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The Gnostics and Their Remains

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Demiurge
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δημιουργός (dēmiourgós, latinized demiurgus δήμιος


« Reply #165 on: March 13, 2009, 03:09:21 pm »

p. 158

THE WORSHIP OF SERAPIS.
I. THE FIGURED REPRESENTATIONS OF SERAPIS.
The next great series of monuments to be considered are those emanating from the worship of Serapis, that mysterious deity, who, under his varying forms, had, during the second and third centuries of our era, completely usurped the sovereignty of his brother Jupiter, and reduced him to the rank of a mere planetary Genius. Unlike the generality of the deities who figure upon the Gnostic stones, the Alexandrian Serapis does not belong to the primitive mythology of Egypt. * His worship may be said to be only coeval with the rise of Alexandria, into which city it was introduced from Sinope by the first Ptolemy, in consequence of the command (and repeated threats, in case of neglect) of a vision which had appeared to him. After three years of ineffectual negotiation, Ptolemy at last obtained the god from Scythotherius, king of Sinope; but when the citizens still refused to part with their idol, a report was spread, that it had spontaneously found its way from the temple down to the Egyptian ships lying in the harbour.

The prevalent opinion amongst the Greeks was that the figure represented Jupiter Dis (Aidoneus) and the one by his side, Proserpine. This latter the envoys were ordered by the same divine messenger, to leave in its native shrine. Another story, also mentioned by Tacitus, † made the statue to have been brought from Seleucia by Ptolemy III, but this rested on slighter authority. It is, however, a curious confirmation of this last tradition that Serapis is named by Plutarch ("Alexander,") as the chief deity of Babylon (Seleucia in later times) at the date of the Macedonian Conquest--a proof that



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« Reply #166 on: March 13, 2009, 03:09:34 pm »

he at least regarded that god as identical with Belus. Now, it is a remarkable coincidence that Ana, the First Person in the primitive Chaldean Triad, is likewise "King of the Lower World," and that his symbol, the vertical wedge, stands also for the numeral 60, which last is often used to express hieroglyphically the name Ana.

It was Timotheus, an Athenian Eumolpid, and, in virtue of his descent, Diviner to the king, who indicated Pontus as the residence of the unknown god, whose apparition had so disquieted the monarch by commanding himself to be sent for without declaring whence. The figure, seen in the vision, was that of a youth, a circumstance that tallies ill with the mature majesty of the great god of Alexandria. * But the Helios Dionysos, a veritable Chrishna, who graces the reverse of the gold medallion of Pharnaces II, coined at Sinope in the following century, agrees much more exactly with this description of the nocturnal visitor.

Speedily did Serapis become the sole lord of his new home; and speculations as to his true nature employed the ingenuity of the philosophers at Alexandria, down to the times when they were superseded by the discussions on the doctrine of the Trinity, waged with equal zeal but infinitely worse temper. Every conflicting religion strove to claim him as the grand representative of their own doctrine. Macrobius has preserved one of the most ingenious of these interpretations, as made by the 'Rationalists,' a party so strong amongst the later Greeks (I. 20). "The City of Alexandria pays an almost frantic worship to Serapis and Isis, nevertheless they show that all this veneration is merely offered to the Sun under that name, both by their placing the corn-measure upon his head, and by accompanying his statue with the figure of an animal having three heads; of these heads, the middle and the largest one is a


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« Reply #167 on: March 13, 2009, 03:09:46 pm »

lion's, that which rises on the right is a dog's in a peaceable and fawning attitude; whilst the left part of the neck terminates in that of a ravening wolf. All these bestial forms are connected together by the wreathed body of a serpent, which raises its head up towards the god's right hand, on which side the monster is placed. The lion's head typifies the Present, because its condition between the Past and the Future is strong and fervent. The Past is signified by the wolf's head, because the memory of all things past is scratched away from us and utterly consumed. The emblem of the fawning dog represents the Future, the domain of inconstant and flattering hope. But whom should Past, Present and Future serve except their Authors? His head crowned with the calathus typifies the height of the planet above us, also his all-powerful capaciousness, since unto him all things earthly do return, being drawn up by the heat he emits. Moreover when Nicocreon, tyrant of Cyprus, consulted Serapis as to which of the gods he ought to be accounted, he received the following response:--


