Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 28

Nietzsche’s Preplatonic Philosophers:

Diogenes Laërtius, ‘Personality,’ and the ‘Succession’ of Anaxagoras

Babette Babich
Fordham University, NYC, USA — Email: babich@fordham.edu

Abstract: Scholars typically discount Nietzsche’s value for contemporary studies of Greek antiquity and this is
done from both the perspective of Classics as of Ancient Philosophy. At the same time, such denigrations have
been challenged again anCleved again, rather in the way that the whiteness of ancient statues could be cited by
Nietzsche himself as a well-known fallacy in one of his public lectures in Basel — known since the 18th century
and even earlier to have been richly, brightly coloured. Following the efforts of Vinzenz Brinkmann, the former
director of the Munich Glyptothek, popular museum exhibitions of colorful deities — Bünte Götter — have
gone on tour seemingly around the world. But no sooner do we note the colours overlaying classical statues than
we revert to Winckelmann’s comfortingly white clichés. The same fate seems destined to attend any effort to
revisit Nietzsche and classical philology.
As Jonathan Barnes has reflected along with Hugh Lloyd-Jones and David Lachterman among others in an older
tradition, including Karl Reinhardt and, more recently, as Gherardo Ugolini and, in the broader tradition of
philology, as Christian Benne has argued, it is worth questioning the convention that Nietzsche was ‘not really’
a classical philologist. Yet scholarly reception of Nietzsche continues to be conducted (even for exceptions such
James Porter, Glenn Most, John Hamilton, even André Laks) on the same terms that informed Wilamowitz’
juvenile critique. As Nietzsche reproaches himself in his own “Versuch einer Selbstkritik” written to accompany
the republication (unaltered) of his first book, the “ears” for his reading of antiquity seem not to have existed —
as they do not seem to exist today.
Nietzsche — the Anti-Aristotle par excellence — insisted that Diogenes Laërtius, as Barnes explains, “is in fact
night-porter to the history of Greek philosophy: no-one can enter unless Diogenes has given him the key.”
Nietzsche explicates, contra what can seem simply a pell-mell account of this and that, that the anecdotal is
essential just owing to the lack of primary and secondary sources. Given the state of the doxa that happen to
remain, our only access is via the person: “The only thing of interest in a refuted system is the personal element.
That alone is what is forever irrefutable.” Barnes notes this claim but without considering it, going on to track
the promised number of anecdotes (Nietzsche promises to offer three in each case) although Nietzsche no more
keeps to his count than does Diogenes Laërtius.
Of the Preplatonic thinkers Nietzsche writes: “It is a veritable misfortune that we have so little extant of the
works of the ancient masters and that not a single one of their works was handed down to us complete.” For
Nietzsche, we cannot but err: offering scholarly judgments rather as one searches for one’s keys under the lamp-
post owing more to the sheer abundance of light than for any likelihood of finding them in just that spot, ranking
“with false standards, letting ourselves be disposed more favorably toward Plato and Aristotle by the sheer
accident that they never lacked connoisseurs and copyists.” This happenstance inclines us to measure the rest of
philosophy by their standards, unideal given their own efforts to eclipse those aspects of the past not seeming to
culminate in themselves.
Nietzsche’s hermeneutic emphasis highlights the difference between our tastes (what seems right to us) by
contrast with the effort to read the ancients on their own terms: “what philosophy was for them.” By describing
Plato as a “mix’t type,” utterly “unoriginal,” Nietzsche emphasizes the purity of thinkers before him such that
philosophy in Greek antiquity is not estranged from itself whereas, beginning with Plato, philosophy goes into
self-exile. Thus Nietzsche’s reading of such ‘Preplatonics’ (hence including Socrates) by contrast with those
Diels traditionally names the ‘Presocratics’ yields a range of useful insights beginning with a radical liberation
from the Aristotelian-cum-Hegelian strictures of the doxographic tradition and not less the opportunity for
critical historiography.
Most informative can be Nietzsche’s proto-structuralist hermeneutics of the tripod (coincidentally relevant as we
find ourselves in Delphi), his discussion of the ‘person’ (Homer, Archilochus) and his reading of Anaximander
(as ethical thinker) and perhaps his (to this day still) pathbreaking discussion of Anaxagoras as leading Athenian
philosopher [Hauptphilosoph] foregrounding his noble traits (especially for Pericles), and not less as model for
Aristophanes’ Socrates, and, arguably, for Plato’s cosmology as such. Also of interest is the divine or useless
character of philosophy, a reflection on Die mythische Vorstufe der Philosophie, and on the morphology of the
Key words: Preplatonics, διαδοχή, personality, historiography, Anaxagoras, uselessness
Orestes at Delphi. Paestan red-figured bell-krater, ca. 330 BC. British Museum.
Text prepared for the meeting of the International Association for Presocratic Studies Sixth Biennial
Conference: 25-29 June 2018. Delphi, Greece: European Cultural Centre of Delphi.

Nietzsche’s Preplatonic Philosophers:

Diogenes Laërtius, ‘Personality,’ and the ‘Succession’ of Anaxagoras
Babette Babich

Das Werden, der Zweck, die Erkenntniss

— Inhalt der vorplatonischen Philosophie.
— Nietzsche

Introduction: Between Theophrastus and Diogenes Laërtius

In their Aetiana: The Method and Intellectual Context of a Doxographer, Jaap Mansfield and
David Runia detail the complex origins of Hermann Diels’ Doxographi graeci and thereby
Diels’ reconstruction of the doxographer Aetius, a discussion also illuminating Diels, Die
Vorsokratiker.1 On this account, the original project to collect the fragments of early ancient
philosophy was to have been shared between Hermann Usener, a specialist in Theophrastus,
and Kurt Wachsmuth, a Diogenes Laërtius expert — Naumburg born and seven years older
than Nietzsche (and Friedrich Ritschl’s son-in-law).2 According to Diels, Wachsmuth and
Usener “had planned a corpus of which Wachsmuth would do the Laërtius and Usener
ps.Plutarch and the others, but that because of other obligations, Usener had assigned his
portion to Diels, and Wachsmuth the Laërtius portion to Nietzsche.”3 The project was
conceived when Usener and Wachsmuth were both teaching at a Berlin Gymnasium.4
Mansfeld and Runia point out that Diels in the course of his own work drew upon Nietzsche’s
source work as well as his deployment of Lachmannian stemmata,5 in addition, to be sure, to
Bernays and Mommsen and Usener along with Alfred Schoene’s Eusebius chronology.

Diels’s Die Vorsokratiker, cited by just the initials (after the 5th edition) DK, informs our
ordering of the Presocratics and thereby every approach to ancient philosophy to this day.
And yet what if Usener and Wachsmuth had managed to hand off the project as originally
specified? The combination, Diels-Nietzsche, seems ideal in retrospect and like most
imaginary exercises. What prevented this was Nietzsche’s call — at an unusually early age,
as such details continue to impress university academics as if anything in academia did not
favour the young, think of the once-upon a time characterization of Habermas as Wunderkind
or Markus Gabriel or ‘your-name-here’ — elevating him to Professor of Classical Philology
at the University of Basel in 1869, succeeding the Latinist Adolf Kießling who was himself
called to Hamburg. Nietzsche’s qualifications for the position were based on his published
work on Diogenes Laertius,6 not to mention Ritschl’s strong personal recommendation.7

Diels’ solo-authored Doxographi Graeci,8 dedicated to Usener, appeared in 1879. Diels

continued to work alone on Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker,9 published in 1903, the same
year, as Martin Heidegger writes, that “Nietzsche’s essay on the Preplatonic philosophers
first became known.”10

The posthumous text to which Heidegger refers was Nietzsche’s Philosophie im tragischen
Zeitalter der Griechen.11 To this we may add Nietzsche’s more extensive lecture courses: Die
vorplatonische Philosophen, given repeatedly at the University of Basel.

Certainly, had things turned out as Usener/Wachsmuth projected, a Diels-Nietzsche

collaboration would have made a significant difference to Nietzsche’s reception.

At the same time, had Nietzsche been involved in such an undertaking, he would not have
because he could not have become ‘Nietzsche.’ He would likely not have written The Birth of
Tragedy (at least not in the style that he did write it) and he might have published a study of
Greek Lyric, as well as, perhaps, his “On the Theory of Quantitational Rhythm”12 thus
enhancing a more general knowledge of Nietzsche’s crucial contributions to our
pronunciation of ancient Greek.13 And we might pay more attention to Jonathan Barnes who
contributed in 1986 an important essay to the Nietzsche-Studien or the various others who
have pointed to the relevance of Nietzsche’s philology, most recently, most broadly,
Christian Benne.14

‘Just So Stories’

Had Diels not become the sole compiler of what became the foundational source in ancient
philosophy, had we had a Nietzsche-Diels source book, it seems safe to say that as scholars
we would have a different take on the doxographic tradition in general, as the result would
have lead scholars to take account of biography (Diogenes Laërtius) rather more than is
emphasized in Aristotle/Theophrastus in addition to highlighting interpretive problems, as
this was Nietzsche’s critico-hermeneutic area of expertise.15

The most trivial difference might be terminology, contra the title rubric of Diels-Kranz, such
that we speak of Pre-Socratic philosophers, given a Diels-Nietzsche edition (or Nietzsche-
Diels) we might speak of Pre-Platonic philosophers,16 highlighting the difference Plato makes
as a matter of the textually complete (and ‘the mixed’ as Nietzsche describes Plato) contra the
fragmentary (and ‘the pure’ as Nietzsche describes the pre-platonic tradition of philosophy).17

For his part, Nietzsche focused on the sources of the sources themselves, yielding the prize
essay, De fontibus Diogenis Laertii,18 an achievement that led Ritschl to say that this scholar
was one who could literally do ‘anything’ he set his mind to.19 Thus although we commonly
read that Nietzsche never wrote a dissertation, he had in truth prepared the equivalent of
several such in advance of his Basel appointment.

