Pherecydes of Syros


Pherecydes flourished around the sixth century BC. He is the most important forerunner of the Presocratic thought. Pherecydes’ Heptamychia is the  first prose style work in Greek literature and includes the first attempt in Greek thought to rationalize Greek mythology. According to some ancient sources Pherecydes was the teacher of Pythagoras.As Diogenes Laertius testifies (Vitae Philosophorum I.119) Pherecydes died and was buried by Pythagoras in Delos.  For Pherecydes, in the beginning of cosmos three primary and eternal principles existed: Zeus, Time and Earth. Pherecydes is the first ancient author to introduce the everlastingness of time (chronos). Chronos is the everlasting procreative cosmogonical principle, personified as one of the three primal everlasting principles that initially began the generation of Cosmos: Zas/Zeus, Chronos/Time and Chthonie/Earth. The self-creative nature of Pherecydes’ time eliminates ex nihilo creation. The universe cannot result from non-being, but only from some basic procreative and self-creative everlasting principles. The early Presocratics were influenced by his radical thought especially on the following fields:

•The denial of ex nihilo creation

•The self-creation of cosmos

•The eternal nature of the first principles



Copyright 1997-2006

Giannis Stamatellos






  Writings and Sources

  Mythological Origins

  Pherecydes of Syros


  Thales of Miletus
  Anaximander of Miletus
  Anaximenes of Miletus

  Heraclitus of Ephesus
  Xenophanes of Colophon

  Pythagoras of Samos
  Philolaus of Croton
  Archytas of Tarantum
  Alcmaeon of Croton


  Parmenides of Elea
  Zeno of Elea
  Melissus of Samos

Empedocles of Acragas
  Anaxagoras of Klazomenes
  Democritus of Abdera