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Bill Thayer

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§§ 1‑6

This webpage reproduces a portion of
The Face in the Moon


published in Vol. XII
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1957

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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§§ 18‑25

(Vol. XII) Plutarch, Moralia

 p35  Concerning the Face
Which Appears in the Orb of the Moon

(Part 2 of 4 on this website)

7 1 At this — for I wished Lucius to have time to collect his thoughts — I called to Theon. "Which of  p63 the tragic poets was it, Theon," I asked, "who said that physicians

With bitter drugs the bitter bile purge?"

Theon replied that it was Sophocles.​53 "Yes," I said, "and we have of necessity to allow them this procedure; but to philosophers one should not listen if they desire to repulse paradoxes with paradoxes and in struggling against opinions that are amazing fabricate others that are more amazing and outlandish,​54 as these people do in introducing their 'motion to the centre.' What paradox is not involved in this doctrine? Not the one that the earth is a sphere although it contains such great depths and heights and irregularities?​55 Not that people live on the opposite hemisphere clinging to the earth like wood-worms or geckos turned bottomside up?​56 — and that we ourselves in standing remain not at right angles to the earth but at an oblique angle, leaning from the perpendicular  p65 like drunken men?​57 Not that incandescent masses of forty tons​58 falling through the depth of the earth stop when they arrive at the centre, though nothing encounter or support them; and, if in their downward motion the impetus should carry them past the centre, they swing back again and return of themselves? Not that pieces of meteors burnt out on either side of the earth do not move downwards continually but falling upon the surface of the earth force their way into it from the outside and conceal themselves about the centre?​59 Not that a turbulent stream of water, if in flowing downwards should reach the middle point, which they themselves call incorporeal,​60 stops suspended or moves round about it, oscillating in an incessant and perpetual see-saw?​61 Some of these a man could not even mistakenly force  p67 himself to conceive as possible. For this amounts to 'upside down' and 'all things topsy-turvy,' everything as far as the centre being 'down' and everything under the centre in turn being 'up.'​62 The result is that, if a man should so coalesce with the earth​63 that its centre is at his navel, the same person at the same time has his head up and his feet up too. Moreover, if he dig through the further side, his bottom in emerging is up, and the man digging himself 'up' is pulling himself 'down' from 'above';​64 and, if someone should then be imagined to have gone in the opposite direction to this man, the feet of both of them at the same time turn out to be 'up' and are so called.

8 1 Nevertheless, though of tall tales of such a kind and number they have shouldered and lugged in — not a wallet-full, by heaven, but some juggler's pack and hotchpotch, still they say​65 that others are playing the buffoon by placing the moon, though it is earth, on high and not where the centre is. Yet if all heavy body converges to the same point and is  p69 compressed in all its parts upon its own centre,​66 it is no more as centre of the sum of things than as a whole that the earth would appropriate to herself the heavy bodies that are parts of herself; and the downward tendency of falling bodies​67 proves not that the earth is in the centre of the cosmos but that those bodies which when thrust away from the earth fall back to her again have some affinity and cohesion with her.​68 For as the sun attracts to itself the parts of which it consists​69 so the earth too accepts as her own the stone​70 that has properly a downward tendency, and consequently every such thing  p71 ultimately unites and coheres with her. If there is a body, however, that was not originally allotted to the earth or detached from it but has somewhat independently a constitution and nature of its own, as those men​71 would say of the moon, what is to hinder it from being permanently separate in its own place, compressed and bound together by its own parts? For it has not been proved that the earth is the centre of the sum of things,​72 and the way in which things in our region press together and concentrate upon the earth suggests how in all probability things in that region converge upon the moon and remain there. The man who drives together into a single region all earthy and heavy things and makes them part of a single body — I do not see for what reason he does not apply the same compulsion to light objects in their turn but allows so many separate concentrations of fire and, since he does not collect all the stars together, clearly does not think that there must also be a body common to all things that are fiery and have an upward tendency.

9 1 Now," said I, "my dear Apollonides, you mathematicians​73 say that the sun is an immense distance from the upper circumference and that above  p73 the sun Venus and Mercury and the other planets​74 revolved lower than the fixed stars and at great intervals from one another; but you think that in the cosmos there is provided no scope and extension for heavy and earthy objects. You see that it is ridiculous for us to deny that the moon is earth because she stands apart from the nether region and yet to call her a star Balthough we see her removed so many thousands of miles from the upper circumference as if plunged into a pit. So far beneath the stars is she that the distance cannot be expressed, but you mathematicians in trying to calculate it run short of numbers; she practically grazes the earth and revolving close to it

Whirls like a chariot's axle-box about,

Empedocles says,75

That skims the post in passing.

