Ancient History & Civilisation

EXPLANATORY NOTES

made use of this theorem: for details of this practical application of the theorem, see McKirahan [12], p. 26.

as the poets call it: the river Styx was one of the dread rivers of the underworld. Examples of the gods swearing by this river can be found in Homer (Iliad 14.271, 15.37). Ocean was supposed to be the primordial water, which still surrounds the continents of the world; Tethys was the wife of Ocean personified. At Iliad 14.201 (again at 302), Homer spoke of ‘Ocean, whence gods are generated, and mother Tethys.’ Aristotle was not the first to suggest a cosmogonical interpretation of this line: Plato had done so atTheaetetus 152e.

passage of the hours: the gnomon is simply an upright stick which casts a shadow which can be used to determine the sun’s height and direction.

a thing of wonder: Hecataeus of Miletus was an early geographer and ethnographer, a forerunner of Herodotus, who is heavily indebted to his work in the first four books of his Histories. Hecataeus’ Circumnavigation of the Known World was written in the late sixth century, so that he was more or less a contemporary of Anaximenes. Although not strictly a Presocratic philosopher, he was influenced by the new thinking to the extent that he rationalized and systematized his discoveries, and was pleasantly sceptical about many of the ‘travellers’ tales’ he came across. He apparently began his Genealogies with the words: ‘What I write here is the account I consider to be true; for the stories of the Greeks are numerous and, in my opinion, ridiculous.’ However, the extent to which he lived up to this promise may be doubted. More generally, both he and Herodotus conform to the spirit of the Ionians in that they undertook historia (‘research’ or ‘investigation’), which is also what the Ionians were trying to do. (It is because Herodotus called his workInvestigations that the word ‘history’ in our language means what it does.)

the first principle: an important alternative translation of this sentence would read: ‘It was he who originally introduced this word arkhē [first principle].’

infinity is predicated: in this and the following testimonia, Aristotle does not actually name Anaximander as the exponent of the view that the source of all things is intermediate between the recognized elements, but scholars universally believe that Anaximander is the thinker Aristotle has in mind. If correct, this on its own is sufficient to refute the recent claim (by Finkelberg 1993) that Anaximander’s originative stuff was actually air.

Anaximenes of Miletus: it will be noticed that Diels/Kranz gave T30 and T31 ‘B’ numbers (see Note on the Texts, p. xli), since they (along with other scholars) took these testimonia to preserve some of Anaximenes’ original words. However, since we know that Anaximenes wrote in Ionic dialect, the semi-quotation in T30 is ruled out (except, of course, as a close paraphrase); and in T31 only the one word ‘loose’ may originate with Anaximenes.

synonyms: if the ‘ice-like’ substance of which the outer periphery of the universe is made (according to T39) is as solid as it sounds, it is hard to see how air might surround it and yet be a vital component of the universe. Some scholars therefore reject or reinterpret this testimony of Aëtius, while others conceive of the surrounding periphery as a permeable membrane. If Aëtius is to be reinterpreted, air might be imagined as inside the periphery, rather than outside it.

felting: without going into all the technical details of felting, it is a process that involves compression of the cloth. See also Xenophanes T6. It is likely that this use of the term goes back to Theophrastus.

clepsydra: Aristotle’s reference to the clepsydra is somewhat obscure. A clepsydra was shaped like an inverted funnel, with the narrow opening at the top and a wider bottom. The opening at the top was narrow enough to be stopped by a thumb (as we do a pipette), and the bottom was solid, but perforated with a number of holes. The use of the instrument was that it was dipped into a large bowl of water and wine; the liquid entered the clepsydra through the perforated bottom, and then, when the thumb was placed over the top hole, the liquid could be carried over to another vessel, where the thumb was released, so that the liquid would flow out through the holes in the bottom. So Aristotle seems to think that somehow the water does not escape through the holes in the bottom because of the pressure of the air outside the clepsydra. For another Presocratic analogy with the clepsydra, see Empedocles F42, p. 155.

blue eyes and red hair: the Thracians lived in what is now north-eastern Greece, Bulgaria, and on up into Romania and beyond; the Ethiopians occupied from southern Egypt southward through Sudan and into Ethiopia. The Thracians were commonly regarded as the most northerly race, and the Ethiopians as the most southerly. Xenophanes is therefore saying, in effect, ‘All peoples everywhere, from north to south, portray their gods like themselves.’

their discoveries improve: or, just possibly: ‘But in time, through seeking, men discover what is better.’

once they have heard it: the introductory ‘but’ suggests that the very first words of Heraclitus’ book have been lost. The most attractive suggestion is that the first words were: ‘One thing is common’ (Osborne [80], p. 155).

while asleep: ‘punctuating the work of Heraclitus is difficult because it is unclear whether a given word goes with the word that precedes it or the one that follows it. At the beginning of his treatise, for instance, where he says “Of this principle which holds forever men prove ignorant”, it is unclear which of the two the word “forever” goes with’ (Aristotle, Rhetoric 1407b14–18). What Aristotle apparently could not imagine is that the word goes with both at once. This is not untypical of Heraclitus’ style.

private universe: despite Diels’s numbering of this as a fragment, it is in fact a paraphrase (albeit a good one) of whatever it might have been that Heraclitus originally said. It is often difficult to distinguish between actual fragments and paraphrases in the case of Heraclitus.

Most men are bad, few good’: the saw quoted at the end of this fragment is a popular saying, attributed to Bias of Priene.

Archilochus as well: not only the Homeric epics, but also shorter lyric poems such as those of Archilochus were recited by rhapsodes in public competitions.

common to all: there is an untranslatable pun in the Greek: the two words translated ‘with intelligence’ are xunōi, while the word for ‘common’ is xunōi. For Heraclitus, similarity of sound was significant, and implied similarity of meaning. So what is common or universal is what can be apprehended with intelligence.

still the same road: for a cosmological interpretation of this fragment, see the beginning of T8.

strife and necessity: note the echo and implicit correction of Anaximander T15 (p. 14).

