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spiked crown bearing the pomegranate or globe on it. —
Rev. A fire-bearing altar, generally of columnar form, with
a votary on either side wearing a triple-horned or spiked
cap or crown.

Persia. King combating a lion. — ^Rev. Galley, or battle-
mented city, with two lions addorsed. A Persian coin.

Ram's head. — ^Rev. Ram couchant within dotted circle.

Ram couchant, beneath its head a circle with cross
pendent. — ^Rev. Dot-encircled circle with cross below, the
whole within a quadratum. The two latter coins bear
Persic characters.

Head of goddess called the Persic Artemis.^ — Rev.
Fire-bearing altar. The cows sacred to the goddess ranged
at large, branded with a torch.

Phallic Coin typea. These occasionally occm*. Thus,
for instance, * it appears that the act of generation was a
sort of sacrament in the island of Lesbos ; for the device

' Svp, sec. i Yase No. XIV. * Yide Floutarchos, LucuUtu.

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on its medals (which in the Ghreek Eepublics had always
some relation to reUgion) is as explicit as forms can make
it. The figures appear indeed to be mystic and allegorical,
the male having a mixture of the goat in his beard and
features, and probably represents the generative power
of the univejrse, incorporated in universal nature. The
female has all that breadth and ftillness which charac-
terise the personification of the passive power.' ^

Phokaia. A demi-gryphon volant.

Sabrata or Abrotnon. A Phoenician settlement in the
Eegio Syrtica. Homed and fish-tailed sea-goat, dot-
encircled, and with globe and cornucopia.

Sardis. Serpent emerging from kist, the whole within
ivy-wreath. — ^Eev. Two serpents, with tails entwined
around a decorated bow-case.

Sidon. Turreted female head. — ^Rev. Double-prowed
galley. Some of the Kamic galley-types are similar.

Sikelia. One of the SikeUan emblems is the device
called the Triquetra, which here takes the form of three
legs issuing from a central head or circle, which in one
instance is in the centre of the body of a bird. The
Triquetra in the same form is also found on Etruscan
coins, and the three legs appear on a coin of Aspendos, in
Pamphylia, without any central circle. The Triquetra in
its simpler form, ie.j three crescent semi-circles emerging
from a central circle, appears on a coin of Telmessos, in
Lykia. These and other instances show that its signifi-
cation, which is chiefly lunar, is not explained by the
^hape of Sikelia.^

Smyrna. Turreted female Eev. Gryphon erect,

with fore-paw on wheel. The wheel is connected with
time,' and the gryphon with the Sun.* A lamp, engraved

* Worship cfPru^ms, 106. ' Vide mp. OudkeeUm,

• Vide Gela. Mardoi, * Vide inf, Tcos,

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in Montfaucon/ shows the wmged gryphon with one paw
on the solar wheel.

Soloi. In Eilikia. Head of Pallas, with gryphon on
shield. — Eev. Grape-cluster within quadratum.

Head of radiate Sun. — ^Rev. Pomegranate.

Syros. Eadiate, bearded head. — ^Rev. Kanthar and

Tarsos. Zeus Tarsios, enthroned. — ^Rev. lion.

Henna between two animals.

Turreted female head. A constant type, as nearly all
over Asia Minor the tower-bearing Ghreat Goddess waa,
Demeter-like, associated with Civilisation, here expressed
by the walls of the cities.

Tmedos. Two Janiform heads bearded and beard-
less. — ^Rev. Double-edged axe,^ owl, and grapes, all in

Tenos. Youthful male head, laureate, with flowing
tresses and horn round ear. — ^Rev. Poseidon, with dol-
phin and trident ; in the field, the Rhodian flower.

Same type. — ^Rev. Grapes, in the field, trident.

Teas. Gryphon, with wings addorsed, open mouth,
protruded tongue, and raised left paw ; in the field,
grapes and vine-branch.

Gryphon couchant. — ^Rev. Diota.

Gryphon passant. — ^Rev. Two lions in ivy-wreath.

Gryphon courant. — ^Rev. Triple-chord lyre, each side
terminating in head of swan.

Beardless male head. — Rev. Lyre.

