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Xenophanes, fr. B 10 (D-K)

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ἐξ ἀρχῆς καθ’ Ὅμηρον ἐπεὶ μεμαθήκασι πάντες …

Since from the start everyone has learnt according to Homer …

Written by aleatorclassicus

October 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Xenophanes

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

Xenophanes, fr. 7

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This fragment of Xenophanes’ poetry survives in a quotation by Diogenes Laertius (8.36). The 6th-century BC poet-philosopher tells a story about Pythagoras’ opposition to animal cruelty – although, to quote Catherine Osborne (Dumb Beasts and Dead Philosophers, Oxford 2007, 47), ‘It is wholly unclear from the context whether Xenophanes is poking fun at Pythagoras[…] or whether he is an admirer’.

ὁ δὲ περὶ αὐτοῦ φησιν, οὕτως ἔχει·

καί ποτέ μιν στυφελιζομένου σκύλακος παριόντα
φασὶν ἐποικτῖραι καὶ τόδε φάσθαι ἔπος·
‘παῦσαι μηδὲ ῤάπιζ᾿, ἐπεὶ ἦ φίλου ἀνέρος ἐστίν
ψυχή, τὴν ἔγνων φθεγξαμένης ἀίων’.

And what he says about him (=Pythagoras) is as follows:

And on one occasion, they say, he was walking past when a puppy was being maltreated. Taking pity on it he made this speech: ‘Stop! Don’t thrash him, because it’s the soul of a man dear to me; I recognised it when I heard it screaming.’

Written by aleatorclassicus

August 8, 2010 at 12:00 PM