Democritus was a great Greek philosopher , much like Plato and Aristotle during the time. Democritus created the atomistic doctrine , which explained how the universe was made up of a large number of uncountable corpuscles or atoms of identical composition , which were indivisible in nature , since the word atom in Greek means inseparable . He also thought that atoms were eternal and that they could not be destroyed, that they were in constant motion in the infinite void and that the only difference they had between them was related to their dimensions , their shape.and your position .

  • Occupation: Philosopher
  • Why he’s famous: For his atomic theory

Who was Democritus?

Democritus was a great Greek philosopher and scientist , who was in charge of creating the atomist doctrine which explained the way in which the universe was made up of thousands of atoms of identical and indivisible composition , eternal and homogeneous , in charge of giving rise to objects. .

  • ✅ Democritus Biography
  • Democritus’ thought
  • Democritus theory
  • Atomic model
  • Contributions of Democritus
  • Arche
  • Phrases
  • Plays

✅ Democritus Biography

Democritus was born in a place called Abdera, in the Thrace region, around 460 BC, he was the son of a noble family with great wealth. His father collaborated with Xerxes , king of the Persians, to train his armies. Thanks to the reputation of his family, Democritus had the opportunity to work and surround himself with many connoisseurs, philosophers and scientists, who were in charge of introducing them to topics such as astronomy and theology . A large number of trips made to Egypt and India are attributed to him , where he managed to acquire during them acquire knowledge of theology, astrology and geometry.


Democritus’ thought

For Democritus, everything that existed in nature was the result of a combination of atoms and emptiness : he stated that atoms moved in a natural way and that, during their movement, they collided with each other and combined when their forms and other characteristics allowed it. I thought that, within the universe , the collisions between atoms were responsible for the formation of a kind of whirlwinds and that from these enormous whirlwinds the different worlds that existed in the universe were generated. He assured that all living beings develop from the primitive silt that resulted from the effects of heat, that fire was closely related to life and that the atoms of fire and those of the soul are of a very similar nature, with the only difference from being smaller and rounded than the others. His ethics was based on the inner balance that was achieved through the control of passions through knowledge and prudence.

Democritus theory

Democritus was the person who managed to develop the atomic theory that had been promulgated by Leucippus long ago. This theory said that there could not be an ” ad infinitum ” division of things due to the infinite nature of atoms . He assured that it was practically impossible to determine the origin of time , as well as the eternity of nature , of spatial emptiness and movement . This atomic theory has been the greatest revolution in the world in ancient times because it was the advancement for quantum physicscurrent. According to his theory, atoms had always existed under a consubstantial movement. These atoms moved in a straight line but due to some mechanical causes they went out of the normal trajectory, producing collisions between them, the atoms that were deflected caused an aggregation of them, thus giving shape to the objects that surrounded us.

Atomic model

His atomic model seeks to explain the structure and representation of atoms and their behavior through logical reasoning and philosophical principles, he told us that atoms were eternal, indivisible, homogeneous, invisible, that they were differentiated by their shape and size and that the properties that matter had could change according to the type of grouping of things. His model said that objects and living beings were formed by atomic eddies.

Contributions of Democritus

  • He founded the philosophical school of atomism in which it was taught that atoms were tiny particles that could vary in size and shape and that when they collided with each other they could give rise to matter , which means that everything we see is made up of atoms.
  • He promulgated the theory of perception which was related to atoms, he said that images were layers of atoms which expanded or shrunk, and that the smallest were capable of entering the human eye.
  • He spoke of bastard and legitimate knowledge . The bastard was the inefficient knowledge acquired through sensory perception , while the legitimate was obtained through the processing of the bastard knowledge through inductive reasoning .
  • Some data and historians refer that Democritus was the one who created the theory of the historical development of communities.
  • He raised the existence of a type of supreme good that he called joy , which was related to the ability to enjoy life.


The arche for Democritus were the atoms , which were his essence, since for him each thing had its own construction from them. For him, they were the fundamental pieces of everything that surrounded us, whether dead or alive.


  • Some of his most famous phrases are:
  • All is lost when the bad serve as an example and the good as a mockery.
  • Even if you are alone, you must not say or do anything bad. Learn to be more ashamed of yourself than others.
  • He who postpones everything will not leave anything finished or perfect.
  • The whole earth is within the reach of the sage, since the homeland of an elevated soul is the universe.
  • Life is a transit; the world is a show hall; the man enters it, looks and leaves.
  • Nature relies on itself; For this reason, he conquers with the least and with what is certain, the excesses of hope.


Diogenes Laercio attributes to Democritus a total of 73 works, which were based on Mathematics , Physics , Grammar and Ethics . However, of them only a few fragments have been found. The most important was the atomic theory of matter . In addition, the following theorems are awarded:

  • “The volume of a cone is equal to one third of the volume of a cylinder of equal base and height”
  • “The volume of a pyramid is one third of the volume of a prism of equal base and height”

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