The Evil Eye, by Frederick Thomas Elworthy, , at sacred-texts.com
THE hand in the attitude of sacerdotal benediction, having the two first fingers and thumb extended, was an amulet against the evil eye long before the Christian era. Fig. 136 is from the Naples
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Jorio 460 has nothing whatever to say about this position, henceforward called that of the Mano Pantea. As a gesture by the common people it is not used at all, but is evidently left for the priests alone, 461 being specially the attitude of our Lord in the act of benediction, as shown by the Ravenna mosaic (Fig. 107, p. 248).
Of the three men entertained by Abraham, the one who may be supposed to represent the Second
[paragraph continues] Person of the Trinity, as already described, holds the right hand thus, while the central figure, the First Person, is making the Eastern sign of benediction, also explained, with the first, second, and fourth fingers. Again, in the great twelfth century mosaic of our Lord on the tribune of the
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FIG. 137., 138.
[paragraph continues] Cathedral of Monreale in Sicily the attitude is the same as in Fig. 107 though six centuries later, and twelve centuries later than Fig. 136. Although this position of the hand is that usually assigned to Him, it is by no means restricted to the Second Person, for there are several instances where the Almighty Father is shown in this attitude, and, further, the Holy Spirit is portrayed in human form with the right hand raised in this gesture 462 (Figs. 130, 131).
There are very interesting examples of this special attitude, attributed not only to all the Persons of the Holy Trinity separately, but in two cases Miss Twining 463 (in Plates xxxiv. xxxv.) represents the Trinity by one single, seated figure, who,
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in both plates, is lifting the right hand in the position we are now discussing. There are many other examples of this attitude attributed to the Almighty Father, where the hand alone, or Dextera Dei, in this position is shown coming down from the clouds. Fig. 139, from the Norman tympanum at Hoveringham, Notts, 464 shows this Almighty hand reaching down to St. Michael fighting with the dragon. 465
As a modern amulet to be worn, the writer has
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but there are in the Kircherian Museum in Rome
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FIG. 141., 142.
two or three others similar in type, but widely differing
in detail. They are all from 6 to 8 inches high.
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All are in the same attitude that we have been
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FIG. 144., 145.
describing, but each one has a varying combination
of symbols upon it. One of these hands is in the British Museum (Figs. 156, 157), two are at Cortona,
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CECROPIVS · V · C · VOTUM · Solvit,
and the other in London, in the possession of Lord Londesborough, has:--
He says the first lines are clear, i.e. Ζούπορας εὐξάμενος
[paragraph continues] ἀνέθηκεν Σαβαξίῳ Not so the last. In a note he says: "Keil" (Arch. Anz. 1854, p. 517) "recognised the word ἐπηκόῳ, which is common in votive inscriptions, without explaining the rest." Jahn
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himself offers no explanation. The position of the hand, he says, is still the one used in taking the oath, 466 and a sign used by priests.
On Fig. 112 will be seen two specimens of this hand as a modern amulet, bought at two different shops in Rome. One is a charm to be suspended from the watch-chain, and the other is mounted as a brooch. As these are so small, the writer tried to get a full-sized bronze specimen, and among other shops went to that of Sig. Finocchi, in the Piazza Minerva, whom he well knew, and from whom he was sure of getting information. They are only made as charms contra la jettatura, in gold or silver, he said, and while talking about it, showed the one he was himself wearing, just like the two on Fig. 112, but of gold. In Rome this little hand is well known, and is called by everybody the Mano Pantea. The same charm in silver, quite complete, possibly of Roman make, is in the shops at Constantinople, but has not been found by the writer either at Smyrna, at Athens or elsewhere in Greece. The name is well established; it appears upon the brooch itself, and further upon the printed description, given with the article to the writer, by the jeweller who sold it. This description is given below in full. 467
The reason for giving a printed description is, that this article is of very superior workmanship to the ordinary charm, and so needs some explanation to account for its costliness; also to explain that it
is an exact copy of the antique, and therefore superior in every way to the. ordinary goods sold, etc. The term Pantheus is dealt with by Mr. King, Gnostics, pp. 80, 81. It signifies a combination of many attributes, expressing the amalgamation of several ideas into one and the same form. 468
Comparison with the illustration here printed shows that it differs from that given by Jahn (Taf. IV.), although the symbols are nearly the same. Jahn's represents the top of the index and middle finger broken off, has no scarab, nor the nondescript article called oggetto ignoto by the Roman jewellers, but which it is here suggested is the whip of Osiris or courbash of modern Egypt, of which two separate ones are plainly shown on the British Museum hand (Figs. 156, 157). The whip is the symbol of rule 469 and government; in Egyptian sculptures always in the right hand of Osiris. 470 This explanation of a doubtful object is rather confirmed by its being placed immediately over the Vase or Cantharus, one of the recognised symbols of Osiris. Apuleius says that water in an urn represented Osiris. It was consecrated to him as the life-giving water-god-the Nile. This two-handled vessel was sacred to Bacchus in Roman times, and that it was a veritable amulet is proved by the fact of its being the sole device
upon the shield of one of the Amazons, painted on a famous vase at Arezzo (see Dennis, Etruria, vol. ii. p. 387 ). 471 Moreover, when we consider that the whole of the symbols here combined, beginning with the bust of Serapis, are essentially Egyptian, it is but reasonable to interpret the unknown from the well known. 472
Serapis, or Jupiter Serapis, the Egyptian divinity whose bust is placed upon the mons Jovis of the hand, was chiefly worshipped at Alexandria. His cult was introduced into Greece in the time of the Ptolemies, and afterwards, against much opposition, 473 into Rome. One ruined temple at least still exists in Italy called a Serapeon, and others called Iseons, in which latter, Isis as well as Serapis was worshipped. The best known of the former is at Pozzuoli, and of the latter at Pompeii. That at Pozzuoli specially recalls the connection of that port with Alexandria. In a ship of Alexandria trading with Italy St. Paul sailed, and so landed at Pozzuoli (Puteoli, Acts xxviii. 13). The Egyptian divinity was Osiris, called Osiris-Apis or Serapis, 474 who in Egyptian sculpture often has the head of the bull Apis, crowned with the disc and horns like Isis. He was essentially a sun-god; so also is Jupiter Serapis, an attribute symbolised by the flower-basket or calathus upon his head, to express the height of the sun above us. 475 Innumerable are the statues,
bas-reliefs, and gems connected with the worship of Serapis, who, though lord of the sun, cannot be separated from Isis and other moon goddesses." 476
On gem talismans the bust of Serapis is very common, having the legend, either in full, ΕΙ?<υ?>?C?/υ?> ΘΕΟ?<υ?>?C?/υ?> ?<υ?>?C?/υ?>ΑΡΑΠΙ?<υ?>?C?/υ?>, or abbreviated, Ε.Θ.?<υ?>?C?/υ?>. "There is but one God and he is Serapis." ΕΙ?<υ?>?C?/υ?> ΖΩΝ ΘΕΟ?<υ?>?C?/υ?>. "The one living God." Who can fail to note here the prototype of the Mahomedan "Allah il Allah"?
Often the intention of the amulet is fully expressed, as ΝΙΚΑ Ο ?<υ?>?C?/υ?>ΑΡΑΠΙ?<υ?>?C?/υ?> ΤΟΝ ΦΘΟΝΟΝ, "Baffle the evil eye, O Serapis!" 477 In the later Roman fashion, the Almighty Jove most usually wears the castle-like crown, 478 something like that of the Ephesian Diana, again showing the direct link between Osiris-Isis and Jupiter-Diana. It is remarkable that on the dome of the so-called Arian
[paragraph continues] Baptistery at Ravenna, of the sixth century, where there is a representation of our Lord's baptism, the dove is descending in visible form, but the First Person in the Trinity is represented sitting on a rock, as an old man with white beard, and on his head a sort of crown identical in shape with that upon Jupiter Serapis (Fig. 148). 479
Most, if not all, of the other symbols upon the Mano Pantea, like those upon the every-day-of-the-week amulet (Fig. 19), also belong to one or other of the last-named deities of the sun and moon.
At the bottom of the palm is a kind of semicircular frame, found in all these hands known to the writer, besides six of those named by Jahn, containing a woman suckling a child, in this one with a bird keeping guard over them.
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watching over his consort the Moon (Isis), who is nursing their son Horus. 480 It may be, however, that this bird represents the eagle, another symbol of Jupiter, and often seen with him on gems and statues. A very remarkable comment upon this bird (in Jahn's plate it is quite nondescript, and looks like a goose with eagle's beak), and upon the attitude here displayed, is in Dr. Phene's description of some Hittite monuments in Asia Minor. He says: 481 "The symbols are a crouching bird on a level with the face of Sesostris, and close to it a sceptre. . . . The bird usually found in Hittite inscriptions . . . is the eagle, and the position is one of majesty, which he considered implied kingly power, and hence the crouching and humbled bird was a king bereft of his power." The bird on the Mano Pantea cannot be said to be crouching, neither was it in the illustration which Dr. Phene gave, nor is either of the birds represented on the Woburn marble (Fig. 24). 482
Upon the figure of the woman and child, Jahn remarks (p. 104): "It has been rightly considered that these hands are ex votos for a safe delivery, and that the others, on which are other objects, are ex votos for other good fortunes." To this opinion we take objection, upon the ground that all these hands are constructed to stand upright, upon a flat surface, whereas ancient as well as modern ex votos, such as phalli, hands, legs, etc., were prepared for suspension.