"'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.'" *

From all this it is evident that the nature of Serapis and the Sun is one and indivisible. Again, Isis is universally worshipped as the type of earth, or Nature in subjection to the Sun. For this cause the body of the goddess is covered with continuous rows of udders, to declare that the universe is maintained by the perpetual nourishing of the Earth or Nature." This last curious remark shows that Macrobius regarded the Alexandrian Isis as the same with the Ephesian Diana, for the ancient Isis of Egypt had only the usual complement of breasts. This philosopher had started with the axiom (i. 17), "Omnes deos referri ad Solem," and begins by demonstrating from the various epithets


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« Reply #168 on: March 13, 2009, 03:09:59 pm »

of Apollo, that he was the same god with the one styled the Sun. He then proceeds to prove the same of Bacchus, Hermes, Aesculapius, and Hercules. His ingenious explanation of the serpent-entwined rod of Hermes, and club of Aesculapius, will be found applied further on to the elucidation of the remarkable symbol on the reverse of all the Chnuphis amulets. After this, Macrobius passes in review the attributes and legends of Adonis and Atys, also of Osiris and Horus, and comes to the same conclusion concerning the real nature of all these personages, adding parenthetically a very fanciful exposition of the Signs of the Zodiac, as being merely so many emblems of the solar influence in the several regions of creation. Nemesis, Paris, Saturn, Jupiter, and finally the Assyrian Adad, are all reduced by him to the same signification.

This brings us to that most wondrous identification of all, which Hadrian mentions in a letter to his brother-in-law Servianus, preserved by the historian Vopiscus in his Life of the Tyrant Saturninus. "Those who worship Serapis are likewise Christians; even those who style themselves the bishops of Christ are devoted to Serapis. The very Patriarch himself, * when he comes to Egypt, is forced by some to adore Serapis, by others to worship Christ. There is but one God for them all, Him do the Christians, Him do the Jews, Him do the Gentiles, all alike worship." Severus Alexander, too, who daily paid his devotions to Christ and Abraham, did none the less expend large sums in decorating the temples of Serapis and Isis "with statues, couches, and all things pertaining to their Mysteries," † whilst he left the other gods of Rome to take care of themselves.

And as connected with the same subject, it may be here observed that the conventional portrait of the Saviour is in all probability borrowed from the head of Serapis, so full of grave and pensive majesty. Of the first converts, the Jewish foredilections were so powerful that we may be sure that no attempt was made to portray His countenance until many generations



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« Reply #169 on: March 13, 2009, 03:10:12 pm »

after all who had beheld it on earth had passed away. * Nevertheless, the importance so long attached to the pretended letter of Lentulus to the emperor, Tiberius, describing Christ's personal appearance, demands a notice in this place. Its monkish Latinity and style betray it, at first sight, for the authorship of some mediæval divine. Yet, incredible as it may seem, even a learned man like Grynæus has been so besotted through his pious longing for the reality of such a record, as to persuade himself that Lentulus, a Roman Senator and an eminent historian, could have written in the exact phrase of a mendicant friar. "There has appeared in our times, and still lives, a Man of great virtue, named Christ Jesus, who is called by the Gentiles a Prophet of Truth, but whom his own disciples called the Son of God; raising the dead, and healing diseases. A man indeed of lofty stature, handsome, having a venerable countenance, which the beholders can both love and fear. His hair verily somewhat wavy and curling, somewhat brightish and resplendent in colour, flowing down upon his shoulders, having a parting in the middle of the head after the fashion of the Nazarenes, &c." (Grynæus, 'Orthodoxia' I. p. 2.) This forgery reminds one of Pliny's remark, "Pariunt desideria non traditos vultus, sicutin Homero evenit." The wish is father to the image of the venerated object; and the conception is too joyfully accepted by the loving soul for it to trouble itself overmuch in scrutinizing the legitimacy of the same: for, as Martial exclaims with full truth "quis enim damnet sua vota libenter?"

