Alcibiades, son of Cleinias, from the deme of Scambonidae, was a prominent Athenian statesman and general. He was the last famous member of his mother's aristocratic family, the Alcmaeonidae, which fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War, he played a major role in the second half of that conflict as a strategic advisor, military commander, politician. During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed his political allegiance several times. In his native Athens in the early 410s BC, he advocated an aggressive foreign policy and was a prominent proponent of the Sicilian Expedition, but he fled to Sparta after his political enemies brought charges of sacrilege against him. In Sparta, he served as a strategic adviser, proposing or supervising several major campaigns against Athens. In Sparta too, Alcibiades soon made powerful enemies and felt forced to defect to Persia. There he served as an adviser to the satrap Tissaphernes until his Athenian political allies brought about his recall.
He served as an Athenian general for several years, but his enemies succeeded in exiling him a second time. Scholars have argued that had the Sicilian expedition been under Alcibiades's command instead of that of Nicias, the expedition might not have met its eventual disastrous fate. In the years when he served Sparta, Alcibiades played a significant role in Athens's undoing. Once restored to his native city, however, he played a crucial role in a string of Athenian victories that brought Sparta to seek a peace with Athens, he favored unconventional tactics winning cities over by treachery or negotiation rather than by siege. Alcibiades's military and political talents proved valuable to whichever state held his allegiance, but his propensity for making powerful enemies ensured that he never remained in one place for long. Alcibiades was born in Athens, his father was Cleinias, who had distinguished himself in the Persian War both as a fighter himself and by subsidizing the cost of a trireme.
The family of Cleinias had old connections with the Spartan aristocracy through a relationship of xenia, the name "Alcibiades" was of Spartan origin. Alcibiades' mother was Deinomache, the daughter of Megacles, head of the powerful Alcmaeonid family, could trace her family back to Eurysaces and the Telamonian Ajax. Alcibiades thereby, through his mother, belonged to the powerful and controversial family of the Alcmaeonidae, his maternal grandfather named Alcibiades, was a friend of Cleisthenes, the famous constitutional reformer of the late 6th century BC. After the death of Cleinias at the Battle of Coronea and Ariphron became his guardians. According to Plutarch, Alcibiades had several famous teachers, including Socrates, was well trained in the art of Rhetoric, he was noted, for his unruly behavior, mentioned by ancient Greek and Latin writers on several occasions. It was believed that Socrates took Alcibiades as a student because he believed he could change Alcibiades from his vain ways. Xenophon attempted to clear Socrates' name at trial by relaying information that Alcibiades was always corrupt and that Socrates failed in attempting to teach him morality.
Alcibiades took part in the Battle of Potidaea in 432 BC, where Socrates was said to have saved his life and again at the Battle of Delium in 424 BC. Alcibiades had a close relationship with Socrates, whom he admired and respected. According to Plutarch, Alcibiades "feared and reverenced Socrates alone, despised the rest of his lovers". Alcibiades was married to the daughter of Hipponicus, a wealthy Athenian, his bride brought with her a large dowry, which increased Alcibiades' substantial family fortune. According to Plutarch, Hipparete loved her husband, but she attempted to divorce him because he consorted with courtesans but prevented her from appearing at court, he carried her home again through the crowded Agora. She lived with him until her death, which came soon after, gave birth to two children, a daughter and a son, Alcibiades the Younger. Alcibiades was famed throughout his life for his physical attractiveness, of which he was inordinately vain. Alcibiades first rose to prominence when he began advocating aggressive Athenian action after the signing of the Peace of Nicias.
