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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Plato's TIMAEUS : Powers of the soul

Timaeus 69a - 72d  * Greek Fonts


EEING, then, that we have now prepared for our use the various classes of causes which are the material out of which the remainder of our discourse must be woven, just as wood is the material of the carpenter, let us revert in a few words to the point at which we began, and then endeavour to add on a suitable ending to the beginning of our tale.

As I said at first, when all things were in disorder God created in each thing in relation to itself, and in all things in relation to each other, all the measures and harmonies which they could possibly receive. For in those days nothing had any proportion except by accident; nor did any of the things which now have names deserve to be named at all-as, for example, fire, water, and the rest of the elements. All these the creator first set in order, and out of them he constructed the universe, which was a single animal comprehending in itself all other animals, mortal and immortal. Now of the divine, he himself was the creator, but the creation of the mortal he committed to his offspring. And they, imitating him, received from him the immortal principle of the soul; and around this they proceeded to fashion a mortal body, and made it to be the vehicle of the soul and constructed within the body a soul of another nature which was mortal, subject to terrible and irresistible affections-first of all, pleasure, the greatest incitement to evil; then, pain, which deters from good; also rashness and fear, two foolish counsellors, anger hard to be appeased, and hope easily led astray-these they mingled with irrational sense and with all-daring love according to necessary laws, and so framed man.

δυνάμεις τῆς ψυχῆς

Ὅτ΄ οὖν δὴ τὰ νῦν οἷα τέκτοσιν ἡμῖν ὕλη παράκειται τὰ τῶν αἰτίων γένη διυλισμένα͵ ἐξ ὧν τὸν ἐπίλοιπον λόγον δεῖ συνυφανθῆναι͵ πάλιν ἐπ΄ ἀρχὴν ἐπανέλθωμεν διὰ βραχέων͵ ταχύ τε εἰς ταὐτὸν πορευθῶμεν ὅθεν δεῦρο ἀφικόμεθα͵ [69b] καὶ τελευτὴν ἤδη κεφαλήν τε τῷ μύθῳ πειρώμεθα ἁρμόττουσαν ἐπιθεῖναι τοῖς πρόσθεν.

ὥσπερ γὰρ οὖν καὶ κατ΄ ἀρχὰς ἐλέχθη͵ ταῦτα ἀτάκτως ἔχοντα ὁ θεὸς ἐν ἑκάστῳ τε αὐτῷ πρὸς αὑτὸ καὶ πρὸς ἄλληλα συμμετρίας ἐνεποίησεν͵ ὅσας τε καὶ ὅπῃ δυνατὸν ἦν ἀνάλογα καὶ σύμμετρα εἶναι. τότε γὰρ οὔτε τούτων͵ ὅσον μὴ τύχῃ͵ τι μετεῖχεν͵ οὔτε τὸ παράπαν ὀνομάσαι τῶν νῦν ὀνομαζομένων ἀξιόλογον ἦν οὐδέν͵ οἷον πῦρ καὶ ὕδωρ καὶ εἴ τι τῶν ἄλλων· [69c] ἀλλὰ πάντα ταῦτα πρῶτον διεκόσμησεν͵ ἔπειτ΄ ἐκ τούτων πᾶν τόδε συνεστήσατο͵ ζῷον ἓν ζῷα ἔχον τὰ πάντα ἐν ἑαυτῷ θνητὰ ἀθάνατά τε. καὶ τῶν μὲν θείων αὐτὸς γίγνεται δημιουργός͵ τῶν δὲ θνητῶν τὴν γένεσιν τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ γεννήμασιν δημιουργεῖν προσέταξεν. οἱ δὲ μιμούμενοι͵ παραλαβόντες ἀρχὴν ψυχῆς ἀθάνατον͵ τὸ μετὰ τοῦτο θνητὸν σῶμα αὐτῇ περιετόρνευσαν ὄχημά τε πᾶν τὸ σῶμα ἔδοσαν ἄλλο τε εἶδος ἐν αὐτῷ ψυχῆς προσῳκοδόμουν τὸ θνητόν͵ δεινὰ καὶ ἀναγκαῖα ἐν ἑαυτῷ παθήματα ἔχον͵ [69d] πρῶτον μὲν ἡδονήν͵ μέγιστον κακοῦ δέλεαρ͵ ἔπειτα λύπας͵ ἀγαθῶν φυγάς͵ ἔτι δ΄ αὖ θάρρος καὶ φόβον͵ ἄφρονε συμβούλω͵ θυμὸν δὲ δυσπαραμύθητον͵ ἐλπίδα δ΄ εὐπαράγωγον· αἰσθήσει δὲ ἀλόγῳ καὶ ἐπιχειρητῇ παντὸς ἔρωτι συγκερασάμενοι ταῦτα͵ ἀναγκαίως τὸ θνητὸν γένος συνέθεσαν.

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