From Chapter I., The Milesian School
It is not easy for us to realise that, in the eyes of his contemporaries, and for long after, Anaximenes
was a much more important figure than Anaximander. And yet the fact is certain. We shall see that
Pythagoras, though he followed Anaximander in his account of the heavenly bodies, was far more
indebted to Anaximenes for his general theory of the world (§ 53).
We shall see further that when, at a later date, science revived once more in Ionia, it was "the philosophy of Anaximenes" to which it
attached itself (§ 122).
Anaxagoras adopted many of his most characteristic views (§ 135), and so did
Diogenes of Apollonia went back to the central doctrine of Anaximenes, and made Air
the primary substance, though he also tried to combine it with the theories of Anaxagoras (§ 188). We
shall come to all this later; but it seemed desirable to point out at once that Anaximenes marks the
culminating point of the line of thought which started with Thales, and to show how the "philosophy of
Anaximenes" came to mean the Milesian doctrine as a whole. This it can only have done because it was
really the work of a school, of which Anaximenes was the last distinguished representative, and because
his contribution to it was one that completed the system he had inherited from his predecessors. That
the theory of rarefaction and condensation was really such a completion of the Milesian system, we
have seen (§ 26),
and it need only be added that a clear realisation of this fact will be the best clue at
once to the understanding of the Milesian cosmology itself and to that of the systems which followed it.
In the main, it is from Anaximenes they all start.
129. In particular, both Leukippos and Demokritos adhered to his theory of a flat earth. Cf. Aet. iii.
10, 3-5 (Περὶ σχήματος γῆς), Ἀναξιμένης τραπεζοειδῆ (τὴν γῆν). Λεύκιππος τυμπανοειδῆ. Δημόκριτος δισκοειδῆ μὲν τῷ πλάτει, κοίλην δὲ τῷ μέσῳ. And yet the spherical form of the earth was already a commonplace in
circles affected by Pythagoreanism.