Teos, birthplace of the Dionysiak Anakreon, was re-
nowned for its magnificent temple of Dionysos. * The
gryphon,' observes Col. Leake, ' was a type of the Sun or
Apollo, but as Apollo [i.e., the Sun-god] was sometimes
identified with Bacchus, and in Asia Minor has generally
the same feminine countenance, with long hair in ringlets,

' V. Pt ii. PL dm. fig. 2. » Vide sup. sec. L Vase No. XUI.

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and distinguished only by the garland of ivy instead of
bay, it is not surprising to find the gryphon on the coins
of a city where Bacchus was held in the highest honoiur.*
The above passage is very instructive, and not the less
so because the learned author, whose works are models
of their kind, does not suflBciently distinguish between
Aryan and Semitic solar-studies. There is no original
connection between ApoUon and the Ghyphon, nor is
Apollon by any means merely the Sun; but we learn that
the Gryphon is a solar tjrpe, and is found as the protago-
nistic type on the coins of a place specially devoted to
the cult of Dionysos.^ Apollon was not identified with
Dionysos until later times, but Helios, the Sun, un-
doubtedly was; and the similarity of the features of
Helios-Apollon and Dionysos affords an excellent illustra-
tion of the circumstance already noticed, that the over-
powering influence of the Aryan Sun-god in Hellenik
r^ons frequently threw his name over other and foreign
divinities of a solar character. According to Philostratus,
ApoUonios of Tyana, on his return from India, * described
the gold-digging griflins ; that they were sacred to the Sun
(his chariot is represented as drawn by them)^ about the size
of hons, but stronger because winged ; that their wings
were a reddish membrane, and hence their flight was low
and spiral ; and that they overpowered lions, elephants
and dragons.' »

Thasos. Janiform head. — ^Rev. Two diotae.

Also bearded Herakles, wine-jar, and dolphin.

Thebai. Boiotik shield, a constant type. — ^Eev. Dicta.

Thera. Veiled female head.

Head of bearded Herakles in lion's scalp.

Tyros. Beardless laureate head of Heiakles.

Badiate head of Antiochos IV. — ^Rev. Galley.

Veiled and turreted female head. — ^Rev. Astarte on
galley, holding crook and stafi* surmoimted with cross.

> Vide sup, 860. i. Vase No. XIV. " Priaulx, Apottanius of Tyam, 62-3, •

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Palm-tree, with fruit.

Tree, between two rounded conical phallic pillar-

Tree, with serpents round trunk, between two rounded
conical stones.

Serpent twined around kosmic egg; in the field,
palm-tree on the right, shell on the left.

I shall lastly notice the types of some of the Etrusco-
Roman coins which are more or less illustrative of the
Dionysiak Myth : —

I. Janiform head, with peaked cap. — Eev. Club, some-
times with crescent moon and several balls or globes.

n. The crescent moon pointing downwards, with a
star at each of the cardinal points. — ^Eev. The radiate
sun. Night and Day: the former the mother of the
latter, as in Hesiodos, Sanchouniathon, Berosos, Moses,
and other kosmogonists.

m. Grape-cluster.

rV. Cornucopia. — ^Eev. Fire-tongs; in the field, four

V. Cornucopia and crescent moon.

VI. Club.— Eev. Diota.

Vn. Cornucopia piled up with fruit and ear of wheat ;
in the field, grape-cluster and vine-leaf.

VIII. Conical-shaped object, possibly a spear-head.
— Eev. Kanthar.

IX. Dormant animal, apparently a wolf, below cres-
cent moon. — Eev. Trichord lyre and crescent moon.

X. Trident-head. — ^Rev. Bee.

XI. Thimderbolt, composed of two crescents ad-
dorsed, double-headed arrow and double zigzag lines ; in
the field, four globules. — ^Eev. Dolphin; below, four

Xn. Bearded Janiform head, with string of globules
round the brows — ^Eev. Prow of ship. A frequent type.

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XIIL Globule-crowned, winged male figure in stole,
with serpents twined round the arms.

XIV. Scallop-shell.— Eev. Diota.

XV. Wheel, with six divisions and globe in the

XVI. Wheel, apparently representing the six-rayed
solar star. — ^Rev. Hammer-head, with crescent in the

XVn. Two crescents addorsed, within each an eight-
rayed star.

