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[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 undergirders1 of triremes, holding together in like manner the entire revolving vault. And from the extremities was stretched the spindle of Necessity,2 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:

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

2 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).

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