The Two Babylons
The Deification of the Child
If there was one who was more deeply concerned in the tragic death of Nimrod than another, it was his wife Semiramis, who, from an originally humble position, had been raised to share with him the throne of Babylon. What, in this emergency shall she do? Shall she quietly forego the pomp and pride to which she has been raised! No. Though the death of her husband has given a rude shock to her power, yet her resolution and unbounded ambition were in nowise checked. On the contrary, her ambition took a still higher flight. In life her husband had been honoured as a hero; in death she will have him worshipped as a god, yea, as the woman's promised Seed, "Zero-ashta," * who was destined to bruise the serpent's head, and who, in doing so, was to have his own heel bruised.
* Zero--in Chaldee, "the seed"--though we have seen reason to conclude that in Greek it sometimes appeared as Zeira, quite naturally passed also into Zoro, as may be seen from the change of Zerubbabel in the Greek Septuagint to Zoro-babel; and hence Zuro-ashta, "the seed of the woman" became Zoroaster, the well known name of the head of the fire-worshippers. Zoroaster's name is also found as Zeroastes (JOHANNES CLERICUS, De Chaldoeis). The reader who consults the able and very learned work of Dr. Wilson of Bombay, on the Parsi Religion, will find that there was a Zoroaster long before that Zoroaster who lived in the reign of Darius Hystaspes. In general history, the Zoroaster of Bactria is most frequently referred to; but the voice of antiquity is clear and distinct to the effect that the first and great Zoroaster was an Assyrian or Chaldean (SUIDAS), and that he was the founder of the idolatrous system of Babylon, and therefore Nimrod. It is equally clear also in stating that he perished by a violent death, even as was the case with Nimrod, Tammuz, or Bacchus. The identity of Bacchus and Zoroaster is still further proved by the epithet Pyrisporus, bestowed on Bacchus in the Orphic Hymns. When the primeval promise of Eden began to be forgotten, the meaning of the name Zero-ashta was lost to all who knew only the exoteric doctrine of Paganism; and as "ashta" signified "fire" in Chaldee, as well as "the woman," and the rites of Bacchus had much to do with fire-worship, "Zero-ashta" came to be rendered "the seed of fire"; and hence the epithet Pyrisporus, or Ignigena, "fire-born," as applied to Bacchus. From this misunderstanding of the meaning of the name Zero-ashta, or rather from its wilful perversion by the priests, who wished to establish one doctrine for the initiated, and another for the profane vulgar, came the whole story about the unborn infant Bacchus having been rescued from the flames that consumed his mother Semele, when Jupiter came in his glory to visit her. (Note to OVID'S Metam.)
There was another name by which Zoroaster was known, and which is not a little instructive, and that is Zar-adas, "The only seed." (JOHANNES CLERICUS, De Chaldoeis) In WILSON'S Parsi Religion the name is given either Zoroadus, or Zarades. The ancient Pagans, while they recognised supremely one only God, knew also that there was one only seed, on whom the hopes of the world were founded. In almost all nations, not only was a great god known under the name of Zero or Zer, "the seed," and a great goddess under the name of Ashta or Isha, "the woman"; but the great god Zero is frequently characterised by some epithet which implies that he is "The only One." Now what can account for such names or epithets? Genesis 3:15 can account for them; nothing else can. The name Zar-ades, or Zoro-adus, also strikingly illustrates the saying of Paul: "He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ."
It is worthy of notice, that the modern system of Parseeism, which dates from the reform of the old fire-worship in the time of Darius Hystaspes, having rejected the worship of the goddess-mother, cast out also from the name of their Zoroaster the name of the "woman"; and therefore in the Zend, the sacred language of the Parsees, the name of their great reformer is Zarathustra--i.e., "The Delivering Seed," the last member of the name coming from Thusht (the root being--Chaldee--nthsh, which drops the initial n), "to loosen or set loose," and so to free. Thusht is the infinitive, and ra appended to it is, in Sanscrit, with which the Zend has much affinity, the well known sign of the doer of an action, just as er is in English. The Zend Zarathushtra, then, seems just the equivalent of Phoroneus, "The Emancipator."
The patriarchs, and the ancient world in general, were perfectly acquainted with the grand primeval promise of Eden, and they knew right well that the bruising of the heel of the promised seed implied his death, and that the curse could be removed from the world only by the death of the grand Deliverer. If the promise about the bruising of the serpent's head, recorded in Genesis, as made to our first parents, was actually made, and if all mankind were descended from them, then it might be expected that some trace of this promise would be found in all nations. And such is the fact. There is hardly a people or kindred on earth in whose mythology it is not shadowed forth. The Greeks represented their great god Apollo as slaying the serpent Pytho, and Hercules as strangling serpents while yet in his cradle. In Egypt, in India, in Scandinavia, in Mexico, we find clear allusions to the same great truth. "The evil genius," says Wilkinson, "of the adversaries of the Egyptian god Horus is frequently figured under the form of a snake, whose head he is seen piercing with a spear. The same fable occurs in the religion of India, where the malignant serpent Calyia is slain by Vishnu, in his avatar of Crishna (Fig. 23); and the Scandinavian deity Thor was said to have bruised the head of the great serpent with his mace." "The origin of this," he adds, "may be readily traced to the Bible." In reference to a similar belief among the Mexicans, we find Humboldt saying, that "The serpent crushed by the great spirit Teotl, when he takes the form of one of the subaltern deities, is the genius of evil--a real Kakodaemon." Now, in almost all cases, when the subject is examined to the bottom, it turns out that the serpent destroying god is represented as enduring hardships and sufferings that end in his death. Thus the god Thor, while succeeding at last in destroying the great serpent, is represented as, in the very moment of victory, perishing from the venomous effluvia of his breath. The same would seem to be the way in which the Babylonians represented their great serpent-destroyer among the figures of their ancient sphere. His mysterious suffering is thus described by the Greek poet Aratus, whose language shows that when he wrote, the meaning of the representation had been generally lost, although, when viewed in this light of Scripture, it is surely deeply significant:--
"A human figure, 'whelmed with toil, appears;
Yet still with name uncertain he remains;
Nor known the labour that he thus sustains;
But since upon his knees he seems to fall,
Him ignorant mortals Engonasis call;
And while sublime his awful hands are spread,
Beneath him rolls the dragon's horrid head,
And his right foot unmoved appears to rest,
Fixed on the writhing monster's burnished crest."
Yet still with name uncertain he remains;
Nor known the labour that he thus sustains;
But since upon his knees he seems to fall,
Him ignorant mortals Engonasis call;
And while sublime his awful hands are spread,
Beneath him rolls the dragon's horrid head,
And his right foot unmoved appears to rest,
Fixed on the writhing monster's burnished crest."
The constellation thus represented is commonly known by the name of "The Kneeler," from this very description of the Greek poet; but it is plain that, as "Eugonasis" came from the Babylonians, it must be interpreted, not in a Greek, but in a Chaldee sense, and so interpreted, as the action of the figure itself implies, the title of the mysterious sufferer is just "The Serpent-crusher." Sometimes, however the actual crushing of the serpent was represented as a much more easy process; yet, even then, death was the ultimate result; and that death of the serpent-destroyer is so described as to leave no doubt whence the fable was borrowed. This is particularly the case with the Indian god Crishna, to whom Wilkinson alludes in the extract already given. In the legend that concerns him, the whole of the primeval promise in Eden is very strikingly embodied. First, he is represented in pictures and images with his foot on the great serpent's head, and then, after destroying it, he is fabled to have died in consequence of being shot by an arrow in the foot; and, as in the case of Tammuz, great lamentations are annually made for his death. Even in Greece, also, in the classic story of Paris and Achilles, we have a very plain allusion to that part of the primeval promise, which referred to the bruising of the conqueror's "heel." Achilles, the only son of a goddess, was invulnerable in all points except the heel, but there a wound was deadly. At that his adversary took aim, and death was the result.
Now, if there be such evidence still, that even Pagans knew that it was by dying that the promised Messiah was to destroy death and him that has the power of death, that is the Devil, how much more vivid must have been the impression of mankind in general in regard to this vital truth in the early days of Semiramis, when they were so much nearer the fountain-head of all Divine tradition. When, therefore, the name Zoroaster, "the seed of the woman," was given to him who had perished in the midst of a prosperous career of false worship and apostacy, there can be no doubt of the meaning which that name was intended to convey. And the fact of the violent death of the hero, who, in the esteem of his partisans, had done so much to bless mankind, to make life happy, and to deliver them from the fear of the wrath to come, instead of being fatal to the bestowal of such a title upon him, favoured rather than otherwise the daring design. All that was needed to countenance the scheme on the part of those who wished an excuse for continued apostacy from the true God, was just to give out that, though the great patron of the apostacy had fallen a prey to the malice of men, he had freely offered himself for the good of mankind. Now, this was what was actually done. The Chaldean version of the story of the great Zoroaster is that he prayed to the supreme God of heaven to take away his life; that his prayer was heard, and that he expired, assuring his followers that, if they cherished due regard for his memory, the empire would never depart from the Babylonians. What Berosus, the Babylonian historian, says of the cutting off of the head of the great god Belus, is plainly to the same effect. Belus, says Berosus, commanded one of the gods to cut off his head, that from the blood thus shed by his own command and with his own consent, when mingled with the earth, new creatures might be formed, the first creation being represented as a sort of a failure. Thus the death of Belus, who was Nimrod, like that attributed to Zoroaster, was represented as entirely voluntary, and as submitted to for the benefit of the world.
It seems to have been now only when the dead hero was to be deified, that the secret Mysteries were set up. The previous form of apostacy during the life of Nimrod appears to have been open and public. Now, it was evidently felt that publicity was out of the question. The death of the great ringleader of the apostacy was not the death of a warrior slain in battle, but an act of judicial rigour, solemnly inflicted. This is well established by the accounts of the deaths of both Tammuz and Osiris. The following is the account of Tammuz, given by the celebrated Maimonides, deeply read in all the learning of the Chaldeans: "When the false prophet named Thammuz preached to a certain king that he should worship the seven stars and the twelve signs of the Zodiac, that king ordered him to be put to a terrible death. On the night of his death all the images assembled from the ends of the earth into the temple of Babylon, to the great golden image of the Sun, which was suspended between heaven and earth. That image prostrated itself in the midst of the temple, and so did all the images around it, while it related to them all that had happened to Thammuz. The images wept and lamented all the night long, and then in the morning they flew away, each to his own temple again, to the ends of the earth. And hence arose the custom every year, on the first day of the month Thammuz, to mourn and to weep for Thammuz." There is here, of course, all the extravagance of idolatry, as found in the Chaldean sacred books that Maimonides had consulted; but there is no reason to doubt the fact stated either as to the manner or the cause of the death of Tammuz. In this Chaldean legend, it is stated that it was by the command of a "certain king" that this ringleader in apostacy was put to death. Who could this king be, who was so determinedly opposed to the worship of the host of heaven? From what is related of the Egyptian Hercules, we get very valuable light on this subject. It is admitted by Wilkinson that the most ancient Hercules, and truly primitive one, was he who was known in Egypt as having, "by the power of the gods" * (i.e., by the SPIRIT) fought against and overcome the Giants.
* The name of the true God (Elohim) is plural. Therefore, "the power of the gods," and "of God," is expressed by the same term.
Now, no doubt, the title and character of Hercules were afterwards given by the Pagans to him whom they worshipped as the grand deliverer or Messiah, just as the adversaries of the Pagan divinities came to be stigmatised as the "Giants" who rebelled against Heaven. But let the reader only reflect who were the real Giants that rebelled against Heaven. They were Nimrod and his party; for the "Giants" were just the "Mighty ones," of whom Nimrod was the leader. Who, then, was most likely to head the opposition to the apostacy from the primitive worship? If Shem was at that time alive, as beyond question he was, who so likely as he? In exact accordance with this deduction, we find that one of the names of the primitive Hercules in Egypt was "Sem."
If "Sem," then, was the primitive Hercules, who overcame the Giants, and that not by mere physical force, but by "the power of God," or the influence of the Holy Spirit, that entirely agrees with his character; and more than that, it remarkably agrees with the Egyptian account of the death of Osiris. The Egyptians say, that the grand enemy of their god overcame him, not by open violence, but that, having entered into a conspiracy with seventy-two of the leading men of Egypt, he got him into his power, put him to death, and then cut his dead body into pieces, and sent the different parts to so many different cities throughout the country. The real meaning of this statement will appear, if we glance at the judicial institutions of Egypt. Seventy-two was just the number of the judges, both civil and sacred, who, according to Egyptian law, were required to determine what was to be the punishment of one guilty of so high an offence as that of Osiris, supposing this to have become a matter of judicial inquiry. In determining such a case, there were necessarily two tribunals concerned. First, there were the ordinary judges, who had power of life and death, and who amounted to thirty, then there was, over and above, a tribunal consisting of forty-two judges, who, if Osiris was condemned to die, had to determine whether his body should be buried or no, for, before burial, every one after death had to pass the ordeal of this tribunal. *
* DIODORUS. The words of Diodorus, as printed in the ordinary editions, make the number of the judges simply "more than forty," without specifying how many more. In the Codex Coislianus, the number is stated to be "two more than forty." The earthly judges, who tried the question of burial, are admitted both by WILKINSON and BUNSEN, to have corresponded in number to the judges of the infernal regions. Now, these judges, over and above their president, are proved from the monuments to have been just forty-two. The earthly judges at funerals, therefore, must equally have been forty-two. In reference to this number as applying equally to the judges of this world and the world of spirits, Bunsen, speaking of the judgment on a deceased person in the world unseen, uses these words in the passage above referred to: "Forty-two gods (the number composing the earthly tribunal of the dead) occupy the judgment-seat." Diodorus himself, whether he actually wrote "two more than forty," or simply "more than forty," gives reason to believe that forty-two was the number he had present to his mind; for he says, that "the whole of the fable of the shades below," as brought by Orpheus from Egypt, was "copied from the ceremonies of the Egyptian funerals," which he had witnessed at the judgment before the burial of the dead. If, therefore, there were just forty-two judges in "the shades below," that even, on the showing of Diodorus, whatever reading of his words be preferred, proves that the number of the judges in the earthly judgment must have been the same.