Frequently she does not even surmount the earth's shadow, though it extends but a little way because the illuminating body is very large; but she seems to revolve so close, almost within arm's reach of the earth, as to be screened by it from the sun unless she rises above this shadowy, terrestrial, and nocturnal place which is the earth's estate. Therefore we must  p75 boldly declare, I think, that the moon is within the confines of the earth inasmuch as she is occulted by its extremities.

10 1 Dismiss the fixed stars and the other planets and consider the demonstrations of Aristarchus in his treatise, On Sizes and Distances, that 'the distance of the sun is more than 18 times and less than 20 times the distance of the moon,' that is its distance from us.​76 According to the highest estimate, however, the moon's distance from us is said to be 56 times the radius of the earth.​77 Even according to the mean calculations this radius is 40,000 stades; and, if we reckon from this, the sun is more than 40,300,000 stades distant from the moon. She has migrated so far from the sun on account of her weight and has moved so close to the earth that, if properties​78 are to be determined by locations, the lot, I mean the position, of earth lays an action against the moon and she is legally assignable by right of propinquity and kinship to the chattels real and personal of earth. We do not err at all, I think, if granting such altitude and extension to the things called 'upper' we leave what is 'down below' also  p77 some room to move about in and so much latitude as there is from earth to moon. For as he is immoderate who calls only the outermost surface of the heaven 'up' and all else 'down,' so is he intolerable who restricts 'down' to the earth or rather to the centre; but both there and here some extension must be granted since the magnitude of the universe permits it. The claim that everything away from the earth is ipso facto 'up' and 'on high' is answered by a counter-claim that what is away from the circuit of the fixed stars is ipso facto 'down.'

11 After all, in what sense is earth situated in the middle and in the middle of what? The sum of things is infinite; and the infinite, having neither beginning nor limit, cannot properly have a middle, for the middle is a kind of limit too but infinity is a negation of limits. He who asserts that the earth is in the middle not of the sum of things but of the cosmos is naïve if he supposes that the cosmos itself is not also involved in the same difficulties.​79 In fact, in the sum of things no middle has been left for the cosmos either, but it is without hearth and habitation,​80 moving in infinite void to nothing of its own; or, if it has come to rest because it has found some other reason for abiding, not because of the nature of its location,​81 similar inferences are permissible in the cases of both earth and moon, that the former is stationary  p79 here and the latter is in motion there by reason of a different soul or nature rather than a difference of location. Besides this, consider whether they​82 have not over­looked an important point. If anything in any way at all off the centre of the earth is 'up,' no part of the cosmos is 'down'; but it turns out that the earth and the things on the earth and absolutely all body surrounding or enclosing the centre are 'up' and only one thing is 'down,' that incorporeal point​83 which must be in opposition to the entire nature of the cosmos, if in fact 'down' and 'up' are natural opposites.​84 This, moreover, does not exhaust the absurdity. The cause of the descent of heavy objects and of their motion to this region is also abolished, for there is no body that is 'down' towards which they are in motion and it is neither likely nor in accordance with the intention of these men that the incorporeal should have so much influence as to attract all these objects and keep them together around itself.​85 On the contrary, it proves to be entirely unreasonable and inconsistent with the facts for the whole cosmos to be 'up' and nothing but an incorporeal and unextended limit to be 'down'; but that statement of ours is reasonable, that ample space and broad has been divided between 'up' and 'down.'

12 1 All the same, let us assume, if you please, that  p81 the motions of earthy objects in the heaven are contrary to nature; and then let us calmly observe without any histrionics and quite dispassionately that this indicates not that the moon is not earth but that she is earth in an 'unnatural' location. For the fire of Aetna too is below earth 'unnaturally,' but it is fire; and the air confined in skins,​86 though by nature it is light and has an upward tendency, has been constrained to occupy an 'unnatural' location. As to the soul herself," I said, "by Zeus, is her confinement in body not contrary to nature, swift as she is and fiery, as you say,​87 and invisible in a sluggish, cold, and sensible vehicle? Shall we then on this account deny that there is a soul in body or that mind, a divine thing, though it traverses instantaneously in its flight all heaven and earth and sea,​88 has passed into flesh and sinew and marrow under the influence of weight and density and countless qualities that attend liquefaction?​89 This Zeus of yours too, is it not true that, while in his own nature he is single, a great and continuous fire, at present he is slackened and subdued and transformed, having become and continuing to become everything in the course of  p83 his mutations?​90 So look out and reflect, good sir, lest in rearranging and removing each thing to its 'natural' location you contrive a dissolution of the cosmos and bring upon things the 'Strife' of Empedocles — or rather lest you arouse against nature the ancient Titans and Giants​91 and long to look upon that legendary and dreadful disorder and discord when you have separated all that is heavy and all that is light.

