Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Plato's TIMAEUS : Powers of the soul

Timaeus 69a - 72d  * Greek Fonts


Page 2

Wherefore, fearing to pollute the divine any more than was absolutely unavoidable, they gave to the mortal nature a separate habitation in another part of the body, placing the neck between them to be the isthmus and boundary, which they constructed between the head and breast, to keep them apart. And in the breast, and in what is termed the thorax, they encased the mortal soul; and as the one part of this was superior and the other inferior they divided the cavity of the thorax into two parts, as the women's and men's apartments are divided in houses, and placed the midriff to be a wall of partition between them. That part of the inferior soul which is endowed with courage and passion and loves contention they settled nearer the head, midway between the midriff and the neck, in order that it might be under the rule of reason and might join with it in controlling and restraining the desires when they are no longer willing of their own accord to obey the word of command issuing from the citadel.

The heart, the knot of the veins and the fountain of the blood which races through all the limbs was set in the place of guard, that when the might of passion was roused by reason making proclamation of any wrong assailing them from without or being perpetrated by the desires within, quickly the whole power of feeling in the body, perceiving these commands and threats, might obey and follow through every turn and alley, and thus allow the principle of the best to have the command in all of them. But the gods, foreknowing that the palpitation of the heart in the expectation of danger and the swelling and excitement of passion was caused by fire, formed and implanted as a supporter to the heart the lung, which was, in the first place, soft and bloodless, and also had within hollows like the pores of a sponge, in order that by receiving the breath and the drink, it might give coolness and the power of respiration and alleviate the heat. Wherefore they cut the air-channels leading to the lung, and placed the lung about the heart as a soft spring, that, when passion was rife within, the heart, beating against a yielding body, might be cooled and suffer less, and might thus become more ready to join with passion in the service of reason.

καὶ διὰ ταῦτα δὴ σεβόμενοι μιαίνειν τὸ θεῖον͵ ὅτι μὴ πᾶσα ἦν ἀνάγκη͵ χωρὶς ἐκείνου κατοικίζουσιν εἰς ἄλλην τοῦ σώματος οἴκησιν τὸ θνητόν͵ [69e] ἰσθμὸν καὶ ὅρον διοικοδομήσαντες τῆς τε κεφαλῆς καὶ τοῦ στήθους͵ αὐχένα μεταξὺ τιθέντες͵ ἵν΄ εἴη χωρίς. ἐν δὴ τοῖς στήθεσιν καὶ τῷ καλουμένῳ θώρακι τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς θνητὸν γένος ἐνέδουν. καὶ ἐπειδὴ τὸ μὲν ἄμεινον αὐτῆς͵ τὸ δὲ χεῖρον ἐπεφύκει͵ διοικοδομοῦσι τοῦ θώρακος αὖ τὸ κύτος͵ διορίζοντες οἷον γυναικῶν͵ [70a] τὴν δὲ ἀνδρῶν χωρὶς οἴκησιν͵ τὰς φρένας διάφραγμα εἰς τὸ μέσον αὐτῶν τιθέντες. τὸ μετέχον οὖν τῆς ψυχῆς ἀνδρείας καὶ θυμοῦ͵ φιλόνικον ὄν͵ κατῴκισαν ἐγγυτέρω τῆς κεφαλῆς μεταξὺ τῶν φρενῶν τε καὶ αὐχένος͵ ἵνα τοῦ λόγου κατήκοον ὂν κοινῇ μετ΄ ἐκείνου βίᾳ τὸ τῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν κατέχοι γένος͵ ὁπότ΄ ἐκ τῆς ἀκροπόλεως τῷ τ΄ ἐπιτάγματι καὶ λόγῳ μηδαμῇ πείθεσθαι ἑκὸν ἐθέλοι·


[70b] τὴν δὲ δὴ καρδίαν ἅμμα τῶν φλεβῶν καὶ πηγὴν τοῦ περιφερομένου κατὰ πάντα τὰ μέλη σφοδρῶς αἵματος εἰς τὴν δορυφορικὴν οἴκησιν κατέστησαν͵ ἵνα͵ ὅτε ζέσειεν τὸ τοῦ θυμοῦ μένος͵ τοῦ λόγου παραγγείλαντος ὥς τις ἄδικος περὶ αὐτὰ γίγνεται πρᾶξις ἔξωθεν ἢ καί τις ἀπὸ τῶν ἔνδοθεν ἐπιθυμιῶν͵ ὀξέως διὰ πάντων τῶν στενωπῶν πᾶν ὅσον αἰσθητικὸν ἐν τῷ σώματι͵ τῶν τε παρακελεύσεων καὶ ἀπειλῶν αἰσθανόμενον͵ γίγνοιτο ἐπήκοον καὶ ἕποιτο πάντῃ͵ καὶ τὸ βέλτιστον οὕτως ἐν αὐτοῖς πᾶσιν ἡγεμονεῖν ἐῷ. [70c] τῇ δὲ δὴ πηδήσει τῆς καρδίας ἐν τῇ τῶν δεινῶν προσδοκίᾳ καὶ τῇ τοῦ θυμοῦ ἐγέρσει͵ προγιγνώσκοντες ὅτι διὰ πυρὸς ἡ τοιαύτη πᾶσα ἔμελλεν οἴδησις γίγνεσθαι τῶν θυμουμένων͵ ἐπικουρίαν αὐτῇ μηχανώμενοι τὴν τοῦ πλεύμονος ἰδέαν ἐνεφύτευσαν͵ πρῶτον μὲν μαλακὴν καὶ ἄναιμον͵ εἶτα σήραγγας ἐντὸς ἔχουσαν οἷον σπόγγου κατατετρημένας͵ ἵνα τό τε πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ πῶμα δεχομένη͵ [70d] ψύχουσα͵ ἀναπνοὴν καὶ ῥᾳστώνην ἐν τῷ καύματι παρέχοι· διὸ δὴ τῆς ἀρτηρίας ὀχετοὺς ἐπὶ τὸν πλεύμονα ἔτεμον͵ καὶ περὶ τὴν καρδίαν αὐτὸν περιέστησαν οἷον μάλαγμα͵ ἵν΄ ὁ θυμὸς ἡνίκα ἐν αὐτῇ ἀκμάζοι͵ πηδῶσα εἰς ὑπεῖκον καὶ ἀναψυχομένη͵ πονοῦσα ἧττον͵ μᾶλλον τῷ λόγῳ μετὰ θυμοῦ δύναιτο ὑπηρετεῖν.

First / Next Page of this chapter

Previous chapter  *  Timaeus index  *  Next chapter

Septuagint Genesis Septuagint Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomomy Septuagint Psalms Septuagint Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach Septuagint Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel Septuagint Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi The Authentic Greek New Testament Bilingual New Testament I
Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Learned Freeware

Reference address :