[paragraph continues] Moreover, ex votos, when intended simply as such, were in old times generally mutilated or broken, and the writer has never seen or heard of a bronze one. 483 These hands were therefore intended to be placed somewhere in the house, and not in the temple. Further, all have a number of objects upon them, each in itself a well-known amulet, specially used against the evil eye, and fashioned in a very lasting material. All these devices would be useless and meaningless upon a mere ex voto, which in old days, as now, we know to have been some single object--an arm, a leg, a breast, or an ear--representing in itself more or less accurately the benefit received or the member healed. Moreover, we have the complete analogy of compounded and complicated amulets in the many gems and medals among the ancients, while among the moderns we have the striking example of the Cimaruta in its manifold forms. Of this latter, Jahn never seems to have
heard, though he mentions the mano fica and one or two other modern charms. With all deference to learning, it is stoutly maintained that all these hands were not votive, but prophylactic, pure and simple. Thus the whole amulet would be specially potent for the protection against fascination of mothers and new-born infants, as well as for adults in general. Our deliberate opinion is, that these hands, having such pantheistic symbols upon them, were for the same purpose as the Teraphim of Scripture, or the Lares and Penates of classic days. They were probably held in much the same estimation as a crucifix is to-day by a devout Christian.
It is suggested that what Jahn calls a bracket supporting the bust, may be meant for a cornucopia, and if so, its meaning would be at once evident. 484
The next of the amulets, the scarab, is of all others, perhaps not even excluding the mystic eye, the most commonly seen and found in Egyptian tombs.
Its frequent occurrence in sculpture, no less than the authority of numerous ancient writers, shows the great importance attached by the Egyptians to this insect. "It was the emblem of the sun, to which deity it was particularly sacred." 485 In the scarab we have another symbol of Osiris, the Sun-God, and consequently of his successor Serapis, the supreme divinity of our complex amulet.
Pliny 486 says: "The insect in its operations pictures the revolution of the sun." These "operations" are
the habit it has of making pellets of clay, and rolling them along. The scarab was also a symbol of the world, and as a hieroglyph, under its name Ptah-Xeper, it signified the Creative Power. 487
From the belief that there were no females, and that all of the species were males, it was considered the symbol of virility and manly force, hence it was engraved upon the signets of Egyptian soldiers. 488
The scarab may be considered 489 as: "(1) An emblem of the sun; (2) Of Ptah, the Creative Power, and of Ptah-Xeper; (3) of Ptah-Socharis Osiris; (4) of the world; (5) connected with astronomical subjects; 490 and (6) with funereal rites."
Upon the Mano Pantea we may safely consider it under either, or all of the four first meanings; and hence as it was in Egypt a powerful amulet to guard both living and dead, so we may well believe it was adopted as such by the Romans along with the Serapis cult. It will be noticed that our jeweller's description passes over the scarab, which is nevertheless very distinct on the original bronze.
On the back of the hand we have the frog, which our friend calls a toad (rospo). 491 This is a common
amulet against the evil eye. In Naples the simple frog amulet is called a Sirena, like the more elaborate one of which a description follows later. It is not only now worn (see Fig. 112) by Italians, Greeks, and even Turks, but it appears on many ancient gems and medals (see Fig. 17). It is commonly of metal, but when cut out of amber or coral is of greater power. The frog also was among Egyptians "a symbol of Ptah," because, as Horapollo says, "it was the representation of man in embryo, that is, of the being who, like the world, was the work of the Creative Power, and the noblest production of his hands." 492
"The importance attached to the frog in some parts of Egypt is shown by its having been embalmed, and honoured with sculpture in the tombs of Thebes. The frog was the symbol of hefnu, 100,000, or an immense number. 493 It sat on a ring or seal, a sign occasionally used in lieu of the Tau or 'life.'" Again we are told, "la
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snail, and two monkeys' heads (cynocephalus); the spout is formed of a horned mask. The frog is shown on the Kertch necklace (p. 135) as one of the special amulets. There is also an ancient bronze frog amulet, 495 prepared for suspension, in the Ashmolean Museum.
Pliny says: 496 "To this the Magi add some other particulars, which, if there is any truth in them, would lead us to believe that frogs ought to be considered much more useful to society than laws." He gives directions for a particular manipulation
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One of the two frog charms on Fig. 112 is that common in Rome, while the clumsier one is Neapolitan. The two shown immediately
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Little need be said as to the importance of the serpent as an amulet. Serpent worship has prevailed throughout the ages. It is the type of eternity, and with its tail in its mouth the symbol of perpetual union.
There is hardly a country of the ancient world where it cannot be traced, pervading every known system of mythology. 499 Babylon, Persia, India, Ceylon, China, Japan, Burmah, Java, Arabia, Syria, Asia Minor, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Italy, Northern and Western Europe, Mexico, Peru, North America, all yield abundant testimony to the same effect respecting serpent
worship, and point to the common origin of pagan systems wherever found.
The intimate connection of the serpent with the idea of the Medusa adds to the evidence that her
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the origin of the several dynasties maintaining the cult. We find the same thing as regards the crocodile. At one place it was worshipped as a god, and at others, e.g. Edfou, it was hunted and slain as a venomous beast.
A very large live serpent was kept, according to Ælian, in the temple of Æsculapius at Alexandria, and according to Pausanias there was another in his temple at Epidaurus; both were carefully tended as objects of worship. We all know that a serpent is the usual accompaniment of ancient statues of the god, and in this connection is said to typify health. It is also said 504 to denote the condition or duration of the disease, and hence it may be described as the symbol of diagnosis. Livy 505 and several authors relate that when a pestilence broke out in Rome, the Delphic oracle advised an embassy to Epidaurus, to fetch the god Æsculapius. While they were gazing at the statue of the god a "venerable, not horrible," serpent, which only appeared when some extraordinary benefit was intended, glided from his hiding-place and, passing through the city, went direct to the Roman ship, where he coiled himself in the berth of Ogulnius, the chief ambassador. On arrival in the Tiber the serpent leapt overboard and escaped on an island. Here a temple was erected to him in the shape of a ship, and the plague was immediately stayed. 506 Delphi was the
stronghold of serpent worship in Greece, and a singular fact remains. The oldest known monument in Europe, an undoubted relic of ancient serpent worship, is now to be seen still standing in the Atmeidan or Hippodrome at Constantinople. It is the original column, brought from the temple of Apollo at Delphi, and was set up where it now stands by Constantine, about A.D. 324.
It consists of 507 "the bodies of three serpents twisted into one pillar of brass. Their triple heads had once supported the golden tripod which, after the defeat of Xerxes, was consecrated in the temple of Delphi by the victorious Greeks." It bears the only known inscription still extant, which is actually contemporary with the Persian wars. It was erected soon after the battle of Marathon. 508 The surface of the Atmeidan is now several feet higher than the base of this famous column, which stands in a sort of pit. Originally the serpents had three heads, now all have disappeared--one is said to have been knocked off by Mahomet himself, who exclaimed against it as an idol. No sooner had he done this than a great number of serpents began to be seen in the city. 509 The writer can testify to the great veneration with which this precious relic of the past is still regarded by the Turks, who look upon it as one of the great protectors of the city. 510
In Greek and Roman mythology the serpent Agathodemon was the attribute of Ceres, Mercury, Æsculapius, and Hecate-Diana, with, of course, their Egyptian prototypes in their most beneficent qualities; while Python was a fearful monster, which only a god could overcome and destroy. The same fierce enmity, abject fear, submission and worship regarding the serpent, are found to-day among Hindoos and Mahomedans of India, as well as among savages of Africa and America. Without attempting to explain the story of the brazen serpent in the wilderness, it may be pointed out that to the Israelites, just come out of Egypt, the worship of Agathodemon was perfectly familiar, and that it was to them the symbol of life and health.
The temples in Cambodia, of which the French produced large models at more than one Paris Exposition, show that they were guarded by a great avenue of serpents, and the same objects are seen at the entrances to Chinese temples.
That our Celtic forefathers were Ophiolaters 511 is proved by the so-called Druidical remains at Abury and elsewhere. just as serpents are carved on the rock to guard the tombs of the kings at Thebes, so, the writer observed in the early Celtic tomb of Gavr Innis at Locmariaker, in Brittany, are two serpents sculptured on the rock inside the entrance. 512
We are all familiar with the two serpents, called the Caduceus, in the hand of Mercury. This was a true amulet which he carried as the staff of a messenger to guard him against the malevolent glances of those who would impede his errand.
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In West Africa the serpent is still used as an amulet to protect the crops. Fig. 155 Is an iron one from Ashantee, now in the Somerset County Museum along with the other objects shown on Fig. 88. Lastly, on Fig. 8 the serpent is shown in connection with the crescent; and upon the Cimaruta (Fig. 162) it forms the horns of the half-moon, thus
doubly augmenting its power as a protection against the evil eye. The serpent plays so large a part in Egyptian worship, 515 that we may well consider it to
be closely connected with the worship of Serapis, as well as the moon-goddesses, and therefore we find it upon every Mano Pantea known to the writer. That it was an ancient Græco-Roman amulet, is proved by the several gems and medals (Figs. 14-19) which were avowedly against the evil eye. We see serpents also in the hands of the three-formed goddess shown on Figs. 149 and 163.