I searched for myself: given that in fr. 64 DK the same verb is used of mining for gold, it is tempting to introduce a Heraclitean kind of pun here, and translate: ‘I mined myself.’

we are and are not: it is quite possible that there was originally a single river fragment, from which the last three entries derive more or less accurately.

in regular measures: note the hint of Milesian mechanism in this, which is only partially mitigated by Heraclitus’ divinization of fire.

lightning: it is not absolutely clear what meteorological phenomenon Heraclitus had in mind for prēstēr. But the word is cognate with ‘fire’, and at Histories 7.42.2 Herodotus says it can kill people, so ‘lightning’ seems a reasonable choice. It also seems to mean ‘lightning’ in another early occurrence, at Hesiod, Theogony 846.

new each day: Plato puts this idea to amusing use at Republic 498a6-b1, arguing that dilettante philosophers are, with a few exceptions, when they die, ‘snuffed out more thoroughly than Heraclitus’ sun, since they are never rekindled later’.

will find it out: interestingly, the Derveni papyrus, discovered in 1962, whose text dates from about 420 BCE, at column IV, combines both F42 and F43 into a single fragment, while claiming to quote Heraclitus directly: ‘The sun by its own nature is as broad as a human foot, and does not overstep its boundaries; for if it oversteps its own breadth, the Furies, the allies of Justice, will find it out.’

heavenly bodies: the idea that the sun, at any rate, was contained in a bowl, predates Heraclitus. In a traditional myth, the sun sailed around Oceanus, the river of water surrounding the world, in a bowl.

the principle it contains: an interesting conjunction of ideas is gained by placing this fragment in the context of F9 and F30. Heraclitus would be calling on us to search ourselves, as he did himself, without hope of ever reaching a conclusion, and without prejudging what we will find on the way.

he contacts sleep: another Heraclitean pun: the word for ‘kindles’ is the same as the word for ‘contacts’.

die through illness: this line is a verse adaptation of a lost original of Heraclitus.

the better the portion: the fragment is an extreme example of Heraclitean assonance: moroi mezones mezonas moiras lankhanousi. The structure of the sentence is chiastic as well.

chatting to a house: or, taking the sarcastic sting out of the fragment: ‘They purify themselves in an unusual way.’

the same as Hades: the Lenaea was one of the most important festivals in honour of Dionysus. The point of this fragment is contained in a pun. The word for ‘disgraceful’, anaides, could punningly be parsed as ‘not-Hades’ (Aides); moreover, the word for ‘phallus’ is aidoia. Hades and Dionysus are presumably identified because Hades represents death, and Dionysus drunkenness: it is death for souls to become moist (F44).

with her voice: the Sibyl was an oracular prophetess, inspired by Apollo.

with their hands: this is a significant gesture. A modest Greek maiden would be expected to veil her face when away from home. Parmenides’ guides unveil their faces on reaching the threshold of day and night, indicating that they have returned home. Since Homeric and Hesiodic echoes by Parmenides guarantee that he is locating this gateway in the underworld, it follows that Parmenides’ journey is to the underworld, not towards a transcendent upper realm of light.

alternating locks: this is a compressed way of saying that she opens the doors to let out day and night alternately. The idea that justice regulates the length of day and night is reminiscent of Anaximander T15 (p. 14).

as they altogether are: the goddess’s promise at this point is obscure, but presumably refers to the second half of Parmenides’ poem (now largely irrecoverable), in which he constructed a cosmology to explain the phenomenal world. I take it that these final lines of the prologue mean that since appearances pervade or penetrate everything, mortals were bound to fit them into an acceptable system. But the last words of the prologue are so difficult in Greek that others emend the text and read: ‘… since they are, in fact, thoroughly everything’.

no end to it: there is no end to this way because, for any positive predicate F, there are infinite things which are not F.

can be thought and can be: an alternative translation of this fragment is ‘Thinking and being are the same.’ If this translation is correct, and mind and being are identical for Parmenides, a whole new light is shed on his poem. Its subject would not so much be beingper se as thinking about being; and what-is would be a living, sensible entity, somewhat akin to Xenophanes’ god.

turns back on itself: Parmenides uses the same word, palintropos, that Heraclitus had used in F21 (p. 40), and, of course, his description of this way as identifying opposites is reminiscent of Heraclitus too. Though ‘mortals’ in general are Parmenides’ target here, Heraclitus in particular is probably not far from his mind.

are present: or, perhaps: ‘Gaze unshaken on things which, though absent, are present to the mind.’

whether it comes together: I take this puzzling fragment to be the goddess’s instructions as to how we are to listen to what she has to say. That is, I take the ordering mentioned to be the arguments she orders or marshals in what follows: see F8 ll. 52 for a similar use of the word ‘ordering’ (kosmos). In both places I have attempted to capture the ambiguity of the word with the English ‘composition/compose’. Then the point of the fragment is that we are not to worry if language necessarily appears to separate things which are not really separable; we have to bear in mind that this is an illusion. But I admit that this would be an unusual meaning of the word kosmos, which basically just means ‘ordering’, and hence, in particular, ‘world-order’. However, Parmenides would not agree that what-is can scatter or come together in the world.

contact with what-is: these lines are not necessarily as materialistic as they sound. Try reading them thinking of the denial that what-is forms lumps as a denial that it varies in intensity at all.

lies: the careful translator notices that the ‘Way of Appearance’ contains far more poetic ambiguities than the ‘Way of Truth’. The polar nature of Parmenides’ cosmology is reflected in the polar ambiguities of his text. Unfortunately, these cannot be captured in any translation, short of providing two or three variant translations of certain lines or passages.

should not be named: one of the two forms should not be named, because in any pair of opposites, one is defined as the negation of the other, and yet Parmenides has already forbidden us from saying ‘X is not F’. This does not mean, as Aristotle seems to have assumed (T5), that Parmenides is leaving us with the other of the pair of opposites as a single cosmogonic factor: he is saying that the whole idea of a cosmology based on opposites is fundamentally mistaken. An alternative translation might be ‘one of which should not be named alone’, which looks like direct criticism of Parmenides’ cosmogonic predecessors, in so far as they had relied on a single stuff (e.g. Anaximenes’ air) to generate the universe; Parmenides would be saying that you need two primary stuffs, with opposite attributes. But I do not think this alternative translation can be right, since no one, as far as we know, had named either of Parmenides’ pair alone as his cosmological principle. Yet others translate ‘of which not even one should be named’, but this is not a possible translation of the Greek.

the name ‘to be’: despite the differences in translation, this could be an inaccurate reminiscence of F8 l. 38; however, since Simplicius also records this line in exactly this form on two occasions (Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics 29.18 and 143.10), it may be an independent fragment.

they say: Aristotle does not name any of the thinkers he has in mind, let alone Parmenides, but in Philoponus’ commentary on this passage he records the view of Alexander of Aphrodisias that ‘Parmenides was of this opinion’.

