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In the sixth century BC, Pherekydes of Syros, the reputed teacher of Pythagoras and contemporary of Thales and Anaximander, wrote a book about the birth of the gods and the origin of the cosmos. Considered one of the first prose works of Greek literature, Pherekydes' book survives only in fragments. On the basis of these as well as the ancient testimonies, the author attempts to reconstruct the theo-cosmological schema of Pherekydes. An introductory chapter on the life of Pherekydes is followed by four chapters on the contents of his book. From Pherekydes' mythopoeic creation account, his colourful narratives of a divine marriage and a battle of the gods, and finally from his remarks on the soul, Professor Schibli is careful to unfold the philosophical implications. Pherekydes emerges as a figure who moved in that fascinating frontier between myth and philosophy. The theogonies of Hesiod and the Orphics, the cosmological speculations of certain Presocratics, and the Pythagorean tenets on the soul are all profitably compared with the remnants of Pherekydes' book. Pherekydes is thus shown to be an important witness to early Greek thought in its various manifestations.
This is the first book-length study in English dedicated to Pherekydes. It includes a comprehensive appendix of the fragments and ancient testimonies, along with limited critical apparatus and English translations.