Genealogy in Early Greek Philosophy

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Zehner, Joseph, Classics - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Strauss Clay, Jenny, Classics, University of Virginia

This dissertation examines the influence of genealogical thinking on early Greek philosophy and their historical context. The first chapter focuses on the genealogies of Homer, Hecataeus of Miletus, and Pherecydes of Athens to demonstrate the pervasiveness of genealogical thought in the Archaic period, its malleability for different purposes, and its agonistic qualities. The second chapter examines Chaos in Hesiod's "Theogony," showing how the proem emphasizes the absolute priority of Chaos and detailing the lasting influence Chaos has on Hesiod's cosmos. The third and fourth chapters examine the traces of genealogical thought in Parmenides' and Empedocles' poems, respectively, despite their being overtly anti-genealogical. The fifth chapter demonstrates how Greek thinkers from Hesiod to Empedocles used embryology as a microcosmic analogue to the cosmos and how Empedocles' craft analogy represented an opposite view.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Philosophy, Epic Poetry, Homer, Hesiod, Hecataeus, Genealogy, Presocratic, Embryology, Aphrodite, Ancient Greece, Greek Philosophy
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