The Gnostics and Their Remains, by Charles William King, , at sacred-texts.com
Frontispiece. Ceraunia of green jade, converted into a Gnostic talisman described at p. 197. Presented to the Repository, Woolwich, by General Lefroy.
Title-page. The Ophite version of the "Good Shepherd," described at p. 230. Sard. (New York.)
Agathodæmon Serpent, inscribed ΙΘΙ With Me [thou shalt be safe]. Remarkable mineralogically, as being cut in a piece of true jade (Nephrite) (Lewis Collection). P. xii.
No. 1. The Gnostic Gorgon, a late Byzantine amulet. The legend, full of blunders and contractions, is ΑΓΙΟCΑΓΙΟC ΚϒΡΙΟC CΑΒΑΩΘ ΕΝ ΤΟΙC ϒΨΙCΤΟΙC ΕϒΛΟΓΗΜΕΝΟC, "Holy, holy, Lord of hosts, in the highest, Blessed!" Drawn to the actual size, from a cast, sent to me many years ago by the late Mr. Albert Way. But by a singular chance, the gem itself (a green jasper) two years back, came into the hands of Mr. W. Talbot Ready, who supplied me with a drawing of it, from which it appears that its other face represents Saint Anne, with the Infant Madonna in her arms, and her name and title in the field, the legend around being ϒCΤΕΡΑ ΜΕΛΑΙΝΗ ΜΕΛΑΙΝΟΜΕΝΗ ΩC ΘΑΛΑΤΤΑΝ ΓΑΛΗΝΗ CΑΙΝΕΙ, "O, womb, black, blackening, as the calm soothes the sea [be thou quiet]. The gem is therefore a talisman for the protection of women during pregnancy; a fact accounting for its frequent occurrence; Chiflet figures another (the Gorgon side only) in his "Apistopistus," No. 70. P. 20.
No. 2. The Abraxas-god, as he is usually represented, with shield and whip to scare away all evil spirits. The reverse exhibits the Agathodæmon Serpent, surrounded by triplets of the sacred animals of Egypt, all paying him adoration. The legend in the field ΕVΙΑ, is Syriac for "Serpent," the rest remains unexplained. Drawn to the actual size, from a red jasper, discovered at Bombay, to which place it had probably been carried by the Persian refugees of the seventh century. (Lewis Collection.) P. 41.
No. 3. A circular green jasper (of the size of the drawing) preserved from time immemorial in Maestricht Cathedral, where it passes for the "Seal of Saint Servatius," although in reality many centuries posterior to his date, being a late mediæval work. The obverse represents the bust of some saint; the reverse, the Gnostic Gorgon; around both rims a most barbarous attempt at a common Byzantine spell; that is, of a few of the first words only. The spell, in full, may be translated thus, "Death, (Μοῖρα) black, blackening, as a serpent dost thou writhe, as a lion dost thou roar; but as a lamb shalt thou lie down!" P. 57.
No. 4. The Abraxas-god mounted in the chariot of the Sun. This design is unique in its kind, and of great value, as proving the original identity of the Basilidan deity with the Solar Power. He has, however, been adopted into the new religion by the legend of the reverse, the "Great Names," Iao and Abraxas placed within a coiled serpent, emblem of Eternity. Green-jasper. (Bosanquet.) P. 103.
No. 5. Horus, the Vernal Sun, seated on the lotus, type of the world, and reviewing the adoration of the Baboon, attribute of the moon. Jasper. (New York.) P. 155.
No. 6. The Sun in his car, in his hand the orb; he is saluted in the legend as "Thou art our Father!" and the word in the exergue Trallianus tells us is one of his titles, and enters into a spell against gout. The reverse exhibits Luna guiding her milk-white heifer, the Grecian substitute for the silver antelope of the Hindoo Chandra Hæmatite. (New York.) P. 157.
No. 7. Isis, one lotus on her brow, holding a sceptre. Sardonyx. (Muirhead.) P. 175.
