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H 245 x W 174 mm

262 pages

44 figures

Published May 2022

Archaeopress Archaeology


Hardback: 9781803270869

Digital: 9781803270876

DOI 10.32028/9781803270869

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Acheloios; Achelous; Acheloos; Thales; Philosophy; Numismatics; Marxism; Neo-Marxism; Ancient Coins; Historical Materialism; Archaeological Theory; Hermeneutics

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Archaeology and Classical Humanities 1

Acheloios, Thales, and the Origin of Philosophy

A Response to the Neo-Marxians

By Nicholas J. Molinari

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Through careful analysis of the archaeological record, close reading of ancient sources, and deep investigations into the languages of our past, this study demonstrates the importance of the influence of the cult of Acheloios on Thales, fundamentally changing our understanding of the origin of the philosophical experience in 6th century Ionia.




Part I: Concerning the Neo-Marxian School;
Chapter 1: Marx to Sohn-Rethel: Dialectical Materialist Approaches to the Origin of Philosophy;
Chapter 2: Richard Seaford’s Contribution;

Part II: Concerning Thales and Acheloios;
Chapter 3: Thales’ Principle: A Provisional Assessment;
Chapter 4: The Emergence of Acheloios and Major Elements of His Cult;

Part III: Concerning the Etymological and Archaeological Evidence;
Chapter 5: The Etymology of hýdōr: Pure, Sacred Water;
Chapter 6: The Physical Evidence;

Part IV: Philosophos and Philomythos;
Chapter 7: Philosophy Ex Nihilo?;
Chapter 8: The Mythological Wellspring;

Part V: Concerning the Thaletan-Acheloian Tradition;
Chapter 9: Thales and Acheloios;
Chapter 10: The Thaletan Tradition from Pythagoras to Empedokles;

Part VI: Purification of Body and Soul: Sophokles and Plato;
Chapter 11: Sophokles’ Trachiniae: The Interplay of Gods and Souls;
Chapter 12: Acheloios as the Horizon for an Understanding of Being;

The Sacrifice of Acheloios: A Response to the Neo-Marxians;

General Index;
Index Locorum

About the Author

Nicholas J. Molinari, PhD, is an academic librarian in Milford, Massachusetts and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. He is the author, with Dr Nicola Sisci, of ΠΟΤΑΜΙΚΟΝ: Sinews of Acheloios (Archaeopress, 2016), and general editor of KOINON: The International Journal of Classical Numismatics.