Xenophanes of Colophon: Selected Fragments

Source: John Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, 3rd Edition (1920). The entire book is now available on the Internet.

A fuller list of the fragments is in Burnet, chapter 2.

Burnet gives "the fragments according to the text and arrangement of Diels." (That is, he numbers them as Diels does in his important collection of the fragments of the Presocratics. "R.P." refers to this collection.--J.G.)

(11) Homer and Hesiod have ascribed to the gods all things that are a shame and a disgrace among mortals, stealings and adulteries and deceivings of one another. R. P. 99.

(12) Since they have uttered many lawless deeds of the gods, stealings and adulteries and deceivings of one another. R. P. ib.

(14) But mortals deem that the gods are begotten as they are, and have clothes like theirs, and voice and form. R. P. 100.

(15) Yes, and if oxen and horses or lions had hands, and could paint with their hands, and produce works of art as men do, horses would paint the forms of the gods like horses, and oxen like oxen, and make their bodies in the image of their several kinds. R. P. ib.

(16) The Ethiopians make their gods black and snub-nosed; the Thracians say theirs have blue eyes and red hair. R. P. 100 b.

(18) The gods have not revealed all things to men from the beginning, but by seeking they find in time what is better. R. P. 104 b.

(23) One god, the greatest among gods and men, neither in form like unto mortals nor in thought.... R. P. 100.

(24) He sees all over, thinks all over, and hears all over. R. P. 102.

(25) But without toil he swayeth all things by the thought of his mind. R. P. 108 b.

(26) And he abideth ever in the selfsame place, moving not at all; nor doth it befit him to go about now hither now thither. R. P. 110 a.

(27) All things come from the earth, and in earth all things end. R. P. 103 a.

(34) There never was nor will be a man who has certain knowledge about the gods and about all the things I speak of. Even if he should chance to say the complete truth, yet he himself knows not that it is so. But all may have their fancy. R. P. 104.