Leveson Francis Vernon-Harcourt.

The doctrine of the deluge; vindicating the Scriptural account from the doubts which have recently been cast upon it by geological speculations online

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fecit ; or from the Arabic Car, eirculus ; or from the Celtic Caer ; or
from the Punic ~\'\2 '^^, I Caur, the Island of the Fish (God) ; for
there were islands of this name in alipost every sea, in the .ffigean,
the Persian, the Erythrsean, and the North sea.

2 To Tou AioyiJo-ou hpov h XljAvaiq £if oypov /Be^ijkJ; IxiJ'yjjasi'E. —
Strabo, viii. 250.

3 Hesiod. in Theog. * Plin. lib. viii. c. 21.
8 Athenseus, lib. vii.


was more probably in the sense of a Ship, that it
was produced by Neptune at Athens, as an instance
of his power. The poorer sort of merchants at
Gades had small barks, which they called horses.
To say that they were so called, because they had
always at their prow the figure of a horse \ is only
to explain one difficulty by another. No account
indeed can be given or asked for the caprices of
individuals ; but why should all these poor people
agree to encumber their little barks with so inap-
propriate and inconvenient an ornament, unless
they were influenced by some popular supersti-
tion ? But this subject has already received other
elucidation. Lastly, the god is described as a de-
liverer. Liber, Lysius, Eleutherius ; for it is not at
all probable, that this title should have been ob-
tained from so obscure a place as Eleutherae, a place,
the very site of which was only marked by a few
ruins in the time of Pausanias ''' ; and therefore its
whole existence as a place of any importance, ex-
cept that which it derived from the person there
worshipped, may be founded on mistake. Hence
then I collect, that tradition had preserved the
account of some one, a priest probably of the
Deliverer, the Patriarch, expelled perhaps from a
temple near the Pegasean springs on account of his
idolatrous innovations upon the ancient rites of his
ancestors, which were celebrated either on moun-
tains, or in marshes, in commemoration of the de-
luge ; who introduced image worship and the

' Hist, of Geography, Lardner's Cab. Cyc. p. 76.
2 Pausan. i. 38. 9-


Phallus ', the latter a corrupt representation of the
mountain-peak, combined with a notion of the
contemporary reproduction of mankind, and the
other the image of the Patriarch. He may have
had coadjutors at Delphi, or only pretended it ;
and a .more ancient tradition of a visit from the
deity himself, personated perhaps by one of his
priests, and readily believed by a people, to whom
the doctrine of a metempsychosis was familiar,
would be likely to incline them to receive his
image. At Delphi, indeed, which originally was
Arkite in an eminent degree, with its two-horned
hill, and oracular cave, and sacred springs, a great
inroad had been made upon the ancient rites by
the metaphysical reformers of a corrupted religion.
The progress of the change may be easily observed
by referring to those fragments of an original lan-
guage, which have been retained by some tribes,
whose affinity to the Arkite Greeks is demonstrated
by similarity of usages, monuments, and traditions.
The peaks of Parnassus were forced to transfer their
sanctity to Pan, the protector of the Delphians,
who was afterwards called Priapus, and to Phanes,
who was afterwards called Apollo by the worship-
pers of fire ; for in the old Germanic dialects,
Pan and Phan signified a height, a Lord or God ;
and in the mountainous districts of Yorkshire, fires
lighted on the heights are still called Banfires.^

1 It is a just observation of Levesque in speaking of the Phallus,
or emblem of Orus (the mountain), that the Egyptians never attached
to this emblem the same ideas which the Greeks connected with the
god of gardens. It raised none but pure and religious ideas. — -
Etudes de I'Histoire Ancienne, 1. ii. p. 49-

2 Banfires, Benflres, or Bonefires (hence bonfires). Dr. Wjllan's

F 3


We may now perceive the reason of all that con-
fusion of terms and ideas which frequently occurs
in the Greek Plays, when they allude to the rites
of their religion. Even in the narrative we find
Euripides jumbling together the antecedent rites
with those which succeeded them; for Zuthus
goes to Delphi, to the place where the Bacchian
fire springs upward, to pray to the generative gods,
and to moisten the double peak of Parnassus, the
rocks of Dionusus, with the blood of sacrifices.'