That treaty, an uneasy truce between Sparta and Athens signed midway through the Peloponnesian War, came at the end of seven years of fighting during which neither side had gained a decisive advantage. Historians Arnold W. Gomme and Raphael Sealey believe, Thucydides reports, that Alcibiades was offended that the Spartans had negotiated that treaty through Nicias and Laches, overlooking him on account of his youth. Disputes over the interpretation of the treaty led the Spartans to dispatch ambassadors to Athens with full powers to arrange all unsettled matters; the Athenians received these ambassadors well, but Alcibiades met with them in secret before they were to speak to the ecclesia and told them that the Assembly was haughty and had great ambitions. He urged them to renounce their diplomatic authority to represent Sparta, instead allow him to assist them through his influence in Athenian politics; the representatives agreed and, impressed with Alcibiades, they alienated themselves fr
Euonymeia known by its medieval name Trachones, by its modern colloquial Ano Kalamaki, is a historic settlement in Athens and a residential neighborhood within the municipality of Alimos on the southern suburbs of Athens, Greece. The area is an inland part of the south Athenian plain, situated between the foothills of Mount Hymettus and the southern coastal zone of Athens on the Saronic Gulf; the land streams running from Hymettus toward the coast. Situated 7 kilometres south of the center of Athens, Euonymeia has been developed and incorporated into the urban sprawl of the Greek capital; the area displays some of the earliest urban settlements in Europe, with archeological sites showing continuous development from the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. Major archeological finds include Early Helladic fortifications, Mycenaean era workshops and necropolis, a classical era amphitheater, Paleochristian and Byzantine temples; some of the earliest and best preserved specimens of Athenian Geometric pottery have been attributed to the Trachones workshop and are featured in museum collections, including two kraters on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
At its peak during the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, the area was the center of the Deme of Euonymos, one of the most populous communities of Ancient Athens. Euonymos had its own acropolis, industrial installations, religious festivals. Several Euonymeians played a major role in Athenian politics and civic life, most notably in the trial of Socrates and in the expeditions of the Peloponnesian War; the name Euonymeia is documented in the Ethnica, the gazetteer by 6th century CE scholar Stephanus of Byzantium, considered the earliest authoritative work on Mediterranean toponyms. Therein, Stephanus attributes the name to Euonymus of Greek Mythology –son of Gaia with either Uranus or Cephissus; the name itself derives from the Greek root-words eû "good, well", onoma "name". Alternative interpretations for the origin of the name are that it is a direct reference to the area being "well named" or "of good repute", or that it comes from the spindle tree Euonymus europaeus; the medieval name Trachones derives from the word trachoni meaning "rock", derived from the ancient Greek adjective trachys meaning "coarse".
The modern colloquial name Ano Kalamaki arose in 1968 when Euonymeia was administratively linked with the coastal settlement of Kalamaki to the west, creating the contemporary Municipality of Alimos. Systematic archeological excavation of the area has not been conducted, yet numerous construction projects during the intensive urban development of the half of the twentieth century led to important circumstantial discoveries, which shed light on the historic timeline of the settlement; the hills of Euonymeia, together with the adjacent coastal promontory of Agios Kosmas are the two most important sites of Neolithic and Aegean Bronze Age development in the area of Athens prior to ca. 3000 BCE. Ceramics and obsidian tools found on both sites were identified as originating from the island of Melos, indicating close ties of these settlements with the obsidian-rich islands of the cycladic civilization; the commonality of findings in Agios Kosmas and Euonymeia suggests that the two settlements were functionally linked coastal and inland communities.
The earliest signs of prehistoric settlement in Euonymeia were recognized in the 1950s and'60s at the Kontopigado site. During expansion work on the Vouliagmenis Avenue, neolithic era masonry was identified around a small hill rising 6 metres above the surrounding ground. In 2012, prehistoric masonry, which has yet to be dated, was recognized on the summit of Pan's Hill, the highest elevation point in Euonymeia. Several thousand obsidian tool specimens have been collected from both Kontopigado, Pan's Hill. Findings from this first settlement period come to an abrupt end around 2000 BCE, indicating a catastrophic event theorized to involve Pelasgian invaders. Excavations at construction sites adjacent to the Kontopigado mound in the 1980s and'90s led to the discovery of an Early Helladic settlement, an overlying Mycenaean complex dated from Late Helladic IIIB to Late Helladic IIIC, marking the second period of intense development in Euonymeia. In 2006, work on the Alimos Metro station 300 metres South from the mound unearthed a large workshop complex from the same era with installations for ceramic production, including a kiln and potters wheel.
