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Listed 100 (total found 117) sub titles with search on: Biographies  for wider area of: "MAKEDONIA EAST & THRACE Region GREECE" .

Biographies (117)

Ancient comedy playwrites

Hegemon, 5th cent. BC

THASSOS (Ancient city) THASSOS
   A native of Thasos and author of satyric dramas in the age of Alcibiades who was his friend, and managed to get him freed from an accusation that had been brought against him. A parody by this poet, entitled Gigantomachia, was being presented when the news arrived of the defeat of Nicias in Sicily. This Hegemon was called Phace (phake, "lentil"), conferred on him as a nickname. He wrote also a comedy entitled Philinna.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Hegemon, of Thasos, was a comic poet of the old comedy at Athens, but was more celebrated for his parodies, of which kind of poetry he was, according to Aristotle, the inventor. He was nicknamed Phake, on account of his fondness for that kind of pulse. He lived in the time of the Peloponnesian war, and was contemporary with Cratinus when the latter was an old man, and with Alcibiades. His parody of the Gigantomachia was the piece to which the Athenians were listening, when the news was brought to them in the theatre of the destruction of the expedition to Sicily, and when, in order not to betray their feelings, they remained in the theatre to the end of the performance. The only comedy of his which is mentioned is the Philine, of which one fragment is preserved by Athenaeus, who also gives some amusing particulars respecting him. (Aristot. Poel. 2, and Hitter's note; Athen. i., b.; iii.; ix.; xv.; Meineke, Hist. Crit. Com. Graec.; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. ii.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



Mathaios Assanis Kantakouzinos

, , 1325 - 1404

Ioannis III Doukas Vatatzis

, , 1193 - 1254
Emperor of the byzantine State of Nicaea (1222 - 1254).

Ioannis V Palaeologos

, , 1332 - 1391
Emperor ot the Byzantine Empire (1341 - 1376 and 1379 - 1391).

Ioannis VI Angelos Komninos Paleologos

Late 13th c.-1383
  Son of Theodora Kantakouzini and nephew of the great general Ioannis Synadinos, from whom he received his military training, married Irini Kantakouzini (empress before 1320) with whom he had six children (including Mathaios, Manouil Palaiologos and the future empress Eleni Kantakouzini). During the civil war waged by Andronikos III Palaiologos against his grandfather Andronikos II, he sided with the former. To this end he contracted an alliance in 1320 with Theodoros Synadinos, Syrgiannis Palaiologos Philanthropinos and Alexios Apokaukos and became governor of Adrianoupolis (Adrianople), while between 1325(?) and 1341, he was emerged as Megas Domestikos. After the death of Andronikos III in 1341, he was declared emperor at Didymoteicho. During the civil strife that followed his enemies were the widowed empress Anna Palaiologina, Apokaukos and the patriarch Ioannis Kalekas. He sought refuge with the Serbian tsar Stephan I Uressi and was supported by Omour, emir of Aidinion and Orhan, the Osmanli sultan. In 1347 he entered Constantinople, was crowned emperor by patriarch Isidoros Boucheiras and granted a general amnesty. In 1351, declaring himself a follower of Grigorios Palamas, leader of the Hesychasts, he headed the synods in which his teachings on Orthodoxy were proclaimed. When in 1354 Ioannis V Palaiologos entered the city, he withdrew from public life and became a monk under the name Ioasaph and shortly afterwards went to Mystra with his sons Manouil and Mathaios. In 1379-1381 the Genoese ordered his arrest but he later returned to the Peloponnese, where he died in 1383. He was the author of "The Histories" and several rhetorical texts, among which was a Commentary on the Hesychasts.

This text is cited Apr 2003 from the Thracian Electronic Thesaurus URL below, of Democritus University of Thrace

Famous families

Karatheodoris Family


Fighters of the 1821 revolution

Belias Thanassis or Karambelias

SOUFLI (Small town) EVROS


Dramalis (Mahmout) pasa

, , 1780 - 1822
He was the leader of the turkish expedition in Peloponnese.


Androsthenes of Thasos, 4th cent. BC

THASSOS (Ancient city) THASSOS

Androsthenes of Thasus, one of Alexander's admirals, sailed with Nearchus, and was also sent by Alexander to explore the coast of the Persian gulf (Strab. xvi.; Arrian, Anab. vii. 20). He wrote an account of this voyage, and also a Tes Indikes paraplous (Athen. iii.). Compare Marcian. Heracl.; Theophr. de Caus. Plant. ii. 5; Vossius, de Histor. Graec.



SAPES (Ancient area) RODOPI
Rhascuporis, brother of Rhascus, and with him chieftain of a Thracian clan, whose territories extended from the northern shores of the Propontis to the Hebrus and the neighbourhood of Philippi. Whether the clan were that of the Sapaei or the Korpalli, or comprised both races, is uncertain. But it occupied both the mountain ridge that skirts the Propontis and the southern plains which are between the base of Mount Rhodope and the sea (comp. Appian, B. C. iv. 87, 105; Tac. Ann. ii. 64; Plin. H. N. iv. 11 (18)). We can only thus explain the seeming inconsistency in Appian's account of these chieftains; for he describes their territory as a lofty, cold, and woody region, and yet assigns to them a powerful body of cavalry. In the civil war, B. C. 49-48, Rhascuporis joined Cn. Pompey, with 200 horse, at Dyrrachium; and in the war that followed Caesar's death, he aided Cassius with 3000, while his brother Rhascus, at the head of an equal number of cavalry, embraced the cause of the triumvirs. According to Appian this was a politic and provident device for mutual security; and it was agreed beforehand that the brother whose party was triumphant, should obtain the pardon of the brother whose party was vanquished. And so, after the victory at Philippi, Rhascuporis owed his life to the intercession of Rhascus. Each brother rendered good service to his respective party. When the road from Asia into Macedonia, by Aenos and Maroneia, had been preoccupied by the triumviral legions, Rhascuporis, in whose dominions the passes were, led the armies of Brutus and Cassius by a road through the forest, known only to himself and Rhascus. And Rhascus, on the other hand, by his local knowledge, detected the march of the enemy, and saved his allies from being cut off in the rea. (Caes. B. C. iii. 4; Appian. B. C. iv. 87, 103-106, 136; Lucan. Pharsal. v. 55; Dion Cass. xlvii. 25). For the varieties in the orthography of Rhascuporis, e. g., Rhascypolis, Rascyporis, Thrascypolis, &c., see Fabricius, ad Dion Cuss. xlvii. 25; Adrian, Turneb. Adversar. xiv. 17. On the coins we meet with Basileos Rhaskouporidos, and Rhaiskouporidos. Lucan calls him "gelidae dominum Rhascupolin orae."

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



FILIPPI (Ancient city) KAVALA
Marsyas, of Philippi, commonly called the Younger (ho neoteros), to distinguish him from Marsyas of Pella, with whom he has frequently been confounded. The period at which he flourished is uncertain: the earliest writers by whom he is cited are Pliny and Athenaeus. The latter tells us that he was priest of Heracles. (Athen. xi. p. 467, c.) The works of his which we find cited, are, 1. Makedonika, whether a geographical or strictly historical treatise is uncertain; it contained at least six books. (Harpocr. s. v. Lete.) 2. Archaiologia, in twelve books, mentioned by Suidas; probably, as suggested by Geier, the same with the Attika attributed by the lexicographer to the elder Marsyas. 3. Muthika, in seven books.
  The two last works are erroneously attributed by Suidas, according to our existing text, to a. third Marsyas, a native of Taba, but it has been satisfactorily shown that this supposed historian is no other than the mythical founder of the city of Taba (Steph. Byz. s. v. Tabai), and that the works ascribed to him belong in fact to Marsyas of Philippi.
  All the questions concerning both the elder and the younger Marsyas are fully discussed, and the extant fragments of their works collected, by Geier, Alexandri M. Historiar. Scriptores aetate suppares, Lips. 1844, pp. 318-340. (See also Droysen, Hellenism. vol. i. pp. 679-682; Bernhardy, ad Suid. s. v. Marsuas.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Konstantinos Kourtidis

SOUFLI (Small town) EVROS

Literary figures

Takis Akritas

, , 1909 - 1982

Members of the Filiki Etairia (Society of Friends)

