Re: Sola-Busca riddles

#71
SteveM wrote:
23 Oct 2017, 13:14
But a problem I have with an eschatological reading, especially one so focused on Babylon, is that it feels naggingly anachronistic to me for the 15th century - it feels to me more of a 16th century motif, when anti-catholic polemics so heavily conflated Babylon with Rome in its end of days narratives -- as much as such a reading 'feels' right, the more the dating seems 'wrong' --
Steve,
The eschatological reading is limited to the preceding card of Nimrod, whose crown and tower of Babylon are broken via God's wrath. But even that is not really eschatological, but rather just the destruction of a ruler. I would argue the concerns of the Sola Busca are when and whom will God's wrath fall upon (mainly in an astrological sense).

The Sola Busca trumps show a dragon twice:
1. wingless with Olivo (with the dragon wings apparently affixed to person of the next card, Ipeo); and
2. the second time seemingly signifying the cosmos, "rampant" within a starry armillary-like sphere, just above the head of the sleeping/dreaming(?) Nebuchadnezzar.

The only clear textual connection we have with any of these figures to a dragon is Nabuchodenasor (Nebuchadnezzar):
Daniel 14:23–30; Daniel Kills the Dragon
23 Now in that place[a] there was a great dragon, which the Babylonians revered. 24 The king said to Daniel, ‘You cannot deny that this is a living god; so worship him.’ 25 Daniel said, ‘I worship the Lord my God, for he is the living God. 26 But give me permission, O king, and I will kill the dragon without sword or club.’ The king said, ‘I give you permission.’
27 Then Daniel took pitch, fat, and hair, and boiled them together and made cakes, which he fed to the dragon. The dragon ate them, and burst open. Then Daniel said, ‘See what you have been worshipping!’
28 When the Babylonians heard about it, they were very indignant and conspired against the king, saying, ‘The king has become a Jew; he has destroyed Bel, and killed the dragon, and slaughtered the priests.’ 29 Going to the king, they said, ‘Hand Daniel over to us, or else we will kill you and your household.’ 30 The king saw that they were pressing him hard, and under compulsion he handed Daniel over to them.
In the Sola Busca trump, there is no hint of Daniel killing the dragon, merely Nabuchodenasor and his "living god", a "great dragon." But this dragon is not necessarily evil in the earlier appearance in the Sola Busca, tamely sitting before Olivo. But also consider that some read the preceding figure of Metelo in the context of Olivo and Ipeo, as the "SC" banner Metelo holds can be combined with "Ipeo" to spell "Scipeo"; and it has already been pointed out that the wingless dragon would seem to go with the dragon wings on [Sc]ipio. There is thus a suggestion of an operation of combination, and Metelo, pointing his wand at the column mounted Hero of Alexandria-like steam-powered device, seems to be initiating that, perhaps in an Picatrix (alchemical) context (see also the Queen of Cups, Polisena, seated on a dolphin throne beholding a serpent atop a similar urn-like object upon a column; dolphins would point to Delphic Apollo). But if the wingless dragon is with Olivio, who in turn is Livy (? the held scroll being one of his works of history), is that dragon then history, or more properly "Time" (which is what the fully formed dragon in the Nabuchodenasor card's armillary sphere suggests, the movements of the celestial bodies marking Time)? [Sc]ipeo then as a seerer, necromancing with a soul, lost somewhere in time (see also Lucan's necromancing episode via a magical concoction in Book VI of his Pharsalia) , enabled by the alchemical operation? But what exactly would be that operation?

The passage in Daniel 14:23–30, written in Hellenistic times, points to a very Picatrix-like magical concoction that kills the dragon: "pitch, fat, and hair, and boiled them together." Since the dragon is not killed here, but rather assumed by the magical operator (the wings on [Sc]ipeo), the concoction rather somehow enables the "soul's vehicle" of the operator to explore Time.

