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Democritus’ Mousika

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with Democritus’ conception of music and poetry, leaving aside the texts concerning the exegesis of Homer. To reconstruct the basics of Democritus’ conception of music, it is necessary to start from a passage which is thought to derive from the Small Cosmology: The Small Cosmology outlined the formation of the world, the origin of living species and the history of human civilization, whose progressive evolution was determined and studied on the basis of the action of the criteria of experience and utility. Two fragments about Democritus’ conception of poetry have survived, which are especially valuable for their dense content and rich terminology. Democritus elaborated his conception of the poet as sensitive to divine influence in positive terms, so as to justify the value of poetry and the excellence of the inspired poet.

Keywords: Democritus’ conception; Homer; Small Cosmology



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