Theagenes of Rhegium

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Theagenes of Rhegium
Bornc. 6th century BCE
EraPre-Socratic philosophy
RegionAncient Greek philosophy
LanguageAncient Greek
Main interests
Homeric scholarship
Notable ideas
Allegorical interpretation

Theagenes of Rhegium (Greek: Θεαγένης ὁ Ῥηγῖνος, Theagenēs ho Rhēginos; fl. 529–522 BC) was a Greek literary critic of the 6th century BC from Rhegium (modern Reggio Calabria), in Magna Graecia.

Theagenes's writings are lost, the only information about his life or his doctrines must be reconstructed from summaries, fragments and characterizations of his work in later authors.[2] Theagenes was one of the earliest proponents of the allegorical method of reading texts, defending the mythology of Homer from more rationalist attacks,[3] possibly as a response to the criticisms of early Greek philosophers such as Xenophanes.[4][5] It has also been argued that Pherecydes of Syros anticipated Theagenes.[6]


  1. ^ Brisson 2008, p. 35.
  2. ^ Cole 1991, p. 60.
  3. ^ Lamberton, Robert (20 April 1989). Homer the Theologian: Neoplatonist Allegorical Reading and the Growth of the Epic Tradition. University of California Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-520-90920-5.
  4. ^ Kennedy 1993, p. 85.
  5. ^ Vernant 1982, p. 212.
  6. ^ Tate 1927.

Ancient Sources[edit]

In the Diels-Kranz numbering for testimony and fragments of Pre-Socratic philosophy, Theagenes of Rhegium is catalogued as number 8. The most recent edition of this catalogue is: Diels, Hermann; Kranz, Walther (1957). Plamböck, Gert (ed.). Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (in Ancient Greek, Latin, and German). Rowohlt. ISBN 5875607416..

His fragments are reprinted with notes and an Italian translation in Giuliana Lanata, Poetica Pre-platonica: Testimonianze e Frammenti (Florence 1963) 104-111.