The sun's bright aspect is not there descried,
No, nor the shaggy might of earth, nor sea

as Empedocles says.​92 Earth had no part in heat, water no part in air; there was not anything heavy above or anything light below; but the principles of all things​93 were untempered and unamiable​94 and  p85 solitary, not accepting combination or association with one another, but avoiding and shunning one another and moving with their own peculiar and arbitrary motions​95 they were in the state in which, according to Plato,​96 everything is from which God is absent, that is to say in which bodies are when mind or soul is wanting. So they were until desire came over nature providentially, for Affection arose or Aphrodite or Eros, as Empedocles says and Parmenides and Hesiod,​97 in order that by changing position and interchanging functions and by being constrained some to motion and some to rest and compelled to give way and shift from the 'natural' to the 'better' the bodies might produce a universal concord and community.

13 1 If not a single one of the parts of the cosmos ever got into an 'unnatural' condition but each one is 'naturally' situated, requiring no transposition or rearrangement and having required none in the beginning either, I cannot make out what use there is of providence​98 or of what Zeus, 'the master- p87 craftsman'​99 is maker and father-creator.​100 In an army, certainly, tacticians are useless if each one of the soldiers should know of himself his post and position and the moment when he must take and keep them. Gardeners and builders are useless too if here water all of itself 'naturally' moves to the things that require it and irrigates them with its stream, and there bricks and timbers and stones by following their 'natural' inclinations and tendencies assume of themselves their appropriate position and arrangement. If, however, this notion eliminates providence forthwith and if the arrangement of existing things pertains to God and the distributing of them too,​101 what wonder is there that nature has been so marshalled and disposed that here in our region there is fire but the stars are yonder and again that earth is here but the moon is established on high, held fast by the bonds of reason which are firmer than the bonds of nature?​102 For, if all things really must follow their 'natural' inclinations and move with their 'natural' motions, you must order the sun not to revolve and Venus too and every other star as well, for light and fiery bodies move 'naturally' upwards  p89 and not in a circle.​103 If, however, nature includes such variation in accordance with location that fire, though it is seen to move upwards here, as soon as it has reached the heavens revolves along with their rotation, what wonder is there that the same thing has happened to heavy and earthy bodies that have got there and that they too have been reduced by the environment to a different kind of motion? For it certainly cannot be that heaven 'naturally' deprives light objects of their upward motion but is unable to master objects that are heavy and have a downward inclination; on the contrary, by whatever influence it rearranged the former it rearranged the latter too and employed the nature of both of them for the better.

14 1 What is more, if we are finally to throw off the habits and opinions that have held our minds in thrall and fearlessly to say what really appears to be the case, no part of a whole all by itself seems to have any order, position, or motion of its own which could be called unconditionally 'natural.'​104 On the contrary, each and every such part, whenever its motion is usefully and properly accommodated to that for the sake of which the part has come to be and which is the purpose of its growth or production, and whenever it acts or is affected or disposed so that it contributes to the preservation or beauty or function  p91 of that thing, then, I believe, it has its 'natural' position and motion and disposition. In man, at any rate, who is the result of 'natural' process if any being is, the heavy and earthy parts are above, chiefly in the region of the head, and the hot and fiery parts are in the middle regions; some of the teeth grow from above and some from below, and neither set is 'contrary to nature'; and it cannot be said that the fire which flashes in the eyes above is 'natural' whereas that in the bowels and heart is 'contrary to nature,' but each has been assigned its proper and useful station. Observe, as Empedocles says,​105 the nature of

Tritons and tortoises with hides of stone

and of all testaceans,

Thou'lt see earth there established over flesh;

and the stony matter does not oppress or crush the constitution​106 on which it is superimposed, nor on the other hand does the heat by reason of lightness fly off to the upper region and escape, but they have been somehow intermingled and organically combined in accordance with the nature of each.

15 1 Such is probably the case with the cosmos too, if it really is a living being:​107 in many places it has  p93 earth and in many fire and water and breath as the result not of forcible expulsion​108 but of rational arrangement. After all, the eye has its present position in the body not because it was extruded thither as a result of its lightness, and the heart is in the chest not because its heaviness has caused it to slip and fall thither but because it was better that each of them should be so located. Let us not then believe with regard to the parts of the cosmos that earth is situated here because its weight has caused it to subside or that the sun, as Metrodorus of Chios​109 once thought, was extruded into the upper region like an inflated skin by reason of its lightness or that the other stars got into their present positions because they tipped the balance, as it were, at different weights. On the contrary, the rational principle is in control; and that is why the stars revolve fixed like 'radiant eyes'​110 in the countenance of the universe, the sun in the heart's capacity transmits and disperses out of himself heat and light as if it were blood and breath, and earth and sea 'naturally' serve the cosmos to the ends that bowels and bladder do an animal. The moon, situate between sun and earth as the liver or another of the soft  p95 viscera​111 is between heart and bowels, transmits hither the warmth from above and sends upwards the exhalations from our region, refining them in herself by a kind of concoction and purification.​112 It is not clear to us whether her earthiness and solidity have any use suitable to other ends also. Nevertheless, in everything the better has control of the necessary.​113 Well, what probability can we thus conceive in the statements of the Stoics? They say that the luminous and tenuous part of the ether by reason of its subtility became sky and the part which was condensed or compressed became stars, and that of these the most sluggish and turbid is the moon.​114 Yet all the same anyone can see that the moon has not been separated from the ether but that there is  p97 still a large amount of it about her in which she moves and much of it beneath her in which they themselves as that the bearded stars and comets whirl. So it is not the inclinations consequent upon weight and lightness that have circumscribed the precincts​115 of each of the bodies, but their arrangement is the result of a different principle."

