“I am changed by philosophers into all the beasts …”

“The philosophers differ about the soul … At one time I am immortal and rejoice; at another time again I become mortal and weep. Now I am dissolved into atoms: I become water, and I become air: I become fire, and then after a little, neither air, nor fire: the philosopher makes me a beast, he makes me a fish. Now then I have dolphins for my brothers; but when I look on myself, I am frightened at my body, and I know not how I shall call it, man, or dog, or wolf, or bull, or bird, or serpent, or chimera? For I am changed by the philosophers into all the beasts, of the land, of the sea, having wings, of many forms, wild or tame, dumb or vocal, brute or reasoning: I swim, I fly, I rise aloft, I crawl, I run, I sit. But here is Empedocles, and he makes me a stump of a tree!”

– Hermias, Satire on the Pagan Philosophers (Irrisio gentilium philosophorum), second century(?)

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