Banier: Egyptian-Phoenician origins of the Roman phallic cult of Bacchus (and Dercetis/Atergatis/Adir-Dagon)

Banier (extracted below) suggests that the Ovidian Greek myths were borrowings from Egypt and Phoenicia. Phallicism, myths of the half fish people also feature in early mythology and iconographies of China and Jomon Japan, which suggest borrowings either from the Phoenicians or through interactions and exchanges with the Greek-Hellenistic-Bactrian-Margiana-Ferghana world. Alternatively, phallicism also features in India, and questions about an Indian-Sumerian-Phoenician provenance need further exploring.

In Iran, a place where phallic objects have long thought to be absent, mushroom-shaped phallic objects have turned up in Ardabil (see  Arakelova, Victoria, Omid, Parisa. Phallic Objects from Ardabil Iran and the Caucasus, Vol. 10, No. 2. (2006), pp. 231-237, doi:10.1163/157338406780345925)

Outside of Rome, phallic representation is also found in the Cucuteni Culture 3000 BC)  Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, a.k.a. Trypillian culture(from Ukrainian) or Tripolye culture (from Russian), is a NeolithicEneolithic archaeological culture which flourished between ca. 5500 BC and 2750 BC, from the Carpathian Mountains to the Dniester and Dnieper regions in modern-day Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine(see below).  At its peak the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture built the largest settlements in Neolithic Europe.

3000 BC Cucuteni Culture Photo: Wikipedia

Ovid Illustrated: The Reception of Ovid’s
Metamorphoses in Image and Text

Abbé Banier’s Ovid commentary Englished from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Garth tr., Amsterdam, 1732)

Banier’s French (1757/87 reprinting) // Later Illustrated Banier Editions // Earlier and Later Metamorphoses in French

Published first in a Latin-English Metamorphoses edition including Garth’s 1717 preface and collaborative rendering of Ovid, as well as magnificent plates by Picart, this anonymous English translation of Banier‘s Euhemerist and “historical” explanations of Ovidian myth (see the various versions of his larger work, Mythologie et les fables expliquées par l’histoire) is reprinted with minor refinements to Banier’s own preface, but otherwise with minimal differences from our present copytext, in P. Ovidii Nasonis metamorphoseon libri XV. Cum variis lectionibus … With Abbé Banier’s arguments and explanations of the history of mythology … London, 1747 (ESTC T099263, ECCO CW112327640). Banier’s readings are taken up in several Delphini editions of the Metamorphosesand in Henry Riley‘s English translation still in use well past 1900.

EXPLICATION OF THE EIGHTH, NINTH AND TENTH FABLES.  [ III.viii-x The Triumph of Bacchus and Death of Pentheus ]

