Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [GTh] The Origin of the Man Eating the Lion Imagery

Expand Messages
  • FMMCCOY
    ... From: Isidoros To: Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2001 8:36 AM Subject: [GTh] SOM in GOT 86/79 - Logos,
    Message 1 of 4 , May 1, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Isidoros" <ioniccentre@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2001 8:36 AM
      Subject: [GTh] SOM in GOT 86/79 - Logos, Gnosticism and Philo

      Dear Isidoros:

      You write:, "Really, the concepts found in Gnosticism, Christianity and
      gThom germinate in Hesiod, Homer and from the Orphics, as is the Christian
      liturgy the exoteric "revelations" of Eleusenian, Mithraic and Orhic cult
      "mysteries."
      Because of your knowledge of the Mithraic and Orphic "mysteries", I
      would like you to comment on a line of speculation I have been considering
      for the origin of the man eating lion imagery in the first sentence of GTh
      7, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man."
      David Ulansey has written a book titled, The Origins of the Mithraic
      Mysteries. In it (p. 121), he notes a curious inter-relationship between
      the Orphic god Phanes and a leontocephalous Mithraic deity, speaking about
      "the striking similarity between the iconography of the Ophic Phanes and the
      Mirthraic lion-headed god, a similarity evidenced by a comparison between
      the famous Orphic Modena relief--depicting Phanes, entwined by the serpent
      Chronos, breaking out of the cosmic egg (see Figure 7.17)--and the standard
      Mithraic lion-headed god (see Figures 1.4, 5.2, 7.15). What appear at first
      glance to be differences between these two figures fade away when we notice,
      for example, that the zodiac surronding the Orphic Phanes appears also on
      the body of the lion-headed god in CIMRM 545 and 879 (Figure 7.15) and that
      the lion head of the Mithraic figure appears on the chest of the Orphic god.
      Even the egg of of which Phanes is born seems to be mirrored by the globe on
      which the Mithraid lion-headed figure is standing."
      Why does Phanes have the attributes of the leontocephalous Mithraic
      deity and why does the lion head of the Mithraic deity appear on the chest
      of Phanes? The answer, I suggest, is a myth that Phanes, who is depicted
      as a man, ate the leontocephalous deity. In eating this leontocephalous
      deity, Phanes
      made this deity a part of his very self and, so, acquired all this deity's
      attributes. Further, the lion head appears on the
      chest of Phane to symbolize that, by being eaten by the man-like deity
      Phanes, the leontocephalous deity became a part of the very self of Phanes.
      In this case, then, we have a situation in which a man ate a lion and the
      lion became a part of the man!
      Does this hypothesis of a myth that Phanes ate the leontocephalous deity
      sound reasonable to you? Have you ever heard of such a myth having
      circulated in the Orphic and/ or Mithraic "mysteries"? I'm curious because,
      if there was such a myth, then we have a pre-Christian example of a lion
      becoming a man when consumed by the man. If so, then it, at a minimum,
      provided the imagery, in the first sentence of GTh 7, of a lion becoming
      man when consumed by the man!

      Regards,

      Frank McCoy
      Maplewood, MN USA
    • Isidoros
      Dear Frank, My apologies also to you, Frank, for the lateness of response but I were not on line for few days (a thing that might happen from time to time, as
      Message 2 of 4 , May 8, 2001
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear Frank,

        My apologies also to you, Frank, for the lateness of response but
        I were not on line for few days (a thing that might happen from
        time to time, as I occasionally take a leave, and (esp.) from e-line.)

        You seem to be interested in "lions" a lot, Frank. Can't deal with
        your query directly, but I should perhaps inform you what ideas
        brought your question about the two "lions" you inquire right away
        to mind, in hope that something I say might be of help to you.

        As you probably know,"lion" is the name of a grade/class of
        Mithras initiates. I do not know of any lion-headed Mithraic
        "deity," as such, and I would be surprised were there any,
        unless, of course, this was of a modern, "creative" import...
        I do not know from what archaic evidence Ulansey draws
        this "god" info and builds on to this relationship. Most likely
        was an ancient artistic take off of the symbolic persona
        ascribed to such initiate.

        The Modena relief I know well, and if Ulansey strikes a comparison
        between the lion of a Mithraic lion-headed "god" and the lion head
        seen on "Phanes'" chest on this relief, I 'd say, be careful, Frank.