The annexed drawings (Figs. 156, 157) are from a bronze hand in the British Museum, belonging to the collection of the late Rev. Payne Knight, which does not appear to have ever been
published, and which is not one of those described by Jahn.
In this beautiful, nearly life-size hand, the serpent is by far the most conspicuous amulet upon it, for it
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FIG. 156, 157.
is evidently intended to be seen from whichever side the hand is looked at. In this case, moreover, there is not only the large serpent, but also a small one, so as to seemingly pile up the power of this protecting, watchful guardian. It is suggested that the smaller represents the Asp of Egyptian royalty. A
comparison of the two (Figs. 147, 148, and 156, 157), which may be considered as typical of all the known hands, will not fail to show points of agreement in them, and prove that, whatever their purpose may have been, it was the same in all alike.
In five out of the six medals and gems (Figs. 14-19) there is a serpent; in both these hands he is in connection with the third or medical finger, as the representation of the healing god Æsculapius, and in both cases he is given the same position on the back of the hand.
The woman and child in the arched frame are on both hands alike, but in the Payne Knight hand there is no bird to watch over them.
The frog, it may be noted, in both cases seems to have its proper position, and that well known, aphrodisiac, was surely placed by design in close relation to the middle finger, the ancient digitus infamis. The ram's head occupying nearly the same position as the head of Jupiter, appropriately upon what is known to palmists as the mons Jovis, must be taken as the symbol of that divinity, who is constantly depicted with ram's horns upon his head.
The Cantharus, or two-handled vase, appears on both hands. The remarkable table with three flat cakes upon it, is much more difficult of explanation. It seems to be an offering of bread to the Almighty Jove, and one cannot but be struck by the coincidence of these three cakes with those shown on the table in Figs. 113, 116, on the altar of Melchisedec, and before the three strangers entertained by Abraham. We do not assert the connection, but the threefold aspect of Egyptian gods is dwelt upon elsewhere, and these cakes may well typify offerings
to the greatest of the gods in his threefold character. All the known hands of this class appear to be Roman, and of the period of the empire before Constantine.
The crocodile, also on both the hands, was an Egyptian amulet: it was worshipped as a god, called Sebek in Lower Egypt, and there was a city called Crocodilopolis by the Greeks, from the cult there practised; 516 hence it here finds an appropriate place. 517 As the type of the generation of divine wisdom, we understand the crocodile upon Minerva's breast, in those gems and statues where she is not wearing the ægis, but which represent her as the goddess of wisdom and learning.
As an amulet to be worn on the person, the crocodile does not appear to be very commonly used; but as a protector against the evil eye it has been adopted by many people. Among the amulets on the necklace shown on Fig. 21 is the head of a crocodile. Its present use in Cairo and Tunis does but perpetuate the belief which displayed itself in the gift of the crocodile, now hanging over the door of Seville Cathedral (Fig. 158). This was an undoubted amulet in 1260, and all must remember also the crocodile upon the column on the Piazzetta at Venice, on which stands St. Theodore. Now this column, with its companion bearing the lion of St.
[paragraph continues] Mark, was erected in 1329, only seventy years after the famous Lagarto was set up in Seville; and we maintain that as Pisistratus set up a column bearing a cricket, in the Agora at Athens, to
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In Portugal a favourite object in pottery is a lizard or crocodile, so made as to hang flat against the wall. The writer has one such, which he bought in Lisbon certainly as an amulet, and always regards as such.
In Figs. 14-17 the crocodile appears in every one of the five combinations, while even the serpent is wanting in one--clearly proving the importance attached to it as an amulet for wear in Roman times.
The crocodile was believed to conceive by the ear and to bring forth by the mouth--a strange notion indeed, yet it has been perpetuated as a Christian one in the hymn 519 of S. Bonaventura, the Seraphic Doctor, 520 who (born 1221 in Tuscany) lived at the precise epoch when the cult of the B.V.M. had begun to occupy such a disproportionate place in the Services of the Church, 521 just at the time when the legend of ancient Egypt respecting Isis, itself derived from still older sources, had been adapted to her successor. An ancient gem, belonging to the late Rev. C. W. King, shows Serapis seated: before him stands Isis, holding in one hand the sistrum, in the other a wheat-sheaf, with the legend Η ΚΥΡΙΑ Ι?<υ?>?C?/υ?>Ι?<υ?>?C?/υ?> ΑΓΝΗ, "Immaculate is our lady Isis." "The very terms applied afterwards to that personage who succeeded to her form, titles, symbols, rites and ceremonies." 522 Her proper title, Domina, the exact translation of the Sanscrit Isi, survives, with slight change, in the modern Madonna" (Mater Domina).
The scales, so prominent upon most of these
hands, are passed over by Jahn, but they serve at least to confirm the Egyptian character of all these amulets. At the time when these hands were made in Italy, the weighing apparatus was always, as it is to a large extent to-day, of the steelyard type. Of all the scales in the Naples and Pompeian Museums every one is a steelyard; whereas in the innumerable representations of weighing, found on Egyptian paintings and sculptures, whether of souls by the recording Thoth, or of merchandise by various persons, the machine is nearly always an equipoised beam and two scales. 523 In judging then of the true meaning of the scales upon the Mano Pantea, we must take into account the fact that, as a representation, they were conventional, of an object not unknown, but at least such as the Roman users of these hands were unaccustomed to. 524 Although the Egyptians had another kind of balance it is rarely seen.
As a separate amulet the scales are not used so far as the present writer is aware, nor can he pretend
to explain their meaning in these combinations. Jahn, too, says (p. 106) that he cannot explain them. In Egyptian art the scales appear whenever Osiris sits in judgment upon a human soul, and they are accompanied by Thoth the scribe. The same idea has descended through the ages into Christian art. In pictures of the Last Judgment, the Archangel Michael is often represented as holding the scales of Justice, in which the soul shall be weighed. That the scales on both our hands do represent an amulet, we must maintain, for they form one of the signs of the Zodiac, and nearly all the other objects are known to be amulets. 525
The tortoise appears on both the hands here shown, as well as on the Florentine gem (Fig. 17). Moreover, Jahn says that "there are little ones made of bronze, of precious stones, and of amber, sometimes with other amulets hanging on a necklace, so that the meaning of the tortoise as an amulet cannot be doubted." 526 Of the hands catalogued by Jahn, no less than twelve have the tortoise upon them.
Pliny says: 527 "The flesh of the land tortoise . . . is highly salutary for repelling the malpractices of magic and for neutralising poisons." He gives many diseases for which, when eaten, the flesh is a cure; also "the blood of the land tortoise improves the eyesight and removes cataract." In one way which he details, the shavings of the shell are an antaphrodisiac, and in another strongly the opposite.
[paragraph continues] The urine, according to adepts in magic, has marvellous properties; the eggs also are a remedy for scrofula and other evils. The catalogue of remedies given by Pliny, for which the tortoise can be used, is no less than sixty-six. 528
A tortoise-headed god occurs as one of the genii in the tombs; but it does not appear that the tortoise held a rank among the sacred animals of Egypt. 529
The tortoise is very often depicted with and as an emblem of Mercury, like the Caduceus. 530 Jahn gives particulars of the various symbols on the hands known to him, and thus proves that all were similar in type though differing in detail.
On the British Museum hand (Figs. 156, 157), which Jahn had never seen, is a remarkable feature, not uncommon, though the writer has seen one only. Jahn says the pine-cone appears upon no less than nine of the hands known to him. It is also among the amulets strung upon the Kertch necklace (Fig. 21). The position given to it upon the tip of the thumb marks it out as an object of considerable importance, and its frequent use shows it to have been considered as a powerful amulet. The pine-tree was sacred to Zeus, and an attribute of Serapis; it was beloved of virgins. Ovid calls the pine pura arbor. 531 The cone had however a phallic meaning, and Layard says the pine-cone was most used in the cult of Venus. 532
The fig-tree on the hand had also a phallic
meaning. It was borne in the processions of Dionysos at the Eleusinian mysteries.
The bee was a symbol of Diana (see Fig. 17).
Three objects near the tail of the serpent are probably intended for a knife, a strigil, and a distaff.
The horseshoe figure with two rings at the ends is difficult to explain. There is an object almost exactly like it upon the breast of a Greek statuette in the Ashmolean; and also it is very like the small amulet (Fig. 89) from Bologna. The hand from the British Museum shows a greater number of amulets upon it than any other with which either Jahn or the writer is acquainted.
In six of those catalogued by Jahn is found the frame with the woman and child at the breast. One especially, he says, possesses images of the gods Cybele and Mercury. Two others have Mercury, and two have a bearded figure in a Phrygian cap. This latter seems in a way to connect them with the famous Woburn marble (Fig. 24). Moreover, one of the heads of Diana Triformis is represented as wearing a Phrygian cap. 533 Another has a full-length figure sitting on the palm of the hand in Phrygian tunic and hose, and having both hands uplifted, pointing with the forefinger extended as in the Phrygian worship of Cybele, Bacchus, and Mercury.
