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Empedocles (c. 494–434 BCE) was a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher best known for originating the cosmogonic theory of the four classical elements. He also proposed forces he called Love and Strife which would mix and separate the elements, respectively.

Influenced by Pythagoras (died c. 495 BC) and the Pythagoreans, Empedocles challenged the practice of animal sacrifice and killing animals for food. He developed a distinctive doctrine of reincarnation. He is generally considered the last Greek philosopher to have recorded his ideas in verse. Some of his work survives, more than is the case for any other pre-Socratic philosopher. Empedocles’ death was mythologized by ancient writers, and has been the subject of a number of literary treatments.