Aeon – The Personification of the Zodiac

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Aion or Aeon

the Hellenistic deity associated with time. The orb or circle encompassing the universe; and the zodiac structure. The “time” depicted by Aion is unbounded. In contrast to Chronos, who is as empirical time divided into past, present, and future. A god of the ages, associated with ancient mystery religions concerned with the afterlife, as in the mysteries of Cybele, Dionysus, Orpheus, Mithras and the like. In Latin, the theory of the deity may appear as Aevum or Saeculum.

Aion is identified as the young man within a circle representing the zodiac, or eternal and cyclical time. Aeon represents time as a cycle, but he may also be imagined as an older man.

The twining serpent’s imagery is associated to the hoop or wheel through the ouroboros. A ring created by a snake/serpent holding the tip of its tail in its mouth. The 4th-century AD Latin commentator Servius notes that the image of a snake biting its tail represents the year’s cyclical nature.

Horapollo and his view of Aeon

(In his 5th-century work on hieroglyphics) makes a further distinction connecting a serpent that hides its tail beneath the rest of its body, representing Aion ouroboros that represents the cosmos/kosmos, which is the serpent devouring its tail.

Depiction of Aeon

Aeon as a deity, is represented as the leontocephaline, the winged lion-headed male figure with a nude torso entwined by a serpent. Aeon typically holds a sceptre, keys, or a thunderbolt. The model of Time “played a considerable, though to us completely obscure, role” in Mithraic theology.

The Stinger of Scorpio

Aion was identified with Dionysus in Christian and Neoplatonic writers, there are no references to Dionysus as Aion before the Christian era. Euripides, however, calls Aion the son of Zeus.

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