The temple of Hera
, built when Empedocles was a young man, c. 470 BC
Empedocles was born, c. 490 BC, at Akragas in Sicily to a distinguished family. Very little is known about his life. His father Meton seems to have been instrumental in overthrowing the tyrant of Akragas, presumably Thrasydaeus in 470 BC. Empedocles continued this tradition by helping to overthrow the succeeding oligarchic government. He is said to have been magnanimous in his support of the poor; severe in persecuting the overbearing conduct of the oligarchs; and he even declined the sovereignty of the city when it was offered to him.
His brilliant oratory, his penetrating knowledge of nature, and the reputation of his marvellous powers, including the curing of diseases, and averting epidemics, produced many myths and stories surrounding his name. In his poem Purifications he claimed miraculous powers, including the destruction of evil, the curing of old age, and the controlling of wind and rain.
Empedocles was acquainted or connected by friendship with the physicians Pausanias (his eromenos) and Acron; with various Pythagoreans; and even, it is said, with Parmenides and Anaxagoras. The only pupil of Empedocles who is mentioned is the sophist and rhetorician Gorgias.
Timaeus and Dicaearchus spoke of the journey of Empedocles to the Peloponnese, and of the admiration, which was paid to him there; others mentioned his stay at Athens, and in the newly founded colony of Thurii, 446 BC; there are also fanciful reports of him travelling far to the east to the lands of the Magi.
According to Aristotle, he died at the age of sixty (c. 430 BC), even though other writers have him living up to the age of one hundred and nine. Likewise, there are myths concerning his death: a tradition, which is traced to Heraclides Ponticus, represented him as having been removed from the Earth; whereas others had him perishing in the flames of Mount Etna. 
The contemporary Life of Empedocles by Xanthus has been lost.