I would willingly treat a Matter more at large upon which there are so many Things to be said; but in doing so I should be obliged to enter into Discussions, not to be expected in a Work which ought to be suited to the Capacity of every Reader. Those who would knew more of it may consult the Authors whom I have mentioned, and see in the First Volume of Antiquity Explained by Father Montfaucon, all the Figures which represent that Divinity, and, by that means, discover several remarkable Circumstances relating to his History and Worship. As the Figure which stands at the head of this Fable, is only drawn after the Description of Ovid, they will find in the Collection of that learned Benedictine, antick Triumphs, where that God is represented in a Chariot drawn by Two Tygers or Two Panthers. There is even One of them in which Two Centaurs conduct the Chariot of Bacchus; and several others of which it is needless to speak.
As Bacchus won the Love of the People amongst whom he travelled; as he applyed himself to cultivate the Vine, and taught his Subjects several profitable and necessary Arts, he was honoured as a great Divinity; and his Worship spread far and near. Several Feasts were instituted in honour of him, of which we may see the Ceremonies in Meursius, Fasoldus, Castellanus, and other Authors who have written on that Subject. The greatest of all those Feasts, and that which gave occasion to the Tragical History of Pentheus, of which I am going to explain the Fable, was celebrated every Three Years, and named Trieterica. In that tumultuous Feast, the Bacchants had the Figure of that God, with the obscene Representation of Phallus placed in a Chariot drawn by Two Tygers or Two Panthers. Those Women, crown’d with Vines and holding Thyrsuses in their Hands, run in a frantick manner about the Chariot, as we may see in several antick Figures and Pieces of Basso Relievo, in which the Mysteries of Bacchus are represented. Those Bacchants filled the Air with the Noise of several Drums and other Instruments of Brass, crying Euohe Bacche! And calling that God, Bromius, Lyaeus, Euan, Leneus Sabazius etc. The Greeks having received that Feast, so well known in the Indies and Egypt, added to it several particular Ceremonies, and, amongst them, some very infamous Ones which always shocked such Persons as had any remains of Modesty or Shame. Those Feasts were very often suppressed by publick Authority; but Licentiousness and Lewdness always found means to re-establish them. Ladies of the greatest Distinction, Princesses, and even Queens themselves were initiated in those Mysteries, from which Chastity and Modesty were entirely banished. We cannot read the first Apologists for Christianity, without approving the manner in which they have reproached the Pagans upon this Subject, who, in spite of all the Allegories invented by the Platonick Philosophers to lessen the Horrour of those Practices, were at last obliged to confess that Licentiousness had introduced several Things which ought to be retrenched. For Those Mysteries, which were the same with the Mysteries of Isis, brought by the Colonies into Greece, as all the Learned agree, were not so lewd in the beginning as they afterwards grew to be in the Process of Time.
We see that in such barbarous Times, those Feasts furnished Pretences and Opportunities for the Commission of the most horrid Actions. The Ladies of Thrace, resolving to be revenged on Orpheus for his Contempt of them, chose the Day for celebrating those Mysteries, to go up to Mount Cithaeron, where they most cruelly tore him in Pieces. Progne, designing also to deliver her Sister our of the Hands of Tereus, went with other Bacchants to break open the Gates of the Prison, and brought her to the Palace, where they murder’d the young Itys, and made the King his Father eat him. And in the Fable, which is the Subject of this Explication, we see the Bacchants of Thebesclimbing up Mount Cithaeron to tear in Pieces the unfortunate Pentheus.
The History, as Ovid relates it, is exactly true, and all the Ancients agree in it. That young Prince, the Son of Echion and Agave, the Daughter of Cadmus, having succeeded his Grandfather in his Kingdom, would, like him, oppose those Abuses that had crept into the Mysteries of Bacchus; and went himself up to Mount Cithaeron to chastise the Bacchants who there kept the Revels of that God. Those foolish distracted Women, amongst whom were his Mother and Aunts, tore him in Pieces (9). Pausanias (10), nevertheless, says that Pentheus was a very impious Prince; but every Person was look’d upon as such who endeavour’d to make any Alteration in the Mysteries of Religion. The same Author also relates (11) that Pentheus, having got up into a Tree to observe the secret Ceremonies of the Orgies, was discover’d by the Bacchants, who punished his Curiosity, in the cruel Manner which I have already taken Notice of. He further adds that the Oracle commanded the Corinthians to go and find out a Tree, and give it Divine Honours. In his Time there was still remaining at Athens a Representation of that Prince torn in Pieces by the Bacchants. (12).


Banier's French       BOOK IV.       Picart's Illustrations

THE EXPLICATION OF THE I, II, III, AND IV FABLES.  [ IV.i-iv Pyramus and Thisbe ]

