Special Sub-Topic: Thales, First among the Seven Sages
|Precise dating of the events of the ancient world is difficult. Thales was believed to have been born in 636 BC at Miletus, a Greek city in Asia Minor. What event probably can be dated precisely and occurred on May 28, 585 BC?
Mede and Lydia suddenly ended a five year war.. Thales successfully predicted an eclipse in 585. The war ended as a result of the combatants seeing the eclipse as a sign from the Gods.
|Thales developed methods for calculating the diameter of the earth and the sun. He recommended that navigation be based on Ursa Minor rather than Ursa Major. There is some evidence that he believed the earth to be a sphere. Of which field other than astronomy did the later Greeks hold him to be the founder?|
All of these (Science, Philosophy, Mathematics). Thales was also a poet, but it seems to have been the one endeavor that did not earn him praise.
|Based on an apocryphal story related by Plato, Thales might have been the original absent-minded professor. According to Plato, one evening when Thales was walking along, engrossed in gazing at the stars, he suffered a mishap. What was the mishap?|
He fell into a well.. The servant woman who pulled Thales out of the well reportedly observed that he "studies the stars yet cannot even see the ground at his feet!"
|There are no copies of any writings of Thales (or any convincing evidence that he put anything in writing) but it is said that he asked those who quoted him or used his ideas to credit him for them. When asked, "Should an adulterer deny the charge of adultery upon oath?" what did Thales reportedly say?|
"Perjury is no worse than adultery.". Thales seemed to be an earlier practitioner of cynicism as well as of philosophy. Asked, " How can one best bear adversity?" Thales replied, "Seeing one's enemies in worse plight."
|Thales taught that water was the basic substance of which all things were composed. What term best describes this kind of thinking?|
Reductionism. Thales also seemed to believe that just as everything was composed of water so everything was full of God. Perhaps his theological thinking could be described as "holistic".
|Thales was a wealthy man. How was he held to have become rich?|
He predicted a bumper crop of olives and cornered the market on them.. Aristotle later analyzed Thales's tactics. He pointed out that cornering the market would have successfully driven up the price whether or not the harvest had been generous.
|Many of the maxims of the Seven Sages were pithy pieces of advice. Which of the following can be attributed to Thales?|
"Know thyself.". The advice regarding lies and evil company came from another of the "Seven Sages".
|Later discoveries did not always confirm Thales's postulates. Thales was reported to feel, for instance, that the existence of earthquakes confirmed his hypothesis that the earth floated on water. According to Aristotle, what did the fact that a magnet attracted Iron signify to Thales?|
Since the soul causes movement, lodestones (magnets) have a soul.. Most of Thales explanations are materialistic and some hold that this contradictory view of "the soul" as a motive force was wrongly attributed to Thales.
|Thales was credited with proposing a number of Euclid's theorems. How many are attributed to him?
5. One of these was the "Angle-side-angle" theorem which Thales reportedly used to calculate the height of a pyramid in Egypt.
|Thales also proposed three characteristics compatible with happiness. Which is not one of the three?|
A keen wit.. I find it difficult to imagine "a docile nature" for Thales. Was he then unhappy or was he perhaps describing the characteristics of what would make him happy with another person?
Did you find these entries particularly interesting, or do you have comments / corrections to make? Let the author know!
Send the author a thank you or
Submit a correction