Evolution of the Dragon, by G. Elliot Smith, , at sacred-texts.com
We have now given reasons for believing that the personification of the mandrake was in some way brought about by the transference to the plant of the magical virtues that originally belonged to the cowry shell.
The problem that still awaits solution is the nature of the process by which the transference was effected.
When I began this investigation the story of the Destruction of Mankind (see Chapter II) seemed to offer an explanation of the confusion. Brugsch, Naville, Maspero, Erman, and in fact most Egyptologists, seemed to be agreed that the magical substance from which the Egyptian elixir of life was made was the mandrake. As there was no hint 1 in the Egyptian story of the derivation of its reputation from the fancied likeness to the human form, its identification with Hathor seemed to be merely another instance of those confusions with which the pathway of mythology is so thickly strewn. In other words, the plant seemed to have been used merely to soothe the excited goddess: then the other properties of "the food of the gods," of which it was an ingredient, became transferred to the mandrake, so that it acquired the reputation of being a "giver of life" as well as a sedative. If this had been true it would have been a simple process to identify this "giver of life" with the goddess herself in her rôle as the "giver of life," and her cowry-ancestor which was credited with the same reputation.
But this hypothesis is no longer tenable, because the word dd (variously transliterated doudou or didi), which Brugsch 2 and his followers interpreted as "mandragora," is now believed to have another meaning.
In a closely reasoned memoir, Henri Gauthier 1 has completely demolished Brugsch's interpretation of this word. He says there are numerous instances of the use of dd (which he transliterates doudouiou) in the medical papyri. In the Ebers papyrus "doudou dEléphantine broyé" is prescribed as a remedy for external application in diseases of the heart, and as an astringent and emollient dressing for ulcers. He says the substance was brought to Elephantine from the interior of Africa and the coasts of Arabia.
Mr. F. Ll. Griffith informs me that Gauthier's criticism of the translation "mandrakes" is undoubtedly just: but that the substance referred to was most probably "red ochre" or "hæmatite". 2
The relevant passage in the Story of the Destruction of Mankind (in Seti Is tomb) will then read as follows: "When they had brought the red ochre, the Sekti of Heliopolis pounded it, and the priestesses mixed the pulverized substance with the beer, so that the mixture resembled human blood".
I would call special attention to Gauthier's comment that the blood-coloured beer "had some magical and marvellous properly which is unknown to us". 3
In his dictionary Brugsch considered the determinative to refer to the fruits of a tree which he called "apple tree," on the supposed analogy with the Coptic , fructus aulumnalis, pomus, the Greek ὀπώρα; and he proposed to identify the supposed fruit, then transliterated doudou, with the Hebrew doudaïm, and translate it poma amatoria, mandragora, or in German, Alraune. This interpretation was adopted by most scholars until Gauthier raised objections to it.
As Loret and Schweinfurth have pointed out, the mandrake is not found in Egypt, nor in fact in any part of the Nile Valley. 4 But what is more significant, the Greeks translated the Hebrew
dūdāim by μανδράγορας and the Copts did not use the word in their translations, but either the Greek word or a term referring to its sedative and soporific properties. Steindorff has shown (Zeitsch. f. Ægypt. Sprache, Bd. XXVII, 1890, p. 60) that the word in dispute would be more correctly transliterated "didi" instead of "doudou".
Finally, in a letter Mr. Griffith tells me the identification of didi with the Coptic , "apple (?)" is philologically impossible.
Although this red colouring matter is thus definitely proved not to be the fruit of a plant, there are reasons to suggest that when the story of the Destruction of Mankind spread abroadand the whole argument of this book establishes the fact that it did spread abroadthe substance didi was actually confused in the Levant with the mandrake. We have already seen that in the Delta a prototype of Artemis was already identified with certain plants.