To summarize these initial points, Nietzsche’s professorial appointment entailed the loss to
the world of what would have been an ideal historico-critical edition of ancient sources,
including Diogenes Laërtius counterpoised against the current dominance of the Aristotelian
and doxographic tradition.

Nothing in the history of Classics matches this to this day. 20 Indeed, were one to try to
articulate such a coordinated approach one would encounter resistance in the form of the
same ‘peer’-enforced obstacles Nietzsche encountered contra his attempts to take his own
discipline in a direction inspired by his original source work and thus his sense of the texts
‘themselves’ in addition to his sensibility for the relevance of meter.

In actual printed fact — as this dictates the history of ideas and what Gadamer calls the
‘working’ of such effects — the discipline of classical philology came to be established on
the institutionalization of the same doxographic tradition Mansfeld and Runia explore (and
which Nietzsche calls Alexandrian).21 And after the appearance of Nietzsche’s first book on
the origins of tragedy, no one less than Usener would be reported (and Nietzsche himself
transmits the report) that nothing could come of Nietzsche’s first book: “jemand, der so etwas
geschrieben habe, sei wissenschaftlich todt.”22

Behind all this, to be sure, is the history of classical philosophy already extant in the
champion of Aristotle and the doxographic tradition that is the influential voice of Hegel for
the history of philosophy (and of history as such). In our parsing of Presocratic philosophy
(as indeed in our thinking on ancient Greek tragedy) we scholars today, ‘we philologists,’ to

quote Nietzsche, continue to follow the doxographic, Alexandrian tradition
(Aristotle/Theophrastus).23 And rather than thinking of Nietzsche as a philologist, we imagine
that Nietzsche failed and then that he rejected, as failures do, his own discipline.

But Nietzsche did not simply ‘wander’ into his Altphilologie inadvertently, as Hugh Lloyd
Jones has pointed out and as Viktor Poschl and Rudolf Rehn have noted and as Gherardo
Ugolini observes. Indeed, having done the math, as Christian Benne argues in Nietzsche und
die Historisch-Kritische Philologie,24 by the time Nietzsche was to resign his position in
Basel, over the course of “21 years in total,” corresponding, so Benne emphasizes, to more
than half of his entire conscious intellectual life, Nietzsche “dedicated the greater part of
every day” to Classical Philology.25

That Nietzsche had much to say to us is clear and I wrote The Hallelujah Effect to try to work
out the relevance of what he called the ‘spirit of music’ to tragedy and not less, so I argue,
along with Thrasybulos Georgiades, for the reconstruction of ancient Greek music out of the
words themselves.26 But today’s scholars interpret tragedy and reconstruct ancient Greek
music as if Nietzsche had never existed and never wrote. They are arguably wrong in so
doing but this is what they do. Hence it is hardly surprising that the little book, Philosophie
im tragischen Zeitalter der Griechen,27 published three years after his death in 1900 would
make little difference to students of Classics (perhaps unjustly as Ernst Howald writes in his
1920 study of Nietzsche and classical philology).28 Nor was it necessary, despite Heidegger’s
claim, to wait until 1903, as Nietzsche’s posthumous writings appeared as early as 1896,29
not, again, that that made a difference either nor would his Basel university lecture notes,
published by 1910 (with the exception of several crucial lectures that would remained
unpublished until 1995).30 Significantly too, Nietzsche’s writings on the antique tradition are
not commonly encountered in research libraries alongside Diels-Kranz, Kirk-Raven-
Schofield or other editions of the presocratic fragments, although we can now read
Nietzsche’s Pre-Platonic Philosophers (in a not unproblematic) English translation31 and in
French as Les philosophes préplatoniciens suivi de «Les diadochaì des philosophes».32

An artefact of editorial decisions — and not less disciplinary divisions — separates Nietzsche
into philological and philosophical categories that seem to have no intersection with one
another such that Nietzsche’s philological studies are rarely included in philosophical
discussions of his work.33 Nor as already noted, not that this needs emphasis, is Nietzsche

usually considered in connection with Classical Philology as such. And matters are not
helped by the contemporary analytic habit of separating Nietzsche into periods, including
stages in which he was, in effect, not really Nietzsche.

Preplatonic Philosophers: Nietzsche’s Personalities and Diogenes’ Lives

The designation ‘Preplatonic’ is not Nietzsche’s invention but he uses it to title his university
lectures for reasons of both philological rigor and consistency. As a result, Nietzsche is able
to introduce philosophy before Plato as ‘unmix’t‘— characterized in terms of “becoming,
purpose, knowledge [Das Werden, der Zweck, die Erkenntniss]” — as opposed to Plato
himself whom he names “the first great mixed character in both his philosophy and his
philosophical typology.”34 In consequence, he names Plato literally “non-original” as he
combines Socratic, Pythagorean, and Heraclitean elements, an account which also permits
Nietzsche to count Socrates as a Preplatonic.

Nietzsche is perhaps the anti-Aristotle par excellence: this orientation informs his first book
and it informs his inaugural lecture as well as his lecture courses on both Plato and the Pre-
Platonic Philosophers. But we today tend to approach such distinctions as Nietzsche makes
(why should he oppose Aristotle on tragedy, no less and why ever oppose Aristotle’s account
of ancients?) rather in the way we read Nietzsche’s other writings because we read
‘whiggishly,’ to use Herbert Butterfield’s language for our presentist predilection in history.
And there is little help for this on the face of it, given the effective dynamic of the history of
publication and of editions, as we cannot review Nietzsche’s focus on his Preplatonics (when
we can do so at all and this is worth noting) except via Diels’ Presocratics, no matter whether
we refer to DK or KRS or perhaps, after the recent seven volume (originally announced as 4)
Loeb edition of Early Greek Philosophy, LM (Laks/Most). To just this extent, any discussion
of Nietzsche and the Preplatonics, especially given Nietzsche’s focus on types and
personalities, that is life (following Diogenes Laërtius Lives) can seem dissonant even where
this terminology (persons and types) are scientifically founded as Nietzsche speaks
historically and methodologically hermeneutic, of philological precision.

For Nietzsche, the focus on what he calls the person (or personality) as on what can be said
via hearsay and repetition or second-hand accounts is not simply a certain approach,
biographical by contrast with the doxographic but scientifically essential just because “we

have so little left from these original philosophers and we involuntarily discount them in our
estimation, whereas we find from Plato onward voluminous remains [voluminosen
Hinterlassenschaften].”35 Noting that we have lost the great works of Heraclitus and the
whole of Empedocles’ poem, along with the writings of Democritus “which writings the
ancients set beside Plato,” we are compelled, and here the stylistic irony of Nietzsche comes
to voice, to ‘console’ ourselves instead with “Stoics, Epicureans, and Cicero.” Given this
textual limitation — as for Nietzsche the texts we have are not only extraordinarily sparse but
written with “the most concentrated force” it remains relevant that “the greatest part of
philosophical prose is lost to us.”36 Thus he emphasizes that the period in question
corresponds to the most intense in Classical Greece: these first philosophers are
“contemporaries” of nothing less than the “6th and 5th Centuries, contemporaries of tragedy,
the Persian wars.”37 For Nietzsche the question is how did they philosophize in this tragic era,
“in the richest and most abundant age of their force,” and even more critically, radically, as
asking such a first question is always essential: “more principally: in this period did they
philosophize?” [h a b e n sie in dieser Periode philosophirt?]”38 Given our lack of basic
textual material remains, we are forced “in essence” “to reconstitute the image of these
philosophers and their teachings.” It is for this reason that the sources of Diogenes Laërtius,
“dispersed reports of the lives of these philosophers are just as important to us as the ruins of
their systems.”39

Nietzsche’s lectures review the considerations required for a reconstruction of Archaic Greek
philosophy. And in these lectures both methodologically and substantively we find that we
have rather more than simply an outline or a sketch. If Nietzsche ultimately did not
collaborate with Diels, he nevertheless set the project on the back burner, elaborating it in
several related projects, including his own metrical-lyrical stamp, and his Basel courses on
Plato in addition to Die vorplatonischen Philosophen (1869-70, 1872, 1875-76, 1876) as well
as Die Διαδοχαί der vorplatonische Philosophen (1873-74).40

Persons, Personages, and Personalities and Dating Anaxagoras

The language of the ‘person’ can be elusive for today’s readers, read between the accounts
represented in Nietzsche’s Basel lecture courses and more popularly and summarily, in
Philosophie im tragischen Zeitalter der Griechen. The focus on ‘person’ or ‘personality’41

goes back to Nietzsche’s work on Diogenes Laërtius’ Lives and we also find it in his
inaugural lecture on Homer. In addition, it appears in his thematization of the very
scientifically specific problem of speaking about historical persons, articulated with reference
to historical science and a similarly explicit challenge to Hegel (and not less Darwin, in
philological terms) in the first and rarely received of the Untimely Meditations on David
Straus, a theologian who wrote on the historical person of Jesus.

Nietzsche poses another question at the outset of his university lectures, reflecting on the
state of the art of philology circa 1872, which had at the time been reigning for half a century
as Hegelian, invoking Hegel’s emphasis on speculative progress [Fortschritt] in Hegel’s 1823
reflections from Thales to Aristotle: Einleitung in die Geschichte der Philosophie.42 For
Hegel, this is the unfolding of spirit, mind, or in modern terms the inexorable march toward
our own intellectual ideals as such sensibilities inform current presentist scholarship: what
makes sense to us on our own terms makes the most sense.

