vase of Apollo purifying Orestes with the
blood of a pig, (from vroma.org)
Note the star pattern of Apollo's robe matches that of Thetis and the dress of Orestes.
Orestes' killing of both his mother
and her lover was ordered by Apollo, when Orestes
went to Delphi to obtain direction on how to handle
the matter, when Clytemnestra and Aegisthus murdered
Agamemnon. Orestes balked at the idea of having to
kill both of them and made much to do about it.
After he killed them, aided by his companion
Pylades, he was haunted by the Erinyes of his
mother, and these drove him mad. He then went back
to Delphi to seek help for his madness. Apollo sent
him to Athens where he was tried by the Areopagus
and would have been convicted there were it not for
the goddess Athena's deciding vote to acquit him.
Although appeased to some degree, the Erinyes still
continued to persecute Orestes. Seeking the Delphian
oracle again, Orestes was told by Apollo that he
would regain his sanity if he stole the wooden
statue of Artemis that had fallen from heaven in the
land of the Taurians —
a barbaric Scythian tribe —
and brought it to Attica. On his return Orestes
became king of Mycenae.
ACHLE (Achilles) would thus be the name of the armed young man with the spear or staff. In this scene Achilles would have to be a shade, as he had been killed at Troy when an arrow shot from Paris upon the walls of Troy struck him in his heel. The wound festered and caused his death. After the war, when Agamemnon and the fleet returned from Troy to their homes, Agamemnon discovered that his wife was having an affair with Aegisthus. The two murdered Agamemnon when he was in his bath. After the murder the child Orestes was sent away for safety to Phocis by his sister Electra or by an old retainer. There he was reared by the old king Strophius, who had married Agamemnon's sister, Anaxibia or Astyoche. Orestes and Strophius' son, Pylades, became loyal friends, and Pylades accompanied Orestes in nearly all of his adventures. Electra is also believed to have urged Orestes to kill their mother and her lover. Electra may even have aided in the murder, together with Pylades.
ACHLE is looking towards VRSTE and his mother, THETHIS, appears to be addressing ELINEI. ORSTE is holding up his two fingers, looking at NEPLE. Thus, VRSTE appears to be seeking council of the shade of AKLE and his mother, with ELENEI in agreement with them, that he must kill both Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. If the final vote is in NEPLE's hands, we don't see him holding two fingers up in his right hand, as is the case with VRSTE and ACHLE. Naupulis would not likely be consulted in this scenario, since he attempted to wreck Agamemnon's ships and encouraged Orestes' mother to cuckhold his father, Agamemnon. So NEPLE must be another, probably Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles (AKLE).
Achilles mother, the sea nymph Thetis (THETHIS), feared that Achilles would fight in a war with Troy and be killed. To avert this end she had Achilles secreted away and reared at the court of Lycomedes, king of the Aegean island of Scyrus. To further avoid his turning into a warrior, Thetis had him dressed as a girl. Though dressed and reared like a girl, Achilles had an affair with Lycomedes' daughter, Deidameia, who bore a son. The child was called Pyrrhus. After Achilles death at Troy the Greeks learned from Helenus, the captured Trojan seer — brother of Hector — that Troy was not fated to be taken unless three events occurred: the bones of Pelops must be brought to Troy; and both Philoctetes, who owned the bow and arrows of Heracles, and the son of Achilles must fight on the Greek side. All three events occurred, and it is said to have been old Phoenix, Achilles' tutor, who renamed Pyrrhus "Neoptolemus" (Young Soldier) because either Achilles or the youth himself had joined the war at so early an age. Neoptolemus distinguished himself at Troy, being one of the men in the Trojan Horse, and among his many deeds — some describe him as a cruel warrior — he killed many Trojans, including Cassandra's Phrygian suitor Coroebus and Antenor. It was Neoptolemus who killed Priam at the altar of Zeus of the Courtyard, and when Achilles' ghost demanded the blood of Priam's daughter Polyxena, Neoptolemus sacrificed her on his father's grave. Some say it was he, not Odysseus, who killed Hector's little son, Astyanax, flinging him from the city walls. Andromache, Hector's widow, was awarded to Neoptolemus as a concubine.
Some say that after the war, Thetis told Neoptolemus to wait two days, so to avoid returning with the fleet that ended up getting wrecked; others say he returned home via an overland route. He then returned to his home, Epeirus, and became king. Leaving his three sons by Andromache, Molossus, Pielus, and Pergamus, in the charge of Helenus, Neoptolemus took to wife Hermione, the daughter of Menelaus and Helen. Neoptolemus' descendants ruled Epeirus for many generations, down to Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great. Thus, taking all of this into consideration, with VRSTE (Orestes) looking towards NEPLE, no doubt seeking his concurrence, there would be a strong connection in the context of revenge. Neoptolemus took revenge on the killing of his father by Priam's son, Paris, by killing Priam on the altar of Zeus. Then he killed Priam's grandchildren by Hector. (Achilles, the champion of the Greeks, had killed Hector, the champion of the Trojans).
By his marriage to Hermione, Neoptolemus was also a son-in-law to Helen of Troy who also was his aunt, as the sister of Clytemnestra, his mother. In a sense we can see a family gathering discussing revenge. Helen must have concurred with the murder of Clytemnestra - according to this mirror - and by the history of the matter of giving her daughter Hermione in marriage to Neoptolemus, who also would inherit the throne of Sparta.
An odd picture is presented in this mirror, if NEPLE is Neoptolemus, since Menelaus had previously promised his daughter Hermione in marriage to Orestes when Orestes was a boy and at the time he was leaving for Troy. Somehow at Troy Menelaus changed his mind and promised his daughter in marriage to the champion and general Neoptolemus. When Menelaus kept his word to Neoptolemus, he raised the ire of Orestes. It is said that when Neoptolemus went to Delphi to demand recompense from Apollo for his father's death at Troy, Orestes either killed him or arranged to have him killed. Some say that the Delphians killed him for rifling the shrines, distraught over Apollo's role in his father's death. In any event, once Hermione's husband was out of the way , Orestes married her and she bore him a son, Tisamenus, who eventually succeeded his father as king of Sparta and Argos (Mycenae).
Orestes may have killed Aletes, the son of Aegisthus and Clytemnestra, who was believed to have occupied the throne of Mycenae. He might have killed Aletes' sister, Erigone as well, but Artemis saved her by carrying her off to Attica to be her priestess. Some say that Erigone had a son, Penthilus, by Orestes. There are differing stories about Orestes' death and burial place. His bones were believed to have been in a coffin under a forge in Tegea, after which the bones were moved to Sparta.
OU, Wine Amphora,
7th c. B.C. (Image from University of Oklahoma, www.ou.edu)
OU-1 MI - My, mine (L. mei, mehi, me)
OU-2 LARISA (Name, Larisa?)
OU-3 AKS, probably vinegar (L. acetum-i; Gr. aksos; It. aceto). Note that the character has been written with a "foot" as in Script CH below.
Script VG, Bucchero amphora, ~600 B.C., from Formello, near Veii. Museum of the Villa Giulia, Rome (Image: "The Etruscans," by Raymond Block, 1969)
VG-8 VARAR TVASVA VT ARCAS [Translation: to vary. change (L. vario-are; It. variare, Fr. varier; Sanskrit, vihara) you watched over (L. tueo-are) how! in whatever way (L. ut) you lead, command? (Gr. archo, to command, rule; archon, leader)
VRVR [Translation: he, it speaks, entreats (L.
oro-are; 3rd. person sing. indic. pres.)]
VG-2 XX RaCHSA VRVAS TVAI [Translation: XX (twenty) Rachsa, Rigsa, bunches of grapes? (L. racemus-i, cluster of grapes) a unit of measure? of the dawns (L. aurora-ae) two (L. duo-ae); two solstices?] Note: As presented in the Banquet.html, the early Indo-Europeans in particular worshipped at dawn and the two solstices would be the main "dawns" in which to worship. As an example we have Herodotus recounting Xerxes' dawn worship at the Hellespont, before crossing into Europe, where he threw two golden bowls and a sword into the waters.
AST [Translation: satisfied (L. satio-are,
satur-ura-orum, sated, rich, copious; It. saziare;
Fr. satisfaire, to satisfy) I stand by (L.
VA, Wine-bowl, red-figured chalice from Vulci,
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. (Image: "The
Etruscans," by Raymond Bloch.
AIFAS - Ajax (L. Aiax-acis, name of two Homeric
heroes, sons of Telamon and of Oileus). Here we see
Ajax (Etr. AIFAS) cutting the throat of a Trojan
prisoner while the Ferryman of the Styx, Charon,
looks on. The Greek name of Ajax is the clue to the
Etruscan spelling of the name: AIFAS. When Heracles
prayed to Zeus to send a brave son to his friend
Telamon, an eagle (Gr. aietos) appeared, signaling
the god's assent. The son who was born was named
Ajax (Aias) for the eagle. The word for a bird in
Latin is avis-is, often meaning a bird of omen and
in general an omen.
