Portal logo
( 429 )
DESCRIPTION OF THE TAIL-PIECES.
All drawn to twice the size of the Originals.
Title-page.—Serapis, lord of the subterraneous world, and of all its treasures, represented with the attributes of Ammon and of Phœbus; for, according to the pantheistic religion of the age, all these deities were only types of the Sun. The profile of the god seems intended for that of M. Aurelius ; of the art in whose times this intaglio may be pronounced the finest specimen in existence. The legend occurs on an altar dedicated to the same god, in the Villa Albani. Sapphirine Calcedony.
P. vii.—Democritus : the earliest Greek writer on mineralogy. His portraits, as Easpe lias observed, have much of the character of those of Socrates. But on comparing this with the Socrates, p. 340, the difference in the expression, and in the form of the beard, proves clearly enough that they represent two different individuals ; though both of the same sarcastic, " ironical " genius. Greek. Dark-brown Calcedony.
P. x.—Head of Proserpine, wearing the Sicilian hair-net, and mitra, or head-cloth. Greek. Brown Calcedony.
P. 13.—Hercules in the act of letting fly an arrow at the Stymphalian Birds. It will be noticed here, as in all other representations of early Greek archery, that the arrow is propelled by the elasticity of the string alone, not by that of the bow, which remains almost rigid. A recent traveller in Caffraria informs me that the bow of the Bushmen acts on precisely the same principle, itself not bending in the least, whilst the string of twisted gut yields to tension sufficiently to drive very heavy iron-headed arrows with enormous force. Early Greek work. Yellow Sard.
P. 18.—Mask of an old Satyr and a female Comic Mask conjoined. Masks were amongst the most popular devices for the signets of the ancients, from their supposed virtues as amulets. In fact, the word mash comes from ταλάμασκα, " a bugbear," the low Greek form of βασκανος, " fascinum." Roman. Pale Sard.
P. 48.—Silenus playing upon the double-flute ; the instrument appro­priated to Bacchus and his train. Greco-Italian. Pale Sard.
P. 56.—Bust of the youthful Caesar, Diadumenian, son of Macrinus. Instead of the usual spear, he wields the rudder of Fortune ; an ingenious piece of flattery, but contradicted by his fate. Roman. Sard.