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Plato Bilingual Anthology : MOTIONS OF THE UNIVERSE

from Politicus, * 268.d-274.e, translated by B. Jowett

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Page 3

There is a time when God himself guides and helps to roll the world in its course; and there is a time, on the completion of a certain cycle, when he lets go, and the world being a living creature, and having originally received intelligence from its author and creator turns about and by an inherent necessity revolves in the opposite direction. YSOC. Why is that? STR. Why, because only the most divine things of all remain ever unchanged and the same, and body is not included in this class. Heaven and the universe, as we have termed them, although they have been endowed by the Creator with many glories, partake of a bodily nature, and therefore cannot be entirely free from perturbation. But their motion is, as far as possible, single and in the same place, and of the same kind; and is therefore only subject to a reversal, which is the least alteration possible. For the lord of all moving things is alone able to move of himself; and to think that he moves them at one time in one direction and at another time in another is blasphemy. τὸ γὰρ πᾶν τόδε τοτὲ μὲν αὐτὸς ὁ θεὸς συμποδηγεῖ πορευόμενον καὶ συγκυκλεῖ͵ τοτὲ δὲ ἀνῆκεν͵ ὅταν αἱ περίοδοι τοῦ προσήκοντος αὐτῷ μέτρον εἰλήφωσιν ἤδη χρόνου͵ τὸ δὲ πάλιν αὐτόματον εἰς τἀναντία περιάγεται͵ ζῷον ὂν καὶ φρόνησιν εἰληχὸς ἐκ τοῦ συναρμόσαντος αὐτὸ κατ΄ ἀρχάς. τοῦτο δὲ αὐτῷ τὸ ἀνάπαλιν ἰέναι διὰ τόδ΄ ἐξ ἀνάγκης ἔμφυτον γέγονε. ΝΕ. ΣΩ. Διὰ τὸ ποῖον δή; ΞΕ. Τὸ κατὰ ταὐτὰ καὶ ὡσαύτως ἔχειν ἀεὶ καὶ ταὐτὸν εἶναι τοῖς πάντων θειοτάτοις προσήκει μόνοις͵ σώματος δὲ φύσις οὐ ταύτης τῆς τάξεως. ὃν δὲ οὐρανὸν καὶ κόσμον ἐπωνομάκαμεν͵ πολλῶν μὲν καὶ μακαρίων παρὰ τοῦ γεννήσαντος μετείληφεν͵ ἀτὰρ οὖν δὴ κεκοινώνηκέ γε καὶ σώματος· ὅθεν αὐτῷ μεταβολῆς ἀμοίρῳ γίγνεσθαι διὰ παντὸς ἀδύνατον͵ κατὰ δύναμίν γε μὴν ὅτι μάλιστα ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ κατὰ ταὐτὰ μίαν φορὰν κινεῖται· διὸ τὴν ἀνακύκλησιν εἴληχεν͵ ὅτι σμικροτάτην τῆς αὑτοῦ κινήσεως παράλλαξιν. αὐτὸ δὲ ἑαυτὸ στρέφειν ἀεὶ σχεδὸν οὐδενὶ δυνατὸν πλὴν τῷ τῶν κινουμένων αὖ πάντων ἡγουμένῳ· κινεῖν δὲ τούτῳ τοτὲ μὲν ἄλλως͵ αὖθις δὲ ἐναντίως οὐ θέμις.
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