VA-2 CHARON (ARVN)
Both of the heroes named Ajax fought in the Trojan War, often side-by-side. One of them, the son of Telamon, was a head higher and stronger than other Greek warriors and was one of the men sent to Achilles to persuade him to join them in battle. Achilles had taken a beutiful Lyarnessan girl, Briseis, as his concubine. Some time later Agamemnon was forced by the insistance of Achilles and the other leaders to give up his own concubine, Chryseis, to save the Greeks from plague. Enraged, he took Briseis from Achilles. Achilles surrendered her but refused to fight any longer or to allow his troops to do so. His mother, Thetis, appealed to Zeus to give the Trojans victory so that the Greeks should be forced to heap honors on Achilles in order to win his help. Zeus consented. As a result, the Greeks were gradually beaten back to their ships in an assault led by Hector. Agamemnon sent old Phoenix, together with Odysseus and Ajax, to offer not only Briseis but a great deal of treasure as well if Achilles would rejoin the fighting. Achilles refused, and kept Phoenix with him. Shortly thereafter Patroclus, seeing the Trojans threatening to burn the Greek ships, begged to be allowed to wear Achilles'' armor into battle. Achilles consented. Patroclus, after distinguishing hemself in a spectacular manner, was killed by Hector.
Filled with grief and rage, Achilles turned back the Trojans with a shout and rejoined the fighting. In a fury and with vengeance he killed dozens of Trojans, including Hector, whom he chased several times around the walls of Troy. He drug the body of Hector back to his camp, desecrated it, and refused to give it up for burial until Hector's father, King Priam, came alone to the Greek camp to plead with him. Achilles finally allowed the old man to ransom the corpse. He was later killed by Paris, aided by Apollo, who shot him with an arrow from the safety of the Trojan walls. Achilles' ashes were placed in a golden urn, mixed with those of Patroclos, buried under a great barrow. Games were held around the barrow for about a week, involving events traditional to the later Olympic games. Before the barrow was thrown up the Greeks were sent into the nearby mountains to collect trees for a funeral pyre for Patroclus. Achilles conducted a sacrifice of horses, treasures, and twleve Trojan captives before the huge stack of trees that formed the pyre.*
We know that this scene does not involve the "Lesser Ajax," son of Oileus, a Locrian king. He was known as fine spearman and the fastest runner of the Greeks except Achilles. He was expecially successful at the capture of fleeing enemies. Ajax became one of tghe most respected of Greek warriors, but brought disaster on the whole force after the fall of Trou by alienating their chief patroness, Athena. This he did by dragging Cassandra from Athena's shrine in order to rape her. Odysseus wanted Ajax stoned for angering the gods (Some say Athena's statue was knocked down, others say that its eyes looked up in heaven in horror). Ajax clung to the image he desecrated and Athena enlisted the aid of Zeus and Poseidon to avenge the outrage. Together they caused the Greek fleet to be wrecked off Cape Caphareus, in southern Euboea. Some say that Athena struck Ajax dead with a thunderbolt, others that Poseidon let him swim in safety to a huge rock called Gyrae. There the rash man boasted that he had saved himself in spite of any god. Poseidon thereupon struck the rock with a thunderbolt, causing Ajax to drown.
It is curious that the Etruscan artist placed the name of Ajax above the warrior who is plunging his sword into the chest of the captive. This is part of an overall pattern, however, that we have seen in the Etruscan myths recorded on mirrors, where there is a peculiar slant to the story not passed down to us by the Romans and Greeks.
The Illiad can be read online at http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~joelja/iliad.html. Another scene of the sacrifice of the Trojan captives is at Etruscan Phrases Murals: http://www.maravot.com/Etruscan_mural_francois.gif
CH, Bronze mirror from Vulci, Vatican Museum.
Mirror with image of Calchas, a seer attached to the
Greek forces during the Trojan War. Calchas, a son
of Thestor, enjoyed such a reputation before the war
broke out that Agamemnon came in person to his home
in Megara to persuade him to accompany the army. The
seer is said to have
predicted when Achilles was only nine years old that
Troy could not be taken without his aid. Calchas
also prophesied while the ships of Agamemnon were
becalmed as they prepared to leave Aulis. Calchas
then divined that Agamemnon had offended Artemis
with a careless boast, no doubt when Agamemnon had
earlier built a temple to Artemis. Calchas announced
that the goddess would send favorable winds only if
Agamemnon were to sacrifice to her his daughter
Iphigeneia. Iphigeneia was the sister of Orestes and
in some accounts was a priestess among the Taurians
(Scythians) when Orestes was captured by them. She
saved the life of him and his crew.
