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Hesiod [top]

Tell me these things, Olympian Muses,
From the beginning, and tell which of them came first.
In the beginning there was only Chaos, the Abyss,
But then Gaia, the Earth, came into being,
Her broad bosom the ever-firm foundation of all,
And Tartaros, dim in the underground depths,
And Eros, loveliest of all the Immortals, who
Makes their bodies (and men's bodies) go limp,
Mastering their minds and subduing their wills.
From the Abyss were born Erebos and dark Night.
And Night, pregnant after sweet intercourse
With Erebos, gave birth to Aether and Day.
Earth's first child was Ouranos, starry Heaven,
Just her size, a perfect fit on all sides.
And a firm foundation for the blessed gods.
And she bore the Mountains in long ranges, haunted
By the Nymphs who live in the deep mountain dells.
Then she gave birth to the barren, raging Sea
Without any sexual love. But later she slept with
Ouranos and bore Ocean with its deep currents,
and also Koios, Krios, Hyperion, Iapetos,
Theia, Rheia, Themis, Mnemosyne,
Gold-crowned Phoibe and lovely Tethys.
After them she bore a most terrible child,
Kronos, her youngest, an arch-deceiver,
And this boy hated his lecherous father.
[Theogony, lines 114-39 (Lombardo transl.)]

Thales [DK 11] [>biography] [top]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives, i.13: “Now these were they who accounted wise men: Thales, Solon, Periander, Cleobolus, Chilon, Bias, Pittacus….”

[a1] Diogenes Laertius, Lives, i.22: “Herodotus, Duris, and Democritus are agreed that Thales was the son of Euxamius and Cleobule; of the family of Thelidae, who are Phoenicians by descent.…”

Diogenes Laertius, Lives, i.37: “Appolodorus, in his Chronicles, says that Thales was born in the first year of the 35th Olympiad [640 BC]; and he died at the age of seventy-eight years, or according to Sosicrates, at the age of ninety, for he died in the 58th Olympiad, having lived at the time of Croesus, to whom he promised that would enable him to pass the Halys without a bridge, by turning the course of the river….”

[a9]Plato, Theaetetus (174a4-8): “Once while Thales was gazing upwards while doing astronomy, he fell into a well. A clever and delightful Thracian serving-girl is said to have made fun of him, since he was eager to know what was happening in the heavens but failed to notice what was in front of him and right next to his feet. Anyone who gives his life to philosophy is open to such mockery...”

[a10]Aristotle, Politics, i.11 (1259a5-18): “There is the anecdote of Thales the Milesian and his financial device, which involves a principle of universal application, but is attributed to him on account of his reputation for wisdom. He was reproached for his poverty, which was supposed to show that philosophy was of no use. According to the story, he knew by his skill in the stars while it was yet winter that there would be a great harvest of olives in the coming year; so, having a little money, he gave deposits for the use of all the olive-presses in Chios and Miletus, which he hired at a low price because no one bid against him. When the harvest-time came, and many were wanted all at once and of a sudden, he let them out at any rate which he pleased, and made a quantity of money. Thus he showed the world that philosophers can easily be rich if they like, but that their ambition is of another sort.”

Herodotus, Histories, i.74: “In the sixth year of the war, which they [Medes and Lydians] had carried on with equal fortunes, an engagement took place in which it turned out that when the battle was in progress the day suddenly became night. This alteration of the day Thales the Milesian foretold to the Ionians, setting as its limit this year in which the change actually occurred.”

Herodotus, Histories, i.75: “When he came to the Halys river, Croesus then, as I say, put his army across by the existing bridges; but, according to the common account of the Greeks, Thales the Milesian transferred the army for him. For it is said that Croesus was at a loss how his army should cross the river, since these bridges did not yet exist at this period; and that Thales, who was present in the army, made the river, which flowed on the left hand of the army, flow on the right hand also. He did so in this way: beginning upstream of the army he dug a deep channel, giving it a crescent shape, so that it should blow round the back of where the army was encamped, being diverted in this way from its old course by the channel, and passing the camp should flow into its old course once more. The result was that as soon as the river was divided it became fordable in both its parts.”

