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Date: c. 501 B.C.

"[He used to say that] there is a greater need to extinguish hybris than there is a blazing fire."

— Heraklitus (fl. 504-1 BCE)

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Date: c. 458 BC

"And unless one fate ordained of the gods restrains another fate from winning the advantage, my heart would outstrip my tongue and pour forth its fears; but, as it is, it mutters only in the dark, distressed and hopeless ever to unravel anything in time when my soul's aflame."

— Aeschylus (c. 525/524 BC-c. 456/455)

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Date: 380-360 B.C.

"The rest of your statement, Socrates, he said, seems excellent to me, but what you said about the soul leaves the average person with grave misgivings that when it is released from the body it may no longer exist anywhere, but may be dispersed and destroyed on the very day that the man himself d...

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 360 B.C.

"For it does not admit of exposition like other branches of knowledge; but after much converse about the matter itself and a life lived together, suddenly a light, as it were, is kindled in one soul by a flame that leaps to it from another, and thereafter sustains itself."

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: w. 350 B.C.

"This is what led Democritus to say that soul is a sort of fire or hot substance; his 'forms' or atoms are infinite in number; those which are spherical he calls fire and soul, and compares them to the motes in the air which we see in shafts of light coming through windows."

— Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

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Date: 54 B.C.

"[N]or gladly and with joyous breast do I send you, nor will I suffer you to bear signs of helpful fortune, but first from my breast many a complaint will I express, sullying my grey hairs with dust and ashes, and then will I hang dusky sails to the swaying mast, so that our sorrow and burning of...

— Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84 - c. 54 B.C.)

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Date: 101

One should be cautious in his intimacies because, "[f]or if a man places a piece of quenched charcoal close to a piece that is burning, either the quenched charcoal will quench the other, or the burning charcoal will light that which is quenched."

— Epictetus (c. 55-c.135)

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Date: 170

"The heart is, as it were, the hearthstone and source of the innate heat by which the animal is governed."

— Galen (129-200)

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Date: 1257

"In its burning desire, the soul becomes not only an agile flame swift to rise: it even transcends itself, entering mystical darkness and ecstasy through a certain wise unknowing."

— St. Bonaventure [born Giovanni di Fidanza] (1217-1274)

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Date: 1257

"By means of this suffering, inflicted by a real fire, the souls are cleansed of the guilt and dross of sin, and also of its sequels."

— St. Bonaventure [born Giovanni di Fidanza] (1217-1274)

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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.