Main page Recent changes Edit History

Xenophanes of Colophon

Xenophanes of Colophon

Elegy, Satire, and Commentary(Edit)

Xenophanes Fragments(Edit)

Text and arrangement of Diels:

Elegies(Edit)

(1) Now is the floor clean, and the hands and cups of all; one sets twisted garlands on our heads, another hands us fragrant ointment on a salver. The mixing bowl stands ready, full of gladness, and there is more wine at hand that promises never to leave us in the lurch, soft and smelling of flowers in the jars. In the midst the frankincense sends up its holy scent, and there is cold water, sweet and clean. Brown loaves are set before us and a lordly table laden with cheese and rich honey. The altar in the midst is clustered round with flowers; song and revel fill the halls.

But first it is meet that men should hymn the god with joy, with holy tales and pure words; then after libation and prayer made that we may have strength to do right—for that is in truth the first thing to do—no sin is it to drink as much as a man can take and get home without an attendant, so he be not stricken in years. And of all men is he to be praised who after drinking gives goodly proof of himself in the trial of skill, as memory and strength will serve him. Let him not sing of Titans and Giants–those fictions of the men of old–nor of turbulent civil broils in which is no good thing at all; but to give heedful reverence to the gods is ever good.

(2) What if a man win victory in swiftness of foot, or in the pentathlon, at Olympia, where is the precinct of Zeus by Pisa’s springs, or in wrestling,—what if by cruel boxing or that fearful sport men call pankration he become more glorious in the citizens’ eyes, and win a place of honor in the sight of all at the games, his food at the public cost from the State, and a gift to be an heirloom for him,-what if he conquer in the chariot-race,—he will not deserve all this for his portion so much as I do. Far better is our art than the strength of men and of horses! These are but thoughtless judgements, nor is it fitting to set strength before goodly art. Even if there arise a mighty boxer among a people, or one great in the pentathlon or at wrestling, or one excelling in swiftness of foot—and that stands in honor before all tasks of men at the games—the city would be none the better governed for that. It is but little joy a city gets of it if a man conquer at the games by Pisa’s banks; it is not this that makes fat the store-houses of a city.

(3) They learned dainty and unprofitable ways from the Lydians, so long as they were free from hateful tyranny; they went to the market-place with cloaks of purple dye, not less than a thousand of them all told, vainglorious and proud of their comely tresses, reeking with fragrance from cunning salves.

(4) Nor would a man mix wine in a cup by pouring out the wine first, but water first and wine on the top of it.

(5) You did send the thigh-bone of a kid and get for it the fat leg of a fatted bull, a worthy reward for a man to get, whose glory is to reach every part of Hellas and never to pass away, so long as Greek songs last.

(7) And now I will turn to another tale and point the way . . . . Once they say that he (Pythagoras) was passing by when a dog was being beaten and spoke this word: “Stop! don’t beat it! For it is the soul of a friend that I recognized when I heard its voice.”

(8) There are by this time threescore years and seven that have tossed my careworn soul up and down the land of Hellas; and there were then five-and-twenty years from my birth, if I can say everything truly about these matters.

(9) Much weaker than an aged man.

Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, 3rd edition (1920). London: A & C Black Ltd.

Satires(Edit)

(10) Since all at first have learned according to Homer . . . .

(11) Homer and Hesiod have ascribed to the gods all things that are a shame and a disgrace among mortals, stealings and adulteries and deceivings of one another. R. P. 99.

(12) Since they have uttered many lawless deeds of the gods, stealings and adulteries and deceivings of one another. R. P. ib.

(14) But mortals deem that the gods are begotten as they are, and have clothes like theirs, and voice and form. R. P. 100.

(15) Yes, and if oxen and horses or lions had hands, and could paint with their hands, and produce works of art as men do, horses would paint the forms of the gods like horses, and oxen like oxen, and make their bodies in the image of their several kinds. R. P. ib.

(16) The Ethiopians make their gods black and snub-nosed; the Thracians say theirs have blue eyes and red hair. R. P. 100 b.

(18) The gods have not revealed all things to men from the beginning, but by seeking they find in time what is better. R. P 104 b.

(23) One god, the greatest among gods and men, neither in form like unto mortals nor in thought . . . . R. P. 100.

(24) He sees all over, thinks all over, and hears all over. R. P. 102.

(25) But without toil he sways all things by the thought of his mind. R. P. 108 b.

(26) And he abides ever in the selfsame place, moving not at all; nor does it befit him to go about now here now there. R. P. 110 a.

(27) All things come from the earth, and in earth all things end. R. P. 103 a.

(28) This limit of the earth above is seen at our feet in contact with the air; below it reaches down without a limit. R. P. 103.

(29) All things are earth and water that come into being and grow. R. P. 103.

(30) The sea is the source of water and the source of wind; for neither in the clouds (would there be any blasts of wind blowing forth) from within without the mighty sea, nor rivers’ streams nor rain-water from the sky. The mighty sea is father of clouds and of winds and of rivers. R. P. 103.

