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Parmenides Empedocles and Anaxagoras


Exploring Ancient Cosmologies

Parmenides (c. 450 BCE) The Sphere of All, Wreaths of Fire

Parmenides of Elea in Italy challenges conventional physics by arguing against the existence of motion, change, and differences in matter (quoted by Simplicius in Phys. 146.5). Despite this, he describes the “beliefs of mortals,” representing his view of the deceptive physical world Ionic Thought’s Influence, akin to the Buddhist concept of maya. Parmenides envisions heavenly bodies as concentrations of fire-vapor, regulated by “Necessity” to move between an inner “wreath” of fire and an outer solid sphere (Aetius 2.7.1). It is unclear whether he perceived the “wreath” as an asteroid belt and the outer shell as a true sphere, leaving ambiguity about the shape of the earth.

Empedocles and Anaxagoras Reflections of Light

Empedocles of Acragas (mid-5th century BCE) seeks

Ionic Thought’s Influence


Concepts of Celestial Wheels and Bowls of Fire

This section explores the impact of Ionic thought on early Greek cosmology, focusing on key figures such as Xenophanes of Colophon and Heraclitus of Ephesus. Their contributions, building upon Milesian theories, delve into the condensation of heavenly bodies into fiery clouds and circular courses, providing insights into the evolving understanding of the universe.

Xenophanes of Colophon (c. 570-490 BCE)

Xenophanes migrated from Ionia to Italy, fleeing the Medes’ takeover, and carried forward Milesian theory. While emphasizing the de-anthropomorphization of god Anaximander of Miletus, he shared the view of heavenly bodies condensing from earth’s exhalations into fiery clouds. Similar to Anaximines, Xenophanes envisioned these bodies following circular courses, conceived as bands or zones, and becoming obscured behind high parts of the earth (Aetius 2.20.3).


Anaximander of Miletus


Anaximander of Miletus (c. 550 BCE) Exploring Celestial Fire and Wheels

Around 550 BCE, Anaximander of Miletus presented innovative ideas about the cosmos, envisioning the Earth as a cylinder surrounded by air and fire, likened to the bark of a tree. His cosmology aimed to explain celestial phenomena through physical and mathematical terms, introducing the concept of heavenly bodies as wheels of fire enclosed by air. This article explores Anaximander’s celestial theories and the evolving understanding of the universe in early Greek thought Parmenides Empedocles and Anaxagoras.

Anaximander’s Celestial Scheme

Anaximander proposed a unique celestial scheme where heavenly bodies, described as wheels of fire akin to chariot wheels, were enclosed by air. He depicted their light as an axle, pipe, vent, or bellows-nozzle, emitting fire jets. Eclipses and lunar variations were attributed to the opening

Deciphering Cosmos


Early Greek Efforts to Grasp Celestial Movements


From the discovery of Sirius by Egyptian farmers heralding the annual Nile flood to civilizations around the Mediterranean, ancient societies sought to understand celestial movements as a crucial guide for earthly activities. Observing lunar phases and daylength variations served as essential indicators for planting, harvesting, sailing safety, and managing livestock. Millennia of observations later, we now take for granted the intricate details requiring inventiveness in both observation tools and recording systems. The ancient Greeks faced similar challenges, blending native technology Ionian Revolution, inquiry, and insights from neighboring civilizations like Egypt and Babylonia. Transitioning from a supernatural worldview to one grounded in elements, mathematics, and physical laws, the Greeks embarked on explaining the ever-changing sky. This paper surveys the Greek

Ionian Revolution


Navigating the Skies with Thales of Miletus


In the early migrations around 11th century BCE, many Greeks settled along the Turkish coast, engaging in cultural exchanges with neighboring civilizations like the Lydians and Persians. This mingling, detailed by Herodotus (Hdt.1.142) and Strabo (14.1.7), laid the groundwork for the Ionian Revolution. Ionian scholars, connected with both western relatives and maritime cultures such as Egypt, initiated a transformative shift in their understanding of the cosmos. By the sixth century BCE Celestial Views in Ancient Greece, they explored the idea that the universe operated on physical, mechanical principles rather than relying solely on divine whims.