Only three known hands have the Serapis head. On four an eagle sits on the two upraised fingers, grasping a thunderbolt in its claws. The oak-branch of Jove is found on two; on another is the lyre of Apollo. The Caduceus is on three; the pincers of Vulcan are on two. One has the egg-shaped
helmet worn by the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux) two others have the Thyrsus; one a vine-branch and no less than nine of those known to Jahn have the two-handled Cantharus. One has the moon, which Jahn says is perhaps the badge of Mars (der Harnisch dem Ares). Besides all these there are the symbols of the Phrygian orgies--the tympanum on one, bells on one, crotala (kind of cymbal) on two; cymbals on three; the Phrygian flute on four; knife on two; and the whip on four. The ox head is on two, and the ram's head on five. Egyptian cultus is again represented by the sistrum upon two of these hands. What seems like a round offering cake, divided by cross lines into four parts, appears upon two hands. They are precisely like the round, flat cakes found at Pompeii, now in the Naples Museum, and at Oxford, except that the terra cottas in the Ashmolean are not only imitation loaves, but smaller than real ones, thus doubly cheating the dead. 534
The scales are found on no less than nine, and Jahn gives besides a list of animals depicted on these hands--a bird, unknown, on two; a frog on ten; a tortoise on twelve; a lizard or crocodile on nine; but he does not say on how many he has noted the serpent. He remarks that it is certainly not by chance that we meet again and again with the same animals; which play so significant a part among protectives against the evil eye; all the less so (i.e. by chance), as amongst the other symbols met with, come out the well-known signs of the phallus on one, and the vulva also on another.
If we would now finally settle the proper meaning of these animals, the fact is distinctly proved that in all those allied religious representations which display the richest arsenal of superstitions and witchcraft, a signification is given to those animals, which makes them serve forthwith as amulets. 535
He winds up his treatise with a description of six different magic nails. One of these, now in the
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ancients, that pestilence was stayed when a nail was driven by the dictator. 537
It is also shown by Pliny how disease could be cured in this way; 538 and by the Romans the mere utterance of the word defigere implied a nail driven, and thereby an act by which fascination or witchcraft was countervailed. 539 In Greek tombs nails have been found amongst other amulets used for the dead as well as for the living. In the present day it is sought by human wisdom to strengthen the power of these nails; hence a nail by which some one has been slain on the cross, or a nail from a shipwrecked vessel, has quite a special power; the first against intermittent fever and epilepsy, and the latter against epilepsy.
Many of these nails had inscriptions and symbols Of magic power engraved upon them, and once more we repeat that each added symbol was supposed to increase the collective power of the whole. Most of the separate symbols found on these nails have been already described as protectives against the evil eye--a fortiori, the nails were potent amulets. Moreover when we perceive in these latter days that all these same animals and objects, together with cabalistic writings, appear in constant use as
avowed protectors against fascination, we are not only confirmed in our judgment of their meaning in the ancient form, but we are taught how strong, how lasting, and how universal, is the belief.
In the light gained from ancient amulets we easily see the meaning of most of the other objects on Fig. 112, every one of which is openly sold today as contra la jettatura.
The large tiger's tooth in the centre is by no means uncommon. Real tigers' teeth set as a brooch, forming a crescent, are plentiful enough here in England, though their owners hardly look on them as amulets. Much value is placed on every part of a tiger as a protective charm in India.
Pliny says: 540 "The canine tooth of the wolf, on the right side, is held in high esteem as an amulet." Also: 541 "A wolf's tooth attached to the body prevents infants from being startled, and acts as a preservative against the maladies of dentition; an effect equally produced by making use of a wolf s skin, attached to a horse's neck (it) will render him proof against all weariness, it is said." If wolves' teeth were so precious in olden times, while they were tolerably plentiful, of how much greater value would be that of one of a gran bestia, like a tiger! We see the analogy of setting greater value upon the scarcer article, in Jorio's remarks on Neapolitan shop and house keepers (p. 259 sq.). Again, in Pliny's day, the wolf skin was an amulet; we see and know the use made of it to-day.
The medal with St. George and the Dragon is with some a favourite, but of course we can only now
consider it as an adaptation of the story of Perseus and Andromeda to the exigencies of mediæval saint-lore. San Georgio is a favourite saint both in Italy and in Greece; we have seen that Mascagni always carried him.
The Gobbo or hunchback is much more common, and is an undoubted survival from ancient days. The Egyptian god Bes is represented as
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The bull and the cow are of course the symbols of Osiris-Serapis, and of Isis-Hathor respectively.
[paragraph continues] Capo di bove is a very favourite ornament of Etruscan and Roman times, seen alike on the famous Cortona lamp, on the mausoleum of Cecilia Metella so well known to all tourists, but more than all upon the Ephesian Diana (see Fig. 69).
The elephant appears as an amulet on ancient gems (see Figs. 15, 16), and has more said about him by Pliny than perhaps any other animal. In Egyptian sculptures he appears among "the presents brought by an Asiatic nation to an Egyptian king," 544 but from the representations of ivory, brought from Ethiopia, he would not seem to have come first into Africa from Asia. He may therefore be taken to represent a present of a different or superior breed, just as an Arab barb may be sent now as a present to England. He was not a sacred animal, though the hippopotamus was.
Mercury is frequently depicted 545 riding on an elephant, and from his exceeding intelligence he was a symbol of Mercury. The elephant is said by Pliny to be very fond of women; and the old seventeenth century Jesuit, Nicholas Caussinus, says that "Ad adspectum virginis mitescit." 546 The evidence is abundant that from the earliest times he has been looked upon as something more than a mere beast, and has had a higher intelligence accorded to him
than to any other animal. Our experience in India confirms the opinions expressed by both Tertullian and Caussinus.
Of the pig and wild boar, both of which appear on Fig. 112 as modern amulets, we have somewhat more direct evidence. In Egypt both were held in abhorrence as unclean animals unfit for food. It was unlawful, says Herodotus, 547 to sacrifice the pig to any gods but to the moon and Bacchus, and then only at the full moon. Except on this occasion the people were forbidden to eat its flesh. Even then they did not eat the pig, which was sacrificed before their door, but gave it back to the person from whom it was purchased. Plutarch considered the pig to be connected with the worship of Osiris, and it also appears in the legend of Horus. There were "many small porcelain figures of sows . . . found, of a later period," and probably we may with reason consider them as amulets. The boar is represented in a tomb at Thebes, and he was "an emblem of Evil." In the Judgment scenes, when on weighing the soul it is found wanting, it is condemned by Osiris "to return to earth under the form of a pig, or some other unclean animal." 548
In Greek mythology the pig as an amulet becomes clearer, and helps us further in the explanation of another important modern charm of which we have yet to speak. 549
The pig was sacred to Demeter, 550 and of course
also to her "daughter and double," Proserpine, whom we have proved to be unam eandemque. It came at length to be "an embodiment of the corn-goddess herself "; and at the Thesmophoria, a festival confined to women, representing the descent of Proserpine into the lower world, it was customary for the women to eat swine's flesh, to throw pigs, cakes of dough, and pine-branches into the megara, or chasms of Demeter and Proserpine. These appear to have been sacred caverns or vaults. We are not told where these caverns were, but we assume that they were either at or near Eleusis, the centre of the Demeter cult. The limestone rocks at the back of the temple of Eleusis might well have many caves in them. In Crete, also an ancient seat of Demeter worship, the pig was esteemed very sacred and was not eaten.
The Greeks could not decide whether the Jews worshipped swine or abominated them, "for they might neither eat nor kill them," so that if eating was forbidden on account of uncleanness, the unlawfulness of killing them tells still more strongly for their sanctity. Frazer believes that swine were rather sacred than unclean to the Jews, and that, in general, so-called unclean animals were originally sacred, and that they were not eaten because they were divine. 551
Wilkinson 552 gives a full account of the Eleusinian
mysteries, the most noted solemnity of any in Greece; instituted in honour of Ceres, by which name be always speaks of Demeter. (Frazer also uses the Roman name Proserpine when referring to the Greek Demeter.) There were gradations in these as in some more modern mysteries, to which the initiated appear to have been advanced according to merit. "About a year after having sacrificed a sow to Ceres, they were raised to the greater mysteries, the secret rites of which . . . were frankly revealed to them." The "manner of initiation" is described at some length, also the different names of the various parts, properties, and several persons concerned. A perusal of this very accessible description is recommended to students of modern Freemasonry.
Wilkinson says the mysteries were derived from Egypt. Another great authority 553 says: "The tale of Demeter and Persephone, with all the adornments of Greek fancy, is thoroughly Sikel in its essence, the natural growth of a creed in which the power of the nether-world held the first place." We are told previously that the Sikels were one of the early races of settlers in Sicily, from whom the island took the name of Sikelia. Whence these people came we are not told, but their primitive worship seems to have been overlaid by the "gorgeous trappings of Greek fancy." "The Sikel deities and their worship were merged in the Greek deities and their worship."