the signs in the aither: that is, the heavens and all the heavenly bodies.

the narrower ones: there is no doubt that this is a reference to the ‘rings’ with which Parmenides filled the heavens and explained the motions of the heavenly bodies: see T8.

mixture of light and dark: this looks like a misunderstanding of F13 ll. 1–2, where in his own words Parmenides seems to posit a number of fiery rings followed by a number of mixed rings (basically dark, but with some flame in them too). Though Aëtius’ account of the rings is suspect, the rest of his report may be treated with less circumspection.

felting: on ‘felting’ as a term for ‘compression’, see note to p. 18 above.

is this what you mean?: any reconstruction of Zeno’s argument from this flimsy evidence is highly speculative. It seems to be another argument against the notion of plurality (see T3). Perhaps it went as follows: ‘If there are many things, they must be both similar and dissimilar to one another; they must be similar because, after all, they all exist—they all share the property of existence; they must be dissimilar because otherwise the whole notion of plurality is meaningless; therefore they are both similar and dissimilar; but similars cannot be dissimilars.’

slowest thing in the world: that is, Achilles and the tortoise.

not to reject singularity: in this passage Simplicius is concerned to refute the view of Alexander and Eudemus that Zeno argued against Parmenidean monism.

magistrates by lot: in actual fact the prohibition on beans was more probably due to the fact that the flatulence they cause was supposed to disturb the mind, and specifically to impede prophetic dreams. Alternatively, there might have been experiential familiarity with a genetic tendency towards favism.

the sun and moon: since the ‘Isles of the Blessed’ are where enlightened people go after death, this may be a hint of the eastern teaching of astral immortality, which was beginning to enter Greece in the fifth century.

the counter-earth: this dry, factual report disguises the astonishing leap of the imagination which led the Pythagoreans (or, more probably, Philolaus) to displace the earth from the centre of the universe.

what is being sought will be the result: equality is ‘what is being sought’; ‘all the parts which are at a fifth remove from the excessive parts are 1, 2, 3, 4—respectively at a fifth remove from 6, 7, 8, 9. So if the sum of 1, 2, 3, 4—that is, 10—is subtracted from the sum of 6, 7, 8, 9, and added to the sum of 1, 2, 3, 4, the result is equality: 20 = 20.

exceeding and falling short: see the commentary in Heath, pp. 150–40.

the cosmic figures: the five regular or ‘Platonic’ solids—the tetrahedron (pyramid), cube, octahedron, icosahedron, and dodecahedron. It is unlikely that the early Pythagoreans had formulated a method of theoretical construction of the solids, but they may well have ‘constructed’ them as Plato does in Timaeus 53c-55c, by forming solid angles out of equilateral triangles, squares (or isosceles triangles), or pentagons.

and the added line: see Euclid, Elements 2.10. The importance of this theorem is that it gave the Pythagoreans a method of finding successive approximations to the value of √2. See the commentary by Heath, pp. 91–3 or Thomas, pp. 138–9. However, it remains unlikely that the early Pythagoreans had developed a theory of irrationals, although they may have discovered some particular cases of incommensurability: see Heath, pp. 154–7. Basically, however, they conceived of numbers as whole numbers, and fractions as ratios between whole numbers.

act of impiety: a parallel tradition says that Hippasus was killed for discovering the existence of irrational numbers. Since the faces of the dodecahedron are regular pentagons, and the construction of the regular pentagon requires the golden section, which involves irrationals, the two traditions may plausibly be linked.

light and heat to us: the word ‘filters’ is odd, until we read in the parallel testimony of Achilles Tatius (Introduction to Aratus’ ‘Phaenomena’ 46.13 Maass) that it filters its light to us ‘through certain interstices’. In the fifth century a burning-glass was imagined to have channels through which the sun’s heat and light were concentrated and transmitted.

distinguishes one number from another: the Pythagoreans conceived of numbers as arrays of dots (see n. 6 on p. 93); the dots are the limiting principle, the space between them the unlimited void.

plainly unlimited: note that the argument of this fragment is blatantly self-contradictory if the ‘true existents’ of the beginning of the fragment are the same as the ‘things’ of the second half. For then Philolaus would first have argued that they cannot be unlimiteds, and then have argued that they can be unlimiteds. In his edition of Philolaus, pp. 102–7, Huffman must be right, then, to claim that at the beginning ‘all the things that exist’ are ‘true existents’—that is, the elemental sources of the world—while the ‘things’ later are the things of the world which are made up of these elements.

positions are reversed: this ‘fragment’ of Philolaus is actually written in the wrong dialect—Ionic, rather than Doric—to count as a fully genuine fragment of his writings. Nevertheless, the amount of rewriting involved in the change of dialects would be slight, and I am confident (unlike the parallel case of Anaximenes T30 on p. 18) that we have a perfectly accurate transcript of the original.

the bright and the dark: three points on this list. First, we should not take it to be exhaustive, but representative. Second, we should not follow Aristotle (at any rate in T4) in regarding the opposites as Anaxagorean principles, along with the ‘seeds’: Anaxagoras is only stressing the absoluteness of his original mixture by saying that even opposites were mixed together so thoroughly as to be indiscernible. Third, note that Anaxagoras lacks the philosophical vocabulary to distinguish between stuffs and qualities, and so that the warm and the cold, for instance, are material items conceived as carriers of these primary qualities.

dissimilar to one another: Anaxagoras specifically mentions earth and seeds together because, as T13 and T14 show, he believed that these were the prerequisites for the generation of animals and plants. Animal and plant seeds were, initially, carried down by the air to earth, where they grew.

flesh from not-flesh: though printed in DK as a B-fragment, this final sentence is far more likely to be a paraphrase, along with the preceding sentences.

mind is present too: that is, all animate creatures, which for Anaxagoras includes plants as well as humans and animals (T12).

mind is limitless: in what sense is mind limitless? Perhaps because it never stops initiating actions; perhaps because it comprehends the universe, which is infinite; perhaps because it is our means of intellectual enquiry, but can never fully comprehend itself (compare Heraclitus F48 on p. 44).

initiating the rotation: this is presumably what led Plato to have Socrates make his famous complaint (Phaedo 97b–99c) that although Anaxagoras held out the hope of explaining how mind ruled all things for the best, in fact he made little use of mind—except, as we see here, as a cosmogonic initiatory force. See also Aristotle, Metaphysics 985a18–21: ‘Anaxagoras uses mind as a deus ex machina for his cosmogony, and when he finds it impossible to explain why something necessarily is as it is, he drags mind in, while elsewhere he uses anything rather than mind to explain how things happen.’

