The beginning of Melissus' On Nature or On What-Is: A reconstruction

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The philosophical treatise of Melissus of Samos is often maintained to have a strictly deductive argumentative structure. This article attempts to confirm this thesis by establishing that such a structure is instituted beginning from its title and introductory sphragis. Extant paraphrases of Melissus’ treatise are examined and are argued (in line with some previous treatments) to provide a highly illuminating indication that the work began from the hypothesis that something is. Next, an account of how the first verbatim fragment (DK30B1) takes up this prefatory material is given along with a reconstructed text and translation of the title, preface and argument for the sempiternity of what-is.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-34
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Hellenic Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Melissus
  • Parmenides
  • sempiternity


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