Sunday 24 October 2021

Mycenaean ostrich egg with seasons

Engraving on an Ostrich Egg from Mycenae, Greece. From great text: "Ostrich egg-shell cups of Mesopotamia and the ostrich in ancient and modern times

Is this just a random scene or were the animals deliberately arranged like this?

In my article "Symbols of the seasons" I talked about animal markers for 4 seasons:

Ram: Spring (Feb-Apr)

Bull: Summer (May-Jul)

Lion: Autumn (Aug-Oct)

Goat: Winter (Nov-Jan)

This has to do with mating and birthing seasons of these animals...Lambing of wild Eurasian sheep (Spring), Calving of wild Eurasian cattle (Summer), Mating of Eurasian lions (Autumn), Mating of wild Eurasian goats (Winter)...

These are most common symbols of the seasons

Achaemenid rhytons (1st millennium BC) depicting ram (spring), bull (summer), lion (autumn), goat (winter)...

Spring (Jan/Feb-Apr/May)

Summer (Apr/May-Jul/Aug)

Autumn (Jul/Aug-Oct/Nov)

Winter (Oct/Nov-Jan/Feb)

In my article about the symbols of the seasons, I mention that if you wanted to represent all seasons as grazing animals, then the symbol for autumn would be deer, which mates in autumn...

Achaemenid rhytons (1st millennium BC) depicting ram (spring), bull (summer), deer (autumn), goat (goat)...

Spring (Jan/Feb-Apr/May)

Summer (Apr/May-Jul/Aug)

Autumn (Jul/Aug-Oct/Nov)

Winter (Oct/Nov-Jan/Feb)

So if we look at the Mycenaean ostrich egg scene, we can see that from right to left: 

Ram: Spring

Bull: Summer

Deer: Autumn

What's missing is Goat: Winter

But what about the lion(s)?

There is an article that I published a while back entitled "Lions vs buffalos" about this Akkadian seal

In it, I asked a question: was lion, apart from being symbol of autumn, maybe a symbol of the whole hot sunny dry part of the year? Being a solar symbol linked with the sun's heat (the hottest part of the year in the northern hemisphere is Leo)

This would then explain why on the Mycenaean scene we have a lion depicted in all three panels depicting three sunny seasons: spring, summer, autumn.

But there is one more interesting detail on this image. I think that this scene actually depicts a specific moment in the solar year. The end of summer and beginning of Autumn. Leo. The hottest part of the year. Why would I think so?

You see how both Ram-Spring and Bull-Summer are attacked by lions, but Deer-Autumn is still roaming free???

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