Melissus of Samos  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Melissus of Samos (fl. 5th century BC) was the third and last member of the ancient school of Eleatic philosophy, whose other members included Zeno and Parmenides. Little is known about his life except that he was the commander of the Samian fleet shortly before the Peloponnesian War. Melissus’ contribution to philosophy was a treatise of systematic arguments supporting Eleatic philosophy. Like Parmenides, he argued that reality is ungenerated, indestructible, indivisible, changeless, and motionless. In addition, he sought to show that reality is wholly unlimited, and infinitely extended in all directions; and since existence is unlimited, it must also be one.



  • Aetius, Fragments
  • Aristocles, Fragments
  • John Philoponus, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics
  • Tzetzes, Chiliades
  • Plutarch, Life of Pericles
  • Plutarch, Life of Themistocles
  • Pseudo-Aristotle, On Melissus, Xenophanes and Gorgias
  • Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle's On Heaven
  • Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics

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