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Helios

Post  Achrelus on Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:41 pm

I have come to some confusion. Is Helios his own god, is it just the sun, is it an epithet only? I am looking basically for a history of the god and the word, because it has become a contraversy to me.

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Re: Helios

Post  Erodius on Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:09 pm

'Helios' means 'Sun' in Greek, both ancient and modern.

In Homeric and Hesiodian mythology, Helios is literally the Sun, who rides in a fiery chariot across the sky.

In many philosophical systems and Mystery religions of the later Classical and on through the Hellenistic and Roman Imperial periods, Helios comes to be recognized as a visible icon of the demiurgic power of a Supreme God, identified especially with an expanded and refined conception of Zeus. The Sun also came to be identified as a manifestation of the Divine Reason of Apollon, who came to be identified especially with the Persian-derived cult of Mithras, which was also considered to be a manifestation of the will of Zeus. In the late Empire, a unity of Iuppiter-Zeus/Apollon/Sol-Helios came to be the most favored cult of the philosophers and the Roman emperors and imperial authorities up until the Constantinian Shift.

So yes, yes, and yes — depending on what context, cult and period you are referring to. Olympianism as the dominant religion of Greece, and eventually most Mediterranean powers spanned a period of about 2,000 years, and while cult is very conservative, theology developed dramatically over that huge timespan, especially as the level of education, technology and urbanization increased.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Helios

Post  Callisto on Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:06 pm

Akin to as depicted by Hesiod, I see the two as separate, with Helios the son of the Titan Theia ("And Theia was subject in love to Hyperion and bore great Helius (Sun) and clear Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn) who shines upon all that are on earth and upon the deathless Gods who live in the wide heaven." - Theogony 371) . I look at it as Helios is the personification of the literal Sun whereas Apollo is the god of light. Much like the connection between Selene and Artemis.

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Re: Helios

Post  J_Agathokles on Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:37 pm

My personal opinion is that he is a God in his own right, as well as literally the sun. Similarly, rivers are also Gods. Theologically though, this could pose some issues. Just like rivers can change courses dramatically or even dry up, so too it is certain that the physical sun will one day die. The question that arises then is whether the deity in question also dies along with it - which would be contrary to the definition of the Gods as deathless.

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Re: Helios

Post  Erodius on Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:09 pm

Anything material is mortal, period.

Anything that possesses motion and life, i.e. trees, rivers, the Sun, etc. certainly has its respective daimon, just as a body has its respective Soul for the duration of its life. The daimon of the Sun, whom one would logically call 'Sun' (Helios) being as daimones typically share their name with the object or thing that they wholeheartedly and singlemindedly govern in their pure service to the Gods, is a Soul of a similar sort to our own, though of a much greater magnitude, power, and elevation. The Sun's body will certainly perish at the end of its allotted lifetime.

As I said though, the Sun is an appointed vicar of Godhead in terms of our systemic microcosm, and this is why, by a sort of metonymy, the Sun is identified with that power whose authority it symbolizes.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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