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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Plato's TIMAEUS : Visible and created Gods

Timaeus 39e-41d  * Greek Fonts


Page 3

Now, when all of them, both those who visibly appear in their revolutions as well as those other gods who are of a more retiring nature, had come into being, the creator of the universe addressed them in these words: "Gods, children of gods, who are my works, and of whom I am the artificer and father, my creations are indissoluble, if so I will. All that is bound may be undone, but only an evil being would wish to undo that which is harmonious and happy. Wherefore, since ye are but creatures, ye are not altogether immortal and indissoluble, but ye shall certainly not be dissolved, nor be liable to the fate of death, having in my will a greater and mightier bond than those with which ye were bound at the time of your birth. And now listen to my instructions:-Three tribes of mortal beings remain to be created-without them the universe will be incomplete, for it will not contain every kind of animal which it ought to contain, if it is to be perfect. On the other hand, if they were created by me and received life at my hands, they would be on an equality with the gods. In order then that they may be mortal, and that this universe may be truly universal, do ye, according to your natures, betake yourselves to the formation of animals, imitating the power which was shown by me in creating you. The part of them worthy of the name immortal, which is called divine and is the guiding principle of those who are willing to follow justice and you-of that divine part I will myself sow the seed, and having made a beginning, I will hand the work over to you. And do ye then interweave the mortal with the immortal, and make and beget living creatures, and give them food, and make them to grow, and receive them again in death."

ἐπεὶ δ΄ οὖν πάντες ὅσοι τε περιπολοῦσιν φανερῶς καὶ ὅσοι φαίνονται καθ΄ ὅσον ἂν ἐθέλωσιν θεοὶ γένεσιν ἔσχον͵ λέγει πρὸς αὐτοὺς ὁ τόδε τὸ πᾶν γεννήσας τάδε Θεοὶ θεῶν͵ ὧν ἐγὼ δημιουργὸς πατήρ τε ἔργων͵ δι΄ ἐμοῦ γενόμενα ἄλυτα ἐμοῦ γε μὴ ἐθέλοντος. [41b] τὸ μὲν οὖν δὴ δεθὲν πᾶν λυτόν͵ τό γε μὴν καλῶς ἁρμοσθὲν καὶ ἔχον εὖ λύειν ἐθέλειν κακοῦ· δι΄ ἃ καὶ ἐπείπερ γεγένησθε͵ ἀθάνατοι μὲν οὐκ ἐστὲ οὐδ΄ ἄλυτοι τὸ πάμπαν͵ οὔτι μὲν δὴ λυθήσεσθέ γε οὐδὲ τεύξεσθε θανάτου μοίρας͵ τῆς ἐμῆς βουλήσεως μείζονος ἔτι δεσμοῦ καὶ κυριωτέρου λαχόντες ἐκείνων οἷς ὅτ΄ ἐγίγνεσθε συνεδεῖσθε. νῦν οὖν ὃ λέγω πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐνδεικνύμενος͵ μάθετε. θνητὰ ἔτι γένη λοιπὰ τρία ἀγέννητα· τούτων δὲ μὴ γενομένων οὐρανὸς ἀτελὴς ἔσται· [41c] τὰ γὰρ ἅπαντ΄ ἐν αὑτῷ γένη ζῴων οὐχ ἕξει͵ δεῖ δέ͵ εἰ μέλλει τέλεος ἱκανῶς εἶναι. δι΄ ἐμοῦ δὲ ταῦτα γενόμενα καὶ βίου μετασχόντα θεοῖς ἰσάζοιτ΄ ἄν· ἵνα οὖν θνητά τε ᾖ τό τε πᾶν τόδε ὄντως ἅπαν ᾖ͵ τρέπεσθε κατὰ φύσιν ὑμεῖς ἐπὶ τὴν τῶν ζῴων δημιουργίαν͵ μιμούμενοι τὴν ἐμὴν δύναμιν περὶ τὴν ὑμετέραν γένεσιν. καὶ καθ΄ ὅσον μὲν αὐτῶν ἀθανάτοις ὁμώνυμον εἶναι προσήκει͵ θεῖον λεγόμενον ἡγεμονοῦν τε ἐν αὐτοῖς τῶν ἀεὶ δίκῃ καὶ ὑμῖν ἐθελόντων ἕπεσθαι͵ σπείρας καὶ ὑπαρξάμενος ἐγὼ παραδώσω· [41d] τὸ δὲ λοιπὸν ὑμεῖς͵ ἀθανάτῳ θνητὸν προσυφαίνοντες͵ ἀπεργάζεσθε ζῷα καὶ γεννᾶτε τροφήν τε διδόντες αὐξάνετε καὶ φθίνοντα πάλιν δέχεσθε.

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