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Encyclopedia > Pherecydes of Syros

Pherecydes of Syros (in Greek: Φερεχύδης) was a Greek thinker from the island of Siros, Magna Graecia of the 6th century BC. Pherecydes authored the Heptamychia, one of the first attested prose works in Greek literature, which formed an important bridge between mythic and pre-Socratic though. In this piece, Pherecydes taught his philosophy through the medium of mythic representations. Although it is lost, the fragments that survive are enough to reconstruct a basic outline. Aristotle in Metaphysics (section 1091 b 8) thus characterized Pherecydes' work as a mixture of myth and philosophy.

Pherecydes gives a history of the world that proceeds by rationalizing the Greek pantheon. The king of the gods is not Zeus but Zas ("he who lives"). His father is Chronos ("time") rather than Kronos, from whom water, earth, air and fire spring. The antagonism between father and son seems to have been omitted. Chronos and Zas fight a war against Ophion or Ophioneus ("the snake man"), and Zas celebrates his victory by weaving a robe for Chthonie, who is transformed into Ge ("the surface of the earth").

Both Cicero and Augustine thought that Pherecydes of Syros first taught the immortality of the soul.

Diogenes Laertius writes that some considered Pherecydes to have been the teacher of Pythagoras. He is occasionally counted among the Seven Sages of Greece.

Pherecydes of Syros should not be confused with Pherecydes of Leros.

This article is part of The Presocratic Philosophers series
Thales | Anaximander | Anaximenes of Miletus | Pythagoras | Philolaus | Archytas | Empedocles | Heraclitus | Parmenides | Zeno of Elea | Melissus of Samos | Xenophanes | Anaxagoras | Leucippus | Democritus | Protagoras | Gorgias | Prodicus | Hippias | Pherecydes

External link

  • Excerpt from Diogenes biography of Pherecydes (http://classicpersuasion.org/pw/diogenes/dlpherecydes.htm)

  Results from FactBites:
Pherecydes Of Syros - LoveToKnow 1911 (338 words)
PHERECYDES OF SYROS, Greek philosopher (or rather philosophical theologian), flourished during the 6th century B.C. He was sometimes reckoned one of the Seven Wise Men, and is said to have been the teacher of Pythagoras.
Of his astronomical studies he left a proof in the "heliotropion," a cave at Syros which served to determine the annual turning-point of the sun, like the grotto of Posillipo (Posilipo, Posilippo) at Naples, and was one of the sights of the island.
In his cosmogonic treatise on nature and the gods, called Hevr4tvxo (Preller's correction of Suidas, who has E7rTaµuXos) from the five elementary or original principles (aether, fire, air, water, earth; Gomperz substitutes smoke and darkness for aether and earth), he enunciated a system in which science, allegory and mythology were blended.
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