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Chapter III.—Summary of the Opinions of Philosophers Continued.

But among those who derive all entities from more things than one, and from numerable quantities, the poet Homer asserts that the universe consists of two substances, namely earth and water; at one time expressing himself thus:—

“The source of gods was Sea and Mother Earth.”10371037    Iliad, xiv. 201.

And on another occasion thus:—

“But indeed ye all might become water and earth.”10381038    Ibid., vii. 99.

And Xenophanes of Colophon seems to coincide with him, for he says:—

“We all are sprung from water and from earth.”10391039    See Karst., Fragm., ix. p. 46.

Euripides, however, (derives the universe) from earth and air, as one may ascertain from the following assertion of his:—

“Mother of all, air and earth, I sing.”10401040    Fabricius, in his Commentary on Sextus Empiricus, considers that this is a quotation from the Hymns of Euripides.

But Empedocles derives the universe from four principles, expressing himself thus:—

“Four roots of all things hear thou first:

Brilliant Jove, and life-giving Juno and Aidoneus,

And Nestis, that with tears bedews the Mortal Font.”10411041    V. 55–57, ed. Karst.

Ocellus, however, the Lucanian, and Aristotle, derive the universe from five principles; for, along with the four elements, they have assumed the existence of a fifth, and (that this is) a body with a circular motion; and they say that from this, things celestial have their being. But the disciples of Empedocles supposed the generation of the universe to have proceeded from six principles. For in the passage where he says, “Four roots of all things hear thou first,” he produces generation out of four principles. When, however, he subjoins,—

“Ruinous Strife apart from these, equal in every point,

And with them Friendship equal in length and breadth,”10421042    V. 106, 107, ed. Karst.

he also delivers six principles of the universe, four of them material—earth, water, fire, and air; but two of them formative—Friendship and Discord. The followers, however, of Anaxagoras of Clazomenæ, and of Democritus, and of Epicurus, and multitudes of others, have given it as their opinion that the generation of the universe proceeds from infinite numbers of atoms; and we have previously made partial mention of these philosophers. But Anaxagoras derives the universe from things similar to those that are being produced; whereas the followers of Democritus and Epicurus derived the universe from things both dissimilar (to the entities produced), and devoid of passion, that is, from atoms. But the followers of Heraclides of Pontus, and of Asclepiades, derived the universe from things dissimilar (to the entities produced), and capable of passion, as if from incongruous corpuscles. But the disciples of Plato affirm that these entities are from three principles—God, and Matter, and Exemplar. He divides matter, however, into four principles—fire, water, earth, and air. And (he says) that God is the Creator of this (matter), and that Mind is its exemplar.10431043    [See De Legibus, lib. x., and note xii. p. 119, Tayler Lewis’ Plato against the Atheists.]

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