think, require the art of Glaucus; and I know not that the art of
Glaucus could prove the truth of my tale, which I myself should
never be able to prove, and even if I could, I fear, Simmias, that
my life would come to an end before the argument was completed. I
may describe to you, however, the form and regions of the earth
according to my conception of them.
That, said Simmias, will be enough.
Well, then, he said, my conviction is that the earth is a round body
in the center of the heavens, and therefore has no need of air or
any similar force as a support, but is kept there and hindered from
falling or inclining any way by the equability of the surrounding
heaven and by her own equipoise. For that which, being in equipoise,
is in the center of that which is equably diffused, will not incline
any way in any degree, but will always remain in the same state and
not deviate. And this is my first notion.
Which is surely a correct one, said Simmias.
Also I believe that the earth is very vast, and that we who dwell in
the region extending from the river Phasis to the Pillars of Heracles,
along the borders of the sea, are just like ants or frogs about a
marsh, and inhabit a small portion only, and that many others dwell in
many like places. For I should say that in all parts of the earth
there are hollows of various forms and sizes, into which the water and
the mist and the air collect; and that the true earth is pure and in
the pure heaven, in which also are the stars-that is the heaven
which is commonly spoken of as the ether, of which this is but the
sediment collecting in the hollows of the earth. But we who live in
these hollows are deceived into the notion that we are dwelling
above on the surface of the earth; which is just as if a creature
who was at the bottom of the sea were to fancy that he was on the
surface of the water, and that the sea was the heaven through which he
saw the sun and the other stars-he having never come to the surface by
reason of his feebleness and sluggishness, and having never lifted