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Anaximander (Άναξίμανδρος)

Detail of Raphael's painting The School of Athens, 1510–1511. This could be a representation of Anaximander leaning towards Pythagoras on his left.[1]
Full name Anaximander (Άναξίμανδρος)
Era Pre-Socratic philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Ionian Philosophy, Milesian school, Naturalism
Main interests Metaphysics, astronomy, geometry, geography
Notable ideas The apeiron is the first principle

Anaximander [2] (about 610BC–546BC) was a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who lived in Miletus, a city of Ionia. He belonged to the Milesian school and learned the teachings of his master Thales. He succeeded him and became the second master of that school where he counted Anaximenes and Pythagoras amongst his pupils.[3]

Little of his life and work is known today. According to available historical documents, he is the first philosopher known to have written down his studies,[4] although only one fragment of his work remains. Fragmentary testimonies found in documents after his death provide a portrait of the man.


  1. This character is traditionally associated with Boethius, however his face offering similarities with a bust of Anaximander, it could be a representation of the philosopher.See for a description of the characters in this painting.
  2. Ancient Greek: Ἀναξίμανδρος
  3. Guthrie W.K.C. 1962. A history of Greek philosophy. Vol 1: the earlier Presocratics and the Pythagoreans. Cambridge.
  4. Themistius, Oratio 36, §317