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

53 Sophocles, frag. 770 (Nauck2). The verse is quoted with variations at De Cohibenda Ira, 463F, and De Tranquillitate Animi, 468B.

54 Cf. Aristotle's remark, De Caelo, 294a20‑21; τὸ δὲ τὰς περὶ τούτου λύσεις μὴ μᾶλλον ἀτόπους εἶναι δοκεῖν τῆς ἀπορίας, θαυμάσειεν ἄν τις.

55 This objection to the Peripatetic and Stoic theory that the sphericity of the earth is a necessary consequence of the natural motion of earth "downwards" to the centre of the universe (Aristotle, De Caelo, 297a8‑B23; Strabo, I.1.20, chap. 11; Adrastus in Theon of Smyrna, p122.1‑16 [Hiller]) was often answered (cf. Dicaearchus in Pliny, Nat. Hist. II.65.162; Adrastus in Theon of Smyrna, pp124.7‑127.23, using arguments from Archimedes, Eratosthenes, and Dicaearchus; Cleomedes, I.56 [p102.9‑20 Ziegler]; Alexander in Simplicius, De Caelo, p546.15‑23; Alexander, De Mixtione, p237.5‑15 [Bruns]). Plutarch, who defends Plato for constructing the spherical earth of molecules that are cubes on the ground that no material object can be a perfect sphere (Quaest. Plat. 1004B‑C), probably did not intend this or the subsequent paradoxes to be taken too seriously. Lamprias is simply riding Pharnaces as hard as he can, using any argument, good or bad, to make him appear ridiculous.

56 Cf. Lucretius, I.1052‑1067 in his argument against the Stoic "motion to the centre." Plutarch mentions the antipodes in connection with the Stoics in De Stoicorum Repugnantiis, 1050B. In De Herodoti Malignitate, 869C it is said that "some" say that there are antipodes.

57 Cf. Aristotle, De Caelo, 296b18‑21 and 297b17‑21; the courses of bodies falling to the earth form equal angles with the horizontal plane at the point of contact and are not parallel. So, Lamprias argues, men standing upright on the earth would not be parallel to one another but all in converging on the centre would deviate from the "absolute" perpendicular.

58 Probably not aeroliths, as Raingeard supposes, but incandescent boulders such as are thrown up by volcanoes; for μύδροι in this sense cf. [Aristotle], De Mundo, 395b22‑23; Strabo, VI.2.8, chap. 274; VI.2.10, chap. 275; XIII.4.11, chap. 628. For the falling of great boulders within the earth cf. Lucretius, VI.536‑550, and Seneca, Nat. Quaest. VI.22.2; but Plutarch probably had in mind a subterranean geography such as that of Phaedo, 111D ff., of which the next sentence but one contains an explicit reminiscence.

59 For the text and interpretation of this sentence cf. Class. Phil. XLVI (1951), pp139‑140.

60 Cf. 926B infra. According to the Stoics the limits of bodies are incorporeal and therefore in the strict sense non-existent (De Communibus Notitiis, 1080E; cf. 1081B and S. V. F. II, p159, frag. 488), since only the corporeal exists (S. V. F. II, p115, frag. 320 and p117, frag. 329). Only corporeal existence, moreover, can produce an effect or be affected (De Communibus Notitiis, 1073E, cf. S. V. F. II, p118, frag. 336 and p123, frag. 363). How then can the incorporeal centre have any effect upon corporeal entities?

61 Cf. Plato, Phaedo, 111E-112E, which is certainly the source of Plutarch's figure, and Aristotle's criticism of Plato's account in Meteorology, 355b32–356a19.

62 Cf. Phaedo, 112 E1‑3. By introducing the conventional phrase ὑπὸ τὸ μέσον, which really begs the question, Lamprias makes the notion appear to be a ridiculous self-contradiction.

63 That συμπαθείᾳ τῆς γῆς, which has given rise to many conjectures, need mean no more than this is proved by Dox. Graeci, p317b 14‑16: τῆς τε τῶν ὄντων συμπαθείας καὶ τῆς τῶν σωμάτων ἀλληλουχίας. For the figure used here cf. Aristotle, De Caelo, 285a27‑b5, and Simplicius, De Caelo, p389.8‑24 and p391.33 ff. The most famous later parallel is the position of Lucifer in Dante's Inferno, XXXIV.76‑120.

