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Works by Aristotle
Pages of Meteorology

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matter of all food, and especially liquid food, in animal bodies.


We must now explain why the sea is salt, and ask whether it

eternally exists as identically the same body, or whether it did not

exist at all once and some day will exist no longer, but will dry up

as some people think.

Every one admits this, that if the whole world originated the sea

did too; for they make them come into being at the same time. It

follows that if the universe is eternal the same must be true of the

sea. Any one who thinks like Democritus that the sea is diminishing

and will disappear in the end reminds us of Aesop's tales. His story

was that Charybdis had twice sucked in the sea: the first time she

made the mountains visible; the second time the islands; and when

she sucks it in for the last time she will dry it up entirely. Such

a tale is appropriate enough to Aesop in a rage with the ferryman, but

not to serious inquirers. Whatever made the sea remain at first,

whether it was its weight, as some even of those who hold these

views say (for it is easy to see the cause here), or some other

reason-clearly the same thing must make it persist for ever. They must

either deny that the water raised by the sun will return at all, or,

if it does, they must admit that the sea persists for ever or as

long as this process goes on, and again, that for the same period of

time that sweet water must have been carried up beforehand. So the sea

will never dry up: for before that can happen the water that has

gone up beforehand will return to it: for if you say that this happens

once you must admit its recurrence. If you stop the sun's course there

is no drying agency. If you let it go on it will draw up the sweet

water as we have said whenever it approaches, and let it descend again

when it recedes. This notion about the sea is derived from the fact

that many places are found to be drier now than they once were. Why

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