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Marcello De Martino

Marcello De Martino

Hestia: The Indo-European Goddess of the Cosmic Central Fire


The Pythagorean Philolaus of Croton (470-390 BC) created a unique model of the Universe: at the center of this he placed a "fire" around which the spheres of the Earth, the Counter-Earth, the five planets, the Sun, the Moon and the outermost sphere of fixed stars, also viewed as fire, but of "etheric" kind, were revolving. This system has been considered as a step towards the heliocentric model of Aristarchus of Samos (310-230 BC), the astronomical theory opposed to the geocentric system which already was the communis opinio at that time and would be as such for many centuries to come: but is that really so? In fact, comparing the Greek data with those of other ancient peoples of Indo-European language, it can be assumed that the "pyrocentric" system is the last embodiment of a theological tradition going back to ancient times: "Hestia", the central focus, was the descendant of an Indo-European goddess of Fire/Hearth placed at the center of the religious and mythological view of a deified Cosmos, where the gods were essentially personifications of atmospheric phenomena and of celestial bodies.


Marcello De Martino, PhD is a linguist, philologist, and historian of religions. Former professor (State University of New York at Buffalo, USA; Institute of Asian Studies of Madras, India; University of Pennsylvania, USA), he is a member of the American Academy of Religion. He wrote many innovative essays on the linguistic theories of Western (Latin and Greek) and Eastern grammarians (Sanskrit and Tamil), a biography of the Romanian historian of religions Mircea Eliade (Roma 2008), a monograph on the identity of the secret tutelary deity of Rome (Rome 2011), Arcana verba I (Rome 2013) and Arcana verba II (Bari 2015)



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