Posted by Eric » 3 Comments »
The Rogueclassicist asks for a reference regarding his notice that on this day in 357 B.C. Aristotle observed the transit of the moon past Mars.
I’m not sure that the following passage from De Caelo will help with the date, but Aristotle does here seem to mention the event to which the RC is referring. This, then, is from De Caelo 2.12, translated by J.L. Stocks:
There are two difficulties, which may very reasonably here be raised, of which we must now attempt to state the probable solution: for we regard the zeal of one whose thirst after philosophy leads him to accept even slight indications where it is very difficult to see one’s way, as a proof rather of modesty than of overconfidence.
Of many such problems one of the strangest is the problem why we find the greatest number of movements in the intermediate bodies, and not, rather, in each successive body a variety of movement proportionate to its distance from the primary motion. For we should expect, since the primary body shows one motion only, that the body which is nearest to it should move with the fewest movements, say two, and the one next after that with three, or some similar arrangement. But the opposite is the case. The movements of the sun and moon are fewer than those of some of the planets. Yet these planets are farther from the centre and thus nearer to the primary body than they, as observation has itself revealed. For we have seen the moon, half-full, pass beneath the planet Mars, which vanished on its shadow side and came forth by the bright and shining part. Similar accounts of other stars are given by the Egyptians and Babylonians, whose observations have been kept for very many years past, and from whom much of our evidence about particular stars is derived. A second difficulty which may with equal justice be raised is this. Why is it that the primary motion includes such a multitude of stars that their whole array seems to defy counting, while of the other stars each one is separated off, and in no case do we find two or more attached to the same motion?
Posted by Eric » Add Comment »
Horace Odes 2.10 is appropriately given the English title ‘The Golden Mean’ in Garrison’s edition of the Epodes and Odes. The famous Latin phrase aurea mediocritas occurs in line 5, with the phrase’s two words perfectly balanced around quisquis and with mediocritatem filling all six syllables of the second half of the Sapphic line after the diaeresis, or pause.
In addition, the phrase itself is bracketed and reinforced by nicely balanced syntax and anaphora in the first two stanzas:
Rectius vives, Licini, neque altum
semper urgendo neque, dum procellas
cautus horrescis, nimium premendo
Auream quisquis mediocritatem
diligit, tutus caret obsoleti
sordibus tecti, caret invidenda
In the first stanza, neque is repeated in a ‘neither…nor’ construction, followed each time by a gerund. Garrison points out that the gerunds are nearly synonymous in meaning, but one warns against going too far out to sea while the other warns against staying too close to the shore.
In the second stanza, anaphora is used again with caret, this time with two nominative adjectives similar in sense (tutus and sobrius) referring to the man who wisely avoids two dissimilar extremes: poverty and excessive wealth. In this instance, moreover, the word order is also chiastic: tutus caret…caret…sobrius.
The phrases using the anaphora are balanced in construction, but refer to opposite extremes in sense; Licinius is to live in between both, and hence keep to the ‘golden mean’.