The Philistines, by R.A.S. Macalister, , at sacred-texts.com
Of the religion of the Philistines we know just enough to whet a curiosity that for the present seeks satisfaction in vain. The only hints given us in the Old Testament history are as follows:
(1) The closing scene of Samson's career took place in a temple of Dagon at Gaza, which must have been a large structure, as different as possible from the native High Places of Palestine.
(2) In this temple sacrifices were offered at festivals conducted by the 'Lords' of the Philistines (Judg. xvi. 23). It is not unreasonable to suppose that Samson was destined to be offered in sacrifice at the great feast of rejoicing there described. This was probably an annual festival, occurring at a fixed time of the year, and not a special celebration of the capture of Samson: because an interval of some months, during which Samson's shorn hair grew again, must have taken place
between the two events. We are reminded of the Athenian Θαργήλια, with Samson in the rôle of the φαρμακός. Human sacrifices were offered in the temple of Marna at Gaza down to the fourth century A. D., as we learn from a passage presently to be quoted from Marcus the Deacon.
(3) There was also a temple of Dagon at Ashdod, which indicates that the deity was a universal god of the Philistines, not a local divinity like the innumerable Semitic Ba‘alim. Here there were priests, and here a rite of 'leaping on (or rather stepping over) the threshold' was observed. A sculptured image of the god stood in this temple.
(4) There was somewhere a temple of Ashtaroth (Samuel) or of Dagon (Chronicles) where the trophies of Saul were suspended. It is not expressly said that this temple was in Beth-shan, to the wall of which the body of Saul was fastened.
(5) The Philistines were struck with terror when the Ark of Yahweh was brought among them. Therefore they believed in (a) the existence and (b) the extra-territorial jurisdiction of the Hebrew deity. This suggests a wider conception of the limitations of divine power than was current among the contemporary Semites.
(6) Small portable images (עצבים) were worn by the Philistines and carried as amulets into battle (2 Sam. v. 21). 'This practice lasted till quite late (2 Macc. xii. 40).
(7) News of a victory was brought to the image-houses, probably because they were places of public resort, where they could be proclaimed (1 Sam. xxxi. 9).
(8) At Ekron there was an oracle of Baal-zebub, consulted by the Israelite king Ahaziah (2 Kings i. 2).
Let us clear the ground by first disposing of the last-named deity. This one reference is the only mention of him in the Old Testament, and indeed he is not alluded to elsewhere in Jewish literature. He must, however, have had a very prominent position in old Palestinian life, as otherwise the use of the name in the Gospels to denote the 'Prince of the Devils' (Matt. xii. 24, &c.) would be inexplicable. A hint in Isaiah ii. 6 shows us that the Philistines, like the Etruscans, were proverbial for skill in soothsaying, and it is not unlikely that the shrine of Baal-zebub should have been the site of their principal oracle. If so, we can be sure that Ahaziah was not the only Israelite who consulted this deity on occasion, and it is easy to understand that post-exilic reformers would develop and propagate the secondary application of his name in order to break the tradition of such illegitimate practices. It is, however, obvious that the Philistines who worked the oracle of Baal-zebub simply entered into an old
Canaanite inheritance. This is clear from the Semitic etymology of the name. When they took over the town of Ekron and made it one of their chief cities, they naturally took over what was probably the most profitable source of emolument that the town contained. The local divinity had already established his lordship over the flies when the Philistines came on the scene.
This was no contemptible or insignificant lordship. A man who has passed a summer and autumn among the house-flies, sand-flies, gnats, mosquitoes, and all the other winged pests of the Shephelah will not feel any necessity to emend the text so as to give the Ba‘al of Ekron 'a lofty house' or 'the Planet Saturn' or anything else more worthy of divinity 1; or to subscribe to Winckler's arbitrary judgement: 'Natürlich nicht Fliegenba‘al, sondern Ba‘al von Zebub, worunter man sich eine Oertlichkeit in Ekron vorzustellen hat, etwa den Hügel auf dem der Tempel stand' (Geschichte Israels, p. 224). The Greek Version lends no countenance to such euhemerisms, for it simply reads τῷ Βάαλ μυῖαν. Josephus avoids the use of the word Ba‘al, and says 'he sent to the Fly' (Ant. ix. 2. 1). The evidence of a form with final l is, however, sufficiently strong to be taken seriously. Although the vocalization is a difficulty, the old explanation seems to me the best, namely, that the by-form is a wilful perversion, designed to suggest zebel, 'dung.' The Muslim argot which turns ḳiyámah (Anastasis = the Church of the Holy Sepulchre) into ḳumámah (dung-heap) is a modern example of the same kind of bitter wit.
The Lord of Flies is hardly a fly-averter, like the Ζεὺς ἀπόμυιος of Pliny and other writers, with whom he is frequently compared. In fact, what evidence there is would rather indicate that the original conception was a god in the bodily form of the vermin, the notion of an averter being a later development: that, for instance, Apollo Smintheus has succeeded to a primitive mouse-god, who very likely gave oracles through the movements of mice. That Baal-zebub gave oracles by his flies is at least probable. A passage of Iamblichus (apud Photius, ed. Bekker, p. 75) referring to Babylonian divinations has often been quoted in this connexion; but I think that probably mice rather than flies are there in question. Lenormant (La divination chez les Chaldéens, p. 93) refers to an omen-tablet from which auguries are drawn from the behaviour or peculiarities of flies, but unfortunately the tablet in question is too broken to give any continuous sense. 2
A curious parallel may he cited from Scotland. In the account of the parish of Kirkmichael, Banffshire, is a description (Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xii, p. 464) of the holy well of St. Michael, which was supposed to have healing properties:
'Many a patient have its waters restored to health and many more have attested the efficacies of their virtues. But as the presiding power is sometimes capricious and apt to desert his charge, it now [A. D. 1794] lies neglected, choked with weeds, unhonoured, and unfrequented. In better days it was not so; for the winged guardian, under the semblance of a fly, was never absent from his duty. If the sober matron wished to know the issue of her husband's ailment, or the love-sick nymph that of her languishing swain, they visited the well of St. Michael. Every movement of the sympathetic fly was regarded in silent awe; and as he appeared cheerful or dejected, the anxious votaries drew their presages; their breasts vibrated with correspondent emotions. Like the Dalai Lama of Thibet, or the King of Great Britain, whom a fiction of the English law supposes never to die, the guardian fly of the well of St. Michael was believed to be exempted from the laws of mortality. To the eye of ignorance he might sometimes appear dead, but, agreeably to the Druidic system, it was only a transmigration into a similar form, which made little alteration in the real identity.'
