Earth (classical element)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Earth, home and origin of humanity, has often been worshipped in its own right with its own unique spiritual tradition.

Greek and Roman tradition

Earth is one of the four classical elements in ancient Greek philosophy and science. It was commonly associated with qualities of practicality, restraint and materialism. It was also associated with the physical, sensual aspects of life.

Earth was one of many archai proposed by the Pre-socratics, most of whom tried to reduce all things to a single substance. However, Empedocles of Acragas (c. 495-c. 435 BCE) selected four archai for his four roots: air, fire, water, and earth. Empedocles’ roots became the four classical elements of Greek philosophy. Plato (427-347 BCE) took over the four elements of Empedocles. In the Timaeus, his major cosmological dialogue, the Platonic solid associated with earth is the cube which is formed from six square sides. This places earth between fire (four triangular sides) and air (eight triangular sides). A highly un-spherical solid, these clumsy little cubes cause dirt to crumble and break when picked up, in stark difference to the smooth flow of water or air.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Earth (classical element)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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