wider area still: Anaxagoras places no limits, in time or space, on the expansion of the universe. Empedocles’ universe, by contrast, has a spatial outer limit, and is temporally limited too, in that things are moving towards the rule of either love or strife, either of which will put an end to the universe.

everything that was in motion: or, possibly: ‘Mind began to separate off from all that was in motion.’ But if this translation were correct, there would be an obvious clash with F13, where Anaxagoras says that mind is still present in things.

these things: probably the opposites enumerated in F12—or at any rate the dark, heavy, moist opposites, because these are implied in the use Anaxagoras immediately goes on to make of water and clouds.

more than water: compare Anaximenes’ sequence in T29 on pp. 17–18. It is likely (see T9) that Anaxagoras thought of the heavenly bodies as fragments of the earth that had been thrown off by the rotation of the earth and ignited in the upper sky.

rotation of the aither: see the end of F16, with its otherwise puzzling idea that stones have a tendency away from the centre and towards the periphery.

the sun and moon: the falling of these invisible bodies was Anaxagoras’ explanation of meteorites; and see also what he says a few lines later about lunar eclipses.

touch one another: the commentary by Alexander of Aphrodisias on this passage of Aristotle adds that the planets in question are Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Mercury—that is, all the known planets. Such a conjunction would be extremely rare, so perhaps Anaxagoras was connecting two phenomena because of their common rarity.

line of sight of the sun: it is worth remembering that Anaxagoras thought the sun smaller in size than the earth; hence on this theory only a narrow band—the Milky Way—would be lit up. Presumably, those stars outside the Milky Way whose light is visible are especially strong—strong enough to be visible despite the light of the sun.

bend their leaves: there are certain plants (e.g. Mimosa pudica) which, if touched, close up their leaves and bend away from the contact in a way remarkably reminiscent of delicate shyness.

same colour as the eyes: on this theory dark-eyed people will see better by day and find night sight difficult, blue-eyed people the opposite.

bronze sandals: a single bronze sandal was a token of a shaman, who could pass to the underworld. Volcanoes such as Etna were considered gateways by which a magician might descend to the underworld to be reborn as a hero or god: see Kingsley 1995.

Titan: the sun.

knowledge about nature: a little earlier in On Celestial Phenomena, at 353b11, Aristotle had remarked that those who liken the sea to sweat noted also that both sweat and the sea are salty.

narrow are the means: that is, the sense organs.

no more than this: assuming the addressee (who is singular) is Pausanias (rather than Empedocles himself, addressed by a deity), Empedocles is saying that what he has to teach Pausanias is the best that human wisdom has to offer.

gain many others: the method is familiar from meditation techniques, but precisely what Empedocles was talking about—the ‘them’—is lost. Perhaps they are his teachings.

strife with grim strife: as Aristotle objects (On the Soul 409b26–410a13) this theory makes it difficult to explain how we perceive compounds. Most things are compounds of all four elements, but unless our eyes were compounded in the same way, they could not, on this theory, see the compounds. But then in order for the eyes to see bones they would have to be bone.

with her tears: Zeus and Hera are husband and wife; since Aidoneus is another name for Hades and Nestis is probably a local Sicilian cult name for Persephone, they too are a couple, linked in legend. She is subterranean water to Hades’ subterranean fire.

air itself: Hippolytus is suggesting that ‘Aidoneus’ is derived from the Greek from ‘invisible’ (aïdes). Likewise, a few lines later, he suggests, with considerable implausibility, that ‘Nestis’ is derived from eutonein (‘have the ability’). In actual fact, her name means ‘fasting’.

will always be: echoes of Parmenides are particularly evident in this fragment.

fire meets with aither: these two elements are merely examples; of course, all four elements are involved in fact.

Highest in honour: this list repeats a few lines of F19 and F20 where all these things, including the gods, are said to be the product of the mingling of the four elements. It makes better sense of Empedocles’ analogy with painting if we think of the ancient technique whereby pigments were not mixed together exactly, but placed side by side: so the elements do not fuse with one another, but in different proportions appear as different things. At On Generation and Destruction 334a26–31 Aristotle also talks of Empedocles’ elements being ‘placed next to one another’. Empedocles’ image is even more exact if the technique of four-colour painting, which certainly became popular in the next century, was already extant and was in his mind.

glues of Harmony: there is a lot of fire in bones. This is surprising until one realizes that fire is a hardening agent in Empedocles’ thought: see especially T26 and F48. As for Empedocles’ basic idea that everything can be explained as different proportions of the four elements, he appears never to have explained what was responsible for the elements coming together in these particular proportions rather than any others. He may have left it to chance, but Aristotle, as a teleologist, was very critical of this aspect of Empedocles’ theory: see e.g. On Generation and Destruction 333a35–b22.

responsible for their birth: the text of this last line is irredeemably corrupt. I translate the text of DK, but without much confidence.

the immortals: the heavenly bodies.

the change that mixing causes: the idea that the elements ‘run through’ one another is Empedocles’ explanation not only of mixture and change, but of locomotion. Each element replaces another in a circle, and, as Plato says in Timaeus 80c, on this theory there is no need of void to explain locomotion.

under love: note that when Aristotle says ‘under love’ and ‘under strife’, he means, strictly, ‘under increasing love’ and ‘under increasing strife’.

<Nor …>: further examples of the indistinctness of things under the rule of love would have followed.

entirely boundless: note the echo, and partial contradiction, of Parmenides F8 l. 49 (p. 60).

encircling solitude: Empedocles uses the same word here for ‘solitude’ as he did for ‘stability’ in F24; he chose the word for its radical ambiguity.

with swift thoughts: the influence of Xenophanes on this fragment is immediately noticeable.

without diversion: this fragment is preserved only in Armenian. DK’s A49 consists of a translation back into Latin of the original Armenian; however, the translations of both Abraham Terian, published in Inwood’s edition, and of Kingsley differ significantly from the text of DK. I am not in a position to judge the merits of the two versions by referring to the original Armenian. I have preferred Kingsley’s version as the most authoritative, and I here simply reproduce it, supplemented by Terian.

