14 Facts About Anaxagoras


Anaxagoras gave a number of novel scientific accounts of natural phenomena, including the notion of panspermia, that life exists throughout the universe and could be distributed everywhere.

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Anaxagoras deduced a correct explanation for eclipses and described the Sun as a fiery mass larger than the Peloponnese, as well as attempting to explain rainbows and meteors.

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Anaxagoras introduced the concept of Nous as an ordering force, which moved and separated out the original mixture, which was homogeneous, or nearly so.

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Anaxagoras brought philosophy and the spirit of scientific inquiry from Ionia to Athens.

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Plutarch says "Anaxagoras is said to have predicted that if the heavenly bodies should be loosened by some slip or shake, one of them might be torn away, and might plunge and fall down to earth".

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Anaxagoras was the first to give a correct explanation of eclipses, and was both famous and notorious for his scientific theories, including the claims that the Sun is a mass of red-hot metal, that the Moon is earthy, and that the stars are fiery stones.

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Anaxagoras thought the Earth was flat and floated supported by 'strong' air under it and disturbances in this air sometimes caused earthquakes.

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Anaxagoras introduced the notion of panspermia, that life exists throughout the universe and could be distributed everywhere.

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Anaxagoras attempted to give a scientific account of eclipses, meteors, rainbows, and the Sun, which he described as a mass of blazing metal, larger than the Peloponnese; Anaxagoras said that the Moon had mountains and believed that it was inhabited.

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Anaxagoras wrote a book of philosophy, but only fragments of the first part of this have survived, through preservation in work of Simplicius of Cilicia in the 6th century AD.

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However, although Anaxagoras almost certainly lived in Athens during the lifetime of Socrates was born on 470 BCE, and there is no evidence that they ever met.

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Anaxagoras is mentioned by Socrates during his trial in Plato's Apology.

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Roman author Valerius Maximus preserves a different tradition: Anaxagoras, coming home from a long voyage, found his property in ruin, and said: "If this had not perished, I would have"—a sentence described by Valerius as being "possessed of sought-after wisdom".

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Anaxagoras appears as a character in Faust, Part II by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

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