That alchemical-like elixirs were making the rounds at the time of the Sola Busca is undeniable. In fact in a 1481 letter from Ficino, requesting such a substance, to a Venetian humanist, Bernardo Bembo, we read:
"I am most grateful for the small pot of theriac...in this small, health-giving pot I have received an immense gift, coming from Phoebus himself..." (The Letters of M. Ficino, Vol. 6, Letter 2, 1999: 7). The editors explain: "Theriac was a treacly substance consisting of various powders mixed into honey. It was said by Galen and Avicenna to have first been prepared by the Roman physician Andromachus in the first century AD, under divine inspiration....In Venice, Bembo's home city, it had to be prepared in the presence of the Priori e Consiglieri to ensure its proper manufacture....Ficino prescribed it frequently and thought highly of its virtues. See De Vita, III, 12 and III, 21". (ibid, 68, fn. 2.2)
I've stated before that I view the Sola Busca as heavily influenced by Ficino, as received in Venice via Bembo. Below, Ficino can be connected to the liberation of the mind from the body with Nebuchadnezzar as the exemplar, in the context of Daniel (albeit in a Daniel passage that precedes the mention of the dragon):
The imagination of a person who has kept his soul far from the intellect and close to the life of
animals, will after death amplify the images with which that soul has been
most familiar. In this way, he will be besieged and obsessed by what his
imagination sees or imagines that it sees, until he ends up believing that
he really posses an animal body. That is what happened to Nebuchadnez-
zar, the king of the Babylonian empire, who, according to the Bible, was
reduced to an animal madness and to eating ‘grass as oxen’:
When the prophet Daniel says that the king of Babylon, on account of his
terrible crimes, was transported by divine agency among the oxen until, puri-
fijied, he felt respect, the Hebrews interpret this to mean that the imagination
of that king was so distraught by divine agency that he believed himself to
be an ox and sufffered grievously, as usually happens when we are affflicted
by a magician or by melancholy [is apt to bring about].
(Ficino, Commentary on Plotinus, in Opera omnia, II, 1711).
That the dragon can be a "celestial Serpent", as presented in the armillary sphere of the Nabuchodenasor trump, as well as the sign of the transformation of men and daemons in the dragon-winged [Sc]ipeo trump, is made explicit here by Ficino:
"I have said elsewhere that down from every single star (so to speak Platonically) there hangs its own series of things down to the lowest...Under the celestial Serpent or the entire constellation of the Serpent-bearer, they place Saturn and sometimes Jupiter, afterwards daemons who often take on serpent's form, in addition men of this kind, serpents (the animals), the snake-weed, the stone draconite which originates in the head of a dragon, and the stone commonly called serpentine...By a similar system they think a chain of beings descends by levels from any star of the firmament through any planet under its dominion. If, therefore, as I said, you combine at the right time all the Solar things through any level of that order, i.e., men of Solar nature or something belonging to such a man, likewise animals, plants, metals, gems and whatever pertains to these, you will drink in unconditionally the power of the Sun and to some extent the natural powers of the Solar daemons." (Ficino, Three Books on Life, trans. Kaske & Clarke, Bk. III, Chap. 14, 1998: 311).
To return to the highest of the court cards, Alexander the Great flying griffin throne (a "soul vehicle" in my opinion) and holding an orb in the same shape as Nabuchodenasor's armillary sphere, ,what is he to fly through if not precisely history/Time, as exemplified by the Classical and Biblical figures that make up the Sola Busca trumps?

Phaeded

Re: Sola-Busca riddles

#72
Also Nebuchonosor is himself called a 'dragon' (that devours) - read from a visions of Daniel and Revelations perspective - Babylon (represented by Nebuchonosor), Greece (Alexander) and Imperial Rome (Nero) are three of the Beasts, the great Empires or secular powers that rise under the power of the Dragon -- as exemplified by the sphere held by Alexander, echoing that of the Draconic sphere of XXI --

The dragon wings of Ipeo identify him clearly with the draconic forces - that 'will end in Babylon', as Alexander did, and as the final Beast will in the 'time to come' (ventur{i}o) -- the dragon is not shown destroyed, the deck is focussed on the historical beasts/secular powers, not on those to come, which nonetheless may be inferred --