64 i.e. his feet emerge first; and they, his bottom part, are "up." In digging himself "up" relatively to the surface through which he merges, he is with reference to himself pulling himself not "up" to a position above his head but "down" to a position below his feet. The paradox rests upon the assumption that head and feet are respectively "absolute up" and "absolute down" for man (cf. Aristotle, De Incessu Animal. 705a26–706b16, and Parva Nat. 468a1‑12).

65S. V. F. II, p195, frag. 646.

66 Lamprias refers directly to the words of Pharnaces at 923E‑F supra. Cf. De Stoicorum Repugnantiis, 1055A: εἰ γὰρ αὐτός γε νεύειν ἐπὶ τὸ αὑτου μέσον ἀεὶ πέφυκε καὶ τὰ μέρη πρὸς τοῦτο κατατείνειν πανταχόθεν . . . .

67 That τῶν ῥεπόντων can stand alone in this sense, pace Adler (Diss. Phil. Vind. X, p96), is proved by Aristotle, De Caelo, 312b24.

68 Aristotle (De Caelo, 296b9‑25) asserted that heavy, i.e. earthy, objects move to the centre of the universe and so only "accidentally" to the centre of the earth. The Stoics distinguished the cosmos as ὅλον from τὸ πᾶν, which is the cosmos plus the infinite void encompassing it (S. V. F. II, p167, frags. 522‑524), putting the cosmos in the centre of the πᾶν and explaining this as the result of the motion of all things to the centre of the latter (S. V. F. II, pp174‑175, frags. 552‑554; cf. note d on 923F supra) but stating that within the cosmos those things that have weight, i.e. water and earth, move naturally down, i.e. to the centre (S. V. F. II, p175.16‑35, frag. 555). Nevertheless, Chrysippus's own words could be used to show that the natural motion to the centre must belong to the parts of the universe qua parts of the whole and not because of their own nature (cf. De Stoicorum Repugnantiis, 1054E-1055C); and with the very word οἰκειώσεται Lamprias turns against the Stoics their own doctrine of οἰκείωσις (cf. De Stoicorum Repugnantiis, 1038BS. V. F. II, p43, frag. 179).

69 According to Reinhardt (Kosmos und Sympathie, pp173‑177) the source of Plutarch's argument must be Posidonius; but none of the parts cited contains any parallel to this statement concerning the sun, for references to the attractive power of the sun over the other planets (Reinhardt, op. cit. p58, n2; cf. R. M. Jones, Class. Phil. XXVII [1932], pp122 ff.) are irrelevant. There may rather have been a connection between this notion and the doctrine of Cleanthes referred to in De Communibus Notitiis, 1075DS. V. F. I, p114, frag. 510.

70 This is not a reference to aeroliths as Raingeard and Kronenberg suppose nor to the imaginary stone in intercosmic space (De Defectu Oraculorum, 425C) as Adler believes, but to any γεῶδές τι ὑπὸ βίας ἀναρριφέν, in the words of Pharnaces (923F supra); cf. Aristotle's use of ὁ λίθος in the statement of his principle of natural motion (Eth. Nic. 1103a19‑22).

71 The men referred to in 924D, ἑτέρους . . . ἄνω τὴν σελήνην, γῆν οὖσαν, ἐνιδρύοντας, whom the Stoics attack and among whom are Lamprias and Lucius themselves and "our comrade" (921F).

72 i.e. even if it is the centre of our cosmos; cf. De Defectu Oraculorum, 425A‑E, where concerning the possibility of a multiplicity of universes in τὸ πᾶν Plutarch points out that even on the hypothesis of natural motion and proper place up, down, and centre would apply separately within each cosmos, there could be no centre of τὸ πᾶν, and the laws of motion in any one universe could not affect objects in any other or hypothetical objects in intercosmic space.

73 This is implied by the second person plural addressed to Apollonides, cf. 925B infra and 920F, 921C supra.

74 For the order of the planets cf. Dreyer, History of the Planetary Systems, pp168‑170, and Boyancé, Études sur le Songe de Scipion, pp59‑65; the order here given is not the one adopted by most of the astronomers of Plutarch's time, by the later Stoics, or in all probability by Posidionius.

75 Empedocles, frag. B 46 (I, p331 [Diels-Kranz]).

76 This is Proposition 7 of Aristarchus's treatise, the full title of which is On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon. The treatise is edited and translated by Sir Thomas Heath in his Aristarchus of Samos, pp352 ff.

