Re: The Sun

#21
mikeh wrote:SteveM wrote,
Re: the poem note that another name for Gemini (the twins, castor and pollux (on whose ship St. Paul was brought to Rome, romulus and remus (founders of Rome)) is 'bricks' or 'pile of bricks'.
OK: I think I understand why St. Paul went to Rome on Castor and Pollux's ship: they were for the Romans the guardians of sailors. It shows how the Romans' gods welcomed Christianity. I also understand, I hope, how "bricks" refers to Romulus and Remus: the building of Rome, or at least its first wall. But what is your reference for "Gemini" having "bricks" or "pile of bricks" as another name? Is that something you thought up, or is it in astrology somewhere?
The appelation can be found on numerous places on the constellations, try a search on 'Gemini' and 'Bricks' and you will generally get information along the lines of:

"Perhaps the most unexpected connotation for the twins (along with the rest of Gemini) was as a “pile of bricks” as reported by Richard Hinckley Allen. Apparently the pile of bricks stood for the foundation of Rome, and in that context Castor and Pollux were associated with Romulus and Remus, the city’s legendary twin founders."

The source for all of them seems to be Allen's Star Lore, his source for the appelation 'pile of bricks' I don't know. However, the name for the constellation in Assyrian / Akkadian means 'bricks' or 'month of the bricks'.

See for example table of assyrian / hebrew/ akkadian names in table here:
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=CYFc ... ni&f=false
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

#22
XIX

In the nineteenth year
of Herod's rule,
under the Roman Gemini,
the Light of the World
was crucified.
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

#23
Thanks Steve. Looking at Allen, I see that his reference for Gemini as "bricks" is Sayce, the same as the author of the book you provided the link to. Looking at Wikipedia's article on Sayce, I see that his first article on Babylonian astronomy as described in the cunieform tablets was published in 1869. I was hoping you might know some pre-17th century reference associating Gemini and bricks that the tarot-designers might have drawn on. I am first aware of the bricks on the Sun card in a 16th century proof sheet reproduced in Kaplan. Perhaps some Greek or Roman wrote about how the Babylonians' name for the constellation meant "pile of bricks," and the card-designers went from there. Or perhaps all there is--and it is certainly enough to explain the wall on the card--is the often repeated story that one of the twins was killed while the first wall of Rome was being built.

Re: The Sun

#24
mikeh wrote:Thanks Steve. Looking at Allen, I see that his reference for Gemini as "bricks" is Sayce, the same as the author of the book you provided the link to. Looking at Wikipedia's article on Sayce, I see that his first article on Babylonian astronomy as described in the cunieform tablets was published in 1869. I was hoping you might know some pre-17th century reference associating Gemini and bricks that the tarot-designers might have drawn on. I am first aware of the bricks on the Sun card in a 16th century proof sheet reproduced in Kaplan. Perhaps some Greek or Roman wrote about how the Babylonians' name for the constellation meant "pile of bricks," and the card-designers went from there. Or perhaps all there is--and it is certainly enough to explain the wall on the card--is the often repeated story that one of the twins was killed while the first wall of Rome was being built.
His source for the Akkadian name of 'bricks' is Sayce, I do not know what source for the epiteth 'pile of bricks' is (he brings in sayce in addition to and support of the epiteth). Prior to this the names of some of the Hebrew names of the months were known to date to the period of captivity, and the meaning of the names were deduced from knowledge of Persian ( with occasional fanciful results ).

According to the histories of Persia the plain of Sava* was a marsh, but was miraculously drained the night Mohammed (or his son-in-law Haly) was born. The miraculous event was celebrated by building a town there, the foundation stone being laid under the ascendant of Gemini."**

Sava was best known to the west in the medieval period, following the account of Marco Polo, as the place where the three wise men came from (and were buried):
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=zYvV ... lo&f=false

As you say, the association between the twins, wall and Rome is sufficient in and of itself: nonetheless it would be interesting to know if the ancient association between Gemini and bricks was known. The history of Sava suggests an astrological link between Gemini and the building of cities in arabic astrology, the source for medieval western astrology. Or possibly it just rests on a pun between Sava (also called Sewa, Saba, Sāva or Sāveh) and Sibagh (a Persian word for a brick or brick wall) and Sivan (Month corresponding to Gemini, Bricks).

