Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Expanding Earth in The Avesta and Democritus



"Then Yima stepped forward, towards the luminous space, southwards, to meet the sun, and (afterwards) he pressed the earth with the golden ring, and bored it with the poniard, speaking thus: 'O Spenta Ârmaiti, kindly open asunder and stretch thyself afar, to bear flocks and herds and men.' And Yima made the earth grow larger by one-third than it was before ...." -- Avesta, Vendidad, Fargard II, 1000 B.C.

"Then Yima stepped forward, towards the luminous space, southwards, to meet the sun, and (afterwards) he pressed the earth with the golden ring, and bored it with the poniard, speaking thus: 'O Spenta Ârmaiti, kindly open asunder and stretch thyself afar, to bear flocks and herds and men.' And Yima made the earth grow larger by two-thirds than it was before ...." -- Avesta, Vendidad, Fargard II, 1000 B.C.

"Then Yima stepped forward, towards the luminous space, southwards, to meet the sun, and (afterwards) he pressed the earth with the golden ring, and bored it with the poniard, speaking thus: 'O Spenta Ârmaiti, kindly open asunder and stretch thyself afar, to bear flocks and herds and men.' And Yima made the earth grow larger by three-thirds than it was before ...." -- Avesta, Vendidad, Fargard II, 1000 B.C.

"There is no doubt that this art [magic] originated in Persia under Zoroaster, this being a point upon which authors are generally agreed; but whether there was only one Zoroaster, or whether in later times there was a second person of that name, is a matter which still remains undecided. Eudoxus, who has endeavored to show that of all branches of philosophy the magic art is the most illustrious and the most beneficial, informs us that this Zoroaster existed six thousand years before the death of Plato, an assertion in which he is supported by Aristotle. Hermippus, again, an author who has written with the greatest exactness on all particulars connected with this art, and has commented upon the two millions of verses left by Zoroaster, besides completing indexes to his several works, has left a statement, that Agonaces was the name of the master from whom Zoroaster derived his doctrines, and that he lived five thousand years before the time of the Trojan War." -- Pliny the Elder, historian, Natural History, XXX, 77

"The first person, so far as I can ascertain, who wrote upon magic, and whose works are still in existence, was Osthanes, who accompanied Xerxes, the Persian king, in his expedition against Greece. It was he who first disseminated, as it were, the germs of this monstrous art, and tainted therewith all parts of the world through which the Persians passed." -- Pliny the Elder, historian, Natural History, XXX, 77

"That it was this same Osthanes, more particularly, that inspired the Greeks, not with a fondness only, but a rage, for the art of magic, is a fact beyond all doubt: though at the same time I would remark, that in the most ancient times, and indeed almost invariably, it was in this branch of science, that was sought the highest point of celebrity and of literary renown. At all events, Pythagoras, we find, Empedocles, Democritus, and Plato, crossed the seas, in order to attain a knowledge thereof, submitting, to speak the truth, more to the evils of exile than to the mere inconveniences of travel. Returning home, it was upon the praises of this art that they expatiated—it was this that they held as one of their grandest mysteries. It was Democritus, too, who first drew attention to Apollobeches of Coptos, to Dardanus, and to Phœnix: the works of Dardanus he sought in the tomb of that personage, and his own were composed in accordance with the doctrines there found. That these doctrines should have been received by any portion of mankind, and transmitted to us by the aid of memory, is to me surprising beyond anything I can conceive. All the particulars there found are so utterly incredible, so utterly revolting, that those even who admire Democritus in other respects, are strong in their denial that these works were really written by him. Their denial, however, is in vain; for it was he, beyond all doubt, who had the greatest share in fascinating men's minds with these attractive chimeras." -- Pliny the Elder, historian, Natural History, XXX, 77

"He [Democritus] said that the ordered worlds are boundless and differ in size, and that in some there is neither sun nor moon, but that in others, both are greater than with us, and yet with others more in number. And that the intervals between the ordered worlds are unequal, here more and there less, and that some increase, others flourish and others decay, and here they come into being and there they are eclipsed. But that they are destroyed by colliding with one another. And that some ordered worlds are bare of animals and plants and all water." -- Hippolytus, priest, Refutation of All Heresies, 2nd century

"He [Democritus] was a pupil of some of the Magi and Chaldaeans, whom Xerxes had left with his father as teachers, when he had been hospitably received by him, as Herodotus [Metrodorus] informs us; and from these men he, while still a boy, learned the principles of astronomy and theology. Afterwards, his father entrusted him to Leucippus, and to Anaxagoras, as some authors assert, who was forty years older than he." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, Life of Democritus, 3rd century

"The oldest authors quoted by the alchemical manuscripts, Democritus, Ostanes, also appear as magicians and astrologers in Columelle, Pliny and the writers of antiquity." -- Marcellin Berthelot, chemist, Origins of Alchemy, 1885

1 comment:

Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

3 distinct episodes of expansion? Associated with poniard (poinard?) etc?