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Democritus

Democritus was an Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher primarily remembered today for his formulation of an atomic theory of the universe.Democritus was born in Abdera, Thrace, around 460 BC, although there are disagreements about the exact year. His exact contributions are difficult to disentangle from those of his mentor Leucippus, as they are often mentioned together in texts. Their speculation on atoms, taken from Leucippus, bears a passing and partial resemblance to the 19th-century understanding of atomic structure that has led some to regard Democritus as more of a scientist than other Greek philosophers; however, their ideas rested on very different bases.

Largely ignored in ancient Athens, Democritus is said to have been disliked so much by Plato that the latter wished all of his books burned. He was nevertheless well known to his fellow northern-born philosopher Aristotle.

Many consider Democritus to be the "father of modern science". None of his writings have survived; only fragments are known from his vast body of work.

„[I would] rather discover one cause than gain the kingdom of Persia.“

—  Democritus

Freeman (1948), p. 155
Durant (1939),Ch. XVI, §II, p. 352, citinas G.Grote, Plato and the Other Companions of Socrates (London, 1875), vol. 1, p. 68; and citing C. Bakewell, Sourcebook in Ancient Philosophy, New York, 1909, p. 62.
Variant: I would rather discover a single demonstration [in geometry] than become king of the Persians.

„Now his principal doctrines were these. That atoms and the vacuum were the beginning of the universe; and that everything else existed only in opinion. (trans. Yonge 1853)“

—  Democritus

The first principles of the universe are atoms and empty space; everything else is merely thought to exist. (trans. by Robert Drew Hicks 1925)
Original: (el) δοκεῖ δὲ αὐτῶι τάδε· ἀρχὰς εἶναι τῶν ὅλων ἀτόμους καὶ κενόν, τὰ δ'ἀλλα πάντα νενομίσθαι [δοξάζεσθαι]. (Diogenes Laërtius, Democritus, Vol. IX, 44)

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„Verily we know nothing. Truth is buried deep.“

—  Democritus

Another translation: "Of truth we know nothing, for truth is in a well." Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers R.D. Hicks, Ed. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:abo:tlg,0004,001:9:11
Source Book in Ancient Philosophy (1907), The Fragments

„Moderation multiplies pleasures, and increases pleasure.“

—  Democritus

Freeman (1948), p. 163
Variant: Moderation increases enjoyment, and makes pleasure even greater.

„Sweet exists by convention, bitter by convention, colour by convention; atoms and Void [alone] exist in reality. (trans. Freeman 1948), p. 92.“

—  Democritus

By convention sweet is sweet, bitter is bitter, hot is hot, cold is cold, color is color; but in truth there are only atoms and the void. (trans. Durant 1939), Ch. XVI, §II, p. 353; citing C. Bakewell, Sourcebook in Ancient Philosophy, New York, 1909, "Fragment O" (Diels), p. 60
Original: (el) νόμωι (γάρ φησι) γλυκὺ καὶ νόμωι πικρόν, νόμωι θερμόν, νόμωι ψυχρόν, νόμωι χροιή, ἐτεῆι <!--for ἐτεῇ "in reality"--> δὲ ἄτομα καὶ κενόν (Tetralogies of Thrasyllus, 9; Sext. Emp. adv. math. VII 135)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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