        IMO, whatever inferences might be drawn from such (?) a comparison
        are bound I think to rest on shaky ground. For, the lion symbolism
        in the Modena relief (were it to had been even Phanes, and not some
        youthful syncretistic Aeon who assumes Orphic theogonic symbolism
        --he looks too young) is certainly not explicit and clear enough to
        constitute any sure case for comparison between them. Let alone
        to draw inferences from such a comparison and apply them further
        in the case of logion 7. The lion on "Phanes" is not necessarily
        of the same "species" as that of the Mithraic "god," whatever might
        that be, or even of the Mithras initiation rank. In my thoughts they
        probably are, of an entirely different symbolic order than that of the
        MOYEI of gTh 7. Lions run all over the scene of late antique iconographic
        cosmos, most of them stray. In any case, please take my remarks
        with the qualification intended. Not having sees, or likely to have
        access any time soon to Ulansey's book so as to look at the Mithraic
        lion-god icon I cannot speak with any certainty about this, but
        my general feeling calls for a healthy dosis of caution.

        Now, before I move on to drawing another point possibly related
        to your search, let me bring to your attention the sameness that
        I remember impressed me once to have existed between the Madona
        relief, with the Aeon/Phanes figure breaking out of the cosmic Orphic
        egg, and another one, also well-known relief, though not as famous,
        whose name (?) though regrettably escapes me. It also shows
        a figure to be breaking from Orpheus' egg, as, to be surrounded, too,
        by the same spread of astrological zodia, and in much the same manner.
        The remarkable thing this time is that the one springing out is
        most likely Mithras!

        One other case that connects Mithras' lion and Orhism and which may be
        of interest to you is that of Dionysos, who was called, remarkably,
        "Lion (-like)," "Lysias." Dionysos is in many ways very much like Orpheus,
        and I mean this in a spiritual-religious sense (appearances not withstanding,
        IMO, to the contrary.) But past what would seem to be common elements
        to me, there were also genealogical ties involved here between them,
        since Phanes is father to Uranus, who is father to Cronus, who is to Zeus,
        who is father to Dionysos ... So Phanes is Dionysus' great-great grand-daddy.
        Now, someone might note that Lysias is spelled with y-psilon, and that
        --while the Greek of the tern of the era is "lewn" -- a more ancient
        species is written "lis," with "i-ota." Is then Dionysos Lysias as much of
        a lion, one of pure pedigree, true to this etymology? (or rather the other
        way around.) I think it is, for two reasons. For one, I think in the
        ancient-most
        times were likely to had used one "e," and not so finely differentiate in
        rendering the oral, and that "e" should had been the basic one, the "i-ota"
        (pronounced "e") so, "lis." In latter times, as oral variation and graphic
        development allowed for differentiation, the "y-psilon" (or,
        "high (pitched) "e") was formed and recorded. Thus, the Lysias, from
        a form that is
        met rarely, "lywn ("w" as in the Coptic, "o-mega), in turn to had moved
        further toward an "ae" sound, and so "lewn". Lys and Lis are homonymic
        roots that mean (and sound, almost) the same. Lyon, the French city, btw,
        was so named by Hellenic Ionic founders when that one form of the word
        was most prevalent, in the classical times.
        Not to make this note too long but, imo, Aristotle's "Lyceum" is also
        related to
        Lys, Lis, here, and though this last term has been historically to speak of a
        "(place) of the wolf", the allusion points to animals within the same
        one species.
        All the best with your search, Frank. Euxes,

