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Headword: Dêmokritos
Adler number: delta,447
Translated headword: Democritus, Demokritos
Vetting Status: high
The son of Hegesistratus, though some [say] of Athenocritus or Damasippus, born at the same time as Socrates the philosopher, in the 77th Olympiad,[1] though others say during the 80th Olympiad.[2] An Abderite from Thrace, a philosopher, a pupil -- according to some -- of Anaxagoras and Leucippus; others [say that he was] also [a pupil of] Magi and of Chaldaeans, Persians;[3] for he went to [visit] Persians and Indians and Egyptians and was educated in the wisdom of each. Then he returned and joined his brothers Herodotus and Damastes. He held office in Abdera, after being honoured because of his wisdom. A famous pupil of his was Metrodorus of Chios[4], who in turn had Anaxarchos and Hippocrates the physician among his listeners.[5] Democritus was called Wisdom, and also Laughing-Man, because of his laughing at mankind's zealous pursuit of frivolities.[6] There are two genuine books of his: The Great Diacosmos and On the Nature of the Cosmos. He also wrote letters.
Greek Original:
Dêmokritos, Hêgêsistratou, hoi de Athênokritou ê Damasippou, gegonôs hote kai Sôkratês ho philosophos, kata tên oz# Olumpiada, hoi de kata tên p# phasin: Abdêritês ek Thraikês, philosophos, mathêtês kata tinas Anaxagorou kai Leukippou, hôs de tines kai Magôn kai Chaldaiôn Persôn: êlthe gar kai eis Persas kai Indous kai Aiguptious kai ta par' hekastois epaideuthê sopha. eita epanêlthe kai tois adelphois sunên Hêrodotôi kai Damastêi. êrxe de en Abdêrois, dia tên heautou sophian timêtheis. mathêtês de autou diaphanês egeneto Mêtrodôros ho Chios: hou palin akroatai Anaxarchos kai Hippokratês ho iatros. epeklêthê de Sophia ho Dêmokritos, kai Gelasinos de, dia to gelan pros to kenospoudon tôn anthrôpôn. gnêsia de autou biblia eisi duo, ho te megas Diakosmos, kai to Peri phuseôs kosmou. egrapse de kai epistolas.
Abbreviated from Diogenes Laertius 9.34ff. See also delta 448.
Entries on Democritus at web addresses 1 & 2.
[1] 472-469.
[2] 460-457.
[3] Diels-Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, give magoi here a lower-case "m". In any event, "Persians" is either an intrusive gloss or else (as Bernhardy suggested) needs "and" before it.
[4] See OCD(4) 950 'Metrodorus(2)'.
[5] The inclusion of Hippocrates is the result of a mistake by the author or his compilator who took an incorrectly-understood scholion to the article "Hippocrates" (see iota 564) and included it here, thereby also changing a)kroath/s to a)kroatai/. Diels-Kranz 68[55] A 2, note to line 37.
[6] Also at gamma 108
OCD(4) 437-8 (with further bibliography)
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; chronology; ethics; geography; medicine; philosophy; science and technology
Translated by: Carl Widstrand on 19 February 2000@13:20:00.
Vetted by:
Ross Scaife ✝ (added translated headwords) on 19 February 2000@13:46:50.
David Whitehead (modified headword and translation; augmented notes) on 24 January 2001@05:49:35.
Catharine Roth (added links; cosmetics) on 18 March 2002@00:56:48.
David Whitehead (added note and keyword) on 18 March 2002@03:26:55.
Catharine Roth (added cross-reference) on 18 March 2002@19:05:16.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 26 June 2012@06:22:12.
David Whitehead (updated some refs) on 3 August 2014@04:51:36.
Catharine Roth (tweaked link) on 15 October 2014@14:57:46.


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