Curious Myths of the Middle Ages/S. George
A MORE interesting task for the comparative mythologist can hardly be found, than the analysis of the legends attaching to this celebrated soldier-martyr;—interesting, because these legends contain almost unaltered representative myths of the Semitic and Aryan peoples, and myths which may be traced with certainty to their respective roots.
The popular traditions current relating to the Cappadocian martyr are distinct in the East and the West, and are alike sacred myths of faded creeds, absorbed into the newer faith, and recoloured. On dealing with these myths, we are necessarily drawn into the discussion as to whether such a person as S. George existed, and if he did exist, whether he were a Catholic or a heretic. Eusebius says (Eccl. Hist. B. viii. c. 5), “Immediately on the first promulgation of the edict (of Diocletian), a certain man of no mean origin, but highly esteemed for his temporal dignities, as soon as the decree was published against the Churches in Nicomedia, stimulated by a divine zeal, and excited by an ardent faith, took it as it was openly placed and posted up for public inspection, and tore it to pieces as a most profane and wicked act. This, too, was done when two of the Caesars were in the city, the first of whom was the eldest and chief of all, and the other held the fourth grade of the imperial dignity after him. But this man, as the first that was distinguished there in this manner, after enduring what was likely to follow an act so daring, preserved his mind calm and serene until the moment when his spirit fled.”
This martyr, whose name Eusebius does not give, has been generally supposed to be S. George, and if so, this is nearly all we know authentic concerning him. But popular as a saint he unquestionably was, from a very early age. He is believed to have suffered at Nicomedia in 303, and his worship was soon extended through Phœnicia, Palestine, and the whole East. In the seventh century he had two Churches in Rome; in Gaul he was honoured in the fifth century. In an article contributed to the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, Mr. Hogg speaks of a Greek inscription copied from a very ancient church, originally a heathen temple at Ezra, in Syria, dated A.D. 346, in which S. George is spoken of as a holy martyr. This is important testimony, as at this very time was living the other George, the Alexandrian bishop, (d. 362) with whom the Saint is sometimes confounded.
The earliest acts quoted by the Bollandists, are in Greek, and belong to the sixth century; they are fabulous. Beside these, are some Latin acts, said to have been composed by Pasikrâs, the servant of the martyr, which belong to the eighth century, and which are certainly translations of an earlier work than the Greek acts printed by the Bollandists. These are also apocryphal. Consequently we know of S. George little, except that there was such a martyr, that he was a native of Lydda, but brought up in Cappadocia, that he entered the Roman army and suffered a cruel death for Christ. That his death was one of great cruelty, is rendered probable by the manner in which his biographers dilate on his tortures, all agreeing to represent them as excessive.
The first to question the reverence shown for S. George was Calvin, who says ‘Nil eos Christo reliquum facere qui pro nihilo ducunt ejus intercessionem, nisi accedant Georgius aut Hippolitus, aut similes larvæ.’ Dr. Reynolds follows in the wake, and identifies the martyr with the Arian Bishop of Alexandria. This man had been born in a fuller’s mill at Epiphania, in Cilicia. He is first heard of as purveyor of provisions for the army at Constantinople, where he assumed the profession of Arianism; from thence, having been detected in certain frauds, he was obliged to fly, and take refuge in Cappadocia. His Arian friends obtained his pardon, by payment of a fine, and he was sent to Alexandria, where his party elected him Bishop, in opposition to S. Athanasius, immediately after the death of the Arian prelate, Gregory. There, associating with himself Dracontius, master of the mint, and the Count Diodorus, he tyrannized alike over Catholics and heathens, till the latter rose against him and put him to death. Dr. Heylin levelled a lance in honour of the Patron of England; but his historical character was again questioned in 1753, by Dr. John Pettingal in a work on the original of the equestrian statue of S. George ; and he was answered by Dr. Samuel Pegge, in 1777, in a paper read before the Society of Antiquaries. Gibbon, without much investigation into the ground of the charge, assumes the identity of the Saint and the Arian prelate. “The odious stranger, disguising every circumstance of time and place, assumed the mask of a martyr, a saint, and a Christian hero; and the infamous George of Cappadocia has been transformed into the renowned S. George of England, the patron of arms, of chivalry, and of the Garter.”