The creature on Olivo is a Basilisk, emblematic of Royalty [from Basilieus - King, as the astrological sun is significator of Kingship, as Olivo, the oil of annointment, is emblematic of (Anointed) Kings (which brings to mind the Holy Roman Empire? Maybe? (The Basilieus and oil of anointment off the top of my head makes me think of Carolus Magnus, the first of the Holy Roman Emperors, anointed (Olivo) by the Bishop of Rome in St Peter's Basilica, on Christmas day, the Feast of Sol Invictus, the unconquered Sun in the Pagan Roman Calendar ) -

While the ascent of Alexander could be read in a positive light, and was in several instances ( and be read in the as the ascension - descension of souls through the gates of birth and death) - more often, at least in a Christian reading and as represented on Churches, it is his failure and fall that is the point that is emphasized, associated rather with the Tower of Babylon with which it would be paired, or the fall of Adam and Eve --
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: Sola-Busca riddles

#73
SteveM wrote:
25 Oct 2017, 08:30

The creature on Olivo is a Basilisk, emblematic of Royalty [from Basilieus - King;
as the astrological sun is significator of Kingship;
as Olivo, the oil of annointment, is emblematic of (Anointed) Kings (which brings to mind the Holy Roman Empire? Maybe?

The Basilieus and oil of anointment off the top of my head makes me think of Carolus Magnus, the first of the Holy Roman Emperors, anointed (Olivo) by the Bishop of Rome in St Peter's Basilica, on Christmas day, the Feast of Sol Invictus, the unconquered Sun in the Pagan Roman Calendar ) -
To the Unconquered Sun:

SOLI INVICTO

sOLi InVictO

(The motto on Constantine coins is SOLI INVICTO COMITE - Minister to the Unconquered Sun)

Constantiine coin, showing Constantine being crowned by the Sun:
Image
(In regards to any supposed Ficino influence, we may note the comparisons between Christ and the Sun Ficino made in his De Sole)
Image
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: Sola-Busca riddles

#74
SteveM wrote:
25 Oct 2017, 08:30
The dragon wings of Ipeo identify him clearly with the draconic forces - that 'will end in Babylon', as Alexander did, and as the final Beast will in the 'time to come' (ventur{i}o) -- the dragon is not shown destroyed, the deck is focussed on the historical beasts/secular powers, not on those to come, which nonetheless may be inferred --

The creature on Olivo is a Basilisk, emblematic of Royalty [from Basilieus - King, as the astrological sun is significator of Kingship, as Olivo, the oil of annointment, is emblematic of (Anointed) Kings (which brings to mind the Holy Roman Empire?
If you do an image search for "medieval bestiary Basilisk" you will see animals that are almost all winged, which still begs the question of the relationship of the Olivo's animal with the dragon-winged-man in the next card, "Ipeo".

That you connect Ipeo "with the draconic forces - that 'will end in Babylon'" is most baffling in light of the iconographical concerns of this deck. Neither Ipeo not Alexander are shown negatively, not in any connection with Babylon, and if Ipeo is Scipio Africanus, which seems most likely, then him communicating with a spirit is clearly a reference to the Dream of Scipio where he talks to an ancestor in the celestial spheres (which speaks to the concern of the deck's inscription, Trahor fatis, in the context of astral influences).

Back to the Basilisk, Albertus Magnus in the De animalibus cites Hermes Trismegistus as the source for the story about the basilisk's ashes being able to convert silver into gold - clearly connected to the alchemical concerns of the deck (otherwise where is an "Ipeo" connected with being a rex? Certainly not Scipio Africanus). The point of the basilisk has to be as a symbol of transformation (and I would argue, to induce a dream-state peculiar to that of Scipio, and opening up all of history - especially classical and Old Testament history - as the scope of investigation). Again, Olivo holds a scroll - obviously a book (and if Livy, a history - i.e., learning as a means of transformation), and Olivo looks back at Metelo performing some kind of ritual (holding a wand-like stick at the bronze vessel with steam/smoke emitted through various openings, like Hero of Alexandria's machine, but probably meant to be a model of the cosmos with various celestial fires represented). We are far from Christian eschatological concerns here.

The opening card of the deck, Ace of Coins, lays out the humanist goals - Hercules-Atlas pose as a symbol of the self, as does the two of coins featuring the classical hero above a "modern" (Renaissance) scholar, where the latter even wears the standard black cap of Venice, as worn by B. Bembo in this c. 1480 painting (who even holds a coin of Nero, a classical figure who is also in the deck): https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... _small.jpg. These two opening cards have nothing to do with Revelations; rather the humanist on the two of coins is to emulate the classical exemplar to which he is literally appended (e.g., a Scipio).
Image
Image

Yes Venice was Christian like the rest of Europe, but where you are getting Revelations as a primary theme out of this deck baffles me.

Phaeded

Re: Sola-Busca riddles

#75
The Visconti-Sforza serpent, Alexander the Great and Ammon-Zeus as Dragon/Serpent:

Alciato's Emblemata was dedicated to Maximilian Sforza, and the opening emblem is dedicated to the Coat of Arms of the Duchy of Milan:

Exiliens infans sinuosi è faucibus anguis,
Est gentilitiis nobile stemma tuis.
Talia Pellaeum gesisse nomismata regem,
Vidimus, hisque suum concelebrare genus.
Dum se Ammone, satum matrem anguis imagine lusam,
Divini & sobolem seminis esse docet.
Ore exit tradunt sic quosdam enitier angues,
An quia sic Pallas de capite orta Iovis.

An infant springing out of the jaws of a curling snake
Is your family noble device.
Such coins of the Pellaean king (Alexander the Great), we have seen,
And by these he celebrated his own descent.
Proclaiming he was begotten of Ammon, who fooled his mother in the form of a snake,
Is it because, as some claim, that some snakes are born out of the mouth,
Or because Pallas sprang from the head of Jupiter this way?


As far as I know, Alciato in his emblemata is the first to associate the Visconti serpent with Ammon / Dragon as the father of Alexander - in his later book "On Dueling' he related the familiar and more traditional explanation of how Otto Visconti tore if from a saracens helmet during a duel, but then goes on again to explain how the emblem was Alexander's and to be found on his some of his coins, to show how he was born of Jupiter, who was venerated in the form of a serpent -- [Alciato was a coin collector and wrote a treatise on coins, but no such coin as the one he describes is currently known]
Image
Caterina Sforza Visconti de Riario was married to Girolamo Riaro, who liked to identify himself with King Philip of Macedonia, as can be seen on his coin:
Image
"With this imitation of an antique coin Girolamo drew parallels between himself and his classcial predecessor --- Girolamo's son ottaviano could even become a new Alexander the Great"

Caterina Sforza and the Art of Appearances: Gender, Art and Culture in Early Modern Italy, by Joyce de Vries, p62

Caterina was a herbal "alchemist" - producing medicinal and cosmetic lotions and ointments:
https://fleurtyherald.wordpress.com/201 ... d-recipes/

She was accused of using her alchemical skills to try and poison her father-in-law, the Pope (Alexander VI), impregnating letters she sent to him with poison - the snake ;)

SteveM

OT: In Alciato's list of tarot trumps, he refers to Trump I as the inn-keeper who 'raises a toast to everyone', a sort of 'everybody's friend'? (Like Panfilio)
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: Sola-Busca riddles

#76
Nero, having blamed the Christians for the great fire of Rome, had them burnt as torches that lit up his gardens at night - here these early Christian martyrs are represented as a child to show their martyrdom as a slaughter of innocents and to exemplify his notorious cruelty --

