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Thales (ca. 626-ca. 548 BC)

  • By: Susanna Servello
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Thales, born in Miletus, was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, the first natural philosopher who belonged to the Milesian school along with Anaximander and Anaximenes. Unfortunately, we do not have any of his writings; however, his importance in the field of geographic studies is due particularly to his views about the nature of Earth and his search for rational explanations through the observation of natural phenomena and avoidance of mythological beliefs.

According to Herodotus, Thales predicted the solar eclipse that occurred on May 28, 585 BC, but he is also said to have calculated the length of the seasons, the solstices, and the lunar phases; to have learned from sailors how to orient himself thanks to the stars (especially those belonging to the constellation Ursa Minor); to ...

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