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There are two competing methods for dating Parmenides’ birth, to either 540 (Diogenes Laertius) or 515 (Plato) B. Furthermore, many philological difficulties persist throughout the reconstruction.
There are conflicting transmissions regarding which Greek word to read, variant punctuation possibilities, concerns surrounding adequate translation, ambiguities in the poetical form, and so forth.
From the House of Night—far below the center of the Earth—the Heliades would follow an ascending arc to the eastern edge of the Earth, where the sun/moon rise.
The journey would then continue following the ecliptic pathway upwards across the heavens to apogee, and then descend towards sunset in the West.
This is further confirmed given the two geographical locations explicitly named (the “House of Night” and the “Gates of Night and Day”), both of which are traditionally located in the underworld by Homer and Hesiod.
Thus, the chariot journey is ultimately circular, ending where it began (compare C2/DK5).
Although there are many important philological and philosophical questions surrounding Parmenides’ poem, ) of Ascea, Italy. E., and thus Parmenides was of Ionian stock (1.167.3). The linear order of the three main extant sections is certain, and the assignment of particular fragments (and internal lines) to each section is generally well-supported.
Here, Parmenides positively endorses certain epistemic guidelines for inquiry, which he then uses to argue for his famous metaphysical claims—that “what is” (whatever is referred to by the word “this”) cannot be in motion, change, come-to-be, perish, lack uniformity, and so forth. This account claims Parmenides “flourished”—a euphemism conventionally understood to correspond with having reached forty years of age, and/or the height of one’s intellectual career—during the sixty-ninth Olympiad (between 504-500 B. However, the lateness of the account can be considered a weakness, and the “flourishing” system of dating is quite artificial, vague, and imprecise. On the other hand, if one accepts the earlier dating by Diogenes, it makes it very unlikely Heraclitus’ work could have influenced Parmenides, as there would not have been sufficient time for his writings to become known and travel across the Greek world from Ephesus, Ionia.
It also suggests a possible identification of the anonymous spokes-goddess—Night (compare Palmer 2009).
The rest of the poem consists of a narration from the perspective of the unnamed goddess, who begins by offering a programmatic outline of what she will teach and what the youth must learn (1.28b-30): …And it is necessary for you to learn all things, Both the still heart of persuasive reality And the opinions of mortals, in which there is no genuine reliability.
However, discerning exactly what that thesis is supposed to be has proven a vexing, perennial problem since ancient times. Several sources attest that he established a set of laws for Elea, which remained in effect and sworn to for centuries after his death (Coxon 16, 116). The result is a rather fragmentary text, constituted by approximately 154 dactylic-hexameter lines (some are only partial lines, or even only one word).
Even Plato expressed reservations as to whether Parmenides’ “noble depth” could be understood at all—and Plato possessed Parmenides’ entire poem, a blessing denied to modern scholars. This reconstructed arrangement has then been traditionally divided into three distinct parts: an introductory section known as the ).