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John Franklin Genung.

Outlines of rhetoric: embodied in rules, illustrative examples, and ... online

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[ 21 ]

ornaments round which shew them to be distinct from the
mirrors, which are sacred to these deities.

PLATE XXXIII.

In this painting we may observe two indications of
Bacchus, by means of the globe or sphere. Attached to
the wall on one side, there seems to be a sort of cupboard,
called tabemaculum ; and the fillet with two strings to
each end, is for the purpose of being fastened round the
globe, which has no handle.

PLATE XXXIV.

This painting seems to represent some of the rites or orgies
of Bacchus. The priestess is playing upon the double
flute, invented by Minerva. The genius is probably
Acratus, one of those, who, according to Pausanias, gene-
rally accompanied Bacchus.

In the dancers we easily recognise, both by the actions
of their bodies, and by the torches which they carry and
use in these rites, the conduct of men who counterfeit, or
are supposed to be insane, or rather possessed. Fabretti
has given us an account of a decree of the senate, which
forbid, under the severest punishment, any celebration of
bacchanalian mysteries throughout Italy. As this edict is



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dated in the 566 year of Rome, it is probable that the vases,
which represent these ceremonies, were made previous to
this period, which is exactly forty-five years after the
taking of Capua. Pacula Minia, who was the priestess,
when the bacchanals were proscribed by the senate, was
by birth a Campanian a native of Capua; and what is
very remarkable is, that the vases made in Campania are
those, upon which these mysteries are most frequently
represented ; and this seems to confirm the opinion, that
the manufacture of vases ceased about the time of the
destruction of Capua, and that Ebon, the tributary god of
many towns in Campania, was the same as Bacchus, in
honour of whom these rites were celebrated, and for the
use of which these vases seem to have been consecrated.



PLATE XXXV.

This seems to represent a domestic ceremony in honour of
some god, whose symbol is held by one of the females.



PLATE XXXVL

One of the three figures, of which this beautiful design
is composed, seems to represent Volumnia, the mother of
Coriolanus, namely, the one that is seated. Hersilia, her
sister-in-law, stands before her, and Valeria, the sister of



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the illustrious Valerius Publicola, seems to be introduced
by Hersilia. Valeria is holding up the end of her robe, which
adds much dignity to her action, and is well adapted to the
employment she is engaged in. Her arm is extended in a
suppliant manner, and she casts a serious but interesting
look upon Volumnia, and seems to say, '• Volumnia, it
is for the Republic, it is for your household gods, it is
for the salvation of that Rome, in which you drew your
first breath, that I come to entreat you to soften the heart
of your son, who is already encamped within sight of our
walls, and who, at the head of the Volscian army, whom he
has enraged against us by his persuasions, has refused to
hear even the supplications of the people, the senate, and
the pontiffs." The inflection of her knee shews, that she
is uncertain of the success she shall meet with, and we
may observe in her countenance, at least as far as the
smallness of the profile will admit of it, the nobleness of
her motives, and a hope of success, though not untinged
with the fear, that she may not obtain the object of her
wishes. Hersilia stands without motion, but her counte-
nance expresses her anxiety for the success of Valeria's
petition. When Volumnia had heard her request, she
stretches forth her arms, and at once feeling both for her
country and her son, seems by her action to say, *' Alas,
why have they compelled him to declare himself the
enemy of this city, of which he was the support.** At the



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[24]

same time her foot is seen to have been drawn back, with
the design of getting up, and going to seek Goriolanus.

Nothing is more simple than the design of this little
painting, and yet nothing can be more eloquent. The
attitudes are grand, the heads are full of character, and the
actions correspond with the sentiments. It is probable,
both from the sitting attitude of Volumnia, as well as the
lower interior border upon the original vase, which is not
engraved with this outline, but is seen in the external
upper border of Plate XLIX. that these Roman matrons
sought the mother of Goriolanus in her house. The border
in its form represents the back-bone or spine of a fish, and
is the same as the Italians call spina di pesce. This very
much resembles the shape in the Roman fragments of the
bricks, so called.

