Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
121. Early Life 123. Anaxagoras at Athens

From Chapter VI., Anaxagoras of Klazomenai

122. Relation to the Ionic School
The doxographers speak of Anaxagoras as the pupil of Anaximenes.12 This can hardly be correct; Anaximenes most probably died before Anaxagoras was born. But it is not enough to say that the statement arose from the fact that the name of Anaxagoras followed that of Anaximenes in the Successions. We have its original source in a fragment of Theophrastos himself, which states that Anaxagoras had been "an associate of the philosophy of Anaximenes."13 Now this expression has a very distinct meaning if we accept the view as to "schools" of science set forth in the Introduction (§ XIV.). It means that the old Ionic school survived the destruction of Miletos in 494 B.C., and continued to flourish in the other cities of Asia. It means, further, that it produced no man of distinction after its third great representative, and that "the philosophy of Anaximenes" was still taught by whoever was now at the head of the society.

At this point, then, it may be well to indicate briefly the conclusions we shall come to in the next few chapters with regard to the development of philosophy during the first half of the fifth century B.C. We shall find that, while the old Ionic school was still capable of training great men, it was now powerless to keep them. Anaxagoras went his own way; Melissos and Leukippos, though they still retained enough of the old views to bear witness to the source of their inspiration, were too strongly influenced by the Eleatic dialectic to remain content with the theories of Anaximenes. It was left to second-rate minds like Diogenes to champion the orthodox system, while third-rate minds like Hippon of Samos went back to the cruder theory of Thales. The details of this anticipatory sketch will become clearer as we go on; for the present, it is only necessary to call the reader's attention to the fact that the old Ionic Philosophy now forms a sort of background to our story, just as Orphic and Pythagorean religious ideas have done in the preceding chapters.

Burnet's Notes


12. Cicero, De nat. d. i. 26 (after Philodemos), "Anaxagoras qui accepit ab Anaximene disciplinam (i.e. διήκουσε); Diog. i. 13 (R. P. 4) and ii. 6; Strabo, xiv. p. 645, Κλαζομένιος δ' ἦν ἀνὴρ ἐπιφανὴς Ἀναχαγόρας ὁ φυσικός, Ἀναξιμένους ὁμιλητής; Euseb. P.E. p. 504; [Galen] Hist. Phil. 3; Augustine, De civ. Dei, viii. 2.

13. Phys. Op. fr. 4 (Dox. p. 478), Ἀναξαγόρας μὲν γὰρ Ἡγησιβούλου Κλαζομένιος κοινωνήσας τῆς Ἀναξιμένους φιλοσοφίας κτλ.. In his fifth edition (p. 973, n. 2) Zeller adopts the view given in the text, and confirms it by comparing the very similar statement as to Leukippos, κοινωνήσας Παρμενίδῃ τῆς φιλοσοφίας. See below, Chap. IX. § 172.

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