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Jochen
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« Reply #275 on: December 28, 2008, 04:14:58 pm »

Volcanus

This article about the Roman god Volcanus should be the introduction to the later following article about the Greek god Hephaistos.

Valerian I, AD 253-260
AR - denarius, 20mm, 3.1g
Cologne, AD 258
obv. VALERIANVS PF AVG
Bust, draped, radiate, r.
rev. DEO VOLKANO
Tetrastyle temple with trigonal pediment, within statue of Vulcanus in exomis and wearing pileus, holding hammmer in raised r. hand and tongs in lowered l. hand; anvil at l. side.
RIC V/1, 5; C.2; Elmer 24, 74; Göbl/MIR36, 884d
about VF, rev. slightly excentric
Together with a coin with KARVS probably the only Roman coin with K in the legend.
exomis = short tunica used by workers

The unusual architectural type on the reverse of this coin may refer to the Temple of Volcanus in Rome, but it may rather be a shrine in the city where the coin was struck.

Volcanus, also Vulcanus, was a ancient firegod, whom the Romans - as so much - have taken from the Etruscans. Supposedly he was worshipped in Rome from the times of Romulus or Titius Tatius. At this time a Volcanal existed above the Comitium on the area Volcani. That was the old Roman nekropolis where he was offered fishes for sacrifices. Later a temple on the Campus Martis was built for him. The earliest archaeological traces were found under the Lapis Niger on the Forum Romanum. Because of the frequent thunder auguries (prodigies) Volcanus is often depicted with thunderbolts. His main festival, called Volcanalia, were celebrated on August 23, but another fest for him occured on May 23, called Tubilustrum, the purification of the trumpets.

217 BC is reported a lectisternium of Volcanus with Vesta, who stands for the civilized side of fire. Otherwise his companion was Maia or Maiesta. The priest of the cult of Volcanus was a flamen. In the centre of his cult stood the arms. He was an exceptionally gifted forger. His relation to fire are verified too by the cultic burning of arms. Therefore his temples are found always outside the cities. Already very early he was equated with the Greek god Hephaistos and Volcanus became a metonym of fire. AD 64 a supplicatio took place in order of the Sibyllinic books where expiatory sacrifices occured for Volcanus, Ceres and Proserpina because of the big fire of Rome under Nero (Tacitus, Ann.).

In the Roman mythology he was the father of king Servius Tullius, of Cacus and of Caeculus, the mythological founder of Preneste. He was born through the thigh of Juno (that seemed to be a favorite birthplace for gods, look at Bacchus/Dionysos!). Ancient explanations of his name from vis (strength) or quasi Volocanus from volare (flying) are wrong for sure. Modern connections with Etruscan gens Volca (the people of Volca) are at least doubtful. So his name until today is obscure. The centres of Volcanus cults were the Roman harbour Ostia, where he was the main city god, and Perusia.

We have seen that the Roman Volcanus originally has not much identicalness with the Greek hephaistos. He is missing the love stories and the many other deeds for which Hephaistos was famous or notorious. We will here of these in the coming articles in this thread. Self-evidently it is clear that especially during the Hellenism when the Greek culture spread over the Mediterranean the educated Roman took over more and more of the Greek mythology. But I think so much more it is important not to blur the differences but to emphasize them.

I have added the pic of a statuette of Volcanus from the 1st century AD showing him in his typical working cloak, a tunica and wearing a pileus, like on the rev. of Valerian's coin.

Sources:
Der Kleine Pauly
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
http://www.imperiumromanum.com/religion/antikereligion/volcanus_01.htm
http://www.ostia-antica.org/regio1/forum/circ.htm

Best regards and a Happy New Year
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« Reply #276 on: December 31, 2008, 03:55:16 pm »

Hephaistos

Please note that the coins which I use as entrance for an article in this thread are in principle from my collection. Because of that there are unfortunately themes which I could not deal with. But the following coin I could catch in my net. I hope that there is something new for you in this contribution.

Ionia, Magnesia ad Maeandrum, Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161
AE 34, 26.53g
struck under magistrate Dioskourides Gratos
obv. T AILIOC KAICAR - ANTWNEINOC
Head, laureate, r.
rev. EPI DIOCKOVRIDOV GRATOV MHTR MAGNHTWN
Hephaistos, nude to hips, holding hammer, std. l., and holding shield set on narrow cippus inscribed with ..N/..N/OC; dog or lion at r. side
ref. cf. Schultz 100 (only obv., same die); unpublished
very rare, about VF, impressive rev.

There is a great probability that the animal on the r. side of the rev. is a dog (and f.e. not a lion), because the dog was invented by Hephaistos and therefore in the Greek mythology, f.e. at Homer, had a privileged position compared to other animals. If it is a lion then he should have some relations to the shield or the inscription on it.

Anyone who is able to decipher the inscription on the shield or has at least some suggestions?

Mythology:
It is said that Hephaistos was the son of Zeus and Hera, but another version says that he was the son of Hera alone who has conceived him without Zeus by the aid of a herb. He was the god of fire as it appears as subterranean natural power in vulcanos, but also of the fire which is used by men in handicraft and artistry. So he was the god of forgers too.

When he was born he was so ugly that his mother in disgust threw him down from the Olympos. The sea goddesses Thetis and Eurynome are said to have catched him. Then he lived for nine years in a concealed sea cave and made precious jewelry for them. He made a wondrous throne too from which nobody was able to get up without his permission. This throne he sent to his mother Hera as a gift to punish her for her iniquity. When she was fixed to the throne no-one could induce Hephaistos to let her free. It was Dionysos who made him drunken with wine and then led him from his cave back to the Olympos. Hephaistos freed Hera but never stopped to be cross with her. Another version reports that it was Zeus who has thrown Hephaistos down from heaven. When once again Zeus was at strife with Hera Hephaistos has taken Hera's part until Zeus caught him by the foot and threw him off the Olympos.He is said to have fallen down on the island of Lemnos where he has lacerated his foot. He was taken by the Sintians who nursed him. Another myth tells that he was lame from birth.

Referring to Homer he has a self-built workshop on the Olympos, where he has built domiciles for the other gods too, and made there the most wonderfull works. Later he was told to have his workshops deep in fire-spitting mountains like the Aetna or on Lemnos, and his attendants were the Cyclops Brontes, Steropes and Pyrakmon. According to the Ilias his wife was Charis, one of the Graces, according to the Odyssee it was Aphrodite, who betrayed him with Ares. This love affair has been detected by Helios and he brought the news to Hephaistos. Hephaistos made an artful invisible net, threw it over the deceptive pair and called the Olympians as wittnesses of this infamous deed.

He was a kunstsinniger (with sense for art) and an ingenious god, and like Athena he taught the humans handicraft and art. The Athenians erected statues for him together with Athena and festivals occured for both deities together where torch runnings were executed.

According to Homer Hephaistos had no descendants. But in later times he was given several children from different mothers: Eros, Erichthonios, Periphetes, Palaimon, Rhadamanthys, Olenos, the nymph Thalia and the Cabires.

Here I have list of some of his well-known works and deeds:
1) He has helped to give birth to Athena when he cleft the head of Zeus so that she could rise out of his head in full suit of armour. Her wonderful helmet too was made by him, and the Aegis, the magic shield of Zeus.
2) One of his most famous works are the shield of Achilles and his weapons, which he has forged for Thetis after they were lost by Patroklos' death at Troy.
3) Less known is Talos, the Bronzeman. He, quasi a predecessor of the robots of today, was made by Hephaistos and walked as guardian threetimes a day round Crete. He has made much trouble to the Argonauts.
4) The metallic rattle came from Hephaistos with which Herakles has scared the Stymphalian Birds so that he could kill them with his arrows.
5) It was Hephaistos who forged Prometheus in order of Zeus to a rock of the Caucasus Mountains because he had stolen the fire from the gods.
6) In order of Zeus he formed from clay the first wife, who then got the name Pandora by Hermes. She too should revenge the fire-rape. Therefore he gave her a vessel full of evil and maladies and sent her to Epimetheus, brother of Prometheus. Although he was warned by Prometheus never to take gifts from Zeus, Pandora opened the vessel for him and all evil spread over the world. Before hope, elpis, could escape too, she shut the vessel, but then let her free too. But the Golden Age was lost forever.
7) Then Hephaistos with the help of Athena chained Ixion to the eternal fire wheel in the Tartaros. Ixion, king of the Lapiths, once - drunken by wine - has tried to rape Hera. But Zeus has formed a figure shaped like Hera from a cloud, called Nephele, who then was raped by Ixion and has born the Kentauros.
This list is not nearly complete!

Background:
The name Hephaistos is unexplained until today. His apparent origin from Lemnos, known for its tectonic gas-fires, where he probably was genuine, speaks for the earthboundness of his elementary function. His local hypostases, Kedalion the dwarf forger and the bad smelling cripple Philoktetes, point to a numen resident in the subterranean sphere. That not only was active creatively and artisticly but curatively too. This type of goblin-shaped, magically and artfully working earth-demon had his firm position in the pre-Hellenic world. This is shown too by the Rhodian Telchines, the Lemnian Cabires and the Idaean Daktyles (look at the related article in this thread!). They all were strongly related to Hephaistos.

The treatment of ore evidently began in Asia Minor and the Pontic-Caucasic region. This art was partly connected to religion and like viniculture and breeding of mules it was a present of the Anatolic-Eastmediterranean culture. The passing on the Greek world is reflected in the myth of the Return of Hephaistos, who was brought back drunken on the back of a donkey to the Olympos by the wine-god Dionysos who has close relations to fire too.

The depiction of the ugly, lame and smutty god shows at first a clear arrogance against the banausos, the handicraftsman (who works with his hands), the technical specialist, the inventive mechanist, who despite of all his abilities remains socially of second rank. At Homer in contrast predominates the aspect of the fairy tales forger, who can made magic devices and as representative of a superior metal-art finally becomes equal-ranking with Athena and together with her becomes the guardian of arts and crafts.

With the diadochs Hephaistos came to India (Kaniska, Kushan), and in the West he
made himself the master of the Liparic volcanos. He replaced the Sicilian fire-demon Adranos and became the father of the Palikoi. Secondary he was equated with the Roman Volcanus.The Egypts identified him syncretistically with the Memphic creator-god Ptah, who has a similar shape and appearance, and so he became the Primal King, philosopher and protos eurethes (first inventor), yes, finally, the Megas Theos Hephaistos, the Great God Hephaistos.

History of Art:
We have ancient depictions of most of Hephaistos' deeds on bowls, vessels or metopes of temples. The favourite depiction was the return of the drunken Hephaistos to the Olympos by Dionysos, especially in the archaic art.

In Renaissance the depiction of the forge was liked, f.e. 'The forge of Vulcan' by Tintoretto, 1576, now in the Palazzo Ducale in Venice. Here comes Thetis, mother of Achilles, to beg for new arms for her son. Or here comes Aphrodite, begging the same for her son Aineias (f.e. Louis Le Nain, 1641, Reims, Musee St.Denis). The Netherlander M. van Heemskerck has 1540 dedicated a triptychon to the love-affair of Ares and Aphrodite. The right table (today in the Kunstmuseum in Vienne) shows in the foreground Hephaistos from back, the caught pair in the net, and right above the Olympians being convulsed with laughter.

Ich have added
1) A scene on a Attic red-figured Skyphos, c.430-40 BC, ascribed to the Kleophon painter. The scene depicts Hephaistos with hammer and tongue riding on the back of a donkey, led by Dionysos holding thyrsos. On the r. side Hera is seated fixed on the throne she had gotten by Hephaistos.
2) A pic of the painting of  Marten van Heemskerck.

Sources:
Homer, Ilias
Homer, Odyssee
Der Kleine Pauly
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
http://www.theoi.com/Gallery/K7.2.html
http://thanasis.com/hepha.htm
http://www.webwinds.com/myth/hephaestus2.htm
Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague, Lexikon der antiken Götter und Heroen in der Kunst

Best regards
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« Reply #277 on: January 02, 2009, 03:13:47 pm »

The drunken Hephaistos

Working on my contributions I always swing between the overall description of a deity and the depiction of a special event. Actually I tend to the latter. So I want to add an appendix to Hephaistos.

The coin:
Lydia, Sardeis, Domitian, AD 81-96
AE 32
struck under strategos T.FL.Metrodoros
Av.: DOMITIANOC KAICAR CEBAC - TOC G[E]RMANIKOC
Bust with Aegis on l. shoulder, laureate, r.
Rv.: [EPI T FL MHTRO]DWROV CTRA - TO B CARD / [IAWN] (TO ligate)
Youthful Dionysos in long clothes, std.l. on throne, resting with l. arm on back of throne and propping his head in l. hand; with r. hand pouring wine from his kantharos in a cup which Hephaistos holds to him in his l. hand; he, nude, stands r., wearing his typical hat and hlding his r. arm behind the back; before standing his hammer
ref.: SNG von Aulock 3149; RPC 1321; BMC 128

The rev. obviously depicts the scene which precedes directly his Return to the Olympos. Dionysos has invited Hephaistos to a meeting to make him drunken with wine.

Out of the many ancient depictions I have chosen the following three:

The first picture shows the depiction of the binge. Here however  we don't have only the two gods as on the coin but besides Dionysos, seated on the l. side of the kline, we see Ploutos holding a cornucopiae on the r. side, and both were surrounded by Satyrs and Mainads. Hephaistos, already drunken, is supported by a Satyr. Beneath Eros is playing with a goose. It is an Attic red-figured Krater from about 370-360 BC, who is ascribed to the Pourtales painter. Today in the British Museum.

The second pic shows the usual depiction of Hephaistos riding on the back of a donkey. In front of him Dionysos is standing with a kantharos full of wine. He is accompanied by Mainads. This archaic scene is from a black-figured Hydria from Caere (today Cerveteri), about 550-530 BC.

Last not least I want to share this detail of a calyx from the Kleophrades painter, c.500 BC. Again it shows the Return of Hephaistos to the Olympos. He is riding on the back of a donkey carrying his hammer over the shoulder. He is surrounded by Satyrs, the attendants of Dionysos, who led him to heaven. Today it is in the Art Museum of the Harvard Unversity in Cambridge, Massachusetts/USA.

If you look at these pics with open mind then you will detect a frappant correlation with Jesus' Entry into Jerusalem. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he made sure he was on the back of a donkey, like on the depictions of Dionysos and Hephaistos. There must be a purposeful allusion in the eyes of an ancient beholder. We know of more analogies between Jesus and Dionysos.

Finally I won't keep back what I have found in 'A Encyclopedia of  Archetypal Symbolism' by George R. Elder:
Our own defects may be akin to those of Hephaistos: an unacceptable physical appearance, a naïve tendency to trust the wrong people, some kind of sexual inadequacy. And they may drive us, as they did this deity, to bitter acts of vengeance. Or we may find that they spur us on, like a goad, to compensate with a degree of "Hephaestian creativity" that otherwise we simply would not achieve; exceptional athletes, including the fleet of foot, sometimes tell such stories. At the very least, our imperfections bring us "down to earth." They may even drop us deeper into the depths of ourselves to ponder the strange relationship of strength and weakness, success and failure, good and evil. Should we find ourselves there, Hephaistos advises that we keep handy one of his more useful tools: a sense of humor.

Sources:
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/HephaistosMyths.html
An Encyclopedia of  Archetypal Symbolism, vol.2, The body, by George R. Elder
Wikipedia

Best regards
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« Reply #278 on: January 03, 2009, 02:50:27 pm »

Leto - mother of the twins Apollo and Artemis

Pisidia, Cremna, Aurelian, AD 270-275
AE 32, 14.38g
obv. IMP CS DOM AVRELIANO
       Bust, draped, laureate, r.
rev. LATO CO - L KREMNE
      Leto, in double chiton, stg. facing, headl., holding on the shoulders her twins Apollo and
      Artemis, both nude; r. and l. at her feet a Cupid with torch
von Aulock, Pisidia, 1687; SNG von Aulock 8608
very rare, F-good F, some roughness
Possibly this is a marriage issue because of the Cupids?

Mythology:
Leto was the daughter of the Titans Koios and Phoibe and so the grandchild of Uranos and Gaia. About her birth nothing is known. The inhabitants of the island of Kos claim that she was born on their island, other suggest the land of the Hyperboreans. Because of her beauty Zeus fell in love with her and begot with her the twins Apollo and Artemis. It was said that this happened at Didyma near Milet. When Hera heard of this she persued her in anger because her Gaia, her  mother, has foretold her that Leto's children would become more famous than her own children. She sent the dragon Python to kill her and took the earth's oath to give her no place where the sun shine uponwhere she could deliver her children. But Poseidon let raise the swimming island of Delos out of the sea and Zeus told Hermes to bring Leto there.

But it is told too that Leto has had a sister named Asteria who - when Zeus went after her - has changed into a quail (ortyx). When Zeus in the shape of an eagle has reached her she - changed into a stone - fell down to the sea and became the rocky island of Ortygia, or Delos, because it raising from the deepness became visible (delos). There is the suggestion too that Leto herself has changed into a quail and in this shape has united with Zeus.

For nine days she was in labour, and all goddesses were present to help her, except Hera and Eileithyia, the midwife. Then she gave birth to Artemis first and the to Apollo, helped by Artemis. This all happened under a sacred palmtree. The Curetes - being present already at the birth of Zeus - made such a noise with her weapons that Hera doesn't recognize any of the delivery.

According to some writers Hera has sent Ares and Iris to interdict all places, visited by Leto,  to give her opportunity for delivery. Likewise she stirred up the Giant Tityos to chivy Leto when she was already pregnant. Therefore he was slain by Zeus with a thunderbolt. Some peasants in Lycia who didn't allow Leto and her children to drink from the spring Melite, where she has fled when Hera at last has discovered her at Delos, were changed by Zeus into frogs, and sub aqua, sub aqua, maledicere temptant (Ovid Metamorph. VI, V.339).

Because later Niobe, queen of Thebens, boasted about having seven sons and seven daughters whereas Leto only have two Leto complained of this heavy insult. This led to the horrible end of the Niobids: they all were shot by the poisoned arrows of Apollo and Artemis.

Python was slain by Apollo. When he has been expiated for his deed - Python was the son of Gaia - he took over the sanctuary of Delphi, were Python has dwelled.

Background:
Leto was a godess from Asia Minor, etrusc. letun, who already at Homer was the respected consort of Zeus and the mother of Apollo and Artemis. Her role as mother of twins indicates that she was an ancient fertility goddess. While birthing she touched the soil of Lycia or the Delian palm tree at the river Kynthos, while the entire nature wondrously welcomes this exemplary act of creation. Therefore it is impossible to place her name as 'concealer' to Latlatere. In fact it is like Lydia linguistically identical  with Lyc. lad/ta 'Lady'. The Cretian festival of Ekdysia was applied to the divine 'Lady' and motherly 'Mistress' as Leto Phytia. Nevertheless a primacy of the Cretian-Argivian place of Leto as Mediterranean Potnia Theron kai Phyton, 'Mistress of animals and plants', can't be claimed rightly because the goddess genuinely is stuck to several ancient sanctuaries in Lycia especially in the north of the valley of the river Xanthos at Araxa and at the spring Melite.

