Empedocles Cosmic Cycle

by zavier-mainyu





Download: 0

Comment: 0





Download Empedocles Cosmic Cycle


Empedocles' Cosmic Cycle Author(s): Denis O'Brien Source: The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 17, No. 1 (May, 1967), pp. 29-40 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/637758 . Accessed: 18/12/2010 22:08 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at . http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=cup. . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Cambridge University Press and The Classical Association are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Classical Quarterly. http://www.jstor.org EMPEDOCLES' HITHERTO COSMIC CYCLE reconstructions of Empedocles' cosmic cycle have usually been offered as part of a larger work, a complete history of Presocraticthought, or a complete study of Empedocles. Consequently there has perhaps been a lack of thoroughness in collecting and sifting evidence that relates exclusively to the main features of the cosmic cycle. There is in fact probably more evidence for Empedocles' main views than for those of any other Presocratic except Parmenides in his Way of Truth. From a close examination of the fragments and of the secondary sources, principally Aristotle, Plutarch, and Simplicius, there can be formed a reasonably complete picture of the main temporal and spatial features of Empedocles' cosmic cycle.' I In fr. 17 Empedocles describes how the world grows to be one from many and then again grows apart to be many from one. This allows us to distinguish initially two processes of unification and separation and two states of completed unity and completed separation.But we must keep an open mind on the relative duration of these times and on the condition of the world particularly at the two terminal states of complete unity and complete separation. In the PhysicsAristotle tells us that Empedocles' world moved and was at rest in turn.z That there is movement when the elements are becoming one or becoming many is clear both in itself and from what Aristotle tells us: ' KLVELUOL a t /1EV av O7X EK 7TOAAW-V 7TOL77L TO EV 7 TOVELKOS 7ToAAa EVOs, E ?7PEJ1EtV in between times, complete unity and complete separation, or for only one. Aristotle's use of singular and plural, and dv -0ot-' T•v pe-aeT Xpdvov4 ET-aV But EV E' 0oS JLETaf XpdvOLV.3 it is not clear whether the world is at rest for both is Xpdvos,5 no indication either way. Therefore the sense of Aristotle'sremarks has to be determined from passageselsewhere in his works. In the De generatione KLV•7wa began together. It would be possible but less simple to suppose that before the elements were separated the Sphere was moving in some less genetic fashion. In the De caeloAristotle twice implies that at the other terminal point, complete separation, the elements were moving. He is arguing for the priority of natural movement.7Without a world or before the world began there could not be, as Plato and the Atomists supposed, disordered movement existing on its own. There could not be any movement, only rest. Thus Anaxagoras is right in principle to start his cosmogony from a unity that was at rest. Aristotle continues: EKE8tEr07'jV8EKacKWVov1EvCOV OVK to' Ka' 77V YE'VEUTV. et corruptione Aristotle says that the elements arose from the Sphere uta 77/1v .6 This most naturally implies that separation and movement E,?AoyOV •TOLEFV This article summarizes the results of a longer work prepared under the supervision of Professor W. K. C. Guthrie, who has very kindly made one or two corrections to the present essay. I should perhaps remark that this article was completed before the appearance of U. H61lscher, 'Weltzeiten und Lebenszyklus, eine Nachpriifung der Em- Hermes xciii (1965), pedokles-Doxographie', denial of any cyclic repeti7-33. H61scher's tion in Empedoclesseems to me very misguided. 2 3 250a27-29. 7 s 250b29. 250ob26-251a5 and 252a5-32. 4 252a9. 6 3ooa20 ff 315a22. 30 D. O'BRIEN E 'ETESOKfj&-9 7TcpaAELVtEL -qv 1 -= -rq~Po'-ryrogS oi yap v 7)&va-ro vacr-aat '-rv ~E rOLWV 7V olpavovEK vYKPLCTLV W&L77V KEXOWPCtLVV /OV1,EV KaTaCrKE•vd•OV, a. The context clearly implies that Empedocles was committed to starting the of increasing Love from elements that were separate and moving. generation Given the context, there would be no point in the criticism if the elements had been separate and at rest. A little earlier in the same discussionAristotle criticizes the birth of animal parts under increasing Love immediately after Erouoi3Tov criticizing the random precosmic movement of the Timaeus:E' 8~ av Er7TawEpOLT rL&, tOTEpov vvarv otLavlls aiELs AgEVtai,te cotlyvvuOat 7j9S tT JS br77f AE' 8 ' olov orrd at apKas,KauarEp xa4cli7a, 'EpkT4TE8oKALy•tE•aOa U' p g"roAAct' ObtAo'7-rog- AE'YELya% w" LE'VKOPcYELG vavXEvEsg o vOlTV 7 K7LVOjva 0 V aEtL aKtCl Kal ooX ra CrOv oCfAritoratle Kark S wouLVinVVthLisECL t fAacrr?7aav". Aristotle's remark fairly clearly presupposesthat before Empedocles' elements are made into flesh and bone they are already moving. Their movement is because at the beginning of Love's world movement is still largely dTaKT••9 controlled by Strife.3 Again the point of Aristotle's remark would in this context be largely lost if the movement of the elements at the beginning of increasing Love had been initiated from a time of rest. These two passages et from the De caeloconfirm the interpretation of the