The Ancient Library

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the world, the impress of which has never been expunged from human thinking.

The old Ionian speculation upon Nature or 4>v<TLS was curious as to the material of the world, and considered how its visible compo­nent rocks and earth and waters came to be. This speculation, supplemented by investiga­tion, was directed also to the origins of plants and animals, to the manner of their growth and to their living structure. Accordingly, the (frvffioXofia, which is to say the natural history or philosophy, of these physicists, in­cluded the beginnings of biology, which is the science of all living things, if we use this com­paratively modern word in its most compre­hensive sense.

There is no need to re-state the physical theories of the early Ionian philosophers and of their compeers who were Greeks even when not so evidently lonians. It is more to our purpose to remark that for us Greek biology begins in some extraordinary fragments ascribed to the great Milesian Anaximander, who was a younger friend of Thales and lived through the first half of the sixth century be­fore Christ. They are as follows:

" Living creatures arose from the moist ele-


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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.