But to return to the Egypt of the times of Gnosticism. In the very focus of that theosophy, Alexandria, the syncretistic sects which sprang up so rankly there during the three first centuries of the Roman empire, had good grounds for making out Serapis a prototype of Christ, considered as Lord and Maker of all, and Judge of the quick and the dead. For the response given to Nicocreon, above quoted, evinces that the philosophers at least saw in Serapis nothing more than the emblem of the 'Anima


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« Reply #170 on: March 13, 2009, 03:10:24 pm »

Mundi,' the Spirit of whom Nature universal is the body, for they held the doctrine of


". . . . . . . the one harmonious whole,
 Whose body Nature is, and God the soul."

So that by an easy transition Serapis came to be worshipped as the embodiment of the One Supreme, whose representative on earth was Christ.

The very construction of the grand Colossus of Serapis ingeniously set forth these ideas of his character. It was formed out of plates of all the metals, artfully joined together, to typify the harmonious union of different elements in the fabric of the universe, the "moles et machina mundi." This statue was placed upon the summit of an artificial hill (whose vast interior was divided into vaulted halls, containing the famous library), ascended by a flight of a hundred steps--a style of building totally diverse from the native Egyptian and the Grecian model, but exactly following the Indian usage, as may be seen by the grand pagoda of Siva at Tanjore, and by the topes and dagobas of the Buddhists.

The remarkable construction of this Colossus may reasonably be supposed to have suggested to the Alexandrian Jew, who completed the Book of Daniel, the notion of the similarly compacted Image which figures in Nebuchadnezzar's Dream. That his description of the latter was penned long after the coming of Serapis into that city is manifest from the minute details this prophet gives concerning the constant squabbles going on between Antiochus Epiphanes and Ptolemy Philometor, his nephew; together with the final intervention of the Roman Senate. The popular belief of the Alexandrians (Christian as well as pagan) was that the profanation of this statue would be the signal for heaven and earth to collapse at once into pristine chaos--a notion bearing clear testimony to the grand idea embodied by the figure. At last, however, although his worship, thus defended by deep-rooted fear, had been tolerated by the Christian government long after the other gods of Egypt had been swept away, this wonderful Colossus was broken down by "that perpetual enemy of peace and virtue" the

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« Reply #171 on: March 13, 2009, 03:10:38 pm »

Patriarch Theophilus, in the reign of Theodosius; and its mutilated trunk, dragged triumphantly through the streets by the mob of rejoicing fanatics, was ultimately buried in the Hippodrome.

Like that of Mithras, the worship of Serapis was widely diffused over the West. A very curious exemplification of this is to be found in Ammianus’ notice that Mederich, king of the Alemanni, had, when detained as a hostage in Gaul, been taught certain Greek Mysteries, and for that reason changed the name of his son Aganerich into Serapion. But Serapis had a natural claim to the adoration of the Gauls, who, as Cæsar tells us, actually boasted of descent from Dis Pater.

The new-corner from Sinope does not seem to have brought his name with him. When Ptolemy consulted his own priesthood upon this important point, Manetho boldly identified the Pontic god with their own Osor-Apis, chiefly on the score of his attribute Cerberus, which he considered the counterpart of the hippopotamus-headed Typhon who attends Oser-Apis in his character of sovereign of the Lower World. This deity is no other than the Bull Apis, who, after death, assumes the figure of Osiris, the regular form of Egyptian apotheosis, and so frequently seen applied to deceased kings. Osor-Apis, as he now becomes, is depicted as a man with the head of a bull, and carrying the ensigns by which we usually recognize Osiris. The god of Alexandria therefore differs in form as widely as in origin from the original patron of Thebes, with whom he has no other affinity than in name, and that rests only on the arbitrary interpretation of the Egyptian priests, so successful in persuading the Greeks that the mythology of the whole world was but a plagiarism from their own.