By the Manner in which Ovid speaks in the Third and Fourth Book, we may plainly see that the establishing the Worship of Bacchus in Greece met with great Opposition, and that the Ministers of his Feasts and Ceremonies published several Wonders, to gain them the greater Credit, and to pass them the more easily upon the People. These are the pretended Prodigies and Miracles which I am now to explain.
I.Certain Tuscans finding Bacchus drunk one day, carried him on board their Ship with a Design to sell him for a Slave; but the God growing Sober; and finding that they did not steer toward Naxos, where they had promised to land him, he transformed them into Dolphins. This Fable, if we believe what Bochart says of it, has no other Foundation than some Adventures which happen’d to certain Tyrsenian Merchants, whose Vessell had the Figure of a Dolphin at the Prow, or rather of a Fish called Tursio, the Porpoise or Sea-Hog. Those Merchants were shipwreckt near the Island of Naxos, which was sacred to Bacchus, whose Mysteries, they had, very likely, despised; and that was enough to cause a Report that it was the God himself who had destroyed them to punish their Impiety.
II.The Mineides affecting to work during the time of celebrating the Feast of Bacchus were changed into Batts. Which is as much as to say, without doubt, that those Virgins, for whom a very strict Search was made, withdrawing privately from Thebes, it was reported that they were so Metamorphosed. Whatever Truth may be in the Account, the pretended Punishments of Pentheus, the Mariners, the Mineides, and Licurgus gained Bacchus the Reputation of a very terrible and revengefull God; and his Priests knew very well how to make those Stories contribute to increase the Credit of their Religion, and render his Worship the more respected.
III. Ovid, who found the Secret to join together, with so much Art, Fictions which had no manner of Connexion amongst themselves, has made the Mineides relate several Histories which want an Explication. Here then is the Foundation of That of Dercetis who was changed into a Fish. Dercetis, if we believe Diodorus (1), Pliny, Herodotus, Athenagoras; and amongst the Moderns, Vossius and Selden, having offended Venus, that Goddess made her fall in love with a young Man by whom she had a Daughter. In dispair at a Misfortune which dishonoured her, she first killed her Lover, then exposed her Child, and at last threw herself into a Pond. The Syrians built a Temple near the Place where she was drowned, and honoured her as a Goddess: They reported that she was changed into a Fish, and represented her under the Figure of a Woman to the Waste, and of a Fish from the Girdle downwards: They also afterwards abstained from eating the Fish of that Pond, and even of any other: They offer’d Sacrifices of Fish to her, and there were several gilded Ones in the Temple of that Goddess. There are some Authors who believe that Dercetis was a very cruel Princess who had forbidden the Syrians the eating of Fish: But if that was true, would they have adored her after her Death? It is much more reasonable to say that, by her good Actions, and the Favours she bestowed, she gained the Esteem and Love of her People. If we believe Selden, who has written an excellent Treatise upon the Syrian Gods, the Fable of the Dercetis or Atergatis, comes from That of Dagon, the God of the Philistins, who was represented by the Figure of a Fish; and the Name of Atergatis is composed of Adir Dagon, a great Fish; which might very well have given occasion to the Metamorphosis. The same Author believes that the Fable of Dircetis is the very same with That of Venus, Astartis, Minerva, Juno, Isis, and the Moon, and that she is the Mylitta of the Assyrians, and the Alilac of the Arabians
There is a Figure, in the Closet of Monsieur de la Chausse, which the Antiquaries take for Dercetis; it represents a Goddess, holding in one hand a Cupid bending his Bow, while she looks on another Cupid who hold a Torch lifted up in the Air: But the Flower Lotus on her Head, shews her to be One of the Egyptian Divinities. I must not forget to take notice in this place of what Lucian (2) tells us concerning Dercetis. “Some People,” says he, “think that the Temple in the holy City, is the Work of Semiramis, who dedicated it, not to Juno, as generally believed, but to her Mother Dercetis. I have seen in Phoenicia,” adds he, “an Image of that Goddess which is very extraordinary, it is a Woman to the Girdle, and from thence downwards a Fish, but That which is in the holy City (3) has the complete form of a Woman.”


Also useful to note is that Greek myths were derivative ones from Egypt, Phoenicia (and elsewhere), see  THE EXPLICATION OF THE THIRTEENTH FABLE.  [ I.xiii Jupiter Pursues Io ]