Thales of Miletus (c. 585 BCE): Pioneer in Astronomy

Thales, often hailed as the first philosopher, contributed significantly to early Greek astronomy. While sources about him are limited, he gained f

Celestial Views in Ancient Greece


Insights from Homer and Hesiod


Homer, renowned for his epic tales of war and long journeys, provides subtle glimpses into the Greek understanding of the universe. Describing the heavens as a solid inverted bowl, he envisions aether, a radiant expanse beyond the cloud-laden air. Homer details the movements of the sun, moon, and stars, positioning Hades beneath the earth’s surface, where sunlight cannot reach. Hesiod, a poet closely tied to practical astronomy, delves deeper into these popular beliefs, linking seasons to solstices, stars, and the sun’s winter migration southward.

Homer’s Universe

Homer envisions the sky as an inverted bowl (Od. 15.329 sideron ouranon) above the earth. A radiant aether gleams beyond the cloud-bearing air Deciphering Cosmos, extending like a fir-tree through the air to reach aither (Il. 14.288). Homer tracks the movements of celestial bodies, noting the s

Rise and Decline of Caria through History


Extent of Carian Territory

At its zenith, Caria’s territory stretched from present-day Lake Bafa in the north to Lake Köycegiz east of Marmaris in the Mugla province. Notable ancient cities like Heracleia, Alinda, and Alabanda were situated in the north, while Caunos marked the southernmost Carian territory, overlapping into Lycia. This area closely aligns with the modern administrative province of Mugla.

Surviving Invasions and Shifting Allegiances

Caria endured various invasions across Asia Minor without losing its distinct identity, albeit facing challenges. During the Persian dominance under Darius and Xerxes, Caria was integrated into the Persian Empire. Following Xerxes’ defeat by the Athenians and the rise of the Delian Confederacy Mystery of Ancient Caria, Carian cities came under Athenian influence. Subsequently, Spartan rule took hold after the Athenian defeat in 405 BC, lasting a brief decade u

Mystery of Ancient Caria


Origins of Caria

In ancient times, the coastal and inland regions of Asia Minor were organized into provinces with uncertain origins, shaped by indigenous populations and colonizing forces. Caria, situated in this enigmatic landscape, presents a historical puzzle with conflicting evidence Struggles in the Maccabean Kingdom. Herodotus suggests that the Carians hailed from the Greek Islands, under King Minos of Crete, serving as skilled seafarers and warriors. Thucydides provides an alternative account, describing them as pirates expelled by King Minos. Pausanias suggests a native Anatolian origin, intermingled with Cretan colonists.

Archaeological Perspective

Archaeological findings lean towards the view that the Carians were an indigenous people with a rich history. While external colonists likely arrived and integrated, introducing new ideas and skills, the core identity of the native Carians persisted. Hom

Struggles in the Maccabean Kingdom


Salome Alexandra’s Rule (76-67 B.C.

After the death of Alexander Jannaeus, his wife Salome Alexandra took charge of the Maccabean kingdom. Their son, John Hyrcanus II, served as the high priest. Their favorable stance toward the Pharisees fostered peace, allowing the system to function smoothly during Alexandra’s nine-year reign.

Power Struggle and Civil War

Following Alexandra’s death, a power struggle emerged between Hyrcanus and his younger brother, Aristobulus II, who gained support from the Sadducees Rise and Decline of Caria through History. Aristobulus initially triumphed, prompting Hyrcanus to seek refuge in Petra, the Nabataean capital, with the aid of Antipater, a wealthy Idumaean friend. Together, they returned to besiege Jerusalem.

Roman Intervention and the Maccabean Civil War’s End

The involvement of the Romans, led by Pompey, marked a turning poin

After Alexander The Wars of the Diadochi


Alexander seemingly didn’t plan for his empire’s survival without him. On his deathbed, when asked about his successor, he simply said, “the strongest.” This vague response fueled a decade of power struggles among his generals, known as the Wars of the Diadochi.

After Alexander’s death, the generals divided the empire into personal kingdoms, a period marked by conflicts, betrayals, and shifting loyalties among mercenaries. Antigonus Monophthalmos aimed for a united empire under one ruler, while others sought to expand their territories.

Alexander’s inadequate

The chaos arose due to Alexander’s inadequate succession planning; the only heirs were a mentally impaired half-brother and a posthumous son. Attempts to maintain a central authority failed as various generals declared themselves provincial governors. A brief collaboration ensued to suppress rebellions, but in 321 B.C., rivalry escalated Read more

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