صور الصفحة

rain.' Tistar, Tistrya or Tishtrya, is Sirius,1 who, as the stellar protagonist, co-operates with the Moon in ruling water and regulating that humidity which is necessary to vitality.

'Tistar was converted into three forms, the form of a man and the form of a horse and the form of a bull; thirty days and nights he was distinguished in brilliance; and in each form he produced rain ten days and nights; as the astrologers say that every constellation has three forms.'2

In this very interesting passage we see the Triform Moon reduplicated in a triform Sirius, himself in his glorious light a second moon. His special period of brilliance is that of the lunar course, and like the Moon, he takes the forms of horse and bull.3

When we get as late as the formulated systems of 'the astrologers,' each zodiacal constellation has three forms as divided into three decans, and it appears that the extra-zodiacal constellations were also regarded in some way as triform. These are the elaborations of previous simpler observation, and probably originally based upon lunar triformity. Thus Tistar ' the shining, majestic, the first ten nights unites himself with a body, with the body of a youth

1 'Le ge'nie de l'e'toile Sirius' (Lenormant, Les Origines, 431). Of. Plutarch: 'Qpo/xafrjy Tov ovpavov aarpois eKdapriacW cva fi* axnipa npo izavrav otov (pvKaKa «u irpoonrrjv iyKario-rqa-fTov 2elpiov (Pe1-i Is. xlvii. It is now usual to deny that Plutarch wrote this Tractate; but I see no sufficient reason for the scepticism).

2 Bundahis, vii. 4.

9 The bovine moon is, of course, not the subject of this Monograph.


of fifteen years, a shining one, with bright eyes. The second ten nights, Tistar unites himself with a body, proceeding along the clear space, with the body of a bull with golden hoofs.1 The third ten nights Tistar unites himself with a body, with the body of a horse, a shining, beautiful one, with yellow ears, with a golden housing.'2 These phases, however, do not really apply to Sirius but to Lunus, and hence their origin.

The three-legged lunar ass is found on coins and elsewhere under the familiar form of the Triquetra,3 the origin of which appears thus;—4


Fig. 1. Fio. 2.

It is familiar on coins of Sicily as the national monetary type, a connexion however which is probably merely based upon the shape of the island— Trinacria or, as the Eoman poets sometimes actually call it, Triquetra. But in the case of the Isle of Man no such reason can be admitted as explanatory.5 Planche" remarks ;—

1 Of. the golden horn of the three-legged ass: the ancient Egyptians called silver ' white-gold.'

2 Khordah-Avesta, xxiv. 6, ap. Spiegel and Bleeck.

3 Vide sec. III. No. XXII. * Vide G. D. M. i. 408.

5 The Kev. Is. Taylor observes, 'Mona and the Isle of Man are perhaps from the Welsh mon, separate' (Word* and Places, 230, note ?). 'Separate' is but a feeble name to give to an island, considering also the -wonderful suitability of nearly all truly archaic names. Far more probably is Man the Moon Island. The Triquetra seems to make this view almost an absolute certainty.

'The arms of Man are legs, or in less equivocal language, the ancient kingdom of Man was, and the island itself is still, represented in heraldry by three legs in armour, conjoined at the thighs. Our example of this heraldic curiosity 1 is particularly interesting, because the armour in which the legs are encased is the banded mail of the thirteenth century, and therefore presents us with the earliest appearance of the armorial coat of that Island and Sovereignty, after it had ceased to be Norwegian, A.d. 1264. The origin of the bearing has yet to be discovered.'2 Behold it.

On coins of the ancient Greek city of Metabon (Metapontion-Metapontum) on the Tarentine Gulf, the three crescent legs appear in a variant phase thus;—> The dots show that the three crescents are really identical with the central dot or full-moon. A favourite type on coins of Metabon is the Ear-of-corn which is always, and doubtless justly, connected with local fertility and the F1o. a.

cult of Dan1ater-Ceres; but at the same time the resemblance between the Ear and the Sacred Tree of the Euphrates Valley is very striking. Another coin of Metabon shows a bull's head, a type which may be lunar.1

1 Vide Arms of Man tem. Edward I. Mis. Cur. Coll. of Arms. There is not the slightest evidence that the device was originally a Norman importation, or that it is really connected with any local features.

3 The Pursuivant of Arms, 143-4.


A triquetric ornament appears also at Troy and Mykene.2

1 Astarte appears at times on coins as cow-headed or bull-headed, in accordance with the statement that 'she placed the head of a bull on her own head in token of sovereignty ' (Sanch. i. 7). Pausanias (VI. xxiv. 5) mentions a statue of the Moon which had horns on its head, and Taurokeros is an Orphik epithet of Selene. So Porphyry states that the priestesses of Demeter ' called the moon, who presides over generation, a bull,' and adds,' and Taurus is the exaltation of the Moon ' (Peri ton en Odysseia ton Ifymphon antrou, viii.). According to Olympiodoros (MS. Comment. on the Oorgias),' the ancient theologists' said that' the Moon is drawn by two bulls; by two, on account of her increase and diminution: by bulls, because as these" till the ground [Not much tillage is done by bulls], so the Moon governs all those parts which surround the earth.'

* Vide Schliemann, Mycenae, figs. 382, 428, 501, 511, etc.



Light being pleasant to man and Darkness more or less awful, the original aspect of the Moon is a friendly and favourable one as the head of nocturnal kosmic order, the beneficent Unicorn, the 'Eighteous ' Ass of the Bundahis, who is hated and warred against by the powers of evil. But the Moon may be the friend as well as the enemy of Night, and as such becomes Gorgonian and terrific, connected with witchcraft, evil demons, 'wicked apparitions,'1 and all the power and horror of great darkness; whilst its changing form admits of monstrous concrete representation in art and fancy.

"With reference to the Sun, the Moon may with almost equal propriety appear as the sire, mother, brother, sister, husband, bride or nurse of the mighty star; friendly to the Sun, as Ino or Sin; hostile as the Unicorn; pursued by or pursuing the Sun.

When civilization progresses sufficiently to possess a Calendar, the Moon, as time-measurer, lends invaluable assistance, and marks the months.

As lord of moisture and humidity, the Moon is

1 Akkadian Hymn (W. A. I. iv. 17).

« السابقةمتابعة »