Anaxagoras of Clazomenae was a Greek philosopher who is credited with being the first to introduce philosophy to Athens. He was a natural philosopher who is most known for his cosmology. Despite the fact that brilliant minds such as Pythagoras existed in ancient Greece before Anaxagoras’ time, it was Anaxagoras who brought the concept of philosophy to the Athenians. He was born in the Greek island of Ionia, where he spent his childhood observing and studying natural elements and forces. He was so enamored of the sciences that, although coming from an affluent family, he left everything and committed his life to acquiring and giving knowledge. Despite the fact that he lived thousands of years ago, he correctly asserted that the moon did not emit its own light, but rather reflected that of the sun. He stated that the sun was made up of molten metal and that eclipses were caused by this. Around 480 BC, he traveled to Athens, the epicenter of Greek civilization, and played a key role in shaping the city’s scientific and cultural development. Although just a few pieces of his works have been survived, he is thought to have composed multiple texts.
Childhood and Adolescence
Anaxagoras was born at Clazomenae, Ionia, around 510 BC. He came from a wealthy and aristocratic family.
His early life is little known save for the fact that he was gifted with a brilliant mind and an insatiable hunger for knowledge. He most likely spent his childhood in Ionia, discovering new things and developing an interest in world science.
He surrendered his wealth and dedicated himself to science after realizing that his life’s goal was to seek knowledge.
Later the Years
Around 480 BC, he relocated to Athens. Despite the fact that Ionia produced many brilliant thinkers, including Pythagoras, the new study of philosophy was foreign to Athens.
Athenians were first introduced to the concept of philosophy by Anaxagoras. Socrates, who would go on to become a prominent philosopher, was a little kid during his lifetime. As a result, Anaxagoras is regarded as a prominent Pre-Socratic philosopher.
Athens was rapidly emerging as the hub of Greek civilization at the time, and Anaxagoras was a key figure in the period’s scientific and cultural advances.
Pericles ascended to power in Athens during his stay. Pericles was a great Athens statesman and general who had a significant impact on Athenian society. Anaxagoras piqued his interest, and his pursuit of scientific knowledge captivated him.
Despite the fact that Anaxagoras and the would-be philosopher Socrates both lived in Athens, no evidence exists that they ever met. However, it is said that Archelaus, one of Anaxagoras’ disciples, eventually became the tutor of young Socrates.
Anaxagoras introduced philosophy to Athens, igniting a passion for scientific knowledge and inquiry among the Greeks. He studied the heavenly bodies and came up with new hypotheses about the universe.
He attempted to explain the scientific explanations for natural phenomena such as eclipses, rainbows, and meteors. In fact, he presented an astonishingly precise account of why eclipses occur.
During his days, the sun was worshipped as a god. He said that the sun was a mass of red-hot metal in order to disprove this idea. He also correctly stated that the stars were similar to the sun, but that their heat could not be felt on Earth due to their great distance.
He was the first philosopher to assert that the sun’s light is reflected by the moon. He believed that there were mountains on the moon’s surface and that it was inhabited.
Anaxagoras was a brilliant mathematician who used geometry to explore astronomy. He was one of the first to provide an accurate explanation for eclipses.
He studied and disseminated knowledge for 30 years in Athens. However, his declaration that the sun was a flaming ball of hot metal rather than a god outraged certain social and political groups, and he was charged with impiety.
Pericles, a long-time admirer, and friend, testified in his defense at his trial in 450 BC. Anaxagoras was compelled to depart Athens despite Pericles’ efforts to save him from a more severe sentence.
He wrote a treatise of philosophy, pieces of which were preserved in the 6th century AD work of Simplicius of Cilicia.
Major Projects of Anaxagoras
Anaxagoras, a Pre-Socratic philosopher, is credited with introducing philosophy to the Athenians. His contributions to the subject of cosmology were tremendous, as he was likely the first to articulate the correct reason for eclipses’ occurrence.
He stated that the sun was a heavenly body made of flaming metal, rather than a god as people thought at the time. As a result of his observation, he was accused of being impious.
Personal History and Legacy
After being compelled to flee Athens, he relocated to Lampsacus, where he spent the remainder of his life. Around 428 BC, he died.
The residents of Lampsacus, who had been commemorating his death anniversary for years, erected an altar to Mind and Truth in his honor.
Estimated Net Worth
The estimated net worth of Anaxagoras is unknown.