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Diogenes Apolloniates or Diogenes of Apollonia (c. 460 BC), Greek natural philosopher, was a native of Apollonia in Crete.

Although of Dorian stock, he wrote in the Ionic dialect, like all the physiologi (physical philosophers). There seems no doubt that he lived some time at Athens, where it is said that he became so unpopular (probably owing to his supposed atheistic opinions) that his life was in danger.

The views of Diogenes are transferred in The Clouds (264 if.) of Aristophanes to Socrates. Like Anaximenes, he believed air to be the one source of all being, and all other substances to be derived from it by condensation and rarefaction. His chief advance upon the doctrines of Anaximenes is that he asserted air, the primal force, to be possessed of intelligence—"the air which stirred within him not only prompted, but instructed. The air as the origin of all things is necessarily an eternal, imperishable substance, but as soul it is also necessarily endowed with consciousness."

In fact, he belonged to the old Ionian school, whose doctrines he modified by the theories of his contemporary Anaxagoras, although he avoided his dualism. His most important work was De natura, of which considerable fragments are extant (chiefly in Simplicius); it is possible that he wrote also Against the Sophists and On the Nature of Man, to which the well-known fragment about the veins would belong; possibly these discussions were subdivisions of his great work.

Diogenes Apolloniates was the first to suggest that meteorites come from space (a realization that was subsequently forgotten for the next 2,000 years). (A class of meteorites are called in honour diogenites )

Aristotle in The History of Animals Book 3:

Diogenes of Apollonia writes thus:—

‘The veins in man are as follows:-There are two veins pre-eminent in magnitude. These extend through the belly along the backbone, one to right, one to left; either one to the leg on its own side, and upwards to the head, past the collar bones, through the throat. From these, veins extend all over the body, from that on the right hand to the right side and from that on the left hand to the left side; the most important ones, two in number, to the heart in the region of the backbone; other two a little higher up through the chest in underneath the armpit, each to the hand on its side: of these two, one being termed the vein splenitis, and the other the vein hepatitis. Each of the pair splits at its extremity; the one branches in the direction of the thumb and the other in the direction of the palm; and from these run off a number of minute veins branching off to the fingers and to all parts of the hand. Other veins, more minute, extend from the main veins; from that on the right towards the liver, from that on the left towards the spleen and the kidneys. The veins that run to the legs split at the juncture of the legs with the trunk and extend right down the thigh. The largest of these goes down the thigh at the back of it, and can be discerned and traced as a big one; the second one runs inside the thigh, not quite as big as the one just mentioned. After this they pass on along the knee to the shin and the foot (as the upper veins were described as passing towards the hands), and arrive at the sole of the foot, and from thence continue to the toes. Moreover, many delicate veins separate off from the great veins towards the stomach and towards the ribs.

‘The veins that run through the throat to the head can be discerned and traced in the neck as large ones; and from each one of the two, where it terminates, there branch off a number of veins to the head; some from the right side towards the left, and some from the left side towards the right; and the two veins terminate near to each of the two ears. There is another pair of veins in the neck running along the big vein on either side, slightly less in size than the pair just spoken of, and with these the greater part of the veins in the head are connected. This other pair runs through the throat inside; and from either one of the two there extend veins in underneath the shoulder blade and towards the hands; and these appear alongside the veins splenitis and hepatitis as another pair of veins smaller in size. When there is a pain near the surface of the body, the physician lances these two latter veins; but when the pain is within and in the region of the stomach he lances the veins splenitis and hepatitis. And from these, other veins depart to run below the breasts.

‘There is also another pair running on each side through the spinal marrow to the testicles, thin and delicate. There is, further, a pair running a little underneath the cuticle through the flesh to the kidneys, and these with men terminate at the testicle, and with women at the womb. These veins are termed the spermatic veins. The veins that leave the stomach are comparatively broad just as they leave; but they become gradually thinner, until they change over from right to left and from left to right.

‘Blood is thickest when it is imbibed by the fleshy parts; when it is transmitted to the organs above-mentioned, it becomes thin, warm, and frothy.’

This entry is partly from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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