Norse cosmology is the study of the cosmos as perceived by the North Germanic peoples. The topic encompasses concepts from Norse mythology, such as notions of time and space, personifications and eschatology. Like other aspects of Norse mythology, these concepts are recorded in the Poetic Edda, a collection of poems compiled in the 13th century, the Prose Edda, authored by Icelander Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century, who drew from earlier traditional sources. Together these sources depict an image of Nine Worlds around Yggdrasil. Concepts of time and space play a major role in the Old Norse corpus's presentation of Norse cosmology. While events in Norse mythology describe a somewhat linear progression, various scholars in ancient Germanic studies note that Old Norse texts may imply or directly describe a fundamental belief in cyclic time. According to scholar John Lindow, "the cosmos might be formed and reformed on multiple occasions by the rising sea." Drawing in part from various eddic poems, the Gylfaginning section of the Prose Edda contains an account of the development and creation of the cosmos: Long before the earth came to be, there existed the bright and flaming place called Muspell—a location so hot that foreigners may not enter it—and the foggy land of Niflheim.
In Niflheim was a spring and from it flows numerous rivers. Together these rivers, known as Élivágar, flowed further from their source; the poisonous substance within the flow came to harden and turn to ice. When the flow became solid, a poisonous vapor rose from the ice and solidified into rime atop the solid river; these thick ice layers grew, in time spreading across the void of Ginnungagap. The northern region of Ginnungagap continued to fill with weight from the growing substance and its accompanying blowing vapor, yet the southern portion of Ginunngagap remained clear due to its proximity to the sparks and flames of Muspell. Between Niflheim and Muspell and fire, was a placid location, "as mild as a windless sky"; when the rime and the blowing heat met, the liquid melted and dropped, this mixture formed the primordial being Ymir, the ancestor of all jötnar. Ymir sweated while sleeping. From his left arm grew a male and female jötunn, "and one of his legs begot a son with another", these limbs too produced children.
Ymir fed from rivers of milk that flowed from the teats of Auðumbla. Auðumbla fed from salt she licked from rime stones. Over the course of three days, she licked Búri. Búri's son Borr married a jötunn named Bestla, the two had three sons: the gods Odin, Vili and Vé; the sons killed Ymir, Ymir's blood poured across the land, producing great floods that killed all of the jötnar but two. Odin, Vé took Ymir's corpse to the center of Ginunngagap and carved it, they made the earth from Ymir's flesh. They surrounded the earth's lands with sea. From Ymir's skull they made the sky, which they placed above the earth in four points, each held by a dwarf. After forming the dome of the earth, the brothers Odin, Vé took sparks of light from Muspell and placed them around the earth, both above and below; some remained others moved through the sky in predetermined courses. The trio provided land for the jötnar to leave by the sea. Using Ymir's eyelashes, the trio built a fortification around the center of the landmass to contain the hostility of the jötnar.
They called this fortification Miðgarðr. From Ymir's brains, they formed the clouds. Personifications, such as those of astronomical objects and water bodies occur in Norse mythology; the Sun is personified as Sól. Night appears personified as the female jötunn Nótt. Bodies of water receive personification, such as the goddess Rán, her jötunn husband Ægir, their wave-maiden children, the Nine Daughters of Ægir and Rán. Yggdrasil is a tree central to the Norse concept of the cosmos; the tree's branches extend into various realms, various creatures dwell on and around it. The gods go to Yggdrasil daily to assemble at traditional governing assemblies; the branches of Yggdrasil extend far into the heavens, the tree is supported by three roots that extend far away into other locations. Creatures live within Yggdrasil, including the dragon Níðhöggr, an unnamed eagle, the stags Dáinn, Dvalinn and Duraþrór. Old Norse texts mention the existence of Níu Heimar, translated by scholars as "Nine Worlds". According to the second stanza of the Poetic Edda poem Völuspá, the Nine Worlds surround the tree Yggdrasil.
As recalled by a dead völva in the poem: The Nine Worlds receive a second and final mention in the Poetic Edda in stanza 43 of the Prose Edda poem Vafþrúðnismál, where the wise jötunn Vafþrúðnir engages in a deadly battle of wits with the disguised god Odin: The Nine Worlds receive a single mention in the Prose Edda, occurring section 34 of the Gylfaginning portion of the book. The section describes how Odin threw Loki's daugh
Hjúki and Bil
In Norse mythology, Hjúki and Bil are a brother and sister pair of children who follow the personified moon, Máni, across the heavens. Both Hjúki and Bil are attested in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. Scholarly theories that surround the two concern their nature, their role as potential personifications of the craters on the moon or its phases, their relation to folklore in Germanic Europe. Bil has been identified with the Bilwis, an agriculture-associated figure, attested in the folklore of German-speaking areas of Europe. In chapter 11 of the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, the enthroned figure of High states that two children by the names of Hjúki and Bil were fathered by Viðfinnr. Once while the two were walking from the well Byrgir — both of them carrying on their shoulders the pole Simul that held the pail Sæg between them — Máni took them from the earth, they now follow Máni in the heavens, "as can be seen from the earth". Hjúki is otherwise unmentioned.
In chapter 35 of Gylfaginning, at the end of a listing of numerous other goddesses in Norse mythology, both Sól and Bil are listed together as goddesses "whose nature has been described". Bil appears twice more in the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál. In chapter 75, Bil appears within another list of goddesses, her name appears in chapter 47 in a kenning for "woman"; as the two are otherwise unattested outside of Snorri's Prose Edda, suggestions have been made that Hjúki and Bil may have been of minor mythic significance, or that they were made up outright by Snorri, while Anne Holtsmark posits that Snorri may have known or had access to a now lost verse source wherein Hjúki and Bil personified the waxing and waning moon. Holtsmark further theorizes. Scholars have theorized that Hjúki and Bil may represent lunar activity, including that they may represent the phases of the moon or may represent the craters of the moon. 19th century scholar Jacob Grimm rejects the suggestion that Hjúki and Bil represent the phases of the moon, states that Hjúki and Bil rather represent the craters on the moon seen from the earth.
Grimm says. No change of the moon could suggest the image of two children with a pail slung over their shoulders. Moreover, to this day the Swedish people see in the spots of the moon two persons carrying a big bucket on a pole." Grimm adds that: What is most important for us, out of the heathen fancy of a kidnapping man of the moon, apart from Scandinavia, was doubtless in vogue all over Teutondom, if not farther, there has evolved itself since a Christian adaptation. They say the man in the moon is a wood-stealer, who during church time on the holy sabbath committed a trespass in the wood, was transported to the moon as a punishment. Plainly enough the water-pole of the heathen story has been transformed into the axe's shaft, the carried pail into the thornbrush. Grimm gives further examples from Germanic folklore until the time of his writing and notes a potential connection between the German word wadel and the dialectal employment of the word for "brushwood, twigs tied up in a bundle, esp fir-twigs, wadeln to tie up brushwood", the practice of cutting wood out in the full moon.
Benjamin Thorpe agrees with the theory of Bil as the personified shapes of moon craters. Rudolf Simek states that the obscurity of the names of the objects in the tale of Hjúki and Bil may indicate that Snorri derived them from a folktale, that the form of the tale of the Man in the Moon is found in modern folklore in Scandinavia and Northern Germany. In both the story Hjúki and Bil found in the Icelandic Prose Edda and the English nursery rhyme "Jack and Jill", two children, one male and one female, fetch a pail of water, the pairs have names that have been perceived as phonetically similar; these elements have resulted in theories connecting the two, the notion has had some influence, appearing in school books for children from the 19th century and into the 20th century. A traditional form of the rhyme reads: Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after. Up Jack got and home did trot as fast, he went to bed to mind his head with brown paper.
A figure by the name of Bilwis is attested in various parts of German-speaking Europe starting in the 13th century. Scholar Leander Petzoldt writes that the figure seems to stem from the goddess and over time saw many changes developing "an elfin, dwarfish aspect and the ability to cripple people or cattle with the shot of an arrow". Petzoldt further surveys the development of the figure: During the course of the thirteenth century, the Bilwis is less and less treated as the personification of a supernatural power but becomes identified as a malevolent human being, a witch. Still with the rise of the witch persecution at the end of the Middle Ages, the Bilwis was demonized.
Máni is the personification of the moon in Norse mythology. Máni, personified, is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. Both sources state that he is the brother of the personified sun, Sól, the son of Mundilfari, while the Prose Edda adds that he is followed by the children Hjúki and Bil through the heavens; as a proper noun, Máni appears throughout Old Norse literature. Scholars have proposed theories about Máni's potential connection to the Northern European notion of the Man in the Moon, a otherwise unattested story regarding Máni through skaldic kennings. In the poem Völuspá, a dead völva recounts the history of the universe and foretells the future to the disguised god Odin. In doing so, the völva recounts the early days of the universe: In stanza 23 of the poem Vafþrúðnismál, the god Odin tasks the jötunn Vafþrúðnir with a question about the origins of the sun and the moon, whom he describes as journeying over mankind.