Herodotus, Histories, i.170: “Before their destruction, Thales, a man of Miletus, being a Phoenician by ultimate descent, advised the Ionians to have a single deliberative chamber, saying that it should be in Teos, for this was in the middle of Ionia; the other cities should continue to be inhabited but should be regarded as if they were demes. This was good advice.”

[a14] Aristotle, On the Heavens, ii.13 (294a28-294b3): “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 water 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?”

[a12] Aristotle, Metaphysics, i.3 (983b18-27): “Yet they [the early philosophers] do not all agree as to the number and the nature of these principles [of matter or nature]. Thales, the founder of this type of philosophy, says the principle is water (for which reason he declared that the earth rests on water), getting the notion perhaps from seeing that the nutriment of all things is moist, and that heat itself is generated from the moist and kept alive by it (and that from which they come to be is a principle of all things). He got his notion from this fact, and from the fact that the seeds of all things have a moist nature, and that water is the origin of the nature of moist things.”

[a22]Aristotle, On the Soul, i.2 (405a19): “Thales, too, to judge from what is recorded about him, seems to have held soul to be a motive force, since he said that the magnet has a soul in it because it moves iron.”

[a22]Aristotle, On the Soul, i.5 (411a7): “Some declare that soul is intermingled in the whole universe, and perhaps that is why Thales thought that all things are full of gods. This presents some difficulties: ...”

Anaximander [DK 12] [top]

[a1] Diogenes Laertius, Lives, ii.1: “Anaximander, the son of Praxiades, was a citizen of Miletus. He said that the principle and element is the Indefinite, not distinguishing air or water or anything else ... He was the first to discover the gnomon; and he placed some in Sparta on the sundials there, according to Favorinus in his Universal History, to mark solstices and equinoxes.… He was the first person, too, who drew an outline of the earth and sea, but he also constructed a celestial globe. Of his opinions he made a summary exposition, which I suppose Apollodorus the Athenian, also, encountered. Apollodorus, in his Chronicles, states, that in the second year of the 58th Olympiad [547-46 BC], he was sixty-four years old, and that he died shortly afterwards (having been near his prime approximate during the time of Polycrates, tyrant of Samos).… They say that when he sang, the children laughed.…”

Agathemerus, i.1: “Anaximander the Milesian, a disciple of Thales, first dared to draw the inhabited world on a tablet; after him Hecataeus the Milesian, a much traveled man, made the map more accurate, so that it became a source of wonder.”

[b1+a9] Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, 24.13-21: “Of those who say that it is one, moving, and infinite, Anaximander, son of Praxiades, a Milesian, the successor and pupil of Thales, said that the principle and element of existing things was the Indefinite [to apeiron], being the first to introduce this name of the material principle. He says that it is neither water nor any other of the so-called elements, but some other indefinite nature, from which came into being all the heavens and the worlds in them. And the source of coming-to-be for existing things is that into which destruction, too, happens “according to necessity; for they pay penalty and retribution to each other for their injustice according to the assessment of time,” as he describes it in these rather poetical terms.”

Aristotle, Physics, i.4 (187a12-23): “Two types of explanation are given by the physicists. The first set make the underlying body one — either one of the three [water, air, fire] or something else which is denser than fire and rarer than air — then generate everything else from this, and obtain multiplicity by condensation and rarefaction. Now these are contraries, which may be generalized into ‘excess and defect’. (Compare Plato’s ‘Great and Small’ — except that he makes these his matter, the one his form, while the others treat the one which underlies as matter and the contraries as differentiae, i.e., forms.) The second set assert that the contrarieties are contained in the one and emerge from it by segregation, for example Anaximander and also all those who assert that ‘what is’ is one and many, like Empedocles and Anaxagoras; for they too produce other things from their mixture by segregation.”

[a15] Aristotle, Physics, iii.4 (203b10-15): “This does not have a first principle, but this seems to be the first principle of the rest, and to contain all things and steer all things, as all declare who do not fashion other causes aside from the infinite…and this is divine. For it is deathless and indestructible, as Anaximander says and most of the natural philosophers.”

