Empedocles of Acragas (ca. 494–434 B.C.)
He was to be likened to Faust. Nietzsche saw him as “oscillating between physician and magus, between poet and demagogue, between god and mortal, between scientist and artist, between statesman and priest, between Pythagoras and Democritus”. Renan limned him epigrammatically as “a cross between Pythagoras and Democritus, Newton and Cagliostro”. He was born in Acragas (today’s Agrigenti) in southern Sicily. As an offspring of an aristocratic family he would participate passionately in the political affairs of his community, but contrary to what one would expect, he committed himself to the democratic cause.
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