Famous Greek Philosophers

Imagine the genre of philosophy without Aristotle, Socrates, Thales, Pythagoras or even Epicurus? Greek philosophers and their contribution to philosophy have been immeasurable. They laid down some of the primary fundamentals of philosophy which the world today rests on. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they were the creators of the genre of philosophy and science who through their theories created the modern civilization that we know of today. While some profoundly shaped much of the medieval scholarship through their influential work, there were many other Greek philosophers whose works were recognized only years after their death. Credit for the Western philosophy and culture that we study today needs to be given Greek philosophers whose ideologies and approach served as a strong foundation for the same. Interestingly, Greek philosophers spanned their works covering various genres and subjects such as physics, biology, metaphysics, zoology, astronomy, mathematics, music, ethics, politics, epistemology, ontology, rhetoric and aesthetics. Till date, their works form the object of active academic study and has brought about a revolution in philosophy. Dig into this section and brief yourself with life, works and philosophies of Greek philosophers.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Aristotle

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0384 BC
Birthplace: Stagira, Greece
Died: 0322 BC

Famous Greek philosopher and scientist, Aristotle, made significant contributions to various fields of science and arts of his era–logic, biology, politics, economics, ethics and aesthetics. Along with Socrates and Plato, he laid much of the foundation of Western philosophy. Student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great, he founded Lyceum, the school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition.

 2 Plato

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0428 BC
Birthplace: Classical Athens
Died: 0348 BC

Plato was one of the most important Ancient Greek philosophers, who contributed greatly to the fields of mathematics, metaphysics, politics, art, and poetry. Along with his famous student Aristotle and equally famous teacher Socrates, Plato is considered one of the founders of spirituality and Western religion. Platonism remains one of his important contributions.

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 3 Socrates

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0470 BC
Birthplace: Athens
Died: 0399 BC

A famous Greek philosopher, Socrates is credited with founding Western philosophy along with other popular philosophers of his time. An enigmatic figure, most of his work is documented by his famous student Plato. Socrates is widely regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of all time as he had a strong influence on the philosophers of the modern era.

 4 Diogenes Of Sinope

Diogenes Of Sinope
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0412 BC
Birthplace: Sinop, Turkey
Died: 0323 BC

Diogenes Of Sinope was a pioneer of Cynic philosophy. It is believed he had expressed his wish to be thrown out of the city after his death, so that animals could eat his corpse. He believed humans needed to learn how to live without fuss and with honesty like dogs.

 5 Pythagoras

Famous As: Philosopher and Mathematician
Birthdate: 0570 BC
Birthplace: Samos
Died: 0495 BC

Pythagoras was an Ionian Greek philosopher. He is credited with many scientific and mathematical discoveries, including the Sphericity of the Earth, the Theory of Proportions, the five regular solids, Pythagorean tuning, and the Pythagorean Theorem. Pythagoras influenced other philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. His philosophy also had a major impact on personalities like Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, and Nicolaus Copernicus.

 6 Heraclitus

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0535 BC
Birthplace: Ephesus
Died: 0475 BC
Greek philosopher Heraclitus belonged to the city of Ephesus, then part of the Persian Empire. He earned the nickname The Obscure for his use of paradoxical wordplay. His only available work, On Nature, survives in fragments. Also known as the Weeping Philosopher, he influenced later philosophers such as Plato.

 7 Epicurus

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 31, 0341
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Samos, Greece
Died: 0270 BC

Greek philosopher Epicurus is remembered for establishing a school of philosophy known as Epicureanism. He believed that people could achieve ataraxia and aponia, freedom from fear and pain, unless they indulged in amoral behavior. He established a school named The Garden in Athens, where students could discuss philosophical ideas.

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 8 Eratosthenes

Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: 0276 BC
Birthplace: Cyrene, Greece
Died: 0195 BC

Greek polymath Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a mathematician, poet, geographer, music theorist, and astronomer. He also served as the Library of Alexandria’s chief librarian. He was also the first to calculate the Earth’s circumference and the tilt of the Earth's axis. Nicknamed Pentathlos, he also invented many scientific terms.

 9 Democritus

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0460 BC
Birthplace: Abdera, Greece
Died: 0370 BC

Democritus was an Ancient Greek philosopher whose philosophies predated Socratic philosophies. He is credited with formulating one of the earliest atomic theories of the universe. Best known for his work on subjects like biology, anthropology, and cosmology, Democritus is considered by many to be the father of modern science. He was also a pioneer of geometry.

 10 Plutarch

Famous As: Philosopher, Historian, Biographer, Essayist, & Middle Platonist
Birthdate: 0045 AD
Birthplace: Chaeronea, Greece
Died: 0120 AD

Plutarch was a Greek philosopher, essayist, biographer, and historian. He also served as the priest at the Temple of Apollo. He is best remembered for his work Parallel Lives, a series of 48 biographies of noteworthy men. His writings had a huge influence on French and English literature. Writers like Shakespeare were influenced by his works.

 11 Galen

Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: 0130 AD
Birthplace: Pergamon, Turkey
Died: 0200 AD

Galen was a Greek physician, philosopher, and surgeon in the Roman Empire. Regarded as one of the most proficient medical researchers in ancient history, Galen influenced the growth of several scientific disciplines, such as neurology, pharmacology, pathology, physiology, and anatomy. Thanks to the translation of his works into Arabic, Galen's approach to medicine remains influential in the Islamic world.

 12 Parmenides

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0515 BC
Birthplace: Elea, Magna Graecia
Died: 0450 BC
Parmenides, founder of the Greek school of thought known as Eleaticism, is also remembered for his poem On Nature, only fragments of which remain now. Known for his iconic phrases such as “Out of nothing nothing comes,” he is also referred to as one of the pioneers of metaphysics. 

 13 Thales

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0624 BC
Birthplace: Miletus Ancient Theater, Turkey
Died: 0546 BC

One of the Seven Wise Men of Greece, Thales was a 6th-century mathematician who believed that the Earth was a flat disk floating on a huge ocean. Legend has it that he had predicted a solar eclipse that stopped a major battle and had also laid down several geometrical theorems.

 14 Xenophon

Birthdate: 0430 BC
Birthplace: Athens
Died: 0354 BC

Remembered as both an Athenian military leader and an author, Xenophon, a friend of Socrates, remains a major link between historians and the Greek philosopher, with his works such as Symposium and Memorabilia. He also led the Ten Thousand, in a Persian expedition under Cyrus the Younger.

 15 Anaximander

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0610 BC
Birthplace: Miletus Ancient Theater, Turkey
Died: 0546 BC

Greek philosopher Anaximander is remembered as the first philosopher who penned down his studies. He was a pioneer in the field of cosmology and was the first to draw a model of the Earth, describing it as a cylinder. Among his other works is his very own world map.

 16 Epictetus

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0055 AD
Birthplace: Hierapolis, Phrygia, Turkey
Died: 0135 AD

Epictetus was a Greek philosopher who viewed philosophy as a way of life rather than a theoretical discipline. He taught philosophy vehemently and founded a school of philosophy in Nicopolis. Arrian, his most famous pupil, is credited with publishing Discourses, a series of informal lectures given by Epictetus. Today, the philosophy of Epictetus is being applied in various fields.

 17 Strabo

Famous As: Geographer, Philosopher, Historian
Birthdate: 0064 BC
Birthplace: Amaseia, Pontus , (modern-day Amasya; Turkey)
Died: 0024 AD

Strabo was a Greek philosopher, geographer, and historian. He is best remembered for his work Geographica, an encyclopedia of geographical knowledge. Written in Greek during Strabo's time, Geographica holds great historical significance as it houses a descriptive history of places and people from different regions. Among his descriptions were places like the city of Alexandria and India.

 18 Chrysippus

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0279 BC
Birthplace: Soli, Cilicia
Died: 0206 BC

Chrysippus was a Greek Stoic philosopher. A pupil of Cleanthes, Chrysippus became the head of the Stoic school after the former's death around 230 BC. Chrysippus is credited with expanding the fundamental doctrines of the school's founder, Zeno of Citium. Thanks to his expansion of the doctrines, Chrysippus is widely regarded as the Second Founder of Stoicism.

 19 Empedocles

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0490 BC
Birthplace: Sicily, Italy
Died: 0430 BC

Empedocles of Acragas was the man behind the proposition that there are four elements, or roots, that make up all structures of the world: air, water, earth, and fire. He also introduced the concepts of Love and Strife. His work has been summarized in the poems Purifications and On Nature.