In this context, Nietzsche begins his university lectures with a reference to this convention:
“How far in comparison with more recent philosophers, did the Greeks recognize and
advance philosophical problems?”43 Nietzsche frames his question philologically, in a non-
Whiggish or non-presentist or historically hermeneutic sense as he goes on to explain:

We want to ask: What do we learn on the basis of the history of their philosophy for the
Greeks. Not, what do we learn for philosophy? We want to explain the fact that the
Greeks did philosophy [die Griechen Philosophie trieben]: which, given the reigning
viewpoint on the Greeks, is hardly self-explanatory. Anyone who imagines them as
clear, sober, harmonious, practical people will be unable to explain how philosophy
came to be among them. And whoever understands them only as aesthetic human beings,
luxuriating in all kinds of artistic enthusiasms, will also feel themselves estranged from
their philosophy.44

To this end, Nietzsche asks a contextually founded question, very much indebted to the
concerns of his teacher Friedrich Ritschl, asking how the Greeks moved ‘within themselves’
toward philosophy, asking secondly and crucially, “how ‘the philosopher’ appeared among
the Greeks, not merely how philosophy [as such] appeared among them.”45 How did the
philosopher look to them? To explore this question Nietzsche dedicates an entire section to
the “Wise” — under the title rubric σοφός — and he uses the language of occasional and
demarcated philosophizing, “sporadically, maxim-like [sporadisch-spruchmässige]”.46 The
sporadic emphasis will recur in Nietzsche’s aphoristic stylistics and his reflections on the

challenges of the form, but above all, what Nietzsche does is to delimit philosophy from its
Schillerian schema, as effectively “non-mythological” — emphasising instead that “all
things are metamorphoses” and that in consequence the modern conception of mythic (vs.
unmythic) thinking cannot be of use to us in this respect.

The rest of the lecture course examines the broad range of ‘Preplatonic Philosophers’ in
systematically, historiographically specific detail, foregrounding above all and in each case,
not the historical facts such as these are but the very doing of history, how it is done: the
generating of historical facts as such, including the challenges of the fixing of dates just to
begin with, explicating the doing of chronology, from Thales the first philosopher onward. In
the case of Thales however, given his prediction according to Herodotus, of a datable solar
eclipse (Nietzsche cites here astronomical research as decisive in this matter), we have, just
by contrast with most other stances, “a fixed point.”47
The lecture on Anaximander, although spending a short amount of time on origination
emphasizes the first datable event to be a bookish one: “the writing and completion of his
book, On Nature.” This is the very first philosophical text (by contrast with the Thales whom
we are told did not write). And so on, yet by the Anaximenes lecture we find Nietzsche
detailing both Apollodorus’s account of Anaximenes’ dates in addition to foregrounding his
‘putative studentship’ in his discussion of (and criticism) of received succession or

Euphronios (Euthymides or Oltos), Amphora (525–510 BCE)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Interpretations to date that focus on issues of agonistics and contest,49 miss the crucial
historiographical methodology of establishing chronology as that concerns Nietzsche
throughout his lecture courses and to which, as the topic of doctrinal or teacherly succession,
is dedicated a course. The result foregrounds the difficulty of fixing dates along with the very
notion of studentship as such (as teacher-student succession, like a professorial chair, as we
began by noting this, is also a matter of laying claim to a particular legacy whereby as
Nietzsche points out the motivation to establish succession can trump even contradictory
results, claiming a teacher who died decades earlier) along with alternate lineages of
Thus, as Nietzsche explicates both the givenness of authoritative dating and authoritative
contradiction he informs his student that skepticism is required on historical grounds.
The trustworthy Apollodorus (Laert. 11 3) says that he was born in the 63rd Olympiad
(529—525 BC) and died in the age of the conquest of Sardis (that is the conquest by the
Ionians under Darius in the 70th Olympid 70 [499]). Accordingly he would have been
about 30 years old at his early death. Now no one believes these details and everyone
assumes some corruption. According to this testimony, namely, he cannot be the student
of Anaximander who died shortly after the second year of the 58th Olympiad, i.e., 547
BC, thus approximately 20 years before the birth of Anaximenes.50

Nietzsche concludes by emphasizing the contradiction as countering the theory of succession

as such in addition to muddying dates “Apollodorus thus denies [Anaximenes’] studentship,
he denies the διαδοχή.”51
Ancient accounts include such details as evident above, but Nietzsche emphasizes that it is
important ‘an sich’ to be ‘highly mistrustful’ of these old accounts of teacherly successions,
pointing out that “it is entirely unmethodic to privilege such details that would make such a
student relationship possible.”52 Thus Nietzsche tacks between such readings, pointing to
another account in Diogenes Laërtius whereby Anaximenes is the student, at the age of 20, of
Parmenides, and turning to the source for Diogenes Laërtius’s testimony in Theophrastus that
lists Parmenides as a student of Anaximander. Now noting the dates of their flourishing for
Anaximander at 64, this gives Parmenides the studentship at 20, such that 44 years later, at
the age of 20, allows one to set Anaximenes in this lineage. This chronology makes
Theophrastus the most trustworthy as “this most ancient witness denies the διαδοχή
In an effort to reconcile this, subsequent chronologies shift the dates — whereby, anyone who
holds to the authoritative διαδοχή as Nietzsche writes, “backdates,” here following

Simplicius, both Anaxagoras and Anaximenes in order to win the advantage of the Ionian
διαδοχή. Consequently Anaximander-Anaximenes wind up as friends and contemporaries.
The effort to secure studentship leads to quandaries (just to note the most evicent ones) and
Nietzsche concludes one must side with Theophrastus contra Diogenes Laërtius especially
where the prospect opens up a range of other coordinates, especially that between
Anaximenes and Parmenides once one separates Anaximenes from Anaximander.
In most cases there is no fixed or certain way to ascertain dates with things like eclipses.
What works in the case of Thales does not work for all philosophers (although one can
assume that it does by means of the schema of succession and Nietzsche duly lists the
intervals). To this critical, historical extent, Nietzsche’s best insights are methodological
ones. Thus when Nietzsche goes on to discuss Pythagoras, transmitting Rhodes’ epithet for
Pythagoras as “grandmaster of superstition” [Grossmeister des Aberglaubens],54 the
methodology Nietzsche details, reminding us that Pythagorean philosophy is itself another
and later thing altogether, the teaching associated with the person (difficult to fix) of
Pythagoras, something else again, tracking and backtracking through the sources, affords a
summary triadic reflection, “What actually do we know about Pythagoras’ life according to
three sources: legends, rational histories, more recent superstition?” to emphasize “As much
as nothing.” [So viel wie nichts.]55
The source critical historian must, as Nietzsche emphasizes, distrust historical sources or
handbooks and restrict observation to hermeneutic reflection between then-contemporary
sources. For his part, the figure of Pythagoras remains shrouded in legend and Nietzsche
dedicates a separate later section to the Pythagoreans, 56 including a discussion of number,
whereby “1 2 3 4 comprise consonant intervals, σύμφωνα.”57
Throughout, Nietzsche encourages the student of ancient history to draw not on extant
histories but rather to compare sources and he is careful to situate the discussion in context,
as was already seen in his first reflections on Pythagoras but also Parmenides (and indeed as
we have seen Anaximenes and Anaximander) as well as Heraclitus and Empedocles. His
invocation of politics and associated conflicts, including war, and not discounting its world
historical role or influence, what Gadamer will later call working effects, permit him to set
Heraclitus’ floruit as coincident with the Ionian revolution.
This approach yields Nietzsche’s 13th lecture on Anaxagoras.58 This lecture was omitted from
earlier versions of Nietzsche’s lecture courses in the Kroner edition (third volume of

Philologica, 1913) and was likewise excluded from the 1921 Musarion edition, as mentioned
above. The editors of the 1913 edition, Otto Crusius and Wilhelm Nestle, referred the reader
via asterisk to the fact that the lecture seemd reduplicative, as extensive discussions of
Anaxagoras could be read in Philosophie im tragischen Zeitalter der Griechen. But this text
omits the historiologically didactic notes characteristic of the lecture courses. The question of
succession which takes up the major part of the Anaxagoras text omitted was important
enough for Nietzsche to dedicate an entire course to it: Die Διαδοχαί der vorplatonische
Philosophen (1873-74).59 Indeed, although included in the French translation,60 the English
translation of the lecture course omits the course on succession. The omission challenges
some readings of Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy and elsewhere with respect to Nietzsche’s
estimation of Anaxagoras (as opposed to Socrates), although this priority is attested in Plato’s
Phaedrus and of course Socrates mentions Anaxagoras as a potential source of confusion in
his Apology.61 Nietzsche’s own claim here is specifically philological as it illuminates
parallels in the picture we have of Socrates and not less Nietzsche’s own relationship to

Nietzsche’s lecture in addition to the questions concerning dating and succession, emphasizes
that his arrival could have had nothing to do with studentship just because there would have
been no philosophers with whom to study and because he had more immediate reasons to flee
Clazomenae before the Persians. Among Anaxagoras’ parallels with Socrates are a fateful
trial for godlessness resulting not in his execution but in his banishment, and Nietzsche notes
that Anaxagoras kept the best company, the teacher of Pericles, thus the ‘greatest
Anaxagorean” — and exemplifying his status as “the actual leading philosopher
[Hauptphilosoph] of Athens.”62 Crucial here is Nietzsche’s further observation (in addition
to his trial for impiety, his [failed] defence, and his subsequent expulsion) that for comic
depictions Anaxagoras had the typical character traits of “free spiritedness” [Freigeisterei]:
Thus the Socrates of Aristoph[anes] takes his essential traits from Anaxagoras. He is the
associate of the most noble and highest society: Pericles Phidias Aspasia. Great dignity
is attributed to him: Pericles is said to derive his seriousness from their interactions: he
[Anaxagoras]never laughs. … When someone complained he would have to perish in
exile, he said “everywhere is the same distance from Hades.”63

