of the

 The Angel Raphael and Tobias

  Plato and Aristotle_

THE term psychopomp/ψῡχοπομπός was used in the Greek Mystery Religions as a title of the god Hermes in his role as the soul’s guide on its journey into the heavenly realms.  It is more broadly used today by Jungians and literary critics to describe anyone who serves as an instructor and guide in esoteric knowledge.  Although this technical term is not found in the three sources we will consider here, Plato (350 B.C.E.), The Book of Enoch (c. 180 B.C.E.), and Cicero (60 B.C.E.) will offer us vivid precursors of this role; and the models they provide were well-known to the early Christian Church.







Plato: The Republic BOOK 7:

Tr. Benjamin Jowett (New York: P. F. Collier & Son, 1901). TLG 59.030 Respublica cit Stephanus ser. Platonis opera, vol. 4, ed. J. Burnet (Clarendon Press, Oxford 1902, rpr. 1968) cit. Stephanus 514a-541b.


of the CAVE

Socrates - Glaucon 


AND now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened: --Behold! human beings living in a underground cave, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. 

Μετὰ ταῦτα δή, εἶπον, ἀπείκασον τοιούτῳ πάθει τὴν ἡμετέραν φύσιν παιδείας τε πέρι καὶ ἀπαιδευσίας. ἰδὲ γὰρ ἀνθρώπους οἷον ἐν καταγείῳ οἰκήσει σπηλαιώδει, ἀναπεπταμένην πρὸς τὸ φῶς τὴν εἴσοδον ἐχούσῃ μακρὰν παρὰ πᾶν τὸ σπήλαιον, ἐν ταύτῃ ἐκ παίδων ὄντας ἐν δεσμοῖς καὶ τὰ σκέλη καὶ τοὺς αὐχένας, ὥστε μένειν τε αὐτοὺς εἴς τε τὸ πρόσθεν μόνον ὁρᾶν, κύκλῳ δὲ τὰς κεφαλὰς ὑπὸ τοῦ δεσμοῦ ἀδυνάτους περιάγειν,

   ABOVE and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets. 

φῶς δὲ αὐτοῖς πυρὸς ἄνωθεν καὶ πόρρωθεν καόμενον ὄπισθεν αὐτῶν, μεταξὺ δὲ τοῦ πυρὸς καὶ τῶν δεσμωτῶν ἐπάνω ὁδόν, παρ' ἣν ἰδὲ τειχίον παρῳκοδομημένον, ὥσπερ τοῖς θαυματοποιοῖς πρὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρόκειται τὰ παραφράγματα, ὑπὲρ ὧν τὰ θαύματα δεικνύασιν.

I see. 

(Ορῶ, ἔφη.


And do you see, I said, men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent. 

(/Ορα τοίνυν παρὰ τοῦτο τὸ τειχίον φέροντας ἀνθρώπους σκεύη τε παντοδαπὰ ὑπερέχοντα τοῦ τειχίου καὶ ἀνδριάντας καὶ ἄλλα ζῷα λίθινά τε καὶ ξύλινα καὶ παντοῖα εἰργασμένα, οἷον εἰκὸς τοὺς μὲν φθεγγομένους, τοὺς δὲ σιγῶντας τῶν παραφερόντων.

You have shown me a strange image,

    and they are strange prisoners. 

)/Ατοπον, ἔφη, λέγεις εἰκόνα

καὶ δεσμώτας ἀτόπους.

LIKE OURSELVES, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave? 

(Ομοίους ἡμῖν, ἦν δ' ἐγώ· τοὺς γὰρ τοιούτους πρῶτον μὲν ἑαυτῶν τε καὶ ἀλλήλων οἴει ἄν τι ἑωρακέναι ἄλλο πλὴν τὰς σκιὰς τὰς ὑπὸ τοῦ πυρὸς εἰς τὸ καταντικρὺ αὐτῶν τοῦ σπηλαίου προσπιπτούσας;̈

True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?

    Πῶς γάρ, ἔφη, εἰ ἀκινήτους γε τὰς κεφαλὰς ἔχειν ἠναγκασμένοι εἶεν διὰ βίου;

And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would only see the shadows?

Τί δὲ τῶν παραφερομένων; οὐ ταὐτὸν τοῦτο;

Yes, he said.

Τί μήν;

And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them?

Εἰ οὖν διαλέγεσθαι οἷοί τ' εἶεν πρὸς ἀλλήλους, οὐ ταῦτα ἡγῇ ἂν τὰ ὄντα αὐτοὺς νομίζειν ἅπερ ὁρῷεν;

Very true.


And suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the other side, would they not be sure to fancy when one of the passers-by spoke that the voice which they heard came from the passing shadow? 

Τί δ' εἰ καὶ ἠχὼ τὸ δεσμωτήριον ἐκ τοῦ καταντικρὺ ἔχοι; ὁπότε τις τῶν παριόντων φθέγξαιτο, οἴει ἂν ἄλλο τι αὐτοὺς ἡγεῖσθαι τὸ φθεγγόμενον ἢ τὴν παριοῦσαν σκιάν;

No question, he replied. 

Μὰ  Δί' οὐκ ἔγωγ', ἔφη.

To them, I said, the TRUTH would be literally NOTHING but the SHADOWS of the images. 

Παντάπασι δή, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, οἱ τοιοῦτοι οὐκ ἂν ἄλλο τι νομίζοιεν τὸ ἀληθὲς ἢ τὰς τῶν σκευαστῶν σκιάς.̈

That is certain. 

Πολλὴ ἀνάγκη, ἔφη.



Release from the Cave




And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and

Σκόπει δή, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, αὐτῶν λύσιν τε καὶ ἴασιν τῶν τε δεσμῶν καὶ τῆς ἀφροσύνης, οἵα τις ἂν εἴη, εἰ φύσει τοιάδε συμβαίνοι αὐτοῖς· ὁπότε τις λυθείη καὶ ἀναγκάζοιτο ἐξαίφνης ἀνίστασθαί τε καὶ περιάγειν τὸν αὐχένα καὶ βαδίζειν καὶ

look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, -what will be his reply?

πρὸς τὸ φῶς ἀναβλέπειν, πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ποιῶν ἀλγοῖ τε καὶ διὰ τὰς μαρμαρυγὰς ἀδυνατοῖ καθορᾶν ἐκεῖνα ὧν τότε τὰς σκιὰς ἑώρα, τί ἂν οἴει αὐτὸν εἰπεῖν, εἴ τις αὐτῷ λέγοι ὅτι τότε μὲν ἑώρα φλυαρίας, νῦν δὲ μᾶλλόν τι ἐγγυτέρω τοῦ ὄντος καὶ πρὸς μᾶλλον ὄντα τετραμμένος ὀρθότερον βλέποι,

Far truer. 

Πολύ γ', ἔφη.

And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, -will he not be perplexed?  καὶ δὴ καὶ ἕκαστον τῶν παριόντων δεικνὺς αὐτῷ ἀναγκάζοι ἐρωτῶν ἀποκρίνεσθαι ὅτι ἔστιν;
Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him οὐκ οἴει αὐτὸν ἀπορεῖν τε ἂν καὶ ἡγεῖσθαι τὰ τότε ὁρώμενα ἀληθέστερα ἢ τὰ νῦν δεικνύμενα;

And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take and take in the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be in reality clearer than the things which are now being shown to him? 

Οὐκοῦν κἂν εἰ πρὸς αὐτὸ τὸ φῶς ἀναγκάζοι αὐτὸν βλέπειν, ἀλγεῖν τε ἂν τὰ ὄμματα καὶ φεύγειν ἀποστρεφόμενον πρὸς ἐκεῖνα ἃ δύναται καθορᾶν, καὶ νομίζειν ταῦτα τῷ ὄντι σαφέστερα τῶν δεικνυμένων;

True, he said. 

Οὕτως, ἔφη.

And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he 's forced into the presence of the sun himself, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities. 

Εἰ δέ, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, ἐντεῦθεν ἕλκοι τις αὐτὸν βίᾳ διὰ τραχείας τῆς ἀναβάσεως καὶ ἀνάντους, καὶ μὴ ἀνείη πρὶν ἐξελκύσειεν εἰς τὸ τοῦ ἡλίου φῶς, ἆρα οὐχὶ ὀδυνᾶσθαί τε ἂν καὶ ἀγανακτεῖν ἑλκόμενον, καὶ ἐπειδὴ πρὸς τὸ φῶς ἔλθοι, αὐγῆς ἂν ἔχοντα τὰ ὄμματα μεστὰ ὁρᾶν οὐδ' ἂν ἓν δύνασθαι τῶν νῦν λεγομένων ἀληθῶν;

Not all in a moment, he said. 