M. Marlette in 1860 excavated the Theban Serapeum, as it was called in Roman times, with its long avenue of sphinxes; he also discovered the catacombs where the Apis Bulls were deposited after death, and found there no fewer than sixty, two of their mummies yet reposing undisturbed. It is amusing to notice how neatly the Greeks turned the Coptic Osor-Apis into the more euphonious ὁ Σάραπις.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Footnotes
158:* The difference between him and the ancient Theban Serapis (as the Greeks translated his title "Osor-Api"), shall be pointed out farther on.

158:† Who narrates the whole affair at great length--a proof of the influence of the religion in his day--in his History, iv. 84.

159:* The great god of Assyria, Adad, "The One," the oracle-giving Jupiter of Heliopolis, was thus figured in his golden statue as a beardless youth, brandishing aloft a whip, and holding in his left hand the thunder-holt and wheat-ears. The rays crowning his head pointed downwards to signify their influence upon the earth, who stood before him in the figure of Atergatis, the rays in her crown pointing upwards, to express the springing up of her gifts. She was supported, like Cybele, upon the backs of lions.

160:* I cannot help suspecting that this description supplied Basilides with the idea of his celebrated Pantheus, the Abraxas-figure. The head of the bird was the fittest emblem of the air, the serpent, according to Herodotus, was the offspring of earth, the breast of man was the Homeric attribute of Neptune.

161:* The Patriarch of Tiberias, head of the Jewish religion, after the destruction of Jerusalem.

161:† A very favourite representation of Isis upon our talismans shows her reclining upon a conch.

162:* What proves the want of any real authority for the portraits of the Saviour is the filet that the earliest monuments in sculpture or painting, represent him as youthful and beardless.



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« Reply #172 on: March 13, 2009, 03:10:55 pm »

p. 165

II. THE PROBABLE ORIGIN OF SERAPIS.
The ancient speculations cited in the preceding chapter are all baseless theories, due to the ingenious refinements of the Alexandrian literati, and springing out of the system of allegorical interpretation in which the New Platonists so much delighted. It is evident that upon his first introduction into Egypt, Serapis was regarded by the Alexandrians as identical with Aïdoneus, or Dis, the Lord of the Lower World. Now, all his attributes suggest him to have been of Indian origin, and no other than Yama, "Lord of Hell," attended by his dog "Çarbara," the spotted, who has the epithet "Triçira," three-headed, and by his serpent "Çesha," called "Regent of Hades;" in fact, some have discovered in the name Serapis * but the Grecian form of Yama's epithet, "Sraddha-deva," Lord of the obsequies, that is, of the funeral sacrifices offered to the Pitris or Manes. Yama also is styled "Lord of souls," and "Judge of the dead;" another office assimilating him to Serapis in the character under which the latter came to be specially regarded--a point, moreover, which at a later date afforded stronger reasons for identifying him with Christ. A plausible etymology of the name Serapis may be found in another of Yama's epithets, "Asrik-pa" the Blood-drinker. This explanation is confirmed to some extent by the ancient tradition, of which Homer makes such fine use when he describes Ulysses' mode of evoking the ghosts, and their eagerness to lap up the life-blood of the victim (Od. xi. 35):--


"Seizing the victim sheep I pierced their throats;
 Flowed the black blood, and filled the hollow trench;
 Then from the abyss, eager their thirst to slake,
 Came swarming up the spirits of the dead."