De generatione corruptione. If the elements under complete Strife were moving, there is no time when they can have been at rest except in the Sphere. Simplicius speaks of two rest periods in each cycle, rest under complete movement and rest at the time of complete separation.4Simplicius' extensive quotations,s and his ability to illustrate topics such as the role of Love6 or the admission of chance7with quotations of his own choosing, make it very likely that he had access to the whole of the physical poem. But the alternation in time between the one and the many does not seriously engage Simplicius' attention: for Empedocles'alternation Simpliciussees as describingin mythical terms the difference between the intelligible and the sensible world.8 Empedocles never really intended there to be a time when Strife would be in complete control of the world and the elements would be fully separated.9 Consequently it is not unnatural for Simplicius to let himself be guided on the details of alternate rest and movement by what he supposesAristotle is saying. is But we have seen that Aristotle in the Physics ambiguous. He does not make it clear whether he is thinking of one rest period in each cycle or of two. It is easy to see why Simplicius chooses the interpretation that he does, the wrong interpretation as it happens. For on Aristotelian principles, between opposed and becoming one from many and many movements rest must intervene;o? Later Simpliciusshowsclearly movementspar excellence." from one are opposed I 2 a 30 i4-i8. 300b25-31* The point of this passage is that initially Aristotle expects Love to be the cause of natural movement and Strife the cause of unnatural movement. He argues that in fact the reverse turns out to be the case, for his purpose is to indicate a lack of consistency in Empedocles' system. 4 Phys. I 125- 15-22. 5 Simplicius quotes over a hundred and fifty verses or part verses of the physical 3 Cf. De gen. et corr. 333bi6-2o and b22-33. poem. This would account for from seven to eight per cent. of the whole work, if we accept the figure in the Suda, s.v. 'E1rrE0oof KAS9, 2,000 verses for the physical poem. 6 De caelo 528. 29-530. I-. 7 Phys. 330. 31-331. I6. 8 Sample passages are Phys. 31. 18-34. 17, 16o. 22-161. 13, 1123. 25--1124. 18, I186. 30-35; De caelo I40. 25-141. II, 294. 10-13, 530. 12-16, 590. 19-591. 6. 9 De caelo530. 22-26, cf. Phys. I 12 17-2 1. I. 10 Phys. 26I a3I--b26. "I Phys. 229a7-b22. EMPEDOCLES' COSMIC CYCLE 31 that he has been influenced by this line of thought. He writes: ... KaL To v j LETaV ?pE/ELjV -r /LETacv'X)povTov yp EVaV7wVo -rjV l7pEl/a KLVwtUEC•WV When after a long digression Simplicius turns to Aristotle's second E•rTLV.1. set of remarks on alternate movement and rest in Empedocles' world he records the opinion of Eudemus that there was only one rest period in each cycle: E~Grlqtog SE%7VI7a L 9tAlcLS cLKLqrIUlaCV El, T?)T S C ETLKpcTElcLL abC KdClT 7K W pov E'K8XEaTaL.2 Eudemus' opinion is left to stand without comment. Simplicius' view of the cycle leaves him without the interest to retrace his steps and to discover for himself whether there was one rest period or two. But Eudemus does not, as has been supposed,3 contradict Aristotle. For Simplicius' point in introducing Eudemus is that Eudemus made it clear that he thought of the Sphere alone as at rest. And that, as we have seen, was the view of Aristotle. Eudemus is opposed not to Aristotle, but to Simplicius' false interpretation of Aristotle. Plutarch knew Empedocles well. He often quotes from Empedocles or refers to him,4 and Lamprias' catalogue records a work in ten books on Empedocles,s to which Hippolytus once refers.6 In the De facie Plutarch introduces a description of Empedocles' world under total Strife as a warning against too strict an interpretation of the Aristotelian and Stoic doctrine of a natural place for each element, a doctrine which would prevent the moon being made of earth. In the course of this description Empedocles' elements are clearly said to be moving: fEvyovaaL KaL Ka0L 1EpdfEvaL bopds /a Kal urHro•TpEodptEvaL It is true that very soon afterwards there is a reminiscence of the a'cOsE•s.7 random movement of the Timaeus. But there is no reason to suppose8 that Plutarch's anticipation of Plato will have falsified his reference to Empedocles. We have already seen in Aristotle a comparison of Empedocles' state of total Strife with the random movement of the receptacle in Plato's Timaeus. There is perhaps a difficulty in the way of our accepting Aristotle's evidence that the Sphere was at rest. In the passage of the Physics which we have made use of Aristotle introduces the following verses to confirm or to illustrate alternate movement and rest in Empedocles: h VEtata EiKE• ogTWS oiL~qEV V rTAEodWV IEuCtewdO'elqKE )&7TaALV 7TAEA E'TEAEOovcfl, EVs• ov' ArtvCbvtosV 7C7L /EV )1yVOVTcL TE Kcl ov UcLULv E/wLTTE3OS alcu/ 3t ra•'a"J' 8E 8 aovra 8tajLr7EpE o3atqa A-yEL, KcLc KVKAoV.9 raUv'Tlq 8' at'Ev E-aortv JK Following von Arnim"o it is now quite widely held" that Aristotle has 7 926D-927A. -26-28. SI183. 2 8 As does 1183.28-1184. 4. Cherniss, Loeb edition of the De 3 Karsten, Empedoclis Agrigentini ...frag- facie (957) ad loc. 9 Fr. 26. 8-12 = fr. menta, Amsterdam,1838, p. 367. Solmsen, 17. 