From here started the expansion of her cult over Phrygia, Pamphylia, the plain of the river Maiandros to Ortygia, the place of pilgrimage and mysteries near Ephesos. In Lycia too begins - represented by the mythic poet Olen - the important connection of the Letoides cult in Asia Minor with the Apollo cult of the Hyberboreans which reaches down to Neolithic roots and has Scythic-shamanic character. So the sanctuary of Ortygia in Asia Minor stands in contrast to the worshipping of the 'quail goddess' in Delos where the Hyberborean tradition has its central place. In the sign of the tree idol of the sacred palmtree the Leto cult comes in rivalry to the cult of the Zeus consort Hera. The Romans took over the goddess from the Doric Lower Italy with Doric name  Lato, which they expanded to Latona.

I have added the following pics:
1) The pic of an Attic red-figured Amphora showing Leto with her twins Apoll with lyre and Artemis with quiver. Today in the British Museum
2) The pic of Lsatona (Leto) with her twins on the shoulders threatened by Python. From an Ovid edition from AD 1786
3) A pic showing the Lycian peasants who withhold Leto to appease her thirst why they are changed into frogs. This pic came from Giulio Carponi AD 1665-1670.

Sources:
Ovid, Metamorphoses
Der Kleine Pauly
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leto
http://www.theoi.com/Titan/TitanisLeto.html
http://www.latein-pagina.de/ovid/ovid_m6.htm#9

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« Reply #279 on: January 15, 2009, 09:51:26 pm »

I never would have noticed the two erotes at Leto's feet unless you had mentioned them (checking my specimen, they are there)!  In regards to the Niobids, not all were killed; Leto interceded with her children and they spared one of Niobe's daughters, thereafter called Cloris because the shock of her siblings' death left her permanently pale.  For what it is worth, I include an image of my Cremna Leto, and a coin of Caracalla from Argos depicting Leto with Cloris under her arm.  The Caracalla is BCD 1216;  my example is BCD 1218 (2), but I neglected to store an image (there is not much difference between them).

Caracalla, AE24 Argolis, Argos, NCP K XXXVII
Draped and cuirassed bust right, AYK KAICAP_ANTONINOC
Leto standing facing, head left, Cloris standing under her left arm, APGE_G_IWN


  Cheers, George Spradling
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« Reply #280 on: January 16, 2009, 05:45:13 am »

Thanks, George, for your correction. You are right with Cloris. I have overlooked it.

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« Reply #281 on: March 25, 2009, 03:21:26 pm »

Ptah - the Creator God of Memphis

After a longer time now a coin from Alexandria:

Egypt, Alexandria, Hadrian, AD 117-138
AE - tetradrachm, 24mm, 12.82g
        struck AD 127/8 (year 12)
obv. AVT KAI - TRAI ADRIA CEB
      Bust, draped and cuirassed, seen from behind, laureate, r.
rev. L DWDE - KATOV (year 12)
      God Ptah-Sokar- Osiris, wrapped in mummy bandages, bearded, sun disk on head, stg. r., holding
      with both hands sceptre with jackal head (Anubis sceptre)
Milne 1262; Köln 982; Emmet 883; BMC 637; Dattari 1445; Hunter 637; Mionnet 1050
Rare, VF

The Creator God Ptah, the composer, ist one the oldest Egyptian gods. He is known from the 1st dynasty
and his main cult location was Memphis, the metropolis of the old Empire of Lower Egypt. It is said that he
has ruled already 9000 years previous to all other gods.

Nevertheless he never was member of the first rank of Egyptian gods. He always was in the shadow of Re,
Osiris and Amun. But in the cosmogony of Memphis he became the supreme Creator. According to the
cosmogony of Memphis Ptha has created the universe alone by the power of his heart and tongue, the power
of his will and his words. We remember the gospel of St.John: Kai ho logos sarx egeneto (The Wort became
flesh. He himself has created himself by his own.

He was seen as god of the craftsmen and he is said to have invengted the metallurgy. Imhotep, the famous
architect of Paraoh Djoser and erector of the step pyramid of Saccara, was suggested as son of Ptah. A central
role he naturally has played in Karnak and in the village of craftsmen in the Valley of the Kings.

Another myth tells that he has created the world on his pottery wheel. Thus he looked like the god Chnum. We
see that he was a chthonic deity too. His wife was the lion goddess Sachmet and with their child Nefertem the
Triad of Memphis was completed. As incarnation of the god the Apis bull was worshipped in Memphis.

Usually he is depicted in the shape of a human mummy in a narrow robe, shaven head with a narrow blue cap. As
symbol of his power he holds a sceptre composed of the Ankh sign, the Was sceptre and the Djed pile. Often he
stands on a base formed by the hieroglyph 'maA' as symbol of the universal order. In Memphis he introduced
the group of the nine gods from Heliopolis: Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys. Created he has this
group by his thoughts and his word alone. In this way he created the legal order too. In this world order he was the
God of Light and Truth.

Already in the Old Empire his cult merged with the cult of the hawk-shaped Sokar of Memphis, who probably
has named Saccara. Because here was located the necropolis of the 1st dynasty the development of the Death God
Ptah-Sokar is understandable. Gradually this god merged with the other Death God Osiris to the deity Ptah-Sokar-Osiris,
who was responsible for creation, death and resurrection. Hence many of his wooden statues have been found as
burial gifts.

During the Hellenism Ptah was equated with the Greek god Hephaistos.

I have added the pic of a statue from the British Museum, which was used as burial gift, and a pic of the temple
of Ptah in Karnak.

Sources:
www.manetho.de
http://www.egyptianmyths.net/sokar.htm

Picture:
http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/p/painted_wooden_figure_
of_ptah-.aspx

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« Reply #282 on: March 25, 2009, 03:23:27 pm »

The Sibyl Mantho

It was my intention to write an article about Mantho already since a longer time. Now where we
have had a thread about Manto in the Forum I want to recapitulate what we have found so long
to add it to the mythology thread.

Thessaly, Pelinna, 400-344 BC
AE 20, 5.89g
obv. Veiled bust of the sibyl Mantho, daughter of tzhe seer Teiresias, with rolled-up hair, r.
rev. PELIN - NAIEWN
       Horseman, helmeted and wearing military cloak, with couching lance galopping r.; in the
       field beneath monogram from D and P.
ref. SNG Copenhagen 191; Rogers 433
F+, thick green patina

The case of Mantho is a bit confusing, because there are several persons with the same name,
and then there is Daphne, who is said to be Manto too. But let us begin from the start.

Manto was the daughter of the famous seer Teiresias from Thebes. Her mother was never
mentioned, but her sister Historis. She was a prophetess too, the first for the Ismenian Apollo
at Thebes, where monuments of her existed: a stony seat in the Pronaos of the Ismenion (Paus.
ix. 10. § 3), and subsequently of the Delphian and Clarian Apollo. Ovid (Met. VI, 257) reports,
that she have invoked the inhabitants of Thebes to warship Latona, mother of Apollo and Artemis.
After the taking of Thebes by the Epigoni, she, with other captives and the tenth part of the booty,
was dedicated to Apollo at Delphi. The god sent the captives to Asia Minor, where they founded
the sanctuary of Apollo not far from the place where afterwards the town of Kolophon was built.
Rhakios, a Cretan, who had settled there before, married Manto, and be­came by her the father
of Mopsus. According to Euripides, she had previously become the mother of Amphilochos and
Tisiphone, by Alkmaion, the matricide and leader of the Epigoni (Apollod. iii. 7. § 7.) Being a
prophetess of Apollo, she is also called Daphne, meaning the laurel virgin (Diod. iv. 66). (Greek
daphne = laurel).

According to the Greek mythology Daphne was the daughter of the Thessalian river-god Peneios.
Like Artemis she was a virgin huntress. When once Apollo has chided Cupido for his use of the
bow Cupido waited for his revenge. And when once Apollo saw Daphne bathing in a pool he took
his bow and shot Apollo with a golden arrow and Daphne with an arrow made of lead. Thus Apollo
fell in eternal love for Daphne, but Daphne spurned all love forever. Apollo chased her and she fled.
Exhausted she came to the banks of her father Peneios and cried for help, to make her less
lovable for Apollo. And he changed her into a laurel-tree: Her hair became leaves, her arms
branches and her head a tree top. But Apollo loved her still. He embraced the branches and kissed
the wood. From that time on Apollo loved the laurel above all trees and he always was wearing a
laurel wreath.

The truth of the matter can be the following: Daphne was the daughter of Teiresias, the blind Theban
Prophet who gave birth to her during the seven years when he had been a woman. His other daughter,
Manto, the mother of Mopsus, the seer, he sired after he was a man again. Daphne and Manto
were both taken captive when Thebes fell in the generation before Troy. Manto was sent to Ionia
where she married Rhacius, King of Caria, by whom she had Mopsus - said to be the son of Apollo.
Daphne remained a virgin and was sent to Delphi; most likely to add the power of Teiresias to the
Delphi oracle which had been taken over by the Apollonians. There she became the Sibyl. There
are some who say that Manto had her name changed to Daphne when she was sent to Delphi,
but this is perpetrated by Apollonians who forget that the Sibyl spurned Apollo's love, while Mopsus
was the son of Apollo and Manto.

Later Manto appears as sibyl. These were certain renowned women inspired by heaven with
prophecy and other celestial knowledge. They are generally regarded as numbering ten, residing
usually in the following places : Persia, Libya, Delphi, Erythraea, Samos, Tiburtis, Cumae in Aiolia,
Ancyra in Phrygia, and Marpessa on the Hellespont. The most celebrated of all was the Cumean
Sibyl, variously called Amalthea, Demophile, Herophile, Daphne, Manto, Pheimonoe, and Deiphobe;
she conducted Aeneas to hell, and offered successively nine, six, and at last three prophetic volumes
to Tarquinius (Look at the thread about the Sibyls). Strabo in his Geography mentions several sibyls
more.
 
In Verg. Aen. 10, 198 is mentioned a presaging nymph Manto, later by the river-god Tiberis mother
of Bianor or Ocnus, who named the city of Mantua in honour of his mother.

I have added a pic of Let/Latona from a Lucanian red-figured vase from the 4th century BC.

Sources:
Der Kleine Pauly
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, 1770
A mythological dictionary By Charles Kent, William Charles M. Kent
http://www.goddess.org/vortices/notes/delphi.html
Ovid Met. VI (online http://www.latein-pagina.de/index.html?http://www.latein-pagina.de/iexplorer/ovids_metas.htm
Pausanias, Reisen durch Griechenland, IX
Strabo, Geographie
Wikipedia

Thanks to CGPCGP from FORUM

Best regards
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« Reply #283 on: May 12, 2009, 02:26:36 pm »

The mysterious Pygmies

Often I use coins only as entrance for further inquiries. So I did here too.
 
Pygmies appear on Roman coins only rarely. I know only of the denarius of L. Roscus Fabatus,
Cr. 412/1, symbols 69. Recently I could acquire this coin from Alexandria showing a dancing Pygmy
on the rev.

Egypt, Alexandria, Diocletian, AD 284-305
Billon-Tetradrachm, 7.51g, 19mm
struck AD 291/2 (year 8 )
obv. DIOKLHTI - ANOC CEB
        Bust, draped, laureate, r.
rev. Horus (Harpokrates), stg. facing, wearing hemhem-crownrone, nude except chlamys over shoulders,
       holding branch in lowered r. hand and pomegranate in raised l. hand; at his l. side the small figur of a
       dancing Pygmy.
       in field L-H (year 8 )
ref. Milne 5021; Emmett 4062; Curtis 2005
about VF, interesting rev. type
pedigree:
ex coll. Zach Beasley (Beast Coins)
ex coll. Keith Emmett
ex Harlan Berk oct. 1991

Name and origin:
The Pygmies were a mythological people of dwarfs, which according to Homer, Il. 3, 3-7, lived far
in the North at the border of the Okeanos. Their name, Greek pygmaios, comes from the Greek
word for fist, pygme, which as meassure of length is equivalent to the length between ellbow and hand,
and so similar to the Lat. cubitus. Besides their smallness the Pygmies were so monstrous that their head
was the third part of the whole body. Plinius says, that their houses were made from eggshells. It is said that they
originated from Pygmaios, son of Doros and grandson of Epaphos (Steph. Byz. s.v. Pygmaioi).
 
The Geranomachia:
An old, pre-Homeric myth refers, that the Pygmies were in an eternal war with the cranes, their deadly enemies. Every
fall the cranes flew to the North to the border of the ocean and attacked the Pigmies. In this war,  the Geranomachia,
the Pygmies, barely as tall like the cranes, even though armed, usually were defeated and killed by the cranes.

Ovid mentions in his Metamorphoses (6, 90-92) a Pygmy mother, who risked to  compete with the goddess Juno in a match.
After defeated by Juno she was mutated into a crane and had to fight against her people on the side of the cranes. According
to another version, passed down from mythograph Antoninus Liberalis (Metamorphoses 16) the name of this beautiful and proud
Pygmy lady was Oinoe; after the transmutation into a crane she stayed at first in the region because he didn't want to get separated
from her son Nikodamas. But finally she was banished by Nikodamas and the other Pygmies. This was the origin of the hereditary
hostility between Pygmies and cranes.

The myth of the Pygmies was amplified in various ways, even in the way Lemuel Gulliver talk about the Lilliputians. So f.e.
Hekataios reports that they have done agriculture and cut down the grain stalks with axes. Here belongs especially the funny contrast the
graphic art has put the Pygmies to Herakles. We know from a pic where a Pygmy put a ladder to the cup of Herakles to drink from it.
Philostratos (Icon. 2, 21) describes the following event: After defeating Antaios Herakles was sleeping exhausted on the sand of Africa.
The Pygmies to revenge the death of Antaios approached Herakles and attacked him. One heap of troops moved against the left hand
of the hero, two others against his right hand. His feet were attacked by archers and slingers. The troop which attacked the head of Herakles
with scale ladders was commanded by the king of the Pygmies. Meanwhile Herakles woke up, laughed, wrapped up His Majesty and the
other war heroes and left the place.

The Pygmies and Egypt:
Later writers put the Pygmies usually to the sources of the Nile, where the cranes annually came from Scythia to fight against the Pygmies
for the seed. Aristoteles doesn't took this reports for fabulous but accepts them as people from Upper Egypt, holding rather small horses
and living in caves (Aristot. Hist. An. 8, 14). Strabon reports that there are two kinds of Pygmies, five spans long and three spans long, and
that it were the three span long little men who were at war with the cranes. Even later there is the talk about  Nordic Pygmies who lived in
the region of Thule, very small sized,short-living and armored with needle-like spears (Eust. ad Hom. p.372). Finally there is the talk of Indian
Pygmies who lived subterraneously on the other side of the river Ganges (f.e. Plin. H.N. 6, 22)

Sometimes the war of the Egyptian Pygmies against the cranes was explained to thsat effect that the Pygmies were symbols of the cubiti
of the Nile flood, which at the time when the cranes came from the North, was fallen down. Therefore we see sixteen Pygmies on the
famous  sculpture of the Nile in the Bracchio Nuovo of the Vaticane, which indicate the required water level of the Nile (please look at the thread
about the Nilus). The special relation between Harpokrates (Horus) and the Pygmies deserves a further study. I couldn't find anything about it.

Ranke-Graves assumed that the myth of the Pygmies reflects an historic event: the extrusion of a native farmer population in the Upper Nile Valley of short stature by pastoral people of higher stature who liked to stand on one leg only and so have made the look of crans.

The Pigmies in art:
The Geranomachia has inspired the imagination of many Greek, Etruscan and Roman Artists. It was depicted as tragicomical and entertaining
motive on vases, drinking vessels, wall paintings and cameos. It was interpreted as parody of the heroic legends. Even statuaries, rekliefs, mosaics
and lamps show Pygmies. Various attempts have been made to account for the singular belief in the existence of such a dwarfish nation, but it
seems to have its origin in the love of the marvellous, and the desire to imagine human beings, in different climes and in different ages, to be either
much greater or much smaller than ourselves.

I have added three pics:
(1) The pic of an Attic red-figured vase, ascribed to the Brygos painter, today in the Heremitage in St. Petersburg.
       It shows a Pygmy warrior fighting against a crane. He has grasped his neck and has raised a club to hit his head.
(2) The pic of a fresco from the House of the Doctor in Pompeji, AD 60. It shows the rural life of the Pygmies at the Nile.
(3) The pic of the colossal statue of the Nile from the Bracchio Nuovo of thre the Vaticane. This statue was found in Rome
      near the church S. Maria sopra Minerva and acquired according to at the suggestion of Jacob Burckhardt. 

Sources:
Homer, Ilias
Ovid, Metamorphosen
www.theoi.com
http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_pygmies.htm
Vollmer Griechische Mythologie, 1874
Der Kleine Pauly
Wikipedia

Best regards
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« Reply #284 on: May 13, 2009, 06:53:10 am »

Poseidon and Troy

I think the most famous depiction of Poseidon/Neptun on Roman coins is the rev. of the Agrippa as. Therefore I want to share another one, from Alexandreia Troas, showing some nice details.

Troas, Alexandrteia, Maximinus I, AD 235-238
AE 26, 8.18g
obv. IMP MAXI - MINVS PIVS AVG
       Bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
rev. COL AVG - TR - O
      Poseidon, nude, stg. r., l. foot set on dolphin, r. hand drawn back with trident pointing forwards, on extended l. arm a hippokampos
ref. Bellinger A362, type 38 (same diese); SNG Copenhagen 171
This motiv is known from Anchialos too, f.e. Severus Varbanov (engl.) 712
Look at the long horse mouth!

