Jeffrey Armbruster wrote: ↑
Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:16 pm
...I mentioned once his "To the bow is given the name of life" fragment, which is similarly over determined and enigmatic (poetic).
I remember. I can't remember what I said at the time.
Reading fragments is usually tedious, so I don't often bother. I've got three volumes of fragments of Old Comedy. I wonder if I'll ever bother to read them!
The classicist J.P. Vernant argues that Greek thought in pre-Socratic time hadn't yet sorted out categories like Justice from revenge and even fate.
Indeed some of these are things that Plato is still unravelling in his dialogues. Vernant, together with Vidal-Naquet, is a very good French writer on the classics.
Fate though, is something different. As I said, Homer only ever uses it in expressions like "He was fated to die". It's only ever considered in hindsight. I'm not aware of Plato's ever discussing fate. The problem with generalising the Greeks is that Homer wrote in, let's say 700BC, and Alexander of Aphrodisias in 200AD. So there's 900 years of thought separating the two. Not to mention Roman rule of the Greek world, Stoicism, and then Christianity. There was an argument about the extent to which Zeus bowed to fate. I don't know when. Questions can be asked of Homer, but we don't know whether he asked those questions or not.
Also of course the early philosophers were Ionians (as was Homer) and came under Persian rule, which would have influenced how they saw things.
Ideas of justice changed a lot too. Modern interpretation of Athenian tragedy is not fixed, though, in case Vernant gives the impression that it is - one possible generalisation is that the Oresteia and other things are about the problems caused by Homeric values being applied to modern (i.e. 5th century) society and the problems that would cause and how modern institutions do things differently, alleviating those problems. The plays that follow this general pattern may possibly have been selected for their political theme - it has been asked (re a Sophocles fragment, tongue-in-cheek), when someone turns into a hoopoe and attacks his sister with an axe, what does that say about Athenian democracy? And then we have the Romans again - when they exterminated the citizens of Corinth in 146BC, the debate about the nature of Justice will have taken yet another turn.
It is possible for modern people to misunderstand what ancients thought and what they didn't.
Zeno's paradox is an interesting one, but I have a suspicion I posted it before and someone doubted me and I couldn't bother to go through it.
Something else I'm looking at is gestation periods. Knowledge of them coexisted with ideas that were completely mythological.
Even now you'll find mums websites where the myth is still held that 7-month births are safe for the baby; 8-month births are dangerous. Anyway, digression!
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.