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Fragments of the Lost Writings of Proclus

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Author Topic: Fragments of the Lost Writings of Proclus  (Read 1550 times)
Major Weatherly
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« on: February 06, 2009, 01:16:41 pm »

p. 11

The Original of the following Extracts, from the same Treatise of Proclus, is only to be found in the Commentary of Simplicius on the Third Book of Aristotle's Treatise on the Heavens. *
IN answer to the objection of Aristotle, that if the elements are generated by a dissolution into planes, it is absurd to suppose that all things are not generated from each other,—Proclus observes, "that we must assert the very contrary. For the phænomena do not accord with those who transmute earth, and move things immovable. For we never see earth changed into other things; but terrestrial natures are changed, so far as they are full of air or water. All earth, however, is unchangeable,

p. 12

because earth alone becomes, as it were, ashes, or a calx. For in metallic operations, the whole of the moisture in metals is consumed, but the ashes remain impassive. Not that earth is entirely impassive to other things; for it is divided by them falling upon it; yet the parts of it remain, until again falling on each other, they from themselves make one body. But if it should be said that earth, on account of its qualities, is changed into other things, being itself cold and dry, earth will be more swiftly changed into fire than into water; though water, indeed, appears to be burnt, but earth, when subsisting by itself, (i.e. when it is pure earth, and earth alone,) is not burnt." He adds, "And the heaven, indeed, is neither divisible nor

p. 13

imitable; but the earth existing as the most ancient of the bodies within the heaven, is divisible, but not mutable; and the intermediate natures are both divisible and mutable."

Aristotle observes, "that earth is especially an element, and is alone incorruptible, if that which is indissoluble is incorruptible, and an element. For earth alone is incapable of being dissolved into another body." The philosopher Proclus replies to this objection, yielding to what Aristotle says about earth, viz. that it is perfectly incapable of being changed into the other three elements. And he says, "that Plato, on this account, calls it the first and most ancient of the bodies within the heaven, as unchangeable into other things, and that the other elements give completion to the earth, in whose bosom they are seated, viz. water, air, and sublunary fire. But in consequence of being, after a manner, divided by the other elements, it becomes one of them; for division is a passion which exterminates continuity. If, however, it suffers being divided by the other elements, and energises on them, embracing, compressing, and thus causing them to waste away, it is very properly co-divided with those things from which it suffers, and on which it energises according to the same passion in a certain respect. For there is a division of each,

p. 14

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