In a foot-note the writer of the foregoing account describes having heard an old man lamenting the neglect into which the well had fallen, and saying that if the infirmities of years permitted he would have cleared it out and 'as in the days of youth enjoyed the pleasure of seeing the guardian fly'. Let us suppose the old man to have been eighty years of age: this brings the practice of consulting the fly-oracle of Kirkmichael down to the twenties of the eighteenth century, and probably even later.
Leaving out Baal-zebub, therefore, we have a female deity, called Ashtaroth (Aštoreth) in the passage relating to the temple of Bethshan, and a male deity called Dagon, ascribed to the Philistines. We may incidentally recall what was said in the first chapter as to the possibility of the obscure name Beth-Car enshrining the name of an eponymous Carian deity: it seems at least as likely as the meaning of the name in Hebrew, 'house of a lamb.' Later we shall glance at the evidence which the Greek writers preserve as to the peculiar cults of the Philistine cities in post-Philistine times, which no doubt preserved reminiscences of the old worship. In the meanwhile let us concentrate our attention on the two deities named above.
I. Ashtoreth. At first sight we are tempted to suppose that the Philistines, who otherwise succeeded in preserving their originality, had from the first completely succumbed to Semitic influences in the
province of religion. 'As immigrants', says Winckler in his Geschichte Israels, 'they naturally adopted the civilization of the land they seized, and with it the cultus also.' And certainly Ashtaroth or Ashtoreth was par excellence the characteristic Semitic deity, and worshippers of this goddess might well be said to have become completely semitized.
But there is evidence that makes it doubtful whether the assimilation had been more than partial. We begin by noting that Herodotus 1 specially mentions the temple of ἡ Οὐρανία Ἀφροδίτη as standing at Ashkelon, and he tells us that it was the oldest of all the temples dedicated to this divinity, older even than that in Cyprus, as the Cyprians themselves admitted: also that the Scythians plundered the temple and were in consequence afflicted by the goddess with a hereditary νοῦσος θήλεια. 2 The remarkable inscription found at Delos, in which one Damon of Ashkelon dedicates an altar to his tutelary divinities, brilliantly confirms the statement of Herodotus. It runs:
'To Zeus, sender of fair winds, and Astarte of Palestine, and Aphrodite Urania, to the divinities that hearken, Damon son of Demetrios of Ashkelon, saved from pirates, makes this vow. It is not lawful to offer in sacrifice an animal of the goat or pig species, or a cow.' 3
The Palestinian Astarte is here distinguished from the Aphrodite of Ashkelon; and though there obviously was much confusion between them, the distinction was real. From Lucian 1 we learn that there were two goddesses, whom he keeps carefully apart, and who indeed were distinguished by their bodily form. The goddess of Hierapolis, of whose worship he gives us such a lurid description, was in human form: the goddess of Phoenicia, whom he calls Derkĕto (a Greek corruption of the Semitic Atargatis, עתר-עתה), had the tail of a fish, like a mermaid.
The name of this goddess, as written in Sidonian inscriptions, was long ago explained as a compound of עתר and עתה, ‘Atar and ‘Ate. These are two well-established divine names; the former is a variant of ‘Ashtart, but the latter is more obscure: it is possibly of Lydian origin. 2 In Syriac and Talmudic writings the compound name appears as Tar‘atha.
The fish-tailed goddess was already antiquated when Lucian wrote. He saw a representation of her in Phoenicia (op. cit. § 14), which seemed to him unwonted. No doubt he was correct in keeping the two apart; but it is also clear that they had become inextricably entangled with one another by his time. The figure of the goddess of Hierapolis was adorned with a cestus or girdle, an ornament peculiar to Urania (§ 32), who, as we learn from Herodotus, was regarded as the goddess of Ashkelon. There was another point of contact between the two goddesses—sacred fish were kept at their shrines. The fish-pond of Hierapolis is described by Lucian (§§ 45, 46) as being very deep, with an altar in the middle to which people swam out daily, and with many fishes in it, some of large size—one of these being decorated with a golden ornament on its fin.
To account for the mermaid shape of the Ashkelonite goddess a story was told of which the fullest version is preserved for us by Diodorus Siculus (ii. 4). 'In Syria is a city called Ashkelon, and not far from it is a great deep lake full of fishes; and beside it is a shrine of a famous goddess whom the Syrians called Derketo: and she has the face of a woman, and otherwise the entire body of a fish, for some reason such as this: the natives most skilful in legend fable that Aphrodite being offended by the aforesaid goddess inspired
her with furious love for a certain youth among those sacrificing: and that Derketo, uniting with the Syrian, bore a daughter, and being ashamed at the fault, caused the youth to disappear and exposed the child in certain desert and stony places: and cast herself in shame and grief into the lake. The form of her body was changed into a fish: wherefore the Syrians even yet abstain from eating this creature, and honour fishes as gods.' The legend is told to the same effect by Pausanias (II. xxx. 3).
This legend is of great importance, for it helps us to detect the Philistine element in the Ashkelonite Atargatis. An essentially identical legend was told in Crete, the heroine being Britomartis or Dictynna. According to Callimachus’ Hymn to Artemis Britomartis was a nymph of Gortyna beloved of Artemis, whom Minos, inflamed with love, chased over the mountains of Crete. The nymph now hid herself in the forests, now in the low-lying meadows; till at last, when for nine months she had been chased over crags, and Minos was on the point of seizing her, she leaped into the sea from the high rocks of the Dictaean mountain. But she sprang into fishers’ nets (δίκτυα) which saved her; and hence the Cydonians called the nymph Dictynna, and the mountain from which she had leaped called they Dictaean; and they set up altars to her and perform sacrifices.
The myth of the Atargatis of Ashkelon fits very badly on to the Syrian deity. She was the very last being to be troubled with shame at the events recorded by Diodorus Siculus: she had no special connexion with the sea, except in so far as fishes, on account of their extreme fertility, might be taken as typical of the departments of life over which she presided. There can surely be little question that the coyness of the Cretan nymph, her leap into the sea, and her deliverance by means of something relating to fishes, has been transferred to the Ashkelonite divinity by the immigrants. The Atargatis myth is more primitive than that of Britomartis: the union from which Britomartis was fleeing has actually taken place, and the metamorphosis into a fish is of the crudest kind; the ruder Carians of the mainland might well have preserved an earlier phase of the myth which the cultured Cretans had in a measure refined.
The cult of Britomartis was evidently very ancient. Her temple was said to have been built by Daedalus. The name is alleged to mean uirgo dulcis 1; and as Hesychius and the Etymologicon Magnum give us respectively γλυκύ and ἀγαθόν as meanings of βριτύ or βρίτον,
the explanation is very likely correct. The name of the barley drink, βρύτος or βρύτον, may possibly have some connexion with this word. See also the end of the quotation from Stephanus of Byzantium, ante p. 15.
