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Aion

(578 words)

Author(s): Harich-Schwarzbauer, Henriette | Brague, Rémi
[German Version] I. The God Aion – II. Philosophy I. The God Aion Αἰών/Aiōn, the Greek god of eternity in the sense of immeasurable, unbounded return is attested from Hellenism onwards. Aion never had a uniform character; sometimes he appears as a (linearly) eternal, sometimes as a (cyclically) ever-renewing god. Origins in the Semitic or Egyptian realm are likely. Alexandrian coins (2nd cent. ce) portray Aion as a self-rejuvenating phoenix. According to the Greek “Alexander Novella” (I 30–33), Aion is the patron god who promises the endurance of Alexandria. Various forms of the identification of Aion with Helios (Sun) are attested. Epiph. Haer. 51.22 attests, for Alexandria, the virgin birth (I) of Aion by Kore on the day of Epiphany (Jan 5/6). In every case, Aion is an outstanding example of theocracy (Damascius, Vita Isidori 174). Aion plays a marginal role in Rome. His function as the imperial god of the Greek East remains ephemeral and is disputed. Henriette …

World

(1,229 words)

Author(s): Brague, Rémi
[German version] I. Meaning Etymologically, neither the English world nor the German Welt correspond to the Greek κόσμος ( kósmos), but to αἰών ( aiṓn) in its Hellenistic meaning of 'lifetime' . The etymology of 'world' is clearly evident in the Dutch wereld: wer (Latin. vir) - eld (cf. old), 'man-age'. The world is the place where we are after we 'have come into the world' and before we 'have left this world', i.e. our present conditions of life amongst fellow humans. This modern concept associated with world is thus alien to the ancient Greek notion, as is the modern use of the word in the sense of the 'habitable earth' or as synonymous with 'people' (cf. French du monde: the corresponding ancient Greek term would rather be oikouménē, the earth as the dwelling place of humans). Even the use of 'cosmos' to refer to the 'universe' is an artificial neologism (hardly older than Alexander von Humboldt's 1845 book title ‘ Kosmos’) rather than ancient Greek. Brague, Rémi [German version] II. Egypt and Mesopotamia The cult…

Welt

(1,054 words)

Author(s): Brague, Rémi
[English version] I. Wortbedeutung Sprachgeschichtlich entspricht das dt. “W.” (wie engl. world) nicht dem griech. κόσμος ( kósmos), sondern αἰών ( aiṓn) in seiner hell. Bedeutung von “Menschenalter”. Die Etym. ist klar ablesbar im niederländischen wereld: wer (lat. vir) - eld (“Lebensalter”, vgl. engl. old). Die W. ist, wo wir uns befinden, nachdem wir “in die W. gekommen” sind und noch nicht “die W. verlassen” haben, d. h. die jetzigen Lebensverhältnisse unter Mitmenschen. Die mod. Begrifflichkeit, die um “W.” kreist, ist daher dem ant.…