|  Share | Cite


Xenophanes (zĕnŏfˈənēz) [key], c.570–c.480 B.C., pre-Socratic Greek philosopher of Colophon. Although thought by some to be the founder of the Eleatic school, his thought is only superficially similar to that of Parmenides. Xenophanes opposed the anthropomorphic representation of the gods common to the Greeks since Homer and Hesiod. Instead he asserted there is only one god, eternal and immutable but intimately connected with the world. Although interpretations of his thought vary, it was probably a form of pantheism. He was a singer of elegies, a poet, and a satirist who exhorted his hearers to virtue.

See G. S. Kirk and J. E. Raven, The Presocratic Philosophers (1957).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Xenophanes from Infoplease:

  • Xenophanes: meaning and definitions - Xenophanes: Definition and Pronunciation
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson: Xenophanes - By fate, not option, frugal Nature gave One scent to hyson and to wall-flower, One sound to pine-groves and to waterfalls, One aspect to the desert an
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson: Holidays - From fall to spring, the russet acorn, Fruit beloved of maid and boy, Lent itself beneath the forest, To be the children's toy. Pluck it now! In vain,
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson: Poems - Good-bye, proud world! I'm going home: Thou art not my friend, and I'm not thine. Long through thy weary crowds I roam; A river-ark on the ocean brine
  • Antisthenes - Antisthenes Antisthenes , b. 444? B.C., d. after 371 B.C., Greek philosopher, founder of the ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Philosophy: Biographies