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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Plato's TIMAEUS : Pleasure and pain

Timaeus 64a - 69a  * Greek Fonts


Page 3

Thus have we discussed the general affections of the whole body, and the names of the agents which produce them. And now I will endeavour to speak of the affections of particular parts, and the causes and agents of them, as far as I am able. In the first place let us set forth what was omitted when we were speaking of juices, concerning the affections peculiar to the tongue. These too, like most of the other affections, appear to be caused by certain contractions and dilations, but they have besides more of roughness and smoothness than is found in other affections; for whenever earthy particles enter into the small veins which are the testing of the tongue, reaching to the heart, and fall upon the moist, delicate portions of flesh-when, as they are dissolved, they contract and dry up the little veins, they are astringent if they are rougher, but if not so rough, then only harsh. Those of them which are of an abstergent nature, and purge the whole surface of the tongue, if they do it in excess, and so encroach as to consume some part of the flesh itself, like potash and soda, are all termed bitter. But the particles which are deficient in the alkaline quality, and which cleanse only moderately, are called salt, and having no bitterness or roughness, are regarded as rather agreeable than otherwise. Bodies which share in and are made smooth by the heat of the mouth, and which are inflamed, and again in turn inflame that which heats them, and which are so light that they are carried upwards to the sensations of the head, and cut all that comes in their way, by reason of these qualities in them, are all termed pungent.

Καὶ τὰ μὲν δὴ κοινὰ τοῦ σώματος παντὸς παθήματα͵ τῶν τ΄ ἐπωνυμιῶν ὅσαι τοῖς δρῶσιν αὐτὰ γεγόνασι͵ σχεδὸν εἴρηται· τὰ δ΄ ἐν ἰδίοις μέρεσιν ἡμῶν γιγνόμενα͵ τά τε πάθη καὶ τὰς αἰτίας αὖ τῶν δρώντων͵ πειρατέον εἰπεῖν͵ ἄν πῃ δυνώμεθα. [65c] πρῶτον οὖν ὅσα τῶν χυμῶν πέρι λέγοντες ἐν τοῖς πρόσθεν ἀπελίπομεν͵ ἴδια ὄντα παθήματα περὶ τὴν γλῶτταν͵ ἐμφανιστέον ᾗ δυνατόν. φαίνεται δὲ καὶ ταῦτα͵ ὥσπερ οὖν καὶ τὰ πολλά͵ διὰ συγκρίσεών τέ τινων καὶ διακρίσεων γίγνεσθαι͵ πρὸς δὲ αὐταῖς κεχρῆσθαι μᾶλλόν τι τῶν ἄλλων τραχύτησί τε καὶ λειότησιν. ὅσα μὲν γὰρ εἰσιόντα περὶ τὰ φλέβια͵ [65d] οἷόνπερ δοκίμια τῆς γλώττης τεταμένα ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν͵ εἰς τὰ νοτερὰ τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ ἁπαλὰ ἐμπίπτοντα γήϊνα μέρη κατατηκόμενα συνάγει τὰ φλέβια καὶ ἀποξηραίνει͵ τραχύτερα μὲν ὄντα στρυφνά͵ ἧττον δὲ τραχύνοντα αὐστηρὰ φαίνεται· τὰ δὲ τούτων τε ῥυπτικὰ καὶ πᾶν τὸ περὶ τὴν γλῶτταν ἀποπλύνοντα͵ πέρα μὲν τοῦ μετρίου τοῦτο δρῶντα καὶ προσεπιλαμβανόμενα ὥστε ἀποτήκειν αὐτῆς τῆς φύσεως͵ [65e] οἷον ἡ τῶν λίτρων δύναμις͵ πικρὰ πάνθ΄ οὕτως ὠνόμασται͵ τὰ δὲ ὑποδεέστερα τῆς λιτρώδους ἕξεως ἐπὶ τὸ μέτριόν τε τῇ ῥύψει χρώμενα ἁλυκὰ ἄνευ πικρότητος τραχείας καὶ φίλα μᾶλλον ἡμῖν φαντάζεται. τὰ δὲ τῇ τοῦ στόματος θερμότητι κοινωνήσαντα καὶ λεαινόμενα ὑπ΄ αὐτοῦ͵ συνεκπυρούμενα καὶ πάλιν αὐτὰ ἀντικάοντα τὸ διαθερμῆναν͵ φερόμενά τε ὑπὸ κουφότητος ἄνω πρὸς τὰς τῆς κεφαλῆς αἰσθήσεις͵ [66a] τέμνοντά τε πάνθ΄ ὁπόσοις ἂν προσπίπτῃ͵ διὰ ταύτας τὰς δυνάμεις δριμέα πάντα τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐλέχθη.

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