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Cleisthenes
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« Reply #75 on: March 18, 2006, 05:51:16 am »

Some notes on the river-gods

In Greece and Italy there was a famous cult of river gods. This cult in ancient times was not unknown.


Jochen,

This is very interesting.  What I have to offer is not a river god, but the illustration of a coin of Syracuse whose obverse device portrays Arethusa, the naiad desired and pursued by the river-god AlpheiosOvid tells the story of how Arethusa, attempting to avoid Alpheios' amorous intentions, appealed to Artemis for helpArtemis transformed her into an underground stream emerging as a freshwater spring on the Sicilian island of Ortygia, the future site of Syracuse.  Not to be so easily put-off, Alpheios directed his river's flow underground to follow Arethusa, and both of their waters now mingle eternally in the Fountain of Arethusa in Ortygia.  In 1820; the famous British, Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote his well known poem--the topic of which is also the title: "Arethusa."
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« Reply #76 on: March 18, 2006, 12:44:14 pm »

I wonder whether that's also the origin of Coleridge's 'Alph, the sacred river' in 'Kubla Khan'.
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« Reply #77 on: March 18, 2006, 05:54:14 pm »

It suddenly occurred to me, reading about Coleridge's Alph in your posting, to ask the names of the four rivers that flowed from Paradise.  Sure they allude to the Four Quarters and the like, but I bet they have names that Coleridge might have known.  Pat L.
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« Reply #78 on: March 19, 2006, 09:17:52 am »

Pishon, Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates, all branching from one un-named source.
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« Reply #79 on: March 19, 2006, 06:03:02 pm »

Mt. Gerizim - the holy mountain of Samaria

Here we have another important holy mountain, the Mons Garizim in Samaria.

Trebonianus Gallus AD 251-253
AE 24, 12.09g
obv. AVT KAI G OVI TREB GALLOC [CEB]
        Bust, draped and cuirassed(?), laureate, r.
rev. FL NEAC - POLEWS
      Eagle, standing frontal, wings spread, supporting cult image of Mons Garizim with
      temple, shrine and gardens.
Rosenberger 113; SNG 6, 1035
F+/abut VF, typical sand-patina found on coins of Palestine

This coins shows on the wings of the eagle an image of the Gerizim: At the base of the mountain we see colonnades which surrounded the holy area, a long steep stair leads to the peak of the mountain to the temple of Zeus Hypsistos, shown in perspective, and on the right side a second smaller mountain with an altar on top.
Excavations have reveiled the fundaments of this temple and parts of the staircase with total 300 (or referring to others even 1500!) steps. Some coins show clearly more sacral buildings at the mountainside. On this coin probably only a model of the Gerizim is depicted which was shown on processions, a so-called agalma, with only the most important things.

Flavia Neapolis was founded by Titus 2km south of Shichem in Samaria. This is a most famous place of religious history of the Old Testament. Here Abraham is said to have sacrificed his son Isaak to obey the order of God, here is said to be the tomb of Joseph, and here is said to be the well where Jesus encountered the merciful Samaritan wife.

The Mt.Gerizim, 870m, is kown already in the Old Testament Dtn. 11, 29, as mountain of blessing in contrary to the adjacent Mt. Ebal, the mountain of curse. Later they were seen as two-peaked World Mountain with cosmic meaning. This all is the resonance of archaic holiness, the so-called mountain cult, which we have seen so often. The Samaritans, whose center Shichem was situated in the plain to which the pass between these two mountains opened, belief that the Garden of Eden once was on the Mt. Gerizim and bult here there own temple after they have separated from the Judaism of Jerusalem. Antiochos IV then consecrated this temple to Zeus Xenios or Hellenios and Johannes Hyrkanos to whom this temple now as Seleucid sanctuary was double odious destroyed it 128 BC. After the Bar Kochba war Hadrian built a new temple for Zeus Hypsistos ("Zeus on the mountain"). Today the mountain again belongs to the Samaritans and here they annually celebrate their Passah.
Neapolis today is Nablus, the biggest city on the Palestine West Bank with more than 100.000 inhabitants kown from the news about the Israelic-Palestinian conflict.

Sources:
Der kleine Pauly
Wikipedia

The attached photo shows todays Nablus with the Southern peak of the mountain, the actual Gerizim. At the right edge you can see the mountainside of the Ebal.

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« Reply #80 on: March 20, 2006, 12:23:02 pm »

It probably wasn't Antiochos himself who was responsible for the reconsecration of the sancturaies to Zeus, though contemporary sources give him the credit. In Jerusalem, they set up an altar to Zeus on the Altar of Burnt Offering in the Temple and sacrificed pigs on it, which is such a calculated insult that only a Jew would have been likely to think of it. There was a massive division at the time between the traditionalists, who wanted to limit contact with the Hellenistic world around them, and the 'Hellenizers' who wanted to integrate; they seem to have been dominated by wealthy merchants and others who saw that removing restrictions on the expression of Hellenism within the city (no pigs within the walls, no pagan altars, ec.) would result in profits for them. Antiochos was a usurper who probably wasn't too secure ont he throne; there had already been one rebellion over increased taxation and Antiochos' choice of High Priest. Judah was on the edge of his empire, and he probably made an alliance with the Hellenisers with the aim of integrating it more firmly within his domain.

