Religion Past and Present

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Macrocosm and Microcosm
(453 words)

[German Version]

The noun composites “macrocosm” and “microcosm” are not attested in antiquity, but Democritus (frgm. 34 with parr.) describes the human being as μικρός κόσμος/mikrós kósmos. The notion of macrocosm and microcosm establishes a correlation between the spatial structures of the astral sky, the inhabited earth (oikumene), and the human body, and extends even to the invisible soul; the defined spaces either display a structural relationship (analogy, correlation, imitation) or they partake of each other or are interwoven and infl…

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Hübner, Wolfgang, “Macrocosm and Microcosm”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 29 January 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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