Οὐ γὰρ ἄν, ἔφη, ἐξαίφνης γε.

He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven; and he will see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day? 

Συνηθείας δὴ οἶμαι δέοιτ' ἄν, εἰ μέλλοι τὰ ἄνω ὄψεσθαι. καὶ πρῶτον μὲν τὰς σκιὰς ἂν ῥᾷστα καθορῷ, καὶ μετὰ τοῦτο ἐν τοῖς ὕδασι τά τε τῶν ἀνθρώπων καὶ τὰ τῶν ἄλλων εἴδωλα, ὕστερον δὲ αὐτά· ἐκ δὲ τούτων τὰ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ καὶ αὐτὸν τὸν οὐρανὸν νύκτωρ ἂν ῥᾷον θεάσαιτο, προσβλέπων τὸ τῶν ἄστρων τε καὶ σελήνης φῶς, ἢ μεθ' ἡμέραν τὸν ἥλιόν τε καὶ τὸ τοῦ ἡλίου.


Πῶς δ' οὔ;

Last of he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him in the water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is.

Τελευταῖον δὴ οἶμαι τὸν ἥλιον, οὐκ ἐν ὕδασιν οὐδ' ἐν ἀλλοτρίᾳ ἕδρᾳ φαντάσματα αὐτοῦ, ἀλλ' αὐτὸν καθ' αὑτὸν ἐν τῇ αὑτοῦ χώρᾳ δύναιτ' ἂν κατιδεῖν καὶ θεάσασθαι οἷός ἐστιν.


)Αναγκαῖον, ἔφη.

He will then proceed to argue that this is he who gives the season and the years, and is the guardian of all that is in the visible world, and in a certain way the cause of all things which he and his fellows have been accustomed to behold?

Καὶ μετὰ ταῦτ' ἂν ἤδη συλλογίζοιτο περὶ αὐτοῦ ὅτι οὗτος ὁ τάς τε ὥρας παρέχων καὶ ἐνιαυτοὺς καὶ πάντα ἐπιτροπεύων τὰ ἐν τῷ ὁρωμένῳ τόπῳ, καὶ ἐκείνων ὧν σφεῖς ἑώρων τρόπον τινὰ πάντων αἴτιος.

Clearly, he said, he would first see the sun and then reason about him.

Δῆλον, ἔφη, ὅτι ἐπὶ ταῦτα ἂν μετ' ἐκεῖνα ἔλθοι.



Compassion for the Cave-Dwellers:
Enmity from former-friends




And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the den and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them?

Τί οὖν; ἀναμιμνῃσκόμενον αὐτὸν τῆς πρώτης οἰκήσεως καὶ τῆς ἐκεῖ σοφίας καὶ τῶν τότε συνδεσμωτῶν οὐκ ἂν οἴει αὑτὸν μὲν εὐδαιμονίζειν τῆς μεταβολῆς, τοὺς δὲ ἐλεεῖν;

Certainly, he would.

Καὶ μάλα

And if they were in the habit of conferring honours among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before, and which followed after, and which were together; and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the future, do you think that he would care for such honours and glories, or envy the possessors of them? Would he not say with Homer,

Τιμαὶ δὲ καὶ ἔπαινοι εἴ τινες αὐτοῖς ἦσαν τότε παρ' ἀλλήλων καὶ γέρα τῷ ὀξύτατα καθορῶντι τὰ παριόντα, καὶ μνημονεύοντι μάλιστα ὅσα τε πρότερα αὐτῶν καὶ ὕστερα εἰώθει καὶ ἅμα πορεύεσθαι, καὶ ἐκ τούτων δὴ δυνατώτατα ἀπομαντευομένῳ τὸ μέλλον ἥξειν, δοκεῖς ἂν αὐτὸν ἐπιθυμητικῶς αὐτῶν ἔχειν καὶ ζηλοῦν τοὺς παρ' ἐκείνοις τιμωμένους τε καὶ ἐνδυναστεύοντας, ἢ τὸ τοῦ Ὁμήρου ἂν πεπονθέναι καὶ σφόδρα βούλεσθαι

“Better to be the poor servant of a poor master,” and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner?

"ἐπάρουρον ἐόντα θητευέμεν ἄλλῳ ἀνδρὶ παρ' ἀκλήρῳ" καὶ ὁτιοῦν ἂν πεπονθέναι μᾶλλον ἢ 'κεῖνά τε δοξάζειν καὶ ἐκείνως ζῆν;

Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner.

Οὕτως, ἔφη, ἔγωγε οἶμαι, πᾶν μᾶλλον πεπονθέναι ἂν δέξασθαι ἢ ζῆν ἐκείνως.

Imagine once more, I said, such an one coming suddenly out of the sun to be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness?

Καὶ τόδε δὴ ἐννόησον, ἦν δ' ἐγώ. εἰ πάλιν ὁ τοιοῦτος καταβὰς εἰς τὸν αὐτὸν θᾶκον καθίζοιτο, ἆρ' οὐ σκότους <ἂν> ἀνάπλεως σχοίη τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς, ἐξαίφνης ἥκων ἐκ τοῦ ἡλίου;

To be sure, he said.

Καὶ μάλα γ', ἔφη.

And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the den, while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady (and the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight might be very considerable) would he not be ridiculous?

Τὰς δὲ δὴ σκιὰς ἐκείνας πάλιν εἰ δέοι αὐτὸν γνωματεύοντα διαμιλλᾶσθαι τοῖς ἀεὶ δεσμώταις ἐκείνοις, ἐν ᾧ ἀμβλυώττει, πρὶν καταστῆναι τὰ ὄμματα, οὗτος δ' ὁ χρόνος μὴ πάνυ ὀλίγος εἴη τῆς συνηθείας, ἆρ' οὐ γέλωτ' ἂν παράσχοι,

Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.

καὶ λέγοιτο ἂν περὶ αὐτοῦ ὡς ἀναβὰς ἄνω διεφθαρμένος ἥκει τὰ ὄμματα, καὶ ὅτι οὐκ ἄξιον οὐδὲ πειρᾶσθαι ἄνω ἰέναι; καὶ τὸν ἐπιχειροῦντα λύειν τε καὶ ἀνάγειν, εἴ πως ἐν ταῖς χερσὶ δύναιντο λαβεῖν καὶ ἀποκτείνειν, ἀποκτεινύναι ἄν;

No question, he said.

Σφόδρα γ', ἔφη.



Plato's Interpretation of his parable:




This entire allegory, I said, you may now append, dear Glaucon, to the previous argument; the prison-house is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the ascent of the soul into the intellectual [noetic] world according to my poor belief, which, at your desire, I have expressed whether rightly or wrongly God knows. 

Ταύτην τοίνυν, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, τὴν εἰκόνα, ὦ φίλε  Γλαύκων, προσαπτέον ἅπασαν τοῖς ἔμπροσθεν λεγομένοις, τὴν μὲν δι' ὄψεως φαινομένην ἕδραν τῇ τοῦ δεσμωτηρίου οἰκήσει ἀφομοιοῦντα, τὸ δὲ τοῦ πυρὸς ἐν αὐτῇ φῶς τῇ τοῦ ἡλίου δυνάμει· τὴν δὲ ἄνω ἀνάβασιν καὶ θέαν τῶν ἄνω τὴν εἰς τὸν νοητὸν τόπον τῆς ψυχῆς ἄνοδον τιθεὶς οὐχ ἁμαρτήσῃ τῆς γ' ἐμῆς ἐλπίδος, ἐπειδὴ ταύτης ἐπιθυμεῖς ἀκούειν. θεὸς δέ που οἶδεν εἰ ἀληθὴς οὖσα τυγχάνει.̈

   But, whether true or false, my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally, either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.  τὰ δ' οὖν ἐμοὶ φαινόμενα οὕτω φαίνεται, ἐν τῷ γνωστῷ τελευταία ἡ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ἰδέα καὶ μόγις ὁρᾶσθαι, ὀφθεῖσα δὲ συλλογιστέα εἶναι ὡς ἄρα πᾶσι πάντων αὕτη ὀρθῶν τε καὶ καλῶν αἰτία, ἔν τε ὁρατῷ φῶς καὶ τὸν τούτου κύριον τεκοῦσα, ἔν τε νοητῷ αὐτὴ κυρία ἀλήθειαν καὶ νοῦν παρασχομένη, καὶ ὅτι δεῖ ταύτην ἰδεῖν τὸν μέλλοντα ἐμφρόνως πράξειν ἢ ἰδίᾳ ἢ δημοσίᾳ.̈

I agree, he said, as far as I am able to understand you. 