As burial was refused him, both tribunals would necessarily be concerned; and thus there would be exactly seventy-two persons, under Typho the president, to condemn Osiris to die and to be cut in pieces. What, then, does the statement account to, in regard to the conspiracy, but just to this, that the great opponent of the idolatrous system which Osiris introduced, had so convinced these judges of the enormity of the offence which he had committed, that they gave up the offender to an awful death, and to ignominy after it, as a terror to any who might afterwards tread in his steps. The cutting of the dead body in pieces, and sending the dismembered parts among the different cities, is paralleled, and its object explained, by what we read in the Bible of the cutting of the dead body of the Levite's concubine in pieces (Judges 19:29), and sending one of the parts to each of the twelve tribes of Israel; and the similar step taken by Saul, when he hewed the two yoke of oxen asunder, and sent them throughout all the coasts of his kingdom (1 Sam 11:7). It is admitted by commentators that both the Levite and Saul acted on a patriarchal custom, according to which summary vengeance would be dealt to those who failed to come to the gathering that in this solemn way was summoned. This was declared in so many words by Saul, when the parts of the slaughtered oxen were sent among the tribes: "Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen." In like manner, when the dismembered parts of Osiris were sent among the cities by the seventy-two "conspirators"--in other words, by the supreme judges of Egypt, it was equivalent to a solemn declaration in their name, that "whosoever should do as Osiris had done, so should it be done to him; so should he also be cut in pieces."
When irreligion and apostacy again arose into the ascendant, this act, into which the constituted authorities who had to do with the ringleader of the apostates were led, for the putting down of the combined system of irreligion and despotism set up by Osiris or Nimrod, was naturally the object of intense abhorrence to all his sympathisers; and for his share in it the chief actor was stigmatised as Typho, or "The Evil One." *
* Wilkinson admits that different individuals at different times bore this hated name in Egypt. One of the most noted names by which Typho, or the Evil One, was called, was Seth (EPIPHANIUS, Adv. Hoeres). Now Seth and Shem are synonymous, both alike signifying "The appointed one." As Shem was a younger son of Noah, being "the brother of Japhet the elder" (Gen 10:21), and as the pre-eminence was divinely destined to him, the name Shem, "the appointed one," had doubtless been given him by Divine direction, either at his birth or afterwards, to mark him out as Seth had been previously marked out as the "child of promise." Shem, however, seems to have been known in Egypt as Typho, not only under the name of Seth, but under his own name; for Wilkinson tells us that Typho was characterised by a name that signified "to destroy and render desert." (Egyptians) Now the name of Shem also in one of its meanings signifies "to desolate" or lay waste. So Shem, the appointed one, was by his enemies made Shem, the Desolator or Destroyer--i.e., the Devil.
The influence that this abhorred Typho wielded over the minds of the so-called "conspirators," considering the physical force with which Nimrod was upheld, must have been wonderful, and goes to show, that though his deed in regard to Osiris is veiled, and himself branded by a hateful name, he was indeed none other than that primitive Hercules who overcame the Giants by "the power of God," by the persuasive might of his Holy Spirit.
In connection with this character of Shem, the myth that makes Adonis, who is identified with Osiris, perish by the tusks of a wild boar, is easily unravelled. * The tusk of a wild boar was a symbol. In Scripture, a tusk is called "a horn"; among many of the Classic Greeks it was regarded in the very same light. **
* In India, a demon with a "boar's face" is said to have gained such power through his devotion, that he oppressed the "devotees" or worshippers of the gods, who had to hide themselves. (MOOR'S Pantheon) Even in Japan there seems to be a similar myth.
** Pausanian admits that some in his day regarded tusks as teeth; but he argues strongly, and, I think, conclusively, for their being considered as "horns."
When once it is known that a tusk is regarded as a "horn" according to the symbolism of idolatry, the meaning of the boar's tusks, by which Adonis perished, is not far to seek. The bull's horns that Nimrod wore were the symbol of physical power. The boar's tusks were the symbol of spiritual power. As a "horn" means power, so a tusk, that is, a horn in the mouth, means "power in the mouth"; in other words, the power of persuasion; the very power with which "Sem," the primitive Hercules, was so signally endowed. Even from the ancient traditions of the Gael, we get an item of evidence that at once illustrates this idea of power in the mouth, and connects it with that great son of Noah, on whom the blessing of the Highest, as recorded in Scripture, did specially rest. The Celtic Hercules was called Hercules Ogmius, which, in Chaldee, is "Hercules the Lamenter." *
* The Celtic scholars derive the name Ogmius from the Celtic word Ogum, which is said to denote "the secret of writing"; but Ogum is much more likely to be derived from the name of the god, than the name of the god to be derived from it.
No name could be more appropriate, none more descriptive of the history of Shem, than this. Except our first parent, Adam, there was, perhaps, never a mere man that saw so much grief as he. Not only did he see a vast apostacy, which, with his righteous feelings, and witness as he had been of the awful catastrophe of the flood, must have deeply grieved him; but he lived to bury SEVEN GENERATIONS of his descendants. He lived 502 years after the flood, and as the lives of men were rapidly shortened after that event, no less than SEVEN generations of his lineal descendants died before him (Gen 11:10-32). How appropriate a name Ogmius, "The Lamenter or Mourner," for one who had such a history! Now, how is this "Mourning" Hercules represented as putting down enormities and redressing wrongs? Not by his club, like the Hercules of the Greeks, but by the force of persuasion. Multitudes were represented as following him, drawn by fine chains of gold and amber inserted into their ears, and which chains proceeded from his mouth. *
* Sir W. BETHAM'S Gael and Cymbri. In connection with this Ogmius, one of the names of "Sem," the great Egyptian Hercules who overcame the Giants, is worthy of notice. That name is Chon. In the Etymologicum Magnum, apud BRYANT, we thus read: "They say that in the Egyptian dialect Hercules is called Chon." Compare this with WILKINSON, where Chon is called "Sem." Now Khon signifies "to lament" in Chaldee, and as Shem was Khon--i.e., "Priest" of the Most High God, his character and peculiar circumstances as Khon "the lamenter" would form an additional reason why he should be distinguished by that name by which the Egyptian Hercules was known. And it is not to be overlooked, that on the part of those who seek to turn sinners from the error of their ways, there is an eloquence in tears that is very impressive. The tears of Whitefield formed one great part of his power; and, in like manner, the tears of Khon, "the lamenting" Hercules, would aid him mightily in overcoming the Giants.
There is a great difference between the two symbols--the tusks of a boar and the golden chains issuing from the mouth, that draw willing crowds by the ears; but both very beautifully illustrate the same idea--the might of that persuasive power that enabled Shem for a time to withstand the tide of evil that came rapidly rushing in upon the world.
Now when Shem had so powerfully wrought upon the minds of men as to induce them to make a terrible example of the great Apostate, and when that Apostate's dismembered limbs were sent to the chief cities, where no doubt his system had been established, it will be readily perceived that, in these circumstances, if idolatry was to continue--if, above all, it was to take a step in advance, it was indispensable that it should operate in secret. The terror of an execution, inflicted on one so mighty as Nimrod, made it needful that, for some time to come at least, the extreme of caution should be used. In these circumstances, then, began, there can hardly be a doubt, that system of "Mystery," which, having Babylon for its centre, has spread over the world. In these Mysteries, under the seal of secrecy and the sanction of an oath, and by means of all the fertile resources of magic, men were gradually led back to all the idolatry that had been publicly suppressed, while new features were added to that idolatry that made it still more blasphemous than before. That magic and idolatry were twin sisters, and came into the world together, we have abundant evidence. "He" (Zoroaster), says Justin the historian, "was said to be the first that invented magic arts, and that most diligently studied the motions of the heavenly bodies." The Zoroaster spoken of by Justin is the Bactrian Zoroaster; but this is generally admitted to be a mistake. Stanley, in his History of Oriental Philosophy, concludes that this mistake had arisen from similarity of name, and that from this cause that had been attributed to the Bactrian Zoroaster which properly belonged to the Chaldean, "since it cannot be imagined that the Bactrian was the inventor of those arts in which the Chaldean, who lived contemporary with him, was so much skilled." Epiphanius had evidently come to the same substantial conclusion before him. He maintains, from the evidence open to him in his day, that it was "Nimrod, that established the sciences of magic and astronomy, the invention of which was subsequently attributed to (the Bactrian) Zoroaster." As we have seen that Nimrod and the Chaldean Zoroaster are the same, the conclusions of the ancient and the modern inquirers into Chaldean antiquity entirely harmonise. Now the secret system of the Mysteries gave vast facilities for imposing on the senses of the initiated by means of the various tricks and artifices of magic. Notwithstanding all the care and precautions of those who conducted these initiations, enough has transpired to give us a very clear insight into their real character. Everything was so contrived as to wind up the minds of the novices to the highest pitch of excitement, that, after having surrendered themselves implicitly to the priests, they might be prepared to receive anything. After the candidates for initiation had passed through the confessional, and sworn the required oaths, "strange and amazing objects," says Wilkinson, "presented themselves. Sometimes the place they were in seemed to shake around them; sometimes it appeared bright and resplendent with light and radiant fire, and then again covered with black darkness, sometimes thunder and lightning, sometimes frightful noises and bellowings, sometimes terrible apparitions astonished the trembling spectators." Then, at last, the great god, the central object of their worship, Osiris, Tammuz, Nimrod or Adonis, was revealed to them in the way most fitted to soothe their feelings and engage their blind affections. An account of such a manifestation is thus given by an ancient Pagan, cautiously indeed, but yet in such a way as shows the nature of the magic secret by which such an apparent miracle was accomplished: "In a manifestation which one must not reveal...there is seen on a wall of the temple a mass of light, which appears at first at a very great distance. It is transformed, while unfolding itself, into a visage evidently divine and supernatural, of an aspect severe, but with a touch of sweetness. Following the teachings of a mysterious religion, the Alexandrians honour it as Osiris or Adonis." From this statement, there can hardly be a doubt that the magical art here employed was none other than that now made use of in the modern phantasmagoria. Such or similar means were used in the very earliest periods for presenting to the view of the living, in the secret Mysteries, those who were dead. We have statements in ancient history referring to the very time of Semiramis, which imply that magic rites were practised for this very purpose; * and as the magic lantern, or something akin to it, was manifestly used in later times for such an end, it is reasonable to conclude that the same means, or similar, were employed in the most ancient times, when the same effects were produced.
* One of the statements to which I refer is contained in the following words of Moses of Chorene in his Armenian History, referring to the answer made by Semiramis to the friends of Araeus, who had been slain in battle by her: "I have given commands, says Semiramis, to my gods to lick the wounds of Araeus, and to raise him from the dead. The gods, says she, have licked Araeus, and recalled him to life." If Semiramis had really done what she said she had done, it would have been a miracle. The effects of magic were sham miracles; and Justin and Epiphanius show that sham miracles came in at the very birth of idolatry. Now, unless the sham miracle of raising the dead by magical arts had already been known to be practised in the days of Semiramis, it is not likely that she would have given such an answer to those whom she wished to propitiate; for, on the one hand, how could she ever have thought of such an answer, and on the other, how could she expect that it would have the intended effect, if there was no current belief in the practice of necromancy? We find that in Egypt, about the same age, such magic arts must have been practised, if Manetho is to be believed. "Manetho says," according to Josephus, "that he [the elder Horus, evidently spoken of as a human and mortal king] was admitted to the sight of the gods, and that Amenophis desired the same privilege." This pretended admission to the right of the gods evidently implied the use of the magic art referred to in the text.
Now, in the hands of crafty, designing men, this was a powerful means of imposing upon those who were willing to be imposed upon, who were averse to the holy spiritual religion of the living God, and who still hankered after the system that was put down. It was easy for those who controlled the Mysteries, having discovered secrets that were then unknown to the mass of mankind, and which they carefully preserved in their own exclusive keeping, to give them what might seem ocular demonstration, that Tammuz, who had been slain, and for whom such lamentations had been made, was still alive, and encompassed with divine and heavenly glory. From the lips of one so gloriously revealed, or what was practically the same, from the lips of some unseen priest, speaking in his name from behind the scenes, what could be too wonderful or incredible to be believed? Thus the whole system of the secret Mysteries of Babylon was intended to glorify a dead man; and when once the worship of one dead man was established, the worship of many more was sure to follow. This casts light upon the language of the 106th Psalm, where the Lord, upbraiding Israel for their apostacy, says: "They joined themselves to Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead." Thus, too, the way was paved for bringing in all the abominations and crimes of which the Mysteries became the scenes; for, to those who liked not to retain God in their knowledge, who preferred some visible object of worship, suited to the sensuous feelings of their carnal minds, nothing could seem a more cogent reason for faith or practice than to hear with their own ears a command given forth amid so glorious a manifestation apparently by the very divinity they adored.
The scheme, thus skilfully formed, took effect. Semiramis gained glory from her dead and deified husband; and in course of time both of them, under the names of Rhea and Nin, or "Goddess-Mother and Son," were worshipped with an enthusiasm that was incredible, and their images were everywhere set up and adored. *
* It would seem that no public idolatry was ventured upon till the reign of the grandson of Semiramis, Arioch or Arius. (Cedreni Compendium)
Wherever the Negro aspect of Nimrod was found an obstacle to his worship, this was very easily obviated. According to the Chaldean doctrine of the transmigration of souls, all that was needful was just to teach that Ninus had reappeared in the person of a posthumous son, of a fair complexion, supernaturally borne by his widowed wife after the father had gone to glory. As the licentious and dissolute life of Semiramis gave her many children, for whom no ostensible father on earth would be alleged, a plea like this would at once sanctify sin, and enable her to meet the feelings of those who were disaffected to the true worship of Jehovah, and yet might have not fancy to bow down before a Negro divinity. From the light reflected on Babylon by Egypt, as well as from the form of the extant images of the Babylonian child in the arms of the goddess-mother, we have every reason to believe that this was actually done. In Egypt the fair Horus, the son of the black Osiris, who was the favourite object of worship, in the arms of the goddess Isis, was said to have been miraculously born in consequence of a connection, on the part of that goddess, with Osiris after his death, and, in point of fact, to have been a new incarnation of that god, to avenge his death on his murderers. It is wonderful to find in what widely-severed countries, and amongst what millions of the human race at this day, who never saw a Negro, a Negro god is worshipped. But yet, as we shall afterwards see, among the civilised nations of antiquity, Nimrod almost everywhere fell into disrepute, and was deposed from his original pre-eminence, expressly ob deformitatem, "on account of his ugliness." Even in Babylon itself, the posthumous child, as identified with his father, and inheriting all his father's glory, yet possessing more of his mother's complexion, came to be the favourite type of the Madonna's divine son.
This son, thus worshipped in his mother's arms, was looked upon as invested with all the attributes, and called by almost all the names of the promised Messiah. As Christ, in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, was called Adonai, The Lord, so Tammuz was called Adon or Adonis. Under the name of Mithras, he was worshipped as the "Mediator." As Mediator and head of the covenant of grace, he was styled Baal-berith, Lord of the Covenant (Fig. 24) - (Judges 8:33). In this character he is represented in Persian monuments as seated on the rainbow, the well known symbol of the covenant. In India, under the name of Vishnu, the Preserver or Saviour of men, though a god, he was worshipped as the great "Victim-Man," who before the worlds were, because there was nothing else to offer, offered himself as a sacrifice. The Hindoo sacred writings teach that this mysterious offering before all creation is the foundation of all the sacrifices that have ever been offered since. *
* In the exercise of his office as the Remedial god, Vishnu is said to "extract the thorns of the three worlds." (MOOR'S Pantheon) "Thorns" were a symbol of the curse--Genesis 3:18.
Do any marvel at such a statement being found in the sacred books of a Pagan mythology? Why should they? Since sin entered the world there has been only one way of salvation, and that through the blood of the everlasting covenant--a way that all mankind once knew, from the days of righteous Abel downwards. When Abel, "by faith," offered unto God his more excellent sacrifice than that of Cain, it was his faith "in the blood of the Lamb slain," in the purpose of God "from the foundation of the world," and in due time to be actually offered up on Calvary, that gave all the "excellence" to his offering. If Abel knew of "the blood of the Lamb," why should Hindoos not have known of it? One little word shows that even in Greece the virtue of "the blood of God" had once been known, though that virtue, as exhibited in its poets, was utterly obscured and degraded. That word is Ichor. Every reader of the bards of classic Greece knows that Ichor is the term peculiarly appropriated to the blood of a divinity. Thus Homer refers to it:
"From the clear vein the immortal Ichor flowed,
Such stream as issues from a wounded god,
Pure emanation, uncorrupted flood,
Unlike our gross, diseased terrestrial blood."
Such stream as issues from a wounded god,
Pure emanation, uncorrupted flood,
Unlike our gross, diseased terrestrial blood."
Now, what is the proper meaning of the term Ichor? In Greek it has no etymological meaning whatever; but, in Chaldee, Ichor signifies "The precious thing." Such a name, applied to the blood of a divinity, could have only one origin. It bears its evidence on the very face of it, as coming from that grand patriarchal tradition, that led Abel to look forward to the "precious blood" of Christ, the most "precious" gift that love Divine could give to a guilty world, and which, while the blood of the only genuine "Victim-Man," is at the same time, in deed and in truth, "The blood of God" (Acts 20:28). Even in Greece itself, though the doctrine was utterly perverted, it was not entirely lost. It was mingled with falsehood and fable, it was hid from the multitude; but yet, in the secret mystic system it necessarily occupied an important place. As Servius tells us that the grand purpose of the Bacchic orgies "was the purification of souls," and as in these orgies there was regularly the tearing asunder and the shedding of the blood of an animal, in memory of the shedding of the life's blood of the great divinity commemorated in them, could this symbolical shedding of the blood of that divinity have no bearing on the "purification" from sin, these mystic rites were intended to effect? We have seen that the sufferings of the Babylonian Zoroaster and Belus were expressly represented as voluntary, and as submitted to for the benefit of the world, and that in connection with crushing the great serpent's head, which implied the removal of sin and the curse. If the Grecian Bacchus was just another form of the Babylonian divinity, then his sufferings and blood-shedding must have been represented as having been undergone for the same purpose--viz., for the "purification of souls." From this point of view, let the well known name of Bacchus in Greece be looked at. The name was Dionysus or Dionusos. What is the meaning of that name? Hitherto it has defied all interpretation. But deal with it as belonging to the language of that land from which the god himself originally came, and the meaning is very plain. D'ion-nuso-s signifies "THE SIN-BEARER," * a name entirely appropriate to the character of him whose sufferings were represented as so mysterious, and who was looked up to as the great "purifier of souls."
* The expression used in Exodus 28:38, for "bearing iniquity" or in a vicarious manner is "nsha eon" (the first letter eon being ayn). A synonym for eon, "iniquity," is aon (the first letter being aleph). In Chaldee the first letter a becomes i, and therefore aon, "iniquity," is ion. Then nsha "to bear," in the participle active is "nusha." As the Greeks had no sh, that became nusa. De, or Da, is the demonstrative pronoun signifying "That" or "The great." And thus "D'ion-nusa" is exactly "The great sin-bearer." That the classic Pagans had the very idea of the imputation of sin, and of vicarious suffering, is proved by what Ovid says in regard to Olenos. Olenos is said to have taken upon him and willingly to have borne the blame of guilt of which he was innocent. Under the load of this imputed guilt, voluntarily taken upon himself, Olenos is represented as having suffered such horror as to have perished, being petrified or turned into stone. As the stone into which Olenos was changed was erected on the holy mountain of Ida, that shows that Olenos must have been regarded as a sacred person. The real character of Olenos, as the "sin-bearer," can be very fully established.
Now, this Babylonian god, known in Greece as "The sin-bearer," and in India as the "Victim-Man," among the Buddhists of the East, the original elements of whose system are clearly Babylonian, was commonly addressed as the "Saviour of the world." It has been all along well enough known that the Greeks occasionally worshipped the supreme god under the title of "Zeus the Saviour"; but this title was thought to have reference only to deliverance in battle, or some suck-like temporal deliverance. But when it is known that "Zeus the Saviour" was only a title of Dionysus, the "sin-bearing Bacchus," his character, as "The Saviour," appears in quite a different light. In Egypt, the Chaldean god was held up as the great object of love and adoration, as the god through whom "goodness and truth were revealed to mankind." He was regarded as the predestined heir of all things; and, on the day of his birth, it was believed that a voice was heard to proclaim, "The Lord of all the earth is born." In this character he was styled "King of kings, and Lord of lords," it being as a professed representative of this hero-god that the celebrated Sesostris caused this very title to be added to his name on the monuments which he erected to perpetuate the fame of his victories. Not only was he honoured as the great "World King," he was regarded as Lord of the invisible world, and "Judge of the dead"; and it was taught that, in the world of spirits, all must appear before his dread tribunal, to have their destiny assigned them. As the true Messiah was prophesied of under the title of the "Man whose name was the branch," he was celebrated not only as the "Branch of Cush," but as the "Branch of God," graciously given to the earth for healing all the ills that flesh is heir to. * He was worshipped in Babylon under the name of El-Bar, or "God the Son." Under this very name he is introduced by Berosus, the Chaldean historian, as the second in the list of Babylonian sovereigns. **
* This is the esoteric meaning of Virgil's "Golden Branch," and of the Mistletoe Branch of the Druids. The proof of this must be reserved to the Apocalypse of the Past. I may remark, however, in passing, on the wide extent of the worship of a sacred branch. Not only do the Negroes in Africa in the worship of the Fetiche, on certain occasions, make use of a sacred branch (HURD'S Rites and Ceremonies), but even in India there are traces of the same practice. My brother, S. Hislop, Free Church Missionary at Nagpore, informs me that the late Rajah of Nagpore used every year, on a certain day, to go in state to worship the branch of a particular species of tree, called Apta, which had been planted for the occasion, and which, after receiving divine honours, was plucked up, and its leaves distributed by the native Prince among his nobles. In the streets of the city numerous boughs of the same kind of tree were sold, and the leaves presented to friends under the name of sona, or "gold."
** BEROSUS, in BUNSEN'S Egypt. The name "El-Bar" is given above in the Hebrew form, as being more familiar to the common reader of the English Bible. The Chaldee form of the name is Ala-Bar, which in the Greek of Berosus, is Ala-Par, with the ordinary Greek termination os affixed to it. The change of Bar into Par in Greek is just on the same principle as Ab, "father," in Greek becomes Appa, and Bard, the "spotted one," becomes Pardos, &c. This name, Ala-Bar, was probably given by Berosus to Ninyas as the legitimate son and successor of Nimrod. That Ala-Par-os was really intended to designate the sovereign referred to, as "God the Son," or "the Son of God," is confirmed by another reading of the same name as given in Greek. There the name is Alasparos. Now Pyrsiporus, as applied to Bacchus, means Ignigena, or the "Seed of Fire"; and Ala-sporos, the "Seed of God," is just a similar expression formed in the same way, the name being Grecised.
Under this name he has been found in the sculptures of Nineveh by Layard, the name Bar "the Son," having the sign denoting El or "God" prefixed to it. Under the same name he has been found by Sir H. Rawlinson, the names "Beltis" and the "Shining Bar" being in immediate juxtaposition. Under the name of Bar he was worshipped in Egypt in the earliest times, though in later times the god Bar was degraded in the popular Pantheon, to make way for another more popular divinity. In Pagan Rome itself, as Ovid testifies, he was worshipped under the name of the "Eternal Boy." * Thus daringly and directly was a mere mortal set up in Babylon in opposition to the "Son of the Blessed."
* To understand the true meaning of the above expression, reference must be had to a remarkable form of oath among the Romans. In Rome the most sacred form of an oath was (as we learn from AULUS GELLIUS), "By Jupiter the STONE." This, as it stands, is nonsense. But translate "lapidem" [stone] back into the sacred tongue, or Chaldee, and the oath stands, "By Jove, the Son," or "By the son of Jove." Ben, which in Hebrew is Son, in Chaldee becomes Eben, which also signifies a stone, as may be seen in "Eben-ezer," "The stone of help." Now as the most learned inquirers into antiquity have admitted that the Roman Jovis, which was anciently the nominative, is just a form of the Hebrew Jehovah, it is evident that the oath had originally been, "by the son of Jehovah." This explains how the most solemn and binding oath had been taken in the form above referred to; and,it shows, also, what was really meant when Bacchus, "the son of Jovis," was called "the Eternal Boy." (OVID, Metam.)
[Back]Olenos, the Sin-Bearer[Back] Olenos, the Sin-Bearer
In different portions of this work evidence has been brought to show that Saturn, "the father of gods and men," was in one aspect just our first parent Adam. Now, of Saturn it is said that he devoured all his children. *
* Sometimes he is said to have devoured only his male children; but see SMITH'S (Larger) Classical Dictionary, "Hera," where it will be found that the female as well as the male were devoured.
In the exoteric story, among those who knew not the actual fact referred to, this naturally appeared in the myth, in the shape in which we commonly find it--viz., that he devoured them all as soon as they were born. But that which was really couched under the statement, in regard to his devouring his children, was just the Scriptural fact of the Fall--viz., that he destroyed them by eating--not by eating them, but by eating the forbidden fruit. When this was the sad and dismal state of matters, the Pagan story goes on to say that the destruction of the children of the father of gods and men was arrested by means of his wife, Rhea. Rhea, as we have already seen, had really as much to do with the devouring of Saturn's children, as Saturn himself; but, in the progress of idolatry and apostacy, Rhea, or Eve, came to get glory at Saturn's expense. Saturn, or Adam, was represented as a morose divinity; Rhea, or Eve, exceedingly benignant; and, in her benignity, she presented to her husband a stone bound in swaddling bands, which he greedily devoured, and henceforth the children of the cannibal father were safe. The stone bound in swaddling bands is, in the sacred language, "Ebn Hatul"; but Ebn-Hat-tul * also signifies "A sin-bearing son."
* Hata, "sin," is found also in Chaldee, Hat. Tul is from Ntl, "to support." If the reader will look at Horus with his swathes (BRYANT); Diana with the bandages round her legs; the symbolic bull of the Persian swathed in like manner, and even the shapeless log of the Tahitians, used as a god and bound about with ropes (WILLIAMS); he will see, I think, that there must be some important mystery in this swathing.
This does not necessarily mean that Eve, or the mother of mankind, herself actually brought forth the promised seed (although there are many myths also to that effect), but that, having received the glad tidings herself, and embraced it, she presented it to her husband, who received it by faith from her, and that this laid the foundation of his own salvation and that of his posterity. The devouring on the part of Saturn of the swaddled stone is just the symbolical expression of the eagerness with which Adam by faith received the good news of the woman's seed; for the act of faith, both in the Old Testament and in the New, is symbolised by eating. Thus Jeremiah says, "Thy words were found of me, and I did eat them, and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart" (Jer 15:16). This also is strongly shown by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who, while setting before the Jews the indispensable necessity of eating His flesh, and feeding on Him, did at the same time say: "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). That Adam eagerly received the good news about the promised seed, and treasured it up in his heart as the life of his soul, is evident from the name which he gave to his wife immediately after hearing it: "And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living ones" (Gen 3:20).
The story of the swaddled stone does not end with the swallowing of it, and the arresting of the ruin of the children of Saturn. This swaddled stone was said to be "preserved near the temple of Delphi, where care was taken to anoint it daily with oil, and to cover it with wool" (MAURICE'S Indian Antiquities). If this stone symbolised the "sin-bearing son," it of course symbolised also the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, in whose symbolic covering our first parents were invested when God clothed them in the coats of skins. Therefore, though represented to the eye as a stone, he must have the appropriate covering of wool. When represented as a branch, the branch of God, the branch also was wrapped in wool (POTTER, Religion of Greece). The daily anointing with oil is very significant. If the stone represented the "sin-bearing son," what could the anointing of that "sin-bearing son" daily with oil mean, but just to point him out as the "Lord's Anointed," or the "Messiah," whom the idolatrous worshipped in opposition to the true Messiah yet to be revealed?
One of the names by which this swaddled and anointed stone was called is very strikingly confirmatory of the above conclusion. That name is Baitulos. This we find from Priscian, who, speaking of "that stone which Saturn is said to have devoured for Jupiter," adds, whom the Greeks called "Baitulos." Now, "B'hai-tuloh" signifies the "Life-restoring child." *
* From Tli, Tleh, or Tloh, "Infans puer" (CLAVIS STOCKII, Chald.), and Hia, or Haya, "to live, to restore life." (GESENIUS) From Hia, "to live," with digamma prefixed, comes the Greek "life." That Hia, when adopted into Greek, was also pronounced Haya, we have evidence in he noun Hiim, "life," pronounced Hayyim, which in Greek is represented by "blood." The Mosaic principle, that "the blood was the life," is thus proved to have been known by others besides the Jews. Now Haya, "to live or restore life," with the digamma prefixed, becomes B'haya: and so in Egypt, we find that Bai signified "soul," or "spirit" (BUNSEN), which is the living principle. B'haitulos, then, is the "Life-restoring child." P'haya-n is the same god.
The father of gods and men had destroyed his children by eating; but the reception of "the swaddled stone" is said to have "restored them to life" (HESIOD, Theogon.). Hence the name Baitulos; and this meaning of the name is entirely in accordance with what is said in Sanchuniathon about the Baithulia made by the Phoenician god Ouranos: "It was the god Ouranos who devised Baithulia, contriving stones that moved as having life." If the stone Baitulos represented the "life-restoring child," it was natural that that stone should be made, if possible, to appear as having "life" in itself.
Now, there is a great analogy between this swaddled stone that represented the "sin-bearing son," and that Olenos mentioned by Ovid, who took on him guilt not his own, and in consequence was changed into a stone. We have seen already that Olenos, when changed into a stone, was set up in Phrygia on the holy mountain of Ida. We have reason to believe that the stone which was fabled to have done so much for the children of Saturn, and was set up near the temple of Delphi, was just a representation of this same Olenos. We find that Olen was the first prophet at Delphi, who founded the first temple there (PAUSA Phocica). As the prophets and priests generally bore the names of the gods whom they represented (Hesychius expressly tells us that the priest who represented the great god under the name of the branch in the mysteries was himself called by the name of Bacchus), this indicates one of the ancient names of the god of Delphi. If, then, there was a sacred stone on Mount Ida called the stone of Olenos, and a sacred stone in the precincts of the temple of Delphi, which Olen founded, can there be a doubt that the sacred stone of Delphi represented the same as was represented by the sacred stone of Ida? The swaddled stone set up at Delphi is expressly called by Priscian, in the place already cited, "a god." This god, then, that in symbol was divinely anointed, and was celebrated as having restored to life the children of Saturn, father of gods and men, as identified with the Idaean Olenos, is proved to have been regarded as occupying the very place of the Messiah, the great Sin-bearer, who came to bear the sins of men, and took their place and suffered in their room and stead; for Olenos, as we have seen, voluntarily took on him guilt of which he was personally free.
While thus we have seen how much of the patriarchal faith was hid under the mystical symbols of Paganism, there is yet a circumstance to be noted in regard to the swaddled stone, that shows how the Mystery of Iniquity in Rome has contrived to import this swaddled stone of Paganism into what is called Christian symbolism. The Baitulos, or swaddled stone, was a round or globular stone. This globular stone is frequently represented swathed and bound, sometimes with more, sometimes with fewer bandages. In BRYANT, where the goddess Cybele is represented as "Spes Divina," or Divine hope, we see the foundation of this divine hope held out to the world in the representation of the swaddled stone at her right hand, bound with four different swathes. In DAVID'S Antiquites Etrusques, we find a goddess represented with Pandora's box, the source of all ill, in her extended hand, and the swaddled globe depending from it; and in this case that globe has only two bandages, the one crossing the other. And what is this bandage globe of Paganism but just the counterpart of that globe, with a band around it, and the mystic Tau, or cross, on the top of it, that is called "the type of dominion," and is frequently represented, as in the accompanying woodcut (Fig. 60), in the hands of the profane representations of God the Father. The reader does not now need to be told that the cross is the chosen sign and mark of that very God whom the swaddled stone represented; and that when that God was born, it was said, "The Lord of all the earth is born" (WILKINSON). As the god symbolised by the swaddled stone not only restored the children of Saturn to life, but restored the lordship of the earth to Saturn himself, which by transgression he had lost, it is not to be wondered at that it is said of "these consecrated stones," that while "some were dedicated to Jupiter, and others to the sun," "they were considered in a more particular manner sacred to Saturn," the Father of the gods (MAURICE), and that Rome, in consequence, has put the round stone into the hand of the image, bearing the profaned name of God the Father attached to it, and that from his source the bandaged globe, surmounted with the mark of Tammuz, has become the symbol of dominion throughout all Papal Europe.
The Sign of the Cross
There is yet one more symbol of the Romish worship to be noticed, and that is the sign of the cross. In the Papal system as is well known, the sign of the cross and the image of the cross are all in all. No prayer can be said, no worship engaged in, no step almost can be taken, without the frequent use of the sign of the cross. The cross is looked upon as the grand charm, as the great refuge in every season of danger, in every hour of temptation as the infallible preservative from all the powers of darkness. The cross is adored with all the homage due only to the Most High; and for any one to call it, in the hearing of a genuine Romanist, by the Scriptural term, "the accursed tree," is a mortal offence. To say that such superstitious feeling for the sign of the cross, such worship as Rome pays to a wooden or a metal cross, ever grew out of the saying of Paul, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ"--that is, in the doctrine of Christ crucified--is a mere absurdity, a shallow subterfuge and pretence. The magic virtues attributed to the so-called sign of the cross, the worship bestowed on it, never came from such a source. The same sign of the cross that Rome now worships was used in the Babylonian Mysteries, was applied by Paganism to the same magic purposes, was honoured with the same honours. That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians--the true original form of the letter T--the initial of the name of Tammuz--which, in Hebrew, radically the same as ancient Chaldee, as found on coins, was formed as in No. 1 of the accompanying woodcut (Fig. 43); and in Etrurian and Coptic, as in Nos. 2 and 3. That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated in the Mysteries, * and was used in every variety of way as a most sacred symbol.
* TERTULLIAN, De Proescript. Hoeret. The language of Tertullian implies that those who were initiated by baptism in the Mysteries were marked on the forehead in the same way, as his Christian countrymen in Africa, who had begun by this time to be marked in baptism with the sign of the cross.
To identify Tammuz with the sun it was joined sometimes to the circle of the sun, as in No. 4; sometimes it was inserted in the circle, as in No. 5. Whether the Maltese cross, which the Romish bishops append to their names as a symbol of their episcopal dignity, is the letter T, may be doubtful; but there seems no reason to doubt that that Maltese cross is an express symbol of the sun; for Layard found it as a sacred symbol in Nineveh in such a connection as led him to identify it with the sun. The mystic Tau, as the symbol of the great divinity, was called "the sign of life"; it was used as an amulet over the heart; it was marked on the official garments of the priests, as on the official garments of the priests of Rome; it was borne by kings in their hand, as a token of their dignity or divinely-conferred authority. The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome wore it suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns do now. The Egyptians did the same, and many of the barbarous nations with whom they had intercourse, as the Egyptian monuments bear witness. In reference to the adorning of some of these tribes, Wilkinson thus writes: "The girdle was sometimes highly ornamented; men as well as women wore earrings; and they frequently had a small cross suspended to a necklace, or to the collar of their dress. The adoption of this last was not peculiar to them; it was also appended to, or figured upon, the robes of the Rot-n-no; and traces of it may be seen in the fancy ornaments of the Rebo, showing that it was already in use as early as the fifteenth century before the Christian era." (Fig. 44). There is hardly a Pagan tribe where the cross has not been found. The cross was worshipped by the Pagan Celts long before the incarnation and death of Christ. "It is a fact," says Maurice, "not less remarkable than well-attested, that the Druids in their groves were accustomed to select the most stately and beautiful tree as an emblem of the Deity they adored, and having cut the side branches, they affixed two of the largest of them to the highest part of the trunk, in such a manner that those branches extended on each side like the arms of a man, and, together with the body, presented the appearance of a HUGE CROSS, and on the bark, in several places, was also inscribed the letter Thau." It was worshipped in Mexico for ages before the Roman Catholic missionaries set foot there, large stone crosses being erected, probably to the "god of rain." The cross thus widely worshipped, or regarded as a sacred emblem, was the unequivocal symbol of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah, for he was represented with a head-band covered with crosses (See Fig. 45). This symbol of the Babylonian god is reverenced at this day in all the wide wastes of Tartary, where Buddhism prevails, and the way in which it is represented among them forms a striking commentary on the language applied by Rome to the Cross. "The cross," says Colonel Wilford, in the Asiatic Researches, "though not an object of worship among the Baud'has or Buddhists, is a favourite emblem and device among them. It is exactly the cross of the Manicheans, with leaves and flowers springing from it. This cross, putting forth leaves and flowers (and fruit also, as I am told), is called the divine tree, the tree of the gods, the tree of life and knowledge, and productive of whatever is good and desirable, and is placed in the terrestrial paradise." (Fig. 46). Compare this with the language of Rome applied to the cross, and it will be seen how exact is the coincidence. In the Office of the Cross, it is called the "Tree of life," and the worshippers are taught thus to address it: "Hail, O Cross, triumphal wood, true salvation of the world, among trees there is none like thee in leaf, flower, and bud...O Cross, our only hope, increase righteousness to the godly and pardon the offences of the guilty." *
* The above was actually versified by the Romanisers in the Church of England, and published along with much besides from the same source, some years ago, in a volume entitled Devotions on the Passion. The London Record, of April, 1842, gave the following as a specimen of the "Devotions" provided by these "wolves in sheep's clothing" for members of the Church of England:--
"O faithful cross, thou peerless tree,
No forest yields the like of thee,
Leaf, flower, and bud;
Sweet is the wood, and sweet the weight,
And sweet the nails that penetrate
Thee, thou sweet wood."
No forest yields the like of thee,
Leaf, flower, and bud;
Sweet is the wood, and sweet the weight,
And sweet the nails that penetrate
Thee, thou sweet wood."
Can any one, reading the gospel narrative of the crucifixion, possibly believe that that narrative of itself could ever germinate into such extravagance of "leaf, flower, and bud," as thus appears in this Roman Office? But when it is considered that the Buddhist, like the Babylonian cross, was the recognised emblem of Tammuz, who was known as the mistletoe branch, or "All-heal," then it is easy to see how the sacred Initial should be represented as covered with leaves, and how Rome, in adopting it, should call it the "Medicine which preserves the healthful, heals the sick, and does what mere human power alone could never do."