The Greeks frequently embellish’d their History with the principal Events of Egypt and Phenicia: At least the faintest resemblance, either in Names or Adventures, induced them to confound their History with that of the People from whom they derived their Original. They would be thought Ancient; and those who came first to people Greece having brought with them the knowledge of their History and their Religion, it is no wonder that their Posterity afterwards assumed the Honour of both. The Fable before us came without doubt originally from Egypt. Isis was the great Divinity of that ancient People; she reign’d over them soon after the Dispersion of Nations, and taught them Agriculture, and several other profitable and necessary Arts, as we earn from Diodorus Siculus, Plutarch, or more properly speaking from all Antiquity. In acknowledgment of it they made her a Divinity; and her Worship, confined at first among the Egyptians, passed with their Colonies into foreign Countries. Greece receiv’d it when Inachus went to settle himself there and in process of time Isis or Io was taken for his Daughter, and the Fable publish’d in the manner that Ovid relates it. This is what is most certain in the Matter; but as something might have happend in Greece to give rise to this Fable, it is necessary to shew in what manner the Greek Authors explain it. Apollodorus, Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, and Pausanias, upon Homer’s Authority, say that Io was the Daughter of Inachus the first King of Argos; that Jupiter took her away by Force and carryed her to the Isle of Crete, that he had a Son by her named Epaphus who went to reign in Egypt; that his Mother having followed him thither marryed Osiris, who was the same with Apis the Son of Phoroneus Second King of Argos, and who, after his Death, was ranked amongst the Gods under the name of Serapis. To explain all the Circumstances of this Fable, it is added that Niobe, who had also the name of Juno, according to the Custom of those Times, having conceiv’d a Jealousy of that Intrigue put Io under Custody of her Uncle Argos, a most vigilant Person; that Jupiter order’d his Confident to kill him, and that his Mistress having embark’d in a Vessell for Egypt that carryed the Figure of a Cow at it’s Head, the Story of the Transformation of that Princess took its rise from thence. But this Explication is itself but a new Fable invented to explain the old One. Pausanias, and St. Austin after him have placed that Event much later. According to them Io, a Grecian Princess, was the Daughter of Iasus the Son of Triopas the Seventh King of Argos. And certainly if Danaus and Egyptus lived not till near the Year 1420 before JESUS-CHRIST, as may be proved by the Arundelian Marbles, Io could not have been till a long time after Inachus, who was contemporary with Moses; that is to say near 600 Years before. But this has not any solid Foundation in Antiquity, no more than what Herodotus (1) says that Io was carryed away by some Phenician Merchants to Argos then a flourishing City; for as that City took its Name from Argos the Fourth King of it, it could not be very considerable in the Time of Inachus its Founder. The Greek Writers also tell us that the Bosphorus, a part of the Aegean Sea, had it’s Name from the Passage of Io metamorphosed into a Cow; but we must look upon this Fact likewise as a new Invention, even as St. Austin relates it copying after Varro, who derives the Names of Serapis from that of Apis King of Argos and the Word Soras which is as much as to say a Coffin, because that before a Temple was built to that Prince he had Divine Honours paid him at his Tomb. For it is very apparent St. Austin was mistaken in following in this Article that Tradition of the Greeks, who would have all the Gods and Heros to have been born amongst them. Apis King of Argos never went to settle in Aegypt; nor was there ever amongst those People any other Apis than the Ox that bore that Name, as the learned Marsham has unanswerably proved. In the Cabinet of Brandenburg, publish’d by Bergerus, the River Inachus is seen lying near a Cow, that is to say, near his Daughter Io.


Other sources readings on phallicism:

In “Old Europe: A New Awakening!” an Old European origin is given for both the combined Cosmic Egg and Fish mythology…

“The Fish

Although the engraving of two fishes evidently belong to another period and seem out of context, it should be remembered that the fish as a symbol is not the exclusive prerogative of Christian faith. In Old Europe, the usual symbolism connected with the fish ranges from its being an emblem of the vulva, or the phallus, to a symbol of the soul or the ‘mystic ship of life‘. At Lepenski Vir, a prehistoric site located on the banks of Danube river in eastern Serbia, a complex belonging to the Starčevo culture dated to the early sixth millenium B.C.E., the fish represented a dominant deity and assumes the shape of an egg and is anthropomorphized. In Old Europe, geometric motifs of various kind engraved on stones often appear on acquatic divinities associated with cosmogonical imagery.”

Gods of Myth and Stone: Phallicism in Japanese Folk Religion” by Michael Czaj

Jennings, Hargrave, 18177-1890. “Phallicism, celestial and terrestrial heathen and Christian, its connexion with the Rosicrucians and the Gnostics, and its foundation in Buddhism, with an essay on mystic anatomy

“Though the Greek writers call the deity who was represented by the sacred goat at Mendes, Pan, he more exactly answers to Priapus, or the generative attribute considered abstractedly {Diodor. Sic, lib. i., p. 78) ; which was usually represented in Egypt, as well as in Greece, by the Phallus only. {Ibid., p. 16.) This deity was honoured with a place in most of their temples (Ibid.), as the Lingam, or Lingham, is in those of the Hindoos ; and all the hereditary priests were initiated or consecrated to him, before they assumed the sacerdotal office [Ibid., p. 78) : he was considered as a sort of accessory attribute to all the other divine personifications ; and truly so, for without this, or some similar means or machinery, they themselves obviously could not be.”

“The Disa or Isa of the north was represented by a conic figure. This goddess is delineated on the sacred drums of the Laplanders as accompanied by a child, similar to the Horus of the Egyptians, who so often appears in the lap of Isis, on the religious monuments of that people. {Is lac Table, and 01. Rudbeck. Atlant., pp. 209 and 210; lb., p. 280.)

