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Life During the Age of Pericles , Influential Philosophers

With an ever-evolving blend of philosophy, history, and literary genius, the Age of Pericles saw numerous philosophers and historians retell significant wars and encourage the advancement of thought. In this article, you will encounter some of the greatest minds of the ancient Greek world.

Some of the most highly regarded Western philosophers lived during the Golden Age of Pericles, including the great Socrates, who served as teacher to Aristotle and Plato. The teachings associated with Socrates were even given a great honor of becoming a series of dialogues that Plato created. During the Age Pericles, the people were lucky enough to learn from the following philosophers:

Anaxagoras (500 BC , 428 BC)

A man known for dealing with the mind, Anaxagoras, was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who lived during the time when Greek culture was centered in Athens. This prompted him to relocate to Athens during his early years as a man , somewhere between 464 and 461 BC. He would decide to reside in the city for 30 years. Over the years, Pericles grew to love and admire his work. He also influenced Euripedes, a poet, who gained inspiration in the field of science and humanity.

Anaxagoras once owned property and could very well have obtained political status, but he gave up these prospects in his native town of Clazomenae (located in Asia Minor) because he believed that the two opportunities would overshadow his quest for knowledge. While he was a Greek, there is evidence to suggest that he may have joined the Persian army during the times when his native home was affected by the Ionian Revolt.

Democritus (~ 460 BCE , 370 BCE)

Born in the north of Greece in a region called Abdera, Democritus grew up to become a well-known ancient Greek philosopher with a reputation of being the most productive and influential, in regards to pre-Socratic thinkers. He is mainly associated with leading the way in early Greek thought with his theories centered on atomic topics. However, there is some debate regarding Democritus’ exact contributions because some of his advancements have been attributed to his mentor Leucippus (and likewise). This is why the two are typically mentioned within the same breath in historical texts.

Interestingly, Democritus is credited as the first individual to bring attention to the existence of the atom. Together, Leucippus and he worked on a hypothesis involving atoms that shows flashes of modern scientific thought. They were successful in bypassing some of the errors that have arisen over time. In Athens, Democritus was pretty much ignored, but caught the attention of Aristotle. However, he was not well liked by all. Plato didn’t care too much for him and was even quoted as saying that he wished that all of his books caught on fire. Nevertheless, he earned the nickname of the “father of modern science.”