PLATE XXXVII.

This design appears to allude to the nuptial bath, as the
bride holds in her hand a mirror, and a box containing
the nuptial presents ; the pronuha has a band or girdle in
hers, and the pronubus holds the unguentarium and the
strigile. Two genii, which are probably intended to be
descriptive of Hymen, have each branches of myrtle in
their hands.



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[ 25 ]



PLATE XXXVIII.



The subject of this Plate is probably connected with the
last ; but it is so obscure, as to be almost inexplicable, or
at best founded upon mere conjecture.



PLATE XXXIX.

It is pierhaps very difficult to discover the meaning of
this painting. It has been conjectured to be Vulcan pre-
senting to Thetis, or Venus, the arms, which had been
forged for Achilles, or for iEneas ; but it must be owned,
that the Pegasus, represented upon the shield, or buckler,
renders this explanation very doubtful.



PLATE XL.

HiPPOLYTA, queen of the Amazons, wore the girdle of
Mars, as an emblem of the country she reigned over;
Admeta, the daughter of Euristheus, became envious of this
honour, and wished to possess the girdle. In consequence
of this desire, Hercules received orders to procure it.
This is the ninth of the labours, which this god under-
took at the request of his brother. He immediately went
to the banks of the river Thermodoon, which the Amazons
inhabited. Juno, always at variance with, and hating

E



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Hercules, had recourse to hef usual cunning, and caused
the girdle, which he would have obtained as a gift, to
become the cause of a most obstinate conflict between
Hercules and the warlike Amazons.

This Plate is supposed to represent Hippolyta engaged
with Hercules, in which combat, according to ApoUodorus,
the Amazonian queen lost her life. The meaning of the
ray of the sun over Hercules and the horse is uncertain :
it may denote the illustrious birth of the hero: the
Chaldeans called the planet Mars, Hercules : and there is
also a constellation under the same name. It is probably
one of these three things, that it is intended to denote.



PLATE XLI.

Perhaps there is no one of the designs upon any ancient
v^se, of which the slibject is more obvious than the present ;
that of a successful candidate in a horse race, dismounting
to receive the wreath as a reward of his exertions. The
statue of some famous sculptor, probably served as the
original of this painting. There are only two circumstances,
that seem to require explanation ; the shield or buckler,
and the short sta£F in the man's hand. It is well known,
that in the public games at Argos, which were celebrated
at the feast in honour of Juno, called the feast of Hecaiombsy
oji account of the employment of an hundred oxen to



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open the procession, the conquerors obtained a buckler as
their reward ; but it is not so certain, that there were any
horse races there. These two circumstances must therefore
be still left for the conjectures of the learned.



PLATE XLII.

The subject of this Plate is supposed to be Telemachus
in the house of Menelaus at Sparta. During the travels
of Telemachus, to gain some information of his father,
this young prince, accompanied by Pisistratus, the son
of Nestor, went to Pylos. Menelaus, being acquainted
with the character of his guests, related to them, after their
repast, many of the events in the life of Ulysses. This
recital plunged Telemachus into the deepest grief, and
made so strong an impression upon all those, who heard it,
that they shed tears. When Helen heard the names of these
strangers, she ran to see them, and even wished to give
Telemachus some further account of Ulysses ; affected at
the marks of sorrow he evinced, she prepared a liquor,
which had the power of banishing, for at least four-
and-twenty hours, every trace of grief in the human mind.
She ordered one of her women to present the bowl, and
persuaded him to take it. It is not easy to determine,
whether the figure, that is leaning upon a staff, be Menelaus,
or not. Telemachus is dressed as described by Homer.



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[ 28 ]

PLATE XLIII.

This Plate in fact comprises two distinct paintings, which
are upon the same vase, but on opposite sides of it, and the
column, which is here placed in the centre of the two,
belongs in reality to the one on the left hand. The three
figures on the right are supposed to represent Apollo,
Diana, and one of her nymphs. The first is known by his
laurel crown, he has also a bow in his hand ; Diana is on
the left, with a doe by her side, while one of her nymphs
is standing between them with another bow. The other
painting on the left is supposed to represent a poet and
musician, to whom a third figure is presenting a sphere,
an indication of the god of poetry, whose praises he pro-
poses to them to celebrate, as they are supposed to have
already done at Delphi. This god is also represented by
the symbolical column, seen in the middle of the plate.
The points, which appear upon its shafts, may serve
perhaps to point out the solar days. In these two paint-
ings then, it is supposed that the three modes of represent-
ing Apollo are discoverable, by indications, by symbolical
columns, and by figures.

PLATE XLIV.

The subject of this Plate is unknown.



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[ 29 ]

PLATE XLV.

In this elegant composition Ceres is represented sitting on
a chair» and holding in one hand an instrument which was
probably used in some department of agriculture, by the
Greeks. The mystic vannm is placed between her and the
genius, who is holding a crown, which indicates one of the
priests of the Themosphori, whb was called the crown-
bearer; the book, which this genius presents to the god-
dess, is perhaps that, which contained the laws formed by
her for men. The commentator of Theocritus informs us,
that the Athenian women carried the books of the law on
their heads, at the festivals in honour of Geres, and went
in great pomp through the sacred road, which led from
Athens to Eleusis. The territory belonging to these cities
was separated by the river Cephisus, over which was a
bridge; the procession halted on this bridge, and the
column seen in this Plate represents the altar, on which
the sacred materials were placed. It is to denote this
pause, that the priestess is leaning on this column, and
holding the mirror, which is sacred to Ceres.

PLATE XLVI.

This sweet design is supposed to represent some female,
being adorned either for the purpose of going to the theatre,



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or to assist in some religious ceremony ; it is well known,
that in both it was customary for them to wear crowns.
Nothing can exceed the beauty of this composition.

PLATE XLVII.

The ancient monuments both of the Greeks and the
Etruscans, evidently prove, that a variety of places, both
public and private, towns, fountains, baths, seasons, men,
women, and even the gods themselves, had their particular
genii. Horace says that he had one, who presided over the
star of his birth,

Sic genius natale comes qui temperat astrum,
Naturae Deus humanae.

and Seneca in his 110th epistle says, that the disciples of
Zeno adopted the same opinion. Hesiod believed, that
those, who lived in the golden age, were become good
genii, and still inhabited the earth, though invisible. These
mystical ideas, which appear to be founded upon the im-
mortality of the soul, passed from Phoenicia into Greece
and Italy. There they remained, and both increased the
superstition of the people, and multiplied almost to infinity
the histories of apparitions and ghosts, both of the dead
and of the gods, which by means of the marvellous, laid a
strong hold of, and greatly interested credulous minds.
It is perhaps an apparition of this sort, which the



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[ SI ]

present plate exhibits. Some persons have thought, that
they discovered here Chrysosthemis and Clytemnestra
o£Fering presents to the tomb of Agamemnon, which is
represented by the column, upon which one of the females



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[ 32 ]

PLATE XLVIII.

This Plate seems to represent a sacrifice to Bacchus,
which is the more probable from the figures being crowned
with wreaths of myrtle. The figure next to that, which is
preparing a libation on the altar, may be supposed to bear
a symbol of the god, to which a fillet is attached.



PLATE XLIX.

The vase, from which this design was taken, was conse-
crated to Bacchus, and the design itself represents a festival
in honour of that god. The cuirasses, we may observe,
are similar to those worn by the conductors of the cars,
that are used in the circus ; the buckler is the same as that
of the Argians; and the crown, fillet, and flowers are
symbolic of the fete. The rhytion also and crater ^ which
are on the ground, were species of vases consecrated to
Bacchus. It is observable, that the action in all the figures
is similar and equal, and they appear to move in true
cadence ; the men seem to have a sort of basket upon
their heads ; that upon the head of the female is well
balanced. One of the meii has a torch, the other two pikes
or javelins, such as was required by Xenophon, that
having thrown one against the enemy, the other might
either serve for his defence, or to continue the attack.