The ancient Muscovites also worshipped a similar sacred group, probably representing Isis and her offspring…Of monumental stones of a conical form, the Phallic or Priapic type has especially at all periods been human, from the crown of the head to the line of the ventral region, or the line of the double division, taking start at the centre point between the thighs. This significant, mathematical, also mystical form is represented upon the colonial medals of Tyre by monuments of conic shape called ” ambrosial’ stone s ; from which, probably, came the amberics, so frequent all over the northern hemisphere.

These, from the remains still extant, appear to have been composed of one of these cones let into the ground, with another stone placed upon the point of it (Bowing-Stones), and so nicely balanced that the wind could move it, though so ponderous that no human force, unaided by machinery, can displace it. Whence they are also called ” Logging-Rocks,” and Pender or Pendre-Stones (Nor- den’s Cornwall^ p. 79), as they were anciently ” Living- Stones,” and ” Stones of God” {Pseudo-Sanchon. Fragm. apud Euseb. ” fiaavkta.”)”

And to every temple of any importance, in India, we find a Nautcb, or troop of dancing girls attached. These women are generally procured when quite young, and are early initiated into all the mysteries of the profession. They are instructed in dancing, and vocal and instrumental music, their chief employment being to chant the sacred hymns, and perform watches before the god, on the recurrence of high festivals.
But this is not the only, and, in peculiar senses, not the most important, and certainly not the. most seductive service required of them ; for besides being the acknowledged mistresses of the officiating priests, it is their duty to prostitute themselves, in the courts of the temples, to all comers, and thus raise funds for the enrichment of the place of worship to which they belong.

…these females comprise among their number perhaps some of the loveliest women in the world. All temptations are heightened by their secrecy, and by their being artfully kept back…. among the classes from which a medium for sacti is selected, is the courtesan and dancing. girl grade. They are, indeed, more frequently chosen for this honour than others. A Nautch woman esteems it a peculiar privilege to become Radha Dea on such occasions. It is an office the duties of which these adepts are, on every account, better calculated to fulfil with satisfaction to the sect of Sacteyas who may require their aid, than a more innocent and unsophisticated girl.

The worship of Sacti is the adoration of Power, which the Hindus typify by the Toni, or womb, the Argha, or vulva, and by the leaves and flowers of certain plants, thought to resemble it. Thus we find in the Ananda-Tantram (c. vi., verse 13) an allusion to the Aswattha, or sacred fig-tree, the leaf of which is in the shape of a heart, and much resembles the conventional form of the yoni, to which it is compared.

Bhagamala…appears to be the goddess who presides over the pudendum-muliebre, i.e. the deified Vulva; and the Sacti is thus personified. In the mental adoration of Sacti a diagram is framed, and the figure imagined to be seen inside the Vulva. This is the Adho-mukham, or lower face, i.e. the Toni, wherein the worshipper is to imagine {inantapam) a chapel to be erected. {Ananda-Tantram.) All the forms of Sacii- puja require the use of some or all of the five Makaras.
They are enumerated in the Syama Rahasya. ^^Mudra and Maithuna are the fivefold Makdra, which take away all sin.” The five Makaras are mans a, matsya, madya, maithuna, and mudra; that is flesh, fish, wine, women, and certain mystical twistings or gesticulations with the fingers. Such are some of the peculiar features of the worship of Power (Gnosticism), which combined with the Linga-Puja (adoration of the Phallus), constitutes at the present day one of the most popular dogmas of the Hindus.

“The liturgies of the Roman and Greek Churches contain several rules on .these subjects.”

The memoirs of Scipio de Ricci, Bishop of Pistoja, reveal some remarkable facts, plainly demonstrating that sacteya ideas had found their way into the monasteries and convents of Italy in the latter part of the last century.
S ELLON does not seem to be aware where Sactinism (or Sactism) borders on Gnosticism, and where Gnosticism and Aphroditism pass up into exceptional mysticism ; …

According to Theodoret, Arnobius, and Clemens of Alexandria, the Toni of the Hindus was the sole object of veneration in the mysteries of Eleusis. {Demosthenes on the Crown.) When the people of Syracuse were sacrificing to goddesses, they ofi:ered cakes in a certain form, called ixvWoi {Apuleius, p. 302) ; and in some temples, where the priestesses were probably ventriloquists, they so far imposed on the credulous multitude,
who came to adore the Vulva, as to make them Relieve that it spoke and gave oracles. The Phallic rites were so well known among the Greeks that a metre consisting of three trochees only derived its name therefrom. In the opinion of those who compiled the Puranas, Phallus was first publicly worshipped by the name of Basewarra-Linga on the banks of Cumudati, or Euphrates, and the Jews, according to Rabbi Acha, seem to have had some such idea, as may be collected from what is said regarding the different earths which formed the ” body of Adam.”

