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actual water. Copper and gold are not formed like that, but in every

case the evaporation congealed before water was formed. Hence, they

all (except gold) are affected by fire, and they possess an

admixture of earth; for they still contain the dry exhalation.

This is the general theory of all these bodies, but we must take

up each kind of them and discuss it separately.

Book IV


WE have explained that the qualities that constitute the elements

are four, and that their combinations determine the number of the

elements to be four.

Two of the qualities, the hot and the cold, are active; two, the dry

and the moist, passive. We can satisfy ourselves of this by looking at

instances. In every case heat and cold determine, conjoin, and

change things of the same kind and things of different kinds,

moistening, drying, hardening, and softening them. Things dry and

moist, on the other hand, both in isolation and when present

together in the same body are the subjects of that determination and

of the other affections enumerated. The account we give of the

qualities when we define their character shows this too. Hot and

cold we describe as active, for 'congregating' is essentially a

species of 'being active': moist and dry are passive, for it is in

virtue of its being acted upon in a certain way that a thing is said

to be 'easy to determine' or 'difficult to determine'. So it is

clear that some of the qualities are active and some passive.

Next we must describe the operations of the active qualities and the

forms taken by the passive. First of all, true becoming, that is,

natural change, is always the work of these powers and so is the

corresponding natural destruction; and this becoming and this

destruction are found in plants and animals and their parts. True

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