Athenaeus (viii. 37) gives us an amusing piece of etymology on the authority of Antipater of Tarsus, to the effect that one Gatis was a queen of Syria who was so fond of fish that she allowed no one to eat fish without inviting her to the feast—in fact, that no one could eat ἄτερ Γάτιδος: and that the common people thought her name was 'Atergatis' on account of this formula, and so abstained from fish altogether. He further quotes from the History of Asia by Mnaseus to the effect that Atargatis was originally a tyrannous queen who forbade the use of fish to her subjects, because she herself was so extravagantly fond of this article of diet that she wanted it all for herself; and therefore a custom still prevails to offer gold or silver fish, or real fish, well cooked, which the priests of the goddess eat. Another tale is told by Xanthus and repeated by Athenaeus in the same place, that Atargatis was taken prisoner by Mopsus king of Lydia, and with her son Ἰχθύς ('fish') cast into the lake near Ashkelon (ιν τῇ περὶ Ἀσκάλωνα λίμνῃ) because of her pride, and was eaten by fishes.
Indeed, the Syrian avoidance of fish as an article of food is a commonplace of classical writers. A collection of passages on the subject will be found in Selden, De Diis Syris, II. iii.
Lucian further tells us (§ 4) that the temple at Sidon was said to be a temple of Astarte; but that one of the priests had informed him that it was really dedicated to Europa, sister of Cadmus. This daughter of King Agenor the Phoenicians honoured with a temple 'when she had vanished' (ἐπειδή τε ἀφανὴς ἐγεγόνεε), and related the legend about her that Zeus, enamoured of her, chased her, in the form of a bull, to Crete.
Here then we have distinctly a legend to the effect that a certain temple of the Syrian goddess was really dedicated to a deity who had fled from an unwelcome lover, and who was directly connected with Crete. In fact, we have here a confused version of the Britomartis legend on the Syrian coast. And when we turn to the Metamorphoses of Antoninus Liberalis, ch. 30, we find a version of the Britomartis story that is closely akin to the tale told by the Sidonian priest to Lucian. We read there that 'of Cassiepeia and Phoenix son of Agenor was born Carmē: and that Zeus uniting with the latter begat Britomartis. She, fleeing from the converse of men, wished to be a perpetual virgin. And first she came to Argos from Phoenicia, with Buzē, and Melitē, and Maera, and Anchiroē, daughters of
[paragraph continues] Erasinos; and thereafter she went up to Cephallenia from Argos; and the Cephallenians call her Laphria; and they erected a temple to her as to a deity. Thereafter she went to Crete, and Minos seeing her and being enamoured of her, pursued her; but she took refuge among fishermen, and they caused her to hide in the nets, and from this the Cretans call her Dictynna, and offer sacrifices to her. And fleeing from Minos, Britomartis reached Aegina in a ship, with a fisherman Andromēdes, and he laid hands on her, being desirous to unite with her; but Britomartis, having stepped from the ship, fled to a grove where there is now her temple, and there she vanished (ἐγένετο ἀφανής); and they called her Aphaea, and in the temple of Artemis the Aeginetans called the place where Britomartis vanished Aphaē, and offered sacrifices as to a deity.' The relationship to Agenor, the love-chase, and the curious reference to 'vanishing' can scarcely be a mere coincidence. Lucian, though careless of detail and no doubt writing from memory, from the report of a priest who being a Syrian was not improbably inaccurate, has yet preserved enough of the Britomartis legend as told in Sidon to enable us to identify it under the guise of the story of Europa.
To the same Cretan-Carian family of legends probably belongs the sea-monster group of tales which centre in Joppa and its neighbourhood. The chief among them is the story of Perseus the Lycian hero and Andromeda; and a passage in Pliny seems to couple this legend with that of Derketo. 1 Some such story as this may have suggested to the author of the Book of Jonah the machinery of his sublime allegory; and no doubt underlies the mediaeval legends of St. George and the Dragon, localized in the neighbouring town of Lydd. We can scarcely avoid seeing in these tales literary parallels to the beautiful designs which the Cretan artists evolved from the curling tentacles of the octopus.
We are now, I think, in a position to detect a process of evolution in these tangled tales. We begin with a community dwelling somewhere on the sea-coast, probably at the low cultural level of the tribes who heaped the piles of midden refuse on the coasts of Eastern Denmark. These evolved, from the porpoises and other sea-monsters that came under their observation, the conception of a mermaid sea-goddess who sent them their food; and no doubt prayers and charms and magical formulae were uttered in her name to ensure that the creeks should he filled with fish. The sacredness of fish to the goddess would
follow as a matter of course, and would be most naturally expressed by a prohibition against eating certain specified kinds. 1 And aetiological myths would of course be developed to account for her fish-tail shape. The Dictynna legend, with a Volksetymologie connecting the name of the nymph with a fishing-net, is one version; the legend afterwards attached to Atargatis is another.
When the Carian-Cretan league, after their repulse from Egypt, settled on the Palestine coast, they of course brought their legends with them. In their new home they found a Bona Dea all powerful, to whom inter alia fish were sacred, and with her they confused their own Virgo Dulcis, patroness of fishermen. They built her temples—a thing unheard-of before in Palestine—and told of her the same tales that in their old home they had told of Britomartis. They transferred the scene of the tragedy from the eastern headland of Crete to the λίμνη of Ashkelon, and they fashioned the legend into the form in which it ultimately reached the ears of Diodorus Siculus.
To the legend of Atargatis Diodorus adds that the exposed child was tended and fed by doves till it was a year old, when it was found by one Simma, who being childless adopted it, and named it Semiramis, a name derived from the word for 'dove' in the Syrian language. In after years she became the famous Babylonian queen: and the Syrians all honour doves as divine in consequence. The etymology is of the same order as Justin's derivation of 'Sidon' from 'a Phoenician word meaning "fish"': the tale was no doubt told primarily to account for the sacredness of doves to the Syrian goddess. The goddess of Ashkelon was likewise patroness of doves, and this bird frequently figures on coins of the city.
II. Dagon was evidently the head of the pantheon of the Philistines, after their settlement in Palestine. We hear of his temple at Gaza, Ashdod, and, possibly, according to one version of the story of the death of Saul, at Beth-Shan. 2 Jerome in commenting on 'Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth', in Isaiah xlvi. 1 (where some versions of the Greek have Dagon for Nebo), says Dagon is the idol of Ashkelon, Gaza, and the other cities of the Philistines. 3 The important temple
of Gaza is mirrored for us in the graphic story of the death of Samson, as we shall see in the following section.