This workshop included hydraulic installations with wells and water conduits used in the processing of flax into textiles for the production of table wares, for sails and ropes used on Mycenaean era ships. Altogether the Mycenaean complex at Kontopigado, 5 kilometres south of the Mycenaean Palace on the Acropolis of Athens, is one of the largest of its kind found to date; this Bronze Age community and installations at Euonymeia are thought to have had close links to the central palatial authority in Athens supplying the sails and ropes for the 50 ships that Athens is said to have contributed to the Trojan war. During the Geometric period of the Hellenic Dark Ages, the area continued to be inhabited, with notable pottery production from the Trachones workshop. Geometric era finds in Euonymeia concentrate 500 metres to the West of the Myceneaen site at Kontopigado, on a hill by the Trachones stream on the current Geroulanou Estate. While excavations have not yet been performed, the Geroulanou Estate is presumed to h
Pylos also known under its Italian name Navarino, is a town and a former municipality in Messenia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pylos-Nestoras, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit, it was the capital of the former Pylia Province. It is the main harbour on the Bay of Navarino. Nearby villages include Gialova, Elaiofyto and Palaionero; the town of Pylos has 2,767 inhabitants, the municipal unit of Pylos 5,287. The municipal unit has an area of 143.911 km2. Pylos has a long history, it was a significant kingdom in Mycenaean Greece, with remains of the so-called "Palace of Nestor" excavated nearby, named after Nestor, the king of Pylos in Homer's Iliad. In Classical times, the site was uninhabited, but became the site of the Battle of Pylos in 425 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. Pylos is scarcely mentioned thereafter until the 13th century, when it became part of the Frankish Principality of Achaea. Known by its French name of Port-de-Jonc or its Italian name Navarino, in the 1280s the Franks built the Old Navarino castle on the site.
Pylos came under the control of the Republic of Venice from 1417 until 1500, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans used Pylos and its bay as a naval base, built the New Navarino fortress there; the area remained under Ottoman control, with the exception of a brief period of renewed Venetian rule in 1685–1715 and a Russian occupation in 1770–71, until the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt recovered it for the Ottomans in 1825, but the defeat of the Turco-Egyptian fleet in the 1827 Battle of Navarino forced Ibrahim to withdraw from the Peloponnese and confirmed Greek independence. Pylos retained its ancient name down to Byzantine times, but appears after the Frankish conquest in the early 13th century under two names: a French one, Port-de-Jonc or Port-de-Junch, with some variants and derivatives: in Italian Porto-Junco, Zunchio or Zonchio, in medieval Catalan Port Jonc, in Latin Iuncum, Zonglon/Zonglos in Greek, etc, it takes that name from the marshes surrounding the place.
A Greek one, Avarinos shortened to Varinos or lengthened to Anavarinos by epenthesis, which became Navarino in Italian and Navarin in French. Its etymology is not certain. A traditional etymology, proposed by the early 15th-century traveller Nompar de Caumont and repeated as late as the works of Karl Hopf, ascribed the name to the Navarrese Company, but this an error as the name was in use long before the Navarrese presence in Greece. In 1830 Fallmereyer proposed that it could originate from a body of Avars who settled there, a view adopted by a few scholars like William Miller; the name of Avarinos/Navarino, although in use before the Frankish period, came into widespread use, eclipsed the French name of Port-de-Jonc and its derivations, only in the 15th century, i.e. after the collapse of the Frankish Principality of Achaea. In the late 14th or early 15th centuries, when it was held by the Navarrese Company, it was known as Château Navarres, called Spanochori by the local Greeks. Under Ottoman rule, the Turkish name was Anavarin.
