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[616a] and others they bound hand and foot and head and flung down and flayed them and dragged them by the wayside, carding them on thorns and signifying to those who from time to time passed by for what cause they were borne away, and that they were to be hurled into Tartarus.1 And then, though many and manifold dread things had befallen them, this fear exceeded all—lest each one should hear the voice when he tried to go up, and each went up most gladly when it had kept silence. And the judgements and penalties were somewhat after this manner, [616b] and the blessings were their counterparts. But when seven days had elapsed for each group in the meadow, they were required to rise up on the eighth and journey on, and they came in four days to a spot whence they discerned, extended from above throughout the heaven and the earth, a straight light like a pillar, most nearly resembling the rainbow, but brighter and purer. To this they came [616c] after going forward a day's journey, and they saw there at the middle of the light the extremities of its fastenings stretched from heaven; for this light was the girdle of the heavens like the undergirders2 of triremes, holding together in like manner the entire revolving vault. And from the extremities was stretched the spindle of Necessity,3 through which all the orbits turned. Its staff and its hook were made of adamant, and the whorl of these and other kinds was commingled. And the nature of the whorl was this: [616d] Its shape was that of those in our world, but from his description we must conceive it to be as if in one great whorl, hollow and scooped out, there lay enclosed, right through, another like it but smaller, fitting into it as boxes that fit into one another,4 and in like manner another, a third, and a fourth, and four others, for there were eight of the whorls in all, lying within one another, [616e] showing their rims as circles from above and forming the continuous back of a single whorl about the shaft, which was driven home through the middle of the eighth. Now the first and outmost whorl had the broadest circular rim, that of the sixth was second, and third was that of the fourth, and fourth was that of the eighth, fifth that of the seventh, sixth that of the fifth, seventh that of the third, eighth that of the second; and that of the greatest was spangled, that of the seventh brightest, that of the eighth

1 Il. viii. 13 f., Hesiod, Theog. 682, 721, etc., Pind.Pyth. i. 15 f., Eurip.Orest. 265μέσον μ᾽ ὀχμάζεις ὡς βάλῃς εἰς Τάρταρον.

2 Cf. Blaydes on Aristoph.Knights 279, Acts xxvii. 17.

3 Plotinus, Enn. ii. 3 9, p. 35, vol. ii. Budé e. “Mais (dira-t-on) rappelons-nous ‘le fuseau’; pour les anciens, c’était un fuseau matériel que tournent en filant les Moires; pour Platon, il représente le ciel des fixes; or les Moires et la Nécessité, leur mère, en le faisant tourner, filent le destin de chaque être à sa naissance; par elle, les êtres engendrés arrivent â la naissance,” etc. St. Paulinus Nolanus calls it a deliramentum. Tannery, Science hellène, p. 238, thinks it alludes to the system of Parmenides. “Le fuseau central de la Nécessité l'indique suffisamment; si la présence des sirènes est une marque de pythagorisme, elle pent seulement signifier soit les relations de Parménide avec l’école soit plutôt l'origine des déterminations particulières que donne Platon et qui évidemment ne remontent pas à l’Eléate.” Cf. ibid. p. 246. For various details of the picture cf. Milton, the Genius's speech in “Arcades” (quoted and commented on in E.M.W. Tillyard, Milton, p. 376).

4 Cf. Burnet, Early Greek Philos. pp. 216-217 “In Plato's Myth of Er, which is certainly Pythagorean in its general character, we do not hear of spheres but of the ‘lips’ of concentric whorls fitted into one another like a nest of boxes . . . “ With 616-617 Cf. Laws 822 A-B, Tim. 36 D, Dante, Convivio, ii. 3. 5 ff. The names of the planets occur first in Epinomis 987 B-C.

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