Now, this Pagan symbol seems first to have crept into the Christian Church in Egypt, and generally into Africa. A statement of Tertullian, about the middle of the third century, shows how much, by that time, the Church of Carthage was infected with the old leaven. Egypt especially, which was never thoroughly evangelised, appears to have taken the lead in bringing in this Pagan symbol. The first form of that which is called the Christian Cross, found on Christian monuments there, is the unequivocal Pagan Tau, or Egyptian "Sign of life." Let the reader peruse the following statement of Sir G. Wilkinson: "A still more curious fact may be mentioned respecting this hieroglyphical character [the Tau], that the early Christians of Egypt adopted it in lieu of the cross, which was afterwards substituted for it, prefixing it to inscriptions in the same manner as the cross in later times. For, though Dr. Young had some scruples in believing the statement of Sir A. Edmonstone, that it holds that position in the sepulchres of the great Oasis, I can attest that such is the case, and that numerous inscriptions, headed by the Tau, are preserved to the present day on early Christian monuments." The drift of this statement is evidently this, that in Egypt the earliest form of that which has since been called the cross, was no other than the "Crux Ansata," or "Sign of life," borne by Osiris and all the Egyptian gods; that the ansa or "handle" was afterwards dispensed with, and that it became the simple Tau, or ordinary cross, as it appears at this day, and that the design of its first employment on the sepulchres, therefore, could have no reference to the crucifixion of the Nazarene, but was simply the result of the attachment to old and long-cherished Pagan symbols, which is always strong in those who, with the adoption of the Christian name and profession, are still, to a large extent, Pagan in heart and feeling. This, and this only, is the origin of the worship of the "cross."
This, no doubt, will appear all very strange and very incredible to those who have read Church history, as most have done to a large extent, even amongst Protestants, through Romish spectacles; and especially to those who call to mind the famous story told of the miraculous appearance of the cross to Constantine on the day before the decisive victory at the Milvian bridge, that decided the fortunes of avowed Paganism and nominal Christianity. That story, as commonly told, if true, would certainly give a Divine sanction to the reverence for the cross. But that story, when sifted to the bottom, according to the common version of it, will be found to be based on a delusion--a delusion, however, into which so good a man as Milner has allowed himself to fall. Milner's account is as follows: "Constantine, marching from France into Italy against Maxentius, in an expedition which was likely either to exalt or to ruin him, was oppressed with anxiety. Some god he thought needful to protect him; the God of the Christians he was most inclined to respect, but he wanted some satisfactory proof of His real existence and power, and he neither understood the means of acquiring this, nor could he be content with the atheistic indifference in which so many generals and heroes since his time have acquiesced. He prayed, he implored with such vehemence and importunity, and God left him not unanswered. While he was marching with his forces in the afternoon, the trophy of the cross appeared very luminous in the heavens, brighter than the sun, with this inscription, 'Conquer by this.' He and his soldiers were astonished at the sight; but he continued pondering on the event till night. And Christ appeared to him when asleep with the same sign of the cross, and directed him to make use of the symbol as his military ensign." Such is the statement of Milner. Now, in regard to the "trophy of the cross," a few words will suffice to show that it is utterly unfounded. I do not think it necessary to dispute the fact of some miraculous sign having been given. There may, or there may not, have been on this occasion a "dignus vindice nodus," a crisis worthy of a Divine interposition. Whether, however, there was anything out of the ordinary course, I do not inquire. But this I say, on the supposition that Constantine in this matter acted in good faith, and that there actually was a miraculous appearance in the heavens, that it as not the sign of the cross that was seen, but quite a different thing, the name of Christ. That this was the case, we have at once the testimony of Lactantius, who was the tutor of Constantine's son Crispus--the earliest author who gives any account of the matter, and the indisputable evidence of the standards of Constantine themselves, as handed down to us on medals struck at the time. The testimony of Lactantius is most decisive: "Constantine was warned in a dream to make the celestial sign of God upon his solders' shields, and so to join battle. He did as he was bid, and with the transverse letter X circumflecting the head of it, he marks Christ on their shields. Equipped with this sign, his army takes the sword." Now, the letter X was just the initial of the name of Christ, being equivalent in Greek to CH. If, therefore, Constantine did as he was bid, when he made "the celestial sign of God" in the form of "the letter X," it was that "letter X," as the symbol of "Christ" and not the sign of the cross, which he saw in the heavens. When the Labarum, or far-famed standard of Constantine itself, properly so called, was made, we have the evidence of Ambrose, the well-known Bishop of Milan, that that standard was formed on the very principle contained in the statement of Lactantius--viz., simply to display the Redeemer's name. He calls it "Labarum, hoc est Christi sacratum nomine signum."--"The Labarum, that is, the ensign consecrated by the NAME of Christ." *
* Epistle of Ambrose to the Emperor Theodosius about the proposal to restore the Pagan altar of Victory in the Roman Senate. The subject of the Labarum has been much confused through ignorance of the meaning of the word. Bryant assumes (and I was myself formerly led away by the assumption) that it was applied to the standard bearing the crescent and the cross, but he produces no evidence for the assumption; and I am now satisfied that none can be produced. The name Labarum, which is generally believed to have come from the East, treated as an Oriental word, gives forth its meaning at once. It evidently comes from Lab, "to vibrate," or "move to and fro," and ar "to be active." Interpreted thus, Labarum signifies simply a banner or flag, "waving to and fro" in the wind, and this entirely agrees with the language of Ambrose "an ensign consecrated by the name of Christ," which implies a banner.
There is not the slightest allusion to any cross--to anything but the simple name of Christ. While we have these testimonies of Lactantius and Ambrose, when we come to examine the standard of Constantine, we find the accounts of both authors fully borne out; we find that that standard, bearing on it these very words, "Hoc signo victor eris," "In this sign thou shalt be a conqueror," said to have been addressed from heaven to the emperor, has nothing at all in the shape of a cross, but "the letter X." In the Roman Catacombs, on a Christian monument to "Sinphonia and her sons," there is a distinct allusion to the story of the vision; but that allusion also shows that the X, and not the cross, was regarded as the "heavenly sign." The words at the head of the inscription are these: "In Hoc Vinces [In this thou shalt overcome] X." Nothing whatever but the X is here given as the "Victorious Sign." There are some examples, no doubt, of Constantine's standard, in which there is a cross-bar, from which the flag is suspended, that contains that "letter X"; and Eusebius, who wrote when superstition and apostacy were working, tries hard to make it appear that that cross-bar was the essential element in the ensign of Constantine. But this is obviously a mistake; that cross-bar was nothing new, nothing peculiar to Constantine's standard. Tertullian shows that that cross-bar was found long before on the vexillum, the Roman Pagan standard, that carried a flag; and it was used simply for the purpose of displaying that flag. If, therefore, that cross-bar was the "celestial sign," it needed no voice from heaven to direct Constantine to make it; nor would the making or displaying of it have excited any particular attention on the part of those who saw it. We find no evidence at all that the famous legend, "In this overcome," has any reference to this cross-bar; but we find evidence the most decisive that that legend does refer to the X. Now, that that X was not intended as the sign of the cross, but as the initial of Christ's name, is manifest from this, that the Greek P, equivalent to our R, is inserted in the middle of it, making by their union CHR. The standard of Constantine, then, was just the name of Christ. Whether the device came from earth or from heaven--whether it was suggested by human wisdom or Divine, supposing that Constantine was sincere in his Christian profession, nothing more was implied in it than a literal embodiment of the sentiment of the Psalmist, "In the name of the Lord will we display our banners." To display that name on the standards of Imperial Rome was a thing absolutely new; and the sight of that name, there can be little doubt, nerved the Christian soldiers in Constantine's army with more than usual fire to fight and conquer at the Milvian bridge.
In the above remarks I have gone on the supposition that Constantine acted in good faith as a Christian. His good faith, however, has been questioned; and I am not without my suspicions that the X may have been intended to have one meaning to the Christians and another to the Pagans. It is certain that the X was the symbol of the god Ham in Egypt, and as such was exhibited on the breast of his image. Whichever view be taken, however, of Constantine's sincerity, the supposed Divine warrant for reverencing the sign of the cross entirely falls to the ground. In regard to the X, there is no doubt that, by the Christians who knew nothing of secret plots or devices, it was generally taken, as Lactantius declares, as equivalent to the name of "Christ." In this view, therefore, it had no very great attractions for the Pagans, who, even in worshipping Horus, had always been accustomed to make use of the mystic tau or cross, as the "sign of life," or the magical charm that secured all that was good, and warded off everything that was evil. When, therefore, multitudes of the Pagans, on the conversion of Constantine, flocked into the Church, like the semi-Pagans of Egypt, they brought along with them their predilection for the old symbol. The consequence was, that in no great length of time, as apostacy proceeded, the X which in itself was not an unnatural symbol of Christ, the true Messiah, and which had once been regarded as such, was allowed to go entirely into disuse, and the Tau, the sign of the cross, the indisputable sign of Tammuz, the false Messiah, was everywhere substituted in its stead. Thus, by the "sign of the cross," Christ has been crucified anew by those who profess to be His disciples. Now, if these things be matter of historic fact, who can wonder that, in the Romish Church, "the sign of the cross" has always and everywhere been seen to be such an instrument of rank superstition and delusion?
The Child in Assyria
The original of that mother, so widely worshipped, there is reason to believe, was Semiramis, * already referred to, who, it is well known, was worshipped by the Babylonians, and other eastern nations, and that under the name of Rhea, the great Goddess "Mother."
* Sir H. Rawlinson having found evidence at Nineveh, of the existence of a Semiramis about six or seven centuries before the Christian era, seems inclined to regard her as the only Semiramis that ever existed. But this is subversive of all history. The fact that there was a Semiramis in the primeval ages of the world, is beyond all doubt, although some of the exploits of the latter queen have evidently been attributed to her predecessor. Mr. Layard dissents from Sir. H. Rawlinson's opinion.
It was from the son, however, that she derived all her glory and her claims to deification. That son, though represented as a child in his mother's arms, was a person of great stature and immense bodily powers, as well as most fascinating manners. In Scripture he is referred to (Eze 8:14) under the name of Tammuz, but he is commonly known among classical writers under the name of Bacchus, that is, "The Lamented one." *
* From Bakhah "to weep" or "lament." Among the Phoenicians, says Hesychius, "Bacchos means weeping." As the women wept for Tammuz, so did they for Bacchus.
To the ordinary reader the name of Bacchus suggests nothing more than revelry and drunkenness, but it is now well known, that amid all the abominations that attended his orgies, their grand design was professedly "the purification of souls," and that from the guilt and defilement of sin. This lamented one, exhibited and adored as a little child in his mother's arms, seems, in point of fact, to have been the husband of Semiramis, whose name, Ninus, by which he is commonly known in classical history, literally signified "The Son." As Semiramis, the wife, was worshipped as Rhea, whose grand distinguishing character was that of the great goddess "Mother," * the conjunction with her of her husband, under the name of Ninus, or "The Son," was sufficient to originate the peculiar worship of the "Mother and Son," so extensively diffused among the nations of antiquity; and this, no doubt, is the explanation of the fact which has so much puzzled the inquirers into ancient history, that Ninus is sometimes called the husband, and sometimes the son of Semiramis.
* As such Rhea was called by the Greeks, Ammas. Ammas is evidently the Greek form of the Chaldee Ama, "Mother."
This also accounts for the origin of the very same confusion of relationship between Isis and Osiris, the mother and child of the Egyptians; for as Bunsen shows, Osiris was represented in Egypt as at once the son and husband of his mother; and actually bore, as one of his titles of dignity and honour, the name "Husband of the Mother." * This still further casts light on the fact already noticed, that the Indian God Iswara is represented as a babe at the breast of his own wife Isi, or Parvati.
* BUNSEN. It may be observed that this very name "Husband of the Mother," given to Osiris, seems even at this day to be in common use among ourselves, although there is not the least suspicion of the meaning of the term, or whence it has come. Herodotus mentions that when in Egypt, he was astonished to hear the very same mournful but ravishing "Song of Linus," sung by the Egyptians (although under another name), which he had been accustomed to hear in his own native land of Greece. Linus was the same god as the Bacchus of Greece, or Osiris of Egypt; for Homer introduces a boy singing the song of Linus, while the vintage is going on (Ilias), and the Scholiast says that this son was sung in memory of Linus, who was torn in pieces by dogs. The epithet "dogs," applied to those who tore Linus in pieces, is evidently used in a mystical sense, and it will afterwards been seen how thoroughly the other name by which he is known--Narcissus--identifies him with the Greek Bacchus and Egyptian Osiris. In some places in Egypt, for the song of Linus or Osiris, a peculiar melody seems to have been used. Savary says that, in the temple of Abydos, "the priest repeated the seven vowels in the form of hymns, and that musicians were forbid to enter it." (Letters) Strabo, whom Savary refers to, calls the god of that temple Memnon, but we learn from Wilkinson that Osiris was the great god of Abydos, whence it is evident that Memnon and Osiris were only different names of the same divinity. Now the name of Linus or Osiris, as the "husband of his mother," in Egypt, was Kamut (BUNSEN). When Gregory the Great introduced into the Church of Rome what are now called the Gregorian Chants, he got them from the Chaldean mysteries, which had long been established in Rome; for the Roman Catholic priest, Eustace, admits that these chants were largely composed of "Lydian and Phrygian tunes" (Classical Tour), Lydia and Phrygia being among the chief seats in later times of those mysteries, of which the Egyptian mysteries were only a branch. These tunes were sacred--the music of the great god, and in introducing them Gregory introduced the music of Kamut. And thus, to all appearance, has it come to pass, that the name of Osiris or Kamut, "the husband of the mother," is in every-day use among ourselves as the name of the musical scale; for what is the melody of Osiris, consisting of the "seven vowels" formed into a hymn, but--the Gamut?