The great improbability of such a transformation would lead one to question the assertion, even if on no other ground. Arians and Catholics were too bitterly hostile, for it to be possible that a partisan of the former, and a persecutor, should be accepted as a saint by the latter. The writings of S. Athanasius were sufficiently known to the Mediævals to save them from falling into such an error, and S. Athanasius paints his antagonist in no charming colours. I am disposed to believe that there really was such a person as S. George, that he was a martyr to the Catholic faith, and that the very uncertainty which existed regarding him, tended to give the composers of his biography the opportunity of attaching to him popular heathen myths, which had been floating unadopted by any Christian hero. The number of warrior saints was not so very great; Sebastian’s history was fixed, so were those of Maurice and Gereon, but George was unprovided with a history. The deficiency was soon supplied. We have a similar instance in the story of S. Hippolitus. The ancient tale of the son of Theseus torn by horses was deliberately transferred to a Christian of the same name.
The substance of the Greek acts is to this effect:
George was born of Christian parents in Cappadocia. His father suffered a martyr’s death, and the mother with her child took refuge in Palestine. He early entered the army, and behaved with great courage and endurance. At the age of twenty he was bereaved of his mother, and by her death came in for a large fortune. He then went to the court of Diocletian, where he hoped to find advancement. On the breaking out of the persecution, he distributed his money among the poor, and declared himself, before the Emperor, to be a Christian. Having been ordered to sacrifice, he refused, and was condemned to death. The first day, he was thrust with spears to prison, one of the spears snapped like straw when it touched him. He was then fastened by the feet and hands to posts, and a heavy stone was laid upon his breast.
The second day, he was bound to a wheel set with blades of knives and swords. Diocletian believed him to be dead; but an angel appearing, George courteously saluted him in military fashion, whereby the persecutor ascertained that the Saint was still living. On removing him from the wheel, it was discovered that all his wounds were healed. George was then cast into a pit of quicklime, which, however, did not cause his death. On the next day but one, the Emperor sent to have his limbs broken, and he was discovered on his knees perfectly whole.
He was next made to run in red-hot iron shoes. The following night and day he spent in prayer, and on the sixth day he appeared before Diocletian walking and unhurt. He was then scourged with thongs of hide till his flesh came off his back, but was well next day.
On the seventh day he drank two cups, whereof the one was prepared to make him mad, the other to poison him, without experiencing any ill effects. He then performed some miracles, raised a dead man to life, and restored to life an ox which had been killed;—miracles which resulted in numerous conversions.
That night George dreamed that the Saviour laid a golden crown on his head, and bade him prepare for Paradise. S. George at once called to him the servant who wrote these memoirs (όστις καί τὰ ύπὸ τὸν ᾶγιον ύπομνήματα συν ὰκριβεία πάσγ συνέταξεν), and commanded him, after his death, to take his body and will to Palestine. On the eighth day, the saint, by the sign of the cross, forced the devil inhabiting the statue of Apollo to declare that he was a fallen angel; then all the statues of the gods fell before him.
This miracle converted the Empress Alexandra; and Diocletian was so exasperated against the truth, that he condemned her to instant death. George was then executed. The day of his martyrdom was the 23rd of April.
The Latin acts may be summed up as follows; they, as already stated, are a translation from a Greek original:
The devil urges Dacian, Emperor of the Persians, king of the four quarters of heaven, having dominion over seventy-two kings, to persecute the Church. At this time lived George of Cappadocia, a native of Melitena. Melitena is also the scene of his martyrdom. Here he lived with a holy widow. He is subjected to numerous tortures, such as the rack, iron pincers, fire, a sword-spiked wheel, shoes nailed to his feet; he is put into an iron box set within with sharp nails, and flung down a precipice; he is beaten with sledge-hammers, a pillar is laid on him, a heavy stone dashed on to his head; he is stretched on a red-hot iron bed, melted lead is poured over him; he is cast into a well, transfixed with forty long nails, shut into a brazen bull over a fire, and cast into a well with a stone round his neck. Each time he returns from a torment, he is restored to former vigour. His tortures continue through seven years. His constancy and miracles are the means of converting 40,900 men, and the Empress Alexandra. Dacian then orders the execution of George and his queen; and as they die, a whirlwind of fire carries off the persecutor.