winged gulls: this is supposed to be an illustration on the familiar, microcosmic scale of the macrocosmic processes of unification under love and separation under strife. But it is not entirely clear what Empedocles is getting at. If in the prime of life we can be said to have a body that is well put together, how in old age, or at other times of life, is our body torn apart by discord? How do our limbs wander separately? Perhaps it is a reference not to a single body, but to two bodies: in the prime of life they come together in love (i.e. for sex and living together), but then people quarrel and the bodies separate. Most likely, if a single body is involved (as it seems to be), it is a tale of life and death: in death (poetically, ‘on the shore of life’—that is, not swimming in the sea of life) our limbs, formerly part of a single body, will become separated from that body in the sense that, for Empedocles, nothing perishes and everything is recycled.

shade-giving limbs: for a famous borrowing from this fantasy of Empedocles’ see Aristophanes’ speech in Plato’s Symposium (189c35–193d), which imagines primeval double-sided humans, whose method of locomotion was to cartwheel along on their eight limbs. This perhaps helps explain Empedocles’ ‘shade-producing limbs’, but it is more likely to be a reference to the famous legendary Skiapods, just as we also get references to other figures from Greek myth and legend: the Minotaur, Hermaphroditus, and other hybrids.

insanities of strife: notice that since Empedocles says ‘I have suffered corruption’ where previously he had said that it is spirits (daimones) that fall, he is identifying the person with his daimōn. Then see, for instance, the teaching about daimones contained in the myth with which Plato ends Republic.

the fish that leaps from the sea as it travels: a dolphin.

she: the subject is presumably Aphrodite or Love.

numerous furrows: on the higher animals, as opposed to plants, insects, and so on, the two most obvious of these ‘furrows’ are the nostrils. The word Empedocles uses for ‘skin’ is deliberately ambiguous: it could also mean ‘nose’.

water enters: for a description of the operation of a clepsydra, see note to p. 19.

cannot enter at all: there is tension between the idea here that senseperception is a result of emanations coming from the external object to the sense-organ, and the idea implied in F41 that it is light proceeding from the eye that causes sight. But it is clear from the next paragraph of T12, as well as from F9, that Empedocles certainly did hold that the eye contained fire. Probably what F41 means is that the fire in the eye must correspond to the fire outside (i.e. daylight), which is just to say that there must be light for vision to take place. Just as the sense-organs must be in the right condition to accommodate and receive external emanations and generate sensation, so the elements in the body must be in the right condition to receive the input of data from outside.

sounds of equal size: this very condensed report presumably refers to Empedocles’ explanation of why we can hear only certain sounds (i.e. not those from far away): just as all the sense organs can accommodate only certain objects, so the ears can accommodate only sounds which are somehow the same size as the ears.

thanks to each element: see F9.

pleasure and pain: these lines form B107 in Diels/Kranz [1], F92 in Inwood’s edition, and F78 in Wright’s edition.

blood around the heart: see also the note to p. 160 on the forms of flesh in general. In blood the elements are in more or less the perfect proportion—that is, 1:1:1:1. Thus what makes blood responsible for understanding is presumably the fact that it can give an undistorted view of things.

stone attracts iron: the Heraclean stone, sometimes also called the Magnesian stone, is our ‘magnet’. Heraclea and Magnesia were both places in Lydia where lodestones occurred naturally.

both parents’ seeds: earlier, at 5.4, Censorinus has explained that in Empedocles’ view both parents produce seeds.

harbours of Cypris: Cypris is another name for Aphrodite. Her ‘perfect harbour’ is probably the womb.

the forms of flesh in general: the proportion 1 : 1 : 1 : 1 for the elements is the most perfect proportion, since it is the one which subsisted under the rule of love. Blood is thought to have this proportion, or a good approximation to it, because it is the circulation of blood around the heart that is responsible for intelligence, according to Empedocles (see F43). And intelligence, or knowledge, must have this proportion if it is to understand the world, because there are equal amounts of the four elements in the universe.

very much like an egg: in actual fact, Empedocles may have likened the world more specifically to an egg, whose shell is the earth, albumen the subterranean waters, and yolk subterranean fire. See Kingsley’s 1995 book, pp. 56 ff. But it is noteworthy that T18does not say that the earth is shaped like an egg, but ‘lies’ like an egg. Its shape, according to Empedocles, was probably an oblate spheroid, and the point of the comparison with an egg is only to say that the broadest section of the spheroid is where the celestial equator lies, just as when an egg is placed on a table its ‘equator’ is at its broadest section.

161 ‘snakes’ and ‘milestones’: as the context shows, these are water-heating devices. If cold water flows through a heated pipe, there is not enough time for the water to heat up; but if secondary pipes are coiled around inside the main pipe, so that the water remains near the source of heat for a longer time, it has enough time to heat up.

through the void: it has even been claimed, on no good grounds, that this extract should count as an actual fragment of Leucippus.

173 ‘thing’: the Greek is a made-up word. The Greek for nothing is ouden, and the sixth-century poet Alcaeus coined the word den by removing the prefix ou, which means ‘not’: so ‘not-thing’ became ‘thing’. In Democritus, the word recurs in F1.

wine is in: this is the fallacious result of an experiment, or supposed fact, that if all the wine from a cask is poured into wineskins, the cask can later receive not only the original amount of wine, but the skins too. The atomists plainly took this to show the presence of void in the wine, so that it could be compressed.

two bodies to coincide: that is, since two bodies cannot coincide, the food we take in must go into void spaces inside our bodies.

empty vessel can: this looks like a variant of the second argument, about compression.

no-thing to exist: the phrase ou mallon (translated here as ‘There is no more reason …’ became a standard ploy in sceptical arguments. It is possible that Plutarch is paraphrasing rather than directly quoting Democritus.

which are moist: one of the chief difficulties in reconstructing Democritus’ theory of vision is that whereas here there is no hint that air impedes vision (in fact, it is probable that he thought that one of the functions of light in vision was to compress the air until it was thick enough to receive imprints, which were then conveyed by the light along a narrowing cone to the eye), there is elsewhere: see Theophrastus below on blackness, and also Aristotle, On the Soul 419a.

akin to itself: one important point Theophrastus does not immediately make clear (but does in section 54, when he turns to criticism of Democritus’ views) is that all the soul-atoms, which are distributed evenly throughout the body, are involved in sight (and presumably in all cases of perception). The visible object makes an impression in the eye, but it is only when all the soul-atoms have been disturbed that recognition and perception take place.

according to their state: that is, especially, whether they are healthy or ill.

configurations: these ‘configurations’ are not individual atoms, but tiny atomic aggregates with structures which create certain appearances to the human senses.

in pairs: a most puzzling clause, which few interpreters pretend to understand.

arched formation: I think this is a somewhat garbled record of the following idea. The atoms which are in the upper regions still have a slight downward tendency—natural to all atoms—but are being pushed at from below by those that are being squeezed upwards. Thus the crust, as it were, of upper atoms curls round and forms a rounded shape, just as a cloth enfolds a fist which is pushed up into it.

there are fewer: this has been strikingly confirmed by modern astronomy.