(31) The sun swinging over the earth and warming it . . . .

(32) She that they call Iris is a cloud likewise, purple, scarlet and green to behold. R. P. 103.

(33) For we all are born of earth and water. R. P. ib.

(34) There never was nor will be a man who has certain knowledge about the gods and about all the things I speak of. Even if he should chance to say the complete truth, yet he himself knows not that it is so. But all may have their fancy. R. P. 104.

(35) Let these be taken as fancies something like the truth. R. P. 104 a.

(36) All of them that are visible for mortals to behold.

(37) And in some caves water drips . . . .

(38) If god had not made brown honey, men would think figs far sweeter than they do.

Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, 3rd edition (1920). London: A & C Black Ltd.

Ancillary Evidence(Edit)

Diogenes Laertius: Life of Xenophanes(Edit)

I. XENOPHANES was the son of Dexius, or, as Apollodorus says, of Orthomenes. He was a citizen of Colophon; and is praised by Timon. Accordingly, he says:

Xenophanes, not much a slave to vanity, The wise reprover of the tricks of Homer.

He, having been banished from his own country, lived at Zande, in Sicily, and at Catana.

II. And, according to the statements made by some people, he was a pupil of no one; but, as others say, he was a pupil of Boton the Athenian; or, as another account again affirms, of Archelaus. He was, if we may believe Sotion, a contemporary of Anaximander.

III. He wrote poems in hexameter and in elegiac verse; and also he wrote iambics against Hesiod and Homer, attacking the things said in their poems about the Gods. He also used to recite his own poems. It is said likewise, that he argued against the opinions of Thales and Pythagoras, and that he also attacked Epimenides. He lived to an extreme old age; as he says somewhere himself:

Threescore and seven long years are fully passed, Since first my doctrines spread abroad through Greece: And ‘twixt that time and my first view of light Six lustres more must added be to them: If I am right at all about my age, Lacking but eight years of a century.

His doctrine was, that there were four elements of existing things; and an infinite number of worlds, which were all unchangeable. He thought that the clouds were produced by the vapour which was borne upwards from the sun, and which lifted them up into the circumambient space. That the essence of God was of a spherical form, in no respect resembling man; that the universe could see, and that the universe could hear, but could not breathe; and that it was in all its parts intellect, and wisdom, and eternity.

He was the first person who asserted that everything which is produced is perishable, and that the soul is a spirit. He used also to say that the many was inferior to unity. Also, that we ought to associate with tyrants either as little as possible, or else as pleasantly as possible.

When Empedocles said to him that the wise man was undiscoverable, he replied, “Very likely; or it takes a wise man to discover a wise man.” And Sotion says, that he was the first person who asserted that everything is incomprehensible. But he is mistaken in this.

Xenophanes wrote a poem on the Founding of Colophon; and also, on the Colonisation of Elea, in Italy, consisting of two thousand verses. And he flourished about the sixtieth Olympiad.

IV. Demetrius Phalereus, in his treatise on Old Age, and Phenaetius the Stoic, in his essay on Cheerfulness, relate that he buried his sons with his own hands, as Anaxagoras had also done. And he seems to have been detested by the Pythagoreans, Parmeniscus, and Orestades, as Phavorinus relates in the first book of his Commentaries.

V. There was also another Xenophanes, a native of Lesbos, and an iambic poet.

These (Heraclitus and Xenophanes) are the Promiscuous or unattached philosophers.

The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, by Diogenes Laertius, Literally translated by C.D. Yonge. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853  

Plutarch: Of Those Sentiments Concerning Nature with Which Philosophers Were Delighted(Edit)

OF DIVINATION.

Xenophanes and Epicurus utterly refuse any such art of foretelling future contingencies.

OF COMETS AND SHOOTING FIRES, AND THOSE WHICH RESEMBLE BEAMS.

Xenophanes, that all such fiery meteors are nothing else but the conglomeration of the enfired clouds, and the flashing motions of them.

WHETHER THE WORLD IS ETERNAL AND INCORRUPTIBLE.

Xenophanes, that the world never had a beginning, is eternal and incorruptible.

WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF THE STARS, AND HOW THEY ARE COMPOSED.

Xenophanes, that they are composed of inflamed clouds, which in the daytime are quenched, and in the night are kindled again. The like we see in coals; for the rising and setting of the stars is nothing else but the quenching and kindling of them.

OF THE EARTH, WHAT IS ITS NATURE AND MAGNITUDE.

Xenophanes, that the earth, being compacted of fire and air, in its lowest parts hath laid a foundation in an infinite depth.

OF THE SITE AND POSITION OF THE EARTH.

Xenophanes, that it is first, being rooted in the infinite space.

WHAT ARE THOSE STARS WHICH ARE CALLED THE DIOSCURI, THE TWINS, OR CASTOR AND POLLUX?

