Mr. Wind God


Probably one of the better ideas anyone’s ever come up with is cookies inspired by Mayan hieroglyphs. I fully endorse this concept.



Anaximenes son of Eurystratus, of Miletus, a companion of Anaximander, also says, like him, that the underlying nature is one and infinite, but not undefined as Anaximander said but definite, for he identifies it as air; and it differs in its substantial nature by rarity and density. Being made finer it becomes fire, being made thicker it becomes wind, then cloud, then (when thickened still more) water, then earth, then stones; and the rest come into being from these. He, too, makes motion eternal, and says that change, also, comes about through it. — Theophrastus ap. Simplicium in Phys. 24, 26 *

So what does Anaximenes, the third and last of the Milesians, reckon “air” to be? In Homer and Ionic prose αηρ is visible “mist”. Anaximenes is probably moving beyond appearances here towards atmospheric, though substantial, air. But why is air the Urstoff, the principal element of γενεσις [genesis]?

This fragment from Aetius I,3,4 lays down the bing bang boom.

Anaximenes son of Eurystratus, of Miletus, declared that air [αερα] is the principle [αρχην] of existing things; for from it all things come-to-be and into it they are again dissolved. As our soul [οιον η ψθχη], he says, being air holds us together and controls us, so does wind [or breath-pneuma]** and air enclose the whole world [η ημετερα αηρ οθσα συγκρατει ημας, και ολον τον κοσμον πνεθμα και αηρ περιεχει]. ***

In fine, because the air is divine.**** It is the macrocosmic analogue of the life-giving breath, the soul of man.

* Quoted in Kirk, Raven & Schofield, The Presocratic Philosophers, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: CUP, 1983), 145.

** πνευμα, the breath, wind-spirit though existing is invisible, but not insensible.

*** Translation from Kirk, Raven & Schofield, 158-59.

**** e.g. Note Cicero de natura deorum I, 10, 26 Anaximenes aera deum statuit eumque gigne esseque immensum et infinitum et semper in motu (Kirk, Raven & Schofield, 150).  … “It is probable, then, that Anaximenes himself said something about gods; it may be reasonably inferred that this was to the effect that such gods as there were in the world were themselves derived from the all-encompassing air, which was truly divine”, that is, akin to the “Stoicizing description of the kind of divinity involved as ‘powers permeating elements or bodies'” (Kirk, Raven & Schofield, 151.)

Postscript: On the matter of Abdullah Ibrahim I especially dig African Sketchbook.


About J. Rhombohedral Hematite

Not a Theoblogger. Nota bene.
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One Response to Air

  1. Pingback: The Logos of Heraclitus | Zero Theology

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