In the temple of Ashdod there was an image of the god—a thing probably unknown in the rude early Canaanite shrines. Josephus (Wars, v. 9. 4) calls it a ξόανον, which possibly preserves a true tradition that the figure was of wood. Some interesting though obscure particulars are given us regarding it in 1 Samuel v. 1–5. The Ark, captured at Aphek, was laid up two nights in the temple. The first night the image of Dagon fell on its face before the Ark, and was replaced by 'the priests of Dagon'; the only reference we have to specifically religious functionaries among the Philistines. The second night he was fallen again, and the head of the figure and the palms of its hands were broken off and lay on the threshold.
The account of the abasement of Dagon is of considerable importance with regard to the question of the form under which he was represented. The current idea is that he was of merman form, the upper half man, the lower half fish. This theory is by modern writers derived from the mediaeval Jewish commentators: Rabbi Levi, in the third century, said that Dagon was in the figure of a man: the first statement of his half-fish form, so far as extant authorities go, is made by David Ḳimḥi, who writes, They say that Dagon had the shape of a fish front his navel downwards, because he is called Dagon [דג = fish] and upwards from his navel the form of a man, as it is said "both the palms of his bands were cut off on the threshold".' Abarbanel appears to make the god even more monstrous by supposing that it was the upper end which was the fishy part. But the idea must have been considerably older than Ḳimḥi. As we shall see presently, it underlies one of the readings of the Greek translation: and the attempts at etymology in the Onomastica 1 show clearly that the idea arose out of the accident that דג means 'a fish', while the story in 1 Samuel v requires us to picture the god with hands; coupled with vague recollections of the bodily form of the Atargatis of Ashkelon.
If we examine the passage, we note, first, that he had a head and hands, so that he must have been at least partly human. Next we observe that exactly the same phrase is used in describing both falls of the idol. The first time it was unbroken, and the priests could
put it in its place again. The second time it was fallen again, but the projecting parts of it were broken off. In other words, the first fall of the statue was just as bad as the second, except that it was not broken: there is no statement made that on the second occasion the image, whatever its form, snapped across in the middle. In both cases it fell as a whole, being smashed the second time, just as might happen to a china vase; this would imply that what was left standing and intact was not so much any part of the statue itself, as the pedestal or some other accessory.
The difficulty lies in the words which follow the account of the fracture of the statue—רק דגון נשאר עליו. In the English version these are rendered 'only [the stump of] Dagon was left'. The words in brackets, for which the Hebrew gives no warrant, are inserted as a makeshift to make some kind of sense of the passage. Wellhausen ingeniously suggested omission of the ן at the end of דגון, supposing that it had been inserted by dittography before the initial נ of the following word. This would make the word mean 'only his fish was left'. But this assumes the thesis to be proved.
When we turn to the Greek Version we find that it represents a much fuller text. It reads thus: …. The passage in brackets has no equivalent in the Hebrew text: it suggests that a line has been lost from the archetype of the extant Hebrew Version. 1 If with some MSS. we omit the first χειρῶν (which makes no satisfactory sense with ἴχνη), this lost line would imply that Dagon's feet were also fallen on the threshold (ἀμαφέθ = Hebrew המפתתן). This does not accord with the 'fish-tail' hypothesis. But, on the other hand, it shows that the fishtail conception is considerably older than Kimhi, for χειρῶν must in the first instance have been inserted by a glossator obsessed with it.
And what are we to make of πλὴν ἡ ῥάχις ὐπελείφθη? 'The backbone of Dagon was left' is as meaningless as the traditional Hebrew, if not worse. But when we look back at the Hebrew we begin to wonder whether we may not here be on the track of another Philistine word—the technical term for, let us say, the pedestal or console on which the image stood; or, it may be, some symbol associated with it. Wellhausen (Text d. Buch. Sam. p. 59) has
put forward the suggestion that ῥάχις really depends on רק 'only'. But the translators would presumably have understood this simple word—they have indeed rendered it correctly, by πλήν. We need a second רק to account for ῥάχις, and such, I submit, must have stood in the Hebrew text. Some word like (let us say) רקד, especially if unintelligible to a late Hebrew copyist, would certainly drop out sooner or later from the collocation רק רקד דגון. It would be very natural for the original author to use such a word, for the sake of the paronomasia; and it would fully account for ῥάχις, which in this case is not the Greek word at all, but a transliteration of an unknown word in the Hebrew original. The word ἀμαφέθ, immediately before, which has given much trouble to the copyists of the Greek text (see the numerous variants in Holmes and Parsons), is an example of an even easier word in the Hebrew being transferred to the Greek untranslated.
Further we are told that the priests and those who entered the house of Dagon—an indication that the temple was open to ordinary worshippers—did not tread on the threshold of the temple in Ashdod, in consequence, it was said, of this catastrophe; but, as the Greek translators add 'overstepping they overstepped it' (ὑπερβαίνοντες). That the explanation was fitted to a much more ancient rite we need not doubt: the various rites and observances relating to thresholds are widespread and this prohibition is no isolated phenomenon. 1 It is not certain whether the threshold of the Ashdod temple only was thus reverently regarded, or whether the other Dagon temples had similar observances: the latter is probable, though evidently the writer of Samuel supposed that the former was the case. The possible connexion between the Ashdod prohibition and the 'leaping on (preferably over) the threshold' of Zephaniah i. 9, has already been noted.
We must, however, face the fact that Dagon cannot be considered as exclusively a Philistine deity, even though the Semitic etymologies which have been sought for his name are open to question. There are דג 'fish', as already mentioned, and דגן 'corn'. Philo Byblios favoured the second of these. The inscription of Eshmunazar, king of Sidon, is well known to refer to Joppa and Dor as ארין דגן, which seems at first sight to mean 'the land of Dagon'. But more probably this is simply a reference to that fertile region as 'the land of corn'. However we have, through Philo, references associating Dagon with the Phoenicians. In the Sanchuniathon cosmogony reported in the
fragments of Philo we have an account of his birth from Ouranos and Ge, 1 with his brethren Ēlos and Kronos and Baetylos; he is equated to Σίτων 'corn', which is apparently personified; and by virtue of this equation he is identified with a Ζεὺς Ἀρότριος. All this is very nebulous: and not more definite is the curious note respecting the gods Taautos, Kronos, Dagon and the rest being symbolized by sacred letters. 2 If these passages mean anything at all, they imply that the people who taught the Phoenicians the use of letters (and possibly also of baetylic stones) also imparted to them the knowledge of the god Dagon. But stories which ostensibly reach us at third hand afford a rather unsafe apparatus criticus.
In Palestine itself there is clear evidence of the presence of Dagon before the coming of the Philistines. A certain Dagan-takala contributed two letters 3 to the Tell el-Amarna correspondence. By ill-luck they do not mention the place of which he was apparently the chieftain, nor do they tell us anything else to the point: the one letter is merely a protestation of loyalty, the other the usual petition for deliverance from the Aramaean invaders. 'Dagan' is not here preceded by the usual determinative prefix of divinity; but neither is the name so preceded in the references to the town of Beth-Dagon in the inscriptions of Sennacherib.
