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Chapter XXIII.—Pythagoras’ Astronomic System.

These, then, and such like assertions, the Pythagoreans put forward; and the heretics, imitating these, are supposed by some to utter important truths. The Pythagorean system, however, lays down that the Creator of all alleged existences is the Great Geometrician and Calculator—a sun; and that this one has been fixed in the whole world, just as in the bodies a soul, according to the statement of Plato. For the sun (being of the nature of) fire,670670    The text seems doubtful. Some would read, “The sun is (to be compared with) soul, and the moon with body.” resembles the soul, but the earth (resembles the) body. And, separated from fire, there would be nothing visible, nor would there be any object of touch without something solid; but not any solid body exists without earth. Whence the Deity, locating air in the midst, fashioned the body of the universe out of fire and earth. And the Sun, he says, calculates and geometrically measures the world in some such manner as the following: The world is a unity cognizable by sense; and concerning this (world) we now make these assertions. But one who is an adept in the science of numbers, and a geometrician, has divided it into twelve parts. And the names of these parts are as follow: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces. Again, he divides each of the twelve parts into thirty parts, and these are days of the month. Again, he divides each part of the thirty parts into sixty small divisions, 85and (each) of these small (divisions) he subdivides into minute portions, and (these again) into portions still more minute. And always doing this, and not intermitting, but collecting from these divided portions (an aggregate), and constituting it a year; and again resolving and dividing the compound, (the sun) completely finishes the great and everlasting world.671671    Or, “completes the great year of the world” (see book iv. chap. vii. of The Refutation).


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