Home >> New International Encyclopedia, Volume 20 >> Wittekind to Yttrium >> Xenophanes


ed, poetry and nature

XENOPHANES, z&-rif'rt-nez (Lat.. from Gk.

Zevoxio)s) (second half of the sixth century n.c.). Thy founder of the Eleatic school of phi losophy. He was born at Colophon, in Asia Minor, about 570, but early removed to Elea, in Lower Italy. He brought over from his home, which had been for many generations the city of the Homeric school of poetry, the practice of rhapsodic recitation; and after the manner of the genealogists he himself had composed a poem on the founding of Colophon (KoXo0C,Ivos and a second on his removal to Elea (AirouctcrOs rijs 'ITaXias). tie also employed poetry to set forth his philosophic views in a work entitled On Nafvrc (REM In this he zealously upheld the monotheistic view and charged Homer and Hesiod with ascribing to the gods actions which would be disgraceful for mortals. He seems to have held that whatever is existent must have always existed from eternity without being derived from any prior elements; and that all nature is one, unlimited, and that all the parts of this unity must be similar, otherwise we should have multiplicity; that therefore this unity, which is infinite and eternal and homogeneous, cannot change; and further that God is of the same nature, all-per vasive and comprehending all things within Himself. In another work, the Satires (IINNoo,

he attacks the doctrines of other philosophers and poets. The fragments of his work are pub lished by Bergk, Porhe Lyrici Orwci (4th ed., Leipzig, 1882) ; consult also: flitter and Prel ler, Historia Philosophies Grown. (tith ed.. Gotha, 1898) ; Zeller, Philosophic (ler Gricchen (4th ed., Leipzig, 1900) ; id., Pre-Sorra t ic Philosophy (Eng. trans., London, 1881) ; Ueberweg, History of Philosophy (Eng. trans., New York, 1872).