In many of the observances practised in the religious  solemnities of the Hindoos, solitude is enjoined ; but all the principal ceremonies comprehend the worship of Sacti or Power, and require, for that purpose, the presence of a young and beautiful girl, as the living representative of the goddess. The female, thus worshipped, is ever after denominated Togini, i.e. attached.

This worship of the Sacti is mostly celebrated in a mixed society, the men of which represent Bhanravis and Nayikas. The Sacti is personified by a naked girl, to whom meat and wine are offered, and then distributed among the assistants. Here follows the chanting of the Muntras and sacred Texts, and the performance of the Mudra^ or gesticulations with the fingers. The whole terminates with orgies amongst the votaries of a most licentious description. (Wilson on Hin. Sects, vol. xvii. ; Js, Res. Ward on the Vaisnavas, p. 309.) This ceremony is entitled the Sri Chakra, or Purna-bisheka, the ” Ring or Full Initiation.”

On the occasions of the performance of divine worship, the women and girls deposit their yulies, or bodices, in a box, each lettered and numbered, in charge of the Guru, or priest. At the close of the rites, the male worshippers take each a Julie from the box, and the female to whom the letter and number appertains, even were she the sister of the man who draws the lot, is forced, by the inexorable law of the place, and of the sacred necessities of the service,
to become his conjoint partner for the night in these lascivious orgies.” We are here at once reminded of the lustful solemnities practised amidst the mysteries of the temples of the Babylonians ; and of the abandonment to irregular pleasure prevailing in the penetralia, where the rites of the Bona Dea, amongst the Romans, were celebrated by the outwardly accepted chastest, and most serious and well-mannered women, matrons and girls alike, of the highest quality in Rome. All these secret festivals or celebrations were sacred, and most carefully covered, in all their wildest excesses, by the sanctions of
religion, and, incredible as it must appear, all the solemnities of sacred incidence.

The numerous terra-cotta figures and images in ivory, to which Layard has given the general name of Venus (^Kun), seem unquestionably to be impersonations of Sacti, or the female power, as the Yoni is rather obtrusively represented in many of these statuettes, while the fissure and other natural appendages are absent in others.

In the former, not only is the Yoni (or loni) portrayed, but ” a certain ornament on the mons veneris is curled precisely in the same conventional manner as is seen in the beards of the male statues in the Assyrian antiquities. While, in the latter, the true Venus, the fissure, and the appendages are omitted.” Why this prudery ? The appendages are the surrounding hair.

One is therefore led to believe that the adoration of  Sacti was a prominent feature in the Assyrian worship. And this idea is confirmed by a bas-relief of clay, found at Susa, which gives a nude female, having the yoni depicted, and holding in her hands the Argha (originals in the British Museum). The attitude of this figure, and the manner in which the Argha is placed in her hands, resembles, in a remarkable manner, the images of the
Hindu goddess, Devi.”

…the most ancient monuments of idolatry among the Gentiles, were consecrated Pillars (JJngas ?) or Columns (Obelisks), which the Hebrews were forbidden to erect as objects of divine homage and adoration.” Yet he adds, ” This practice is conceived to arise from an imitation of yacob, who took a stone and set it up^”* &c. Again, ” This stone was held in great veneration in later times by the Jews and removed to Jerusalem.” They were accustomed ” to anoint this stone,” and from the word ” Bethel,” ” the place where the pillar was erected, came the word Bcetylia among the heathen, which signified rude stones
which they worshipped, either as symbols of divinity, or as true gods animated by some heavenly power.”
Indeed it would seem not improbable that the erection of the Pillar of Jacob actually gave rise to the worship of Phallus among some of the pagan peoples. ” For,” says Lewis, ” the learned Bochart asserts that the Phoenicians, (at least as the Jews think) first worshipped this very- stone which Jacob anointed, and afterwards consecrated others,”it is so statedin Numbers, xxv. i, 2, &c.— xxiii., 28 and numerousother passages of the Old Testament,) that the Jews adored Baal-Phegor (Baal-Pheor), the Priapus of the Greeks and Romans. — ” It was,” he says, ” principally worshipped by women — ‘ colentibus jiiaxime fcsminis Baal-Phegor, ob obsccBui magnltudinem quern nos Priapum pos- sumus appellare?

