book cover

H 297 x W 210 mm

820 pages

Illustrated throughout in colour and black & white

Published Jul 2015

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781784911379

Recommend to a librarian

The Circle of God

An archaeological and historical search for the nature of the sacred: A study of continuity

By Brian Hobley


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This study is focussed on circular solar/cosmic symbolism which has endured for seven millennia in the European and Mediterranean worlds. The potency of the solar/cosmic circle should not be understated, as this study will demonstrate, with its worldwide affiliation.



Part One: The Circle as a Symbol ;
Chapter One: The Nature of Symbolism ;
Chapter Two: Symbolism in the Greco - Roman World ;
Chapter Three: Imaging the Gods ;

Part Two: The Sun as a Universal Symbol ;
Chapter Four: Solar Symbols in the Middle East ;
Chapter Five: Solar Symbols in Megalithic Europe ;
Chapter Six: The Sun and the Celts ;
Chapter Seven: Sun - symbols in Mycenae and Crete ;
Chapter Eight: The Greco - Roman Sun ;
Chapter Nine: The Celestial Sphere ;
Chapter Ten: The Advent of Apollo ;
Chapter Eleven: Circularity and Centrality in Greek Thought ;
Chapter Twelve: The Celestial Axis ;

Part Three: Neolithic and Bronze Age Circular Structures ;
Chapter Thirteen: The Neolithic/Bronze Age Circular World-View ;
Chapter Fourteen: Stonehenge, Henges and Round Barrow ;

Part Four: An Introduction to Greco - Roman Circular Structures ;
Chapter Fifteen: Round Altars, Mundus /Offering Pits and Heröons ;
Chapter Sixteen: Ancient Circular Town Planning ;
Chapter Seventeen: The Tholus ;
Chapter Eighteen: The Symbolic Meaning of Tholi ;

Part Five: Circularity at Rome ;
Chapter Nineteen: The Roman Circus ;
Chapter Twenty: The Roman Theatre ;
Chapter Twenty One: Circularity in the Forum Romanum ;

Part Six: Rome and the New Architecture ;
Chapter Twenty Two: The Dome in Roman Monumental Architecture ;
Chapter Twenty Three: Arches, Vaults and Sacred Gateways ;
Chapter Twenty Four: Apses and Hemicycles ;
Chapter Twenty Five: Circularity in Sacred Palaces ;
Chapter Twenty Six: Circularity at Roman Military Sites ;

Part Seven: Roman Celestial Iconography ;
Chapter Twenty Seven: The Apollonian Solar Family at Rome ;
Chapter Twenty Eight: The Circle of the Zodiac ;

Part Eight: The Cosmic Master - Builders ;
Chapter Twenty Nine: Augustus and the Sun - god ;
Chapter Thirty: Augustus’ Circular Mausoleum ;
Chapter Thirty One: Apollo Palatinus and other Augustan Structures ;
Chapter Thirty Two: Agrippa’s Pantheon ;
Chapter Thirty Three: Hadrian’s Celestial Pantheon ;
Chapter Thirty Four: Hadrian’s Circles and Squares ;

Part Nine: Circular Symbolism in Roman Life ;
Chapter Thirty Five: Circles of Death and the Afterlife ;
Chapter Thirty Six: Solar Discs and Sacred Sun - cakes ;
Chapter Thirty Seven: The Rosette ;
Chapter Thirty Eight: Solar Headwear, star, zodiac & rosette garments ;
Chapter Thirty Nine: Cosmic and Celestial Shields ;

Part Ten: The Solar World of Christianity ;
Chapter Forty: Pagan Monotheism and Early Christianity ;
Chapter Forty One: Constantine the Great and the Triumph of Apollo ;
Chapter Forty Two: The Solar Cycle and the Christian Year ;
Chapter Forty Three: Circular Symbolism in Early Christian Structures ;
Chapter Forty Four: The Cross ;
Chapter Forty Five: The Unconquered Sun ;



'The breadth of material presented in this book is extraordinary, and Hobley’s passion for this project is apparent on every page. It raises intriguing research questions and connects with a long history of studies that have sought a connection between the sun and circular monuments…' Robert Witcher (2016): Antiquity