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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Plato Bilingual Anthology : STUDYING DEATH III - THE REAL WORLD

from Phaedo, * 109a-114c, translated by B. Jowett

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Page 4

And in this fair region everything that grows-trees, and flowers, and fruits-is in a like degree fairer than any here; and there are hills, and stones in them in a like degree smoother, and more transparent, and fairer in color than our highly valued emeralds and sardonyxes and jaspers, and other gems, which are but minute fragments of them: for there all the stones are like our precious stones, and fairer still. The reason of this is that they are pure, and not, like our precious stones, infected or corroded by the corrupt briny elements which coagulate among us, and which breed foulness and disease both in earth and stones, as well as in animals and plants. They are the jewels of the upper earth, which also shines with gold and silver and the like, and they are visible to sight and large and abundant and found in every region of the earth, and blessed is he who sees them. And upon the earth are animals and men, some in a middle region, others dwelling about the air as we dwell about the sea; others in islands which the air flows round, near the continent: and in a word, the air is used by them as the water and the sea are by us, and the ether is to them what the air is to us.

ἐν δὲ ταύτῃ οὔσῃ τοιαύτῃ ἀνὰ λόγον τὰ φυόμενα φύεσθαι͵ δένδρα τε καὶ ἄνθη καὶ τοὺς καρπούς· καὶ αὖ τὰ ὄρη ὡσαύτως καὶ τοὺς λίθους ἔχειν ἀνὰ τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον τήν τελειότητα καὶ τὴν διαφάνειαν καὶ τὰ χρώματα καλλίω· ὧν καὶ τὰ ἐνθάδε λιθίδια εἶναι ταῦτα τὰ ἀγαπώμενα μόρια͵ σάρδιά τε καὶ ἰάσπιδας καὶ σμαράγδους καὶ πάντα τὰ τοιαῦτα· ἐκεῖ δὲ οὐδὲν ὅτι οὐ τοιοῦτον εἶναι καὶ ἔτι τούτων καλλίω. τὸ δ΄ αἴτιον τούτου εἶναι ὅτι ἐκεῖνοι οἱ λίθοι εἰσὶ καθαροὶ καὶ οὐ κατεδηδεσμένοι οὐδὲ διεφθαρμένοι ὥσπερ οἱ ἐνθάδε ὑπὸ σηπεδόνος καὶ ἅλμης ὑπὸ τῶν δεῦρο συνερρυηκότων͵ ἃ καὶ λίθοις καὶ γῇ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ζῴοις τε καὶ φυτοῖς αἴσχη τε καὶ νόσους παρέχει. τὴν δὲ γῆν αὐτὴν κεκοσμῆσθαι τούτοις τε ἅπασι καὶ ἔτι χρυσῷ τε καὶ ἀργύρῳ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις αὖ τοῖς τοιούτοις. ἐκφανῆ γὰρ αὐτὰ πεφυκέναι͵ ὄντα πολλὰ πλήθει καὶ μεγάλα καὶ πανταχοῦ τῆς γῆς͵ ὥστε αὐτὴν ἰδεῖν εἶναι θέαμα εὐδαιμόνων θεατῶν. ζῷα δ΄ ἐπ΄ αὐτῇ εἶναι ἄλλα τε πολλὰ καὶ ἀνθρώπους͵ τοὺς μὲν ἐν μεσογαίᾳ οἰκοῦντας͵ τοὺς δὲ περὶ τὸν ἀέρα ὥσπερ ἡμεῖς περὶ τὴν θάλατταν͵ τοὺς δ΄ ἐν νήσοις ἃς περιρρεῖν τὸν ἀέρα πρὸς τῇ ἠπείρῳ οὔσας· καὶ ἑνὶ λόγῳ͵ ὅπερ ἡμῖν τὸ ὕδωρ τε καὶ ἡ θάλαττά ἐστι πρὸς τὴν ἡμετέραν χρείαν͵ τοῦτο ἐκεῖ τὸν ἀέρα͵ ὃ δὲ ἡμῖν ἀήρ͵ ἐκείνοις τὸν αἰθέρα.

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