In all probability didi was originally brought into the Egyptian legend merely as a surrogate of the life-blood, and the mixture of which it was an ingredient was simply a restorer of youth to the king. But the determinative (in the tomb of Seti I)a little yellow disc with a red border, which misled Naville into believing the substance to be yellow berriesmay also have created confusion in the minds of ancient Levantine visitors to Egypt, and led them to believe that reference was being made to their own yellow-berried drug, the mandrake. Such an incident might have had a two-fold effect. It would explain the introduction into the Egyptian story of the sedative effects of didi, which would easily be rationalized as a means of soothing the maniacal goddess; and in the Levant it would have added to the real properties of mandrake 1 the magical virtues which originally belonged to didi (and blood, the cowry, and water).
In my lecture on "Dragons and Rain Gods" (Chapter II) I explained that the Egyptian story of the Destruction of Mankind is merely one version of a saga of almost world-wide currency. In many of the non-Egyptian versions 2 the rôle of didi in the Egyptian story is taken
by some vegetable product of a red colour; and many of these versions reveal a definite confusion between the red fruit and the red clay, thus proving that the confusion of didi with the mandrake is no mere hypothetical device to evade a difficulty on my part, but did actually occur.
In the course of the development of the Egyptian story the red clay from Elephantine became the colouring matter of the Nile flood, and this in turn was rationalized as the blood or red clay into which the bodies of the slaughtered enemies of Re were transformed, 1 and the material out of which the new race of mankind was created. 2 In other words, the new race was formed of didi. There is a widespread legend that the mandrake also is formed from the substance of dead bodies 3
often represented as innocent or chaste men wrongly killed, just as the red clay was the substance of mankind killed to appease Re's wrath, "the blood of the slaughtered saints". 1
But the original belief is found in a more definite form in the ancient story that "the mandrake was fashioned out of the same earth whereof God formed Adam" 2 In other words the mandrake was part of the same substance as the earth didi. 3
Further corroboration of this confusion is afforded by a story from Little Russia, quoted by de Gubernatis. 4 If bryony (a widely recognized surrogate of mandrake) be suspended from the girdle all the dead Cossacks (who, like the enemies of Re in the Egyptian story, had been killed and broken to pieces in the earth) will come to life again. Thus we have positive evidence of the homology of the mandrake with red clay or hematite.
The transference to the mandrake of the properties of the cowry (and the goddesses who were personifications of the shell) and blood (and its surrogates) was facilitated by the manifold homologies of the Great Mother with plants. We have already seen that the goddess was identified with: (a) incense-trees and other trees, such as the sycamore, which played some definite part in the burial ceremonies, either by providing the divine incense, the materials for preserving the body, or for making coffins to ensure the protection of the dead, and so make it possible for them to continue their existence; and (b) the
lotus, the lily, the iris, and other marsh plants, 1 for reasons that I have already mentioned (p. 184).
The Babylonian poem of Gilgamesh represents one of the innumerable versions of the great theme which has engaged the attention of writers in every age and country attempting to express the deepest longings of the human spirit. It is the search for the elixir of life. The object of Gilgamesh's search is a magic plant to prolong life and restore youth. The hero of the story went a voyage by water in order to obtain what appears to have been a marsh plant called dittu 2 The question naturally arises whether this Babylonian story and the name of the plant played any part in Palestine in blending the Egyptian and Babylonian stories and confusing the Egyptian elixir of life, the red earth didi, with the Babylonian elixir, the plant dittu?
In the Babylonian story a serpent-demon steals the magic plant, just as in India soma, the food of immortality, is stolen. In Egypt Isis steals Re's name, 3 and in Babylonia the Zu bird steals the tablets of
destiny, the logos. In Greek legend apples are stolen from the garden of Hesperides. Apples are surrogates of the mandrake and didi.
We have now seen that the mandrake is definitely a surrogate (a) of the cowry and a series of its shell-homologues, and (b) of the red substance in the Story of the Destruction of Mankind.
