Thursday, February 10, 2011


You should get to know him. Unfortunately, only fragments of his work remain, but the ones that do... What can I say? They touch me. From Wiki: Parmenides describes the journey of a young man from darkness to light. Carried in a whirling chariot, and attended by the daughters of the Sun, the man reaches a temple sacred to an unnamed goddess (variously identified by the commentators with Nature, Wisdom, or Themis), by whom the rest of the proem is spoken. He must learn all things, she tells him, both truth, which is certain, and human opinions; for, though one cannot rely on human opinions, they represent an aspect of the whole truth. Fragment 1 is below. Here's a link to all of them

1        The mares that carry me as far as my (their?) spirit might reach

2        Were conducting [me]; when leading (carrying) me they put me onto a many-voiced road

3        Of a goddess (daimōn), who through all cities bears the man of understanding.

4        On this I was carried, for on this the much-indicating mares were carrying me

5        Pulling the chariot at full stretch, and maidens led the way.

6        The axle in the wheel-boxes was sending forth the sound of a surinx (panpipe), itself

7        Burning, for it was being pressed down by its two turned

8-9      Wheels at both ends, as the Sun-maidens (Hēliades) hastened to convey me, leaving behind the houses of Night,

10       Into [the] light, having pushed the veils from their heads with their hands.

11       There are the gates of the paths of Night and Day

12       And a lintel and a threshold of stone hold them together at both sides (top and bottom),

13       Themselves being filled by vast doors;

14       Of these many-penaltied Dikē (Justice) holds the keys of exchange (alternation).

15       Her indeed the maidens blandishing with gentle words

16-17    Persuaded cleverly to push the bolted bar swiftly from the gates for them; and they of the doors,

17-19    Spreading, made a yawning gap, turning the much-bronzed posts in their sockets in turn

20       Closely fixed to them with pegs and nails. Right away straight through the gates

21       Along the carriage-road the maidens guided the chariot and mares.

22-23    And the goddess (thea) received me willingly, and took my right hand in hers, and spoke to me and addressed me thus:

24       "Young man in the company of immortal charioteers

25       And mares which carry you, arriving at our house,

26       Welcome, since in no way a bad fate (moira) has sent you forth to go

27       On this road - for truly it is far from the beaten path of humans -,

28       But rather Themis (Right) and Dikē (Justice). You must hearken to (learn) everything,

29       Both the unshaking heart of well-rounded (persuasive?) Alētheiē (Truth)

30       And the opinions of mortals, in which there is no true assurance.

31       But nevertheless you shall learn these things also, how the things that are believed (OR: the things that seem)

32       Must really be altogether [going] throughout all things (OR: Must really be accepted to be continually (continuously) pervading everything).

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