Hermes Trismegistos Ashb. 1166 e1582390322748

The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius: 11 + 10.7 footnote (177): DH 11.1-6; HHE, vol.2, p. 331-2, 402-5 

Hello fellow learners! This article is written specifically to present an English translation of footnote 177 in The Definitions of Hermēs Trismegistus to Asclepius, which can be found in “The Way of Hermes” by Clement Salaman, J. Mahé (and others). Footnote 177 cites HHE (Hermès en Haute-Égypte) p. 331-2 which shows a comparison to the pseudo-hermetic DH 11 and Chapter V of De Natura Hominis by Nemesius. This footnote also cites p. 402-405 which are the original Armenian text and the French translation of DH 11 which is provided by Jean-Pierre Mahé and has been translated, by myself, into English for the reader. 

-Patches

(p. 331)

Regardless of the vocabulary analogies, it is clear that the text of the interpolation summarizes in broad strokes Chapter V of Nemesius.

Pseudo-Hermes, DH XI (translation)

XI,1. The four elements of this world hold in spheres (concentric) near the four places, it is always the smallest that lets itself be contained by the largest: thus the earth by water, water by air, air by fire. 

And voice what is the mixture of these four elements between them: the earth is dry and cold, the water is cold and humid, the air is humid and hot, the fire is hot and dry….

XI,3. And this is how they are mixed with others: the earth, by its dryness, with fire and, by its coldness, with the earth and, by its humidity, with water and, by its heat, with fire… 

XI,4. Fire is hot and dry: by heat it unites with the air, and by drought with the earth; the air is dense and mobile; by dentisity, it unites with water and, through mobility, with fire; the water is heavy and mobile; by mobility it unites with the air and, by heaviness with the earth. 

XI,5. Thus, all these four elements cannot be a body, nor act without their qualities.

(p. 332)

XI,5. And their qualities are not like other qualities: for example, black or white have no influence on the whole body, such as cooling, warming and others… 

XI,6. Plato said that three of the elements convert into each other… and that the earth remains inconvertible…

And Aristotle spoke of a fifth element namely fire and water, air, and earth, ether. But this ether, he declared it foreign to the four essences, as it would be the residence of the gods. Many have admitted this fifth denomination of beings, which he calls the ether that surrounds everything

[Cf.]

Nemesius V (translation- p. 331)

There are four elements, earth, water, air, fire, thus arranged in the order in which they are stated, from the lower bodies to the higher bodies… Their nature is manifested by their mixture: the earth is dry and cold, the water is cold and humid, the air, humid and hot, according to its nature, and the fire, hot and dry…

… Water, by its coldness, is similar to the earth and, by its humidity, to the air; air, which by its humid quality is similar to water, is similar to fire by its heat… The water is cold and humid: but, by its coldness, it unites with the earth, which is before it in the ascent and, by its humidity, it. In the same way, air, by its humidity, is allied with water, which is before it and, by its heat, with fire, which is after it. As for fire, by its heat, it unites with the air, which is before it and, by its dryness, with the earth…

The qualities in themselves cannot be the elements. Indeed, it is not possible that these bodies consist of intangible qualities; and it is even less possible that the other bodies, if they do not possess in action these first qualities can be elements…

(p. 332)

Alone among the qualities, they change the essence completely, and none of the other qualities do. Indeed, in contact with a body, white does not whiten it completely, as hot warms and cold cools; the same goes for everything else… 

But it seemed to Plato that three of the elements were converted into each other… but that the earth remains inconvertible. 

Aristotle introduces another fifth body: the one that is ethereal in nature and that goes in circles, not wanting to admit that the sky is made up of the four elements.

e191e719 50e6 484c abf5 7fbe0d63279f

– – – – –

DH 11 – (p. 403/405

[XI,1. Now, the four elements of this world, standing in concentric spheres near the four places, it is always the smallest that allows itself to be contained by the largest: thus the earth by water, water by air, air by the shield; and here is what is a mixture of these four elements between them: the earth is dry and cold, the water is cold and humid, the air is humid and hot, the fire is hot and dry.

2. In addition, they also have two other qualities: the earth is dense and dry, the water is soft and clammy; the air is dense and mobile, the fire is biting and subtle.

3. In addition, they still have other qualities: the earth is heavy and motionless, the water is heavy and mobile, the air is light and mobile, the fire is biting and light. And here is how they are mixed with each other: the earth, by its dryness, with fire, and, by its coldness, with water: water, by its coldness, with the earth, and, by its humidity, with the air; air, by its humidity, with water, and, by its heat, with fire.

4. In addition, depending on the conversion and inflection, they are mixed as follows: the fire is hot and dry; by heat, it unites with the air, and by drought, with the earth; the air is dense and mobile; by density, it unites with water, and by mobility, with fire; the water is heavy and mobile; by mobility, it unites with the air, and by heaviness, with the earth. This is how the heavy with the light and the wet with the dry are assembled in them; the biting with the soft and the subtle with the dense. Harmoniously, they grab each other, like two men, standing one down and the other in the heights, who would stretch out their arms and lean on each other.

5. Fire, by its lightness and bite, has gripped the gravity and stillness of the earth; and the air, by its heat, has seized the cold, and the water has seized, by its humidity, the dryness of the earth. And so, all these four elements cannot be a body or act in their qualities. And their qualities are not like other qualities: for example, black or white; but they influence their being. Because neither black nor white affect the whole body, like warming, cooling and others.

6. Now, Plato said that three of the elements convert into each other: fire, water and air; and that the earth remains inconvertible, because it is more immobile than the others. And Aristotle spoke of a fifth element: namely fire and water, earth and air, also ether. But this ether, he declared it foreign to the four essences, as it would be the residence of the gods. Many have admitted this fifth denomination of beings, which he calls the ether that surrounds everything.]

4c6508aa 4510 4b14 9f71 1ad0eed4d466
29393649 a236 454a a1ea 707f8e164392


DH 11 in Armenian – p. 402 & 404

d14e2fe1 3289 498c 9473 8a5aaa561b95
8823fbc1 7e2a 4a40 954d 13654c77bf43

Similar Posts

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
trackback

[…] manuscripts, an addition drawn from Nemesius ch. 5: DH 11.1-6; HHE, vol.2, p. 331-2, 402-5