There still remain to be determined (i) the means by which the mandrake became identified with the goddess, (ii) the significance of the Hebrew word dūdā-īm, and (iii) the origin of the Greek word mandragora.
The answer to the first of these three queries should now be obvious enough. As the result of the confusion of the life-giving magical substance didi with the sedative drug, mandrake, the latter acquired the reputation of being a "giver of life" and became identified with the "giver of life," the Great Mother, the story of whose exploits was responsible for the confusion.
The erroneous identification of didi with the mandrake was originally suggested by Brugsch from the likeness of the word (then transliterated doudou) with the Hebrew word dūdā-īm in Genesis, usually translated "mandrakes". I have already quoted the opinion of Gauthier and Griffith as to the error of such identification. But the evidence now at our disposal seems to me to leave no doubt as to the reality of the confusion of the Egyptian red substance with the mandrake. This naturally suggests the possibility that the similarity of the sounds of the words may have played some part in creating the confusion: but it is impossible to admit this as a factor in the development of the story, because the Hebrew word probably arose out of the identification of the mandrake with the Great Mother and not by any confusion of names. In other words the similarity of the names of these homologous substances is a mere coincidence.
Dr. Rendel Harris claims (and Sir James Frazer seems to approve of the suggestion) that the Hebrew word dūdā-īm was derived from dōdīm, "love"; and, on the strength of this derivation, he soars into a lofty flight of philological conjecture to transmute dōdīm into Aphrodite,
[paragraph continues] "love" into the "goddess of love". It would be an impertinence on my part to attempt to follow these excursions into unknown heights of cloudland.
But my colleagues Professor Canney and Principal Bennett tell me that the derivation of dūdā-īm from dōdīm is improbable; and the former authority suggests that dūdā-īm may be merely the plural of dūd, a "pot". 1 Now I have already explained how a pot came to symbolize a woman or a goddess, not merely in Egypt, but also in Southern India, and in Mycenæan Greece, and, in fact, the Mediterranean generally. 2 Hence the use of the term dūd for the mandrake implies either (a) an identification of the plant with the goddess who is the giver of life, or (b) an analogy between the form of the mandrake-fruit and a pot, which in turn led to it being called a pot, and from that being identified with the goddess. 3
I should explain that when Professor Canney gave me this statement
he was not aware of the fact that I had already arrived at the conclusion that the Great Mother was identified with a pot and also with the mandrake; but in ignorance of the meaning of the Hebrew words I had hesitated to equate the pot with the mandrake. As soon as I received his note, and especially when I read his reference to the second meaning, "basket of figs," in Jeremiah, I recalled Mr. Griffith's discussion of the Egyptian hieroglyphic ("a pot of water") for woman, wife, or goddess, and the claim made by Sir Gardner Wilkinson that this manner of representing the word for "wife" was apparently taken from a conventionalized picture of "a basket of sycamore figs". 1 The interpretation has now clearly emerged that the mandrake was called dūdāīm by the Hebrews because it was identified with the Mother Pot. The symbolism involved in the use of the Hebrew word also suggests that the inspiration may have come from Egypt, where a woman was called "a pot of water" or "a basket of figs".
When the mandrake acquired the definite significance as a symbol of the Great Mother and the power of life-giving, its fruit, "the love apple," became the quintessence of vitality and fertility. The apple and the pomegranate became surrogates of the "love apple," and were graphically represented in forms hardly distinguishable from pots, occupying places which mark them out clearly as homologues of the Great Mother herself. 2
But once the mandrake was identified with the Great Mother in the Levant the attributes of the plant were naturally acquired from her local reputation there. This explains the pre-eminently conchological aspect of the magical properties of the mandrake and the bryony.
