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Encyclopedia > The Spindle of Necessity

In The Republic by Plato, The Spindle of Necessity is mentioned in Book 10, Myth of Er. The cosmos is represented by the Spindle attended by sirens and the three daughters of the Goddess Necessity known collectively as The Fates. Their duty is to keep the rims of the spindle revolving. The Fates, Sirens and Spindle are used in The Republic, partly, to help explain how known celestial bodies revolved around the Earth according to Plato's understanding of cosmology and astronomy. Plato. ... Plato - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... An analogy used in Platos Republic. ... A Greek amphora depicting Odysseus encounter with the sirens. ... In Greek mythology, the white-robed Moirae or Moerae (Greek Μοίραι — the Apportioners, often called the Fates) were the personifications of destiny (Roman equivalent: Parcae, sparing ones, or Fatae; also equivalent to the Germanic Norns). ...

The "Spindle of Necessity", according to Plato, is "shaped is like the ones we know". In other words, it was the same as the standard Greek spindle. It consisted of three main parts; a hook, shaft and whorl. The hook was fixed near the top of the shaft on its long side. On the other end resided the whorl, which acted as sort of a base. The hook was used to spin the shaft, which in turn spun the whorl on the other end.

Placed on the whorl of his celestial spindle were 8 "orbits". Each of these orbits created a perfect circle. Each "orbit" is given different descriptions by Plato, which no doubt represent known bodies within our solar system.

There has been much debate about this passage about the "Spindle of Necessity" has been subject of much discussion over time. However, there are three main points can be made:

  • First - Even though it is factually inaccurate, the main purpose of "the Spindle of Necessity" is to give a working, visual model to the solar system.
  • Second - Based on Plato's descriptions within the passage, the orbits can be identified as actual heavenly bodies:
    • Orbit 1 - Stars
    • Orbit 2 - Saturn
    • Orbit 3 - Jupiter
    • Orbit 4 - Mars
    • Orbit 5 - Mercury
    • Orbit 6 - Venus
    • Orbit 7 - Sol
    • Orbit 8 - Moon
  • Third - The descriptions of the rims accurately fit the relative distance and revolution speed of the respected bodies as would appear to an observer from Earth.

  Results from FactBites:
II. Apprehension versus Comprehension. Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur. 1920. On the Art of Reading (3455 words)
As the tale, then, is told by Plato, in the tenth book of The Republic, one Er the son of Arminius, a Pamphylian, was slain in battle; and ten days afterwards, when they collected the dead for burial, his body alone showed no taint of corruption.
It stands and is renewed upon a harmony: and what Plato called ‘Necessity’ is the Duty—compulsory or free as you or I can conceive it—the Duty of all created things to obey that harmony, the Duty of which Wordsworth tells in his noble Ode.
And because ye are Sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.
  More results at FactBites »



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