Homer and Hesiod have ascribed to the gods all things that are a shame and a disgrace among mortals, stealings and adulteries and deceivings of one another. Since they have uttered many lawless deeds of the gods, stealings and adulteries and deceivings of one another. But mortals deem that the gods are begotten as they are, and have clothes like theirs, and voice and form. Yes, and if oxen and horses or lions had hands, and could paint with their hands, and produce works of art as men do, horses would paint the forms of the gods like horses, and oxen like oxen, and make their bodies in the image of their several kinds.… The gods have not revealed all things to men from the beginning, but by seeking they find in time what is better. One god, the greatest among gods and men, neither in form like unto mortals nor in thought…. He sees all over, thinks all over, and hears all over. — “Fragments.”


Xenophanes of Colophon (c.570–475 BC) was a Greek philosopher, theologian, and poet who is known for his satirical critiques of Homer and Hesiod’s belief in the Greek pantheon, especially in their more anthropomorphic incarnations. The first Greek poet to dedicate his poetry to posterity, Xenophanes is also, according to some critics, the first monotheist in Western Civilization, though others dispute this claim.

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