I shall not attempt to refer in detail to the innumerable stories of red and brown apples, of rowan berries, and a variety of other red fruits that play a part in the folk-lore of so many peoples, such as didi played in the Egyptian myth. These fruits can be either elixirs of life and food of the gods, or weapons for overcoming the dragon as Hathor (Sekhet) was conquered by her sedative draught. 3
In his account of the peony, Pliny ("Nat. Hist.," Book XXVIII, Chap. LX) says it has "a stem two cubits in length, accompanied by two or three others, and of a reddish colour, with a bark like that of the laurel.... the seed is enclosed in capsules, some being red and some black it has an astringent taste. The leaves of the female plant smell like myrrh". Bostock and Riley, from whose translation I have made this quotation, add that in reality the plant is destitute of smell. In the Ebers papyrus didi was mixed with incense in one of the prescriptions; 1 and in the Berlin medical papyrus it was one of the ingredients of a fumigation used for treating heart disease. If my contention is justified, it may provide the explanation of how the confusion arose by which the peony came to have attributed to it a "smell like myrrh".
Pliny proceeds: "Both plants [i.e. male and female] grow in the woods, and they should always be taken up at night, it is said; as it would be dangerous to do so in the day-time, the woodpecker of Mars being sure to attack the person so engaged. 2 It is stated also that the person, while taking up the root, runs great risk of being attacked with [prolapsus ani]. Both plants are used 3 for various purposes: the red seed, taken in red wine, about fifteen in number, arrest menstruation; while the black seed, taken in the same proportion, in either raisin or other wine, are curative of diseases of the uterus." I refer to these red-coloured beverages and their therapeutic use in women's complaints to suggest the analogy with that other red drink administered to the Great Mother, Hathor.
In his essay, "Jacob and the Mandrakes," 4 Sir James Frazer has called attention to the homologies between the attributes of the peony and the mandrake and to the reasons for regarding the former as Aelian's aglaophotis.
Pliny states("Nat. Hist.," Book XXIV, Chap. CII) that the aglaophotis
[paragraph continues] "is found growing among the marble quarries of Arabia, on the side of Persia," just as the Egyptian didi was obtained near the granite quarries at Aswan. "By means of this plant [aglaophotis], according to Democritus, the Magi can summon the deities into their presence when they please," just as the users of the conch-shell trumpet believed they could do with this instrument. I have already (p. 196) emphasized the fact that all of these plants, mandrake, bryony, peony, and the rest, were really surrogates of the cowry, the pearl, and the conch-shell. The first is the ultimate source of their influence on womankind, the second the origin of their attribute of aglaophotis, and the third of their supposed power of summoning the deity. The attributes of some of the plants which Pliny discusses along with the peony are suggestive. Pieces of the root of the achaemenis (? perhaps Euphorbia antiquorum or else a night-shade) taken in wine, torment the guilty to such an extent in their dreams as to extort from them a confession of their crimes. He gives it the name also of "hippophobas," it being an especial object of terror to mares. The complementary story is told of the mandrake in mediæval Europe. The decomposing tissues of the body of an innocent victim on the gallows when they fall upon the earth can become reincarnated in a mandrakethe main de gloire of old French writers.
Then there is the plant adamantis, grown in Armenia and Cappadocia, which when presented to a lion makes the beast fall upon its back, and drop its jaws. Is this a distorted reminiscence of the lion-manifestation of Hathor who was calmed by the substance didi? A more direct link with the story of the destruction of mankind is suggested by the account of the ophiusa, "which is found in Elephantine, an island of Ethiopia". This plant is of a livid colour, and hideous to the sight. Taken by a person in drink, it inspires such a horror of serpents, which his imagination continually represents as menacing him that he commits suicide at last: hence it is that persons guilty of sacrilege are compelled to drink an infusion of it (Pliny, "Nat. Hist.," XXIV, 102). I am inclined to regard this as a variant of the myth of the Destruction of Mankind in which the "snake-plant" from Elephantine takes the place of the uraei of the Winged Disk Saga, and punishes the act of sacrilege by driving the delinquent into a state of delirium tremens.
