From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Apr 22 1998 - 06:45:59 EDT

At 10:00 PM -0500 4/21/98, Edgar Foster wrote:
>Recently, I had the privilege of discussing the subject of QEOS with a
>friend. We disagreed vehemently over the issue. He says, following
>Kitto and John Burnet, that QEOS (QEOI) at one time meant "powers." I
>have looked and looked for evidence that QEOS (QEOI) ever MEANT
>"power" or "powers." I've yet to find such evidence. My observation is
>that QEOS never MEANT power, but could be applied to "powers."

I'm not sure that an answer to this is readily ascertainable. If the
oldest, or just about the oldest, literary Greek says MHNIN AEIDE, QEA, ...
there can hardly be any doubt that the poet is thinking about the Muse--but
that doesn't mean that the word originally only referred to a deity. I
don't have the text of it hand, but my recollection is that Werner Jaeger
started out his Gifford Lectures book entitled _Theology of the Early Greek
Philosophers_ by discussing the meaning and implications of a fragment of
Thales, PANTA PLHRH QEWN, which on the surface of it sounds rather
animistic, but in which I think we'd have to see a reference to
supernatural "powers"--certainly not to namable deities of the Olympian

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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