Meanwhile, in the long and varied group of poets that follow one another after the collapse of the epic, from the century. VII to VI a. There are clear signs of an important crisis: namely, the difficulty of reconciling poetic inspiration with the changed conditions of culture, with the progress of spiritual consciousness, especially in the field of reflective and rational attitudes. These elements, intellectualistic, as they were mostly in conflict with poetry, so they had to find their own form of expression: prose. Truly, the lyrical forms that took place during this period could in a certain sense be a means of solving the problem: since they could serve (and indeed did sometimes) to bring the light of poetry to the heights of grown spirituality, while avoiding the arid and prose path of abstraction. But they flourished especially in those parts of Greece where the progress of culture was less advanced (eg, among the Dorians of the Peloponnese); and in most cases they did not actually express anything other than a still very limited degree of lyricism and subjectivism. In general, in almost all the poetry of this period, and in the so-called lyric and in the epic or almost epic forms, the progress of culture manifests itself rather abstractly, invading the naive field of art with its rigid intellectualistic imprint. Pragmatic, rational, speculative concerns often prevail; and instead of poetically sublimating themselves, they fall back with the weight of reasoning, precept or erudition. We have had to notice this phenomenon a little everywhere, especially in the Ionian productions or those derived from Ionia, in the poems of the epic cycle, in the genealogies of Hesiod and the Hesiod, in elegy and in the iambus. Incipient historical curiosity, which pushes the rhapsodes, heirs of Homer, to collect and arrange in chronological order the legends of the past; scientific spirit, which interprets legends as true facts, or possibly corrects, modifies, denies them; almost philosophical attempts to explain the origin of the universe and to define the nature and hierarchy of divinities; didactic and moralizing purposes of various kinds, with which norms of life are established, political and religious instructions are given, etc. It is a whole world of thought that ferments and that seeks its way with the impetuous momentum of the first conquests. They s’ introduces into the versified poetic forms of the epic, of the elegy and of the iambo, because at the beginning there was no other technically spiritual needs. But the most suitable form, akin to common speech, was gradually to be tried. The λόγος, pure and simple discourse, freed from the bonds of melody or meter, that is, prose, began to enter literary use, assuming its own technique. This happened in Ionia, where, in every respect, there were the best predispositions: higher degree of culture, more distinctly intellectualistic nature, more positive attitudes. Hence the ancient prose of the Greeks, even when composed by authors from other regions, he normally covered the Ionian dialect. Just as the Ions had passed from the melodic accents of the songs of deeds to the word, not sung or set to music, of the epos, so from the epos they themselves arrived at the logos. The step was short, not only under the formal aspect, but also with regard to the subject matter. In fact, history and philosophy (ἱστορίη and σοϕίη), the two fields on which those ancient prose writers experimented, were the natural continuation of epic, elegiac and iambic poetry. The mythological and genealogical poems, as they were conceived after the extinction of the Homeric fantasy by the authors of the Hesiodic cycle and school, were matched by the historical and geographical researches of the so-called logographers (properly “prose writers”), who had the same purpose and had many legendary elements.
Such were the Geography and Genealogies of Hecateus of Miletus (who lived at the end of the VI century); the Genealogies of Acusilaus d’Argo (in Boeotia?), which appear to have been a kind of prose paraphrase from Hesiod; the various Chronicles of many Greek or foreign cities and towns, by Cadmus of Miletus (?), Hellanic of Mytilene, Carone of Lampsaco, etc. (the first belongs to the 6th century, the others now lead us to the threshold of the Attic period). Similarly, the didactic, cosmogonic, mystical, etc. of the constitution of the universe (Περὶ ϕύσεως).