These two acts are the source of all later Greek legends.
Papenbroech prints legends by Simeon Metaphrastes (d. 904), Andreas Hierosolymites, and Gregorios Kyprios (d. 1289).
Reinbot von Dorn (cent. xiii.), or the French author from whom he translated the life of S. George, thought fit to reduce the extravagance of the original to moderate proportions, the seventy-two kings were reduced to seven, the countless tortures to eight; George is bound, and has a weight laid on him, is beaten with sticks, starved, put on a wheel covered with blades, quartered and thrown into a pond, rolled down a hill in a brazen bull, his nails transfixed with poisoned thorns, and he is then executed with the sword.
Jacques de Voragine says that he was first attached to a cross, and torn with iron hooks till his bowels protruded, and that then he was washed with salt water. Next day he was given poison to drink without its affecting him. Then George was fastened to a wheel covered with razors and knives, but the wheel snapped. He was next cast into a caldron of molten lead. George was uninjured by the bath. Then, at his prayer, lightning fell and destroyed all the idols, whilst the earth, opening, swallowed up the priests. At the sight of this, the wife of Dacian, whom Jacques de Voragine makes proconsul under Diocletian, is converted, and she and George are decapitated. Thereupon lightning strikes Dacian and his ministers.
S. George, then, according to the Oriental Christian story, suffers at least seven martyrdoms, and revives after each, the last excepted.
The Mussulmans revere him equally with the Christians, and tell a tale concerning him having a strong affinity to that recorded in the acts. Gherghis, or El Khoudi, as he is called by them, lived at the same time as the Prophet. He was sent by God to the king of El Mauçil with the command that he should accept the faith. This the king refused to do, and ordered the execution of Gherghis. The saint was slain, but God revived him, and sent him to the king again. A second time was he slain, and again did God restore him to life. A third time did he preach his mission. Then the persecutor had him burned, and his ashes scattered in the Tigris. But God restored him to life once more, and destroyed the king and all his subjects. The Greek historian, John Kantakuzenos (d. 1380) remarks, that in his time there were several shrines erected to the memory of George, at which the Mohammedans paid their devotions; and the traveller Burckhardt relates, that “the Turks pay great veneration to S. George;” Dean Stanley moreover noticed a Mussulman chapel on the sea-shore near Sarafend, the ancient Sarepta, dedicated to El Khouder, in which “there is no tomb inside, only hangings before a recess. This variation from the usual type of Mussulman sepulchres was, as we were told by peasants on the spot, because El Khouder is not yet dead, but flies round and round the world, and these chapels are built wherever he has appeared.” Ibn Wahshíya al Kasdani was the translator of the Book of Nabathæan Agriculture. “Towards the year 900 of our era, a descendant of those ancient Babylonian families who had fled to the marshes of Wasith and of Bassora, where their posterity still dwell, was struck with profound admiration for the works of his ancestors, whose language he understood, and probably spoke. Ibn Wahshíya al Kasdani, or the Chaldæan, was a Mussulman, but Islamism only dated in his family from the time of his great-grandfather; he hated the Arabs, and cherished the same feeling of national jealousy towards them as the Persians also entertained against their conquerors. A piece of good fortune threw into his hands a large collection of Nabathæan writings, which had been rescued from Moslem fanaticism. The zealous Chaldæan devoted his life to their translation, and thus created a Nabathæo-Arabic library, of which three complete works, to say nothing of the fragments of a fourth, have descended to our days.” One of these is the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture, written by Kuthāmi the Babylonian. In it we find the following remarkable passage: “The contemporaries of Yanbūshādh assert that all the sekā’in of the gods and all the images lamented over Yanbūshādh after his death, just as all the angels and sekā’in lamented over Tammūzī. The images (of the gods), they say, congregated from all parts of the world to the temple in Babylon, and betook themselves to the temple of the Sun, to the great golden image that is suspended between heaven and earth. The Sun image stood, they say, in the midst of the temple, surrounded by all the images of the world. Next to it stood the images of the Sun in all countries; then those of the Moon; next those of Mars; after them, the images of Mercury; then those of Jupiter; after them, those of Venus; and last of all, of Saturn. Thereupon the image of the Sun began to bewail Tammūzī, and the idols to weep; and the image of the Sun uttered a lament over Tammūz and narrated his history, whilst the idols all wept from the setting of the sun till its rising at the end of that night. Then the idols flew away, returning to their own countries. They say that the eyes of