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SET 183

this—" Then Seth began to be called by the name of the Lord.” Mr. Baring-Gould remarks on this that Seth was at first regarded by the Egyptians as the deity of light and civilisation, but that they afterwards identified as Typhon, because he was the chief god of the Hyksos or shepherd kings; and in their hatred of these oppressors the name of Seth was everywhere obliterated from their monuments, and he was represented as an ass, or with an ass's head." But the earliest date assigned to the Hyksos dominion in Egypt, B.C. 2000, coincides with that of the Egyptian planisphere in Kircher,” where Seth is found identified with Sirius, or the dog-headed Mercury, in Capricorn. This is the Sothiac Period, or Cycle of the Dogstar. He was thus associated with the goat and the winter solstice, to which (B.C. 2000) Capricorn was adjacent. That Seth or Set became the name for the demon of disorder and violence among the Egyptians is, indeed, probably due to his being a chief god, among some tribes Baal himself, among the Asiatics, before the time of the Hyksos. It was already an old story to put their neighbours' Light for their own Darkness. The Ass's ears they gave him referred not to his stupidity, but to his hearing everything, as in the case of the Ass of Apuleius, and the ass Nicon of Plutarch, or, indeed, the many examples of the same kind which preceeded the appearance of this much misunderstood animal as the steed of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In Egyptian symbolism those long ears were as much dreaded as devils' horns. From the eyes of Ra all beneficent things, from the eyes of Set all noxious things, were produced. Amen-Ra, as the former was called, slew the son of Set, the great serpent Naka, which in one hymn is perhaps tauntingly said to have ‘saved his 184 TYPHOM.

* “Legends of Old Testament Characters," i. p. 83. * CEdip, l. II. ii. See “Mankind : their Origin and Destiny," p. 699.

feet.” Amen-Ra becomes Horus and Set becomes Typhon. The Typhonian myth is very complex, and includes the conflict between the Nile and all its enemies—the crocodiles that lurk in it, the sea that swallows it, the drouth that dries it, the burning heat that brings malaria from it, the floods that render it destructive—and Set was through it evolved to a point where he became identified with Saturn, Sheitan, or Satan. Plutarch, identifying Set with Typho, says that those powers of the universal Soul, which are subject to the influences of passions, and in the material system whatever is noxious, as bad air, irregular seasons, eclipses of the sun and moon, are ascribed to Typho. The name Set, according to him, means ‘violent’ and ‘hostile;’ and he was described as ‘double-headed,’ “he who has two countenances,’ and ‘the Lord of the World.' Not the least significant fact, in a moral sense, is that Set or Typho is represented as the brother of Osiris whom he slew. Without here going into the question of relationship between Typhaon and Typhoeus, we may feel tolerably certain that the fire-breathing hurricane-monster Typhaon of Homer, and the hundred-headed, fierce-eyed roarer Typhoeus—son of Tartarus, father of Winds and Harpies —represent the same ferocities of Nature. No fitter place was ever assigned him than the African desert, and the story of the gods and goddesses fleeing before Typhon into Egypt, and there transforming themselves into animals, from terror, is a transparent tribute to the dominion over the wilderness of sand exergsed by the typhoon in its many moods, The vulture-harpy tearing the dead is his child. He is many-headed ; now hot, stifling, tainted; now tempestuous; here sciroc, there hurricane, and often tornado. It may be indeed that as at once coiled in the whirlwind and blistering, he is the fiery serpent to appease M/RAGE. 185

