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Universe and Inner Self in Early Indian and Early Greek Thought$
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Richard Seaford

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474410991

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474410991.001.0001

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New riders, old chariots: poetics and comparative philosophy

New riders, old chariots: poetics and comparative philosophy

Chapter:
(p.186) 12 New riders, old chariots: poetics and comparative philosophy
Source:
Universe and Inner Self in Early Indian and Early Greek Thought
Author(s):

Alexander S. W. Forte

Caley C. Smith

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474410991.003.0013

The genealogy of chariot imagery in India and Greece is best explained not by influence between the cultures but by understanding the place of each text within its own cultural tradition. The chariot journey described in the prologue of Parmenides is influenced by the chariot race in Iliad book 23, which also influenced Empedocles and Socrates. In the Katha Upanishad the chariot is a metaphor for sacrifice and fire altar, and a redeployment of the chariot imagery and narrative setting used in the earlier Katha Brahmana.The metaphysics of the Katha Upanishad should be contextualised as the component of a hieratic canon.

Keywords:   Chariot, Iliad, Parmenides, Empedocles, Socrates, Katha Upanishad, Sacrifice

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