9-13Aristotle's system thephysical world,a comof 0o 'Die Weltperioden bei Empedokles', Cornell Univer- Festschrift Th. Gomperz dargebracht,Wien, with his predecessors, parison sity Press, 1960, p. 223 n. 4. Cf. Wehrli, 1902, pp. 17-18. The view is derived from Die Schule Aristoteles, und des Texte Kommentar,Alexander and Simplicius, Plys. 1123-5. Heft 8, Basel, 1955, Eudemos von Rhodos fr. iio, and p. 1o9. 4 Plutarch quotes some hundred verses or part verses. " Bignone, Empedocle, studiocritico,Torino, 1916, p. 562 n. 3, P. 592 n. i, s.v. fr. 17. 10. Cornford, Loeb edition of the Physics 1952 ad loc. Cherniss, Aristotle's criticismof Pres No. 43 correctedby Treu, Dersogenannte socraticphilosophy,Baltimore, 1935, P. 175 der Walden- n. 130. Apparently Ross, edition of the Lampriascatalog Plutarchschriften, burg in Schlesien,1873, ad loc. Oxford, 1955, ad loc. Munding, 'Zur Plhysics, 6 Ref. 5. 20o. 6. Beweisfiihrung des Empedokles', Hermes 32 D. O'BRIEN to misunderstood dK'v~TroL mean literally motionless, whereas the sense of the piece makes it clear that Empedocles intends the elements to be dKV77To70in so far as they are fixed forever in a cycle of change. It might possibly be argued that Aristotle has founded his interpretationof alternate periods of rest on his misunderstanding of this verse. But it is unlikely that Aristotle has in fact understand the last verse but one to mean 'in so far as the elements changefrom here'or 'fromhereto there'.''Here' may mean the world last mentioned, the world of becoming many from one, or it may mean the world of immediate experience.zNow the present world Aristotle knew was the world of increasing Strife: he complains of Empedocles' failure to provide a cause for the world 'being the same now under increasing Strife as it was before under increasing Love'.3 Thus in either case 'here' should be the world of increasing Strife. But Aristotle cannot have supposedthat as the world moved on from here,i.e. from increasing Strife, the elements came to be at rest: for, as we have seen, Aristotle knows that under total Strife the elements are moving. Thus Aristotle cannot have misunderstood the verses in the way that has been suggested, though he may have misunderstoodthem in a less obvious way.4 In that case we may wonder how Aristotle saw these verses as a suitable illustration of the alternation of rest and movement. An answer may be that Aristotle sees the alternation between rest and movement as underlying the alternationbetween one and many. For rest and unity, movement and plurality were regularly associated by the Presocratics:by Xenophanes,s by the Pythagoreans,6 by Parmenides,7 by Anaxagoras,8 and in their own way by the Atomists, who probably gave no 'moving cause' because they saw plurality as It as well as by Plato in the Timaeus.Io is likely that Empedoclesalso ultimate,9 saw rest and movement as dependent in some way upon unity and plurality, scribe the elements passing into and out of lxxxii (I954), I35. Solmsen, H.S.C.P. lxiii the Sphere, 'in so far as they grow to be one (1958), 277, and op. cit., p. 223 n. 4. Kahn, and Anaximander the originsof Greekcosmology, from many and tIhen many from one'. This involves discontinuity of change from moveNew York, 1960, p. 23. I The reading EvOdv6E has better textual ment to rest and rest to movement, which support, E K and Simplicius, though it is Aristotle would agree was not E'IrrEboS al'dV. not adopted by Ross. vOGvE'EE'KELFE, The last two lines, if they describe movement F H I J, is probably an attempt to explain from here, i.e. from increasing Strife, would describe a period of movement with no rest, a puzzling phrase. The process of expansion and this Aristotle would be inclined to agree can be seen at work in Simplicius, cf. I I25. 5 and 17-18, from whom the fuller reading has is being 'fixed in a cycle'. is s Frr. 23, 24, 25, 26. possibly arisen. vOvE8E all that is needed 6 Arist. Met. for the interpretation of Aristotle's note 986a22-26. Porph. Vit. Pyth. 38. Plut. De Is. et Os. 370D-E. suggested below. 2 This latter sense would be like the use of 7 Fr. 8 especially lines 4, 26, 29-30, 36-41. 8 or separately to as Anaxagoras' mixture, in some sense a EvOdvS, and eKE'caT a pair describe the contrast between this world and unity, was at rest and the effect of movement the world of forms or the world beyond the was to separate out its parts. 9 Cf. Guthrie, J.H.S. lxxvii (1957), 40-41. grave, e.g. Plato, Phaedo i o7e, 117 c, Theaet. 176 a, and see L.S.J., s.v. Simplicius was probably wrong to think of the atoms as bai Je dKtvp-ra, 3 De gen. et corr. 334a5-9. Phys. 42. 10-I I. 10 4 Aristotle's note suggests perhaps that he 57 e, cf. 52 e, 57 c, 58 d-e, 62 b I. The association of rest and unity may be seen at has taken the first three lines and the last two lines to describe not the same cycle from Phaedrus 245 d 6-eI (preferably reading different points ofview, which is Empedocles' yyv), where there may be a reminiscence of the return of Empedocles' world to the intention, but different phases of the cycle. The first three lines could be taken to deSphere. Cf. Phaedo 72 b-d. misunderstood aKV7To70o. he adds in a note to the quotation that we must For EMPEDOCLES' COSMIC CYCLE 33 Lovebeingin somesensecauseof rest,whileStrifeis causeof movement.' But whereasrestand movement wereof primary forAristotle and his importance morewas unity and plurality. Thus Emschool,what interested Empedocles of pedoclesdescribes explicitlythe alternation unity and pluralityin fr. 17. The accompanying alternation rest and movementwas