[paragraph continues] And connected with the same notion was the practice of strewing roses over the graves of departed friends--


"Purpureos spargam flores et fungar inani munere,"

for (as Servius explains it) the red colour of the flower


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« Reply #173 on: March 13, 2009, 03:11:04 pm »

represented blood, and thereby served as a substitute for the living victim. *

This analogy between Yama and Serapis may be further extended by the consideration of certain other points connected with the office of the former deity. For example, unto the souls of the righteous he appears as "Dharma-rāja," and has a servant "Karma-la" (the Hermes Psychopompos of the Greeks), who brings them into his presence upon a self-moving car. But unto the wicked he is "Yama," and has for them another minister, "Kash-Mala," who drags them before him with halters round their necks, over rough and stony places. Other titles of Yama are "Kritānta" and "Mrityu." The connection of the latter with Mors is evident enough, making it a fitting appellation for Dis (Ditis), in which again unmistakably lies the root of our name Death, applied to the same Principle of Destruction.

Yama as "Sraddha-deva," monarch of "Pātāla" (the infernal regions), has for consort Bhavani, who hence takes the title of "Patala-devi," as upon Earth she is "Bhu-devi," in heaven, "Swardevi." Her lord owns, besides Çarbara, another dog named "Çyama," the Black One (now we see wherefore the mediæval familiar spirits like Cornelius Agrippa's black spaniel, and Faustus’ "pudel" chose that particular figure), whom he employs as the minister of his vengeance. As Judge of Souls he displays two faces, the one benign, the other terrific. Another of his titles is "Kalantika," Time as the Destroyer: it can hardly be a mere accidental coincidence that such was the exact name given to the head-dress worn by the Egyptian priests when officiating--in later times a purple cloth covering the head, and falling down upon the neck, surmounted by two plumes.


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« Reply #174 on: March 13, 2009, 03:11:17 pm »

"Kali-Bhavani," the Destructive Female Principle is represented * in this character with a visage exactly identical with the most ancient type of the Grecian Gorgon--such as we still behold it guarding the Etruscan sepulchres, and lowering horrifically upon the sacrilegious intruder; as in that notable example in the tomb of the Volumni at Perugia, where it forms the centrepiece of the ceiling of the grand hall. Formed of a Tiger's head in its first conception by the excited fancy of Hindoo superstition, the Etruscan demon still exhibits the same protruded tongue, huge tusks, glaring eyes, wings in the hair, and serpents twining about the throat. Of such aspect was doubtless that "Gorgon's Head, the work of the Cyclops," which was shown to Pausanias as the most notable object in the Argive Acropolis--a proof that the earliest essays of Pelasgic art had been made in realising this idea. Again, in that most ancient monument of Grecian art, the Coffer of Cypselus (made before B.C. 600), the same traveller states (v. 19.), "Behind Polynices stands a female figure, having tusks as savage as those of a wild beast, and the nails of her fingers like unto talons: the inscription above her, they tell you means Κῆρ (Fate)." This name therefore must have been a foreign word, translated to Pausanias by the Custodian of the Temple. Plutarch (Life of Aratus) supplies another singular illustration of the Worship of these terrific idols of the olden time in the most polished ages of Greece. The Artemis of Pellene was of so dreadful an aspect that none dared to look upon her: and when carried in procession, her sight blasted the very tree and crops as she passed. When the Ætolians were actually in possession of and plundering the town, her priestess, by bringing this image out from the shrine, struck them with such terror that they made a precipitate retreat. This Artemis consequently must have been a veritable Hecate, a true Queen of Hell, an idol moreover of wood, ξόανον (like her of Ephesus), otherwise the priestess had not been able to wield it so effectually to scare away the marauders. Again, the recorded dream of Cimon, which presaged his death, was that a black **** bayed


