صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

receiving from Rhea the stone supposed to be Zeus.'1 Lastly, we find that the scimetar with which Merodach (or Bel] is armed [when about to fight with the Dragon] is shown by the cylinders and bas-reliefs to have been of the shape of a sickle, and is therefore [as had also occurred to me) the same as the harpe or khereb with which the hero Perseus was armed.' 2 Now Bel and Merodach fight against chaos and also against darkness, and the chief weapon of the god who maintains nocturnal kosmic order is, as of course, the sickle-shaped moon. Perseus, in accordance with the Principle of Reduplication above noticed, armed with the crescent-moon cuts off the Gorgô-head or full-moon; just as another mighty Babylonio-Akkadian divinity is described as being armed with the sun. It is evident therefore that Perseus, who was supposed to have slain the seamonster at Joppa, and who in a passage of Herodotos, difficult to explain, is said to have had a temple and ritual in Egypt,4 was more or less connected with the non-Aryan East. Lenormant 5 gives an extract from a Babylonian Fragment of which he says, “C'est le prototype de l'histoire de Persée et d’Andromède ;' and he thinks that Perseus may be another variant form of the word represented by the Parsoudos of Ktesias, and is therefore in origin a Babylonian name. Very likely; but I do not doubt that it is also an Aryan name, that is to say, here probably, as in many other instances, an Aryan and a non-Aryan name, of somewhat similar sound, have become united like a double star. The sire of Andromedê,1 Kepheus the Aithiop king and son of Belos, is a personage altogether non-Aryan and Euphratean; and Hellanikos, B.C. 490-10, chief of the Greek logographers, mentions Kepheus and the Kephenians (Ethiopians or Kushites) in connexion with Babylon..

* G. D. M. ii. 129. In this work I have illustrated the Semitic character of Kronos.

2 Prof. Sayce in Smith’s C. A. G. 113.

3 • The sun of fifty faces, the lofty weapon of my divinity, I bear. The hero that striketh the mountains, the propitious sun of the morning, that is mine, I bear' (Hymn, ap. Sayce in C. A. G. 86).

1 Vide sec. XII. subsec. 3. 5 Les Premières Civilisations, ii, 24-5.


Lastly, in the dread Gorgô, originally Darkness + Moon, then more distinctly lunar, we have the origin of the myth of the Face in the Moon. We know otherwise that this myth was archaic, for Epigenes of Sikyon, the most ancient writer of tragedy,'4 in a lost work called The Poetry of Orpheus, says that the Theologer called the moon Gorgonian on account of the face in it;' and Serapiôn, an Alexandrine physician of the third century B.C., thought that the Face seen in the moon is the soul of the Sibylla.' 6

1 Perhaps originally Antar-ma-da, i.e., 'Sky-cutting-from-Media,' or eastern dawn-light. Her mythic position authorises a non-Aryan explanation of her name. Names subsequently applied to elaborations, e.g., constellations, were probably in numerous cases primarily applied to far simpler phenomena.

» Herod. vii. 61, 150. 3 Persika, Frag. iii. The star-group of Kepheus, Kassiopeia, Andromedê and Perseus points to Chaldean influence.

4 Souidas, in voc. Thespis. 5 Ap. Clem. Alex. Stromata, v. 8.

6 Ibid. i. 15. Sibylla, i.e., “Council-of-Zeus,' is a general name given to various shadowy and prophetic females of Classical antiquity, to whom the composition of divers late and anonymous verses was attributed.

According to the doctrine set forth by Plutarch,' evil souls, on attempting to enter the tranquil lunar region, are driven away by the dread Face in the Orb.?

With respect to Gorgonian art, Sir G. Wilkinson is of opinion that the monster Medusa evidently derived its form from the common Typhonian figure of Egypt;'3 and M. Clermont-Ganneau, in a most interesting work, has elaborated a theory which connects a beautiful female Gorgon with Hathor and Tanit, and a hideous male Gorgon with the Kamic Bes.

Speaking of Etruscan temple-tombs, Mr. Dennis observes, “The pediments terminate on each side in a volute, within which is a grim, grinning face, with prominent teeth, a Gorgon's head, a common sepulchral decoration.'5 On the hollowed bottom of the famous Etruscan bronze lamp in the Museum of Cortona is a huge Gorgon's face, all horror. LThe visage of a fiend, with eyes starting from their sockets, a mouth stretched to its utmost, with gnashing tusks—and the whole rendered more terrible by a wreath of serpents bristling around it.'6 Well may Mr. Dennis add, “It is a libel on the fair face of Dian, to say that this hideous visage symbolises the moon.' This difficulty I have fully explained.

On the ceiling of a chamber in the cemetery of Perugia is an enormous Gorgon's head, hewn from

1 Concerning the Face in the Moon's Orb.

* On this myth, vide Rev. S. Baring-Gould, Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, 'The Man in the Moon.

3 Rawlinson's Herodotus, ii. 125. * L'Imagerie Fhénicienne, 136 et seq. SC: C. E. i. 100. 6 Ibid. ii. 404. 1 C. C. E. ii. 441-2. 2 Birch, Ancient Pottery, 169; vide sec. IX. 3 Vase Catalogue, No. 1852. 4 Vide sec. III. Nos. IV. VI. 5 Brit. Mus. Cat., No. 641.


the dark rock, with eyes upturned in horror, gleaming from the gloom, teeth bristling whitely in the open mouth, wings on the temples, and snakes knotted over the brow.'l The Etruscans evidently fully shared in the Akkadian horror of darkness.

On the back of the late Mr. Cooper's edition of Lenormant's Chaldean Magic is represented (I presume from some Chaldean original) a Gorgoneion, apparently a black face, radiate, with wide and open grinning mouth. This presents a remarkable combination of moon and darkness.

Greek vases were occasionally moulded in the shape of the leg of Gorgô.2 A Vase in the British Museumshows a Gorgô in connexion with Lions. She holds upon either side a lion by the fore paw; the lions standing on their hind legs, sling back their heads. The design may of course be mere sportive art, but it appears to be Assyrian in origin 4 and may signify the Gorgonian Night stationed harmoniously between two leonine Days.

Another Vase 5 shows Perseus, wearing the petasos and talaria, plunging the harpê, which he holds in his right hand, into the neck of the Gorgô, who has four wings, two snakes on each side of her head, and two round her waist. •Her face has the usual Gorgon type, with curls symmetrically ranged [an Assyrian characteristic), and a wide, open mouth showing the


teeth and tongue.' Another Vase shows the rare design of Perseus flying over the Libyan mountains, pursued by Stheinô and Euryalê. “The wild pursuit of the immortal Gorgons seems to be the chase of Darkness after the bright Sun who, with his golden sandals, just escapes their grasp as he soars into the peaceful morning sky.' ?

In Canon Spano's very interesting work, Mnemosine Sarda ossia Ricordi e memorie di varii Monumenti Antichi con altre rarita dell'isola de Sardegna (Cagliari, 1864), several good examples of the Gorgon-type are given, the most remarkable of which shows three Gorgon-faces radiate, with open mouths and protruded tongues, in a circle—the lunar orb. Here the three Gorgon sisters are connected with the one Moon.

[merged small][ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »