Xenophanes Quotes

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All quotes by Xenophanes: Atheism Earth Eyes Horses Religion Science Water more...
  • Even if a man should chance to speak the most complete truth, yet he himself does not know it; all things are wrapped in appearances

  • Ethiopians imagine their gods as black and snub-nosed; Thracians blue-eyed and red-haired. But if horses or lions had hands, or could draw and fashion works as men do, horses would draw the gods shaped like horses and lions like lions, making the gods resemble themselves.

  • Homer and Hesiod attributed to the gods all things which are disreputable and worthy of blame when done by men; and they told of them many lawless deeds, stealing, adultery, and deception of each other.

  • For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

  • If God had not made brown honey, men would think figs much sweeter than they do.

  • All men begin their learning with Homer.

  • This upper limit, of earth at our feet is visible and touches the air, but below it reaches to infinity

  • No man knows distinctly anything, and no man ever will.

  • If cows and horses had hands and could draw, cows would draw gods that look like cows and horses would draw gods that look like horses.

    Horse   Hands  
  • The Ethiops say that their gods are flat-nosed and black, While the Thracians say that theirs have blue eyes and red hair. “If oxen and horses and lions had hands and were able to draw with their hands and do the same things as men, horses would draw the shapes of gods to look like horses and oxen would draw them to look like oxen, and each would make the gods' bodies have the same shape as they themselves had.

    Horse   Eye   Men  
  • The sea is the source of water and the source of wind; for neither would blasts of wind arise in the clouds and blow out from within them, except for the great sea, nor would the streams of rivers nor the rain-water in the sky exist but for the sea ; but the great sea is the begetter of clouds and winds and rivers.

  • It takes a wise man to recognize a wise man.

    Xenophanes, James H. Lesher (2001). “Xenophanes of Colophon: Fragments : a Text and Translation with a Commentary”, p.197, University of Toronto Press
  • ...for our wisdom is better than the strength of men or of horses. ... nor is it right to prefer strength to excellent wisdom. For if there should be in the city [any athlete whose skill] is honoured more than strength ... the city would not on that account be any better governed.

  • The Gods did not reveal, from the beginning, all things to us, but in the course of time through seeking we may learn & know things better. But as for certain truth no man knows it, nor shall he know it, neither of the Gods nor yet of all things that I speak. For even if by chance he were to utter The Final Truth, he would himself not know it: for all is but a woven web of guesses.

  • In the beginning the gods did not at all reveal all things clearly to mortals, but by searching men in the course of time find them out better.

  • If oxen and lions had hands and could paint with their hands and produce works of art, as men do, horses would paint the forms of the gods likes horses and oxen like oxen. Each would represent them with bodies according to the bodies of each. So the Ethiopians make their gods black and snub-nosed; the Thracians give theirs red hair and blue eyes.

    Art   Horse   Eye  
  • There is one god, greatest among gods and men, who bears no similarity to humans either in shape or thought... but humans believe that the gods are born like themselves, and that the gods wear clothes and have bodies like humans and speak in the same way... but if cows and horses or lions had hands or could draw with the hands and manufacture the things humans can make, then horses would draw the forms of gods like horses, cows like cows, and they would make the gods' bodies resemble those which each kind of animal had itself.

    Horse   Believe   Men  
  • If horses had Gods, they would look like horses.

  • Pure truth no man has seen, nor ever shall know.

  • Truly the gods have not from the beginning revealed all things to mortals, but by long seeking, mortals discover what is better.

  • No human being will ever know the truth, for even if they happen to say it by chance, they would not even know they had done so.

  • God is one, greatest of gods and men, not like mortals in body or thought.

  • It isn't right to judge strength as better than good wisdom.

  • If cattle and horses, or lions, had hands...

    Horse   Hands   Lions  
  • For we are all sprung from earth and water

  • Men always makes gods in their own image.

  • But without effort [God] sets in motion all things by mind and thought.

  • All things that come into being and grow are earth and water.

  • The sun comes into being each day from little pieces of fire that are collected.

  • The clear and perfect truth no man has seen, nor will there be anyone who knows about the gods and what I say about all things...; for, however perfect what he says may be, yet he does not know it; all things are matters of opinion.

    Men   Atheism  
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  • We hope you have found the saying you were looking for in our collection! At the moment, we have collected 33 quotes from the Philosopher Xenophanes, starting from d. 476 BC! We periodically replenish our collection so that visitors of our website can always find inspirational quotes by authors from all over the world! Come back to us again!
    Xenophanes quotes about: Atheism Earth Eyes Horses Religion Science Water


    • Born: d. 476 BC
    • Died: 476 BC
    • Occupation: Philosopher