Democritus himself: Abdera was (and still is) a sleepy backwater, whose inhabitants were thought to be somewhat dense.

Chrysippus: an eminent Stoic philosopher of the third century BCE.

differ from one another: Democritus, then, held two theories that would strike us today as unusual: (1) that both men and women secreted semen (’seeds’); (2) that the whole of a parent’s body contributes to the composition of the semen (see also DK 68A141). Thus Democritus says that a male child is the result of the prevalence of the man’s semen over the woman’s, in so far as part of the man’s semen is made up of that part of himself that makes him male rather than female. (As a matter of fact, although the second thesis may be unusual today, it closely resembles Darwin’s theory of pangenesis.)

he says: Aelian is probably paraphrasing rather than quoting.

assail us: a remarkable anticipation of the theory proposed in this century by astronomer Fred Hoyle.

guardian spirit: compare Heraclitus F60 on p. 46.

straightforward and authoritative: the modern eye glides easily over this—to us—self-evident statement, but Diogenes was the first to show clear awareness of the point, as opposed to the dogmatism of many of his predecessors.

best possible condition: this is the first extant statement of the famous Argument from Design; then see Xenophon, Memoirs of Socrates 1.4 and 4.3.

breathing-holes of the universe: pumice stones are pitted with holes.

a single thing: see F2 above.

the blending: these are a puzzling couple of sentences. Since we will shortly be told that it is those who have the least air whose sense of smell is keenest, the idea here seems to be something like this: brains have veins for the passage of air. Some brains have so many channels that there is too much air swirling around the brain and the odour is too diffuse to be smelled. Smelling occurs when the air in and around the brain is compact enough to mingle with the relatively dense odour.

just as much as before: that is, if the air in veins in the eye cannot transmit the reflection back to the brain (or, rather, the air around the brain), then perception fails to occur.

discerns pleasure most: the word for ‘pleasure’ can also mean ‘taste’.

two contradictory arguments about everything: it is not clear if, as some maintain, this statement also amounts to an ontological claim about reality—that reality is such that there are always possible two arguments or positions about any aspect of it. This Heraclitean interpretation of Protagoras stems from Plato’s Theaetetus, but it seems more likely that Plato is being innovative in combining Protagorean relativism with Heraclitean ontology in that dialogue.

that they are not: there is actually considerable ambiguity in the Greek of this famous saying of Protagoras (his fragment 1). It could be translated by any combination of the following elements: ‘[A] man is [a]/[the] measure of all things, of the things that [are the case]/[are …]/[exist], [that]/[how] they [are the case]/[are …]/[exist], of the things that [are not the case]/[are not …]/[do not exist], [that]/[how] they [are not the case]/[are not …]/[do not exist].’ Given the likely aphoristic nature of his books he probably did not go on to make things much clearer even for his original readers. At any rate, it is clear that, contrary to Parmenides’ denial of ‘is not’, Protagoras is insisting that we are the measures of what-is-not, as much as of what-is.

that they do not exist: a possible alternative translation is: ‘… in what manner they exist, or in what manner they do not exist.’. This is fragment 4 of Protagoras.

the opportune moment: probably in the context of rhetoric.

known as ‘Socratic’: that is, arguing by question and answer, or dialectical argument.

shunned the arts and crafts: probably on the grounds that they are beneath the dignity of these high-born young men.

others even before them: it is far from clear whom Plato might have in mind as Protagoras’ predecessors in this respect.

lack of objective apprehension: this passage contains Sceptic technical vocabulary and is unlikely to contain any actual words of Protagoras.

his own cleverness: this ad hominem claim that Protagoras’ thesis is self-refuting is the same as in T5. However, later in Theaetetus, at 169d35–171c, Plato develops a more sophisticated self-refutation: There are people who do not believe the same as Protagoras, but Protagoras must hold that their beliefs are as true as anyone else’s, therefore it is true that Protagoras’ thesis is false. In actual fact, Protagoras could respond by insisting on his usual suffixes and claiming that this is only true for these people.

Prometheus and Epimetheus: Prometheus occurs in a number of Greek myths as a benefactor of mankind; his name means ‘foresight’ or ‘providence’. His brother, Epimetheus, is ‘hindsight’.

the extinction of any species: Herodotus, who undoubtedly knew Protagoras, since they would have coincided in the early years of the new colony at Thurii, developed this idea in the case of hares and lions at 3.108.

gave them to man: Hephaestus was the blacksmith god, and therefore the god of fire; the relevant skills of Athena are weaving, spinning, and pottery. Hephaestus appears as a direct benefactor of humankind in the Homeric hymn to him, and in Diodorus of Sicily,Universal History 1.13.

punished for his theft: he was condemned to eternal torture in the Caucasus. Spread-eagled on a rock, by day an eagle came and ate his liver, which grew again during the night, in time for the eagle to eat it again the next day.

together in friendship: Protagoras was almost certainly an agnostic. The use made in this story of Prometheus and Zeus is either allegorical or a Platonic accretion on to a more mechanistic original.

Diagoras: Diagoras of Melos (fl. 420 BCE) was the most famous atheist of classical antiquity.

that they do not exist …: the block of stone on which this fragment of Diogenes is preserved is badly broken; the reconstruction of the remaining text is uncertain and controversial. However, that Diogenes went on to try to justify the blatant illogicality with which the translated text ends is certain, given the final incomplete sentence.

Tisias: Tisias and Corax, from Syracuse (and so fellow Sicilians of Gorgias), were said to have written the first technical handbooks on rhetoric, but nothing reliable is known about them.

The Encomium of Helen: there is also extant, not translated here, a defence of Palamedes, a Greek hero who in legend was put to death as a result of a false accusation by Odysseus. Helen’s reputation in the fifth century was as the woman who had betrayed her husband for an effete easterner and had caused countless Greek deaths.

fickle and changeable: two of Gorgias’ cases for proving the instability of belief are drawn from Presocratic (‘the astronomers’) and Sophistic argumentation. The third, the middle one, is a reference to the law courts. Gorgias finds grist for his mill in his immediate intellectual environment.

by some evil persuasion: some scholars have found traces of Protagorean scepticism here: no knowledge is possible, and people have only opinion; nothing truly exists, but everything merely seems to be. But there is no suggestion in Gorgias that people cannot have knowledge, only that as long as people have only opinion, they can be pushed around by the power of logos.

explained to our neighbour: it is very likely that the ‘it’ Gorgias talks about throughout the treatise is ‘anything at all’.

