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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Plato's TIMAEUS : Time

Timaeus 37c-39e  * Greek Fonts


Page 2

Time, then, and the heaven came into being at the same instant in order that, having been created together, if ever there was to be a dissolution of them, they might be dissolved together. It was framed after the pattern of the eternal nature, that it might resemble this as far as was possible; for the pattern exists from eternity, and the created heaven has been, and is, and will be, in all time. Such was the mind and thought of God in the creation of time. The sun and moon and five other stars, which are called the planets, were created by him in order to distinguish and preserve the numbers of time; and when he had made-their several bodies, he placed them in the orbits in which the circle of the other was revolving-in seven orbits seven stars. First, there was the moon in the orbit nearest the earth, and next the sun, in the second orbit above the earth; then came the morning star and the star sacred to Hermes, moving in orbits which have an equal swiftness with the sun, but in an opposite direction; and this is the reason why the sun and Hermes and Lucifer overtake and are overtaken by each other. To enumerate the places which he assigned to the other stars, and to give all the reasons why he assigned them, although a secondary matter, would give more trouble than the primary. These things at some future time, when we are at leisure, may have the consideration which they deserve, but not at present.

Χρόνος δ΄ οὖν μετ΄ οὐρανοῦ γέγονεν͵ ἵνα ἅμα γεννηθέντες ἅμα καὶ λυθῶσιν͵ ἄν ποτε λύσις τις αὐτῶν γίγνηται͵ καὶ κατὰ τὸ παράδειγμα τῆς διαιωνίας φύσεως͵ ἵν΄ ὡς ὁμοιότατος αὐτῷ κατὰ δύναμιν ᾖ· [38c] τὸ μὲν γὰρ δὴ παράδειγμα πάντα αἰῶνά ἐστιν ὄν͵ ὁ δ΄ αὖ διὰ τέλους τὸν ἅπαντα χρόνον γεγονώς τε καὶ ὢν καὶ ἐσόμενος. ἐξ οὖν λόγου καὶ διανοίας θεοῦ τοιαύτης πρὸς χρόνου γένεσιν͵ ἵνα γεννηθῇ χρόνος͵ ἥλιος καὶ σελήνη καὶ πέντε ἄλλα ἄστρα͵ ἐπίκλην ἔχοντα πλανητά͵ εἰς διορισμὸν καὶ φυλακὴν ἀριθμῶν χρόνου γέγονεν· σώματα δὲ αὐτῶν ἑκάστων ποιήσας ὁ θεὸς ἔθηκεν εἰς τὰς περιφορὰς ἃς ἡ θατέρου περίοδος ᾔειν͵ ἑπτὰ οὔσας ὄντα ἑπτά͵ [38d] σελήνην μὲν εἰς τὸν περὶ γῆν πρῶτον͵ ἥλιον δὲ εἰς τὸν δεύτερον ὑπὲρ γῆς͵ ἑωσφόρον δὲ καὶ τὸν ἱερὸν Ἑρμοῦ λεγόμενον εἰς [τὸν] τάχει μὲν ἰσόδρομον ἡλίῳ κύκλον ἰόντας͵ τὴν δὲ ἐναντίαν εἰληχότας αὐτῷ δύναμιν· ὅθεν καταλαμβάνουσίν τε καὶ καταλαμβάνονται κατὰ ταὐτὰ ὑπ΄ ἀλλήλων ἥλιός τε καὶ ὁ τοῦ Ἑρμοῦ καὶ ἑωσφόρος. τὰ δ΄ ἄλλα οἷ δὴ καὶ δι΄ ἃς αἰτίας ἱδρύσατο͵ εἴ τις ἐπεξίοι πάσας͵ ὁ λόγος πάρεργος ὢν πλέον ἂν ἔργον ὧν ἕνεκα λέγεται παράσχοι. [38e] ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ἴσως τάχ΄ ἂν κατὰ σχολὴν ὕστερον τῆς ἀξίας τύχοι διηγήσεως·

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