Cosmos of the Ancients
The Greek Philosophers on Myth and Cosmology
enophanes of Colophon (570-478 BC) was directly outspoken against the mythology of Homer and Hesiod, up to the point of being praised by Timon: "Xenophanes, not over-proud, perverter of Homer, castigator." Diogenes Laertes explains that he wrote, in three different metre, verses "attacking Hesiod and Homer and denouncing what they said about the gods." He blamed them for having "ascribed unto the Gods all that is reproach and blame in the world of men, stealing and adultery and deceit."
Xenophanes had no patience with the concept of a multitude of gods, accredited with distinct and unsympathetic anthropomorphic features. To him it was clear that gods are given the countenance of their worshipers: "The Aethiop saith that his Gods are snub-nosed and black, the Thracian that his have blue eyes and red hair," and he finds it likely that if bulls or horses had hands and could paint, they would portray the gods with horse or bull features. Thereby it is evident that he regarded much of the gods as coming out of human imagination. To him there was only one god, lacking any human trait. According to Diogenes Laertius, Xenophanes claimed:
The substance of God is spherical, in no way resembling man. He is all eye and all ear, but does not breathe; he is the totality of mind and thought, and is eternal.
Except for this god, who is eternal, anything that has come into being is doomed to perish. The soul Xenophanes regarded as breath.
Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, translated by R. D. Hicks, volume II, Loeb, London 1950.
Edmonds, J. M., Elegy and Iambus, volume I, Loeb, London, 1932.
© Stefan Stenudd 2000
The Greek Philosophers
Cosmos of the Ancients - the Book
The material on this website about the Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods, is now a book. It can be ordered at the Internet bookstores - printed or as a Kindle ebook. Both contain the footnotes with additional explanations as well as literary sources. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
All about the peaceful Japanese martial art.
A system of jo (staff) and ken (sword) exercises for aikido students.
My paintings, drawings, photos and video art.
My writing - fiction as well as non-fiction.
What the Greek philosophers thought about the cosmos, the gods and the myths.
Myth, its psychology and archetypes.
My blog with random thoughts.
My Other Websites
Myths in general and myths of creation in particular.
Qi (also spelled chi or ki), what it is and exercises to increase it.
An encyclopedia of life energy concepts around the world.
The wisdom of Taoism and its classic text Tao Te Ching.
The complete horoscope and how to read it.
Zodiac sign astrology, explaining each sign and its meaning.
The ancient Chinese system of divination explained.
My Facebook page.
My Twitter account.
My Amazon Author page.
My YouTube account with aikido videos.
My YouTube account Aravadia, with art videos and poetry.
My Swedish website.
Click the header to get to the webpage where I present all my books in English. Click an image below to go to that book's page on Amazon.
I'm a Swedish writer
of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist
, an historian of ideas
and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor
. Click the header to read my full bio.