Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Porphyry
Pages of On Images

Previous | Next

On Images   

of clay beside him, on which he is moulding the figure of a man. And
from having the face of a ram and the horns of a goat he indicates
the conjunction of sun and moon in the sign of the Ram, while the
colour of blue indicates that the moon in that conjunction brings
The second appearance of the moon is held sacred in the city of Apollo:
and its symbol is a man with a hawk-like face, subduing with a hunting-spear
Typhon in the likeness of a hippopotamus. The image is white in colour,
the whiteness representing the illumination of the moon, and the hawk-like
face the fact that it derives light and breath from the sun. For the
hawk they consecrate to the sun, and make it their symbol of light
and breath, because of its swift motion, and its soaring up on high,
where the light is. And the hippopotamus represents, the Western sky,
because of its swallowing up into itself the stars which traverse
In this city Horus is worshipped as a god. But the city of Eileithyia
worships the third appearance of the moon: and her statue is fashioned
into a flying vulture, whose plumage consists of precious stones.
And its likeness to a vulture signifies that the moon is what produces
the winds: for they think that the vulture conceives from the wind,
and declares that they are all hen birds.
In the mysteries at Eleusis the hierophant is dressed up to represent
the demiurge, and the torch-bearer the sun, the priest at the altar
the moon, and the sacred herald Hermes.
Moreover a man is admitted by the Egyptians among their objects of
worship. For there is a village in Egypt called Anabis, in which a
man is worshipped, and sacrifice offered to him, and the victims burned
upon his altars: and after a little while he would eat the things
that had been prepared for him as for a man.
They did not, however, believe the animals to be gods, but regarded
them as likenesses and symbols of gods; and this is shown by the fact
that in many places oxen dedicated to the gods are sacrificed at their
monthly festivals and in their religious services. For they consecrated
oxen to the sun and moon.
The ox called Mnevis which is dedicated to the sun in Heliopolis,
is the largest of oxen, very black, chiefly because much sunshine
blackens men's bodies. And its tail and all its body are covered with
hair that bristles backwards unlike other cattle, just as the sun
makes its course in the opposite direction to the heaven. Its testicles
are very large, since desire is produced by heat, and the sun is said
to fertilize nature.
To the moon they dedicated a bull which they call Apis, which also
is more black than others, and bears symbols of sun and moon, because
the light of the moon is from the sun. The blackness of his body is
an emblem of the sun, and so is the beetle-like mark under his tongue;
and the symbol of the moon is the semicircle, and the gibbous figure.

Previous | Next
Site Search