After the construction of the new Ottoman fortress in 1571/2, it became known as Neokastro among the local Greeks, while the old Frankish castle became known as Palaiokastro. The soil about Navarino is of a red colour, is remarkable for the production of an abundance of squills, which are used in medicine; the rocks, which show themselves in every direction through a scanty but rich soil, are limestone, present a general appearance of unproductiveness round the castle of Navarino. The remains of Navarino, consist of a fort, covering the summit of a hill sloping to the south, but falling in abrupt precipices to the north and east; the town was built on the southern declivity, was surrounded by a wall, allowing for the natural irregularities of the soil, represented a triangle, with the castle at the summit—a form observable in many of the ancient cities of Greece. The Gialova wetland is a regional blessing of nature, it is one of 10 major lagoons in Greece. And has been classified as one of the important bird areas in Europe.
It has been listed as a 1500-acre archaeological site, lying between Gialova and the bay of Voidokilia. Its alternative name of Vivari is Latin, meaning'fishponds'. With a depth, at its deepest point, of no more than four meters, it is the southernmost stopover of birds migrating from the Balkans to Africa, giving shelter to no fewer than 225 bird species, among them heron, lesser kestrel, Audouin's gull, flamingo and imperial eagle, it is Gialova, which plays host to a rare species, nearing extinction throughout Europe, the African chameleon. The observation post of the Greek Ornithological Society allows visitors to find out more and to watch the shallow brackish waters of the lake. Pylos has evidence of continuous human presence dating back to the Neolithic. In Mycenaean times, it was an important centre referred to as Nestor's kingdom of "sandy Pylos" and descri
Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is considered the pivotal figure in the history of Ancient Greek and Western philosophy, along with his teacher and his most famous student, Aristotle. Plato has often been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality; the so-called Neoplatonism of philosophers like Plotinus and Porphyry influenced Saint Augustine and thus Christianity. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."Plato was the innovator of the written dialogue and dialectic forms in philosophy. Plato appears to have been the founder of Western political philosophy, his most famous contribution bears his name, the doctrine of the Forms known by pure reason to provide a realist solution to the problem of universals.
He is the namesake of Platonic love and the Platonic solids. His own most decisive philosophical influences are thought to have been along with Socrates, the pre-Socratics Pythagoras and Parmenides, although few of his predecessors' works remain extant and much of what we know about these figures today derives from Plato himself. Unlike the work of nearly all of his contemporaries, Plato's entire oeuvre is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. Although their popularity has fluctuated over the years, the works of Plato have never been without readers since the time they were written. Due to a lack of surviving accounts, little is known about education. Plato belonged to an influential family. According to a disputed tradition, reported by doxographer Diogenes Laërtius, Plato's father Ariston traced his descent from the king of Athens and the king of Messenia, Melanthus. Plato's mother was Perictione, whose family boasted of a relationship with the famous Athenian lawmaker and lyric poet Solon, one of the seven sages, who repealed the laws of Draco.
Perictione was sister of Charmides and niece of Critias, both prominent figures of the Thirty Tyrants, known as the Thirty, the brief oligarchic regime, which followed on the collapse of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War. According to some accounts, Ariston tried to force his attentions on Perictione, but failed in his purpose; the exact time and place of Plato's birth are unknown. Based on ancient sources, most modern scholars believe that he was born in Athens or Aegina between 429 and 423 BC, not long after the start of the Peloponnesian War; the traditional date of Plato's birth during the 87th or 88th Olympiad, 428 or 427 BC, is based on a dubious interpretation of Diogenes Laërtius, who says, "When was gone, joined Cratylus the Heracleitean and Hermogenes, who philosophized in the manner of Parmenides. At twenty-eight, Hermodorus says, went to Euclides in Megara." However, as Debra Nails argues, the text does not state that Plato left for Megara after joining Cratylus and Hermogenes.