I've a strong suspicion (no evidence unfortunately) that the Hellenizers probably saw their altar to Zeus not so much as a rejection of their god as a recognition that , as far as they were concerned, he was actually the same as Zeus Olympios, under another name. That would be consistent with the syncretising tendencies of Hellenism as I understand them. As far as the population of Jerusalem was concerned, they might have got away with it, since they were pretty well Hellenised already. But there was a traditional tension between the city and the countryside, and it was when they tried to extend their reform to the countryside by forcing people to sacrifice on pagan altars that it blew up in their faces. There's not so much known about the situation in Samaria, but it was doubtless part of the same attempted reform.
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« Reply #81 on: March 20, 2006, 02:31:50 pm »

Robert, thank you for the detailed description of the religious and social developments at the times of Antiochos in Jerusalem.

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« Reply #82 on: March 24, 2006, 10:05:44 am »

Hermes

It may be that Hermes has appeared in another thread, but I have always had some lingering affinity for this shrewd god.  Perhaps it is because, among the many occupations and "things" for which he is a patron, he is both a "minor" patron of poetry and thieves, and I am always reminded of what T.S. Eliot once said, "Good poets borrow; great poets steal."


Lydia, Sala, Faustina II, d. 175 A.D.
AE 18, 4.05g. Draped bust r. Rv. Hermes standing l. holding caduceus and purse. SNG von Aulock 3117(dies).
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« Reply #83 on: March 24, 2006, 03:16:45 pm »

Hi Cleisthenes!

We have had a longer contribution to Hermes under the title Hermes - the frontier runner
on page two of this thread!

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« Reply #84 on: March 24, 2006, 03:19:25 pm »

The mysterious Cabiri

Besides the well-known greek gods and the great Mother Goddesses of the Orient there is a number of smaller deities which regularly appear in plural. Here is a list of them which certainly is not complete:
Cabiri,
Corybantes,
Curetes,
Telchines,
Dactyls,
Dioscurs,
Anactes and
Gerginoi.
Until now their meaning is not completely kown especially because their names often are confused. Some of them we already met in this thread (Curetes, Dioscurs). Here I want to present the Cabiri. The cause was this coin:

Macedonia, Thessalonica, 3rd century, time of Septimius Severus
AE 20, 6g
obv. THECCALO - NIKH
        Tyche, draped and turreted, veiled, r.
rev. KAB - EIROC
       Cabir in working dress and with Phrygian cap, standing frontal, head l., holding in
       raised l. hand hammer, in r. hand rhyton
SNG Copenhagen 387; Touratsoglou Emission VI, Group K (Septimius Severus), 10 (obv. same die), 8 (rev. same die), 2 ex. known
rare, good VF, nice green patina
This type was struck from Domitian to Valerian/Gallienus. The legend and the breaks show, that this coin belongs to the time of Septimius Severus.
Rhyton is a drinking vessel in the shape of a horn.

The Cabiri are seen often on coins of Thessalia. In Thessalia they were hold for guardian gods. Banduri suggests that the reason of the remarkable accumulation of their depiction in Thessalia maybe the fact that a Gothic siege of Thessalonica was repelled by the help of the Cabiri.

The ancient reports of the cult of Samothrace sadly are inconsistent and only difficult to interpret. One reason is the purposeful privacy and restriction of religious subjects and rites to the adepted and initiated to the mysteries, otherwise the mixture of pre-hellenic religious beliefs with those of the greek which during the centuries were interpreted in most various ways. The best-known is the equalization of the Cabiri with the gods of Samothrace. But Cabiri surely was not the cult name of the Samothracian deitis which were called Megaloi Theoi, the Great Gods.

The following description mainly came from the site 'Das schwarze Netz':
The Cabiri (greek Kabeiroi, hebr. kabbirim = the Great) are a group of gods of both gender or godlike people of primitive times. They were hold for guardians of the sailors and navigation which saved the shipwrecked and in this function were called Megaloi Theoi (= the Great Gods). Their cult is assumed to be originated in Asia Minor and then via Samothrace reaching Greece. As place of birth the mountain Kabeiros in Berekynthia is suggested (Kerenyi, 70).
The Kabeiroi should be offsprings of Hephaistos and Kabira, a daughter of Proteus, but sometimes they were seen as much older: They could be confronted to the Olympics like the Titans and so be the ancestors of men (Pausanias 9.25.6, cited by Kerenyi, 65f.). They stood in the centre of the mystery cult of Samothrace where the worshipped Demeter was called Kabiria (as in Boiotia too).
Some names of the Cabiri are Axieros, Axiokersos and Axiokersa. The first part of these names is a cultic invocation, greek axios means 'dignified'. In the secret language of the Cabiri these three names are assumed to be the names of three deities. So Axierios means Demeter, Axiokersa means Persephone and Axiokerses is Hades (Hederich, 496f.). Axiothera (dignified goddess) is the name of a figure which sometimes appears as wife of Prometheus. This puts the Titan Prometheus in the proximity of the Cabiri.
 