XVm. The Triquetra, a ball by each foot.^

XIX. Lion's head, statant, with sword through the

XX. Solar wheel.^ — ^Eev. Amphora.

XXI. Crescent, above eight-rayed star, below four

XXII. Three crescents with globe in the centre, all
within double circles, outside which, six globules.

XXm. Shell fi"om which dye was extracted. — ^Rev.
Radiate globule, apparently representing the points of the

XXIV. Radiate human-headed Hehos.

XXV. An owl, type of Night,^ between two globules.

XXVI. Head of Herakles, with the hon*s skin as a
head-covering. — ^Rev. Fine head of horned gryphon.*

XXVII. Head of bull. — ^Rev. Prow of ship.
XXVin. The branch or tree stock.^

XXIX. Head of Herakles, with lion's skin as cap

Rev. Horse salient ; above, the eight-rayed solar star.

As we proceed in the investigation, the Myth, in itself
one of almost unparalleled intricacy, becomes clearer,
and from amorphousness begins to shape itself into order.

^ Vide sup. Sikdia, * Vide sup. Teos.

* Vide No. XVI. ; sup, Smyrna, • Vide sup^ Tyros.

» Vide sup. Kilikia,

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The coins, although almost infinite in variety, yet present
constantly recurring types and such as illustrate the pro-
tagonistic features of this complex divinity. The reader
will probably have no great difficulty in apprehending
their general, and applying their special, Dionysiak signi-
ficance in accordance with the previous illustrations.

An individual historian may be partial, prejudiced,
ignorant, or otherwise incredible ; coins, and more espe-
cially autonomous coins, present history supported by the
testimony of coimtless witnesses, and hence their peculiar
value as assistants in the investigation of the Past,


Dionysos, as he appears on gems, next demands at-
t€ntion. The specimens Nos. I,-XXXVn. are amongst
those given in Mr. C. W. King's valuable work, An-
tique Gems and RingSj vol. ii. Many of these and
similar subjects appear in the works of Montfaucon,
Caylus, D'HancarviUe, Payne, Knight, Eckhel, Worhdge,
Creuzer, and others, but those here noticed are sufficient
for the present purpose.

I. Dionysos, and, according to Mr. King, * the original
type of this divinity,' attired in the long saffiron-coloured
robe or hrokoiis^ bearing a thyrsos in his right hand
and the kanthar in his left, bearded and filleted. The
fillet represents the solar crown or disk, and the beard
the streaming rays. He moves firom east to west> holding
out before him his golden cup, in which he is to embark on
the Western ocean ; behind his back, and hanging down
fi-om the thyrsos-staflT, is the robe of night which, at times
appears resplendent with stars above the heads of noc-

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turnal divinities, such as the goddess I^ht and Artemis^
Selene, Diana-Luna.^ His krokotis is the krokopeploa of
the light-divinity, the Homerik attire of Eos- Aurora.

n. Naked, youthful Dionysos, with bunch of grapes
and cup ; near him a torch set in the ground referring

* to his nocturnal mysteries.' Here, as the Sun of the
Under- world, he is going from west to east, holding out
his cup as before.

m. Youthfid Dionysos, with grape-cluster and thyrsos,
gazing at the reflection of his face in the liquid in a
kanthar. The pantheistic divinity * sees himself in all
he sees.'

rV. Naked, youthfid Dionysos, in car drawn by two

V. Drunken, hoofed and tailed Satyr, recUning on the
ground grasping diota ; he has the peculiar Assyrian type
of beard, huge ears and brutish features, but is without
horns. In the field, a large and handsome krater.

* Archaic Greek work of uncommon merit.' The treat-
ment of the beard is remarkable, and its form closely
corresponds with that ascribed to Izdubar.

VI. An obese Seilenos with four very small horns of
the Assyrian type, nursing the infant Dionysos, who holds
the thyrsos and grape-cluster.

Vil. Beautiful, ivy-crowned head of a Bakche.

Vni. Head of excited Bakche, ivy and grape-
crowned. She carries the thyrsos, the knob of which is
formed of grapes.

IX. Seilenos, ivy-crowned, * which is the sole distinc-
tion between his head and the portrait of Sokrates.*

X. Two tailed but hornless Seilenoi sacrificing a goat
over a blazing altar. Holding it by the legs, they are just
about to cut it in two.