SteveM

**As can be found reported for example in Voyages en Perse et autres lieux de l'Orient de Mr. Le Chevalier Chardin (1686), Volume 3 p.39.
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

#25
Thanks Steve. I wanted to make sure I wasn't overlooking anything obvious before I posted my take on the Marseille-style Sun card. And you helped me to understand better the symbolism of Gemini as understood in the 15th-17th centuries.

SteveM wrote,
Note also that the crucifixion of Christ is said by a variety of sources to have taken place under the consulship of the two Gemini at Rome. By which the sign Gemini by nature of a pun on the two consuls name comes to symbolise the end of Christ's passion.

According to Augustine:

"Christ died when the two Gemini were consuls."

According to Tertulian:

"The Passion was finished when Rubelius Geminus and Fusius Geminus were Consuls."
A great lead-in to what I wanted to say about the card, at least in its Marseille-style forms. We have three sets of twins: Fusius (or Fufius, or Rufus) and Rubelius, the consuls at Jesus's death; Remus and Romulus, founders of Rome; and Castor and Pollux, mortal and immortal sons of one of Jupiter's conquests. Fortunately they are all related.

I am writing this as a continuation of a recent post of mine on the "Pope" thread, itself a continuation of a post on the "Fool" thread. My way into the card is to think about what is puzzling in the image. There are several puzzling things on the Marseille-style Sun cards: the changing gender of the participants in different versions, the wall, the puddles of water (big and small), and above all, the sad expressions on the figures' faces.

Image

The Waite-Smith, after all, has a happy child riding a horse. Happy children are historically justified, i.e. the Cary-Yale, the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo, the Vieville, probably the Cary Sheet. One 16th century card has a sun beaming down sunlight to energize the trees below. But that's not the Marseille's style.

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About the wall, Daimonax (http://bacchos.org) says it is the wall of the citadel of Rome, where Remus died, perhaps killed. That is not bad; the Gemini were not just Castor and Pollux, the word just means "twins." Wikipedia describes the myth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romulus_and_Remus). Perhaps Remus's death wasn't just a misunderstanding or act of passion, but a deliberate sacrifice; that would explain the sad faces. Daimonax says that skeletons have been found under prehistoric walls in Italy, probably sacrifices to win the favor of the gods (likewise T.D. Wiseman, Remus, a Roman Myth) at that site. So Remus's death makes the gods smile on Rome, the Eternal City.

To us that is a rather obscure interpretation of the card; but anybody in the 15th-17th centuries who read their Latin histories of Rome would know it. There is also a more obvious interpretation, pertaining to the more familiar Gemini, Castor and Pollux. Pollux is the immortal twin who did not want to be separated from his mortal brother Castor when Castor died. His father Zeus could grant only half of his wish: Pollux would have to surrender half of his immortality and give it to Castor. Both would spend half of their days in Hades and half in Olympus. Pollux agreed, and so it was.

There is a parallel here with Jesus. Jesus gave up his immortality temporarily to become mortal and suffer as a mortal--in fact, suffer one of the worst tortues known at the time--so that mortals could become immortal. Thus the sacrifice was performed, by members of the very race of mortals he was trying to save (and under the consulship of another set of Gemini, SteveM has pointed out!).

So on the card we have one twin sacrificing his immortality, and dying a mortal death, that the two may be together for eternity. In the Greek myth, the immortal one sacrifices himself. In Christianity, we have the immortal one sacrificing his immortality so as to live as a human, suffer, and die a human death, for the sake of his loved ones becoming as immortal as he will return to be. In the Dionysian rite, as we shall see, there was the goat, symbolically the young god, dying that Dionysus, and the spirit of Dionysus in his initiates, could rise from Hades.

