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Headword: Θαλῆς
Adler number: theta,17
Translated headword: Thales
Vetting Status: high
Son of Examyas and Kleobouline; Milesian, but as Herodotos [says] Phoenician.[1] He lived before the time of Kroisos, in the 35th Olympiad,[2] but according to Phlegon he was already known in the 7th.[3] He wrote on astronomical phenomena in hexameters, On the Equinox, and many other works. He died an old man, while watching a sports event, being squeezed by the crowd and fainting from the heat. Thales was the first to have the name of Sage, and first proclaimed the soul immortal, and understood eclipses and equinoxes.[4] His apophthegms are very numerous: "know thyself" is the one constantly repeated.[5] For "make a pledge and suffer for it" belongs rather to Chilon, who appropriated it.[6] Also[7] "nothing in excess."
Greek Original:
Θαλῆς, Ἐξαμύου καὶ Κλεοβουλίνης, Μιλήσιος, ὡς δὲ Ἡρόδοτος Φοῖνιξ: γεγονὼς πρὸ Κροίσου, ἐπὶ τῆς λε# ὀλυμπιάδος, κατὰ δὲ Φλέγοντα γνωριζόμενος ἤδη ἐπὶ τῆς ζ#. ἔγραψε περὶ μετεώρων ἐν ἔπεσι, Περὶ ἰσημερίας, καὶ ἄλλα πολλά. ἐτελεύτησε δὲ γηραιός, θεώμενος γυμνικὸν ἀγῶνα, πιληθεὶς δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου καὶ ἐκλυθεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ καύματος. πρῶτος δὲ Θαλῆς τὸ τοῦ σοφοῦ ἔσχεν ὄνομα καὶ πρῶτος τὴν ψυχὴν εἶπεν ἀθάνατον ἐκλείψεις τε καὶ ἰσημερίας κατείληφεν. ἀποφθέγματα δὲ αὐτοῦ πλεῖστα: καὶ τὸ θρυλλούμενον: γνῶθι σαυτόν. τὸ γάρ, ἐγγύα, πάρα δ' ἄτα, Χίλωνός ἐστι μᾶλλον, ἰδιοποιησαμένου αὐτό: καὶ τό, μηδὲν ἄγαν.
OCD4 s.v. 'Thales' and 'Seven Sages'. See also theta 18 (and theta 19). The material of the present entry has close affinities with parts of the biography of Th. by Diogenes Laertius (1.22-23 and 39-40).
[1] i.e. by descent (Herodotus 1.170.3, web address 1).
[2] 640-637.
[3] 752-749. (For Phlegon see phi 527.)
[4] For Thales' prediction of a solar eclipse (probably May 28, 585) see Herodotus 1.74 (web address 2, cf. J. Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy 35), and under theta 18.
[5] cf. gamma 333 and gamma 334.
[6] See Diog.Laert. 2.73. (For Chilon see chi 311.)
[7] Meaning also attributed, by some, to Chilon: see Diog.Laert. 2.39.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: athletics; biography; chronology; daily life; ethics; geography; medicine; meter and music; philosophy; poetry; proverbs; religion; science and technology; women
Translated by: Ross Scaife ✝ on 28 November 2001@16:58:01.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (supplemented translation; augmented notes; cosmetics) on 29 November 2001@05:28:07.
David Whitehead (another x-ref; cosmetics) on 3 November 2005@07:19:11.
David Whitehead (more x-refs; more keywords) on 15 February 2008@06:39:52.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 24 December 2012@03:57:34.
Catharine Roth (upgraded links) on 29 December 2012@22:41:10.
David Whitehead on 5 August 2014@06:34:26.


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