Now, this Ninus, or "Son," borne in the arms of the Babylonian Madonna, is so described as very clearly to identify him with Nimrod. "Ninus, king of the Assyrians," * says Trogus Pompeius, epitomised by Justin, "first of all changed the contented moderation of the ancient manners, incited by a new passion, the desire of conquest. He was the first who carried on war against his neighbours, and he conquered all nations from Assyria to Lybia, as they were yet unacquainted with the arts of war."
* The name, "Assyrians," as has already been noticed, has a wide latitude of meaning among the classic authors, taking in the Babylonians as well as the Assyrians proper.
This account points directly to Nimrod, and can apply to no other. The account of Diodorus Siculus entirely agrees with it, and adds another trait that goes still further to determine the identity. That account is as follows: "Ninus, the most ancient of the Assyrian kings mentioned in history, performed great actions. Being naturally of a warlike disposition, and ambitious of glory that results from valour, he armed a considerable number of young men that were brave and vigorous like himself, trained them up a long time in laborious exercises and hardships, and by that means accustomed them to bear the fatigues of war, and to face dangers with intrepidity." As Diodorus makes Ninus "the most ancient of the Assyrian kings," and represents him as beginning those wars which raised his power to an extraordinary height by bringing the people of Babylonia under subjection to him, while as yet the city of Babylon was not in existence, this shows that he occupied the very position of Nimrod, of whom the Scriptural account is, that he first "began to be mighty on the earth," and that the "beginning of his kingdom was Babylon." As the Babel builders, when their speech was confounded, were scattered abroad on the face of the earth, and therefore deserted both the city and the tower which they had commenced to build, Babylon as a city, could not properly be said to exist till Nimrod, by establishing his power there, made it the foundation and starting-point of his greatness. In this respect, then, the story of Ninus and of Nimrod exactly harmonise. The way, too, in which Ninus gained his power is the very way in which Nimrod erected his. There can be no doubt that it was by inuring his followers to the toils and dangers of the chase, that he gradually formed them to the use of arms, and so prepared them for aiding him in establishing his dominions; just as Ninus, by training his companions for a long time "in laborious exercises and hardships," qualified them for making him the first of the Assyrian kings.
The conclusions deduced from these testimonies of ancient history are greatly strengthened by many additional considerations. In Genesis 10:11, we find a passage, which, when its meaning is properly understood, casts a very steady light on the subject. That passage, as given in the authorised version, runs thus: "Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh." This speaks of it as something remarkable, that Asshur went out of the land of Shinar, while yet the human race in general went forth from the same land. It goes upon the supposition that Asshur had some sort of divine right to that land, and that he had been, in a manner, expelled from it by Nimrod, while no divine right is elsewhere hinted at in the context, or seems capable of proof. Moreover, it represents Asshur as setting up in the IMMEDIATE NEIGHBOURHOOD of Nimrod as mighty a kingdom as Nimrod himself, Asshur building four cities, one of which is emphatically said to have been "great" (v 12); while Nimrod, on this interpretation, built just the same number of cities, of which none is specially characterised as "great." Now, it is in the last degree improbable that Nimrod would have quietly borne so mighty a rival so near him. To obviate such difficulties as these, it has been proposed to render the words, "out of that land he (Nimrod) went forth into Asshur, or Assyria." But then, according to ordinary usage of grammar, the word in the original should have been "Ashurah," with the sign of motion to a place affixed to it, whereas it is simply Asshur, without any such sign of motion affixed. I am persuaded that the whole perplexity that commentators have hitherto felt in considering this passage, has arisen from supposing that there is a proper name in the passage, where in reality no proper name exists. Asshur is the passive participle of a verb, which, in its Chaldee sense, signifies "to make strong," and, consequently, signifies "being strengthened," or "made strong." Read thus, the whole passage is natural and easy (v 10), "And the beginning of his (Nimrod's) kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh." A beginning naturally implies something to succeed, and here we find it (v 11): "Out of that land he went forth, being made strong, or when he had been made strong (Ashur), and builded Nineveh," &c. Now, this exactly agrees with the statement in the ancient history of Justin: "Ninus strengthened the greatness of his acquired dominion by continued possession. Having subdued, therefore, his neighbours, when, by an accession of forces, being still further strengthened, he went forth against other tribes, and every new victory paved the way for another, he subdued all the peoples of the East." Thus, then, Nimrod, or Ninus, was the builder of Nineveh; and the origin of the name of that city, as "the habitation of Ninus," is accounted for, * and light is thereby, at the same time, cast on the fact, that the name of the chief part of the ruins of Nineveh is Nimroud at this day.
* Nin-neveh, "The habitation of Ninus."
Now, assuming that Ninus is Nimrod, the way in which that assumption explains what is otherwise inexplicable in the statements of ancient history greatly confirms the truth of that assumption itself. Ninus is said to have been the son of Belus or Bel, and Bel is said to have been the founder of Babylon. If Ninus was in reality the first king of Babylon, how could Belus or Bel, his father, be said to be the founder of it? Both might very well be, as will appear if we consider who was Bel, and what we can trace of his doings. If Ninus was Nimrod, who was the historical Bel? He must have been Cush; for "Cush begat Nimrod" (Gen 10:8); and Cush is generally represented as having been a ringleader in the great apostacy. * But again, Cush, as the son of Ham, was Her-mes or Mercury; for Hermes is just an Egyptian synonym for the "son of Ham." **
* See GREGORIUS TURONENSIS, De rerum Franc. Gregory attributes to Cush what was said more generally to have befallen his son; but his statement shows the belief in his day, which is amply confirmed from other sources, that Cush had a pre-eminent share in leading mankind away from the true worship of God.
** The composition of Her-mes is, first, from "Her," which, in Chaldee, is synonymous with Ham, or Khem, "the burnt one." As "her" also, like Ham, signified "The hot or burning one," this name formed a foundation for covertly identifying Ham with the "Sun," and so deifying the great patriarch, after whose name the land of Egypt was called, in connection with the sun. Khem, or Ham, in his own name was openly worshipped in later ages in the land of Ham (BUNSEN); but this would have been too daring at first. By means of "Her," the synonym, however, the way was paved for this. "Her" is the name of Horus, who is identified with the sun (BUNSEN), which shows the real etymology of the name to be from the verb to which I have traced it. Then, secondly, "Mes," is from Mesheh (or, without the last radical, which is omissible), Mesh, "to draw forth." In Egyptian, we have Ms in the sense of "to bring forth" (BUNSEN, Hieroglyphical Signs), which is evidently a different form of the same word. In the passive sense, also, we find Ms used (BUNSEN, Vocabulary). The radical meaning of Mesheh in Stockii Lexicon, is given in Latin "Extraxit," and our English word "extraction," as applied to birth or descent, shows that there is a connection between the generic meaning of this word and birth. This derivation will be found to explain the meaning of the names of the Egyptian kings, Ramesses and Thothmes, the former evidently being "The son of Ra," or the Sun; the latter in like manner, being "The son of Thoth." For the very same reason Her-mes is the "Son of Her, or Ham," the burnt one--that is, Cush.
Now, Hermes was the great original prophet of idolatry; for he was recognised by the pagans as the author of their religious rites, and the interpreter of the gods. The distinguished Gesenius identifies him with the Babylonian Nebo, as the prophetic god; and a statement of Hyginus shows that he was known as the grand agent in that movement which produced the division of tongues. His words are these: "For many ages men lived under the government of Jove [evidently not the Roman Jupiter, but the Jehovah of the Hebrews], without cities and without laws, and all speaking one language. But after that Mercury interpreted the speeches of men (whence an interpreter is called Hermeneutes), the same individual distributed the nations. Then discord began." *
* HYGINUS, Fab. Phoroneus is represented as king at this time.
Here there is a manifest enigma. How could Mercury or Hermes have any need to interpret the speeches of mankind when they "all spake one language"? To find out the meaning of this, we must go to the language of the Mysteries. Peresh, in Chaldee, signifies "to interpret"; but was pronounced by old Egyptians and by Greeks, and often by the Chaldees themselves, in the same way as "Peres," to "divide." Mercury, then, or Hermes, or Cush, "the son of Ham," was the "DIVIDER of the speeches of men." He, it would seem, had been the ringleader in the scheme for building the great city and tower of Babel; and, as the well known title of Hermes,--"the interpreter of the gods," would indicate, had encouraged them, in the name of God, to proceed in their presumptuous enterprise, and so had caused the language of men to be divided, and themselves to be scattered abroad on the face of the earth. Now look at the name of Belus or Bel, given to the father of Ninus, or Nimrod, in connection with this. While the Greek name Belus represented both the Baal and Bel of the Chaldees, these were nevertheless two entirely distinct titles. These titles were both alike often given to the same god, but they had totally different meanings. Baal, as we have already seen, signified "The Lord"; but Bel signified "The Confounder." When, then, we read that Belus, the father of Ninus, was he that built or founded Babylon, can there be a doubt, in what sense it was that the title of Belus was given to him? It must have been in the sense of Bel the "Confounder." And to this meaning of the name of the Babylonian Bel, there is a very distinct allusion in Jeremiah 50:2, where it is said "Bel is confounded," that is, "The Confounder is brought to confusion." That Cush was known to Pagan antiquity under the very character of Bel, "The Confounder," a statement of Ovid very clearly proves. The statement to which I refer is that in which Janus "the god of gods," * from whom all the other gods had their origin, is made to say of himself: "The ancients...called me Chaos."
* Janus was so called in the most ancient hymns of the Salii. (MACROB, Saturn.)
Now, first this decisively shows that Chaos was known not merely as a state of confusion, but as the "god of Confusion." But, secondly, who that is at all acquainted with the laws of Chaldaic pronunciation, does not know that Chaos is just one of the established forms of the name of Chus or Cush? * Then, look at the symbol of Janus, ** (see Fig. 7) whom "the ancients called Chaos," and it will be seen how exactly it tallies with the doings of Cush, when he is identified with Bel, "The Confounder." That symbol is a club; and the name of "a club" in Chaldee comes from the very word which signifies "to break in pieces, or scatter abroad." ***
* The name of Cush is also Khus, for sh frequently passes in Chaldee into s; and Khus, in pronunciation, legitimately becomes Khawos, or, without the digamma, Khaos.
** From Sir WM. BETHAM'S Etruscan Literature and Antiquities Investigated, 1842. The Etruscan name on the reverse of a medal--Bel-athri, "Lord of spies," is probably given to Janus, in allusion to his well known title "Janus Tuens," which may be rendered "Janus the Seer," or "All-seeing Janus."
*** In Proverbs 25:18, a maul or club is "Mephaitz." In Jeremiah 51:20, the same word, without the Jod, is evidently used for a club (though, in our version, it is rendered battle-axe); for the use of it is not to cut asunder, but to "break in pieces." See the whole passage.
He who caused the confusion of tongues was he who "broke" the previously united earth (Gen 11:1) "in pieces," and "scattered" the fragments abroad. How significant, then, as a symbol, is the club, as commemorating the work of Cush, as Bel, the "Confounder"? And that significance will be all the more apparent when the reader turns to the Hebrew of Genesis 11:9, and finds that the very word from which a club derives its name is that which is employed when it is said, that in consequence of the confusion of tongues, the children of men were "scattered abroad on the face of all the earth." The word there used for scattering abroad is Hephaitz, which, in the Greek form becomes Hephaizt, * and hence the origin of the well known but little understood name of Hephaistos, as applied to Vulcan, "The father of the gods." **
* There are many instances of a similar change. Thus Botzra becomes in Greek, Bostra; and Mitzraim, Mestraim.
** Vulcan, in the classical Pantheon, had not commonly so high a place, but in Egypt Hephaistos, or Vulcan, was called "Father of the gods." (AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS)
Hephaistos is the name of the ringleader in the first rebellion, as "The Scatterer abroad," as Bel is the name of the same individual as the "Confounder of tongues." Here, then, the reader may see the real origin of Vulcan's Hammer, which is just another name for the club of Janus or Chaos, "The god of Confusion"; and to this, as breaking the earth in pieces, there is a covert allusion in Jeremiah 50:23, where Babylon, as identified with its primeval god, is thus apostrophised: "How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken"! Now, as the tower-building was the first act of open rebellion after the flood, and Cush, as Bel, was the ringleader in it, he was, of course, the first to whom the name Merodach, "The great Rebel," * must have been given, and, therefore, according to the usual parallelism of the prophetic language, we find both names of the Babylonian god referred to together, when the judgment on Babylon is predicted: "Bel is confounded: Merodach is broken in pieces" (Jer 1:2).
* Merodach comes from Mered, to rebel; and Dakh, the demonstrative pronoun affixed, which makes it emphatic, signifying "That" or "The great."
The judgment comes upon the Babylonian god according to what he had done. As Bel, he had "confounded" the whole earth, therefore he is "confounded." As Merodach, by the rebellion he had stirred up, he had "broken" the united world in pieces; therefore he himself is "broken in pieces."