Xenophanes says that those which appear as stars in the tops of ships are little clouds shining by their peculiar motion.

OF THE ESSENCE OF THE SUN.

Xenophanes, that the sun is constituted of small bodies of fire compact together and raised from a moist exhalation, which collected together make the body of the sun; or that it is a cloud enfired.

OF THE ECLIPSES OF THE SUN.

Xenophanes, that the sun is eclipsed when it is extinguished; and that a new sun is created to rise in the east. He gives a farther account of an eclipse of the sun which remained for a whole month, and again of a total eclipse which changed the day into night. Some say that the cause of an eclipse is the invisible concourse of condensed clouds which cover the orb of the sun. Aristarchus placeth the sun amongst the fixed stars, and believeth that the earth (the moon?) is moved about the sun, and that by its inclination and vergency it intercepts its light and shadows its orb. Xenophanes, that there are many suns and many moons, according as the earth is distinguished by climates, circles, and zones. At some certain times the orb of the sun, falling upon some part of the world which is uninhabited, wanders in a vacuum and becomes eclipsed. The same person affirms that the sun, proceeding in its motion in the infinite space, appears to us to move orbicularly, receiving that representation from its infinite distance from us.

OF THE ESSENCE OF THE MOON.

Xenophanes, that it is a condensed cloud.

Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878).

Eusebius: Preparation for the Gospel Book 15(Edit)

PREFACE CONCERNING THE WHOLE SUBJECT

As to our present task, however, in the preceding Books we have seen the philosophy of Plato sometimes agreeing with the doctrines of the Hebrews, and sometimes at variance with them, wherein it has been proved to disagree even with its own favourite dogmas: while as to the doctrines of the other philosophers, the physicists, as they are called, and those of the Platonic succession, and of Xenophanes and Parmenides, moreover of Pyrrho, and those who introduce the 'suspension of judgement,' and all the rest, whose opinions have been refuted in the preceding discourse, we have seen that they stand in opposition alike to the doctrines of the Hebrews and of Plato and to the truth itself, and moreover have received their refutation by means of their own weapons.

CHAPTER XXIII —- OF THE SUN.

'Xenophanes: it is formed from the sparks which are seen to be collected from watery vapour, and which compose the Sun out of burning clouds.

CHAPTER XXVI —- OF THE MOON.

'Xenophanes: a cloud condensed.

CHAPTER XXX —- WHAT IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THE PLANETS AND FIXED STARS?

'Xenophanes: they consist of clouds on fire, but are extinguished every day, and re-kindled in the night, just like live coals: for their risings and settings are their kindlings and quenchings.

CHAPTER XXXV —- WHETHER THE WORLD IS IMPERISHABLE.

'Xenophanes: the world is uncreated, and eternal, and imperishable.

CHAPTER XLIX —- OF THE SO-CALLED DIOSCURI.

'Xenophanes: what appear like stars upon the ships are little clouds which shine in consequence of a certain kind of motion.

CHAPTER L —- OF AN ECLIPSE OF THE SUN.

'Xenophanes: by extinction, and then again there rises another Sun in the east. But he has incidentally mentioned an eclipse of the Sun lasting over the whole month, and again a total eclipse, so that the day seemed like night.

'Xenophanes: there are many suns and moons, corresponding to the climes, and sections, and zones of the Earth: and at a certain season the Sun's disk falls into some section of the Earth which is not inhabited by us, and thus, as if stepping into a hole, suffers eclipse. But the same author says that the Sun goes forward into infinity, but seems to revolve because of its distance.'

CHAPTER LV —- OF THE EARTH.

'Xenophanes: from the lower part its roots reach into infinity, and it is composed of air and fire.

CHAPTER LVII —- OF THE POSITION OF THE EARTH.

'Xenophanes: the Earth first, for its roots reach into infinity.

Eusebii Pamphili Evangelicae Praeparationis. Libri XV. Ad codiced manuscriptos denuo collatos recensuit anglice nunc primum reddidit notis et indicibus instruxit. E. H. Gifford, S. T. P. Olim Archidiaconus Londinensis. Tomus III. Pars prior OXONII.

Eusebius: Preparation for the Gospel Book 14(Edit)

CHAPTER II

Over against these we shall at the same time strip for the combat the schools of Xenophanes and Parmenides, who arrayed themselves on the opposite side and annihilated the senses.

CHAPTER IV

'It seems to me that Parmenides, and every one who has ever yet adventured upon a trial of determining the number and nature of things existent, have discoursed to us in an easy strain. How? Each seems to me to be relating a sort of fable to us, as if we were children. One says that existences are three, and some of them are sometimes warring in a manner with one another, and then becoming friends again they exhibit marriages, and births, and rearing of offspring: another says that they are two, moist and dry, or hot and cold, and he makes them dwell together and marries them. But all the Eleatic tribe in our part, beginning with Xenophanes and still earlier, assume that all things so-called are one, and so proceed with their fables. But certain Ionian and Sicilian Muses afterwards conceived that it is safer to combine both principles, and say that “being” is both many and one, and is held together by enmity and friendship. For it is ever separating and being united, as the more strong-minded Muses assert; but the weaker relax the perpetual continuance of these conditions, and say that in turn the universe is now one and friendly under the influence of Aphrodite, and then many and at war with itself through some discordance. But whether in all this any of them has spoken truly or not, it would be hard and offensive to find fault in such important matters with famous men of antiquity.'