“The adoration,” observes Maimonides, the most acute and learned of the Cabalistic Doctors, ” made to this idol called Pehor, consisted in discovering the mons ‘veneris before it.”” Chemosh (probably the same as Baal-Pheor) also received the homage of the Jews, as did Milcom, Molech, Baal-berith (or Cybele), and numerous others. From all this it will be seen that the Jews fell into idolatry, and Phallic idolatry too ; consequently there will not appear anything so very startling in the supposition that the A;-k of the Covenant contained a Phallus.

 We have seen that the Stone of Jacob was held in peculiar *’ veneration,” was worshipped and ” anointed.” We know from the Jewish records that the Ark was supposed to contain a table of stone ; and if it can be demonstrated that that stone was phallic, and yet identical with the sacred name Jehovah or YehoVah, which written in unpointed Hebrew with four letter’s, is J-E-V-E or J-H-V-H (the H being merely an aspirate and the same as E). This process leaves us the two letters I and V (or in another of its forms U) ; then if we place the I in the U we have the ” holy of holies ;” we also have the Linga and Yoni and Argha of the Hindus, the Iswarra or ” supreme lord ;” and here we have the whole secret of its mystic and arc-celestial import, confirmed in itself by being identical with the Linyoni of the Ark of the  Covenant,

In Gregorie’s works [Notes and Observations upon  several Passages in Scripture — 4to, Lond., 1684, vol. i., pp. 120-21] is a passage to the effect that “Noah daily prayed in the Ark before the * Body of Adam,’ ” />, before the Phallus — Adam being the primitive Phallus, great procreator of the human race. ” It may possibly seem strange,” he says, ” that this orison should be daily said before the body of Adam,” but ” it is a most confessed tradition among the eastern men that Adam was commanded by God that his dead body should be kept above ground till a fulness of time should come to commit if yixVxDDis to the middle of the earth by a priest of the Most High God.” This means Mount Moriah, the Meru of India.

” This body of Adam Xvas embalmed and transmitted from father to son, till at last it was delivered up by Lamech into the hands of Noah.” Again, “The middle of the Ark was the place of prayer, and made holy by the presence of Adam’s body.” [/<^/(i., p. 121.] “And so soon as ever the day began to break Noah stood up towards the body of Adam, &c., &c., and prayed.”

“The Obelisk, always means the male instrument, while the Pyramid signifies the female corresponding tumefactive, or rising power — power not submissive, but answerably suggestive …

The arrow or dart (/3eXo5, or o/BcXoe), was the appropriate emblem of the power that was exercised by the ” Fire,” Sun, Apollo or Phoebus. Every Obelisk was a typical representative in stone of a ray or beam of the fer-dartmg, operative, vivifying fire.

We find the universal symbol, the Fish (Jet hi us, Ix- theus), Ix-ion, (the Rock), the Fish, as the Gnostic symbol of the Saviour in many ways, upon many of the earliest coins. It is a principal figure upon the Gnostic gems or talismans. The goddess of the Phoenicians was represented by the head and body of a woman, terminating below in a fish. {Lucian de Syr. Dea, s. 14.) But in the Phoenician as well as Greek coins, now extant, the personage is of the other sex. And in plate L. of vol. i. of the Select Specimens is engraved a beautiful figure of the mystic Cupid or first-begotten Love, terminating in an aquatic plant which, affording more elegance and variety of form, was employed to signify the same meaning—that is, the ” Spirit upon the Waters.” From this
connexion of ideas between the Fish and the Saviour, comes the mystic symbol meaning the female vulva or fish’s mouth — the mitre, cleft and peculiarly shaped, of the archbishops and bishops, especially those examples of the very earliest Christian mitres, or the cloven, symbolical, sacred head-coverings.”

General Forlong, in his ” Rivers of Life,” has dealt at great length with the essentially phallic basis underlying the religion of Rome, but hitherto all but ignored by writers on what is usually styled classic mythology. He identifies the Palatine Hill as that dedicated from the earliest times to the male energy, and the Capitoline as that sacred especially to the female cult, to which he holds

