Pherecydes (Φερεκύδης), an ancient Greek philosopher, was a native of the island of Syros, one of the Cyclades, and flourished in the 6th century B.C. He is said by Diogenes Laertius to have been a rival of Thales, and to have learned his wisdom from the sacred books of the Plhenicians, or from the Egyptians and Chaldaeans. He is also reputed to have been a disciple of Pittacus, and to have taught Pythagoras. He wrote a cosmogony in a kind of prose much resembling poetry, under the title ῾Επτάμυχος, the meaning of which is doubtful. In a manner rather poetic than philosophic, he endeavored in this work to show the origin of all things from three eternal principles: Time, or Kronos; Earth, as the formless and passive mass; and Ether, or Zeus, as the formative principle. He taught the doctrine of the existence of the human soul after death; but it is uncertain whether he held the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, afterwards promulgated by his disciple Pythagoras. Of his work only fragments are extant, which have been collected and elucidated by Sturtz (Gera, 1798; 2d ed. Leips. 1824). See Smith, Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Biog. and Mythol. s.v.; Butler, Hist. of Anc. Phil. volume 2; Cudworth, Intell. System of the Universe (see Index in volume 3).

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