Brill’s New Pauly

Get access

Elements, theories of the
(985 words)

[German version]

Elements (Greek στοιχεῖα; stoicheía, ‘letters’) are unalterable ‘simple’ natural substances, which cannot be further subdivided into any other constituents. The mixture of the elements forms the composite substances constituting the material aspect of all things natural.

According to the Hylozoists ( Anaximander,  Anaximenes) change transformed the original substances into all naturally occurring conditions and properties. According to the ontology of the  Eleatic School, by contrast, even the material world was immutable (ungenerated and s…

Cite this page
Krafft, Fritz (Marburg/Lahn), “Elements, theories of the”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 19 May 2022 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

▲   Back to top   ▲