Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
163. Motion 165. The Fragments

From Chapter VIII., The Younger Eleatics


164. Life of Melissus
In his Life of Perikles, Plutarch tells us, on the authority of Aristotle, that the philosopher Melissos, son of Ithagenes,was the Samian general who defeated the Athenian fleet in 441/0 B.C.;44 and it was no doubt for this reason that Apollodoros fixed his floruit in Ol. LXXXIV. (444-41 B.C.).45 Beyond this, we really know nothing about his life. He is said to have been, like Zeno, a disciple of Parmenides;46 but, as he was a Samian, it is possible that he was originally a member of the Ionic school, and we shall see that certain features of his doctrine tend to bear out this view. On the other hand, he was certainly convinced by the Eleatic dialectic, and renounced the Ionic doctrine in so far as it was inconsistent with that. We note here the effect of the increased facility of intercourse between East and West, which was secured by the supremacy of Athens.

Burnet's Notes


44. Plut. Per. 26 (R. P. 141 b), from Aristotle's Σαμίων πολιτεία.

45. Diog. ix. 24 (R. P. 141). It is possible, of course, that Apollodoros meant the first and not the fourth year of the Olympiad. That is his usual era, the foundation of Thourioi. But, on the whole, it is more likely that he meant the fourth; for the date of the ναυαρχία would be given with precision. See Jacoby, p. 270.

46. Diog. ix. 24 (R. P. 141).

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