> 01 Montf. i. Pt. i. PI. xci.fig. 1 ; • Vide wt/. VHI. U. Panther,

zciL fig. 4. ; Pt it, PI. ccxiy. fig. 1.

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XT. Agaue in the Bakchik phrensy. Her head thrown
back, hair streaming wildly, and garments fluttering in the

Xn. Head of Ariadne, ivy-crowned; a fawn-skin round
the neck.

XTTT. Faun, bearing grape-cluster and thjrrsos, dan-
cing with panther-skin on his arm. At his feet an over-
turned amphora.

XrV. Bakche looking into the mystic kist, out of
which a serpent rises ; near her a naked male figure, and
behind her the arbor vitae,

XV. Satyr dancing for a prize against he-goat.

XVI. A winged andro-Uon, * perhaps Dionysos Leon-
tomorphos,' with branch in right hand and large kanthar
in left. * An exquisite Greek work of the best period.' ^

XVJLL. Bakchik mask, bearded and crowned with vine-
leaves, and with ram's horns spreading in the Kamic
fashion. * A work,' observes Mr. King, * superior to any-
thing known to me in this class.'

XVm. Boy bearing a goat to the altar of Dionysos
for sacrifice.

XIX. Korinthian krater, embossed with a Bakchik
procession : boy on goat led by another boy.

XX. Lion overcoming a bull. * The technique of this
intagUo is altogether Assyrian, and the subject justifies
the conclusion that it is of Phoenician workmanship.' *

XXI. The Dionysiak bull, * or rather the god himself,
in the form of his own attribute.' The bull raises his
right forefoot and lowers his head as if to butt ; he stands
upon the thyrsos, and his body is encircled with an ivy-

XXn. Bull and two goats near tree. The bull
lowers his head and raises his left foot ; one goat standing

* Vide Inf. Vm. ii. Lion, » Vide wp. sec. iii. Elecnai] mf,

' Vide 8up, sec. iii. Akantho$. IX. iii. TaurokeroB.

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on its hind legs reaches upwards towards the foliage of
the tree.^

XXTTT. Two gryphons devouring a stag.

XXIV. Gryphon of Apollon holding his lyre ; behind,
the oracular raven.^

XXV. Sphinx couchant, * A work apparently of
Asiatic Greek origin.**

XXVI. Sphinx sedent.^^

XXVJLl. Harpy between two gryphons, apparently
adoring, like the Kamic ape.

XXVm. Winged divinity between a sphinx and
spotted leopard, holding a paw of each. ' Eihevo in gold,
forming the face of an Etruscan ring.' The design of the
wings is purely Phoenician.^

XXIX. The homed Zeus Ammon. * Early Greek
engraving, probably of Cyrenian workmanship.' The
Eoman province of Africa is also often represented as
a horned female.

XXX. Conjoined heads of Dionysos and Poseidon in
the Janiform type, their symbols forming a phallic talis-
man. A gem well illustrating their original Semitic

XXXI. Double-bodied sphinx.
XXXn. Triquetric head.«

XXXni. The horned and rayed Serapis.^
The following Gnostic gems also are connected with
various ramifications of the Dionysiak Myth : —

XXXI V. The Gnostic divinity Abraxas with the head
of a cock, the solar bird,® the whip of Uasar in his right
hand, a round shield in his left, and serpents instead of

» Of. No. XrV. sec. iii. Mardoi and Sikeiia,

* As to the solar gryphon, vide ' Vide mf. IX. iiL Serapis,

9up, sec. iii. Teas, ® ' They say that this bird is

» VideNo. XXrV. sacred to Helios, and that it an-

* Vide mp, sec. iii. Ckioi, nounoes by its crowing the rising of
» Vide Ibid. the sun ' (Pans. v. 26). Vide sup.
^ As to the Triquetra, Vide sup. sec. iii. Karystos.