This name, Beth-Dagon, appears in several Palestinian villages. They are not mentioned in the Tell el-Amarna correspondence; and we might fairly infer that they were Philistine foundations but for the fact that the name appears in the list of Asiatic towns conquered by Ramessu III at Medinet Habu—a list probably copied from an earlier list of Ramessu II. There seems no possibility of escaping the conclusion that by Bty-Dkn which appears in this list, is meant one of the towns called Beth-Dagon. 4
Of these villages, one was in the tribe of Asher, another in Judah. The southern village described by Jerome 5 as of large size,
was in his time called Caferdago, between Diospolis and Jamnia (Lydd and Yebnah). Jerome's village is probably to be identified with a ruin known as Dajun, close by the present village of Beit Dejan; the latter has preserved the old name and is built on a mound which is possibly the old site.
Moreover, the name Dagan appears in Mesopotamia: there seems no longer to be any doubt that a certain group of cuneiform signs, relating to a deity, is to be read Da-gān. In Babylonia it enters into the composition of proper names of about 2400 B.C.: a king dated 2145 B.C. was Idin-Dagān and he had a son Išme-Dagān: a seal-cylinder exists of a certain Dagān-abi son of Ibni-Dagān. In Assyria we find it in the name of Dagān-bīlu-uṣur, eponym of the year 879 B.C.: and the name is several times coupled with that of Anu 1 in cosmogonies and in invocations of various Assyrian kings. The name disappears after the ninth century: the late reference to Dagon in the Hebrew version of Tobit, chap. i 2, speaking of Sennacherib being killed בשעה שנבנם להחפלל לפני דגון טעותו 'at the hour when he went in to pray to his idol Dagon', is not of any special importance.
The fragments of Berossos relate how originally the people of Babylon lived like animals, without order: but a being named Oannes rose out of the Erythraean sea, with a complete fish-body, and a man's head under the fish-head, and human feet and voice. This being was a culture-hero, teaching the knowledge of the arts, writing, building, city-dwelling, agriculture, &c., to men: he rose from the sea by day, and returned to it at sunset.
Other fragments of Berossos tell us that Oannes was followed by similar beings, who appeared from time to time under certain of the antediluvian kings. There were in all seven, the second and probably the following four being called Annedotos, and the last being called Odakon (᾽Ωδάκων or Ὀδάκων). The last resembles 'Dagon' in outward form: but the elaborate discussion of Hrozný 3 has shown that the comparison between the two cannot stand: that the -ων of Ὠδάκων is a mere termination: that the names Oannes and Odakon (not however Annedotos, so far as has yet been discovered) have their prototypes in Sumerian, and cannot be equated to the Babylonian and Assyrian Dagan. The sole evidence for the fish-form of Dagan therefore disappears. The statements of Damascius (de Principiis,
c. 125) about a Babylonian divine pair, Δάχος and Δαχή 1 add nothing to the problem: as Rev. P. Boylan and Mr. Alton have both pointed out to me, the D is a mistake for an A in both cases, and the beings referred to are evidently Lahmu and Lahamu.
That Dagān and the pre-Philistine Dagon of Palestine are one and the same being can scarcely be questioned. Hrozný (op. cit. p. 103) points out that the difference of the vowel is no difficulty, especially as the name appears once in Assyrian as an element in a proper name in the form Dagūna. But we may perhaps ask if the post-Philistine deity was identical with the pre-Philistine god, and whether there may not have been a conflation analogous to that which has taken place between Britomartis and Atargatis.
It is relevant to notice here in passing that the Philistine religion never had any attraction for the reactionary kings of the Hebrews. Only in a rather vague passage (Judges x. 6) is there any indication of the influence of Philistine worship on that of the Israelites. Elsewhere we read of altars built to the abomination of the Zidonians, of Moab, of the Ammonites, but never of the Philistines. The solitary exception is the consultation of the Ekronite oracle, which, as we have seen, was not Philistine at all. In spite of the semitization of the Philistines during the latter part of the Hebrew monarchy, their cult still remained too exotic to attract the Semitic temperament.
Now strange though it may seem, there is a possibility that the Philistines brought with them from their western home a god whose name was similar to Dagon. We have not found any trace of him in or around Crete: the decipherment of the Minoan tablets may possibly tell us something about this in the future. But the Etruscans, kinsmen of the Philistines, had a myth of a certain Tages, who appeared suddenly 2 from the earth in the guise of a boy, and who, as they related, was their instructor in the arts of soothsaying. This took place 'when an Etruscan named Tarchon was ploughing near Tarquinii'—names which immediately recall the Tarkhu, Tarkon-demos, and similar names of Asia Minor. 3 Festus (sub voce) describes Tages as a 'genii filius, nepos Iouis'. As the Etruscans rejected the letter D,
[paragraph continues] Tages is closely comparable to a name beginning with Dag-; and indeed the -es termination is probably not part of the Etruscan name, but a nominative termination added by the foreign writers who have reported the story. If the Philistines brought such a deity with them in their Syrian home, they might well have identified him with the god Dagon, whom they found there before them.
It is difficult otherwise to explain how Dagān, whose worship seems to have been on the whole of secondary importance, should have acquired such supreme importance among the foreigners.
But after all, the Canaanite Dagon and the hypothetical Philistine Dag- may have been one—the latter having been borrowed by the 'proto-Philistines', as we may for convenience call them, at some remote period. The intercourse which led to the adoption of clay tablets as writing materials by the Cretans at the beginning of the middle Minoan period, and to the adoption of certain details of legal procedure (if there be any value in the conjectures given in this book regarding the Phaestos disk)—may well have led to the borrowing of the god of one nation by the other.
The Etymologicon Magnum calls Dagon—or rather Βητάγων, substituting the place Beth-Dagon for the name of the god—ὁ Κρόνος ὑπὸ Φοινίκων.
After the collapse of the Philistine power in David's time, we hear nothing more about Dagon except the vague guesses of etymologists and mythographers. The temple, and presumably the worship of the deity, under the old name, lasted down to the time of the Maccabees in Ashdod (1 Macc. x. 83, 84). But in Gaza the case was different. Here powerful Hellenic influences introduced numerous foreign deities, which, however, there is every reason to believe were grafted on to the old local gods and numina. Josephus tells us of a temple of Apollo; but our leading source is the life of Porphyrius, bishop of Gaza at the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century, written by his friend the deacon Marcus.
