Re: The Sun

#31
Thanks again, Steve. I had that image from pseudo-Hyginus; I just didn't realize it was Hercules, or that early. I'm still puzzled about one thing. Pseudo-Hyginus doesn't seem to mention the sickle, at least in the version at http://www.theoi.com/Ther/DrakonHydra.html. I can't make out the printed text next to the illustration. In fact, only one out of a large number of classical sources on that site mentions Hercules' use of a sickle against the Hydra, Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy. WorldCat says that the manuscript used by the Loeb Classical Library edition dates to 1453. If that was the source for the illustration, I'm impressed with the erudition of the person who designed the illustrations, evidently a humanist of some learning, or at least somone who knew such a person.

And about the beaver, Debra: Thanks for the information about castor oil. The question is, which is more relevant to investigating the Sun card: where castor oil actually comes from, or where people in the 15th-17th centuries thought that the ancients thought it--or something by the same name but more potent--came from? That's what interested me about Isadore of Seville. And yes, I did notice a lot of free-associating on that site. I was trying to pick and choose, occasionally tolerating some free-association on the principle that people back then free-associated, too. But I'm not sure I got anything useful.

Re: The Sun

#32
mikeh wrote: And about the beaver, Debra: Thanks for the information about castor oil. The question is, which is more relevant to investigating the Sun card: where castor oil actually comes from, or where people in the 15th-17th centuries thought that the ancients thought it--or something by the same name but more potent--came from?
I think the castor oil reference is the site writers interpolation, Isadore merely says that the testicles were used as medicinal ingredients.
That's what interested me about Isadore of Seville. And yes, I did notice a lot of free-associating on that site. I was trying to pick and choose, occasionally tolerating some free-association on the principle that people back then free-associated, too.
That's right, and Isadore's Etymologies, which was widely known and influential, is an example of that. It is the influence of Isadore's Etymology during the period under discussion that is relevant, not whether such is erroneous by modern standards.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The Sun

#33
The big questions are, what did they think, and is it these thoughts that are being shown on the cards.
SteveM wrote:

It is the influence of Isadore's Etymology during the period under discussion that is relevant, not whether such is erroneous by modern standards.
Yes, I'm with you on this. My point is caution about what Mike aptly calls "free associating."

In other words, I doubt that they thought Gemini was linked to sweet potatoes, and from what I can tell, there's no reason to think that anyone linked Gemini to sweet potatoes other than the person who put together the web site, and why?

Because "Yama" looks kinda like "Yam."

Fooey.

Re: The Sun

#34
mikeh wrote: In fact, only one out of a large number of classical sources on that site mentions Hercules' use of a sickle against the Hydra, Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy. WorldCat says that the manuscript used by the Loeb Classical Library edition dates to 1453. If that was the source for the illustration, I'm impressed with the erudition of the person who designed the illustrations, evidently a humanist of some learning, or at least somone who knew such a person.
It was discovered by Cardinal Bessarion (the same who commissioned a translation from Greek of Ptolemy). Quintus Smyrnaeus was certainly known by at least by some of the circle of poets and humanists of the North Italian courts. He is for example quoted by Angelo Poliziano (1454-1494) in a commentary on Silvae by statius. (Quintus Smyrnaeus: transforming Homer in second Sophistic epic: Manuel Baumbach,Silvio Bär,Nicola Dümmler, p.16/17)


ION
Turn thine eyes this way; look, the son of Jove
Lops with his golden scimitar the heads
Of the Lernean Hydra: view it well.

Euripedes Ion
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The Sun

#36
debra wrote:Hm. Allen says,

"The Leyden Manuscript shows two unclad boys with Phrygian caps, each surmounted by a star and Maltese cross; one with club and spear, the other with a stringed instrument. Bayer had something similar, Pollux, however, bearing a peaceful sickle."

Peaceful sickle. That's a thought.

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/G ... mini*.html
Yes I think he has missed it being an alternative emblem of Herakles, and seeing it as an agricultural tool rather than a weapon like the club has thus interpreted it as 'peaceful', rather than as the instrument with which Saturn castrated Uranus, Jupiter killed Typhon, Mercury killed the sleeping Argos, Perseus beheaded Medusa and Herakles beheaded the Hydra.

On re-reading I see he gives his source for the titles of Apollo and Heracles as Varro's de Re Rustica II.1.7 :
quote
"Quod si apud antiquos non magnae dignitatis pecus esset, in caelo describendo astrologi non appellassent eorum vocabulis signa, quae non modo non dubitarunt ponere, sed etiam ab iis principibus duodecim signa multi numerant, ab ariete et tauro, cum ea praeponerent Apollini et Herculi. Ii enim dei ea secuntur, sed appellantur Gemini.

