<<Anaxagoras (Ἀναξαγόρας, Anaxagoras, "lord of the assembly"; c. 500 – c. 428 BC) was a Greek citizen of the Persian Empire and had served in the Persian army; he may have been a member of the Persian regiments that entered mainland Greece during the Greco-Persian Wars. Though this remains uncertain, "it would certainly explain why he came to Athens in the year of Salamis, 480/79 B.C."
Anaxagoras brought philosophy and the spirit of scientific inquiry from Ionia to Athens. His observations of the celestial bodies and the fall of meteorites led him to form new theories of the universal order, and to prediction of the impact of meteorites. Plutarch says "Anaxagoras is said to have predicted that if the heavenly bodies should be loosened by some slip or shake, one of them might be torn away, and might plunge and fall down to earth". According to Pliny he was credited with predicting the fall of the meteorite in 467. He attempted to give a scientific account of eclipses, meteors, rainbows, and the Sun, which he described as a mass of blazing metal, larger than the Peloponnese (i.e., larger than 103 miles across); his theories about eclipses, the Sun and Moon may well have been based on observations of the eclipse of 463 BCE [whose width of totality over Greece ~ 100 miles]
, which was visible in Greece. He also said that the Moon had mountains and believed that it was inhabited. The heavenly bodies, he asserted, were masses of stone torn from the Earth and ignited by rapid rotation.
He was the first to give a correct explanation of eclipses, and was both famous and notorious for his scientific theories, including the claims that the Sun is a mass of red-hot metal, that the Moon is earthy, and that the stars are fiery stones. He thought the Earth was flat and floated supported by 'strong' air under it and disturbances in this air sometimes caused earthquakes.
These speculations made him vulnerable in Athens to a charge of asebeia (impiety). Diogenes Laërtius reports the story that he was prosecuted by Cleon for impiety, but Plutarch says that Pericles sent his former tutor, Anaxagoras, to Lampsacus for his own safety after the Athenians began to blame him for the Peloponnesian war.
Asebeia (ἀσέβεια) was a criminal charge in ancient Greece for the "desecration and mockery of divine objects", for "irreverence towards the state gods" and disrespect towards parents, dead ancestors and Starship Asterisk* moderators. It translates into English as impiety or godlessness. Most evidence for it comes from Athens. The antonym of asebeia is eusebeia (εὐσέβεια), which can be translated as "piety". As piety was the generally desired and expected form of behaviour and mindset, being called and regarded impious (ἀσεβής) was already a form of punishment. The charges against Anaxagoras may have stemmed from his denial of the existence of a solar or lunar deity. According to Laërtius, Pericles spoke in defense of Anaxagoras at his trial, c. 450. Even so, Anaxagoras was forced to retire from Athens to Lampsacus in Troad (c. 434 – 433). He died there in around the year 428. Citizens of Lampsacus erected an altar to Mind and Truth in his memory, and observed the anniversary of his death for many years. They placed over his grave the following inscription: Here Anaxagoras, who in his quest of truth scaled heaven itself, is laid to rest.>>