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Cosmos of the Ancients

Comsos of the Ancients

The Greek Philosophers on Myth and Cosmology



Thales

T he earliest cosmological theories of Ancient Greece would be those of Thales of Miletus, honored by his later peers as the very first philosopher and one of the Seven Sages, flourished circa 585 BC. In stating that the world had been formed out of the one substance water, he renounced the mythological accounts of how it all began, replacing divine action with natural processes where no gods were responsible for what took place - although Aristotle claims that the same Thales saw the gods being present in everything, filling it somewhat like an ether or inner substance.



Thales        Again according to Aristotle, he regarded also the lifeless things as having a soul, using the magnet's influence on iron as an argument for his case, which Aristotle interpreted as explanatory to Thales' idea that god is in all. Furthermore, Thales may have been the first to maintain the soul's immortality.

       According to Diogenes Laertius he had stated that: "Of all things that are, the most ancient is God, for he is uncreated, " and "The most beautiful is the universe, for it is God's workmanship." If Diogenes is to be trusted in this, Thales expressed a monotheistic opinion, enforced by the impression of Aristotle that the divine, present in all, seems not to have been divided into different divinities - if even distinctly differed from the soul. He claimed, again according to Diogenes Laertius, that there is not even any difference between life and death. None of his own writing remains.


Literature

Aristotle, de Anima, 405a and 411a.

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, translated by R. D. Hicks, volume I, Loeb, London 1942.


© Stefan Stenudd 2000



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Introduction
Thales
Anaximander
Anaximenes
Pherecydes of Syros
Pythagoras
Xenophanes
Theagenes
Hecataeus
Heraclitus
Pindar
Parmenides
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Herodotus
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Prodicus of Ceos
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Euhemerus
Table of the Greek Philosophers
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Aristotle


Aristotle's Life
Timeline
Aristotle's Poetics
Aristotle's Cosmology


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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All's End, science fiction novel by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained, by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Quotes - The Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.
Cosmos of the Ancients, by Stefan Stenudd. Occasionally I Contemplate Murder, by Stefan Stenudd. QI - increase your life energy, by Stefan Stenudd.
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