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(391 words)

[German version]

(στοιχεῖον/stoicheîon, Latin elementum). The primarily philosophical concept of stoicheion (originally meaning 'letter') denotes the irreducible basic components or the foundations of Being. Probably by analogy of letters with words, the concept represents an attempt to understand the bewilderingly great multiplicity of the natural world as combinations of a limited number of elements. The term stoicheion was in antiquity fundamentally linked to the classical theory, fully formulated by Empedocles [1], of the four elements earth, water, air and fi…

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Renaud, François (Moncton, NB), “Stoicheion”, 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 11 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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