Poseidon and Troy:
Poseidon is strongly connected to Troy. But this relation is very ambivalent. In the battle against the Titans (Titanomachia) Poseidon was fighting on the side of Zeus, after he obtained the trident as gift of the Cyclops. When the Titans were thrown to the Tartaros, Poseidon prevented by iron gates that they ever could escape. But when later the gods revolted against the dominance of Zeus Poseidon was together with them. Poseidon especially was he who has bound Zeus. When Zeus finally succeeded he was condemned to serve Laomedon, king of Troy, for some time. Together with Apollo, who has to suffer the same verdict, he helped the Trojans to built there huuge wall around the city. With Laomedon they have arranged a wage. But when they have finished the wall Laomedon because of his greed denied his promises and both went off with empty hands. Poseidon took vengeance on Laomedon by flooding large parts of his countries. And he sent a sea monster to whom the Trojans had to give every time a virgin to devour (Homer, Il. 507), until the monster was finally killed by Perseus. So it is understandable that Poseidon in the Trojan War stood on the side of the Greeks against the Trojans. As the Trojan War was entering it’s most bloody phase, Poseidon, against the strict orders of Zeus, entered the fray. He went through the ranks of the strong-grieved Akhaians (Akhaians) and urged them to have courage and to lust for victory over the Trojans, who seemed to be winning the war. Zeus had been seduced by Hera and was lounging in the afterglow of love on Mount Ida when he heard Poseidon bellowing and screaming from the battlefield in the valley below. Zeus had warned the Immortals to stay away from Troy and now he could see that Hera had tricked him and Poseidon had disobeyed him. Zeus contained his anger and did not lash out at his brother. He sent Iris, the storm-footed messenger instead. She warned Poseidon off the battlefield and Poseidon quickly agreed to withdraw but he was defiant. He said he would leave because of his respect for Zeus but not because of fear.

Some notes on Poseidon:
Poseidon was the son of Kronos and Rhea. After the fall of the Titans the kosmos was divided under Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. The name Poseidon is found already in Mycenean Linear B as po-se-da-o. The most attention of the modern etymologies attracts that of P. Kretschmer which connects Poseidon to posei (to posis, master, spouse) and Da (to Ga, Gaia, earth). If Poseidon is called 'the master = spouse of Earth', in the sense of the hieros gamos, the Holy Wedding, then he must have been at first a god of freah water because of the infertility of salt water. His function to fertilize Mother Earth matches well his typological relationship to Zeus from whom he is often only dificult to distinguish. The trident seems to have replaced at first the thunderbolt as Poseidon's weapon. This matches well the Lightning Mark on the Akropolis in Athens (Erychtheion) which is said to come from Poseidon and was not allowed to be roofed.

The Hippokampos:
The etymology is easy: Greek hippos, 'horse', and kampo, 'I bend'. So the Hippokamps is the 'bended horse'. This was the ancient name of the sea horse, Lat. equus marinus. Pausanias writes: 'a horse that is formed from the chest as a sea monster (ketos).' It is known already in Etruscan art and appears regularly on wall paintings and reliefs of tombstones, sarcophaguses and sepulchral gables. There it is found winged too. It is possible that this an argument for the Etruscan belief that the deceased by a sea voyage reached the other world. Literally Hippokampos is mentioned only rarely. Much more the Hippokampos appears in fine arts especially in the Roman Imperial Time. Here to especially on sarkophaguses and ash chests, but on mosaics and wall paintings too, less on coins or intaglios.

The Kampe was an chthonic female monster, a monstrous she-dragon who was set by Kronos to guard the Cyclops and Hekatoncheirs in the Tartaros. She was killed by Zeus when he rescued the Cyclops for help against the Titans in the Titanomachia. The Kampe (meaning 'crooked', as in 'Hippokampos') has no mythological connection to 'Hippokampos'. Diodor describes her as an earth-born monster near the Libyan city Zabirna. After having killed her Dionysos erected a vast tumulus. This seems to be the origin of the myth.

I have added the following:
(1) the pic of a Hippokampos on a mosaic from Bath/England, 2nd century AD
(2) a pic of the Neptun statue from the Fontana di Trevi in Rome.

Sources:
Homer, Ilias
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
Der Kleine Pauly
http://messagenet.com/myths/bios/poseidon.html
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Poseidon.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poseidon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocamp

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« Reply #285 on: June 07, 2009, 11:47:42 am »

Hadad - Jupiter Heliopolitanus

Syria, Dium, Geta as Caesar, AD 209-211
AE 24, 11.37g
struck AD 205/6 (= year 268)
obv. POVP - C GETAC K
        Bust, draped and cuirassed, bare-headed, r.
rev. HZC - DEIHN - WN (year 268)
       Hadad (Jupiter Heliopolitanus), in typical scaly garment, wearing kalathos with     
       bull's horns, stg. frontal, holding eagle-tipped sceptre in r. hand and Nike in l.     
       hand; at his feet on each side a bull's protome looking outwards.
ref. Spijkerman p.118, 6, pl.24, 6; SNG ANS, 1281-2; BMC 1; Lindgren 2202;
       Rosenberger IV, 34, 5; Meshorer 244; Hendin 848
very rare, VF, brown patina

Mythology
Hadad is a West Semitic weather and storm god, son of the sky god Anu. He corresponds to the Accadic god Adad. His veneration is traceable from the end of the 3rd century BC, in Mesopotamia especially from Amoritic personal names. There he represents the fruit bringing rain, lightning, thunder and hail, but he is responsible too for aridity, deluge and salinization of earth. In Syria Hadad became as Baal-Hadad (so in the myths of Ugarit) the Baal per se. As his seat was suggested the holy mountain Zaphon  (Mons Casius) south of the mouth of the river Orontes (please look at the article about Zeus Kasios in the Mythology Thread). In Hellenistic-Roman times he was equated with Zeus-Jupiter and whorshipped as Jupiter Heliopolitanus especially in Baalbek, Hierapolis and Dura-Europos. The famous Trias of Heliopolis of Jupiter, Minerva and Hermes (= Hadad, Atargatis/Astarte and Adon) probably originates from the times of Augustus. Sometimes he was associated too with Jupiter Dolichenus, another Syrian Version.

Traces of the cult of Jupiter Heliopolitanus were found in Athens, Rome, Pannonia, Gaul and Britannia, where it was brought by Roman soldiers. A temple of Jupiter Heliopolitanus stood even in Rome on the Janiculum Hill, erected probably in the time of the Antonines and Severans, when his cult was established in Rome. This temple probably was built in the the grove of the goddess Furrina and was located outside of the pomerium, the holy border of the city.  The spring in the temple of Jupiter Heliopolitanus, which you can see until today, probably was the spring of Furrina. An inscription was found Iovi Optimo Maximo Heliopolitano Augusto, genio Forinarum et cultoribus huius loci, showing the close connection of these two cult sites. AD 341 this temple was demolished by the Christians.

Curiously there are no depictions of Jupiter Heliopolitanus on coins of Heliopolis. Heliopolis has struck only coins with his great temple and the legend IOMH, meaning Jupiter Optimus Maximus Heliopolitanus. Depictions are found in several other cities like Ptolemais-Akka, Neapolis, Eleutheropolis, Diospolis-Lydda, Nikopolis and just Dium.

Iconography
The depictions of Jupiter Heliopolitanus can be arranged in three groups:
(1) in scabbard garment (ependytes)
(2) baetylic style
(3) Greek
On coins of Geta and Elagabalus a frontal standing deity is depicted, wearing kalathos with bull's horns, flanked by two bulls or bull protomes, resting with r. hand on an eagle-tipped sceptre; on the sidewards extended l. hand a small Nike is standing. The deity is dressed with a scabbard-like garment (the so-called ependytes). Bulls, horns kalathos and ependytes are iconographical features which are characteristic for the West Semitic god Hadad. Obviously even in Hellenistic-Roman times several cities of the region owned an appropriate cult statue of Hadad which they struck on their coins, or they have taken the famous type of Jupiter Heliopolitanus acting for their own local main deity.

In this way the iconography remained more or less orientally influenced. Especially widespread was the typus of the standing Hadad in scabbard garment, flanked by two bulls, wearing a whip in his raised l. hand and in his r. hand grain-ears. Probably it was the supra-regional relevance of Zeus Hadad from Heliopolis (Jupiter Heliopolis) which led to the wide distribution of this typus.

The coin type of Dion resembles the famous cult statue of Heliopolis but has some differences in the position of arms and attributes which emphasizes special functions of the deity. So the sceptre of the coin depiction underlines his status as 'Lord of the Polis'. Nike in his hand brings out his victorious character. This depiction is borrowed from the canonical typus of Zeus Nikephoros passed down from coins of Gadara and Scythopolis. Altogether with Nike and eagle-tipped sceptre the connection with Zeus is here obvious. The type of Zeus Hadad in ependytes - rare in the region of Dekapolis - is found more frequently on the west side of the river Jordan since the time of Marcus Aurelius, particular frequently during the dynasty of the Severans.

In difference to the Greek type Heliopolitanus is here depicted unbearded. The bulls usually are added to the Oriental and Anatolic weather gods as accompanying or pack-animals. Usually they belong to the race of humped bulls. Most remarkable is the scabbard garment. We know it from the Ephesian Artemis or the Aphrodite from Aphrodisias. By vertical and horizontal straps it is divided in rows and fields. These are filled with depictions of deities, star and sun motifs and are raising Heliopolitanus to a pantheistic god and Master of the Universe. Surviving statues show that  the zodiacal signs too were used. Other images show furthermore the Palmyrenian Trias of Bel, Aglibol and Yarhibol.

Some notes on this emission:
The cults of  Dion are known until now only by numismatic sources; these emissions come from the reign of Septimius Severus and have beeen struck probably on the occasion of an imminent war against the Parthians and the movement of Roman troops, in a time therefore where Rome was in preparation of an armed conflict with the Parthians. This could be the reason to present the City God as Nikephoros.

Baalbek:
Jupiter Heliopolitanus was the main god of the Syrian-Hellenistic city of Heliopolis (= city of the sun god Helios), were formerly Baal-Biq'ah was worshipped (therefore the recent name Baal'bek in Libane).

The history of Baalbeck dates back around 5000 years. Excavations near the Jupiter temple have revealed the existence of ancient human habitation dating to the Early Bronze Age (2900-2300 BC). The Phoenicians settled in Baalbeck as early as 2000 BC and built their first temple dedicated to the God Baal.

When Alexander the Great appears in the 4th century BC, the location was renamed 'Heliopolis'. Baal was identified with the sun god Helios, which didn't make problems because Baal was worshipped as god of fertility, thunderstorm, sky and sun. The Romans, coming to Syria in the middle of the 1st century BC, identified Baal with Jupiter, whose functions easily could arranged with those of Baal and Helios. The Romans called their god of Baalbek 'JupiterHeliopolitanus' and built up a sanctuary over more than three centuries to one of the biggest of the whole Empire, and a place of oracular divination. The temple ruins which could be seen today are from the times of Septimius Severus, whose first coins show this temple. The large courts of approach were finished under Caracalla and Philip I. From the ancient Greek buildings nothing was left over.

When the Christianity was introduced in the 4th century AD the Byzantine emperor Theodosius let break down parts of the temple. 8 columns were removed and shipped to Constantinople where they were used for his basilica Hagia Sophia. Today, only six Corinthian columns remain standing. In the entrance area he let erect the church of St.Barbara who is worshipped in Baalbek until today. But the church built in the entrance was just a thorn in the god's side; the peasants observed that the river still ran red every rainy season with the ancient Semitic god's blood -- the red silt.

I have added
(1) a pic of the bronze statuette of Jupiter Heliopolitanus from the coll. of Charles Sursock, now in the Louvre/Paris. This statue is a bit different from the coin depiction. The statue stands on a decorated base, the bulls are standing forward and the god holds a whip in his raised r.hand and grain-ears in his l. hand. The position of the bulls is caused by the space of the coin. The whip here is not the attribut of the sun god but probably a lightning symbol (Rene Dussaud, Jupiter Heliopolitain, Bronze de la collection Charles Sursock)
(2) a pic of the ruins of Baalbek as you can see them today.

Sources:
- Der kleine Pauly
- Youssef Hajjar, Jupiter Heliopolitanus, in: Maarten Jozef Vermaseren, Die Orientalischen Religionen im Römerreich, 1997 Brill
- on Furina:
  http://www.thaliatook.com/OGOD/furrina.html
  http://www.aztriad.com/furrina2.html (pics)
- on Baal:
  http://www.rafa.at/11_baal.htm
  http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc01/htm/iii.ix.ii.htm
- on Christianity:
  http://www.vinland.org/scamp/grove/kreich/chapter9.html
- on Dium:
  http://www.diss.fu-berlin.de/diss/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/FUDISS_derivate_000000001712/07_Kapitel3Dion.pdf;jsessionid=594618E48B528321C67BEB887E201F9E?hosts%3D+hadad+heliopolitanus&cd=1&hl=de&ct=clnk&gl=de
-  on Baalbek:
   http://www.berro.com/lebanese_touristic_sites/baalbeck.htm

Best regards
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« Reply #286 on: June 19, 2009, 07:31:28 am »

Io/Hathor (and Marnas)

I have found coins with depictions of Io only from Gaza. Why just from Gaza can't be explained for sure. The connection between Io and Gaza really is very thin. A possible approach could be the connection of Io to Egyptian deities like Isis or Hathor. Perhaps there was in Gaza a temple of Hathor which is not found until today (CNG). If that is true then the Greeks can well have identified her with Io.

The coin:
Judaea, Gaza, Julia Domna, AD 193-211
AE 22, 6.18g
struck 206/7 (year 267 of the era of Gaza)
obv. IOVLIA - DOMNA
        bust, draped, r.
rev. [G]AZA - EI[W]
       Io/Hathor, in long garment, stg. l., clasping hands with the City Goddess (Tyche),
       stg. r, wearing long garment and mural crown and holding cornucopiae in l. arm;
       between the the Phoenician Mem, symbol of Marnas, the local god of Gaza.
ref. BMC 128
about VF, flan damage at 10 o'clock.
Note: Sometimes we find Io in the shape of an heifer at the feet of the City Goddess.

Io:
Io (actually a shortform for Iole, Iokaste or the like), a nymph, was the daughter of the Argolic river-god Inachos and Melia. She was a priestress of Hera with whom Zeus fell in love because of her beauty. He changed to a fog and seduced her. That was regarded by his jealous wife Hera. To camouflage the rape Zeus changed Io into a white-glossy cow. But Hera saw through his trick and asked for the cow as gift. Zeus couldn't deny her ask. Hera then charged the hundred-eyed giant Argos Panoptes (who sees all) to bring Io to Mykenai and to guard her. Zeus sent Hermes, the messenger of the gods, and Hermes put to sleep Argos by playing on his flute and killed him (whereafter he was called Argeiophontes, the Argos Killer), so that Io - still in the shape of a cow - could escape. This too was regarded by Hera. In memory of Argos she put his eyes on the tail feather of the peacock  and she sent a horsefly, which pursued Io ceaselessly and threw her in panic. On her flight she crossed the sea which later was called Ionian Sea after her and crossed the ford between Europe and Asia, owing its name Bosporos (cow ford) to Io too. Then she was galopping to Scythia, the mouth of the Danube, the Crimean peninsula and came to the Caucasus Mountains. There Io met Prometheus, who still was chained to the rock. He foretold her her future fate.

Over India, Arabia and Ethopia Io finally came to Egypt where she begged the gods to save her. Because of the pleading requests of Zeus Hera agreed and gave her back her human shape and she gave birth to Epaphos. Hera, not yet  satisfied in her avenge, asked the Curetes to hide Epaphos and they let him disappear. Therefore they were killed by Zeus. Io was wandering through whole Syria in search of Epaphos because she has heard that he was brought up by the wife of the king of Byblos. When she has found him she returned to Egypt, married king Telegonos and introduced the cult of Demeter, who is called Isis by the Egyptians. Io herself was identified with Isis too and Epaphos with the Apis Bull. She was said to have caused the Nile Flood and have saved the life of seamen. Epaphos married Memphis and became father of Libya who gave her name to the country of Libya. But this Greek suggestions can not remain because the Egyptian cults are much older than the myths of Io. Probably the wanderings of Io reflect the spreading of the Demeter cult and should confirm the Greek supremacy over all these countries.

In Aischylos' 'Prometheus' Io is no more the priestress of Hera, but the shy child of a king and distressed by Zeus by dreams which she committed to her father to find protection against Zeus. But an oracle of the god expelled her to a long travel. She fell in madness and the head of a cow was growing on her. She was chased by a giant and after his death by a mosquito. But by all her suffering Zeus led her to the land of fulfillment.

Sophokles has written a satyrical drame 'Inachos'. The Cyrenaicean Kallimachos suggested the festive reception of Io by the Egyptian gods as symbol for the melting of Greek and Egyptian culture. 

Herodotos in his Histories has a more rationalizing view: Io was the daughter of Inachos, the king of Argos. When the Phoenicians came to Argos for selling their products and Io was visiting their stalls, the Phoenicians raped her, whereupon the Greeks raped Europa, the daughter of the king of Tyros. So the abduction of women came in use: the Rape of Helena (Ilias) or the Rape of Medea (myth of the Argonauts). However it was told by the Phoenicians too that Io was pregnant by the shipmaster and in fear of the anger of her parents she was going with the Phoenicians of her one's free will.

The ancient interpretation of Io as Moon Goddess (because of the cow's horns) was accepted still until now, so Ranke-Graves. But it is more probable that Io came from the cult circle of the  βοωπις 'Ηρα (the cow-eyed Hera), whose hypostasis Io is and whose earliest manifestation she reflects. Similar motifs are found in the myth of the Proitids.

Notes:
(1) Hypostasis = Personification of a feature or an epithet, embodiment of an own deity
(2) Proitids = the 3 daughters of Proitos, Lysippe, Iphinoe and Iphianassa. They all were priestresses of Hera but because of their beauty and the wealth of their parents felt superior to the goddess (or - according to another tradition - have denied to worship Dionysos) and became mad. They regarded themselves as cows, walked around on fields, mooed like cows, fumbled always for the horns on their heads and
feared to be harnessed to the plough. It is said that they were saved by Melampos.

Hathor:
The Egyptian goddess Hathor shares with Io the shape of a cow. She is one of the oldest Egyptian goddesses and known alread fom the 1st dynasty. At first she was a local deity who then ascended to the Sky Goddess of the West and finally became the universal Mother Deity. Iconographically she was very similar to the even older goddess Bat who at last was absorbed by Hathor. At first she was worshipped as a cow, then depicted as a goddes with cow's horns pointing outwards and with the sun disk between. She was the wife of the sun god Ra and gave birth to Horus. Later she handed over symbols and functions to the younger Isis. Both were Mother and Death Goddesses. Since the New Empire Hathor could no more be distinguished from Isis.

Marnas:
Remarkable on the coin is the symbol between the two deities. It is the Phoenician letter 'mem' (M, there is another one too), the symbol of the god Marnas. Marnas is known only from Gaza. In fact there was found a column of Gordian III in Ostia with an inscription naming Marnas, but wether there was a sanctuary of Marnas in the western Empire is unproved. The name 'Marnas' means Aramaic 'Lord', like Hadad and Baal too. He was the local god and guardian of Gaza. He was seen as god of rain and grain and therfore invoked in the case of famine. He appears on coins since the time of Hadrian. Septimius Severus (or Severus Alexander?) is said to have sometimes exclaimed his name to vent his anger.