The Greek conquerors of Sicily adopted the preexisting sacred spot of the Sikels, nearly in the centre of the island, the ancient Enna, now Castrogiovanni, a hill-fortress well suited for a religious
centre. To this famous spot the fancy of the Greeks transferred their legend of Demeter and Persephone, and it is 554 very pertinently asked whether the Latin Ceres, Libera, and Dis were approximations in sound to the names of the original deities of the hill of Enna (as it is called by Italians, not of Henna, as the exact Professor persistently writes it).
Although no mention of swine occurs in the account of the Demeter cult of Enna, yet we may reasonably conclude that their traces are to be seen in the very remarkable terra-cotta vases, shaped like a pig, with only a small aperture in the back, to be found in the Museum of Girgenti. The writer made two sketches of these, and believes there are others at Syracuse, but has no note of the fact; he has, however, never seen any of the sort elsewhere.
It should not be forgotten that in Roman lustrations also, the sow was one of the regular animals sacrificed to the Olympic gods. It stands first in the compound word for these--suovetaurilia; and the sow is a prominent object on two of the monuments still existing on the Roman Forum. At the Ashmolean, among the Egyptian amulets, are seven sows in porcelain, all pierced, and of the size intended to be worn, or to be attached to the dead. These were, of course, sacred to Isis. There are also several pig amulets, marked late Greek, among the so-called ex votos. The pig or boar appears as the badge of more than one Roman legion in Pancirollo; and a boar's head is common in modern heraldry; but evidence enough has been adduced to show that
the modern Italian charm sold in the Roman shops is a true survival of a very ancient cult.
Immediately under the pigs in Fig. 112 are placed four remarkable figures: of all the modern charms here depicted these have most the appearance of a savage fetish, or a South-Sea idol, and yet strangely, they alone pretend to be Christian. They represent St. Anthony of Padua, and were purchased on a great Fair day at the door of the mosque-like cathedral there. There were two mat-baskets full, each containing a number far too large to be even guessed at, but in quantity much over a bushel in each! It will be seen that each is furnished with a ring, for suspension, and the immense number on sale proves the greatness of the demand by the contadini coming to the Fair. The prompt answer of the woman who sold them--contro malocchio--to the question what they were worn for, is sufficient proof of their being used as amulets against the ever-present evil eye. We have said that Christian saints per se are not amulets, and, excepting these curious objects, the medal of St. George, and perhaps the saints on Neapolitan harness, none have been seen during the many years the writer has been on the look-out for these things. Nor does the saint in either of the two former cases form more than a convenient peg on which to hang a long antecedent belief.
Frazer 555 asks: "May not the pig which was so closely associated with Demeter be nothing but the goddess herself in animal form?" and then he says: "But after an animal has been conceived as a god, or a god as an animal, it sometimes happens
that the god sloughs off his animal form and becomes anthropomorphic." Precisely so, and by merely carrying the argument to the next stage, and applying it to the case in point, we see that the pig, a well-known and potent amulet, would be improved upon and strengthened by the Padovani through the adoption of their patron saint, not as such, but as the personal embodiment of his own saintly attribute, the pig. Thus we are brought to a modern development of this very ancient idea, and in St. Anthony, as a charm against the evil eye, we see him first as the embodiment of his favourite animal, and through it of Demeter, and so also of Isis.
It will at once be objected that the pig never was the attribute of the Franciscan Saint Anthony of Padua; but no difficulty whatever arises from any such contention. At Padua their patron is Il Santo, they recognise no other, and just as the individualities of the heathen gods and goddesses have been transferred, combined, and assimilated, so all the legends and miracles of the earlier and more famous hermit Saint Anthony are appropriated and ascribed to the mediæval monk who adopted his name. It is but the old story repeated: "Argos destroyed Mykênê and took its glories to itself." 556
The real Saint Anthony, the founder of the Cenobites, or, in other words, of Monasticism, was a native of Alexandria, and was canonised in A.D. 357.
The ancient custom of placing in all his effigies a black pig at his feet, or under his feet, gave rise to the superstition that this unclean animal was especially dedicated to him and under his protection. The monks of the Order of St. Anthony kept herds
of consecrated pigs, which were allowed to feed at the public charge, and which it was a profanation to steal or kill: hence the proverb about the fatness of a "Tantony pig." 557
The facts here given show that the effigy of St. Anthony as an amulet is a development of mediæval and later times; but its power in the particular locality of Padua is none the less, probably all the greater, on that account. The facts are interesting, moreover, as demonstrating how charms grow up and take root.
The story of the sow and her thirty pigs in connection with Alba Longa seems to have no bearing on the case of the pig as an amulet.
It will be evident that many of the remaining charms in the writer's collection, a few of which are shown on Fig. 112, belong to the same category as St. Anthony, but not having so clear a history, are far more difficult of explanation.
The fleur-de-lis as an amulet is, of course, in its present shape, quite modern, or at least a recent development. It is said to represent the phallus, 558 which is also typified by the trefoil and the fig-tree. Again it is said 559 that the lily, of which the fleur-de-lis is the conventional sign, is the same as the lotus. This latter we know was a symbol of Isis, and was indeed the sacred flower of the ancients, typifying the combination of the principles of the earth's fecundation, 560 and therefore of fertility. It is this attribute of Isis which the lotus specially symbolised.
By a singular permutation, the flower borne by each (Isis and Madonna), the lotus, ancient emblem of the sun and fecundity,
now renamed the lily, is interpreted as significant of the opposite quality, 561 i.e. of chastity, virginity.
This is no more strange than the fact that their connecting link, Diana, should by some be taken as the type of virgin chastity, and by others, in her Ephesian form, as that of prolific maternity. Later we shall see the lotus-lily playing an important part; and accepting the fact that the fleur-de-lis is a modern representation, we are fully supplied with a reason for its adoption as a modern charm contra la jettatura.
As to the fungus or toadstool, it is another phallic symbol, and has connection with the worship of Priapus; but, not desiring to pursue that branch of the subject, the writer omitted to note the reference, and cannot now recover it. He must therefore frankly place the fungus among his oggetti ignoti, merely stating that it is commonly worn with the same object as all the rest.
The skulls must be considered as portions of the skeleton, which seems 562 from early times to have been considered as a protective amulet. In our day these objects are rather looked on as representing Time or Chronos in his aspect of Death, and so as a memento mori; but of their use as charms throughout Italy there is no question. The harlequin too, which is really quite an ingenious little toy, throwing out his legs and arms when the chain is pulled, must be accounted for as an amulet, from being rather like a skeleton; if not, it also can only be explained by the fact that it is something strange, and likely to attract the eye.
The owl is, of course, the symbol of Athena-Minerva,
and appears upon an Athenian coin, now in the British Museum, representing the patron goddess 563 "The owl on the reverse proves it to be Minerva." 564 To the same goddess were also sacred the serpent, the cock, and the olive-tree. Montfaucon gives many representations of the owl in company with Minerva.
Two others appear among our small charms, these are the monkey and scissors, and the sabot, about which nothing can be said further than that they are strange, and likely to attract the attention of a beholder, thereby baffling his evil eye.
It is remarkable that the camel, though known to have been in Egypt at least as early as the time of Abraham, has never yet been found on any paintings or hieroglyphics; 565 nor does it appear to have been sacred to any deity. The only reason the writer can suggest for its being among modern charms is, from its being held nowadays by Arabs and all camel-owning people to be, with the horse, the most subject of all domestic animals to injury from the evil eye. Certainly a camel never journeys without his amulet. The commonest protection is a string, of coarse blue-glass beads hung on his neck, and a little bag containing words from the Koran; these are used also for the horse. It may be that, the animal itself being so highly sensitive to the effects of fascination, its effigy is considered attractive to the malignant glance, and so may absorb its influence to the protection of the wearer. This notion probably contributes to the frequency with which representations
of all domestic animals are used as protectors.
The lion, the dog, and the goat are sacred to Jove, to Mars (or, as Mr. King says, to Mercury), and to Pan or Priapus. They have been already dealt with.
[paragraph continues] P.S.--The little figures of St. Anthony, each with a ring for suspension, are referred to in connection with the fair at Padua, by Miss Symonds in Days spent on a Doge's Farm. 1894.
293:460 Possibly Canon Jorio was a Freemason as well as a priest. In either capacity he would be quite familiar with the gesture.
293:461 In a scene (Canon. Misc. MS, 378, Bodleian; before referred to in connection with Roman insignia, Chapter V.) representing a dispute between Epictetus and Hadrian, both are represented as making this sign. This mediæval design is, of course, only historical, as relating to the period in which it was produced, but it is nevertheless a valuable testimony to the then universal practice of significant manual gesture.
294:462 In Fig. 131 all the Persons of the Holy Trinity have the right hand in the same attitude. The seal of the Dean and Chapter of Wells (from an autotype in Canon Church's Early History of the Church, from the "Wells Manuscripts," 1894), here reproduced (Fig. 137), which was in constant use down to the p. 295 last century, has the Dextera Dei in the attitude we are describing. Moreover, it contains the Gnostic pagan symbols of the sun and moon, and on that account we can but consider them as placed on the seal as a protective amulet, like those so frequently seen on other seals and coins.
295:463 Symbols of Early and Mediæval Christian Art, 1852. Fig. 138 "is from Plate xxxiv., the Benedictional of St. Ethelwold, a Saxon MS. of the tenth century." The Trinity in Unity is the idea set forth in both examples referred to.
