Heraclitus: Fragment 98 (DK)

Classical Quarterly 21 (01):32- (1971)
. ‘This saying is obscure’, as Marcovich observes, and much πολυμαθίη has been expended on it, which would have amazed and dismayed Heraclitus. Perhaps, as so often, we are being too clever, and overlooking the obvious, to which Heraclitus keeps trying to bring us back . Why do souls smell in Hades ? Well, ‘it is death to souls to become water’ , ‘it is death for souls to get wet’ . It seems to be generally agreed that Heraclitus thought the soul to be, in principle, fire. And what happens when fire gets wet ? A lot of smoke. ‘And if all things became smoke, the nostrils would discern them’ . That is to say, in a place of quenched souls , it is the sense of smell that has to come into play. And perhaps that is what we were looking for
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DOI 10.1017/S0009838800028743
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