Image


There is an odd thing in the Chosson and Conver cards. What in the Noblet and Dodal were folds in the skin are here very much like a tail, as Daimonax points out (http://www.bacchos.org/tarothtm/15et16d ... ndieu.html), following Camoin and Jodorowsky (lower right above). In the Chosson, if the image on http://tarotchoco.quebecblogue.com/Tarot de Marseille- ... s-majeurs/ is accurate, the tail is even outlined in a lighter color. The one to be sacrificed is the Dionysian-Jewish goat of atonement, whose representative we met on the Fool card.

[Added 4/21/10 by mikeh: the following couple of paragraphs, about the depictions of the constellation and the quotes from Isadore, I know thanks to SteveM's and Debra's later posts, needs more work. Skip it if you find it too confusing or objectionable, and go to the paragraph beginning "Another detail on the cards..."]

If you look at 15th-16th century representations of the Gemini sign of the zodiac, there is another odd thing: one of the twins has a sickle, shaped similarly to the sickle of the goat-sacrifice and the curved shape between the acolytes on the Pope card. What could that be about?

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Why the sickle in this constellation? I don't claim that they were representing any Dionysian goat sacrifice. Actually, I didn't have a clue until today. On the Internet, thanks to SteveM's suggestion that I could look there for the source of bricks' connection to Gemini, I found a possible explanation for the sickle (http://www.constellationsofwords.com/Co ... emini.html, although the author seems unaware of that image in relation to the constellation: the sickle was removed from illustrations of Gemini by the 18th century). The source quoted is one that would certainly have been available to the constellation-illustrators and card-designers, The Etymologies of Isadore of Seville, 7th century. I have rearranged the citations so that they occur in the order they would in the source.
"Beavers (castor) are so called from 'castrating' (castrare). Their testicles are useful for medicines [castor oil?], on account of which, when they anticipate a hunter, they castrate themselves and amputate their own genitals with their teeth. Concerning them Cicero said in his Scaurian oration (2.7): "They ransom themselves with that part of their body for which they are most sought after." And Juvenal (Satires 12.34): (The beaver) who makes himself a eunuch, wishing to escape with the loss of his testicles. They are also called fibri, and also 'Pontic dogs.' (p.252.)

"The ancients called a town sited on a very high place a fort (castrum), as if it were a high 'cottage' (casa). The plural of this is 'camp' (castra), and its diminutive is 'fortress' (castellum), [translator's note "or because within it the freedom of the inhabitants would be 'cut off (castrare) lest the populace wandering here and there should expose the fort to the enemy"] (p.306.)

"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." (p.344.)
Hence, by analogy with the beaver, or "castor," self-sacrifice for the sake of continued life; but from "castrum" also applied to the protection of a community. Or so goes one possibility. "Pollux" and its Greek equivalent, Polydeuces, according to the web article, might be related to polis, Greek for "community." We are led back to the citadel and its wall.

Then there is the question of the lyre, held by the other twin. The lyre is associated with Apollo, although it was invented by Mercury. Apollo and Mercury were two other Gemini, and a common representation, the web article says, was the Herm, sometimes a statue with an erect phallus, sometimes just a pile of stones. Or perhaps stones in a wall, or bricks, if one builds a fort protecting the merchants, the followers of Mercury, in hostile territory. Mercury has since ancient times ruled the sign of Gemini. To be sure, I am getting into the the realm of loose association, but that is how images sometimes work.

[Added 4/21/10: This is the end of the part I know needs some major revision.]

Another detail on the cards (see below) is the placement of the hand of the twin on our left over the midsection of the twin on the right: below the breasts, if it is a woman, at the heart, if it is a man. Correspondingly, the twin on the right places a comforting arm around the one on the left. These are not boys playing! Something sad is going on.

Image

There is a very similar scene on some Dionysian sarcophagi. Look at the far left of the procession, the end. Perhaps the lower of the two is meant to be equivalent to the goat that is to be sacrificed. At least that might have been surmised by 16th century interpreters.

