Hermotimus of Clazomenae

Hermotimus of Clazomenae

Hermotimus of Clazomenae was a philosopher who first proposed, before Anaxagoras (according to Aristotle) the idea of mind being fundamental in the cause of change. He proposed that physical entities are static, while the mind causes the change.

Tertullian, a North African Christian around the turn of the 3rd century C.E., relates an interesting story about Hermotimus (which he does not appear to believe). According to this story, Hermotimus' soul would depart his body during sleep, as if on a trip. His wife betrayed the oddity and his enemies came and burned his body while he was asleep, his soul returning too late. The people of Clazomenae erected a temple for Hermotimus, disallowing women because of his wife's betrayal. Tertullian likely borrowed the story from other accounts. This story and others about Hermotimus are found in Pliny The Elder, Lucian, Apollonius, and Plutarch.


Aristotle. "The Metaphysics", trans. by Hugh Lawson-Tancred. London, 2004.

Tertullian. "De Anima" ("On the Soul"), trans. by Peter Holmes, D.D., Anti-Nicene Fathers Vol. 3, 1885.

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