Image


As, I believe, Michael Hurst once noted - Nero, along with Nimrod (trump XX) and Nebuchadnezzer (XXI), were typified as Anti-Christs -
That Kings of Babylon are the final triumphs of a series otherwise dedicated to Rome, seems clearly to allude to the traditional identification of Rome with Babylon in the Christian apocalyptic tradition - Babylon and Rome being among those great secular powers, or 'beasts', empowered by the dragon - (the Babylonian Spirit of Despotism, whose power is reflected through the ages in the rise and fall of great secular powers - and shall end with the reign of the Anti-Christ in Babylon (as it began in Babylon) - identified by some with Jerusalem, by others as here, with Rome)

Another of those great secular powers, Greece, and another of the Anti-Christ types - Alexander, is shown in the court cards --

The Millenial theme (re:Daniel & Revelations) seems so obvious to me that it appears perverse to deny it --

Returning to the figure of Nerone - On the Sola-Busca pages over at Tarotpedia 'Marco' also mentions some similarities with illustrations of the Judgment of Solomon, for example:

Image


Definitely here indulging in a bit of speculative fancy, with the VIII of Nero and the Sword of Solomon I take a look at the 8 of Swords:

Image


My focus, in the context of Solomon, beyond the single drawn upright sword, is the Cornucopia - symbol of material wealth - and am reminded in the context of Nero/Solomon that, as 666 is the number of the Beast Neron, Solomon's annual wealth was 666 talents of Gold --- {1 Kings 10:24}

If not pure coincidence - it is perhaps relevant that this biblical passage marks the turning point in the downfall of Solomon --

The double cornucopia and its meaning of 'material wealth' can be found for example among the Emblemata of Alciato:

Image


"The caduceus, with entwined snakes and twin wings, stands upright between the horns of Amalthea. It thus indicates how material wealth blesses men of powerful intellect, skilled in speaking." [cornucopia = material wealth; the winged caduceus = eloquence]

The crossed cornucopia may be found on several antique coins across a wide period - Rome, Antioch, Nabutaen -

Felicitas Tempor (Happy Times)
Image
Here with caduceus - a clear link between antique coins and emblemata:
Image
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: Sola-Busca riddles

#77
SteveM wrote:
26 Oct 2017, 23:24
As, I believe, Michael Hurst once noted - Nero, along with Nimrod (trump XX) and Nebuchadnezzer (XXI), were typified as Anti-Christs -
That Kings of Babylon are the final triumphs of a series otherwise dedicated to Rome, seems clearly to allude to the traditional identification of Rome with Babylon in the Christian apocalyptic tradition - Babylon and Rome being among those great secular powers, or 'beasts', empowered by the dragon
Considering that the Romans were held up as exempli by the humanist culture of Venice (and elsewhere), I don't see where there is any room for your biblical pejorative of "beasts"; e.g., how does that apply to such humanist heroes as Marcus Tullius "Tullio" or even Cato(ne) in trump XIII (Dante praises Cato, despite his status as a pagan suicide who opposed Caesar, by calling him in his Convivio 4.28.15 the human being best suited to represent God and then imagines his spiritual salvation - freed from Limbo at Christ's Harrowing of Hell - and divinely-ordained function in the afterlife in the Comedia, Purg. 1.31-108, 2.118-23 ) . Only Nero is negative, assuming that the child-into-fire isn't a symbol of something less literal.

I don't even see how Nebuchadnezzer is demonized as a beast - he simply seems to be dreaming of the encompassing celestial serpent in the armillary sphere, as a Magi from the East, albeit perhaps negatively associated with Saturine melancholy. In fact his sleeping/contemplative pose on this last card of the deck mimics the left cupid in the first Ace of Coins card of the deck, who rests his head on hand in the classic melancholy pose with the Trahor fatis inscription overhead in place of the dragon. The dragon is astral-related, not Anti-Christ related, as there is not even a single explicit reference to Revelations in the Sola Busca. To quote Ficino again: "Under the celestial Serpent or the entire constellation of the Serpent-bearer, they place Saturn ...." (M. Ficino, Three Books on Life, trans. Kaske & Clarke, Bk. III, Chap. 14, 1998: 311).
Steve wrote:
Here with caduceus - a clear link between antique coins and emblemata:
Image
I can't tell if that's Vespasian, Titus, or Domitian, but the caduceus was not especially associated with the Flavians, not more than any other number of standard motifs that filled the reverses of their coins (Judaea Capta was of course unique). At all events nothing warrants your talk of "emblemata" in connection with a Flavian emperor; the motif simply plays off of Mercury's association with wealth (the cornucopia) that the dynasty would be bringing back to bankrupt Rome, as in here where the caduceus is juxtaposed with bountiful produce (poppies and wheat):
Image
Phaeded