Ioannikios, Bishop of Maroneia



Karafilidis Vangelis

  Vangelis Karafillidis was born in 1971 in Alexandroupolis. In 1989 he was admitted to the Department of Physics of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki on scholarship. His thesis was based on artificial neural networks. He received his Physics degree in 1996.
  While a University student he also studied music. After studying under Demetris Athanasiades at the Macedonian Conservatory, he received his Fugue degree with honors in 1992. From the same Conservatory, after studying under Nicolas Astrinidis, he received his Piano Diploma with honors and 1st prize, voted unanimously, in 1994. After studying under Alkis Baltas at the Music College, he received his Diploma of Composition voted unanimously with honors in 1996. He has attended seminars by Athanasiades, Antoniou, Lapidakis and Kalogeras. His works have been performed in Thessaloniki, Alexandroupolis, Xanthi, Berlin and Wuppertal. As a pianist he has given performances in Thessaloniki and Xanthi.
  His compositions served as research paper material in the class "Introduction to Modern Greek Music" in the Music Department of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. At the festival "Thessaloniki, Cultural Center of Europe 1997" he took part in a concert with works of Greek composers and David Gompper (President of the Union of American Composers) with the dual attribute of pianist - composer.
  He has composed music in various styles. Among his works are included: Variations for String Quartet, Variations for Wind Quintet, "The Darkness, the Death ..." for choir and chamber orchestra (in free atonal style). In some of his works the influence of post-romanticism is obvious (Toccata for piano) or even the Greek tradition and national schools: "Variations on an Island Dance", "Micrographies", Concertino for Violin and Orchestra. For the works "Variations on an Island Dance" and "Micrographies" he won the 1st and 2nd prize respectively in the 1st competition for piano composition organized by the House of Education and Arts in the Municipality of Xanthi.
  He has taught Music at the Macedonian Conservatory (1995-97) and the Municipal Conservatory of Kalamaria (1999-2000), Physics at the Music School of Thessaloniki (1997-1998 and 1999-2000) and Form and Structure of Modern Music and Modern Music Performance Techniques during the winter semester 1999-2000 at the Cultural Professional Training Institute of Thessaloniki.

This text is cited Apr 2003 from the Friends of Music Society "Lilian Voudouri" URL below, which contains image.

Papaioannou Giannis (Andreou)

, , 1910
A composer.

Emmanouel Daskalakis

  He was born in Kavala in 1939. His parents taught him the love for the Church of Jesus Christ. Very young, he settled in Thessaloniki with his family. During his high-school years, he began to study Byzantine Music. His first tutor was the theoretician Abraham Euthymiadis in “St. Demetrius” tutorial school.
  In 1956 he met the Great Master, Chief Cantor Mr. Athanasios Karamanis, who catechized him into the patriarchal style. Since 1958 he chants in various churches of Thessaloniki and since 2002 he is First Chanter of the Holy Church of St. George of Panorama. In 1968 he graduated from the “Macedonian Conservatory”. His teachers were A. Karamanis and Ch. Taliadoros. He taught in the Municipal Conservatory of Thessaloniki and in the School of the Arnea Cathedral.
  For quite a while he was broadcasting from one of the State Radio Channels of Thessaloniki. In 1990 he was twice a guest chanter in America. In the last 22 years, thousands of copies of his 10 personal cassettes have been released. Lately, cassettes and CDs of the Byzantine Choir “St. John Koukouzelis” (that Mr. Daskalakis founded and conducts this day) have also been released. In January 1994 Mr. Daskalakis was awarded the golden medal of St. Cyril and Methodius from His Holiness the Metropolite of Thessaloniki, Mr. Panteleimon B', for his contribution to the promotion of Byzantine Music.
  In January 2002 he founded a School for Byzantine Music in the Holy Church of St. John of Panorama. He strongly believes that his young and talented students will go on serving Byzantine Music, this way being his successors.
This text is cited January 2004 from the Municipality of Patmos, the Prefecture of Dodecanese, the Holy Monastery of St. John the Theologian and the Ministry of the Aegean tourist pamphlet (2003).



AVDIRA (Ancient city) XANTHI


Rallis Kopsidis


Syni Anastassiadi

Theodoros Agglias

Maria Sidiropoulou

Paschalis Angelidis

Paschalis Angelidis

  He was born at Alexandroupolis(1952).He studied decoration and he was a student of Dimitris Cretas. Apart from painting , he was scenarist until 1990.
  Since 1987, he lives and works at Makrinitsa - Pelion Mountain - Volos

Victoria Dedegian

Economou-Maurogeni Zoe

Michalis Garoudis


Giannis Menesidis


Nikos Thomas


Kryonas S.

Georgios Moschos


Athenion, 4th-3rd c. B.C.

MARONIA (Ancient city) RODOPI
Athenion, a painter, born at Maroneia in Thrace. He was a pupil of Glaucion of Corinth, and a contemporary probably of Nicias, whom he resembled and excelled, though his style was harsher. He gave promise of the highest excellence in his art, but died young. (Plin. H. N. xxxv. 11. s. 40.29)

Athinodoros Tarsoudis


Giannis Mitrakos


Antonis Kellis


Aglaophon, 5th ce. BC

THASSOS (Ancient city) THASSOS

Aglaophon, a painter, born in the island of Thasos, the father and instructor of Polygnotus (Suidas and Photius, s. v. Polugnotos; Anth. Gr. ix. 700). He had another son named Aristophon (Plat. Gorg.). As Polygnotus flourished before the 90th Ol. (Plin. H. N. xxxv. 9. s. 35), Aglaophon probably lived about Ol. 70. Quintilian (xii. 10.3) praises his paintings, which were distinguished by the simplicity of their colouring, as worthy of admiration on other grounds besides their antiquity. There was an Aglaophon who flourished in the 90th Ol., who were possessed of great wealth, according to Pliny (H. N. xxxv. 9. s. 36), and his statement is confirmed by a passage of Athenaeus (xii.), from which we learn that he painted two pictures, in one of which Olympias and Pythias, as the presiding geniuses of the Olylmpic and Pythian games, were represented crowning Alcibiades; in the other Nemea, the presiding deity of the Nemean games, held Alcibiades on her knees. Alcibiades could not have gained any victories much before Ol. 91 (B. C. 416). It is therefore exceedingly likely that this artist was the son of Aristophon, and grandson of the older Aglaophon, as among the Greeks the son generally bore the name not of his father but of his grandfather. Plutarch (Alcib. 16) says, that Aristophon was the author of the picture of Nemea and Alcibiades. He may perhaps have assisted his son. This Aglaophon was, according to some, the first who represented Victory with wings.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Aristophon, 5th ce. BC

Aristophon, a painter of some distinction, the son and pupil of Aglaophon, and the brother of Polygnotus. He was also probably the father of the younger Aglaophon, and born at Thasos. Some of his productions are mentioned by Pliny (xxxv. 11. s. 40), and Plutarch (de audiend. Poet. 3). It is probably through a mistake that Plutarch (Alcib. 16) makes him the author of a picture representing Alcibiades in the arms of Nemea.

. . . Aristophon the brother of Polygnotus, and by Plato reckoned as his equal, some well-known pictures are quoted in Pliny and Plutarch: of these a numerosa tabula is probably to be identified as the principal scene of an Iliupersis, in which Priamus, Helena and Peitho, Ulixes and Apate, and Deiphobus appear, possibly (as numerosa would seem to imply) as an excerpt from a large composition. Besides this, we have an Astypalaea grieving for her son Ancaeus, wounded by a boar (suggestive of Adonis and Aphrodite); a Philoctetes (probably the same which Pliny saw in the Pinacotheca of the Propylaea at Athens); and a picture commemorating the agonistic victories of Alcibiades. This last subject has given rise to much discussion; one author (Satyrus) makes of it two pictures, the one representing Olympias and Pythias crowning Alcibiades, the other Nemea sitting with Alcibiades in her lap. The other authority (Plutarch) names simply Nemea seated with Alcibiades in her arms, and adds that it caused quite a furore in Athens; but the elders took it ill, as savouring of tyrannia and lawlessness (paranomois). Klein explains the paranomois as referring to a psephisma of the Athenians forbidding any one from attaching to a female slave or hetaira the name of a Penteteris. The terms of the description make it clear that it was one picture. Satyrus says that the painting was Aglaophontos graphen; if this is so, we must imagine an Aglophon the second, for it is not possible that the father of Polygnotus could have lived so long. Probably either Satyrus or his quoter (Athenaeus) must have omitted the name of the son, and the quotation should run Aristophontos tou] Aglaophontos.

This extract is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Aristomenes, a painter, born at Thasos is mentioned by Vitruvius (iii. Prooem. Β§ 2), but did not attain to any distinction.

