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AN EDITION AND TRANSLATION OF THE
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRÚBNER & CO. LTD.
THE Hegelian School, and in particular Zeller, have shown us the place of the earlier thinkers in the history of Greek thought, and the importance of a knowledge of their work for all who wish to understand Plato and Aristotle. Since Zeller's monumental work, several writers (e.g. Benn, Greek Philosophers, vol. i. London 1883; Tannery, Science hellène, Paris 1887; Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, London 1892) have traced for us the history of this development, but the student who desires to go behind these accounts and examine the evidence for himself still finds the material difficult of access. This material consists of numerous short fragments preserved by later writers, and of accounts of the opinions of these thinkers given mainly by Aristotle and by the Greek doxographists (i.e. students of early thought who made epitomes of the opinions of the masters). The Greek text of the doxographists is now accessible to students in the admirable critical edition of H. Diels (Berlin 1879). The Greek text of the fragments has been published in numerous short monographs, most of which are not readily accessible to the student to-day; it is contained with a vast deal of other matter in Mullach's Fragmenta Graecorum Philosophorum (Paris 1883–1888, vol. i.-iii.), but the text
is in many places so carelessly constructed that it does not serve the purposes of the scholar.
In the present work it has been my plan to prepare for the student a Greek text of the fragments of these early philosophers which shall represent as accurately as possible the results of recent scholarship, and to add such critical notes as may be necessary to enable the scholar to see on what basis the text rests. From this text I have prepared a translation of the fragments into English, and along with this a translation of the important passages bearing on these early thinkers in Plato and Aristotle, and in the Greek doxographists as collected by Diels, in order that the student of early Greek thought might have before him in compact form practically all the materials on which the history of this thought is to be based. It has been difficult, especially in the case of Herakleitos and the Pythagoreans, to draw the line between material to be inserted, and that to be omitted; but, in order to keep the volume within moderate limits, my principle has been to insert only the passages from Plato and Aristotle and from the doxographists.
The Greek text of Herakleitos is based on the edition of Bywater; that of Xenophanes on the edition of the Greek lyric poets by Hiller-Bergk ; that of Parmenides on the edition of Karsten; and that of Empedokles on the edition of Stein. I have not hesitated, however, to differ from these authorities in minor details, indicating in the notes the basis for the text which I have given.
For a brief discussion of the relative value of the Sources of these fragments the student is referred to the Appendix.
My thanks are due to several friends for their kind assistance, in particular to Professor C. L. Brownson and Professor G. D. Lord, who have read much of the book in proof, and have given me many valuable suggestions. Nor can I pass over without mention the debt which all workers in this field owe to Hermann Diels. It is my great regret that his edition of Parmenides' Lehrgedicht failed to reach me until most of the present work was already printed. Nevertheless there is scarcely a page of the whole book which is not based on the foundation which he has laid.