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[33]

This manner of being armed was common to both horse
and foot.

The vine leaf in the hand of the bacchante is emblema-
tical of the god.



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[34]

PLATE LII.

The composition, design, and figures on this vase are.
excellent ; the subject, which it represents, is evidently
the victory of Bellerophon over the Chimaera, as it is
described by Homer . Both Plutarch and Hyginus relate this
story in a different way, and they pretend, that Minerva
lent the horse Pegasus to Bellerophon ; the; symbol of the
serpent upon the haunch of the Pegasus, as belonging to
Apollo, the god of medicine, evidently proves, that the
smallest and most minute circumstances introduced upon
the sacred vases, have their appropriate object ; the sceptre,
which is in the hand of lobates, marks the regal authority ;
and, probably, the foliage of the ivy, embroidered on the
sleeve of his robe, serves to shew, that he was also a priest
bf Bacchus, as in Greece the kings were often the pontiffs,
or chief-priests. Bellerophon is represented with his head
covered ; and it is observable, that upon these vases
foreigners and travellers are commonly represented in the
same manner, or with a hat fastened at the back of the
head. The vase itself, from which this design is taken, has
an ornament of ivy leaves, which denotes,^ that it was con-
secrated to Bacchus. Apuleius is said to have seen the
story of Bellerophon performed in a bacchanalian feast at
Rome, and that an ass with wings represented Pegasus.
May not this story have a place in a feast of Bacchus, on



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account of the connection between lobates and Bellerophon,
the former having given his only daughter Alchemones
in marriage to the latter, and having also made him his
heir, as a reward for having subdued the Chimaera ; at the
same time supposing, that lobates was the high-priest of
Bacchus ?

PLATE LIII.

In this design, a symbolic pillar, consecrated to the
Dioscuri, is placed in the centre. One of these deities
is signified by the black fillet, which indicates his death,
but the other is represented as being alive ; a female is
making an offering of fruits to these gods, and the cistus is
placed where we usually see the tabernacle of symbols.



PLATE LIV.

On the first view this composition appeared to be a repre-
sentation of Cassandra foretelling the fate of Trby to
Hecuba, who is seated, and to two of her daughter^, and
her brother Helenus ; but it is the opinion of Winckelman,
that the subject of it is the selling of Hercules to Omphale.
The Lydians, says he, clothed themselves in a manner en-
tirely diflPerent from the Greeks, for they covered those
parts of the body which the others exposed. In this paint-
ing Omphale is represented veiled, the eyes only being



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[ S6]

uncovered ; Hercules is distinguishable by his club ; and,
in presenting himself before the queen, touches her knee
with his left hand, in token of supplication. The winged
genius, which is placed between these figures, denotes the
soul of Iphitus, who was killed by Hercules, a crime, for
the expiation of which this hero submitted himself to
bondage ; it may also be intended to represent the genius
of love, announcing to Omphale the object of her passion,
and soliciting her attention from the female, who is seated
at her feet. This female, contrary to the custom of her sex,
wears her hair short, which, like the figures of Electra,
must have some particular signification ; it may indicate a
sort of confusion of sexes, which was permitted amongst
the Lydians. The servant, who holds in her hand a symbol
of Venus in the form of a fan, marks the power of that
goddess, who confines Hercules in the train of Omphale,
and obliges him to wear a dress so little suited to his
character.

It is scarcely necessary to expatiate on the beauty of
this design; its superior merit is a sufficient recom-
mendation.

PLATE LV.