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legs. He is placed over the car of the Sun-god, and the
four horses, salient, stand two on either side : in the field
are the sun and moon ; below is his name LABAW,
Sabas or Sabaoth. *The reverse bears his name lao-
Abraxas, contained in a cartouche formed by a coiled
serpent/ ^ Abraxas, or rather Abrasax, which latter is
the more correct form, appears to signify in Coptic * Holy
name/ ^ A Hebrew derivation, Ab-rahak, * fallen spirit,'
has also been suggested.* Mr. King quotes S. Jerome in
his commentary on Amos ITL showing that Abraxas was
the Sun-god, and he is at times styled the * Eternal Sun.'
In this Mansel agrees, observing * these can be no doubt
that the personified Abraxas was meant as a symbol of
the Sun.'^ Abraxas is a comparatively modern and
Mithraik representation of the lao-XJasar-Dionysos or
kosmogonicaJ Sun-god.

XXXV. The ass-headed Abraxas, with shield in
right hand and dagger in the left.^

XXXVI. The leonto-kephaUc Serpent, its head en-
circled with nine rays above an altar, with the inscription,
* I am Chnoubis the Eternal Sun.' ^

XXXVn. Leonto-kephalic human figure, holding a
serpent in the right hand, and a 'lustra! vase ' in the left,
its head crowned with the solar sphere and apparently
homed. 'Inscribed on the reverse with *PHN [i.e.
' Pera, le Soleil, phra^ ^ ], Egyptian name of the sun.'

Yxx vnf. Leonto-kephahc serpent Chnuphis-Abraxas,
erect, with the seven-rayed nimbus.® Montfeucon gives
nearly twenty varieties of this familiar type.

XXXrX. Eadiate solar serpent, holding phallic club or

» A^de «ip. V. iL; inf, VIII. i. * GnoBtic Hermes, 153.

Rdbauo$, * Vide M. VUI. iL An,

« Kbg, The Gnostics and their « Vide No. XXXVm ^ Ohabas.

Remams, 80. * Oooper, Serpent Myths of Anct.

» S. M. Prach, apudW. R Cooper, ^ypt. ^^^^' Y^^® *^/ ^- *"•

Serpent Myths of Ancient Egypt, 71. lUmum ; VlIl. ii. Lion, Serpent,

£ E

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txee, and erect, on wheel,^ a solar emblem.* The radiate
solar serpent also appears before a blazing altar on a coin
said to be Phoenician.'

XL. Leonto-kephalic serpent, erect, his head sur-
rounded by a nimbus, from which stream seven rays.*

Into the abyss of Gnosticism it is unnecessary here
to plunge. Its chief constituents and formative elements
were: — (1) The religion of the Euphrates Valley, as
reflected in the Phoiniko-Aramaic systems. (2) The
Eamic system. (3) Judaism. (4) Medo-Persic ideas,
tinctured also with importations from India and the &r
East. (5) Neo-Platonism ; and (6) Christianity. A par-
tial fusion of these heterogeneous ingredients, in unequal
proportions, hke parts of difierent animals joined togedier
in a single form, produced a symboUc monster and a
corresponding creed. The chief features to be noticed in
a Dionysiak point of view are the derivative connection
of the solar Abraxas with lao-Sabazios, asinine sjnnbolism,
and the r6le played by the serpent and lion in reference
to the sun.

XLI. Symbohc figinre, consisting of homed and
bearded head of the Pan type joined to a lam's head,
the two being attached to the body of a cock, above
whose head is a solar star.^ The combination represents
the prolific potentiahty of the world under the influence
of the sun.*

XTiTT. Symbolic figure, consisting of a Seilenos-head,
bald and bearded, a ram's head, and above, a horse's
head and neck, the whole on a burd's legs ; in the field, the

» Cooper, Serpent Myths of And. vide 0. V{. King. The Onoetics and

Egypt, Fig. 121. Vide inf. VUI. ii their JRemains, PL ill Nos. 2, 7, PL

Wheel. T. No. «, PL ^nk No. 0. Vide idso

« Sup. sec. iii. Chalkedan, No. XXXVIIL

* Maurice, Indian Antiquities, H. * Worship of iVtopiM. PL iiL
368. Fig. 1.

