Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Anaximenes of Miletus

Reference work entry

BornMiletus (near Söke, Turkey), circa586 BCE

DiedMiletus (near Söke, Turkey), circa526 BCE

Anaximenes was a fellow citizen, friend, and student of  Anaximander, and much of his thought is a revision of Anaximander’s. Some aspects of his physical theory, notably his use of empirical models and his attempt to identify a cause of elemental change, constitute scientific advances, but his astronomical views are less original and more traditional than those of his predecessor.

Nothing is known of the details of Anaximenes’ life. Even the dates given above are highly conjectural. They derive from Apollodorus, who liked to correlate historical figures’ flourishing, invariably at the age of 40, with some notable historical event. In Anaximenes’ case, the event was Cyrus’ victory over Croesus in 546 BCE.

Anaximander had hypothesized that the infinite space beyond the visible cosmos is filled with undifferentiated, indeterminate stuff (apeiron), from which the determinate kinds of matter we...

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Selected References

  1. Barnes, Jonathan (1982). The Presocratic Philosophers. Rev. ed. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. (See Chap. 3.)Google Scholar
  2. Bicknell, P. J. (1969). “Anaximenes’ Astronomy.” Acta Classica 12: 53–85.Google Scholar
  3. Guthrie, W. K. C. (1962). “Anaximenes.” In A History of Greek Philosophy. Vol. 1, The Earlier Presocratics and the Pythagoreans, pp. 115–140. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Heath, Sir Thomas L. (1913). Aristarchus of Samos, the Ancient Copernicus. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (Reprint, New York: Dover, 1981.)Google Scholar
  5. Kirk, G. S., J. E. Raven, and M. Schofield (1983). “Anaximenes of Miletus.” In The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selection of Texts, pp. 143–162. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA