Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
133. Formation of the Worlds 135. Cosmology

From Chapter VI., Anaxagoras of Klazomenai

134. Innumerable Worlds
That Anaxagoras adopted the ordinary Ionian theory of innumerable worlds is clear from fr. 4, which we have no right to regard as other than continuous.62 The words "that it was not only with us that things were separated off, but elsewhere too" can only mean that Nous has caused a rotatory movement in more parts of the boundless mixture than one. Aetios certainly includes Anaxagoras among those who held there was only one world63; but this testimony cannot be considered of the same weight as that of the fragments. Zeller's reference of the words to the moon is very improbable. Is it likely that any one would say that the inhabitants of the moon "have a sun and moon as with us"?64

Burnet's Notes


62. See above, p. 259, n. 1.

63. Aet. ii. 1, 3 (Dox. p. 327).

64. Further, it can be proved that this passage (fr. 4) occurred quite near the beginning of the work. Cf. Simpl. Phys. p. 34, 28 μετ' ὀλίγα τῆς ἀρχῆς τοῦ πρώτου Περὶ φυσέως, p. 156, 1, καὶ μετ' ὀλίγα (after fr. 2), which itself occurred, μετ' ὀλίγον (after fr. 1), which was the beginning of the book. A reference to other "worlds" would be quite in place here, but not a reference to the moon.

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