In Gaza Marnas was identified with Zeus Kretagenes, the Cretan Zeus. It is likely that Marnas was the Hellenistic expression of Dagon. His temple, the Marneion — the last surviving great cult center of paganism — was burned by order of the Roman emperor Arcadius in AD 402. Treading upon the sanctuary's paving-stones had been forbidden. Christians later used these same to pave the public marketplace. But the veneration of the old cult was so great that even after years the inhabitants of Gaza haven't entered this place.

Note:
Dagon was a major northwest Semitic god, reportedly of grain and agriculture. He was worshipped by the early Amorites and by the inhabitants of the cities of Ebla and Ugarit. He was also a major member, or perhaps head, of the pantheon of the Biblical Philistines.

History of Art:
In archaic works of art and until the 5th century BC Io was depicted as cow guarded b Argos, since the 5th century BC as wife with horns. On a Roman fresco in the House of Livia in Rome (c. AD 30) she is sitting on a rock between Argos and Hermes. Especially popular were scenes 'Io and Argos (and Hermes)' and 'Io's arrival in Egypt' on Pompeian wall paintings.  Together with Hermes, Argos an Hera Io appears on the reliefs of Antonio Filarete on the bronze doors of St.Peter in Rome (1433-45). Corregio has painted the copulation with Io in his series of Love adventures of Zeus.

I have added
(1) the pic of a red-figured hydria, ascribed to the Agrigento-painter. It is from 470-460 BC and is now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston/USA. It shows the moment where Hermes draws his sword to kill Argos Panoptes, who covered with eyes should guard Io. At the left side Zeus and Hera are standing and regard the scene (The pic is made of several parts of the painting)
(2) the pic of a Pompeian fresko from the Temple of Isis, today in the Museo Archaeologico Nazionale in Naples/Italy. This fresco is from the 1st century BC and shows Io's arrival in Egypt. She is welcomed by Isis and the small Harpokrates.
(3) a pic of the painting of Corregio 'Jupiter and Io', AD 1531/2, now in the KM in Vienna/Austria.

Sources:
Ovid, Metamorphoses
Aischylos, Prometheus
Apollodoros, Bibliotheke
Der Kleine Pauly
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
Karl Kerenyi, Die Mythologie der Griechen
Robert von Ranke-Graves, Griechische Mythologie
William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (online)
Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague, Heros et dieux de l'antiquite. Guide iconographique
Maarten Jozef Vermaseren, Die Orientalischen Religionen im Römerreich (online)
Robert Turcan, The Cults of the Roman Empire (online)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagon
http://www.theoi.com/Heroine/Io.html

Best regards
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« Reply #287 on: June 27, 2009, 10:00:21 am »

Saturn - the old Roman God of Agriculture

Coin:
Gallienus, AD 253-268
AR - Antoninianus, 4.4g, 22mm
Antiochia, AD 266/67
obv. GALLIENVS AVG
        Bust, draped and cuirassed, radiate, r.
rev. AETERNI - TAS AVG
       Saturnus, bearded, togate and veiled, stg. frontal, head r., holding with r. hand
       garment before breast and in l. hand harpa
       in ex. P XV (short for TRP XV)
ref. Göbl 1662i; RIC V/1, 606 var. (holds sceptre); C. 44 var.
rare, about VF, some strike weakness
note: harpa =  scythe = falx = sickle

On this coin:
That on this coin Saturn is depicted was first recognized by Eckhel. It has already been seen that the Sun was the most usual symbol of Eternity. Now, Macrobius affirms that Saturn was identical with the Sun, and he also shows, that Saturn was the same as Time. Euripides calls Time the son of Saturn. "Therefore as Eternity consists of a perpetual succession of Time, so we see Saturn very properly serving to represent it. And truly the selection of such a type is the more appropiate in this instance, inasmuch as he, who is said to have established the Golden Age in Latium, was also best enabled to furnish forth a Golden Eternity." (Stevenson)

Mythology:
It is said that Saturnus, expelled by Jupiter, has landed as fugitive with his ship at the coast of Latium. This has happened at the reign of king Janus, and he has welcomed Saturnus cordially and as gratitude for teaching him and his people agriculture he took him as co-regent. While Janus has his castle on the Janiculum Hill, Saturnus founded his city Saturnia on the later Mons Capitolinus called hill. This time was seen by the Romans as a time of an uncomplex and happy life, the Golden Age, which was commemorate by the Romans as Saturnalia Regna. This already very elaborate myth is originated from the Augustean time.

For Janus please look at the related article in this thread http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=25089.125 

Background:
Saturn is an age-old Roman god and originally has nothing to do with the Greek Kronos. Please look at the article about Kronos in this thread http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=25089.50 Sadly he is already very early mixed up with Kronos , and already in ancient times ist was very difficult to differentiate him from Kronos. Now here what we know about him:

His origin was unclear already in antiquity. Disputed is a mediterranean origin or an indo-european. He could come from Phrygia where a god named Satra is worshipped. Or the Romans could have Saturn from the Etruscans who knew a god Satre. Illyria is discussed, but as well he could be pure Italic (f.e. Sabinean or Siculic) or Greek (by Etruscan mediation. To cut a long story: No one knows! 

Etymological too we have difficulties. Roman writers know the phrase ab satu est dictus. According to that he could be a god of Time and his name originates from
saturare. This is contradicted by the expressions Saturnus or Saeturnus, which are built like Volturnus, Nocturnus oder Iuturna.

From a myth of Saturn we have only fragmentarily preserved reports mixing Greek and Roman conceptins. At first Saturn is a deity (or numen) of agriculture and united with Lua he ruled over the Capitolium which formerly was called mons Saturnius. There was a Saturni fanum in faucibus, an altar of Saturn, near the foot of the hill. This Sabinean agriculture god could possibly from the Etruscan Satre has his name and the bloody character of the god of the munera, surely his chthonic origin. During his month, December, several festivals of chthonic gods took place: Consualia, Saturnalia and Opalia.

From the Greek Kronos Saturn has borrowed appearance and garb: the velatum caput, the sickle in his hand, the ritus Graecus. His connection with Kronos became more close - probably caused by the Greeks - because of the economic relations with the agriculture of Sicily and due to the influence of Orphic and Pythagorean ideas (Kronos - Chronos). Saturn became the ruler of the Saturnalia Regna, the God of the Golden Age - a Greek idea too and the Greeks have searched the Islands of Happiness always in the West -  and soon a literary topos.

During the Principate, in Italy (except North-Italy) and in the provinces (except Africa) Saturn is almost unknown. But in the Roman provinces of Nort-Africa Saturn was the main-god. However the Latin name hides a Berberian 'Ammon', who himself was covered by the Punic Baal-Hammon. The sacrificing of children (molk) was substituted under Roman influence by animal sacrifices (molchomor). But according to Tertullian the cruel offerings have continued in secrecy. From end of the 2nd to the begin of the 3rd century the cult of Saturn has its largest distribution. Until today about 3000 votive steles have been found, the youngest from AD 323. But still in the time of Augustinus the Saturn cult was flourishing.

Notes:
(1) Lua = An old-Roman goddess, her full name Lua Mater, cult asociate of Saturn and together with him invoked in prayer formulas as Luna Saturni. To her captured arms were burned (f.e. the arms of the Volsci by C. Plautius, see Livy). Because this practice bears the character of an expiation ceremony we have to see in Lua an hostile deity about whose conciliation one has to try. Her name can't be separated from  luere, to destroy.
(2) munera (munera gladiatoria) = Gladiator Games
(3) ritus Graecus = the Greek manner to do sacrifices, f.e. unveiled

History of Art:
The construction of the big Saturn temple has begun already in the time of kings, and in Republican time 498 BC -  direct after the expelling of the Etruscan kings - it was inaugurated. But already before the erection of the Saturn temple there was an age-old altar of Saturn at the foot of the Capitolium. Saturn - after Jupiter - was one of the most venerated gods of the ancient Romans. This explains the very early erection of his temple. So - after the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus - it is one of the oldest sanctuaries of ancient Rome. Today we see the remnants of the columnar front which came from the reconstruction after the fire in AD 283. In the porch resided the Aerarium Saturni, the depository of the treasury, the arms, the tablets of the laws and the resolutions of the Senate. On the east side of the podium the acta diurna, the public announcements, have been attached.

The added pic shows the columnar front on the Forum in Rome.

Sources:
Livius, Ab urbe condita (online under http://www.archive.org/details/titiliviaburbec00wlgoog )
Cicero, De Natura Deorum
Der Kleine Pauly
W.H.Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie (online)
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
Stevenson, Dictionary of Roman Coins (online at Forum Ancient Coins)

Best regards
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« Reply #288 on: June 30, 2009, 11:12:27 am »

Herakles and the Cretan Bull

I'm happy that I  can share this coin which I have searched after for a long time. I know that its state is not the best, but better coins are always very expensive.

The coin:
Moesia inferior, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Septimius Severus, AD 193-211
AE 28
struck under governor Aurelius Gallus
obv. AVT.L.CEPT - CEVHR PER
       Head, laureate, r.
rev. VP AV[R GALLOV NIKOPOLIT]WN / PROC ICTR
      beneath: the bow
      The Cretan Bull with uplifted  forelegs and raised tail prancing l.; Herakles, nude, running
      beside him l., embracing with both hands the bull's head to subdue him; club on ground
      behind Hercules’ right foot
ref. AMNG I/1, 1309; Varbanov (engl.) 2710; Voegtli type 4m
rare, F+

Mythology:
Minos, king of Crete, has established his right of the throne by claiming that his rule over Crete was god-given. To prove that claim he declared that each of his prayers would answered by the gods. Hereupon Minos offered Poseidon to sacrifice the next animal to him which would rise from the sea, because not one of his own animals was worthy such an important sacrifice. There Poseidon sent an exceptional noble white bull. Minos however - attired in the beauty of this bull - hid him in his herd, embezzled him to the god and sacrificed instead of this bull another one from his own animals. Poseidon enraged because of this sacrilege damned Minos' wife Pasiphae so that she fell in immortal love to the bull. By the ingenious Daidalos she let built a wooden stage in the shape of a cow, covered with a cow's skin, and then she crawled into this stage and unified with the bull. From this unification emerged the Minotauros, a being with human body and a bull's head. Minos at first wanted to kill this creature, because it was an evidence of his wife's slip, but at the request of his daughter Ariadne he let Minotauros alive and charged Daidolos with construction of a prison, the Labyrinth in Knossos, in which he locked up the Minotauros. 

Furthermore the Cretan Bull was beaten with furore which caused great devastations on Crete. Especially the region around the river Tethris was hit.

Erystheus now told Herakles - as seventh of his labours - to capture the bull and bring him back to him. After the struggle against the Stymphalian Birds this was a rather easy undertaking. Herakles sailed to Crete and asked king Minos wether he has objections to capture the bull. Minos denied that if only Herakles would get along with the bull. Very soon Herakles succeeded in subduing the bull although he was breathing fire. He chained him and brought him back to Erystheus. Erystheus wanted to sacrifice the bull immediately to Hera, but Hera - hating Herakles - refused the offering because it only would increase the fame of the hero. So the bull was released.

After that the bull wandered through Lakedaimon and Arcadia, crossed the Isthmos of Corinth and reached Marathon where he did great damage and killed many humans. Therefore he is often called 'Marathonian Bull' too. Theseus, son of the Athenian king Aigeos, was sent against the bull, subdued him and led him to Athens were Aigeos sacrificed the bull to Zeus.

Androgeos, a son of king Minos and Pasiphae, stayed in this region when Theseus was hunting the bull. At this occasion he was killed from behind. Therefore Minos began a war against Athens. But because he couldn't conquer Athens he asked his father Zeus for help which he granted. He sent the plague and Athens had to surrender. To appease Minos Athens had to send as tribute each ninth year seven youths and seven maiden to Crete.

But that's another story.

Note: There is the suggestion too that the Cretan Bull was not the bull of Poseidon, but the bull who has brought Europa from Phoenicia to Crete.

Background:
Here I want to add the article, which Ranke-Graces wrote about the Cretan Bull. Principally I distrust his interpretations because I think he is fixated too much on the matriarchy and the Holy Wedding (hieros gamos). Very well then!
The struggle with the bull or a man in bull disguise - one of the ritual duties which have to be fulfilled by the aspirant of the kingship - appears too in the myth of Theseus and the Minotauros and in the myth of Jason and the fire-breathing bulls of Aietes. When the immortality which was associated with the royal dignity finally was promised all adepts of the Dionysian Mysteries the capture of a bull and offering him to Dionysos Plutodotes ('donor of wealth') became a general ritus in Arcadia (Pausan.  VIII, 19, 2) and in Lydia (Strabon XIV, 1, 44), where Dionysos hold the title Zeus. His most important theophania was the bull but he appeared too in the shape of a lion or a serpent. The contact with the bull's horns enabled the  Holy King to fertilize the land by rain in the name of the Moon Goddess. The magic explanation is that the shouting of a bull was signalizing thunderstorms which should be brought to a head by swinging rhombi or bull's shouting. Torches too were cast symbolizing lightnings: they were demonstrating the fiery breathing of the bull.

I have added
(1) the pic 'Heracles binds the Cretan Bull', a black-figured vase painting, c.510 BC, from Vulci, now in the Staatliche Antikensammlung in Munich/Germany.
(2) the pic of the mosaic 'The twelve Labours of Hercules' from Lliria (Valencia/Spain), 1st half of 3rd century, made by an unknown artist. Here the depiction with Herakles running besides the bull is very similar to the depiction on the coin.

Sources:
Der Kleine Pauly
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches Mythologisches Lexikon
Robert von Ranke-Graves, Griechische Mythologie
Apollodor, Bibliotheke, II/94-95, III/9ff, III/209, IV/5-6

Best regards
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« Reply #289 on: July 08, 2009, 06:42:23 pm »

Thank you for your friendly words. They will help me for further posts.

Best regards
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« Reply #290 on: July 15, 2009, 10:09:59 am »

Artemis Perasia, the old Kubaba

Asia Minor is full of Gods and Goddesses. Here I want to share an age-old Goddess who was known in Greek-Roman times as Artemis Perasia.

The coins:

Cilicia, Hieropolis-Kastabala, 2nd-1st century BC
AE 21, 7.02g
obv. Head of the City Goddess (Tyche), wearing mural crown, r.; behind mongram
rev. [ I]EROPOLITW[N] (r. side, top down)
       [TW]N PROC TW / [P]YRAM[W] (l. side, top down)
       Artemis Perasia, in long garment and wearing kalathos, szeptre in l. arm, std. l. on
       throne with high back; beneath eagle stg. l.
ref. SNG Levante 1564; Lindgren 1507; SNG Paris 2208
VF, dark-green patina

Cilicia, Hieropolis-Kastabala, 2nd-3rd century AD (?)
AE 26
obv. IEROPOLI - TWN
        Bust of City Goddess (Tyche), draped and veiled, wearing mural crown, r.
rev. [TWN PROC TW PYRAMW]
       Bust of Artemis Perasia, draped and veiled, wearing mural crown, r.; burning
       torch before
ref. not in Isegrim; obv. RPC I, 4064; unpublished?
very rare, about VF, dark-green patina

For the Iconography:
On coins we find Perasia in two different versions:
(1) As entire figure with kalathos, std. on throne, an eagle beneath; often a pine
     behind.
(2) As bust, veiled and wearing a mural crown, or sometimes with a strange conical 
     hat, a torch before.
     Because of the torch she can easily seen as Demeter or Hekate (so HN), but she
     differs from these goddesses by her headdress. These goddesses don't occur with a
     mural crown, I think

Mythology:
The local myth leads back the foundation of Kastabala to Orestes and Pylades. When Orestes after the death of his sister Iphigenia has left the Crimean peninsula with the statue of Artemis Tauropolos he has come to the Pontic Komana and has erected a temple for the Tauric Artemis. But for satisfying the conflicting interests of both Komana it was told that Orestes when he has left Crimea fell ill and the oracle has answered that he would recover not until he has erected a temple for Artemis which would look alike the temple in Tauris. Because  the illness didn't vanish he peregrinated further to the Cilician Komana, erected a temple, and the oracle came true (Procopius

It's noteworthy now that not only both Komana claim the remembrance of Orestes, but Kastabala too. In Kastabala the temple of Artemis Perasia, read as 'Overseas Artemis',  was said to be built by Orestes. It is told that Thoas, king of the Taurians, has pursued Orestes and Pylades as far as the foot of the Taurus mountains, where he died in the city of Tyana which originally was named Thoana after him (Strabo).

We know that this was the usual method of the Greeks to confirm their acquisitions mythologically, as we have seen in this thread so often.

Name:
Perasia is a Goddess in Asia Minor, worshipped in Hieropolis-Kastabala, related to Ma, and therefore identified with Artemis, whose priestresses in cultic ecstasy were able to step safely over glowing coals (Strabo 12, 537). Here we have a connection to the laceration ritus in service of the Kybele cult, confirmed by the formulistic name 'Kubaba zi b Kastabalaj' (= the Kubaba in Kastabala) found as an Aramaic inscription near Bahadirli in East-Cilicia. The identity of Kubaba and Kybele is affirmed further by the Lydian consecration formula 'kvnaval' (of Kubaba), recently found on the piece of a jar of Sardes. Her name is already known as Pirvashua in an Aramaic inscription from the late Hittite period. This probably was a boundary stone on which she is named the 'Mistress of Kastabala'. A derivation from Persia as 'Persian Artemis', or derivated from
dia ton perathen as 'Oversea Artemis', which was thought previously, therefore is obsolete.

]History:
We have emphasized that Hierapolis - Kastabala was a sacred centre. According to Strabon of Amasia, in Kastabala, Artemis Perasia, after the long lasting dances of the religious ceremonies would reach a state of ecstasy and continue dancing on hot coals like the dervishes and at the climax of her ecstatic state would run towards the valleys of the Pyramos and to the wooded hills with her torch in hand. Again in the Hellenistic and Roman Empire Periods sacred Pan-Hellenic competitions used to be organized here in honour of Perasia. The coins have the pine tree and the torch, the symbols of Perasia, in front of the tower a female head with a hat, representing the city.

Artemis Perasia, the Goddess of Kastabala as mentioned by Strabon, is one and the same as Kubaba. It has become apparent that the cult status of Kastabala in particular went back much further than previously assumed, and the Goddess Kubaba was its ruler. Kubaba is the old name of Kybele we know and recognized as the Mother Goddess of Anatolia. She takes her place among other gods and goddesses for the first time in the sources of the Kanesh (Kültepe) archives of the Assyrian Trade Colonies Period in 1800s B.C. and in the royal archives of Hattusha (Bogazköy), capital of the Hittites dated to 1500-2000 B.C.