So much for the historical character of Bel, as identified with Janus or Chaos, the god of confusion, with his symbolical club. *
* While the names Bel and Hephaistos had the origin above referred to, they were not inappropriate names also, though in a different sense, for the war-gods descending from Cush, from whom Babylon derived its glory among the nations. The warlike deified kings of the line of Cush gloried in their power to carry confusion among their enemies, to scatter their armies, and to "break the earth in pieces" by their resistless power. To this, no doubt, as well as to the acts of the primeval Bel, there is allusion in the inspired denunciations of Jeremiah on Babylon. The physical sense also of these names was embodied in the club given to the Grecian Hercules--the very club of Janus--when, in a character quite different from that of the original Hercules, he was set up as the great reformer of the world, by mere physical force. When two-headed Janus with the club is represented, the two-fold representation was probably intended to represent old Cush, and young Cush or Nimrod, as combined. But the two-fold representation with other attributes, had reference also to another "Father of the gods," afterwards to be noticed, who had specially to do with water.
Proceeding, then, on these deductions, it is not difficult to see how it might be said that Bel or Belus, the father of Ninus, founded Babylon, while, nevertheless, Ninus or Nimrod was properly the builder of it. Now, though Bel or Cush, as being specially concerned in laying the first foundations of Babylon, might be looked upon as the first king, as in some of the copies of "Eusebius' Chronicle" he is represented, yet it is evident, from both sacred history and profane, that he could never have reigned as king of the Babylonian monarchy, properly so called; and accordingly, in the Armenian version of the "Chronicle of Eusebius," which bears the undisputed palm for correctness and authority, his name is entirely omitted in the list of Assyrian kings, and that of Ninus stands first, in such terms as exactly correspond with the Scriptural account of Nimrod. Thus, then, looking at the fact that Ninus is currently made by antiquity the son of Belus, or Bel, when we have seen that the historical Bel is Cush, the identity of Ninus and Nimrod is still further confirmed.
But when we look at what is said of Semiramis, the wife of Ninus, the evidence receives an additional development. That evidence goes conclusively to show that the wife of Ninus could be none other than the wife of Nimrod, and, further, to bring out one of the grand characters in which Nimrod, when deified, was adored. In Daniel 11:38, we read of a god called Ala Mahozine *--i.e., the "god of fortifications."
* In our version, Ala Mahozim is rendered alternatively "god of forces," or "gods protectors." To the latter interpretation, there is this insuperable objection, that Ala is in the singular. Neither can the former be admitted; for Mahozim, or Mauzzim, does not signify "forces," or "armies," but "munitions," as it is also given in the margin--that is "fortifications." Stockius, in his Lexicon, gives us the definition of Mahoz in the singular, rober, arx, locus munitus, and in proof of the definition, the following examples:--Judges 6:26, "And build an altar to the Lord thy God upon the top of this rock" (Mahoz, in the margin "strong place"); and Daniel 11:19, "Then shall he turn his face to the fort (Mahoz) of his own land."
Who this god of fortifications could be, commentators have found themselves at a loss to determine. In the records of antiquity the existence of any god of fortifications has been commonly overlooked; and it must be confessed that no such god stands forth there with any prominence to the ordinary reader. But of the existence of a goddess of fortifications, every one knows that there is the amplest evidence. That goddess is Cybele, who is universally represented with a mural or turreted crown, or with a fortification, on her head. Why was Rhea or Cybele thus represented? Ovid asks the question and answers it himself; and the answer is this: The reason he says, why the statue of Cybele wore a crown of towers was, "because she first erected them in cities." The first city in the world after the flood (from whence the commencement of the world itself was often dated) that had towers and encompassing walls, was Babylon; and Ovid himself tells us that it was Semiramis, the first queen of that city, who was believed to have "surrounded Babylon with a wall of brick." Semiramis, then, the first deified queen of that city and tower whose top was intended to reach to heaven, must have been the prototype of the goddess who "first made towers in cities." When we look at the Ephesian Diana, we find evidence to the very same effect. In general, Diana was depicted as a virgin, and the patroness of virginity; but the Ephesian Diana was quite different. She was represented with all the attributes of the Mother of the gods (see Fig. 8), and, as the Mother of the gods, she wore a turreted crown, such as no one can contemplate without being forcibly reminded of the tower of Babel. Now this tower-bearing Diana is by an ancient scholiast expressly identified with Semiramis.*
* A scholiast on the Periergesis of Dionysius, says Layard (Nineveh and its Remains), makes Semiramis the same as the goddess Artemis or Despoina. Now, Artemis was Diana, and the title of Despoina given to her, shows that it was in the character of the Ephesian Diana she was identified with Semiramis; for Despoina is the Greek for Domina, "The Lady," the peculiar title of Rhea or Cybele, the tower-bearing goddess, in ancient Rome. (OVID, Fasti)
When, therefore, we remember that Rhea or Cybele, the tower-bearing goddess, was, in point of fact, a Babylonian goddess, and that Semiramis, when deified, was worshipped under the name of Rhea, there will remain, I think, no doubt as to the personal identity of the "goddess of fortifications."
Now there is no reason to believe that Semiramis alone (though some have represented the matter so) built the battlements of Babylon. We have the express testimony of the ancient historian, Megasthenes, as preserved by Abydenus, that it was "Belus" who "surrounded Babylon with a wall." As "Bel," the Confounder, who began the city and tower of Babel, had to leave both unfinished, this could not refer to him. It could refer only to his son Ninus, who inherited his father's title, and who was the first actual king of the Babylonian empire, and, consequently Nimrod. The real reason that Semiramis, the wife of Ninus, gained the glory of finishing the fortifications of Babylon, was, that she came in the esteem of the ancient idolaters to hold a preponderating position, and to have attributed to her all the different characters that belonged, or were supposed to belong, to her husband. Having ascertained, then, one of the characters in which the deified wife was worshipped, we may from that conclude what was the corresponding character of the deified husband. Layard distinctly indicates his belief that Rhea or Cybele, the "tower-crown" goddess, was just the female counterpart of the "deity presiding over bulwarks or fortresses" and that this deity was Ninus, or Nimrod, we have still further evidence from what the scattered notices of antiquity say of the first deified king of Babylon, under a name that identifies him as the husband of Rhea, the "tower-bearing" goddess. That name is Kronos or Saturn. *
* In the Greek mythology, Kronos and Rhea are commonly brother and sister. Ninus and Semiramis, according to history, are not represented as standing in any such relation to one another; but this is no objection to the real identity of Ninus and Kronos; for, 1st, the relationships of the divinities, in most countries, are peculiarly conflicting--Osiris, in Egypt, is represented at different times, not only as the son and husband of Isis, but also as her father and brother (BUNSEN); then, secondly, whatever the deified mortals might be before deification, on being deified they came into new relationships. On the apotheosis of husband and wife, it was necessary for the dignity of both that both alike should be represented as of the same celestial origin--as both supernaturally the children of God. Before the flood, the great sin that brought ruin on the human race was, that the "Sons of God" married others than the daughters of God,--in other words, those who were not spiritually their "sisters." (Gen 6:2,3) In the new world, while the influence of Noah prevailed, the opposite practice must have been strongly inculcated; for a "son of God" to marry any one but a daughter of God, or his own "sister" in the faith, must have been a misalliance and a disgrace. Hence, from a perversion of a spiritual idea, came, doubtless, the notion of the dignity and purity of the royal line being preserved the more intact through the marriage of royal brothers and sisters. This was the case in Peru (PRESCOTT), in India (HARDY), and in Egypt (WILKINSON). Hence the relation of Jupiter to Juno, who gloried that she was "soror et conjux"--"sister and wife"--of her husband. Hence the same relation between Isis and her husband Osiris, the former of whom is represented as "lamenting her brother Osiris." (BUNSEN) For the same reason, no doubt, was Rhea, made the sister of her husband Kronos, to show her divine dignity and equality.
It is well known that Kronos, or Saturn, was Rhea's husband; but it is not so well known who was Kronos himself. Traced back to his original, that divinity is proved to have been the first king of Babylon. Theophilus of Antioch shows that Kronos in the east was worshipped under the names of Bel and Bal; and from Eusebius we learn that the first of the Assyrian kings, whose name was Belus, was also by the Assyrians called Kronos. As the genuine copies of Eusebius do not admit of any Belus, as an actual king of Assyria, prior to Ninus, king of the Babylonians, and distinct from him, that shows that Ninus, the first king of Babylon, was Kronos. But, further, we find that Kronos was king of the Cyclops, who were his brethren, and who derived that name from him, * and that the Cyclops were known as "the inventors of tower-building."
* The scholiast upon EURIPIDES, Orest, says that "the Cyclops were so called from Cyclops their king." By this scholiast the Cyclops are regarded as a Thracian nation, for the Thracians had localised the tradition, and applied it to themselves; but the following statement of the scholiast on the Prometheus of Aeschylus, shows that they stood in such a relation to Kronos as proves that he was their king: "The Cyclops...were the brethren of Kronos, the father of Jupiter."
The king of the Cyclops, "the inventors of tower-building," occupied a position exactly correspondent to that of Rhea, who "first erected (towers) in cities." If, therefore, Rhea, the wife of Kronos, was the goddess of fortifications, Kronos or Saturn, the husband of Rhea, that is, Ninus or Nimrod, the first king of Babylon, must have been Ala mahozin, "the god of fortifications." (see note below)
The name Kronos itself goes not a little to confirm the argument. Kronos signifies "The Horned one." As a horn is a well known Oriental emblem for power or might, Kronos, "The Horned one," was, according to the mystic system, just a synonym for the Scriptural epithet applied to Nimrod--viz., Gheber, "The mighty one" (Gen 10:8), "He began to be mighty on the earth." The name Kronos, as the classical reader is well aware, is applied to Saturn as the "Father of the gods." We have already had another "father of the gods" brought under our notice, even Cush in his character of Bel the Confounder, or Hephaistos, "The Scatterer abroad"; and it is easy to understand how, when the deification of mortals began, and the "mighty" Son of Cush was deified, the father, especially considering the part which he seems to have had in concocting the whole idolatrous system, would have to be deified too, and of course, in his character as the Father of the "Mighty one," and of all the "immortals" that succeeded him. But, in point of fact, we shall find, in the course of our inquiry, that Nimrod was the actual Father of the gods, as being the first of deified mortals; and that, therefore, it is in exact accordance with historical fact that Kronos, the Horned, or Mighty one, is, in the classic Pantheon, known by that title.
The meaning of this name Kronos, "The Horned one," as applied to Nimrod, fully explains the origin of the remarkable symbol, so frequently occurring among the Nineveh sculptures, the gigantic HORNED man-bull, as representing the great divinities in Assyria. The same word that signified a bull, signified also a ruler or prince. *
* The name for a bull or ruler, is in Hebrew without points, Shur, which in Chaldee becomes Tur. From Tur, in the sense of a bull, comes the Latin Taurus; and from the same word, in the sense of a ruler, Turannus, which originally had no evil meaning. Thus, in these well known classical words, we have evidence of the operation of the very principle which caused the deified Assyrian kings to be represented under the form of the man-bull.
Hence the "Horned bull" signified "The Mighty Prince," thereby pointing back to the first of those "Mighty ones," who, under the name of Guebres, Gabrs, or Cabiri, occupied so conspicuous a place in the ancient world, and to whom the deified Assyrian monarchs covertly traced back the origin of their greatness and might. This explains the reason why the Bacchus of the Greeks was represented as wearing horns, and why he was frequently addressed by the epithet "Bull-horned," as one of the high titles of his dignity. Even in comparatively recent times, Togrul Begh, the leader of the Seljukian Turks, who came from the neighbourhood of the Euphrates, was in a similar manner represented with three horns growing out of his head, as the emblem of his sovereignty (Fig. 9). This, also, in a remarkable way accounts for the origin of one of the divinities worshipped by our Pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors under the name of Zernebogus. This Zernebogus was "the black, malevolent, ill-omened divinity," in other words, the exact counterpart of the popular idea of the Devil, as supposed to be black, and equipped with horns and hoofs. This name analysed and compared with the accompanying woodcut (Fig. 10), from Layard, casts a very singular light on the source from whence has come the popular superstition in regard to the grand Adversary. The name Zer-Nebo-Gus is almost pure Chaldee, and seems to unfold itself as denoting "The seed of the prophet Cush." We have seen reason already to conclude that, under the name Bel, as distinguished from Baal, Cush was the great soothsayer or false prophet worshipped at Babylon. But independent inquirers have been led to the conclusion that Bel and Nebo were just two different titles for the same god, and that a prophetic god. Thus does Kitto comment on the words of Isaiah 46:1 "Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth," with reference to the latter name: "The word seems to come from Nibba, to deliver an oracle, or to prophesy; and hence would mean an 'oracle,' and may thus, as Calmet suggests ('Commentaire Literal'), be no more than another name for Bel himself, or a characterising epithet applied to him; it being not unusual to repeat the same thing, in the same verse, in equivalent terms." "Zer-Nebo-Gus," the great "seed of the prophet Cush," was, of course, Nimrod; for Cush was Nimrod's father. Turn now to Layard, and see how this land of ours and Assyria are thus brought into intimate connection. In a woodcut, first we find "the Assyrian Hercules," that is "Nimrod the giant," as he is called in the Septuagint version of Genesis, without club, spear, or weapons of any kind, attacking a bull. Having overcome it, he sets the bull's horns on his head, as a trophy of victory and a symbol of power; and thenceforth the hero is represented, not only with the horns and hoofs above, but from the middle downwards, with the legs and cloven feet of the bull. Thus equipped he is represented as turning next to encounter a lion. This, in all likelihood, is intended to commemorate some event in the life of him who first began to be mighty in the chase and in war, and who, according to all ancient traditions, was remarkable also for bodily power, as being the leader of the Giants that rebelled against heaven. Now Nimrod, as the son of Cush, was black, in other words, was a Negro. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin?" is in the original, "Can the Cushite" do so? Keeping this, then, in mind, it will be seen that in that figure disentombed from Nineveh, we have both the prototype of the Anglo-Saxon Zer-Nebo-Gus, "the seed of the prophet Cush," and the real original of the black Adversary of mankind, with horns and hoofs. It was in a different character from that of the Adversary that Nimrod was originally worshipped; but among a people of a fair complexion, as the Anglo-Saxons, it was inevitable that, if worshipped at all, it must generally be simply as an object of fear; and so Kronos, "The Horned one," who wore the "horns," as the emblem both of his physical might and sovereign power, has come to be, in popular superstition, the recognised representative of the Devil.