Another element which the Cabiri share with the Titans is a primordial sacrilege. Orphic poetry (Onomakritos, 6th century BC) told of the murder of the young Dionysos by the Titans (s. Zagreus) and a similar myth is told of a fratricide of the Cabiri. The elder Cabiri should have killed the youngest and pulled off his head. So a main subject of the mystery cults was the purgation of a primordial sacrilege.
The Kabirion sanctuary near Thebes is said to be founded by an autochthon named Prometheus and his son Aitnaios to whom Demeter has brought her mysteries (Pausanias 9.25.6). This Aitnaios is said to be no other than Hephaistos (from the volcano Etna in Sicily), from which the Cabiri referring to others should be originated. Therefore they often are depicted like Haphaistos himself with hammer and tongs. Their ancestor then the Titan Prometheus as is suggested by their cult in Athens where they have had a joint altar, or in Lemnos where in a similar constellation Kadmilos stood by Prometheus the elder. In Samothrace the Dioscuri Kastor and Polyneikes were worshipped as Cabiri. Kabiros was a guardian god of the Macedonians too, the Kabirides were nymphs which were assumed to be sisters or daughters of the Cabiri. The Cabiri were mixed with many others besides the Titans with the Curetes, the Dactyles or the Penates Dii. The idols of Laban should be the Cabiri too.

The Cabiri appear in Goethe's Faust II too. From Goethe Rudolf Steiner has taken them in his Antroposophy and has inflated them to a symbol of mankind. So today the Cabiri are drifted away into esoteric fields as a quick Google search could proof.
 
Sources:
Der kleine Pauly
Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
Hederich, Gründliche Griechische Mythologie
Kerenyi, Griechische Mythologie
http://alex.eled.duth.gr/Samothrace/Samothracem/Ggods.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabeiroi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabeiri
http://www.sungaya.de/schwarz/index.htm

The attached pic shows the sanctuary of the Cabiri in Samothrace. The famous 'Nike of Samothrace' was found nearby.

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« Reply #85 on: March 24, 2006, 04:13:48 pm »

Very nice.  The prominence of the Kabeiroi at Thessalonika may be their association with the Pythian games held there.   Thus, Kabir is often depicted with Apollo and Nike/Victory.
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« Reply #86 on: March 24, 2006, 04:25:42 pm »

Samothrace is noted above but the Kabireirion near Thebes and later Thessalonika were major cult centers of Hapheastos and the Kabeiroi.  Here is a potshard from the Kabireion showing Kabeiros and a companion and a cult statue within a temple from Thessalonika.
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« Reply #87 on: March 24, 2006, 04:33:12 pm »

Thanks, whitetd, for your pics and the interesting information! The last coin indeed is a beauty. But I have a question: Often the cult statue standing in the temple is called Hephaistos. I think it is very difficult to decide wether it is Hephaistos or a Cabir?

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« Reply #88 on: March 24, 2006, 04:58:50 pm »

Really, I think they are one and the same.  The hammer as an attribute of the kabeiroi recognizes their skill in metal working, a skill they inherited from Hephaistos.  On the other hand, I have never seen Hephaistos depicted with the rhyton.  I believe the rhyton refers to the initiation into the mysteries of the cult in which a fair amount of wine was consumed.
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« Reply #89 on: March 26, 2006, 01:55:05 pm »

Herakliskos Drakonopnigon - The infant Herakles strangling the snakes

Thracia, Serdica, Caracalla AD 198-217
AE 19, 3.52g
struck AD 207-217
obv. AVT KM AV CEV ANTWNINOC
        bust, laureate, r.
rev. CERDWN
       Infant Herakles, chubby, kneeling r., r. hand raised, with l. hand resting on
       ground, strangling two snakes entwining his arms
Varbanov 153 var. (diff. obv. legend)
Rare, about VF, oliv-green patina

Mythology:
This coin shows a scene from the mythology of the young Herakles. Zeus once fell in love with the beautiful Alkmene, the wife of Amphitryon, king of Thebes. When he was on a campaign, Zeus took his shape, went to Alkmene and united with her. When Amphitryon was back the betrayal was revealed. But Amphitryon forgave his unknowing wife and created with her Iphikles, the twin brother of Herakles. Alkmene gave birth to two sons, Herakles and Iphikles (the latter as son of two mortals without exceptional powers). Hera however, the wife of Zeus, became the jealous lifelong pursuer of Herakles.
Shortly before the birth of Herakles and Iphikles Zeus declared that the first born child of the house of Perseus would become ruler of Mycene. This was the request of Hera to deceive him. She prolongated the labour pains of Alkmene so that Erystheus, son of Sthenelos, uncle of Amphitron, was born first and only after him Herakles. That was the reason that Herakles was tributary to Erystheus. 

Fearing Hera's revenge Alkmene marooned him on the so-called Herakles fields near Thebes. His half-sister Athena, later playing an important role as his guardian goddess, found him and brought him to Hera. She didn't recognize him and pitiful suckled him. But Herakles sucked so strong that he hurt her and Hera pushed him away. But by her divine milk Herakles became immortal. Athena brought him back to his mother who gladly took him and he grow up with his parents. But there too he was pursued by the hate of Hera. When he was eight month old Hera sent two huge snakes to the sleeping-room of the children. Iphikles cried in fear but his brother Herakles took the two snakes and strangled them. The seer Teiresias, called by the astonished Amphitryon, predicted the child an uncommon future. Numerous monsters he would defeat. 

