Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, and a native of the city of Ephesus, then part of the Persian Empire. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom.
As in the case of many other pre-Socratics, we know almost nothing about the life of Heraclitus. In all probability he lived in Ephesus, on the shores of Asia Minor, around 500 B.C., in a moment of great political tension, with the Greek colonies who were trying to get out of Persian domination: the revolt of the 500 is among the causes that led to the Persian invasion of the Greece in 490. But this political ferment does not seem to have interested Heraclitus: member of a royal family, he would have left the throne at brother for contempt of the mass, retiring to play with the children in the temple of Artemis; and to the Ephesians who were asking why he was right replied that it was “much better to do this than to take care of the city” with them. The tone of haughty contempt with which Heraclitus would have opposed the political innovations of his time is one constant of the ancient testimonies: “One for me is ten thousand, provided
be the best » “They take the crowd for a teacher; they do not know that the multitude is inept and only a few have value ” (Source: Eraclito di Efeso, Storia della filosofia antica. I. Dalle origini a Socrate, Carocci, Roma 2016)