aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Xenophanes, fr. B 15 (D-K)

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Here is one of Xenophanes’ most famous philosophical pronouncements:

ἀλλ’ εἰ χεῖρας ἔχον βόες <ἵπποι τ᾿> ἠὲ λέοντες
ἢ γράψαι χείρεσσι καὶ ἔργα τελεῖν ἅπερ ἄνδρες,
ἵπποι μέν θ’ ἵπποισι βόες δέ τε βουσὶν ὁμοίας
καί <κε> θεῶν ἰδέας ἔγραφον καὶ σώματ’ ἐποίουν
τοιαῦθ’ οἷόν περ καὐτοὶ δέμας εἶχον <ἕκαστοι>.

But if cows and horses and lions had hands, or could draw with their hands [i.e. the hooves/paws they do have] and could make things as men do, then horses would draw pictures of the gods looking like horses, and cows like cows, and they would make the gods’ bodies similar in shape to those which they each have themselves.

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 9, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Xenophanes

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