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'WE' AND EMPEDOCLES' COSMIC LOTTERY: P. STRASB. GR. INV. 1665-1666, ENSEMBLE A

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This paper presents an alternative interpretation and reconstruction of ensemble a from the Strasbourg papyrus of Empedocles, P. Strasb. gr. Inv. 1665-1666 , first published by A. Martin and O. Primavesi in 1999. I claim that Martin and Primavesi's working hypothesis for the reconstruction of lines a (ii) 3-17, upon which most of their individual supplements rely, is wrong, and that the doctrinal implications they draw from it are unfounded. Against them, I propose an alternate reconstruction of the text. If correct, two consequences follow from my alternative. First, it presents further reasons to reject a controversial variant reading revealed by the papyrus, retained by the editors, and the "we" of my title. Second, it provides new support for the role of chance in Empedocles' cosmic cycle, a theme largely ignored in modern scholarship on Empedocles.

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