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History of Science Ancient Egypt

History of Science Online

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LibraryThing: Science in Ancient Mesopotamia Week 3: Ancient Egyptian and Aegean science

Melissos of Samos (fl. 440 B.C.)

| Presocratics Index | Intro | Thales | Anaximandros | Anaximenes | Herakleitos | Parmenides | Zenon | Melissos |
| Atomists: Leukippos and Demokritos | Anaxagoras | Empedokles | Significance of the Presocratics |

In the tradition of his teacher, Parmenides of Elea, Melissos of Samos developed the idea of an infinite cosmos.

For Parmenides, the cosmos was a large, solid, unchanging sphere which comprises everything. This raised the question: "what lies outside the cosmos?"

Melissos answered that nothing lies outside the cosmos. Beyond the cosmos lies no material substance, but also there is no empty space, no infinite void, no space, no time, just nothing.

How, then, could the universe be spherical, and have a definite and therefore limited shape? Melissos answered that the universe must be infinite in extent; nothing lies beyond it because the universe extends in every direction without end.

Melissos of Samos was also a naval commander, who helped the Samians defeat Athens in 440 B.C.

First principle
Thales of Miletos
Anaximandros of Miletos
Anaximenes of Miletos
Herakleitos of Ephesos

Parmenides of Elea,
Zenon of Elea,
Melissos of Samos


Monism, Plenism, Rationalism, Necessitarianism, Sufficient Reason, Akinesis, Eternity of the World


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HSCI 3013. History of Science to 17th centuryCreative Commons license
Kerry Magruder, Instructor, 2004
Brent Purkaple, TA

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Many thanks to the pedagogical model developed in Mythology and Folklore and other online courses by Laura Gibbs, which have been an inspiration for this course.

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This course is currently undergoing major reconstruction to bring it into alignment with the new version of the course at Janux