In his Seventh Letter, Plato notes that his coming of age coincided with the taking of power by the Thirty, remarking, "But a youth under the age of twenty made himself a laughingstock if he attempted to enter the political arena." Thus, Nails dates Plato's birth to 424/423. According to Neanthes, Plato was six years younger than Isocrates, therefore was born the same year the prominent Athenian statesman Pericles died. Jonathan Barnes regards 428 BC as the year of Plato's birth; the grammarian Apollodorus of Athens in his Chronicles argues that Plato was born in the 88th Olympiad. Both the Suda and Sir Thomas Browne claimed he was born during the 88th Olympiad. Another legend related that, when Plato was an infant, bees settled on his lips while he was sleeping: an augury of the sweetness of style in which he would discourse about philosophy. Besides Plato himself and Perictione had three other children; the brothers Adeimantus and Glaucon are mentioned in the Republic as sons of Ariston, brothers of Plato, though some have argued they were uncles.
In a scenario in the Memorabilia, Xenophon confused the issue by presenting a Glaucon much younger than Plato. Ariston appears to have died in Plato's childhood, although the precise dating of his death is difficult. Perictione married Pyrilampes, her mother's brother, who had served many times as an ambassador to the Persian court and was a friend of Pericles, the leader of the democratic faction in Athens. Pyrilampes had a son from a previous marriage, famous for his beauty. Perictione gave birth to Pyrilampes' second son, the half-brother of Plato, who appears in Parmenides. In contrast to his reticence about himself, Plato introduced his distinguished relatives into his dialogues, or referred to them with some precision. In addition to Adeimantus and Glaucon in the Republic, Charmides has a dialogue named after him; these and other references suggest a considerable amount of family pride and enable us to reconstruct Plato's family tree. According to Burnet, "the opening scene of the Ch
Constitution of the Athenians (Aristotle)
The Constitution of the Athenians called the Athenian Constitution, is a work by Aristotle or one of his students. It was preserved on two leaves of a papyrus codex discovered at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt in 1879; the Aristotelian text is unique. It was lost until two leaves of a papyrus codex carrying part of the text were discovered in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt in 1879 and published in 1880. A second, more extensive papyrus text was purchased in Egypt by an American missionary in 1890. E. A. Wallis Budge of the British Museum acquired it that year, the first edition of it by Frederic G. Kenyon was published in January, 1891; the editions of the Greek text in widest use today are Kenyon's Oxford Classical Text of 1920 and the Teubner edition by Mortimer H. Chambers; the papyrus text is now held in the British Library. Ancient accounts of Aristotle credit him with 170 Constitutions of various states. Athens, was a important state, where Aristotle was living at the time, therefore it is plausible that if students composed the others, Aristotle had composed that one himself as a model for the rest.
On the other hand, a number of prominent scholars doubt. If it is a genuine writing of Aristotle it is of particular significance, because it is the only one of his extant writings, intended for publication; because it purports to supply so much contemporary information unknown or unreliable, modern historians have claimed that "the discovery of this treatise constitutes a new epoch in Greek historical study." In particular, 21–22, 26.2–4, 39–40 of the work contain factual information not found in any other extant ancient text. The Constitution of the Athenians describes the political system of ancient Athens; some ancient authors, such as Diogenes Laërtius, state that Aristotle assigned his pupils to prepare a monograph of 158 constitutions of Greek cities, including a constitution of Athens. The work consists of two parts; the first part, from Chapter 1 to Chapter 41, deals with the different forms of the constitution, from the trial of the Alcmaeonidae until 403 BC. The second part describes the city's institutions, including the terms of access to citizenship and the courts.
