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In: Evolution, Cognition, and the History of Religion: A New Synthesis


The poem by Parmenides is widely recognized as having a decisive influence on Greek philosophy. The text is also notorious for its interpretative problems owing to its obscure poetic style. Among the discordant quotes from the proem, Simplicius uniquely preserves a verse with the unparalleled genitive εὐκυκλέος (literally ‘of [the] well-wheeled’). Contrary to a recent editorial trend in opting for the lectio facilior εὐπειθέος (‘of [the] well-persuasive’), I argue in this paper that the lectio difficilior is genuine testimony to a poetic device designed by Parmenides to perform a pivotal role in the proemial structure as a whole, and to redeploy a key concept in archaic verbal art by means of paronomasia: the ‘glory’ (κλέος) conveyed through the costly medium of song. The proem thus gives characteristic voice to the experimental spirit of inquiry in which Parmenides variously challenged and took his cue from the conceptual framework of encomiastic performance.

In: Mnemosyne