Polygnotus, (5th century BC)

Polygnotus (Polugnotos). A celebrated Greek painter of the island of Thasos. He worked chiefly in Athens, whither he had been invited by Cimon about B.C. 460, and where he received the citizenship. His most celebrated paintings were the "Capture of Troy" and the "Descent of Odysseus into Hades," in the hall erected by the Cnidians at Delphi. We possess a description of them in considerable detail by Pausanias (x. 25-31). Other celebrated paintings by him (though several of his contemporaries were associated with him in their execution) were to be seen in the Stoa Poecile, the "Capture of Troy" and the "Battle of Marathon" , and in the temples of the Dioscuri, and of Theseus at Athens. Though his works were only tinted outlines traced upon a coloured background, without shading and without any perspective, and sketched, as it were, in simple relief, all on the same plane, still his clear, rhythmical composition, the delicacy of his drawing, the impressiveness of his contours, and the nobility of his figures were highly celebrated.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Polygnotos (5th century BC)

Polygnotos. Innovative painter from Thasos during the Classical period, who spent most of his life in Athens.
  Aristotle used his work to illustrate what he ment by ethos, enhanced state of mind. Pausanians writes about his paintings in Delphi.
  Polygnotos preferred to paint characters and thoughtfulness: in Delphi he painted the Greeks and the Trojans the day after the battle of Troy and another work showed Odysseus visiting the underworld. He also painted mythological scenes in the Stoa Poikile in Athens.
  Polygnotos prefered to use colours like black, red, yellow ochra and white, but also used shades inbetween by mixing the colours: for example, he painted bodies that show through water and seethrough clothes.
  He was also the first to try to show the background as a reality and introduced landscapes as well as perspecitve.
  Before Polygnotos painting was for decoration, now it became a cultural factor. He founded the helladic school of art in Athens.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.

...With Polygnotus the history of Greek painting as an independent art may be said to begin, and in this sense we may accept the statement of Theophrastus (ante) that this artist was the inventor of painting. It is the period of the great reaction at Athens succeeding to the Persian wars, and for the first time we hear of great historical compositions, and of painters recognised as public characters. The limited space of this article necessarily precludes anything like a general notice of all the various productions of Greek painters incidentally mentioned in ancient writers. With the exception, therefore, of occasionally mentioning works of extraordinary celebrity, the notices of the various Greek painters of whom we have any satisfactory knowledge will be restricted to those who, by the quality or peculiar character of their works, have contributed towards the establishment of any of the various styles of painting practised by the ancients. A fuller account of each artist will be found under their respective names in the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography.
  The fame of Polygnotus is chiefly associated with Athens; he was born at Thasos, and came of a family of Thasiote artists; his father Aglophon, and his brother Aristophon, being both recorded as painters of note. Of the details of his life we know very little; just as his great contemporary Pheidias started life as a painter, so Polygnotus is spoken of as having had some experience in sculpture: an association between the two arts which is clearly reflected in the sculpture of the time. His period of activity seems to have lain between B.C. 475 and 430. Attracted to Athens among the artists whom Cimon was employing for the reconstruction and adornment of the city, he won for himself the freedom of that city, and a special honour from the Amphictyons, by his gratuitous work at Athens and at Delphi. He became the leader of a school of painters who worked on the same monuments, and probably much in the same manner, as himself; principal. among these were Panaenus, a relation of Pheidias, and Micon, like his leader both sculptor and painter, and, like him too, of Ionic origin.
  Unfortunately, in many cases where these artists were employed conjointly, we cannot always decide which subjects to assign to each of the respective masters. In all probability, the earliest works which can with certainty be attributed to Polygnotus were the large compositions with which he decorated the Lesche or assembly hall of the Cnidians at Delphi, representing the Sack of Troy and the Vision of Hades. These paintings are celebrated in an epigram of Simonides: now we know that in B.C. 477 the poet went to Sicily, and that in B.C. 467 he died; so that the paintings were probably executed at least before B.C. 470. Pausanias devotes seven chapters (x. 25-31) to their description, and from this we can gather a very fair idea of the general character of the compositions. The figures were arranged in an extended form of frieze, but grouped on different levels, and lacking that pictorial unity which a definitive background supplies in modern painting. Each figure had the name written over it, and the wall was covered with distinct groups, each telling its own story, but all contributing together to relate the tale of the general composition. They were in fact painted histories, and each group was no further connected with the contiguous groups, than that they all tended to illustrate different facts of the same story. Intended as they were for the decoration of architecture, they were subservient to tectonic laws; as in sculpture in relief, what was not absolutely necessary to illustrate the principal object was indicated merely by symbolism: thus, in default of more elaborate scenery, locality was suggested rather than expressed,--a tree, a house, or a piece of water representing what the knowledge of each spectator would easily supply for himself.
  If we consider the narrow limits thus imposed on Polygnotos by his obedience to ancient laws and canons not yet broken through, we shall expect to find his real claims to the advancement of art more set forth in the details of his style and treatment of his subject; and this is precisely what is most noted of him by ancient writers. While he inherits the strength and firmness of his more archaic predecessors, he adds a breadth of style and an ?sthetic beauty which is less external than inherent within the character of his subject. This is what Aristotle means when he (Poet. c. 6) speaks of him as an agathos ethographos,, an excellent delineator of [p. 408] moral character, and assigns to him in this respect a complete superiority over Zeuxis; and again (ibid. c. 2), speaking of imitation, when he remarks that it must be either superior, inferior, or equal to its model, illustrating his point by the cases of three painters: Polygnotus, he says, paints men better than they are, Pauson worse than they are, and Dionysius as they are.
  Pliny says (xxxv. § 58) that he was the first to paint women with translucent drapery, and to decorate their heads with various coloured head-dresses; but that his greatest contributions to painting were those of opening the mouth, showing the teeth, and that he gave expression to the countenance by altering its archaic stiffness. It is in these last characteristics that we see the revolution brought about by Polygnotus; he endeavours, in the whole treatment of the body, to impart an individual character; especially in the face, so that a poet of the Anthology (Anth. Gr. iii. 147 B) might say of his Polyxena that in her eyelids lay the whole of the Trojan war. It is probably more than a coincidence that in his works we have the first glimpse of portrait painting in the modern sense. The artist loved Elpinice, the sister of the great Cimon; and her portrait, as Laodice, figured among the Trojan women represented by him in the Stoa.
  With Polygnotus the art of Painting was in point of conception and spiritual beauty at its zenith; but, unlike sculpture, it was as yet lacking in technical power; as Woermann (p. 43) says, It truly entered into possession of its full technical means in a later generation, when the arts of Greece were no longer bent upon their ideal mission in the same high earnest as of old. The range of colours was scanty;6 and though we hear of special local tints being applied (e. g. the Eurynomus in the Nekyia coloured blue-black, like a carrion fly, as Pausanias says), there is no suggestion of a transition of tones or of local light and shade. Indeed, this is the more natural when we remember that no determinate background was used, but probably the figures stood out on the white ground of the wall.
  If we wish to realise the spirit of Polygnotus' paintings, it is principally to the sculptures of the time that we must look; and specially to the series of reliefs upon the marble lekythi and sepulchral stelae, which breathe the same qualities of pathos that underlay the paintings of this master, and the bloom of which art falls just in his time. Possibly even the motives of these sculptures may suggest the types which Polygnotus had created for his great picture of Hades. The influence which his art exercised upon sculpture is best shown in the frieze of the Graeco-Lycian monument of Gjolbaschi, where more than one motive (e. g. the Slaying of the Suitors by Odysseus) is directly inspired by the painting of the same subject. But as far as mere types are concerned, much is probably still to be obtained from the study of vases. The gulf between art and handicraft is widening, and the polychrome vase-paintings (on a white ground) are a last attempt to keep pace with the greater art, but for the most part are not worthy of the simple colouring of Polygnotus. On some red-figured vases, however, of the time of Meidias,7 it is now shown that the scenes depicted have a close relationship with the painter,--a fact borne out by the inscriptions which they bear, and which are written in the Parian-Thasian, and not the Attic, alphabet. Dummler has collected as many as six such instances, and more will doubtless be now identified.
  For a list of the various works of Polygnotus and his contemporaries, we must refer the reader to Overbeck's Schriftquellen. It is sufficient to say here that their principal sphere seems to have been Athens, and the wealth of Athenian local myths supplied them with the most varied and extensive themes. It was a time when the luxuriance of Ionic art was taking a hold upon Athens, not in painting alone, but in the whole range of Attic culture; and this movement is continued in the greatest of the colleagues of Polygnotus, Micon and Panaenus.