But the Phoenician Chorus speaks out more
plainly, which is quite in character. They ad-
dress themselves to the double-headed light of
fire with which the rock of Parnassus shone upon
the Bacchian heights of Dionusus, and to Oina,
which, being an Assyrian river, can only be intro-
duced emblematically, and the caves of the Dragon,
and the lofty peaks of the gods, and the snowy
sacred mount, and the circular dance, and the cen-
tral cells of Phoebus.^ Nothing can be more truly

list of words used in that district. Bann, says Wachter, multas
habet formas, et multos significatus in antiquissirais dialectis : scri-
bitur etiam Ben, Byn, Fan, Fann, Pan, Pen, Pin, Pfin. Significat,
1. Altum et excelsum ; 2. Summitatem ; 3. Dominum. (G/owar.
GerfnanJ) Fan Deus Celt. — Keysler.

^ "Evfla iruf 10)85? ^^0*

BaKjjEroy, a; a-faya,'!(yi A<o>uo-ou werfaf

Aivtreis Siiro-a;. Eurip. Ion. 1144.

0i5(ra; 8s •yEi/ira;; S'so*;. Ibid. 1149.

* 'Ib XajVKOvtra mrpa icvpoi;

AiKopvfov (TsXaq^ tis&p aKDuv
'Ba,K%ilwv AiovvdOV
Oil/a 6', a Ka9afA,efKiv (na^sig
Tov 'n:oXvKap-jtov
OlvdvBaf Wiaa pirpvV
ZdSea r aiirpa hpaKoyroi;,
Olpeiai T£ trKmial SlBuy


Arkite than this accumulation of sacred objects,
and mysterious allusions. The whole of the play,
indeed, is founded on a custom which alFords ad-
ditional evidence to the same purpose ; a custom
of exposing infants in a circular chest or Ark \
with golden serpents round their necks — a custom
which they had received from their ancestors in
conformity to the law of the earth-born Erich-
thonius ^ who, it will be recollected, was half
serpent-formed himself. It has been already abun-
dantly shown, that the serpent was a type of the
deluge, and therefore, in the Dionysia, the votaries

NipojSoXov T opoi Upiii.

Xofo; jeyi)liA,av afa^oq

Tlafa jiia'ltfifa'ka yiaXa ^ottov,

AlfKav icpoXmoVa-a. Eurip. PhoenisscB, 237-

In the tenth line, Musgrave suggests SraXdfAai as a correction for
dBavarat; ; and it •would greatly improve the sense ; for the Scholiast
upon Nicander says, that SsAXajAcu are certain subterranean sacred
placeSj which Lycophron calls avcpa, K^phaov Sfeov, v. 208. Alexi-
pharm. v. vni. If the conjecture is admissible, ■ that lo is the
moon-shaped hill, this is an. additional evidence. Oina is here, like
the Eridanus, and the Nile, and the Ganges, the representative of
the mighty waters ; and to Oina may be traced the name of the
Inn which descends from the Alps. Aristotle mentions an Oina-;
rea, a town in Etruria, which had in its centre a tumulus (Xo^oi;),
thirty stadia in height and abounding in water. It was governed by
freedmen, which Aristotle erroneously supposes to mean servants ;
they were called so in commemoration of the freedom, which their

ancestors obtained from the confinement of the Ark De Mirandis

Auscult. i. 707.

1 KttKr](; Iv dvrhxrf<"i ^i^p^XV kvkXiji

','Epix9ovli>v. Jon. y. 20.

2 Erichthonius andErechtheus are really the samey as many writers
agree ; both titles of Neptune. — Philolog. Mus. p. 36Q, Now
''Ep^x'^evi VitxTitWv h 'Afl^i'vai;. — Hesych.

F 4


encircled themselves with snakes ' ; and Apollo
is said to have slain the serpent Pytho, the off^
spring of Deucalion's deluge, when his rites super-
seded those of the Arkites in that Delphic cell,
from which the Pythian priestess took her name ^ j
for God, as the cause of the deluge, being con-
founded with the deified Patriarch, who survived
it, the symbol of the destroying waters was used in-
terchangably with the symbol of the victorious
master of the ark ; and hence arose the saying of
the poet, cited by Clemens ^ which has been already
explained, that the bull was the father of the
dragon, and the dragon of the bull. Accordingly,
Euripides calls the ocean bull-headed ^ ; a notion
which might seem to have been suggested by an
Indian drawing, which represents a head with
horns floating in solitude on the boundless ocean,
^ .^ It is, however, called the head of Hayagriva,
the giant, but with great inconsistency ; for the
legend only relates the ripping open of his belly to
recover the Vedas which he had swallowed. It is
obviously the Ark, from the cavity of which the
Patriarch issued forth with the doctrines of true
religion ; and as, on the one hand, Neptune is

1 Pars sese tortis serpentibus incingebant.

Catullus in Argonaut.

2 Ubi Delphica Pytho ? — Tibullus, ii. 3.

■' ^^— ravpoi;

Hariif ipa,Koyriii, Ka) iiar^f raufou Spaxav*
'Ey 0()£( TO Kfifmv /SoukoXo; to Kn/rpov.

Clem. Alex. Cohort. 14.
BouKoXo? should probably be ^ovkoKov : the mysterious goad of the
priest was in the mountain.
■* Eurip. Orest. 1 384.

5 Maurice's Indian Antiquities, ii. 273. the plate of the Matse,


called a bull \ and a bull was his minister of ven-
geance ^ so on the other, Dionusus is invoked by
the Bacchanals, not only as a bull, but as a many-
headed dragon too.^ One of the fragments of
poetry attributed to Orpheus gives an etymology
of his name, which, like most attempts by Grecian
writers to explain obscurities, makes the antiquarian
inquirer smile at their vanity ; but which, never-
theless, shows what sort of mystic character was
usually assigned to him : it tells us, that he whom
men now call Phanes, and Eubouleus, and An-
taughe, and who first issued forth into light (from
the darkness of the Ark), obtains his name of
Dionusus, because he winds himself round the
lofty Olympus.* It is not difficult to account for
his being denominated Eubouleus, the sage coun-
sellor, who- was contemporary with Ceres, and to
whose mystic sows there is an obscure allusion in
Clemens, which coincides very well with the ex-
planation which has been given of the Hyads, the
gushing waters which were swallowed up in the-
chasm that received the retiring deluge ' ; but the

1 Hesiod's Shield of Hercules, p. 105.

2 Eurip. Hippolytus, 1228.

3 Eurip. Bacchse, 1017. In the mysteries of the Sabazii a ser-
pent was drawn over the body of the initiated. lla€a%lay |Wua-T»ipi'i»*

Klfi,mi; tov K^Xvav ray ■ts.Xovj/.kvav. — Clem. Alesc. Cohort, p. 14.

4 'Ov S« vvii KoKiavtri ^avijrd re Ka) Aiovva-ov
EufiouX^a r avaKra Ka) 'kvraiyitv iffSijXoi'
n/)aTo;-8' iifdof riX9e, Atam<ro; 8' lirejcXi^flij,-
OvveKa liyeirai Kar diceipova jiaKfov OXu/iWoy.

From Maerob, Satur. i. 18.

5 T^ <T%i<7\>.a rrjq y^i;, Ka) rai; vq, Ta? Ei^ovXeui; Ta; (TvyKammBtlerai

laX^ Seal)/. {Clem. Alex, Cohort, p. 14.) Vide Hush.


remaining title may require further explanation.
In the Eleusinian mysteries, the following declara-
tions were required from those who were initiated :
" I have eaten from the Tympanum ; I have drunk
from the Cymbalum ; I have borne the Cernum ; I
have crept into the secret cell." ' Of the latter
ceremony I shall have more to say when the
Cromlech comes under consideration. The other
terms are extremely obscure ; but it may be conjec-
tured that the two first — the skin-covered circle,
and the boat-shaped vessel \ though afterwards ap-
propriated to musical purposes, were originally
Arkite symbols ; for one of their mysterious cere-
monies was the lying under a tight- stretched ox's
hide. But the Cernum was a mystic cup, or vase,,
in which lamps were placed.* The reflection, there-
fore, of this light from the mountain cell was
called Antauge ; and the name Tvas applied to the
divinity of the place : it is therefore as much an
Arkite title as all the rest. The invention of the
mysteries is, indeed, ascribed to Noah himself, to
his children, and grand-children, by a writer whose,
work cannot be quoted as history, or as evi-
dence, for it is a forgery, but still it shows the
opinion of a scholar well versed in ancient records,
as to the matter of fact on which this fabrication is
founded. His name was Fortia. He was one of the
authors of that learned work " L'Art de Verifier

'■ 'Ek TvfMtdvov Bfayov, Ik Kvft,taK(tv Eirioi/, iKifrnfofijira,, vico rot
wao-Tov iSttISuov. Ibid.

2 KifA^aXov, from Kifittj, Cymba.

3 'Ep' uv 'Ki-ffov(; nBiaaiv. — Scholiast, on Nicander. Td Klpva
ferebantj quae interpretantur lo-;{api8a?, hoc est, foculos ; quia kIovo;
erat poculi quoque genus. — Scalig'er, Poetic, lib. i. c. ] 8:


les Dates :" though it may be thought that he was
better skilled in the art of falsifjdng them ; for he
wrote memoirs for forming an ancient history of
the earth ^ in which it was his object to demon-
strate, that the deluges of Yao in China, of Noah,
of Ogyges, and of the Atlantis, were all one and
the same : and so far he was right ; but then, to
confirm his views, he produced a pretended trans-
lation into French, of the sixth book of a history, by
the Cyrasnian or Cyrensean Eumelus, containing
Excerpta from the Libyan history of Aristippus,
the Cyrenaean mentioned by Diogenes Laertius ;
and thus he makes the learned Cyrengean dis-
course : " Ogyges, which, in Phoenician, signifies a
Preserver, was the last king of Atlantis, which,
during his reign, was overwhelmed by a deluge :
he himself, and his sons, Cressus, Cadmus, Pe-
lasgus, and Janus, escaped with much difficulty.
In their wanderings over the ocean, Cressus settled
in Crete, and there founded the Paternal Mysteries :
Cadmus founded Thebes with its Ogygian gate ; his
son Eleusis instituted the Eleusinian mysteries. Pe-
lasgus settled in Arcadia, and caused it to be cele-
brated for the mysteries of Pan ; Janus succeeded
Saturn in Italy, and was named Janus Saturnus, and
he also was the founder of mysteries : lastly, Ogyges
occupied Phoenicia, and established the same mys-
teries as Atlas did in Libya ; Ogyges was after-
wards called Noa." ^ According to this view of

1 M^moires pour servir al'histoire ancienne du globe teirestre.
Par, 1805 to I8O9.
^ From Aug. Boeckhius's Prolusio Academica de TituIiSj &c.


the matter, all the mysteries were instituted by Noa
and the Noachidae ; and though it is not history,
but rather an historical romance, and imagination
has carved out the facts at her own pleasure, yet
there must have been a considerable verisimilitude
in the judgment of the author as to the main in-
ferences, or it would not have been worth his
while to frame such a fiction : he must have
thought that they had all an Arkite origin.

How long the real import of the Arkite symbols
continued to be taught in the mysteries, it is im-
possible to conjecture; for when certain forms
have become consecrated by long usage, they are
often retained long after they have ceased to pre-
serve any proper significance ; of which we have
an instance in the Mahommedan crescent : for the
Mussulmans cannot be accused of adoring the
moon, or the Ark, or the Mountain ; and yet to
one or other of these superstitions its origin must
be referred.' But where considerable ingenuity
has been exercised to produce the same form from
very untractable materials, it may be suspected
that some deeper feeling was at work than bare
attachment to a custom ; and therefore, when we
see it produced on a piece of sculpture brought
from the ruins of Babylon ^, by the device of two
bulls, with their hind legs lifted high into the air,

1 A remnant of ancient superstitions is still to be observed in
Egyptj which seems to determine this point : above the dome of the
Mosque of the Imam Esh Shafaee is fixed a metal boat, in which
there used to be placed five bushels of wheat, and a camel-load of
water ; and as it turned, it betokened various events, good and evil.
It is the ancient Bari. — Lanes Modern Egyptians, ii. 26.

2 Keppel'sTravelsj i.186.


by a man standing behind each, who with his
sword prolongs the curve by forcing one of the legs
almost into a line with the body, while their heads
almost touch in a horizontal position, it is impossi-
ble not to conclude, that it was the invention of a
sect, whose religious rites differed very materially
from those of the Chaldaeans, among whom some
reserve in the exhibition of the opposite symbols
might be dictated by prudence. There may also
be a covert allusion in the hieroglyphic itself to the
persecution, Avhich they suffered, and which, in
India, is thus related by tradition/ The Bhats
(who in Italy were Vates), formed a sacred order
created by Mahadeo to guard his sacred bull ; and
it was their function to sing the praises of the gods
and heroes ; but his bulls were eaten by a lion of
the god almost every day ; that is, they were
timid, and shrunk from the support of those rites,
to which the bull belonged. So Siva discharged
the Bhats, and formed the Charuns, who were more
courageous : and this explains why in Egypt the
Arkite ferryman was denominated Charon. He
belonged to that order of priests. Even in Baby-
lon, however, there must have been some of this
courageous order ; for on another relic of antiquity
from that place, the design is plainly and unequi-
vocally Arkite.^ Two persons are seated, a male
and a female, with an altar between them shaped


thus ^ ; with a fish over it, and a star over the
fish to mark its divinity. Near the star on one

1 Heber's Letters, ii. 454.
. 2 An agate cylinder presented by Captain Keppel to the British


side is another crescent, or rather Bari, ^i=^.
Keppel says that each holds a small fish ; in the
latter instance, if it must be a fish, it can be no
other than the whale in Hamlet ; a cloud ready to
take any shape which may suit the fancy of the
observer ; for it has the shape of a boat, <==' .
The first figure he supposes to be a priest ; the
other, "a princess offering sacrifice to the large
fish on the altar, probably the earliest form of the
idol Dagon.' This idol has been thought to have
been an emblem of Noah." In the latter instance,
therefore, the crescent must be the two-horned
mountain, on which the Ark rested. A passage in
Tasso shows how naturally such a description may
be applied to the outline of a mountain, and at the
same time how easily both the sun and moon may
be indebted to the mountain for their sacred cha-
racter. He speaks of two mountains in Persia ;
one of which takes its name from the sun, on ac-
count of its lustre, when his rays fall upon it ; and
the other from the moon, because it is entirely
shaped after her beautiful form, and with her
horns.^ The Cernon of the Mysteries was perhaps
something in the shape of the Babylonian altar
above mentioned ; a conical, or pyramidical pedes-
tal supporting a scyphus, which contained the
divinity, whether of fire or of water. For portable

^ Travels, i. 186.

Ma segue un altra poi della sorella

II corso vago, e di sue belle forme

Par che tutta s'informe

E di sue corne ; e quindi ancor s'appella.

Canzone III. iii. 107.


pyramids were certainly carried in the baskets of
Bacchus ^ and Ceres ; and Cerne was a name given
to islands, both in the East and West ^ because
they were deemed the truest representatives of the
diluvian mountain, when it first reared its head
above the waters of the retiring deluge. The word
itself is not a native of Greece : its etymology
must be sought for at a distance ; and none is more
probable than the Hebrew Keren, which signifies
either a hill or a horn, because each horn of the ■
crescent was a hill or mountain peak. Thus in the
fifth chapter of Isaiah ^ the words translated, " A
fruitful hill," are literally a horn, the son of fruit-
fulness. It is on this account, that a mysterious and
almost sacred character has descended upon horns
even in times not very remote ; and many instances
might be cited of lands being held by the tenure
of a horn.* Some of these are of great antiquity ;
and their mythological character is indicated by the
luiiular form, which they generally preserve. The
tip of that belonging to Corpus Christi College, in
Cambridge, viewed in an upright position, is a type
of the Indian Ararat. Half-way up, it is surround-
ed by an embattled circle, above which are the
heads of the Trimurti ; which the early Christians
misunderstanding, transferred to their own Triune
God. But they are crowned, and the crown is
like the Lotus, from the centre of which rises the

' Montfaufon, xii. 195.

