Its foundation is often attributed to Xenophanes of Colophon, but, although there is much in his speculations which formed part of the later Eleatic doctrine, it is probably more correct to regard Parmenides as the founder of the school.
Xenophanes in the middle of the 6th century had made the first great attack on the crude mythology of early Greece, including in his onslaught the whole anthropomorphic system enshrined in the poems of Homer and Hesiod.
See further the articles on Xenophanes; Parmenides; Zeno (of Elea); Melissus, with the works there quoted; also the histories of philosophy by Zeller, Gomperz, Windelband, &c.
XENOPHANES of Colophon, the reputed founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy, is supposed to have been born in the third or fourth decade of the 6th century B.C. An exile from his Ionian home, he resided for a time in Sicily, at Zancle and at Catana, and afterwards established himself in southern Italy, at Elea, a Phocaean colony founded in the sixty-first Olympiad (536-533).
Whether Xenophanes was a monotheist, whose assertion of the unity of God suggested to Parmenides the doctrine of the unity of Being, or a pantheist, whose assertion of the unity of God was also a declaration of the unity of Being, so that he anticipated Parmenides - in other words, whether Xenophanes's teaching was purely theological or had also a philosophical significance - is a question about which authorities have differed and will probably continue to differ.