Thales of Miletus

A famous Greek philosopher and mathematician, Thales of Miletus is known for being the founder of Miletus' School to which other famous representatives such as Anaximenes and Anaximander belonged. He was considered in antiquity as one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. He was one of the first scholars to transcend the mythological approach that characterized Greek philosophy in the ancient centuries.

Thales of Miletus
  • Occupation: Philosopher, mathematician, astronomer
  • Teacher: Anaximander

Who was Thales of Miletus?

Great scholar, philosopher and mathematician from Greece and founder of the famous Miletus School. His followers and disciples were Anaximenes and Anaximander. Considered as one of the Seven Wisemen of Greece who considered that the earth and everything in it was formed from water.

Thales of Miletus was the first Greek philosopher who was concerned about giving a detailed explanation of the Universe in terms of physics. For him, the universe was a rational space without regard the disorder in which it was found. According to his theory, all things were formed from water, so there was no creator of the universe for him. The earth, from his point of view, was a flat disk which was floating in the ocean, which was infinite and was surrounded by a celestial hemisphere.

Thales de Miletus’ biography

He was born in Miletus city, in an ancient city on the coast of Asia in the year 624 BC. The references and knowledge of Thales’ life are very contradictory and confusing to historians and researchers. Even their origin is not certain. Some think he was of Phoenician origin and later became a citizen of Miletus. Others mention that his origin was from Miletus and that he even had noble blood. It is said that he had a son and that he got married, other people say that all his life he was single and that he would have adopted a child which was his brother’s son.

Thought of Thales of Miletus

Thales of Miletus is considered as one of the main men in charge of teaching geometry to the Greek habitants. Aristotle considered him as a philosopher of nature. Apparently, his Egyptian generational influence contributed to his thought patterns. He was the forerunner of scientific thought. His thought focused on the fact that everything in the world existed originated from water and that the whole earth was resting on it. Furthermore, he claimed that the whole world was full of Gods.


He demonstrated the importance of philosophy by systematically measuring everything around him. He questioned the theogonic, cosmogonic and Olympic traditions of the time, which caused a mythological leap. With respect to theology, he made intense debates criticizing religion and from there, we can think about the origin of theology. He gave a lot of importance to water as the origin of everything and for this reason, it was considered as the main element in the world, because it had the capacity to transform its state and its form, because it could be subtle and violent, of gods that are part of nature because they could be subjected to changes, but it always remains. Another of his great contributions was astronomical discoveries, he dedicated himself to research on solstices and equinoxes, and he predicted and gave explanations about moon and sun eclipses. He gave many contributions to navigation and used astronomy as a tool to sail the seas using the Big Dipper or Great Bear as a navigation guide. He established criteria of triangles, angles and sides that at the end, formed the theorems. He was able to calculate the height of objects by observing the length of the shadows.

Thales of Miletus’ arche

The Arche of Thales of Miletus basically refers to his assertion that water is the most important element for human life. He manifested that, the earth is positioned on water. According to his beliefs, the principle of all things is the place where they are born and from, and from there, he assumed that everything had a humid nature and water was the natural principle of things.

Thales Miletus’ phrases

Some of his most famous phrases are:


His works have been subject of discussion for many years as there are some historians who claim that Thales of Miletus did not leave any contribution. Others say that the only thing he wrote was about the solstice and the equinox. It is for this reason that we cannot mention specific works, because their origin is not certain.

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.
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