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[59a] does not pass into a void but presses on the adjacent air, this in turn compresses the liquid mass which is still mobile into the abodes of the fire and combines it with itself; and the mass, being this, is compressed and recovering again its uniformity, because of the departure of the fire, the author of its non-uniformity, returns to its state of self-identity. And this cessation of the fire is termed “cooling,” and the combination which follows on its departure “solidification.” [59b]

Of all the kinds of water which we have termed “fusible,” the densest is produced from the finest and most uniform particles: this is a kind of unique form, tinged with a glittering and yellow hue, even that most precious of possessions, “gold,” which has been strained through stones and solidified. And the off-shoot of gold, which is very hard because of its density and black in color, is called “adamant.”1 And the kind which closely resembles gold in its particles but has more forms than one, and in density is more dense than gold, and partakes of small and fine portions of earth so that it is harder, while it is also lighter [59c] owing to its having large interstices within it,—this particular kind of the bright and solid waters, being compounded thus, is termed “bronze.” And the portion of earth that is mixed therewith becomes distinct by itself, when both grow old and separate again-each from the other; and then it is named “rust.”

And the rest of such phenomena it is no longer difficult to explain in full, if one aims at framing a description that is probable.2 For as regards this, whenever for the sake of recreation a man lays aside arguments concerning eternal Realities and considers probable accounts of Becoming, [59d] gaining thereby a pleasure not to be repented of, he provides for his life a pastime that is both moderate and sensible. To this pastime let us now give free play, and proceed to expound in order the subsequent probabilities concerning these same phenomena in the following way.

The water that is mixed with fire, which is fine and fluid, is termed “fluid,” owing to its motion and the way it rolls over the earth.3 Also it is soft owing to the fact that its bases, being less stable than those of earth, give way. When this kind is separated off from fire and air and isolated it becomes more uniform, [59e] but because of their outflow it is compressed upon itself; and when it is thus solidified, the part of it above the earth which is most affected by this process is termed “hail,” and the part upon the earth “ice” and the part which is less affected and is still only half-solid is called snow when it is above the earth, but when it is upon the earth and solidified out of dew it is called “hoar-frost.”

Now as regards most forms of water that are intermingled one with another, the kind as a whole, consisting of water that has been strained through earth-grown plants,

1 Perhaps haematite or platinum.

2 Cf. 29 B, D, 48 C, etc.

3 Alluding to a fanciful derivation of ὑγρόνfrom ὑπὲρ γῆν ῥέον.

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