Melissus of Samos

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Melissus of Samos


(c. 410-c. 360 B.C.) Greek philosopher. Disciple of Parmenides and last representative of the Eleatic school, whose metaphysical and idealist tendencies he developed.

Melissus was a prominent statesman and military figure; he commanded the Samian fleet and was a political opponent of Pericles. He wrote the treatise “On Nature, or What Exists,”a work that has been lost. Melissus criticized Pythagoreanism, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and the atomists from the standpoint of the Eleatic conception of reality as single, immobile, undifferentiated, incorporeal, prerational, infinite, and identical with itself. In his conception of infinity not only in terms of time but of space as well, Melissus introduced a new aspect of Eleatic philosophy.


Diels, H. Die Frogmente der Vorsokratiker, 9th ed, vol. 1. Edited by W. Kranz. Berlin, 1960.
Makovel’skii, A. O. Dosokratiki, part 2, chapter 20. Kazan, 1915.


Mandes, M. I. Eleaty. Odessa, 1911. Pages 245-310.
Untersteiner, M. “Senofane e Mellisso nel ’De Melisso, Xenophane, Gorgia.’“Antiquitas, 1953. Pages 3-65.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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