Aristotle, Physics, iii.5 (204b23-28): “Nor can the infinite body be one and simple, whether it is, as some hold, a thing over and above the elements (from which they generate the elements) or is not thus qualified. We must consider the former alternative; for there are some people who make this the infinite [apeiron], and not air or water, in order that the other elements may not be annihilated by the element which is infinite. They have contrariety with each other — air is cold, water moist, fire hot: if one were infinite, the others by now would have ceased to be. As it is, they say, the infinite is different from them and is their source.”

[a26] Aristotle, On the Heavens, ii.13 (295b11-16): “Some, like Anaximander … declare that the earth is at rest on account of its similarity. For it is no more fitting for what is established at the center and equally related to the extremes to move up rather than down or sideways. And it is impossible for it to make a move simultaneously in opposite directions. Therefore, it is at rest of necessity.”

[a11] Hippolytus, Refutation, i.6.3-5: “The earth’s shape is curved, round, like a stone column. We walk on one of the surfaces and the other one is set opposite. The stars come to be as a circle of fire separated off from the fire in the cosmos and enclosed by dark mist. There are vents, certain tube-like passages, at which the stars appear. For this reason, eclipses occur when the vents are blocked or opened. The moon is seen now waxing, now waning according to the blocking or opening of the channels. The circle of the sun is 27 times [that of the earth] and that of the moon [18 times]; the sun is highest, and the circles of the fixed stars are lowest.”

[a10] Pseudo-Plutarch, Miscellanies, 179.2: “He also declares that in the beginning humans were born from other kinds of animals, since other animals quickly manage on their own, but humans alone require lengthy nursing. For this reason, in the beginning they would not have survived if this had been their original form.”

[a18] Aetius, ii.16.5: “Anaximander says that the stars are borne by the circles and spheres on which each one goes.”

[a30] Censorinus, On the Day of Birth, 4.7: “Anaximander of Miletus believed that there arose from heated water and earth either fish or creatures very like fish; in these humans grew and were kept inside as embryos until puberty; then finally the fish-like creatures burst and men and women who were already able to nourish themselves stepped forth.”

[a30] Aetius, v.19.4: “Anaximander says that the first living creatures were produced in moisture, enclosed in thorny barks; and that as their age increased they came out onto the drier part, the bark broke off, and they lived a different kind of life for a short time.”

Pherecydes [DK ] [top]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives, i.116: “This man is said by Theopompus to have been the first to write on nature and the gods. Some relate that he was the first to bring out a book in prose.”

Anaximenes [DK 13] [top]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives, ii.3: “Anaximenes son of Eurystratus, of Miletus, was a pupil of Anaximander; some say he was also a pupil of Parmenides. He said that the material principle [archon] was air and the infinite [apeiron]; and that the stars move, not under the earth, but round it. He used simple and economical Ionic speech. he was active, according to what Apollodorus says, around the time of the capture of Sardis, and died in the 63rd Olympiad.”

[a5] Theophrastus, quoted by Simplicius in his Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, 24.26-25.1: “Anaximenes son of Eurystratus, of Miletus, a companion of Anaximander, also says that the underlying nature is one and boundless like him, but not indefinite as Anaximander said but definite, saying that it is air [aer]; and it differs in its substantial nature by rarity and density. Being made finer it becomes fire, being made thicker it becomes wind, then cloud, and when still further condensed it becomes water, then earth, then stones; and the rest come into being from these. He too makes motion eternal, and says that change also comes to be through it.”

[a7] Hippolytus, Refutation, 1.7.1-3: “Anaximenes…said that the principle is unlimited air, out of which come to be things that are coming to be, things that have come to be, and things that will be, and gods and divine things. The rest come to be out of the products of this. The form of air is the following: when it is most even, it is invisible, but it is revealed by the cold and the hot and the wet, and movement. It is always moving, for all the things that undergo change would not change unless it was moving. For when it becomes condensed and finer, it appears different. For when it is dissolved into what is finer, it comes to be fire, and on the other hand air comes to be winds when it becomes condensed. Cloud results from air through felting, and water when this happens to a greater degree. When condensed still more it becomes earth and when it reaches the absolutely densest state it becomes stones.”

