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part in the festival of the Theoxenia (fig. 27). This feast, indicated by the couch on which they were to recline, was given in honour of the twin gods. Such a festival well illustrates the perfectly human interests which the Greeks attributed to their deities. The fifth century kylix (No. 90) shows the gesture of the raised right hand, often used in prayer. The young athlete, whose oil-flask hangs behind him, is probably praying before the altar. That athletes entered upon their tasks with extreme seriousness is clear from the oath taken by them before the image of Zeus in the Council House at Olympia, when they
swore upon the cut pieces of a boar that they would be guilty of no foul play. In the Greek view athletics and religion were very closely connected.
Passing now to Italic religious ceremonies, we may notice the archaic bronze statuette of an augur (No. 91), whose function it was to draw omens from the aspect of the heavens or the flight and cries of birds. He wears a cloak drawn veil-wise over his head, a common religious garb, and in his right hand holds the lituus or curved wand used for the ceremonial dividing of the heavens into quarters. In connection with this statuette mention should be made of an early Greek inscription (No. 92) in the
1 Paus., v. 24, 9.
bottom of Cases 105–106. It was found at Ephesus, and is probably of about the same period as the statuette, the sixth century B.C. It gives rules for drawing lucky or unlucky omens from the flight of birds. The principal signs are the flight from right to left or vice versa, and the raising or lowering of the bird's wing. The use of the veil in religious rites at a much later date is again seen in the marble portrait head of a woman (No. 93) in Case 100. It has been taken for the portrait of a Vestal Virgin, but the absence of the characteristic six braids of hair over the forehead renders this view unlikely. More probably the head is the portrait of an Imperial lady of the late first or early second century A.D., in the character of a priestess.
Below the head is a series of early Italic bronze implements, which may have been used in sacrifice. Those with the curved
claws were probably used for taking boiled meats out of a caldron. They remind us of the five-pronged sacrificial forks mentioned in Homer, and of the custom of the Jewish priests' servants as described in the Book of Samuel : “ The priest's servant came, while the flesh was in
seething, with a flesh hook of FIG. 28.-APHRODITE WITHIN A
three teeth in his hand ; and he SHRINE (No. 94). Ht. 24 in.
struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took therewith.” On the right are three bronze gridirons. These, like the fleshhooks, originally had wooden bardles inserted into their sockets. The meat was spitted upon hooks, which only remain in one instance.
Shrines.-In Case 101 a series of terracotta shrines is exhibited. They were doubtless for household use, employed in much the same way as modern images of the Madonna. No. 94 (fig. 28), from the early Greek settlement of Naukratis, in the Nile Delta, shows Aphrodite within a shrine supported by figures of the Egyptian god Bes, a characteristic combination of Greek and Egyptian elements. No. 95, from Amathus, in Cyprus, is also semi-Egyptian in character, and shows a deity surmounted by a winged solar disk. Another shrine from Naukratis (No. 96) contains the sacred Apis-bull of the Egyptians, which has already been mentioned above (p. 38). No. 97 is an example of a shrine
containing a baetylic image, that is, a stone worshipped as sacred. A cone resembling the one here shown was worshipped in the temple of Aphrodite at Paphos in Cyprus. In front, a small lead model shrine (No. 98) of later date, from Sardinia, represents Aphrodite just risen from the sea-foam and wringing out her hair. The circular shrine (No. 99; fig. 29) is of Roman date, from Eretria in Euboea. Its form and more especially the indication of overlapping scale-plates on the roof remind us strongly of the famous temple of Vesta at Rome.
In Case 102 are two examples (Nos. 100, 101) of a combined lamp and altar, for use in domestic shrines, probably of late Roman date. In one of these the basin for libations is supported on a pine cone. Akin to these is the small limestone cone and altar from the Cyrenaica.
