Aristeas: The Greek Time Traveler

Aristeas of Proconnesus - The Time Travelling Greek
Aristeas of Proconnesus – The Greek Time Traveller

People might look different across countries and nations. They might speak different languages or worship a different God.

However, many things unite us, deep down, making us all the same; belonging to the same race of humanity. One of those things is the desire to Travel in Time.

 Whether is to right a wrong, or to witness Cicero’s first speech against Catilina, mankind has always wanted to travel back in time.

Time travel has always been relegated to science fiction fantasy and the realm of one’s imagination. However, many modern-day physicists agree that time travel is possible, though building such a machine would be very tough and costly.

With that in mind, modern scientists have been able to prove that “time travel is theoretically possible by reverting a simulated particle from an entropic to a more orderly state” by using quantum computers.

There have been hundreds of claims over the centuries from people claiming that they have been able to Time travel, either to the past or to the future. Most of these claims, such as those of John Titor, have been dismissed as nothing more than early-Internet Live Role-Playing Action events (LARP).

Nevertheless, there have been many other time-travelling accounts that have stood the test of time. Out of them, one is worth mentioning.

In ancient times, there were no records of ‘time-travelling’ machines as we understand them nowadays. But there were stories of individuals that crossed the chasm of past and present.

Aristeas of Procconessus

One of the earliest recounts of time travelling individuals comes to us from ‘The Histories’ (Book IV, 13-16) of chronicler Herodotus of Halicarnassus (450 BC).

Herodotus tells the story of Aristeas. Aristeas was a Greek poet and a miracle worker who was said to have entered a store one day and collapsed to his death (presumably of a heart attack).

It is said that when family members went into the store to retrieve his body, it was nowhere to be found. The same day, a traveller from Cyzicus claimed Aristeas could not be dead, as he had just met him on the road. According to Herodotus, he returned to Proconnesus 6 years after his passing, wrote a poem called ‘Greeks The Arimaspeia’, and promptly disappeared never to be seen again.

A marvel exceeding great is this withal to my soul — Men dwell on the water afar from the land, where deep seas roll. Wretches are they, for they reap but a harvest of travail and pain, Their eyes on the stars ever dwell, while their hearts abide in the main. Often, I ween, to the Gods are their hands upraised on high, And with hearts in misery heavenward-lifted in prayer do they cry.

Longinus excerpts a portion of the poem:
The Arimaspi - tales from the lost work by Aristeas
The Arimaspi – tales from the lost work by Aristeas

Incredibly, 240 years later, Aristeas came to the people of Metaponto, instructing them to construct a statue of himself bearing the inscription “Aristea of Proconneso“; and an altar to the god Apollo, saying that since his death he had been travelling with the God in the form of a sacred raven.

Not much is known about Aristeas after this event. He once again disappeared. Did he die, or did he move forward to another period in time?

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