2 Cornwall was called by the ancient Britons, Kernaw, which is
evidently the same as Cerne. It is full of Arkite monuments.

3 if^y p 'np, vol. i. * Archsologia, iii. 19-


peak of Meru.' So too in Egypt Orus, i. e. the
mountain, is often represented in a flower of the
Lotus. There is one instance ^ at least, in which
the same name has been applied to the points of
hills by the Greeks ; for near MegaraS two detached
rocks, which crown the summit of the modern
Mount Pyrgo, were formerly named Kerata, or the
horns : and in fact, every summit was called Caren,
i. e. Cairn.* Since, therefore, these mountain-horns
were the favourite haunts of Bacchus ^ as well as
Pan, it is no wonder that they often decorate his

Much more evidence might be adduced upon
this subject to illustrate the character of Dionusus^;
but enough has been already alleged to explain a
description of him in the Orphic Hymns, which
would otherwise be nearly unintelligible.' He is
there entitled the bull-horned, the mysterious
offspring of Jupiter, partaker of a threefold state,

1 The Brahmanda Purana states that from the navel of Vishnu
sprung the worldly Lotus, abounding with trees and plants : in the
middle like the germ is Meru, which is called a great mountain of
various colours, the greatest of all mountains. — Moor's Hindu
Panth. p. 269.

2 Etudes de THistoire Ancienne par Levesque, ii. 57.

^ There was a tradition at Megara, that Megarus saved himself
on Mount Geranim. — Abbe Banier, iii. 49.

* Kdpijvoy, vertex, summitas. — Seap. Lex.

* 'O Ba/c;{£i'(i; S'Eii; valav i%' axfav ofEciv. — Sophoc. JEdip, Colon.

^ Quin ille (i. e. Noe) sit vetustissimus Liher minime dubium
videtur. ( Vossius de Idololat. p. 198.) Idem Noachus pro Baccho
oh vitis sationem habitus et pari vocum flexu (alluding to the change
of Noachus into Eunouchus) iiav 'laKy-av orgia celebrantes solenniter
inclaraabant. — Theophilus ad Autolycum, lib. iii. p. SSg.

Tifuroyivoq — Ssay TiaTif ifil Kal vie — icvpi^eyyif — iifudrap
Oipea-ifotrasfai. Orph. Hymn. 51.


that is, 1. before the flood ; 2. in the Ark, during its
continuance ; and 3. in the postdiluvian world ; the
first-born, the father and the son of gods, glowing
with fire, twice born, the haunter of mountains,
Eros, the god of love. On this last point, however,
it may be further observed, that the Hindoos have
a dirge commemorative of the death of the Indian
Cupid, — Eros, the Menu, previously to his en-
closure in an ark, and being set afloat on the
ocean.' They fell, indeed, into the Egyptian error,
of making death precede his entombment in the
Ark, which was therefore converted into a cofiin ;
a deviation from truth, which arose naturally enough
from the practice of resorting for interment to those
cairns, or other monuments, which combined in
themselves the sanctuary and the sacred Mount.
Enough, too, has been alleged to show, that the
Pythian priestess in ^schylus, although she may
seem to throw off" her allegiance to the sun, is in
fact only reverting to the original religio loci, when
she enumerates as the special objects of her wor-
ship, the nymphs of the Corycian cave, the asylum
of the deified men, and Bacchus, who presided

1 As. Res. iii. 137- In a fragment attributed by Plutarch to Euri-
pides, and by Stobaeus to Sophocles, the same deity is said to be called
Venus and Bacchus, besides other things equally dissimilar in the
popular sense, but equally explicable by referring to first principles.

Ou KuTrpi^ lAQV/jV,

'A?iV B<rri iroXXSy ovoj^drav iicamijuii;,
Eariv iA£y "AS));, B<m 8' afdiToi; ^la,
"Eo-tiv 8e Ava-a-a/jiaii/ai; (which may be derived from
Auo-m; M))!/)}?).
Heraclitus was of opinion, that Pluto and Dionusus were the

Online LibraryLeveson Francis Vernon-HarcourtThe doctrine of the deluge; vindicating the Scriptural account from the doubts which have recently been cast upon it by geological speculations → online text (page 6 of 44)