CH-1 CHALCHAS (↓AL↓AS) — Calchas. Note the initial character is written like the character on the vase at OU-3.
Script MG -
Mirror "Judgment of Paris before Rhaea" 4th c.
B.C. Bloomington, Indiana University Art Museum
(Image: "The Etruscans," Federica Borrelli and
Maria Cristina Targia, The J. Paul Getty Museum,
MG-1 AL RAIA?)
[Translation: a goddess, probably the Titaness
Rhea or Rheia (L. Ops), mother of Zeus, Hera and
Tethys. Here the text would thus read: to her, it
(It. al) Rheia.
Rheia was also identified with the Phrygian goddess, Cybele. The key to the scene should be in the word, FILAE, L. filia-ae, daughter(s). We know that Hera (VNI, Juno) was the daughter of Rheia. Athena (Minerva) was born to Zeus by Zeus' first wife, the Oceanid Metis, as follows: Zeus was warned by Ge and Uranus that if Metis bore a second son he would rule over heaven. Zeus, who had overthrown his own father and did not want to suffer a similar fate, circumvented this threat by swallowing Metis. As Metis' time for delivery drew near, Zeus began to have second thoughts about his predicament and sought either the Titan Prometheus or craftsman-god Hephaestus to extricate him from his predicament. One or the other solved the problem by striking Zeus on the head with an axe. Out popped Athena in full armor from his head.
Aphrodite (L. Venus, Etr. Turan) is believed to have been the daughter of Zeus and Dione, but Hesiod declared that she sprang from the sea foam that gathered about the severed genitals of Uranus, as they floated through the sea towards Cyprus. Aphrodite's name comes from Gr. Aphros, "sea-foam.")
Another possibility of ALOAIA would be ALTHAIA, but this connection doesn't fit. Firstly, to be a "th" the character "O" would be a , with a dot in the center. As for Althia, Althaea was a daughter of Thestius and Eurythemis. She married her uncle Oeneus, king of Calydon. She bore him two daughters, Gorge and Deianeira, and several sons, the most famous of whom was Meleager. In the "Calydonian Boar Hunt" Meleager killed some or all of his mother's brothers. Althaea either cursed him for it or caused his death by burning a magical charred brand, knowing that her son would die when it is consumed. Stricken with guilt, she hanged or stabbed herself.
MG-2 UNI (VNI) - the goddess Uni, (L. Juno, Gr. Hera) wife of Tinia (L. Jupiter; Gr. Zeus)
MG-3 MENRFA - Minerva, goddess of wisdom and patroness of arts and sciences (L. Minerva-ae; Gr. Athena)
MG-4 ELCINTRE (Alexander) - Note: See Script DM, Divine Mirror.html for the spelling of Alexander's name as ELKINTRE.
MG-5 TVRAN - Turan, goddess of love (L. Venus ; Gr. Aphrodite)
MG-6 FILAE - daughters (L. filia-ae)
Note: This appears to be a celebration among the daughters of Rhea the Judgment of Paris, awarding Aphrodite as "the fairest," assuming it is Turan (Aphrodite) who is seated on the throne, with Rheia wafting the branch over her head. If it is Rheia seated on the throne (which seems most likely) it may be that the judgment of Paris as to "who is the fairest" is being referred to Rheia.
The context shown by the female with the word "FILAE" over her head suggests that this scene is about the "daughters." Only VNI (Hera) is directly a daughter of Rheia. Turan (Aphrodite) emerged from the sea in the foam of Uranus's genitels - cut off by his son Zeus; MENRFA (Athena) sprouted from the head of Zeus after Zeus had swallowed his pregnant wife Metis. Since ELCINTRE (Alexander - meaning savior of man) is in the scene, we can assume that the event involves his decision to name Aphrodite as "the fairest."
Curiously, the female in the handle with the inscription "FILAE" is holding two snakes in her hand. This recalls the Minoan snake goddess who is identified with child bearing. For a good discussion on the snake goddess see Christopher L. C. Whitcombe's page, "Minoan Snake Goddess." Votive statues of this goddess, dating ca 1600 B.C., who holds two snakes in her hands similarly to the character in the handle of this mirror, is also seen with a tower-like crown or a cat or lion in her crown. These attributes of the statues suggest a relationship to the Phrygian mother goddess, Cybele, who drives a chariot pulled by two lions and has a crown in the shape of a city or castle tower. (See phrygian.html for a discussion on Cybele and her relationship to the mother-goddess on Minoan cylinder seals who is often seated between two lions, with a palm tree behind her and beneath her throne flows a stream of water.