probablyincluded of more or less incidentally the accountof the differentphasesof unity and in alternative quotingthe lineshe doeswouldhave to plurality.If so, Aristotle's been to quote snippetslike those Eudemushas chosen:2and these would have obscured what for Aristotlewas of leadinginterest,namelythe regular succession periodsof rest and movement.Aristotlewas awareof the traof ditionalassociation restwith unityand of movement of with plurality.3 Quite betweenunity and pluralityas a good likelyhe has acceptedthe alternation of betweenrestand movement. enoughreminder the parallelalternation II At the end of his seconddiscussion rest and movementin Empedocles of Aristotlewrites:T 8 Kat&' owv At E~LTa TLvdo.4 firstsight it V' Xpo'vwv Ao'yov be thought that this sentencewas a mere appendage,a footnoteinmight cidentalto whathaspreceded. thatcasethe placeof Aristotle's In 'equaltimes' in Empedocles' have to be left an open question. an But cyclewouldperhaps examination the passagemakesit reasonably of clear that the sentenceis an and argument that theseare equaltimesof restand organicpartof Aristotle's movement. Aristotlecomplains that Empedocles not provideda causeof has alternation. Loveand Strifecauseonlytheirown activity,not theiralternation d in power:av v& ydp Td q 0;8 To o0iK 7• •7TroTEOV7a, 70Ou7 V T7 at•a A T7S TToavvayELV,TOU T•oLaKptVELV.Et E ~LodorT7rL 1-o 7 Elvat, dA VEILKEL Z•EV 7TpoLoptE•-Ta EoVfvLcPEL, W , WoIrTEr OTt EaTtLV TL 0 c vvayEL o TOVS VOaWITOV% 77 6T TOvTyap VTOTOE-TaL O E'V o'XOpot Ka0 EV'yo••oTL 01TW5. To% Kal SLV Xpovwv Ao'dyov ELTat ,Awt Etvat-qat'vcratyap Eln TLVWV oAX•A-9ovsg Lawv TLVoS.5 Here Aristotleallowsthat in a senseEmpedocles arguedcorrectly the has to existenceof Love and Strifeon a cosmicscale from the observation parof ticular events. But this limited praise of Empedocles loses its point unless Aristotlereiterates that the alternation Love and Strifeshouldhave been of o& Ka SV''L"Uwv given a similar explanation. Thus TO Xpdvwv,etc., picks up and v repeats El 7T3 poaoptErat To E ipEt. This in turn looks back to the two earlier KLVELV SLAla, Kal definitions:E'v E'pEd rdrv7PELELV LVEeaOaL and TO Kat Kat rTO KpaTELV rTdcAv6 EV -LEPEL T77jV cptav KLt To VELKOSQ 9VTapxE 8 T7v ~LEraevXpdvov.7 Aristotle's references to alternation have become increasinglyabbreviated. But almost certainly it remains the same alternation which he has primarily in mind throughout the passage, the alternation of rest and movement. We have seen that Aristotle knew that the Sphere alone was at rest. Thus Aristotle's remark will mean that the Sphere lasted for as long 7pEfCLEL ToLS' i paypaortc v 7 E6 a'vcyKrjS', The notion of Love as primarily cause of rest is the more likely if, as we shall argue, Love's time of rest in the Sphere lasts for as long as the world of movement and plurality that in a sense 'belongs' to Strife. 2 De caelo and Simplicius' com30Ia,1i-14, ments, Phys. 22. 16-18 and 42. 8-io on Arist. Phys. I84bi5-I8. 4 252A31-32. s 252a25-32. 6 Frr. 27. 28-1184. 1183. I, 3-4, 4. 31, ap. Simpl. Phys. 252a20-21. 3 Met. 4599.1 oo04b27-29, cf. Phys. 20Ibi6-21, D 7 252a7_-O. 34 D. O'BRIEN as the whole period of separationand movement, i.e. the period which includes increasing Strife, total Strife, and increasing Love. This is quite likely the implication of fr. 30: EVC E pLya NEFKOS' LEAE'EUUW avdapEITEl Ep'OP7) 73 XpoVoo., ETLCS 7 avopovaUE 'EAEtCOLEVOtO 03 uq0w tCv /atos' lrAarE'os'Trap' EA77Aa-rat bKOV ... (The limbs in the first line will be Strife's limbs, not as is commonly supposed the limbs of the Sphere.) Aristotle quotes this fragment in a passage of the which reproducesexactly, though in a somewhat shorter form, the Metaphysics should imply two times, a time that is given and a time that is received. The simplest rate of exchange would be for Love and Strife to have equal times. Quite likely therefore the fragment implies that Love now cedes to Strife a time equal in length to the time that Love has herself enjoyed during the Sphere. The second time it will be simplest to suppose lasts for as long as there is movement and separation in the world, i.e. until the rebirth of the Sphere. There remains the question: for how long were the elements separatedunder total Strife? The answer to this question we must defer for a moment. III In fr. 35. io we hear that when Love is prevailing Strife is driven increasingly ITd' argument of the passage in the Physics.' dpotflatos, though singular in form, The gUaxra is not, as has usually been supposed,z that Love in her turn is answer driven outside the world. That idea has been accepted simply for the sake of its symmetry. The opening lines of the fragment tell us that Love was confined to the centre of the world when Strife's power was at its height: EITEL t NEKOS V LKETO /#OSg EVEpracLrOV aVVEpXE'Tat KUvKAov.Where does Love go when Strife is prevailing? pLcLpta7a S, 8&v7 vU EV 77tL 87 nra&E OvK aq3ap, ntOAo-r-. uarpoqAyy~ y7E'V77aaL, tdU1•U E LVOV ELVaL, lTav-a UVaV• OEAr/Ld caAAd AAa. arLEV" &"AAoOEv are then said to continue. Equally, the events described in 'vE'p'ra-ov uVVE'pXE'at is not likely to mean the Sphere's outermost circumference, the same Pdv8os as EaXara -rEppiaTaKvKAov. Like the Latin imus or infimusused of the centre of SAlet. Iooob12-17. 