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Zeno of Elea
(490 - 430 BC) Italy

Zeno of Elea

Philosopher

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Zeno was possibly born in the city-state Elea (or Hyele, or Velia) a colony founded in Oenotria (i.e. actual Italy) by refugees from Phocia in 540-39 B.C.

Zeno of EleaDisciple of the philosopher Parmenides and one of the Eleatic school, whose paradoxes raised "modern" problems of space and time, for example, Achiles can never overtake a tortoise in a race if the amount of space each contestant still has to cover can be infinitely divided; whenever he reaches where the tortoise was, the tortoise will have moved just ahead of him.

Plato says that Parmenides went to Athens in his sixty-fifth year, accompaniedby Zeno, and conversed with Socrates, who was then quite young. Zeno was the lover of his master Parmenides. In a text we read,

"Parmenides and Zeno went together to Athens at the great Panathenaean festival; the former was, at the time of his visit, about 65 years old, very white with age, but well-favored. Zeno was nearly 40 years of age, of a noble figure and fair aspect; and in the days of his youth he was reported to have been the beloved of Parmenides."

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