This extract is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Antonis Papadopoulos


Kryonides Nikos



AVDIRA (Ancient city) XANTHI
, , 480 - 400
Leucippus (flourished about 450-370 BC) was probably born in Abdera. Virtually nothing is known of his life and none of his writings survive. He is, however, credited with founding the atomic theory of matter, later developed by his pupil, the Greek philosopher Democritus. According to this theory, all matter is constituted of identical indivisible particles called atoms.

This text is cited May 2003 from the Prefecture of Xanthi URL below.

Leucippus (fl.5th century BC)
Life Ancient philosopher and physicist, founder of the atomic theory. His birthplace is variously given as Miletus, Abdera and Elea. The Epicureans doubted his existence. Aristotle records that there was no essential difference between the teachings of Leucippus and those of his disciple Democritus. The powerful personality of the latter appears to overshadowed the former, and the disciple has remained famous while the master is forgotten.
  Leucippus lived in the 5th century BC and was a contemporary of Empedocles and Anaxagoras. He is credited with two treatises, the "Great World System" (Megas Diakosmos), the fundamental textbook of the atomist school, and the "On the mind". While nothing definite is known of the second, a short account of the first has survived.

This text is based on the Greek book "Ancient Greek Scientists", Athens, 1995 and is cited Dec 2003 from The Technology Museum of Thessaloniki URL below.

Leucippus (Leukippos), a Grecian philosopher, who is on all hands admitted to have been the founder of the atomic theory of the ancient philosophy. Where and when he was born we have no data for deciding. Miletus, Abdera, and Elis have been assigned as his birth-place; the first, apparently, for no other reason than that it was the birth-place of several natural philosophers; the second, because Democritus, who carried out his theory of atoms, came from that town; Elis, because he was looked upon as a disciple of the Eleatic school. The period when he lived is equally uncertain. He is called the teacher of Democritus (Diog. Laert. ix. 34), the disciple of Parmenides (Simplic. Phys. fol. 7, a), or, according to other accounts, of Zeno, of Melissus, nay even of Pythagoras (Simplic. l. c ; Diog. Laert. ix. 30; Tzetz. Chil. ii. 930; Iamblich. Vit. Pyth. 104). From the circumstance that Parmenides and Anaxagoras had objected to some doctrines which we find connected with the atomic theory, and from the obscurity that hangs over the personal history and doctrines of Leucippus, Ritter (Geschichte d. Phil. vol. i. book vi. c. 2) is inclined to believe that Leucippus lived at a time when intercourse between the learned of the different Grecian states was unfrequent. With regard to his philosophical system it is impossible to speak with precision or certainty, as Aristotle and the other writers who mention him, either speak of him in conjunction with Democritus, or attribute to him doctrines which are in like manner attributed to Democritus. Diogenes Laertius (ix. 30-33) attempts an exposition of some of his leading doctrines. Some notices will also be found in Aristotle (De Anima, i. 2), Plutarch (De Placitis Phil. 17), and Cicero (de Nat. Deor. i. 24). For an account of the general features of the atomic theory, as developed by Democritus, the reader is referred to that article.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


, , 470 - 390
Democritus was a great philosopher born in the city of Avdera (Thrace) c. 470-457 BC. His father was very rich. This helped Democritus be well educated in his hometown as well as in other places. Rumour has it that among his teachers were Chaldaean priests, whose theological and astrological beliefs he heard when he was young. According to unconfirmed information, those priests were given to Democritus' father as a gift by King Xerxes during the Persian invasion in Greece. Thanks to his father's fortune, Democritus left Avdera for a long journey in Asian and African countries. When he returned to Avdera, the city was prosperous. It is likely that he he established a School of Philosophy there.
During his long absence Democritus spent all of his father's fortune. There was a law prohibiting the burial of those citizens who had wasted their parents' money. According to this law it would be impossible for him to be buried at home. However, after his presenting his work "Great Decoration", he was offered money, brass statuettes and a public burial.

This text is cited July 2003 from the Prefecture of Xanthi URL below.