The wafting of the branch in this scene also recalls a scene on the Minoan cylinder seal (left) with the seated mother-goddess being attended by three ladies, one of whom is wafting a branch. Two of the women are offering gifts and a fourth woman in the background is picking fruit.
Script MH - Mirror with Minerva and Heracles.
MH-1 MENERFA - Minerva,
goddess of wisdom and patroness of arts and
sciences (L. Minerva-ae; Gr. Athena)
MH-2 HERKLE - Hercules, Heracles is a popular character on Etruscan Mirrors.
Here Heracles appears to be engaged in his eleventh labor, exacted by King Eurystheus, to bring to the king the apples of the Hesperides. Many accounts call this the final labor, saying that it followed the capture of Cerberus, the three-headed dog guarding Hades.
The golden fruit, which Ge had once given as a wedding present to Hera, grew in a grove somewhere at the ends of the earth. There they were tended by nymphs, the Hesperides, with the aid of a hundred-headed snake named Ladon. Heracles did not know where to find the sacred grove, so he visited certain nymphs, daughters of Zeus and Themis, who lived on the Eridanus River. They told him where to find the old sea-god Nereus asleep. Heracles captured Nereus and held him tightly in spite of the many transformations that the god underwent. Finally Nerus returned to his normal form and told his captor where to find the garden. This information was evidently not passed on to ancient writers, for they have recorded many locations: beyond the river Oceanus or the north wind, or somewhere in the farthest reaches of Libya near the mountains where the Titan Atlas supported the sky on his shoulders. All of these places were in the far west, where one might expect the Hesperides (Daughters of the Evening) to live.
On his way to the garden, moving westward, Heracles had several adventures, freeing Prometheus from his bonds, where an eagle fed on his liver, he then killed King Emathion of Arabia, and came to Egypt where he allowed King Busiris to place him on an altar for sacrifice. As the king and his son began to prepare Heracles, Heracles broke his bonds and killed both the king and his son, Amphidamas, who had until then made it a practice to sacrifice all strangers coming into their land. Moving westward Heracles encountered the Libyan King Antaeus, who required all strangers to wrestle with him and then killed them. Heracles disposed of the son of the earth by holding him up above the earth and crushing him with a bear hug. Next, Heracles came upon the Titan Atlas who was holding up the earth. Heracles offered to relieve the Titan of his burden if he would retrieve the golden apples from the nearby garden. Thinking to take the apples and deliver them to King Eurystheus himself, Atlas shrugged and transferred the burden of the earth onto the shoulders of Heracles. Heracles was then faced with the problem when Atlas returned with the golden apples of tricking Atlas to resume his burden of the earth. Heracles persuaded Atlas to take over the burden for just a moment, while he placed a pad on his head to cushion the weight of the earth. As Atlas took the weight on his shoulders, Heracles sped on his way with the golden apples. Another account, which coincides with the illustration on this Etruscan mirror, is that Heracles himself stole the apples from the garden, after killing Ladon. After turning the apples over to King Eurystheus, the king quickly gave them back. Heracles then gave the golden apples to Athena, presumably by dedicating them at her shrine and Athena returned them to their original guardians, the Hesperides, for it was not proper that the fruit should remain in anyone else's keeping. This mirror also shows Athena (Minerva) engaged with Heracles in retrieving the apples from the many-headed, claw-footed monster. Held in Heracles' left arm is a plant, and in this image he has stolen the entire tree.*
Script LM, Badishes
Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe, Germany,
Mirror of "Minerva, Hercules and companions." The
illustration on this mirror is hard to read, but
it can be read. Heracles is dressed in the skin of
either the Cithaeronian lion which he killed when
he was about seventeen years of age. Apollodorus
says that the young man's first adventure was to
persue a lion which had been roaming Mount
Cithaeron and eating the flocks of both Amphitryon
and Thespius, king of Thespiae.
