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Corpuscular nature of matter (Empedocles concept): An ancient of Greek philosopher, Empedocles thought that all materials are made up of four things called elements:
Plato adopted Empedocles theory and coined the term element to describe those four substances.
His successor, Aristotle also adopted the concept of four elements. He introduced the idea that elements can be differentiated on the basis of properties such as cold versus hot and wet versus dry.
For example: heating the clay in an oven could be thought as driving of water and adding fire; transforming clay into a pot. Similarly, water (cold & wet) falls from the sky as rain, when air (hot and wet) cools down.
The Greek concept of four elements existed for more than two thousand years.