Heraclitus , a Greek philosopher who flourished at the close of the 6th century B. C. He was a native of Ephesus, and from his gloomy disposition was styled the "weeping philosopher." In his youth he travelled extensively, and on his return to Ephesus was offered the chief magistracy of the city, but declined it because of the bad morals of the Ephesians, and employed himself in playing at dice near the temple of Diana, declaring even that to be a more profitable occupation than attempting to govern his fellow citizens. Afterward he became a confirmed recluse, retiring for a time to the mountains, and living on herbs. His philosophical creed was embodied in a work commonly entitled "On Nature."
The most remarkable tenets of this creed were that, by the operation of a light ethereal fluid, constantly active, self-changing, and all-transforming, which ho denominated fire, all things in the universe, animate and inanimate, material and immaterial, were created and shaped, and that acquiescence in the decrees of the supreme law was the great duty of man. His style was so obscure that the Greeks surnamed him "the unintelligible." He was regarded in antiquity as the antipodes of Democritus, the "laughing philosopher." The fragments of his treatise were published by Schleiermacher in Wolf and Buttmann's Museum der Alter-thumswissenschqft, and by Ferdinand Lassalle in his Die Philosophie Herakleitos dcs Dun-keln von Ephesos (2 vols., Berlin, 1858).