        Isidoros


        >----- Original Message -----
        >From: "Isidoros" <ioniccentre@...>
        >To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
        >Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2001 8:36 AM
        >Subject: [GTh] SOM in GOT 86/79 - Logos, Gnosticism and Philo
        >
        >Dear Isidoros:
        >
        > You write:, "Really, the concepts found in Gnosticism, Christianity and
        >gThom germinate in Hesiod, Homer and from the Orphics, as is the Christian
        >liturgy the exoteric "revelations" of Eleusenian, Mithraic and Orhic cult
        >"mysteries."
        > Because of your knowledge of the Mithraic and Orphic "mysteries", I
        >would like you to comment on a line of speculation I have been considering
        >for the origin of the man eating lion imagery in the first sentence of GTh
        >7, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man."
        > David Ulansey has written a book titled, The Origins of the Mithraic
        >Mysteries. In it (p. 121), he notes a curious inter-relationship between
        >the Orphic god Phanes and a leontocephalous Mithraic deity, speaking about
        >"the striking similarity between the iconography of the Ophic Phanes and the
        >Mirthraic lion-headed god, a similarity evidenced by a comparison between
        >the famous Orphic Modena relief--depicting Phanes, entwined by the serpent
        >Chronos, breaking out of the cosmic egg (see Figure 7.17)--and the standard
        >Mithraic lion-headed god (see Figures 1.4, 5.2, 7.15). What appear at first
        >glance to be differences between these two figures fade away when we notice,
        >for example, that the zodiac surronding the Orphic Phanes appears also on
        >the body of the lion-headed god in CIMRM 545 and 879 (Figure 7.15) and that
        >the lion head of the Mithraic figure appears on the chest of the Orphic god.
        >Even the egg of of which Phanes is born seems to be mirrored by the globe on
        >which the Mithraid lion-headed figure is standing."
        > Why does Phanes have the attributes of the leontocephalous Mithraic
        >deity and why does the lion head of the Mithraic deity appear on the chest
        >of Phanes? The answer, I suggest, is a myth that Phanes, who is depicted
        >as a man, ate the leontocephalous deity. In eating this leontocephalous
        >deity, Phanes
        >made this deity a part of his very self and, so, acquired all this deity's
        >attributes. Further, the lion head appears on the
        >chest of Phane to symbolize that, by being eaten by the man-like deity
        >Phanes, the leontocephalous deity became a part of the very self of Phanes.
        >In this case, then, we have a situation in which a man ate a lion and the
        >lion became a part of the man!
        > Does this hypothesis of a myth that Phanes ate the leontocephalous deity
        >sound reasonable to you? Have you ever heard of such a myth having
        >circulated in the Orphic and/ or Mithraic "mysteries"? I'm curious because,
        >if there was such a myth, then we have a pre-Christian example of a lion
        >becoming a man when consumed by the man. If so, then it, at a minimum,
        >provided the imagery, in the first sentence of GTh 7, of a lion becoming
        >man when consumed by the man!
        >
        >Regards,
        >
        >Frank McCoy
        >Maplewood, MN USA
      • FMMCCOY
        ... From: Isidoros To: Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 10:58 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] The Origin of the Man Eating
        Message 3 of 4 , May 9, 2001
        • 0 Attachment
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Isidoros" <ioniccentre@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 10:58 AM
          Subject: Re: [GTh] The Origin of the Man Eating the Lion Imagery

          >
          > As you probably know,"lion" is the name of a grade/class of
          > Mithras initiates. I do not know of any lion-headed Mithraic
          > "deity," as such, and I would be surprised were there any,
          > unless, of course, this was of a modern, "creative" import...
          > I do not know from what archaic evidence Ulansey draws
          > this "god" info and builds on to this relationship. Most likely
          > was an ancient artistic take off of the symbolic persona
          > ascribed to such initiate.
          >
          > The Modena relief I know well, and if Ulansey strikes a comparison
          > between the lion of a Mithraic lion-headed "god" and the lion head
          > seen on "Phanes'" chest on this relief, I 'd say, be careful, Frank.
          >
          > IMO, whatever inferences might be drawn from such (?) a comparison
          > are bound I think to rest on shaky ground. For, the lion symbolism
          > in the Modena relief (were it to had been even Phanes, and not some
          > youthful syncretistic Aeon who assumes Orphic theogonic symbolism
          > --he looks too young) is certainly not explicit and clear enough to
          > constitute any sure case for comparison between them. Let alone
          > to draw inferences from such a comparison and apply them further
          > in the case of logion 7. The lion on "Phanes" is not necessarily
          > of the same "species" as that of the Mithraic "god," whatever might
          > that be, or even of the Mithras initiation rank. In my thoughts they
          > probably are, of an entirely different symbolic order than that of the
          > MOYEI of gTh 7. Lions run all over the scene of late antique iconographic
          > cosmos, most of them stray. In any case, please take my remarks
          > with the qualification intended. Not having sees, or likely to have
          > access any time soon to Ulansey's book so as to look at the Mithraic
          > lion-god icon I cannot speak with any certainty about this, but
          > my general feeling calls for a healthy dosis of caution.
          >
          > Now, before I move on to drawing another point possibly related
          > to your search, let me bring to your attention the sameness that
          > I remember impressed me once to have existed between the Madona
          > relief, with the Aeon/Phanes figure breaking out of the cosmic Orphic
          > egg, and another one, also well-known relief, though not as famous,
          > whose name (?) though regrettably escapes me. It also shows
          > a figure to be breaking from Orpheus' egg, as, to be surrounded, too,
          > by the same spread of astrological zodia, and in much the same manner.
          > The remarkable thing this time is that the one springing out is
          > most likely Mithras!