Background:
Already very early the antinomy between Herakles' name, that is 'the glory of Hera', and Hera's hate by which he pursued him in mythology was recognized. This antinomy could be solved if we see the old misunderstanding: Herakles like all heroes stood unter the protection of Hera and were sent out to adventures to gain glory for himself and Hera. We know similar from the Tableround of the Artus myth. These hard challenges then were misunderstood as pursuit of Herakles by Hera. The original good relation between Herakles and Hera is proofed by their joint battle against a fire spitting Giant in the Gigantomachia and against four Satyrs. Going with that are some different explanation of the snakes. It is reported too that it was actually Amphitryon who has sent the snakes to get out his own child (mater certa, pater incerta!).
Another explanation comes from von Ranke-Graves: An old picture from which the post-homeric story of the strangled snake originated probably has depicted how Herakles has caressed the animals while they have cleaned his ears with their tongues. This is reported for the seers Melampos, Teiresias, Kassandra and the sons of Laokoon. Without cleaning their ears it would have been impossible for them to understand the language of vultures.

This coin obviously resembles a motiv of a series of rare tetradrachms which were struck 405/4 BC to celebrate an alliance (synmachikon) of some cities of Western Asia Minor. They were struck for Byzantion, Ephesos, Iasos, Knidos, Lampsakos, Rhodos and Samos. It was thought that this alliance came about in 394 after the defeat of the Spartan fleet, but Karwiese, NC 1980, has made a good case for it having taken place 10 years earlier, when the cities threw off Athenian domination with the help of the Spartan Lysander. Lysander then was celebrated as Herakliskos Drakonopnigon, 'Herakles the snake-strangler'. In many ways this seems a better choice, but hoard evidence is inconclusive.

Why this motiv was chosen for Caracalla I couldn't find out. Perhaps he saw himself fighting against a world of evil?
 
Sources:
Der kleine Pauly
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herakles
von Ranke-Graves, Griechische Myhologie

I have attached
a) the pic of a tetradrachm from Samos, 405/4 BC, and
b) a pic of  a column base, found AD 1999 near the Marcellus Theatre in Rome,
    showing Hercules motivs on all sides.

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« Reply #90 on: April 22, 2006, 02:30:25 pm »

Atargatis or Dea Syria, the Great Syrian Goddess

We have already talked in this thread about the Great Goddesses like Kybele or Rhea and mentioned Dea Syria. Here I have a coin with Atargatis.

Syria Cyrrhestica, Hierapolis, Severus Alexander AD 222-235
AE 28, 18.3g
obv. AVT KAI MAR A[VR CE ALEZANDROC]
        radiate, draped and cuirassed bust r.
rev. [QEAC CVRIAC IERAPO]LI / TWN
       Atargatis riding right on lion, holding sceptre, sitting left
BMC 55 var.
rare, about Vf
ex Penina Manfra and Brookes 1968

Background (mainly from 'Der kleine Pauly'):
Hierapolis in Syria Cyrrhestica was the famous cult centre of Atargatis called Dea Syria in the hellenism too (not to be confused with Dea Coelestis from Carthage). She was worshipped mostly together with the West-Semitic weather-god Baal-Hadad in Baalbek, Damascus, Palmyra, Dura-Europos but especially in Hierapolis and in Askalon. Her greek name was Derketo. There were etymological connections to the Phoinicean goddess Aphrodite-Astarte and similarity in the character to Kybele-Rhea from Asia Minor.They all have the syzygie (companionship) with a young male god of the type Adonis-Attis. The parhedros (assisting companion) of Atargatis was Hadad. Lukian of Samosate called them Zeus and Hera and describes detailed the temple of Bambyke with its beautiful fragrance. Lukian talked of a trias of deities, the third formerly seen as misinterpretation of a deifyed vexillum, now seen more as a deus inferior like Kombabos. The novel of Stratonike-Kombabos shows in its castration motiv the influence of the Kybele ministration, and the orientalic hetaera character of Atargatis-Astarte, which is known from Derketo-Semiramis of Askalon too. This must be seen as evidence of her great fertility to which the young parhedros was addicted until his death
.
Her cult affirmation were veil, flowers, omphalos, sea procession, hydrophoria (a libation festival), lavatio (washing), tree burning (pyra), ecstatic dancing, eviration and phallolatria (worshipping of the phallos). Like the Phoinicean Astarte Atargatis was first a local numen, mistress of the city (Baalat), with the corona muralis of the Magna Mater. She is depicted with her lions and the bulls of Hadad. As Potnia Therion (Mistress of the animals) the paradise of Bambyke belonged to her and the lake of the
sacred fishes from Askalon. In this nature she expands to an universal range: The aetiologic legends of Derketo's leap into the lake and her transformation into a fish, her birth from an egg of the Euphrate assisted by fishes and doves and the dove metamorphosis of Semiramis not only serve as explanation of religious facts like the ichthyomorphismus (looking like a fish) or her fish and dove attributes. But the Syrian animal cult emphasizes with fish and dove two first-class exponents of animal fertility and so stresses the blessing power of Dea Syria over air and water. Her challenge to rule over sky and sea comes from her participation in characer elements of the Mesopotamian fish-goddess Nina-Ishtar and the West-Semitic dove mistress Semiramis-Astarte. Parallel to the spreading of her worshipping and syncretistic accommodation she was elevated to an all-creating World and Mother Goddess. She was the heir of the Ugaritic 'Asherat of the sea', on Delos the heir of the mediterranean Earth and Sky goddess Aphrodite-Ariadne. Via Sicily and the Italian harbours she came to Rome. Sueton writes in his 'De Vita Caesarum' about Nero:

He utterly despised all cults, with the sole exception of that of the Syrian Goddess and even acquired such a contempt for her that he made water on her image, after he was enamored of another, superstition, which was the only one to which he constantly clung. For he had received as a gift from some unknown man of the commons, as a protection against plots, a little image of a girl; and since a conspiracy at once came to light, he continued to venerate it as a powerful divinity and to offer three sacrifices to it every day, encouraging the belief that through its communication he had knowledge of the future. A few months before his death he did attend an inspection of victims, but could not get a favorable omen.

