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Bust of Posidonius from the Naples National Archaeological Museum
|Born||c. 135 BC
|Died||c. 51 BC (aged 83–84)
|Astronomy, geography, history, mathematics, meteorology, philosophy, physics|
Posidonius ( Greek: Ποσειδώνιος, Poseidonios, meaning "of Poseidon") "of Apameia" (ὁ Ἀπαμεύς) or "of Rhodes" (ὁ Ῥόδιος) (c. 135 – c. 51 BC), was a Greek politician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, historian, mathematician, and teacher native to Apamea, Syria. After a period learning Stoic philosophy from Panaetius in Athens, he spent many years in travel and scientific researches in Spain, Africa, Italy, Gaul, Liguria, Sicily and on the eastern shores of the Adriatic. He settled as a teacher at Rhodes where his fame attracted numerous scholars. Next to Panaetius he did most, by writings and personal lectures, to spread Stoicism to the Roman world, and he became well known to many leading men, including Pompey and Cicero.
His works are now lost, but they proved a mine of information to later writers. The titles and subjects of more than twenty of them are known. In common with other Stoics of the middle period, he displayed syncretic tendencies, following not just the earlier Stoics, but making use of the works of Plato and Aristotle. A polymath as well as a philosopher, he took genuine interest in natural science, geography, natural history, mathematics and astronomy. He sought to determine the distance and magnitude of the Sun, to calculate the diameter of the Earth and the influence of the Moon on the tides.
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