Following the decline of the Hittite Empire around 1200 B.C. Karkemish was a capital of some sorts of the Last Hittite Age of the Hittite world and Kubaba was its Mother Goddess and was known as the "Queen of Karkemish". In this period the Kubaba cult made great sudden progress and there is a related relief at Domuztepe. We see the goddess Kubaba who was recognized by the Phrygians also at sites of Pessinus and Sardes. Kubaba/Kybele was moved to Rome in 204 BC and settled at the Palatine hill. She was known as Artemis Perasia during the Greco-Roman period. So the depiction on the coins naturely is stamped by Hellenism.

Some notes on Firewalking:
Firewalking is the act of walking barefoot over a bed of glowing embers or stones without damage. It has a long history in many cultures within rituales as a test or proof of faith, and to make a connection to the divine. Today it is used in modern motivational seminars and fund-raising events. Many seminar facilitators claim that there is now scientific explanation for this phaenomena. But we need no psycho-physical exceptional conditions nor a connection to religious concepts to walk over glowing coal without damage.

Measurements have shown that the temperature of glowing coals is between 240°C and about 440°C. Temperatures of 1000°C as somtimes claimed were never reached.
So the soles of feet were heated only moderately. The average temperature was  47°C - 100°C. The max. temperature found was 200°C. Here are the reasons:
- Wood and coals are poor heat conductors. Walking over an equal hot iron plate is
   not possible.
- The ember which covered the glow acts as heat insulation.
- The foot contacts the coals only for a fraction of a second, normally 1/2 second. This
    time is too short to heat the foot for burning.
- The surface of the coals is uneven and reduces the transfer of the heat energy.
- The blood circulation ensures the transport of the heat away from the soles of feet.
- The horny skin of the feet acts as heat protection.
Further the fear for the fire plays an important role. He who expects danger and damaging will feel minimal burning as much painfuller than he who doesn't fear the walk.
(Inge Hüsgen, Wolfgang Hahn, Dr. Christoph Bördlein, in 'Skeptiker 3/4 2007, S.92-102)

I have added the pic of the basalt relief of Kubaba, Karkemish, late Hittite, 850-750 BC. The Goddess is holding a pomegranate in her r. hand and a mirror in her l. hand. Today in the Museum of Anatolian Civilization in Ankara/Turkey

Sources:
- Strabo
- Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der der griechischen und römischen Mythologie
   (on-line)
- Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
- Der Kleine Pauly
- Theodore Reinach, Mithradates Eupator (on-line)
- Der Skeptiker (on-line)
- Wikipedia
- Dupont-Sommer/Robert, La Deesse de Hierapolis-Kastabala
- Publishments of the Turkish government (on-line)

Best regards
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« Reply #291 on: July 15, 2009, 10:15:26 am »

Apollo Philesios and the movable stag of Kanachos

This article contains nearly all information I could get about this subject. I bet some of it will be new for you. Enjoy!

The coins.

The first one:
Ionia, Miletos, Nero, AD 54-68
AE 18, 2.44g
struck under magistrate Louros
obv. CEBA - CTOC (A and T upside down)
        Head, laureate, r.
rev. EPI LO -  VROV
      Cult ststue of Apollo Didymeus, nude, stg. r., holding bow in l. hand and in his
      extended r. hand stag, turning head back to the god.
ref. BMC 198, 149; RPC comments p.449, 5a
F+/about VF, dark green patina

And an interesting second one:
Cilicia, Tarsos, Maximinus I, AD 235-238
AE 30, 21.49g
obv. AVT.K.G.IOV.[OVH.MAZIMEI]NOC / P - P
        Bust, draped and cuirassed, radiate, r.
rev. TARCOV THC MHTROPOLE[WC]
       Apollo, in long garment, stg. frontal, holding bow in l. hand and in lowered r.
       hand stag(!) at fore-legs.
       in l. field A / M / K
       in r. field G / B
ref. SNG Levante 1099(?)
very rare, F+, brown-green patina

This coin is often put in the series of the Tarsos coins depicting Apollo holding dogs. But here it is obviously not a dog but a stag! The magnification shows clearly the typical head shape mit the long face of the Cervidae and the - only poorly preserved - antlers. So it is not the so-called (in error!) Apollo Lykeios, but Apollo Philesios, known as Apollo Didymeus too, referring to its location.

The depiction on the Milesian coin matches the description of the original better, because here Apollo holds the stag on the palm of his extended r. hand.  But we know of two votive gifts where Apollo holds the stag at his forelegs too. Altogether the coins belong to the few objects which show us a model of the famous statue. It should be said that the Apollo head on Milesian coins - showing a lion on the reverse - is not Apollo Philesios but Apollo Delphinios, the city god of Miletos.

Mythology:
The mythology of Philesios goes back to the beautiful herdsman Branchos. Branchos, a rather unusual name in Greek, means 'sore throat, horseness'. This name is explained so: When his mother was pregnant with him she had a dream where the sun entered her mouth and left her through her belly. After gaving birth to the child she called him Branchos because the sun had entered her by the throat. The origin of this myth is surely pre-Hellenic and shall lead back Branchos and his later foretelling power to the sun-god or at least establish a connection to the sun-god. The etymological explanation of the name Branchos seems to be Greek but is somehow unfortunate because Branchos does not mean throat but sore throat!

A probable later but now typical Greek myth tells, that once the herdsman Branchos, son of Smikros from Milet, herded his flock at Didyma near Miletos. As soon as Apollo had set eyes on him he fell in love with him. He kissed him, bestowed him a crown, a laurel rod and the power of forecasting. This myth explains the cult name Philesios, which Apollo has in Didyma, meaning such as 'the loving, the kissing' (from Greek philein = to love, to kiss).

Thereupon Branchos endowed the Didymaic oracle which became widely famous. It is told that Apollo once came in conflict with the Milesians and sent them a plague to punish them. But Branchos saved the Milesians. He sprinkled the people with wet laurel branches and sang an hymnos on Apollo (Apollodor of Kerkyra). And the boys repeated the following magic verses:
(1) ΚΝΑΞΖΒΙ ΧΘΥΠΤΗΣ ΦΛΕΓΜΟ ΔΡΩΨ
(2) ΒΕΔΥ ΖΑΨ ΧΘΩΜ  ΠΛΗΚΤΡΟΝ ΣΦΙΓΞ
These magic verses are said to be invented by Branchos. They are well known and appear on several papyri. Originally they are pure nonsense verses. But they contain all 24 letters of the Milesian alphabet. Because of that there is the opinion too that Branchos has taught by these verses the art of writing to the Milesians, because sorcery and spelling are semantic closely connected, look at the double meaning of 'to spell' (related too with German 'Spiel', playing).
Branchos became the founder of a mighty family of priest rulers whose were called Branchidai after him. To them he had bequested the power of forecasting.


History:
About the birth of Apollo we have talked already in the article 'Leto - Mother of the twins Apollo and Artemis'. While Delos claimed the birth of Apollo, Delphi his first deeds, Didyma as location of the conception could show a similar important myth.

We have heard that Branchos became the founder of the Didymaic oracle and ancestor of the priestly ruling dynasty of the Branchides. Pausanias writes, that the sanctuary of Didyma has existed already before the colonisation by the Ionians. That matches well the fact that the name 'Branchos' as well as 'Didyma' originate from the Carian language, related with the Luwian language, closely connected to the Hittite language, and so both pre-Hellenic. Two donations testify the outstanding importance of the Didymaic sanctuary: The royal garment which Pharaoh Necho has worn at the battle of Megiddo where he has defeated Josiah, and several precious votive gifts of the Lydian king Kroisos. The oldest parts of the temple can be dated to the 7th century. Probably they were built around a holy spring. Didyma, also called Branchidai (so Herodotos), was connected with the sanctuary of Apollo Delphinios in Miletos with a holy street. The most import art work in Didyma was the bronze statue of the standing Apollo Philesios made by Kanachos in the 5th century BC, probably a gift of the Milesians to Didyma and therefore rather a votive gift than actual a cult statue. In 494 BC Didyma and Milet were destroyed by the Persians under Xerxes and the bronze statue was carried off to Ekbatana. Strabon reports, that the Branchides have committed betrayal and have handed over the huge treasures of the temple to the Persians. Then they have followed the Persians in the East- fearing the revenge of the Milesians - and were settled in Sogdania at the river Oxos in Bactria. We should know that a great part of the elite was traditional Persian friendly.

When after the death of Alexander the Great his Empire was divided under the Diadochs the treasures of Ekbatana came in possession of the Seleucids. In 300 BC Seleukos Nikator gave back the statue to the Milesians. So after nearly 200 years the statue came back to Didyma. Pausanias probably has still seen it. During the raids of the Goths in the 3rd century AD it was lost forever.

The Massacre of the Branchides:
When Alexander the Great on his campaign of conquest came in AD 327 to Bactria and conquered Sogdania, he let burn down it to the ground, and killed not only the
descendants of the Branchides but all inhabitants together with women and children. It is said that he has done that to revenge their blasphemy and the betrayal of their ancestors. The temple treasures he has held for his own properties as son of the sun god (Kallisthenes, probably an eye-witness). Another hypothesis says that Milesian generals, f.e. Demodamas, have forced Alexander to this massacre, because they were afraid that the Branchides after returning to Didyma would claim the old rights of their ancestors for the sanctuary.

This happened c.150 years after the events in Didyma! But like Schiller writes about Wallenstein in the Prolog: "Von der Parteien Gunst und Hass verwirrt / Schwankt sein Charakterbild in der Geschichte" (= By the parties favour and hate confused / his character sketch sways in history), so the opinion about Alexander sways between youthful hero and cruel tyrant. The massacre of the Branchides undoubtedly belongs to his most disgusting deeds. Parke (see sources) suggests, that it is the sign of collapse of the moral objective of his campeign. From the defensiveness of the Greek civilisation it has degenerated to the purpose of  world domination. And the actual reason of the collapse has been the overwhelming success and the achieving of the highest thinkable aims.

Under Alexander the oracle was re-established in AD 331 - now under a Milesian administration - and a new temple erected around the holy spring which started to flow again. This temple was amplified and decorated gorgeously especially under the Seleucids. Even the looting by the Galatians in 277/6 BC could only shortly delay the further advancement of the sanctuary. At its zenith in the Roman imperial time the temple of Apollo in Didyma was the largest temple in the ancient world. He was so large that he never was roofed. The Roman emperors took much care about him, especially Caligula, Trajan and Hadrian. Trajan f.e. was prophetes and enlarged and paved the holy street to Miletos. Here about 80 AD the oracle has forecasted Trajan the future reign - referring to Dio of Prusas. Only the Christians succeeded in demolishing the temple. But he was so large, that his fundaments are preserved until today.

I have added
(1) the pic of the Kanachos relief from the theater wall in Miletos. It shows Apollo Philesios holding the stag in the palm of his extended hand accompagnied by two torch-beares. It was found AD 1903 and is today in the Pergamon Museum on the Museum Island in Berlin. It is possible that the torch-bearers were added later.
(2) a pic of the Apollo temple in Didyma as you can see him today. If you look at the visitors on the stairs you can imagine the huge dimensions of this temple

(will be continued)
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« Reply #292 on: July 27, 2009, 02:09:22 pm »

(continuation)

History of Art:

(a) Kanachos of Sikyon
Kanachos of Sikyon, brother of Aristokles, was a late-archaic sculptor around 500 BC. He is known for creating the bronze statue of Apollo Philesios in Didyma (Plin. nat. 34, 75), of which we have resonances in reliefs, on coins and intaglios, for creating the seated statue of Aphrodite in Sikyon (made from gold and ivory, Paus. 2, 10, 5) and several other works (Plin. nat. 34, 75), f.e. in Olympia, from which we have no more views. The use of so different material shows his virtuosity and the geographical distribution certifies his fame and his importance.

(b) The Apollo of Didyma
Sadly we know the statue of Apollo Philesios only from descriptions, reliefs and from pics on coins and intaglios. The most detailed description comes from Plinius (nat. 34, 75): "Kanachos has made from Aiginetic bronze a nude Apollo, called 'the Lovely', located in the temple of Didyma, together with a stag who is floating on the soles of his feet, so that it is possible to draw a thread under his feet, because heel and toes by alternate grasping hold tight on the ground, because in both parts a movable tip is affixed so that  it alternately rebounds when it swings back." So the statue was especially important because of this mechanics which must have made a lasting impression to the ancient beholder because the stag appeared alive. Wether the stag on the palm of the hand actually stood forwards turning his head backwards to the god we don't know. We not even know wether the stag has stood or lain. Generally the stag is seen as sign of the close affinity between Apollo and his twin sister Artemis or as reference to the Hittite concept of a 'tutelary god of the animals'.

(c) Between Late Archaic and Early Classic
Cicero (Brut. 18, 70) mentions Kanachos in a row with Kalamis, Myron and Polyklet. He refers to a scale of hardness grades which probably is borrowed from an Hellenistic source and where the archaic works of art belong to the most hard. In the development of the Greek art to genuine natural truth (veritas) and to beauty (pulchrum) to reach with Polykleitos finally perfection, Kanachos has stood on the 1st stage. This verdict meanwhile has been revised. Kanachos stood at the end of the Late Archaic with one foot already in the Early Classic. The relief in Berlin shows that Apollo no more was standing frontal with straight knees - as usually in the Archaic -, but with his r. knee slightly bent. "Alone the attempt of the Kontrapost signifies a qualitative leap, because it is the exterior sign of a principally new concept of liveness and self-determination of man." (Strocka). Ok, it was actually not yet a Kontrapost but he was on the way. And the movable figure of the stag too was post-Archaic. The most reliable copy for the body seems to be the Apollo of the Forum Romanum which was found AD 1900 near the Juturna fountain - matching well Didyma as an original holy spring -, and for the head the Apollo Townley in the British Museum. Both show a style which unifies features of the Late Archaic with those of the 'Strenger Stil' (Winkelmann) and thus bearing first lines of the Classic.

(d) The movable stag: Some notes on a possible solution
Schwerdhöfer tries a reconstruction of the mechanics of the famous movable stag. That has been tried already previously, f.e. 1880 by Petersen, 1904 by Schmidt and 1991 by Schürmann. All these attempts were not satisfying and at last it was noticed: "Over the kind of this mechanism has much been puzzled; to solve this question will be probably impossible." (B.K.Weis) All the more interesting it is that here a new attempt is made which for the first time uses the method of Construction Systematics which was developed in the last 60 years as an own engeenering science.

Here we have a rough draft of his line of thought which performs in 5 steps:
(1) Evaluation of the ancient sources to determine the basic principle
Referring to the description of Plinius we have a standing stag. His description and the fact that the stag after 600 years, carrying off and re-installation was fully operative is evidence of robust techniques and speaks for an one-piece stag without internal mechanics.
(2) Determination of the basic principle of the device
The stag is moved by a mechanism so that he can lift alternately his hindlegs and forelegs and bounce back when he touches down the feet.
(3) Formulation of partial functions and quest for structural elements to perform the partial functions
Important terms were defined: pivot, bearing and centre of gravity. As partial functions are needed slewing (geometry and bearing) and manipulation (power source and  control elements). For slewing there are 2 possibilities: common pivot for both pairs of hoofs, or separate pivot for hindlegs and forelegs.
With this we have the following leading points (a):
I. Pivot on the middle vertical line:
   - Bearing in the range of the middle vertical line
   - Bearing on the circular arc of the hoofs
   - Bearing outside the circular arc of the hoofs
II. Pivot on the hoofs:
    - without lateral shift
    - with lateral shift
and the following different criteria (b):
I. Pivot beneat the base line
II. Pivot on the base line
III. Pivot above the baseline
IV. Pivot at the body
(4) Combination of these solution elements in a morphological box
The 4 different criteria and the 5 leading points were combined in a 4x5 matrix (morphological box) which gives 20 solution fields. 8 of them can be eliminated immediately because they are technically impossible. The other 12 were now discussed one after the other taking into account literary criteria (Plinius), art history criteria (relief, coins) and technical criteria like stability (very important!), inseparability of the stag from the hand, manufacturability in ancient times, optical impression, but also features like raising of the feet, rebound effect, manipulation and loss of friction in the bearing. All these critera were evaluated in a scale from -2 (unfavourable) to +2 (favourable)
(5) Discussion and valuation of the solutions and removal resp. reduction of realized lacks
After all his consideration he comes to the result that his solution no.13 matches best all criteria. Here the stag moves around a pivot on the hoofs. If he lifts the forelegs the bearing is on the hindlegs and lifting the hindlegs it is on the forelegs. To do that under the hoofs were claw-shaped attachments and in the palm of the hand indentations with a bolt which fit the attachments. By an easily arranged lock it can be achieved that the stag is unremovable from the hand (please take a look at the pics!). The most simple transmission element for manual power is a string. This reconstruction is robust, longlasting, easily to establish and easily to operate. The stag has the claws which Plinius has mentioned which interfere in the hand, and the hoofs can rebound as described.
.
Clarified by classical studies should be the function of the Apollo statue. Was it a 'toy', accessible for everyone, or was it manipulated by an adept, hidden behind a wall? Or could it be used by pilgrims, who can't distinguish between both cable controls for the movement, for forecasting or decisions depending on wether the stag lifted his hindlegs or forelegs?

I have added
(1) 2 sketches of the stag showing how the claws under the hoofs interfere in the hand of Apollo.
(2) A sketch showing the run of the cable controls. We see the possibility of 2 cables Z1 and Z2 to move the legs or the possibility of only one cable where the stag is moved back by his own gravity.
(3) A sketch of the Apollo statue how it could have stood before a wall, with an invisible operator behind.

Sources:
- Der Kleine Pauly
- Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie
- Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
- Jennifer Lynn Larson, Ancient Greek Cults
- V.M. Strocka, Der Apollon des Kanachos in Didyma und der Beginn des Strengen
  Stils
- Reinhold Merkelbach, Weisse KNAXZBI-Milch, in Philologica - Kleine ausgewählte
  Schriften
- H. J. Schwerdhöfer, Eine Methode zur Rekonstruktion antiker Mechaniken erläutert
   an der Apollon-Philesios-Statue des Kanachos ,in Thetis, Mannheimer Beiträge zur
   klassischen Archäologie und Geschichte Griechenlands und Zyperns, Band 10 (2003)
- Wikipedia

BTW I would be happy to hear some comments on this article. It has me cost two weeks of work and some money to obtain the needed literature.

Best regards
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« Reply #293 on: July 27, 2009, 02:11:03 pm »

The Greek Sphinx

Working about Greek riddles I recognized - a bit surprised - that there is yet no article about the Greek Sphinx in this thread. That should be caught up now. An article about the Egyptian Sphinx - highly appreciated - could be read here  http://www.numismatikforum.de/ftopic11926-240.html

The following coin was presented already in the article about the Sibyl Herophile on the obv. Now it is the rev. standing in the centre. The myth of the Greek Sphinx belongs to the best-known of the Greek mythology. All the more I hope to present yet unknown to you!