"But if the flock had not been held in high honour among the ancients, the astronomers, in laying out the heavens, would not have called by their names the signs of the zodiac; they not only did not hesitate to give such names, but many of them begin their enumeration of the twelve signs with the names of the Ram and the Bull, placing them ahead of Apollo and Hercules. For those gods follow them, but are called the Twins."
end quote
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The Sun

#37
Thanks for pursuing the Quintus Smyrnaeus reference further, Steve. And also the "peaceful sickle" phrase in Allen. That Allen didn't know the reference to Hercules and the Hydra suggests to me that after the 15th century, the reason for the sickle might have become obscured, and people started associating it with Saturn's sickle.

I realize now that I have more research to do on how people in the 15th-17th centuries saw the Gemini. Perhaps I shouldn't quote Isadore unless I have some evidence that people then did so as well. Or can it be assumed? I need to find out what is in the text that accompanies the 1475 Ferrara illustration. Also Hercules, specifically in relation to the Hydra and to Apollo.

You mentioned Hercules as a solar hero, because his 12 labors were associated to the 12 months of the solar year. I will hunt for a 15th century source for that. Or can it be assumed that people then made the connection? Also, why Phrygian caps? was it by association with Mithras, another solar hero? There was also Persia, the land of the three wisemen, but I don't see how they would be associated with the sun.

For people who might have read my earlier, long post within the last 11 hours: Last night, 11 hours ago, I deleted the part I with the images of the zodiac and the quotations from Isadore, saving it in Word on my computer for further work. This morning I put it back in, so people could follow the discussion that came after, but with a comment in brackets that it needed more work.

Re: The Sun

#38
mikeh wrote: You mentioned Hercules as a solar hero, because his 12 labors were associated to the 12 months of the solar year. I will hunt for a 15th century source for that. Also, could Phrygian caps suggest suggest an association with Mithras, another solar hero?
As an exemplar of virtue the parallels made were with biblical exemplars such as David, Samson and even as a type of Christ himself, the 'true light of the world'. His labours were treated as triumphs over vice, the devil and death. His triumph over the underworld and his ascension to Olympia was seen as a prefigurement of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Treatments of the choice of Hercules and his twelve labours and his interpretation as divine and civic exemplar of virtue can be found for example in Boccaccio, Petrarch, Dante and Salutati. The 15th century saw a change in the treatment of Herculean imagery from one that was largely in the context of churches and biblical exemplars to his appropriation as humanist exemplar of virtuous civic leader by for example Lorenzo de Medici and Ercole d'Este.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The Sun

#39
SteveM wrote:...Treatments of the choice of Hercules and his twelve labours and his interpretation as divine and civic exemplar of virtue can be found for example in Boccaccio...
In Amorosa Visione, canto XXVI and in Genealogia deorum.

In Amorosa the choice is between being a servant of the passing or of the eternal, from which we may parallel the two types of love that in Augustinian theology defines what type of citizen one is, one of the city of man or of the City of God; a theme also explored through the period through the two Venuses theme.

He is also in his De casibus virorum et feminarum illustribum but interpreted along the lines of the fall of princes theme.
Petrarch...
In De vita solitaria and Africa.
Salutati.
In De laboribus Hercules in which Salutati describes Hercules as ‘the light of explored truth’ and a symbol of reason and active virtue not only in the physical realm, but in moral, intellectual and spiritual realms too.
mikeh wrote:Thanks for pursuing the Quintus Smyrnaeus reference further, Steve. And also the "peaceful sickle" phrase in Allen. That Allen didn't know the reference to Hercules and the Hydra suggests to me that after the 15th century, the reason for the sickle might have become obscured, and people started associating it with Saturn's sickle.
I don't think you can make that judgement, although Allen makes reference to the alternative names of Apollo and Heracles, he does not make the connection between their identity as such and the emblems the figures bear in the star maps (with examples from 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, not just 15th), including the club, which surely is not obscure, nor the bow and arrows or lyre of Apollo, which again there is no reason to presume were particular obscure.
I realize now that I have more research to do on how people in the 15th-17th centuries saw the Gemini.
I think the connections made so far such as with the Roman Gemini, mortal and immortal sides, descent and ascent are probably sufficient for an understanding relevant to the image in Christian terms.
Perhaps I shouldn't quote Isadore unless I have some evidence that people then did so as well. Or can it be assumed?
Isadore was a well known and widespread authority, I frequently assume access to sources far more obscure than he (under the presumption that our creator has the education and access similar to other poet creators of cards we know of such as a Boiardo, for example).
I need to find out what is in the text that accompanies the 1475 Ferrara illustration.
I am not sure what you are referring to, there is the 1475 Hyginus text which is not illustrated, the illustration accompanies the 1482 publication of Hyginus.
Also Hercules, specifically in relation to the Hydra...
Hercules with sickle is common in Greek sources, such as vases and cycles of Hercules in architectural friezes, and with textual references such as Hyginus and Ptolemy and Euripedes; and I imagine the introduction of the sickle could be rooted in Greek influence, of which there was plenty in North Italian courts in the 15th century. I don't really think one needs to go beyond that for an artifact in some Tarot de Marseille of what Daimonax has described as a tail and which may or may not be intended to be there: although if there I am more inclined to think it a remnant of a sickle than a tail. I enjoy exploring side alleys and seeing where they lead, as long as one understands it is a lot of speculation on a very iffy detail; a detail that if a genuine remnant is in keeping with the general iconography of the obvious Gemini theme and thus only confirms what is already by and large accepted (that is the presence of the astrological motif of Gemini ~ whether its presence has any relevance to the 'meaning' of the card or a place within the structural narrative various historians make claims for may well be denied); and that pagan referents (such as castor/pollux; romulus/remus; heracles/apollo) have a long standing and well established pattern of interpretation in terms of Christian typology that does not require recourse to the survival of underground pagan cults for an explanation, and in no way offers an argument or evidence for such (which Daimonax I believe contends).
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The Sun

