Anaximander


Anaximander was from Miletus (a Greek city-state in Ionia). He was born around 610 BCE and died around 540 BCE. He wrote a book entitled "On Nature", which was a fairly common title for books on natural philosophy in antiquity. He was a pupil of Thales. Like Thales, Anaximander proposed that there was a single common element making up all things in the universe. Anaximander had observed all the traditional elements changing into one another so he believed that the one common element was unknown to man and also that it was eternal and of limitless nature. He made a map of the stars and is credited by the Greeks as the first person to draw a map of the world, but world maps existed in other places long before his. He believed that all animals on earth had evolved from fish when the sun had evaporated water and left the fish on drier land. Humans were born from a special kind of fish. He argued that humans had to have come from animals of a different kind because humans are the only animals who require such a long period of nursing that they couldn't have survived this long period of nusing on their own. He made rational speculations on the size and shape of the earth (which he thought was shaped like a cylinder a third deep as it is broad, and is not supported by anything because it is at the center of everything and so there is no reason for it to move in any direction), the moon (which he thought was eighteen times greater than the Earth), and the sun (which he thought was twenty-seven times greater). The sun, the moon, and the stars are all circles of fire which are seen through vents. Eclipses occur when the vent for the sun is blocked. The moon waxes and wanes according to the blockages of the vents as well. He believed that wind consists of very fine vapours of air that move together, that rain comes from vapour drawn up from the Earth by the sun, and that lightning occurs when wind breaks out and separates a cloud.

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