Vafþrúðnir responds that Mundilfari is the father of both Sól and Máni, that they must pass through the heavens every day to count the years for mankind: In stanza 39 of the poem Grímnismál, Odin says that both the sun and the moon are pursued through the heavens by wolves. In stanza 13 of the poem Alvíssmál, the god Thor questions the dwarf Alvíss about the moon, asking him what the moon is called in each of the worlds. Alvíss responds that it is called "moon" by mankind, "fiery one" by the gods, "the whirling wheel" in Hel, "the hastener" by the jötnar, "the shiner" by the dwarves, "the counter of years" by the elves. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Máni is referenced in three chapters. In chapter 8, the enthroned figure of High quotes stanza 5 of Völuspá, the figure of Third enthroned, adds that this occurred prior to the creation of the earth. In chapter 11, High says that Máni and his sister Sól are the children of a man by the name of Mundilfari; the children were so fair that Mundilfari named them "moon" and "sun".
Perceiving this as arrogance, the gods were so angered that they placed the brother and sister in the heavens. There, Máni "guides the path of the moon and controls its waxing and waning."Additionally, Máni is followed through the heavens by the brother and sister children Hjúki and Bil "as can be seen from the earth", whom he took from the earth while they fetched water from a well. In chapter 51, High foretells the events of Ragnarök, including that Máni will be consumed by one of two wolves chasing the heavenly bodies. In the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, Sól is referred to in chapter 26 as "sister of Máni", in chapter 55 names are given for the moon: "lune", "waxer", "waner", "year-counter", "clipped", "shiner", "gloam", "hastener", "squinter" and "gleamer". Kennings in the skaldic corpus for female jötnar have been identified as pointing to a potential marriage or sexual union between Máni and a female jötunn. John Lindow states that if a story about Máni having such a relationship with a female jötunn existed "it has left no other trace in the extant mythology.
Rudolf Simek states that in two skaldic kennings "Máni is a gigantic being in a myth of which we otherwise know nothing". John Lindow theorizes on Máni's fate at Ragnarök in that "as part of the creation of the æsir, that is, the cosmos, Máni must be destroyed at Ragnarök, but this is not explicitly stated, except by Snorri, who tells about Mánagarm, who will swallow a heavenly body that may be the moon". Rudolf Simek connects the account of Máni, Hjúki and Bil found in chapter 11 of Gylfaginning with modern accounts of the Man in the Moon found in modern folklore in Scandinavia and North Germany. Simek additionally points out that a stanza appearing early in the poem Völuspá states that the Æsir had set up the moon "in order to be able to reckon the year", which Simek connects with Germanic computation of time having been directed towards the moon rather than the sun, that shorter amounts of time were given in nights rather than days. Germanic calendar, the lunar calendar of the Germanic peoples Monday, the day of the week named after the Moon Sunna, the sun personified as a goddess in Old High German
Trundholm sun chariot
The Trundholm sun chariot, is a Nordic Bronze Age artifact discovered in Denmark. It is a representation of the sun chariot, a bronze statue of a horse and a large bronze disk, which are placed on a device with spoked wheels; the sculpture was discovered with no accompanying objects in 1902 in a peat bog on the Trundholm moor in Odsherred in the northwestern part of Zealand. It is now in the collection of the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen; the horse stands on a bronze rod supported by four wheels. The rod below the horse is connected to the disk, supported by two wheels. All of the wheels have four spokes; the artifact was cast in the lost wax method. The whole object is 54 cm × 35 cm × 29 cm in size; the disk has a diameter of 25 cm. It is gilded on the right-hand side, it consists of two bronze disks that are joined by an outer bronze ring, with a thin sheet of gold applied to one face. The disks were decorated with punches and gravers with zones of motifs of concentric circles, with bands of zig-zag decoration between borders.