* Cooper, Serpent Myths of And. • Of. inf VIII. ii Jtam.
Egypt. Fig. 123. As to this type,

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DI0NYS03 IN ART. 419

snn and moon.* It is not correct to regard these designs,
commonly styled Grylli or comic figures, as merely arbi-
trary and fantastic productions of sportive art. They are
frequently deeply significant and representative. This
particxdar gem has been explained by Bottiger as uniting
the influences of all the elements for the benefit of the
wearer.^ But the only difference between it and No.
XLL is that the horse's head is here introduced instead
of a cock's. The horse, in the abstract, is as much con-
nected with the Sun-god as the cock, and is equivalent
to the bird in the symbolism, in which case the two con-
cepts embody exactly the same idea. When speaking of
equine symbolism, the remarkable statue, described by
Fausanias as dedicated by the inhabitants of Phigaleia in
Arkadia, deserves attention. The legend, one of pecuUar
difficulty and intricacy, is as follows: — ^Near the river
Ladon, in western Arkadia, was a place called On-
keion, at one time ruled over by Onkos, son of ApoUon,
and noted for a temple of Demeter, called Erinys the
Angry, because when searching for her daughter she was
pursued by Poseidon, and having changed herself into a
mare he Ukewise changed himself into a horse and joined
her amongst the horses at Onkeion. By Poseidon she
became the mother of Despoina-Persephone and of the
wondrous horse Areion, whose matchless swiftness saved
Adrastos at the ill-omened siege of Thebai, and who was
lent by Onkos to Herakles, when the latter warred
against the Eleans. At Phigaleia Demeter was not de-
scribed as the mother of a horse ; but the tale agreed
in other particulars with that told at Thelpouse, near
Onkeion ; and it was also said that the goddess, enraged
with Poseidon and sorrowing for her daughther, clad he
self in black and concealed herself in a cave, where she was

> Antique Gems and Ring$y ii. PI ' Ibid. 72.

Ti. Figs. 4 and 6.

B E 2

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ultimately found by Pan, but not until the fruits of the
earth were withered and the greater part of the human
race had died of famine. Zeus sent the Fates to the
goddess, who at length persuaded her to lay aside har
anger and come forth. A cave near Phigaleia was con-
sidered the scene of the circumstance, and was therefore
sacred to Demeter ; and a wooden statue, the maker of
which was imknown, and which had been destroyed by
fire ages before the time of Pausanias, had been dedicated
to her. This peculiar statue was said to be of a female
figure with the head and mane of a horse ; around the
head were shapes of dragons and other wild beasts : a
long black garment clad her to the feet, whence she was
called Melainis; in one hand she held a dolphin and
in the other a dove.^ I first will give Professor Max
MuUer's explication of the myth. *If the name (rf
Erinys is sometimes applied to Demeter^ this is because
Bed was Dyftva, and DemetSr, Bjkvk m^tar, the Dawn,
the mother. Erinys Demeter, like Saranyft, was changed
into a mare, she was followed by Poseidon^ as a horse.
PoseidoTij if he expressed the sim rising from the
sea, would approach to Varuna, who was called the
father of the horse.'* The Vedic myth alluded to is
as follows: — 'Saranyli' had twins from Vivasvat, the
sun. She placed another like her in her place, changed
her form into that of a horse, and ran off. Vivasat, the
sun, likewise assumed the form of a horse, followed her,
and embraced her. Hence the two Asvins, or horse-
men, were bom.'* The horse, whose name is the same
in many Aryan languages, is * the runner,' the * rapid
animal.'^ The Sim is the race-horse of the heavens,* and

* PaoB. ym, 26, 37, 42. * Lects. on the Science of Language^

* Lecte, on the Science tfLanffuage, ii. 528.

ii. 664^5. * Ibid. 68; Lenormant, Lee Fte-

* Afl to Sftranyu, vide mn, VL .mih'eB dvilisatione, L 318.
3. •Of. ^Wxix.5.

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catches the Dawn, Saranjm-Erinys, and firom their union
spring the states of morning and evening. The parallel
between parts of these two myths is most singular, and
the Vedic tale might, in the absence of certain difficulties,
be at once accepted as the elegant and appropriate expla-
nation of the Hellenik. It is, however, to be observed
that Professors Eoth, Kuhn, and Schwartz, who are
supporters of *the meteorological theory,' which gives

Online LibraryRobert BrownThe great Dionysiak myth → online text (page 34 of 38)