Sometimes it’s not good to be first. The ancient Greek philosopher Anaxagoras certainly found that to be true, after he was charged with impiety for teaching that the heavenly bodies were rocky balls whirling in the ether, fiery (and visible) because of their rapid rotation. He also held that the sun was a fiery metal ball, and the moon shone by reflection.
Tag Archives: Anaxagoras
Helios: He Who Gladdens Mortals
Helios, the Greek sun-god, doesn’t get much press. Compared to the oracle-god and plague-sender Apollo, he gets hardly any. I remember once watching Jeopardy with friends and being unable to convince anyone that Helios was the sun-god, not Apollo. (I was a bit disappointed in Alex Trebeck.)
The problem that Helios faces is that he is the sun; his name means “sun” and his role in Greek myth is to rise, shine and set every day. Unlike Apollo, he is too predictable to need buying-off. In the Odyssey, when his cattle are stolen Helios has to convince Zeus to raise a storm to punish the thieves. Apollo would’ve shot ’em full of arrows.