CHAPTER XV

So much says Socrates of the opinion of Anaxagoras. Now Anaxagoras was succeeded by Archelaus both in the school and in opinion, and Socrates is said to have been a disciple of Archelaus. Other physical philosophers, however, as Xenophanes and Pythagoras, who nourished at the same time with Anaxagoras, discussed the imperishable nature of God and the immortality of the soul. And from these afterwards arose the sects of Greek philosophy, some of whom followed these, and some followed others, and certain of them also invented opinions of their own. Again then Plutarch writes of their suppositions concerning gods in this same manner:

CHAPTER XVI

And this was a theology which by no means treated of gods, nor of any divine powers, but of men who had already been long lying among the dead, as was shown long since by our word of truth. Come then, let us take up our argument again. Since among the physical philosophers some were for bringing all things down to the senses, while others drew all in the contrary direction, as Xenophanes of Colophon, and Parmenides the Eleatic, who made nought of the senses, asserting that there could be no comprehension of things sensible, and that we must therefore trust to reason alone, let us examine the objections which have been urged against them.

CHAPTER XVII

(ARISTOCLES) 42 'But there came others uttering language opposed to these. For they think we ought to put down the senses and their presentations, and trust only to reason. For such were formerly the statements of Xenophanes and Parmenides and Zenon and Melissus, and afterwards of Stilpo and the Megarics. Whence these maintain that “being” is one, and that the “other” does not exist, and that nothing is generated, and nothing perishes, nor is moved at all.

(...)

Such then were the followers of Xenophanes, who is said to have flourished at the same time with Pythagoras and Anaxagoras. Now a hearer of Xenophanes was Parmenides, and of Parmenides Melissus, of him Zeno, of him Leucippus, of him Democritus, of him Protagoras and Nessas, and of Nessas Metrodorus, of him Diogenes, of him Anaxarchus, and a disciple of Anaxarchus was Pyrrho, from whom arose the school of those who were surnamed Sceptics.

Eusebii Pamphili Evangelicae Praeparationis. Libri XV. Ad codiced manuscriptos denuo collatos recensuit anglice nunc primum reddidit notis et indicibus instruxit. E. H. Gifford, S. T. P. Olim Archidiaconus Londinensis. Tomus III. Pars prior OXONII.

Diogenes Laertius: The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers Book 1(Edit)

INTRODUCTION.

Now the Italian school was carried on in this way. Pythagoras was the pupil of Pherecydes; his pupil was Telauges his son; he was the master of Xenophanes, and he of Parmenides; Parmenides of Zeno the Eleatic, he of Leucippus, he of Democritus: Democritus had many disciples, the most eminent of whom were Nausiphanes and Nausicydes, and they were the masters of Epicurus.

XI. Now, of Philosophers some were dogmatic and others were inclined to suspend their opinions. By dogmatic, I mean those who explain their opinions about matters, as if they could be comprehended. By those who suspend their opinions, I mean those who give no positive judgment, thinking that these things cannot be comprehended. And the former class have left many memorials of themselves; but the others have never written a line; as for instance, according to some people, Socrates, and Stilpo, and Philippus, and Menedemus, and Pyrrho, and Theodorus, and Carneades, and Bryson; and, as some people say, Pythagoras, and Aristo of Chios, except that he wrote a few letters. There are some men too who have written one work only, Melissus, Parmenides, and Anaxagoras; but Zeno wrote many works, Xenophanes still more; Democritus more, Aristotle more, Epicurus more, and Chrysippus more.

LIFE OF THALES

According to others he wrote two books, and no more, about the solstice and the equinox; thinking that everything else was easily to be comprehended. According to other statements, he is said to have been the first who studied astronomy, and who foretold the eclipses and motions of the sun, as Eudemus relates in his history of the discoveries made in astronomy; on which account Xenophanes and Herodotus praise him greatly; and Heraclitus and Democritus confirm this statement.

LIFE OF EPIMENIDES

IV. And not long after he had returned home he died, as Phlegon relates in his book on long-lived people, after he had lived a hundred and fifty-seven years; but as the Cretans report he had lived two hundred and ninety-nine; but as Xenophanes the Colophonian, states that he had heard it reported, he was a hundred and fifty-four years old when he died.