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« Reply #175 on: March 13, 2009, 03:11:30 pm »

at him in a half-human voice, "Come to me; I and my whelps will receive thee gladly." The Hellenic gods, now and then shew themselves under an aspect strangely at variance with their usual benevolent and jovial character. A true Siva was that "Dionysos Omestes" (The Cannibal), unto whom Themistocles, forced by the Diviners, sacrificed the three sons of Sandauce, own sister to Xerxes, when taken prisoners on the eve of the Battle of Salamis. It must be remembered that tradition made Perseus bring back the Gorgon's Head, trophy of his success, from Ethiopia, a synonym at first for the remotest East--it being only in Roman times that "Ethiopia" was restricted to a single province of Africa. The harpe too, the weapon lent to the hero by Hermes, is from its form no other than the ankuşa, elephant-hook, which is carried for attribute by so many of the Hindoo Deities. * Sufficient explanation this why Persephone (Destroying-slayer) was assigned by the earliest Greeks as Consort to Aidoneus; and also why Ulysses, on his visit to her realms, should have been alarmed,


"Lest from deep Hell Persephone the dread
 Should send the terror of the Gorgon's Head."

From the influence of this terror upon the otherwise undaunted wanderer, these same two lines came to be considered as endued with a wonderfully strong repellent power, for Marcellus Empiricus prescribes them to be whispered into the ear of any one choking from a bone or other matter sticking in his throat; or else to write them out on a paper to be tied around his throat, "Which will be equally effectual."

Lucian remarks ('Philopatris,') that the reason why the ancient warriors bore the Gorgon's Head upon their shields was because it served for an amulet against dangers of every sort; on the same account, in all likelihood, was it put for device on many archaic coinages; Populonia, Paros, &c. For


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« Reply #176 on: March 13, 2009, 03:11:51 pm »

what could be more effective for the purpose of scaring away all evil spirits than the visible countenance of the Queen of Hell? Timomachus the painter (contemporary with the first Cæsar) made his reputation by such a subject, "præcipue tamen ars ei favisse in Gorgone visa est," are the words of Pliny, which masterpiece is supposed the original of the horrific fresco discovered at Pompeii, the finest example of the art that has reached our times. Many centuries after the fall of Paganism did this image retain its power; Münter figures ('Sinnbilder der Christen') a Gorgon's Head surrounded by the phonetic legend, + VΟΜΕΛΑΙΝΗΜΕΛΑΙΝΟΜΕΝΑΟCΟΦΙCΗΛΗCΚΟCΛΟΝΒΡVΧΗCΙΚΟCΑΡΝΟCΚVΜΗCΗ, intended for--Υἱὸς Θεοῦ · Μελαίνη μελαινομένη, ὡσ ὄφις εἴλει ἡσυχῇ, ὡς λέων βρυχήσει, καὶ ὡς ἄρνος κοιμήσει. "Black, blackened one, as a serpent thou coilest thyself quietly, thou shalt roar like a lion, thou shalt go to sleep like a lamb!" The same inscription, but so barbarously spelt as to be unintelligible, probably forms the legend upon the famous Seal of St. Servatius, preserved in Maestricht Cathedral. The seal is a large disc of green jasper, engraved on both sides, and is attached to a small slab of porphyry, traditionally passing for the Saint's portable altar. Servatius died A.D. 389, but the workmanship of his seal betokens the tenth or eleventh century for its origin. An important evidence of the veneration of the Christian Byzantines for their guardian demon is afforded by the exhumation (Spring of 1869) in the Ahmedan, Constantinople, of the Colossal Gorgonion, six feet high from chin to brow, carved in almost full relief on each side of an immense marble block, which once formed the keystone of the gateway to the Forum of Constantine. Though the execution betrays the paralysis of the Decline, yet the general effect still remains grandiose and awe-inspiring.

Having thus traced Bhavani in her progress from Archaic Greek to Byzantine times, let us observe the part she plays in the superstitions of Imperial Rome. The idea, full of novel horrors, was gladly seized by the extravagant genius of Lucan *


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« Reply #177 on: March 13, 2009, 03:12:12 pm »

to animate the exorcisms of his Thessalian sorceress Erictho (Pharsalia, vi. 695).


