In this post we present an original analysis of an excerpt from the Iliad, which most probably implies the belief, of Homer and his Argives, to a heliocentric rather than a geocentric view of the Cosmos.
Iliad, Second Rhapsody, v. 289-296
Ancient Greek: ὥς τε γὰρ ἢ παῖδες νεαροὶ χῆραί τε γυναῖκες ἀλλήλοισιν ὀδύρονται οἶκον δὲ νέεσθαι. ἦ μὴν καὶ πόνος ἐστὶν ἀνιηθέντα νέεσθαι· καὶ γάρ τίς θ᾽ ἕνα μῆνα μένων ἀπὸ ἧς ἀλόχοιο ἀσχαλάᾳ σὺν νηῒ πολυζύγῳ, ὅν περ ἄελλαι χειμέριαι εἰλέωσιν ὀρινομένη τε θάλασσα· ἡμῖν δ᾽ εἴνατός ἐστι περιτροπέων ἐνιαυτὸς ἐνθάδε μιμνόντεσσι·
English: For like little children or widow women do they wail each to the other in longing to return home. Verily there is toil enough to make a man return disheartened. For he that abideth but one single month far from his wife in his benched ship hath vexation of heart, even he whom winter blasts and surging seas keep afar; but for us is the ninth year at its turn, while we abide here;
(Source: HOMER, ILIAD)
Novoscriptorium: In our analysis we are aided, as usual, by the Liddell & Scott Lexicon.
The words themselves contain information. Especially in the ancient Greek language, words speak loud very often. The same holds for this excerpt, which contains a few very ‘apocalyptic’ words about the actual knowledge the Argives of Homer had. Etymology can be a powerful tool in our hands, and let’s see an example:
The word “μῆν” (‘month’) derives from the word ‘μήνη‘ which means ‘the Moon‘. Hence, it is more than obvious that they were using moon-months in their year, i.e. the Moon was used as a reference in order to divide the time intervals inside the year.
But the great news emerge some lines later where we read “περιτροπέων ἐνιαυτὸς“.
The word ‘περιτροπέων‘ derives from the verb ‘περιτροπέω‘ which means ‘στρέφω και φέρω πέριξ’ ( = ‘I turn and bring/carry around’), while ‘περιτροπή‘ means ‘περιστροφή, κύκλος’ ( = ‘rotation, revolution, cycle’), and ‘περίτροπος‘ means ‘περιστρεφόμενος, περιδινούμενος’ ( = ‘in rotation, in spin’).
The word ‘ἐνιαυτὸς‘ in general means ‘time interval’, but also ‘year’ (in this text, undoubtedly means ‘year’).
Therefore, it is more than obvious that the ‘year’ (‘ενιαυτός’) is produced by a rotational motion. But what else could that be rather than the one we all now know? These lines here, in our opinion, indirectly imply a belief in a heliocentric view of the Cosmos, and not a geocentric one. The Earth turning around the Sun.
Let us now see something relative to the above, but outside Homer and the above excerpt.
In Greek, when somebody is asked of his/her age the question would be:
‘τι ηλικία έχεις’, which in English would be translated ‘what is your age’ and more strictly ‘what age do you have’. But, things are not as simple as they appear to be:
The word ‘ηλικία‘ derives* from the words ‘ήλιος‘, that is ‘the Sun’, and the verb ‘κίω‘ which means ‘πορεύομαι’ ( = ‘walk, march’).
In other words, the ‘hidden’ question is ‘how much have you marched with the Sun’. In other words, one march = one year. one ‘περιτροπή’ ( = rotation) = one year. Hence, one march = one rotation. Which, obviously, implies the use of a Solar year.
Concluding then our short analysis, linguistic evidence force us to accept that the Argives and Homer used a calendar of Solar years and Lunar months, while it appears almost certain that they embraced the heliocentric view of the Cosmos. The reasonable question that one would ask is ‘if this is valid, then why the prevailing belief during the whole of Antiquity used to be the geocentric view of the Cosmos instead?’ Our reader can receive convincing answers on this issue after reading the articles below.
Research-Analysis for NovoScriptorium: P.D.K.
*For the word ‘ηλικία‘ we have also found another interpretation/analysis presented below:
“from the verb ‘ἐλύω’ → ἕλιξ, likewise from the verb ‘ἀλινδέω’ = περιφέρομαι ( = I rotate), παρακείμενος ( = present perfect) ‘ἥλικα’ → ἥλιξ, ηλικία.” [Source: “Ὁ ἐν τῇ λέξει λόγος”, by Άννα Τζιροπούλου – Ευσταθίου (book available only in Greek)]