Scylla and Chimaera: mythical monstrous creatures.

visible and audible: compare The Encomium of Helen on the spoken word being ‘insubstantial and imperceptible’.

confined to the body: this distinction between ‘enjoyment’ and ‘pleasure’ was evidently famous, because something similar is ascribed to Prodicus by Aristotle at Topics 112b—a distinction between ‘joy’, ‘delight’, and ‘satisfaction’.

Simonides: a famous Greek lyric poet of the late sixth and early fifth centuries BCE, one of whose poems is being analysed at this stage of Plato’s Protagoras.

as much as anyone else: the usual view was that phlegm was cold and wet.

useful for life: the text of this fragment is most conveniently found in Henrichs’s article.

only has to ask: at Meno 70b-c Plato attributes this same ability, to answer any question, to Gorgias too.

beat me at anything: the agonistic tone of this claim is striking. Many of the Sophists do seem to have been concerned with public acclamation and defeat of opponents. They may have undertaken public debates, with the winner being decided by the acclaim of the audience. The best surviving example of such a debate is the famous Constitutional Debate in Herodotus 3.80–2.

mastering it: each year in Athens nine arkhontes (‘leaders’) were elected by lot, with mainly administrative duties. One of them, the eponymous arkhōn, gave his name to the year. Socrates is referring to a list of these eponymous arkhontes. The office had been in existence before Solon (arkhōn 594/3), but his reforms lessened its power, so Socrates takes him as the founder of the democratic office.

the finest rules of life: on this lecture of Hippias, compare perhaps Prodicus F1 on pp. 246–9.

not by convention: how sweeping a statement is this? Does Hippias mean that everyone is an equal member of the community of humankind, in which case he prefigures Antiphon, or at least of the Greek community (panhellenism was a fifth-century topic), or does he only mean that the present company are akin, as all being intellectuals? The generality of the rest of his words incline one to prefer the first option.

characteristics: some scholars believe that this maxim refers to children, but adults are often as impressionable themselves, and the generality of most of Antiphon’s sayings suggests that his target is everyone, adult or young.

whole new direction for him: literally, ‘a new guardian spirit for him’, the guardian spirit (daimon) being considered as that which navigates one through life.

we know and respect: the remnants of F17–19 have been found on papyrus fragments. The reconstruction of the text is sometimes contentious. I have concentrated on those sections where we can be reasonably sure of the reading, but some guesswork is involved. In addition to Diels/Kranz [1] and Untersteiner [3], it is important to consult the edition of these fragments of Antiphon in F. Adorno et al., Corpus dei papiri filosofici greci e latini, vol. i (Florence: Olschki, 1989). The text of POxy 3647 is also easily available in Barnes’s article in Polis, 7 (1987).

foreigners and Greeks: Greeks tended to be highly xenophobic, regarding everyone outside the confines of Greek civilization—all foreigners—as barbarous (that is, those whose language sounded like bar-bar). Even Gorgias said, ‘Victory over foreigners calls for praise, victory over Greeks for mourning’ (DK 82B5b). But later, in the following century, one of Gorgias’ pupils, Alcidamas, said, ‘God has set all men free; nature has made no man a slave.’ Evidence for fifth-century debate about the equality of women is scattered: Plato seems to imply at Republic 450a35–b that there had been some debate about the issue, and we glimpse it reflected in a number of fifth-century contexts, but most noticeably Aristophanes’ comedy The Assembly Women.

you are a citizen: some interpretations of Antiphon depend on reading this sentence as expressing approval of justice. But there is nothing to warrant such a reading, which goes against the tenor of everything else Antiphon says. Antiphon is here simply defining man-made justice, as opposed to natural justice. Compare the famous fragment of the philosopher Archelaus of Athens, earlier in the fifth century: ‘Right and wrong are conventional, not natural standards’ (DK 60A2). The fact that Antiphon uses the emphatic expression, ‘the community of which one is a citizen’, rather than simply saying ‘one’s community’, suggests an implicit contrast with the universality of natural law.

an oath: these are examples of situations where the natural response is disallowed by law or convention, when it would be advantageous to one, and the sanctioned response is disadvantageous. So, to take Antiphon’s first example, if someone wants to kill me, it is to my advantage (and it conforms to the natural law of self-preservation) to make a pre-emptive strike against him, but society disallows that. The oath-taking example is obscure, but what Antiphon may have in mind is this. In court, to offer someone the opportunity to swear under oath that his testimony was true is also to create the opportunity for yourself to swear that your testimony is true too, even though it may contradict the other testimony. Thus if a man is constrained by convention to allow his opponent in court to swear to the truth of his testimony, but does not resort to such a captious tactic himself, he is not taking the advantage offered him.

squaring a circle: the problem of how to construct a square or a polygonal figure with an equal area to a given circle (partly as a way of determining the area of the circle) exercised a good many minds until it was shown to be impossible in 1882. Antiphon’s method was one of approximation: he constructed a series of triangles (or, in another report, squares) inside the circle, and maintained that if he constructed enough triangles, perhaps an infinite number, the whole area of the circle would be exhausted.

good things bad: the sentence lacks a subject, but it may well have been ‘mind’. Others think it might have been ‘nature’.

without limits or needs: the only conceivable subject of this sentence is God.

pursuing the damp air: a delightful picture of the sun, like an orderly Pacman, chasing damp air through the skies, and leaving behind the scorched air it has already ‘consumed’ or dried out.

makes it wrinkled: the subject is presumably the sun, or heavenly fire at some early stage of the cosmogonic process.

improve on another: not all scholars are convinced that this papyrus fragment is to be attributed to Antiphon. I translate the text given in Untersteiner [3]; it can also be found in S. Luria, Classical Quarterly, 22 (1928), 176–8.

without being able to define it: Aristotle goes on to define the rhetorical paean as one where the phrase either starts with a long syllable and ends with three short syllables or, on the contrary, starts with three shorts and end with a long.

the good and the bad are different: e.g. Socrates.

at another time: our author appears to be unaware of the difference between saying that the good and the bad are the same, and that the same thing is both good and bad. Mutatis mutandis, the same criticism applies to the following sections.

