The cosmology of Democritus

E. Danezis1, E. Theodossiou1, M. S. Dimitrijevi´c2, A. Dacanalis1, Ch. Katsavrias1
1 University of Athens, School of Physics, Department of Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mechanics, GR 157 84 Zografos, Athens, Greece
2 Astronomical Observatory of Belgrade, Volgina 7, Belgrade, Serbia free ebook

Abstract. Cosmological views of Democritus have been analyzed.
Космологията на Демокрит
Е.Данезис, E.Теодосиу, М.С.Димитрийeвич, A.Даканалис, Х.Катсавриас Анализиран е космологичният светоглед на Демокрит.
1 Introduction
Democritus is one of the most famous natural philosophers of ancient Greece – especially for his theory on the atoms. Information about Democritus is supplied by the doxographer Diogenes Laertius (3rd century A.D.), who reports: Democritus was the son of Hegesistratus, though some say of Athenocritus, and others again of Damasippus. He was a native of Abdera or, according to some, of Miletus. He was a pupil of certain Magians and Chaldaeans.
. . Afterwards he met Leucippus and, according to some, Anaxagoras, being forty years younger than the latter. . . As Apollodorus writes in his “Chronika”, he should have been born during the eightieth Olympiad (460- 457 B.C.), while according to Thrasylos in his work with the title “The ones before reading the books by Democritus”; he was born in the third year of the
seventy-seventh Olympiad (470-469 B.C.) being (as he says) one year younger than Socrates. . .According to Demetrius in his book Men of the Same Name and Antisthenes in his Successions of Philosophers, he travelled into Egypt to learn geometry from the priests, and he also went into Persia to visit the Chaldaeans as well as to the Red Sea. Some say that he was associated with
the Gymnosophists in India and went to Aethiopia. (Diogenes Laertius, 1925: 443-445).
Also the geographer Strabo writes: And if one must believe Poseidonius, the ancient dogma about atoms originated
with Mochus, a Sidonian, born before the Trojan times. (Strabo, 1967:
Bulgarian Astronomical Journal 13, 2010, pp. 140–152 The cosmology of Democritus 141
Additionally Sextus Empiricus reports: And Democritus and Epicurus, atoms, unless one should regard this opinion
as more ancient and –as the Stoic Poseidonius asserted– derived from a certain Phoenician called Mochus. (Sextus Empiricus, 1968: 175). Finally Diogenes Laertius writes that: There are some who say that the study of philosophy had its beginning among the barbarians. They urge that the Persians have had their Magi, the Babylonians or Assyrians their Chaldaeans, and the Indians their Gymnosophists.
. .Also they say that Mochus was a Phoenician, Zamolxis a Thracian, and Atlas a Libyan. (Diogenes Laertius, 1925: 3).
From the above ancient Greek texts we can conclude that Democritus had received a variety of studies. Thus, his philosophy –including the part of natural philosophy– was influenced with the beliefs of the places he had visited… free ebook