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Re: Leisegang's "Mystery of the Serpent"

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  • Melanie B. Mineo
    Interesting. Do you have any links to images of the bowl online? What is the Orphic inscription?
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 25, 2006
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      Interesting. Do you have any links to images of the bowl online? What
      is the Orphic inscription?


      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "vaeringjar" <vaeringjar@...> wrote:
      >
      > Does anyone know if any more research has been published on the
      > alabaster serpent bowl with an Orphic inscription that Hans Leisegang
      > wrote about in this article "Mystery of the Serpent" that appears in
      > the Eranos yearbook <The Mysteries>? I can't find any references to
      > anything else online, though I didn't much expect to. The bowl doesn't
      > even seem to have a proper name, judging from his article, which by the
      > way is quite fascinating and thorough in references to ancient literary
      > sources. The bowl itself is a very unusual piece.
      >
      > The only later reference I know of is Joseph Campbell's lecture on the
      > Pietroasa Bowl, which Leisegang also discusses in the article. Campbell
      > of course edited the Eranos Bollingen series in which Leisegang's piece
      > appeared.
      >
      > My particular interest is the numerous references to Helios in the
      > article, in the PGM and Macrobius and elsewhere. Fauth I don't think
      > has anything on this in his magnum opus heliacum (!). Thanks.
      >
      > Dennis Clark
      > Issaquah
      >
    • vaeringjar
      No, I can t find anything at all online, Melanie. Maybe I can scan it into a jpg and post it, though it s a little hard to do that at work now. The bowl is
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 25, 2006
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        No, I can't find anything at all online, Melanie. Maybe I can scan it
        into a jpg and post it, though it's a little hard to do that at work
        now.

        The bowl is circular with female and male nude (yup) figures sitting
        on thrones/seats all running around the inside circumference of the
        bowl, all sitting facing inward, all looking at an omphalos at the
        center of the inside of the bowl, which has a serpent twined around
        the rather egg-shaped omphalos. That's it for the inside - the
        outside has carved on it what looks like an arcade of pillars running
        around the circumference, with what appear to be the four winds
        equally interspersed around the bowl, and then the Orphic
        inscription, which is not quite all there, but Leisegang was able to
        complete it from other, literary sources, mostly Macrobius Sat. but
        also interestingly enough a fragment of Euripides' Fair Melanippe
        (this is his corrected and expanded Greek) - it still has some
        problems, as you can see, and appears to be bits from an Orphic Hymn,
        two lines of which Macrobius quotes - all this is explained by
        Leisegang in the piece:

        kekluthi teleporou dines helikaugea kyklon
        ouranos te gaia te en morphe mia theoi
        houneka dineitai kat'apeirona makron Olympon
        aglae Zeu, kosmou gennetor-

        I am in a bit of a hurry or I would post more on this - it's fairly
        easy to get a used copy of the paperback of this volume, Bollingen
        XXX 2.

        Dennis Clark


        --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Melanie B. Mineo"
        <melonyfelony@...> wrote:
        >
        > Interesting. Do you have any links to images of the bowl online?
        What
        > is the Orphic inscription?
        >
        >
        > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "vaeringjar" <vaeringjar@>
        wrote:
        > >
        > > Does anyone know if any more research has been published on the
        > > alabaster serpent bowl with an Orphic inscription that Hans
        Leisegang
        > > wrote about in this article "Mystery of the Serpent" that appears
        in
        > > the Eranos yearbook <The Mysteries>? I can't find any references
        to
        > > anything else online, though I didn't much expect to. The bowl
        doesn't
        > > even seem to have a proper name, judging from his article, which
        by the
        > > way is quite fascinating and thorough in references to ancient
        literary
        > > sources. The bowl itself is a very unusual piece.
        > >
        > > The only later reference I know of is Joseph Campbell's lecture
        on the
        > > Pietroasa Bowl, which Leisegang also discusses in the article.
        Campbell
        > > of course edited the Eranos Bollingen series in which Leisegang's
        piece
        > > appeared.
        > >
        > > My particular interest is the numerous references to Helios in
        the
        > > article, in the PGM and Macrobius and elsewhere. Fauth I don't
        think
        > > has anything on this in his magnum opus heliacum (!). Thanks.
        > >
        > > Dennis Clark
        > > Issaquah
        > >
        >
      • Michael Chase
        ... M.C. You lmight check out the following : Schwarz, Gerda. - Der Götterfries auf der spätantiken Goldschale von Pietroasa. JbAC 1992 35 : 168-184. •
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 25, 2006
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          On Oct 25, 2006, at 9:15 AM, vaeringjar wrote:

