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I.

Theban

SHAP. to Pliny', until the time of Claudius Cæsar. The

most antient intaglios of Egypt were graven upon
stones, having the form of scarabæi. This kind of
signet was also used by the Phænicians

, as wil further appear. The characters upon them are therefore either in hieroglyphical writing, Phen 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 Seleucida. The introduction of sculptured animals upon the signets of the Romans was derived from the sacred symbols of the Egyp

exbibiting a model of the impression or cast yielded to a signet. The use of the caméo was not perhaps introduced before the period of the Roman power.

Such relics are rarely found in Greece ; and even when discovered, with the exception of the remarkable stone Stone. found at Thebes, representing a female Centaur suckling its foal, the workmanship is bad. Concerning the Theban Gem, it may perhaps be proved that the subject thereon exhibited was originally derived from a very popular picture painted by Zeuxis ; and as its execution is by no means uniformly excellent, there is reason to conclude that the work is not of remote antiquity. Every traveller who has visited

Paintings Italy may have remarked a practice of repre- commemosenting, both by caméos and intaglios, the subjects Gems. of celebrated picturés ; such, for example, as those of the Danaë and the Venus by Titian, and

many other. Copies of this kind were also known among the Romans, and perhaps at an

rated upon

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 * Camachuia, or Caméo; a later invention, merely

(5) This celebrated Caméo has been long known to all travellers ho hare visited Greece. It belonged to a peasant, who esteemed it beyond all price, from its imaginary virtue in healing diseases. Many persons in vain endeavoured to purchase it. The Earl of Elgin, ambassador at the Porte, at last found the means of inducing its owner to part with it.

(6) The famous mosaïc picture of the Vase and Pigeons, found in the Villa of Mecænas, and lately in the Capitol at Rome, exhibits a subject frequently introduced upon the antient gems of Italy,

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

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

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

I.

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Zeuxis from an antient

CHAP. earlier period, taken from the works of Grecian

painters. The first style of imitating such
pictures by engraving was probably that exhi.
bited by the intaglio, from whose cast the caméo
was made. Gems of this kind, executed by the
lapidaries of Greece, even so long ago as the

age of Zeuxis, may have given origin to the Notice of a Theban Stone. That it does exhibit a subject Picture by

nearly coinciding with an antient description of Green Ma- one of his pictures, is manifest from a fragment nuscript. of the Zeuxis of Lucian, inserted as a Com

mentary upon Gregory Nazianzen.
discovered by the late Professor Porson, in a
Manuscript of that author brought from the
Library of the Monastery of the Apocalypse in
the Isle of Patmos'. The Commentary would
perhaps have been illegible to other eyes than
those of the learned Professor”. It is, when
literally translated, as follows.

" That same
Zeuxis, the best painter that ever lived, did not

This was

(1) The writing, both of the commentary and of the text, in that Manuscript, was deemed, by the learned Professor, as antient as that of Plato from the same place, now with the copy of Gregory in the Bodleian Library.

(2) In the first edition, the author had said, that the difficulty of deciphering this marginal note would bafile all but Porsonian acumen ; but it has been also transcribed with the minutest accuracy by Professor Gaisford of Oxford (Catalogus Manuscriptorum in Biblioth. Bodl. Pars Prior, p. 37. Oxon. 1812): and there is this difference in the two copies ; that Professor Porson's copy, containing all the emendations in

Hemsterhusius's

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CYPRUS.

31

1.

CHAP.

I.

TAP. earlier period, taken from the works of Grecia

painters. The first style of imitating such pictures by engraving was probably that exbi

. bited by the intaglio, from whose cast the canás was made. Gems of this kind, executed bt the lapidaries of Greece, even so long ago as the

age of Zeuris, may have given origin to the ice of a Theban Stone. That it does exhibit a subject ture by

nearly coinciding with an antient description of

one of his pictures, is manifest from a fragment | cript. of the Zeucis of Lucian, inserted as a Com

ris 1 an ent ek Ma

paint vulgar and common subjects, or certainly but a very few; but was always endeavouring to strike out something new; and employed all the accuracy

of his art about some strange and heterogeneous conceit. He painted, for instance, a female Hippocentaur, nursing two infant Hippocentaurs. A copy of this picture, very accurately taken, existed at Athens : for the original, Sylla, the Roman general, sent away, with the rest of the plunder, to Italy; and it is said, that the ship having foundered off the Malean Promontory, the whole cargo, and with it this picture, was lost. The copy of the original painting is thus with some difficulty described by Callimachus and Calæses (or Calaces). • The female Centaur herself is painted as reclining upon a rich verdure, with the whole of her horse's body on the ground, and her feet extended backwards; but as much of her as resembles a woman, is gently raised, and rests on her elbow. Her fore-feet are not stretched out like her hind ones, as if she were lying on her side ; but one of them is bent, and the hoof drawn under, as

mentary upon Gregory Nazianzen. This was discovered by the late Professor Porson, in a Manuscript of that author brought from the Library of the Monastery of the Apocalypse in the Isle of Patmos' . The Commentary

would perhaps have been illegible to other eyes than those of the learned Professor. literally translated, as follows.