"And Chaos, ever seeking to enfold
 Unnumbered worlds in thy confusion old:
 And Earth's dull god, who pining still beneath
 Life's lingering burthen, pinest for tardy death.
   *          *          *          *          *
 Tisiphone, and Thou her sister fell,
 Megaera, thus regardless of my spell,
 Why haste ye not with sounding scourge to chase
 The soul accursed through hell's void formless space?
 Say, must I call you by the names your right,
 And drag the hell-hounds forth to th’ upper light?
 Midst death I'll dog your steps at every turn,
 Chase from each tomb, and drive from every urn.
 And thou, still wont with visage not thine own,
 To join the gods round the celestial throne,
 Though yet thy pallor doth the truth betray,
 And hint the horrors of thy gloomy
 Thee, Hecate, in thy true form I'll show,
 Nor let thee change the face thou wearest below.
 I'll tell what feasts thy lingering steps detain
 In earth's deep centre, and thy will enchain;
 Tell what the pleasures that thee so delight,
 And what tie binds thee to the King of Night;
 And by what union wert thou so defiled,
 Thy very mother would not claim her child,
 --I'll burst thy caves, the world's most evil Lord,
 And pour the sun upon thy realms abhorred,
 Striking thee lifeless by the sudden day,
 If still reluctant my behests to obey.
 Or must I call Him at whose whispered Name
 Earth trembles awestruck through her inmost frame?
 Who views the Gorgon's face without a veil,
 And with her own scourge makes Erinnys quail;
 To whom the abyss, unseen by you, is given,
 To which your regions are the upper heaven,
 Who dares the oath that binds all gods to break,
 And marks the sanction of the Stygian lake?"

All these personifications are in a spirit quite foreign to that of Grecian mythology, but thoroughly imbued with that of India. Lucan's Chaos is the Hindoo Destroyer, the Negro giant, "Maha-Pralaya," swallowing up the gods themselves in his wide-gaping jaws. His "Rector terrae" pining for the promised annihilation that is so long in coming, finds no parallel in classical

p. 171

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« Reply #178 on: March 13, 2009, 03:12:40 pm »

religions, * and his character remains to me utterly inexplicable. His Furies "hunting souls to make them fly," instead of being like the old awful Eumenides, the impartial avengers of guilt, are mere demons, or churchyard ghouls. But his Hecate is manifestly Bhavani herself; her "facies Erebi" being the Gorgonian aspect which the latter was when reigning in "Yama-putri," but which she puts off when presiding on earth, or in heaven; whilst the "infernal banquets" that so enchant her are the human sacrifices regularly offered up by Bhavani's special votaries, the Thugs. In the first, or infernal aspect, a true "facies Erebi," she is depicted wearing a necklace of human skulls and grasping in each hand a naked victim ready to be devoured. She probably still shows us in what shape the Artemis of Pallene appeared to scare away the Ætolian plunderers. The title of her lord "pessimus mundi arbiter" is far more applicable to the Destroyer Siva than to the inoffensive Pluto of the Greeks. Unless indeed the Neronean poet may have heard something of the Demiurgus Ildabaoth, "Son of Darkness, or Erebus," existing under a different name in some ancient theogony. The Gnostics did not invent--they merely borrowed and applied.

Bhavani, in her character of "Kali," is sculptured as a terminal figure, the exact counterpart in outline of the Ephesian Diana. Even the stags, those remarkable adjuncts to the shoulders of the latter, are seen in a similar position springing from Kali's hands. The multiplied breasts of the Ephesian statue were also given to the Alexandrian Isis, who is allowed by Creuzer and the rest to be the Hindoo goddess in her character of "Parvati." Now this remark applies only to her statue in the Serapeum, not to those belonging to the ancient Pharaonic religion; and Macrobius's expressions show that her real character there was as much a matter of dispute as that of her companion, Serapis. Again, Diana as Hecate or Proserpine, belongs to the infernal world over which she rules with the same authority as Bhavani over Yama-Putri. The Ephesian


p. 172

image, made of cypress wood, had "fallen down from heaven," which only means, had come from some very remote and unknown source.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Footnotes
165:* It is not improbable that the name under which the god was worshipped at Sinope had something of this sound; and which suggested to Manetho the idea of identifying him with his own Oser-Api.

