Aëra

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Καὶ ἐφεξῆς δείκνυσιν ὅτι καὶ τὸ σπέρμα τῶν ζῴων πνευματῶδές ἐστι καὶ νοήσεις γίνονται τοῦ ἀέρος σὺν τῷ αἵματι τὸ ὅλον σῶμα καταλαμβάνοντος διὰ τῶν φλεβῶν, ἐν οἷς καὶ ἀνατομὴν ἀκριβῆ τῶν φλεβῶν παραδίδωσιν. ἐν δὴ τούτοις σαφῶς φαίνεται λέγων, ὅτι ὃν ἄνθρωποι λέγουσιν ἀέρα, τοῦτό ἐστιν ἡ ἀρχή. θαυμαστὸν δὲ ὅτι, κατὰ ἑτεροίωσιν τὴν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ λέγων τὰ ἄλλα γίνεσθαι, ἀίδιον ὅμως αὐτό φησι λέγων· “καὶ αὐτὸ μὲν τοῦτο καὶ ἀίδιον καὶ ἀθάνατον σῶμα, τῶν δὲ τὰ μὲν γίνεται, τὰ δὲ ἀπολείπει”, καὶ ἐν ἄλλοις· “ἀλλὰ τοῦτό μοι δῆλον δοκεῖ εἶναι, ὅτι καὶ μέγα καὶ ἰσχυρὸν καὶ ἀΐδιόν τε καὶ ἀθάνατον καὶ πολλὰ εἰδός ἐστι.” [Diogenes of Apollonia, fr. B 6-8]
(Simplicius, In Aristotelis Physicorum Libros Commentarium 153.16-22)

Next he* shows that the seed of animals is breathy, and that thoughts come about when air occupies the whole body along with blood through the veins, and in so doing he gives an accurate anatomical description of the veins. In this he plainly states that the principle is what people call air. It is surprising that, while saying that the other things come to be by differentiation from it, he nonetheless says that it is eternal, in these words: “This very thing is an eternal and immortal body, and by it things come to be and pass away”, and elsewhere: “But this seems clear to me, that it is great and strong and eternal and immortal and multiple in form.”

* Diogenes of Apollonia.

(tr. Pamela Huby & Christopher Charles Whiston Taylor)

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