Anaxagoras was a Greek philosopher from Clazomenae in Asia Minor. He came from a noble family, but gave up his property to his relatives and moved to Athens because he wished to devote himself entirely to science.

He was the first philosopher who introduced a spiritual principle that gives matter life and form. His beliefs were very similar to those of Empedocles and Parmenides, except that, instead of Empedocles’ four elements, Anaxagoras believed in a plurality of independent elements which he called “seeds”. They are the ultimate elements of combination and are indivisible, imperishable, infinite, and differing in shape, color, and taste. They were not elements; rather, they were compounds. The original mass is infinitely divisible, but however far the division is carried, every part of it will still contain all “things” and will be, in that respect, just like the whole.

“How can hair be made of what is not hair, and flesh of what is not flesh?”

“All things <are> together, infinite both in quantity and in smallness.”

pi sez: interesting thing about anaxagoras, he believed that males were conceived by sperm from the right testicle, and females from the left. found it on google...


  • (500-428 B.C.)
  • Great Philosopher

    Anaxagoras was a philosopher who could not agree that one particular basic substance- water for instance- might be transformed in blood and bone. Anaxagoras believed that nature was built up of an infinite number of minute particles, invisible to the eye. More than that, he also believed that everything can be divided up into smaller parts, and even in the most minute parts there are still fragments of yet smaller particles.

    Anaxagoras moved to Athens from Asia Minor, at the age of fourty. He was the first known philosopher from Athens. After Anaxagoras moved to Athens, he began to gather followers. Eventually his beliefs became so fanatical, as others saw it, that he and his followers were exiled from Athens. Among other "strange" and "alien" beliefs, Anaxagoras believed that the Sun was not a god but a red-hot stone, bigger than the entire Peloponnesian peninsula.

    Anaxagoras was also very fascinated and interested by astronomy. Anaxagoras held that the "celestial bodies" were made up of the same substance as Earth. This gave him the idea that there could be human life on other planets. He also showed that the Moon has no light of it's own- it's illumination came from Earth. Anaxagoras also thought up an explination for solar eclipses.

    Another interesting fact: Much like Empedocles, Anaxagoras thought that the bond which joined all things together, was "order" and not "love" as Empedocles had said. He also devised many of the popular theorums that are used in modern science.


    The son of Megapenthes, who was himself the son of Proetus, king of Argos, whom he succeeded (Table 36). According to tradition recorded by both Pausanias and Diodorus it was during Anaxagoras' reign, and not that of his grandfather Proetus, that all the Argive women were struck with a madness which was cured by Melampus. As a reward Anazagoras gave Melampus a third of his kingdom, giving another third to Melampus' brother Bias, and keeping the remaining third for himself. His descendants, the Anaxagorides, ruled under this system until the son of Sthenelus, Cylarabes, reunited the whole kingdom of Argos under his own sway.

    The last descendant of Melampus, Amphilochus, went into voluntary exile after his return from the Trojan War. Of the descendants of Bias the last, Cyanippus son of Aegialeus (or, according to other versions, his younger brother; see Table 1) died childless, as did Cylaeabes, and it was Orestes, the son of Agamemnon, who gained control of Argos and at the same time of Sparta.


    Table of Sources:
    - Paus. 2, 18, 4ff.
    - Diod. Sic. 4, 68

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