She is often mentioned by Apuleius in his Metamorphoses too. With the Roman soldiers her cult reached the frontiers of the Empire. In Edessa, Haran and Nisibis her cult resisted the Christianity for a long time. In Haran the self-castration was known until the 9th century AD.

Today Atargatis has a revival in the esoteric scene. She is used by Heavy Metal groups and in the Gothic scene. I have attached the famous painting 'Astarte Syriaca' of the Pre-Raphaelite Dante Gabriel Rosetti.

Sources:
Der kleine Pauly
Lukian, De Dea Syria. online under http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/luc/tsg/index.htm
http://www.hausarbeiten.de/faecher/hausarbeit/gef/8075.html
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dea_Syra
Apuleius, Metamorphoses (The golden ass)
Sueton, De Vita Caesarum

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« Reply #91 on: April 29, 2006, 03:13:02 pm »

Orpheus taming the wild animals

Here  I want to present a new coin which I am very glad to add to my collection. Ok, its preservation is not the best, but nearly all details could be seen, especially the animals on the rev. Most coins on CoinArchives are not better.

Thracia, Philippopolis, Geta AD 209-212
AE 29
obv. AVT KP CEPTI - MIOC GETAC
        bust, draped and cuirassed,, laureate, r.
rev. Orpheus, in Thracian dress and with Phrygian cap, sitting on rocks r.,
        playing lyre. Around him a number of wild animals, clockwise from upper
        right: bull, lion, ibex, goose and wolf, jackal and stork, boar .
        in ex.: FILIPPOPO / LEITWN
Varbanov 1422; Moushmov 5383
rare, F+/about FV, nice dark-green patina, some roughness in left field of rev.

The Thracian singer Orpheus is said to be the son of the muse Kalliope and the Thracian king Oiagros or the god Apollo whose fame as kitharoedus he soon outflanked. His Thracian origin was questioned until recently. But already the Greeks saw him as Thracian, in the same way like the muses wich came from the region around the mount Olympos too. Orpheus is entwined in so much myths that the mythographs assumed several different Orpheus'. He is know from the 6th and 5th century from fragments of Simonides and from a text in the 'Alkestis' by Euripides which was  first played 438 BC.

His art as singer was praised especially in the Orphic scripts. In the 'Argonautika' of Apollonios Rhodios he was stylized to one of the greatest heroes and thereby exceeding even Jason. During the journey of the Argos he was the keleustes, giving the tact to the oarsmen, and calming the waves of the sea. His song to the lyre was so moving, that stones, rocks, even mountains came to him to listen, that the wild animals gathered tamed around hím, that the trees walked to him (Ovid Lib. X), that the rivers stopped flowing and that the snow on the mountains was melting. In the underworld the furies were moved to tears for the first and last time.

When he failed in his attempt to free his beloved Eurydike from the Hades
he abdicated the love to women, decided to never get married and introduced the pederasty to Thracia. Half a year he was sitting in a cave of the river Strymon, mourning. But the Mainades, the companions of Dionysos, were put into rage about him, and jumped on him. Because they feared the power of his art they first killed his 'living theater', the birds, the snakes, the droves of game, the bulls and then they teared him apart, the Holy, in a bacchanal of violence. His head nailed on his lyre they throw into the Strymon where he is said to have sung furthermore. The waves carried it to the beach of Lesbos which then became the island of poetry. His lyre was put as constellation to the sky. After his death the birds were mourning, the game, the rocks, the wood. The trees discarded their leafs, the rivers swelled from self dropped tears.

But the soul of Orpheus searched the underworld for Eurydike, found her and
finally they promenaded in combined steps like only one shadow. Only in death there is eternal love!

The scene in which Orpheus tamed the wild animals by his music was well known in the Roman imperial time. The idea of civilizing barbaric traits through arts and poetry was a persistent cultural value throughout Roman times. It is a symbol of the victory of the civilization over barbarianism. In this sense it could play an important role in our times as well!

Later on the motiv of Orpheus and Eurydike became more important. May be one of the members of the FORUM has a coin showing this motiv. Then it would be nice to see it here to round up this theme!

I have attached the pic of a famous mosaic from Antiochia (today Antakya/Turkey). It shows the same scene like the rev of the coin. It is a wonderful example of the painting qualities of a mosaic. This motiv later was used by Christianism too. In the Priscilla catacombes in Rome there is a wall painting showing the Good Shepherd in the shape of Orpheus.