No. 8. Caduceus, within a myrtle wreath. On the reverse is beautifully engraved ΑΡΙΚΩΦΙ, which is the exact transliteration of the Hebrew charm against the special demon of the latrina, and which is found in the Talmud, being consequently more ancient that the fourth century. The meaning is "Upon the head of a lion." Sard. (New York.) P. 178.
No. 9. The Abraxas god, engraved in so superior a style that the work must date from the earliest period of the sect. Green jasper. (New York.) P. 194.
No. 10. The Abraxas god, with the title "Iao, Son of the Universe!" This is a truer version of the Hebrew than the "Eternal Son," proposed by Matter. Hæmatite. (New York.) P. 244.
No. 11. Talisman against the Evil Eye. The much-dreaded organ is shown encompassed by the symbols of the deities presiding over the days of the week, as the Lion for the Sun, the Stag for the Moon, the Wolf for Mars, &c., all combining to baffle the force of the stroke. This attribution of days came from the Chaldæan astrologers: it is represented in a painting at Herculaneum, but the earliest use of it to mark a date is found in Dio Cassius, who observes that Jerusalem was taken "on Saturn's Day." Sard. (New York.) P. 256.
No. 12. Drawing rudely scratched on the plaster of the wall of a guardroom, or the Palatine, representing a man of the lower class touncatus popellus, or a slave, making a gesture of adoration to a biform deity elevated upon steps, with the explanatory inscription "Alexamenos, worships (or is worshipping) God." It is disputed whether this be a bona fide adoration of the jackal-headed Anubis; or the caricature by some heathen scoffer of the convert, Alexamenos and his newly-found god, depicted here in the shape described by Tertullian. See remarks at page 230. P. 279.
No. 13. Bust of Apollo, in the Greek style, interpolated by a later hand with a talismanic legend, that would have defied all interpretation but for the existence of another of the same nature, yet rather more explicit. This is a portrait of Pescennius Niger (Paris), inscribed with an invocation to the "Holy King, Apollo," to preserve the health of that Emperor, expressed like the present one, chiefly by the initial letters. Ouri, therefore, must be read Βασιλεὺς Ἀπόλλων Ἱερὸς Σεου(ηοον) [σῶζε] and, in the same way, calls upon the God of Health to show this favour to Pescennius’ rival, Severus. Sard. (New York.) P. 302.
No. 14. Talismanic Ring of Bishop Seffrid, found in his tomb; now preserved in the Cathedral Library, Chichester. P. 328.
No. 15. The Agathodæmon, declaring by the legend "I am Chnumis, Sun of the Universe, 700." The Greek numeral must be the Number of a Name," just as 888 is that of Jesus, but what that name was, I leave to deeper Kabbalists than myself to discover. Calcedony. (British Museum.) P. 340.
No. 16. Serapis and Agathodæmon combined in one body; enthroned and holding the Orb, as being Lord of the Universe. He receives the adoration of the Cynocephalus, attribute of the moon; whence, perhaps, it may be inferred that Serapis is to be understood now in the more restricted sense of the Solar Power. Green jasper. (New York.) P. 358.
No. 17. SPHINX, emblem of mystery, sporting with a narthex, the wand carried by the candidates for initiation into the Dionysia. Campanian style, engraved upon the base of a Sard. Scarabeus. (New York.) P. 372.
No. 18. The golden Delphic Ε, surmounted by a fillet of roses. For the explanation of the symbol, see p. 297. Cameo in agate-onyx. (New York.) P. 431.
No. 19. Vase, the lower part modelled as a triple face of the boy Atys; at the base lie the pastoral staff and pipes. Atys, in the Phrygian Mysteries, is invoked as the "Shepherd of the white stars, and guiding them by the sound of his piping," which Tatian (Hymn to the Mother of the Gods) explains by identifying him with the power that governs the motions of the heavens. Red jasper. (New York.) P. 466.