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Nausiphanes was an instructor of Democritean philosophy. He seems to have taught at Teos, a place which on the collapse of the Ionic revolt (about 494 BCE) had been brought into very intimate relations with Abdêra, the native city of the philosopher Democritus, the founder of the atomism. But Nausiphanes, though styled a Democritean, had had for his immediate master a man rather different from Democritus. This was Pyrrho of Elis, the noted Skeptic of antiquity.

Epicurus was among Nausiphanes' students.

Timocrates, who was wont to slander Epicurus, spoke of an enmity between the two (Laertius X.8), alleging that:

  • Epicurus argued especially against Nausiphanes, saying "They can go to Hades; when working slavishly with an idea, he too bragged like a Sophist."
  • Epicurus himself writes of Nausiphanes: "So incensed, he cursed me and called me schoolmaster."
  • Epicurus disparaged Nausiphanes by calling him a pleumonon (English: "jellyfish," imputing insensibility)
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