The king's interest in the prowess of Hercules extended well beyond the hunt. He entertained the youth for fifty nights before bringing up the subject of the lion. Each night he sent another of his fifty daughters to Heracles' bed – unless, as some insist, he sent all fifty in one night. According to at least one writer, Heracles, perhaps a little befuddled by the king's wine, was unaware of the traffic in his bedroom and imagined that he was indebted to only one daughter as his partner in the night's marathon. After his eventful stay at the palace of Thespius, Heracles went to Mount Cithaeron, killed the lion, and thereafter wore its skin as a cloak. (The lion of Nemea is believed to be by some as the cloak worn by Heracles).
Pausanias records with disbelief the tradition that one of Thespius' daughters refused to sleep with the guest and was condemned by him to remain forever a virgin priestess in his temple. The writer points out that Heracles had no temple and that, at least so early in his career, he had no expectation of having one. He adds, somewhat less convincingly, that Heracles was too modest to conceive of such a punishment. (Pausanias 9.27.6-7, 9.29.9 — ~160A.D.)
The soldier - possibly Thespius - appears to be giving the girl to Heracles. If he is giving the girl to the hero, then it would properly be the father of the girl, i.e., Thespius. Between Heracles and the girl are the words:
LM-1 VRAN HERCLE [Translation: They speak (L. oro-are, orant) of Heracles] Note: VRAN may be TVRAN ("T" missing)
LM-4 A_ _ _ (ACHL?) Achilles. The shield is a clue that the warrior is Achilles.
The mirror may be playing with the thought that Heracles was known as one who did not want a temple, yet he receives the daughter of Thespius as a virgin for his temple. She is undressing, however, and no doubt offering herself to him, witnessed by Minerva (Athena) the virgin goddess of arts, crafts and war. However, there seems to be a name above the warrior on the right. The shield suggests it is ACHL or ACHLE (Achilles). It is curious that HERCLE is in the Divine Mirror, Script DM, next to TVRAN and raising up a cherub (EPE VR) to TINIA . Heracles had nothing to do with the Trojan War, as far as represented in the Iliad. So we wondered what Heracles was doing in the story of Helen of Troy represented in the Divine Mirror. If it is TVRAN represented in mirror Script LM, we are given a clue that Heracles and Tvran (Aphrodite) had a relationship heretofore unknown and certainly not remembered in Greco-Roman mythology. The arrangement of Athena, Heracles, Aphrodite and Achilles together in this scene is mysterious.
Script DQ, Apollo and Artemis
DQ-1 APOLO (APVLV)
Script DR, Snenar, Turan and Adonis
DR-1 SNENAR, SHENAR or SNENAO [Translation: unknown goddess] This goddess may be one of the Semnai Theai or Semnai (Venerable goddesses) worshipped in a cave on the Areopagus at Athens. They were identified with the Erinyes, who had retributive functions, by Aaeschylus and others. She holds a wand of prophesy and what appears to be an unguent bottle, as LASA THIMRAE in the Divine_Mirror.html. She has a neclace around her neck and robes suggesting she is a queen. It is probable that she is Myrrha (also called Smyrna), mother of Adonis. SHENAR may be the Etruscan version of her name, based upon the most prominent feature in Lebanon, Mt. Senir (Hermon). It is a place that had ritual significance among the ancient Canaanites. The principal female diety of the Phoenicians was Ashtoreth (meaning star); the Ishtar of the Assyrians, and Astarte of the Greeks and Romans. The Chrisitian festival of Easter apparently replaced one that had earlier been attributed to Ishtar.
There was a more ancient Heracles called the Tyrian Heracles and two temples stood near Tyre that were built for Heracles and Astarte, according to the historian Menander. Another name for this god was Melkart (See wikipedia.org). See also wikipedia.org on Canaanite gods. The Etruscan nuances on Heracles may reflect the Canaanite Heracles (Melkart).
An interesting discussion on the development of Cypriote religion is at greek-history.suite101.com. Aphrodite was born in the sea off Cyprus. and Cyprus is a place where Greek and Canaanite cultures met, including also an Egyptian presence there. Currently the island is divided between the Greeks and the Turks. Suite101.com says:
"A great sanctuary to Aphrodite was built in Palaepaphos, not far from her birthplace. Aphrodite was not represented in human form here, but as a conical stone idol (like the sacred pillars of Canaanite peoples), which was anointed with oil during festivities. Rulers of the Kinyras dynasty served as kings and high priests until the Ptolemaic era. After catastrophic earthquakes a new city and temple were built further west — Nea Paphos.
As the Achaean Greek settlements became more powerful, resentful Paphians migrated east to settle in Amathus taking Aphrodite with them. A magnificent sanctuary was built on the acropolis. Alexander Hislop in "The Two Babylons" mentions a colossal stone vase from this temple, decorated with fertility symbols, which was taken to the Louvre in 1865. In 22CE the Roman Senate established the right of asylum for Aphrodite's principal sanctuaries in Paphos and Amathus. Phoenician traders from the east settled mainly in Kition (SE). The Phoenician Astarte absorbed the Cyprian fertility goddess. Cypriot deities now had Phoenician names. Shrines to Aphrodite-Astarte and Melkart-Baal were built in Palaepaphos.
Myrrha was the daughter of Cinyras
(Cenchreis) or Theias, king of Assyria. Either
because Cenchreis boasted that her daughter was
more beautiful than Aphrodite (Turan) or because
Myrrha herself did not honor the goddess properly,
Aphrodite punished the girl with an incestuous
infatuation with her father. When her father
discovered that she was pregnant, he chased her
with a sword. She prayed to the gods and they
changed her into a myrrh tree. Her tears became
the precious gum of the tree. After nine months
the tree split open and an infant boy, Adonis, was
revealed inside. Adonis is believed to be the
Assyrian Tammuz or Dimuzzi. Since the story of
Adonis and Aphrodite involves Asiatic origin it is
possible that the character here is Senir
(meaning, glistening), the Amorite name of Mt.
Hermon. It was called Sirion by the Sidonians. Mt.
Hermon is the source of the Jordan River and forms
the Anti-Lebanon range. The Etruscans traded with
the Phoenicians (Lebanon) and the Phoenician
hippocampus is a popular image painted in Etruscan
It is possible that the seated person is SHENAR or SENAR, also known as Mt. Hermon / Senir. It is actually three mountain peaks with seasonal snow along the Israel-Lebanon border.
Of interest is the connection of a mountain with the Asiatic versions of Adonis, Tammuz or Dimuzzi. (See mystae.com for Tammuz / Dimuzzi and pantheon.org: The Akkadian vegetation-god, counterpart of the Sumerian Damuzi and the symbol of death and rebirth in nature. He is the son of Ea and husband of Ishtar. Each year he dies in the hot summer (in the month Tammus, June/July) and his soul is taken by the Gallu demons to the underworld. Woe and desolation fall upon the earth, and Ishtar leads the world in lamentation. She then descends to the nether world, ruled by Ereshkigal, and after many trials succeeds in bringing him back, as a result of which fertility and joy return to the earth. In Syria he was identified with Adonis.
Myrrh is from a small tree that can grow up to 5 meters (16 feet) high with light bark and knotted branches, few leaves and small white flowers. It is native to Somalia, Arabia and Yemen. When the bark is cut, the gum resin exudes as a pale yellow liquid, which dries into reddish-brown lumps the size of a walnut from which the oil is distilled. Myrrh was very popular in the ancient world and was used as a medicine by the Chinese and Egyptians, and as part of the Egyptian sun-worshipping ritual and mummification. It was used in cosmetics, while Greek soldiers took a phial of Myrrh oil with them into battle, to stop bleeding wounds. (essentialoils.co.za).
DR-2 TURAN (TVRAN) [Translation: goddess of love, Gr. Aphrodite, Roman Venus.
DR-3 ATONIS (ATVNIS)
DR-4 SU (SV) OISO [Translation: bird (L. Avis, Fr. oiseau, m.; It. ucello)] Note: The swan was the symbol of Turan / Aphrodite and she is seen in Script OB (See the Divine_Mirror.html). There are two swans in this mirror. The use of the "O" omega is rare and may be a late usage, before the introduction of the Latin alphabet. Note: There is another version of this mirror that carries the letters SVP OISO (SOPRISeR?) This may be, himself, herself, itself, themselves ( L. se, sese, sibi) RISeR (L. rixor-ari, to complain, quarrel).
Script DS, Turan, Adonis and Lasa
DS-1 ATONIS (ATVNIS)
DS-2 TURAN (TVRAN)
Note: Lasa appears with a wand and unguent bottle in the Divine_Mirror.html. In Script DR we see a seated goddess SNENAR or SNENAO observing the two lovers, Adonis and Aphrodite (ATVNIS and TVRAN).
Script PF- Funerary stele from Fiesole, Florence Archeological museum, c. 520 B.C. Height 4' x 7"
PF-1 PARTHIAM (PARIAM) of Parthia
(L. Parthi-orum, 1st Decl. Acc. singl. -am)
PF-2 IEPI Jepi Note: This word declines, Jepie, Jepo (Script "L")
Note: This warrior probably came from Parthia, a nation in Illyria, according to Polybius. The Parthini were a people in Illyria, according to Polybius. Alternatively, the warrior may have been involved in wars of the Parthians in the Middle East. The Parthian empire reigned over Persia from 247 B.C - 228 A.D. They defeated Alexandar the Great's succesors, the Seleucids. After the Scythian-Parni nomads (Assyrians called them Ashkuz) had settled in Parthia and had built a small independent kingdom, they rose to power under king Mithridates the Great (171-138 BCE). The end of this long-lasted empire came in 224 CE, when the empire was loosely organized and the last king was defeated by one of the empire's vassals, the Persians of the Sassanid dynasty. Herodotus tells us that the Persians wore long hair. In his description of the invasion of the Persian Xerxes (485-465 B.C.), Herodotus provides information on the dress and equipment of the host that crossed the Hellespont. He says:
Book VII.61 Now these were the nations that took part in this expedition. The Persians, who wore on their heads the soft hat called the tiara, and about their bodies, tunics with sleeves, of divers colours, having iron scales upon them like the scales of a fish. Their legs were protected by trousers, and they bore wicker shields for bucklers; their quivers hanging at their backs, and their arms being a short spear, a bow of uncommon size, and arrows of reed. They had likewise daggers hanging at their backs, and their right thighs. Otanes, the father of Xerxes' wife, Amestris, was their leader. This people was known to the Greeks in ancient times by the name of Cephenians; but they called themselves, and were called by their neighbors, Artaeans...
Book VII.62 The Medes had exactly the same equipment as the Persians; and indeed the dress common to both is not so much Persian as Median. They had for commander Tigranes, of the race of the Achaemenids. These Medes were called anciently by all the people Arians, but when Medea, the Cochian, came to them from Athens, they changed their name...
Book VII.64 The Bactrians went to the war wearing a head-dress very like the Median, but armed with bows of cane, after the custom of their country, and with short spears.
The Sacae, or Scyths, were clad in trousers, and had on their heads tall stiff caps rising to a point. They bore the bow of the country and the dagger: besides which they carried the battle-axe, or sagaris. They were in truth Amyrgian Scythians, but the Persians called them Sacae, since that is the name they give to all Scythians. The Bactrians and the Sacae had for leader Hystaspes, the son of Darius and of Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus.
VII.66 The Arians carried Median bows, but in other respects were equipped like the Bactrians. Their commander was Sisamnes the son of Hydarnes. The Parthians and Chorasmians, with the Sogdians, the Gandarians, and the Dadicae, had the Bactrian equipment in all respects. The Parthians and Chorasmians were commanded by Artabazus the son of Pharnaces...
In this stele we can see that the
warrior has a hand-axe and the spear's length is
about the height of the man (a short spear?). The
man is wearing a tunic and appears to be wearing
short pants, suggested by the knee-length hem. If
the date of the stele is near 483 B.C when Xerxes
invaded Greece, it may be that this warrior was
one of the invading force of the Persian army, or
possibly part of the earlier invasion of Darius (
549 B.C.– 486/485 B.C.).
We also note that a tile in the National Museum, Naples, Italy shows Etruscan warriors wearing long hair and holding a spear about head height. Many sarcophagi show Etruscan men with long, straight hair as well.
* Strabo lists a tribe of the Illyrians who are called "Parthini" :
Strabo: ...But the Illyrian tribes which are near the southern part
of the mountainous country and those which are above the Ionian Gulf are
intermingled with these peoples; for above Epidamnus and
Apollonia as far as the Ceraunian Mountains dwell the Bylliones, the
Taulantii, the Parthini, and the Brygi (the forerunners of the
The warrior from Fiosole may have served in a war against the Parthini or was one of them.
See also Script L65 for the warrior "IEPIE" and L-15, L-59 for IEPV (Jepo). This may be "thrower" (L. iaculator).
*From Edward Tripp, The Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology, 1970.
11.22.06; 11.23.06; 11.24.06; 11.29.06;
11.30.06; 1.05.07; 1.22.07; 1.31.07; 2.01.07;
4.15.07; 4.17.07; 4.30.07; 3.21.09; 3.22.09;
5.23.09; 5.26.09; 7.24.09; 8.20.09; 5.02.12
Update 3.21-22.09 - removed the discussion of Pheris. The character is THETHIS (Thetis). AKLE is Achilles, son of Thetis. NEPLE is either Achilles' son, Neoptolemus or Menle, Menelaus.
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Copyright © 1981-2012 Mel Copeland. All rights reserved.