Re: Sola-Busca riddles

#78
I can't tell if that's Vespasian, Titus, or Domitian, but the caduceus was not especially associated with the Flavians, not more than any other number of standard motifs that filled the reverses of their coins (Judaea Capta was of course unique). At all events nothing warrants your talk of "emblemata" in connection with a Flavian emperor; the motif simply plays off of Mercury's association with wealth (the cornucopia) that the dynasty would be bringing back to bankrupt Rome
As I said, it was a motif on many coins, over several regions and over several time periods - I gave an example of one coin without it any being of special relevance that it was Flavian, but perhaps more relevant than some other of many examples in that it also included the caduceus -- you are making a point of an issue I never even raised, totally ignoring my statement in regards to its wide ranging use --

if I recall right Berti uses this emblem too in relation to the 8 of Swords, but without identifying it as an emblem or giving a source, but to illustrate and provide a comparison with hermetic/alchemical sources (Although many emblems do have symbols akin to some alchemical (more especially later, 17th century ones)- I wouldn't regard his emblemata as alchemical, nor particularly hermetic, albeit he describes them himself as 'hieroglyphic' -- for a large part they illustrate simple moral platitudes or common-place proverbs)

The point came up in relation to Alciato's use of coins (he was a coin collector and wrote a small treatise on coins) as a source for some of his emblems -

and one of particular interest -- his first emblem, on the coat of arms of the Duchy of Milan, which he interprets in light of "coins we have seen" (him and Maximilian?), connecting the Visconti biscione with the serpent/dragon of Zeus Ammon and four of our subjects, Alexander, Ammon, Pallas and Olimpia:

An infant springing out of the jaws of a curling snake
Is your family noble device.
Such coins of the Pellaean king (Alexander the Great), we have seen,
And by these he celebrated his own descent.
Proclaiming he was begotten of Ammon, who fooled his mother in the form of a snake,
Is it because, as some claim, that some snakes are born out of the mouth,
Or because Pallas sprang from the head of Jupiter this way?


As the creator of the SB seems familiar with coins too, may even have been a collector, we can imagine him/her going over coins with friends, as did Alciato and Maximilian, and trying to decipher their emblems, maybe even, as Alciato did, making anachronistic comparison with colleagues and opponents of their own time --
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: Sola-Busca riddles

#79
A bit more on Bacchus:
Image

In Polisena I notice the Dionysian theme (as with other cup cards) - the serpent and the dophins, which reminds me of the pirates turned into dolphins, whose oars were turned into serpents --

On other possible Bacchic references, see posts here:
viewtopic.php?p=19748#p19748

and here:
viewtopic.php?p=19731#p19731

Alexander's mother too, according to Plutarch, was a worshipper of Dionysius (as well as being a witch and a lover of serpents!)
Plutarch in Life of Alexander wrote: "As for the lineage of Alexander, on his father's side he was a descendant of Heracles through Caranus, and on his mother's side a descendant of Aeacus through Neoptolemus; this is accepted without any question. And we are told that Philip, after being initiated into the mysteries of Samothrace at the same time with Olympias, he himself being still a youth and she an orphan child, fell in love with her and betrothed himself to her at once with the consent of her brother, Arymbas. Well, then, the night before that on which the marriage was consummated, the bride dreamed that there was a peal of thunder and that a thunder-bolt fell upon her womb, and that thereby much fire was kindled, which broke into flames that travelled all about, and then was extinguished. At a later time, too, after the marriage, Philip dreamed that he was putting a seal upon his wife's womb; and the device of the seal, as he thought, was the figure of a lion. The other seers, now, were led by the vision to suspect that Philip needed to put a closer watch upon his marriage relations; but Aristander of Telmessus said that the woman was pregnant, since no seal was put upon what was empty, and pregnant of a son whose nature would be bold and lion-like. Moreover, a serpent was once seen lying stretched out by the side of Olympias as she slept, and we are told that this, more than anything else, dulled the ardour of Philip's attentions to his wife, so that he no longer came often to sleep by her side, either because he feared that some spells and enchantments might be practised upon him by her, or because he shrank for her embraces in the conviction that she was the partner of a superior being.

