Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
29. The Parts of the World 31. Influence of Anaximenes

From Chapter I., The Milesian School

30. Innumerable Worlds
As might be expected, there is much the same difficulty about the "innumerable worlds" ascribed to Anaximenes as there is about those of Anaximander. The evidence, however, is far less satisfactory. Cicero says that Anaximenes regarded air as a god, and adds that it came into being.125 That cannot be right. Air, as the primary substance, is certainly eternal, and it is quite likely that Anaximenes called it "divine," as Anaximander did the Boundless; but it is certain that he also spoke of gods who came into being and passed away. These arose, he said, from the air. This is expressly stated by Hippolytos,126 and also by St. Augustine.127 These gods are probably to be explained like Anaximander's. Simplicius, indeed, takes another view; but he may have been misled by a Stoic authority.128

Burnet's Notes


125. Cic. De nat. d. i. 26 (R. P. 28 b).

126. Hipp. Ref. i. 7, 1 (R. P. 28).

127. Aug. De civ. D. viii. 2: "Anaximenes omnes rerum causas infinito aëri dedit: nec deos negavit aut tacuit; non tamen ab ipsis aërem factum, sed ipsos ex aëre ortos credidit" (R. P. 28 b).

128. Simpl. Phys. p. 1121, 12 (R. P. 28 a). The passage from the Placita is of higher authority than this from Simplicius. It is only to Anaximenes, Herakleitos, and Diogenes that successive worlds are ascribed even here. For the Stoic view of Herakleitos, see Chap. III. § 78; and for Diogenes, Chap.X. §188. That Simplicius is following a Stoic authority is suggested by the words καὶ ὕστερον οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς Στοᾶς.

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