Drowning in the aether? Not quite.

In The Creation, Ovid provides the reader with his views concerning the creation of the world. Principle to this view is that Chaos is comprised of conflicting elements. One of these elements is “weightless aether, a liquid free of every earthly toxin” (Book I, 93 – 94). As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, aether, or ether, is “The clear sky; the upper regions of space beyond the clouds.” As it is presented in The Creation, aether is directly opposed to the “denser air” (Book I, 29). That denser air is the air that those on earth breath, thus making aether what those in the heavens breath. Aether is also defined by the OED as “the element breathed by the gods; ‘diviner air’.” This definition further illuminates the contrast between air and aether, and it demonstrates clearly how aether is not for the mortal, but the immortal. It is no coincidence then that Ovid would be sure to state that the “fiery and weightless aether leapt to heavens vault,” (Book I, 34 – 35) or that it was free of “every earthly toxin” (Book I, 94) as it is in the most elemental form the air of the God’s (whichever ones they might be).

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