Empedocles’ Four Elements (Roots)
Empedocles (490-430 B.C) was a Greek philosopher, scientist and healer who lived in Sicily in the fifth century B.C. Empedocles introduced the idea that everything was made up of four basic things that he called “roots.” Plato (428-347 B.C.) may have been the first to refer to Empedocles’ roots as elements. These four elements are : water, earth, air, and fire.
The elements of earth and water turned inward and downward.
Empedocles believed the four roots were influenced by two great living forces called Love and Strife.
The Greek philosopher, Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) promoted Empedocles’ idea that all materials on Earth were composed of the four elements water, air, earth, and fire. Aristotle added a fifth element called ether, which was supposedly a perfect substance of which heavenly bodies were composed.
The diagram shows the four elements with characteristics at the corners of the center yellow square. The characteristics for fire are on the lines connecting it to Air and Earth–hot and dry. This does describe the general summer for where I live, which is Texas. Air (Spring) is hot and wet, Water (Winter) is cold and wet, Earth (Autumn) is cold and dry.
According to Aristotle, the heavier the object the more earth it contained.
Aristotle believed that humans were a complex mixture of the four elements. Since people were not all alike, there had to be differences in the amount of each element they were made up of.
The diagrams shows how it was believed the four elements affected humans as well as seasons.In the chart, the body fluid containing the element and the location in the human body is shown. It also shows how the the elements affected seasons.
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