Johannes Moreelse, Heraclitus, circa 1630.  Oil on canvas, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher from the Ionian city of Ephesus on the coast of Asia Minor. He was active around 500 B.C.E. In antiquity he was known as the “weeping philosopher,” mourning the fate of mankind. He is best known for his doctrine that things are constantly changing, or “universal flux.” Painting in the 17th century when world vanity was a popular theme, Johannes Moreelse (1603–1634) depicts Heraclitus with a globe, a symbol for humanity. Heraclitus’s clasped hands, closed eyes, and bowed head convey the message: cry and despair if you will, it will not change our existence.

Johannes Moreelse, Heraclitus. Circa 1630. Centraal Museum, Utrecht.

The historical period from the beginning of Western civilization to the start of the Middle Ages.

A term from late Antiquity, it refers to the western-most part of Asia, bordered by the Black, the Mediterranean, and Agean Seas, in what is now modern-day Turkey.

A hypothetical source of sayings about Jesus conceived to explain common materials in Matthew and Luke.

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