Heraclitus (or Herakleitos). Early philosopher, wisdom seeker, truth teller. Known for the depth, weight, brevity, and obscurity of his words. Descendant of early Iron Age kings Androklos of Ephesus and Kodros of Athens.


around 500 BCE (2500+ years ago)


Ephesus. Ionian Greek colony and coastal city of Asia minor, in modern day Turkey.


91 fragments of Greek text, ranging from 2 to 55 words in length, translated by Tom Irish. These are remnants of a book Heraclitus wrote and deposited in a vault of the Temple of Artemis, sometime after the Ionian Revolt against Persian rule that began in 499 BCE. The book perished with the Roman empire, but was quoted by ancient authors who lived many generations or centuries after Heraclitus. Therefore the original sequence of the fragments is unknown. For a scholarly edition of all 125 texts attributed to Heraclitus, as well as reliable information and commentary, see The Art and Thought of Heraclitus, Charles H. Kahn (Cambridge: 1979). 


I am unsatisfied with published translations of Heraclitus for one reason or another. I had enough knowledge of the language, and enough obsession with what is in the fragments, to make the attempt myself. It's a cocktail that I estimate to be 90% literal and uncontroversial, 10% conjectural and dynamic. There are no definitive, authoritative translations, because we understand Heraclitus about as well as we understand the dinosaurs.