“Fire Will Not Freeze”: Some Words

Basil, Letter 189

“Fire will not freeze; ice will not turn warm.”

οὔτε ψύχει τὸ πῦρ, οὔτε θερμαίνει ὁ κρύσταλλος


Pliny, Natural History 14.132

“Wine does not usually freeze, it only gets numb with cold temperatures.”

vini natura non gelascit: alias ad frigus stupet tantum.

 Ovid, Ex Ponto 4.85-90

“Is it that I lie, or does the Black sea turn hard at the cold
And ice overtakes many acres of its surface?
When he says these things, ask what reputation I have
Or seek in what way now I survive these hard times.
Here I meet no hatred; and I have not earned hatred either.
Nor has my mind changed at all with my fortune”

mentiar, an coëat duratus frigore Pontus,
et teneat glacies iugera multa freti.
haec ubi narrarit, quae sit mea fama require,
quoque modo peragam tempora dura roga.
nec sumus hic odio, nec scilicet esse meremur,
nec cum fortuna mens quoque versa mea est.

Aristotle, Generation of Animals 735a        

“Watery things certainly freeze but semen does not freeze when it is given to frost in the open air…”

καίτοι πήγνυταί γε τὰ ὑδατώδη· τὸ δὲ σπέρμα οὐ πήγνυται τιθέμενον ἐν τοῖς πάγοις ὑπαίθριον

Plutarch, On the Principle of Cold (Moralia 949b)

“When something freezes, which is the most extreme and most violent of the things that can happen to objects because of the cold, the effect is from water but the cause is the air. For water is a thing which is fluid and not solid and not cohesive. When it is pressed and strained by air in its cold state, it becomes compact.

Καὶ μὴν ἁπάντων γε τῶν γινομένων ὑπὸ ψυχρότητος ἐν τοῖς σώμασι σφοδρότατον καὶ βιαιότατον ἡ πῆξις οὖσα, πάθος μέν ἐστιν ὕδατος, ἔργον δ᾿ ἀέρος· αὐτὸ μὲν γὰρ καθ᾿ ἑαυτὸ τὸ ὕδωρ εὐδιάχυτον καὶ ἀπαγὲς καὶ ἀσύστατόν ἐστιν, ἐντείνεται δὲ καὶ συνάγεται τῷ ἀέρι σφιγγόμενον ὑπὸ ψυχρότητος· διὸ καὶ λέλεκται

Xenophon, Anabasis 4.22.4

“From there they were marching through massive amounts of snow and a for three miles and thirteen parasangs. The third part of it was especially hard: a northern wind was blowing directly against them, slamming everything and freezing the people.”

Ἐντεῦθεν ἐπορεύοντο διὰ χιόνος πολλῆς καὶ πεδίου σταθμοὺς τρεῖς παρασάγγας τρεῖς καὶ δέκα. ὁ δὲ τρίτος ἐγένετο χαλεπὸς καὶ ἄνεμος βορρᾶς ἐναντίος ἔπνει παντάπασιν ἀποκαίων πάντα καὶ πηγνὺς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους.

Snow istotle


ψυχή, ἡ: soul, life

ψύχωσις: life-giving/generating

ψυχοανάκαλυπτος: soul-baring, revealing

ψυχοκλέπτης: soul-thief


ψυχοπλανής: soul-wandering

ψυχοπότης: soul drinker (drinking of life, i.e. blood)

ψῦχος, τό: cold

ψυχρία: cold

ψυχκρασία: growing cold

ψυχολογία: frigid talking

ψυχροποιός: making cold

ψυχροπότης: cold drinker (one who drinks cold water)

ψυχρόσαρκος: with cold flesh


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