"But concerning these matters there is another story to this effect: all the women of these parts were addicted to the Orphic rites and the orgies of Dionysus from very ancient times (being called Klodones and Mimallones) and imitated in many ways the practices of the Edonian women and the Thracian women about Mount Haemus, from whom, as it would seem, the word "threskeuein" came to be applied to the celebration of extravagant and superstitious ceremonies. Now Olympias, who affected these divine possessions more zealously than other women, and carried out these divine inspirations in wilder fashion, used to provide the revelling companies with great tame serpents, which would often lift their heads from out the ivy and the mystic winnowing-baskets, or coil themselves about the wands and garlands of the women, thus terrifying the men.

"However, after his vision, as we are told, Philip sent Chaeron of Megalopolis to Delphi, by whom an oracle was brought to him from Apollo, who bade him sacrifice to Ammon and hold that god in greatest reverence, but told him he was to lose that one of his eyes which he had applied to the chink in the door when he espied the god, in the form of a serpent, sharing the couch of his wife."
To which may be added that, according to the Alexandrian romances, Natanabo went to Olimpia in four forms - a ram horned serpent (Zeus-Ammon), Hercules, Dionysius and as himself -
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: Sola-Busca riddles

#80
"inter utram facem" (between two torches)

Meaning: From the Marriage Torch to the Funeral Torch

Albeit in the SB - the sequence is inverted!?

Torches, both upright and inverted, most commonly used in Roman ritual were the nuptial torch of Hymen used for weddings, and the torch of mourning used at funerals (often black or darker than the nuptial torch, and on funerary art, such as on sarcophagi, often inverted)

The inverted torch as symbol of mourning is even used today - the skull and inverted torch are both symbols of Thanatos, the Genius of Death - the upright nuptial torch of Hymen may also be connected with Eros, who kindles it -

The brother of Thanatos, Hypnos (sleep) also carried an inverted torch - Hypnos and Thanatos were twin brothers, the sons of Night & Darkness -
The inverted torch on Olivo (if it is a torch, we can only see part of it), in respect of a possible connection with Sol Invictus, maybe a symbol of the winter solstice -- around which time (a few days later - December 25) the festival of Sol Invictus was celebrated: an upight and inverted torch were also in relation to the Cult of Mithrais, with whom Sol Invictus is also commonly shown - and as is dicussed by Peter Adams in his 'Game of Saturn" * (albeit in relation to II & VI, which seem more clearly to me to be related to the funeral and wedding torches)
Image




Although we might speak, in chronological terms, of the marriage torch to the funeral torch - such a chronology in the SB seems to have been inverted!? Ill-fated marriages in Roman drama, comedy and poetry often make a play upon the funerary and wedding torches - a wedding torch for example may have been lit from a pyre or funeral torch, or funeral torches are taken to the ill-fated wedding instead of Hymen's -- a clear signification of doom -- young people who died before marriage were described as being married to death, their funerary torch thus both a funeral and a wedding torch --

"My life was constant, the whole was free from reproach: We lived respected from the marriage to the funeral torch." Sextus Propertius



SteveM

*I do not have and have not read 'The Game of Saturn', a gorgeous looking book but unfortunately beyond my means - but his Mithraic theory is covered in some online essays / excerpts, interviews and presence on other forums
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

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