Epimenides and his paradox


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Epimenides was a Greek philosopher and prophet who lived around 6 th century BC on the island Knossos (now known as Crete). He apparently prophesised on military matters to Spartans. One of his poems, Cretica , is cited in the New Testament. In this poem Minos addresses Zeus (two ancient Greek gods, Minos the son of Zeus who himself was the leader of the Greek pantheon of gods):

They fashioned a tomb for thee, O holy and high one -

The Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idel bellies!

But thou art not dead: thou livest and abidest forever,

For in thee we live and move and have our being.

This is probably where the origin of the famous Epimenides' paradox lies: the lie being that the Cretans lied that Zeus was dead or/and mortal. See the paradox page to learn more about the paradox itself.

A Greek historian from the 2 nd century AD (that is some 800 years after the time Epimenides lived) noted a story about Epimenides' death. When he died, it was apparently discovered that Epimenides had tattoos on his skin. This was thought of very odd because tattooing was reserved for slaves. However, some scholars found in this story a proof that Epimenides belonged to a shamanic religion from Central Asia because tattooing is often associated with shamanic initiation. Epimenides' skin was preserved and kept at the court of Sparta and for a long time it was considered to bring good luck to the warriors.



See some other famous mathematicians here, or even a page where some of them appear when they were kids.


See more about other Greek mathematicians and philosophers.

Find about Eratosthenes, another Greek philosopher.


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