295:464 J. Romilly Allen, Christian Symbolism, 1887, p. 163.
295:465 In Miss Twining's book are many representations of the First Person by the hand alone in several positions, especially on Plate ii., where it ap. pears in the usage of the Eastern Church, from a Greek MS. of the tenth century. On the same plate are seven examples of the hand posed as in p. 296 Fig. 140. This hand is from the portal of the Cathedral of Ferrara, of the twelfth century. This was the form of the ancient "Main de justice," surmounting the staff which was used in France at coronations, and was pre. served in the treasury of St. Denis. This hand appears on the seal of Hugh Capet, and was continued till the time of the Renaissance (Twining, op. cit. p. 6).
Plate xxxii. shows two examples of the Almighty and of the Holy Spirit in human form, each of whom has the right hand thus raised.
Plate xxxviii. shows the Holy Trinity (Fig. 141) as two persons seated, both holding up the right hand as before, with the dove descending between them (from a MS. in the British Museum, of the fourteenth century). Both Persons are holding the orb with the left hand, on which is the sacred T of life. A second Fig. on this, and another on Plate xxxix. show all three Persons in human form, and all with the right hand thus raised, from a French MS. of the fourteenth century in the Bibliothèque Nationale. Again, p. 297 the orb and T are shown in the left hand of the Father. These are all from Miss Twining s book.
Fig. 142 represents Christ in Glory on the tympanum of a doorway in Ely Cathedral. Fig. 143 is the same subject, also on a tympanum of a doorway at Essendine, Rutlandshire. Fig. 144 is another Christ in Glory, from a MS. of the Gospels at S. Gall in Switzerland. Fig. 145 is a very early p. 298 treatment of the same subject from a sculptured slab on the Saxon church of Daglingworth in Gloucestershire.
In all these illustrations the right hand of Christ is raised in the same attitude, and examples might be multiplied to any extent, but enough have been produced to show distinctly that it was not represented by accident, but that it was the recognised gesture throughout the Middle Ages, especially onward from the time of the separation of the Eastern and Western Churches.
I am indebted to Mr. J. Romilly Allen for his kind permission to copy these cuts from his Early Christian Symbolism, 1887.
Fig. 146 is from a coffin-lid, at Lullington in Somerset, of the thirteenth p. 299 century, and is the only example of the use of the Dextera Dei known to the writer on a tomb or coffin; but of course there may be others.
299:466 In either the Graphic or the Illustrated News of December 17, 1893, is a large picture of German troops swearing fidelity to the Kaiser; every man has his right hand raised in this position.
300:467 MANO PANTEA. Contro il Fascino. (Giojello per Ciondolo.) "Questa mano è esattamente imitata in piccola proporzione da quella di Bronzo al naturale che già era nel Museo di Gian Pietro Bellori in Roma, e se ne ha il disegno nell 'Opera del Grevio, vol. xii. p. 763, donde fu ricavata.
"L'alto delle dita e i simboli che la ricoprono, cioè il Busto di Serapide, divinità propizia agli uomini, il coltello, il serpe, il ramarro, il rospo, la bilancia, la tartaruga, due vasi, la figura della donna col bambino e un altro oggetto ignoto, formano un gruppo di Simboli che uniti insieme si credevano essere potenti a respignere gli effetti del fascino; e queste mani grande le tenevano in casa per proteggerla contro ogni cattivo influsso della magia o del mal occhio, quelle piccole le portavano indosso per esserne difesi."
301:468 In Daremberg et Saglio, p. 256, are remarks upon the various attributes collected upon single amulets called "Panthées" (Pantea signa), e.g. of Harpocrates, Fortuna, Venus, Cupid, Minerva, etc. Montfaucon says of a representation he is describing: "Panthea or Polythea, that is adorned with the symbols of many divinities" (Montfaucon, Antiquity, etc., Trs. by D. Humphreys, vol. i. p. 10).
301:469 E. A. Wallis Budge, The Nile, p. 80.
301:470 The flagellum in the hands of Osiris had another meaning as a restorer of virile power, which, in the light of Egyptian sculptures, seems very probably to be the idea, leading to its adoption upon the Mano Pantea. Upon this subject see Hargrave Jennings' Phallicism, p. 273. Apuleius says the flagrum is the proper sign for a seminator (see De Pollice, p. 211).
302:471 There are plenty of Egyptian vase amulets, pierced for suspension, in the Ashmolean Museum. Their shape and general type show their object conclusively. At the same place is an Etruscan necklace of gold canthari.
302:472 Pretorius has learnedly explained that a brazen jar typified the brightness of the Great Goddess (De Pollice, p. 210).
302:473 Smith's Classical Dict. s. v. "Isis."
302:474 Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. vol. iii. p. 87.
302:475 King, Gnostics, pp. 65, 66.
The god is reputed to have answered a question of Nicocreon, King of Cyprus--
A god I am such as I show to thee:
The starry Heavens my head, my trunk the Sea,
Earth forms my feet, mine ears the Air supplies,
The Sun's far-darting, brilliant rays, mine eyes.
"Hence it is apparent that the nature of Serapis and the Sun is one and indivisible. Isis, so universally worshipped, is either the Earth, or Nature, as subjected to the Sun." This is the true idea expressed plainly on the statues, as well as in the word multimammia, before referred to as one of the names of Diana, who was Isis herself.
303:476 Even here in England the worship of Serapis existed in Roman times. In the Museum at York is a dedicatory tablet, found in ruins of Roman brickwork, which clearly proves that a temple stood there. The inscription is
303:477 King, Gnostics, p. 70.
303:478 This was called the calathus, which really means a work-basket (see King, Gnostics, p, 64). This head ornament is probably the second vase, referred to by the Roman jeweller; otherwise there are not due vasi.
304:479 The same kind of crown is shown on the three heads of Diana Triformis on Fig. 149 from King's Gnostics, p. 205, No. 5, The obverse of this medal shows Abraxas having the head of a cock, and ending in two serpents, with a pair of pincers gripping the tail of each; beneath lies a thunderbolt. The god is holding an elliptic-shaped shield over his left arm, while he brandishes a mace with his right. The threefold figure is said to represent Bhavani, whom we have shown to be the same person as Isis or Diana. On p 202 is a gem having Serapis with this calathus crown; three others are given in King's Handbook of Gems, pp. 72, 367. All of these latter have the curled ram's horn, often seen upon and marking them as Jupiter heads.
305:480 The cock also typifies Mercury (see Montfaucon, i. p. 79), and is also the attribute of Abraxas, the Gnostic Sun God, the later form of Osiris and Jupiter.
305:481 Brit. Assoc. Report, 1892, Cardiff, p. 814.
305:482 It may be that this bird is the crow, which appears on the Woburn marble, and is figured on several Gnostic gems (Abraxas Joh. Macarii, Antwerpiæ, 1657, Tab. V.) in the same attitude.
306:483 We have seen how Chinese kill their money, and other people the arms offered to the dead. The following shows a continuance of the custom among Europeans:--
At Isernia in the Terra di Lavoro, during 1780, at the church of SS. Cosmo and Damian especially, but also "Nella fiera ed in Città vi sono molti divoti, che vendono membri virili di cera di diverse forme, e di tutte grandezze fino un palmo.
"Sopra delle tavole in ogn' una vi è un bacile che serve per raccogliere li membri di cera. Questa divozione è tutta quasi delle Donne, e pochissima quelli, o quelle che presentano gambe e braccia, mentre tutta la gran festa s'aggira a profitto di membri della generazione. Io ho inteso dire una donna 'Santo Cosimo benedetto, cosi lo voglio,' etc.
These offerings of wax were received by a priest, who said in response to each gift: "Per intercessionem beati Cosmi, liberet te ab omni malo" (Payne Knight, Worship of Priapus, 1865, p. 10). The strange part of this business was that all these wax figures thus offered to SS. Cosmo and Damian were broken before being placed in the basket. The actual breaking of the gift was part of the devotional offering.
It is said (Murray's Handbook to Southern Italy, 1868, p. 52) that the sale of the objectionable membri was prohibited by the Government in 1780, but ten years later than that Sir R. Colt Hoare was able to procure these specimens of the forbidden emblems. Similar ones, though of the classic period seventeen centuries earlier, are to be seen at the Naples Museum.
307:484 This opinion is strengthened by the undoubted cornucopia upon the similar hand (Fig. 157). Later, the cornucopia will be noted upon two of the statues of Diana (Figs. 175, 177), and also on the grillo (Fig. 28). Cornucopias are often seen on gem amulets, and are said to have the same potency as the horn on which we have already said so much.
307:485 Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. vol. iii. p. 345.
307:486 Nat. Hist. xxx. 30 (vol. v. p. 454, Bohn).
308:487 Wilkinson, Ib. iii. 345, 346. E. W. Budge, Nile, pp. 55, 63. Wherever seen as a hieroglyph it is always drawn with wings folded, so as to exhibit plainly the T of life on its back.
308:488 Plutarch, De Iside, 10, 73.
308:489 Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. vol. iii. p. 346.
308:490 It occurs in some zodiacs in the place of Cancer. Ib. iii. 346.
