Helios Megistos deals with conceptions of the Greek sun-god Helios in some selected works of late antique literature. The syncretistic picture is characterized by the heterogenous contours and polyvalent functions that were assigned to the god.
The main part of the book presents Helios in the Orphic hymns, in the Greek-Egyptian Magical Papyri, in Neoplatonic philosophy and in the Dionysiac epic of Nonnos. The introduction gives a summary of the importance attached to Helios in the older Greek literary tradition, and the appendix contains a sketch of the roles attributed to Ancient Near Eastern sun-deities. Both sections shed light on the conditions that gave rise to the phenomenon of late antique sun theology.
These texts, analysed for the first time from the point of view of that sun theology, rather than on the basis only of cultic or political data, extend and enrich our picture of a post-Christian sun religion that reflects strong classical and oriental influences.
Wolfgang Fauth, Dr.Phil. (1953) University of Göttingen, is Professor of classical philology at the University of Göttingen. He has published numerous articles on the classical and oriental history of religions.
All those interested in the history of religion, culture and ideas of Antiquity and the Ancient Near East, especially classical philologists, theologians, historians of religion and orientalists.