Democritus and the Sources of Greek Anthropology by Thomas Cole

By Thomas Cole

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T h a t t h e g r o w t h o f t e c h n o l o g y s h o u l d be p l a c e d i n a social c o n t e x t at t h i s p o i n t is n o t a r b i t r a r y : t h e d e v e l o p m e n t s d e s c r i b e d are s u c h as are n o t l i k e l y t o o c c u r so l o n g as m a n lives i n a n i s o l a t e d o r u n o r g a n i z e d c o n d i t i o n . F i r e requires constant tendance, hence c a n n o t exist w i t h o u t at least a rudi- m e n t a r y d i v i s i o n o f l a b o r . Houses a n d g a r m e n t s a n d t h e use o f g r a i n c o u l d arise i n i s o l a t i o n , b u t since t h e i r d e v i s i n g r e q u i r e s some l u c k o r i n g e n u i t y e v e r y o n e is n o t l i k e l y t o h i t u p o n t h e m o n his o w n .

I f i t was t h e l a t t e r , o r a n y t h i n g a p p r o a c h i n g i t , o n e o u g h t t o b e a b l e t o det e c t b e h i n d o u r texts as t h e y n o w s t a n d t h e basic lines o f t r e a t m e n t a d o p t e d i n t h e i r source. I b e l i e v e t h a t s u c h lines o f t r e a t m e n t are d i s c e r n i b l e a n d s h a l l a t t e m p t t o t r a c e t h e m i n t h e c h a p t e r w h i c h f o l l o w s . T h e discussion w i l l seek t o resolve, as n e a r l y as possible, t h e source p r o b l e m r a i s e d b y o u r texts a n d , m o r e i m p o r t a n t , t o m a k e a f i r s t step t o w a r d r e c o v e r i n g t h e lost stages o f t h e speculative t r a d i t i o n w h i c h they represent.

7) suggests that he associated the sapientes with the founding of cities, hence with the creation of society in its higher phases. H e may even have been influenced in some degree by the other tradition, found in Cicero and the euhemerizers (see below, Chap. V I , note 2 3 ) , which made certain outstanding individuals responsible for ending a completely savage and cannibalistic state of nature. But such influence, if present, does not affect substantially the tone of his account or the character of the early men there described: alti spiritus .

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