The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, by Diogenes Laertius, Literally translated by C.D. Yonge. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853 | Life of Anacharsis only, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laërtius, translated by Robert Drew Hicks, Wikisource

Aristotle: Metaphysics Book 1(Edit)

From this survey we can sufficiently understand the meaning of those ancients who taught that the elements of the natural world are a plurality. Others, however, theorized about the universe as though it were a single entity; but their doctrines are not all alike either in point of soundness or in respect of conformity with the facts of nature. For the purposes of our present inquiry an account of their teaching is quite irrelevant, since they do not, while assuming a unity, at the same time make out that Being is generated from the unity as from matter, as do some physicists, but give a different explanation; for the physicists assume motion also, at any rate when explaining the generation of the universe; but these thinkers hold that it is immovable. Nevertheless thus much is pertinent to our present inquiry. It appears that Parmenides conceived of the Unity as one in definition, 20 but Melissu as materially one. Hence the former says that it is finite, and the latter that it is infinite. But Xenophanes, the first exponent of the Unity (for Parmenides is said to have been his disciple), gave no definite teaching, nor does he seem to have grasped either of these conceptions of unity; but regarding the whole material universe he stated that the Unity is God. This school then, as we have said, may be disregarded for the purposes of our present inquiry; two of them, Xenophanes and Melissus, may be completely ignored, as being somewhat too crude in their views. Parmenides, however, seems to speak with rather more insight. For holding as he does that Not-being, as contrasted with Being, is nothing, he necessarily supposes that Being is one and that there is nothing else (we have discussed this point in greater detail in the Physics); but being compelled to accord with phenomena, and assuming that Being is one in definition but many in respect of sensation, he posits in his turn two causes, i.e. two first principles, Hot and Cold; or in other words, Fire and Earth. 987a 1 Of these he ranks Hot under Being and the other under Not-being.

Aristotle. Aristotle in 23 Volumes, Vols.17, 18, translated by Hugh Tredennick. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1933, 1989.

Diogenes Laertius: The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers Book 8(Edit)

LIFE OF EMPEDOCLES

Hermippus, however, says that he was an imitator, not of Parmenides, but of Xenophanes with whom he lived; and that he imitated his epic style, and that it was at a later period that he fell in with the Pythagoreans. But Alcidamas, in his Natural Philosophy, says, that Zeno and Empedocles were pupils of Parmenides, about the same time; and that they subsequently seceded from him; and that Zeno adopted a philosophical system peculiar to himself; but that Empedocles became a pupil of Anaxagoras and Pythagoras, and that he imitated the pompous demeanour, and way of life, and gestures of the one, and the system of Natural Philosophy of the other.

The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, by Diogenes Laertius, Literally translated by C.D. Yonge. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853

Eusebius: Preparation for the Gospel Book 10(Edit)

CHAPTER IV

Such then was Pythagoras. And first in succession from him the so-called Italian philosophy was formed, which derived its title to the name from its abode in Italy: after this came the Ionic school, so called from Thales, one of the seven Sages: and then the Eleatic, which claimed as its founder Xenophanes of Colophon. '

CHAPTER XIV

At the same time with Anaxagoras there flourished the physical philosophers Xenophanes and Pythagoras. Pythagoras was succeeded by his wife Theano, and his sons Telauges and Mnesarchus.

A pupil of Telauges was Empedocles, in whose time Heracleitus 'the obscure' became famous. Xenophanes is said to have been succeeded by Parmenides, and Parmenides by Melissus, and Melissus by Zeno the Eleatic, who, they say, concocted a plot against the tyrant of that time, and was caught, and when tortured by the tyrant that so he might give a list of those who were his accomplices, paid no regard to the tyrant's punishments, but bit through his tongue, and spat it at him, and died in this obstinate endurance of the tortures.

Eusebii Pamphili Evangelicae Praeparationis. Libri XV. Ad codiced manuscriptos denuo collatos recensuit anglice nunc primum reddidit notis et indicibus instruxit. E. H. Gifford, S. T. P. Olim Archidiaconus Londinensis. Tomus III. Pars prior OXONII.

Aristotle: Rhetoric Book 2(Edit)

(18) Another topic consists in concluding the identity of antecedents from the identity of results. Thus Xenophanes said: “There is as much impiety in asserting that the gods are born as in saying that they die; for either way the result is that at some time or other they did not exist.” And, generally speaking, one may always regard as identical the results produced by one or other of any two things: “You are about to decide, not about Isocrates alone, but about education generally, whether it is right to study philosophy.” And, “to give earth and water is slavery,” and “to be included in the common peace implies obeying orders.” Of two alternatives, you should take that which is useful.

(27) Another topic, when something contrary to what has already been done is on the point of being done, consists in examining them together. For instance, when the people of Elea asked Xenophanes if they ought to sacrifice and sing dirges to Leucothea, or not, he advised them that, if they believed her to be a goddess they ought not to sing dirges, but if they believed her to be a mortal, they ought not to sacrifice to her.

Aristotle in 23 Volumes, Vol. 22, translated by J. H. Freese. Aristotle. Cambridge and London. Harvard University Press; William Heinemann Ltd. 1926.

