Ecphantus the Pythagorean

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Ecphantus the Pythagorean
Known forSupposed pre-Socratic philosopher

Ecphantus or Ecphantos (Ancient Greek: Ἔκφαντος) or Ephantus (Έφαντος) is a shadowy Greek pre-Socratic philosopher. He may not have actually existed.[1] He is identified as a Pythagorean of the 4th century BCE, and as a supporter of the heliocentric theory. Described as from Syracuse, this may or may not be the same figure as the attested Ecphantus of Croton.

Ecphantus accepted the existence of atoms. He accepts the existence of void, empty space. Ecphantus maintained that the Cosmos is made of atoms and there is only one Cosmos (Universe) governed by providence (πρόνοια). He is the first of the Pythagoreans to attribute physical substance to the Pythagorean units (see Unit-point atomism).

Ecphantus, like Heraclides of Pontus, believed that the Earth turns around its centre from west to towards east, like a wheel, as if it has an axis, the state.[2]


  1. ^ "Some scholars have argued that Hicetas and Ecphantus, both of Syracuse, were not historical figures at all but rather characters in dialogues written by Heraclides of Pontus." From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, article "Pythagoreanism".
  2. ^ Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelica, Book 15, chapter 58, section 3, line 1, Ἡρακλείδης ὁ Ποντικὸς καὶ Ἔκφαντος ὁ Πυθαγόρειος κινοῦσι μὲν τὴν γῆν, οὐ μήν γε μεταβατικῶς, ἀλλὰ τρεπτικῶς τροχοῦ δίκην ἐνηξονισμένην, ἀπὸ δυσμῶν ἐπ' ἀνατολὰς περὶ τὸ ἴδιον αὑτῆς κέντρον.

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