William H. Gass begins his novel, The Tunnel (1995), with a quote from Anaxagoras: "The descent to hell is the same from every place."
According to Laertius, Pericles spoke in defense of Anaxagoras at his trial, c. 450. Even so, Anaxagoras was forced to retire from Athens to Lampsacus in Troad (c. 434 – 433). He died there in around the year 428. Citizens of Lampsacus erected an altar to Mind and Truth in his memory, and observed the anniversary of his death for many years.
Anaxagoras is believed to have enjoyed some wealth and political influence in his native town of Clazomenae, in Asia Minor. However, he supposedly surrendered this out of a fear that they would hinder his search for knowledge. The Roman author Valerius Maximus preserves a different tradition: Anaxagoras, coming home from a long voyage, found his property in ruin, and said: "If this had not perished, I would have"—a sentence described by Valerius as being "possessed of sought-after wisdom!" Although a Greek, he may have been a soldier of the Persian army when Clazomenae was suppressed during the Ionian Revolt.