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The Asclepius


1. When, [then,] the soul’s departure from the body shall take place,—then shall the judgment and the weighing of its merit pass into its highest daimon’s power.

And when he sees it pious is and just,—he suffers it to rest in spots appropriate to it.

But if he find it soiled with stains of evil deeds, and fouled with vice,—he drives it from Above into the Depths, and hands it o’er to warring hurricanes and vortices of Air, of Fire, and Water.

2. ’Twixt Heaven and Earth, upon the waves of Cosmos, is it dragged in contrary directions, for ever racked with ceaseless pains; so that in this its deathless nature doth afflict the soul, in that because of its unceasing sense, it hath the yoke of ceaseless torture set upon its neck.

Know, then, that we should dread, and be afraid, and [ever] be upon our guard, lest we should be entangled in these [toils].

For those who do not now believe, will after their misdeeds be driven to believe, by facts not words, by actual sufferings of punishment and not by threats.

3. Asc. The faults of men are not, then, punished, O Thrice-greatest one, by law of man alone?

Tris. In the first place, Asclepius, all things on Earth must die.

Further, those things which live by reason of a body, and which do cease from living by reason of the same,—all these, according to the merits of this life, or its demerits, find due [rewards or] punishments.

[And as to punishments] they’re all the more severe, if in their life [their misdeeds] chance to have been hidden, till their death. For [then] they will be made full conscious of all things by the divinity, just as they are, according to the shades of punishment allotted to their crimes.


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