The coin:
Troas, Gergis, quasi-autonomous, 400-241 BC
AE 9, 0.98g
obv. Bust of Sibyll Herophile, looking frontally, laureate, decorated with two longish
        ear-pendants and a pearl necklace
rev. Female Sphinx, winged, std. r.
       in r. field GER
ref. SNG von Aulock 1513; BMC 2-4
Rare, F+/about VF

Mythology:
The best-known story of the Thebanian Sphinx is told as follows:
Hera was in anger with the Thebans because king Laios - seen as inventor of homosexuality (by others it was Orpheus) - has abducted Chrysippos, son of Pelops and nymph Astyoche - during the Nemean Games because of his beauty. Therefore she sent the Sphinx like an Angel of Death to punish them (according to others it was Dionysos who sent the Sphinx). The Sphinx was the daughter of Typhon and Echidna, who has brought to world several monsters: the Kerberos, the Hydra, the Nemean Lion, the Chimaira, Skylla and Gorgo and some more.

From the furthest parts of Ethopia the Sphinx came flown to Thebens and set down on the Phikion mountain near Thebens and harassed the people heavily. After having learned many riddles by the Muses she asked the Thebans the following: What's that which has only one name and became four-footed, two-footed and three-footed?

The oracle has told the Thebans that they were freed from the plague not before they have solved the riddle. So many Thebans went to the Sphinx and tried to solve it. But because they didn't succeed the Sphinx catched them, tore them to pieces and devoured them. Yes, she went to Thebens herself and asked the Thebans in the streets and on the places, and gorged the unlucky people here as well.

Meanwhile Laios was killed - without being recognized - by his son Oidipus, and his brother Kreon has come to the throne of Thebens. When now even his own son Haimon was killed by the Sphinx and she threatened Kreon himself he proclaimed publicly that any who could solve the riddle should have his sister Iokaste (sometimes called Epikaste) as wife and the kingdom as well.

In this moment came Oidipus and solved the riddle: It is man, borne four-footed, grown up he is two-footed and aged he took a staff as third foot. Hearing that the Sphinx jumped down from her rock to death. And Oidipus got the promised price.

The seer Teiresias however charged him in Sophokles' drama 'King Oidipus', that he indeed was able to solve the riddle of the Sphinx, but not the riddle of his own existence: "You look around and don't see, how you stand in the malady, not where you live, and not with whom you live. Do you know, from whom you are?"

There are other versions too of this mythology. Pausanias f.e. reports:
The Sphinx has been a natural daughter of king Laios. Because of his love to her he has told her the solution of the riddle. Once it was communicated to Kadmos and only the kings themselves have known it. This knowledge then passed over to Iokaste and her children. Now Laios had several sons by his concubines. Every time, when one of them came to Sphinx and claimed his right for the kingdom, she told him that if he was the legitime successor to the throne he would be able to solve the riddle. If not he would lose his life because he wanted to capture the kingdom unauthorizedly. Finally came Oidipus who was told the oracle in a dream.

Background:
Naturally the Greek Sphinx is originated from the Egyptian Sphinx. She came to Greece by mediation of the Cretan-Mycenian culture, but was taken over in a free form. She has made a change of meaning by mixing up with creatures of the old people's mythology: Empusas, Lamias, Harpyias, Sirens and other weird spooky shapes. The Sphinges were demons of death and used as apotropaion, heraldic animal, at sanctuaries and on graves, or only ornamentically. The Thebanian Sphinx stick up from them as individualized figure.

Homer didn't know her. She was mentioned first by Hesiod. In his Boiotian dialect she was called Phix. Therefore the mountain near Thebens is named Phikion = the Sphingian mountain. Only later this became Sphix and then Sphinx, possibly to connect it with sphingein = to strangle. A proper name for a monster, however she didn't strangle her victims, but tore and gorged them. In 'Der kleine Pauly' this derivation is called  only little plausible, because the S as initial sound seems to be the primary; cf. Egyptian ssp-'nh. As female being she occured first in c.750 BC and the first depiction we find on an Attic black-figured Vase of Archikles and Glauketes in 550 BC. Here she is named explicitly SPHIXS.
Appolodor describes her as a winged lion with the head of a human wife. In the first time she had sickle-shaped wings, later on bird's wings, sometimes with a serpent's tail.

The famous Riddle of the Sphinx actually is a typical motive of fairy tales, known about the whole world: Achieving the bride by conquering a monster and its following self-destruction. The Greeks - loving riddles (ainigmata) passionately - called this kind of riddles a griphon. It is first mentioned on a vase of 470-460 BC in the form of an hexameter. So possibly from the 'Oidipodia', a lost work, from which are found elements at Sophokles and others. Recorded it is in two fragments of Euripides' 'Oidipus', also a lost work. The same riddle is known from Zakynthos and on Lesbos. A second riddle is reported too: "Who are the two sisters, who create themselves alternately?" The answer is: Day and Night!

I have found a nice explanation of the myth at Palaiphatos which I want to share. Palaiphatos - about whom we don't know much - lived at the time of Alexander the Great and has explained in his work 'Peri apiston istorion' (= unbelievable stories) the old myths rationalistically. Just of the myth of the Sphinx he made fun. So he asks:  Why the Thebans have not easily shot the Spinx instead of looking how many fellows she gorged? Or: Why it was possible to fall to death when she had wings? In reality the story was so: When Kadmos came to Thebens and settled there he has an Amazon as wife named Sphinx. But when he married Harmonia, Sphinx out of jealousy has gathered a troop of Kadmeans and went with them to the Sphinx mountain to fight Kadmos. The Greek word for riddle (ainigma) in Boiotian language means 'ambush'. The insidious attacks of the Sphinx by this misunderstanding have generated the myth of the riddle. Finally the Sphinx was overwhelmed at night by Oidipus because Kadmos has allured him with rich promises.

Later erotic moments slipped into the image of the Sphinx. Especially at the Symbolists of the 19th century. For the psychoanalysts she sometimes stands for the erotically attracting, intellectual superior - but cruel too - personification of the female nature, terrifying man.

I have added:
(1) the pic of a red-figured Attic Kylix from Vulci, 480-470 BC, ascribed to the Oidipus painter, Vatican, Museo Gregoriano Etrusco. It shows Oidipus as traveller with petasos in front of the Sphinx seated on a column, when he listens to her riddle.
(2) a pic of the oil painting 'Oedipus et Sphinx', AD 1808, from Jean Auguste Dominiques Ingres (1780-1867), the great French painter, Louvre/Paris. Here we see the same scene from the viewpoint of a classicist.
(3) a pic of the painting 'The Sphinx or The Caresses', 1896, from the Belgian symbolist Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921), today in the Musee Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.

Sources:
Der Kleine Pauly
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie
Sophokles, Oedipus Tyrannus
Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague, Lexikon der antiken Götter und Heroen in der Kunst
http://www.theoi.com/Gallery/M18.3.html
http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~loxias/sphinx.htm
Palaiphatos, Unglaubliche Geschichten, in: Brodersen, Die Wahrheit über die griechischen Mythen

Best regards
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« Reply #294 on: August 05, 2009, 09:53:53 am »

Derketo and Triton(?)

I have hesitated for a longer time to post this article because I doubted wether my conclusions were true. But after deeper research I think that they are at least plausible. And what more you can expect on this subject?

Palestine, Askalon, Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161
AE 27, 16.52g
struck AD 156/57 (year 260 of the era of Ascalon)
obv. ANTWNINOC - SEBASTOS
      Head, laureate, r.
rev. ACKA[LWN] - ZC (year 260)
      Derketo in long garment, puff og garment over l. arm, [crescent on head,] stg.
      frontal, head l., holding long sceptre in l. hand and dove on extended r. hand; at her
      feet Triton in several coils swimming l., holding cornucopiae with both hands.
ref. BMC Palestine, p.130, 197; Rosenberger 184 var. (different date); SNG ANS 723
      var. (different date)
about VF, brown patina, slightly rough
Pedigree:
ex CNG electronic auction 168, lot 197
ex coll. J.S.Wagner
Note: This rev. motiv is known too for Severus, Diadumenian and Elagabal.
CNG writes:
Triton and dove suggest that the main figure is Derketo, a Phoenikian fertility goddess with relations to Astarte and Aphrodite, proving that there was an unbroken  syncretism until imperial times.
 
BTW Derketo was named already once in the article about Atargatis in this thread.

(1) Derketo
It is said that Derketo has been a princess of the oldest noble family of the Assyrians, who later was worshipped as deity. Once she has insulted Aphrodite and was punished by her with a passionate improper love to a young Syrian. When she was pregnant by him with her daughter Semiramis she killed him and exposures the new born babe. She herself jumped into a lake near Askalon where she was turned into a fish. When Semiramis was found no one knows her origin. But her precious clothes suggest a noble parentage, and the fact that she was nursed several months by doves proves that she was a favourite of the gods. She was called 'daughter of the air'. She later became world-famous because of her Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. At the place where Derketo has sunk into the lake the Syrians erected a gorgeous temple. She was depicted as maiden ending in a fish body.

Derketo seems to be the same as Atargatis and as Astarte. The difference between them is that Atargatis was described as fish goddess whereas Astarte was not. Even more this is the case with Derketo whose name is seen as variation of Atargatis. Both were depicted as woman with fish body. Her main location of worshipping was Askalon. Later some imagination was added that she has been a Syrian queen Gatis. Because she liked to eat fish she has ordered that nobody except she herself was allowed to eat fish, hence Atargatis, meaning 'except Gatis.' A typical people's etymology! Her reign was so stern that all captured fishes must have been brought to her so that she alone could eat them. Later the priests have placed boiled and fried fish in front of her cult-statue and then eaten it themselves. In fact the fishes were worshipped like deities. (Diod. Sic.)

Besides the sceptre her attributes were the fish and the dove.

(2) Triton
On the rev. of this coin Derketo is depicted together wit a sea-monster described as Triton. According to most of the mythographs Triton was the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, according to others son of Okeanos and Thetis, but son of Nereus too.
Referring to Hesiod he lived with his parents in a golden palace in the depth of the sea. The myth of the Argonauts placed him at the coast of Libya. When their ship, Argo, ran ashore  at the Small Syrte the crew dragged the ship to the lake Triton, from where Triton, the local god, dragged it across the desert back to the Mediterranean (Apoll. Rhod.). Triton is depicted as man to the hip with the tail of a fish. His main attribute is the coiled shell of a sea-snail, called after him Horn of Triton (Charonia tritonis Linne), but sometimes the trident of Poseidon too or a shield. He was the trumpeter of Poseidon and was able to stir the sea waves by the sound of his horn or to calm them again. The sound from his conch shell horn was so terrible that it puts the Giants to flight when she tried to attack the gods. This was his proud and joy. When once Misenos, the trumpeter of Aeneas, challenged him for a contest he out of jealousy has thrown him into the sea. They say that Poseidon has brought him Amymone.

Triton seems to be the same who - referring to a Boiotian myth - ambushed the cattle which came to the beach for drinking and raped it, sometimes even attacking the small fishermen's boats. Finally the people placed a vessel full of wine on the beach which attracted him quickly. When he had drunk he fell asleep and the people cut his head with an axe. This happened near Tanagra (Pausan. Boiot.).

In the course of time Triton became the name of an entire class of individuals. This happened too to Pan and Silen. Male and female Tritons are mentioned in the plural and were usually companions of sea deities.

Probably the concept of Triton has its origin in the Phoenician fish-deities.

During my research the doubt was growing wether it was really Triton on this coin of Askalon. I couldn't find any depiction where Triton holds a cornucopiae as attribute! And because I'm not believing in the arbitrariness of attributes I was looking for another more reliable explanation. And I think I have found it. It is Dagon!

(3) Dagon
Dagon was a major northwest Semitic god, the god of grain and agriculture, worshipped by the early Amorites, by the people of Ebla, by the people of Ugarit and probably the chief god of the Phoenicians. He is identical with Marnas which is his name in Greek (look at the article about Marnas in this thread). He is mentioned in the Old Testament f.e. 1. Sam. 5, 1.; Book of Judges 16, 23. Because 'dag' is fish in Hebrew it is understandable that Dagon is depicted in the shape of a fish, and so he joins Atargatis or Derketo and can be - besides the female - a male principle of life and eternal reproduction. BTW Atargatis is said to has a son named Ichthys (Greek = fish), a fact that too belongs to this connection.

Sadly the etymology is not quite clear. Whereas one theory derives his name from the Hebrew dag, meaning 'fish', another theory has its origin in Ugarit dgn 'grain', meaning the same in Hebrew. Philo Bybl. therefore calls him 'Siton' as inventor of grain and plough and equates him with Zeus Arotrios (= Zeus the plougher).

The god Dagon first appears in extant records about 2500 BC in Mari texts and in personal Amorite names in which the gods El, Dagan and Adad are especially common. At Ebla Dagan was the head of the city pantheon comprising some 200 deities. His consort was known only as 'Lady'. One entire quarter of Ebla was named after Dagan.

An interesting early reference to Dagan occurs in a letter to King Zimri-Lan of Mari, 18th century BC written by Itur-Asduu, governor of Nahur. It relates to a dream of a man of Shaka in which Dagan has appeared. In the dream Dagan blamed Zimri-Lim's failure to subdue the king of the Yaminites upon Zimri-Lim's failure to bring a report of his deeds do Dagan in Terqa. Dagan promises that when Zimri-Lim has done so: "I will have the kings of the Yaminites cooked on a fisherman's spit, and I will lay them before you."

Around 1300 BC Dagon had a large temple in Ugarit  and was listed third in the pantheon following a father-god and El, and preceding Baal (= Hadad/Adad). Here we have finally some fragments of a myth: He was the son of Uranos and Ge, brother of El/Kronos, of Baitylos and Atlas. But he was not the true father of Hadad. Hadad was begotten by Uranos on a concubine before he was castrated by his son El/Kronos whereupon the pregnant concubine was given to Dagon. In this version Dagon was Hadad's stepfather. Otherwise we have no surviving mythology of Dagon.

Dagan is mentioned occasionally in early Sumerian texts but becomes prominent only in later Akkadian inscriptions as a powerful and warlike protector. In the preface to Hammurabi's law code, King Hammurabi calls himself: "the subduer of the settlements along the Euphrates with the help of Dagan, his creator". In an Assyrian poem Dagan appears as a judge of the dead. A late Babylonian text makes him the underworld prison warder.

The fishgod motif is found in Assyrian and Phoenician art including coins from Ashdod and Arvad. It seemed reasonable that the chief god of a coastal folk like the Palestines might be so imaged. As sea-monster Dagon too appears in the 1st book of John Milton's 'Lost Paradise''. However no findings have ever explicitly supported the merman interpretation, though nothing actually denies it.

So the 'Triton' on the rev. of this coin is probably a reminiscence of Dagon, the companion of Derketo, whose depiction naturally is influenced by Greek conceptions.

I have added a pic of the Triton Fountain at the Piazza Barberini in Rome, created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini AD 1643. Upon four dolphins the bearded Triton rises and  from his conch shell horn he spouts a water fountain into the air.

Sources:
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
W.H.Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie (online)
Wihelm Vollmer, Lexikon der Mythologie (online)
Der kleine Pauly
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atargatis
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Lofts/2938/deasyria-intro.html
http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Triton.html
http://www.bible-history.com/past/dagon.html
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/d/dagon2.html

Best regards
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« Reply #295 on: August 29, 2009, 05:49:39 pm »

Juno Martialis

One of the most remarkable coins we find at Trebonianus Gallus and his son Volusian. It is the type with the rev. legend IVNO MARTIALIS. This legend doesn't occur in the time before nor in the time after him. I confess that I will not be able to unravel the mystery, but I have compiled what was thought about it in the past. Peculiarly all works I found are from the 19th century. I couldn't find more recent works. But I have added some suggestion which should be new. I hope that this article can give you an impression what this is about at all. But first three specimens:

#1
Trebonianus Gallus, AD 251-253
AR - Antoninianus, 3.53g, 20.70mm
Antiochia, AD 251-253
obv. IMP CC VIB TREB GALLVS AVG
Bust, draped and cuirassed, radiate, r.
beneath bust 4 dots
rev. IVNO MARTIALIS
Iuno Martialis, in long garment, std. l. on throne, holding in l. arm transverse sceptre and in r. hand pair
of grain-ears(?)
in ex. 3 dots
ref. RIC V/1, (Antiochia) 83, pl. 13, 18; C.47
Scarce, VF+, slightly toned
The dots are probably the officina numbers. We see that the obv. die was made by the 4th officina and the rev. die by the 3rd officina.

#2
Trebonianus Gallus, AD 251-253
AR - Antoninianus, 3.19g, 23.24mm
Antiochia, AD 251-253
obv. IMP CC VIB TREB GALLVS AVG
Bust, draped and cuirassed, radiate, r.
rev. IVNO MARTIALIS
Iuno Martialis, in long garment, std. l. on throne, holding in l. arm transverse sceptre and in r. hand pair
of grain-ears(?)
ref. RIC V/1, (Mediolanum) 69, pl. 13, 15; C.46
about VF/F+, slightly toned, flan crack at 2 o'clock

#3
Trebonianus Gallus, AD 251-253
AR - Antoninianus, 2.95g, 22.53mm
Antiochia, AD 251-253
obv. IMP CC VIB TREB GALLVS AVG
Bust, draped and cuirassed, radiate, r.
rev. IVNO MARTIALIS
Iuno Martialis, in long garment, std. l. on throne, holding in l. arm transverse sceptre and in r. hand pair
of grain-ears(?)
ref. RIC V/1, (Mediolanum) 69, pl. 13, 15; C.46
about VF/F+, slightly toned, flan damage on rev. at 6 o'clock

(1) About the attribute:

Grain-ears
The usual description of the object in the r. hand of Juno is 'grain-ears', in RIC correctly provided with a question mark. Pichler writes: "As I kann see on originals - even on less conserved ones - it is obvious: for a single ear the elaboration is too massive; the attribute is hold downwards; it's broader at the top, thinner at the bottom and looks in principle like a slightly opened pair of compasses of hand length. That there are other specimens showing ears I don't want to deny."