The gold side has an extra outer zone which may represent rays, a zone with concentric circles linked by looping bands that "instead of flowing in one direction, progress like the steps of the dance, twice forward and once back". The main features of the horse are highly decorated; the two sides of the disk have been interpreted as an indication of a belief that the sun is drawn across the heavens from East to West during the day, presenting its bright side to the Earth and returns from West to East during the night, when the dark side is being presented to the Earth. A continuation around a globe would have the same result, it is thought that the chariot was pulled around during religious rituals to demonstrate the motion of the sun in the heavens. The sculpture is dated by the National Museum to about 1400 BC, though other dates have been suggested, it was found. A model of a horse-drawn vehicle on spoked wheels in Northern Europe at such an early time is surprising; this and aspects of the decoration may suggest a Danubian origin or influence in the object, although the Nationalmuseet is confident it is of Nordic origin.
Klaus Randsborg, professor of archeology at the University of Copenhagen, has pointed out that the sum of an addition of the number of spirals in each circle of the disk, multiplied by the number of the circles in which they are found, counted from the middle, results in a total of 177, which comes close to the number of days in six synodic months, only 44 min 2.8 s shorter each. The synodic cycle is the time that elapses between two successive conjunctions of an object in the sky, such as a specific star, with the sun, it is the time that elapses before the object will reappear at the same point in the sky when observed from the Earth, so it is the apparent orbital period observed from Earth. He asserts his belief that this demonstrates that the disk was designed by a person with some measure of astronomic knowledge and that the sculpture may have functioned as a calendar; the chariot has been interpreted as a possible Bronze Age predecessor to Skinfaxi, the horse that pulled Dagr, the personification of day, across the sky.
The sky god Taranis is depicted with the attribute of a spoked wheel. The Rigveda reflects the mytheme of the Sun chariot. RV 10.85 mentions the sun god's bride. The relevant verses are the following: 10, her spirit was the bridal car. 11. Thy Steeds were steady, kept in place by holy verse and Sama-hymn: All car were thy two chariot wheels: thy path was tremulous in the sky, 12. Clean, as thou wentest, were thy wheels, wind was the axle fastened there. Surya, proceeding to her Lord, mounted a spirit-fashioned car. Egtved Girl Golden hat Håga Kurgan Nebra skydisk Nordic Bronze Age Phaëton Sól Sun worship The King's Grave Urnfield culture Cult Wagon of Strettweg Sandars, Nancy K. Prehistoric Art in Europe, Penguin, 1968 Reconstructing the Trundholm Sun Chariot, Anders Söderberg, Sweden, 2002. Söderberg demonstrates. Götter und Helden in der Bronzezeit: Europa im Zeitalter des Odysseus, Bonn. 1999. Catalogue introduction, wall panel information
The Ashvins or Ashwini Kumaras, in Hindu mythology, are twin Vedic gods of medicine. They are described as divine twin horsemen in the Rigveda, they are his wife Saranyu, a goddess of the clouds. Nasatya and Dasra are the names of the elder and the younger twin, being the god of health and the god of medicine respectively, they symbolise the shining of sunrise and sunset, appearing in the sky before the dawn in a golden chariot, bringing treasures to men and averting misfortune and sickness. They are devas of Ayurvedic medicine, they are represented as humans with the heads of horses. The Ashvins are analogous to the Proto-Indo-European horse twins, their cognates in other Indo-European mythologies include the Baltic Ašvieniai, the Greek Castor and Polydeuces, the English Hengist and Horsa, the Welsh Bran and Manawydan. The first mention of the Nasatya twins is from the Mitanni documents of the second millennium BCE, where they are invoked in a treaty between Suppiluliuma and Shattiwaza, kings of the Hittites and the Mitanni respectively.
The Ashvins are mentioned 376 times in the Rigveda, with 57 hymns dedicated to them: 1.3, 1.22, 1.34, 1.46–47, 1.112, 1.116–120, 1.157–158, 1.180–184, 2.20, 3.58, 4.43–45, 5.73–78, 6.62–63, 7.67–74, 8.5, 8.8–10, 8.22, 8.26, 8.35, 8.57, 8.73, 8.85–87, 10.24, 10.39–41, 10.143. Indian holy books like the Mahabharata and the Puranas, relate that the Ashwini Kumar twins, who were Raj a-Vaidya to the Devas during Vedic times, first prepared the Chyawanprash formulation for Rishi Chyavana at his Ashram on Dhosi Hill near Narnaul, India, hence the name Chyawanprash. In the epic Mahabharata, King Pandu's wife Madri is granted a son by each Ashvin and bears the twins Nakula and Sahadeva who, are known as the Pandavas. Parva, Paushya. "Section III (Paushya Parva". Sacred Texts. Pp. 32–33. Retrieved 1 November 2013. Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend by Anna L. Dallapiccola
A solar deity is a sky deity who represents the Sun, or an aspect of it by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms; the Sun is sometimes referred to by its Greek name Helios. The English word sun stems from Proto-Germanic *sunnǭ; the Neolithic concept of a "solar barge" is found in the myths of ancient Egypt, with Ra and Horus. Predynasty Egyptian beliefs attribute Atum as Horus as a god of the sky and sun; as the Old Kingdom theocracy gained power, early beliefs were incorporated with the expanding popularity of Ra and the Osiris-Horus mythology. Atum became Ra-Atum, the rays of the setting sun. Osiris became the divine heir to Atum's power on Earth and passes his divine authority to his son Horus. Early Egyptian myths imply the sun is within the lioness, Sekhmet, at night and is reflected in her eyes. Mesopotamian Shamash plays an important role during the Bronze Age, "my Sun" is used as an address to royalty.
South American cultures have a tradition of Sun worship, as with the Incan Inti. Proto-Indo-European religion has the sun as traversing the sky in a chariot. In Germanic mythology this is Sol, in Vedic Surya, in Greek Helios and as Apollo. In Proto-indo-European mythology the sun appears to be a multilayered figure, manifested as a goddess but perceived as the eye of the sky father Dyeus. During the Roman Empire, a festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun was celebrated on the winter solstice—the "rebirth" of the sun—which occurred on December 25 of the Julian calendar. In late antiquity, the theological centrality of the sun in some Imperial religious systems suggest a form of a "solar monotheism"; the religious commemorations on December 25 were replaced under Christian domination of the Empire with the birthday of Christ. The Tiv people consider the Sun to be the son of the supreme being Awondo and the Moon Awondo's daughter; the Barotse tribe believes that the Sun is inhabited by the sky god Nyambi and the Moon is his wife.
Some Sara people worship the sun. Where the sun god is equated with the supreme being, in some African mythologies he or she does not have any special functions or privileges as compared to other deities; the ancient Egyptian god of creation, Amun is believed to reside inside the sun. So is the Akan creator deity and the Dogon deity of creation, Nommo. In Egypt, there was a religion that worshipped the sun directly, was among the first monotheistic religions: Atenism. Sun worship was prevalent in ancient Egyptian religion; the earliest deities associated with the sun are all goddesses: Wadjet, Hathor, Bast and Menhit. First Hathor, Isis, give birth to and nurse Horus and Ra. Hathor the horned-cow is one of the 12 daughters of Ra, is a wet-nurse to Horus. From at least the 4th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, the sun was worshipped as the deity Re, portrayed as a falcon headed god surmounted by the solar disk, surrounded by a serpent. Re gave warmth to the living body, symbolised as an ankh: a "T" shaped amulet with a looped upper half.
The ankh, it was believed, was surrendered with death, but could be preserved in the corpse with appropriate mummification and funerary rites. The supremacy of Re in the Egyptian pantheon was at its highest with the 5th Dynasty, when open air solar temples became common. In the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, Ra lost some of his preeminence to Osiris, lord of the West, judge of the dead. In the New Empire period, the sun became identified with the dung beetle, whose spherical ball of dung was identified with the sun. In the form of the sun disc Aten, the sun had a brief resurgence during the Amarna Period when it again became the preeminent, if not only, divinity for the Pharaoh Akhenaton; the Sun's movement across the sky represents a struggle between the Pharaoh's soul and an avatar of Osiris. Ra travels across the sky in his solar-boat; the "solarisation" of several local gods reaches its peak in the period of the fifth dynasty. Rituals to the god Amun who became identified with the sun god Ra were carried out on the top of temple pylons.
