Anaxagoras (c500 - c428 BCE) was a Greek philosopher of Clazomenae in Asia Minor. He was part of the Ionian school, and resided in Athens.[1]


Anaxagoras postulated a plurality of independent elements which he called 'seeds'. They are the ultimate elements of combination and are indivisible, imperishable primordia of infinite number, and differing in shape, color, and taste. Later writers referred to the seeds as omoiomereia (from an expression of Aristotle), meaning particles of like kind with each other and with the whole that is made up of them. They were not, however, the 'four roots', fire, air, earth, and water popularized by Anaximenes[2]; on the contrary, these were compounds.


Anaxagoras also discovered the true cause of eclipses and saw the sun as a giant blazing rock. He also showed that air had substance.[3]


  1. The New American Desk Encyclopedia, Penguin Group, 1989
  2. The New American Desk Encyclopedia, Penguin Group, 1989
  3. The New American Desk Encyclopedia, Penguin Group, 1989
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