• φασὶ γοῦν Ἵππαρχον τὸν Πυθαγόρειον, αἰτίαν ἔχοντα γράψασθαι τὰ τοῦ Πυθαγόρου σαφῶς, ἐξελαθῆναι τῆς διατριβῆς καὶ στήλην ἐπ’ αὐτῷ γενέσθαι οἷα νεκρῷ. — Κλήμης ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς, Στρώματα.
• They say, then, that Hipparchus the Pythagorean, being guilty of writing the tenets of Pythagoras in plain language, was expelled from the school, and a pillar raised for him as if he had been dead. — Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, 188.8.131.52.3-4
• Lautlos und fein rann der rostrot gefärbte Sand durch die gläserne Enge, und da er in der oberen Höhlung zur Neige ging, hatte sich dort ein kleiner, reißender Strudel gebildet. — Thomas Mann, Der Tod in Venedig (1912)
• Silently, subtly, the rust-red sand trickled through the narrow glass aperture, dwindling away out of the upper vessel, in which a little whirling vortex had formed. — “Death in Venice” (translated by David Luke)
• Es war, als ob er irgendwohin horchte, auf irgend ein unheimliches Geräusch. — Thomas Mann, Der kleine Herr Friedemann (1897)
• He seemed somehow to be listening, listening to some uncanny noise from nowhere. — “Little Herr Friedemann” (translated by David Luke)
…ψάμμος ἀριθμὸν περιπέφευγεν… — Πίνδαρου Ολυμπιόνικος ΙΙ, 98
“…the sand escapes all numbering…” — Pindar, Second Olympian Ode, line 98
H. Rider Haggard describes fractals:
Out of the vast main aisle there opened here and there smaller caves, exactly, Sir Henry said, as chapels open out of great cathedrals. Some were large, but one or two — and this is a wonderful instance of how nature carries out her handiwork by the same unvarying laws, utterly irrespective of size — were tiny. One little nook, for instance, was no larger than an unusually big doll’s house, and yet it might have been a model for the whole place, for the water dropped, tiny icicles hung, and spar columns were forming in just the same way. — King Solomon’s Mines, 1885, ch. XVI, “The Place of Death”
“Soon he was lost in his labour and oblivious to everything but the problem of how to find a word of one syllable that meant Supralapsarianism.” — P.G. Wodehouse, Mulliner Nights (1933).
• Il sole, con tutti quei pianeti che girano intorno ad esso e da esso dipendono, può ancora maturare un grappolo d’uva come se non vi fosse nient’altro da fare in tutto l’universo. — Galileo Galilei, 1564-1642.
• “The sun, with all those planets turning around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.”
• “By the time I was twenty-four I had constructed a complete system of philosophy. It rested on two principles: The Relativity of Things and The Circumferentiality of Man. I have since discovered that the first was not a very original discovery. It may be that the other was profound, but though I have racked my brains I cannot for the life of me remember what it was.” — W. Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up (1938), sec. 66.
• Mathematik ist die Wissenschaft von dem, was an sich klar. — Carl Jacobi (1804-51).
• “Mathematics is the science of that which is clear by itself.” — Carl Jacobi.
• Cognitio nostra est adeo debilis quod nullus philosophus potuit unquam perfecte investigare naturam unius muscae: unde legitur quod unus philosophus fuit triginta annis in solitudine, ut cognosceret naturam apis. — Sancti Thomae de Aquino Expositio in Symbolum Apostolorum (1273).
• Our knowledge is so weak that no philosopher has ever perfectly discovered the nature of a single fly, whence we read that one philosopher was thirty years in the wilderness that he might know the nature of a bee. Thomas Aquinas, The Apostles’ Creed.