ΤΟ ΠΑΝ: The Sum of All Things

  • I was just reading the Letter to Herodotus in working on my personal Epicurean outline and realized I had forgotten how much I love the word Epicurus (and other ancient Greeks) used for the universe:

    τὸ πᾶν

    Transliterated, this is:

    tò pãn or simply "to pan"

    This is the same "pan" as in "panhellenic" or "pantheism."

    I've seen it translated as:

    • the sum of all things
    • the sum total of all things
    • the universe as a whole
    • the whole of being

    ... among others, sometimes using several of these in the same text for the same word: τὸ πᾶν. It takes all those English letters for 5 Greek ones.


    I think one of the reasons it brings me so much pleasure is its simplicity. A definite article: τὸ, and a simple 3-letter word: πᾶν. I'm tempted to capitalize it, as in To Pan. Let the trumpets sound!


    At its simplest, it could be translated The All or The Whole. It could also be translated as The Everything Everywhere. The word really encapsulates for me the elegance and succinct nature of the original classical Greek.


    Sometimes it's the little joys that are the best :)


    Just had to share.

  • Very interesting! Have you thought about the equivalent Latin? What would that be?

  • Actually, the equivalent Latin (and English!) term would be "universe". From the Elementary Lewis Latin Dictionary:


    ūniversus adj.


    unus+versus, all together, all in one, whole, entire, collective (opp. singuli): provincia: civitas: mundus: triduum, three days together , T.: de universis generibus rerum dicere: ut eadem sit utilitas unius cuiusque et universorum: in illum tela universi coniciunt, Cs.—Plur m . as subst, the whole body, all men, the mass, everybody : universi in omnibus fori partibus: si universi videre optimum possent, nemo delectos principes quaereret.—Sing n . as subst, the whole world, universe : in eodem universo (i. e. in universitate rerum): universi corpus.— Relating to all, general, universal : odium: oratoris vis: dimicatio, a general engagement , L.—As subst n ., in the phrase, in universum, as a whole, in general, generally : non nominatim, sed in universum, L., Ta.

  • Ah very good, and that is why I have always been familiar with use of that word to mean "everything," and find it frustrating that some segment of modern physics wants to segment that term and consider "multiverse" or something else as larger than the universe itself. Why don't these guys just learn their Latin (and Greek!)?? ;-)

  • I like where your mind is, Eugenios, and can add an amateur poet's ear. I would even omit the English article;


    All.


    Or in Latin;


    Omne.


    The usage has an interesting precedence, in the worship of Odin or Woten: All-Father.


    And as a prefix, even the second L is dropped;


    Al-


    -together

    -mighty

    -ways


    "All things emerge into one, and a river runs through it." -Norman MacLean

  • Pan is considered to be one of the oldest of Greek gods. He is associated with nature, wooded areas and pasturelands, from which his name is derived. The worship of Pan began in rustic areas far from the populated city centers, and therefore, he did not have large temples built to worship him. Rather, worship of Pan centered in nature, often in caves or grottos. Pan ruled over shepherds, hunters and rustic music. He was the patron god of Arcadia. Pan was often in the company of the wood nymphs and other deities of the forest.


    From here derives and the word "paganism", a term that defines polytheistic religions. The word Paganism comes from the Latin pagani, meaning man of the field, of the countryside. Far from the villages - mainly in the woods - where the peoples of Europe were celebrating the gods of their ancestors.


    Invoking Pána with the music band Deamonia Nymphe




    Kaloúme ton Pána, ton megalodýnamo theó.

    We invoking Pana, the mighty god.


    Ton voukolikó Pána, pou eínai to sýmpan tou kósmou.

    The bucolic Pana, who is the Universe of Cosmos.

    Beauty and virtue and such are worthy of honor, if they bring pleasure; but if not then bid them farewell!

  • Good old Pan the goat-god! Now THERE was a pleasure seeker! The video did evoke ancient Greece. Thanks for sharing!


    I was wondering whether Pan the god and pan "the whole" were cognate. It looks like they may not actually be connected surprisingly.


    According to the Wikipedia article for Pan (god) (yeah, it is Wikipedia so follow up with its sources!):


    Many modern scholars consider Pan to be derived from the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European god *Péh2usōn, whom these scholars believe to have been an important pastoral deity[5] (*Péh2usōn shares an origin with the modern English word "pasture").[6] The Rigvedic god Pushan is believed to be a cognate of Pan. The connection between Pan and Pushan was first identified in 1924 by the German scholar Hermann Collitz.[7][8] The familiar form of the name Pan is contracted from earlier Παων, derived from the root *peh2 (guard, watch over).[9] According to Edwin L. Brown, the name Pan is probably a cognate with the Greek word ὀπάων "companion".[10]


    And according to the Online Etymology Dictionary:

    pan-

    word-forming element meaning "all, every, whole, all-inclusive," from Greek pan-, combining form of pas (neuter pan, masculine and neuter genitive pantos) "all," from PIE *pant- "all" (with derivatives found only in Greek and Tocharian).


    So two different Proto-Indo-Eurpoean roots entirely: *peh2 "guard, watch over" led to Pan the god and *pant- "all" led to το παν "the universe"! That surprised me.

  • Lucretius refers to "The Great All" when he describes the evils of war. He describes species of animals being driven mad in fury when used for battle, and at the end of the passage he explains that this may not have happened on Earth, but "may have happened in the Great All", in some other planet--so it turns out the entire scene (in Book V) was science fiction.

    "Please always remember my doctrines!" - Epicurus' last words

  • Good catch as to that reference - here it is in Bailey, so we can find the Latin:


    If ever they thought they had been tamed enough at home before the fight, they saw them burst into fury, when it came to conflict, maddened by the wounds, shouting, flying, panic, and confusion, nor could they rally any part of them; for all the diverse kinds of wild beasts would scatter hither and thither; even as now often the Lucanian kine cruelly mangled by the steel, scatter abroad, when they have dealt many deadly deeds to their own friends. [If indeed they ever acted thus. But scarce can I be brought to believe that, before this dire disaster befell both sides alike, they could not foresee and perceive in mind what would come to pass. And you could more readily maintain that this was done somewhere in the universe, in the diverse worlds fashioned in diverse fashion, than on any one determined earth.] But indeed they wished to do it not so much in the hope of victory, as to give the foemen cause to moan, resolved to perish themselves, since they mistrusted their numbers and lacked arms.


    HMMM - I cannot find that in Munro, and i see that Bailey has it in brackets, so it may be something added in later. I will have to come back later to look at this.