The myth of Ixion : An astronomical interpretationPart of : Mediterranean archaeology & archaeometry : international journal ; Vol.16, No.4, 2016, pages 183-189
For almost two centuries mythologists, cultural historians and philologists tried to decipher the Greek myth of Ixion and to determine the nature of his fiery wheel. All those efforts led to many diverse conclusions, most of which fall into two main categories: solar symbolism and weather phenomena. In this work we show how the wheel of Ixion can be identified with the 22° solar halo. The arguments that best support our hypothesis are: a) the deep connection between Ixion and rainmaking magic: the 22° halo is a sign of an upcoming worsening of the weather; b) Hermes ties Ixion to the wheel: the planet Mercury, associated with Hermes, orbits the Sun with the same apparent amplitude of the halo; c) the halo (that could well be described in mythical terms as a “fiery wheel”), is quite bright and easy to see but no Greek myth is known to be mention it: Ixion could fill the gap; d) the wheel is imposed to Ixion after his conjunction with Nephele, a cloud, and the halo can only occur in presence of clouds; e) the previous interpretations, both solar and atmospheric, are now congruous since the halo appears around the Sun and anticipates stormy weather. The etymology of Ixion, its Sanskrit parallel Aksha and its meaning are also discussed.
Archaeoastronomy, aetiological myths, Greek mythology, ancient meteorology, Mercury, Olympian gods, 22 degrees halo, Sanskrit etymology
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