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Now to the water on the cards. Noblet has a pool of water between the two twins; Conver has a whole lake, and the twin on our right standing on a mound. Daimonax sees there, among other things, a reference to Pausanias, Travels in Greece, describing the Alkyonian Lake, near Argos, small but so deep that no one could find the bottom. Pausanias says that it is believed to be an entrance to Hades, where Dionysus entered to rescue his mother Semele (Pausanias, Description of Greece 2.37.5, at http://www.theoi.com/Cult/DionysosCult.html). That is one possible reference for the body of water on the Noblet Maison-Dieu card as well, as Daimonax says. At this lake, certain annual rites had to be performed, which Pausanias was not at liberty to describe. Plutarch said more: "They call him up out of the water by the sound of trumpets, at the same time casting into the depths a lamb as an offering to the Keeper of the Gate (http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... is*/B.html). A representative of the god, his mortal likeness (a young goat would have been more in keeping with his myth, but he was also identified with the similar-looking young ram), is sacrificed so as to bring forth the god himself, that he might save his initiated ones. Both texts, Pausanias and Plutarch, were well known in the 15th-17th centuries

I think that the early "type C" Sun cards, the "Charles VI" and the Beaux-Arts-Rothschild, along with the Vieville Moon card, capture some of the feeling of this transcending of mortality, although with very different imagery. The woman on the card carries the spindle of Fate, spinning lives that will inevitably be cut; the all-giving (and burning) Sun overhead, the visible representative of the all-gracing (and condemning) God, represents the transcendence.

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But why does Noblet (and the 16th century card before that) have a man and a woman? There is more than one possibility. The woman's hand on the man's heart echoes the same gesture on the Lover card, suggesting that she is his Bride, with whom he will be reunited after her death. Or perhaps Noblet thought of the sacrificer as a priestess rather than a priest, perhaps referring to the Popess. Or perhaps there was simply a 15th-17th century confusion about the gender of the Gemini, owing to images coming from Egypt. The Dendera Zodiac clearly shows a man and a woman, a depiction we also see in a 1496 zodiac.

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16th century Europeans may have seen her as the sacrificing priestess, Isis consigning Seth to the Underworld or some such thing, also either knowing or not knowing that they were Shu and Tefnet, the first children of the Egyptian Sun-god. In that spirit, with the Sun as the visible image of God, some might also have seen them, and the Noblet couple as well, as Adam and Eve, an interpretation that has not been without champions for this card. There is no doubt an echo of that primal scene. But at card 19, we are not principally at the dawn of creation. They are the Gemini in all their classical connotations, applying now to the new Adam, Jesus. The result, in its new home, is the birth of the immortal spirit within and surviving the immortal shell--and so we are back to the the young, joyful child of the early cards.

For an invocation of Dionysus, the appropriate epithet begins with the 20th letter of the Greek alphabet, Chii, which is also the first letter of the word "Christos":

Accept, O Lord Charidotes, Merciful One, this sacrifice of myself, that mortality may know immortality.

Re: The Sun

#26
The twins were identified with Hercules and Apollo, the sickle was a symbol of Hercules (with which he killed the Hydra), the Lyre of Apollo. Hercules with sickle is also one of the 'magical images' of the first decan of Aries (but is also described in some sources as Perseus with sickle). Pollux/hercules is also shown with a club in some star maps. Where the twins are illustrated as male and female the lyre may be shown in the lap of the female. They were also associated with Hermes/Apollo.

SteveM
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

#27
SteveM wrote:The twins were identified with Hercules and Apollo, the sickle was a symbol of Hercules (with which he killed the Hydra), the Lyre of Apollo. Hercules with sickle is also one of the 'magical images' of the first decan of Aries. Pollux/hercules is also shown with a club in some star maps. Where the twins are illustrated as male and female the lyre may be shown in the lap of the female. They were also associated with Hermes/Apollo.

SteveM
Hyginus in his astronomica refers to them being also called Apollo and Heracles; in Ptolemy they are refered to as the stars of Apollo and Heracles.

quote:

II.22 TWINS

These stars many astronomers have called Castor and Pollux. They say that of all brothers they were the most affectionate, not striving in rivalry for the leadership, nor acting without previous consultation. As a reward for their services of friendship, Jupiter is thought to have put them in the sky as well-known stars. Neptune, with like intention, has rewarded them for he gave them horses to ride, and power to aid shipwrecked men.

Others have called them Hercules and Apolo; some, even Triptolemus, whom we mentioned before, and Iasion, beloved of Ceres - both carried to the stars.

