The New Student's Reference Work/Thales

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Thales (thā′lēz). Greek sage and philosopher, was born at Miletus, Asia Minor, about 640 B. C. and died about 546. One of the Seven Wise Men (q. v.) of Greece, he was noted especially as an astronomer and geometer and was the earliest of the Ionian natural philosophers, regarding water as the principle of all things. A remarkable fact concerning Thales is his predicting, so early in the history of astronomical science, an eclipse of the sun, which is alleged to have occurred on May 28, 585 B. C., though doubted on the ground that in Thales' era certain astronomical facts necessary to predict an eclipse with any chance of success were not then known. Some modern astronomers have, however, stated that the prediction of Thales did come true on the date given, and the date agrees with that given by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History.