Sunday, 25 June 2017

Chimera

This is an electrum stater from the ancient city of Kyzikos, Mysia, circa 550-500 BC. It has a chimera above a tuna fish which was the civic badge of Kyzikos. The reverse is a quadripartite incuse square, an abstract representation of swastika, the symbol of sun's fire. 



Chimera is a monster of which a brief description in Homer’s Iliad is the earliest surviving literary reference. Homer, who wrote during late 8th, early 7th century BC, depicts it as "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire". It was the offspring of Typhon (last son of Gaia, fathered by Tartarus)

This Etruscan (Rascian) bronze, dated to 400 BC, is known as "Chimera of Arezzo". 


You can find high resolution image here.

The sculpture has an inscription reading "Tinia" on its front right leg. Tinia (also Tin, Tinh, Tins or Tina) was the god of the sky and the highest god in Etruscan mythology, equivalent to the Roman Jupiter and the Greek Zeus.

Interestingly in Irish the word "tine" means "fire", and in Serbian the word "tinja" means "smoldering"...

What does this have to do with Chimera? Well Chimera "snorts out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire". And she does it through the mouth of a lion. Now, as I already explained in my post "Two crosses",  the hottest part of the year in the northern Europe falls at the end of Summer and the Beginning of Autumn. In South Slavic tradition this period is called Kresovi meaning Fires. These are the days of wild fires and droughts. And interestingly this period is on the Zodiac circle represented by the symbol Leo, Lion. Lion which "snorts out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire". 

Now in my last post "You will trample the great lion and the serpent" I talked about the solar symbolism hidden in Psalm 91 (Greek numbering: Psalm 90), also known as the Psalm of Protection, and the image known as "Christ treading on the beasts" which is based on this psalm. In this post I explained why snake is a symbol of the beginning of the summer and why lion is the symbol of the end of the summer. 

Summer starts on the 6th of May, Day of Jarilo, Beltine. Jarilo represents the sun's heat, symbolized by the snake and the dragon. Funnily Jarilo was Christianized into St George, the Dragon killer :) In Serbia, St Jeremija who is celebrated at the beginning of May is known as the Snake Saint. His day (1st of May according to the Julian calendar, 14th of May according to the Gregorian calendar) is the time when people perform magic ceremonies for protection from snakes...Interesting both names Jarilo and J(a)eremija have the root "jar" meaning "bright heat".

Summer ends on the 2nd of August, Day of Perun, Lughnasadh. Day of Perun falls in the middle of the Leo (Lion) zodiac sign






Knowing this it is easy to understand why Chimera has a snake tail and a fire breathing lion head. Summer starts in the sign of Snake and ends in the sign of Lion. The heat increases during this period until it turns into "terrible flame of bright fire". 

What is interesting is that in Serbian mythology the 2nd of August, the point on the solar circle which marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn, the hottest part of the year, is also the day of Perun, the Slavic Thunder god. In Irish mythology this day is known as Lughnasadh, the day of Lugh, the Celtic thunder god. Why is the day of the thunder god in the middle of the hottest period of the year? Because right after the 2nd of August, the day of the maximum heat, the sun starts cooling down. The first Autumn thunderstorms arrive. Thunder god defeats the dragon. As I already explained in my post "Three suns", dragon is in Slavic mythology, with snake, symbol of sun's heat. The sun's heat which causes drought. The sun's heat that steals the "waters of heaven", rain. Once the Thunder god kills the dragon, once the sun's heat starts dissipating, the waters of heaven which the dragon stole are released, and the rains return...This is why the name of the sky god is inscribed on the Chimera's front right leg. 

But what about the goat's head that protrudes from the lion's back?

In my post "Goat" I talked about the symbolism of ibex goat and why is the Capricorn zodiac sign where it is on the solar circle. 

Now here is the important bit:

Alpine ibex mating season starts in December, and ends in January typically lasting around six weeks. 

Bezoar Ibex mating season starts in November and ends in January. 

Right in the middle of the mating periods of both Alpine and Bezoar ibex is Winter Solstice, 21st of December. And the day after the winter solstice is the beginning of the Capricorn (goat) period, which last from December 22 – January 20...






Have a look at this image. This is solar circle, with the beginning (snake), the middle (summer solstice) and the end (lion) of summer marked at the bottom of the Zodiac circle, and the middle of winter (winter solstice) marked at the top of the circle.



This is our Chimera. 



Chimera with the body with snake tail (beginning of summer), lion head (the end of summer) which all together represents summer. And with the ibex goat head on it's back, which represents the winter solstice.

And so it turns out that Chimera is not a monster, but a symbol of the sun. More precisely Chimera is the symbol of the solar yearly cycle. 

Interesting don't you think?

2 comments:

  1. Compare this with the legend of Smok Wawelski - Dragon of Wawel

    ReplyDelete