Eusebius: Preparation for the Gospel Book 13(Edit)

'Rightly, therefore, does also Xenophanes of Colophon, when teaching that God is one and incorporeal, add this:

" One God there is, supreme o'er gods and men,

Not like in form to mortals, nor in mind."

'And again:

" But mortals fondly deem that gods are born,

Have voice, and form, and raiment like their own."

'And again:

"If then the ox and lion had but hands

To paint and model works of art, like man,

The ox would give his god an oxlike shape,

The horse a figure like his own would frame,

And each would deify his kindred form."

Eusebii Pamphili Evangelicae Praeparationis. Libri XV. Ad codiced manuscriptos denuo collatos recensuit anglice nunc primum reddidit notis et indicibus instruxit. E. H. Gifford, S. T. P. Olim Archidiaconus Londinensis. Tomus III. Pars prior OXONII.

Strabo: Geography Book 14(Edit)

Among some of the remarkable persons born at Colophon were Mimnermus, a flute-player and an elegiac poet; Xenophanes, the natural philosopher, who composed Silli in verse. Pindar mentions one Polymnastus also, a Colophonian, as distinguished for his skill in music: “‘Thou knowest the celebrated strains of Polymnastus, the Colophonian:’” and some writers affirm that Homer was of that city. The voyage from Ephesus in a straight line is 70 stadia, and including the winding of the bays.

The Geography of Strabo. Literally translated, with notes, in three volumes. London. George Bell & Sons. 1903.

Eusebius: Preparation for the Gospel Book 1(Edit)

'Xenophanes of Colophon has proceeded by a way of his own, diverging from all who have been previously mentioned, for he leaves neither generation nor decay, but says that the All is always alike. For, says he, if it were to begin to be, it must previously not be; but Non-being cannot begin to be, nor can Non-being make anything, nor from Non-being can anything begin to be.

'He declares also that the senses are fallacious, and with them altogether disparages even reason itself. Also he declares that the earth being continuously carried down little by little in time passes away into the sea. He says also that the sun is formed from a gathering of many small sparks. With regard to the gods; also he declares that there is no ruling power among them; for it is not right that any of the gods should be under a master: and none of them needs anything at all from any; and that they hear and see universally and not partially.

'Also he declares that the earth is infinite, and not surrounded; by air on every side; and that all things are produced out of earth: the sun, however, and the other heavenly bodies he says 'are produced out of the clouds.

'But Parmenides the Eleatic, the companion of Xenophanes, both claimed to hold his opinions and at the same time tried to establish the opposite position. For he declares that in real truth the All is eternal and motionless; for he says it is

"Sole, of sole kind, unmoving, uncreated"

and that generation belongs to the things which upon a false assumption are thought to exist, and he denies the truth of the sensual perceptions. He says too that if anything subsists besides Being, this is Non-being, and Non-being does not exist in the universe. Thus he concludes that Being is uncreated. The earth, he says, has arisen from the dense air having settled down.

Eusebii Pamphili Evangelicae Praeparationis. Libri XV. Ad codiced manuscriptos denuo collatos recensuit anglice nunc primum reddidit notis et indicibus instruxit. E. H. Gifford, S. T. P. Olim Archidiaconus Londinensis. Tomus III. Pars prior OXONII.

Diogenes Laertius: The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers Book 2(Edit)

XXV. He had, as Aristotle tells us in the third book of his Poetics, a contest with a man of the name of Antiolochus of Lemnos, and with Antipho, an interpreter of prodigies, as Pythagoras had with Cylon of Crotona; and Homer while alive with Sagaris, and after his death with Xenophanes the Colophonian; and Hesiod, too, in his lifetime with Cercops, and after his death with the same Xenophanes; and Pindar with Aphimenes of Cos; and Thales with Pherecydes; and Bias with Salamis of Priene; and Pittacus with Antimenides; and Cellaeus and Anaxagoras with Sosibrius; and Simonides with Timocrea.

The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, by Diogenes Laertius, Literally translated by C.D. Yonge. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853

Eusebius: Preparation for the Gospel Book 11(Edit)

CHAPTER III

(ARISTOCLES) 2 'IF any man ever yet taught a genuine and complete system of philosophy, it was Plato. For the followers of Thales were constantly engaged in the study of Nature: and the school of Pythagoras wrapped all things in mystery: and Xenophanes and his followers, by stirring contentious discussions, caused the philosophers much dizziness, but yet gave them no help.

Eusebii Pamphili Evangelicae Praeparationis. Libri XV. Ad codiced manuscriptos denuo collatos recensuit anglice nunc primum reddidit notis et indicibus instruxit. E. H. Gifford, S. T. P. Olim Archidiaconus Londinensis. Tomus III. Pars prior OXONII.

