Page images
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

his back, is represented wading ancle deep through shoal water, and conducted by Mercury to a faun, as the generative or reinvigorating principle. Anchises carries off a cornucopia, the symbol of fertility, instead of the Penates. Behind is seated a female, her head and arms gracefully turned, and designed with uncommon taste. From her retrospective attitude, and the affectionate concern expressed in her countenance, she doubtless personates Creusa, who was left behind when the Trojan hero quitted his ruined country. She represents the inert state in Inferis, as can be satisfactorily shown, by comparing this with another vase in the British Museum. The fishes in the lower part of the painting are equally symbols of water and generation.

It may be said that the expedition of Æneas to the Inferi is no more than his voyage to Hesperia, an ancient name for Italy, which was occidental with respect to Greece. But I must add, that like the painting disserted upon by Mr. Böttiger, the plate before us illustrates the destruction and subsequent renewal of things *; and the work of M. Boulanger will show, that subversion in the political as well as in the physical world was anciently considered the prelude, as it were, to a new life, and order, and general happiness. In the same way would I dispose of most of those subjects on vases, which antiquaries have termed Homeric.

These remarks I particularly recommend to the reader who may be acquainted with the dissertation of the learned professor, and those who seek new subjects of mythology upon vases will

[ocr errors]

Livy has doubted whether Ascanius were the son of Æneas by Creusa or Lavinia. It is very probable that he was by the former, and that the name Iulus was afterwards given as a word of good omen, which indicated the reestablishment of his family, since "lounos is a word of religious meaning, as I have elsewhere endeavoured to explain.

do well to consider the painting I first cited. The strange hieroglyphics with which it is accompanied, justify a belief, that whenever subjects were selected from history or mythology to adorn these funeral vessels, they were merely designed as vehicles for theological opinions. Hence facts were misrepresented, or gave place to mystical conceits, devised by those priests by whom the Eleusinian shows were conducted.

[merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »