Page:Early Greek philosophy by John Burnet, 3rd edition, 1920.djvu/183

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CHAPTER IV

PARMENIDES OF ELEA

84.Life. Parmenides, son of Pyres, was a citizen of Hyele, Elea, or Velia, a colony founded in Oinotria by refugees from Phokaia in 540–39 B.C.[1] Diogenes tells us that he "flourished" in Ol. LXIX. (504–500 B.C.), and this was doubtless the date given by Apollodoros.[2] On the other hand, Plato says that Parmenides came to Athens in his sixty-fifth year, accompanied by Zeno, and conversed with Sokrates, who was then quite young. Now Sokrates was just over seventy when he was put to death in 399 B.C.; and therefore, if we suppose him to have been an ephebos, that is, from eighteen to twenty years old, at the time of his interview with Parmenides, we get 451–449 B.C. as the date of that event. It is quite uncritical to prefer the estimate of Apollodoros to Plato's express statement,[3] especially as Parmenides himself speaks of visiting "all towns,"[4] and we have independent evidence of the visit of Zeno to Athens, where Perikles is said to have
  1. Diog. ix. 21 (R. P. 111). For the foundation of Elea, see Herod. i. 165 sqq. It was on the coast of Lucania, south of Poseidonia (Paestum).
  2. Diog. ix. 23 (R. P. 111). Cf. Diels, Rhein. Mus. xxxi. p. 34; and Jacoby, pp. 231 sqq.
  3. Plato, Parm. 127 b (R. P. 111 d). Wilamowitz once said that there were no anachronisms in Plato, though he now (Platon, vol. i. p. 507) regards this statement as an "invention." I cannot agree. In the first place, we have exact figures as to the ages of Parmenides and Zeno, which imply that the latter was twenty-five years younger than the former, not forty as Apollodoros said. In the second place, Plato refers to this meeting in two other places (Theaet. 183 e7 and Soph. 217 c 5), which do not seem to be mere references to the dialogue entitled Parmenides.
  4. Cf. p. 172, n. 1.

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