A Pylon mirrored the hieroglyph for'horizon' or akhet, a depiction of two hills "between which the sun rose and set", associated with recreation and rebirth. On the first Pylon of the temple of Isis at Philae, the pharaoh is shown slaying his enemies in the presence of Isis and Hathor. In the eighteenth dynasty, the earliest-known monotheistic head of state, Akhenaten changed the polytheistic religion of Egypt to a monotheistic one, Atenism of the solar-disk and is the first recorded state monotheism. All other deities were replaced by the Aten, including Amun-Ra, the reigning sun god of Akhenaten's own region. Unlike other deities, the Aten did not have multiple forms, his only image was a disk—a symbol of the sun. Soon after Akhenaten's death, worship of the traditional deities was reestablished by the religious leaders who had adopted the Aten during the reign of Akhenaten. In Aztec mythology, Tonatiuh was the sun god; the Aztec people considered him the leader of Tollan. He was known
Helios is god and personification of the Sun in Hellenistic religion. He is depicted in art with a radiant crown and driving a horse-drawn chariot through the sky. Though Helios was a minor deity in Classical Greece, his worship grew more prominent in late antiquity thanks to his identification with several major solar divinities of the Roman period Apollo and Sol; the Roman Emperor Julian made Helios the central divinity of his short-lived revival of traditional Roman religious practices in the 4th century AD. Helios figures prominently in several works of Greek mythology and literature, in which he is described as the son of the Titan Hyperion and the Titaness Theia, brother of the goddesses Selene and Eos; the Greek ἥλιος is the inherited word for the Sun, from Proto-Indo-European *seh₂u-el, cognate with Latin sol, Sanskrit surya, Old English swegl, Old Norse sól, Welsh haul, Avestan hvar, etc. The name Helen is thought to share this etymology, may express an early alternate personification of the sun among Hellenic peoples.
The female offspring of Helios were called Heliades. The Greek sun god had various bynames or epithets, which over time in some cases came to be considered separate deities associated with the Sun. Among these is Hyperion, Phaëton "the radiant", Hekatos. Helios is depicted as a handsome young man crowned with the shining aureole of the Sun, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day to earth-circling Oceanus and through the world-ocean returned to the East at night. In the Homeric Hymn to Helios, Helios is said to drive a golden chariot drawn by steeds. Still the horses were given fire related names: Pyrois, Aeos and Phlegon; the imagery surrounding a chariot-driving solar deity is Indo-European in origin, is common to both early Greek and Near Eastern religions. The earliest artistic representations of the "chariot god" come from the Parthian period in Persia, where there is evidence of rituals being performed for the sun god by Magi, indicating an assimilation of the worship of Helios and Mithras.
Helios is seen as both a personification of the Sun and the fundamental creative power behind it, as a result is worshiped as a god of life and creation. Homer described Helios as a god "who gives joy to mortals", other ancient texts give him the epithet "gracious", given that he is the source of life and regeneration, associated with the creation of the world. One passage recorded in the Greek Magical Papyri says of Helios, "the earth flourished when you shone forth and made the plants fruitful when you laughed, brought to life the living creatures when you permitted." L. R. Farnell assumed "that sun-worship had once been prevalent and powerful among the people of the pre-Hellenic culture, but that few of the communities of the historic period retained it as a potent factor of the state religion"; the Attic literary sources used by scholars present ancient Greek religion with an Athenian bias, according to J. Burnet, "no Athenian could be expected to worship Helios or Selene, but he might think them to be gods, since Helios was the great god of Rhodes and Selene was worshiped at Elis and elsewhere".
James A. Notopoulos considered Burnet's distinction to be artificial: "To believe in the existence of the gods involves acknowledgment through worship, as Laws 87 D, E shows". Aristophanes' Peace contrasts the worship of Helios and Selene with that of the more Greek Twelve Olympians, as the representative gods of the Achaemenid Persians; the island of Rhodes was an important cult center for Helios, one of the only places where he was worshipped as a major deity in ancient Greece. The worship of Helios at Rhodes included a ritual in which a quadriga, or chariot drawn by four horses, was driven over a precipice into the sea, in reenactment to the myth of Phaethon. Annual gymnastic tournaments were held in Helios' honor; the Colossus of Rhodes was dedicated to him. Helios had a significant cult on the acropolis of Corinth on the Greek mainland; the Dorians seem to have revered Helios, to have hosted His primary cult on the mainland. The scattering of cults of the sun god in Sicyon, Ermioni and Laconia, his holy livestock flocks at Taenarum, seem to suggest that the deity was important in Dorian religion, compared to other parts of ancient Greece.
Additionally, it may have been the Dorians. The tension between the mainstream traditional religious veneration of Helios, which had become enriched with ethical values and poetical symbolism in Pindar and Sophocles, the Ionian proto-scientific examination of the sun, a phenomenon of the study Greeks termed meteora, clashed in the trial of Anaxagoras c. 450 BC, in which Anaxagoras asserted that the sun was in fact a gigantic red-hot ball of metal. His trial was a forerunner of the culturally traumatic trial of Socrates for irreligion, in 399 BC. In Plato's Republic, the Sun, is the symbolic offspring of the idea of the Good. While the predominance of Helios in Sparta is unclear, it seems Helen was the local solar deity. Helios is sometimes identified w