2 e.g. Burnet, Early GreekPhilosophy,4th edition, London, 1930, pp. 234, 236, 242. don, 1952, p. 90. Mugler, 'Deux themes de and yy-qra~ as well as "KETodescribes an action comqualifies 'KETco it should and before aVVEPXEcrac completedvvEpXEra•. remain, no matter for how long pleted Empedocles does not here describe the position of Love and Strife during the Sphere and then go back to recount the events which have led to their being in that position. It is true, things are said to come together: and then we are told, 'not all at once'. But that does not mean that ovK acoap, JAAdOeA9prL London, Cornford, FromReligionto Philosophy, 1912, p. 239. Bignone, pp. 223, 576, la cosmologie grecque, devenir cyclique et et pluralit6 des mondes', JLtudes Commentaires xvii (1953), 42-43. Zafiropulo, Empidocle d'Agrigente, Paris, 1953, P- 151. Raven, The 585. Frenkian, J8tudesde philosophieprisocratique, Presocratic Philosophers, Cambridge, 1957, ii, Paris, 1937, PP- 53-55. Freeman, The p. 346. Santillana, The Origins of Scientific 2nd edition, Oxford, Presocratic Thought, London, 1961, pp. 112-13. Philosophers, 1949, P. i86. Skemp, Plato's Statesman,Lon- EMPEDOCLES' COSMIC CYCLE 35 will more naturally describe the centre of the whirl, not a sphere,' &V'p-a-os its circumference: and Strife therefore will have been at the centre of the whirl aTa The tense and mood of are beforeit is driven rr' &arXa ,a7 KvKAov. T•'p Cvy-reat as generalizing the events described. The change of mood probably correct, from fKETO to from particular to general, is like the change of mood y7dr&'Tat,2 from general to particular in some of Homer's similes.3 'When Strife reached the innermost depth of the whirl, and whenever Love has come4 to be in the centre of the whirl, (then) there (in the centre) do all things (begin to) come together to be one only, not at once but gradually drawing together from different directions.' Thus Love is driven to the centre of the world when Strife prevails. When Love prevails she expands from the centre and drives Strife to the circumference. Fragment 35 completes our understanding of the temporal structure of the cycle. There is obviously not meant to be any very long delay between the action of 'KETO or y vv-aa and of rvv'pXErat.Increasing Love follows more or less at once upon Strife's reaching the innermost centre at the height of its power. Now the time of increasing Love will presumably, for reasons of symmetry, be equal to the time of increasing Strife. Thus we have two alternations in the life of the world. There is first the major alternation between one and many or rest and movement. Then there is the minor alternation within the period of movement and separation between becoming many and becoming one, with only a short while when the elements are fully separated. Each alternation is composed of equal parts, of halves. This is probably in part the answer, in so far as there was an answer, to Aristotle's demand for a cause of alternation. 'Equal times' probably seemed to Empedocles the obvious and natural result of the broad oath of fr. 30 and of the broad oaths and necessity of fr. I 15. In this way equality, equal times, will in Empedocles' eyes probably have helped to explain how the world alternates between being one and being many, the major alternation, and between becoming one and becoming many, the minor alternation.s IV How were the elements arranged under total Strife? Tannery writes:6 'On ne doit pas... supposer que le Neikos arrive "a produire une separation com' des 616ments, de fagon "a conduire chacun d'eux une place d6termin6e plete de l'univers; son action n'ira pas plus loin qu'une dissociation complete de l'homogene, et dans cet 6tat de dissociation, le repos originaire aura fait place a un tohu-bohu o i s'agitent, en mouvements d6sordonnes, les masses 616mentaires, indistinctes et confuses.' Tannery's description is in part bound up with I Cicero, De nat. deorum1. 103, 2. 84, 2. clauses, sect. 467 and 534, should be exI16, Tusc. Disp. 5. 69. Manilius, 1. 170. plained in the same way. Macrobius, in Somnium Scipionis I. 22. 4. 4 The aorist subjunctive when followed in 2 This change of mood Wilamowitz finds this way by a present indicative regularly has the sense of the English perfect, see Goodwin, 'undenkbar', Hermeslxv (1930), 248-9, and sect. 90. Groningen 'impossible', 'La composition litteraire archaique grecque', Verhandelingen s For the importance of equality in Emder Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van pedocles and among the Presocratics Wetenschappen, Afdelung Letterkunde, Nieuwe generally see Vlastos, 'Equality and Justice Reeks lxv. 2 (1958), 216 n. 2. in Early Greek Cosmologies', Classical 3 Il. 4. 141 ff, 16. 297 ff., 21. 522 ff., Philologyxlii (1947), 156-78. 6 Pour l'histoire de la science helline, 2nd quoted by Goodwin, Moods and Tenses,sect. 547-9. The change of mood between opta- edition by Dies, Paris, 1930, p. 319tive and indicative in parallel subordinate 36 D. O'BRIEN his belief that there is only one world from Sphere to Sphere, with 'increasing Strife' a mere preliminary sorting out of the elements. But as if to refute Tannery's very words that none of the separated elements had 'une place determinee de l'univers', Plutarch in the passage already quoted from the De .facie introduces Empedocles' state of total Strife to indicate precisely what would happen if each element were restricted to its 'natural' place in the universe. That is also the implication of Aristotle's criticism in the De caelo that Empedocles omitted to describe the origin of the universe under increasing Love. Aristotle's point presupposesthat the elements have been arranged by Strife in essentially the positions which they already occupy in Aristotle's world. Thus Empedocles' elements, when fully separated by Strife, will have been arranged in concentric spheres. V There is evidence that, at least for some part of the cycle, Love and Strife were perhaps also thought of as arranged in roughly concentric spheres, fr. 17. 