The next problem to be considered is the derivation of the word
mandragora. Dr. Mingana tells me it is a great puzzle to discover any adequate meaning. The attempt to explain it through the Sanskrit mand, "joy," "intoxication," or mantasana, "sleep," "life," or mandra, "pleasure," or mantara, "paradise tree," and agru, "unmarried, violently passionate," is hazardous and possibly far-fetched.
The Persian is mardumgiah, "man-like plant".
The Syro-Arabic word for it is Yabrouh, Aramaic Yahb-kouh, "giver of life". This is possibly the source of the Chinese Yah-puh-lu (Syriac ya-bru-ha) and Yah-puh-lu-Yak. The termination Yak is merely the Turanian termination meaning "diminutive".
The interest of the Levantine terms for the mandrake lies in the fact that they have the same significance as the word for pearl, i.e. "giver of life". This adds another argument (to those which I have already given) for regarding the mandrake as a surrogate of the pearl. But they also reveal the essential fact that led to the identification of the plant with the Mother-Goddess, which I have already discussed.
In Arabic the mandrake is called abou ruhr, "father of life," i.e. "giver of life". 1
In Arabic margan means "coral" as well as "pearl". In the Mediterranean area coral is explained as a new and marvellous plant sprung from the petrified blood-stained branches on which Perseus hung the bleeding head of Medusa. Eustathius ("Comment. ad Dionys. Perieget." 1097) derives κορἁλιον from κόρη, personifying the monstrous virgin: but Chæroboscos claims that it comes from κόρη and ἄλιον, because it is a maritime product used to make ornaments for maidens. In any case coral is a "giver of life" and as such identified with a maiden, 2 as the most potential embodiment of life-giving force. But this specific application of the word for "giver of life" was due to the fact that in all the Semitic languages, as well as in literary references in the Egyptian Pyramid Texts, this phrase was understood as a reference to the female organs of reproduction. The
same double entendre is implied in the use of the Greek word for "pig" and "cowry," these two surrogates of the Great Mother, each of which can be taken to mean the "giver of life" or the "pudendum muliebre".
Perhaps the most plausible suggestion that has been made as to the derivation of the word "mandragora" is Delâtré s claim 1 that it is compounded of the words mandros, "sleep," and agora, "object or substance," and that mandragora means "the sleep-producing substance".
This derivation is in harmony with my suggestion as to the means by which the plant acquired its magical properties. The sedative substance that, in the Egyptian hieroglyphs (of the Story of the Destruction of Mankind), was represented by yellow spheres with a red covering was confused in Western Asia with the yellow-berried plant which was known to have sedative properties. Hence the plant was confused with the mineral and so acquired all the magical properties of the Great Mother's elixir. But the Indian name is descriptive of the actual properties of the plant and is possibly the origin of the Greek word.
Another suggestion that has been made deserves some notice. It has been claimed that the first syllable of the name is derived from the Sanskrit mandara, one of the trees in the Indian paradise, and the instrument with which the churning of the ocean was accomplished. 2 The mandrake has been claimed to be the tree of the Hebrew paradise; and a connexion has thus been instituted between it and the mandara. This hypothesis, however, does not offer any explanation of how either the mandrake or the mandara acquired its magical attributes. The Indian tree of life was supposed to "sweat" amrita just as the incense trees of Arabia produce the divine life-giving incense.
But there are reasons 3 for the belief that the Indian story of the churning of the sea of milk is a much modified version of the old Egyptian story of the pounding of the materials for the elixir of life. The mandara churn-stick, which is often supposed to represent the
phallus, 1 was originally the tree of life, the tree or pillar which was animated by the Great Mother herself. 2 So that the mandara is homologous with the mandragora. But so far as I am aware, there is no adequate reason for deriving the latter word from the former.
The derivation from the Sanskrit words mandros and agora seems to fit naturally into the scheme of explanation which I have been formulating.