[a17] Aetius, 3.4.1: “Anaximenes stated that clouds occur when the air is further thickened. When it is condensed still more, rain is squeezed out. Hail occurs when the falling water freezes, and snow when some wind is caught up in the moisture.”

[a6] Pseudo-Plutarch, Miscellanies, 3: “When the air is felted the earth is the first thing to come into being, and it is very flat. This is why it rides on the air, as is reasonable.”

[a10] Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods, i.10.26: “Anaximenes determined that air is a god and that it comes to be and is without measure, infinite and always in motion.”

[a20] Aristotle, On the Heavens, ii.13 (294b13-20): “Anaximenes, Anaxagoras and Democritus say that its flatness is the cause of its staying at rest. For it does not cut the air below, but covers it like a lid, as bodies with flatness apparently do, since these are difficult for winds to move because of their resistance. They say that the earth does this same thing with respect to the air beneath. And the air, lacking sufficient room to move aside, stays at rest in a mass because of the air beneath.”

[a7] Hippolytus, Refutation, 1.7.4: “Likewise the sun and moon and all other heavenly bodies, which are fiery, are carried upon the air on account of their flatness.”

[b2] Aetius, i.3.4: “Just as our soul, being air, holds us together and controls us, so do wind and air surround the whole cosmos.” [This is the only extant fragment from Anaximenes’s book.]

[b1] Plutarch, The Principle of Cold, 7: “Or as Anaximenes of old believed, let us leave neither the cold nor the hot in the category of substance, but [hold them to be] common attributes of matter which come as a the results of its changes. For he declares that matter which is contracted and condensed is cold, whereas what is fine and “loose” (calling it this way with this very word) is hot. As a result he claimed that it is not said unreasonably that a person releases both hot and cold from his mouth. For the breath becomes cold when compressed and condensed by the lips, and when the mouth is relaxed, the escaping breath becomes warm through the rareness.”

Pythagoras [top]

[Xenophanes 21b7] Diogenes Laertius, Lives, viii.36: “Once [Pythagoras] passed by as a puppy was being beaten, the story goes, and in pity said these words: ‘Stop, don’t beat him, since it is the soul of a man, a friend of mine, which I recognized when I heard it crying.’”

[Heraclitus 22b40] Diogenes Laertius, Lives, ix.1: “Much learning [polymathy] does not teach insight. Otherwise it would have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras and moreover Xenophanes and Hecateus.” [quoting Heraclitus]

[Heraclitus 22b129] Diogenes Laertius, Lives, viii.6: “Pythagoras the son of Mnesarchus practiced inquiry more than all other men, and making a selection of these writings constructed his own wisdom, polymathy, evil trickery.”

[Empedocles 31b129] Porphyry, Life of Pythagoras, 30: “There was a man among them who knew very holy matters, who possessed the greatest wealth of mind, mastering all sorts of wise deeds. For when he reached out with all his mind easily he would survey every one of the things that are, yea, within ten and even twenty generations of humans.”

Porphyry, Life of Pythagoras, 19: “First he declares that the soul is immortal; then that it changes into other kinds of animals; in addition that things that happen recur at certain intervals, and nothing is absolutely new; and that all things that come to be alive must be thought akin. Pythagoras seems to have been the first to introduce these opinions into Greece.”

[58c4] Iamblichus, Life of Pythagoras, 81, 82: “There are two kinds of the Italian philosophy called Pythagorean since two types of people practiced it, the akousmatikoi and the mathematikoi. Of these, the akousmatikoi were admitted to be Pythagoreans by the others, but they did not recognize the mathematikoi, but claimed that their pursuits were not those of Pythagoras, but of Hippasus…. The philosophy of the akousmatikoi consists of unproved and unargued akousmata to the effect that one must act in appropriate ways, and they also try to preserve all the other sayings of Pythagoras as divine dogma. These people claim to say nothing of their own invention, and say that to make innovations would be wrong. But they suppose that the wisest of their number are those who have got the most akousmata.”

