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ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature



The Original Greek New Testament
Page 3

For the motions of the atoms he had no anterior cause to offer, other than necessity or fate. They existed, and necessarily and always had existed, in a state of whirl; and for that which always had been he maintained that no preceding cause could legitimately or reasonably be demanded. Nothing, then, could come out of nothing;[1] all the visible structure of the universe had its origin in the movements of the atoms that constituted it, and conditioned its infinite changes. The atoms, by a useful but perhaps too convenient metaphor, he called the seeds of all things. They were infinite in number, though not infinite in the number, of their shapes. Many atoms were similar to each other, and this similarity formed a basis of union among them, a warp, so to speak, or solid foundation across which the woof of dissimilar atoms played to constitute the differences of things. Out of this idea of an eternal eddy or whirl Democritus developed a cosmogony. The lighter atoms he imagined flew to the outmost rim of the eddy, there constituting the heavenly fires and the heavenly aether. The heavier atoms gathered at the centre, forming successively air and water and the solid earth. Not that there was only one such system or world, but rather multitudes of them, all varying one from the other; some without sun or moon, others with greater luminaries than those of our system, others with a greater number. All, however, had necessarily a centre; all as systems were necessarily spherical.

Elpenor's note : [1] This is a common belief in all Greek philosophy.

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