Empedocles was a citizen of Agrigentum
. He was distinguished not only as a philosopher
but also for his knowledge
of natural history
, and as a poet
and statesman. He used his vast knowledge to perform feats that many people thought were miracles
, and as a result, he was an object of universal admiration.
He completely accepted the doctrine of Parmenides that what exists is uncreated and indestructible, and he introduced the theory of four elements – fire, air, earth, and water. He also put forth the idea of two more distinct bodies: Love, to explain the attraction of matter, and Strife, to account for the separation of matter. He believed that perception is based on the properties of pores. Objects emit portions of themselves, which mingle with our sense organs and allow us to perceive them. He also estimated that the moon was one-third the distance from the Earth that the Earth is from the Sun.
“For 'tis by Earth we see Earth, by Water Water,
By Ether Ether divine, by Fire destructive Fire,
By Love Love, and Hate by cruel Hate.”
“The kindly Earth in its broad-bosomed moulds
Won of clear Water two parts out of eight,
And four of Fire; and so white bones were formed”