[Aristotle], On the Cosmos

LCL 400: 348-349

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391 b ταύτης δὲ τὸ μὲν μέσον, ἀκίνητόν τε καὶ ἑδραῖον ὄν, ἡ φερέσβιος εἴληχε γῆ, παντοδαπῶν ζῴων ἑστία τε οὖσα καὶ μήτηρ. τὸ δὲ ὕπερθεν 15αὐτῆς, πᾶν τε καὶ πάντῃ πεπερατωμένον εἰς1 τὸ ἀνωτάτω, θεῶν οἰκητήριον, οὐρανὸς ὠνόμασται. πλήρης δὲ ὢν σωμάτων θείων, ἃ δὴ καλεῖν ἄστρα εἰώθαμεν, κινούμενος κίνησιν ἀίδιον, μιᾷ περιαγωγῇ καὶ κύκλῳ συναναχορεύει πᾶσι τούτοις ἀπαύστως δι᾿ αἰῶνος. τοῦ δὲ σύμπαντος οὐρανοῦ τε καὶ 20κόσμου σφαιροειδοῦς ὄντος καὶ κινουμένου, καθάπερ εἶπον, ἐνδελεχῶς, δύο ἀκίνητα ἐξ ἀνάγκης ἐστι σημεῖα, καταντικρὺ ἀλλήλων, καθάπερ τῆς ἐν τόρνῳ κυκλοφορουμένης σφαίρας, στερεὰ μένοντα καὶ συνέχοντα τὴν σφαῖραν, περὶ ἃ ὁ πᾶς ὄγκος 25κύκλῳ στρέφεται2· καλοῦνται δὲ οὗτοι πόλοι· δι᾿ ὧν εἰ νοήσαιμεν ἐπεζευγμένην εὐθεῖαν, ἥν τινες 392 aἄξονα καλοῦσι, διάμετρος ἔσται τοῦ κόσμου, μέσον3 μὲν ἔχουσα τὴν γῆν, τοὺς δὲ δύο πόλους πέρατα. τῶν δὲ ἀκινήτων πόλων τούτων ὁ μὲν ἀεὶ φανερός ἐστιν ὑπὲρ κορυφὴν ὢν κατὰ τὸ βόρειον κλίμα, ἀρκτικὸς καλούμενος, ὁ δὲ ὑπὸ γῆν ἀεὶ κατακέκρυπται, 5κατὰ τὸ νότιον, ἀνταρκτικὸς καλούμενος.

Οὐρανοῦ δὲ καὶ ἄστρων οὐσίαν μὲν αἰθέρα καλοῦμεν,


On The Cosmos

the cosmos, which is unmoved and fixed, is occupied by “life-bearing earth,”a the home and mother of living beings of all kinds. The region above it, a single whole with a finite upper limit everywhere, the dwelling of the gods, is called heaven. It is full of divine bodies which we call stars; it moves eternally, and revolves in solemn choral danceb with all the stars in the same circular orbit unceasingly for all time. The whole of the heaven, the whole cosmos,c is spherical, and moves continuously, as I have said; but there are necessarily two points which are unmoved, opposite one another, just as in the case of a ball being turned in a lathe; they remain fixed, holding the sphere in position, and the whole mass revolves in a circle round them; these points are called poles. If we think of a straight line joining these two together (some call this the axis), it will be a diameter of the cosmos, having the earth at its centre and the two poles at its extremities. One of these two stationary poles is always visible, above our heads in the North: it is called the Arcticd pole. The other is always hidden under the earth, in the South: it is called the Antarctic pole.

The substance of the heaven and the stars we call

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-cosmos.1955