In the Egyptian story the Sekti of Heliopolis pounded the didi in a mortar to make "the giver of life," which by a simple confusion might be identified with the goddess herself in her capacity as "the giver of life". This seems to have occurred in the Indian legend. Lakshmi, or Sri, was born at the churning of the ocean. Like Aphrodite, who was born from the sea-foam churned from the ocean, Lakshmi was the goddess of beauty, love, and prosperity.
Before leaving the problems of mandrake and the homologous plants and substances, it is important that I should emphasize the rôle of blood and blood-substitutes, red-stained beer, red wine, red earth, and red berries in the various legends. These life-giving and death-dealing substances were all associated with the colour red, and the destructive demons Sekhet and Set were given red forms, which in turn were transmitted to the dragon, and to that specialized form of the dragon which has become the conventional way of representing Satan.
[The whole of the mandrake legend spread to China and became attached to the plants ginseng and shang luhsee de Groot, Vol. II, p. 316 et seq.; also Kumagusu Minakata, Nature, Vol. LI, April 25, 1895, p. 608, and Vol. LIV, Aug. 13, 1896, p. 343. The
fact that the Chinese make use of the Syriac word yabruha (vide supra) suggests the source of these Chinese legends.]
192:1 As Maspero has specifically mentioned ("Dawn of Civilization," p. 166).
192:2 "Die Alraune als alt altägyptische Zauberpflanze," Zeitsch. f. Ægypt. Sprache, Bd. XXIX, 1891, pp. 31-3.
193:1 "Le nom hiéroglyphique de largile rouge d'Eléphantine," Revue Égyptologique, XIe Vol., Nos. i.ii., 1904, p. 1.
193:2 It is quite possible that the use of the name "hæmatite" for this ancient substitute for blood may itself be the result of the survival of the old tradition.
193:3 It is very important to keep in mind the two distinct properties of didi: (a) its magical life-giving powers, and (h) its sedative influence.
193:4 In Chapter II, p. 118, I have given other reasons of a psychological nature for minimizing the significance of the geographical question.
194:1 For the therapeutic effects of mandrake see the British Medical Journal, 15 March, 1890, p. 620.
194:2 Even in Egypt itself didi may be replaced by fruit in the more specialized variants of the Destruction of Mankind. Thus, in the Saga of the Winged Disk, Re is reported to have said to Horus: "Thou didst put grapes in the water which cometh forth from Edfu". Wiedemann ("Religion of the Ancient Egyptians," p. 70) interprets this as meaning: "thou didst cause p. 195 the red blood of the enemy to flow into it". But by analogy with the original version, as modified by Gauthier's translation of didi, it should read: "thou didst make the water blood-red with grape-juice"; or perhaps be merely a confused jumble of the two meanings.
195:1 In the Babylonian story of the Deluge "Ishtar cried aloud like a woman in travail, the Lady of the gods lamented with a loud voice (saying): The old race of man hath been turned back into clay, because I assented to an evil thing in the council of the gods, and agreed to a storm which hath destroyed my people that which I brought forth" (King, "Babylonian Religion," p. 134).
The Nile god, Knum, Lord of Elephantine, was reputed to have formed the world of alluvial soil. The coming of the waters from Elephantine brought life to the earth.
195:2 In the Babylonian story, Bēl "bade one of the gods cut off his head and mix the earth with the blood that flowed from him, and from the mixture he directed him to fashion men and animals" (King, "Babylonian Religion," p. 56). Bēl (Marduk) represents the Egyptian Horus who assumes his mother's rôle as the Creator. The red earth as a surrogate of blood in the Egyptian story is here replaced by earth and blood.