308:491 In this manifest error he is not alone; indeed it is not at all uncommon here in England, for people living in towns not to know frogs from toads. In a Catalogue Descriptif d'une Collection d'amulettes Italiennes envoyée à l'Exposition Universelle de Paris, 1889, by Dr. Joseph Bellucci, Pérouse, 1889, frogs are all written crapaud. Signor Bellucci has published also a Catalogo della collezione di amuleti, Perugia, 1881, but I have not been able to compare the French with the Italian. There is, however, no manner of doubt that rana and not rospo is the creature intended. Bellucci's catalogue contains almost none of the charms and amulets we are dealing with. No doubt in his search for curios, he, like Jorio, Valletta, and others, overlooked the common things under his very nose. He appears to have collected upwards of four thousand p. 309 objects, but they seem to be largely composed of stones, meteoric and other. One only (No. 25, Tab. XI. p. 66), "Sirène en os, contre le mauvais il et la fascination," may be a frog.
309:492 Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. vol. iii. pp. 15, 340. Pignorius (Mensæ Isiacæ Expositio, p. 23) says the frog and the cynocephalus are symbols of Isis; but the cynocephalus standing, with its hands raised towards heaven, Horapollo considers to have been the symbol of the rising moon.
309:493 Wilkinson, iii. 353. Budge, Nile, p. 57.
309:494 This idea arose from its being born without feet, and in an altogether different form from that it grows into. Moreover, it was said to typify the decline of disease, and by the growth of its feet the gradual power of the p. 310 patient in convalescence to walk about (Pretorius, De Pollice, Lipsiæ, 1677, p. 211).
310:495 The frog was evidently an amulet among the Incas of Peru. Fig. 151 is a bracelet from Wiener's Pérou el Bolivie, p. 669.
310:496 Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxxii. vol. vi. p. 22 (Bohn). All this is dwelt on by Delrio, Disq. Mag. iii. p. 32. He shows the connection of frogs with Diana.
310:497 Looking at the frog from this point of view, it is indeed in strange p. 311 company when we find it combined, not with the crescent merely, but with that symbol, manifestly in its adoption as a Christian one. The book, under the paw of the lion of St. Mark, representing his Gospel, is the only combination of pagan and Christian with which we are acquainted, save and except the solitary example here produced in Fig. 152. This amulet, belonging to my friend Mr. Neville Rolfe, has every mark of having been much worn, and we cannot but suppose that the original possessor, while believing in the virtue of the pagan symbols, was also up to her light a devout Christian, and without reflecting upon the incongruity, desired, as so many others have done, to pile up appeals for protection just like Lucius Zethus of old, lest any on whom reliance was placed might feel themselves overlooked. The writer believes this particular modern frog amulet to be absolutely unique. Frogs made of gilt metal and cut in amber are worn as amulets by children in Burmah. Necklaces consisting entirely of strings of little frogs of these materials are to be seen in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, from Mandalay.
311:498 From Figs. 151, 153, 154 it will be seen that the frog was used commonly as a decoration in ancient Peru. These are also from Wiener's Pérou el Bolivie. It would seem that in Peru frogs retain their tails, although, as is well known, in Europe the tail disappears as the legs grow, making it still more apt as a symbol of man in embryo, who has lost his tail by evolution.
311:499 Kalisch, History and Critical Comment. on Gen. iii. i.
312:500 Inman, Ancient Faiths embodied in Ancient Names, vol. ii. pp. 710; 712, Also vol. i. pp. 497, 498.
312:501 Smith's Dict. of the Bible, s.v. "Serpent."
312:502 Ophiolatreia, privately printed, 1889, p. 1. This book deals very fully with the subject, but gives no references.
312:503 Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. vol. iii. p. 334.
313:504 De Pollice, Lipsiæ, 1677, p. 210.
313:505 Livy, x. 32. Lanciani, p. 69, says this happened in A.U.C. 459, and that the Sibylline books were consulted. The answer was: "Æsculapium ab Epidauro Romæ arcessendum." There is confusion between the Sibylline books and the Delphic oracle.
313:506 This temple of Æsculapius was on the island now called S. Bartolomeo, and became the greatest sanitary establishment in the metropolis. It is a striking proof of the vitality of tradition, that not only the island, but the very p. 314 spot on it where once stood this temple, always has been, and is now, the seat of a hospital, that of San Giovanni di Calabita (Lanciani, Anc. Rome, p. 70).
314:507 Gibbon, Dec. and Fall. Milman, vol. ii. 1846, p. 13.
314:508 Professor Mahaffy, Nineteenth Century, May 1894, p. 859.
314:509 Ophiolatreia (privately printed), p. 87.
314:510 Those who have seen this famous old-world monument, said to have the name of Mycenæ engraved upon it, cannot but be struck with its singular resemblance to many of the twisted columns at Venice and elsewhere in Italy. Who knows but the idea in them may have sprung from the Delphic pillar? Looking again at the serpent as the guardian of doorways: may not p. 315 the very usual twisted mouldings, following the sides and arches of doorways in Venice, be also descendants of the serpents of Delphi? In fact, may we not apply this to mouldings in general of that type which generally go by the name of cable? The armour of Agamemnon was ornamented with a three-headed serpent. Menelaus also had one on his shield. Spartans and Athenians said they were of serpent origin, and called themselves Ophiogenæ.
315:511 See Sir R. C. Hoare's Ancient and Modern Wiltshire; Davies's Mythology of the Druids; Borlase's Cornwall; Stukeley, Abury, a Temple of the British Druids, 1793.
315:512 Even in far-off Peru we see a serpent carved upon the pier at the p. 316 entrance of a bridge over the Pachachaca near Chavin (Pérou et Bolivie, p. 561).
316:513 Forlong, Rivers of Life, p. 223.
316:514 An object very similar to one of them, with an animal mounted upon it, is represented on a terra-cotta plaque (Fig. 181) from the collection of the late Sir W. Temple, found at Pozzuoli, and now in the British Museum. This is probably a goat, which in Egypt (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. vol. iii. p. 30) was a sacred animal, a favourite of Isis. In Greece, according to Herodotus, the goat was sacred to Pan, and in Roman times we well know that it was the symbol of Priapus. Hence its obvious meaning as a modern charm.
316:515 Upon the subject of serpent worship see King, Gnostics, p. 26, who gives a chapter on Ophites, and again, at p. 73, another on Agathodemon p. 317 Talismans or Serpent Amulets; but the best account is by Dr. Moritz Winternitz (Der Sarpabali, ein altindischer Schlangencult, Wien, 1888). He gives an immense array of authorities and many remarkable facts.
Traces of serpent worship may be seen, not only in the architectural features at Venice and elsewhere, but in the peculiar spiral and interlaced ornament found upon the early Greek tombstones at Mycenæ--represented in Schliemann's Mycenæ and Tiryns, pp. 81-96, especially those on p. 91, which are certainly intended to represent serpents. Strangely, we find here in Great Britain sculptured ornaments identical in idea and almost in fact. The writer was attracted to the Greek tombstones on the spot at Mycenæ, and in the museum at Athens; he has therefore rather had his eyes open since then for similar objects. There is, in one of the Dolmens of Brittany, near Locmariaker, a stela-shaped stone at the end of one of the tombs, on which the device rudely cut is manifestly serpentine.
Mr. J. Romilly Allen in his Monumental History of the Early British Church gives as a frontispiece two panels, which he calls plaitwork, from a cross at Llantwit Major; also on p. 211 there is a similar design from the cross of Gilsuith and Berhtsuith at Thornhill in Yorkshire; and at p. 212 is an interlaced design from the cross of Utr and Froka, at Kirk Braddan, all of which are serpent patterns, while the latter shows unmistakably two serpents' heads.
Again, in Dolton Church, North Devon, there is a very remarkable font of early date, having the same interlaced serpent pattern upon it. The like is on a stone in the pavement of Saxilby church in Lincolnshire, and on a slab at Northampton, and on the shaft of a cross at Rothley Temple in Leicestershire. On the Dolton example the Rev. G. F. Browne says: "The centre panel shows two serpents, head downwards, biting their own and each other's tails." Four photographs of these panels are published by Mr. Winslow Jones in an article in the Transactions of the Devon Association, vol. xxiii. p. 200. There are also sculptured stones of the same character in various parts of Italy, all seeming to show that at least the recollection of serpent worship has existed in Western Europe down to the early Middle Ages, and long since the adoption of Christianity.
320:516 E. W. Budge, The Nile, p. 162.
320:517 Like the serpent, the crocodile as a dreaded monster was hated as well as adored. At Edfou we see Horus spearing the crocodile, and of course recognise him as the antitype of Michael and the Dragon. Indeed by some it is held that the Leviathan and Dragon of the A.V. of Scripture referred to the crocodile (Smith, Dict. of Bib. s.v. "Dragon "). As Sebek (Wilkinson, iii. 189; E. W. Budge, Nile, p. 94) he was a sun-god, and worshipped as the life-giver; thus he fitly became a Gnostic symbol. Pignorius (Vetustissimæ Tabula, p. 23) says the lizard or crocodile (Lacertus), like the lion, dragon, and eagle, was sacred to the sun.
321:518 Murray's Handbook to Northern Italy, 1860, p. 343.
"Gaude, Virgo, Mater Christi,
Quæ per aurem concepisti
Gaude quia Deo plena
Peperisti sine pena
Cum pudoris lilio."
