Marcus Aurelius [Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus]

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  • Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus6Ποταμός τίς ἐστι τῶν γινομένων καὶ ῥεῦμα βίαιον ὁ αἰών· ἅμαEditor’s Note7τε γὰρ ὤφθη ἕκαστον, καὶ παρενήνεκται καὶ ἄλλο παραφέρεται, τὸ8δὲ ἐνεχθήσεται.



There is a kind of river of things passing into being, and Time is a violent torrent. For no sooner is each seen, than it has been carried away, and another is being carried by, and that, too, will be carried away.

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Critical Apparatus
6 ποταμοῖσι τοῖσι αὐτοῖσι ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν‎ Heracl. Fr. 49 a D, 81 B
ποταμοῦ ῥοῇ ἀπεικάζων (Ἡράκλειτος) τὰ ὄντα‎ Pl. Crat. 402 a
Critical Apparatus
6–8, 17–21 D, 17–19 Mo 1
Critical Apparatus
6 τις ἐκ‎ corr. Nauck
Editor’s Note
Ch. 43: 68. 6 Ποταμός τίς ἐστι‎. Following Leop. I have adopted Nauck's correction, as ἐκ‎ gives no satisfactory sense. The thought of change in ch. 42 leads to an image from Heraclit. Test. The parallel between phenomena which pass in Time and Time itself as a series of moments, each being likened to a river, is so familiar in M.'s pages, τοῦ ὅλου αἰῶνος καὶ τῆς ὅλης οὐσίας συνεχῶς φαντασία‎ p. 202. 5, cf. pp. 26. 23, 32. 12, 90. 4, 102. 10, 126. 16, that I take him here to say the same, not as all the interpreters take it: 'Time is a kind of river and a violent torrent.' Apart from tautology, that makes ὁ αἰών‎ to be concretely conceived as 'the stream of Life', as in Tennyson's: 'We plant a solid foot into the Time', or in the hymn's: 'Time … bears all its sons away'.
M. always uses αἰών‎ of Time or Eternity in distinction from the events in Time, it is never for him τῶν γινομένων ῥεῦμα‎. The abstraction, if that is the correct word, does not appear in Heraclit., but is recognized in mythological terms by Pl., where he makes Socr. say that Hom. gives the parents of the gods the names Ῥέαν τε καὶ Κρόνον, ῥευμάτων ὀνόματα‎, Cra. 402b, where Κρόνον‎ suggested χρόνον‎, and Ῥέαν‎ the current of things, cf. Κρόνου δὲ παῖς καὶ χρόνου λέγεται‎ [Arist.] Mu. 401a15.
Editor’s Note
ῥεῦμα βίαιον‎: the adj. anticipates the description of a devouring current, cf. 'fluviosque rapaces' Lucr. i. 17.
Editor’s Note
68. 6–7 ἅμα τε γὰρ ὤφθη‎: cf. ἅμα γίγνεται πάντα καὶ φθείρεται … τοῦ χρόνου, καθάπερ ῥεύματος, ἕκαστα παραφέροντος‎ Plu. De Def. 432a; Sen., after translating Heraclit. l. 6 Test., has: 'nos quoque non minus velox cursus praetervehit' Ep. 58. 23.
Editor’s Note
68. 7–8 τὸ δὲ ἐνεχθήσεται‎: παρα-‎ is omitted idiomatically, though even the simple verb may be used in this sense: τὸν δʼ Ἀχιλεὺς ποταμόνδε λαβὼν ποδὸς ἧκε φέρεσθαι‎ Il. xxi. 120.
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