 20 Protagoras

Famous As: Greek Philosopher
Birthdate: 0490 BC
Birthplace: Abdera, Thrace, Ancient Greece
Died: 0420 BC
Best known for the saying “Man is the measure of all things,” Greek philosopher Protagoras gained immense fame and respect as a teacher and a Sophist based in Athens. Ancient legends claim he was accused of impiety, following which his books were destroyed and he was exiled.

 21 Anaxagoras

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0510 BC
Birthplace: Clazomenae
Died: 0428 BC

Greek philosopher Anaxagoras discovered the real cause of eclipses. A Greek from the Persian empire, he might have been part of the Persian army that invaded Greece in the Greco-Persian Wars. He later settled in Athens but was forced out for not believing in the sun and moon gods.

 22 Theophrastus

Famous As: Plant biologist
Birthdate: 0371 BC
Birthplace: Eresos
Died: 0287 BC

 23 Apollonius of Tyana

Apollonius of Tyana
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0015 AD
Birthplace: Tyana, Turkey
Died: 0100 AD

 24 Clement of Alexandria

Clement of Alexandria
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 0150 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0215 AD

 25 Gorgias

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0483 BC
Birthplace: Lentini, Italy
Died: 0375 BC

 26 Antisthenes

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0445 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0365 AD

 27 Arrian

Famous As: Greek historian
Birthdate: 0086 AD
Birthplace: Nicomedia
Died: 0146 AD

 28 Anna Comnena

Anna Comnena
Famous As: Greek Princess & Scholar
Birthdate: December 1, 1083
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Porphyra Chamber, Great Palace of Constantinople, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Died: 1153 AD
Daughter of Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus, Anna Komnene is best remembered for writing Alexiad, a genuine treatise of the life and times of her father. She had written the book while imprisoned at the Kecharitomene Monastery, after a failed attempt to depose her brother, John II Komnenos.

 29 Leucippus

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Miletus
Died: 0370 BC

 30 Dionysius the Areopagite

Dionysius the Areopagite
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece

 31 Valentinus

Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 0100 AD
Birthplace: Egypt
Died: 0160 AD

 32 Pyrrho

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0360 BC
Birthplace: Elis, Greece
Died: 0270 BC

 33 Diotima of Mantinea

Diotima of Mantinea
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Mantineia, Greece

 34 Posidonius

Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: 0135 BC
Birthplace: Apamea, Syria
Died: 0051 BC

 35 Cleopatra the Alchemist

Cleopatra the Alchemist
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Unknown

 36 Epimenides

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Knossos, Greece

 37 Archytas

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0428 BC
Birthplace: Taranto, Italy
Died: 0347 BC

 38 Philolaus

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0470 AD
Birthplace: Metaponto
Died: 0385 AD

 39 Crates of Thebes

Crates of Thebes
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0365 AD
Birthplace: Thiva, Greece
Died: 0285 AD

 40 Prodicus

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0465 BC
Birthplace: Ioulis
Died: 0380 BC

 41 Apollodorus of Athens

Apollodorus of Athens
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: 0180 AD
Birthplace: Classical Athens

 42 Xenocrates

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0396 BC
Birthplace: Chalcedon
Died: 0314 BC

 43 Dio Chrysostom

Dio Chrysostom
Famous As: Orator
Birthdate: 0040 AD
Birthplace: Bursa, Turkey
Died: 0115 AD

 44 Pherecydes of Syros

Pherecydes of Syros
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: 0580 BC
Birthplace: Syros
Died: 0520 BC

 45 Cleanthes

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0330 BC
Birthplace: Assos
Died: 0230 BC

 46 Heraclides Ponticus

Heraclides Ponticus
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0390 AD
Birthplace: Ereğli, Turkey
Died: 0310 AD

 47 Hipparchia of Maroneia

Hipparchia of Maroneia
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0350 AD
Birthplace: Maroneia, Thrace

 48 Alexander Of Aphrodisias

Alexander Of Aphrodisias
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Turkey

 49 Cassius Longinus

Cassius Longinus
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0213 AD
Birthplace: Homs, Syria
Died: 0273 AD

 50 Aristoxenus

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0360 AD
Birthplace: Taranto, Italy
Died: 0300 AD