Συνοίομαι, ἔφη, καὶ ἐγώ, ὅν γε δὴ τρόπον δύναμαι.

Moreover, I said, you must not wonder that those who attain to this [beatific vision] are unwilling to descend to human affairs; for their souls are ever hastening into the upper world where they desire to dwell; which desire of theirs is very natural, if our allegory may be trusted.

Ιθι τοίνυν, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, καὶ τόδε συνοιήθητι καὶ μὴ θαυμάσῃς ὅτι οἱ ἐνταῦθα ἐλθόντες οὐκ ἐθέλουσιν τὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων πράττειν, ἀλλ' ἄνω ἀεὶ ἐπείγονται αὐτῶν αἱ ψυχαὶ διατρίβειν· εἰκὸς γάρ που οὕτως, εἴπερ αὖ κατὰ τὴν προειρημένην εἰκόνα τοῦτ' ἔχει.

Yes, very natural.

  Εἰκὸς μέντοι, ἔφη.

And is there anything surprising in one who passes from divine contemplations to the evil state of man, comporting himself in a ridiculous manner; if, while his eyes are blinking and before he has become accustomed to the surrounding darkness, he is compelled to fight in courts of law, or in other places, about the images or the shadows of images of justice, and is endeavouring to meet the conceptions of those who have never yet seen absolute justice?

Τί δέ; τόδε οἴει τι θαυμαστόν, εἰ ἀπὸ θείων, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, θεωριῶν ἐπὶ τὰ ἀνθρώπειά τις ἐλθὼν κακὰ ἀσχημονεῖ τε καὶ φαίνεται σφόδρα γελοῖος ἔτι ἀμβλυώττων καὶ πρὶν ἱκανῶς συνήθης γενέσθαι τῷ παρόντι σκότῳ ἀναγκαζόμενος ἐν δικαστηρίοις ἢ ἄλλοθί που ἀγωνίζεσθαι περὶ τῶν τοῦ δικαίου σκιῶν ἢ ἀγαλμάτων ὧν αἱ σκιαί, καὶ διαμιλλᾶσθαι περὶ τούτου, ὅπῃ ποτὲ ὑπολαμβάνεται ταῦτα ὑπὸ τῶν αὐτὴν δικαιοσύνην μὴ πώποτε ἰδόντων;

Anything but surprising, he replied. [...]

Οὐδ' ὁπωστιοῦν θαυμαστόν, ἔφη. [...]

But then, if I am right, certain professors of education must be wrong when they say that they can put a knowledge into the soul which was not there before, like sight into blind eyes.

Δεῖ δή, εἶπον, ἡμᾶς τοιόνδε νομίσαι περὶ αὐτῶν, εἰ ταῦτ' ἀληθῆ· τὴν παιδείαν οὐχ οἵαν τινὲς ἐπαγγελλόμενοί φασιν εἶναι τοιαύτην καὶ εἶναι. φασὶ δέ που οὐκ ἐνούσης ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ ἐπιστήμης σφεῖς ἐντιθέναι, οἷον τυφλοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ὄψιν ἐντιθέντες.

They undoubtedly say this, he replied.

Φασὶ γὰρ οὖν, ἔφη.

Whereas, our argument shows that the power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already; and that just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being, and learn by degrees to endure the sight of being, and of the brightest and best of being, or in other words, of the good.

Ὁ δέ γε νῦν λόγος, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, σημαίνει ταύτην τὴν ἐνοῦσαν ἑκάστου δύναμιν ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ καὶ τὸ ὄργανον ᾧ καταμανθάνει ἕκαστος, οἷον εἰ ὄμμα μὴ δυνατὸν ἦν ἄλλως ἢ σὺν ὅλῳ τῷ σώματι στρέφειν πρὸς τὸ φανὸν ἐκ τοῦ σκοτώδους, οὕτω σὺν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ ἐκ τοῦ γιγνομένου περιακτέον εἶναι, ἕως ἂν εἰς τὸ ὂν καὶ τοῦ ὄντος τὸ φανότατον δυνατὴ γένηται ἀνασχέσθαι θεωμένη· τοῦτο δ' εἶναί φαμεν τἀγαθόν. ἦ γάρ;

Very true.


And must there not be some art which will effect conversion in the easiest and quickest manner; not implanting the faculty of sight, for that exists already, but has been turned in the wrong direction, and is looking away from the truth?

Τούτου τοίνυν, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, αὐτοῦ τέχνη ἂν εἴη, τῆς περιαγωγῆς, τίνα τρόπον ὡς ῥᾷστά τε καὶ ἀνυσιμώτατα μεταστραφήσεται, οὐ τοῦ ἐμποιῆσαι αὐτῷ τὸ ὁρᾶν, ἀλλ' ὡς ἔχοντι μὲν αὐτό, οὐκ ὀρθῶς δὲ τετραμμένῳ οὐδὲ βλέποντι οἷ ἔδει, τοῦτο διαμηχανήσασθαι.̈

Yes, he said, such an art may be presumed. 

)/Εοικεν γάρ, ἔφη.

Very likely. [...]

Εἰκός γε, ἔφη.  [...]



Compel Contemplatives to Return, both to serve the State and to Enlighten their Brethren:




Yes, I said; and there is another thing which is likely. or rather a necessary inference from what has preceded, that neither the uneducated and uninformed of the truth, nor yet those who never make an end of their education, will be able ministers of State; not the former, because they have no single aim of duty which is the rule of all their actions, private as well as public; nor the latter, because they will not act at all except upon compulsion, fancying that they are already dwelling apart in the islands of the blest.

Τί δέ; τόδε οὐκ εἰκός, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, καὶ ἀνάγκη ἐκ τῶν προειρημένων, μήτε τοὺς ἀπαιδεύτους καὶ ἀληθείας ἀπείρους ἱκανῶς ἄν ποτε πόλιν ἐπιτροπεῦσαι, μήτε τοὺς ἐν παιδείᾳ ἐωμένους διατρίβειν διὰ τέλους, τοὺς μὲν ὅτι σκοπὸν ἐν τῷ βίῳ οὐκ ἔχουσιν ἕνα, οὗ στοχαζομένους δεῖ ἅπαντα πράττειν ἃ ἂν πράττωσιν ἰδίᾳ τε καὶ δημοσίᾳ, τοὺς δὲ ὅτι ἑκόντες εἶναι οὐ πράξουσιν, ἡγούμενοι ἐν μακάρων νήσοις ζῶντες ἔτι ἀπῳκίσθαι;

Very true, he replied.

)Αληθῆ, ἔφη.

Then, I said, the business of us who are the founders of the State will be to compel the best minds to attain that knowledge which we have already shown to be the greatest of all they must continue to ascend until they arrive at the good; but when they have ascended and seen enough we must not allow them to do as they do now.

(Ημέτερον δὴ ἔργον, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, τῶν οἰκιστῶν τάς τε βελτίστας φύσεις ἀναγκάσαι ἀφικέσθαι πρὸς τὸ μάθημα ὃ ἐν τῷ πρόσθεν ἔφαμεν εἶναι μέγιστον, ἰδεῖν τε τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἀναβῆναι ἐκείνην τὴν ἀνάβασιν, καὶ ἐπειδὰν ἀναβάντες ἱκανῶς ἴδωσι, μὴ ἐπιτρέπειν αὐτοῖς ὃ νῦν ἐπιτρέπεται.

What do you mean?

Τὸ ποῖον δή;

I mean that they remain in the upper world: but this must not be allowed; they must be made to descend again among the prisoners in the den, and partake of their labours and honours, whether they are worth having or not.

Τὸ αὐτοῦ, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, καταμένειν καὶ μὴ ἐθέλειν πάλιν καταβαίνειν παρ' ἐκείνους τοὺς δεσμώτας μηδὲ μετέχειν τῶν παρ' ἐκείνοις πόνων τε καὶ τιμῶν, εἴτε φαυλότεραι εἴτε σπουδαιότεραι.