But Marduk created not only men and animals but heaven and earth also. To do this he split asunder the carcase of the dragon which he had slain, the Great Mother Tiamat, the evil avatar of the Mother-Goddess whose mantle had fallen upon his own shoulders. In other words, he created the world out of the substance of the "giver of life" who was identified with the red earth, which was the elixir of life in the Egyptian story. This is only one more instance of the way in which the same fundamental idea was twisted and distorted in every conceivable manner in the process of rationalization. In one version of the Osirian myth Horus cut off the head of his mother Isis and the moon-god Thoth replaced it with a cow's head, just as in the Indian myth Ganesa's head was replaced by an elephant's.
195:3 See Frazer, op. cit., p. 9.
196:1 Compare with this the story of Picus the giant who fled to Kirke's isle and there was slain by Helios, the plant μῶλυ springing from his blood (A. B. Cook, "Zeus," p. 241, footnote 15). For a discussion of moly see Andrew Lang's "Custom and Myth".
196:2 Frazer, p. 6.
196:3 In Socotra a tree (dracæna) has been identified with the dragon, and its exudation, "dragon's blood," was called cinnabar, and confused with the mineral (red sulphide of mercury), or simply with red ochre. In the Socotran dragon-myth the elephant takes the hero's rôle, as in the American stories of Chac and Tlaloc (see Chapter II). The word kinnabari was applied to the thick matter that issues from the dragon when crushed beneath the weight of the dying elephant during these combats (Pliny, XXXIII, 28 and VIII, 12). The dragon had a passion for elephant's blood. Any thick red earth attributed to such combats was called kinnabari (Schoff, op. cit., p. 137). This is another illustration of the ancient belief in the identification of blood and red ochre.
196:4 "Mythologie des Plantes," Vol. II, p. 101.
197:1 In an interesting article on "The Water Lilies of Ancient Egypt" (Ancient Egypt, 1917, Part I, p. 1) Mr. W. D. Spanton has collected a series of illustrations of the symbolic use of these plants. In view of the fact that the papyrus- and lotus-sceptres and the lotus-designs played so prominent a part in the evolution of the Greek thunder-weapon, it is peculiarly interesting to find (in the remote times of the Pyramid Age) lotus designs built up into the form of the double-axe (Spanton's Figs. 28 and 29) and the classical keraunos (his Fig. 19).
197:2 The Babylonian magic plant to prolong life and renew youth, like the red mineral didi of the Egyptian story. It was also "the plant of birth" and "the plant of life".
197:3 Müller, Quibell, Maspero, and Sethe regard the "round cartouche," which the divine falcon often carries in place of the ankh-symbol of life, as a representation of the royal name (R. Weill, "Les Origines de lEgypte pharaonique," Annales du Musée Guimet, 1908, p. 111). The analogous Babylonian sign known as "the rod and ring" is described by Ward (oh. cit., p. 413) as "the emblem of the sun-god's supremacy," a "symbol of majesty and power, like the tablets of destiny".
As it was believed in Egypt and Babylonia that the possession of a name "was equivalent to being in existence," we can regard the object carried by the hawk or vulture as a token of the giving of life and the controlling of destiny. It can probably be equated with the "tablets of destiny" so often mentioned in the Babylonian stories, which the bird god Zu stole from Bēl and was compelled by the sun-god to restore again. Marduk was given the power to destroy or to create, to speak the word of command and to control fate, to wield the invincible weapon and to be able to render objects invisible. This form of the weapon, "the word" or logos, p. 198 like all the other varieties of the thunder-weapon, could "become flesh," in other words, be an animate form of the god.
In Egyptian art it is usually the hawk of Horus (the homologue of Marduk) which carries the "round cartouche," which is the logos, the tablets of destiny.
199:1 I quote Professor Canney's notes on the word dūdā-īm (Genesis xxx. 14) verbatim: "The Encyclopædia Biblica says (s.v. 'Mandrakes'): 'The Hebrew name, dūdāim, was no doubt popularly associated with dōdīm, דּוֹדִים, "love"; but its real etymology (like that of μανδράγορας) is obscure'.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
"The same word is translated 'mandrakes' in Song of Songs vii. 13.
