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date: 03 December 2022



  • Herbert Jennings Rose
  •  and Simon Hornblower


Euhemerus (Εὐήμερος), of *Messene, perhaps wrote while in the service of *Cassander (311–298 bce), but was perhaps active as late as 280 bce. He wrote a *novel of travel which was influential in the Hellenistic world. The substance of the novel is known from fragments, especially in *Diodorus (3) Siculus, see below, and from an epitome by *Eusebius. Euhemerus described an imaginary voyage to a group of *islands in the uncharted waters of the Indian Ocean and the way of life on its chief island, Panchaea. The central monument of the island, a golden column on which the deeds of *Uranus, *Cronus, and *Zeus were recorded, gave the novel its title Ἱερὰ ἀναγραφή, ‘Sacred Scripture’. From this monument Euhemerus learnt that Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus had been great kings in their day and that they were worshipped as gods by the grateful people. Earlier authors had written of imaginary utopias but the utopia of Euhemerus was particularly relevant to the position of those Hellenistic rulers who claimed to serve their subjects and on that account to receive worship for their services (see ruler-cult, greek).


  • Greek Literature
  • Greek Myth and Religion

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