But is not this unjust? he said; ought we to give them a worse life, when they might have a better?

)/Επειτ', ἔφη, ἀδικήσομεν αὐτούς, καὶ ποιήσομεν χεῖρον ζῆν, δυνατὸν αὐτοῖς ὂν ἄμεινον;

You have again forgotten, my friend, I said, the intention of the legislator, who did not aim at making any one class in the State happy above the rest; the happiness was to be in the whole State, and he held the citizens together by persuasion and necessity, making them benefactors of the State, and therefore benefactors of one another; to this end he created them, not to please themselves, but to be his instruments in binding up the State.

[Resp 520.d.4]  ᾿ Επελάθου, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, πάλιν, ὦ φίλε, ὅτι νόμῳ οὐ τοῦτο μέλει, ὅπως ἕν τι γένος ἐν πόλει διαφερόντως εὖ πράξει, ἀλλ' ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ πόλει τοῦτο μηχανᾶται ἐγγενέσθαι, συναρμόττων τοὺς πολίτας πειθοῖ τε καὶ ἀνάγκῃ, ποιῶν μεταδιδόναι ἀλλήλοις τῆς ὠφελίας ἣν ἂν ἕκαστοι τὸ κοινὸν δυνατοὶ ὦσιν ὠφελεῖν καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμποιῶν τοιούτους ἄνδρας ἐν τῇ πόλει, οὐχ ἵνα ἀφιῇ τρέπεσθαι ὅπῃ ἕκαστος βούλεται, ἀλλ' ἵνα καταχρῆται αὐτὸς αὐτοῖς ἐπὶ τὸν σύνδεσμον τῆς πόλεως.

True, he said, I had forgotten.

)Αληθῆ, ἔφη· ἐπελαθόμην γάρ.

Observe, Glaucon, that there will be no injustice in compelling our philosophers to have a care and providence of others; we shall explain to them that in other States, men of their class are not obliged to share in the toils of politics: and this is reasonable, for they grow up at their own sweet will, and the government would rather not have them. Being self-taught, they cannot be expected to show any gratitude for a culture which they have never received. But we have brought you into the world to be rulers of the hive, kings of yourselves and of the other citizens, and have educated you far better and more perfectly than they have been educated, and you are better able to share in the double duty. Wherefore each of you, when his turn comes, must go down to the general underground abode, and get the habit of seeing in the dark. When you have acquired the habit, you will see ten thousand times better than the inhabitants of the den, and you will know what the several images are, and what they represent, because you have seen the beautiful and just and good in their truth. And thus our State which is also yours will be a reality, and not a dream only, and will be administered in a spirit unlike that of other States, in which men fight with one another about shadows only and are distracted in the struggle for power, which in their eyes is a great good. Whereas the truth is that the State in which the rulers are most reluctant to govern is always the best and most quietly governed, and the State in which they are most eager, the worst. 

Σκέψαι τοίνυν, εἶπον, ὦ  Γλαύκων, ὅτι οὐδ' ἀδικήσομεν τοὺς παρ' ἡμῖν φιλοσόφους γιγνομένους, ἀλλὰ δίκαια πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἐροῦμεν, προσαναγκάζοντες τῶν ἄλλων ἐπιμελεῖσθαί τε καὶ φυλάττειν. ἐροῦμεν γὰρ ὅτι οἱ μὲν ἐν ταῖς ἄλλαις πόλεσι τοιοῦτοι γιγνόμενοι εἰκότως οὐ μετέχουσι τῶν ἐν αὐταῖς πόνων· αὐτόματοι γὰρ ἐμφύονται ἀκούσης τῆς ἐν ἑκάστῃ πολιτείας, δίκην δ' ἔχει τό γε αὐτοφυὲς μηδενὶ τροφὴν ὀφεῖλον μηδ' ἐκτίνειν τῳ προθυμεῖσθαι τὰ τροφεῖα· ὑμᾶς δ' ἡμεῖς ὑμῖν τε αὐτοῖς τῇ τε ἄλλῃ πόλει ὥσπερ ἐν σμήνεσιν ἡγεμόνας τε καὶ βασιλέας ἐγεννήσαμεν, ἄμεινόν τε καὶ τελεώτερον ἐκείνων πεπαιδευμένους καὶ μᾶλλον δυνατοὺς ἀμφοτέρων μετέχειν. καταβατέον οὖν ἐν μέρει ἑκάστῳ εἰς τὴν τῶν ἄλλων συνοίκησιν καὶ συνεθιστέον τὰ σκοτεινὰ θεάσασθαι· συνεθιζόμενοι γὰρ μυρίῳ βέλτιον ὄψεσθε τῶν ἐκεῖ καὶ γνώσεσθε ἕκαστα τὰ εἴδωλα ἅττα ἐστὶ καὶ ὧν, διὰ τὸ τἀληθῆ ἑωρακέναι καλῶν τε καὶ δικαίων καὶ ἀγαθῶν πέρι. καὶ οὕτω ὕπαρ ἡμῖν καὶ ὑμῖν ἡ πόλις οἰκήσεται ἀλλ' οὐκ ὄναρ, ὡς νῦν αἱ πολλαὶ ὑπὸ σκιαμαχούντων τε πρὸς ἀλλήλους καὶ στασιαζόντων περὶ τοῦ ἄρχειν οἰκοῦνται, ὡς μεγάλου τινὸς ἀγαθοῦ ὄντος. τὸ δέ που ἀληθὲς ὧδ' ἔχει· ἐν πόλει ᾗ ἥκιστα πρόθυμοι ἄρχειν οἱ μέλλοντες ἄρξειν, ταύτην ἄριστα καὶ ἀστασιαστότατα ἀνάγκη οἰκεῖσθαι, τὴν δ' ἐναντίους ἄρχοντας σχοῦσαν ἐναντίως.







Book of Enoch, tr. L. Dysinger, based in part on R.H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (Oxford, The Clarendon Press). Greek  Text: Apocalypsis Henochi Graece (Brill, Leiden, 1970) pp. 19-44. ser Pseudepigrapha veteris testamenti Graece  ed. M. Black, TLG 1463 001.    Selections from ch 14, 17-19, taken from The Book of the Watchers (chs. 1-36); and ch. 71, taken from The Book of Heavenly Luminaries (chs. 72-82). [Introduction]



8And the vision shown to me was this:
behold, in the vision clouds called me
    and a mist summoned me,

and the course of the stars and the lightnings
     urged me on and hastened me,

14.8 Καὶ ἐμοὶ ἐφ' ὁράσει οὕτως ἐδείχθη·
ἰδοὺ νεφέλαι ἐν τῇ ὁράσει ἐκάλουν

     καὶ ὁμίχλαι με ̈̈̈ ἐφώνουν,

καὶ διαδρομαὶ τῶν ἀστέρων καὶ διαστραπαι
̈̈̈ με κατεσπούδαζον καὶ ἐθορύβαζόν με,

and in my vision the winds 

    caused me to fly

         9 and lifted me upward, 

            and bore me into heaven.

καὶ ἄνεμοι ἐν τῇ ὁράσει μου

  ἐξεπέτασάν με

 14.9 καὶ ἐπῆράν με ἄν

     καὶ εἰσήνεγκάν με εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν,

And I went in until I approached a wall built of blocks of ice and surrounded by tongues of fire: and it began to frighten me.

    καὶ εἰσῆλθον μέχρις ἤγγισα τείχους οἰκοδομῆς ἐν λίθοις χαλάζης καὶ γλώσσης πυρὸς κύκλῳ αὐτῶν· καὶ ἤρξαντο ἐκφοβεῖν με.

10 And I went into the tongues of fire and drew near to a large house which built of blocks of ice: and the walls of the house were like stone tile-work, all made of snow, and its floor was of snow.

    14.10 Καὶ εἰσῆλθον εἰς τὰς γλώσσας τοῦ πυρός, καὶ ἤγγισα εἰς οἶκον μέγαν οἰκοδομημένον ἐν λίθοις χαλάζης, καὶ οἱ τοῖχοι τοῦ οἴκου ὡς λιθόπλακες, καὶ πᾶσαι ἦσαν ἐκ χιόνος, καὶ ἐδάφη χιονικά,

11 Its ceiling was like the course of the stars and the lightnings: and between them were fiery cherubim, and their heaven was water. 12 And a flaming fire surrounded the walls, and its doors blazed with fire.