Aristotle: On the Heavens(Edit)

BOOK II

Part 13

By these considerations some have been led to assert that the earth below us is infinite, saying, with Xenophanes of Colophon, that it has 'pushed its roots to infinity',-in order to save the trouble of seeking for the cause. Hence the sharp rebuke of Empedocles, in the words 'if the deeps of the earth are endless and endless the ample ether-such is the vain tale told by many a tongue, poured from the mouths of those who have seen but little of the whole. Others say the earth rests upon water. This, indeed, is the oldest theory that has been preserved, and is attributed to Thales of Miletus. It was supposed to stay still because it floated like wood and other similar substances, which are so constituted as to rest upon but not upon air. As if the same account had not to be given of the water which carries the earth as of the earth itself! It is not the nature of water, any more than of earth, to stay in mid-air: it must have something to rest upon. Again, as air is lighter than water, so is water than earth: how then can they think that the naturally lighter substance lies below the heavier? Again, if the earth as a whole is capable of floating upon water, that must obviously be the case with any part of it. But observation shows that this is not the case. Any piece of earth goes to the bottom, the quicker the larger it is. These thinkers seem to push their inquiries some way into the problem, but not so far as they might. It is what we are all inclined to do, to direct our inquiry not by the matter itself, but by the views of our opponents: and even when interrogating oneself one pushes the inquiry only to the point at which one can no longer offer any opposition. Hence a good inquirer will be one who is ready in bringing forward the objections proper to the genus, and that he will be when he has gained an understanding of all the differences.

The Works of Aristotle Translated into English under the Editorship of J.A. Smith and W.D. Ross (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1922); vol. 2, On the Heavens, translated by J.L. Stocks.

Aristotle: Metaphysics Book 4(Edit)

But the reason why these men hold this view is that although they studied the truth about reality, they supposed that reality is confined to sensible things, in which the nature of the Indeterminate, i.e. of Being in the sense which we have explained, is abundantly present. (Thus their statements, though plausible, are not true;this form of the criticism is more suitable than that which Epicharmus applied to Xenophanes.) And further, observing that all this indeterminate substance is in motion, and that no true predication can be made of that which changes, they supposed that it is impossible to make any true statement about that which is in all ways and entirely changeable. For it was from this supposition that there blossomed forth the most extreme view of those which we have mentioned, that of the professed followers of Heraclitus, and such as Cratylus held, who ended by thinking that one need not say anything, and only moved his finger; and who criticized Heraclitus for saying that one cannot enter the same river twice, for he himself held that it cannot be done even once.

Aristotle. Aristotle in 23 Volumes, Vols.17, 18, translated by Hugh Tredennick. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1933, 1989.

Aristotle: Rhetoric Book 1(Edit)

(27) As to oaths four divisions may be made; for either we tender an oath and accept it, or we do neither, or one without the other, and in the last case we either tender but do not accept, or accept but do not tender. Besides this, one may consider whether the oath has already been taken by us or by the other party. (28) If you do not tender the oath to the adversary, it is because men readily perjure themselves, and because, after he has taken the oath, he will refuse to repay the money, while, if he does not take the oath, you think that the dicasts will condemn him; and also because the risk incurred in leaving the decision to the dicasts is preferable, for you have confidence in them, but not in your adversary. (29) If you refuse to take the oath yourself, you may argue that the oath is only taken with a view to money; that, if you had been a scoundrel, you would have taken it at once, for it is better to be a scoundrel for something than for nothing; that, if you take it, you will win your case, if not, you will probably lose it; consequently, your refusal to take it is due to moral excellence, not to fear of committing perjury. And the apophthegm of Xenophanes is apposite— that “it is unfair for an impious man to challenge a pious one,” for it is the same as a strong man challenging a weak one to hit or be hit. (30) If you accept the oath, you may say that you have confidence in yourself, but not in your opponent, and, reversing the apophthegm of Xenophanes, that the only fair way is that the impious man should tender the oath and the pious man take it; and that it would be monstrous to refuse to take the oath yourself, while demanding that the judges should take it before giving their verdict. (31) But if you tender the oath, you may say that it is an act of piety to be willing to leave the matter to the gods; that your opponent has no need to look for other judges, for you allow him to make the decision himself; (32) and that it would be ridiculous that he should be unwilling to take an oath in cases where he demands that the dicasts should take one.

Aristotle in 23 Volumes, Vol. 22, translated by J. H. Freese. Aristotle. Cambridge and London. Harvard University Press; William Heinemann Ltd. 1926.

