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According to biographer Diogenes Laërtius, Xenophanes wrote in hexameters and also composed elegies and iambics against Homer and Hesiod. Laertius also mentions two historical poems concerning the founding of Colophon and Elea, but of these, only the titles have been preserved. There is no good authority that says that Xenophanes wrote a philosophical poem. The Neoplatonist philosopher Simplicius writes that he had never met with the verses about the earth stretching infinitely downwards (fr. 28), even though he had access to many philosophical works. Several of the philosophical fragments are derived from commentators on Homer. It is thus likely that the philosophical remarks of Xenophanes were expressed incidentally in his satires. The satires are called Silloi by late writers, and this name may go back to Xenophanes himself, but it may originate in the fact that Timon of Phlius, the "sillographer" (3rd century BC), put much of his own satire upon philosophers into the mouth of Xenophanes.

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