The Soul as Air. Its Origin and Meaning

Tomáš Vítek

The article discusses, Against the background of the formula „Aither has taken their souls, and earth their bodies“ in an Athenian inscription for the fallen at Potidaea (432/429 BC),  the content and origin of the concept of the soul-as-air in Ancient Greece. The main part of the article is devoted to a search for the origin and internal logic of the formula in the intellectual and religious currents of the Classical period. The formula cannot be attributed to any individual, a particular genre, or a particular social group, as its formation was conditioned by several factors from different areas and layers of Greek society and it was these factors that gave different meanings to the formula in various contexts and environments, and at various times.