I thought meander ornaments symbolize infinity, but I can't find any citable evidence of this. Are there any other visual symbols that are originally from ancient Greece?

  • Though I am not sure, I doubt that there was anything like a mathematical symbol for "infinity," a concept the Greeks were very uneasy with in the form of, say, irrational numbers. Infinity as such did not enter into their mathematics or religion. Anaximander did postulate the "apeiron," meaning that which is endless or boundless and out of which all bounded worlds derive. I don't know if there was any symbol associated with this, apart from the word. Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 21:48
  • @NelsonAlexander Thank you! I wouldn't expect a mathematical symbol. But maybe some artworks that are connected to this topic.
    – Anna_B
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 22:33
  • Infinity as such was not conceptualized as a thing in antiquity, so there was nothing to symbolize. The closest was the conception of eternal return, for which Greeks used a symbol they borrowed from Egyptians, the Ouroboros.
    – Conifold
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 23:04
  • @Conifold: Is it conceptualised as 'a thing' now? Things can still have associated symbols, without being things. Arguably the Buddhist dharmachakra wheel & Jain swastika symbolise their eternal cosmologies & originate in antiquity, & Jain's specifically conceptualised types of infinity in their practices
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 23:46
  • 1
    See Ouroboros Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


No. There are no visual symbols from ancient Greece that symbolize infinity. The ancient Greek conceived rather negatively infinity, which is of course a privative word. It seems to have been for them much more as 'indefinite' an adjective that is hard to symbolize. Actually what they used to discuss was 'apeiron' which correspondingly should be seen as 'undelimited'.

Leaving aside that 'visual' 'symbol' is a not a clearly cut concept it is more or less obvious that provenance specifically from ancient Greek would be hard to establish.

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