Stefan Stenudd
Stefan Stenudd
About me
I'm a Swedish writer of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, a historian of ideas and an aikido instructor.



THE GREEK PHILOSOPHERS

Introduction

Thales

Anaximander

Anaximenes

Pherecydes of Syros

Pythagoras

Xenophanes

Theagenes

Hecataeus

Heraclitus

Pindar

Parmenides

Anaxagoras

Empedocles

Herodotus

Gorgias

Melissus

Protagoras

Euripides

Prodicus of Ceos

Leucippus

Democritus

Critias

Antisthenes

Diagoras of Melos

Plato

Aristotle

Epicurus

Euhemerus

Table of the Greek Philosophers

Literature

The book


ARISTOTLE

Aristotle - life and work

Aristotle's Poetics

Aristotle's Cosmology


Life Energy Encyclopedia, by Stefan Stenudd.

Life Energy Encyclopedia
by Stefan Stenudd. Qi, prana, spirit, and other life forces around the world explained and compared. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained, by Stefan Stenudd.

Tao Te Ching
The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Chinese classic, translated and extensively commented by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.



Stenudd's Blog


Cosmos of the Ancients

Comsos of the Ancients

The Greek Philosophers on Myth and Cosmology



Melissus


M elissus (flourished circa 442 BC) was the student of Parmenides, but also in contact with Heraclitus - that would have been in his early youth, since their flourishing differs some 60 years. To Parmenides, the difference was a little more than 30 years. Melissus wrote one book, the title of which is referred to with different titles in antiquity, one being Concerning Nature or What Is.



     According to Diogenes Laertius, Melissus said that: "we ought not to make any statements about the gods, for it was impossible to have knowledge of them." Melissus regarded the universe as unlimited and forever the same, also uniform and completely full of matter. Any change or motion was only apparent, not real. Simplicius, who contains all ten Melissus fragments remaining, quotes him saying:

     That which was, was always and always will be. For if it had come into being, it necessarily follows that before it came into being, Nothing existed. If however Nothing existed, in no way could anything come into being out of nothing.

     By the same method of reasoning he concludes that the world is one, uniform and unlimited, cannot move and cannot change.

     Thereby, he would necessarily refuse to accept the cosmogony given in Hesiod, and a portrayal of gods mighty enough to cause genuine change to the world - to add things to it or take things away from it, to disturb its uniformity or set it in motion. With such limitations, there would not be much divine remaining for the gods, and indeed he makes no reference at all to them in his cosmology. Therefore, in stating that it is impossible to have any knowledge of the gods, Melissus may have masked a total disbelief in them behind this somewhat diplomatic thesis, very similar to what had been stated by Protagoras - of the same age as him - in the year 411 BC. There were limits to the tolerance of Greek society, and they could be dangerous indeed to exceed.

Literature
Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, translated by R. D. Hicks, volume II, Loeb, London 1950.
Barnes, Jonathan, The Presocratic Philosophers, volume 1, London 1979.
Freeman, Kathleen, Ancilla to The Pre-Socratic Philosophers, Oxford 1952.

© Stefan Stenudd 2000


Cosmos of the Ancients, by Stefan Stenudd.

Cosmos of the Ancients - the Book

The material on this website about the Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods, is now a book. It can be ordered at the Internet bookstores - printed or as a Kindle ebook. Both contain the footnotes with additional explanations as well as literary sources. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.



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