For Nietzsche scholars it is noteworthy that one of the first articulations of the doctrine of
eternal recurrence also makes its appearance here as Nietzsche following his own advice to

read between contemporary sources reflects on Anaxagoras’ relation to the Eleatics: “What
however now lives and therefore is, must also in all eternities have lived and have been.”64
And yet, if editions and editor’s choices make all the difference, it is decisive for scholarship
that (along with his lecture on Zeno) this same lecture on Anaxagoras is not included any of
the several editions of Nietzsche’s posthumously published lecture courses on Die
vorplatonische Philosophen, not Oehler, not the fourth volume of the 1920 Musarion edition,
not the Kroner editions, all of which followed a crucial editorial decision to leave out that
chapter which one finds in the table of contents and then printed as a title in the text followed
by an asterisk and a footnote referring the reader to the Philosophie im tragischen Zeitalter
der Griechen.65
The discussion of Anaxagoras in the smaller volume although extensive is not the same.66
What is lacking in the text of Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, consistently and
throughout, is Nietzsche’s historiographically critical reflections, as it were, on the
‘advantages’ [Vortheile] and deficits [Nachtheile] of historico-methodological reflexions on
chronology and historiographic details together with the more metonymic associations of the
question of succession.67 This the omission of this lecture, by editorial fiat (or fatigue), sets
back not only our understanding of Anaxagoras but also our understanding, arguably, of
Plato’s Timaeus, Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy, along with Nietzsche’s assessment of
Anaxagoras and Heraclitus and Empedocles as well as Nietzsche’s critique of and his
elevation of Anaxagoras above Socrates, a priority of influence already attested in Plato’s
Phaedrus and which example, as natural philosophical precedent, also appears in the
Apology. It is another chapter altogether to raise the question of what difference this makes
for scholarly readings of Nietzsche and Socrates (and Euripides, another noteworthy
Anaxagorean) and beyond Nietzsche of Socrates himself, the last of Nietzsche’s
Preplatonics.68 Thus the author of one recent study of Anaxagoras, undertaken to be sure for
the sake of Origen, emphasizes in unqualified terms the scholarly insularity that is
a characteristic of modern scholarship that is largely obsessive with mutual citing, as a
sort of compliment, is a manifest difficulty to approach ancient Greek scholarship itself,
which is why a vast number of authors and testimonies are being left out of
consideration as if they never existed. …It is felt that it is better to build the scholarly
character of a study on references to other modern scholars which after all sometimes is
serviceable to public relations or personal aspirations, while believing that ignorance of,
or unfamiliarity with, critical testimonies of old would pass unnoticed (and so it does
indeed). Modern scholarship on Anaxagoras is largely a more or less prosaic
reproduction of Aristotle’s misleading statements, and certainly it involves mutual (or

reciprocal) references to modern works which causes or it is meant to cause, pleasantry
to complacent little local heroes … but it is no contribution.69

Ironically, this author despite making extensive reference to Heidegger, makes no references
to Nietzsche’s discussion of Anaxagoras, even though the method this author follows, with its
attention to “ancient Greek scholarship” and a range of “authors and testimonies” is just what
Nietzsche recommends, the author manages to exclude Nietzsche from consideration as if he
had “never existed.”

A. § 2 [Der σοφὁς]

The philologist in Nietzsche complements, in good hermeneutic fashion, the critical historian.
To this extent he begins with the reflection that the word as such for the philosopher does not
likely exist (certainly he qualifies, not to begin with), and the word ‘wise,’ used to describe
the sage means something different as he explains: “etymologically it is related to sapio, to
taste, sapiens, ‘one who tastes’, and σαφής, testable.”70 Reflecting on the wisdom that would
also apply to the sagacity of the artist as such, specifically the sculptor (Nietzsche mentions
Phidias and Polyclitus) “whenever artists are called σοφοί,” according to Aristotle, it
demonstrates, thus illumined that “wisdom must be the most excellent [vorzüglichste] (i.e.,
universal) science [Wissenschaft].”71 For Nietzsche, the philosopher’s ‘wisdom’ would be
further distinguished from whatever “finds its goods within its own circumstances” as
Klugheit, cleverness, whereas and by contrast

“that which Thales and Anaxagoras know would be extraordinary, wonderful

miraculous, difficult, divine, but useless [unnütz], because it had for them nothing to do
with human goods. Thus σοφία acquires the character of the useless [Unnützen].”72

Nietzsche immediately goes on to remark upon Thales’ all too practical prowess, and the very
other basis for naming him ‘wise.’

This question is the one Nietzsche points further as it is also Thales who is singled out as the
more practically ingenious of the sages, for military influence, 73 capable of using that same
ingenuity to make a killing in the kind of speculation that drives wall street pundits to this
day and also, as the flip side of praxical competence, so incompetent in earthly matters that he
would be the butt of one of antiquity’s most common jokes at the expense of the thinker, with
the joke put into a mildmaid’s mouth for good measure as Plato reports this in the Theatetus,
as the first philosopher, it was Thales who was said, as Diogenes Laërtius tells us, to have

been so preoccupied with his study of the stars that he, head in the clouds, managed to miss
the well he fell into at his feet (this may also be connected with one of the various accounts of
his death as Nietzsche lists one of these as including leaping off a cliff at night, not utterly
different from stargazing in the morning and falling into a well).

But it is just here that the person is of significance and Nietzsche will go on to ascribe
personal achievements of praxical, political kinds to philosophers as law givers in the persons
of Anaximander and Empedocles, which as Nietzsche emphasizes can be seen, and here is
one of his few echoes of Aristotle, in their bearing: the way they walk, the way they talk.
This is philosophy as a way of life. Giving the law to oneself as anyone unable to do that
cannot rule himself and therefore, as the Greeks Nietzsche noted, “secretly surmised” in a
political subversive secret contra Asian tyranny as he wrote in The Gay Science, that “anyone
who was not a philosopher was secretly a slave.” (GS §18)

B. § 3 Die mythische Vorstufe der Philosophie: Titanomachie and Götterfrieden

At the beginning of philosophy, the gods are a problem. Nietzsche begins by noting the
derivative qualities of Greek deities and Greek religion, whereby the cultural and political
challenge is to bring these opposed and thus jealous traditions of conflict, one god contra
another, into a kind of peace. This is a political achievement, and sets Delphi at the “hearth of
Political theology.”74 Hence Nietzsche goes on to detail the crisis that one may read at the
beginning of Hesiod’s Theogony, the conflicts evident in Homer, but the real issue will be the
need to reconcile the Titans with the Olympian deities? Here we recall that Nietzsche
commissioned a woodcut not of Zeus but Prometheus, liberated no less, for the cover
frontispiece of his Birth of Tragedy. Various solutions, tragico-poetic (Nietzsche mentions
Aeschylus’ Eumenides) and above all as he suggests a geo-centric solution, Delphi at the
focal epicentre of philosophical theology. The concision of Nietzsche’s writing, also in
evidence in his first book, is apparent in the density of his discussion of myth in this section.

But the most difficult would of course be the mystery tradition, the Orphic gods. Now in the
interim, and perhaps even more significant than the discovery of the alternate wording that
has made all the difference for reading Anaximander’s fragment — penalty is paid one to
another for transgressions similarly to be parsed — there is the Derveni papyrus and not less
the Derveni Krater — providing iconographically illuminating dimensions as it does to (and

beyond) the context of Nietzsche’s thinking, so that this mystery tradition, makes and should
make all the difference in our current reading of the Archaic Greeks. For everyone who
wishes to discount Peter Kingsley must come to terms with complexities Nietzsche alludes to
here, of Phanes, but also with reference to the various incarnations of Dionysus, and the
changes in time itself, as he offers in his discussion of Pherecydes, “Zeus transforms himself
inasmuch as he generating becomes, in Eros, the creative spirit [Schöpfergeist] within the
world. With the union of Eros and Chthon begins the second Chronos, the timed [die
zeitliche] not beginningless Time [Zeit].”75

Derveni Krater. Bronze. 330-320 BCE.

Thessaloniki, Archaeological Museum

To this we may add his discussions of Anaximander and Empedocles just to the extent that
with this first reflection on myth, even in the absence of these (and other) discoveries,
Nietzsche foregrounds the cultic importance of the ‘divine service’ for the Greeks.