   Democritus, (Demokritos). A celebrated philosopher, born at Abdera, about B.C. 494 or 490, but according to some, B.C. 470 or 460. His father was a man of noble family and of great wealth, and contributed largely towards the entertainment of the army of Xerxes on his return to Asia. As a reward for this service the Persian monarch made him and the other Abderites rich presents and left among them several Chaldaean Magi. Democritus, according to Diogenes Laertius, was instructed by these in astronomy and theology. After the death of his father he determined to travel in search of wisdom, and devoted to this purpose the portion which fell to him, amounting to one hundred talents. He is said to have visited Egypt and Ethiopia, the Persian Magi, and, according to some, even the Gymnosophists of India. Whether, in the course of his travels, he visited Athens or studied under Anaxagoras is uncertain. There can be little doubt, however, that during some part of his life he was instructed in the Pythagorean tenets, and particularly that he was a disciple of Leucippus. After a long course of years thus spent in travelling, Democritus returned to Abdera, richly stored with the treasures of philosophy, but destitute even of the necessary means of subsistence. His brother Damosis, however, received him kindly and liberally supplied all his wants. According to the law of Abdera, whoever should waste his patrimony should be deprived of the rites of burial. Democritus, desiring to avoid this disgrace, gave public lectures to the people, chiefly from his larger Diakosmos, the most valuable of his writings; in return he received from his hearers many valuable presents and otlrer testimonies of respect, which relieved him from all apprehension of suffering public censure as a spendthrift.
    Democritus, by his learning and wisdom, and especially by his acquaintance with natural phenomena, acquired great fame and excited much admiration among the ignorant Abderites. By giving previous notices of unexpected changes in the weather, and by other artifices, he had the address to make them believe that he possessed a power of predicting future events; and they not only looked upon him as something more than mortal, but even proposed to invest him with the direction of their public affairs. From inclination and habit, however, he preferred a contemplative to an active life, and therefore declined these public honours and passed the remainder of his days in solitude. It is said that from this time he spent his days and nights in caverns and sepulchres; and some even relate that, in order to be more perfectly master of his intellectual faculties, he blinded himself by means of a burning-glass. The story, however, is utterly incredible, since the writers who mention it affirm that Democritus employed his leisure in writing books and in dissecting the bodies of animals, neither of which could well have been effected without eyes. Nor is greater credit due to the tale that Democritus spent his leisure hours in chemical researches after the philosopher's stone--the dream of a later age; or to the story of his conversation with Hippocrates, grounded upon letters which are said to have passed between the father of medicine and the people of Abdera on the supposed madness of Democritus, but which are evidently spurious. The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from these and other tales is that Democritus was a man of lofty genius and penetrating judgment, who, by a long course of study and observation, became an eminent master of speculative and physical science; the natural consequence of which was that, like Roger Bacon in a later period, he astonished and imposed upon his ignorant and credulous countrymen. Petronius relates that he was perfectly acquainted with the virtues of herbs, plants, and stones, and that he spent his life in making experiments upon natural bodies.
    Democritus has been commonly known under the appellation of "The Laughing Philosopher," and it is gravely related by Seneca that he never appeared in public without expressing his contempt of the follies of mankind by laughter. Thus much, in fact, may be easily believed: that a man so superior to the generality of his contemporaries, and whose lot it was to live among a race of men who were stupid to a proverb, might frequently treat their follies with ridicule and contempt. Accordingly, we find that among his fellow-citizens he had the name of Gelasinos, or "the mocker".
    Democritus appears to have been in his morals chaste and temperate, and his sobriety was repaid by a healthy old age. He lived and enjoyed the use of his faculties to the term of a hundred years, and at last died through mere decay.
    Democritus expanded the atomic theory of his master Leucippus, to support the truth of which he maintained the impossibility of division ad infinitum; and, from the difficulty of assigning a commencement of time, he argued the eternity of existing nature, of void space, and of motion. He supposed the atoms, originally similar, to be endowed with certain properties, such as impenetrability and a density proportionate to their volume. He referred every active and passive affection to motion, caused by impact, limited by the principle he assumed, that like can only act on like. He drew a distinction between primary motion and secondary; impulse and reaction; from a combination of which he produced <*>otary motion. Herein consists the law of necessity, by which all things in nature are ruled. From the endless multiplicity of falling atoms have resulted the worlds which we behold, with all the properties of immensity, resemblance, and dissimilitude which belong to them. The soul consists (such is his doctrine) of globular atoms of fire, which impart movement to the body. Maintaining his atomic theory throughout, Democritus introduced the hypothesis of images (eidola), a species of emanation from external objects, which make an impression on our senses, and from the influence of which he deduced sensation (aisthesis) and thought (noesis). He distinguished between a rude, imperfect, and therefore false perception and a true one. In the same manner, consistently with his theory, he accounted for the popular notions of the Deity; partly through our incapacity to understand fully the phenomena of which we are witnesses, and partly from the impressions communicated by certain beings (eidola) of enormous stature and resembling the human figure which inhabit the air. To these he ascribed dreams and the causes of divination. He carried his theory into practical philosophy also, laying down that happiness consisted in an equability of temperament (euthumia), whence he deduced his moral principles and prudential maxims. It was from Democritus that Epicurus borrowed the principal features of his philosophy. The fragments of Democritus have been collected and published by Mullach, with notes.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Democritus (fl.460-370 BC)
Life Democritus was a philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and physicist, master of all the sciences and the founder of atomic physics. He was born in 460 BC in the Thracian city of Abdera, a place renowned for its wealth and its high intellectual level. His father, called either Hegesistratus or Athenocritus, was apparently a very wealthy man, and spent lavishly on his son's education. He is known to have studied with Leucippus, and Aristotle cites both teacher and student as founders of the atomic school: later, after the pupil had outstripped the master, his name stands alone as sole representative of the school. Democritus travelled widely, visiting Egypt, Babylon, Persia, possibly India, and Athens and exhausting his great wealth in the process; so that he returned to Abdera a poor man, but delighted with all he had seen and learned. At first his compatriots scorned him as a prodigal, but once they had recognised his wisdom they came to love and respect him. He lived to a great age, and when he died was buried in Abdera with great honours. The school he founded survived in Abdera for many years after his death, at first adhering faithfully to his teachings, but eventually turning towards Stoicism and Epicurism.
  Democritus was a man with an all-embracing mind, as is evident from the scope of his writings, of which unfortunately only fragments remain. His philosophy incorporates virtually the entire body of knowledge of his age, while in their impressively comprehensive range his works can only be compared with those of Aristotle.
Work His greatest achievement was the formulation of the atomic theory. He used the concepts of "full" and "empty" in order to explain phenomena, imagining "full" as being divided into innumerable imperceptibly tiny particles, separated one from another by a void. These particles are indivisible, as their Greek name "atoma" [= that cannot be cut] indicates, and solid ("nasta"). These particles have the same properties as Parmenides' "on": they are incorruptible, uncaused, unalterable, infinite in number, without qualitative difference, differing from one another only in arrangement, position and magnitude. Physical creation is formed by atoms that move and compound. Since all atoms are made of the same substance, it follows that their weight is exactly proportional to their size. The difference in weight between compound bodies of the same size is explained by the greater amount of empty space in the lighter of them. Every "coming-into being" of a compound is an association of separate atoms, and every "perishing" is a dissociation of atoms. Every change must be attributed to a change in the position or order of the compounding atoms. All the properties of a body are based on the shape, magnitude, position and arrangement of its atoms. There is however one basic difference: some properties (weight, density, hardness) belong to the compounds as such, while other, the so-called sensory properties, those which we ourselves attribute to things, reflect the manner in which they act upon the object sensed. Just as the atoms are uncaused and eternal, so too, according to Democritus, is motion: instead of a moving principle (the Love and Strife of Empedocles; the nous or intelligence of Anaxagoras), Democritus posited a system inherent in matter itself, in which a whirling motion (dine) brought atoms together. Motion has no beginning, the number of atoms and the surrounding void have no limits; and thus there are an infinity of worlds in an infinite variety of states and forms.
  According to Diogenes Laertius, Democritus wrote some 70 treatises; of these, only fragments survive in the works of later writers. His most important works (by general category) are:
1. PHYSICS (books 25): "Great World System (Megas Diakosmos)", "Lesser World System" (Micros Diakosmos)", "Cosmography", "On the planets", "On nature", "On the nature of man", "On the mind", "On senses", "On flavours", "On colours", "On the different states", "On successions of states", "Determining forces", "On images", "On the rules of logic/", "On disputed points", "Celestial causes" (celestial mechanics), "Causes relating to air" (aerostatics), "Causes relating to the plane" (statics), "Origins of fire and of fiery states" (heat and thermodynamics), "Origin of sounds" (acoustics), "Origin s f seeds and plants and fruits" (biology), "Origins of animals a, b, c" (zoology), "Origins of divers things" (miscellany), "On minerals" (mineralogy).
2. MATHEMATICS (5 books): "On a difference of opinion or on the contact between a circle and a sphere", "On geometry", "Geometry", "Numbers", "On irrational lines and solids".
3. ASTRONOMY - GEOGRAPHY (8 books): "Planispheres", "The Great Year", "On water clocks", "Description of the heavens", "Description of the firmament", "Radiation", "Geography", "Circuit of the ocean".
4. TECHNICAL SCIENCES (6 books): "Prognostics", "On the seasonable and the unseasonable", "On agriculture", "On drawing", "Tactics", "On the art of war". 5.
PHARMACEUTICALS (1 book): "On medicaments", a treatise on nostrums and remedies, including a preparation to ensure the birth of "fair children": a mixture of fir seeds, balsam, saffron, honey, milk and wine.

This text is based on the Greek book "Ancient Greek Scientists", Athens, 1995 and is cited Dec 2003 from The Technology Museum of Thessaloniki URL below.

