Biography of Empedocles of Agrigento | Poet and philosopher.

(Agrigento, Sicily, 484 BC.-?, 424 BC) Greek poet and philosopher. Really very little is known of the biography of Empedocles; his personality is wrapped in legend, which makes it appear as a magician and Prophet, author of miracles and revealer of hidden truths and hidden mysteries.
Empedocles was born in a distinguished family, and became head of the democratic faction of his hometown. His fame as a scientist and medico-taumaturgo, together with their social position, allowed him to occupy important positions in public life. The end of his life passed it exiled in the Peloponnese. Several versions were forged around his death, the best known of all is the one that would have yielded to the Etna volcano to be revered as a God by his fellow citizens.
His writings are preserved only the political, the Treaty on medicine, the Proemio to Apollo, on nature (only 450 verses of the 5,000 that had the work are preserved) and the purification (of argument inspired orphism and mystical). It seems that we must consider spurious tragedies attributed to him. He wrote his works in the form of poems. Their doctrine seems to depend on many points of Parmenides, who assumed she had met on a trip to Elea.
In his works Empedocles starts, as Parmenides, establishing the need and continuity of being. But its originality consists in reconciling this need with the evolution, with the passing of all. Trying to answer this question, tells of four "roots" (rhicomata) eternal, the four natural elements: fire, water, air and Earth.
These roots correspond to the principles (Arche) of the Ionians, but, unlike these, - which are qualitatively transformed and become all things-, the roots of Empedocles are qualitatively unaltered: are originating and immutable (thus prepares the notion of "elements"). What causes the change are two cosmic forces he calls love and hate. (Also in this Empedocles paves the way to the cause or natural force).
For Empedocles, love tends to unite the four elements, as how different attraction; Hatred acts as a separation of the similar. When completely dominates the love, one pure and perfect sphere all her equal and infinite, which enjoys its enveloping solitude is generated. Hatred then begins his work, undoing all the harmony until the complete separation of the chaos. Back to love intervenes to join what hate has spread, and so, the two forces, in its cyclical strife, give life to the various manifestations of the cosmos.
The four elements and the two forces that move it also explain knowledge, according to the principle that as such is known as such. Things emanate flows which, passing through the pores of the elements, determined the contact and recognition.
On these bases Empedocles devoted great interest to the observation of nature (botany, zoology and Physiology), and presented original ideas about the evolution of living organisms, the blood circulation, and the seat of thought in the heart, theses accepted for a long time by the medicine. This doctrine of the evolution and transformation of all things gives rise to the theory of metempsychosis: by law necessary beings expiate their crimes through a series of reincarnations. "I have been because, previously, boy and girl, Bush, bird and fish denizen of the sea". Only men who manage to purify can escape completely from the circle of births and return to dwell among the gods.
Extracted from the website: Biografías y Vidas
Biographies of historical figures and personalities