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Headword: Μεταβολή
Adler number: mu,681
Translated headword: change; about-turn
Vetting Status: high
It is produced in accordance with 4 modalities: [those] of corruption, of alteration, of decay, of growth. And it is considered in four categories: in substance, like generation and corruption; in quantity, [like] growth and diminution; in quality, like alteration (such as 'blackness', 'whiteness'); and in where, such as up, down, at the Lyceum, at the market.[1] But change is mostly of motion, for what is in motion must exist in order to be moved as well, and what is liable to generation and corruption does not remain what precisely was [before]. And [note] that what is in motion involves change with regard to the same substratum, [and there is] no motion contributing for the substance of the substratum. However, what is liable to generation and corruption is not produced in the substratum, but, such as what is being generated changes from matter into form, [so too] what is being corrupted, on the contrary, [changes from form into matter].[2]
'About-turn'[3] is the double turn [klisis] in the same direction, changing what the hoplites are looking at rearwards;[4] alternatively two versions, the one [turning] from the enemy, which they also name 'to the rear', and the one towards the enemy. Some also sketch it thus: an about-turn is an alteration of the preexisting appearance towards the appearance by the rear, or from this to the contrary. And whereas the double about-turn 'from' the enemy results from men turning to the spear-side, the double one 'towards' the enemy [is] to the shield-side.[5]
Greek Original:
Μεταβολή: κατὰ δ# τρόπους γίνεται: φθορᾶς, ἀλλοιώσεως, φθίσεως, αὐξήσεως. καὶ ἐν τέσσαρσι θεωρεῖται κατηγορίαις: ἐν οὐσίᾳ μὲν ὡς γένεσις καὶ φθορά: ἐν ποσῷ δὲ αὔξησις καὶ μείωσις: ἐν ποιῷ δὲ ὡς ἀλλοίωσις, οἷον λεύκανσις, μέλανσις: ἐν δὲ τῷ ποῦ, οἷον ἄνω, κάτω, ἐν Λυκείῳ, ἐν ἀγορᾷ. ἐπὶ πλέον δὲ τῆς κινήσεως ἡ μεταβολή: τὸ γὰρ κινούμενον δεῖ εἶναι, ἵνα καὶ κινῆται, τὸ δὲ γινόμενον ἢ φθειρόμενον οὐ μένει ὅπερ ἦν. καὶ ὅτι τὸ κινούμενον περὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ὑποκείμενον ἴσχει μεταβολήν, μηδὲν τῆς κινήσεως εἰς τὴν οὐσίαν τοῦ ὑποκειμένου συντελούσης. τὸ μέντοι γινόμενον καὶ φθειρόμενον οὐκ ἐν ὑποκειμένῳ γίνεται, ἀλλ' οἷον ἐξ ὕλης εἰς εἶδος μεταβάλλει τὸ γινόμενον, καὶ τὸ φθειρόμενον ἔμπαλιν. Μεταβολή ἐστιν ἡ δὶς ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ γινομένη κλίσις κατὰ νώτου τὰς τῶν ὁπλιτῶν ὄψεις μετατιθεῖσα: ἢ δύο διαφοραί, ἡ μὲν ἀπὸ τῶν πολεμίων, ἣν καὶ ἐπ' οὐρὰν ἐπονομάζουσιν, ἡ δὲ ἐπὶ τοὺς πολεμίους. ἔνιοι δὲ καὶ αὐτὴν οὕτως ὑπογράφουσι: μεταβολή ἐστι μετάληψις τῆς προϋπαρχούσης ἐπιφανείας εἰς τὴν κατ' οὐρὰν ἐπιφάνειαν, ἢ ἀπὸ ταύτης ἐπὶ τὴν ἐναντίαν. καὶ ἡ μὲν ἀπὸ τῶν πολεμίων μεταβολὴ δὶς ἐπὶ δόρυ κλινάντων γίνεται, ἡ δ' ἐπὶ τοὺς πολεμίους δὶς ἐπ' ἀσπίδα.
The principal paragraph here draws on John Philoponus, Commentary on Aristotle's de anima 98.23-34 Hayduck; the second switches to a military handbook.
[1] These 'four modalities' of change are based, in a very general terms, on Aristotelian positions, and coincide with change, as it is examined under the category of substance (corruption), of quality (alteration), and of quantity (growth), as described in the following line.
[2] This describes in general terms Aristotle's doctrine of change, as it is expounded in detail in Physics 1.4-7. Aristotle puts forwards three principles of any chance (both substantial –generation-corruption– and relative –alteration or quantitative change: growth and diminution): (1) the substratum or what underlies any change (which identified with matter), (2) privation, the negative determination the 'thing' in process of change has before acquiring the positive determination or (3) form, which turns out to be that for the sake of which the process of change is done. Both privation and form are assumed to be contraries, and the change is understood as a process going from a contrary ('not pale') to the other contrary ('pale'). The same thing can be applied in cases of 'substantial change', such as what goes from an entity to a non-entity (corruption), or what goes from a non-entity to an entity (generation; see Physics 224b35-225a11). Even in the cases of substantial change or generation without qualification (γένεσις ἁπλῆ ) there must be something underlying, i.e. a substratum.
[3] cf. in brief Polybius 18.30.4.
[4] For klisis see generally kappa 1816, kappa 1817. That this metabole is a 'double' klisis implies a standard turn of 90 degrees to right or left.
[5] Since the spear was carried in the right hand and the shield on the left arm, these are standard terms (from the fifth century BCE onwards) for right and left.
Keywords: definition; historiography; military affairs; philosophy; rhetoric
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 13 July 2003@03:39:35.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified translation, esp in military section; augmented notes; added keyword; cosmetics) on 13 July 2003@06:25:00.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 17 May 2013@06:06:29.
David Whitehead (coding) on 18 May 2016@03:49:45.


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