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Hippodamos

We do not know too much about the man known as Hippodamus of Miletus. What little we do know of him is from Aristotle’s “Politics”, where he was labeled a strange and eccentric man. According to our best estimations, Hippodamus lived from 498-408 BC. He has widely been credited as the inventor and father of formal city planning, and the system of dividing up cities into different parts for different purposes. While Hippodamus was not a statesman, he did theorize on political topics, such as the building of cities. It was here that the earliest ideas of urban planning were sparked. (Source: Museum of the City)

“Hippodamus, the son of Euryphon, a native of Miletus, the same who invented the art of planning cities, and who also laid out the Piraeus- a strange man, whose fondness for distinction led him into a general eccentricity of life, which made some think him affected (for he would wear flowing hair and expensive ornaments; but these were worn on a cheap but warm garment both in winter and summer); he, besides aspiring to be an adept in the knowledge of nature, was the first person not a statesman who made inquiries about the best form of government. ” (Aristotle, Politics 1267b, tr. Jowett) (Source: Department of Art History – University of Wisconsin – Madison)

According to Aristotle, Hippodamus of Miletus directed the rebuilding of the town of Piraeus. Other ancient sources connect him also with Thurii and the plan of Rhodes. As the first known Greek city-planner and a predecessor of Plato and Aristotle in the field of political theory, Hippodamus is an interesting historical figure. Most of the original scholarly work on Hippodamus was done during the 19th and the beginning of our century.’ (Source: Hippodamus and the Planned City, Alfred Burns, Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte)