Sidor som bilder

the gems found in Cyprus, we noticed intagliated scarabæi with similiar symbols; and obtained one whereon Isis was exhibited holding the quadruped, precisely according to the appearance presented by the statue discovered at Larneca. Since these antiquities were found, the inhabitauts have also dug up a num. ber of stone coffios, of an oblong rectangular form. Each of these, with the exception of its cover, is of an entire mass of stone. One of them contained a small vase of terra cotta, of the rudest workmanship, destitute of any glazing or carnish.* Several intaglios were also discovered, and brought to us for gale. We found it more difficult to obtain ancient gems in Larneca thau in the interior of the island, owing to the exorbitant prices set upon them. At Nicotia, the goldsmiths part with such antiquities for a few parâs. The people of Larveca are more accustomed to intercourse with strangers, and expect to: make a harvest in their coming. Among the ring stones we left in that town, was a beautiful intaglio represepting Cupid whipping a butterfly : a common metliod among ancient Japi. elaries, of typifying the power of love over the soul. Also an opyx, which there is every reason to believe one of the Ptolemies had used as a signet. It contained a very curious miono. gram, expressing all the letters of the word nTOALMAIOT, ac cording to the manner here represented :


The use of such instruments for signature is recorded in the books of Moses, seventeen hundred years before the christian æra; and the practice has continued in eastern countries, with little variation, to the present day. The signets of the Turks are of this kind. The Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians, had the same custom ; indeed, almost all the ancient intaglios were so employed. In the thirty-eighth chapter of Genesis, it is reJated that Tamar demanded the signet of Judah ; aud above three thousand years have passed since the great lawgiver of

* It is now in the author's possession,

[ocr errors]

the Jews was directed* to engrave the names of the children of Israel upon onyx-stones, “ like the engravings of a signet ;** that is to say, (if we may presume to illustrate a text so sacred, with reference to a custom still universally extant,) by a series of monograms, graven as intaglios, to be set “ip ouches of gold, for the shoulders of the ephod.” That the signet was of stone, set in metal, in the time of Moses, is also clear from this passage of sacred history : “ With the work of an engraver in stope, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones. Thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.” Signets without stones, and entirely of metal, did not come into use, according to Pliny,t until the time of Claudius Cæsar. The most ancient intaglios of Egypt were graven upon stones, haviog the form of scarabæi. I This kind of signet was also used by the Phænicians, as will further appear. The characters upon them are therefore either in hieroglyphical writing, Phænician letters, or later monograms derived from the Greek alphabet. Alexander, at the point of death, gave his signet to Perdiccas; and Laodice, mother of Seleucus, the founder of the Syro Macedonian empire, in an age when women, profiting by the easy credulity: of their husbands, apologized for an act of infidelity by pretending an intercourse with Apollo, exhibited a signet found in her bed, with a symbol asterward used by all the Seleucidæ. The introduction of sculptured animals upon the signets of the Romans was derived from the sacred symbols of the Egyptians : hence the origin of the sphinx for the sigpet of Augustus. When the practice of deifying princes and venerating heroes became general, portraits of men supplied the place of more ancient types. This custom gave birth to the camachuia, or caméo; a later invention, merely exhibiting a model of the impression or cast yielded to a signet. The use of the caméo does not, in my opinion, bear date anterior to the period of the Pioman power. The remains of these are rarely foiind in Greece; and even when discovered, with the exception of the remarkable stone found at Thebes, representing a female Centaur suckling its foal,** the workmanship is bad."

* Exod. xxviii. 9, 10, 11.
f Hist. Nat. lib. xxxiii. c. 1.

1 Bee a former note in this chapter, for the history of the ancient superstition cox cerning the scarabeus, a

& Justin. lib. xii.
|| lbid. iib xv. C. 4.

** This celebrated caméo has been long known to all travellers who have visited Greece. It belonged to a peasant, who esteemed it beyond all price, from its in

Concerning the Theban gem, it can perhaps be proved that the subject thereon exhibited was originally derived from a very popular picture painted by Zeuxis; and as its execution is by no means uniformly excellent, there is reason to conclude that the work is not of remote antiquity. Every traveller who has visited Italy may have remarked a practice of represecit. ing, both by caméos and intaglios, the subjects of celebrated pictures; such, for example, as those of the Danae and the Venus by Titian, and many other. Copies of this kind were also known among the Romans,* and perhaps at an earlier period, taken from the works of Grecian paipters. The first style of imitating such pictures by engraving was probably that exhibited by the intaglio, from whose cast the caméo was made. Gems of this kind, executed by the lapidaries of Greece, even so long ago as the age of Zeuxis, may have given origin to the Theban stone. That it does exhibit a subject nearly coinciding with an ancient description of one of bis pictures, is mauisest from a Greek Commentary upon Gregory Naziauzén, discovered by the late professor Porson, jo a manuscript of that author brought by me from the library of the monastery of the Apo. calypse in the Isle of Patipos. The commentary would perhaps have been illegible to other eyes than those of the learned professor.I I shall therefore subjoin an extract from his own copy of this very curious marginal illustration, as authority

ginary virtue in healing diseases. Many persons in vain endeavoured to purchase it. The earl of Elgin, ambassador at the Porte, at last found the means of inducing its Owner to part with it.

* The famous Mosaic picture of the vase and pigeons, found in the Villa of Me. oæpas, and lately in the capitol at Rome, exhibits a subiect frequently introduced upon the ancient gems of Italy.

+ The writing both of the commentary and of the text, in that manuscript, was deemed, by the learned professor, as ancient as that of Plato from the same place, now with the copy of Gregory in the Bodleian library.

I It is impossible to give an idea of the difficulty thus surmounted, without exhi. biting the manuscript itself. Above two thirds of every letter in the beginning of the note had been cut off, these the professor restored, from their reliques, and from the context: and the abbreviated style of the whole is such as would baffle all but Porsónian acumen.

και Ζευξις εκείνος αριςτος, συγγραφέων γενόμενος, τα μεν δημω'δη και κοινα ουκ έγραφέν, ή όσα τάνυ ολίγα: αεί δε καινοτομείν επειράτο, και τι ξένον και αλλόκοτον επινοήσας, επ' εκείνο την της τέχνης ακρίβειαν επεδεικνυτο θήλειαν ούν ιπποκένταυρος Ζεύξις εποίησεν ανατρέρεςαν προσέτι παιδίω ιπποκενταύρω διδύμω κομιδε νηπίω της εικόνος ταύτης αντίγραφο

Αθήνησι γέγονε προς αυτήν εκείνην ακριβει την σταθεή· το γαρ αρχέτυπου ο Σύλλας ο Ρωμαίων στρατηγός μετα των άλλων σκύλων εις Ιταλίας απέστειλεν' είτα περι Μαλέαν καταδύσε! της δλκάδος πάντα και την γράφήν απολέσθαι λέγεται μόλις δε γράφουςΚαλλίμαχος και Καλαίσης (eic; fortasse Karc'xms Tav eixora cñs (excide fortasse vox P xaias) eixóvOS CUTUS, Eri xnóns lanous Kertaupos a VTÀ TETT 014Taz önnt prèY TN in gas Zapedia for the following translation. * " That same Zeuxis, the best painter that ever liverd, did not paint vulgar and common sub. jects, or certainly but a very few ; but was always endeavour ing to strike out something new; and employed all the accuracy of his art about some strange and heterogeneous conceit. He painted, for instance, a female Hippocentaur, nursing two infant Hippocentaurs. A copy of this picture, very accurately taken, existed at Athens : for the original, Sylla, the Roman general, sent away, with the rest of the plunder, to Italy; and it is said that the ship, having foundered off the Mulean Promontory, the whole cargo, and with it this picture, was lost. The copy of the original painting is thus with some difficulty described by Callimachus and Callæses (or Callaces.) " The female ceňlaur herself is painted as reclining upon a rich verdure, with the whole of her horse's body on the ground, and her feet ertended backwards ; but as much of her as resembles a woman, is gently raised, and rests on her elbon. Her fore feet are not stretched out, like her hind ones, as if she were lying on her side, but one of them is bent, and the hoof drawn under, as if kneeling, while the other is erect, and laying hold of the ground, us horses do when endeavouring to spring up. One of the two infants she is holding in her arms, and suckling, like a human creature, giving it her teat, which resembles that of a woman ; but the other she suckles at her mare's teat, after the manner of a foal. In the upper part of the picture, a male Hippocentaur, intended to represent the husband of her who is nursing the

κειμέν», και αποτέτανται εις τουπίσω οι πόδες• τοξσε γυναικείον όσον αυτής. κρέμα επεγήγερται και επ' αγκωνός έστιν οι δε πόδες οι έμπροςθην ουκετί και αυτοί αποτάδων οιον επίπλευρον κειμένης· αλλ' ο μεν οκλαζoντι έoικ και καμπύλος υπεσταλμένης της οπλι· ο δε πάλιν επανίσταται και τουδάφους αντιλαμβάνεται, οίοι εισίν οι ίπποι πειρωμενοι αναπηδαϊν· τον νεογνούν δε το μεν έχει ταϊς αγκάλαις και τρέφει ανθρωπικώς, επέχεσα τον γυναικείον μασθον· το δε έτερον έκ τής ίππου θηλάζει εις τον πωλικόν τρόπον· * άνω δε της εικόνος, οίον ως από τινος σκοπής “Ιπποκένταυρος, ανήρ εκείνης δελαδή της τα βρέφη τιθηνουμένης επικύπτει γελών· ουχ όλος φαινόμενος, αλλ' εις μέσον, λέοντος σκύμνον έχων εν τη δεξιάι, ως δεδίξαιτo τα βρέφη Το δε θαυμαστών του Ζεύξιδος, ότι το ποικίλον της τεχνης αν μιαι υποθέσει επεδείξατο ίππον σοβαρόν, αγριον, καμιδή λάσιον τι χαίτη στερνον τε και ώμους, όμμα θεριώδες και άγριον· τήν δέ ίππον, οίαι των Θετταλών αν.. πιβατοι, αδμητες έτι καθύπερθεν ημίτομον γυναικός· όσα δε των γω των έξω, σατυρω' δη» και μίξις τις και αρμογή των σωμάτων.

Antiquissimo in Commentario Gregor. Nazianzen. Cod. MS. The merit of this translation is entirely due to the Rev. Charles James Blom Meld, M. A. of Trinity College; the learned editor of the Prometheus of Æschylus, printed at the university press in 1810; whose illustrious acquirements peculiarly qualify him to supply a version suited to the style of interpretation adopted by pro

essor Porsone supply a version in 2810; whose illos

children, is leaning over an eminence as it nere, and laughing :: not leing wholly in sight, but only half way down, and holding a lion's whelp in his right hand, to frighten the children. The admirable skill of Zeuxis consists in displaying all the vda riety of the art in his treatment of one and the same subject : Kere we have a horse. proud, spirited, a shaggy, mane over his chest and shoulders, a wild and fierce cye ; and a female, like the Thessalean mares, never to be mounted nor tamed; the upper half a wornan, but all below the back like a satyr ; and the different bodies fitled, and, as it were, blended together."

The signet stones of Cyprus, althought cut in a variety of substances, were more frequently of red carnelian than of any other mineral. Some of the niost diminutive size were finely executed in red garnet, the carburcle of the ancients. Others were formed of plasma, onyx, bloodstone, topaz, jasper, and even of quartz. Of all these, the most ancient had the scarabæan form. Two very interesting examples are here represented.

The first is of the most remote antiquity. It was found among the ruins whence the idols recently alluded to were discovered. The substance of it is an onyx, io a very advadced state of decomposition. The characters are evidently Phænician, and correspond with those exhibited by inscriptions sound upon the same spot, and published by Pococke.* The subject represented appears to be the dove, a very ancient symbol of Venus ; but whether the figure placed before the bird be a grain of the bearded wheat so conmon in Cyprus,

* See Pococke's Travels, vol. ii. p. 2134

« FöregåendeFortsätt »