The Spiral Movement of the Sun on an Imaginary Cylinder According to Empedocles and Anaximander

  • Dirk L. Couprie University of West Bohemia, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, Sedlackova 19, 306 14, Pilsen, Czech Republic (retired)


This article discusses an intriguing text in Stobaeus’ Ecl. 1.25.3i about the sun’s movement as a spiral on a cylinder. The author offers an interpretation of this text and argue that it is about Empedocles’ conception of the solar trajectory during the year. After a preliminary attempt, an interlude is inserted on some strange theories, ascribed to Empedocles, about the two hemispheres of the heaven and two suns. Two of the more reliable theories attributed to Empedocles that are relevant in the context of this paper, namely the tilting and the eggshape of the heaven, as well as the problems of the size of the sun and the shape of the earth, are discussed in successive sections. This allows the author to illustrate some of his ideas on Presocratic flat earth cosmology. Prior to offering a visualization of the cosmos according to Empedocles, Bollack’s earlier attempt is subjected to a critical examination. In two additional sections of the article, the author claims that, according to Empedocles, the moon must move on a cylinder as well and that the image of the cylinder for movements of the sun and moon dates back to Anaximander.

Ключевые слова:

Empedocles, Anaximander, Presocratics, cosmology, Sun (movement of), cylinder, spiral


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Как цитировать
Couprie, D. L. (2020). The Spiral Movement of the Sun on an Imaginary Cylinder According to Empedocles and Anaximander. Philologia Classica, 15(1), 4-24.
Graecia antiqua