Parmenides was born in the city of Elea after which his school of philosophy is named. Elea was located in a region of western Italy which was a Greek colony at the time. The date of his birth is somewhat uncertain, but it was almost certainly between 515 and 540 B.C.
His family was wealthy and commanded a high social status. This allowed Parmenides to concentrate on intellectual and educational pursuits rather than the common labor or military conscription of the lower classes.