No. 102 (fig. 30) is a bronze representing an attendant leading a pig to sacrifice. The pig (as well as the sheep and the bull) was a favourite sacrificial animal among the Romans. At the lustral ceremony of the suovetaurilia, the bull, sheep, and pig were driven round the farmer's fields to keep them free from blight
Similar objects have been found in the Catacombs. Cf. Seroux d'Agincourt, Sammlung d. Denkmaeler d. Sculptur, pl. viii., fig. 27.
and disease. Certain deities, notably Persephone and the Bona Dea, had swine as their special victims. In Case 103 (No. 103) will be seen a terracotta votive pig found in the precinct of Demeter and Persephone at Knidos.
Superstition and Magic.-As the simple faith in the gods decayed in the Greek and Roman world, compensation was largely sought in the dark rites of superstition and magic. The antiquities in Cases 105, 106, indicate some of the forms which such superstition took. Prominent among them was the practice of writing down curses on lead or talc with a view to the injury of those against whom the writer conceived that he had a grudge. These tablets were called in Latin defixiones, because they were suppose to fix down, as it were, the hated enemy. The imprecations written on them usually run in formulae, and the gods implored to work the ruin are naturally those of the nether regions. In later times especially, all manner of obscure and barbarous demons are introduced. The examples of these tablets here exhibited probably belong to the last three centuries before Christ. They come from various quarters-Knidos, Ephesus, Curium in Cyprus, Kyme in S. Italy, and Athens. Those found by Sir Charles Newton at Knidos may be taken as typical. In one case a certain Antigone, in order to clear herself from the charge of having attempted to poison Asklepiades, invokes curses upon herself if the accusation be true. In another, Artemeis devotes to Demeter, Persephone, and all the gods associated with Demeter, the person who withholds garments entrusted to him. These tablets (No. 104) appear to have been nailed to the walls of the sacred precinct of Demeter, where they were found. In the case of a tablet from Athens, the iron nail which fastened it to the wall is still preserved.
Nails themselves were highly esteemed as instruments of magic. Ovid, for instance, says that Medea (the typical witch) made waxen effigies of absent foes, and then drove nails into the vital parts. Examples of magical nails are seen in the series of bronze nails (No. 105) covered with cabalistic inscriptions and signs, and sometimes showing a strange mixture of Judaism and Paganism, as when Solomon and Artemis are invoked together. They may be attributed to the Gnostics, a sect which arose in the second century after Christ. Their claim was that, by a combination of various religious beliefs, they arrived at the only true knowledge of divine things. The magic nail has in one case
1 Ov., Her. vi. 91 f.
(No. 106) been used to fasten a bronze lamp, decorated with a head of Medusa, into a socket.
On the shelf above will be noticed a number of bronze hands (No. 107). They are right hands, represented with the thumb and first two fingers raised. On them are numerous magic symbols in relief, such as the snake, the lizard, and the tortoise. The hand illustrated (fig. 31) is covered with such signs, prominent among which are the serpent with the cock's comb, the pine-cone, the frog, and the winged caduceus. One of the hands bears the inscription “ Zougaras dedicated me to Sabazius in fulfilment of a vow”; another “ Aristokles, a superintendent, to Zeus Sabazius." Sabazius was a Phrygian and Thracian deity, whose worship was widely spread in the Roman world. There can be no doubt that these hands were intended to avert the evil eye. Sometimes the hands have instruments connected with the ecstatic worships of the East depicted upon themp such as the Phrygian flutes, the cymbals, or the sistrum. Case 106 contains several specimens of the last-named instrument. It was composed of a handle and loop-shaped metal frame, across which passed several movable metal rods. When the sistrum was shaken the curved ends of the rods came into violent contact
FIG. 31.-BRONZE MAGIC HAND with the sides of the frame and (No. 107). Ht. 54 in. produced a metallic clang. The sistrum was used by the Egyptians in their religious rites, and particularly in the worship of Isis. With the introduction of that worship into Italy in the first century B.C., the Romans became familiar with it. Apuleius, a writer of the second century after Christ, mentions silver and gold sistra, as well as bronze. A silver example is here shown (No. 108). The decoration is often elaborate, a favourite ornament for the top being the group of the wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, or the recumbent figure of a panther.