The offerings made by the ancients to their deities, con-
sisted of three kinds,. libations, incense, and victims. This
Plate represents a libation. All the figures are in the



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[ 37 ]

different dresses, prescribed by their religion. They have
the crown and the toga, and their feet are bare, and with-
out sandals. The figure on the right is the person on
whose account the ceremony is undertaken, as is evident
from the branch of laurel or olive, which he holds in his
left hand. By the description, which Statins gives in the
twelfth book of his Thebais, of the song repeated upon an
altar erected at Athens to Clemency, we are informed, that
all those, who wish to address their vows or prayers to
the gods, must carry a branch of laurel or olive. These
branches are called txsrr^m, and there are fillets often
attached to them, called vitta and stemmata. The bowl,
which he holds in his right hand, is for the purpose of
receiving a part of the wine employed in the libation,
that he may either drink it immediately, as is sometimes
the case, or carry it home and preserve it as a sacred
thing, and well adapted to prevent disease and every kind
of misfortune.

The second figure is that of a Prospolus, or priest of the
god. In his left hand he holds a vessel containing barley
mixed with salt, and in the other a vase, filled with wine.
This priest begins the ceremony by walking round the
altar, and then throwing upon it some barley, either in
grains or reduced to a powder, at the same time frequently
sprinkling both the altar and the assistants with the lustral
water. On the other side of the column a priest is seen,



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[ S8 ]

holding a bowl in his hand, and filled with the wine,
which is to be poured upon the altar. He recites a prayer,
or sings a hymn accompanied by the double flute, on
which the remaining figure is playing. Among the an-
cients, not only music but dancing also was introduced in
the grand solemnities with which the sacrifices were
celebrated. And, as those who played the flute, always
had a part of the victims, there were some persons, whose
only profession it was.

The altar in this design consists only of a Doric column,
at the foot of which, and on the side, which we do not see,
is the grating or fireplace, upon which they kindle the
fire, when the sacrifice requires one ; and for the purpose
of making it flame up with greater ease, there is a species
of bellows placed, as seen upon the top of the pedestal.

PLATE LVI.

This design represents Apollo seated in a winged car, he
holds a patera in his hand, for the purpose of receiving the
libations of those, who gb to consult him. Behind the god is
a priestess, who, after the libation is performed, pronounces
the oracle to a queen, whose name is unknown.

.It is presumed, that the figure upon the winged chariot
is Apollo, for the following reasons: if we refer to Plate
LX. which certainly represents Apollo giving his orders



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[ 39 ]

to Manto, we shall observe, that, excepting the tripod, the
composition is the same as the present one.

If the god is supposed to be at Delphi, the idea of
placing him on a winged car, may have arisen from the
name of the architect of the temple, who was called PteraSy
or winged* It may also have arisen from the following
fable: Jupiter, wishing to determine the position of
Delphi, ordered^ wo eagles to take their flight, one from
the east, and the other from the west ; and the point where
they met being at Delphi, made him suppose that to be
the centre of the universe. As a memorial of this event,
two golden eagles were placed in the temple of Delphi,
and the priestess was always seated near one of them,
when she uttered her oracles. We may therefore easily
imagine, that previous to the introduction of the tripod the
god may have been placed on a winged car.

If we do not give credit to this account, namely, that it
represents Apollo at Delphi, the idea of the winged car
may perhaps be applied to another fable, related by Mim-
nermus in some verses preserved by Athenaeus. According
to this fable, the Sun, after finishing his daily course, and
being arrived at the confines of the ocean, found there a
golden couch or car, furnished with wings, and made by
Vulcan, in which he was transported to the east, while he
at the same time enjoyed during the night, the advantage



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of reposing after the fatigues of the day. Plato, in his
dialogue of Phaedra, says, that Jupiter, while occupied in
maintaining the order of the universe, was accompanied
by all the gods and goddesses except Vesta, mounted on a
winged car ; to this circumstance also we may attribute the
idea of placing Apollo in the same kind of vehicle. This
god and Jupiter were often confounded together, and
regarded as the same divinity. Macrobius pretends, that
Homer, in speaking of the travels of Jupiter among the
Ethiopian sages, in fact means, under this name, Apollo,


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Online LibraryJohn Franklin GenungOutlines of rhetoric: embodied in rules, illustrative examples, and ... → online text (page 3 of 4)