hecate's importance to Byzantium was above all as a deity of protection.
Watchdogs were used extensively by Greeks and Romans. Like Hecate, "[t]he dog is a creature of the threshold, the guardian of doors and portals, and so it is appropriately associated with the frontier between life and death, and with demons and ghosts which move across the frontier. And she conceived and bore Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honored above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea.
She received honor also in starry heaven, and is honored exceedingly by the deathless gods. For to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favor according to custom, he calls upon Hecate. Great honor comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favorably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her.
For as many as were born of Earth and Ocean amongst all these she has her due portion. The son of Cronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods: According to Hesiod, she held sway over many things:.
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