Sunday, November 09, 2008

Of mythic beasts untold

For Diego M and Barack O: "the middle betwixt"

[...] and which Dionysus of angels, will have several spirits for several countries, men, offices, etc., which live about them, and as so many assisting powers cause their operations; will have, in a word, innumerable, as many of them as there be stars in the skies. Marsilius Ficinus seems to second this opinion, out of Plato, or from himself, I know not [...] but it is most likely from Plato, for he, relying wholly on Socrates [...] made nine kinds of them; which opinion, belike, Socrates took from Pythagoras, and he from Trismegistus, he from Zoroaster: 1, God; 2, Ideae; 3, Intelligences; 4, Archangels; 5, Angels; 6, Devils; 7, Heroes; 8, Principalities; 9, Princes: of which some were absolutely good, as gods, some bad, some indifferent inter deos et homines [between Gods and men], as heroes and daemons, which ruled men, and were called genii, or as Proclus and Iamblichus will, the middle betwixt God and men [...] which commanded and swayed kings and countries [...]

Robert Burton, Some Anatomies of Melancholy, Penguin, pp.26-27


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