          Dear Isidoros:

          The lion-headed Mithraic figure is identified as Kronos by Franz Cumont
          in his book, The Mysteries of Mithra. Ulansey is familiar with Cumont's
          works, so it is revealing that he does not explicitly identify this figure
          as being Kronos. This figure normally is wrapped in serpent coils, which
          makes it unlikely that it is a soldier grade initiate.
          Interestingly, Cumont (p. 223) identifies the figure in the Modena
          bas-relief as being "Mithraic Kronos, or personification of infinite time".
          He states that it is "a Roman beautification of the horrific features of the
          Oriental god". He thinks that the Romans in Italy thought the lion-headed
          portrayal of Kronos to be barbaric and gave him a human head, adding the
          lion head to the chest as a reminder of the original head on the deity.
          So, your point that it is risky business to rely on any one
          interpretation of the Modena bas-relief is confirmed. When even scholars
          can come up with radically different interpretations of it, someone like
          myself who has only a sketchy knowledge of the Mithraic and Orphic
          "mysteries" had better beware!
          Ulansey (p. 122) does have a photo of the portrayal of "Mithras
          emerging from egg, surrounded by Zodiac". He identifies it as being CIMRM
          860. He thinks it is related to the Modena bas-relief, stating (pp.
          122-123), "clearly we are dealing here with a fluid Mithraic-Orphic-Aionic
          syncretism whose complexities are baffling (Jackson's attempt to unravel
          them is the best so far) but whose general import is nonethless quite
          clear: the Mithraic lion-headed god and Mithras himself are in this complex
          of symbols inextricably linked to the concept of cosmic time by being
          associated with both the Orphic time divinity Chronos (and his offspring
          Phanes) and the figure of Aion the time god." He seems, here, to implicitly
          agree with Comont that the lion-headed deity is Kronos (Chronos), although
          his failure to explicitly admit this is perhaps significant.
          Franz Cumont (p. 159) has a photo of a Mithraic communion discovered in
          Konjica, Bosnia. In it, there is a pair (i.e., a Raven grade initiate and a
          Persian grade initiate) to the left of the communion table and another pair
          (i.e., a Soldier grade initiate and a Lion grade initiate) to the right of
          the communion table. What is intriguing is that this is an eating scene and
          there are, together as a pair, a human (the Soldier grade initiate) and a
          lion (the Lion grade initiate). Might not this conceptual interlinking of
          eating, a man, and a lion have something to do with the development of the
          imagery, in GTh 7,
          of a man eating a lion and a lion eating a man?

          Regards,

          Frank McCoy
          Maplewood, MN USA
        • Isidoros
          ... Dear Frank, I would not identify that Soldier with the man (or even human, as put above) of the GTh #7 . Besides, it is not the Soldier, only, within
          Message 4 of 4 , May 10, 2001
          • 0 Attachment
            Wrote Frank McCoy, on 9 May 2001:

            > Franz Cumont (p. 159) has a photo of a Mithraic communion discovered in
            >Konjica, Bosnia. In it, there is a pair (i.e., a Raven grade initiate and a
            >Persian grade initiate) to the left of the communion table and another pair
            >(i.e., a Soldier grade initiate and a Lion grade initiate) to the right of
            >the communion table. What is intriguing is that this is an eating scene and
            >there are, together as a pair, a human (the Soldier grade initiate) and a
            >lion (the Lion grade initiate). Might not this conceptual interlinking of
            >eating, a man, and a lion have something to do with the development of the
            >imagery, in GTh 7, of a man eating a lion and a lion eating a man?

            Dear Frank,
            I would not identify that Soldier with the "man" (or even "human,"
            as put above) of the GTh #7 . Besides, it is not the Soldier, only,
            within the frame described, that is "man."

            While certainly we must not ignore or let symbols go by unexamined,
            by the same we must not look too far, stretching the symbolic beyond
            a properly allowing context-- else we are bound to get lost
            within our own, self-made, illusionary schemata.
            Isidoros
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.