#40
Thanks, Steve. Let me make clear that I was not meaning to assume Daimonax's baggage about underground cults surviving since antiquity, just crediting him with the interpretation of the "tail" that I was making. The particular details I am concerned with--the Fool's testicles, the Pope's assistant's sickle or dagger, and the left twin's tail--are most likely late 17th to 18th century additions to the cards. I theorize that they were added as part of a syncretist trend initiated in the 15th century by Pico and Ficino, who particurlarly emphasized the Bacchic/Orphic "mysteries". This trend, in its Egyptomanic expression, was adopted even by the the popes, starting with Alexander VI and including the Medici (see Curran's The Egyptian Renaissance). In the broader sense it was popularized by Colonna's Hypnerotomachia (soon translated into French), Cartari's Imagini (likewise), etc. The secret societies of the 17th-18th centuries incorporated aspecdts of these imagined "mysteries," witness the Masonic Egyptomania of Mozart's Magic Flute. In tune with the Greek and Roman writers, Dionysus and Osiris were equated as different expressions of the same god. I have elaborated on this theme at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=216&start=50#p6572. See also the Bacchic interpretation of the Lover card by Ricci, 1713, which I posted on the "Lovers" thread. the page at viewtopic.php?f=28&t=389#6605 (for some reason the computer will only take me to the beginning of the thread, as opposed to the exact post).

As far as the tail or sickle, as applied to the "Marseille," we are talking late 17th and early 18th century France ("Chosson" and Conver). If people looking at the old zodiacs then saw Castor or Pollux with the "peaceful sickle" of agriculture, that identifies it with Saturn's sickle, Roman god of agriculture. Hercules was not associated with agriculture. If so, why is an association then between Castor and the sickle of castration unreasonable (in addition to its association with Hercules), especially among people acquainted with Isadore's beaver, hunted for its rejuvenating juices?

In fact, the symbolism of the slaying of the Hydra is more of the same. The Hydra was both a positive and negative symbol. On the one hand, it symbolizes difficult tasks of any kind, where eliminating one difficulty leads to the discovery or creation of many more. It also symbolized the nature of evil, when the desire it perversely satisfies is not satisfied on a higher level: you crush one illicit desire, and ten more take its place (instead, desire ravishment by Christ); you eliminate by rational argument one theological doubt, and ten more appear (instead, strengthen your faith); you defeat one enemy by unjust means and ten more arise against you, who may not have been in opposition before.

Yet the Hydra also represented regeneration and fecundity (I can't at the moment locate a literary example from the period, but I did see some in an earlier search on the web). You kill one Christ, and a dozen disciples carry on the work; you martyr one Christian, and a dozen more take his or her place. It is the sacrifice of the animal nature (as Jodorowsky characterizes the one with the tail) that makes possible the spiritual salvation of many, and entry into the Apollonic light.

And once more to Isadore. Like Heidegger and many other pseudo-philologists, he projects his preferred symbolism into an imagined etymology of words, one that somehow confirms his combination of ideas. His description of the chestnut, it seems to me, combines both ideas, of castration and of the cut-off hydra heads:
:Latin speakers name the chestnut (castanea) from a Greek term, for the Greeks call it ..., because its paired fruits are hidden in a small sack like testicles, and when they are ejected from it, it is as if they were castrated (castrare). As soon as this tree is cut down, it commonly sprouts again like a forest.
(Etymologies p.344.)
In this comment on the testicle-like nuts, perhaps he is thinking of Christ and his own celibacy as a "eunuch for Christ" (which Origen literalized): you effectively cut off one set of "chestnuts" and a forest of them appears, ready for the harvesting.

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