17-20: ror~ l7ip ' Kat VSWp Kati a' &tqev E'e EvatL, 7rAE'ov' vo% v Kac? q'pos a1TAEro os!, ya~a NEtKO'S r' ov1Ao'-Evov 8iXa"rwv,""d'Aavov " a7-aacrw7t, 'r-' TOLU-W, Kal f_&Adt 7[ L['KIS TE TAcoS 7E. 7E It is difficult to suppose that Love is equal in length and breadth to each of the elements.' For this would make the elements equal to each other in volume, which in a world roughly like our own would make the radius of the earth three times as large as the distance from earth to heaven.z Further, when Aristotle considers what Empedocles meant by the equality of his elements, he does not consider the possibility that they could have been strictly equal in volume.3 Itis also difficult to suppose that Love is equal in length and breadth to all the elements taken together.4 For this would suggest that dT-dAavrov describes Strife as in some way equal to the elements. But if the reference of to the elements, it would be simpler to is external, Strife compared &7-dravTrov read equal is equal to herself in length and breadth, i.e. stretched out in the shape of a sphere. For a sphere is the only three-dimensionalfigure in which from any direction, passing through the centre, length is equal to breadth. (In a cube 4 This is apparently the view of Bignone, That is the view of among others Tanz The formula for the volume of a sphere is Arr3. If, in order to approximate to the condition of the present world, we include water with earth and fire with air, then the ratio of the radius of the inner to the outer sphere is I: 1.3. The suggestion is not that Empedocles would have wanted, or been able, to work out the mathematics precisely. The result of equal volumes can easily be visualized by someone who is not a mathematician. 3 De gen. et corr. 333ai6-34, cf. Meteor. 34oa8-18. nery, pp. 314-15, pp. 208, 232, 236. and evidently Burnet, orTavT7,5 CKd&-TW each the elements.6More probably the verse means that Love of to Love, or which would again make Strife, and so by implication s.v. fr. 17, but cf. p. 541 and Studisul pensiero antico,Naples, 1939, P. 338. s Sextus, Adv. Math. 9. 10, IO. 317, and or Hippolytus, Ref. 10. 7. 5, have •vr177TiL Simplicius, Phys. 26. 3 and 158. 18, addvr7q. and Panzerbieter reads iKadaTwr has CKaa-rov. suggests iTravrt for Sextus, Beitrdge zur MeininKritik und Erkldrungdes Empedokles, gen, 1844, ad loc. 6 We cannot perhaps entirely exclude the possibility that with the reading idnrsrdqt Strife is said to be 'everywhere equal (sc. to all the elements taken together)', and so too that Love is 'equal in length and breadth (sc. to all the elements taken together)'. EMPEDOCLES' COSMIC CYCLE 37 for examplethere are differentdimensions fromthe centreto different parts of the circumference.) Similarly, drdAavrov probably describesthe position of Strife. cirdavr-q in Homerregularlymeansno more than 'equivalent or 'like' to' aTdAavros For Empedocles' we may thereforecompare rdwviocr' (L.S.J., s.v.). phrase o used tcrqvusedof a shieldin Homer,II. 12. 294, and LaovrdrCavrgt to describe liver growingagain at night afterthe eagle'sdaily attackon it, Prometheus' and serveto prevent Hesiod, Theog. In eitherexpression 524. 7TdvroTE drrcr'77T the comparison external:the shieldand Prometheus' are not comliver being So paredto anythingelse, they are 'everyway equal (sc. to themselves)'. too, Strife,we suggest,is 'everywhere equal (sc. to itself)'. Now further, similar expressions are used of a sphere: ot. . . 7cdvroOEvy Cov, Parmenides fr. 8. 49 ; KaWrrwdoOEvoavrgEcLoEmpedocles fr. 29. 3 ;2 rrdcVTOOEV ) L'cor Timon fr. 6o. 2.4 JT4Aavo70 ttoso (QotL fr. 28. I;3 and probably luovo daEravrt occurs again in Aratus, Phaen. 22-23,5 to describe the earth suspended drc7dvriq in the centre of the world. The notion of weight or balance present in Aratus, and easily suggested by -rdAcavrov, found also in the description of Paris Strife too, we suggest, is taorrahE rrTdv7rLs. Lad•oEv arranged in the form of a sphere, 'equal on every side (sc. to itself)' or perhaps 'equally balanced on every side'. The difference will be that, since Love, as we have seen, moves to and from the centre of the world, therefore Strife will form not a solid but a hollow sphere. That is, Strife will form an even spherical layer surroundingLove. This descriptionof the positions of Love and Strife may perhaps be true only during the Sphere, when in the most obvious sense Strife is 'apart' from the elements and Love is 'in' them.6 But the description quite likely applies to Love and Strife at any time. Love we have seen is never outside the elements. She expands and contracts to and from the centre. And the 'battle' between Love and Strife seems to have been envisaged not as a chaotic toing and froing, 'rather after the analogy of the battlefield, wherein one point after another is lost for a considerabletime to the enemy, and then regained,perhaps only to be lost again',7 but as essentiallya regular process,with Love in the period of her increasingpower constantlypressingon the heels of Strife, and not abandoning menides' Sphere, fr. 8. 