14.11 καὶ αἱ στέγαι ὡς διαδρομαὶ ἀστέρων καὶ ἀστραπαί, καὶ μεταξὺ αὐτῶν χερουβὶν πύρινα, καὶ οὐρανὸς αὐτῶν ὕδωρ, 14.12 καὶ πῦρ φλεγόμενον κύκλῳ τῶν τειχῶν, καὶ θύραι πυρὶ καιόμεναι.

    13 I entered into that house: it was hot as fire and cold as ice, and there was no movement of life within it.  Fear overwhelmed me, trembling took hold of me me; and [thus] shaking and trembling, I fell prostrate.

    14.13 εἰσῆλθον εἰς τὸν οἶκον ἐκεῖνον, θερμὸν ὡς πῦρ καὶ ψυχρὸν ὡς χιών, καὶ πᾶσα τροφὴ ζωῆς οὐκ ἦν ἐν αὐτῷ· φόβος με ἐκάλυψεν καὶ τρόμος με ἔλαβεν. 14.14 καὶ ἤμην σειόμενος καὶ τρέμων, καὶ ἔπεσον.

    15 In my vision I beheld, and lo, another door stood before me [leading into] a second house, greater 16 than the first: and it was built entirely of tongues of fire.

ἐθεώρουν ἐν τῇ ὁράσει μου, 14.15 καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄλλη θύρα ἀνεῳγμένη κατέναντί μου, καὶ ὁ οἶκος μείζων τούτου, καὶ ὅλος οἰκοδομημένος ἐν γλώσσαις πυρός,

And it so completely surpassed [the first] in glory and magnificence and majesty that I am powerless to describe to you its glory and majesty.

14.16 καὶ ὅλος διαφέρων ἐν δόξῃ καὶ ἐν τιμῇ καὶ ἐν μεγαλωσύνῃ, ὥστε μὴ δύνασθαί με ἐξειπεῖν ὑμῖν περὶ τῆς δόξης καὶ περὶ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης αὐτοῦ.

17 [For] its floor was of fire, and above it were lightnings and the course of the stars, and its ceiling was flaming fire.

14.17 τὸ ἔδαφος αὐτοῦ ἦν πυρός, τὸ δὲ ἀνώτερον αὐτοῦ ἦσαν ἀστραπαὶ καὶ διαδρομαὶ ἀστέρων, καὶ ἡ στέγη αὐτοῦ ἦν πῦρ φλέγον.

18 And I beheld and I saw within a high throne: its appearance was like crystal, and [its] wheels were like the shining sun and and [like] the face of cherubim.

    14.18 Ἐθεώρουν δὲ καὶ εἶδον θρόνον ὑψηλόν, καὶ τὸ εἶδος αὐτοῦ ὡσεὶ κρυστάλλινον, καὶ τροχὸς ὡς ἡλίου λάμποντος καὶ ὄρος χερουβίν.

19 And from beneath the throne came rivers of flaming fire that I was powerless to look upon.

14.19 καὶ ὑποκάτω τοῦ θρόνου ἐξεπορεύοντο ποταμοὶ πυρὸς φλεγόμενοι, καὶ οὐκ ἐδυνάσθην ἰδεῖν.

20 And the Great Glory sat upon [the throne]:

14.20 καὶ ἡ δόξα ἡ μεγάλη ἐκάθητο ἐπ' αὐτῷ·

His raiment was like
the appearance of the sun,
    whiter than any snow.

τὸ περιβόλαιον αὐτοῦ
εἶδος ἡλίου,

λαμπρότερον καὶ λευκότερον πάσης χιόνος.



Glory of God Enthroned




    21 And none of the angels were able to enter that house to behold His face because of the magnificence and glory; and no flesh could behold Him.

    14.21 καὶ οὐκ ἐδύνατο πᾶς ἄγγελος παρελθεῖν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦτον καὶ ἰδεῖν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ διὰ τὸ ἔντιμον καὶ ἔνδοξον, καὶ οὐκ ἐδύνατο πᾶσα σὰρξ ἰδεῖν αὐτοῦ

22 The flaming fire surrounded Him, and a great fire stood before Him, and none could draw near Him: surrounding him were ten thousand times ten thousand who (stood) before Him, and every word [of His] was accomplished.

14.22 τὸ πῦρ φλεγόμενον κύκλῳ· καὶ πῦρ μέγα παρειστήκει αὐτῷ, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐγγίζει αὐτῷ. κύκλῳ μυρίαι μυριάδες ἑστήκασιν ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ, καὶ πᾶς λόγος αὐτοῦ ἔργον.

23 And the holy angels near him neither left by night nor departed from Him.

14.23 καὶ οἱ ἅγιοι τῶν ἀγγέλων οἱ ἐγγίζοντες αὐτῷ οὐκ ἀποχωροῦσιν νυκτὸς οὔτε ἀφίστανται αὐτοῦ.

24 And until then I had been lying prostrate on my face, trembling: and the Lord called me with His own mouth, and said to me:

‘Come here, Enoch, and hear my word.’

14.24 Κἀγὼ ἤμην ἕως τούτου ἐπὶ πρόσωπόν μου βεβλημένος καὶ τρέμων, καὶ ὁ κύριος τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ ἐκάλεσέν με καὶ εἶπέν μοι,

Πρόσελθε ὧδε, Ἑνώχ, καὶ τὸν λόγον μου ἄκουσον.

25 And one of the holy ones came to me and roused me, and stood me up and brought me as far as the door: and I cast down my face.

14.25 καὶ προσελθών μοι εἷς τῶν ἁγίων ἤγειρέν με καὶ ἔστησέν με, καὶ προσήγαγέν με μέχρι τῆς θύρας· ἐγὼ δὲ τὸ πρόσωπόν μου κάτω ἔκυφον.

[Ch 15-16: God reproves
the “Watchers” (=fallen angels)]




The Glory of Heaven and Earth






    1 And they [the ruling angels] took and brought me to a place in which there were beings like like flaming fire who could, when they wished, appear to be men.

    17.1 Καὶ παραλαβόντες με εἴς τινα τόπον ἀπήγαγον, ἐν ᾧ οἱ ὄντες ἐκεῖ γίνονται ὡς πῦρ φλέγον καὶ, ὅταν θέλωσιν, φαίνονται ὡσεὶ ἄνθρωποι.

2 And they brought me to a place of gloomy darkness, and to a mountain whose summit reached to heaven.

17.2 Καὶ ἀπήγαγόν με εἰς ζοφώδη τόπον καὶ εἰς ὄρος οὗ ἡ κεφαλὴ ἀφικνεῖτο εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν.

    3 And I saw the places of the luminaries and the treasuries of the stars and of the thunder; and [I looked] into the airy depths, where there were a fiery bow and arrows and their quiver, and and all the lightnings.

    17.3 καὶ εἶδον τόπον τῶν φωστήρων καὶ τοὺς θησαυροὺς τῶν ἀστέρων καὶ τῶν βροντῶν, καὶ εἰς τὰ ἀεροβαθῆ, ὅπου τόξον πυρὸς καὶ τὰ βέλη καὶ τὰς θήκας αὐτῶν καὶ τὰς ἀστραπὰς πάσας.

     4And [the Angels] brought me as far as the waters and even to the fire of the west, which receives every setting of the sun. 5 And I came as far as a river of fire in which the fire flows like water and discharges itself into the great sea towards the west. 6 I saw the great rivers, and I decended as far as the great river and  even into the great darkness; and I went to the place where no flesh walks.

17.4 Καὶ ἀπήγαγόν με μέχρι ὑδάτων καὶ μέχρι πυρὸς δύσεως, ὅ ἐστιν καὶ παρέχον πάσας τὰς δύσεις τοῦ ἡλίου. 17.5 καὶ ἤλθομεν μέχρι ποταμοῦ πυρός, ἐν ᾧ κατατρέχει τὸ πῦρ ὡς ὕδωρ καὶ ῥέει εἰς θάλασσαν μεγάλην δύσεως. 17.6 ἴδον τοὺς μεγάλους ποταμούς, καὶ μέχρι τοῦ μεγάλου ποταμοῦ καὶ μέχρι τοῦ μεγάλου σκότους κατήντησα, καὶ ἀπῆλθον ὅπου πᾶσα σὰρξ οὐ περιπατεῖ.