77 This was not the highest estimate hitherto given, nor have I been able to identify its author. Cf. on this matter and the subsequent calculations in this passage Class. Phil. XLVI (1951), pp140‑141. No attempt is made to give equivalents for stades in calculations, for it is uncertain what stade is meant in any one place. Schiaparelli assumes everywhere the Olympic stade of 185 metres (Scritti sulla storia dellaº astronomia antica, I, p333, n3 and p342, n1); Heath argues that Eratosthenes used a stade of 157.5 metres and Ptolemy the royal stade of 210 metres (Aristarchus of Samos, pp339 and 346); and Raingeard (p83 on 925 D6) assumes without argument that Plutarch used the Attic stade of 177.6 metres.

78 There is a play on the meaning of τὰς οὐσίας, "substances," as "property" or "estates" and as "the real nature of things."

79 Cf. De Defectu Oraculorum, 424D, where καθ’ οὓς δ’ ἔστιν (scil. τὸ κενόν) refers to the Stoics (for whose distinction between the πᾶν and the κόσμος see note c on 924E supra), and De Stoicorum Repugnantiis, 1054B‑D, where as here Plutarch uses against the Stoics a weapon taken from their own arsenal.

80 Cf. Gracchi, IX.5 828D: ἄοικοι καὶ ἀνίδρυτοι.

81 Cf. S. V. F. II, pp174‑175, frags. 552 and 553; De Stoicorum Repugnantiis, 1054F-1055B.

82 The Stoics.

83 Cf. S. V. F. II, p169.9‑11, frag. 527: . . . τῆς γῆς περὶ τὸ μέσον σημεῖον τοῦ κόσμου κειμένης, ὃ δὴ τοῦ παντός ἐστι κάτω, ἄνω δὲ τὸ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ κύκλῳ πάντῃ.

84 Cf. S. V. F. II, p176, frag. 556: τὸ ἄνω καὶ τὸ κάτω οὐ κατὰ σχέσιν . . . φύσει γὰρ διάφορα ταῦτα.

85 See note d on 924B supra, and cf. De Defectu Oraculorum, 424E against Aristotle.

86 Cf. 928B infra. Plutarch probably has in mind inflated skins used for floats; cf. Aristotle, Physics, 217a2‑3, 255b26, De Caelo, 311b9‑13.

87 Cf. S. V. F. II, p217, frag. 773: οἱ μὲν γὰρ Στωϊκοὶ πνεῦμα λέγουσιν αὐτὴν ἔνθερμον καὶ διάπυρον.

88 For this commonplace of the flight of the mind through the universe cf. R. M. Jones, Class. Phil. XXI (1926), pp97‑113.

89 This is a reference to the Stoic notion that the embodiment of soul was a process of condensation or liquefaction. Cf. De Stoicorum Repugnantiis, 1053B‑C (= S. V. F. II, frag. 605) and for the qualities that would attend liquefaction S. V. F. II, p155.34: γῆς τε καὶ ὕδατος, παχυμερῶν καὶ βαρέων καὶ ἀτόνων ὄντων.

90S. V. F. II, p308, frag. 1045. Zeus "in his own nature" is the state of the universe in the ecpyrosis, while "at present" he is the universe in the state of diacosmesis; cf. De Placitis, 881F-882A (= Aëtius, I.7.33 = S. V. F. II, frag. 1027), Diogenes Laertius, VII.137 (= S. V. F. II, frag. 526), De Stoicorum Repugnantiis, 1052C (= S. V. F. II, frags. 1068 and 604), De Communibus Notitiis 1075A‑C (= S. V. F. II, frag. 1049), and S. V. F. II, frags. 1052, 1053, and 1056.

91 The Strife of Empedocles is connected with the mythical war of the Giants by Proclus, In Platonis Parmenidem Comment. p849, 13‑15 (ed. Cousin, Paris, 1864) = p659 (ed. Stallbaum).

92 Empedocles, frag. B 27 (I, pp323.11‑324.4 [Diels-Kranz]), where the ὠκέα γυῖα given by Simplicius is adopted instead of Plutarch's ἀγλαὸν εἶδος. Bignone, however, who prints the lines given by Plutarch as frag. 26a and those given by Simplicius as frag. 27, is probably right in taking this to be one of the lines which were repeated with a different ending in two different parts of the poem (Empedocle, studio critico, pp220 ff., 421, 599 ff.). Certainly Plutarch represents his quotation as describing the period when Strife has completely separated the four roots, whereas Simplicius says that his comes from the description of the Sphere, when all were thoroughly intermingled.

93 i.e. the four "roots," earth, air, fire, and water, for the separation of which by Strife cf. Empedocles, frags. B 17.8‑10 and B 26.6‑9 (I, p316.2‑4 and p323.4‑7 [Diels-Kranz]).

94 From this Mullach manufactured for Empedocles the verse that he numbered 174 (Frag. Phil. Graec. I, p5). Stein took only ἄκρατοι καὶ ἄστοργοι to be a quotation. The word ἄστοργος appears nowhere in the fragments of Empedocles (though στοργή does in frag. B 109 [I, p351.22, Diels-Kranz]), whereas Plutarch uses it several times in other connections (Amatorius, 750F, Quaest. Nat. 917D, De Sollertia Animalium, 970B).

