Ecphantus the Pythagorean

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Ecphantus the Pythagorean
Diedc. 4th-century BCE
EraAncient Greek philosophy
Notable ideas
heliocentric theory

Ecphantus or Ecphantos (Ancient Greek: Ἔκφαντος) or Ephantus (Έφαντος) was an Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher. He is identified as a Pythagorean of the 4th century BCE from Syracuse, Magna Graecia, but the details concerning his life are historically obscure; he may have not been a historical person, but rather a fictional character invented by Heraclides of Pontus for use in his philosophical dialogues.[1] He also may have been the same figure as the attested Ecphantus of Croton.[citation needed]

According to Eusebius, Ecphantus, like Heraclides of Pontus, was a supporter of the heliocentric theory: he 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] Ecphantus also maintained that there is only one Cosmos (Universe) governed by providence (πρόνοια).


  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.