So we have coins where the object looks like ears, f.e. coin #1 from Antiochia, and others where it looks rather like a pair of tongs, f.e coin #2 and #3 from Mediolanum. Now the coins showing grain-ears usually were struck in Antiochia whereas the coins with the characteristic different type came from Mediolanum. Because the temple with the statue of Juno Martialis was located in Rome, I think that the die-cutters in Italy should be better informed what this attribute really was and how it actually looks than their colleagues in Antiochia. The objection - which often could be read - that it was actually a pair of grain-ears and that the die-cutters of the different looking coins have no more understood the sense of the attribute is not convincing. Grain-ears were depicted on many coins all over the Empire. What should be misunderstood? This very objection turns actually against the interpretation as grain-ears. What indeed could be misunderstood that is the unusual depiction of a pair of tongs, scissors or a double knife, which then because of lack of knowledge were depicted as grain-ears. Iconographically grain-ears occur at Ceres, Annona, Tellus and Ops, and some more. But looking at these grain-ears you see immediately the differences.

Another argument against the hypothesis of grain-ears is the epitheton 'Martialis', meaning 'warlike', in any case establishes a relation to Mars. So one must be puzzled that the 'warlike Juno' should have grain-ears in her hand, which is not really warlike. It's not convincíng at all and to put it briefly: grain-ears are obsolete!

Therefore I began to search for alternatives. In the first part of the article I will present the different interpretation with some comments. I want to start with the earliest description of this type which comes from the famous archaeologist Johannes Joachim Winckelmann:

Winckelmann: Tongs as military operation
Wickelmann (AD 1717-1768) was the supervisor of the ancient monuments in Rome and the very founder of archaeology. He writes about a find: "Between the goddesses on the mentioned Etrurian altar especially a Juno should be noticed, who holds with both hands a great pair of tongs, and was depicted by the Greeks in the same way. That was Juno Martialis and the tongs indicate probably a special kind of battle formation called tongs, forceps, and it was called fighting like tongs, forcipe et serra proeliari, if an army in a battle split in such a manner that it could grasp the enemy in the middle and could open the formation in the battle so that it could attack the enemy from behind too."
But against Winckelmann's suggestion Visconti (Mus. Pio-Clem. t.6.p.6. et 85.) has already stated that the figure with tongs in its hands originally was Vulcanus who has lost his upper part and has become a female deity only by an ignorant addition.

Roscher: Obstetric forceps
Roscher, in his monumental work, suggests, that Iuno Martialis like Iuno Lucina or the Greek Eileithya has been a goddess of delivery, if her attribute which she holds in her r. hand (like the ancient Hera statue in Argos) could be verified without doubts as an obstetric forceps. A statue with this attribute was said to have stood in Argos, but Pausanias has not seen it. I think this interpretation is a bit devious because it misses the warlike attitude of the epitheton Martialis.

Visconti: Bunch of herbs
G.B.Visconti (AD 1722-1784), successor of Winckelmann as supervisor of the ancient monuments in Rome, identifies twice -when he spoke of the three-sided Borghesian altar, which was described by Winckelmann - the scissors as groppo d'erbe, bunch of herbs, (Museo Pio-Clementino T.VI.p.86 and in Monumenti Gabini p.215).
According to an ancient myth Juno has born Mars solely by the touch of this herbs.
That's why she was called Martialis. General opinion was that the parents of Mars were Jupiter and Juno (Hesiod Theog.v.921; Apollodor). But a few said that Juno has born Mars alone without any help by Jupiter because she wanted to give him back the affront that he has created Minerva alone out of his head. Mars has been conceived by the touch of a flower which has the goddess Flora has given to her. (Ovid. Fast. V.v.229). This myth is relative young und shall have been originated by Latin poets (Hederich). This story is today naturally often told by feminists!

Lenormant: The scissors of the Fates
Lenormant (nouv. gal. mythol. 76, explanation to pl. 10, 13, 14) interprets the scissors as symbol of the Fates like the shearing knife of the Lysippean Kairos. There are actually coin types from Mediolanum where Juno holds a tripartite object so that each of the Fates might have been accommodated. Trebonianus was in need of war fortune, Lenormant explains, and an amicable relationship to the Fates would be highly appreciated. But W.H.Smith, who reports this interpretation, holds the scissors of the Fates in this sense as far too little active.  

Pichler: The scissors as warlike instrument
Pichler too holds Juno's attribute for scissors but he interprets the scissors more warlike and ressembles in this sense the opinion of Winckelmann. He reminds that scissors, forfex, not only mean a peaceful kitchen instrument. There are indeed depictions on intaglios or Pompejan wall paintings where scissors are used for cutting flowers. But this peaceful instrument can't be suggusted here. The Forfex in the r. hand of the goddess can't be called Forficula, because in relation to the entire figure it is at least of hand length if not arm length. The peaks are separated in an angle. So the shape of a V is indicated which is called forfex if it is a unit of troops which is arranged in this shape. Flav. Renatus Vegetius (epit. inst, rei militar. III, 18), a Roman military writer, has worked about that lengthily. This military arrangement has the purpose to attack the enemy - advancing in the shape of a cuneus - from both sides in the flank. Wether Trebonianus really has used this tactics is not known. But around AD 375 (Vegetius) is was a known maneuver.

Eckhel: Hair cutting shears
The great Eckhel was the first one who recognized in Juno's attribute hair cutting shears. He supports his argument by learned quotations, summing up in these words: "At vero iterum aio nummos huius argumenti copiosos, et nitidissimos musei Caesarei certam nobis forficulam offerre." Here is the background: According to the Eudocia Violarium of Villoison it is told that in the temple of the Argivan Hera has stood a statue with scissors. This was a symbol of cleanliness because with the scissors the hairs were cut and this promotes the cleanliness of the body. The same is said by Suidas about Hera and by Codinus too in his desription of Constantinopolis (p.44.ed.Lugd). It is remarkable that this ancient type of the Argivan Juno was brought out under the Roman emperor Treboninanus and his son Volusian when in AD 251 a big  plague devastated the provinces, and was depicted frequently on coins, obviously to demonstrate that the plague could be fighted by hygienic activities. Juno usually throning in a small round temple - but without her temple too like here - is holding in l. hand her sceptre and in her r. hand scissors or better a double knife, which was used in the same way, but often is called a pair of grain-ears in error. But so as Winckelmann erred of course in calling the figure of Vulcanus on that altar Juno with tongs so for sure they are barber shears, occuring at several Greek writers and in anagrams of the Analektes (a kind of anthologies), which were used for cutting hairs and often for beards too instead of a shear knife. The Greek poet used the term phalis. However the term scissors or shears is inappropiate. This instrument (machairai kourides, Pollux II.32.X.140. s.Sabina, or the Toilette of A Roman Lady,
Th.I. S.313.Th.II.S.60.f.), consisted of two knifes which joined with their sharpnesss and should be called better double knife.

In this times Juno was usually allegorized according to the Stoic point of view with the air between sky and earth. And from here it was said originate all desease miasmas.
Juno might appear at that juncture a deity whose aid ought to be propitiated, because, according to Tullius "The air which floats between the skies and the ocean is consecrated to the name of Juno; and it was this region (or element) which, having contracted some taint, brought destruction on men". Now it is needful to explain two new concepts: The Four Element Theory and the Miasma Theory.

The Four Element Theory
The theory of the four elements fire, water, earth and air goes back probably to the Greek natural philosopher Empedokles (c.494 BC -  434 BC). He has introduced the four elements as gods and has already assigned Hera to the air. His theory has been developed later, f.e. by Platon (Krat. 404c), Aristoteles and not least by the Stoics. Then in Alexandria it got by its usual connection to religion a spiritual touch and became a secret lore (esoterism). Juno was responsible for the lower thick air, Jupiter for the upper thin air, or she for the 'Aer' and Jupither for the 'Aether' (Phurnus. de N.D. c.3; Cicero de N.D. I.II.c.26). The anagramatic relation is obvious if Greek letters were used: HRA - AHR!

The Miasma Theory
This concept, going back to Hippokrates of Kos (460 BC-375 BC), states that epidemias arises by noxious evaporations coming out of the ground, were carried away by the air and thus propagate deseases. This theory was still common in the 19th century, until Robert Koch in AD 1884 convincingly demonstrated by his pur cultures the connection between the Cholera bacterium and the Cholera desease.
There is no need to mocking about that. Max von Pettenkofer f.e. was a convinced supporter of the Miasma Theory and trying to falsify Koch he swallowed a pure culture of Cholera bacteria without falling sick. Today we know that he as pathologist was immun. Nevertheless he succeeded with his Miasma Theory in fighting the Cholera pandemia of AD 1892 in Munich by sanifying the Munich wastewater system from which the miasmas are said to come from the ground!

One should consider that Böttiger has written his paper in AD 1826, so long before the discovery of bacteria by Pasteur or the proof by Koch that they are actually the cause of deseases. Until that time the Miasma Theory was widespread and the people was open for this concept, a fact difficult to understand by us 'enlightened' people today.

If we want to evaluate and judge the meaning of the depiction correctly we must look at the time in which she was done. Gallus' short reign was overshadowed continously by desasters. But the most worst of all was the awfull plague, an epidemia that killed too his Co-emperor Hostilian, the son of Trajan Decius. This epidemia raged one and a half decades in the entire Roman Empire, devasted the provinces and led to heavy losses of people and in the army.

(will be continued)
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« Reply #296 on: September 11, 2009, 03:40:12 pm »

(continued)


(2) About the name:
Now we have to talk about the name MARTIALIS, which gives us another riddle.
Literally martialis means 'belonging to Mars' (Georges) or 'sacred to Mars' (Stowasser). So it is not automatically equal to 'warlike', but naturally this meaning resonates too.
a) The relation to Mars results from the myth that Juno is the mother of Mars. Festus testifies that Mars as Mars Gradivus, who is foregoing the battle, has rised from the grass. The grass was sacred to Mars, mentioned Servius (ad Aen.XII, 119). If the grass was sacred to Mars then it is possible that the unclear object in Juno's hand could be a vegetable object. If we recall the parthogenetic birth myth of Mars with the aid of a flower then Juno could signifying fertility.
b) Related with the explanation of Juno as fertility goddess is the opinion that this coin was struck in honour of Baebiana who was the wife of Trebonianus but never got the title Augusta, because she had to abandon the title in favour of Herennia Etrusca. A so-called consolation may be. Devious I think.
c) Another explanation understands under the term Martialis simply the 'Juno of March' because her festival was celebrated on March 7th on the Campus Martius. I think that this explanation is a bit superficial. I think Juno Martialis has played an important role for Trebonianus. And the most important event in his life was the plague which threatened the Empire basically. Therefore the connection of a such important deity for the emperor only with a mere date seems indeed to be featureless.
d) Then we have the claim that Juno Martialis is equated with Juno Perusina, Juno of Perugia. Perugia in Etruria, one of the important cities of the Twelve Etruscan Cities, was the home of Trebonianus, which got many privileges from the emperor. Already Octavian has brought the goddess to Rome where she was said to be called Iuno Perusina Martialis. That's historically possible, but doesn't help us to explain her name or her attribute at all. I have read too that she was warshipped already since the Rape of the Sabine Women.
e) So we come to the last explanation of her name as 'warlike', even though indirect by her relation as mother of Mars. That has something sounding well. But then we had to interpret the attribute as warlike too in one or the other way. Mighty in the struggle against plague, that would match the interpretation which I prefer. That Iuno Martialis is connected to the plague now should be obvious I hope.

The festival of Juno Martialis was - already mentioned - celebrated on March 7th on the Campus Martius. But her temple according to Sext. Rufus stood on the Forum Romanum. Sadly until today no remains of her temple have been found which could shed some light on our problem.

Summary
The resume of most of the scholars is resignating. Eckhel writes: "But why Juno is in this instance called Martialis, I have not been as yet able satisfactorily to ascertain." Overbeck (Griech. Kunstmythologie 1873, Hera p.155-157) prefers "to accept Juno Martialis - especially because of her changing and unclear attributes - as an unsolved riddle which to solve we have not much hope even in future because of the singularity of her entire appearance". But even if we have without new archaeological or epigraphical discoveries little hope to solve the riddle the connection with the terrific events of its time, plague and war, corresponds most naturally with the conception of powerof Juno and Mars. They together with all other Olympian gods were invoked to stay the plague which has afflicted the empire.

I have added a pic from the 19th century, which shows an allegory of the Cholera epidemia. The pic from an unknown artist is now in the National Library of Medicine, Washington/USA.

Sources:
- Pausanias, Buch I, Argos
- Cicero, De natura deorum
- Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
- Michael Grant, Die römischen Kaiser
online:
- Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums,
- Karl August Böttiger, Ideen zur Kunst-Mythologie, 1826
- William Henry Smith, Descriptive catalogue of a cabinet of Roman imperial large-
  brass medals, 1834
- S. W. Stevenson, A Dictionary of Roman Coins, 1889
- W.H.Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie
- http://www.roman-emperors.org/trebgall.htm
- Dr. Fritz Pichler; Numismatische Zeitschrift, Band 5 (1873), Wien, S.92-101
- http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Joachim_Winckelmann
- http://www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/viscontig.htm

Best regards
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« Reply #297 on: September 11, 2009, 03:44:00 pm »

Some notes on the Phoenix

I know that we have talked several times about the Phoenix, especially in connection with the FEL TEMP REPARATIO series. But a profound article in this thread is still missing.

The coin:
Egypt, Alexandria, Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161
AE - tetradrachm, 11.44g, 22mm
struck AD 138/9 (year 2)
obv. [AV]T [KT AIL ADR] - [AN]TWN[INOC EVCEB]
        Bare head r.
rev. AI - WN
       Phoenix, nimbate, stg. r.
       in l. and r. field L - B (year 2)
ref. Milne 1603; Geissen 1291; Dattari 2430
Rare, F+, slightly porous
pedigree:
ex CNG electronic auction 219, lot 386
ex coll. Jörg Möller
AIWN = eternity

Mythology:
The origin of the mythology of the magic bird Phoenix is Egypt. Here the bird Benu, a purple heron, played an important role. During the flood of the Nile, this beautiful, bluish bird rests on high places and resembles the sun floating over the waters. Therefore this bird was associated with the sun god Ra, whose soul it was thought to be. Especially venerated was the Benu in Heliopolis, the "city of the Sun".
According to the Heliopolitan myth, the Benu had created itself from a fire that was burned on the holy jsd-tree in the sacred precinct of the temple of Ra. It had rested on a pillar that was known as the bnbn-stone. The priests showed this pillar to visitors, who considered this the most holy place on earth. In another myth, the famous bird was associated with the god Osiris, who had once renewed itself. It was said that the Benu had sprung from the god's heart.

The name Benu is related to the verb wbn in Egyptian texts meaning 'to rise brilliantly' or 'to shine'. In the last period the hieroglyph of the bird was used directly for the sun-god. As symbol for the rise and decline of the sun it was master of the royal jubilee. And naturally it was connected with the Nile flood and the Creation. Standing alone on isolated rocks of islands of high ground during the floods the heron represented the first life to appear on the primeval mound which rose from the watery chaos at the first creation. This mound was called ben-ben. It was the Benu's cry at the creation of the world and thus marking the beginning of time. So the Benu was the got of time and its divisions - hours, day, night, weeks and years. Therefore the Benu was connected very early with the calendar and the temple of the Benu was indeed well known for its time-keeping devices (clepshydrae, water meters) and its priest was responsible for the calendar.

The first Greek known to have mentioned the Phoenix, meaning 'the brilliant', was Hesiod (c.700 BC), who stresses the Phoenix's longevity of 972 human lifes, almost 100000 years! And then we have the famous description of Herodot (490/480 - c.424 BC), which probably based on Hekataios: 'There is also another sacred bird called the Phoenix, which I did not myself see except in painting, for in truth he comes to the Egyptians very rarely, at intervals, as the people of Heliopolis say, of five hundred years. They say that he comes regularly when his father dies; and if he be like the painting, he is of this size and nature, that is to say, some of his feathers are of gold color and others red, and in outline and size he is as nearly as possible like an eagle. This bird, they say (but I cannot believe the story), contrives as follows: Setting forth from Arabia he conveys his father, they say, to the temple of the Sun plastered up in myrrh, and buries him in the temple of the Sun. He conveys him thus. He forms first an egg of myrrh as large as he is able to carry, and then he makes trial of carrying it, and when he has made trial sufficiently, then he hollows out the egg and places his father within it and plasters over with other myrrh that part of the egg where he hollowed it out to put his father in, and when his father is laid in it, it proves (they say) to be of the same weight as it was; and after he has plastered it up, he conveys the whole to Egypt to the temple of the Sun. Thus they say that this bird does.'

Only later sources tell us that the Phoenix burned itself, and was born again from the flames. Sadly I can't found the first sources of this myth. But it is this Greek myth which is most popular until today. In this version the Phoenix appears in the Bible too: It is mentioned by Ezekiel. Therefore we should distinguish the Egyptian mythology and its Greek interpretations.

Tacitus in his Annales (6.28) mentions the appearance of the Phoenix in 34 AD. Because this happened already 250 years after his last appearance under Ptolemaios III this gave cause to a dispute about the length of a Phoenix Cycle which sometimes was equated with the Sothis Cycle of 1461 years (see below). A short time later, under the reign of Claudius, a Phoenix again appeared which was brought to Rome, but Plinius the Elder writes that this Phoenix probably was not authentic (NH, 10.3-5). So the problem rose to distinguish between true and false birds! Plinius is said to have written that the bird dies in a nest of cimmamon and similar aromatic herbs and that the new Phoenix was born from the bones of the dead bird.

Martial then was the first one who used the Phoenix as symbol of Rome's eternity (Epigrams 5.7). And in this sense we must see the Phoenix on the coins of the Late-Roman series FEL TEMP REPARATIO: as resurrection of the eternal Rome. Philostratus (c.170 AD), who has written the biography of Apollonius of Tyana, writes about the Phoenix that it have lived in India but would migrate every 500 years to Egypt. This conception is influenced apparently by Garudas, the bird of the Hindu god Vishnu. Lactantius and Claudian have written long poems about the Phoenix.

The Egyptian Phoenix became very popular in the early Christian Church, in its art, its literature and symbolism. So the first Christians made Phoenix a symbol of resurrection, immortality and life-after-death, yes, to a symbol of Christ himself. One of the early Church Fathers, Flavius Clemens, has written a long chapter about the Phoenix. But the most important influence probably has had the Physiologus, an anonymous work of the 4th century AD, probably originated in an Alexandrian Christian community and widely spread in the Middle Ages. He writes: 'Now the Phoenix becomes the symbol of our Redeemer; he too came down from the heavens and brought along his wings full of fragrances, i.e. full of sublime divine words, so that we too at prayer spread our hands and bring upwards spiritual fragrance by conduct of life pleasing in the sight of God.'   

Background:
An ancient explanation for the Egyptian Phoenix was a specific bird species of East Africa. This bird nests on salt flats that are too hot for its eggs or chicks to survive; it builds a mound large enough to support its egg, which it lays in that marginally cooler location. The convection currents around these mounds resembles the turbulence of a flame.