C. §4 Die sporadisch-spruchmässige Vorstufe der Philosophie

Given Nietzsche’s own association with the aphorism, as one of the masters of the form, it is
worth noting his reflection on the beginnings of this apothegmatic tradition of wisdom
sayings. He begins this section by noting in Homer the long development of the notion of the
ethical to the person,76 emphasizing, this is the contest perspective with Hesiod, that Hesiod
“knows nothing of the sentiment that there is private property.”77 But of course at stake here
is not merely a claim to invention but inheritance, literally. Here in his own text, Nietzsche
repeats, already suggesting the critical force of his historical reflections between Homer and
Hesiod, the typical contrast between the knightly heroic origins of the former and the
emphatic peasant concerns of the latter, “they are not two periods of time one following
another; the one does not develop out of the other.”78

And here we read, and this is significant in connection with Nietzsche’s first book on tragedy
and in particular of the ecstatic reflection there on the figure of Archilochus, not only that
“the first Hexameter was according to Plutarch that of the Pythian oracle” and not less that
“The oldest wisdom sayings [Weisheitssprüche] were certainly communicated as oracular
verse” and thence to the development of the oracle into a lyric tradition that could continually
generate new verse out of itself.79

D. Towards Hermeneutics: On § 5 The Preliminary Stages of the σοφός ἀνήρ

The next section continues by first citing the heroic ‘princely’ wisdom tradition and thence to
the lyrist emerging from a ‘series of ancient bards.’ the above gloss on the role of
competition, which is a bit different in its sense from a recent focus of Nietzsche scholarship
in terms of the agon, as this discussion largely concerns Homer and the idea much loved in
analytic readings of the free spirit. Nietzsche, by contrast, traces a more structuralist theme
describing nothing less than an approach to hermeneutics in his reflection on the σοφός ἀνήρ
competitiveness is key: this too is a contest, like that between Pythian champions racing
mules or poets hawking victory odes80 — highlights the “tripod” (and the fishermen), which
also later recurs in Nietzsche’s own metaphor for finding readers, and speaking of them as so
many fish that were lacking, — die Fische fehlten — as he wrote in his reflections on Beyond
Good and Evil,81 to speak of the riches brought up from the depths as a test of these elusive
readers, as Nietzsche also speaks in his last added book to Zarathustra of such a test or search
for readers responsive to his offerings, using the metaphor of bait drawn from Lucian, the
second century CE Syrian provocateur, as a hook to try or test the reader’s mettle:

Especially the human world, the human sea: — towards it do I now throw out my golden
fishing rod and say: Open up, thou human abyss! Open up, and throw unto me thy fish
and shining crabs! With my best bait shall I allure to myself to-day the strangest human
fish! . . . Until, biting at my sharp hidden hooks, they have to come up unto my height,
the motleyest abyss-groundlings, to the wickedest of all fishers of men82

In Lucian’s dialogue, Philosophers for Sale, the philosophers themselves are tried and found
lacking for their tendency to be taken in by the values of this-worldly riches. Even those who
claim to be preaching other worldly values, and Peter Sloterdijk makes this a cynical
comment on current ideals in his Critique of Cynical Reason, citing Heinrich Heine’s little
verse on those men of piety and power who preach one thing while covertly practicing
another.83 The philosopher’s slavish fascination with wealth and influence is one of these. By
contrast with this, Nietzsche notes with respect to Anaximander that

…we can easily credit the tradition that he walked the earth clad in an especially
dignified garment and displayed a truly tragic pride in his gestures and customs of daily
living. He lived as he wrote; he spoke as solemnly as he dressed; he lifted his hands and
placed his feet as though this existence were a tragic drama into which he had been born
to play a hero. In all these things he was the great model for Empedocles.84

It takes nothing away from the point of personality as Nietzsche means to highlight this to
note that when “his fellow citizens elected him to lead a colony of emigrants” they likely did
so “to honor him and get rid of him at the same time.”85 What Nietzsche’s original preface to
Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks names the “wholly incontrovertible point: mood,
color,”86 is rephrased, and the count changes from one to three in the process in a later

preface that highlights “personality” in place of the handbook tendency yielding “the
complete silencing of personality”: it is here that Nietzsche avers his intention to emphasize
“three anecdotes in each system and abandon the rest.”87

Nietzsche explicates what can seem to be simply a pell-mell account of this and that. For
Diogenes Laërtius, as Jonathan Barnes explains, “is in fact night-porter to the history of
Greek philosophy: no-one can enter unless Diogenes has given him the key.”88 Nietzsche
emphasizes the anecdotal as essential precisely owing to the lack of primary and secondary
sources. As Nietzsche reflects “The only thing of interest in a refuted system is the personal
element. That alone is what is forever irrefutable.”89 Barnes notes this claim for his part
without considering it, going on instead to track promised number of anecdotes (Nietzsche
promises three) and Nietzsche no more keeps to his count (and, as we have seen, it is just this
divergence that ought to be significant) than does Diogenes Laërtius. Yet the specificity of
the particular count, particularly a threefold listing, has a predictable impact — even for so
careful a reader as Jonathan Barnes.
Other readers highlight the fact that Nietzsche seems to be foregrounding the systematic,
whereby any talk of system is like talk of values for the theologians of Tübingen, sending one
into the bushes to beat about for the same.
To go back to Nietzsche’s discussion of the “Die Vorstufen des σοφός ἀνήρ”90 early in his
lecture notes, Nietzsche highlights just the trouble one may have with specific references and
apparent contradictions regarding the tradition of seven wise men and the effort to fish out
these same seven, just so that one might know them — and it is of course quite significant
that in his Apology Plato’s Socrates makes a case to include Socrates’ name among these
wise men by referring to just such a recourse, with an account of movement or travel to the
Oracle at Delphi. Thus Nietzsche emphasizes that there are a range of variations on the tale
of selection of these seven, which is again, as noted above, a kind of philosophical proof

Fisherman fish out a tripod [Dreifuß] and hence the Milesian populace awards it to the
wisest. The catch in particular leads to conflict: they send to Delphi, and there the
decision is given. Now it is sent to Thales, who gives it further to Solon; the latter says
that God is wisest of all and sends it to Delphi.91

Nietzsche follows this discussion of the tale of the tripod as prize for wisdom with a story

featuring a bowl in addition to a golden pitcher. Nietzsche’s didactic point reminds his

students that the movement as such is more significant than the fetish or specific item itself

that is moved. Noting issues of personality, i.e., who shall be included in the listing of the

wise, Nietzsche recounts seven movements, back forth, tracing, structural schemata,

systematic reflection, all of this is evident in Nietzsche’s reflections and this can be found as

well in subsequent counts.

Dispute of Heracles and Apollo for the Delphic tripod.

Attic black-figure oinochoe, ca. 520 BC. Louvre, Paris.

Yet the main points [Hauptpunkte] Nietzsche recommends are as follows

1) to whom is the Dreifuß first sent (Thales, Pittacus, Bias)? 2) who gets it at the end 3)
what is the order? 4) from whence comes the Dreifuß? 5) Where is it set up (Miletus,
Delphi, Thebes)?92

Among other things, ordering of these points and the list of names suggests that the “Seven-
Number [Seibenzahl] appears in the form of this legend to be already fixed.”93

Here Nietzsche details, just as he follows Diogenes Laërtius, a list of maxims, core sayings,
or aphorisms, like the familiar Delphic maxim, Know thyself —γνῶφι σαυτόν. Niedtzsche
lists the array in Greek in succession, delimited solely with full stops: “As core maxim set at
the fore μέτρον ἄριστον. μηδέν ἄγαν. γνῶφι σαυτόν. καιρὸν γνῶφι. ἐγγύα πάρα δ’ ἄτα. οἱ
πλεῖστοι ἄνθρωποι κακοί. μελέτα τὸ πᾶν.”94

Nietzsche favoured Diogenes Laërtius, just where we are always told that there an alternate
account, the variant array, as Nietzsche cites a “versus memorialis from Planudes,” (the
translation here is George Burges’ 1906 version), and we note that the first line tells us how
to read the rest:

I will speak of the Seven Wise Men with respect to their saying, city, name, voice.
Cleobulus the Lindian said Moderation is best.
But Chilon in hollow Lacedaemon said, Know yourself.
But Periander, who inhabited Corinth, said, Restrain anger.
Pittacus, whose family was of Mitylene said, Nothing too much.
But Solon said, in holy Athens, Consider the end of life.
But Bias of Pittacus declared, The majority are the worse.
But the Thales the Milesian said, Avoid being a security.95

Here I have been arguing for what Heidegger (in a rather different spirit) called another
beginning. To this end, I hope scholars may come to consider reading the ancient
philosophers before Plato a little more broadly by way of Nietzsche’s lecture courses on Die
preplatonische Philosophen.

Die Sieben Weisen (οἱ ἑπτὰ σοφοί)

Hartmann Schedels Nürnberger Chronik (1493)


Jaap Mansfield and David Runia, Aetiana: The Method and Intellectual Context of a Doxographer: The
Sources (Philosophia Antiqua 73) (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1997). Cf., on Diels, Lucia Saudelli, “Hermann Diels: le
savoir des Anciens et la science de l’antique,” Revue Germanique International. La philologie allemande,
figures de pensée (14 | 2011): 187-208. Cf., too Jan N. Bremmer, “Aëtius, Arius Didymus and the Transmission
of Doxography,” Mnemosyne, Fourth Series, Vol. 51, Fasc. 2 (Apr., 1998): 154-160 as well as, and to be sure,
A. V. Lebedev, “Did the Doxographer Aetius Ever Exist,” Philosophie et Culture: Actes du XVIIe congrès
mondial de philosophie, Volume 3 (1988): 813-817 and in this line, contra the doxographic tradition, R. W.
Sharples very wide ranging, “Counting Plato’s Principles,” in: Lewis Ayres and Ian Gray Kidd, eds., The
Passionate Intellect: Essays on the Transformation of Classical Traditions : Presented to Professor I.G. Kidd
(New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1995), pp. 67-82.
I draw for this from a footnote reference in Mansfield and Ruina, Aetiana, note 30, p. 11.
Mansfield and Runia, Aetiana, p. 15.
Mansfield and Runia, Aetiana, note 22, p. 8.
I dedicate the first three sections to a discussion of Nietzsche and his scientific approach to philology in
Babich, “Towards a Critical Philosophy of Science: Continental Beginnings and Bugbears, Whigs and

