The World of Christian Cameron

Get the books!


Lived circa 535 BC—circa 475 BC. One of the ancient world’s most famous philosophers. Born to an aristocratic family, he chose philosophy over political power. Perhaps most famous for his statement about time, “You cannot step twice into the same river.” His belief that “strife is justice” and other similar sayings which you’ll find scattered through the novel made him a favorite with Nietzsche. His works, mostly now lost, probably established the later philosophy of Stoicism.


This image of Heraclitus is from the late 16th century and is thus hopelessly anachronistic—yet remains one of my favorites.

ποταμοϊσι τοϊσιν αύτοϊσιν έμβαίνουσιν, έτερα καί έτερα ύδατα έπιρρεϊ.The philosophy of Heraclitus is summed up in his cryptic utterance:

“Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers.”

The quote from Heraclitus is interpreted by Plato as:

πάντα χωρεϊ καί ούδέν μένει

“Everything changes and nothing remains still.”

Instead of “flow,” Plato uses chōrei to change chōros.
The assertions of flow are coupled in many fragments with the enigmatic river…

Ποταμοϊς τοϊς αύτοϊς έμβαίνομέν τε καί ούκ έμβαίνομεν, εΐμέν τε καί ούκ εΐμεν.

“We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not.”

He also is believed to have said “War is the king and master of all, some men it makes like gods, others mere men, some he makes slaves, others free.” (Kirk And Raven Pre-Socratic Philosophers n. 215 p. 195)