95 Cf. Clara Millerd, On the Interpretation of Empedocles, p54, and Cherniss, Aristotle's Criticism of Presocratic Philosophy, p175, n130. Plutarch's circumstantial account of the motion of the four "roots" during the complete dominance of Strife is coloured by the passage of Plato to which he refers.

96 Timaeus, 53B; cf. De Defectu Oraculorum, 430D, and De An. Proc. in Timaeo, 1016F.

97 Cf. Amatorius, 756D‑F, where Empedocles, frag. B 17.20‑21 (I, p317.1‑2 [Diels-Kranz]), and Parmenides, frag. B 13 (I, p243.16 [Diels-Kranz] are quoted, and Hesiod, Theogony, 120 is referred to; and cf. Aristotle, Metaphysics, 984b23–985a10. With Plutarch's ἐκ προνοίας contrast Aristotle's criticism of Empedocles (Metaphysics, 1000b12‑17) and cf. Empedocles, frags. B 17.29 and B 30 (I, p317.10 and p325.10‑12 [Diels-Kranz]). By ἐκ προνοίας here Plutarch prepares the way for his use in the next paragraph of the Stoic doctrine of providence against the Stoic doctrine of natural place.

98 On the importance of providence in Stoic doctrine and its ubiquity in Stoic writings cf. De Stoicorum Repugnantiis, 1050A‑B (= S. V. F. II, frag. 937), 1051E (= S. V. F. II, frag 1115); De Communibus Notitiis, 1075E (= S. V. F. II, frag. 1126), 1077D‑E (= S. V. F. II, frag. 1064); Cicero, De Natura Deorum, III.92 (= S. V. F. II, frag. 1107); Diogenes Laertius, VII.138‑139 (= S. V. F. II, frag. 634).

99 Plutarch ascribes to Pindar this epithet of Zeus in Quaest. Conviv. 618B, De Sera Numinis Vindicta, 550A, De Communibus Notitiis, 1065E, and in Praecepta Gerendae Reipublicae, 807Cuses it of the statesman; cf. Pindar, frag. 48, Bowra = 57, Bergk and Schroeder = 66, Turyn.

100 This terminology is more Platonic than Stoic: cf. Quaest. Conviv. 720B‑C, De An. Proc. in Timaeo, 1017A; cf. Timaeus, 28C and contrast S. V. F. II, frag. 323a.

101 Cf. Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1075a11‑15, and Diogenes Laertius, VII.137 (= S. V. F. II, frag. 526): (θεός) . . . δημιουργὸς ὢν τῆς διακοσμήσεως.

102 Wyttenbach's correction is assured by Timaeus, 41 B4‑6, of which this is meant to be an echo.

103 The Stoics held that the heavenly bodies consist of fire, which, though they call it αἰθήρ, is not a "fifth essence" like Aristotle's (cf. Diogenes Laertius, VII.137 S. V. F. II, frag. 580; S. V. F. II, frag. 682). In De Stoicorum Repugnantiis, 1053E Plutarch quotes Chrysippus to the effect that τὸ πῦρ ἀβαρὲς ὂν ἀνωφερὲς εἶναι (= S. V. F. II, frag. 434). In accordance with this, he here argues, the Stoics are not justified explaining the circular motion of the heavenly bodies as "natural" in the way that Aristotle did.

104 Cf. Plutarch, frag. VII.15 (Bernardakis, vol. VII, p31.6 ff. = Olympiodorus, In Phaedonem, p157.22‑25 [Norvin]).

105 The two lines here quoted and the line that preceded them are quoted together in support of the same contention in Quaest. Conviv. 618B = Empedocles, frag. B 76 (I, p339.9‑11 [Diels-Kranz]).

106 For ἕξις = "the bodily constitution" cf. Quaest. Conviv. 625A‑B, 680D, 681E; Amatorius, 764C.

107 In Adv. Coloten, 1115B Strato's denial of this is cited as an example of his opposition to Plato; and in De An. Proc. in Timaeo, 1014C‑D Plutarch, speaking of the creation of the world by the platonic demiurge, says τὸ κάλλιστον ἀπεργασάμενος καὶ τελειότατον . . . ζῷον, thereby referring to such passages as Timaeus, 30B‑D, 32C‑D, 68E, 69B‑C. Still, Platonic though it is, this assumption is one which his Stoic adversaries would grant (cf. Diogenes Laertius, VII.139 and 142‑143 [= S. V. F. II, frags. 634 and 633]); and Plutarch believes that in granting it they are committed to the implication that the moon despite its location can consist of earth.