"Dūdāīm occurs also in Jeremiah xxiv, 1, where it is usually translated 'baskets' ('baskets of figs'). Here it is the plural of a word dūd, which means sometimes a 'pot' or 'kettle,' sometimes a 'basket'. The etymology is again doubtful.
I should imagine that the words in Jeremiah and Genesis have somehow or other the same etymology, and that dūdā-īm in Genesis has no real connexion with dōdīm 'love'.
The meaning 'pot' (dūd, plur. dūdā-īm) is probably more original than 'basket'. Does dūdā-īm in Genesis and Song of Songs denote some kind of pot or caldron-shaped flower or fruit?"
199:2 The Mother Pot is really a fundamental conception of all religious beliefs and is almost worldwide in its distribution.
199:3 The fruit of the lotus (which is a form of Hathor) assumes a form (Spanton, op. cit., Fig. 51) that is identical with a common Mediterranean symbol of the Great Mother, called "pomegranate" by Sir Arthur Evans (see my text-fig. 6, p. 179, m), which is a surrogate of the apple and mandrake. The likeness to the Egyptian hieroglyph for a jar of water (text-fig. 6, l) and the goddess Nu of the fruit of the poppy (which was closely associated with the mandrake by reason of its soporific properties) may have assisted in the transference of their attributes. The design of the water-plant (text-fig. 7, d) associated with the Nile god may have helped such a confusion and exchange.
200:1 "A Popular Account of the Ancient Egyptians," revised and abridged, 1890, Vol. I, p. 323.
200:2 See, for example, Sir Arthur Evans, "Mycenæan Tree and Pillar Worship," Fig. 27, p. 46.
200:3 In a Japanese dragon-story the dragon drinks "sake" from pots set out on the shore (as Hathor drank the didi mixture from pots associated p. 201 with the river); and the intoxicated monster was then slain. From its tail the hero extracted a sword (as in the case of the Western dragons), which is now said to be the Mikado's state sword.
201:1 See Gauthier, op. cit., pp. 2 and 3.
201:2 Compare the dog-incident in the mandrake story.
201:3 Bostock and Riley add the comment that "the peony has no medicinal virtues whatever".
201:4 Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol. VIII, 1917, p. 16 (in the reprint).
203:1 I am indebted to Dr. Alphonse Mingana for this information. But the philological question is discussed in a learned memoir by the late Professor P. J. Veth, "De Leer der Signatuur," Internationales Archiv für Ethnographie, Leiden, Bd. VII, 1894, pp. 75 and 105, and especially the appendix, p. 199 et seq., "De Mandragora, Naschrift op het tweede Hoofdstuk der Verhandeling over de Leer der Signatur".
203:2 Like the Purpura and the Pterocera, the bryony and other shells and plants.
204:1 Larousse, Article "Mandragore".
204:2 I have already referred to another version of the churning of the ocean in which Mount Meru was used as a churn-stick and identified with the Great Mother, of whom the mandara was also an avatar.
204:3 Which I shall discuss in my forthcoming book on "The Story of the Flood".
205:1 The phallic interpretation is certainly a secondary rationalization of an incident which had no such implication originally.
205:2 The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis ii. 17) produced fruit the eating of which opened the eyes of Adam and Eve, so that they realized their nakedness: they became conscious of sex and made girdles of fig-leaves (vide supra, p. 155). In other words, the tree of life had the power of love-provoking like the mandrake. In Henderson's "Celtic Dragon Myth" (p. xl) we read: "The berries for which she [Medb] craved were from the Tree of Life, the food of the gods, the eating of which by mortals brings death," and further: "The berries of the rowan tree are the berries of the gods" (p. xliii). I have already suggested the homology between these red berries, the mandrake, and the red ochre of Hathor's elixir. Thus we have another suggestion of the identity of the tree of paradise and the mandrake.