635–543 BC

Thales of Miletus was one of the famous "Seven Sages of Greece." He is widely regarded as the first Greek philosopher, as well as the father of science. He is renowned for correctly predicting a solar eclipse, figuring out how to measure the height of the pyramids in Egypt, calculating the real length of a solar year to a high degree of accuracy, and also for many other achievements in fields of philosophy, mathematics, and engineering. His extensive knowledge of astronomy indicates that he was educated at some point in Egypt or Babylon, which were then the predominant centers of learning.

Thales resided in the city of Miletus, and was highly regarded all over Asia Minor. He lived for a time at the court of the King of Lydia, and it was during a battle between Lydia and Medes in 585 B.C., that he famously predicted an eclipse of the sun. Late in his life he accompanied Croesus on his campaigns against Cyrus, as a military engineer, where he performed several other marvelous feats. He traveled widely, and is said to have visited his friend Solon in Athens.

Key events during the life of Thales:

585 BC
Predicted an eclipse of the sun, on eve of great battle.
547 BC
Accompanied the Army of Croesus on campaign, as a military engineer.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Conquest of Lydia  in  Cyrus the Great  by  Jacob Abbott
Golden Tripod  in  Fifty Famous People  by  James Baldwin
King Croesus is Defeated  in  Stories of the East From Herodotus  by  Alfred J. Church
Solon  in  Our Young Folks' Plutarch  by  Rosalie Kaufman
The Seven Wise Men  in  Stories of the Ancient Greeks  by  Charles D. Shaw

Image Links

Sculptures from Pterium, a city destroyed by Croesus
 in Stories of the East From Herodotus

Short Biography
Croesus Wealthy monarch of Lydia who lost his kingdom to Cyrus the Great.
Solon Rewrote the laws of Athens to better protect poor citizens from the rich.
Bias of Priene Wise man of Greece: taught kindness to enemies; refused riches.
Pittacus of Mitylene Wise man of Greece : brave soldier and teacher who refused crown of Mitylene.
Cleobulus, King of Rhodes Wise man of Greece : handsome, strong and well educated.
Periander, King of Corinth Wise man of Greece : man of great learning, but cruel tyrant.
Chilon of Lacedaemon Wise man of Greece: quit and modest man who worked for good of country.
Aesop Famous Greek Fablist, alledgedly lived at the court of Croesus in Lydia.