[58c3] Aristotle fragment, as quoted in Diogenes Laertius, Lives, vii.34-35: “[Pythagoras ordered his followers] not to pick up [food] which had fallen, to accustom them not to eat self-indulgently or because it fell on the occasion of someone’s death…not to touch a white rooster, because it is sacred to the Month and is a suppliant. It is a good thing, and is sacred to the Month because it indicates the hours, and white is of the nature of good, while black is of the nature of evil…not to break bread, because friends long ago used to meet over a single loaf just as foreigners still do, and not to divide what brings them together. Others [explain this practice] with reference to the judgment in Hades, others say that it brings cowardice in war, and still others that the whole unverse begins from this.”

[58b4] Aristotle, Metaphysics, i.5 (985b23-986a2): “At the same time as these [Leucippus and Democritus] and before them, those called Pythagoreans took hold of mathematics and were the first to advance that study, and being brought up in it, they believed that its principles are the principles of all things that are. Since numbers are naturally first among these, and in numbers they thought they observed many likenesses to things that are and that come to be … and since they saw the attributes and ratios of musical scales in numbers, and other things seemed to be made in the likeness of numbers in their entire nature, and numbers seemed to be primary in all nature, they suposed the elements of numbers to be the elements of all things that are.”

[58b5] Aristotle, Metaphysics, i.5 (986a17-21): “The elements of number are the even and the odd, and of these the latter is limited and the former unlimited. The One is composed of both of these (for it is both even and odd) and number springs from the One; and numbers, as I have said, constitute the whole universe.”

[58b8] Aristotle, Metaphysics, i.5 (987a13-19): “The Pythagoreans similarly posited two principles, but added something peculiar to themselves, not that the limited and the unlimited are distinct natures like fire or earth or something similar, but that the unlimited itself and the One itself are the substance of what they are predicated of. This is why they call number the substance of all things.”

Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians, vii.94-95: “The tetractys is a certain number, which being composed of the four first numbers produces the most perfect number, ten. For one and two and three and four come to ten. This number is the first tetractys, and is called the source of ever flowing nature since acccording to them the entire cosmos is organized according to harmonia, and harmonia is a system of three concords — the fourth, the fifth, and the octave — and the proportions of these three concords are found in the aforementioned four numbers.”

Xenophanes [DK 21] [top]

Plato, Sophist (242d): “Our Eleatic tribe, beginning from Xenophanes and even before, explains in its myths what we call all things are actually one.”

Aristotle, Metaphysics, i.5 (986b18): “For Parmenides seems to fasten on that which is one in definition, Melissus on that which is one in material; therefore the former says that it is limited, the latter that it is unlimited. But Xenophanes, the first of these to postulate a unity (for Parmenides is said to have been his pupil), made nothing clear...”

[b11] Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians, ix.193: “Homer and Hesiod have attributed to the gods everything that is a shame and reproach among men, stealing and committing adultery and deceiving each other.”

[b14] Clement, Miscellanies, v.109: “Mortals believe that the gods are born, and have human clothing, voice and form.”

[b15] Clement, Miscellanies, v.110: “If cattle and horses or lions had hands, or were able to draw with their hands and do the works that men can do, horses would draw the forms of the gods like horses, and cattle like cattle, and they would make their bodies such as they each had themselves.”

[b16] Clement, Miscellanies, vii.22: “Ethiopians say that their gods are flat-nosed and dark, Thracians that theirs have blue eyes and red hair.”

Aristotle, Rhetoric, ii.23 (1399b6-9): “Xenophanes used to say that those who say that the gods are born are just as impious as those who say that they die, since in both ways it follows that there is a time when the gods do not exist.”

[b23] Clement, Miscellanies, v.109: “God is one, greatest among gods and men, in no way similar to mortals either in body or in thought.”

[b24] Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians, ix.144: “All of him sees, all of him thinks, all of him hears.”

[b25-26] Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, xxiii.19, 10: “He always remains in the same place, moving not at all; nor is it fitting for him to go to different places at different times, but without effort he shakes all things by the thought of his mind.”

[b29] Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, 189, 1: “All things that come-to-be and grow are earth and water.”

[b33] Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians, x.34: “For we all came forth from earth and water.”

