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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Plato's TIMAEUS : Creation of the souls

Timaeus 41d-44d  * Greek Fonts


HUS he spake, and once more into the cup in which he had previously mingled the soul of the universe he poured the remains of the elements, and mingled them in much the same manner; they were not, however, pure as before, but diluted to the second and third degree. And having made it he divided the whole mixture into souls equal in number to the stars, and assigned each soul to a star; and having there placed them as in a chariot, he showed them the nature of the universe, and declared to them the laws of destiny, according to which their first birth would be one and the same for all,-no one should suffer a disadvantage at his hands; they were to be sown in the instruments of time severally adapted to them, and to come forth the most religious of animals; and as human nature was of two kinds, the superior race would here after be called man. Now, when they should be implanted in bodies by necessity, and be always gaining or losing some part of their bodily substance, then in the first place it would be necessary that they should all have in them one and the same faculty of sensation, arising out of irresistible impressions; in the second place, they must have love, in which pleasure and pain mingle; also fear and anger, and the feelings which are akin or opposite to them; if they conquered these they would live righteously, and if they were conquered by them, unrighteously. He who lived well during his appointed time was to return and dwell in his native star, and there he would have a blessed and congenial existence. But if he failed in attaining this, at the second birth he would pass into a woman, and if, when in that state of being, he did not desist from evil, he would continually be changed into some brute who resembled him in the evil nature which he had acquired, and would not cease from his toils and transformations until he followed the revolution of the same and the like within him, and overcame by the help of reason the turbulent and irrational mob of later accretions, made up of fire and air and water and earth, and returned to the form of his first and better state.

Having given all these laws to his creatures, that he might be guiltless of future evil in any of them, the creator sowed some of them in the earth, and some in the moon, and some in the other instruments of time; and when he had sown them he committed to the younger gods the fashioning of their mortal bodies, and desired them to furnish what was still lacking to the human soul, and having made all the suitable additions, to rule over them, and to pilot the mortal animal in the best and wisest manner which they could, and avert from him all but self-inflicted evils.

δημιουργία τῶν ψυχῶν

Ταῦτ΄ εἶπε͵ καὶ πάλιν ἐπὶ τὸν πρότερον κρατῆρα͵ ἐν ᾧ τὴν τοῦ παντὸς ψυχὴν κεραννὺς ἔμισγεν͵ τὰ τῶν πρόσθεν ὑπόλοιπα κατεχεῖτο μίσγων τρόπον μέν τινα τὸν αὐτόν͵ ἀκήρατα δὲ οὐκέτι κατὰ ταὐτὰ ὡσαύτως͵ ἀλλὰ δεύτερα καὶ τρίτα. συστήσας δὲ τὸ πᾶν διεῖλεν ψυχὰς ἰσαρίθμους τοῖς ἄστροις͵ [41e] ἔνειμέν θ΄ ἑκάστην πρὸς ἕκαστον͵ καὶ ἐμβιβάσας ὡς ἐς ὄχημα τὴν τοῦ παντὸς φύσιν ἔδειξεν͵ νόμους τε τοὺς εἱμαρμένους εἶπεν αὐταῖς͵ ὅτι γένεσις πρώτη μὲν ἔσοιτο τεταγμένη μία πᾶσιν͵ ἵνα μήτις ἐλαττοῖτο ὑπ΄ αὐτοῦ͵ δέοι δὲ σπαρείσας αὐτὰς εἰς τὰ προσήκοντα ἑκάσταις ἕκαστα ὄργανα χρόνων φῦναι ζῴων τὸ θεοσεβέστατον͵ [42a] διπλῆς δὲ οὔσης τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης φύσεως͵ τὸ κρεῖττον τοιοῦτον εἴη γένος ὃ καὶ ἔπειτα κεκλήσοιτο ἀνήρ. ὁπότε δὴ σώμασιν ἐμφυτευθεῖεν ἐξ ἀνάγκης͵ καὶ τὸ μὲν προσίοι͵ τὸ δ΄ ἀπίοι τοῦ σώματος αὐτῶν͵ πρῶτον μὲν αἴσθησιν ἀναγκαῖον εἴη μίαν πᾶσιν ἐκ βιαίων παθημάτων σύμφυτον γίγνεσθαι͵ δεύτερον δὲ ἡδονῇ καὶ λύπῃ μεμειγμένον ἔρωτα͵ [42b] πρὸς δὲ τούτοις φόβον καὶ θυμὸν ὅσα τε ἑπόμενα αὐτοῖς καὶ ὁπόσα ἐναντίως πέφυκε διεστηκότα· ὧν εἰ μὲν κρατήσοιεν͵ δίκῃ βιώσοιντο͵ κρατηθέντες δὲ ἀδικίᾳ. καὶ ὁ μὲν εὖ τὸν προσήκοντα χρόνον βιούς͵ πάλιν εἰς τὴν τοῦ συννόμου πορευθεὶς οἴκησιν ἄστρου͵ βίον εὐδαίμονα καὶ συνήθη ἕξοι͵ σφαλεὶς δὲ τούτων εἰς γυναικὸς φύσιν ἐν τῇ δευτέρᾳ γενέσει μεταβαλοῖ· [42c] μὴ παυόμενός τε ἐν τούτοις ἔτι κακίας͵ τρόπον ὃν κακύνοιτο͵ κατὰ τὴν ὁμοιότητα τῆς τοῦ τρόπου γενέσεως εἴς τινα τοιαύτην ἀεὶ μεταβαλοῖ θήρειον φύσιν͵ ἀλλάττων τε οὐ πρότερον πόνων λήξοι͵ πρὶν τῇ ταὐτοῦ καὶ ὁμοίου περιόδῳ τῇ ἐν αὑτῷ συνεπισπώμενος τὸν πολὺν ὄχλον καὶ ὕστερον προσφύντα ἐκ πυρὸς καὶ ὕδατος καὶ ἀέρος καὶ γῆς͵ θορυβώδη καὶ ἄλογον ὄντα͵ [42d] λόγῳ κρατήσας εἰς τὸ τῆς πρώτης καὶ ἀρίστης ἀφίκοιτο εἶδος ἕξεως.


διαθεσμοθετήσας δὲ πάντα αὐτοῖς ταῦτα͵ ἵνα τῆς ἔπειτα εἴη κακίας ἑκάστων ἀναίτιος͵ ἔσπειρεν τοὺς μὲν εἰς γῆν͵ τοὺς δ΄ εἰς σελήνην͵ τοὺς δ΄ εἰς τἆλλα ὅσα ὄργανα χρόνου· τὸ δὲ μετὰ τὸν σπόρον τοῖς νέοις παρέδωκεν θεοῖς σώματα πλάττειν θνητά͵ τό τ΄ ἐπίλοιπον͵ ὅσον ἔτι ἦν ψυχῆς ἀνθρωπίνης δέον προσγενέσθαι͵ [42e] τοῦτο καὶ πάνθ΄ ὅσα ἀκόλουθα ἐκείνοις ἀπεργασαμένους ἄρχειν͵ καὶ κατὰ δύναμιν ὅτι κάλλιστα καὶ ἄριστα τὸ θνητὸν διακυβερνᾶν ζῷον͵ ὅτι μὴ κακῶν αὐτὸ ἑαυτῷ γίγνοιτο αἴτιον.

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