DEMOCRITUS

Abdera
470 or 460 - approx. 370 B.C.





BIOGRAPHY

A grand philosopher of Ancient Greece. He invented the atomic theory, (or he was appointed by his tutor Lefkippus to configure it and broaden its effect in all aspects of the physical world). He managed to prove this theory scientifically, thus making it possible for the Science of Physics to evolve. He was born in Abdera, being the son of an extremely wealthy father. His share, 100 talants, a vast amount of money for the time, he spent it in long journeys to satisfy his scientific curiosity. Among other countries, he visited Egypt, Babylon, Arabia, Ethiopia. He stayed for a while in Athens, where he watched Socrates conversations, although they didnt get the chance to know each other. He had no ambition, and he preferred laying low. He mentions I came to Athens, and nobody knew of me. On returning to Abdera he lived a solitary life, writing, researching and teaching. He was most passionate with science, declaring that it was more important to him to find the reason behind a phenomenon than be given the throne of Persia.

All of his writings are in the Ionian dialect and involve all aspects of human knowledge: mathematics, physics, medicine, ethics, poetry, music, agriculture, painting, aesthetics, grammar, the art of war etc. He claimed that while the universe was eternal, incorruptible and unchangeable, however it was not simple but complex, meaning that it consists of multiple small pieces of matter, the atoms, interacting with each other, creating movement.

Infinite numbers of atoms spin in the infinite space, like dust in the air, and as they interact with each other they create infinite world he called it the Great Decoration, one of which is Earth. Everything happens due to necessity, and with mechanical accuracy. Democritus clearly explains how the stars are born and even states that the soul is created by atoms of special kind, that are pulled into the body through the air, giving a material and mechanical aspect of the emotional life. From his Ethics 230 extracts are saved, most in a form of maxims. Two thousand years later Bacon and Gaussanti brought Democritus to the scientific surface once more, and only during the 18th century AC the importance of his philosophy was acknowledged, and eventually led to understanding the physical laws of sound, light, heat, and eventually the modern atomic theory.

The life of the wise Abderian is surrounded by the fog of legend and mystery, and many remarkable scenes are mentioned concerning the last years of his life, one of which is meeting with the famous Ippokrates and having a memorable chat. Critics doubt these biographical data, however one trait no one doubts of, is that Democritus laughed a lot, understanding the triviality of everything people considered as serious and important in front of the magnificence of the world surrounding them. His fellow citizens worshipped him as a God and after dying in full age the build a copper statue to honor him.