<DE DEO SOCRATIS>1
1. Plato omnem naturam rerum, quod eius ad animalia praecipua pertineat, trifariam divisit censuitque esse summos deos. Summum, medium et infimum fac intellegas non modo loci disclusione verum etiam naturae dignitate, quae et ipsa neque uno neque gemino modo sed pluribus cernitur. 2Ordiri tamen manifestius fuit a loci dispositione. Nam proinde ut maiestas postulabat, diis immortalibus caelum dicavit, quos quidem deos caelites partim visu usurpamus, alios intellectu vestigamus. 3Ac visu quidem cernimus
. . . uos, o clarissima mundi lumina, labentem caelo quae ducitis annum;
4nec modo ista praecipua: diei opificem lunamque, solis aemulam, noctis decus, seu corniculata seu dividua seu protumida seu plena sit, varia ignium face, quanto longius facessat a sole, tanto largius conlustrata, pari incremento itineris et luminis, mensem suis auctibus ac dehinc paribus dispendiis aestimans; 5sive illa proprio sibi2 perpeti
- 1Titulum ex Aug. Civ. Dei 8, 14 suppl. edd.
- 2sibi Rohde: seu ω
ON SOCRATES’ GOD
1. Plato divided all of nature, at least as it pertains to the principal animate beings, into three parts, and held the gods to be the highest.1 But by “highest, “middle,” and “lowest” you must understand that he meant not only spatial separation but also natural status, which in turn is divided not just into one or two parts but into more. 2Still, it was clearer for him to start from the disposition in space. For as their majesty required, he assigned the heaven to the immortal gods, that is, the gods of heaven of whom we apprehend some visually, while others we study intellectually. 3Now visually we distinguish
. . . you, O brightest lights of the universe, who guide through the sky the gliding year,2
4but not only those principal ones—the one who creates day and the moon, the sun’s rival, the glory of night, which according as it is crescent, halved, waxing or full, varies the brightness of its light, more brightly illuminated the further it proceeds from the sun, as its path and its light increase together, measuring the month by its growth and thereafter with its equal diminution. 5Either by its particular
- 1In fact, Plato recognized a fourfold division of higher beings: gods, demons, heroes, and humans: cf. Beaujeu, Apulée, 203.
- 2Verg. G. 1.5–6.