    7 I saw the mountains of the darkness of winter and the place whence all the waters of the deep flow. 8 I saw the mouth of all the earth’s rivers and the mouth of the abyss.

    17.7 ἴδον τοὺς ἀνέμους τῶν γνόφων τοὺς χειμερινοὺς καὶ τὴν ἔκχυσιν τῆς ἀβύσσου πάντων ὑδάτων. 17.8 ἴδον τὸ στόμα τῆς γῆς πάντων τῶν ποταμῶν καὶ τὸ στόμα τῆς ἀβύσσου.

    1 I saw the treasuries of all the winds; I saw that in them He disposes the whole of creation and the foundations of the earth. And I saw the corner-stone of the earth

18.1 ἴδον τοὺς θησαυροὺς τῶν ἀνέμων πάντων, ἴδον ὅτι ἐν αὐτοῖς ἐκόσμησεν πάσας τὰς κτίσεις καὶ τὸν θεμέλιον τῆς γῆς, καὶ τὸν λίθον ἴδον τῆς γωνίας τῆς γῆς.



2 I saw the four winds that support the earth 3 and the firmament of the heaven. And I saw how the winds stretch out the vaults of heaven, and have their station between heaven and earth. 4 I saw the winds of heaven that spin and bring to their setting the wheel of the sun and all the stars.

18.2 ἴδον τοὺς τέσσαρας ἀνέμους τὴν γῆν βαστάζοντας, 18.3 καὶ τὸ στερέωμα τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἱστᾶσιν μεταξὺ γῆς καὶ οὐρανοῦ. 18.4 ἴδον ἀνέμους τῶν οὐρανῶν στρέφοντας καὶ διανεύοντας τὸν τροχὸν τοῦ ἡλίου, καὶ πάντας τοὺς ἀστέρας.

5 I saw the winds on the earth carrying the clouds: I saw the paths of the angels. I saw at the end of the earth the firmament of the heaven above.

18.5 ἴδον τοὺς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἀνέμους βαστάζοντας ἐν νεφέλῃ. ἴδον πέρατα τῆς γῆς, τὸ στήριγμα τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐπάνω.



Sapphire Throne




6 AND I proceeded and saw a place which burns day and night, where there are seven mountains of magnificent stones, three towards the east, and three towards the south. 7 And as for those towards the east, was of coloured stone, and one of pearl, and one of hyacinth, and those towards the south of red stone.

    18.6 Παρῆλθον καὶ ἴδον τόπον καιόμενον νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας, ὅπου τὰ ἑπτὰ ὄρη ἀπὸ λίθων πολυτελῶν, [τρία] εἰς ἀνατολὰς καὶ τρία εἰς νότον βάλλοντα. 18.7 καὶ τὰ μὲν πρὸς ἀνατολὰς ἀπὸ λίθου χρώματος, τὸ δὲ ἦν. ἀπὸ λίθου μαργαρίτου, καὶ τὸ ἀπὸ λίθου ταθέν, τὸ δὲ κατὰ νότον ἀπὸ λίθου πυρροῦ·

8 But the middle one reached to heaven like the throne of God, of alabaster, and the summit of the, THRONE was of SAPPHIRE

18.8 τὸ δὲ μέσον αὐτῶν ἦν εἰς οὐρανόν, ὥσπερ θρόνος θεοῦ ἀπὸ λίθου φουκά, καὶ ἡ κορυφὴ τοῦ θρόνου ἀπὸ λίθου σαφφείρου·

9 AND I saw a flaming fire. And beyond these mountains 10 Is a region the end of the great earth: there the heavens were completed. And I saw a deep abyss, with columns of heavenly fire, and among them I saw columns of fire fall, which were beyond measure alike towards 12 the height and towards the depth. And beyond that abyss I saw a place which had no firmament of the heaven above, and no firmly founded earth beneath it: there was no water upon it, and no birds, but it was a waste and horrible place.

18.9 καὶ πῦρ καιόμενον ἴδον. κἀπέκεινα τῶν ὀρέων τούτων 18.10 τόπος ἐστὶν πέρας τῆς μεγάλης γῆς· ἐκεῖ συντελεσθήσονται οἱ οὐρανοί. 18.11 καὶ ἴδον χάσμα μέγα εἰς τοὺς στύλους τοῦ πυρὸς καταβαίνοντας καὶ οὐκ ἦν μέτρον οὔτε εἰς βάθος οὔτε εἰς ὕψος. 18.12 καὶ ἐπέκεινα τοῦ χάσματος τούτου ἴδον τόπον ὅπου οὐδὲ στερέωμα οὐρανοῦ ἐπάνω, οὔτε γῆ ᾖ τεθεμελιωμένη ὑποκάτω αὐτοῦ, οὔτε ὕδωρ ἦν ὑπὸ αὐτὸ οὔτε πετεινόν, ἀλλὰ τόπος ἦν ἔρημος καὶ φοβερός.
 13 I saw there seven stars like great burning mountains, 14 and to me, when I inquired regarding them, The angel said: ‘This place is the end of heaven and earth: this has become a prison for the stars and the host of heaven.     18.13 ἐκεῖ ἴδον ἑπτὰ ἀστέρας ὡς ὄρη μεγάλα καιόμενα, περὶ ὧν πυνθανομένῳ μοι 18.14 εἶπεν ὁ ἄγγελος Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τόπος τὸ τέλος τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς· δεσμωτήριον τοῦτο ἐγένετο τοῖς ἄστροις καὶ ταῖς δυνάμεσιν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.
15 And the stars which rotate in the fire are those who have transgressed the commandment of the Lord at the beginning of their rising, - for the place outside of heaven is empty - because they did not come forth at their appointed times. 16 And He was angry with them and bound them until the time of to their sin is fulfilled: ten thousand years. 18.15 καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες οἱ κυλιόμενοι ἐν τῷ πυρί, οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ παραβάντες πρόσταγμα κυρίου ἐν ἀρχῇ τῆς ἀνατολῆς αὐτῶν – ὅτι τόπος ἔξω τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κενός ἐστιν – ὅτι οὐκ ἐξῆλθαν ἐν τοῖς καιροῖς αὐτῶν. 18.16 καὶ ὀργίσθη αὐτοῖς καὶ ἔδησεν αὐτοὺς μέχρι καιροῦ τελειώσεως αὐτῶν ἁμαρτίας "αὐτῶν", ἐνιαυτῶν μυρίων.



1 AND Uriel said to me: ‘Here shall stand the angels who have connected themselves with women: for  their spirits assuming many different forms are defiling men and leading them astray to sacrifice to demons: [here they shall stand] until the great judgement in which they will be condemned to destruction. 2 And the women of the offending angels will become sirens.’

    19.1 Καὶ εἶπέν μοι Οὐριήλ Ἐνθάδε οἱ μιγέντες ἄγγελοι ταῖς γυναιξὶν στήσονται, καὶ τὰ πνεύματα αὐτῶν πολύμορφα γενόμενα λυμαίνεται τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ πλανήσει αὐτοὺς ἐπιθύειν τοῖς δαιμονίοις μέχρι τῆς μεγάλης κρίσεως, ἐν ᾗ κριθήσονται εἰς ἀποτελείωσιν. 19.2 καὶ αἱ γυναῖκες αὐτῶν τῶν παραβάντων ἀγγέλων εἰς σειρῆνας γενήσονται.

    3 And I, Enoch, alone saw the vision, the ends of all things: and no man shall see as I have seen.

    19.3 κἀγὼ Ἑνὼχ ἴδον τὰ θεωρήματα μόνος, τὰ πέρατα πάντων, καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδῃ οὐδὲ εἷς ἀνθρώπων ὡς ἐγὼ ἴδον.









Selections from


Cicero, The Republic Book 6.

Engl. Tr. C. W. Keyes, Loeb vol 11, pp. 261-283

Marcus Tullius Cicero:Jan. 3, 106 BC - Dec. 7, 43 BC.
Executed on orders of Mark Antony, whom Cicero had denounced following the death of Julius Caesar.  Although Cicero had supported Octavian,  Octavian, who later became the Emperor Augustus, consented to Cicero's execution.


THEMES: The Night Sky a reminder of: a) Judgment after Death; b) The quest for Virtue and service to one’s Nation; c) The insignificance of earthly empire and glory; d) The Music of the Spheres: audible sometimes in earthly song



9. [Scipio meets  King Masinissa]  ...  

