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The Gnostics and Their Remains, by Charles William King, [1887], at

Plate E
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Plate E



1. Serapis, viewed as the Sun-god, enthroned; at his feet, the triple-headed monster described by Macrobius. Before him stands Isis, or Mother Earth, holding a bunch of wheat-ears and poppy-heads, to mark her character. The legend is the invocation "Immaculate is Our Lady, Isis!" A fine specimen of Alexandrian art, in a beautiful sard. (New York.)

2. Venus, arranging her hair at a mirror, held up to her by a Cupid; two Loves, hovering in the air, hold a myrtle-crown over her head. The inscription "The Manifestation of Aroriph," occurs in a similar connection upon a gem in the Paris Cabinet. It is hard to determine whether she be the "nuda veritas," whose Kabbalistic revelation to Marcus is given in my text; or merely a talisman for engendering love towards the wearer; the material, magnetic hæmatite, supports the latter acceptation. The reverse exhibits Horus, seated on the lotus, planted upon the baris, which is constructed out of long papyrus-stalks lashed together. He here takes the title of Abraxas, and is surrounded by adoring triplets of all the animals held sacred by the Egyptians. The symbol of the Sun is seen at his right.

3. Bust of Serapis, very curious for the prayer surrounding it, "Protect Jupiter!" a proof that Serapis is here regarded as the Supreme Being, and the ancient Jupiter reduced to the rank of an astral Power; as, indeed he was occasionally so understood in better times. Thus Persius: "Saturnumque gravem nostro Iove fregimus una." (v. 50.)

4. Isis, veiled, with the tubulus on her head, and leaning on a tall sceptre, in the pose of the Roman Juno; for whom she might be mistaken but for the invocation on the other side, "Baffle, Serapis, the Evil Eye!" which declares the object of this talisman.

p. 439

5. Serapis, enthroned, seen in front face. Inscribed "Hermes," followed by three letters, the initials of some then well-known address to that god. Or if merely a private signature (Martial mentions a physician of the name) the initials refer to his business. The God of the Shades was a very fit patron for a professional who had doubtless done his best to swell the ranks of his subjects. Red jasper. (New York.)

Next: Plate F. Ancient Egyptian Types Adapted to Gnostic Ideas