Xenophanes

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Mortals deem that the gods are begotten as they are,
and have clothes like theirs, and voice and form.

Xenophanes of Colophon (Greek Ξενοφάνης ὁ Κολοφώνιος, Xenophánes; 570 – 480 BC) was a Greek philosopher, poet, and social and religious critic. Our knowledge of his views comes from his surviving poetry, all of which are fragments passed down as quotations by later Greek writers.

Quotes[edit]

  • ἀλλ᾽οἱ βροτοὶ δοκέουσι γεννᾶσθαι θεοὺς,
    τὴν σφετέρην δ᾽ἐσθῆτα ἔχειν φωνήν τε δέμας τε.
    • Mortals deem that the gods are begotten as they are,
      and have clothes like theirs, and voice and form.
      • Diels-Kranz (D-K), fragment 14
  • ἀλλ᾽ εἰ χεῖρας ἔχον βόες <ἵπποι τ᾽> ἠὲ λέοντες
    ἢ γράψαι χείρεσσι καὶ ἔργα τελεῖν ἅπερ ἄνδρες,
    ἵπποι μέν θ᾽ ἵπποισι βόες δέ τε βουσὶν ὁμοίας
    καί <κε> θεῶν ἰδέας ἔγραφον καὶ σώματ᾽ ἐποίουν
    τοιαῦθ᾽ οἷόν περ καὐτοὶ δέμας εἶχον <ἕκαστοι>.
    • But if cattle and horses and lions had hands
      or could paint with their hands and create works such as men do,
      horses like horses and cattle like cattle
      also would depict the gods' shapes and make their bodies
      of such a sort as the form they themselves have.
      • Fragment 15 (D-K)
  • Αἰθίοπές τε <θεοὺς σφετέρους> σιμοὺς μέλανάς τε
    Θρῇκἐς τε γλαυκοὺς καὶ πυρρούς <φασι πέλεσθαι>.
    • Ethiopians say that their gods are snubnosed and black
      Thracians that they are pale and red-haired.
      • Fragment 16 (D-K)
  • For all things are from the earth and to the earth all things come in the end.
    • Fragment 27, as quoted in Xenophanes of Colophon: Fragments, trans. J. H. Lesher (University of Toronto Press, 2001), p. 124

External links[edit]

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