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Headword: Phusei
Adler number: phi,858
Translated headword: by nature
Vetting Status: high
[Note] that the ancients used to say that nothing of what [exists] by nature is in vain.[1] But [they said that] the figures of syllogisms do not exist by nature; it is not necessary to say that these are useful, but that such [figures] arise because something useful which is external happens in addition. But syllogisms are not in accordance with nature for us like food and beverage. For their standards -- customs, laws, and public pursuits -- are different, both each [of them] and depending on the person individually. At any rate it is possible to change these things and, if someone wanted it, to change towards the most opposite lifestyle. Hence to some people not even the things that appear by nature to be harmful foods and destructive drugs seemed to be grievous to those who administer them. Indeed they maintain that the Attic woman consumes hemlock as [if it were] vegetables,[2] and that the Pontic beast, which that Mithridates once was,[3] when drinking a noble cup of a noxious drug, was not destroyed (due to the fact that [his] body was strengthened,[4] just like iron by the dipping)[5] because of the antidotes that he frequently consumed; the loathsome man had suspicions of all human beings, starting from his [own] children, as if people were plotting against himself alone because of his fine tyranny.
Greek Original:
Phusei: hoti hoi palaioi elegon mêden tôn phusei matên einai. ta schêmata de ta tôn sullogismôn mê einai phusei. ouk anankaion de tauta legein chrêsima: to de chrêsimou tinos charin exôthen episumbainein auta ginomena. hoi de sullogismoi ouch hôs sitia kai pota kata phusin hêmin. heteroi gar hoi toutôn kanones, ethê, nomoi kai epitêdeumata dêmosia, kai kathekaston, kai kat' andra idiai. metathesthai goun exestin auta kai pros tên enantiôtatên metabalein, hôs an tis etheloi, diaitan. hothen eniois oude ta phusei dokounta phthartika sitia kai dêlêtêria pharmaka prosenenkamenois ephanê lupêra. phasi goun tên Attikên gunaika tou kôneiou kathaper lachanôn esthiein, kai to Pontikon thêrion, hostis pote ên ho Mithridatês ekeinos, ekpionta gennaian kulika dêlêtêriou pharmakou mê diaphtharênai, tôi katischêsthai to sôma, kathaper sidêron têi baphêi, para tôn antipathôn, ha prosephereto pollakis: hupopteuôn ho bdeluros, apo tôn huiôn arxamenos, hapantas anthrôpous, hôs epibouleuontas autôi monôi dia tên kalên turannida.
Material tentatively attributed by Adler to either Aelian or Damascius; now Damascius, Life of Isidore fr. 403 Zintzen.
[1] See Aristotle, De anima 432b20; 434a30. De caelo 271a32; 291b13; De generatione animalium 741b3-4 and passim.
[2] cf. Sextus Empiricus, Pyrrhoniae hypotyposes 1.81 (who specifies one old, but unnamed, 'Attic woman').
[3] For Mithridates/Mithradates see mu 1044.
[4] The editio princeps of Demetrius Chalcocondyles (1499) reads katisxu=sqai "to have been strengthened." The reading katisxh=sqai of the Suda manuscripts seems meaningless.
[5] That is, tempering of red-hot iron by dipping in water; cf. Sophocles, Ajax 651.
P. Athanassiadi, Damascius. The Philosophical History. Text with translation and notes, Athens 1999.
Keywords: biography; children; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; food; philosophy; politics; science and technology; tragedy; women
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 9 July 2009@20:55:11.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 10 July 2009@00:23:59.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 10 July 2009@04:13:20.
Catharine Roth (more tweaks, new note 2) on 10 July 2009@20:34:55.
Catharine Roth (added new note 4) on 10 July 2009@22:25:25.
David Whitehead (augmented n.2; another keyword; raised status) on 12 July 2009@04:55:10.
David Whitehead on 18 December 2013@08:28:41.
Catharine Roth (my typo) on 19 May 2015@01:23:58.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 11 April 2023@19:21:17.


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