THEN I questioned him about his kingdom, while he inquired of me about our commonwealth, and we spent the whole day in an extended discussion of both.

6.9 ... Deinde ego illum de suo regno, ille me de nostra re publica percontatus est, multisque verbis ultro citroque habitis ille nobis consumptus est dies.

10. ...  When we separated to take our rest, I fell immediately into a deeper sleep than usual, as I was weary from my journey and the hour was late. The following dream came to me ...[Scipio sees the heroes in heaven, especially his grandfather, Scipio Africanus, hero of the Republic]

6.10  ... Deinde, ut cubitum discessimus, me et de via fessum, et qui ad multam noctem vigilassem, artior quam solebat somnus complexus est.  ...

 Ancestral Honor


Scipio Africanus the Younger, c. 185-129 BC.
Famous Roman general and hero of the Republic, who ended the Third Punic War in 147 BC with the destruction of Carthage.  In 134 he ended the Spanish rebellion with the destruction of Numantia.



16. But, Scipio, imitate your grandfather here ; imitate me, your father; love justice and duty, which are indeed strictly due to parents and kinsmen, but most of all to the fatherland. Such a life is the road to the skies, to that gathering of those who have completed their earthly lives and been relieved of the body, and who live in yonder place which you now see,  (it was the circle of light which blazed most brightly among the other fires),  and which you on earth, borrowing a Greek term, call the Milky Way [lit. circle]. 
Lowly Earth
6.16deamini. Sed sic, Scipio, ut avus hic tuus, ut ego, qui te genui, iustitiam cole et pietatem, quae cum magna in parentibus et propinquis, tum in patria maxima est; ea vita via est in caelum et in hunc coetum eorum, qui iam vixerunt et corpore laxati illum incolunt locum, quem vides, (erat autem is splendidissimo candore inter flammas circus elucens) quem vos, ut a Graiis accepistis, orbem lacteum nuncupatis; 

When I gazed in every direction from that point, all else appeared wonderfully beautiful. There were stars which’ we never see from the earth, and they were all larger than we have ever imagined. The smallest of them was that farthest from heaven and nearest the earth which shone with a borrowed light. The starry spheres were much larger than the earth ; indeed the earth itself seemed to me so small that I was scornful of our empire, which covers only a single point, as it were, upon its surface.

ex quo omnia mihi contemplanti praeclara cetera et mirabilia videbantur. Erant autem eae stellae, quas numquam ex hoc loco vidimus, et eae magnitudines omnium, quas esse numquam suspicati sumus, ex quibus erat ea minima, quae ultima a caelo, citima <a> terris luce lucebat aliena. Stellarum autem globi terrae magnitudinem facile vincebant. Iam ipsa terra ita mihi parva visa est, ut me imperii nostri, quo quasi punctum eius attingimus, paeniteret.






17. As I gazed still more fixedly at the earth, Africanus said: “ How long will your thoughts be fixed upon the lowly earth? Do you not see what lofty regions you have entered? ‘ These are the nine circles, or rather spheres, by which the whole is joined. 6.17 Quam cum magis intuerer, Quaeso, inquit Africanus, quousque humi defixa tua mens erit? Nonne aspicis, quae in templa veneris? Novem tibi orbibus vel potius globis conexa sunt omnia,

Heaven is identified with God  =

summus Deus

One of them, the outermost, is that of Heaven; it’ contains all the rest, and is itself the supreme God, holding and embracing within itself all the other spheres; in it are fixed the eternal revolving courses of the stars. Beneath it are seven other spheres which revolve in the opposite direction to that of heaven. quorum unus est caelestis, extumus, qui reliquos omnes complectitur,  summus ipse deus arcens et continens ceteros; in quo sunt infixi illi, qui volvuntur, stellarum cursus sempiterni; cui subiecti sunt septem, qui versantur retro contrario motu atque caelum; 

       One of these globes is that light which on earth is called Saturn’s.  Next comes the star called Jupiter, which brings fortune and health to mankind. 

     Beneath it is that star, red and terrible to the dwellings of man, which you assign to Mars.

ex quibus unum globum possidet illa, quam in terris Saturniam nominant. Deinde est hominum generi prosperus et salutaris ille fulgor, qui dicitur Iovis;

tum rutilus horribilisque terris, quem Martium dicitis; 

Below it and almost midway of the distance’ is the Sun, the lord, chief, and ruler of the other lights, the mind and guiding principle of the universe, of such magnitude that he reveals and fills-all things with his light. He is accompanied by, his companions, as it were Venus and Mercury in their orbits, and in the lowest sphere revolves the Moon, set on fire by the rays of the Sun.  deinde subter mediam fere regionem sol obtinet, dux et princeps et moderator luminum reliquorum, mens mundi et temperatio, tanta magnitudine, ut cuncta sua luce lustret et compleat. Hunc ut comites consequuntur Veneris alter, alter Mercurii cursus, in infimoque orbe luna radiis solis accensa convertitur. 

But below the Moon there is nothing except what is mortal and doomed to decay, save only the souls given to the human race by the bounty of the gods, while above the Moon all things are eternal.  Infra autem iam nihil est nisi mortale et caducum praeter animos munere deorum hominum generi datos, supra lunam sunt aeterna omnia.
For the ninth and central sphere, which is the earth, is immovable and the lowest of all, and, toward it all ponderable bodies are drawn by their own natural tendency downward.” Nam ea, quae est media et nona, tellus, neque movetur et infima est, et in eam feruntur omnia nutu suo pondera.

 The Music of the Spheres


The Music of the Spheres




18. After recovering from the astonishment with which I viewed these wonders, I said: “ What is this loud and agreeable sound that fills my ears ?

6.18 Quae cum intuerer stupens, ut me recepi, Quid? hic, inquam, quis est, qui conplet aures meas tantus et tam dulcis sonus?

“That is produced,” he replied, “by the onward rush and motion of the spheres themselves; the intervals between them, though unequal, being exactly arranged in a fixed proportion, by an agreeable blending of high and low tones  various harmonies are produced; Hic est, inquit, ille, qui intervallis disiunctus inparibus, sed tamen pro rata parte ratione distinctis inpulsu et motu ipsorum orbium efficitur et acuta cum gravibus temperans varios aequabiliter concentus efficit;
 for such mighty motions cannot be carried on so swiftly in silence; and Nature has provided that one extreme shall produce low tones while the other gives forth high. nec enim silentio tanti motus incitari possunt, et natura fert, ut extrema ex altera parte graviter, ex altera autem acute sonent. 
Therefore this uppermost sphere of heaven, which bears the stars, as it revolves more rapidly, produces a high, shrill tone, whereas the lowest revolving sphere, that of the Moon, gives forth the lowest tone ; for the earthly sphere, the ninth, remains ever motion. less and stationary in its position in the centre of the universe. But the other eight spheres, two of which move with the same velocity, produce seven different sounds,-a  number which is the key of almost everything. Quam ob causam summus ille caeli stellifer cursus, cuius conversio est concitatior, acuto et excitato movetur sono, gravissimo autem hic lunaris atque infimus; nam terra nona inmobilis manens una sede semper haeret complexa medium mundi locum. Illi autem octo cursus, in quibus eadem vis est duorum, septem efficiunt distinctos intervallis sonos, qui numerus rerum omnium fere nodus est; 

Learned men, by imitating this harmony on stringed instruments and in song, have gained for themselves a return to this region, as others have obtained the same reward by devoting their brilliant intellects to divine pursuits during their earthly lives

quod docti homines nervis imitati atque cantibus aperuerunt sibi reditum in hunc locum, sicut alii, qui praestantibus 6.19 ingeniis in vita humana divina studia coluerunt. 

      Men’s ears, ever filled with this sound, have become deaf to it; for you have no duller sense than that of hearing. We find a -similar phenomenon where the Nile rushes down from those lofty mountains at the place called Catadupa; the people who live near by have lost their sense of hearing on account of the loudness of the sound. But this mighty music, produced by the revolution of the whole universe at the highest speed, cannot be perceived by human ears, any more than you can look straight at the Sun, your sense of sight being overpowered by its radiance.” 