166:* One of the most frequented places of pilgrimage at Benares is the "Gyan Bapi," "Well of Knowledge," in the depths whereof Siva himself resides. It was dug by the genius Rishi, with that god's own trident, to relieve the world after a twelve years’ drought. The pilgrims throw into it offerings of all kinds, flowers included. Another well in the same city, of supreme efficacy for the washing away of all sin, is the Manikarnika, so called from the earring of Mahadeva, which fell into it. Vishnu had dug this well with his changra, quoit, and filled it with the luminous sweat of his body.

167:* Roth. 'Zeitschrift der Morgenländischen Gesellschaft,' iv. p. 425, and Mure in Royal Asiatic Society's Journal, i. p. 287.

168:* The Gorgon of the gems ('Ant. Gems,' Pl. XX., 4), and of the coin of Neapolis is regularly to be seen, to this day, sculptured in relief upon the pillar set up on each side of the gates of Hindoo temples, as I am informed by our great oriental archæologist, Col. Pearse. She goes by the name of "Keeper of the Gate." Now we see why her head decorated the pediments of temples in Greece and Rome, and formed the keystone of triumphal arches even in the time of Constantine, as the lately-discovered entrance to his "Forum of Taurus" convincingly attests.

169:* Who had in all probability learnt them at some of the Mysteries, all of Asiatic origin, so popular in his times with all persons making pretensions to the title of philosophers.

171:* Unless, perhaps, obscurely shadowed forth by Hesiod, from whom Milton drew his grand picture of Chaos, on whom wait--


"Orcus and Hades and the dreaded Name
Of Demogorgon."




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« Reply #179 on: March 13, 2009, 03:12:53 pm »

III. MONUMENTS OF THE SERAPIS WORSHIP.
Innumerable are the statues, bas-reliefs, and gems, many of them in the best style of Roman art, emanating from the worship of Serapis; a thing not to be wondered at in the case of a divinity whose idea involved the two strongest principles that actuate the conduct of mankind--the love of riches and the fear of death. For the god of the subterranean world was necessarily lord also of its treasures; a truth expressed by the dedication to Serapis of an altar as "Iovi custodi et genio thesaurorum" (Winckelmann, 'Pierres Gravées de Stosch,' p. 83). And similarly the older Roman Pluto takes the title of "Jupiter Stygius;" but the comprehensiveness of the idea as expanded by the monotheistic tendency of later times is most fully manifested by the invocation (Raspe, No. 1490) ΙC ΖΥC CΑΡΑΠΙC ΑΓΙΟΝ ΟΝΟΜΑ CΑΒΑ ΦC ΑΝΑΟΤΛΗ ΧΘΝ "One Jupiter, Serapis, Holy Name, Sabaoth, the Light, the Day-spring, the Earth!"

Talismanic gems very commonly bear the full length figure, or the bust of Serapis, with the legend ΙC ΘΟC CΑΡΑΠΙC (often abbreviated into  · Θ · C), "There is but one God, and he is Serapis: "ΕΙC ΖΝ ΘΟC, "The One Living God." Sometimes the purpose of the amulet is distinctly expressed by the inscription, ΝΙΚΑΟ CΑΡΑΠΙC ΤΟΝ ΦΘΟΝΟΝ, "Baffle the Evil-eye, O Serapis:" or in the curious example published by Caylus, where the god stands between Venus and Horus, and the legend ΚΑΤΑ ΧΡΗΜΑΤΙCΜΟΝ intimates that the gem had been "so" engraved in consequence of a vision or other divine intimation. Around his bust on a jasper (Praun) appears the invocation, convincing proof of his supposed supremacy, ΦΥΛΑCC ΔΙΑ, "Protect Jupiter," the ancient king of heaven being now degraded to the rank of an astral genius and benignant horoscope. Invocations like the

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