This valuable little work gives us a picture of the last struggle of heathenism, of which Gaza was the storm-centre. The descriptions are terse but vivid. We see Porphyrius, after his appointment to the bishopric, making his way painfully from Diospolis (Lydd) because the heathen living in the villages on the way erected barriers to prevent his passing, and annoyed him by burning substances that gave forth fetid odours. After they had arrived, a drought fell in the same year, which the heathen ascribed to the wrath of Marna their god, on account of the coming of Porphyrius. For two months no rain fell, notwithstanding their prayers to Marna ('whom they say
is Zeus') in his capacity of lord of rain. There was a place of prayer outside the city, and the whole of the heathen population frequented this for intercession to the κύριος τῶν ὄμβρων. This place was no doubt a sanctuary with an ancient tradition; most probably to be identified with the Aldioma, or place of Zeus Aldemios. This, according to the Etymologicon Magnum, was the name of the chief god of Gaza, and a god of fertility; probably therefore identical with Marna. 1 We hear of the same sanctuary in the Talmud: near Gaza was a place called Yerīd or ‘Ithōza (עטלוזה, also written אטליז and אטלים) outside the city where an idol was worshipped. 2 In the sequel we learn that Porphyrius took from the Aldioma the stones with which he built the church erected by him on the site of the Marneion.
Near modern Gaza is a hill, crowned by the shrine of a Muslim saint called Sheikh Muntar. As usual, this true believer has succeeded to the honours of a pagan divinity. Muntar means 'a watch tower'; but possibly the name is a corruption of Marna or [Brito]martis.
The name Marna is capable of being rendered in Aramaic, Mar-na, 3 Our Lord,' and not improbably this is its actual meaning. If so, it is probably an illustration of the widespread dislike to, or actual prohibition of, the mention of the real name of a divinity. 4 At some time a hesitation to name the god—who can hardly be other than Dagon—had arisen: the respectful expression 'Our Lord' had by frequent use become practically the personal name of the divinity, and had assumed a Greek form Μάρνας, with a temple called the Μαρνεῖον, the chief temple of Gaza.
It is likely that Gaza at the time claimed to be a sacred city: the rigidness of the tabu against carrying a dead body into it suggests that such an act would pollute it. The Christians had serious trouble, soon after the coming of Porphyrius, on account of the case of one Barōchus, a zealous young Christian, who was set upon by heathen outside the city and beaten, as was thought, to death. His friends happening to find him lying unconscious, wished to carry him
home; but only succeeded in doing so with the greatest difficulty, owing to the uproar caused by their carrying the apparent corpse into the city.
Stirred by events of this kind, Porphyrius determined to invoke the civil power to aid him in his struggle with heathendom, and sending Marcus to Constantinople obtained an order for the closing of the temples of Gaza. As usual, however, in the East, the official responsible for the carrying out of the order did so with one hand, allowing the other hand to be 'greased' to undo the work surreptitiously. In other words, Hilarios, the adjutant sent to carry out the order, and especially charged to close the Marneion and to put a stop to the consultation of the oracle, while appearing to execute the duty committed to him, secretly took bribes to permit the rites of heathen religion to be carried on as before. Porphyrius therefore went in person to Constantinople; interviewed the empress Eudoxia; obtained her favour by the prophecy of the birth of a son to her, which was fulfilled by the birth of Theodosius; and obtained her intercession with the emperor to secure the closing of the temples. So Porphyrius returned with his suite, and was received at Gaza with jubilation on the part of the Christians, and corresponding depression on that of the Pagans.
Some valuable hints are preserved to us by Marcus of the nature of the worship thus destroyed. A few excerpts from his work may be here given.
'As we entered the city, about the place called the Four Ways, there was standing a marble pillar, which they said was Aphrodite; and it was above a stone altar, and the form of the pillar was that of an undraped woman, ὲχουσης ὅλα τὰ ἄσχημα φαινόμενα, 1 and they all of the city used to honour the pillar, especially the women, lighting lamps and burning incense. For they used to say of her that she used to answer in a dream those who wished to enter into matrimony; and telling falsehoods they used to deceive one another.' The worship of this statue evidently retained some of the most lurid details of the High Place worship. This statue was the first to be destroyed—by a miracle, Marcus says, on the exhibition of the Cross. He is probably mindful of the prostration of Dagon on the Ark being brought into his presence.
Ten days afterwards Cynēgius, the emperor's messenger, arrived with a band of soldiers, to destroy the temples, of which there were eight—of the Sun, Aphrodite, Apollo, Korē (Persephone), Hekatē,
the Hērōeion, the Tychaion or temple of the Luck (τύχη) of the city, and the Marneion, or temple of the Crete-born Zeus, the most honourable of all the temples, which has already been mentioned. Besides these there were a countless number of minor deities in the houses and the villages. The destroying party first made its way to the Marneion. The priests, however, had been forewarned, and blocked the doors of the inner chamber with great stones. In the inner chamber or adytum they stored the sacred furniture of the temple and the images of the god, and then fled by other exits, of which it was said there were several, opening out of the adyta of the temple in various directions. Baffled therefore for the time, the destroying party made their way to the other temples, which they demolished; Porphyrius, like another Joshua, laying under an anathema any of the Christians who should take to himself any plunder from the treasuries. This work occupied ten days, and the question of the fate of the Marneion was then discussed. Some were for razing it, some for burning it, others again wished to preserve it and after purifying it, to dedicate it for Christian worship. Porphyrius therefore proclaimed a fast with prayer for Divine guidance in the difficulty. The Divine guidance came in strange wise; and though it has nothing to do with the Philistines, the story is so curious that it is well worth relating exactly as Marcus himself tells it. As the people, fasting and praying, were assembled in the church, a child of seven years, standing with his mother, suddenly cried out in the Syrian tongue, 'Burn the temple to the ground: for many hateful things have taken place in it, especially human sacrifices. And in this manner burn ye it. Bring liquid pitch and sulphur and lard, and mix them together and smear the brazen doors therewith, and lay fire to them, and so the whole temple will burn; it is impossible any other way. And leave the outer part (τὸν ἐζώτερον) with the enclosing wall (περίβολος). And after it is burnt, cleanse the place and there build a holy church. I witness to you before God, that it may not be otherwise: for it is not I who speak, but Christ that speaketh in me.' And when they all heard they wondered, and glorified God. And this portent came to the ears of the holy bishop (Porphyrius), who stretching his hands to heaven gave glory to God and said, 'Glory to Thee, Holy Father, who hast hidden from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed even these things to babes.' When the people were dismissed from the church he summoned the child and his mother to him in the bishop's house, and setting the child apart he said to the woman, 'I adjure thee by the Son of the Living God to say if it was on thy suggestion or of some other known to thee that
thy son spoke as he did concerning the Marneion.' The woman said, 'I deliver myself to the dread and awful judgement-seat of Christ, if I had fore-knowledge of any of those things that my son spoke this day. But if it seem fit to thee, behold the boy, take him and examine him with threats, and if he said these things on the suggestion of any, he will confess it in fear; if he says nothing else it will be clear that he was inspired by the Holy Spirit.' So to make a long story short, the boy was brought in, and the bishop bade him speak and say who had put these words in his mouth—brandishing a whip as he spoke. The poor bewildered child kept silence, even though 'We who were around him '—Marcus speaks as an eye-witness—repeated the questions likewise with threats. At last the child opened his mouth and made exactly the same utterance as before, but this time in Greek—a language of which, as appeared on inquiry from the mother, he was ignorant. This settled the matter, and sealed the fate of the Marneion. The bishop gave three pieces of money to the mother, but the child, seeing them in her hand, said in the Syrian tongue, 'Take it not, mother, sell not thou the gift of God for money!' So the woman returned the money, saying to the bishop, 'Pray for me and my son, and recommend us to God.' And the bishop dismissed them in peace. It is a strange coincidence that the first and last events in the recorded history of Philistia have a mantic prodigy as their central incident!