The whole idea of the conception by the crocodile is but another example of the strong belief in the power of the senses to convey actual tangible effects to the body. Hence the Crocodile or Lizard "is the type of the generation of the Word, i.e. of the Logos, or Divine Wisdom." Here is a satisfactory explanation of the crocodile placed upon Minerva's breast, as seen on some gems. The crocodile denotes both the accession of wisdom and the silence of the wise. Of old it was considered to have no tongue, and hence it was the symbol of silence. Pliny says it is the only land animal which lacks the use of its tongue (Pliny, Nat. Hist. Viii. 25; Vol. ii. p. 287, Bohn). The lizard and the crocodile seem to have been regarded as the same species.
322:520 Jameson, Legends of the Monastic Orders, p. 288.
322:521 "Savaric," by Canon Church, in Archæologia, Vol. li. p. 24.
322:522 King, Gnostics, pp. 71, 72.
323:523 Wilkinson, ii. p. 247. The steelyard is found in Egypt, but of distinctly Roman type, and of a late age when Egypt was much tinder Roman influence. By his admirable illustrations of the Distribution of Mythical Beliefs at the British Association at Oxford, 1894, Dr. Tyler showed not only the widespread similarity of the idea. of the actual weighing of souls in the next world, but also that the method of representation was equally diffused; in fact it would appear that the belief itself, and the form of the scales in which the weighing is represented, have gone together as part and parcel of the whole conception. Early Egyptian, Japanese, and Christian English, each in his own peculiar fashion, depicted the same equipoised balance, with the soul in a suspended scale on one side, and the goddess Mut (Truth), or some other counterweight in the other. Moreover the demon, depicted according to the several popular beliefs, was in each case awaiting the result, and if possible to claim his victim.
323:524 The scales are said to represent September, the autumnal equinox, and thereby the seventh month of the disease, and so of convalescence, for certainly by the seventh month the patient has regained his health. The three fingers upraised of the hand described "denote 200, that is six months and twenty days--the time between the two equinoxes" (Pretorius, De Pollice, Lipsiæ, 1677, p. 213). Here we have another system of numeration, this sign differing from that given on p. 239. It is, however, very interesting, as proving the importance attached to manual attitude.
324:525 Libra was an aphrodisiac talisman. Proserpine was the holder of the balance in old Zodiacs, and the Romans called her Libera (Forlong, Rivers of Life, vol. i. pp. 171, 172). This somewhat helps our argument as to the meaning of the Sirens in Chap. X.
324:526 Jahn, Aberglauben, etc., p. 99. -
324:527 Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxxii. 14 (vol. vi. p. 15, Bohn).
325:528 The tortoise was sacred to Cybele (De Pollice, p. 212). The tortoise was a phallic amulet, and being considered an androgynous animal, was an apt symbol of the double power (Payne Knight, Symb. Lang. p. 29).
325:529 Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. vol. iii. p. 329.
325:530 Montfaucon, vol. i. p. 79
325:531 Ovid, Fast. ii. 25-8.
325:532 Forlong, op. cit. i. 59. I cannot find it in Layard's books.
326:533 Montfaucon, vol. i. p. 94.
327:534 We would refer again to the cakes upon the tables in Figs. 156, and 113, 116 from Ravenna. In any case the coincidence is remarkable.
328:535 Jahn, Aberglauben, etc., p. 106.
328:536 "It has on one side the inscription ΙΑΩ?<υ?>?C?/υ?>ΑΒΑΩΘ (Jao-Sabaoth), together with two signs, obscure to me, and three stars." One of the doubtful objects is, we suggest, the pincers seen upon many Gnostic amulets, and especially in the three plaques (Figs. 181, 182, 183). "The other three sides are inscribed with cursorily drawn animals amongst these are (a) two serpents, two birds, a bee, a frog, then an unknown creature; (b) a long serpent, then a θ; (c) a stag, a lizard, a scorpion, and a hare, with another unknown, doubtful animal--besides these there are placed on either side three stars and a little indistinct sign." The object next to the stag, "unknown," is certainly like one upon the tablet of Isis (Fig. 185), whatever it may be intended to represent.
On this large nail are the same objects and animals with which we have been dealing already. The only new one is the hare. Even this we see on the insignia of the Constantia Legion (Fig. 64), jumping over the sun's disc. Moreover, we know that hares were held in much esteem among the ancient Britons as magic-working animals. Cæsar says that they made use of hares for the purpose of divination. They were never killed by them for food. Queen Boadicea is said to have had a hare concealed in her bosom, and after haranguing her soldiers to raise their courage, she let go the hare so that her augurs might divine whether the omens were good or evil from the turnings and windings made by the frightened animal. The omen was favourable, and p. 329 the multitude set up a shout of joy, upon which the Queen seized the opportunity, led them to the battle, and gained the victory (Borlase, Antiq. of Cornwall, p. 135). No doubt it is this old belief in the hare as an ominous animal that has survived in our steadfastly held modern one that it is an ill omen to see a hare cross the path.
329:537 "Repetitum ex seniorum memoria dicitur pestilentiam quondam clavo ab dictatore fixo sedatam" (Livy, vii. 3; viii. 18, 12; ix. 28, 6). Cf. the use of the words præfiscini and favere explained elsewhere. They were the colloquialisms, the slang of the Roman populace.
329:538 xxviii. 6, 17, as quoted by Jahn, p. 107. I cannot find this passage.
329:539 How remarkably this custom of ancient Rome is perpetuated, according to Jorio, in modern Naples, where the mere utterance of the word corno is a defence against the jettatura!
330:540 Nat. Hist. xi. 63 (vol. iii. p. 59, Bohn).
330:541 Ibid. xxviii. 78 (vol. v. p. 364, Bohn).
331:542 Wilkinson, vol. iii. p. 148 et seq.
331:543 Fig. 160, judged by its eyelets for suspension, is an undoubted amulet. It is from a "figurine en bronze trouvée pres de Cotahuacho," in Peru (Wiener, Pérou el Bolivie, p. 715). Comparison will show how strikingly like this figure is, in general type, to two others upon the Kertch necklace (Fig. 21). Upon the same page from which this was taken are seven others which we can only consider of the same sort. One of these is wonderfully like Bes, and bears witness again to the world-wide idea, that grotesque, gurgoyle, devil-like images, were protective against the spirits they were supposed to represent. In these illustrations Peru and the Crimea are brought side by side!
332:544 Wilkinson, Ancient Egypt. vol. iii. p. 295.
332:545 Montfaucon, vol. i. p. 80.
332:546 De symbolica Ægyptorum sapientia. Coloniæ Agrippinæ, 1623, p. 320. He says that his fury is instantly tamed by the arrival of a beautiful woman, quoting Ælian for his statement. Also that he is the type of the incarnation, and of conjugal fidelity.
"Pudicitia flos morum, honor corporum, decor sexuum, integritas sanguinis, fundamentum sanctitatis, præjudicium omnis bonæ mentis."--Tertullian, De pudicitia.
The elephant is said to be duplex in heart and in disposition, and that it is well known he may be both incensed with anger or pacified and made docile by the speech of black men (De symbolica, p. 322).
333:547 Herodotus, ii. 47. Wilkinson, iii. 167, 297 et seq.
333:548 For illustration of such a scene see Wilkinson, iii. 466.
333:549 The pig was sacrificed to Artemis, as may be seen by a relief on a sarcophagus at Constantinople (Daremberg et Saglio, p. 168).
333:550 Frazer, Golden Bough, ii. 44-60. The whole subject of the pig is carefully and elaborately worked out; inter alia, the times and mode of eating of its flesh are produced (p. 47) as evidence of a sacramental partaking of the body of a slain god. See also Lobeck, Aglaophamus, p. 831.
334:551 Golden Bough, ii. 51. In England, where pork was the only meat in general use, it came as a surprise when the Crusaders told their countrymen of other people besides the Jews who held swine in abomination. The wild stories current were believed and recorded even by so famous a historian as Matthew Paris who says that the Mahomedans despise pork because the Prophet, having gorged himself till he was so insensible as to fall asleep on a dunghill, was attacked there by a litter of pigs, and so suffocated. For this story, and more of the same kind, see Buckle, Hist. Of Civil. i. p. 314 et seq.
334:552 Ancient Egyptians, vol. iii. p. 387 et seq.
335:553 Freeman, History of Sicily, vol. i. p. 169.
336:554 Freeman, History of Sicily, vol. i. p, 177.
337:555 Golden Bough, vol. ii. p. 44.
338:556 Freeman, Studies of Travel--Greece, p. 112.
339:557 Mrs. Jameson, Sacred and Legendary Art, 2nd edition, 1850) p. 436. On "Tantony Pig," see also Hone, E. D. B. i. 1826, p. 119.
339:558 Inman, Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 522.
339:559 King, Gnostics, p. 72.
339:560 Inman, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 396.
340:561 King, Gnostics, p. 72.
340:562 Ibid. p. 213.
341:563 Smith, Dict. of Antiquities, s.v. "Drachma."
341:564 Montfaucon, Antiq. vol. i. p. 86.
341:565 Wilkinson, vol. ii. p. 101; vol. iii. p. 301.