Complete Works of Plutarch— Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies

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Author: Plutarch

Chapter XIII.

WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF THE STARS, AND HOW THEY ARE COMPOSED.

Thales affirms that they are globes of earth set on fire. Empedocles, that they are fiery bodies arising from that fire which the aether embraced within itself, and did shatter in pieces when the elements were first separated one from another. Anaxagoras, that the circumambient aether is of a fiery substance, which, by a vehement force in its whirling about, did tear stones from the earth, and by its own power set them on fire, and establish them as stars in the heavens. Diogenes thinks they resemble pumice stones, and that they are the breathings of the world; again he supposeth that there are some invisible stones, which fall sometimes from heaven upon the earth, and are there quenched; as it happened at Aegos-potami, where a stony star resembling fire did fall. Empedocles, that the fixed stars fastened to the crystal, but the planets are loosened. Plato, that the stars for the most part are of a fiery nature, but they are made partakers of another element, with they are mixed after the resemblance of glue. Zenophanes, that they are composed of inflamed clouds, which in the daytime are quenched, and in the night are kindled again. The like we see in coals; for the rising and setting of the stars is nothing else but the quenching and kindling of them. Heraclitus and the Pythagoreans, that every star is a world in an infinite aether, and encompasseth air, earth, and aether; this opinion is current among the disciples of Orpheus, for they suppose that each of the stars does make a world. Epicurus condemns none of these opinions, for he embraces anything that is possible.

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Chicago: Plutarch, "Chapter XIII.," Complete Works of Plutarch— Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies, ed. Firth, John B. and trans. Jowett, Benjamin, 1817-1893 in Complete Works of Plutarch—Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies Original Sources, accessed October 4, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=LJ13EX3WCBERTL2.

MLA: Plutarch. "Chapter XIII." Complete Works of Plutarch— Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies, edited by Firth, John B., and translated by Jowett, Benjamin, 1817-1893, in Complete Works of Plutarch—Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies, Original Sources. 4 Oct. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=LJ13EX3WCBERTL2.

Harvard: Plutarch, 'Chapter XIII.' in Complete Works of Plutarch— Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies, ed. and trans. . cited in , Complete Works of Plutarch—Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies. Original Sources, retrieved 4 October 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=LJ13EX3WCBERTL2.