The reference to human sacrifices is for our immediate purpose the most noteworthy point in this remarkable story. The sequel was equally remarkable. The method approved by the oracle was applied, and immediately the whole temple, which on the first occasion had resisted their assaults, was wrapped in flames. It burnt for many days, during which there was a good deal of looting of treasures; in the course of this at least one fatal accident occurred. At the same time a house-to-house search for idols, books of sorcery, and the like relics of heathenism, was effected, and anything of the kind discovered was destroyed.
When the plan of the new church came to be discussed some were for rebuilding it after the fashion of the old temple; others for making a complete break with heathen tradition by erecting a building entirely different. The latter counsel ultimately prevailed. Important for us is the fact of the dispute, because, à propos thereof Marcus has given us a few words of description which tell us something of what the building was like. It was cylindrical, with two porticoes, one inside the other; in the middle like a ciborium (the canopy above an altar) 'puffed out' (i.e. presumably domed) but stretched upwards (= stilted),
and it had other things fit for idols and suited to the horrible and lawless concomitants of idolatry. 1
This clearly takes us far away from the megaron plan of the old Dagon temple. We have to do with a peristyle circular building, not unlike the Roman Pantheon, but with a stilted dome and surrounded by two rows of columns (see the sketch, p. 124). The 'other things' suitable for idol-worship were presumably the adyta of which we have already heard, which must have been either recesses in the wall or else underground chambers. The apparently secret exits made use of by the priests seem to favour the latter hypothesis. Not improbably they were ancient sacred caves. I picture the temple to myself as resembling the Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem, substituting the double portico for the aisle that runs round that building.
In clearing off the ashes and débris of the Marneion, Porphyrius came upon certain marbles, or a 'marble incrustation'—μαρμάρωσις—which the Marna-worshippers considered holy and not to be trodden upon, especially by women. We are of course reminded of the threshold of Dagon at Ashdod, but as we have no information as to the part of the temple to which the marbles belonged, we cannot say if there was any very close analogy. Porphyrius, we are told, paved the street with these sacred stones, so that not only men, but 'women, dogs, pigs, and beasts' should be compelled to tread upon them—a proceeding which we learn caused more pain to the idolaters than even the destruction of their temple. 'But yet to this day', says Marcus, 'most of them, especially the women, will not tread on the marbles.'
On coins of Gaza of the time of Hadrian a different temple is represented, with an ordinary distyle front. This type bears the inscription GAZA MARNA, with figures of a male and female divinity, presumably Marna and Tyche. The coin is evidence that the distyle temple—the old megaron type—survived in Gaza till this time, and it is not improbable that the Marneion destroyed by Porphyrius was built immediately afterwards. The resemblance to the Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem may be more than merely superficial. This structure was built on the ruins of Hadrian's temple of Jupiter, the Dodecapylon, which he erected over the sacred Rock, when he made his determined effort to paganize the Holy City. We have no description of this building, which was already in ruins in AḌ. 333; but its situation seems to require a round or symmetrically polygonal structure, and the name dodecapylon suggests a twelve-sided
building. The Dome of the Rock (an octagon) may well have been built after this model; and the Pantheon, which has also been compared with the building indicated by the account of Marcus, is likewise of the time of Hadrian. The Marneion, therefore, might have been erected under the auspices of that enthusiastic builder, or at least after the model of other buildings which he had left behind
Click to enlarge
Fig. 5. Coins of Gaza and Ashkelon
Fig. 5. Coins of Gaza and Ashkelon:—1. Coin of Gaza showing Temple of Marna. 2. Coin of Gaza bearing the figure and name of Io, and a debased Phoenician M, the symbolic initial of Marna. 1 3. Coin of Gaza bearing the figure and name of Minos. 4. Coin of Gaza bearing the initial of Marna. 5. Coin of Ashkelon, with the sacred fishpond. 6. Coin of Ashkelon, with figure of Astarte. 7. Coin of Ashkelon, with figure bearing a dove: below, a sea-monster. 8. Coin of Ashkelon, with figure of a dove.
him in Palestine. This would give a date for the break with the tradition of the old building. The sacred marbles might well have been some stones preserved from the old structure, and on that account of peculiar sanctity.
The rest of the acts of Porphyrius do not concern us, though we may note that there was a well in the courtyard of the Marneion,
as we learn from the account of a miracle performed by him soon after the erection of the church.
Jerome, in his Life of Hilarion, 1 narrates sundry miraculous events, especially a remarkable victory in the circus by a Christian combatant, in which even the pagans were compelled to acknowledge Marnas victus a Christo. Epiphanius of Constantia in his Ancoratus, p. 109, 2 enumerating a number of persons who have been deified, speaks of Marnas the slave of Asterios of Crete as having so been honoured in Gaza. Here again the persistent Cretan tradition appears, but what the value or even the meaning of this particular form of it may be we cannot say. Mr. Alton has ingeniously suggested to me that Epiphanios saw and misunderstood a dedicatory inscription from the old sanctuary inscribed ΜΑΡΝΑι ΑCΤΕΡΙωι ΚΡΗΤΑΓΕΝΗι.
Outside Gaza there is scarcely any hint of Marna-worship. The name is used as an expletive in Lampridius's Life of Alexander Severus: and Waddington 3 reports an inscription from Kanata (Kerak), built into a modern wall, and reading ΑΝΝΗΛ[Ο]C ΚΑΜΑCΑΝΟΥ ΕΠΟΗCΕ ΔΙΙ ΜΑΡΝΑι Τωι ΚΥΡΙωι. But Annēlos very likely was a native of Gaza. A well-known statue found many years ago near Gaza, and now in the Imperial Ottoman Museum at Constantinople, has been supposed to represent Marna; but there is no evidence of this. The eccentric Lady Hester Stanhope found a similar statue at Ashkelon, but destroyed it.