108 Cf. Aristotle, De Caelo, 277b1‑2; οὐδὲ βίᾳ (scil. φέρεται αὐτῶν τὸ μὲν ἄνω τὸ δὲ κάτω) ὥσπερ τινές φασι τῇ ἐκθλίψει, and Cherniss, Aristotle's Criticism of Presocratic Philosophy, p191, n196.

109 For this Atomist, who is not to be confused with the Epicurean, Metrodorus of Lampsacus, or with the Anaxagorean, cf. Diels-Kranz, Frag. der Vorsok.5 II, pp231‑234; the present passage should be added to that collection, from which it is missing. According to De Placitis, 889B (= Aëtius, II.15.6 [Dox. Graeci, p345 A 7‑12]) Metrodorus considered the sun to be farthest from the earth, the moon below it, and lower than the moon the planets and the fixed stars. For the explanation of the sun's position here ascribed to Metrodorus, see note a supra and cf. Simplicius, De Caelo, p712.27‑29.

110 In De Fortuna, 98B the phrase is quoted as Plato's; it comes from Timaeus, 45B (τῶν δὲ ὀργάνων πτῶτον μὲν φωσφόρα συνετεκτήναντο ὄμματα, τοιᾷδε ἐνδήσαντες αἰτίᾳ), and Plutarch's τῷ προσώπῳ τοῦ παντὸς ἐνδεδεμένοι was suggested by this in conjunction with the preceding lines (45A: . . . ὑποθέντες αὐτόσε τὸ πρόσωπον, ὄργανα ἐνέδησαν τούτῳ), though Plato is there speaking of the human face and eyes.

111 i.e. the spleen. For the purpose of liver and spleen cf. Aristotle, De Part. Animal. 670a20‑29, 670b4‑17, 673b25‑28; and for the close connection of liver and spleen 669b15–670a2.

112 Eustathius, Ad Iliadem, 695.12 ff. says that according to the Stoics the "golden rope" of IliadVIII.19 is ὁ ἥλιος εἰς ὃν κάτωθεν ὥσπερ εἰς καρδίαν ἀποχεῖται ἀναδιδομένη ἡ τῶν ὑγρῶν ἀναθυμίασις. Starting from this K. Reinhardt (Kosmos und Sympathie, pp332 ff.) argued that Posidonius was Plutarch's source for the analogy between the parts of the cosmos and the organs of the body; but Reinhardt's contention is refuted by R. M. Jones, Class. Phil. XXVII (1932), pp121‑128. Passages which equate sun and heart are fairly frequent, e.g. Theon of Smyrna, pp187.13‑188.7 (Hiller); Proclus, In Timaeum, 171C‑D (II, p104.20‑21 and 28‑29, Diehl); Macrobius, Somn. Scip. I.20.6‑7 (pp564‑565, Eyssenhardt); Chalcidius, In Platonis Timaeum, § 100 (p170, Wrobel); "Anon. Christ.", Hermippus, pp17.15‑18.11 (Kroll-Viereck) with astrological descriptions of different bodily organs to the seven planets. An entirely different analogy between the various human faculties and the seven planets is mentioned by Proclus, In Timaeum, 348A‑B (III, p355.7‑18, Diehl), and Numenius in Macrobius, Somn. Scip. I.12.14‑15 (p533, Eyssenhardt); and I know no parallel to Plutarch's further analogy of earth and moon with bowels and liver or spleen. In the pseudo-Hippocratic Περὶ ἑβδομάδων the moon because of its central position in the cosmos appears to have been equated with the diaphragm (cf. Roscher, Die hippokratische Schrift von de Siebenzahl, p5.45 ff., pp10‑11, p123). In the section of Porphyry's "Introduction to Ptolemy's Apotelesmatica" published by F. Cumont in Mélanges Bidez, I, pp155‑156, the source of which Cumont contends must have been Antiochus of Athens, the moon is said to have the spleen as its special province, while the heart is assigned to the sun; but there the liver is the province of Jupiter.

113 Cf. Plato, Timaeus, 48A: νοῦ δὲ ἀνάγκης ἄρχοντος τῷ πείθειν αὐτὴν τῶν γιγνομένων τὰ πλεῖστα ἐπὶ τὸ βέλτιστον ἄγειν κτλ. For the term τὸ κατηναγκασμένον cf. S. V. F. II, frag. 916.

114S. V. F. II, frag. 668: cf. Cleomedes, II.3.99 (pp178.26‑180.8, Ziegler) and contrast II.4.100 (p182.8‑10). On the Stoic "ether" cf. Diogenes Laertius, VII.137 (= S. V. F. II, frag. 580) and note g on 922B supra.

115 The lexica give "weigh" or "balance" as the meaning of σεσήκωται, but the logic of the passage here shows that the word must be connected with σηκός, not with σήκωμα (cf. Hesychius: ἀποσηκώσας and σάκωσε). Amyot's "situez et colloquez" and Kepler's "quasi obvallata sunt" render the sense correctly.

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