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Democritus’ works: From their titles to their contents

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Chapter Summary

Democritus is the only Presocratic philosopher to whom a rather large number of works are attributed. On the whole the impression that one gets, in surveying the testimonies and the fragments that we have of Democritus, is that his interests were encyclopaedic and that he covered almost every field of knowledge of his own time. The variety of interests shown by Democritus is reflected in the catalogue of his works, which is preserved by Diogenes Laertius. The fact that Thrasyllus regarded Democritus as a Pythagorean is sufficiently clear from the testimony of Diogenes Laertius: ‘He would seem, says Thrasyllus, to have been a follower of the Pythagoreans. Concerning Thrasyllus’ own sources of information, it is often suggested that he depended, for his compilation of the catalogue of Democritus’ works, on the catalogue or ‘table’ (pinax) of his works according to the testimony of the Suda.

Keywords: Democritus; Diogenes Laertius; pythagorean; Suda

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