Sources:
Der kleine Pauly
http://www.hermetic.com/sabazius/orpheus.htm
http://www.religionfacts.com/jesus/image_gallery/4C_christ_as_orpheus.htm
http://www.dm-art.org/Dallas_Museum_of_Art/View/Collections/Ancient_Mediterranean/ID_012647
http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/latin/ovid/trans/Metamorph10.htm

Best regards
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« Reply #92 on: April 30, 2006, 07:05:21 pm »

Telephos, the son of Herakles

First, please don't confuse Telephos with  Telesphoros, the companion of Asklepios. Telephos is a son of Herakles. One of the scenes of this myth is depicted on the presented coin. It is an AE24 of Damascus in Syria struck for Volusian, son of Trebonianus Gallus.

Volusian AD 251-253
AE 24
obv. IMP GALLO VOLOCCIANO AVG
        bust, draped and cuirassed, laaureate, r.
rev. [COL] DAM - [AS] MET[R]
       Hind with antlers standing r., suckling telephos sitting below
rouvier 99
rare, F+/about VF

Following Der kleine Pauly:
Telephos, Arcadic-Mysean heroe, son of Herakles and Auge, priestress of Athena Alea in Tegea, was exposed in the Parthenion mountains, where he was found by a hind, which suckled him, and  he was educated by herdsmen. Korythos became his foster father. Auge was closed in a  chest and thrown into the sea. She landed at the coast of Mysia, where king Teuthras took her as wife (or as foster daughter). When growing up Telephos killed his uncles and therefore was punished by muteness. As expiation he was sent to search for his mother. He came to Teuthras too who as pay for his help in a war gave him Auge as wife and the succesion of the throne. The fizzling of a snake during the sexual intercourse leads under dramatical circumstances to the recognition of mother and son and so prevents the espousal. In a different version Telephos married Teuthras' daughter Argiope. In the Mysian prelude of the Troian war (the Greeks initially have landed on a wrong coast!) Telephos defeated the Achaioi at the lower Kaikos. He killed Thersandros but received by Achilleus an incurable wound (by intervention of Dionysos). To this combat belongs the cup of Sosias: Achilleus bandages Patroclos. The slogan O TRWAS IACETAI ( Troas will heal) forced Telephos after 8 years of torture to accept the Achaioi where he obtained healing by Achilleus in exchange for pointing them to the correct way to Troy. So far the Kypriai. The Troic circle of epics told a more brutal story in which he threatened the young Orestes at an altar by his sword. Euripides says Telephos has disguised as enemy of Telephos and in this role has maintained his point of view. As remedy served rust or chipping of the spear.

Background:
This myth seems to be a reverberation of old battles of the colonists against Barbarians and the own people. Already the Kypriai initiate a connection to Troy. In a younger version Telephos originates from Troy and has married a woman from Troy, Astyoche or Laodike. His son Eurypylos was fighting for Priamos. The Attalids of Pergamon considered Telephos as their ancestor and let built the frieze of Telephos at their great altar. A Telephos roman was written in which the Amazone-like Hiera played a role. She and Telephos should be the ancestors of Tarchon and Tyrsenos who are said to have colonized Etruria. The hellenistic poetry too dealed with Telephos. Ennus and Accius rewrite the drame of Euripides. In Herculaneum was found the famous wall-painting 'Herakles finding Telephos'.

I have attached a pic of this painting. It was found AD 1793 in Herculaneum and armed with a thick layer of cement to protect it. Not earlier as 2005 it was restored. Until now not all of its figures could be identified. But in the lower left corner we see the hind which is suckling Telephos.

Kypriai: Epic cycles in eleven books which told the prehistory of the Iliad from the marriage of Peleus and Thetis to the unfortunate disembarkation in Teuthracia and the military actions in the Troas.
 
Sources:
Der kleine Pauly
Karl Kerenyi, Griechische Heldenmythen
Hederich, Gründliches Mythologisches Lexikon

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« Reply #93 on: May 02, 2006, 05:00:54 am »

Jochen,

Your post is, as usual, very interesting.  I don't have anything "new" to offer; I am really only reiterating what you've provided, with simply a little supporting information and a photo of a portion of the Telephos Frieze from Pergamon.  Thank you for your posts,"il miglio fabbro!"; I always learn something.

Cheers,
Cleisthenes (Jim)




Telephos
 
Telephos represents for Pergamon, what Romulus/Remus represent for Rome. Various ancient authors write about Telephos and there are different and inconsistent versions of the same story (Homer in The Iliad, Euripides, Aristophanes, Hyginus...).
 
Telephos’ parents are Heracles and princess Auge, the daughter of King Aleus of Tegea. King Aleus, who knows an oracle predicting that a son of Auge will cause the death of one of his sons, installs her as priestess in Athena’s temple, a post requiring perpetual virginity. However, during Heracles’ stay at Tegea, he falls in love with princess Auge, and he seduces her.

On discovering that Auge is pregnant, Aleus is angry and sends his daughter to the sea to be drowned; on the way there, according to some texts, she gives birth to Telephos. In Nauplia, King Nauphilus places both mother and son in a chest, and sets it adrift in the sea; they land, according to this version, in Mysia, where Auge raises Telephos. In a different version of the story, Auge gives birth to a son in Athena’s temple and hides him there.  This angers Athena, and the goddess causes all of the surrounding land to be barren.

