Historical Background - Antiquity to 350 AD
c. 600  BC  Lao Tzu postulates the five element theory as a conflict between 'Yang' & 'Yin'
c. 580 BC Thales postulates that the world floats on water.
c. 450 BC Empedocles postulates the existence of four 'roots' or elements (air, water, earth and fire) which combine to form all physical bodies.
c. 400 BC Democritus expounds theory that all things are made up of tiny, indivisible particles or atoms.
c. 387 BC Plato founds Academy at Athens.
c.  355 BC Aristotle founds Lyceum at Athens.
c. 310 BC Theophrastus feels that fire is more important than the other elements.
c. 306 BC  Epicurus founds school (the “Garden”) in Athens.
c. 300 BC Zeno postulates that 'pneuma' or the vital spirit is part of matter.
c. 133 BC Li Shao-Chun of China convinces an emperor to let him make up create gold from cinnabar to promote immortality.