Ancient Greek culture (Empedocles, Aristotle) had fire, earth, air, and water. Such a system is also known in Buddhism and alchemy. Sometimes the third of these elements is conceived as wind.

Hinduism has these four plus a fifth, understood as aether or void; Japanese culture conceives of the fifth as void, sky, or heaven.

Chinese and Korean culture have five elements: fire, earth, water, wood, and metal.

My question is this: have there been any human cultures that have had a four-element system different from fire-earth-air(wind)-water?

  • 1
    Google says Norse - not sure how reliable that is (hence comment vice answer), but a starting point for further research.
    – MCW
    Apr 18, 2022 at 19:40


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.