Auge’s father, King Aleus, seeks the reason for this pestilence, and he discovers that it is his daughter and her newborn son who are responsible.   He, therefore, abandons and exposes the child on Mount Parthenium, and sends Auge overseas to Nauphilus where she will be sold into slavery. Auge is sold to Teuthras, king of Teuthrania on the River Caicus in Mysia
According to the traditional version, Telephos is discovered by some shepherds in the care of a doe, (‘elaphos,’ Greek) which was suckling him (‘a teat,’ ‘thele,’ Greek); the shepherds  name the foundling Telephos (‘thele’ + ‘elaphos’).  According to another, more recent heroic version, Herakles discovers Telephos being suckled by a lioness.

In the shepherd version, the shepherds raise Telephos in the company of Parthenopaeus, who also has been abandoned nearby. They become great friends. According to some authors, Auge herself abandons Telephos on Mt. Parthenium to hide her shame, or that she gives birth to him there on the way to Naupila.
 
When Telephos grows up, he wants to know the identity of his parents, in part because he suffers taunting at Aleus’ court because he does not know his lineage. On one momentous occasion, when he is being insulted, Telephos kills the person who so angers him. The oracle proves to be true: the dead man is Aleus’ son. In every version, it is agreed that Telephus subsequently consults the Delphi Oracle; the Oracle sends him to Mysia to find out his origins.

Accompanied by Parthenopaeus, he sails to Teuthrania, where, at the head of an army of Greek invaders, he helps to drive out Teuthras' enemies. Teuthras, who has no son, makes Telephos his heir. In one version, Teuthras has married Auge. In another, (analogous with Oedipus), Teuthras has adopted Auge as his daughter, and now insists on marrying her to Telephos as a part of Telephos’ reward. Auge, though unaware she is Telephos’ mother, is opposed to the match; according to some accounts she feels this way because she wishes to remain faithful to Heracles’ memory.  Therefore, she takes a sword to bed with her, intending to stab Telephos.  Miraculously, an enormous snake appears in the bed between them, and then Auge, terrorized, confesses her intention. Telephos, understandably outraged, prepares to kill her; whereupon Auge calls on Heracles for his help.  This prompts Telephos to ask her why she has appealed to the Hero. Auge, then, tells Telephos her long story that begins with her seduction by Heracles.  In this way, Auge and Telephos come to recognize each other.

In the Hyginus version of the story, Telephos then marries Ardiope, Teuthras’ daughter. Telephos’ wife is alternatively identified as Astyoche (Laodice), a daughter of Priam.

While Telephos is on the throne of Teuthrania, the Trojan War breaks-out; as Priam’s son-in-law, he supports the Trojan side. The Greeks mistakenly land in Mysia, believing it to be Trojan territory. Telephos fights against them, killing Polyncies’ son Thersander, but is wounded by Achilles when his foot is caught in a grapevine. After the Greeks return home, Telephos’ wound still has not healed. He consults an oracle and is told that the wound will eventually heal--but that he must seek out help from the Greeks (Iliad).  Dressed in beggar’s rags, Telephos travels to Mycenae, where the Greek captains are preparing another expedition against Troy.
 
He confides his plight to Clytemnestra, who advises him that the only way to gain his point with the kings is to seize the child Orestes and make supplication to Agamemnon. He does so, urging that Achilles should cure him. The Greek commanders, by this time have received an oracle that informs them that they will reach Troy, only if Telephos guides them there.   They consent to Telephos’ request.  Achilles, however, declares that he has no experience as a doctor.  Odysseus sees a deeper meaning in the oracle, and suggests that it refers to Achilles’ spear rather than to Achilles himself. Each day a little rust from Achilles’ spear is applied to Telephos’ wound; in a few days Telephos’ wound heals.

Telephos guides the Greek fleet to Troy, but refuses to join them in war. After Telephos dies, his son Eurypylus, in the last year of the Trojan war, leads Mysia reinforcements to aid Priam.
 
The myth of Telephos is, in later times, reinforced by the Attalid kings of Pergamon in Mysia.

Telephos is the founder of the cults of Dionysos, Athene and Zeus at Pergamon.

Bibliography:
Bauchenss-Thueirdel, Christa, Der Mythos von Telephos in “der antiken Bildkunst”. Beitraege zur Archaelogie, Wuerzburg: Konrad Trilitsch Verlag;
 
Schrader, Hans. “Die Anordnungund Deutung des pergamenischen Telephosfrieses”, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts 15 (1900);
 
Michael Grant and John Hazel, Who’s Who in Classical Mythology.

http://www.1stmuse.com/Pergamon/frieze.html

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« Reply #94 on: May 02, 2006, 05:50:47 am »

Thanks for your detailed information! I love it!

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« Reply #95 on: May 02, 2006, 06:59:20 am »

Jochen,

I am very keen on Pergamon, and I have always enjoyed this mythological connection with Telephos!

Cheers,
Cleisthenes (Jim)
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« Reply #96 on: May 02, 2006, 07:21:32 pm »

I do have an interesting little coin with Herakles holding the infant Telephos, so here it is:
11 01 02 AE 18  Thrace, PhilippopolisSeptimius Severus, head to r. (whether laureate not preserved).  ----]    SEVERO.  Rev., Herakles, unbearded, stg. frontal, head turned to l., r. arm akimbo and also evidently holding his club; on his l. forearm, the infant Telephos who reaches up to his shoulder. [PhI]LIPP    OPOL[ITON].  Almost certainly quotes a Pergamene type, why at Philippopolis quite unknowable.
Pat L.
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« Reply #97 on: May 02, 2006, 10:23:48 pm »

I do have an interesting little coin with Herakles holding the infant Telephos . . .
Pat L.
Pat L.,

You have a very interesting coin; the baby "clinging" to Herakles' shoulder is charming.

