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Headword: *me/ga
Adler number: mu,352
Translated headword: big
Vetting Status: high
[Big] and Small we say with respect to hearing; we also say this of sounds. And only hearing can discern the "big" and "small" of sounds, but touch and taste discern extent[1] in bodies.[2] When we speak of a white or black voice, we are speaking according to an analogy or comparison drawn from colors. And the opposition of "big" and "small" in sounds is not different from that of high and low pitch -- as the opposition of heavy and light, or rough and smooth, or each opposition of other things, with respect to touch, is different from that of hot and cold -- but indicates the tightening[3] or the loosening[4] of sounds; this is not characteristic of any other opposition. At any rate this sort of "big" and "small" can be found -- such as the "big" of honey, to take an example, and the "small" of dried figs, because sweetness is tightened/intensified in honey, and loosened/diminished in dried figs. But one might also call the color black "big" when it is deep,[5] and "small" when it is not so, but lighter -- simply applying the words "big" and "small" to intensity[6] and faintness.[7] [It is] worth investigating why it is -- given that "big" and "small" are said only of quantities[8] -- that we used the metaphor appropriately only with respect to intense and faint sounds, calling sounds "big" or "small," but not calling something very sweet a "big" sweet thing, or something having a faint sweetness "small," or thus with respect to anything else. I say that a sound is not some substantial, solid thing, but exists only in the act of coming into being. And it comes into being in time, and all time is continuous. Thus, we call a sound that comes into being over a long time "big," and a sound that comes into being over a short time "small." But that which is very sweet, or very black, and likewise with respect to other things, is such by the vehemence of the quality, not by the length of the time.
Greek Original:
*me/ga kai\ *mikro\n peri\ th\n a)koh\n le/getai: le/getai de\ kai\ e)pi\ tw=n yo/fwn. kai\ to\ me\n e)n yo/fois me/ga kai\ mikro\n h( a)koh\ mo/nh du/natai diakri=nai, to\ de\ e)n sw/masi to\ sunexe\s h( a)fh\ kai\ h( geu=sis diakri/nousin. o(/te de\ le/gomen leukh\n fwnh\n h)\ me/lainan, kata\ a)nalogi/an kai\ o(moio/thta th\n a)po\ tw=n xrwma/twn fame/n. kai\ tou= me\n e)n yo/fois me/ga kai\ mikro\n ou)k e)/stin e(te/ra tis a)nti/qesis para\ to\n o)cu\n kai\ baru\n fqo/ggon, w(/sper e)pi\ th=s a(fh=s para\ to\ qermo\n kai\ yuxro\n e(te/ra pantelw=s a)nti/qesis to\ baru\ kai\ kou=fon h)\ traxu\ kai\ lei=on kai\ tw=n a)/llwn e(ka/sth, a)lla\ th\n a)/nesin h)\ th\n e)pi/tasin dhloi= tw=n yo/fwn: tou=to de\ ou)k e)/stin e(te/ras a)ntiqe/sews i)/dion. to\ toiou=to gou=n me/ga kai\ mikro\n eu(rei=n e)sti/n, oi(=on to\n me\n tou= me/litos, ei) tu/xoi, me/gan, to\n de\ th=s i)sxa/dos mikro/n, o(/ti e)pite/tatai h( glu- ku/ths e)n tw=| me/liti, a)nei=tai de\ e)n th=| i)sxa/di. a)lla\ kai\ to\ me/lan xrw=ma to\ me\n katakore\s ei)/poi tis me/ga, to\ de\ mh\ ou(/tws e)/xon a)ll' u(feime/non mikro/n, to\ sfodro\n a(plw=s kai\ a)mudro\n th=| tou= mega/lou kai\ mikrou= fwnh=| o)noma/zwn. zhth=sai de\ a)/cion ti/ dh/pote e)pi\ mo/nwn tw=n megeqw=n legome/nou tou= mega/lou kai\ mikrou= e)pi\ mo/nwn tw=n sfodrw=n yo/fwn kai\ a)mudrw=n th=| metafora=| oi)kei/ws e)xrhsa/meqa, me/gan yo/fon le/gontes kai\ mikro/n, ou) me/ntoi me/ga gluku\ to\ a)/gan gluku/, ou)de\ mikro\n to\ a)mudra\n e)/xon th\n gluku/thta, ou)de\ e)p' a)/llou ou)deno/s. fhmi\ ou)=n, o(/ti o( yo/fos ou)k e)/stin u(festhko/s ti a)qro/on pra=gma, a)ll' e)n tw=| gi/nesqai u(fe/sthke: gi/netai de\ e)n xro/nw|, pa=s de\ xro/nos sunexh/s. dia\ tou=to to\n e)n pollw=| xro/nw| geno/menon yo/fon me/gan fame/n, mikro\n de\ to\n e)n o)li/gw|. to\ de\ a)/gan gluku\ kai\ a)/gan me/lan kai\ e)pi\ tw=n a)/llwn tw=| sfodrw=| th=s poio/thtos toiau=ta/ e)stin, ou) tw=| mh/kei tou= xro/nou.
John Philoponus, Commentary on Aristotle's de anima 409.4-22; 28-410.1. The translator would like to thank David Morgan for his help with this passage.
[1] Or: continuity.
[2] Or: material objects.
[3] Or: intensifying or making sharper, i.e. higher.
[4] Or: diminishing or making flatter, i.e. lower.
[5] Or: dark.
[6] Or: vehemence.
[7] Or: dimness.
[8] e)pi\ mo/nwn tw=n megeqw=n legome/nou tou= mega/lou kai\ mikrou=. This would seem to make more sense if we omit the mo/nwn (perhaps it appears a result of diplography with the following e)pi\ mo/nwn?). The sentence would then read: "It is worth investigating why it is -- given that 'big' and 'small' are said of quantities -- that we use the metaphor appropriately only with respect to intense and faint sounds...."
Keywords: definition; food; meter and music; philosophy
Translated by: Christopher Blackwell on 16 April 2002@11:14:19.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added note and keyword; internal reorganization) on 3 February 2003@06:56:54.
David Whitehead on 12 May 2013@08:12:21.
David Whitehead (coding) on 17 May 2016@08:54:42.


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