Democritus, (Demokritos), was a native of Abdera in Thrace, an Ionian colony of Teos. (Aristot. de Coel. iii. 4, Meteor. ii. 7, with Ideler's note.) Some called him a Milesian, and the name of his father too is stated differently. (Diog. Laert. ix. 34, &c.) His birth year was fixed hy Apollodorus in 01. 80. 1, or B. C. 460, while Thrasyllus had referred it to Ol. 77. 3. (Diog. Laert. l. c. § 41, with Menage's note; Gellius, xvii. 21 ; Clinton, F. H. ad ann. 460.) Democritus had called himself forty years younger than Anaxagoras. His father, Hegesistratuts,--or as others called him Damasippus or Athenocritus,--was possessed of so large a property, that he was able to receive and treat Xerxes on his march through Abdera. Democritus spent the inheritance, which his father left him, on travels into distant countries, which he undertook to satisfy his extraordinary thirst for knowledge. He travelled over a great part of Asia, and, as some state, he even reached India and Aethiopia. (Cic. de Fin. v. 19; Strabo, xvi.; A. H. C. Geffers, Quaestiones Democrit.) We know that he wrote on Babylon and Meroe; he must also have visited Egypt, and Diodorus Siculus (i. 98) even states, that he lived there for a period of five years. He himself declared (Clem. Alex. Strom. i.), that among his contemporaries none had made greater journeys, seen more countries, and made the acquaintance of more men distinguished in every kind of science than himself. Among the last he mentions in particular the Egyptian mathematicians (arpedonaptai ; comp. Sturz, de Dialect. Maced.), whose knowledge he praises, without, however, regarding himself inferior to them. Theophrastus, too, spoke of him as a man who had seen many countries. (Aelian, V. H. iv. 20; Diog. Laert. ix. 35.) It was his desire to acquire an extensive knowledge of nature that led him into distant countries at a time when travelling was the principal means of acquiring an intellectual and scientific culture ; and after returning to his native land he occupied himself only with philosophical investigations, especially such as related to natural history. In Greece itself, too, he endeavoured by means of travelling and residing in the principal cities to acquire a knowledge of Hellenic culture and civilization. He mentioned many Greek philosophers in his writings, and his wealth enabled him to purchase the works they had written. He thus succeeded in excelling, in the extent of his knowledge, all the earlier Greek philosophers, among whom Leucippus, the founder of the atomistic theory, is said to have exercised the greatest influence upon his philosophical studies. The opinion that he was a disciple of Anaxagoras or of the Pythagoreans (Diog Laert. ix. 38), perhaps arose merely from the fact, that he mentioned them in his writings. The account of his hostility towards Anaxagoras, is contradicted by several passages in which he speaks of him in terms of high praise. (Diog. Laert. ii. 14; Sext. Empir. adv. Math. vii. 140.) It is further said, that he was on terms of friendship with Hippocrates, and some writers even speak of a correspondence between Democritus and Hippocrates; but this statement does not seem to be deserving of credit. (Diog. Laert. ix.42; Brandis, Handbuch der Griech. u. Rom. Philos.) As he was a contemporary of Plato, it may be that he was acquainted with Socrates, perhaps even with Plato, who, however, does not mention Democritus anywhere. (Hermann, System der Platon. Philos.i.) Aristotle describes him and his views as belonging to the ante-Socratic period (Arist. Metaph. xiii. 4 ; Phys. ii. 2, de Partib. Anim. i. 1); but modern scholars, such as the learned Dutchman Groen van Prinsterer (Prosopograph. Platon., comp. Brandis, l. c.), assert, that there are symptoms in Plato which shew a connexion with Democritus, and the same scholar pretends to discover in Plato's language and style an imitation of Democritus. (Persop. Plat.) The many anecdotes about Democritus which are preserved, especially in Diogenes Laertius, shew that he was a man of a most sterling and honourable character. His diligence was incredible: he lived exclusively for his studies, and his disinterestedness, modesty, and simplicity are attested by many features which are related of him. Notwithstanding his great property, he seems to have died in poverty, though highly esteemed by his fellow-citizens, not so much on account of his philosophy, as "because," as Diogenes says, " he had foretold them some things which the event proved to be true." This had probably reference to his knowledge of natural phaenomena. His fellow-citizens honoured him with presents in money and bronze statues. Even the scoffer Timon, who in his silli spared no one, speaks of Democritus only in terms of praise. He died at an advanced age (some say that he was 109 years old), and even the manner in which he died is characteristic of his medical knowledge, which, combined as it was with his knowledge of nature, caused a report, which was believed by some persons, that he was a sorcerer and a magician. (Plin. H. N. xxiv. 17, xxx. 1.) His death is placed in 01. 105. 4, or B. C. 357, in which year Hippocrates also is said to have died. (Clinton, F. H. ad ann. 357.) We cannot leave unnoticed the tradition that Democritus deprived himself of his sight, in order to be less disturbed in his pursuits. (Cic. de Fin. v. 29; Gellius, x. 17; Diog. Laert. ix. 36; Cic. Tusc. v. 39; Menage, ad Dioy. Laert. ix. 43.) But this tradition is one of the inventions of a later age, which was fond of piquant anecdotes. It is more probable that he may have lost his sight by too severe application to study. (Brandis l. c.) This loss, however, did not disturb the cheerful disposition of his mind and his views of human life, which prompted him everywhere to look at the cheerful and comical side of things, which later writers took to mean, that he always laughed at the follies of men. (Senec. de Ira, ii. 10; Aelian, V. H. iv. 20.)
  Of the extent of his knowledge, which embraced not only natural sciences, mathematics, mechanics (Brandis, in the Rhein. Mus. iii.), grammar, music, and philosophy, but various other useful arts, we may form some notion from the list of his numerous works which is given by Diogenes Laertius (ix. 46-49), and which, as Diogenes expressly states, contains only his genuine works. The grammarian Thrasyllus, a contemporary of the emperor Tiberius, arranged them, like the works of Plato, into tetralogies. The importance which was attached to the researches of Democritus is evident from the fact, that Aristotle is reported to have written a work in two books on the problems of Democritus. (Diog. Laert. v. 26.) His works were composed in the Ionic dialect, though not without some admixture of the local peculiarities of Abdera. (Philopon. in Aristot. de gener. et corrupt. fol. 7, a.; Simplic. ad Aristot. de Coelo, fol. 150, a.; Suid. s. v. rnsmos.) They are nevertheless much praised by Cicero on account of the poetical beauties and the liveliness of their style, and are in this respect compared even with the works of Plato. (Groen van Prinsterer, l. c.; Cic. de Div. ii. 64, de Orat. i. 11, Orat. 20; Dionys. de Compos. verb. 24; Plut. Sympos. v. 7.) Pyrrhon is said to have imitated his style (Euseb. Praep. Evang. xiv. 6), and even Timon praises it, and calls it periphrona kai amphinoon leschen. (Diog. Laert. ix. 40.) Unfortunately, not one of his works has come down to us, and the treatise which we possess under his name is considered spurious. Callimachus wrote glosses upon his works and made a list of them (Suid. s. v.); but they must have been lost at an early time, since even Simplicius does not appear to have read them (Papencordt, de Atomicorum doctrina), and since comparatively few fragments have come down to us, and these fragments refer more to ethics than to physical matters. There is a very good collection of these fragments by F. G. A. Mullach, " Democriti Abderitae operum fragments," Berlin, 1843, 8vo.
  The philosophy of Democritus has, in modern times been the subject of much investigation. Hegel (Vorlesung. ub. Gesch. d. Philos. i.) treats it very briefly, and does not attach much importance to it. The most minute investigations concerning it are those of Ritter (Gesch. d. Philos. i.), Brandis (Rhein. Mus. iii., and Gesch. der Griech. u. Rom. Philos. i.), Petersen (Histor. Philog. Studien. i.), Papencordt (Atomicorum doctrina), and Mullach (l. c.).
  It was Democritus who, in his numerous writings, carried out Leucippus's theory of atoms, and especially in his observations on nature. These atomists undertook the task of proving that the quantitative relations of matter were its original characteristics, and that its qualitative relations were something secondary and derivative, and of thus doing away with the distinction between matter and mind or power. (Brandis, l. c.) In order to avoid the difficulties connected with the supposition of primitive matter with definite qualities, without admitting the coming into existence and annihilation as realities, and without giving up, as the Eleatic philosophers did, the reality of variety and its changes, the atomists derived all definiteness of phaenomena, both physical and mental, from elementary particles, the infinite number of which were homogeneous in quality, but heterogeneous in form. This made it necessary for them to establish the reality of a vacuum or space, and of motion. (Brandis, l. c.) Motion, they said, is the eternal and necessary consequence of the original variety of atoms in the vacuum or space. All phaenomena arise from the infinite variety of the form, order, and position of the atoms in forming combinations. It is impossible, they add, to derive this supposition from any higher principle, for a beginning of the infinite is inconceivable. (Aristot. de Generat. Anim. ii. 6, b. 20, ed. Bekker; Brandis, l. c.) The atoms are impenetrable, and therefore offer resistance to one another. This creates a swinging, world-producing, and whirling motion. (This reminds us of the joke in the Clouds of Aristophanes about the god Dinos !) Now as similars attract one another, there arise in that motion real things and beings, that is, combinations of distinct atoms, which still continue to be separated from one another by the vacuum. The first cause of all existence is necessity, that is, the necessary predestination and necessary succession of cause and effect. This they called chance, in opposition to the nous of Anaxagoras. But it does the highest honour to the mind of Democritus, that he made the discovery of causes the highest object of scientific investigations. He once said, that he preferred the discovery of a true cause to the possesssion of the kingdom of Persia. (Dionys. Alex. ap. Euseb. Praep. Evang. xiv. 27.) We must not, therefore, take the word chance (tuche) in its vulgar acceptation. (Brandis, l. c.) Aristotle understood Democritus rightly in this respect (Phys. Auscult. ii. 4,11; Simplic. fol. 74), as he generally valued him highly, and often says of him, that he had thought on all subjects, searched after the first causes of phenomena, and endeavoured to find definitions. (De Generat. et Corrupt. i. 2, 8, Metaph. M. 4, Phys. ii. 2, 20, de Part. Anim. i.) The only thing for which he censures him, is a disregard for teleological relations, and the want of a comprehensive system of induction. (De Respir. 4, de Generat. Anim. v. 8.) Democritus himself called the common notion of chance a cover of human ignorance (prophasin idies anoies), and an invention of those who were too idle to think. (Dionys. ap. Euseb. Praep. Evang. xiv. 27; Stob. Eclog. Eth.)
  Besides the infinite number of atoms existing in infinite space, Democritus also supposed the existence of an infinite number of worlds, some of which resembled one another, while others differed from one another, and each of these worlds was kept together as one thing by a sort of shell or skin. He derived the four elements from the form of the atoms predominating in each, from their quality, and their relations of magnitude. In deriving individual things from atoms, he mainly considered the qualities of warm and cold. The warm or firelike he took to be a combination of fine, spheric, and very movable atoms, as opposed to the cold and moist. His mode of proceeding, however, was, first carefully to observe and describe the phaenomena themselves, and then to attempt his atomistic explanation, whereby he essentially advanced the knowledge of nature. (Papencordt, l. c.; Brandis, l. c.) He derived the soul, the origin of life, consciousness, and thought, from the finest fire-atoms (Aristot. de Anim. i. 2, ed. Trendelenburg); and in connexion with this theory he made very profound physiological investigations. It was for this reason that, according to him, the soul while in the body acquires perceptions and knowledge by corporeal contact, and that it is affected by heat and cold. The sensuous perceptions themselves were to him affections of the organ or of the subject perceiving, dependent on the changes of bodily condition, on the difference of the organs and their quality, on air and light. Hence the differences, e. g., of taste, colour, and temperature, are only conventional (Sext. Empir. adv. Math. vii. 135), the real cause of those differences being in the atoms.
  It was very natural, therefore, that Democritus described even the knowledge obtained by sensuous perception as obscure (skotien krisin). A clear and pure knowledge is only that which has reference to the true principles or the true nature of things, that is, to the atoms and space. But knowledge derived from reason was, in his opinion, not specifically different from that acquired through the senses; for conception and reflection were to him only effects of impressions made upon the senses; and Aristotle, therefore, expressly states, that Democritus did not consider mind as something peculiar, or as a power distinct from the soul or sensuous perception, but that he considered knowledge derived from reason to be sensuous perceptions. (De Anim. i. 2., 27.) A purer and higher knowledge which he opposed to the obscure knowledge obtained through the medium of the senses, must therefore have been to him a kind of sensation, that is, a direct perception of the atoms and of space. For this reason he assumed the three criteria (kriteria) : a. Phaenomena as criteria for discovering that which is hidden : b. Thought as a criterion of investigation : and c. Assertions as criteria of desires. (Sext. Emp. adv. Math. vii. 140; Brandis, l. c.) Now as Democritus acknowledged the uncertainty of perceptions, and as he was unable to establish a higher and purely spiritual source of knowledge as distinct from perceptions, we often find him complaining that all human knowledge is uncertain, that in general either nothing is absolutely true, or at least not clear to us (adelon, Aristot. Metaph. G. 5), that our senses grope about in the dark (sensus tenebricosi, Cic. Acad. iv. 10, 23), and that all our views and opinions are subjective, and come to us only like something epidemic, as it were, with the air which we breathe. (Sext. Emp. adv. Math. vii. 136, 137, viii. 327, Hypotyp. i. 213 ; Diog. Laert. ix. 72, eteei d' ouden idmen, en buthoi gar he aleeia, which Cicero translates in profundo veritatem esse.)
  In his ethical philosophy Democritus considered the acquisition of peace of mind (euthumia) as the end and ultimate object of our actions. (Diog. Laert. ix. 45; Cic. de Fin. v. 29.) This peace, this tranquillity of the mind, and freedom front fear (phobos and deisdaimonia) and passion, is the last and fairest fruit of philosophical inquiry. Many of his ethical writings had reference to this idea and its establishment, and the fragments relating to this question are full of the most genuine practical wisdom. Abstinence from too many occupations, a steady consideration of one's own powers, which prevents our attempting that which we cannot accomplish, moderation in prosperity and misfortune, were to him the principal means of acquiring the euthumia. The noblest and purest ethical tendency, lastly, is manifest in his views on virtue and on good. Truly pious and beloved by the gods, he says, are only those who hate that which is wrong (hosois echthron to adikein). The purest joy and the truest happiness are only the fruit of the higher mental activity exerted in the endeavour to understand the nature of things, of the peace of mind arising from good actions, and of a clear conscience. (Brandis, l. c.)
  The titles of the works which the ancients ascribed to Democritus may be found in Diogenes Laertius. We find among them: 1. Works of ethics and practical philosophy. 2. On natural science. 3. On mathematics and astronomy. 4. On music and poetry, on rhythm and poetical beauty (Bode, Gesch. der Hellen. Dichtkunst. i. p. 24, &c.), and on Homer. 5. Works of a linguistic and grammatical nature; for Democritus is one of the earliest Greek philosophers that made language the subject of his investigations. (Lersch, Sprachphilosophie der Alten, i. ) 6. Works on medicine, 7. On agriculture. 8. On painting. 9. On mythology, history, &c. He had even occupied himself, with success, with mechanics ; and Vitruvius (Praef. lib. vii.; comp. Senec. Epist. 90) ascribes to him certain inventions, for example, the art of arching. He is also said to have possessed a knowledge of perspective. Two works on tactics (Taktikon kai Hoplomachikon) are ascribed to him, apparently from a confusion of his name with that of Damocritus. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec. iv.; Mullach, l. c.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Lexicon. A Greek name for a word-book, probably first used in the ninth century A.D. The Latin equivalent dictionarium appears about three centuries later. Chinese writers pretend that lexicons have been known in their language for 3000 years. But the conception of a condensed digest of a branch of knowledge, classified and ordered for convenient reference, is traced by authentic records to that source of all ideas which have been fruitful of intellectual growth, the great age of Greece. In Plato's time, the Homeric poems were a text-book for the study of the youth of Athens, and collections of peculiar words and phrases, with explanations, were made for the use of teachers. At first the notes were written in the order of the text, but convenience soon dictated other arrangements, by subjects or by alphabetical sequence. Before B.C. 400 Democritus of Abdera discussed the vocabulary of Homer, and is even said to have compiled an Homeric dictionary. . .

