On the Interpretation of Empedocles

9780217846561: On the Interpretation of Empedocles

This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1908. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... THE SECOND PERIOD The beginning of the dissolution of the Sphere is described with a strong touch of poetic imagination. "All the members of the god trembled."1 Our accounts of the succeeding cosmic process are most inadequate. First air was separated off, then fire, each containing apparently some admixture of the other.2 From some of the air was formed, by the action of fire, a crystal vault which encircles the entire heavens.3 Its shape is described by Aetius, but not with perfect clearness. It was perhaps a flattened sphaeroid, as Zeller suggests.4 Beneath this vault two hollow hemispheres were formed, one of fire, one of air, for in this first separation fire was borne upward, air down beneath the earth.5 The weight of fire causes the revolution of the heavens. The earth remains in the center,6 held there by this revolution7 and from it the sea is pressed out.1 The sea seems at first.to have surrounded the earth in a layer, and later to have been collected into its present form. Most writers have supposed that the separation of the great masses of the elements as they appear in our world, was effected by a whirling motion, in accordance with the traditions of the Ionians.2 But the revolution of the heavens is expressly said to begin after the separation was partly effected.3 The view in question seems to be necessitated, as already noted, by the supposition that the present world is the world of Love. The separation is, however, exactly what we should expect as the result of the operation of Strife.4 The elements seem to have "distributed themselves" capriciously, or by weight.5 force of the fire streaming from this reflecting surface.1 Therefore, even though the sun be a reflection, it is also a mass of fire.2 1 Fr. 31. 2 Plut, Strom., 10 (Dox., 582); Phil...

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