Cosmos of the Ancients
The Greek Philosophers on Myth and Cosmology
He lets one of his characters reason in Bacchae: "The goddess Demeter, — she is earth, call her by whichever name you wish." In the same monologue, the legend of Dionysos being sewn into the thigh of Zeus is explained as a change of word through time. Not that what Euripides regards as the authentic version is any less fabulous: "Having broken off a part of the air of heaven that encircles the earth, he gave this as a hostage, removing Dionysos from quarrels with Hera."
Another view, downright atheist in its reasoning along the lines repeated innumerable times in the Christian era — according to Euripides old already at his time, questioning how a benevolent god could allow injustice, is expressed in Bellerophon, a drama remaining only in fragments:
LiteratureEuripides, Bacchae, translated by Richard Seaford, Warminster 1996.
Barnes, Jonathan, The Presocratic Philosophers, volume 2, London 1979.
© Stefan Stenudd 2000
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I'm a Swedish author 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.