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Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers, by Kathleen Freeman, [1948], at


Pherecŷdes of Syros: date uncertain; he may have lived in the seventh century, or middle of the sixth century B.C.

He was said to have been the first to write in prose. His book, extant in antiquity, was called Heptamychos (Seven-Chambered Cosmos) or Theocrasia (Divine Mingling) or Theogonia.

p. 14

1. Zas (Zeus) and Time existed always, and Chthoniê; but Chthoniê acquired the name Gê, since Zas gives earth to her as a gift of honour.

1a. (Pherecydes, like Thales, gives water as the first cause; he calls it Chaos, probably borrowing the term from Hesiod).

2. For him (Zas) they make the houses many and great. And when they had finished providing all this, and also furnishings and men-servants and maid-servants and all else required, when all is ready, they carry out the wedding. On the third day of the wedding, Zas makes a robe, large and fair, and on it he embroiders Earth and Ôgenos (Ocean) and his dwelling . . . 'For wishing your marriage to take place, I honour you with this. Therefore receive my greeting and be my wife.' This they say was the first unveiling ceremony, and hence arose the custom among gods and men. And she answers him, receiving the robe from him . . .

3. (Zeus when about to create changed into Eros, because by combining the Cosmos out of opposites he brought it into harmony and love, and sowed likeness in all, and unity extending through all things).

4. (Story of the war between the two armies under Cronos (Saturn) and Ophioneus: after challenges and combats, a pact was made, that whichever side fell into Ocean should have lost, and the other side should be victors and rule the heavens. To this can be traced the Mysteries concerning Titans and Giants who are said to have made war on the gods, and also the Egyptian stories of Typho, Horus and Osiris).

S. (Comment by Pherecydes on Homer, Iliad, I. 590 and xv. 18):

Below this part of the world is the Tartarean part; its guardians are the daughters of Boreas, the Harpies and the Storm-wind. Thither does Zeus banish any god who commits an act of lawlessness.

6. Hollows, ditches, caves and gates.

7. Outflow.

8. (Aethalides had from Hermes the gift of transmigration of his soul from Hades and earth and vice versa).

p. 15

9. Rhê (Rhea).

10. (Forms for possessive pronoun 'mine').

11. (Forms for personal pronouns 'we, you, they').

12. (Word used by the gods for 'table').

13. (Pherecydes does not agree that Zeus and Hera are the father and mother of the gods).

13a. (Ambrosia the food of the gods).


14. (The pupils of Pherecydes called the Dyad Boldness and Impulse and Opinion, because the true and false are in Opinion).

Next: 8. Theagenes of Rhêgium