The Benu was a large imaginary bird resembling a heron. The bird may be modeled on the gray heron (Ardea cinera or the larger Goliath heron (Ardea goliath) that lives on the coast of the Red Sea. Archaelogists have found the remains of a much larger heron that lived in the Persian Gulf area 5000 years ago. There is some speculation that this bird may have been seen by Egyptian travelers and sparked the legend of a very large heron seen once every 500 years in Egypt. It had a two long feathers on the crest of it's head and was often crowned with the Atef crown of Osiris (the White Crown with two ostrich plumes on either side) or with the disk of the sun.

Another suggested inspiration for the mythical Phoenix, and various other mythical birds that are closely associated with the sun, is the total eclipse of the sun. During some total solar eclipses the sun's corona displays a distinctly bird-like form that almost certainly inspired the winged sun disk symbols of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

History of Art
On ancient pictures, especially on coins of the Imperial Era like here from Alexandria, the Phoenix - described by Herodot as an eagle-like bird - is depicted as a winged animal with long stilts with a nimbus or an aureole around its head, sign for eternity. The bird symbolized the change of an era. In Christian art the Phoenix is known in connection with pictures of Christ or the paradise, f.e. on the mosaic in the apsis of SS. Cosma e Damiano in Rome from AD 526-530, in S. Clemente, S. Prassede and other churches, and already in the 3rd century AD the Phoenix which burnt and renewed itself was the symbol of resurrection as in the Priscilla catacomb in Rome. The symbolic content of resurrection and eternity was taken up again in Renaissance

I have added the following pics:
(1) the pic of an Egyptian wall painting showing a boat wit the Benu who is wearing the sun disk on his head. We can see the distinct similarity with an heron.
(2) the detail of the mosaic in the apsis of S.Prassede in Rome. You can see the Phoenix with a nimbus seated on a palm.
(3) the pic of a wall painting from the Priscilla catacomb, showing three children standing in a furnace with the Phoenix above as symbol of resurrection.

Sources:
- Herodot, The Histories II, 73
- Tacitus, Annales
- Ovid, Metamor. XV, 392-407
- Physiologus, Kap.7
- Der Kleine Pauly
- Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague, Lexikon der antiken Götter und Heroen in der Kunst, 1994
- Jefferson Monnet, The Benu (Bennu) (online)
- Mattingly, FEL TEMP REPARATIO
- http://www.egyptianmyths.net/phoenix.htm
- http://www.livius.org/phi-php/phoenix/phoenix.html
- http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Phoenix_(mythology)&oldid=93996420
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_(mythology)

Best regards

(will be continued)
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« Reply #298 on: October 12, 2009, 09:37:33 am »

(continued)

The Sothic Cycle

Now we turn towards the second theme on this coin: The Sothic Cycle. Therefore back to this remarkable coin: LB, the 2nd year of the reign of Antoninus Pius (AD 139), marks according to the Roman writer Censorinus the renewal of the Great Sothic Cycle, a cycle of 1461 years beginning always in the moment when the Sirius (Greek Sothis) rises from the horizon at the same point as the sun.

The Egyptian Calendar:
In early times of the Egyptian calendar the lunar cycles were summarized from I to XII as lunar years and continously enumerated, careless of the course of the natural year. But because the strictly performed administration, already introduced in the 1st dynasty, needed a strict obedience of the dates of irrigation, tillage and appearance, the Egyptians introduced schematic months existing of 3 decades of days each which could counted easily at one' fingers. The beginning of this fixed truncated year was proclaimed publicly and probably fell on the day of the opening of the upper floodgates of the flooding basins (around August 26. Gregorganian), when the height of the water-level, the water delivery and the enhancement of mud in Upper Egypt have reached their optimum (Pauly). So the Neilotic year was connected most closely to the inundation of the Nile.

Besides this Neilotic year there was already early in 3rd century BC a year connected to the rise of the Sirius (in that time around the midsummer and the green coloration of the Nile). It was devided in three(!) seasons of equal length, so-called tetramenia echet = inundation, projet = winter and shomu = sommer. A date was written f.e. 'II echet, 2 decades + 4 days'. This year had 365 days where the last 5 days (epagomenes) were seen as sinister. Plutarch has delivered the following myth: God Set and Nut, the goddess of heaven, had clandestinely communed with each other. But the sun cursed Nut that her children should be borne neither in a month nor a year. Nut asked the wise Thot for advice. And Thot played a game of dice with the moon goddess and won the 72th part of each day of the 360 days year, making  5 days and these days were added to the year after the 12 months. So the solar year won 5 days more than the old year and the lunar year lost 5 days and came to 355 days. And so the 5 posthumous gods could enter the world.

All other fixed year, the annee sacree, the canopic year, the Alexandrian year, the Coptic year, and others, are years derived from the Neilotic and Sothic year standing in a fixed relation to the original years (Pauly).

Sothis:
Sothis (Egyptian spdt) was a female Egyptian deity embodying the bluish gleaming dog star Sirius (Canicula) which was called Sothis by the Greeks. Because Sothis could be seen directly before the beginning of the inundation of the Nile at the morning sky she was seen as bringer of the flooding of the Nile which was crucial for Egypt. The Egyptians made the rise of Sothis to the beginning of the year. But because the Egyptian calendar year defined by the rise of Sothis was about 1/4 of a day too short the rise of Sothis was wandering in about 1460 years once through the entire year. This is the so-called 'Sothis Cycle', a term from a later time; the ancient Egypts have not used it! Because according to the Roman writer Censorinus ('De Die Natali', AD 238) in AD 139 (see at our coin!) a new Sothis Cycle began we can consider by back-calculation c.2768 BC as probable date of the introduction of the Egyptian calendar (about the beginning of the 2nd dynasty).

Already in the middle of the 3rd millenium BC the Egyptians probably recognized that their systematized calendar year of 365 days had an increasing discrepancy to the heliactic rise of the Sirius, the star which indiccated the inundation of the Nile. In this way the natural year of 365 1/4 days and a calendar year of 365 days were opposing each other. This discrepancy made in 4 years a difference of one day between natural year and calendar year until 1460 years later both years coincided again. This discrepancy was never corrected in the time of the Pharaohs. The attempt to introduce a 6th leap day (epagomenon) under Ptolemaios III failed and even after the finally calendar reform by Augustus the priests in the Egyptian temples held to the old calendar still for a long time. It was probably the authority of the priesthood that inhibited a calendar reform. So the kings were forced to swear an oath before their coronation that they never would try to introduce leap days or months or to alter anything of the established year of 365 days.

The ancient Egyptians celebrated the day where the Sirius appeared over the horizon again after 65-70 days of invisibilty hiliariously with the Sothis festival. The dates of the heliactic Sirius rising therefore represent an important supporting pillar for the chronology of the ancient Egyptian kings and are in connection with the Sothis Cycle of  great historical importance.

Please note: These can only be short remarks because this subject is very sophisticated especially because there were for a long time scholarly oppositions against the interpretation of the Sothis Cycle. Therefore for further studies I recommand the articles of Wikipedia which I have cited below.

At least some Notes on the Conception of Time:
The Egyptian conception of time was obviously cyclic. All is repeating itself in eternity. But this doesn't happen in a fatiguing circle as in Buddhism but rather as spiral: Indeed all is repeating itself, spring, sommer and winter, birth and death, a new king, but it is each time a new year and a new king bringing along new hope. This I suggest as a natural conception of time.

In contrast to this conception is our Christian time conception, which is linear- eschatological. Here the time runs in a straight-line way to a far aim, the doom of our world at the last day (eschaton) and the then following Last Judgement. This judgement about Good and Evil was known in ancient Egypt too where the souls were weighed after death.

I have added a pic showing ancient Egyptian priests looking for the heliactic rise of the Sirius (Sothis), the bringer of the Nile flood so crucial for Egypt's fortune (until the construction of the Aswan High Dam!). You can see the Sirius left beneath the Orion with its three girdle stars.

Sources:
- Der Kleine Pauly
- James P.Allen, Middle Egyptian: An introduction to the language and culture of
   hieroglyphs, pp.104-106
- http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%84gyptischer_Kalender
- http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sothis-Zyklus
- http://www.astronomische-vereinigung-- -
- augsburg.de/artikel/astronomiegeschichte/fruehe-kulturen/teil-2-aegypten/

Best regards
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« Reply #299 on: October 12, 2009, 09:38:51 am »

Amor and Psyche

I want to share this beautiful coin together with the fairy tale, one of the most exciting ancient stories. Sadly I couldn't get the coin itself. I have bid on it but surprisingly (or possibly not) the price went over $3000!

The coin:
Thrace,  Serdika, Septimius Severus, AD 193-211
AE - 3.05g
obv. AV KL [...] - CEVHROC (HR ligate)
        Head, laureate, r.
rev. [C]ER - DWN
       Eros, winged, nude, stg. r., and Psyche, nude to hips, stg. l., embracing; on the l.
       side a burning altar
ref. not in Ruzicka (cf. nr.384 for Caracalla); not in Varbanov (engl.); unpublished
very rare, about VF, dark green patina
ex Gorny&Mosch auktion 181, lot 1696
Photo courtesy of Lübke&Wedemann, Stuttgart/Germany

The story we know goes back to an ekphrasis (insertion) in the Metamorphoses of Apuleius, known too under the title 'The Golden Ass'.

The fairy tale:
"In a certain country once lived a king and a queen, who had three daughters. The two eldest were adorned by charm and grace. But both vanished like a shadow by the bright brillance of her sister." From near and far the people came to look at her. Yes, rumour arose, that Venus herself has come back to earth and was wandering around, and people began to  worship her.

No more anyone went to Paphos nor Knidos nor Kythera to venerate Venus. Her temples decayed, her altars became orphans. Venus burned with anger and she vented her displeasure that a mortal would compete with her. She called her son Amor, led him into the city where Psyche - the name of that princess - lived, told him the sacrilege and commanded him to wound her with one of his arrows that she as a punishment became inflamed with passion to the lowest and most depraved creature on earth.

Psyche herself was not happy with her supernatural beauty. Indeed she was admired and gazed in amazement, but there was no prince asking for her hand, whereas her elder sisters were married felicitously already early. Lonely and hopelessly she wept her empty days. Her beauty became an horror to herself. Her sorrowful father asked the age-old oracle of Apollo in Miletos. And Apollo gave him order to invest Psyche like to a marriage and then to put her on the highest peak of the mountain. For she was destined not to marry a mortal but a beast, false and cruel like the brood of vipers, where the Styx itself was afraid of.

There was moaning and lamentation in the whole city. But to defy the god's order was impossible. In a long procession more like a funeral cortege than a marriage procession the sobbing Psyche was led to the allocated mountain. There she was left alone. All the bridal torches were extincted by her tears.

However still waiting for her end she felt softly floating. A zephyr (south wind) raised her, bore her to the valley below and placed her in the bloomy fold of a soft lawn.

Awakened after a refreshing sleep she found herself in a graceful park with a crystal-clear brook coming softly sweeping from a cliff, and with a gorgeous palace whose walls were made of gold and whose beauty was blinding her eyes. She arrived and was astonished at the celestial grandeur. Psyche recognized that she was adopted by a deity. After having taken a bath she sat down at a table full of the most excellent wines and the most exquisite foods. But nobody dished up, all seemed to be put on the table by magical hand. After the dinner an invisible singer appeared accompanied by another with a kithara. Then Psyche retired.

But about midnight she awoke by a low noise. It was her unknown husband. He loved her and rushed away before daybreak. Immediately the invisible servants were present and shepherded her at the best. And so one day followed the other and Psyche enjoyed the unusual life.

Meanwhile her sisters had heard about her desaster and hurried to the inconsolable parents. In the same night Psyche was warned by her unknown husband against the enviousness and badness of her sisters. But she longed for them in desire, dispraised her new home as a golden prison and ceased eating and drinking. So her husband with a heavy heart accommodated her on condition that she never will explore his true likeness.

Hearing her sisters calling her all about Psyche sends for the cephyr who brought both smoothly down to her. They celebrate the reunion and Psyche shows them the palace. They both are astonished, wonder about the invisible servants, and ask Psyche for her husband. She quickly invents a beautiful youth being hunting most of the time. Then with lots of rich presents the zephyr brought them back.

Now the jealousy of the happy Psyche arose and the sisters bemoaned each other her own fate and complained about their own husbands. Especially the proudness of the younger sister seemed to be unbearable for them and they decided to break it.

Again she was warned by her husband who promised that her child would became immortal when only she kept his secret. Overhappy she pledged to do it. But the sisters are on the way already. Seeing that Psyche is pregnant they adulate her and cropped up in her confidence. They begin to talk about her husband and remind her of the Pythean oracle. It has prodicted her as husband a monster who will devour her after the childbirth. They convince Psyche to look in the coming night with a lamp at the monster and then to cut its head with a knife. And so did Psyche. But flipping the bedspread she looks at the most  graceful and most lovely monsters of all: It is Cupido, the sweet god of love! She controls his arrows and incautiously she pricks her finger. Suddenly she falls in love with him, by her own blame but without her knowledge. She admires his golden curls and his purple wings and she is drunken of delight. She bends over to kiss him. With that some drops of hot oil from her lamp fall down on his shoulder and with pain the god jumps up. He flies to the next tree and begins to berate her that she has betrayed their love. To punish her he now will leave her forever, and saying this he flies away.

When she couldn't see him anymore Psyche in despair jumped into the near river. But the river took pity with her and laid her down on a meadow where Pan seated together with Echo and his goats. Pan tried to console her and advised her to pray to Cupido. On her further way she came to the city of one of her sisters. She told her about her unfortunate fate, that her husband has been Cupido whom she has hurted with hot oil. Hereupon he has cursed her and now she - her sister -was chosen as his new wife. Hearing that her sister was lying something of the parent's death and embarked to the rock in question. On top of it she called zephyr, jumped down, and dashed to pieces. With the same fraud her other sister came to her end too.

Whereas Psyche was in search of Cupido he rested in a room of his mother and suffered from the pain at his shoulder. A sea-gull recognized that and defamed him at his mother Venus who just was bathing: Cupido would lay with his paramour, would fornicate and she amuses herself with bathing. There were no more pudicity on earth, no matrimonies, no friendship nor childlike love. When Venus asked for the name of that girl and heard it was Psyche she became very angry, went to the bed-chamber of her son and charged him heavily. To punish him she would send him to her enemy, the temperance, who would empty his quiver, blunt his arrows, cut his golden curls and crop his wings.
 
Ceres and Juno - who already know the case - met Venus. They tried to soften the rage of the goddess and doubted that Cupido has done something wrong. It's just the way he is, they said. But actually they feared his arrows. But Venus became even more indignant.

In the mean time Psyche came to a temple full of wheat and barley ears laying on the ground confused with wreaths and sickles. Immediately she began to bring order into it. When Ceres - whose temple it was - arrived she was surprised that Psyche even in her sorrow didn't forget the order of the sanctuary. Psyche fell down before her and begged for protection against the revengeful Venus. But Ceres must refuse her because she was joint to Venus in friendship. Psyche walked onwards and came to another temple. Now it was the temple of Juno, mother of heaven. Psyche prostrated and supplicated her, who immediately stood before her in all her majesty. But she was disappointed again. Now Psyche is ready to deliver herself to Venus even if that would be her doom.

Venus was tired to search for Psyche on earth. In a golden chariot drawn by doves and accompanied by sparrows she drives back to heaven and goes to Jupiter. Proudly she claims Mercurius for help and asks him to search for Psyche on earth. Mercurius promises each human being he would help him kisses of Venus herself. Psyche is hurrying to the door of Venus. Consuetudo drags her to the throne of her mistress. Looking at Psyche Venus loughs out loud and insults her as unworthy to be her daughter-in-law. She leaps at her, tears her garment and insults her unborn child as bastard. Then she pours out a heap of wheat, barley, millet and other grains and commanded Psyche to sort these until evening. Psyche stands stiffened from the insolvable task. But an ant feels pity with her, calls her people and until evening all is sorted in nice heaps. But Venus didn't accept this as work of Psyche.
 
The next morning Venus pointed at a flock of wild and dangerous sheep at the bank of a river in a near forest and prompted Psyche to bring her a flake of their precious wool. Psyche went to the forest to drown herself in the river. But the reed begged her not to desecrate the river by her death nor to deliver herself to the furious sheep. She should gather the wool from the bushes when the sheep were fallen asleep. And so did Psyche. But again Venus was not appeased and gave her another task. To prove her courage she should bring her water from a river on top of a rugged cliff which fell down deep to the Styx and drowns out even the roaring of the Kokytos. With a jug Psyche hurries to the cliff. Horrible gorges open up, dragons threaten in caves and bark against her. She is certain that this is her last task because it is impossible to leave this place alive. Exanimated she stands, even tears she has no more.

But the misery of he who suffers innocently has not remained hidden to the all-bountiful providence. She sends an eagle, Jupiter's bird, who levitating over the abyss fills the jug. Full of joy Psyche brings it back to Venus. But she reviles Psyche as sorceress, gives her a box and sends her to Proserpina in the underworld to bring her beauty for one day which she has lost while caring for her son. But she should be quick. Now Psyche knows Venus' intention. The hint for orkus is enough. She scales a tower to jump down. But the tower begins to talk and tells her of a gate to the underworld at Cape Taenaron in Lacedaimon where she could cross over giving Charon a boatage. Two honey cakes she needs to soften Cerberus. Then she would get the gift from Proserpina. But never she is allowed to look at the divine beauty in her box. She succeeds and comes luckily back to the surface. But in the bright light of the day her desire to look at the divine beauty becomes overwhelming and she opens the box. But out comes a deadly sleep and Psyche sinks down on the way.

In the mean time Cupido was recovered from his wound and longed for Psyche. He escaped his prison and his wings brought him to her. He released her from the deadly sleep, put him back into the box and wakened Psyche by the soft stick of his arrow. Again he accused her of her curiosity but now he promised that he will care for her from now on. Psyche brings the gift of Proserpina to Venus.

Cupido  soars up to Jupiter, complains of his misery and makes him inclined to his wishes. Graciously Jupiter kisses the little rascal and promises to help him, even though that he himself has suffered so often by his arrows. He calls up a convention of the gods and prompts them to agree with him to apply finally reins to Cupido and to marry him off. He already has chosen a girl: In Psyche's arms he would find eternal fulfilled love. Venus was comforted that from now on everything would be prohibited which offends decency and is against the laws.
 
Mercurius was ordered to bring Psyche to heaven. Jupiter himself hands her the cup of immortality and the most glorious marriage dinner was prepared. Anyone embeds around. Ganymed poured out nectar from the Ida mountains to Jupiter, the Muses enjoyed the guests with their silvery voices and Apollo sang to the lyra. Venus was dancing gracefully. So Psyche was wedded ceremoniously to Cupido. Soon she gave birth to a daughter, called by the mortals Voluptas, lust.

(continued)
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