aleator classicus

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Augustine, Confessions 11.14

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quid est ergo tempus? si nemo ex me quaerat, scio; si quaerenti explicare velim, nescio: fidenter tamen dico scire me quod, si nihil praeteriret, non esset praeteritum tempus, et si nihil adveniret, non esset futurum tempus, et si nihil esset, non esset praesens tempus.

So what is time? As long as no one asks me, I know. If someone asks me and I want to explain it to them, I don’t know. However, I can confidently say that I know that if nothing passed away, there would not be past time, and if nothing were still to come into being, there would not be future time, and if nothing were to exist, there would not be present time.

Written by aleatorclassicus

December 4, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Augustine

Plutarch, Dinner of the Seven Wise Men 150e-f

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Aesop quotes a riddling verse about the aulos which Phrygians make from asses’ bones, and which make a better sound than the fawns’ bones which the Phrygians used to use:

διὸ καὶ Κλεοβουλίνη πρὸς τὸν Φρύγιον αὐλὸν ᾐνίξατο·

κνήμῃ νεκρὸς ὄνος με κερασφόρῳ οὖας ἔκρουσεν.

ὥστε θαυμάζειν τὸν ὄνον εἰ παχύτατος καὶ ἀμουσότατος ὢν τἄλλα λεπτότατον καὶ μουσικώτατον ὀστέον παρέχεται.

For this reason Cleobulina told a riddle on the Phrygian aulos:

“With its horn-bearing shin a dead donkey struck me on the ear.”

So one is amazed that the ass – being in other respects most dense and unmusical – provides us with a bone that is most refined and musical.

(The verse is rather corrupt in the manuscripts: I quote the restored version from Babbitt’s Loeb edition.)

Written by aleatorclassicus

December 3, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Plutarch