From Chapter I., The Milesian School
It was natural for Anaximenes to fix upon "air" as the primary substance; for, in the system of
Anaximander, it occupied an intermediate place between the two fundamental opposites, the ring of
flame and the cold, moist mass within it (§ 19). We know from Plutarch that he fancied air became
warmer when rarefied, and colder when condensed. Of this he satisfied himself by a curious
experimental proof. When we breathe with our mouths open, the air is warm; when our lips are closed,
it is cold.114
113. For the meaning of ἀήρ in Homer, cf. e.g.. Od. viii. 1, ἠέρι καὶ νεφέλῃ κεκαλυμμέναι; and for its survival in Ionic prose, Hippokrates, Περὶ ἀέρων, ὑδάτων, τόπων, 15, ἀήρ τε πολὺς κατέχει τὴν χώρην ἀπὸ τῶν ὑδάτων.. Plato is still conscious of the old meaning; for he makes Timaios say ἀέρος (γένη) τὸ μὲν εὐαγέστατον ἐπίκλην αἰθὴρ καλούμενος, ὁ δὲ θολερώτατος ὁμίχλη καὶ σκότος (Tim. 58 d). For the identification of ἀήρ with darkness, cf. Plut. De prim. frig. 948 e, ὅτι δ' ἀὴρ τὸ πρώτως σκοτεινόν ἐστιν οὐδὲ τοὺς ποιητὰς λέληθεν· ἀέρα γὰρ τὸ σκότος καλοῦσιν. My view has been criticised by Tannery, "Une nouvelle hypothèse sur Anaximandre" (Arch. viii. pp. 443 sqq.), and I have slightly altered my expression of it to meet these criticisms. The point is of fundamental importance for the interpretation of Pythagoreanism.
114. Plut. De prim. frig. 947 f (R. P. 27), where we are told that he used the term τὸ χαλαρόν for the rarefied air.
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