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date: 07 February 2023


, c. 500–428 bce


, c. 500–428 bce
  • Malcolm Schofield


Anaxagoras (probably 500–428 BCE), son of Hegesibulus, and a native of *Clazomenae; the first philosopher known to have settled in Athens. The evidence for his biography, although relatively plentiful, is confused and confusing. The best critical study (by Mansfeld) has him arrive in Athens in 456/5 in the archonship of Callias and philosophize there for 20 years or so, until his prosecution and trial on a charge of impiety (dated by Mansfeld to 437/6). He resettled in *Lampsacus, probably with the aid of his patron *Pericles (1). There he died and was buried with high honours. His name was associated with the fall of a large meteorite at Aegospotami in *Thrace (c.467); his explanations of other physical phenomena are already reflected in Aeschylus' Supplices (c.463) and Eumenides (458).*Simplicius preserves extensive fragments of Anaxagoras' one book, which famously began with the words: ‘All things were together’ (fr. 1 DK). The longest and most eloquent surviving passage explains how our differentiated kosmos was created from the original mélange by the action of mind, an entirely discrete principle, unmixed with any other substances but capable of ordering and controlling them (fr.


  • Philosophy

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