Commentary on the Dream of Scipio by Macrobius (Records of by Macrobius, William Harris Stahl

By Macrobius, William Harris Stahl


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He goes on in the second chapter to explain how the divine Creator used these ratios in weaving the fabric of the World-Soul. The third chapter reveals two matters that are not related to each other: that the harmony present in human souls is derived from the World-Soul, and that the previously discussed numerical ratios also govern the distances of the planets. The last chapter of the section on music deals with the causes of the harmony of the spheres and the reasons why our ears cannot catch the heavenly sounds.

The similarities here are rather one more instance of the widespread borrowing that characterizes the compilations of ancient encyclopedists. We find in Macrobius the familiar statements about a spherical earth situated in the exact center of the universe, encircled by the • H . F. Stewart in Combr. , 1, 573. Introduction 17 seven planetary spheres, which rotate from west to east, and by the celestial sphere, which rotates from cast to west. The courses of the planets are confined within the zodiac, which is one of eleven great circles girding the celestial sphere.

6 *A dissertation by Gerhard Borghorst, De Anatolii fontibui (Berlin, 190;). * Friedrich Bitsch, De Platonicvrum quaestionibus quubusdam Vergilianis, pp. 7' _ 73"Schedler, p. 4. • T. R. Glover, Life and Letters in the Fourth Century, p. 172. 26 Introduction Crude as these early attempts to trace Macrobius* sources were, they were pointing in the right direction. By this time it had become clear that the Commentary on Scipio's Dream was a misleading title and that Macrobius had used Cicero's text merely as a framework upon which to hang Neoplatonic doctrines gathered from his readings.

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