Appendix. 283

the Romans were, as a rule, more addicted. He further traces the erection of Lignean phallic gods, afterwards succeeded by Fire and Solar deities, in various parts of the city. Of the survivals of purely phallic worship evidence abounds, and also of the fact that women were generally the more active participants. St. Augustine says : — ” The sexual member of man is consecrated in the temple of Liber, that of woman in the sanctuaries of Libera, the same goddess as Venus, and these two divinities are called the father and the mother because they preside over the act of generation” {De Civitaie Dei, vi., 9). Liber was a title of Bacchus, in whose honour the festival of the Liberales was held in March, six days after the Greeks celebrated their Dionysia, in honour of the same divinity. The Phallus, styled by the Romans Mutinus or Tutinus, when isolated from the representa- tion of a human figure, played a prominent part in these celebrations. On the authority of Varro, St. Augustine states that at certain places in Italy this emblem, placed upon a chariot, was solemnly and with great honour drawn about the fields, the highways, and finally the towns.
“At Lavinium the festival of the god Liber lasted a month, during which all gave themselves up to pleasure, licentiousness and debauchery. Lascivious ditties and the freest speech were kept company by like actions. A magnificent car bearing an enormous Phallus was slowly drawn to the centre of the forum, where it came to a halt, and the most respectable matron of the town ad- vanced and crowned this obscene image with a wreath”
{De Civitate Dei, vii., 21). Some days later was cele- brated the festival of Venus, also associated at Rome with the emblem of virility. During this festival the 284 Appendix.

Roman ladies proceeded in state to the Quirinal, where stood the temple of the Phallus, took possession of this sacred object, and escorted it in procession to the temple of Venus Erycina, where they placed it in the bosom of the goddess. A cornelian gem,* with a representation of this cerernony upon it, has been engraved in the ” Culte Secret des Dames Romaines.” A triumphal chariot bears a kind of altar, on which rests a colossal Phallus. A genius hovering above this object holds a crown of flowers suspended over it. The chariot and genius are under a square canopy, supported at the four corners by spears, each borne by a semi-nude woman. The chariot is drawn by goats and bulls, ridden by winged children, and is preceded by a group of women blowing trumpets. Further on, and in front of the car, is an object characteristic of the female sex, representing the sinus veneris. This emblem, the proportions of which correspond to those of the Phallus on the chariot, is upheld by two genii. These appear to be pointing out to the Phallus the place it is to occupy. The ceremony accomplished, the Roman ladies devoutly escorted the Phallus back to its temple.
The mysteries of Bacchus were celebrated at Rome in the temple of that god and in the sacred wood near the Tiber, styled Simila,

General Forlong has also a few general observations upon the marked Phallo-Fire worship of the Greeks and Romans, too commonly called * Fire and Ancestor Wor- ship.’ The signs or Nishans of the generating parents — that is, the Lares and Penates — were placed in the family-niches close to the holy flame — that ” hot air,” ” holy spirit,” or ” breath,” the active force of the Hebrew BRA, and the Egyptian P’ta, the ” engenderer of the heavens and earth,” before which ignorant and super- stitious races prayed and prostrated themselves, just as they do to-day before very similar symbols. The Greeks and Romans watched over their fires as closely as do our Parsees or Zoroastrians. The males of the family had to see that the holy flame never went out, but in the ab- sence of the head of the house, and practically at all times, this sacred duty devolved on the matron of the house. Every evening the sacred fire was carefully covered with ashes, so that it might not go out by oversight, but quietly smoulder on ; and in the morning the ashes were removed, when it was brightened up and worshipped. In March, or early spring, it was allowed to die out, but not before the New Year’s Fire had been kindled from Sol’s rays and placed in the Sanctuary. No unclean object was allowed to come near Agni ; none durst ever warm themselves near him; nor could any blameworthy action take place in his presence. He was only approached for adoration or prayer ; not as Fire, which he was not, but as sexual flame, or Life…

Penates are Lingams, or male organs; and Lares, Yonis, or female organs. These symbols often doubtless represented ancestry, but rather grossly so, before the days of statuary and painting, and were placed over the family hearth just as we still place there the pictures or forms of our great dead ones. So in
family niches near the sacred fire we see, as I have often done in secret nooks of Indian domiciles, small rudely-formed figures in stone or baked clay, elongated when these were Penates and represented males, but ovate when Lares, or the female dead of the tribe or family As the cremated dead, and those whose bodies bleached on a foreign shore, had no tombstones, it was necessary-, in order to have them in remembrance, to place some fitting symbol or relic of them near the god of the household, the sacred fire. This was not Phallic worship exactly, yet Lares and Penates are Phalli. The Lares and Penates represented the past vital fire or energy of the tribe, as the patriarch, his stalwart sons and daughters, did that of the present living fire on the sacred hearth. — (Forlong, Rivers of Life, i., 387—389.)”


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