Waterbears.” International Journal of the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 24, No. 4 (December 2010): 343-391,
here, on Lachmann, p. 346.
Friedrich Nietzsche, „De Laertii Diogenis fontibus,“ Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. Neue Folge, Vols.
23. & 24. Jahrgang. (Frankfurt am Main: Verlag von Johann David Sauerländer, 1868-1869), pp. p. 632-653;
pp. 181-228. [Latin text]; Friedrich Nietzsche, „Analecta Laertiana,“ Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. Neue
Folge, Vol. 25 (Frankfurt am Main: Sauerländer, 1870), pp. 217-231 [Latin text]. Cf., too Nietzsche, “Beiträge
zur Kritik der griechischen Lyriker,” Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. Neue Folge, 23. Jahrgang (Frankfurt
am Main: Sauerländer, 1868), pp. 480-489 and Nietzsche, „Der Florentinische Tractat über Homer und Hesiod,
ihr Geschlecht und ihren Wettkampf,“ Rhenisches Museum für Philologie. Neue Folge, Vols 25. & 28 (Frankfurt
am Main: Verlag von Johann David Sauerländer, 1870-1873), pp. 528-540; pp. 211-249. See for a source-
critical discussion, Thomas Brobjer, “Nietzsche’s Forgotten Book,” New Nietzsche Studies, Vol 4: Nos. 1 and 2
(2000): 157-162. See also on Brobjer’s assessment (and beyond) Christian Benne, Nietzsche und die historisch-
kritische Philologie (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2012), p. 54f.
See further Benne, „Friedrich Ritschl und die Bonner Schule,” in Benne, Nietzsche und die historisch-kritische
Philologie, p. 56-67. And see too Jonathan Barnes, “Nietzsche and Diogenes Laertius,” Nietzsche-Studien, Vol.
15 (1986): 16-40 in addition to the contributions to Tony Jensen and Helmut Heit, eds., Nietzsche as a Scholar
of Antiquity (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014), including a reprint of Barnes, as the current author urged
(I grateful to Tony and Helmut for taking this suggestion seriously) Barnes. For a more contemporary and
general overview of Nietzsche’s youthful background, in advance of his work on Diogenes Laertius, see
Joachim Latacz, “On Nietzsche’s Philological Beginnings,” likewise in Heit and Jensen, eds., Nietzsche as a
Scholar of Antiquity, pp. 3-26 as well as James Porter, “Nietzsche’s Radical Philology,” pp. 27-50. It is
regrettable that one of the most reflectively argued recent scholarly accounts Ugolini’s „‘Philologus inter
philologos‘” (cited above) was not featured in that volume as it would have offered a valuable perspective
internal to Classical Philology.
Hermann Diels, Doxographi Graeci (Berlin: Weidmann, 1879).
Diels, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1903). The inspiration for
Diels’ work via Usener has been the subject of considerable discussion on the doxographic tradition as whole.
See on Diels, Doxographi Graeci, most influentially, again, Mansfeld and Runia, Aëtiana, pp. 93ff. as well
successive volumes. On Diels himself see Wolfgang Roßler, „Hermann Diels und die Fragmente der
Vorsokratiker“ in: Annette M. Bertschi and Colin G. King, eds., Die modernen Vater der Antike. die
Entwicklung der Altertumswissenschaften an Akademie und Universitaet in Berlin des 19. Jahrhunderts (Berlin:
de Gruyter, 2009), pp. 369-396, esp. pp. 374ff. At issue concerns the source of sources, as it were (debate is
ongoing) but see the contributions to Glenn Most’s edited collection Collecting Fragments, Aporemata 1
(Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997) as well as, very importantly, Catherine Osborne, Rethinking Early
Greek Philosophy: Hippolytus of Rome and the Presocratics (London: Duckworth, 1987). Diels’ famous Greek-
German standard work was first published in 1903, and his name is associated with the ordering of the
fragments to this day owing to the standard collection in the edition with his student, Walther Kranz. Kathleen
Freeman published a translation of the fragments in Diels’ compilation in 1948 in her Ancilla to The Pre-
Socratic Philosophers (Oxford: Blackwell, 1952). See further, Babich, “Friedrich Nietzsche” in Niall Keane and
Chris Lawn, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Hermeneutics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2016), pp. 366-367.
Heidegger, “The Anaximander Fragment,” p. 13. The lecture, which may be dated to the end of Heidegger’s
time in Marburg, was originally presented in 1932 and again ten years later and published in 1946. Indeed,
Nietzsche’s notes and references to his lectures on the Preplatonic philosophers date from 1869 and Nietzsche
offers courses in 1872, 1873, and 1876. See in particular, again, Ugolini, „‘Philologus inter philologos‘,“ in
addition to Paolo d’Iorio’s comprehensive recitation (an account based on d’Iorio’s co-edition of the French
translation of Nietzsche’s lecture courses with Francesco Fronterotta), “L’Images des philosophes
preplatoniciennes chex le jeune Nietzsche” in: Tilman Borsche, Federico Gerratana, Aldo Venturelli, eds.,
‘Centauren-Geburten’ Wissenschaft, Kunst, und Philosophie beim jungen Nietzsche (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1994),
pp. 383-417 in addition to Borsche’s own earlier reconstruction of the same theme, “Nietzsches Erfindung der
Vorsokratiker” in Josef Simon, ed., Nietzsche und die philosophische Tradition, Vol. 1 (Würzburg:
Königshausen & Neumann, 1985), pp. 62-87 in addition to Rudolf Rehn „Nietzsches Modell der
Vorsokaritker,“ in Daniel Conway and Rehn, eds, Nietzsche und die antike Philosophie (Trier:
Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1992), PP. 37-45 and André Laks: “Nietzsche et la question des
successions des anciens philosophes. Vers un réexamen du statut de la philologie chez le jeune Nietzsche,”
Nietzsche-Studien, 39 (2010): 244-254 as well as, because its deficits have not prevented it from setting the
Wagner-focused schema for reading Nietzsche and antiquity, Richard Oehler, Nietzsche und die Vorsokratiker

(Leipzig: Dürrischen Buchhandlung, 1904) and to be sure, in passing, Carl Albrecht Bernoulli, Franz Overbeck
und Friedrich Nietzsche: eine Freundschaft, Volume 1 (Jena: Eugen Diederichs, 1908). The standard, KGW
edition of the lecture courses is edited by Fritz Bornmann and Mario Carpitella, Vorlesungsaufzeichnungen,
Vols 2-5 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1995). Cf., always, Helmut Flashar, K. Gründer, and Axel Horstmann, eds.,
Philologie und Hermeneutik im 19. Jahrhundert: Zur Geschichte und Methodologie der Geisteswissenschaften
(Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1979). And see, in addition to Christian Benne’s Nietzsche und die
historisch-kritische Philologie (Berlin: Gruyter, 2005) for valuable methodological and broad contextualization,
Marcello Gigante, „Friedrich Nietzsche und Diogenes Laertius” in Borsche, Gerratana, and Venturelli, eds.,
‚Centauren-Geburten’, pp. 3-16. See further, again, the contributions to Tony Jensen and Helmut Heit, eds.,
Nietzsche as a Scholar of Antiquity.
Nietzsche’s Werke. Nachgelassene Werke. Von Friedrich Nietzsche. Aus den Jahren 1872/73 — 1875/76, Vol
10 (Leipzig: C. G. Naumann, 1903). Thus Nietzsche, Philosophie im tragischen Zeitalter der Griechen had
already been available, in one of the editions of Nietzsche’s works published in 1896, and dated there “Anfang
1873,” Nietzsche’s Werke. 2. Abteilung, Vol X (Leipzig: C. G. Naumann, 1896), pp. 1-132. The question of
reference is made more complicated inasmuch as Heidegger was keenly interested in the question of
unpublished works with respect to his own readings of the Greeks as well as Hölderlin, and of course this
interest formed the background for his claim that Nietzsche’s central work was not his published work but and
much rather the ‘Nachlass’ as such. See further on Heidegger and Nietzsche and the matter of posthumous
writings (to begin with), Babich, “Le sort du Nachlass: le problème de l’œuvre posthume’ in Pascale Hummel,
Mélivres/Misbooks. Études sur l’envers et les travers du livre (Paris: Philologicum, 2009), pp. 159-176. The
text of Nietzsche’s Die vorplatonische Philosophen (with the exception, see below, of the lecture on
Anaxagoras), was published in the Kroner edition in the third volume of Philologica (1913) and was included as
well in the Musarion edition, published in 1921: Friedrich Nietzsche Gesammelte Werke. Vierter Band,
Vorträge, Schriften und Vorlesungen 1871-1876 (Munich: Musarion, 1921), pp. 247-366. See too the KGW
edition, Nietzsche, Werke Vorlesungsaufzeichnungen (WS 1871/72 – WS 1874/75), II4, Fritz Bornmann and
Mario Carpitella, eds. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1995), pp. 211f. in addition, surely, to Richard Oehler’s doctoral
dissertation, already defended as of 1903, Friedrich Nietzsche und die Vorsokratiker (Leipzig: Verlag der
Dürr‘schen Buchhandlung, 1904).
Nietzsche, “On the Theory of Quantitational Rhythm,” New Nietzsche Studies, Vol. 10, Nos. 1 and 2 (2016):
I discuss this in several places, but see most recently the third part of Babich, The Hallelujah Effect:
Philosophy, Performance Practice, and Technology (London: Routledge, 2016).
See, again, Benne’s Nietzsche und die historisch-kritische Philologie.
If it is hardly clear that the difference would have changed the whole of philosophy, as a student myself of the
classical philologist, Hans-Georg Gadamer, who was fond of claiming as his best achievement a discovery of a
new Heraclitus fragment, in addition to his better-known work on Plato and Aristotle, it might have changed the
reception of hermeneutics. Certainly, it would have changed Gadamer who otherwise wrote on the
cosmological cycle of Empedocles to illuminate Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. And so on.
Other scholars foreground different reasons for Nietzsche’s title, but none of these are quite precise not least
because other authors spoke of the ‘Preplatonics’ just as other authors besides Diels employed the term
‘Presocratic.’ It is perhaps our Hegelianism that most commits us to favour the latter. We return to the question
of title rubrics below.
The failure to understand the technical basis of Nietzsche’s terminology has led authors to take it as no more
than a slight. See, among others, Henning Ottmann, Philosophie und Politik bei Nietzsche (Berlin: de Gruyter,
2011), p. 40.
Nietzsche, “De Laertii Diogenis fontibus. I,” Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1868), pp. 632-653 and “De
Laertii Diogenes fontibus (II), Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1869), pp. 188-288. See too Nietzsche,
Beiträge zur Quellenkunde und Kritik des Laertius Diogenes (Basel: Carl Schultze’s Universitætsbuchdruckerei,
1870) as well as “Fridericus Nietzsche. Analecta Laertiana. Scripsit,” Rheinisches Museum NF XXV (1870), pp.
“Er wird eben alles können, was er will.” Brief von Friedrich Ritschl an Wilhelm Vischer-Eilfinger vom 11.
1.1869, cited here following Ugolini, „‘Philologus inter philologos‘,” p. 325.
And there are a number of such projects, just to limit a listing to the last decade: Patricia Curd and Daniel W.
Graham, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Presocratic Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) as well
as with translations by Curd herself and Richard D. McKirahan, A Presocratics Reader and Testimonia, 2nd ed.
(Indianapolis: Hackett, 2011); Richard D. McKirahan, Philosophy Before Socrates: An Introduction with Texts

