From Hades to the stars: Empedocles on the cosmic habitats of soul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This study reconstructs Empedocles’ eschatology and cosmology, arguing that they presuppose one another. Part 1 surveys body and soul in Empedocles and argues that the transmigrating daimon is a long-lived compound made of the elements air and fire. Part 2 shows that Empedocles situates our current life in Hades, then considers the testimonies concerning different cosmic levels in Empedocles and compares them with the afterlife schemes in Pindar’s Second Olympian Ode and Plato’s Phaedo myth. Part 3 offers a new edition of section d lines 5 -10 of the Strasburg papyrus of Empedocles that reinforces the connection between transmigration and different cosmic locations for souls. Part 4 reconstructs Empedocles’ cosmology, identifies three different levels or habitats of soul and, more tentatively, suggest that Empedoclean ‘long-lived gods’, are best understood as stars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-182
Number of pages53
JournalClassical Antiquity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Empedocles
  • Hades
  • cosmology
  • afterlife
  • reincarnation/transmigration
  • ancient Greek biology
  • Pythagoreanism
  • Plato’s Phaedo
  • Pindar
  • astral immortality


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