Athenians and their allies: this is an unmistakable reference to the Peloponnesian War, which ended in 404; however, we cannot say with any certainty how long after the end of the war the treatise was written.

victory over the Persians: that is, in 479.

the Achaeans: the author uses the usual Homeric word for the Greeks.

the Argives: the reference is probably to the legendary conquest of Thebes by Argos in the expedition known as the Seven against Thebes.

brought up earlier: in actual fact, though, the author has failed to address the issues of the first half of this section. In the first half of this section, the thesis was that an object may be both good and bad in different respects. This is (a) unobjectionable, and (b) a thesis about predication. But when the author attacks this specific thesis in the second half, he makes out that it is (a) objectionable, and (b) a thesis about the identity of goodness and badness. It is hard to escape the view that our author is muddled.

unacceptable: homosexuality was an accepted aspect of (usually upperclass) Greek society.

Ionians: on mainland Greece the Ionians were chiefly the Athenians.

everyone else’s: see Herodotus 2.35–6 on Egyptian customs which are opposite to those of everywhere else. Quite a few of our author’s ethnographic facts or fables are similar or the same to stories found in Herodotus; this may be coincidence, in the sense that they may both be drawing on a common stock of stories, but it is hard to resist the idea that our author is indebted in this section to Herodotus 3.38 given the similarity of his conclusions, that there are as many customs as there are peoples, and that what is acceptable in one place is unacceptable in another.

piece of verse too: from an unknown tragic poet.

rob temples too: temples were often the repositories of both private and public valuables.

Orestes and Alcmaeon did: legendary characters who killed their mothers in retribution for crimes against their fathers.

perfectly right: Cleoboulina was a sixth-century poet; this was a famous riddle whose solution may be that the man was a wrestler.

no difference: compare Euthydemus and Dionysodorus T2 (pp. 281–2), which has a Protagorean provenance (see Protagoras T5 and T8 on pp. 213 and 215, with the refutation our anonymous author will shortly produce).

the same statement is false: I suppose the author’s meaning is that the truth or falsity of the sentence is somehow accidental or non-essential, whereas what is essential to the statement is the way it is expressed, the words in which it is spoken.

‘I am an initiate’: that is, an initiate of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the popular Athenian cult.

simultaneously false: compare the famous Liar Paradox, which was well known to the Greeks: a liar says, ‘This statement is true.’

two talents: ‘talent’ and ‘mina’ are units of weight.

both are and are not: the influence of Gorgias may be detected here.

they were arguing for: the addition of the suffixes is a Protagorean tactic.

and so on and so forth: similarly, Plato argues (Cratylus 432aff.) that if something is added or subtracted from an image, it remains an image, whereas if something is added or subtracted from a number, it is no longer that number. Now, it looks as though Plato should have said, not ‘it is no longer that number’, but ‘it is no longer number’, otherwise the numerical example does not provide a proper contrast with the image example. And that is why our author says not just that ten no longer exists, but that even the one no longer exists. He is saying not just that if one is subtracted from ten, you get a different number, but that if one is subtracted from ten you get no number at all. The argument trades on an ambiguity in ‘number’: it can be thought of either distributively or collectively. Considered collectively, ‘number’ resembles other collective words such as ‘team’. If one member drops out of a cricket team, you no longer have the (full) team (although you have only subtracted one from eleven, distributively speaking): the team no longer exists. Aristotle identified trading on this ambiguity as a Sophistic argument at On Sophistic Refutations 178a, and Sextus Empiricus refers to it or employs it several times (Outlines of Pyrrhonism 3.90; Against the Professors 4.23–30, 9.312–20, 10.308–9).

taught his son to sculpt: Polyclitus of Argos was one of the greatest sculptors of the late fifth century.

would speak Greek: a somewhat similar argument occurs in the fifth-century Ps.-Hippocratic treatise, Airs, Waters, and Places, section 12: Greek emigrants to the Middle East end up as effete as the original inhabitants.

and so on: Socrates certainly criticized election by lot on these grounds, and claimed that (at least in an ideal world) moral and political experts would form our governments; but this may not establish Socratic influence on this section of Double Arguments, since it is likely that such criticisms of election by lot were common.

talk succinctly: Plato not infrequently has Socrates tease the Sophists for relying too much on long speeches (makrologia), but in fact they prided themselves on being able to talk succinctly as well, which meant being able to enter into question-and-answer dialogue with others, and, like Socrates, gradually leading their interlocutor towards a conclusion.

nature and origin of all things: it is noteworthy that our author’s paragon includes among his skills at least two of the known titles of Sophistic books—On Truth (Protagoras, Antiphon), On Nature (Gorgias, and most of the Presocratics).

know about everything: Plato’s parodied Sophists, Euthydemus and Dionysodorus, also claim to be omniscient—but then they also claim that everyone is always omniscient (Euthydemus 293a-297a, part of which is T4 on pp. 282–3). Hippias claimed to be able to answer any question on any subject (Hippias T1, pp. 252–3).

cowardice to Epeius …: the text breaks off at this point. Memory techniques such as the one our author is recommending only work if they are vivid. Thus, when he says that if we need to remember something about courage we should connect it to Ares and Achilles, he means us to have in our minds a vivid picture of Ares and/or Achilles. These pictures serve as focuses: concepts, passages of text that we need to remember, whatever, accumulate around these pictures, and are there to be recalled the next time we visit these pictures in our minds.

you substitute convention: with a reference to this passage of Gorgias, Aristotle says (On Sophistic Refutations 173a) that, so far from being typical of Socratic argumentation, as Callicles claims, the switch from nomos to physis and back again was typically Sophistic.

bodies come in a gleaming mass: this presumably means meteors.

kings over men: as opposed to Hippias’ dictum (T4, p. 255) that nomos is a tyrant.

daily work: there may here be an implicit criticism of Athenian democracy, where every male citizen had the right directly to participate in the political process.

committed or received: this (and Plato again, in Crito 50c35–53a) is the first clear statement in history of the social contract theory that was later to be developed by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Rawls, and others. The idea of a social contract may, however, be implicit in F1 above, and it recurs in T3 and is briefly alluded to by Antiphon in F18 (p. 265). We can be certain, then, that it predates Plato, and belongs to the era of the Sophists.

origins of the universe: Diodorus has just reproduced a supposedly traditional cosmogony, which may be an amalgam of Presocratic thought, or Egyptian or pseudo-Egyptian in origin.

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