and Commentary (Hackett, 2011); Laura M. Gemelli Marciano, ed., Die Vorsokratiker, in 3 volumes,
(Düsseldorf: Artemis & Winkler, 2007-2010); D. W. Graham, ed., The Texts of Early Greek Philosophy. The
Complete Fragments and Selected Testimonies of the Major Presocratics in 2 volumes (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2010); Japp Mansfeld and Oliver Primavesi, eds., Die Vorsokratiker (Stuttgart: Reclam, 2011);
and the beautifully covered, Cretan style, Giannis Stamatellos, Introduction to Presocratics. A Thematic
Approach to Early Greek Philosophy with Key Readings (Malden, Mass. 2012), Helmut Heit, Frühgriechische
Philosophie (Stuttgart; Reclam, 2011) as well as, under the same title, Hellmut Flashar, Dieter Bremer, Georg
Rechenauer, Frühgriechische Philosophie (Basel: Schwabe Verlag, 2013) in addition to Andre Laks and Glenn
Most’s recent seven volume Loeb edition.
Michael Shaw, in a discussion of Empedocles (without reference to Nietzsche, to be sure) invokes Heidegger
to underscore “the profound influence Aristotle and his disciple Theophrastus have on the interpretation of the
early Greek philosophers.” Michael M. Shaw “Aither and the Four Roots in Empedocles,” Research in
Phenomenology, 44 (2014): 170-193.
[Anyone writing something like that is scientifically dead.] I am glossing Ugolini’s citation and recommend
his discussion in context: see Ugolini, „‘Philologus inter philologos‘,“ p. 317. But as Ugolini also goes on the
say the deficit judgment of scientific value, in ‚so many words‘ is also to be traced to Wilamowitz. „Deshalb
wurde die Kritik an Nietzsches Buch, keinen wissenschaftlichen Wert zu haben, im folgenden immer wieder fast
mit denselben Worten wiederholt. Und nicht nur das. Dieses Urteil erstreckte sich automatisch auf die gesamte
weitere philologische Produktion Nietzsches und verhinderte so lange Zeit eine unvoreingenommene
Beurteilung Nietzsches von Seiten der Altertumsforschung. Schließlich hat das Urteil von Wilamowitz dazu
beigetragen, daß eine verbreitete Einschätzung entstanden ist, die noch heute als communis opinio in der
Nietzsche-Forschung gilt. Es handelt sich um die These, daß es in der geistigen Entwicklung Nietzsches eine
Art progressiven Übergangs von der Philologie zur Philosophie gegeben habe.“ Ibid., p. 318.
Very few scholars of ancient philosophy object to this, rather in the David Foster Wallace manner of the
difficulty of noting things that go without saying, the invisibility of the ubiquitous, “This is water.” But see,
Catherine Osborne, Rethinking Early Greek Philosophy (Ithaca: Cornell 1987) and very differently if indeed as
advocate for an alternate orthodoxy, Richard Janko with regard to scholarly reception and work on the Derveni
Papyrus. See Janko’s accoung of the silencing of alternate readings in the production of the definitive
transcription of the Derveni papyrus: “By using a simple but bizarre expedient, P. and T. have contrived not to
acknowledge that scholars other than themselves have toiled to reconstruct this text. They include no apparatus
criticus!” Janko concludes that the authors “have chosen to benefit neither from the scholarship of the past
decade nor from recent advances in reconstructing and reading carbonized papyri.” Janko, “Review of The
Derveni Papyrus, edited by Theokritos Kouremenos, George M. Parássoglou, and Kyriakos Tsantsanoglou,”
Bryn Mawr Classical Review, October 29, 2006.
Christian Benne, Nietzsche und die Historisch-Kritische Philologie (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2005).
Ibid., p. 1.
See the third section of Babich, The Hallelujah Effect: Music, Performance Practice, and Technology
(London: Routledge, 2016 [2013]).
Nietzsche, Philosophie im tragischen Zeitalter der Griechen. In English as: Nietzsche, Philosophy in the
tragic Age of the Greeks. trans. Marianne Cowan (Chicago: Regnery, 1962).
Ernst Howald, Friedrich Nietzsche und die klassische Philologie (Zürich: Verlag Friedrich Andreas Perthes
A-G. Gotha, 1920), p. 1.
See Friedrich Nietzsche, Werke, Band X (Leipzig: Naumann, 1896), including several sketches, pp. 1-158.
Nietzsche’s Werke. 2. Abteilung, Vol X, pp. 1-132 and see too Nietzsche’s Werke. Nachgelassene Werke. Von
Friedrich Nietzsche. Aus den Jahren 1872/73 — 1875/76 (both already cited above).
See Nietzsche, Pre-Platonic Philosophers, trans. Greg Whitlock (Indiana: University of Indiana Press, 2001).
See Nietzsche, Les philosophes préplatoniciens suivi de «Les diadochaì des philosophes», trans. Nathalie
Ferrand (Paris: L’editions de l’éclat, 1994).
And it is perhaps more salient than it may at first appear, yet another testimony to the influence of the editors
who control book editions (in their presence as well as more decisively their absence) that one cannot and find a
complete, stand-alone German edition of Die vorplatonische Philosophen. See, again, Note 6 above for further
details on the 1913 Kroner edition of the Philologica, as well as, in 1921, the Musarion edition and again, in the
KGW, in 1995.
„Plato ist der erste grossartige Mischcharakter sowohl in seiner Philosophie wie als philosophischer Typus.
Socratische, pythagoreische und heraclitische Elemente sind in seiner Ideenlehre vereinigt, sie ist nicht ohne
Weiteres eine Originalconception zu nennen.“ Nietzsche, Die vorplatonischen Philosophen, in: Gesammelte

Werke. Vierter Band, Vorträge, Schriften und Vorlesungen 1871-1876 (Munich: Musarion, 1921), p. 250.
Hereafter GW 4.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 251.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 251.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 251.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 251.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 251.
These are Die vorplatonischen Philosophen, WS 1869-1870; WS 1875-1876; SS 1876], KGW II4, pp. 209-
362. See for a discussion in a much broader context featuring Burckhardt’s cultural history and including Plato,
Aristotle, the Sophists, and ‘modernity,’ Müller, Die Griechen im Denken Nietzsches, cited above, pp. 103-135
Dale Wilkerson bases his own discussion on Whitlock’s translation in Wilkerson, Nietzsche and the Greeks
(London: Continuum, 2006).
The term goes back to an older classicist’s tradition and thus John McFarland Kennedy’s The Quintessence of
Nietzsche (New York: Duffield & Company, 1910), offers a close approximations yet even there there is the
liability of the close proximity of English and German meanings of ‘person’ and ‘personality.’ I discuss this in
context in Babich, “Nietzsche’s Archilochus,” New Nietzsche Studies, Vol. 10, Nos. 1 and 2 (Spring/Summer
2016): 85-122. Here, although not specifically related focused on Nietzsche, I find Sara R. Farris’s Max Weber’s
Theory of Personality: Individuation, Politics and Orientalism in the Sociology of Religion (Leiden: Brill,
2013) useful.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Einleitung in die Geschichte der Philosophie Hegel, Johannes Hoffmeister,
ed., (Leipzig: Felix Meiner, 1966).
Nietzsche, The Pre-Platonic Philosophers, p. 3.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 247.
Ibid., p. 253.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 269.
See Nietzsche, Diadochai der Vorsokratiker [1868-1869] (Philologische Niederschriften und Notizen aus der
Leipziger Zeit) — WV:162
The suggestion is common enough but it appears in the translator’s notes for the Stanford translation of
Nietzsche, Unpublished Writings, Vol. 11 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), 484.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 276.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 276.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 276.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 276.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 288.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 289, cf. the lists as summarized on the preceeding page, p. 288.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 342.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 345.
KGW II4, p. 302-313.
KGW II4, p. 613-632.
Nietzsche, Les philosophes préplatoniciens suivi de les διαδοχαί des philosophes. Texte établi à partir des
manuscrits, Nathaie Ferrand, trans. (Paris: éditions de l’éclat, 1994).
An exception, instructively beginning with Nietzsche is Felix M. Cleve, The Philosophy of Anaxagoras
(Hague: Nijhoff, 1973 [1949]). John Wilson includes a discussion of Anaximenes and Anaxagoras in his
Schelling und Nietzsche: Zur Auslegung der frühen Werke Friedrich Nietzsches (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2013), pp.
KGW II4, p. 303. Cf. “Anaxagoras. Die Welt als unvernünftig, aber doch maassvoll und schön: so sollte der
Mensch sein und so fand er ihn in den älteren Athenern, Aeschylus usw. Seine Philosophie Spiegelbild des
älteren Athen: Gesetzgebung für Menschen, die keine brauchen.“ 6 [49] See too: Mansfeld, “The Chronology
of Anaxagoras’s Athenian Period and the Date of his Trial,” Mnemosyne 32 (1979): 39-69 and 33 (1980), 17-95.
KGW II4, p. 303.
KGW II4, p. 310. To this extent, Nietzsche can suggest that Eleatic teachings echo in Anaxagoras. Ibid.
I.e.: [Diese Philosophen sind ausfuhrlich behandele in der Schrift „Die Philosophie im tragischen Zeitalter der
Griechen“.], GW 4, p. 315.
Indeed, generally, it is not uncommon for commentators to characterize this study as marked by “an almost
cavalier simplification” as Keith May writes, to be sure several years before the publication of Nietzsche’s