[b34] Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians, vii.49: “No man knows, or ever will know, the truth about the gods and about everything I speak of[1]: for even if one chanced to say the complete truth, he still does not know it; but seeming is wrought over all things [or “in the case of all men”].”

[1] Long [1999, 20] suggests the Greek could also allow the following: “...knowledge of ... all that I say about all things.” This rendering would place Xenophanes in the emerging tradition of attempting to discover universal accounts.

[b35] Plutarch, Table Talk, 9.7.746b: “Let these things be believed as resembling truth.”

[b38] Herodian, On Peculiar Speech, 41.5: “If god had not created yellow honey, men would consider figs far sweeter.”

Hippolytus, Refutation, i.14.5-6: “Xenophanes declared that the sea is salty because many mixtures flow together in it… He believes that earth is being mixed into the sea and over time it is being dissolved by the moisture, saying that he has the following kinds of proofs, that sea shells are found in the middle of the earth and in mountains, and the impression of a fish and seals have been found at Syracuse in the quarries, and the impression of a laurel leaf in the depth of the stone in Paros, and on Malta flat shapes of all marine life. He says that these things occurred when all things were covered with mud long ago and the impressions were dried in the mud. All humans are destoyed when the earth is carried down into the sea and becomes mud, and then there is another beginning of coming to be, and this change occurs in all the world orders.”

Hippolytus, Refutation, i.14.3: “The sun comes into being each day from little pieces of fire that are collected, and the earth is infinite and enclosed neither by air nor by the heaven. There are innumerable suns and moons, and all things are made of earth.”

Heraclitus [DK 22] [top]

[b1] Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians, vii.133: “This logos holds always but humans always prove unable to understand it, both before hearing it and when they have first heard it. For though all things come to be [or happen] in accordance with this logos, humans are like the inexperienced when they experience such words and deeds as I set out, distinguishing each in accordance with its nature and saying how it is. But other people fail to notice what they do when awake, just as they forget what they do while asleep.” [“Though this Word is true evermore, yet men are as unable to understand it when they hear it for the first time as before they have heard it at all. For, though all things come to pass in accordance with this Word, men seem as if they had no experience of them, when they make trial of words and deeds such as I set forth, dividing each thing according to its kind and showing how it is what it is. But other men know not what they are doing when awake, even as they forget what they do in sleep.”]

[b2] “Though the logos is common, the many live as if they had a wisdom of their own.”

[b8] “What opposes unites, and the finest attunement stems from things bearing in opposite directions, and all things come about by strife.”

[b10] “Bad witnesses are eyes and ears of those having barbarian souls.”

[a1] Diogenes Laertius, Lives, ix.1: “Heraclitus son of Bloson (or, according to some, of Herakon) of Ephesus. This man was at his prime in the 69th Olympiad [504-501 B.C.]. He grew up to be exceptionally haughty and supercilious, as is clear also from his book, in which he says: [b40] ‘Learning of many things[1] does not teach intelligence; if so it would have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras, and again Xenophanes and Hecataeus.”[2] ... Finally he became a misanthrope, withdrew from the world, and lived in the mountains feeding on grasses and plants. However, having fallen in this way into a dropsy he came down to town and asked the doctors in a riddle if they could make a drought out of rainy weather. When they did not understand he buried himself in a cow-stall, expecting that the dropsy would be evaporated off by the heat of the manure; but even so he failed to effect anything, and ended his life at the age of sixty.”

[1] This is sometimes rendered as polymathy; it might also be referring to the holding of a plurality of explanatory principles, rather than to a single, universal explanation.

[2] Hecataeus was a geographer and chronicler from Miletus; he is also mentioned in a passage concerning Anaximander, above.

Plato, Cratylus (402a): “Heraclitus somewhere says that all things are in process and nothing stays still, and likening existing things to the stream of a river he says that you would not step twice into the same river.”

Arius didymus, Fr. 39.2: “Upon those who step into the same rivers, different and again different waters flow.”

[b29] Clement, Miscellanies, 5.59.4: “The best renounce all for one thing, the eternal fame of mortals, but the many stuff themselves like cattle.” [The best choose one thing instead of all else: the ever-flowing renown of mortals; but the many are glutted like cattle.]