44, positions once attained, fr. 35. 12-13: oaaov S' a'Ev VrmEK7rrTOEoL (Strife), rdocov aEevErTrLEL (PtAr-q77770-S CL(L(EOSa aL/P070oo o 'ij7rnLfPWV Sof Diels, for od Simpl. Phys. 146. 22. 2 Schneidewin, Philologus vi (1851), 161, for LadEdartv ai'rct Hipp. Ref. 7. 29. 13. Stob. Ecl. I. 15. 2 = I. 144. 2o Wachsmuth, 3 This verse is quoted anonymously by but followed by a verse, fr. 28. 2 = fr. 27. 4, attributed by several authors to Empedocles. Eo00 add. doto or dFc> Wachsmuth. 4 Timon is describing Xenophanes' god, probably with the thought of it being s This is probably imitated in Ovid's description of the earth, Met. I. 3pon3 deribuslibrata suis, cf. 34-35 aequalisab omni parte. abatpoEL~6, cf. [Arist.] De MXG 977bl. Maas, E'yv Grotius, Env Diels, 6 This may also be the implication of the juxtaposition of fire and water in line '*8: these two contrasting elements are united by the power of Love. ' Millerd, On theinterpretation Empedocles, of dissertation, Chicago, 1908, p. 46. Millerd's description is apparently taken from Simplicius, Phys. I 124. 7-9, where, however, the temporary advances and withdrawals of Love and Strife take place within a single and eternal sensible realm and are an attempt to explain the 'mythical' alternation of Love and Strife within this framework in a way that would mitigate the extreme neoPlatonic view whereby Strife alone is active in the sublunary world. 38 D. O'BRIEN It is possible therefore that all the time Love is roughly 'equal (to herself) in length and breadth', and Strife 'equal (or equally balanced) on every side (of Love)'. VI The last feature of the cosmic cycle which we have to consideris the sequence of stages in the zoogony. Aetius 5. 19- 5 names four stages which can be confirmed singly from the fragments: separate limbs, fr. 57, monsters, frr. 60o and 61, whole-natured forms, fr. 62, and men and women. The question is how we should place these stages in the cosmic cycle. Separate limbs we are told by Aristotle and Simplicius were born Erl T-t i.e. tA~7rpqrog, under increasing Love.' They were formed inside the earthz and were therefore, as we should expect, and as Simplicius tells us,3 the first creatures to be born. These separate creatureswere joined together by Love.4 The result will have been monsters.s Monsters were still among the first creatures of Love's world: Aristotle refers to them as 'v 'rags E) pXqg tpa Whole-natured creatures were formed when fire was KptVdo,.EVOV OEAov and fr. 62. 2 and 6. They belong therefore to the world of in7rp03 dIorovlKEUc0a, creasing Strife. They were described later in the poem than separate limbs.7 fr. They sprang from the earth, xOov~aVE'avrEAAov, 62. 4, and so were again the first creatures to be born. . The whole-natured creatures have no sex, ov"7E . . E)alvov7as . . . o~ov 7~ fr. 62. 7-8, or are more probably bisexual, since they dTrXwptov av8pdu'tyvi^ov, have shares, the implication is probably equal shares, of fire and water, TE E8 vLardO KcU EO aLtav EXOVT7E, 62. 5, and these are the male fr. .c.LOTErpwV and female element respectively.8They were described rrpa -c6v v pdwV -r1 'split apart.' Men and women are now each a avploAovof the other." The implication is obvious, though it has been denied,Iz that the whole-natured creatures are split apart intomen and women. Thus so far we have clearly established two evolutionary sequences with no doubt about the opening stages of each. In Love's world separate limbs arise and join together to form monsters. In Strife'sworld there arise whole-natured forms which are later split apart into men and women. Do men and women also arise in Love's world? Simplicius says they do, though a faint suspicion may be felt that he has himself produced men and I KaU ytVaLKELwC 6apOpwEaows.9 Simplicius later speaks of them being aoWtXroWv Arist. De caelo 300b25-3I. De gen. anim. animal parts that arose at the beginning of Love's world, Arist. De caelo 300b29, was and b26. Simpl. De caelo 587. 722b17-20 8-26. KaraPhys. 371. LOas &pX9*v r•7v -rf•7 33-352 Arist. De gen. anim. 722b24-26. Aet. 5. 22. I as corrected by Diels. Cf. fr. 96. I. described in the first book, Simpl. Phys. 300. 20 quoting fr. 96. Whole-natured creatures were described in the second book, Simpl. Phys. 38?. 29 quoting fr. 62. 8 Arist. s Aristotle in the passage quoted from the De anima may be thinking of separate limbs joining to form men and women. 3 Phys. 371-. 34. 4 Arist. De anima430a30. Cf. De gen. anim. 722b20-28. Simpl. Phys. 371- 35, 381. 22-25. De caelo 587. 18-19. anitm. 26. cf. De gen. anim. 765a8-IO. De part. 648a28-31. Frr. 65 and 67. Aet. 5. 7. I, 5. 4cf. Plato, 9 Simpl. Phys. 381. 29-30. 0o Phys. 382. 