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CHAP.

I.

most antient types of the Cyprian Venus'. A
very considerable degree of illustration, with
regard to the history of the idols discovered at
Larneca, is afforded by the appearance of one
of them, although little more of it remains than
a mere torso. It belonged to an androgynous
Figure, represented as holding, in its right
hand a lion's cub, pendent by the tail, upon
the abdomen of the statue. We might in vain
seek an explanation of this singular image,
were it not for the immense erudition of Atha-
nasius Kircher, whose persevering industry,
notwithstanding all his visionary hypotheses,
enabled him to collect, and to compare, the
innumerable forms of Egyptian Deities.

Ac-
cording to the different authorities he has
cited', the Momphta, or type of humid nature',
(that is to say, the passive principle,) was borne
by Isis in her left hand, and generally repre-
sented by a lion. In her right she carried the
dog Anubist. Either of these symbols separately
denoted the Magna Mater; and may thus be
explained.

The leonine figure, as employed

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(1) CUJUS NUMEN UNICUM, MULTIPORMI SPECIE, RITU VARIO, NOMINE MULTIJUGO, TOTUS VENERATUR ORBIS.

(2) Vid. Kircher. Edip. Ægypt. tom. III. pp. 98, 184, 221, 323, 504. Rom. 1654.

(3) “ Per Leojiem, Momphta, humidæ naturæ præses.” Kirch. de Diis Averruncis, synt. 17.

(4) See the engravings in Kircher. Edip. Ægypt. tom. III. p. 502. Also tom. II. Pars 2. p. 259.

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СНАР.

I.

1P. most antient types of the Cyprian Venus'. A 1.

very considerable degree of illustration, with regard to the history of the idols discovered at Larneca, is afforded by the appearance of one of them, although little more of it remains than a mere torso. It belonged to an androgynousi Figure, represented as holding, in its right hand a lion's cub, pendent by the tail, upon the abdomen of the statue. We might in rain seek an explanation of this singular image, were it not for the immense erudition of Athenasius Kircher, whose persevering industry

, notwithstanding all his visionary hypotheses enabled him to collect, and to compare, the

to signify water, was derived from the astronomical sign of the period for the Nile's inundation" Hence we sometimes see the Momphta expressed by a sitting image with the lion's head. Plutarch gives to Isis the epithet Momphæan'. Her double sex is alluded to by Orpheus, who describes her as the father and the mother of all things. By the figure of Anubis, Isis was again typified as the Hecate of the Greeks. It is a symbol frequently placed upon their sepulchral monuments”; and was otherwise represented by the image of Cerberus, with three heads, or with fifty, as allusion is intended either to the Diva triformis, or to the pantamorphic nature of the Goddess. Among the

gems found in Cyprus, we noticed intagliated Antient scarabæi with similar symbols; and obtained one upon which Isis was exhibited, holding the quadruped as in the example of the statue discovered at Larneca. Since these antiquities

Gems.

innumerable forms of Egyptian Deities. According to the different authorities he has cited', the Momphta, or type of humid nature, (that is to say, the passive principle,) was borne by Isis in her left hand, and generally represented by a lion. In her right she carried the dog Anubis" Either of these symbols separateh denoted the Magna Mater; and may thus be explained. The leonine figure, as employed

1

(5) “ Pingitur leonino vultu, quòd Sole in Leonem ingrediente incrementa Nilotica seu inundationes contingant.” Kircher, Edip. Ægypt. tom. III. p. 323.

(6) A beautiful colossal statue of this description is now in the British Museum. It was among the antiquities surrendered by the French at the capitulation of Alexandria.

(7) Plut. de Isid. et Osir. Kirch. Obel. Sallust. syntag. 4. cap. 4.

(8) Also as Luna, according to Plutarch (De Is. et Osir. c. 43), Isis bears the same description with regard to her double sex, They call the Moon," says he,“ Mother of the World, and think it has a double set.Διό και Μητέρα της Σελήνην του Κόσμου καλούσι, και φύσιν έχειν άρσενόθηλυν οίονται. .

(9) See the Author's " Greek Marbles,” p. 10. No. XII.

(1) CUJUS NUMEN UNICUM, MULTIPORMI SPECIE, RITU VARJO, NOMINE MULTIJUGO, TOTUS VENERATOR ORBIS.

(2) Vid. Kircher. Edip. Ægypt. tom. III. pp. 98, 184, 221, 829, 504. Rom. 1657.

(3) Per Leonem, Momphta, humidæ naturæ præses.Kirche de Diis Averruncis, synt. 17.