          > Does anyone know if any more research has been published on the
          > alabaster serpent bowl with an Orphic inscription that Hans Leisegang
          > wrote about in this article "Mystery of the Serpent" that appears in
          > the Eranos yearbook <The Mysteries>? I can't find any references to
          > anything else online, though I didn't much expect to. The bowl doesn't
          > even seem to have a proper name, judging from his article, which by
          > the
          > way is quite fascinating and thorough in references to ancient
          > literary
          > sources. The bowl itself is a very unusual piece.
          >
          > The only later reference I know of is Joseph Campbell's lecture on the
          > Pietroasa Bowl, which Leisegang also discusses in the article.
          > Campbell
          > of course edited the Eranos Bollingen series in which Leisegang's
          > piece
          > appeared.
          >
          > My particular interest is the numerous references to Helios in the
          > article, in the PGM and Macrobius and elsewhere. Fauth I don't think
          > has anything on this in his magnum opus heliacum (!). Thanks.

          M.C. You lmight check out the following :

          Schwarz, Gerda. - Der Götterfries auf der spätantiken Goldschale von
          Pietroasa. JbAC 1992 35 : 168-184. • Beschreibung und Interpretation
          der Götterfiguren. Da die ägyptische Sektion am besten ausgeführt ist
          und stilistisch Anklänge an ägyptische Strömungen zu beobachten sind,
          ist ein Ursprung der Schale in Alexandria zu vermuten. Als Schale mit
          freiplastischer Mittelfigur war sie vermutlich eher ein Weihgeschenk
          und wurde in orphischen Mysterien im 4. Jh. verwendet.
          [64-09628

          Von Heland, Madeleine, The Golden Bowl from Pietroasa, Stockholm
          Studies ion the History of Art 24 (1973), 58ff.

          --- The author thinks the bowl's iconography is Thraco-Phyrgian, and
          may have been made in Antioch.

          Harhoiu R. - The fifth century A.D. treasure from Pietroasa,
          Romania, in the light of recent research. Oxford, 1977. 57 p. 18 ill.
          13 pl. (Brit. Archaeol. Reports Suppl. Ser. ; XXIV). || AC XLVIII 1979
          780-781 Dierkens.


          I haven't seen these works, but Schwarz seems to argue what I had also
          suspected : *pace* Leisegang's interpretation in his otherwise
          excellent article, the gods depicted are not Norse but Egyptian. The
          Nordic-Germanic nature of the gods is, however, supported by Malcolm
          Todd, The Early Germans, 1992, p. 130. According to Wolfram & Dunlap,
          History of the Goths, p. 110, the work is to be attributed to the
          Ostrogoths.

          The gold ring with a Runic inscription found in the same hoard seems
          to have been the object of a good deal more attention : there had been
          more than 150 articles on it by 1939 ! Cf. Reallexikon der
          germanischen Altertumskunde, vol. 37 (2003), 595-646.

          HTH, Mike.

          >
          Michael Chase
          (goya@...)
          CNRS UPR 76
          7, rue Guy Moquet
          Villejuif 94801
          France
        • vaeringjar
          ... Leisegang ... appears in ... to ... doesn t ... by ... on the ... Leisegang s ... the ... think ... Goldschale von ... Interpretation ... ist ... sind, ...
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 26, 2006
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            --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Michael Chase <goya@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > On Oct 25, 2006, at 9:15 AM, vaeringjar wrote:
            >
            > > Does anyone know if any more research has been published on the
            > > alabaster serpent bowl with an Orphic inscription that Hans
            Leisegang
            > > wrote about in this article "Mystery of the Serpent" that
            appears in
            > > the Eranos yearbook <The Mysteries>? I can't find any references
            to
            > > anything else online, though I didn't much expect to. The bowl
            doesn't
            > > even seem to have a proper name, judging from his article, which
            by
            > > the
            > > way is quite fascinating and thorough in references to ancient
            > > literary
            > > sources. The bowl itself is a very unusual piece.
            > >
            > > The only later reference I know of is Joseph Campbell's lecture
            on the
            > > Pietroasa Bowl, which Leisegang also discusses in the article.
            > > Campbell
            > > of course edited the Eranos Bollingen series in which
            Leisegang's
            > > piece
            > > appeared.
            > >
            > > My particular interest is the numerous references to Helios in
            the
            > > article, in the PGM and Macrobius and elsewhere. Fauth I don't
            think
            > > has anything on this in his magnum opus heliacum (!). Thanks.
            >
            > M.C. You lmight check out the following :
            >
            > Schwarz, Gerda. - Der Götterfries auf der spätantiken
            Goldschale von
            > Pietroasa. JbAC 1992 35 : 168-184. • Beschreibung und
            Interpretation
            > der Götterfiguren. Da die ägyptische Sektion am besten ausgeführt
            ist
            > und stilistisch Anklänge an ägyptische Strömungen zu beobachten
            sind,
            > ist ein Ursprung der Schale in Alexandria zu vermuten. Als Schale
            mit
            > freiplastischer Mittelfigur war sie vermutlich eher ein
            Weihgeschenk
            > und wurde in orphischen Mysterien im 4. Jh. verwendet.
            > [64-09628
            >
            > Von Heland, Madeleine, The Golden Bowl from Pietroasa,
            Stockholm
            > Studies ion the History of Art 24 (1973), 58ff.
            >
            > --- The author thinks the bowl's iconography is Thraco-Phyrgian,
            and
            > may have been made in Antioch.
            >
            > Harhoiu R. - The fifth century A.D. treasure from
            Pietroasa,
            > Romania, in the light of recent research. Oxford, 1977. 57 p. 18
            ill.
            > 13 pl. (Brit. Archaeol. Reports Suppl. Ser. ; XXIV). || AC XLVIII
            1979
            > 780-781 Dierkens.
            >
            >
            > I haven't seen these works, but Schwarz seems to argue what I
            had also
            > suspected : *pace* Leisegang's interpretation in his otherwise
            > excellent article, the gods depicted are not Norse but Egyptian.
            The
            > Nordic-Germanic nature of the gods is, however, supported by
            Malcolm
            > Todd, The Early Germans, 1992, p. 130. According to Wolfram &
            Dunlap,
            > History of the Goths, p. 110, the work is to be attributed to the
            > Ostrogoths.
            >
            > The gold ring with a Runic inscription found in the same
            hoard seems
            > to have been the object of a good deal more attention : there had
            been
            > more than 150 articles on it by 1939 ! Cf. Reallexikon der
            > germanischen Altertumskunde, vol. 37 (2003), 595-646.
            >
            > HTH, Mike.
            >
            > >
            > Michael Chase
            > (goya@...)
            > CNRS UPR 76
            > 7, rue Guy Moquet
            > Villejuif 94801
            > France
            >

            I was sceptical myself about the Nordic provenience, though I have
            concetrated my attention for now much more on the first part of the
            article where he discusses the other object, the alabaster Orphic
            bowl. Campbell for what it is worth takes the Eleusinian
            interpretation of the Pietroasa bowl.

            I hadn't noticed any "Egyptian elements" though - I guess I need to
            read the rest of Leisegang at least. If he is correct, the original
            object was melted down after WWI by the Russians, though I am not
            sure what real proof there is of that. So any modern materials
            analysis is out of the question, whatever the real fate of the
            original.

            I have been meaning to ask this forever, but is there any online
            bibliographical resource available? L'annee philologique was my main
            source years ago in grad school, long before computers. Lots of
            thumbing in those day, and so easy to get off-track when you
            encountered something interesting sounding but not necessarily
            relevant, though now I know how often the "l'art trouve" can be the
            most important. I am not actually sure how to look up the alabaster
            bowl anywhere, since it doesn't seem to have a name - ? Leisegang
            says, as I recall, that it just popped up in Leipzig (?).

            I hope it's not a fake - I am still trying to "process" those bizarre
            6 foot tall terra cotta Harpies that confronted me one day in 1978
            when I walked around a corner at the Getty Museum in Malibu! I gather
            they are quite real, but so strange. Then there's that fabulous
            grotto of Tiberius at Sperlonga with all the baroque statuary of
            Polyphemus - obviously this Orphic bowl is not so grand in size...but
            why are the people sitting there in the nude? It rather reminds me in
            an odd way of those hard-sugar Easter Eggs with the 3-D scenes carved
            out inside we used to get, years ago - inside them a small world,
            cunningly made. Neat, but then I love models of any kind.

            Dennis Clark
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