XXIII. (117) Theophrastus, moreover, says that those men who attribute a beginning and destructibility to the world are deceived by four particulars of the greatest importance, the inequalities of the earth, the retreat of the sea, and dissolution of each of the parts of the universe, and the destruction of different terrestrial animals in their kinds; (118) and he proceeds to establish the first point thus: if the earth had never had any beginning of its creation, then there would have been no portion of it rising above the rest so as to be conspicuous, but all the mountains would have been level, and all the pieces of rising ground would have been even with the plain. For as there are such vast showers falling from heaven throughout all ages, it would be natural that of any places which were originally raised on high some would be broken down and washed away by torrents, and others would subside of their own accord and so become lowered, and that every place everywhere would be smoothed; (119) but now, as things are, the constant inequalities which exist, and the vast heights of many mountains, reaching up even to the sky, are so many proofs that the earth is not eternal. For otherwise, as I have said before, all the earth would long since have been rendered level from one extremity to the other by the vast rains which would have fallen from the eternal commencement of time; for it is the character of the nature of water, and especially of such as descends in a heavy fall from lofty places, to push some things away by force, and to cut out and hollow other places by its continual dropping, and in this manner to operate on the hard, rugged, stony ground not less than men digging. (120) And again, the sea, as they affirm, is already somewhat diminished, and for proof of this fact we can appeal to the most celebrated islands, Rhodes and Delos, for these were in ancient times invisible, being overwhelmed by and sunk under the sea, but by lapse of time, as the sea gradually diminished, they by slow degrees rose above it and came into sight, as the histories which are written concerning them record. (121) And they used to call Delos Anaphe, confirming the account here given by both names, since when it appeared above the Waters{17}{the Greek word is anaphaneisa, from which Anapheµ is derived.} it became evident, {18}{deµleµ, from which Deµlos is derived.} having been formerly invisible and Unseen.{19}{yonge’s translation places the following excerpt after section 122. Present arrangement reflects the Loeb sequence.} On which account Pindar says respecting Delos–

“Hail, island raised by God,

Chosen abode

Of fair Latona’s son with golden hair.

Hail, ocean’s youngest child,

The last immoveable domain

That o’er his bosom smiled.

Upraised from beneath the billowy main

Mortals may call you Delos, but the choir

That dwells upon Olympus’ height,

Their chosen bards inspire

To praise thee as earth’s brightest, holiest Light.”{20}{this is part of an ode now lost.}