Biographies

Anaximander, creator of the apeiron

Anaximander, creator of the apeiron

Anaximander was a Greek philosopher, geometer and astronomer born in Miletus, a city that corresponds to present-day Turkey, between the years 610 BC and 545 BC. He was a member of the school of Miletus, succeeding Thales, of whom he was a disciple, in his direction.

As an astronomer, Anaximander devoted much of his life to conducting numerous investigations that led him to affirm that the Earth was cylindrical in shape and that it occupied the center of the universe.

Likewise, it has been attributed to the creation of a land map, as well as various works for the measurement of solstices and equinoxes through the use of a gnomon or the calculation of the size and distance between the stars.

Other attributions were the development of a sundial and a celestial sphere.

As his teacher Tales did, Anaximandro also looked for a basic element from which reality began. However, unlike Thales, Anaximander considered that this "arché" or element was not water, but an unknown matter that he called "apeiron" and that comes to refer to the unlimited or indeterminate (a: "without"; pears : "limit, perimeter").

Anaximander developed a cosmogony in which the formation of the universe was described as a process of rotation in which the hot was separated from the cold. In this way the stars were portions of compressed air.

For its part, the Sun was shaped like a carriage wheel on whose edge the fire was contained, which was on the periphery of the world, and which escaped through a hole. Thus, Anaximandro explained the eclipses by the obstruction of one of these holes. Anaximander also considered that the size of the Sun was up to 28 times greater than that of the Earth, while the Moon was 19 times larger and also shaped like a wheel.

Likewise, Anaximander's cosmos is composed, precisely, of "apeiron", an infinite and eternal substance. Thus, the planets and stars formed with the separation of this substance, which was again absorbed by the universe when they disappeared.

Anaximander explains the creation of the Earth from a rotary movement that caused the heaviest materials in the universe to sink towards the center, thus forming our disk-shaped planet, while the fire moved outward giving rise to the Sun and the stars.

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Thales of Miletus and the wise men of antiquityPythagoras and geocentrism