Tuesday, April 05, 2016


Earth and Sky

Euripides, fragment 839 (tr. Christopher Collard and Martin Cropp):
Earth, greatest one, and Aether, realm of Zeus—he the begetter of human kind and gods, while she, receiving his damp moisture-spreading drops, bears mortals, bears vegetation and the families of beasts, and so is rightly considered mother of all. Those things that were born from earth return to earth, and those that grew from ethereal seed go back to the heavenly region. None of those things that come into being perishes, but one is separated from another and exhibits a different form.

Γαῖα μεγίστη καὶ Διὸς Αἰθήρ,
ὁ μὲν ἀνθρώπων καὶ θεῶν γενέτωρ,
ἡ δ᾿ ὑγροβόλους σταγόνας νοτίας
παραδεξαμένη τίκτει θνητούς,
τίκτει βοτάνην φῦλά τε θηρῶν,        5
ὅθεν οὐκ ἀδίκως
μήτηρ πάντων νενόμισται.
χωρεῖ δ᾿ ὀπίσω
τὰ μὲν ἐκ γαίας φύντ᾿ εἰς γαῖαν,
τὰ δ᾿ ἀπ᾿ αἰθερίου βλαστόντα γονῆς        10
εἰς οὐράνιον πάλιν ἦλθε πόλον·
θνῄσκει δ᾿ οὐδὲν τῶν γιγνομένων,
διακρινόμενον δ᾿ ἄλλο πρὸς ἄλλου
μορφὴν ἑτέραν ἀπέδειξεν.
Vitruvius, 8.praef.1 (tr. Frank Granger):
Euripides, the pupil of Anaxagoras, whom the Athenians named the philosopher on the stage, (affirmed that the principle of all things was) air and earth. 'The earth,' he said, 'impregnated by the seed contained in the rain from the sky, gives birth to mankind and all creatures living in the world; and whatever is born of earth, when it is dissolved by the necessary compulsion of time, returns to the same earth. What is born of the air returns to the regions of the sky and is not subject to destruction, but being changed by dissolution returns to that property of which it consisted before.'

Euripides, auditor Anaxagorae, quem philosophum Athenienses scaenicum appellaverunt, (sc. omnium rerum principium ... est professus) aera et terram, eamque e caelestium imbrium conceptionibus inseminatam fetus gentium et omnium animalium in mundo procreavisse, et quae ex ea essent prognata, cum dissolverentur temporum necessitate1 coacta in eandem redire, quaeque de aere nascerentur, item in caeli regiones reverti neque interitiones recipere et dissolutione mutata in eam recidere, in qua ante fuerant, proprietatem.
Lucretius 2.991-1001 (tr. H.A.J. Munro):
Again we are all sprung from a heavenly seed,
all have that same father, by whom mother earth the giver of increase,
when she has taken in from him liquid drops of moisture,
conceives and bears goodly crops and joyous trees
and the race of man, bears all kinds of brute beasts,        995
in that she supplies food with which all feed their bodies
and lead a pleasant life and continue their race;
wherefore with good cause she has gotten the name of mother.
That also which before was from the earth, passes back into the earth,
and that which was sent from the borders of ether,        1000
is carried back and taken in again by the quarters of heaven.

denique caelesti sumus omnes semine oriundi;
omnibus ille idem pater est, unde alma liquentis
umoris guttas mater cum terra recepit,
feta parit nitidas fruges arbustaque laeta
et genus humanum, parit omnia saecla ferarum,        995
pabula cum praebet quibus omnes corpora pascunt
et dulcem ducunt vitam prolemque propagant;
quapropter merito maternum nomen adepta est.
cedit item retro, de terra quod fuit ante,
in terras, et quod missumst ex aetheris oris,        1000
id rursum caeli rellatum templa receptant.

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