lecture course. See May, Nietzsche on the Struggle between Knowledge and Wisdom (Frankfurt: Springer,
1993), pp. 1-29. Here p. 1.
For an overview, see Jørgen Meyer, „Biography and Doxography: Four Crucial Questions Raised by
Diogenes Laertius,“ in: Michael Erler and Stefan Schorn, eds., Griechische Biographie in hellenistischer Zeit:
Akten des internationalen Kongresses vom 26.-29. Juli 2006 in Würzburg (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007), pp. 431-
edited by
See for one discussion however, the chapter “Der Sokratismus ist ein Nihilismus” in Eike Brock, Nietzsche
und der Nihilismus (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2015), here pp. 160f. Also see, if more limited, Richard Oehler,
Friedrich Nietzsche und die Vorsokratiker (Leipzig: Verlag der Dürr‘schen Buchhandlung, 1904).
Panayiotis Tzamalikos, Anaxagoras, Origen, and Neoplatonism: The Legacy of Anaxagoras to Classical and
Late Antiquity (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016), pp. 94-95. The difficulty that scholars find when they encounter
scholarship other than their own which fails to take account of either their own work or their own concerns to
the deficit of the field justifies Tzamalikos’ conclusion and his comments echo Richard Janko’s criticism of
work published, similarly ‘selectively,’ on the Derveni Papyrus (noted above), and this is an old story which
Tzamalikos writes about as a matter of mutual grooming amongst those he names among what he calls the
“petite bourgeoisie” and which I write about as a matter of politics. See my recent contribution to colleague’s
festschrift „Are they Good?, Are they Bad?” or elsewhere where I discuss what I call philosophy’s ‘citation
problem.’ The reason I cite Tzamalikos is that after all that he manages not to read or to cite Nietzsche,
arguably in the case of Anaxagoras, the one author from whom he might have learned just the argument he
offers contra Aristotle, and that is Nietzsche quite precisely on Anaxagoras. The omission is understandable for
just the conventional reasons Tzamalikos attacks and he cites Heidegger more generally, who himself as we
have cited him above, refers to Nietzsche. It goes without saying the Malcolm Schofield in his own 1980
monograph on Anaximander likewise excludes any reference to Nietzsche (or Heidegger for that matter). By
contrast, Felix M. Cleve does draw on Nietzsche but limits his discussion to just one preliminary observation (I
admire his notice of the pure and mixed) in Philosophie im tragischen Zeitalter der Griechen. See Cleve, The
Philosophy of Anaxagoras (Frankfurt: Springer, 2012/1973 [1949]). Cleve does draw on Max Heinze, who was
to be sure, though this is not a point of reference for Cleve, Nietzsche’s teacher in Schulpforta. And in his more
comprehensive overview, Dale Wilkerson, Nietzsche and the Greeks (London: Continuum, 2006) and despite
his reliance on the translation of Nietzsche’s Preplatonic Philosophers, limits his discussion of Anaxagoras to
passing mention.
„Etymologisch gehört es zu sapio schmecken, sapiens der Schmeckende, σαφής, schmeckbar.“ Ibid.
Nietzsche was fond of the physiological implications of the developmental cadence of this etymology and he
repeats it, fairly verbatim in Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks and it informs his eco-physiological
epistemics elsewhere.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 254.
Ibid., p. 254.
See for a discussion, Mott Greene’s chapter, “Thales and the Halys” in Natural Knowledge and Preclassical
Antiquity (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992) a book that was originally savagely attacked in
reviews, so resistant is received academia to any variants on the standard account.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 256.
Ibid., p. 259.
Ibid., p. 260.
Ibid., p. 261.
Ibid., p. 262. See on Nietzsche’s Archilochus, including preliminary references to further reading, Babich,
“Nietzsches Lyrik. Archilochos, Musik, Metrik” in: Christian Benne and Claus Zittel, eds., Nietzsche und die
Lyrik. Ein Kompendium (Frankfurt am Main: Metzler, October 2017), pp. 405-429. An English version, with
different emphases is forthcoming as is one in connection with phenomenology, in French.
See for a discussion of the context of this reference in light of one of Nietzsche’s more celebrated maxims,
Babich, “Become the One You Are: On Commandments and Praise — Among Friends” in Thomas Hart, ed.,
Nietzsche, Culture, and Education (London: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 13-38..
Nietzsche, “Die Fische fehlten.” (EH, JGB §1).
Zarathustra, IV, “The Honey Sacrifice.” Also cited in Babich, “The Philosopher and the Volcano,”
Philosophy Today: SPEP Issue (Summer 2011): 213-231. Here I cite this discussion in connection with Lucian,
and cf. too, in more detail, Babich, “Becoming and Purification: Empedocles, Zarathustra’s Übermensch, and

Lucian’s Tyrant” in: Vanessa Lemm, ed., Nietzsche and the Becoming of Life (New York: Fordham University
Press, 2014), pp. 245–261; 359–368. See too on Nietzsche and Lucian’s Piscator, Anke Bennholdt-Thomsen,
Nietzsches Also Sprach Zarathustra als literarisches Phänomen (Frankfurt aM: Athenäum, 1974).
See Peter Sloterdijk, Critique of Cynical Reason. I cite Sloterdijk’s citation of Heine at some further length in
Babich, “Sloterdijk’s Cynicism: Diogenes in the Marketplace” in: Stuart Elden, ed., Sloterdijk Now (Oxford:
Polity, 2011), pp. 17-36; 186-189, her p. 21. Cf., too, Babich, “Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Nietzsche’s
Empedocles: The Time of Kings” in: Horst Hutter and Eli Friedlander, eds., Nietzsche’s Therapeutic Teaching:
For Individuals and Culture (London: Continuum, 2013), pp. 157-174.
Nietzsche, Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, p. 49.
Ibid., p. 23.
Ibid., p. 25.
Nietzsche, BAW, 5, 126, here cited after Barnes, as reprinted in Jensen and Heit, Nietzsche as a Scholar of
Antiquity, cited above, here: p. 118.
“It is possible to present the image of a man in three anecdotes; I shall try to emphasize three anecdotes in
each system and abandon the rest.” Nietzsche, Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, 2nd Preface.
Nietzsche, KGW II4, p. 226.
Nietzsche, GW 4, p. 265.
Nietzsche, KGW II4, p. 229.
Nietzsche, KGW II4, p. 229. And still we look for numbered lists, even when we are not, but especially when
we are, Straussians. And if one likes jokes one can note that here too is a yet another Delphic sign of the conflict
between Athens and Jerusalem, for all those of us who are philologists and to that extent, so very many children
of the book. See for a very valuable reading, including a Masoretic joke of his own, that would seem to have
been, as all jokes are at bottom, seriously intended, David R. Lachterman, “Nietzsche and the Homeric
Question,” New Nietzsche Studies, Vol 10, Nos 1 and 2 (2016). Originally published as “Die ewige Wiederkehr
des Griechen: Nietzsche and the Homeric Question” in Conway and Rehn, eds., Nietzsche und die antike
Philosophie, pp. 13-35.
Whitlock expands here with an offset and delimited listing of translations not found in the German in the
Musarion: “μέτρον ἄριστον [‘Moderation is best!’ (Cleobulus)] / μηδέν ἄγαν [‘Nothing in Excess!’ (Solon)] /
γνῶφι σαυτόν [‘Know Thyself!’ (Thales)] / καιρὸν γνῶφι / [‘Know thine opportunity!” (Pittacus)] / ἐγγύα πάρα
δ’ ἄτα [‘Give a pledge and suffer for it!’ (Chilon)] / οἱ πλεῖστοι ἄνθρωποι κακοί [‘Most men are bad!’ (Bias)] /
μελέτα τὸ πᾶν. [‘Practice makes perfect!’ (Periander)]” in Nietzsche, The Pre-Platonic Philosophers, p. 21.
Nietzsche, GW 4, 267. See for the anthology from which Whitlock sources George Burges’ 1906 translation,
Nietzsche, The Pre-Socratic Philosophers, footnote 24, p. 21.