the idol of Tehāma (in South Arabia), called the eagle, are perpetually flowing with tears, and will so continue, from the night wherein it lamented over Tammūz along with the image of the Sun, because of the peculiar share that it had in the story of Tammūz. This idol, called Nesr, they say, is the one that inspired the Arabs with the gift of divination, so that they can tell what has not yet come to pass, and can explain dreams before the dreamers state what they are. They (the contemporaries of Yanbūshādh) tell that the idols in the land of Babel bewailed Yanbūshādh singly in all their temples a whole night long till morning. During this night there was a great flood of rain, with violent thunder and lightning, as also a furious earthquake (in the district) from the borders of the mountain ridge of Holwān to the banks of the Tigris near the city Nebārwājā, on the eastern bank of that river. The idols, they say, returned during this flood to their places, because they had been a little shaken. This flood was brought by the idols as a judgment upon the people of the land of Babel for having abandoned the dead body of Yanbūshādh, as it lay on the bare ground in the desert of Shāmās, so that the flood carried his dead body to the Wādī el-A’hfar, and then swept it from this wādī into the sea. Then there was drought and pestilence in the land of Babel for three months, so that the living were not sufficient to bury the dead. These tales (of Tammūz and Yanbūshādh) have been collected and are read in the temples after prayers, and the people weep and lament much thereupon. When I myself am present with the people in the temple, at the feast of Tammūz, which is in the month called after him, and they read his story and weep, I weep along with them always, out of friendly feeling towards them, and because I compassionate their weeping, not that I believe what they relate of him. But I believe in the story of Yanbūshādh, and when they read it and weep, I weep along with them, very differently from my weeping over Tammūzī. The reason is this, that the time of Yanbūshādh is nearer to our own than the time of Tammūz, and his story is, therefore, more certain and worthy of belief. It is possible that some portions of the story of Tammūz may be true, but I have my doubts concerning other parts of it, owing to the distance of his time from ours.”
Thus writes Kuthami the Babylonian, and his translator adds:—
“Says Abū Bekr A’hmed ibn Wa’hshīya. This month is called Tammūz, according to what the Nabathæans say, as I have found it in their books, and is named after a man of whom a strange long story is told, and who was put to death, they relate, several times in succession in a most cruel manner. Each of their months is named after some excellent and learned man, who was one, in ancient times, of those Nabathæans that inhabited the land of Babel before the Chaldæans. This Tammūz was not one of the Chaldæans, nor of the Canaanites, nor of the Hebrews, nor of the Assyrians, but of the primeval Ianbānīs. . . All the Ssabians of our time, down to our own day, wail and weep over Tammūz in the month of that name, on the occasion of a festival in his honour, and make great lamentation over him; especially the women, who all arise, both here (at Bagdad) and at ’Harrān, and wail and weep over Tammūz. They tell a long and silly story about him; but, as I have clearly ascertained, not one of either sect has any certain information regarding Tammūz, or the reason of their lamenting over him. However, after I had translated this book, I found in the course of my reading the statement that Tammūz was a man concerning whom there was a legend, and that he had been put to death in a shameful manner. That was all; not another word about him. They knew nothing more about him than to say, ‘We found our ancestors weeping and wailing over him in this way at this feast that is called after him Tammūzi.’ My own opinion is, that this festival which they hold in commemoration of Tammūz is an ancient one, and has maintained itself till now, whilst the story connected with him has been forgotten, owing to the remoteness of his age, so that no one of these Ssabians at the present day knows what his story was, nor why they lament over him.” Ibn Wa’hshīya then goes on to speak of a festival celebrated by the Christians towards the end of the month Nisan (April) in honour of S. George, who is said to have been several times put to death by a king to whom he had gone to preach Christianity, and each time he was restored to life again, but at the last died. Then Ibn Wa’hshīya remarks that what is related of the blessed George is the same as that told of Tammūz, whose festival is celebrated in the month Tammūz; and he adds that besides what he found regarding Tammūz in the “Agriculture,” he lit on another Nabathæan book, in which was related in full the legend of Tammūz;—“how he summoned a king to worship the seven (planets) and the twelve (signs), and how the king put him to death several times in a cruel manner, Tammūz coming to life again after each time, until at last he died; and behold! it was identical with the legend of S. George that is current among the Christians.”
