Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Xenophanes and Red-Haired Thracians

My final ancient Greek red hair quote to reference today: this, from the philosopher and poet Xenophanes;
The Ethiopians claim that their gods are flat-nosed and black-skinned; the Thracians, that they are blue-eyed and have red hair.
Luckily this one pops up on the Xenophanes Wikipedia page. It's part of a famous quote of his where he mocks man's tendency to anthropomorphise gods.
"But if cattle and horses and lions had hands or could paint with their hands and create works such as men do, horses like horses and cattle like cattle also would depict the gods' shapes and make their bodies of such a sort as the form they themselves have. ...Ethiopians say that their gods are snub–nosed and black, Thracians that they are pale and red-haired."
The only minor downside is that the accompanying footnote states that sometimes the translation is given as blond rather than red.

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