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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Plato's TIMAEUS : Creation of the souls

Timaeus 41d-44d  * Greek Fonts


Page 3

and if again any sensations enter in violently from without and drag after them the whole vessel of the soul, then the courses of the soul, though they seem to conquer, are really conquered. And by reason of all these affections, the soul, when encased in a mortal body, now, as in the beginning, is at first without intelligence; but when the flood of growth and nutriment abates, and the courses of the soul, calming down, go their own way and become steadier as time goes on, then the several circles return to their natural form, and their revolutions are corrected, and they call the same and the other by their right names, and make the possessor of them to become a rational being. And if these combine in him with any true nurture or education, he attains the fulness and health of the perfect man, and escapes the worst disease of all; but if he neglects education he walks lame to the end of his life, and returns imperfect and good for nothing to the world below. This, however, is a later stage; at present we must treat more exactly the subject before us, which involves a preliminary enquiry into the generation of the body and its members, and as to how the soul was created-for what reason and by what providence of the gods; and holding fast to probability, we must pursue our way.


αἷς δ΄ ἂν ἔξωθεν αἰσθήσεις τινὲς φερόμεναι καὶ προσπεσοῦσαι συνεπισπάσωνται καὶ τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ἅπαν κύτος͵ τόθ΄ αὗται κρατούμεναι κρατεῖν δοκοῦσι. καὶ διὰ δὴ ταῦτα πάντα τὰ παθήματα νῦν κατ΄ ἀρχάς τε ἄνους ψυχὴ γίγνεται τὸ πρῶτον͵ ὅταν εἰς σῶμα ἐνδεθῇ θνητόν. [44b] ὅταν δὲ τὸ τῆς αὔξης καὶ τροφῆς ἔλαττον ἐπίῃ ῥεῦμα͵ πάλιν δὲ αἱ περίοδοι λαμβανόμεναι γαλήνης τὴν ἑαυτῶν ὁδὸν ἴωσι καὶ καθιστῶνται μᾶλλον ἐπιόντος τοῦ χρόνου͵ τότε ἤδη πρὸς τὸ κατὰ φύσιν ἰόντων σχῆμα ἑκάστων τῶν κύκλων αἱ περιφοραὶ κατευθυνόμεναι͵ τό τε θάτερον καὶ τὸ ταὐτὸν προσαγορεύουσαι κατ΄ ὀρθόν͵ ἔμφρονα τὸν ἔχοντα αὐτὰς γιγνόμενον ἀποτελοῦσιν. ἂν μὲν οὖν δὴ καὶ συνεπιλαμβάνηταί τις ὀρθὴ τροφὴ παιδεύσεως͵ [44c] ὁλόκληρος ὑγιής τε παντελῶς͵ τὴν μεγίστην ἀποφυγὼν νόσον͵ γίγνεται· καταμελήσας δέ͵ χωλὴν τοῦ βίου διαπορευθεὶς ζωήν͵ ἀτελὴς καὶ ἀνόητος εἰς Ἅιδου πάλιν ἔρχεται. ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ὕστερά ποτε γίγνεται· περὶ δὲ τῶν νῦν προτεθέντων δεῖ διελθεῖν ἀκριβέστερον͵ τὰ δὲ πρὸ τούτων͵ περὶ σωμάτων κατὰ μέρη τῆς γενέσεως καὶ περὶ ψυχῆς͵ δι΄ ἅς τε αἰτίας καὶ προνοίας γέγονε θεῶν͵ [44d] τοῦ μάλιστα εἰκότος ἀντεχομένοις͵ οὕτω καὶ κατὰ ταῦτα πορευομένοις διεξιτέον.

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