Those who speak of Castor and Pollux add this information, that Castor was slain in the town of Aphidnae, at the time when the Lacedaemonians were fighting the Athenians. Others say that when Lynceus and Idas were attacking Sparta, he perished there. Homer states that Pollux granted to his brother one half of his life, so that they shine on alternate days.

http://www.theoi.com/Text/HyginusAstronomica2.html#22

There are a couple of images here showing the lyre (also often shown with an arrow or bow and arrow as well as lyre), the sickle and another example with club; also whip as alternative to Apollo's arrow.

http://www.constellationsofwords.com/Co ... emini.html

with sickle:
http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/images1/i ... ini_cr.gif

with club:
http://www.areavoices.com/astrobob/imag ... mirror.jpg
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_N-36xJMPdm4/S ... +Twins.jpg

whip and arrow:
http://www.lindahall.org/events_exhib/e ... op_par.htm
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

#28
Well, I managed to miss something obvious in spite of your prior assistance, SteveM! After reading your post, the only question remaining to me was whether the people drawing the Gemini in the 17th century actually knew who they were drawing, or could my theory about Isadore of Seville (which I just thought of yesterday) still be true. I could find only a few obscure classical sources mentioning Hercules' sickle, and in Renaissance Italy Hercules was almost invariably shown fighting the Hydra with his club. However when I checked my own sources (Bayer, 1603 and 1697), I saw that he clearly identified Pollux with Hercules and Castor with Apollo. I just didn't recognize Hercules with a sickle! So I will cut that part out and see what I have left. Thanks a bunch.

Re: The Sun

#29
mikeh wrote:After reading your post, the only question remaining to me was whether the people drawing the Gemini in the 17th century actually knew who they were drawing, or could my theory about Isadore of Seville (which I just thought of yesterday) still be true. I could find only a few obscure classical sources mentioning Hercules' sickle, and in Renaissance Italy Hercules was almost invariably shown fighting the Hydra with his club. However when I checked my own sources (Bayer, 1603 and 1697), I saw that he clearly identified Pollux with Hercules and Castor with Apollo. I just didn't recognize Hercules with a sickle! So I will cut that part out and see what I have left.
Hyginus and Ptolemy were well known. The first printed version of Hyginus was in 1475 in Ferrara, it was published again in 1482 in Venice by Erhard Ratdolt with woodcut illustrations, the Ratdolt version is available online, Pollux/Hercules is shown with sickle:

http://www.lindahall.org/services/digit ... us73.shtml

Translations of Ptolemy from arabic into latin were available from the 12th century, improved translations from the greek from the 15th.

Hercules and the hydra was one of the 3* of the 12 hercules challenges that were popular and well illustrated up to the renaissance, from the 15th century all 12 received popular treatment.

In relationship to the Sun card we may note that Apollo is a Sun god and that Heracles a type of solar hero, whose 12 challenges are associated with the solar year. Hercules as an exemplar of virtue and leadership was a popular motif that was appropriated by many of the Italian nobility in the 15th century.

Both these sons of zeus (of theos, deiv/ god) are also twins of course, though not to each other: Apollo has a twin sister, Artemis; Heracles a mortal twin, Iphicles.

OT: Ara in the Astronomicon is quite interesting, it reminds me vaguely of both the devil and the fire/tower cards:
http://www.lindahall.org/services/digit ... us90.shtml

SteveM
* The three most commonly depicted labours of the 13th and 14th centuries were the Nemean lion, the Hydra and Antaeus.
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

#30
This is interesting.

Two quick notes, both in regard to material from this web site: http://www.constellationsofwords.com/Co ... emini.html

First, the common castor oil comes from castor beans (seeds), not from beaver testicles.

Second, the author at this site goes into some detail about the boy-girl twins Yama and Yami, perhaps related to the Indo-European root "yem," and this perhaps the root of the word "Gemini."
Which is fine.

However, this leads to a discussion of the yam plant, the name of which is apparently African in origin and seems to have nothing at all to do with the constellation of the Twins.

I mention this because it is so easy to make spurious connections.

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