Hoc sonitu oppletae aures hominum obsurduerunt; nec est ullus hebetior sensus in vobis, sicut, ubi Nilus ad illa, quae Catadupa nominantur, praecipitat ex altissimis montibus, ea gens, quae illum locum adcolit, propter magnitudinem sonitus sensu audiendi caret.. Hic vero tantus est totius mundi incitatissima conversione so nitus, ut eum aures hominum capere non possint, 6.19 sicut intueri solem adversum nequitis, eiusque radiis acies vestra sensusque vincitur. 



 While gazing at these wonders, I was repeatedly turning my eyes back to earth

Haec ego admirans referebam tamen oculos ad terram identidem.

    Insignificant Empire










19. Then Africanus resumed “ I see that you are still directing your gaze upon the habitation and abode of men. If it seems small to you, as it actually is, keep your gaze fixed upon these heavenly things, and scorn the earthly. For what fame can you gain from the speech of men, or what glory that is worth the seeking? 

6.20 Tum Africanus: Sentio, inquit, te sedem etiam nunc hominum ac domum contemplari; quae si tibi parva, ut est, ita videtur, haec caelestia semper spectato, illa humana contemnito. Tu enim quam celebritatem sermonis hominum aut quam expetendam consequi gloriam potes?



20.  . . . What inhabitants of those distant lands of the rising or setting sun, or the extreme North or  South, will ever hear your name? Leave out all these and you cannot fail to see what a narrow territory it is over which your glory is so eager to spread. And how long will even those who do talk of us now continue so to do?

6.21 Quis in reliquis orientis aut obeuntis solis ultimis aut aquilonis austrive partibus tuum nomen audiet? quibus amputatis cernis profecto quantis in angustiis vestra se gloria dilatari velit. Ipsi autem, qui de nobis loquuntur, quam loquentur diu?



23. “ Consequently, if you despair of ever returning to this place, where eminent and excellent men find their true reward, of how little value, indeed, is your fame among men, which can hardly endure for the small part of a single year? Therefore, if you will only look on high and contemplate this eternal home, and resting place, you will no longer attend to the gossip of the vulgar herd or put your trust in human rewards for your exploits. Virtue herself, by her own charms, should lead you on to true glory. Let what others say of you be their own concern; whatever it is, they will say it in any case. But all their talk is limited to those narrow regions which you look upon, nor will any man’s reputation endure very long, for what men say ‘dies with them and is blotted out with the forgetfulness of posterity.”

6.25 Quocirca si reditum in hunc locum desperaveris, in quo omnia sunt magnis et praestantibus viris, quanti tandem est ista hominum gloria, quae pertinere vix ad unius anni partem exiguam potest? Igitur alte spectare si voles atque hanc sedem et aeternam domum contueri, neque te sermonibus vulgi dedideris nec in praemiis humanis spem posueris rerum tuarum; suis te oportet inlecebris ipsa virtus trahat ad verum decus, quid de te alii loquantur, ipsi videant, sed loquentur tamen. Sermo autem omnis ille et angustiis cingitur iis regionum, quas vides, nec umquam de ullo perennis fuit et obruitur hominum interitu et oblivione posteritatis extinguitur.



26. When he had spoken thus, I said: “ If indeed a path to heaven, as it were, is open to those who have served their country well, henceforth I will redouble my efforts, spurred on by so splendid a reward; though even from my boyhood I have followed in the footsteps of my father and yourself, and have not failed to emulate your glory.” 

6.26 Quae cum dixisset, Ego vero, inquam, Africane, siquidem bene meritis de patria quasi limes ad caeli aditum patet, quamquam a pueritia vestigiis ingressus patris et tuis decori vestro non defui, nunc tamen tanto praemio exposito enitar multo vigilantius. 

  Immortal Soul and Virtue


The soul is immortal: true glory lies in the persuit and attainment of (immortal) virtue


He answered: “Strive on indeed, and be sure that it is not you that is mortal, but only your body. For that man whom your outward form reveals is not yourself; the spirit is the true self, not that physical figure which can be pointed out by the finger. Know, then, that you are a god, if a god is that which lives; feels, remembers, and foresees, and which rules, governs, and moves the body over which it is set, just as the supreme God above us rules this universe. And just as the eternal God moves the universe, which is partly mortal, so an immortal spirit moves the frail body.

Et ille: Tu vero enitere et sic habeto, non esse te mortalem, sed corpus hoc; nec enim tu is es, quem forma ista declarat, sed mens cuiusque is est quisque, non ea figura, quae digito demonstrari potest. Deum te igitur scito esse, siquidem est deus, qui viget, qui sentit, qui meminit, qui providet, qui tam regit et moderatur et movet id corpus, cui praepositus est, quam hunc mundum ille princeps deus; et ut mundum ex quadam parte mortalem ipse deus aeternus, sic fragile corpus animus sempiternus movet.



27. For that which is always in motion is eternal, but that which communicates motion to something, else, but is itself moved by another force, necessarily ceases to live when this motion ends. Therefore only that which moves itself never ceases its motion, because it never abandons itself; nay, it is the source and first cause of motion in all other things that are moved. But this first cause has itself no beginning, for everything originates from the first cause, while it can never originate from anything else;. for that would not be  a first cause which owed its origin to anything else.  And since it never had a beginning, it will never have an end. For if a first cause were destroyed, it could never be reborn from anything else, nor could it bring anything else into being; since everything must originate from a first cause. Thus it follows that motion begins with that which is moved of itself; but this  can neither be born nor die, or else all the heavens must fall and all nature perish, possessing no force from which they can receive the first impulse to motion.

6.27 Nam quod semper movetur, aeternum est; quod autem motum adfert alicui, quodque ipsum agitatur aliunde, quando finem habet motus, vivendi finem habeat necesse est. Solum igitur, quod sese movet, quia numquam deseritur a se, numquam ne moveri quidem desinit; quin etiam ceteris, quae moventur, hic fons, hoc principium est movendi. Principii autem nulla est origo; nam ex principio oriuntur omnia, ipsum autem nulla ex re alia nasci potest; nec enim esset id principium, quod gigneretur aliunde; quodsi numquam oritur, ne occidit quidem umquam. Nam principium exstinctum nec ipsum ab alio renascetur nec ex se aliud creabit, siquidem necesse est a principio oriri omnia. Ita fit, ut motus principium ex eo sit, quod ipsum a se movetur; id autem nec nasci potest nec mori; vel concidat omne caelum omnisque natura et consistat necesse est nec vim ullam nanciscatur, qua a primo inpulsa moveatur.



28. Therefore,  now that it is clear that what moves of itself is eternal, who can deny that this is the nature of spirits? For whatever is moved by an external impulse is spiritless; but whatever possesses a spirit is moved by an inner impulse of its own; for that is the peculiar nature and property of a spirit And as a spirit is the, only force that moves itself, it surely has no beginning and is immortal. Use it, therefore, in the best pursuits And the best tasks are those undertaken in defence of your native land; a spirit occupied and trained in such activities will have a swifter flight to this, its proper home and permanent abode. And this flight will be still more rapid if, while still confined in the body, it looks abroad, and, by contemplating what lies outside itself, detaches itself as much as may be from the body. 

6.28 Cum pateat igitur aeternum id esse, quod a se ipso moveatur, quis est, qui hanc naturam animis esse tributam neget? Inanimum est enim omne, quod pulsu agitatur externo; quod autem est animal, id motu cietur interiore et suo; nam haec est propria natura animi atque vis; quae si est una ex omnibus, quae sese moveat, neque nata certe est et aeterna est. 6.29Hanc tu exerce optimis in rebus! sunt autem optimae curae de salute patriae, quibus agitatus et exercitatus animus velocius in hanc sedem et domum suam pervolabit; idque ocius faciet, si iam tum, cum erit inclusus in corpore, eminebit foras et ea, quae extra erunt, contemplans quam maxime se a corpore abstrahet. 

For the spirits of those who are given over to sensual pleasures and have become their slaves, as it were, and who violate the laws of gods and men at the instigation of those desires which are subservient to pleasure - their spirits, after leaving their bodies, fly about close to the earth, and do not return to this place except after many ages of torture.” Namque eorum animi, qui se corporis voluptatibus dediderunt earumque se quasi ministros praebuerunt inpulsuque libidinum voluptatibus oboedientium deorum et hominum iura violaverunt, corporibus elapsi circum terram ipsam volutantur nec hunc in locum nisi multis exagitati saeculis revertuntur. 
He departed, and I awoke from my sleep. Ille discessit; ego somno solutus sum.



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