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Headword: *ko/smos
Adler number: kappa,2148
Translated headword: universe, world
Vetting Status: high
The Stoics speak of 'the universe' in three ways: (1) it is god himself, the one who creates particular things from the whole substance, who is indestructible and ingenerable, since he is the artificer of the cosmic reorganization[1] and, at certain periods of time, he consumes the whole substance into himself. And again he is born out of himself. (2) They also call 'universe' the cosmic organization itself of the stars, and (3) thirdly what is composed out of both things. And the creator of particular things from the substance of the whole is 'universe' as well, or a structure composed out of heaven, earth, and the natures contained in them. Or a structure composed from elements and men, and from the things produced for the sake of men. Certainly, they also say that the universe is managed according to intellect and providence, as intellect pervades all parts of it, just as the soul does in us (through some things more, through others less). It has proceeded through some things as a condition, as in bones and sinews. It has passed through other things as intellect, as in the commanding part. So too the whole universe, because of being a living thing, contains the ether as its commanding part,[2] and passes through the things which are in the air and through all the animals and plants as a condition. And the world is one, limited, and it has a spherical shape. For such a shape is most fitting for movement;[3] and poured around the outside of it [sc. the world] it is the center,[4] which is infinite, as something incorporeal. 'Incorporeal' [is] what can be occupied by bodies, but is not occupied. There is no void inside the universe, but it is unified; for this is necessitated by the correct tension and union of the celestial bodies in relation to terrestrial things.
Greek Original:
*ko/smos: o(/ti oi( *stwi+koi\ to\n ko/smon trixw=s ei)=nai le/gousin: au)to/n te to\n qeo\n kai\ to\n e)k th=s a(pa/shs ou)si/as i)diopoio/n: o(\s dh\ a)/fqarto/s e)sti kai\ a)ge/nnhtos, dhmiourgo\s w)\n th=s diakosmh/sews, kata\ xro/nou poia\s perio/dous a)nali/skwn ei)s e(auto\n th\n a(/pasan ou)si/an, kai\ pa/lin e)c au(tou= gennw=n: kai\ au)th\n de\ th\n diako/smhsin tw=n a)ste/rwn ko/smon ei)=nai le/gousi: kai\ tri/ton to\ sunesthko\s e)c a)mfoi=n. kai\ e)/sti ko/smos o( i)diopoio\s th=s tw=n o(/lwn ou)si/as: h)\ su/sthma e)c ou)ranou= kai\ gh=s kai\ tw=n e)n au)toi=s fu/sewn: h)\ su/sthma e)k stoixei/wn kai\ a)nqrw/pwn kai\ tw=n e(/neka/ tou. to\n dh\ ko/smon oi)kei=sqai kata\ nou=n kai\ pro/noian, ei)s a(/pan au)tou= me/ros dih/kontos tou= nou=, kaqa/per e)f' h(mw=n th=s yuxh=s, di' w(=n me\n ma=llon, di' w(=n de\ h(=tton. di' w(=n me\n w(s e(/cis kexw/rhken, w(s dia\ tw=n o)stw=n kai\ tw=n neu/rwn: di' w(=n de\ w(s nou=s, w(s dia\ tou= h(gemonikou=. ou(/tw dh\ to\n o(/lon ko/smon w(s zw=|on o)/nta h(gemoniko\n e)/xein to\n ai)qe/ra kai\ xwrei=n dia\ tw=n e)n a)e/ri kai\ dia\ tw=n zw/|wn a(pa/ntwn kai\ futw=n kaq' e(/cin: kai\ e(/na ei)=nai to\n ko/smon kai\ tou=ton peperasme/non sxh=ma e)/xonta sfairoeide/s: pro\s ga\r th\n ki/nhsin a(rmodiw/taton tou=to. e)/cwqen d' au)tou= to\ ke/ntron ei)=nai perikexume/non, a)/peiron, w(/sper a)sw/maton. a)sw/maton de\ to\ oi(=o/n te kate/xesqai u(po\ swma/twn, ou) katexo/menon. e)n de\ tw=| ko/smw| mhde\n ei)=nai keno/n, a)ll' h(nw=sqai au)to/n: tou=to ga\r a)nagka/zei th\n tw=n ou)rani/wn pro\s ta\ e)pi/geia suntoni/an kai\ su/mpnoian.
See also kappa 2147.
The present entry is taken from Diogenes Laertius 7.137-138 (=SVF 2.526) and Stobaeus, Eclogae I, p. 184, 8 ff. (ed. Wachsmuth=SVF 2.527), in the context of a Stoic doxography.
[1] The Greek term is diako/smhsis and, according to the Stoics, it describes the restoration of the cosmic order after conflagration (e)kpu/rwsis), a period of time when only fire exists. Actually, conflagration is not only a physical state determined by the pre-eminent presence of one element (fire), but it is a phase or stage in god's life (see Diogenes Laertius 7.135-136; Eusebius, Evangelical preparation 15.14.2, 15.18.2; Plutarch, On Stoic self-contradictions 1053B-C). On the issue of conflagration in Stoic philosophy, see Long (1985).
[2] This is a different term for the breath (pneu=ma) that pervades the whole reality.
[3] These are supposed to be the words of the Stoic Posidonius (see Diogenes Laertius 7.140).
[4] Diogenes Laertius' text (7.140) reads "void" (keno/n), which gives a better sense. On the problem of void and Stoic physics in general, see Hahm (1977).
Hahm, D. The Origins of Stoic Cosmology (Columbus 1977)
Long, A.A., "The Stoics on World-Conflagration and Everlasting Recurrence", in Epp, R. (ed.) Spindel Conference. Recovering the Stoics (Southern Journal of Philosophy, 23 , Suppl.)
Keywords: definition; imagery; philosophy; religion
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 27 December 2003@08:40:00.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 28 December 2003@10:25:23.
Catharine Roth (modified translation) on 29 December 2003@02:59:46.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 13 March 2013@08:55:44.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 27 March 2015@00:59:36.


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