Article ID: CBB001221686

Presocratic Discourse in Poetry and Prose: The Case of Empedocles and Anaxagoras (2012)


Althoff, Jochen (Author)

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Volume: 43
Pages: 293--299

Publication Date: 2012
Edition Details: Part of a special issue, “Structures and Strategies in Ancient Greek and Roman Technical Writing”
Language: English

This paper explores the differences between poetry and prose in philosophical writing by examining two Pre-Socratic fragments, one in verse and one in prose, that express a very similar thought: Empedocles 59 B 17 Diels/Kranz and Anaxagoras 31 B 8 D./K. Although at first it might seem as though there is a simple division between Empedocles' opaque and allusive hexameters and Anaxagoras' sober prose, when we look in detail at the language used by the two authors, a close reading of the passages reveals a more complex picture. Both authors place rhetorical emphasis on their own role as innovator; Anaxagoras' prose shows a careful attention to style and word choice no less than Empedocles' poetry, and Empedocles' poetry itself reflects the range of stylistic registers and types of material that hexameter could be used for in antiquity. There is no simple antithesis between prose style and hexametric poetry, and the words and stylistic devices an author chooses are constitutive of the thought he expresses.

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Article Doody, Aude; Föllinger, Sabine; Taub, Liba (2012) Structures and Strategies in Ancient Greek and Roman Technical Writing: An Introduction. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (p. 233). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Sisko, John E.
Graham, Daniel W.
Zaborowski, Robert
Curd, Patricia
Morel, Pierre-Marie
Pradeau, Jean-Françoise
Apeiron: Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science
Ancient Philosophy
Organon: International Review
Kwartalnik Historii Nauki i Techniki
Oxford University Press
Université Marc Bloch
Editions Peeters
University of California Press
University of Toronto Press
Pre-Socratic philosophers
Natural philosophy
Philosophy of science
Matter theory
Anaxagoras of Clazomenae
Empedocles of Agrigentum
Theophrastos of Eresos
20th century
10th century

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