Pythagorean Cosmogony and Vedic Cosmogony (RV 10.129). Analogies and Differences

in Phronesis
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Abstract

Allusions to a cosmogony contained in a Vedic hymn (RV 10.129) present striking analogies to a cosmogony attributed to the Pythagoreans by Aristotle, Simplicius and Stobaeus. The aim of the paper is to evaluate the extent to which they are similar and to which their differences respond to different cultural premises.

Pythagorean Cosmogony and Vedic Cosmogony (RV 10.129). Analogies and Differences

in Phronesis
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  • 3)

    Cf. AlexanderOn the Metaphysics i. 39.12 Hayduck. (Aristotle fr. 203 Rose3) where the Pythagoreans are said to have believed that the One was mind and substance. This passage may shed light on Aristotle’s idea of the Pythagorean ‘One’.

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  • 5)

    Burkert 197237 and n. 46 quoting Hippocrates De natura pueri 12 De natura hominis 5 De flatibus 3 De carnibus 6; Diogenes of Apollonia 64 A31 DK and Empedocles 31 A74 DK.

  • 8)

    Schibli 1996126 n. 44 tentatively (as he says) spells out the parallel with the cosmogony: ‘The body is originally a “one” in the sense of being solely constituted of the hot; it then draws in the cold air from outside and emits it again thus starting the process of respiration (which is vital for cooling the body). If in this process the external air may be seen as the unlimited element the hot is somehow the limiting element . . . Similarly the central fire the one takes on a limiting function by drawing in breath (and vacuum and time) from the unlimited thereby initiating the further development of the cosmos.’

  • 12)

    Burkert 197237 and n. 42 in which he quotes Euripides TrGF F484; Staudacher 1942. As Kahn points out (2001 29): ‘no distinction seems to be made here between the generation of numbers the emergence of geometric point and the production of sensible magnitudes. Such conceptual refinements will be the work of Plato and his associates.’

  • 14)

    HippolytusRefutatio 1.6.1 = 12 A11 DK: οὗτος ἀρχὴν ἔφη τῶν ὄντων φύσιν τινὰ τοῦ ἀπείρου ἐξ ἧς γίνεσθαι τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ τὸν ἐν αὐτοῖς κόσµον. ταύτην δ᾽ ἀίδιον εἶναι καὶ ἀγήρω ἣν καὶ πάντας περιέχειν τοὺς κόσµους (‘he said the source and element of existing things was a certain nature of the boundless from which come to be the heavens and the cosmos in them. And this is everlasting and ageless and it also surrounds all the cosmos’).

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  • 18)

    Cf. Varenne 1982.

  • 27)

    Cf. West 1971; Burkert 2004.

  • 28)

    Cf. Bernabé 1995; Burkert 200868-72.

  • 29)

    Cf. Mendoza 2008.

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