Anaxagoras , born c. He was associated with the Athenian statesman Pericles. About Anaxagoras moved to Athens , then becoming the centre of Greek culture , and brought from Ionia the new practice of philosophy and the spirit of scientific inquiry. The attack on him was intended as an indirect blow at Pericles , and, although Pericles managed to save him, Anaxagoras was compelled to leave Athens. He spent his last years in retirement at Lampsacus. The basic features, however, are clear.

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Responding to the claims of Parmenides on the impossibility of change, Anaxagoras described the world as a mixture of primary imperishable ingredients, where material variation was never caused by an absolute presence of a particular ingredient, but rather by its relative preponderance over the other ingredients; in his words, "each one is He also gave a number of novel scientific accounts of natural phenomena.

He deduced a correct explanation for eclipses and described the Sun as a fiery mass larger than the Peloponnese , as well as attempting to explain rainbows and meteors. Anaxagoras is believed to have enjoyed some wealth and political influence in his native town of Clazomenae. However, he supposedly surrendered this out of a fear that they would hinder his search for knowledge.

Anaxagoras was a Greek citizen of the Persian Empire and had served in the Persian army; he may have been a member of the Persian regiments that entered mainland Greece during the Greco-Persian Wars.

Pericles learned to love and admire him, and the poet Euripides derived from him an enthusiasm for science and humanity. Anaxagoras brought philosophy and the spirit of scientific inquiry from Ionia to Athens.

His observations of the celestial bodies and the fall of meteorites led him to form new theories of the universal order, and to prediction of the impact of meteorites. Plutarch [8] says "Anaxagoras is said to have predicted that if the heavenly bodies should be loosened by some slip or shake, one of them might be torn away, and might plunge and fall down to earth".

According to Pliny [9] he was credited with predicting the fall of the meteorite in He also said that the Moon had mountains and believed that it was inhabited.

The heavenly bodies, he asserted, were masses of stone torn from the Earth and ignited by rapid rotation. The charges against Anaxagoras may have stemmed from his denial of the existence of a solar or lunar deity.

He died there in around the year Citizens of Lampsacus erected an altar to Mind and Truth in his memory, and observed the anniversary of his death for many years.

They placed over his grave the following inscription: Here Anaxagoras, who in his quest of truth scaled heaven itself, is laid to rest.

Anaxagoras wrote a book of philosophy, but only fragments of the first part of this have survived, through preservation in work of Simplicius of Cilicia in the 6th century AD. According to Anaxagoras all things have existed in some way from the beginning, but originally they existed in infinitesimally small fragments of themselves, endless in number and inextricably combined throughout the universe. All things existed in this mass, but in a confused and indistinguishable form.

Mind is no less unlimited than the chaotic mass, but it stood pure and independent, a thing of finer texture, alike in all its manifestations and everywhere the same.

This subtle agent, possessed of all knowledge and power, is especially seen ruling in all the forms of life. It gave distinctness and reality to the aggregates of like parts.

However, the original intermixture of things is never wholly overcome. Anaxagoras is mentioned by Socrates during his trial in Plato 's " Apology ". In the Phaedo , Plato portrays Socrates saying of Anaxagoras that as a young man: 'I eagerly acquired his books and read them as quickly as I could'. Anaxagoras is referred to and admired by Cyrus Spitama, the hero and narrator of Creation , by Gore Vidal.

The book contains this passage, explaining how Anaxagoras became influential:. William H. Gass begins his novel, The Tunnel , with a quote from Anaxagoras: "The descent to hell is the same from every place. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Anaxagoras disambiguation. Anaxagoras; part of a fresco in the portico of the National University of Athens. Clazomenae , Ionia , Persian Empire. Milesian school , Parmenides. Archelaus , Pericles , Socrates , Protagoras.

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