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phaedo   


making a long circuit into many lands, others going to few places

and those not distant, and again fall into Tartarus, some at a point a

good deal lower than that at which they rose, and others not much

lower, but all in some degree lower than the point of issue. And

some burst forth again on the opposite side, and some on the same

side, and some wind round the earth with one or many folds, like the

coils of a serpent, and descend as far as they can, but always

return and fall into the lake. The rivers on either side can descend

only to the center and no further, for to the rivers on both sides the

opposite side is a precipice.

Now these rivers are many, and mighty, and diverse, and there are

four principal ones, of which the greatest and outermost is that

called Oceanus, which flows round the earth in a circle; and in the

opposite direction flows Acheron, which passes under the earth through

desert places, into the Acherusian Lake: this is the lake to the

shores of which the souls of the many go when they are dead, and after

waiting an appointed time, which is to some a longer and to some a

shorter time, they are sent back again to be born as animals. The

third river rises between the two, and near the place of rising

pours into a vast region of fire, and forms a lake larger than the

Mediterranean Sea, boiling with water and mud; and proceeding muddy

and turbid, and winding about the earth, comes, among other places, to

the extremities of the Acherusian Lake, but mingles not with the

waters of the lake, and after making many coils about the earth

plunges into Tartarus at a deeper level. This is that

Pyriphlegethon, as the stream is called, which throws up jets of

fire in all sorts of places. The fourth river goes out on the opposite

side, and falls first of all into a wild and savage region, which is

all of a dark-blue color, like lapis lazuli; and this is that river

which is called the Stygian River, and falls into and forms the Lake

Styx, and after falling into the lake and receiving strange powers

in the waters, passes under the earth, winding round in the opposite

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