Certain heathenized Jews of Constantia adored as deities Marthus (or Marthys) and Marthana, the daughters of a certain false prophet of the time of Trajan, by name Elzai 4: but this is hardly more than a coincidence.
In Ashkelon, also, there was a special deity in late Pagan times. This was Ἀσκληπιὸς λεοντοῦχος, once referred to by Marinus, writing in the fifth century A. D. 5 It may be that this is the deity spoken of in the Talmud, which mentions a temple of Ṣaripa (צריפא) at Ashkelon, evidently a form of Serapis. 6 But we know nothing of 'Asclepius the lion-holder' but his name. Probably the name of the town suggested a dedication to the similarly sounding Asclepius, just as it suggested the word ΑCΦΑΛΗC on the coins of the city. Asclepius does not appear, so far as I can find, on any coins of Ashkelon. Mars, Neptune,
the genius of the city, and Aphrodite Urania, are the deities generally found on the coins: once or twice the latter is represented standing on lions. 1 On other coins an erection is represented which may be the λίμν or fish-pond for which the sanctuary was famous (see fig. 5, p. 112).
92:1 Neither will he feel any necessity to picture John the Baptist feeding on locust-pods instead of locusts, which the fellahin still eat with apparent relish.
92:2 For Babylonian omens derived from various insects see Hunger, Babylonische Tieromina in Mitt. vorderas. Gesell. (1909), 3.
94:1 i. 105.
94:2 Some have compared with this the outbreak of disease consequent on the capture of the Ark. But the two are entirely independent. The Scythian disease, whatever it may have been, was not bubonic plague, and the Philistine disease was not a hereditary curse. (The Scythian disease is much more like the cess noinden or 'childbirth pangs' with which the men of Ulster were periodically afflicted in consequence of the curse of Macha, according to the Irish legend of the Tain Bó Cuailnge. This is supposed to be a distorted tradition of the custom of the couvade, a theory which only adds difficulties to the original obscurity of the myth.)
94:3 Clermont-Ganneau, discussing this inscription (Acad. des Inscriptions, 1909), acutely points out that αἴγειον, ὑικόν are neuter adjectives, depending on some such word as ζῷον, so that all animals of these species are forbidden: whereas female animals of the cow kind alone are forbidden, so that bulls are lawful. Such limitations of the admissible sacrificial animals are well known in analogous inscriptions: p. 95 the triple prohibition in this case probably corresponds to the triple dedication, the purpose being to secure that none of the three deities in joint ownership of the altar shall be offended by a sacrifice unlawful in his or her worship. Other inscriptions are quoted in the same article showing a considerable intercourse between the Ashkelonites and the island of Delos.
95:1 De Dea Syria, 14.
95:2 See a careful discussion in Baethgen, Beitr. 71 ff.
96:1 'Cretes Dianam religiosissime venerantur, βριθομάρτην gentiliter nominantes quod sermone nostro sonat uirginem dulcem.'—Solinus, Polyhistor. ch. xvi.
98:1 'Iope Phoenicum, antiquior terrarum inundatione, ut ferunt. Insidet collem praeiacente saxo, in quo uinculorum Andromedae uestigia ostendunt; colitur illic fabulosa <Der>ceto.'—Hist. Nat. v. xiii. 69.
99:1 Possibly some apparently irrational prohibition of a palatable species is at the base of the half-humorous stories of the greedy queen.
99:2 Assuming the trophy to have been exposed in the same town as the body—which is nowhere stated—then even if it were actually hung in the temple of 'Ashtaroth' (i.e. Atargatis-Britomartis), there was probably a temple of Dagon also in the town, to give rise to the parallel tradition.
99:3 'Nabo autem et ipsum idolum est quod interpretatur prophetia et divinatio, quam post Euangelii ueritatem in toto orbe conticuisse significat. Siue, iuxta LXX, Dagon, qui tamen in Hebraico non habetur. Et est idolum Ascalonis, Gazae, et reliquarum urbium Philisthiim.'
100:1 … (Vatican Onomasticon, ed. Lagarde, p. 215): 'Dagon piscis tristitiae' (Jerome, Liber interpret. hebraic. nominum, ed. Lagarde, p. 62). The analysis suggested is דג-און. It reminds one of Stephanus of Byzantium's story about Ashdod: ….
101:1 Probably two adjacent lines ended thus:
and the homoeoteleuton caused the scribe's eye to wander.
102:1 On the whole subject see H. C. Trumbull, The Threshold Covenant, or the Beginning of Religious Rites (Edinburgh, 1896).
103:1 ….—Frag. Philo Byblios 13, Müller, Fragmm. iii, p. 567.
103:2 ….—ib. p. 569.
103:3 Winckler, 215, 216; Knudtzon, 317, 318.
103:4 See Max Müller, Egyptian Researches, i. 49, plate 68.
103:5 De situ et nominibus locorum, ed. Lagarde, p. 138.
104:1 See Jensen, Kosmologie der Babylonier, pp. 449–456, and Paton's article 'Dagan' in Hastings's Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics.
104:2 Ed. Neubauer, p. 20, xlvii.
104:3 Sumerisch-babylonische Mythen von dem Gotte Ninrag (Mitth. der vorderas. Gesell. (1903), 5).
105:2 Cf. the sudden appearances of Britomartis in Aegina, Pausanias, II. xxx. 3.
105:3 See Cic. de Divinatione, ii. 23.
107:1 Aldemios was probably another name of Marna. The Etymologicon Magnum gives us ….—Etym. Magn. ed: Gaisford, col. 58. 20.
107:2 Neubauer, Geog. d. Talmud. With Yerīd compare ‘Ain Yerdeh, the name of a spring outside the important city of Gezer.
107:3 It is probably a mere coincidence that there was a river-god of the same name at Ephesus, mentioned on coins of that city of the time of Domitian (ΜΑΡΝΑC or ΕΦΕCΙΩΝ ΜΑΡΝΑC), as well as in an inscription from an aqueduct at Ephesus, now in the British Museum. See Roscher, Lexicon, s.v.
107:4 The word Mar, 'Lord,' is used in the modern Syrian church as a title of respect for saints and bishops. A pagan name מריחב (= מרי יחב, 'Mar has given') illustrates its application to divinity.
108:1 The fish-tail has now disappeared.
113:1 Ed. Migne, xxiii. 27.
113:2 Ed. Migne, xliii. 209: ….
113:3 Inscriptions, in Le Bas, Voyage archéologique en Grèce . . .
113:4 Epiphanius, Contra Haeres. I. xix.
113:5 ….—Marinus, Vita Procli, ch. 19.
113:6 Hildesheimer, Beiträge zur Geog. Palästinas, p. 3.
114:1 See De Saulcy, Numismatique de la Terre Sainte.