(4) See the engravings in Kircher. Edip. Egypt. tom. III. p. 62. Also tom. II. pars 2. p. 250.

CHAP.

I.

were found, the inhabitants have also dug up a number of stone coffins, of an oblong rectangular form; each, with the exception of its cover being of one entire mass of stone. One of them contained a small vase of terra cotta, of the rudest workmanship, destitute of any glazing or varnish'. Several intaglios were also discovered, and brought to us for sale. We found it more difficult to obtain antient gems

in Larneca than in the interior of the island, owing to the exorbitant prices set upon them. At Nicotia, the goldsmiths part with such antiquities for a few parás. The people of Larneca are more accustomed to intercourse with strangers, and expect to make a harvest in their coming. Among the ring-stones we left in that town, was a beautiful intaglio representing Cupid whipping a butterfly; a common method, among antient lapidaries, of typifying the power of love over the soul. Also an onyx, which there is every reason to believe one of the Ptolemies had used as a signet. It contained a very curious monogram, expressing all the letters of the word ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ, , according to the manner here represented :

Signet
Rings.

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(1) It is now in the author's possession.

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HAP. 1.

СНАР.

1.

were found, the inhabitants have also dug up a number of stone coffins, of an oblong rect. angular form; each, with the exception of its cover being of one entire mass of stone. One of them contained a small vase of terra cotta, of the rudest workmanship, destitute of any glazing or varnish'. Several intaglios were also discovered, and brought to us for sale. We found it more difficult to obtain antient gems in Larneca than in the interior of the island, owing to the exorbitant prices set upon them At Nicotia, the goldsmiths part with such anti

quities for a few parás. The people of Larnes! are more accustomed to intercourse with strangers and expect to make a harvest in their coming. Among the ring-stones we left in that town, was a beautiful intaglio representing Cupid whipping a butterfly; a common method, among antient lapidaries, of typifying the power of love orer the soul. Also an onyx, which there is every reason to believe one of the Ptolemies had used as a signet. It contained a very curious monogram, expressing all the letters of the word ATOAEMAIOY, according to the manner here represented :

The use of such instruments for signature is recorded in the books of Moses, seventeen hundred years before the Christian æra ; and the practice has continued in Eastern countries, with little variation, to the present day. The signets of the Turks are of this kind. The Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians, had the same custom : indeed, almost all the antient intaglios, were so employed. In the thirty-eighth chapter of Genesis, it is related that Tamar demanded the signet of Judah; and above three thousand years have passed since the great Lawgiver of the Jews was directed to engrave the names of the children of Israel upon onyx-stones, “like the engravings of a signet;" that is to say, (if we may presume to illustrate a text so sacred, with reference to a custom still universally extant,) by a series of monograms, graven as intaglios, to be set “in ouches of gold, for the shoulders of the ephod.” That the signet was of stone set in metal, in the time of Moses, is also clear, from this passage of Sacred History: “ With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave

the two stones. Thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.Signets without stones, and entirely of metal, did not come into use, according

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(2) Exod. xxviii. 9, 10, 1).

(1) It is now in the author's possession.

CHAP.

1.

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to Pliny', until the time of Claudius Cæsar. The
most antient intaglios of Egypt were graven upon
stones, having the form of scarabær". This kind of
signet was also used by the Phoenicians, as will
further appear.

The characters upon them are
therefore either in hieroglyphical writing, Phæni-
cian letters, or later monograms derived from the
Greek alphabet. Alexander, at the point of death,
gave his signet to Perdiccas; and Laodice, mother
of Seleucus, the founder of the Syro-Macedonian
empire, in an age when women, profiting by the
easy credulity of their husbands, apologized for
an act of infidelity by pretending an intercourse
with Apollo, exhibited a signet found in her bed,
with a symbol afterwards used by all the
Seleucidæ. The introduction of sculptured
animals upon the signets of the Romans was
derived from the sacred symbols of the Egyp-
tians : hence the origin of the Sphinx for the signet
of Augustus. When the practice of deifying
princes and venerating heroes became general,
portraits of men supplied the place of more

antient types. This custom gave birth to the of the Ca- Camachuia, or Caméo ; a later invention, merely

Origin

machuia.

(1) Hist. Nat. lib. xxxiii. c. 1.

(2) See a former note in this Chapter, for the history of the antient
superstition concerning the Scarabeus.

(3) Justin. lib. xji.
(4) Ibid. lib. xv. c. 4.

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