Category Archives: Italy

Saving Bull (2)

Duomo di Monreale | Art and FaithHistory of the Devil
By Paul Carus, [1900]

THE IDEA OF SALVATION IN GREECE AND ITALY.

Part 1 Here

In the days of Augustus and his successors the people were taught to expect salvation, the dispensation of justice, protection, peace, and prosperity from the emperor; and just as we have to-day monarchies where the king regards himself as the Anointed One by the grace of God and a representative of God on earth, so the Roman emperor arrogated to himself divine honors, and even philosophers such as Seneca did not hesitate to acknowledge the claim. The practical significance of this view is that the government should be regarded with religious awe, and its officers, as such, are divine. The Christians who refused to worship before the emperor’s images must have appeared to the Romans of those days as anarchists and rebels. But when Nero committed matricide and other most outrageous crimes, the belief in the emperor’s divinity dwindled away, and the idea of the suffering God, the man who died on the cross because he would rather be than appear just, gained ground among the people.

Christianity was not the only religion which promised deliverance from evil through the saving power of blood and by means of a vicarious atonement, for we know of the immortality-promising mysteries, and especially of the cult of Mithras, which had embodied many ideas and ceremonies that are also met with in Christianity. Continue reading

Salve Tores

Art - Art And Art History 253 with Bent at Washington and Lee University - StudyBlueHistory of the Devil
By Paul Carus, [1900]

p. 193
THE IDEA OF SALVATION IN GREECE AND ITALY.

ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ ποηροῦ.
Matt. vi. 14.

THE first century of [this] era is a time in which the fear of evil leads to the organisation of religious institutions having in view the atonement of sin and the redemption of the soul from the terrors of hell.

The ideas evil, sin, hell, salvation, and immortal life were familiar to the Greek mind even before the days of Plato, but were still mixed up with the traditional mythology. When philosophers began to wage war against the gross idolatry of Greek polytheism, a fermentation set in which prepared the Greek nation for the reception of Christianity. We say “prepared,” but we might just as well say that it resulted in the formation of the Christian Church as an institution to deliver mankind from evil.

The fear of punishment in the life to come led in the days of savagery to human sacrifices as a vicarious atonement. This barbarous practice was abandoned in the progress of civilisation by a substitution of animal victims. But the idea lingered in the minds of the people and was retained in Christianity, where, Continue reading

Hand of Power

Mano Pantea from The Evil Eye - stWills’s Lucky Charms #19: THE HAND of Power
From Lucky Mojo

1920s-era cigarette trading card art and text:

This is one of 50 trading cards depicting amulets and talismans published in England during the 1920s by W. D. & H. O Wills, makers of Wills’s Cigarettes.

THE HAND

The use of a representation of the Hand as a talisman can be traced back to at least 800 years B.C., when it was used as a charm against enchantment. Many varieties of the Hand exist; in some the elaboration is very marked, each device representing some particular charm. Life size models of these Hands were supposed to guard the house against Continue reading

Seven Sleepers And No Dog

Seven Sleepers

The Seven Sleepers, commonly called the “Seven Sleepers of Ephesus”, refers to a group of Christian youths who hid inside a cave outside the city of Ephesus around 250 AD, to escape a persecution of Christians being conducted during the reign of the Roman emperor Decius. Another version is that Decius ordered them imprisoned in a closed cave to die there as punishment for being Christians. Having fallen asleep inside the cave, they purportedly awoke approximately 180 years later during the reign of Theodosius II, following which they were reportedly seen by the people of the now-Christian city before dying. Continue reading

Praying to the Winds

Run away with me Michelle CurielAnemoi – Venti
From theoi.com

THE ANEMOI were the gods of the four directional winds–Boreas the North-Wind, Zephryos the West-Wind, Notos the South-Wind, and Euros the East-Wind. They were closely connected with the seasons : Boreas was the cold breath of winter, Zephyros the god of spring breezes, and Notos the god of summer rain-storms.

The Wind-Gods were represented as either winged, man-shaped gods, or horse-like divinities, which grazed the shores of the river Okeanos or were stabled in the caverns of Aiolos Hippotades, “the Horse-Reiner,” king of the winds. Continue reading

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