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Who's Who Ancient Greece: The Philosophers

Poseidonios of Apamea (in Syria) (135 BC-50 BC)
Stoic Philosopher

PoseidonasThis Stoic philosopher travelled to Africa, Egypt, Liguria , Gaul, and Sicily, moving to Rhodes in 97 BC, where he became head of the Stoic School, and also serving as Governor of the city state of Rhodes, which sent him as its ambassador to Rome in 86 BC.

Pompey and Cicero honored him, the latter also his pupil in Rhodes earlier. Poseidonios wrote prolifically, though his works have vanished.

Some of the titles give an idea as to the wide range of subjects that interested this thinker: 'On the gods', 'On destiny', 'On prophesy', 'On emptiness', 'On passions', 'On the magnitude of the sun', 'On meteors', 'On the ocean and what is in it', to name just a few.

He also wrote an extensive history that filled 52 volumes. His views in general reflect his desire to reconcile into one harmonious whole, all of the various truth of different schools of philosophy up to his time.

He saw the human being as inhabiting a middle state inbetween matter and spirit, with an earthly body but with a soul that transcended earthliness. He understood and elaborated the relationship between the tides and the phases of the moon, and attempted to calculate the magnitude of the sun, its distance from the earth, and the circumference of the earth. He also made a globe and drew a world map.

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