Plato: Sophist(Edit)

Stranger

Every one of them seems to tell us a story, as if we were children. One says there are three principles, that some of them are sometimes waging a sort of war with each other, and sometimes (242d) become friends and marry and have children and bring them up; and another says there are two, wet and dry or hot and cold, which he settles together and unites in marriage. And the Eleatic sect in our region, beginning with Xenophanes and even earlier, have their story that all things, as they are called, are really one. Then some Ionian and later some Sicilian Muses reflected (242e) that it was safest to combine the two tales and to say that being is many and one, and is (or are) held together by enmity and friendship. For the more strenuous Muses say it is always simultaneously coming together and separating; but the gentler ones relaxed the strictness of the doctrine of perpetual strife; they say that the all is sometimes one and friendly, under the influence of Aphrodite, (243a) and sometimes many and at variance with itself by reason of some sort of strife. Now whether any of them spoke the truth in all this, or not, it is harsh and improper to impute to famous men of old such a great wrong as falsehood. But one assertion can be made without offence.

Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 12 translated by Harold N. Fowler. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921.

Aristotle: Poetics(Edit)

Further, if it be objected that the description is not true to fact, the poet may perhaps reply, 'But the objects are as they ought to be'; just as Sophocles said that he drew men as they ought to be; Euripides, as they are. In this way the objection may be met. If, however, the representation be of neither kind, the poet may answer, 'This is how men say the thing is.' applies to tales about the gods. It may well be that these stories are not higher than fact nor yet true to fact: they are, very possibly, what Xenophanes says of them. But anyhow, 'this is what is said.' Again, a description may be no better than the fact: 'Still, it was the fact'; as in the passage about the arms: 'Upright upon their butt-ends stood the spears.' This was the custom then, as it now is among the Illyrians.

The Poetics by S. H. Butcher, Litt.d, LL.D. Professor of Greek in the University of Edinburgh. Macmillan and Co. 1895.

Plutarch: The Apophthegms or Remarkable Sayings of Kings and Great Commanders(Edit)

Hiero, who succeeded Gelo in the tyranny, said he was not disturbed by any that freely spoke against him. He judged that those that revealed a secret did an injury to those to whom they revealed it; for we hate not only those who tell, but them also that hear what we would not have disclosed. One upbraided him with his stinking breath, and he blamed his wife that never told him of it; but she said, I thought all men smelt so. To Xenophanes the Colophonian, who said he had much ado to maintain two servants, he replied: But Homer, whom you disparage, maintains above ten thousand, although he is dead. He fined Epicharmus the comedian, for speaking unseemly when his wife was by. Dionysius.

Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878).

Plutarch: Of Superstition or Indiscreet Devotion(Edit)

The queen of King Xerxes, Amestris, buried twelve men alive, as a sacrifice to Pluto to prolong her own life; and yet Plato saith, This God is called in Greek Hades, because he is placid, wise, and wealthy, and retains the souls of men by persuasion and oratory. That great naturalist Xenophanes, seeing the Egyptians beating their breasts and lamenting at the solemn times of their devotions, gave them this pertinent and seasonable admonition: If they are Gods (said he), don’t cry for them; and if they are men, don’t sacrifice to them.

Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878).

Plutarch: Of Isis and Osiris(Edit)

But those of after times receiving this practice unskillfully and ignorantly, applying the accidents of fruits, and the accesses and recesses of things necessary to human life, unto the Gods, did not only call them the generations and deaths of the Gods, but also believed them such, and so filled themselves with abundance of absurd, wicked, and distempered notions; and this, although they had the absurdity of such a monstrous opinion before their very eyes. And therefore Xenophanes the Colophonian might not only put the Egyptians in mind, if they believed those they worshiped to be Gods, not to lament for them, and if they lamented for them, not to believe them to be Gods; but also that it would be extremely ridiculous at one and the same time to lament for the fruits of the earth, and to pray them to appear again and make themselves ripe, that so they may be over again consumed and lamented for.

Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878).

Plutarch: Of Love(Edit)

For the philosophers’ Deities are subject neither to age nor diseases, neither do they undergo any labor or pain,

Exempted from the noise and hurry

Of busy Acherontic ferry.

And therefore they will not admit poetical Deities, like Strife and Prayers; nor will they acknowledge Fear and Terror to be Gods or the sons of Mars. They also differ from the lawgivers in many things. Thus Xenophanes told the Egyptians not to worship Osiris as a God if they thought him to be mortal, and if they thought him to be a God not to bewail him.

Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878).

Plutarch: Of Common Conceptions, Against the Stoics(Edit)

46. These things they hold against the common conceptions; but those which follow they hold also against their own, engendering that which is most hot by refrigeration, and that which is most subtile by condensation. For the soul, to wit, is a substance most hot and most subtle. But this they make by the refrigeration and condensation of the body, changing, as it were, by induration the spirit, which of vegetative is made animal. Moreover, they say that the sun became animated, his moisture changing into intellectual fire. Behold how the sun is imagined to be engendered by refrigeration! Xenophanes indeed, when one told him that he had seen eels living in hot water, answered, We will boil them then in cold. But if these men engender heat by refrigeration and lightness by condensation, it follows, they must also generate cold things by heat, thick things by dissolution, and heavy things by rarefaction, that so they may keep some proportion in their absurdity.

Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878).



Powered by LionWiki. Last changed: 2013/12/27 21:27 Erase cookies Edit History