Jim (Cleisthenes)
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« Reply #98 on: May 05, 2006, 02:10:43 pm »

Dionysos and Nikaia - the founder myth of Nicaea

We have spoken about Dionysos several times in this thread. The motiv of this coin is alluding to the founder myth of Nicaea. This myth belongs to the group of myths around Dionysos too. I'm referring here to that lexikon, which already Goethe has used for his tragedy 'Faust II', the 'Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon' from Benjamin Hederich, Leipzig 1770. But first the coin:

Bithynia, Nicaea, Severus Alexander 222-235
AE 25, 9.18g
obv. M AVR CEVH - ALEZANDROC
Bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
rev. NI - [K] - AIEW - N
Dionysos, draped, with ivy wreath, holding thyrsos, sitting r., head turned l. to a female figure (probably Nikaia), stg. frontal, head with chignon r., holding wreath in r. hand.
no reference found
about VF

The nymph Nikaia (lat. Nicaea) was the daughter of the Phrygian river-god Sangarios and the goddess Kybele (Memnon ap phot. p.383). She was of exquisite beauty, but at the same time a passionate huntress who like to stay in the woods and between the mountains (Nonni Dionys. XV. 170 sqq.). Here Hymnos, a herdsman of this region, fall in love to her, followed her and watched her closely (Ib. 204). But his prayers were not answered and because he won't stop being after her she finally became angry and shot him with one of her arrows (Ib. 362). This murder Eros swore to avenge and he kept his word truely. When she was heated once by the hunt and was washing herself in a stream, Eros led Dionysos to her so that he could see her nude. At the same time he wounded his heart (Id. XVI. 1 sqq.). But Dionysos found as much approval by her as Hymnos and she threatened him with whose fate (Ib. 156.). But he has turned a river some time before into wine (Id. XIV fin.). She came thursty by her hunt to that river, got drunk and fall asleep. Dionysos, who has followed her all the time, now enjoyed what he couldn't get before (Id. XVI. 282). As soon as she regarded her accident she tried to kill her raper. But because that was impossible she suicided by hanging (Ib. 391). But first she gave birth to a daughter of him who was called Telete and Dionysos built up a city called Nikaia after her (Ib. in fin.). Telete became a devotee of him.

It is told too that he has also a son Satyrios by Nikaia. If that would be true then he stands for the male principle and Telete for the female principle of the Dionysos cult - a so-called 'Koure' in his train. As personification of the initiations rites (telete = initiation) she is closely connected to Orpheus. On Helikon, the 'Mount of Willow', Pausanias saw a statue of Orpheus with Telete at his side. And in Polygnotos' great fresco of the Underworld at Delphoi Orpheus was painted leaning against a willow and touching its branches with his hands, just as Telete in the relief of Loukou seated beside the tree close up against its foliage. Both he and she derived fertility from contact with the sacred tree. the relief from Loukou was probably set up over the grave of an Orphic votary.

From the 2nd century AD coins of Nicaea show Nikaia as city-goddess.

Sources:
Memnos of Herakleia
Nonnus,Dionysiaka
Der kleine Pauly
Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

BTW Nicaea is the city of the famous council AD 325 where the Eastern date was defined and the notorious discussion about 'homoousios' and 'homoiousios' took place.
 
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« Reply #99 on: May 06, 2006, 01:41:41 am »

Dionysos and Nikaia - the founder myth of Nicaea

We have spoken about Dionysos several times in this thread . . .I'm referring here to that lexikon, which already Goethe has used for his tragedy 'Faust II'. . .

Jochen,

This is very intriguing.  Because of obvious restrictions, it is not possible to discuss in detail the enormous influence Dionysus has played in the art of Western Civilization.  From the paintings of Diego Velasquez ("The Feast of Bacchus"), to the poetry of John Keats ("Ode to a Nightingale" is just one example), to Modernist prose; Dionysus plays a starring role.  In his novella Death in Venice, Thomas Mann's famous protagonist, Aschenbach, can be seen as making the journey of initiation into the realm of Bacchanalia.  The link between Goethe and Mann is, of course, Nietzsche (who after his breakdown signed letters using the name Dionysus).

There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of coins that depict Dionysus/Bacchus.  I have chosen one that I find especially interesting: LESBOS: Mytilene. Ca. 356 BC. El hecte (2.57 gm). Head of young Dionysus right, wreathed in ivy / Satyr's head facing within linear square. Bodenstedt 90 (unlisted dies).   It is the remarkable style of the reverse that catches my imagination.  The Satyr (a creature very Dionysian in nature) reminds me of the image of the Spaniard in the middle of the composition of Velasquez's "The Feast of Bacchus".  In the painting by Velasquez, the youthful Bacchus is crowning one of his 'acolytes' while the Spaniard to his left, holding the bowl of wine, seems, at least in my imagination, to be wearing the same leering almost inviting features as the satyr in the ancient coin from Lesbos.  I have included Velasquez's "The Feast of Bacchus" for the sake of comparison.

Thank you, once again, for a very interesting topic!
--Cleisthenes (Jim)
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