[b34] Clement, Miscellanies, 5.115.3: “Uncomprehending even when they have heard, they are like the deaf. The saying describes them: though present they are absent.”

[b41] “Wisdom is one thing: knowing the intelligence [which steers] all through all.”

[b46] “Thinking is an instance of the sacred disease, and sight is deceptive.”

[b50] “It is wise for those listening not to me but to the logos to agree that all things are one.”

[b51] “They do not understand how, while differing from itself, it is in agreement iwth itself. There is a back-stretched connection like that of a bow or lyre.”

Clement, Miscellanies, 5.140.5: “Men who are lovers of wisdom must be inquirers into many things indeed.”

[b54] “An unapparent connection is stronger (or better) than the obvious one.”

[b55] Hippolytus, Refutation, 9.9.5: “All that can be seen, heard, experienced — these are what I prefer.”

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, viii.2 (1155b4): “What is opposed brings together; the finest harmony [harmonia] is composed of things at variance, and everything comes to be in accordance with strife.”

Hippolytus, Refutation, 9.10.5: “The sea is the purest and most polluted water: to fishes drinkable and bringing safety, to humans undrinkable and destructive.”

Clement, Miscellanies, 1.2.2: “Pigs rejoice in mud more than pure water.”

Albertus Magnus, On Vegetables, 6.401: “We would call oxen happy when they find bitter vetch to eat.”

Plato, Hippias Major (289a3-4, b4-5): “The most beatiful of apes is ugly in comparison with the human race. [...] The wisest of humans will appear as an ape in comparison with a god in respect of wisdom, beauty, and all other things.”

Theophrastus, Metaphysics, 15: “The most beautiful arrangement is a pile of things poured out at random.”

Stobaeus, Selections, 3.1.178: “Disease makes health pleasant and good, hunger satiety, weariness rest.”

[b77] Clement, Miscellanies, 6.17.2: “For souls it is death to become water, for water it is death to become earth; from earth water comes-to-be, and from water, soul.”

[b88] “It is the same that is present as living and dead, as waking and sleeping, as young and old; for these by change of state become those, and those by change of state become these.”

[b96] Plutarch, Table Talk, 669a: “Corpses are more fit to be thrown out than dung.”

[b118] “A dry soul is wisest and best.” [“Dry light-beam is soul at its wisest and best.”]

[b119] “It is character [ethos] that is a person’s daimon.”

[b123] “Nature [physis] loves to hide.”

Stobaeus, Selections 3.5.7: “A man when he is drunk is led by an unfledged boy, stumbling and not knowing where he goes, having his soul moist.”

Hippolytus, Refutation, 9.9.4: “War is the father of all and king of all, and some he shows as gods, others as humans; some he makes slaves, others free.”

Porphyry, Notes on Homer (on Illiad 4.4): “To God all things are beautiful and good and just, but humans have supposed some unjust and others just.”

Diogenes Laertius, Lives, ix.7: “You would not find out the boundaries of the soul, even by traveling along every path: so deep a measure [logon] does it have.”

Anaxagoras [DK 59] [top]

[b3] Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, 164, 17: “Neither is there a smallest part of what is small, but there is always a smaller (for it is impossible that what is should cease to be). Likewise there is always something larger than what is large. And it is equal in respect of number to what is small, each thing, in relation to itself, being both large and small.”

[b6] Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, 164, 26: “And since the portions of the great and of the small are equal in number, so too all things would be in everything. Nor is it possible that they should exist apart, but all things have a portion of everything. Since it is not possible that there should be a smallest part, nothing can be put apart nor come-to-be all by itself, but as things were originally, so they must be now too, all together. In all things there are many ingredients, equal in number in the greater and in the smaller of the things that are being separated off.”

[b10] Scholium on Gregory of Nazianzus, 36.911 Migne: “For how could hair come from not hair or flesh from not flesh?”

[b11] Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, 164, 23: “In everything there is a portion of everything except Mind; and there are some things in which there is Mind as well.”

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Copyright ©2006 Steve Naragon (Manchester College)
Last modified: 23 Jul 2007
Please send comments and questions to: ssnaragon@manchester.edu