The text was published in 1891 by Frederic George Kenyon. Shortly after, a controversy arose over the authorship of the work. In chapter 54, Aristotle relates that the Festival of Hephaestus was "instituted during the archonship of Cephisophon," which corresponds to 329 BC. In Chapter 62, Aristotle indicates that, at the time he was writing, Athens was still sending officials to Samos. After 322 BC, Samos was no longer under Athenian control. Based on this internal evidence, scholars conclude that the Athenian Constitution was written no earlier than 328 BC and no than 322 BC. Furthermore, the fact that Aristotle does not mention quinquiremes despite mentioning triremes and quadriremes suggests that it was written no than 325 BC when quinquiremes are first recorded in the Athenian Navy. Constitution of the Athenians, translated by Horace Rackham The Constitution of Athens public domain audiobook at LibriVox
The Peloponnesian War was an ancient Greek war fought by the Delian League led by Athens against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases. In the first phase, the Archidamian War, Sparta launched repeated invasions of Attica, while Athens took advantage of its naval supremacy to raid the coast of the Peloponnese and attempt to suppress signs of unrest in its empire; this period of the war was concluded with the signing of the Peace of Nicias. That treaty, was soon undermined by renewed fighting in the Peloponnese. In 415 BC, Athens dispatched a massive expeditionary force to attack Sicily; this ushered in the final phase of the war referred to either as the Decelean War, or the Ionian War. In this phase, now receiving support from the Achaemenid Empire, supported rebellions in Athens's subject states in the Aegean Sea and Ionia, undermining Athens's empire, depriving the city of naval supremacy; the destruction of Athens's fleet in the Battle of Aegospotami ended the war, Athens surrendered in the following year.
Corinth and Thebes demanded that Athens should be destroyed and all its citizens should be enslaved, but Sparta refused. The term "Peloponnesian War " was never used by Thucydides, by far its major historian: that the term is all but universally used today is a reflection of the Athens-centric sympathies of modern historians; as prominent historian J. B. Bury remarks, the Peloponnesians would have considered it the "Attic War"; the Peloponnesian War reshaped the ancient Greek world. On the level of international relations, the strongest city-state in Greece prior to the war's beginning, was reduced to a state of near-complete subjection, while Sparta became established as the leading power of Greece; the economic costs of the war were felt all across Greece. The war wrought subtler changes to Greek society. Ancient Greek warfare, meanwhile a limited and formalized form of conflict, was transformed into an all-out struggle between city-states, complete with atrocities on a large scale. Shattering religious and cultural taboos, devastating vast swathes of countryside, destroying whole cities, the Peloponnesian War marked the dramatic end to the fifth century BC and the golden age of Greece.
As the preeminent Athenian historian, wrote in his influential History of the Peloponnesian War, "The growth of the power of Athens, the alarm which this inspired in Lacedaemon, made war inevitable." Indeed, the nearly fifty years of Greek history that preceded the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War had been marked by the development of Athens as a major power in the Mediterranean world. Its empire began as a small group of city-states, called the Delian League—from the island of Delos, on which they kept their treasury—that came together to ensure that the Greco-Persian Wars were over. After defeating the Second Persian invasion of Greece in the year 480 BC, Athens led the coalition of Greek city-states that continued the Greco-Persian Wars with attacks on Persian territories in the Aegean and Ionia. What ensued was a period, referred to as the Pentecontaetia, in which Athens became in fact an empire, carrying out an aggressive war against Persia and dominating other city-states. Athens proceeded to bring under its control all of Greece except for Sparta and its allies, ushering in a period, known to history as the Athenian Empire.
By the middle of the century, the Persians had been driven from the Aegean and forced to cede control of a vast range of territories to Athens. At the same time, Athens increased its own power; this tribute was used to support a powerful fleet and, after the middle of the century, to fund massive public works programs in Athens, causing resentment. Friction between Athens and the Peloponnesian states, including Sparta, began early in the Pentecontaetia. According to Thucydides, although the Spartans took no action at this time, they "secretly felt aggrieved". Conflict between the states flared up again in 465 BC; the Spartans summoned forces from all of their allies, including Athens, to help them suppress the revolt. Athens sent out a sizable contingent, but upon its arrival, this force was dismissed by the Spartans, while those of all the other allies were permitted to remain. According to Thucydides, the Spartans acted in this way out of fear that the Athenians would switch sides and support the helots.
