Diogenes of Apollonia (// dy-OJ-in-eez; Ancient Greek: Διογένης ὁ Ἀπολλωνιάτης, romanized: Diogénēs ho Apollōniátēs; fl. 5th century BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, and was a native of the Milesian colony Apollonia in Thrace. He lived for some time in Athens. He believed air to be the one source of all being from which all other substances were derived, and, as a primal force, to be both divine and intelligent. He also wrote a description of the organization of blood vessels in the human body. His ideas were parodied by the dramatist Aristophanes, and may have influenced the Orphic philosophical commentary preserved in the Derveni papyrus. His philosophical work has not survived in a complete form, and his doctrines are known chiefly from lengthy quotations of his work by Simplicius, as well as a few summaries in the works of Aristotle, Theophrastus, and Aetius.
Diogenes of Apollonia
|Born||5th century BCE|
|Died||5th century BCE|
|Air is the arche|
Diogenes was a native of the Milesian colony Apollonia Pontica in Thrace, present-day Sozopol on the Black Sea.[note 1] His father's name was Apollothemis. Nothing is known of the events in his life, except that he lived some time in Athens. Diogenes Laërtius states that "great jealousy nearly put his life in danger in Athens," but there may be confusion with Anaxagoras who is mentioned in the same passage.[b] Like all the physiologoi (natural philosophers), he wrote in the Ionic dialect.
Diogenes is characterized by Theophrastus as the last of the "physiologoi" or natural philosophers. As a material monist, he synthesized the work of earlier monists such as Anaximenes and Heraclitus with the pluralism of Anaxagoras and Empedocles and argued that air was a divine cosmic ordering principle that he also equated with intelligence. He does not appear to have been influenced by the Atomists.
Diogenes, like Anaximenes, believed air to be the one source of all being, and all other substances to be derived from it by condensation and rarefaction. This he modified by the theories of his contemporary Anaxagoras, and asserted that air, the primal force, was intelligent:
And it seems to me that that which possessed thought is what people call air, and that by this everyone both is governed and has power over everything. For it is this which seems to me to be god and to have reached everything and to arrange everything and to be in everything. And there is not a single thing which does not share in it.[c]
The nature of the universe is air, limitless and eternal, from which, as it condenses and rarefies and changes its properties, the other forms come into being.[d] Among his other doctrines, he is said to have believed that there was an infinite number of worlds, and infinite void; that air, densified and rarefied, produced the different worlds; that nothing was produced from nothing, or was reduced to nothing; that the Earth was round, supported in the middle, and had received its shape from the whirling round of the warm vapours, and its concretion and hardening from cold.[e]
The longest surviving fragment of Diogenes is that which is inserted by Aristotle in the third book of his History of Animals.[f] It contains a description of the distribution of the blood vessels in the human body. It is notable chiefly because "here we can read at first hand what in the case of the other Presocratics we learn only indirectly: an attempt to describe in scientific detail the structure and organization of the physical world."
None of Diogenes' work has survived in a complete form. The majority of the surviving fragments of Diogenes work come from Simplicius, a late antique philosopher from the Neoplatonic Academy who wrote a commentary on Aristotle's Physics where he quotes several long excerpts from Diogenes' work. Based on the account given by Simplicius, it is unclear to modern scholars whether Diogenes wrote four separate works, "On Nature", "On the Nature of Man" "Meteorology", and "Against the Sophist", or only one work On Nature which included portions that touched on each of the other three topics.
Diogenite meteorites are named for Diogenes of Apollonia, who was the first to suggest an outer space origin for meteorites:
With the visible stars revolve stones which are invisible, and for that reason nameless. They often fall on the ground and are extinguished, like the stone star that came down on fire at Aegospotami.[h]
Based on an initial evaluation by Hermann Diels, Diogenes was not studied frequently in modern scholarship up until the past few decades. However, with the discovery of the Derveni papyrus, an Orphic philosophical poem which has many parallels to the philosophy of both Diogenes and Anaxagoras, many scholars have analyzed Diogenes' work to better understand the links between Ancient Greek religion and philosophy.
- A1. Laërtius, Diogenes (1925). . Lives of the Eminent Philosophers. Vol. 2:9. Translated by Hicks, Robert Drew (Two volume ed.). Loeb Classical Library.
- A2. Laërtius, Diogenes (1925). . Lives of the Eminent Philosophers. Vol. 2:6. Translated by Hicks, Robert Drew (Two volume ed.). Loeb Classical Library.
- A3. Stephanus of Byzantium. "Apollonia". Ethnica.
- B1. Laërtius, Diogenes (1925). . Lives of the Eminent Philosophers. Vol. 2:9. Translated by Hicks, Robert Drew (Two volume ed.). Loeb Classical Library.
- B2. Simplicius of Cilicia. Commentary on Aristotle's Physics. 151.28.
- B3. Simplicius of Cilicia. Commentary on Aristotle's Physics. 152.10.
- B4. Simplicius of Cilicia. Commentary on Aristotle's Physics. 151.15.
- B5. Simplicius of Cilicia. Commentary on Aristotle's Physics. 151.21.
- B6. Aristotle. . 510b – via Wikisource.
- B7. Simplicius of Cilicia. Commentary on Aristotle's Physics. 153.19.
- B8. Simplicius of Cilicia. Commentary on Aristotle's Physics. 153.20.
- B9. Galen. Commentary on Book VI of Hippocrates' Epidemics.
- B10. Aelius Herodianus. On peculiar style. I.7-8.
Translations of the FragmentsEdit
- André Laks (ed.), Diogène d'Apollonie: edition, traduction et commentaire des fragments et témoignages. International Pre-platonic Studies; v. 6. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 2008
- Curd, Patricia (15 March 2011). A Presocratics Reader: Selected Fragments and Testimonia. Hackett Publishing. pp. 138–143. ISBN 978-1-60384-598-4.
- Barnes, Jonathan (2002). "Diogenes of Apollonia". Early Greek Philosophy. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-044815-3.
- Betegh, Gábor (2004). "Diogenes of Apollonia and Archelaus of Athens". The Derveni papyrus : cosmology, theology, and interpretation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 306–324. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511584435.010. ISBN 9780511584435.
- Dockstader, Jason. "Diogenes of Apollonia". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- Kirk, G. S.; Raven, J. E.; Schofield, M. (1983). The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selection of Texts. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-27455-5.
- André Laks (2008). "Speculating about Diogenes of Apollonia". In Curd, Patricia; Graham, Daniel W. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Presocratic Philosophy. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 353–363. ISBN 978-0-19-514687-5.
- Curd, Patricia (2004). Legacy of Parmenides. Parmenides Publishing. ISBN 978-1-930972-42-1.
- André Laks (1999). "Soul, sensation, and thought". In Long, A. A. (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 250–270. ISBN 978-0-521-44667-9.
- André Laks. Diogène d'Apollonie. La dernière cosmologie présocratique. Lille: Presses Universitaires de Lille 1983. Edition, translation and commentary.
- Warren, James (2014). "Epilogue". Presocratics. Routledge. pp. 177–179. ISBN 978-1-317-49337-2.