Empedocles Quotes

Many fires burn beneath the earth.
Empedocles (Fragment)
There is one vision coming from both (eyes).
Empedocles (Fragment)
Though we have two eyes, our vision is one.
Empedocles (Fragment - Alternate Translation)
Heaven's exiles, straying from the orb of light.
Empedocles (Quoted by Porphyry)
Know each thing in the way in which it is clear.
Empedocles (Fragment)
For men's wisdom increases with reference to what lies before them.
Empedocles (Fragment)
But come, hear my words, for truly learning causes the mind to grow.
Empedocles (Fragment)
Will ye not cease from evil slaughter? See ye not that ye are devouring each other in heedlessness of mind?
Empedocles (Fragment)
For water is increased by water, primeval fire by fire, and earth causes its own substance to increase, and air, air.
Empedocles (Fragment)
Blessed is he who has acquired a wealth of divine wisdom, but miserable he in whom there rests a dim opinion concerning the gods.
Empedocles (Fragment)
Hear first the four roots of all things: bright Zeus (fire), life-giving Hera (air), and Aidoneus (earth), and Nestis (water) who moistens the springs of men with her tears.
Empedocles (Fragment)
For it is by earth that we see earth, and by water water, and by air glorious air; so, too, by fire we see destroying fire, and love by love, and strife by baneful strife. For out of these (elements) all things are fitted together and their form is fixed, and by these men think and feel both pleasure and pain.
Empedocles (Fragment)
These [elements] never cease changing place continually, now being all united by Love into one, now each borne apart by the hatred engendered of Strife, until they are brought together in the unity of the all, and become subject to it.
Empedocles (Fragment)
But come, hear my words, for truly learning causes the mind to grow. For as I said before in declaring the ends of my words: Twofold is the truth I shall speak; for at one time there grew to be the one alone out of many, and at another time it separated so that there were many out of the one; fire and water and earth and boundless height of air, and baneful Strife apart from these, balancing each of them, and Love among them, their equal in length and breadth.
Empedocles (Fragment)
For all things are united, themselves with parts of themselves—the beaming sun and earth and sky and sea—whatever things are friendly but have separated in mortal things. And so, in the same way, whatever things are the more adapted for mixing, these are loved by each other and made alike by Aphrodite. But whatever things are hostile are separated as far as possible from each other, both in their origin and in their mixing and in the forms impressed on them, absolutely unwonted to unite and very baneful, at the suggestion of Strife, since it has wrought their birth.
Empedocles (Fragment)
But come, gaze on the things that bear farther witness to my former words, if in what was said before there be anything defective in form. Behold the sun, warm and bright on all sides, and whatever is immortal and is bathed in its bright ray, and behold the raincloud, dark and cold on all sides; from the earth there proceed the foundations of things and solid bodies. In Strife all things are, endued with form and separate from each other, but they come together in Love and are desired by each other. For from these (elements) come all things that are or have been or shall be; from these there grew up trees and men and women, wild beasts and birds and water-nourished fishes, and the very gods, long-lived, highest in honour.
Empedocles (Fragment)
Friends who inhabit the mighty town by tawny Acragas
which crowns the citadel, caring for good deeds,
greetings; I, an immortal God, no longer mortal,
wander among you, honoured by all,
adorned with holy diadems and blooming garlands.
To whatever illustrious towns I go,
I am praised by men and women, and accompanied
by thousands, who thirst for deliverance,
some ask for prophecies, and some entreat,
for remedies against all kinds of disease.
Empedocles (Quoted by Diogenes Laertius)
And if your faith be at all lacking in regard to these (elements), how from water and earth and air and sun (fire) when they are mixed, arose such colours and forms of mortal things, as many as now have arisen under the uniting power of Aphrodite. . . .
How both tall trees and fishes of the sea (arose).
And thus then Kypris, when she had moistened the earth with water, breathed air on it and gave it to swift fire to be hardened.
And all these things which were within were made dense, while those without were made rare, meeting with such moisture in the hands of Kypris.
And thus tall trees bear fruit (lit. eggs), first of all olives.
Wherefore late-born pomegranates and luxuriant apples . . .
Wine is water that has fermented in the wood beneath the bark.
Empedocles (Fragment)

Relevant Pages

The Four Elements
The Arche
Ancient Quotes

Empedocles Biography

Empedocles portrait

Born: 490 BCE
Died: 430 BCE

Empedocles was an ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher, who is best known for his influential set of ideas that described the nature of the universe, namely the four elements.. We only have fragments of his works today.

Notable Works

Purifications (5th Century BCE)
On Nature (5th Century BCE)

Featured Idea: Change

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