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Who's Who Ancient Greece: The Philosophers

Dhimokritos (Democritus) of Avdhira (Abdera in Thrace) 460 - 371 BC

democritus abdera bustThe works of Democritus became much merged with his fellow founder of the school of Atomistic Philosophy in Thrace.

He was also know as the laughing philosopher for his amusement at the human condition and thought to have lived long years because of it.

Like many of the philosophers described thus far, he was well to do and traveled widely in the East, Miletus among his destinations, where he engaged in early studies of philosophy.

In Asia he studied astronomhy and natural sciences with Egyptians, Chaldeans and Persians, and travelled as well to India to study with Indian ascetics.

He returned to Athens quite destituted, but fabulously rich in ideas. His works comprised some sixty titles according to Diogenes Laertius, who describes him as a man interested also in music, the history of literature, the physical sciences, philology, and animal anatomy.

He prose was highly praised by both Plutarch and Cicero, and and Dionysus of Alicarnassus likened his work to that of Plato.

Dhimokritos taught that objects are formed of atoms that interact among themselves mechanically, in various manners including collision, attraction, repulsion, and spiral whirling, the latter resulting in the formation of bodies.

The sayings attributed to him are especially thought-provoking, including:
'Life without celebrations is a long road without inns'
'Even the most pleasant becomes unpleasant in excess'
'The world is a stage, life a passage. You came, you saw, you left'.