“Aegira and fair Bura’s walls,
And Helica’s lofty halls,
And many a once renowned town,
With wreck and seaweed overgrown,”
as having been formerly prosperous, but now overwhelmed by the violent influx of the sea. (141) And the island of Atalantes which was greater than Africa and Asia, as Plato says in the Timaeus, in one day and night was overwhelmed beneath the sea in consequence of an extraordinary earthquake and inundation and suddenly disappeared, becoming sea, not indeed navigable, but full of gulfs and eddies. (142) Therefore that imaginary and fictitious diminution of the sea has no connection with the destruction or durability of the world; for in fact it appears to recede indeed from some parts, but to rise higher in others; and it would have been proper rather not to look at only one of these results but at both together, and so to form one’s opinion, since in all the disputed questions which arise in human life, a wise and honest judge will not deliver his opinion before he has heard the arguments of the advocates on both sides.
XVII. (143) And as for the third argument, it is convicted by itself, as being derived only from an unsound system of questioning proceeding from the assertions originally made; for in truth it does not necessarily follow that a thing, all the parts of which are liable to corruption, is likewise perishable itself; but this is only inevitably true of that thing of which all the parts are perishable when taken collectively and together in the same place and at the same time, since in the case of a person who has the tip of his finger cut off, he is not disabled from living, but if he had the whole collection of all his parts and limbs cut off at once, he would die immediately. (144) Therefore in the same manner, if all the elements of the world together were all to disappear at one and the same moment, then it would be necessary to admit that the world was liable to corruption and destruction; but if each of these elements separately only changes its nature so as to assimilate to that of its nature, it is then rendered immortal rather than destroyed, according to the philosophical statement of the tragic poet–