Cleomedes' Lectures on Astronomy: A Translation of ''The by Cleomedes

By Cleomedes

Cleomedes' treatise was once a milestone within the historical past of astronomy, and is a useful source for college students of old Stoicism besides.

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Also n. 57 below. 33. This conditional sentence (lines 92–94) has sometimes been deleted because of incomplete knowledge of the manuscript tradition; see Caelestia Todd ed. ad loc. But it is integral to the reasoning, though when the received text at line 93 says that the cosmos would be borne “downwards” (katò), that qualification can be omitted, since the void has no downward direction; see lines 150–151 below. 34. Cf. Alex. Aphr. at Simplic. 10–23, and at Simplic. In phys. 552); also, derivatively, Themist.

68 But there is a diªerence in their daytimes and nighttimes: when it is daytime in our zone, it must be nighttime in theirs, and vice versa, although this is put too loosely. For it is not by precise reckoning that the Sun begins to rise in their zone when it sets in ours, since in that case the nighttime in their zone would be long when the daytime in ours was long, and their seasons, that is, the lengthening and shortening of their daytimes and nighttimes, would be the reverse of ours. , encircles) the Earth, which is spherical, it shines its bright light on the [parts] on which it casts its rays each time its course takes it over the Earth’s curvatures.

Alexander did concede that the Stoic “holding power” (hexis), introduced in Cleomedes’ response, might prevent the cosmos from splitting into pieces, but thought that power no help when the cosmos was being displaced. 35. As at lines 70 and 72 above, and 98–99 below, sunekhein (literally “to hold together”) also means “to make continuous” through the physics of the Stoic dynamic continuum, conveyed here by the hexis (“the holding power”). ”39 The reasons are: (a) the void’s being unlimited does not imply that body is also unlimited, since the concept of the void does not cease anywhere, whereas being limited is in fact included in the notion of body;40 ( b) there also cannot be a “holding power” for what is unlimited: for how could something unlimited be held41 by anything?

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