20. " Arist. De gen. anim. 722bi1, Symp. 19' d. 12 6 Phys. I99b57 The formation of bones, one of the Rudberg, 'Empedokles und Evolution', 23-30, esp. p. 28. Eranos 1 (1952), EMPEDOCLES' COSMIC CYCLE 39 women from separate limbs in order to illustrate a passage of Aristotle.I But fr. 26 also implies that men and women arise as the elements are drawn together by Love: S avra yap Eurtv rawra, &t' AAr9AoWv'0OVra TE yivovr' ivOpwo7rot Kal dAAowv OqLpctv EOwa LAAorE ptAo'•rrvt dtEv UvVEpXotLEVEva KOatLov, E'S 8' a; 81X' EXOEL, iAAor-E bopElVLEva NEIKEO• KOKaara 7TEvEE EV ELUOKE UCvvTra 7T V YEV77raL. rp wV It is true that this fragment is a mosaic of repetitionsfrom earlier in the poem, probably a summary of the first part of the poem on the cosmic cycle and the elements. But the literal meaning of the lines is plainly that men and women are born both as the elements come together under increasingLove and as they are drawn apart by Strife. Were men and women the final stage in either sequence? Fr. 20 indicates that in Strife'sworld men and women are later to be torn apart into separate limbs: av roro tILEV fpoTrEWV taLEAEWV OLpL~EtKEToV ~OKOV" E13 aravra Egv /IEV IAAor-E (6PAo-7r•T aUvvEPXo'LE yvta, 7-a u 8Lat-/170t9vr AAo•-E 'ZEpE•8Cau fltoto. CVOLX EKaaua1TEptpp9YI~v/Lt ,17AElaE7t V CLs8' L Kat 8' a1~TEKaKqLtuL tfa AEAOYXE 3Ev •lov 08aA•8ovrog a'K/tL't 1X'va aviowg Ocalvoa " po1LLEAaOpotSg IE' 7TTEPoJ3agtLort 0-)pcl i'' PELAEXEEcTcTLV Kv(1LFatLS This fragment has usually been taken as a description of the power of Love and Strife in the life cycle of each individual. But diAAoTE and Cv tA dr'r'-rt i AAOTE 8' KaK'7LaL .. 'EplG'8aa indicate fairly clearly that we are still cav••E dealing with alternate worlds of Love and Strife. 'The limbs that have found a body in the peak of blooming life' will be separate limbs that become monsters and then men and women in the world of increasing Love. 'At another time' will be the world of Strife increasing. 'Limbs', the subject is still them apart along the breakersof life's shore.' This is not a plausible description of death. Nor does it easily describe, as Diels wishes,3the formation of monsters from separate limbs. Empedocles' limbs have already found a body and are now torn apart: just the opposite process. The point must be that under increasing Strife men and women will be torn apart into separate limbs. They are torn apart 'again' because they become separate limbs under increasing Strife as before under increasingLove. We may recall Aristophanes'speech in the Symposium, where the connexion with Empedocles has often been noted.4There too men and women arise from bisexual creatures and are threatened with a further separation: dlflog oiv avutg AL4 EUTtV, E~aV KOULtL~o 1 v rpo TgTOvg OEOV"g, tW5l Kal &ro0 LaUaXItu7uoWaEot ' Kat Ot tE TatS aT7)A*aLa E'KTETlfTWfIEVtOt ITEpltIEv E"XOvTEs WIT7~Ep fIE~a, ' II on Arist. Phys. Phys. 371. 33-372. Ka-aypav~ yvta, 'are torn apart again by wicked spirits of dissension and wander2 each of and Ed'Aavaro used of separate limbs in fr. 57 and Simplicius, De caelo 587. 19. g198bio-34. 2 Cf. idAcovro At greatest length by Ziegler, 'Menschen- und Weltenwerden, ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Mikrokosmosidee', Neue 4 Jahrbiicher xxxi (I913), 529-73, who, how- 3 Poetarum ad Fragmenta, loc. Philosophorum ever, supposes that there is only one zoogonical sequence. 40 D. O'BRIEN In we pVcLrs, YEYOVOTECS WUTEpAlU7TrL.' theSymposium are LcTEITrptL(LEVOL TRaS KaEr/ also promised the possibility of being fused together again with our other half. 2 Thus Aristophanes' speech contains in effect the whole of Empedocles' cycle: from double creatures to men and women, to quarter creatures, back to double creatures.3 It is true, there is no direct mention of whole-natured creatures in Love's world: but we are quite likely intended to assume their existence, so as to complete the symmetry with Strife's world: Increasing Love separate limbs and monsters men and women whole-natured creatures Increasing Strife whole-natured creatures men and women (monsters and) separate limbs Aetius may have taken only Love's sequence, which we have seen was described earlier in the poem, and rearranged the stages so as to end with men and women. Perhaps more likely, Theophrastus recorded only those stages of either cycle that were described in detail, and wrote, starting with increasing Love:4 separate limbs and monsters and men and women under increasing Love, and whole-natured creatures and men and women under increasing Strife. In that case Aetius or his source has not surprisingly produced a single sequence by suppressing the first mention of men and women. Gonville Caius College,Cambridge and 193 a. This is explained as one of Plato's jokes by Ziegler, p. 547 cf. p. 5572 192 d-e, 193 c-d. 3 Thus Aristophanes alone among the earlier speakers shares with Diotima the attitude to Love as not simply an immediate delight, but a yearning that can find complete fulfilment only beyond the immediate world. Diotima in effect acknowledges the similarity at 205 d Io-e, cf. perhaps 212 c 4-6. 4 The reason for this would again have been that Love's zoogony was described first. Empedocles regularly speaks of increasing Love before increasing Strife, frr. 17. 1-17, 20. 1-4, 26. 5-12; there is the same order in the passage quoted above ' DENIS O'BRIEN from Aristotle's Physics, 250b27-29. Fr. 21. 7-8 is an exception in putting increasing Strife before increasing Love, probably because there Empedocles is appealing to our experience of the present world. Aristotle, De gen. et corr. 334a5-7, and Theophrastus, De sens. 20, speak of increasing Love as in the past (Aristotle's 7rpd?'epov shows that Theophrastus' -'dre does not refer to the future). The priority of Love's zoogony is probably the reason for the tense of monsters Aristotle Phys. 198b31, describing d7Tro-AETo, in Love's world, and t4LerEv, Theophrastus, De caus.pl. I. 22. 2, describing fish which are fiery creatures and so in Love's world took up their habitat in a cool element, water, cf. I. 21. 5-
Fly UP