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shall see cause put for effect, and vice versâ : inert, yet producing activity, active and passive, male and female*, he will not only give various forms to matter :
"Ύλην άλλάσσων ιερών ιδέαις πολυμορφοις, ή
But we shall also have reason to concur with the poet, in considering him αιολόμορφων άνακτα 4, the power who could assume various shapes at pleasure; he will appear alternately extinguished and rekindled, oCEVVÚMEVOS adpe T WVTE ; in fine, we shall observe in him, though governor of nature, a type of nature itself, and of all the successive changes to which it is subject.
I have before observed of the vases deposited in tombs, that they might in some measure be considered to represent the persons to whom they belonged. In the present instance the vase is the larva of Bacchus. It is in the form of an amphora that we now discover him borne to the lower hemisphere by the destroying harpy, in whose hand the emblematical torch is depressed, to denote suspended animation. Or, if the antiquary, shall be better pleased to consider this to be the figure of a syren, the deportation of Bacchus, the inspirer of song, by a vocal minister, will give further elegance to the design. The general purport of this gem might also be proved from other intaglios, wherein a corpse, or a terminus, are indifferently borne; and upon a painted tazza, in the Hope collection, the Dioscurus appears bending under the weight of a tortoise, which, as the emblem of sluggish inert nature, he bears ad Inferos. The tortoise is kept steady upon his back by a thong or strap, passed over one end of the shell.
* According to the Orphic invocation, apwtoyóvar depuñ, Hymn v. v. 1. + Hymn xxiv. v. 3.
# Hymn xxxviü. v. 5. 9 Hymn lv. v. 5.
Descent of the Phanes ad Inferos.
This beautiful gem exhibits the infant Dioscurus hooded, and bearing the Bacchus, under the form of a lantern *, to the lower regions. Similar subjects may be seen in the Mus. Florentin. vol. i. plate Lxxx. fig. 2, 3. 6.
Bacchus, in the Form of a Lantern, crosses the Styx.
The Dioscurus here appears as an emaciated elder, conducting the Phanes, or Bacchus, over the Styx.
Arrival of the Amphora at the Cavern of Hades.
Pursuing the subject, we again find Bacchus, in the form of an amphora, completing his voyaget to the cavern of Hades, where Cerberus, barking, announces his approach. The clepsydra or water-clock, which appears in the forın of an hour-glass, in the boat of Charon, has an allegorical meaning. An Asiatic antiquary has observed that the noise made by the turning of this, when the pleadings in the courts of justice among the ancients were finished, was termed pacsha, a word implying turn or change., which might induce us to believe, that the water
* These lanterns were composed of horn, at least so early as the time of Plautus. “ Quo ambulas tu, qui Vulcanum in cornu conclusum geris ?” — Amphitr. A. i. Sc. 1. 185.
t I find this subject expressed in a ludicrous way, in an ancient fresco painting, which exhibits the Dioscuri by two grotesque figures conveying a boat load of vases over the Styx. See Antich. d'Ercolano Pitture, vol. v. plate LxvII.
# Captain Francis Wilford, Asiatic Researches, vol. v. p. 301. 8vo.
clock in the present gem might be the symbol of vicissitude, whereby a promise of return is made to Bacchus, in his visit to the shades.
Bacchus, as a Lantern, in Inferis.
We here observe the nearly extinguished Phanes in inferis held by a skeleton, which, erect and motionless, seems to partake of the nature of a terminus, designed to express that point in the lower hemisphere, whence nature emerging shall resume her former activity. It was an original suggestion of the late Rev. Dr. Henley, that the pillar (to which I would also compare the terminus), symbolically considered, denotes the solstice, the apparent temporary resting-place of the sun, at the furthest extent of his course, whether in the upper or lower hemisphere.
Return of the Amphora.*
The return of Bacchus is here neatly expressed by a winged genius upon the amphora, which is wafted along by means of a hoisted sail:
Bacchus, having again assumed the form of a Vase, is brought up from the
At length the various characters assumed by this changeable deity have been traced through their mystic revolutions, excepting that it remains for me to bring up the vase to the upper hemisphere. A painting from an inedited vase in the Townley collection, now in the British Museum, may serve to complete
* From the Museum Florentinum, vol. i. plate Lxxvii. fig. 1.
In this, the generative power, characterised by priapeïd ears and horns, emerges from the marshy shores of the Styx, bringing up the amphora from the inferi.
Before I dismiss the spectators, I cannot refrain from adverting to the explanation offered by that learned Asiatic antiquary, Captain Francis Wilford, of those mystic words, Koyg, õue TVE, (Konx, ompax,) which closed the celebration of the mysteries. He has observed, that the correspondent Sanscrit words, Cancsha, Om, Pacsha, denote, the first of them, the object of our most ardent wishes; the second, Om (the monosyllable used at the beginning and conclusion of a prayer), amen ; and the third, Pacsha, answering to the obsolete Latin word, vix, change, “ course, stead, place, turn of work, duty, fortune.” As. Res. vol. v. p. 300.
That many words found their way into the Greek language, in later times, from different parts of Asia, may be proved from the lexicon of Hesychius ; at the same time an observation of Davies, the learned editor of the Tusculan Disputations of Cicero, (lib. i. p. 53.) deserves regard,—that a superstitious respect was anciently paid to words adopted from foreign languages, by which, no doubt the Oriental were implied. Hence these lines of the pseudo-Zoroaster are quoted by the learned critic:
'Ονόματα βάρβαρα μη πότ' αλλάξης,
Δύναμιν εν τελεταίς άρρητον έχοντα. . Change not foreign names; for every foreign nation has some peculiar to it, imparted by the deity; and these are of unspeakable efficacy in initiatory rites.
Hence the words Konx-om-pax might have been introduced into the mysteries, from their being supposed to possess some secret virtue, even though the Initiators had not a precise knowledge of their meaning. But I presume not to decide on this question, which well deserves the attention of the learned.