In many and far-severed countries, horns became the symbols of sovereign power. The corona or crown, that still encircles the brows of European monarchs, seems remotely to be derived from the emblem of might adopted by Kronos, or Saturn, who, according to Pherecydes, was "the first before all others that ever wore a crown." The first regal crown appears to have been only a band, in which the horns were set. From the idea of power contained in the "horn," even subordinate rulers seem to have worn a circlet adorned with a single horn, in token of their derived authority. Bruce, the Abyssinian traveller gives examples of Abyssinian chiefs thus decorated (Fig. 11), in regard to whom he states that the horn attracted his particular attention, when he perceived that the governors of provinces were distinguished by this head-dress.*
* See KITTO'S Illustrated Commentary, vol. iv. pp. 280-282. In Fig. 11, the two male figures are Abyssinian Chiefs. The two females, whom Kitto has grouped along with them, are ladies of Mount Lebanon, whose horned head-dresses Walpole regards as relics of the ancient worship of Astarte. (See above - and WALPOLE'S Ansayri, vol. iii. p. 16)
In the case of sovereign powers, the royal head-band was adorned sometimes with a double, sometimes with a triple horn. The double horn had evidently been the original symbol of power or might on the part of sovereigns; for, on the Egyptian monuments, the heads of the deified royal personages have generally no more than the two horns to shadow forth their power. As sovereignty in Nimrod's case was founded on physical force, so the two horns of the bull were the symbols of that physical force. And, in accordance with this, we read in Sanchuniathon that "Astarte put on her own head a bull's head as the ensign of royalty." By-and-by, however, another and a higher idea came in, and the expression of that idea was seen in the symbol of the three horns. A cap seems in course of time to have come to be associated with the regal horns. In Assyria the three-horned cap was one of the "sacred emblems," in token that the power connected with it was of celestial origin,--the three horns evidently pointing at the power of the trinity. Still, we have indications that the horned band, without any cap, was anciently the corona or royal crown. The crown borne by the Hindoo god Vishnu, in his avatar of the Fish, is just an open circle or band, with three horns standing erect from it, with a knob on the top of each horn (Fig. 12). All the avatars are represented as crowned with a crown that seems to have been modelled from this, consisting of a coronet with three points, standing erect from it, in which Sir William Jones recognises the Ethiopian or Parthian coronet. The open tiara of Agni, the Hindoo god of fire, shows in its lower round the double horn, made in the very same way as in Assyria, proving at once the ancient custom, and whence that custom had come. Instead of the three horns, three horn-shaped leaves came to be substituted (Fig. 13); and thus the horned band gradually passed into the modern coronet or crown with the three leaves of the fleur-de-lis, or other familiar three-leaved adornings.
Among the Red Indians of America there had evidently been something entirely analogous to the Babylonian custom of wearing the horns; for, in the "buffalo dance" there, each of the dancers had his head arrayed with buffalo's horns; and it is worthy of especial remark, that the "Satyric dance," * or dance of the Satyrs in Greece, seems to have been the counterpart of this Red Indian solemnity; for the satyrs were horned divinities, and consequently those who imitated their dance must have had their heads set off in imitation of theirs.
* BRYANT. The Satyrs were the companions of Bacchus, and "danced along with him" (Aelian Hist.) When it is considered who Bacchus was, and that his distinguishing epithet was "Bull-horned," the horns of the "Satyrs" will appear in their true light. For a particular mystic reason the Satyr's horn was commonly a goat's horn, but originally it must have been the same as Bacchus'.
When thus we find a custom that is clearly founded on a form of speech that characteristically distinguished the region where Nimrod's power was wielded, used in so many different countries far removed from one another, where no such form of speech was used in ordinary life, we may be sure that such a custom was not the result of mere accident, but that it indicates the wide-spread diffusion of an influence that went forth in all directions from Babylon, from the time that Nimrod first "began to be mighty on the earth."
There was another way in which Nimrod's power was symbolised besides by the "horn." A synonym for Gheber, "The mighty one," was "Abir," while "Aber" also signified a "wing." Nimrod, as Head and Captain of those men of war, by whom he surrounded himself, and who were the instruments of establishing his power, was "Baal-aberin," "Lord of the mighty ones." But "Baal-abirin" (pronounced nearly in the same way) signified "The winged one," * and therefore in symbol he was represented, not only as a horned bull, but as at once a horned and winged bull--as showing not merely that he was mighty himself, but that he had mighty ones under his command, who were ever ready to carry his will into effect, and to put down all opposition to his power; and to shadow forth the vast extent of his might, he was represented with great and wide-expanding wings.
* This is according to a peculiar Oriental idiom, of which there are many examples. Thus, Baal-aph, "lord of wrath," signifies "an angry man"; Baal-lashon, "lord of tongue," "an eloquent man"; Baal-hatsim, "lord of arrows," "an archer"; and in like manner, Baal-aberin, "lord of wings," signifies "winged one."
To this mode of representing the mighty kings of Babylon and Assyria, who imitated Nimrod and his successors, there is manifest allusion in Isaiah 8:6-8 "Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah's son; now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and mighty, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his banks. And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over; he shall reach even unto the neck; and the STRETCHING OUT OF HIS WINGS shall FILL the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel." When we look at such figures as those which are here presented to the reader (Figs. 14 and 15), with their great extent of expanded wing, as symbolising an Assyrian king, what a vividness and force does it give to the inspired language of the prophet! And how clear is it, also, that the stretching forth of the Assyrian monarch's WINGS, that was to "fill the breadth of Immanuel's land," has that very symbolic meaning to which I have referred--viz., the overspreading of the land by his "mighty ones," or hosts of armed men, that the king of Babylon was to bring with him in his overflowing invasion! The knowledge of the way in which the Assyrian monarchs were represented, and of the meaning of that representation, gives additional force to the story of the dream of Cyrus the Great, as told by Herodotus. Cyrus, says the historian, dreamt that he saw the son of one of his princes, who was at the time in a distant province, with two great "wings on his shoulders, the one of which overshadowed Asia, and the other Europe," from which he immediately concluded that he was organising rebellion against him. The symbols of the Babylonians, whose capital Cyrus had taken, and to whose power he had succeeded, were entirely familiar to him; and if the "wings" were the symbols of sovereign power, and the possession of them implied the lordship over the might, or the armies of the empire, it is easy to see how very naturally any suspicions of disloyalty affecting the individual in question might take shape in the manner related, in the dreams of him who might harbour these suspicions.
Now, the understanding of this equivocal sense of "Baal-aberin" can alone explain the remarkable statement of Aristophanes, that at the beginning of the world "the birds" were first created, and then after their creation, came the "race of the blessed immortal gods." This has been regarded as either an atheistical or nonsensical utterance on the part of the poet, but, with the true key applied to the language, it is found to contain an important historical fact. Let it only be borne in mind that "the birds"--that is, the "winged ones"--symbolised "the Lords of the mighty ones," and then the meaning is clear, viz., that men first "began to be mighty on the earth"; and then, that the "Lords" or Leaders of "these mighty ones" were deified. The knowledge of the mystic sense of this symbol accounts also for the origin of the story of Perseus, the son of Jupiter, miraculously born of Danae, who did such wondrous things, and who passed from country to country on wings divinely bestowed on him. This equally casts light on the symbolic myths in regard to Bellerophon, and the feats which he performed on his winged horse, and their ultimate disastrous issue; how high he mounted in the air, and how terrible was his fall; and of Icarus, the son of Daedalus, who, flying on wax-cemented wings over the Icarian Sea, had his wings melted off through his too near approach to the sun, and so gave his name to the sea where he was supposed to have fallen. The fables all referred to those who trode, or were supposed to have trodden, in the steps of Nimrod, the first "Lord of the mighty ones," and who in that character was symbolised as equipped with wings.
Now, it is remarkable that, in the passage of Aristophanes already referred to, that speaks of the birds, or "the winged ones," being produced before the gods, we are informed that he from whom both "mighty ones" and gods derived their origin, was none other than the winged boy Cupid. *
* Aristophanes says that Eros or Cupid produced the "birds" and "gods" by "mingling all things." This evidently points to the meaning of the name Bel, which signifies at once "the mingler" and "the confounder." This name properly belonged to the father of Nimrod, but, as the son was represented as identified with the father, we have evidence that the name descended to the son and others by inheritance.
Cupid, the son of Venus, occupied, as will afterwards be proved, in the mystic mythology the very same position as Nin, or Ninus, "the son," did to Rhea, the mother of the gods. As Nimrod was unquestionably the first of "the mighty ones" after the Flood, this statement of Aristophanes, that the boy-god Cupid, himself a winged one, produced all the birds or "winged ones," while occupying the very position of Nin or Ninus, "the son," shows that in this respect also Ninus and Nimrod are identified. While this is the evident meaning of the poet, this also, in a strictly historical point of view, is the conclusion of the historian Apollodorus; for he states that "Ninus is Nimrod." And then, in conformity with this identity of Ninus and Nimrod, we find, in one of the most celebrated sculptures of ancient Babylon, Ninus and his wife Semiramis represented as actively engaged in the pursuits of the chase,--"the quiver-bearing Semiramis" being a fit companion for "the mighty Hunter before the Lord."
The name "Ala-Mahozim" is never, as far as I know, found in any ancient uninspired author, and in the Scripture itself it is found only in a prophecy. Considering that the design of prophecy is always to leave a certain obscurity before the event, though giving enough of light for the practical guidance of the upright, it is not to be wondered at that an unusual word should be employed to describe the divinity in question. But, though this precise name be not found, we have a synonym that can be traced home to Nimrod. In Sanchuniathon, "Astarte, traveling about the habitable world," is said to have found "a star falling through the air, which she took up and consecrated in the holy island Tyre." Now what is this story of the falling star but just another version of the fall of Mulciber from heaven, or of Nimrod from his high estate? for as we have already seen, Macrobius shows (Saturn.) that the story of Adonis--the lamented one--so favourite a theme in Phoenicia, originally came from Assyria. The name of the great god in the holy island of Tyre, as is well known, was Melkart (KITTO'S Illus. Comment.), but this name, as brought from Tyre to Carthage, and from thence to Malta (which was colonised from Carthage), where it is found on a monument at this day, cast no little light on the subject. The name Melkart is thought by some to have been derived from Melek-eretz, or "king of the earth" (WILKINSON); but the way in which it is sculptured in Malta shows that it was really Melek-kart, "king of the walled city." Kir, the same as the Welsh Caer, found in Caer-narvon, &c., signifies "an encompassing wall," or a "city completely walled round"; and Kart was the feminine form of the same word, as may be seen in the different forms of the name of Carthage, which is sometimes Car-chedon, and sometimes Cart-hada or Cart-hago. In the Book of Proverbs we find a slight variety of the feminine form of Kart, which seems evidently used in the sense of a bulwark or a fortification. Thus (Prov 10:15) we read: "A rich man's wealth is his strong city (Karit), that is, his strong bulwark or defence." Melk-kart, then, "king of the walled city," conveys the very same idea as Ala-Mahozim. In GRUTER'S Inscriptions, as quoted by Bryant, we find a title also given to Mars, the Roman war-god, exactly coincident in meaning with that of Melkart. We have elsewhere seen abundant reason to conclude that the original of Mars was Nimrod. The title to which I refer confirms this conclusion, and is contained in a Roman inscription on an ancient temple in Spain. This title shows that the temple was dedicated to "Mars Kir-aden," the lord of "The Kir," or "walled city." The Roman C, as is well known, is hard, like K; and Adon, "Lord," is also Aden. Now, with this clue to guide us, we can unravel at once what has hitherto greatly puzzled mythologists in regard to the name of Mars Quirinus as distinguished from Mars Gradivus. The K in Kir is what in Hebrew or Chaldee is called Koph, a different letter from Kape, and is frequently pronounced as a Q. Quir-inus, therefore, signifies "belonging to the 93 walled city," and refers to the security which was given to cities by encompassing walls. Gradivus, on the other hand, comes from "Grah," "conflict," and "divus," "god"--a different form of Deus, which has been already shown to be a Chaldee term; and therefore signifies "God of battle." Both these titles exactly answer to the two characters of Nimrod as the great city builder and the great warrior, and that both these distinctive characters were set forth by the two names referred to, we have distinct evidence in FUSS'S Antiquities. "The Romans," says he, "worshipped two idols of the kind [that is, gods under the name of Mars], the one called Quirinus, the guardian of the city and its peace; the other called Gradivus, greedy of war and slaughter, whose temple stood beyond the city's boundaries."