This extract is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


, , 480 - 410
Protagoras (485-411? BC) was born in Abdera, Thrace. About 445 BC he went to Athens, where he became a friend of the statesman Pericles and won great fame as a teacher and philosopher. Protagoras was the first thinker to call himself a Sophist and to teach for pay, receiving large sums from his pupils. He gave instruction in grammar, rhetoric, and the interpretation of poetry. His chief works, of which only a few fragments have survived, were entitled "Truth" and "On the Gods". The basis of his thought was the doctrine that nothing is absolutely good or bad, true or false, and that each individual is therefore his or her own final authority. This belief is summed up in his saying: "Man is the measure of all things." Charged with impiety by Pythodorus, Protagoras fled into exile; his books were burnt in public; he drowned on his way to Sicily. Two celebrated dialogues, "Theaetetus" and "Protagoras" by Plato, refuted the doctrines of Protagoras.

This text is cited May 2003 from the Prefecture of Xanthi URL below.

Protagoras (c.480-411BC)
  Philosopher from Thrace who taught in Athens and was a friend of Pericles. He was the first Sophist, and taught grammar, rhetoric as well as the interpretation of poetry.
  Protagoras believed nothing was exclusively good or bad, true or false and that man is his own authority, saying that “man is the measure of all things”. This has in later times sometimes been misintrepeted. What the philosopher ment was that each man's opinions differ, and what is true for one person can be false for another. Therefore, he concluded, there is no general or objective truth.
  According to Plato, Protagoras stated that the punishment for a crime is executed in order to prevent the same crime from happening again, and not for revenge.
  Although a celebrated teacher, Protagoras was finally charged with atheism and drowned fleeing to Sicily. Fragments of his works Truth and On the Gods have survived.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.

   Protagoras. A celebrated Sophist, born at Abdera, in Thrace, probably about B.C. 480, and died about 411, at the age of nearly seventy years. It is said that Protagoras was once a poor porter, and that the skill with which he had fastened together, and poised upon his shoulders, a large bundle of wood, attracted the attention of Democritus, who conceived a liking for him, took him under his care, and instructed him in philosophy. This well-known story, however, appears to have arisen out of the statement of Aristotle that Protagoras invented a sort of porter's knot for the more convenient carrying of burdens. In addition to this, Protagoras was about twenty years older than Democritus. Protagoras was the first who called himself a Sophist, and taught for pay; and he practised his profession for the space of forty years. He must have come to Athens before B.C. 445, since he drew up a code of laws for the Thurians, who left Athens for the first time in that year. Whether he accompanied the colonists to Thurii, we are not informed; but at the time of the plague (430) we find him again in Athens. Between his first and second visit to Athens he had spent some time in Sicily, where he had acquired great fame; and he brought with him to Athens many admirers out of other Greek cities through which he had passed. His instructions were so highly valued that he sometimes received 100 minae from a pupil; and Plato says that Protagoras made more money than Phidias and ten other sculptors. In 411 he was accused of impiety by Pythodorus, one of the Four Hundred. His impeachment was founded on his book on the gods, which began with the statement, "Respecting the gods, I am unable to know whether they exist or do not exist". The impeachment was followed by his banishment, or, as others affirm, only by the burning of his book. His doctrine was, in fact, a sort of agnosticism based upon the impossibility of attaining any absosolute criterion of truth. It is summed up in the sentence, "Man is the measure of all things" (panton anthropos metron, or, in Latin, homo mensura omnium), implying that each one must be his own final authority; for just as each thing appears to any individual, so it really is for him. This doctrine is therefore styled Individualism. Protagoras wrote a large number of works, of which the most important were entitled Truth (Aletheia) and On the Gods (Peri Theon). The first contained the theory refuted by Plato in the Theaetetus. Plato gives a vivid picture of the teaching of Protagoras in the dialogue that bears his name. Protagoras was especially celebrated for his skill in the rhetorical art. By way of practice in the art he was accustomed to make his pupils discuss theses (communes loci), an exercise which is also recommended by Cicero. He also directed his attention to language, and endeavoured to explain difficult passages in the poets. He is said to have been the first to make the grammatical distinctions of moods in verbs and of genders in nouns.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



, , 430 - 370
Bion from Avdera was an astrologer, meteorologist, mathematician and philosopher, a student of Democritus. Diogenes Laertius informs us that "Bion was a Democritian mathematician who wrote in the Attic and Ionian dialect. He was the first to say that there are places where it is night for six months and day for six months." ¥is remarks show that he was aware of the sphericity of the earth. He is said to have travelled to distant parts of the world.