When the rebellious helots were forced to surrender and permitted to evacuate the state, the Athenians settled them at the strategic city of Naupaktos on the Gulf of Corinth. In 459 BC, Athens took advantage of a war between its neighbors Megara and Corinth, both Spartan allies, to conclude an alliance with Megara, giving the Athenians a critical fo
Ancient Greek philosophy
Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC and continued throughout the Hellenistic period and the period in which Ancient Greece was part of the Roman Empire. Philosophy was used to make sense out of the world in a non-religious way, it dealt with a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, political philosophy, metaphysics, logic, biology and aesthetics. Greek philosophy has influenced much of Western culture since its inception. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato". Clear, unbroken lines of influence lead from ancient Greek and Hellenistic philosophers to Early Islamic philosophy, the European Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment; some claim that Greek philosophy was in turn influenced by the older wisdom literature and mythological cosmogonies of the ancient Near East, though this is debated. Martin Litchfield West gives qualified assent to this view by stating that "contact with oriental cosmology and theology helped to liberate the early Greek philosophers' imagination.
But they taught themselves to reason. Philosophy as we understand it is a Greek creation". Subsequent philosophic tradition was so influenced by Socrates as presented by Plato that it is conventional to refer to philosophy developed prior to Socrates as pre-Socratic philosophy; the periods following this, up to and after the wars of Alexander the Great, are those of "classical Greek" and "Hellenistic" philosophy. The convention of terming those philosophers who were active prior to Socrates the pre-Socratics gained currency with the 1903 publication of Hermann Diels' Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, although the term did not originate with him; the term is considered useful because what came to be known as the "Athenian school" signaled a profound shift in the subject matter and methods of philosophy. The pre-Socratics were concerned with cosmology and mathematics, they were distinguished from "non-philosophers" insofar as they rejected mythological explanations in favor of reasoned discourse. Thales of Miletus, regarded by Aristotle as the first philosopher, held that all things arise from a single material substance, water.
It is not because he gave a cosmogony that John Burnet calls him the "first man of science," but because he gave a naturalistic explanation of the cosmos and supported it with reasons. According to tradition, Thales was able to predict an eclipse and taught the Egyptians how to measure the height of the pyramids. Thales inspired the Milesian school of philosophy and was followed by Anaximander, who argued that the substratum or arche could not be water or any of the classical elements but was instead something "unlimited" or "indefinite", he began from the observation that the world seems to consist of opposites, yet a thing can become its opposite. Therefore, they cannot be opposites but rather must both be manifestations of some underlying unity, neither; this underlying unity could not be any of the classical elements, since they were one extreme or another. For example, water is wet, the opposite of dry, the opposite of wet; this initial state is ageless and imperishable, everything returns to it according to necessity Anaximenes in turn held that the arche was air, although John Burnet argues that by this he meant that it was a transparent mist, the aether.
Despite their varied answers, the Milesian school was searching for a natural substance that would remain unchanged despite appearing in different forms, thus represents one of the first scientific attempts to answer the question that would lead to the development of modern atomic theory. Xenophanes was born in Ionia, where the Milesian school was at its most powerful, may have picked up some of the Milesians' cosmological theories as a result. What is known is that he argued that each of the phenomena had a natural rather than divine explanation in a manner reminiscent of Anaximander's theories and that there was only one god, the world as a whole, that he ridiculed the anthropomorphism of the Greek religion by claiming that cattle would claim that the gods looked like cattle, horses like horses, lions like lions, just as the Ethiopians claimed that the gods were snubnosed and black and the Thracians claimed they were pale and red-haired. Burnet says that Xenophanes was not, however, a scientific man, with many of his "naturalistic" explanations having no further support than that they render the Homeric gods superfluous or foolish.
He has been claimed as an influence on Eleatic philosophy, although, disputed, a precursor to Epicurus, a representative of a total break between science and religion. Pythagoras lived at the same time that Xenophanes did and, in contrast to the latter, the school that he founded sought to reconcile religious belief and reason. Little is known about his life with any reliability, no writings of his survive, so it is possible that he was a mystic whose successors introduced rationalism into Pythagoreanism, that he was a rationalist whose successors are responsible for the mysticism in Pythagoreanism, or that he was the author of the doctrine. Pythagoras is said to have been a disciple of Anaximander and to have imbib