whom Moses listed the brasen serpent for the worship of Israel. I have often seen snakes hung up by negroes in Virginia, to bring rain in time of drouth. Typhon, as may easily be seen by the accompanying figure (14), is a hungry and thirsty demon. His tongue is lolling out with thirst." His later connection with the underworld is shown in various myths, one of which C N)\!/WXYZ o - NIN/\ M - % seems to suggest a popular belief N { o that Typhon is not pleased with N \\ % the mummies withheld from him, and that he can enjoy his human viands only through burials of the dead. In Egypt, after the Coptic Easter Monday—called ShemmenNesseem (smelling the zephyr) —come the fifty-days' hot wind, \ called Khamseen or Cain wind. After slaying Abel, Cain wandered amid such a wind, tortured with fever and thirst. Then he saw two birds fight in the air; one having o: killed the other scratched a hole to o É in the desert sand and buried it. Soo-oo! Cain then did the like by his bro- Fig. 4.—Tvrnon (wilkinson). ther's body, when a zephyr sprang up and cooled his fever. But still, say the Alexandrians, the fifty-days' hot Cain wind return annually. In pictures of the mirage, or in cloud-shapes faintly illumined by the afterglow, the dwellers beside the plains of sand saw, as in phantasmagoria, the gorgeous palaces, the air-castles, and mysterious cities, which make the romance of the desert. Unwilling to believe that such realms of barrenness had ever been created by any good

* Compare Kali, Fig. 18.

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186 THE DESERT EDEAV.

god, they beheld in dreams, which answer to nature's own mirage-dreaming, visions of dynasties passed away, of magnificent palaces and monarchs on whose pomp and heaven-defying pride the fatal sand-storm had fallen, and buried their glories in the dust for ever. The desert became the emblem of immeasurable all-devouring Time. In many of these legends there are intimations of a belief that Eden itself lay where now all is unbroken desert. In the beautiful legend in the Midrash of Solomon's voyage on the Wind, the monarch alighted near a lofty palace of gold, ‘and the scent there was like the scent of the garden of Eden.” The dust had so surrounded this palace that Solomon and his companions only learned that there had been an entrance from an eagle in it thirteen centuries old, which had heard from its father the tradition of an entrance on the western side. The obedient Wind having cleared away the sand, a door was found on whose lock was written, “Be it known to you, ye sons of men, that we dwelt in this palace in prosperity and delight many years. When the famine came upon us we ground pearls in the mill instead of wheat, but it profited us nothing.' Amid marvellous splendours, from chamber to chamber garnished with ruby, topaz, emerald, Solomon passed to a mansion on whose three gates were written admonitions of the transitory nature of all things but—Death. ‘Let not fortune deceive thee.’ ‘The world is given from one to another.' On the third gate was written, ‘Take provision for thy journey, and make ready food for thyself while it is yet day; for thou shalt not be left on the earth, and thou knowest not the day of thy Death.’ This gate Solomon opened and saw within a life-like image seated : as the monarch approached, this image cried with a loud voice, ‘Come hither, ye children of Satan; see 1 King Solomon is come to destroy you.' Then fire

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and smoke issued from the nostrils of the image; and there were loud and bitter cries, with earthquake and thunder. But Solomon uttered against them the Ineffable Name, and all the images fell on their faces, and the sons of Satan fled and cast themselves into the sea, that they might not fall into the hands of Solomon. The king then took from the neck of the image a silver tablet, with an inscription which he could not read, until the Almighty sent a youth to assist him. It said:—‘I, Sheddad, son of Ad, reigned over a thousand thousand provinces, and rode on a thousand thousand horses; a thousand thousand kings were subject to me, and a thousand thousand warriors I slew Yet in the hour that the Angel of Death came against me, I could not withstand him. Whoso shall read this writing let him not trouble himself greatly about this world, for the end of all men is to die, and nothing remains to man but a good name.’” Azazel—"strong against God’—is the biblical name of the Demon of the Desert (Lev. xvi.). ‘Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats: one lot for Jehovah, and the other for Azazel. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the lot for Jehovah fell, and offer him for a sinoffering: But the goat, on which the lot for Azazel fell, shall be presented alive before Jehovah, to make an atonement with him, to let him go to Azazel in the wilderness. . . . And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and send him away by the hand of a fit man into the desert. And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto

* Soc. of Heb. Literature's Publications. 2d Series. ‘Legends from the Midrash,” by Thomas Chenery (Tribner & Co.). The same legend is referred to in the story of the Astrologer in Washington Irving's ‘Alhambra.'

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