This text is cited May 2003 from the Prefecture of Xanthi URL below.

Bion. A mathematician of Abdera, and a pupil of Democritus. He wrote both in the Ionic and Attic dialects, and was the first who said that there were some parts of the earth in which it was night for six months, while the remaining six months were one uninterrupted day. (Diog. Laert. iv. 58.) He is probably the same as the one whom Strabo (i.) calls an astrologer.


, , 380 - 320
4th century BC. Anaxarchus belongs to the School of Avdera. His philosophy reflects the ideas of Democritus and Protagoras. The new element, which differentiates him from other philosophers, is his association of philosophy with politics. He accompanied Alexander the Great in his campaign giving advice on various issues. Due to his apathy (impassivity) and the way he enjoyed life, never complaining about anything, he was called "eudemonist". He was a skilled teacher knowing how to help his students find their own way.

This text is cited May 2003 from the Prefecture of Xanthi URL below.

Anaxarchus (Anaxarchos). A philosopher of Abdera, of the school of Democritus, who accompanied Alexander into Asia (B.C. 334). After the death of Alexander (B.C. 323), Anaxarchus was thrown by shipwreck into the power of Nicocreon, king of Cyprus, to whom he had given offence, and who had him pounded to death in a stone mortar.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Anaxarchus (Anaxarchos), a philosopher of Abdera, of the school of Democritus, flourished about 340 B. C. and onwards (Diog. Laert. ix. 58). He accompanied Alexander into Asia, and gained his favour by flattery and wit. From the easiness of his temper and his love of pleasure he obtained the appellation of eudaimonikos. When Alexander had killed Cleitus, Anaxarchus consoled him with the maxim "a king can do no wrong". After the death of Alexander, Anaxarchus was thrown by shipwreck into the power of Nicocreon, king of Cyprus, to whom he had given mortal offence, and who had him pounded to death in a stone mortar. The philosopher endured his sufferings with the utmost fortitude. Cicero (Tusc. ii. 21, de Nat. Deor. iii. 33) is the earliest authority for this tale. Of the philosophy of Anaxarchus we know nothing. Some writers understand his title eudaimonikos as meaning, that he was the teacher of a philosophy which made the end of life to be eudaimonia, and they made him the founder of a sect called eudaimonikoi, of which, however, he himself is the only person mentioned. Strabo ascribes to Anaxarchus and Callisthenes the recension of Homer, which Alexander kept in Darius's perfume-casket, and which is generally attributed to Aristotle. (Arrian, Anab. iv. 10; Plut. Alex. 52; Plin. vii. 23; Aelian, V. H. ix. c. 37)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


, , 340 - 280
3rd century BC. Ecateus from Avdera is mentioned as a historian and philosopher, student of the sceptic Pyrron. He lived between the end of the 4th century BC and the first half of the 3rd century. As Ecateus was the first Greek who was interested in the history of the Jews, the work "About the Judaeans" was later wrongly attributed to him.

This text is cited May 2003 from the Prefecture of Xanthi URL below.

Hecateus. Of Abdera has often been confounded in ancient as well as in modem times with Hecataeus of Miletus. He was a contemporary of Alexander the Great and Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, and appears to have accompanied the former on his Asiatic expedition as far as Syria. He was a pupil of the Sceptic Pyrrho, and is himself called a philosopher, critic, and grammarian. (Suid. s. v. Hekataios ; Joseph. c. Apion. i. 22; Diod. i. 47; Diog. Laert. ix. 61; Plut. Sympos.) From the manner in which he is spoken of by Eusebius (Praep. Evang. ix.), we must infer that he was a man of great reputation on account of his extensive knowledge as well as on account of his practical wisdom (peri tas iraxeis hikanotatos). In the reign of the first Ptolemy he travelled up the Nile as far as Thebes. He was the author of several works, of which, however, only a small number of fragments have come down to us. 1. A History of Egypt. (Diod. i. 47; Phot. Bibl. Cod. 244, where lie is confounded with Hecataeus of Miletus.) Whether the work on the philosophy of the Egyptians, attributed to him by Diogenes Laertius (i. Prooem. § 10), was a distinct work, or only a portion of the History of Egypt, is uncertain. (Comp. Plut. De Is. et Os.) This work on Egypt is one of the causes of the confusion of our Hecataeus with the Milesian, who in his Periegesis had likewise written on Egypt. 2. A work on the Hyperboreans. (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. ii. 675; Diod. ii. 47; Aelian, H. A. xi. 1 ; Steph. Byz. s. vv. Elixoia, Karambukai.) 3. A History of the Jews, of which the book on Abraham mentioned by Josephus (Ant. Jud. i. 7), was pro-bably only a portion. This work is frequently referred to by the ancients (Joseph. c. Apion. i. 22 ; Euseb. Praep. Evang. ix., xiii.; Clem. Alex. Strom. v., and others); but it was declared spurious even by Origen (c. Cels. i. 15), and modern critics are divided in their opinions. Suidas attributes to our Hecataeus works on Homer and Hesiod, but makes no mention of the historical works which we have enumerated. The fragments of Hecataeus of Abdera have been collected by P. Zorn, Hecataci Abderitae Fragmenta, Altona, 1730, 8vo. (Comp. Creuzer, Hist. Graec. Antiquiss. Fragm.; Vossius, De Hist. Graec., ed. Westermann.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

"...Now most of Diodoros' first book was lifted wholesale from an early Alexandrian historian, Hekataios of Abdera, whose declared aims were to discredit Greek writers on Egypt, particularly Herodotos (cf. Diod. Sic. 1.69.7) in favor of Egyptian priestly traditions, and to show that everything worthwhile in Greek culture came from Egypt... In fact, Egyptologists have long recognized that Hekataios is describing -- and misunderstanding -- the traditional Egyptian workshop practice of having apprentices make canonical trial pieces (chiefly heads, hands, and feet) as a part of their training; the grid he describes is the revised one current from the seventh century..."

This extract is from: Andrew Stewart, One Hundred Greek Sculptors: Their Careers and Extant Works. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains extracts from the ancient literature, bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


An unknown philosopher from Avdera. He introduced the notion of incomprehensibility.



Thrakis Thrylos

, , 1903 - 1985


Kostas Thrakiotis

Anakreon, Anacreon

AVDIRA (Ancient city) XANTHI
, , 572 - 488
He was born in Teo (c. 570 BC), an Ionian town in the coast of Asia Minor. The Persian danger forced a lot of citizens of Teo to abandon their home in 545 BC and settle down in Avdera. Anacreon was among them. Along with Sapho and Alcaeus, Anacreon belongs to the lyrical triad of poets expressing deep human feelings. They are the poets of the individual who absorbs all sorts of feelings: sadness and joy, love and despair.

This text is cited May 2003 from the Prefecture of Xanthi URL below.

Anacreon (c.572-488 )

  Poet from Teos in Asia Minor who lived and worked in Athens, Samos and Thessaly. He wrote mainly about love and wine, and invented a poetic form of verse called anacreonic.
  Anacreon is credited with a satire about the inventor of the throwing machine, Artemon Periforetos, who was so anxious for his security that he always had his slaves carry him around close to the ground in case he should fall out, and with a shield above him in case anything should fall from above.
  Anacreon lived until the age of 85, when he choked on a grape and died.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.

Anacreon the melic poet was from Teos; in whose time the Teians abandoned their city and migrated to, Abdera, a Thracian city, being unable to bear the insolence of the Persians;

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