That same Zeuxis, the best painter that ever lived, did not

It is when

1

(1) The writing, both of the commentary and of the test, in the Manuscript, was deemed, by the learned Professor, as antient as that of Plato from the same place, now with the copy of Gregory in the Bodleian Library.

(2) In the first edition, the author had said, that the difficulty deciphering this marginal note would bafile all but Porsonia acumez: but it has been also transcribed with the minutest accuracy by Professit! Gaisford of Oxford (Catalogus Manuscriptorum in Biblioth. Bodl. Para Prior, p. 37. O.zon. 1812): and there is this difference in the two copies; that Professor Porson's copy, containing all the emendations is

Hemsterhuset's

Hemsterhusius's Edition of Lucian, carries with it internal evidence that he had visited the source whence the Note had been originally derived : Professor Gaisford's copy, being a faithful transcript, without those emendations, also proves how well acquainted he was with the author from whom the extract was taken; because he added to it, " Verba sunt Luciani in Zeuxide, c. 3. tom. I. p. 840."

I.

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CHAP. if kneeling ; while the other is erect, and laying

hold of the ground, as horses do when endea-
vouring to spring up. One of the two infants
she is holding in her arms, and suckling, like
a human creature, giving it her teat, which
resembles that of a woman ; but the other she
suckles at her mare's teat, after the manner of
a foal. In the upper part of the picture, a male
Hippocentaur, intended to represent the husband
of her who is nursing the children, is leaning
over an eminence as it were, and laughing;
not being wholly in sight, but only half way
down, and holding a lion's whelp in his right
hand, to frighten the children. The admirable
skill of Zeuxis consists in displaying all the
variety of the art in his treatment of one and the
same subject : here we have a horse, proud,
spirited, a shaggy mane over his chest and
shoulders, a wild and fierce eye; and a female,
like the Thessalian mares, never to be mounted
nor tamed; the upper half a woman, but all
below the back like a satyr; and the different
bodies fitted, and as it were blended together.'”

Substances

Cyprus.

The signet-stones of Cyprus, although cut in a
Wiem ter ohe variety of substances, were more frequently of

red carnelian than of any other mineral. Some
of the most diminutive size were finely executed
in red garnet, the carbuncle of the Antients.

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CHAP.

I.

Others were formed of plasma, onyx, blood-stone, topaz, jasper, and even of quartz. Of all these, the most antient had the scarabean form. Two Most anvery interesting examples are here represented. of the Sig

Cyprus,

tient form

nets of

AP. if kneeling ; while the other is erect, and laying

hold of the ground, as horses do when endeavouring to spring up. One of the two infants she is holding in her arms, and suckling

, like a human creature, giving it her teat, which resembles that of a woman; but the other she suckles at her mare's teat, after the manner of a foal. In the upper part of the picture, a male Hippocentaur, intended to represent the husband

! of her who is nursing the children, is leaning over an eminence as it were, and laughing;

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not being wholly in sight, but only half was down, and holding a lion's whelp in his right hand, to frighten the children. The admirable skill of Zeuxis consists in displaying all the variety of the art in his treatment of one and the same subject: here we have a horse, proud. spirited, a shaggy mane over his chest and shoulders, a wild and fierce eye; and a female, like the Thessalian mares, never to be mounted nor tamed; the upper half a woman, but all below the back like a satyr; and the different bodies fitted, and as it were blended together."

The first is of the most remote antiquity. It was found among the ruins where the idols recently alluded to were discovered. The substance of it is an onyx, in a very advanced state of decomposition. The characters are evidently Phænician, and correspond with those exhibited by inscriptions found upon the same spot, and published by Pococke'. The subject represented appears to be the dove, Avis Paphia, a very antient symbol of Venus, and of Astarte. But whether the figure placed before the bird be a grain of the bearded wheat so common in Cyprus, or any other type connected with its antient

es

(1) See Pococke's Travels, vol. II. p. 213.
(2) “ Alba Palæstino fancta columba Syro."

Tibullus, lib. i. El. 8. rer. 18,

The signet-stones of Cyprus, although cut in a pe variety of substances, were more frequently of

red carnelian than of any other mineral. Some of the most diminutive size were finely executed

. in red garnet, the carbuncle of the Antients

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