Strife may vanish away from the ranks of the gods and of mortals,lie fails to note that he is invoking a curse on the origin of all things, since all things originate from strife and antagonism; also Heracleitus says that the Sun will not transgress his appropriate bounds, otherwise the stern-eyed maidens, ministers of Justice, will find him out.5 Empedocles6 calls the beneficent principle ‘friendship’ or ‘friendliness,’ and oftentimes he calls Concord [p. 119] ‘sedate of countenance’; the worse principle he calls ‘accursed quarrelling’ and ‘blood-stained strife.’ The adherents of Pythagoras7 include a variety of terms under these categories : under the good they set Unity, the Determinate, the Permanent, the Straight, the Odd, the Square, the Equal, the Righthanded, the Bright; under the bad they set Duality, the Indeterminate, the Moving, the Curved, the Even, the Oblong, the Unequal, the Left-handed, the Dark, on the supposition that these are the underlying principles of creation. For these, however, Anaxagoras postulates Mind and Infinitude, Aristotle8 Form and Privation, and Plato,9 in many passages, as though obscuring and veiling his opinion, names the one of the opposing principles ‘Identity’ and the other ‘Difference’ ; but in his Laws,10 when he had grown considerably older, he asserts, not in circumlocution or symbolically, but. in specific words, that the movement of the Universe is actuated not by one soul, but perhaps by several, and certainly by not less than two, and of these the one is beneficent, and the other is opposed to it and the artificer of things opposed. Between these he leaves a certain third nature, not inanimate nor irrational nor without the power to move of itself,11 as some think, but with dependence on both those others, and desiring the better always and yearning after it and pursuing it, as the succeeding portion of the treatise will make clear, in the [p. 121] endeavour to reconcile the religious beliefs of the Egyptians with this philosophy.12
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
1 The translation is based on an emendation of Wyttenbach's, which makes the words refer to Chaldean astrology (i.e. the planet under which one is born). Cf. Sextus Empiricus, Adversus Mathematicos, v. 29.
2 That is, from Love and War.
3 Diels, Frag. der Vorsokratiker, i. p. 88, no. b 53.
4 Il. xviii. 107, but Plutarch modifies the line to suit his context.
5 Cf. Moralia, 604 a; Origen, Against Celsus, vi. 42; Diels, Frag. der Vorsokratiker, i. p. 96, no. b 94.
6 Ibid. p. 232, Empedocles, no. 18; p. 239, no. 17, 1. 19; and p. 269, no. 122 (=Moralia, 474 b).
7 Cf. Moralia, 881 e, and Aristotle, Metaphysics, i. 5 (986 a 22).
8 Cf. Aristotle, Metaphysics, i. 9 (990 b).
9 Timaeus, 35 a; cf. Moralia, 441 f.
10 Plato, Laws, 896 d ff.
11 Cf. 374 e, infra.
12 Cf. 372 e and 377 a, infra.