Mohammed en Medūn in his Fihrist-el-U’lūm, says, “Tammūz (July). In the middle of this month is the Feast El Būgāt, that is, of the weeping women, which Feast is identical with that Feast of Tā-uz, which is celebrated in honour of the god Tā-uz. The women bewail him, because his Lord had him so cruelly martyred, his bones being ground in a mill, and scattered to the winds.”
We have then the Eastern myth of S. George identified with that of Tammūz, by one who is impartial. What that myth of Tammūz was in its entirety we cannot say, but we have sufficient evidence in the statement of Ibn Wa’hshīya to conclude that the worship of S. George and its popularity in the East, is mainly due to the fact of his being a Christianized Tammūz.
Professor Chwolson insists on Tammūz having been a man, deified and worshipped; and the review below referred to confirms this theory. I believe this to be entirely erroneous. Tammūz stands to Chaldee mythology in precisely the same relation that the Ribhavas do to that of the Vedas. A French orientalist, M. Nève, wrote a learned work in 1847, on these ancient Indian deities, to prove that they were deified sages. But the careful study of the Vedic hymns to the Ribhus lead to an entirely opposite conclusion. They are the Summer breezes deified, which, in that they waft the smoke of the sacrifices to heaven, are addressed as assisting at the sacred offerings; and in a later age, when their real signification was lost, they were anthropomorphized into a sacred caste of priests. A similar process has, I believe, taken place with Tammūz, who was the sun, regarded as a God and hero, dying at the close of each year, and reviving with the new one. In Kuthāmi’s age the old deity was apparently misappreciated, and had suffered, in consequence, a reincarnation in Yanbūshādh, of whom a similar story was told, and who received similar worship, because he was in fact one with Tammūz.
The Phœnician Adonis was identical with Tammūz. S. Jerome in the Vulgate rendered the passage in Ezekiel (viii. 14), “He brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house, which was towards the north; and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammūz,” by ecce mulieres sedentes plangentes Adonidem; and in his commentary on the passage says, “Whom we have interpreted Adonis, both the Hebrew and Syriac languages call Thamuz . . . and they call the month June by that name.” He informs us also of a very important fact, that the solstice was the time when Tammūz was believed to have died, though the wailing for him took place in June. Consequently Tammūz’s martyrdom took place at the end of December. Cyril of Alexandria also tells us of the identity existing between Adonis and Tammūz (in Isaiah, chap. xviii.).
The name Adonis is purely Semitic, and signifies the Lord. His worship was introduced to the Greeks by the Phœnicians through Crete.
Adonis is identified with the Sun in one of the Orphic hymns: “Thou shining and vanishing in the beauteous circle of the Horæ, dwelling at one time in gloomy Tartarus, at another elevating thyself to Olympus, giving ripeness to the fruits!” According to Theocritus, this rising and setting, this continual coursing, is accomplished in twelve months: “In twelve months the silent pacing Horæ follow him from the nether-world to that above, the dwelling of the Cyprian goddess, and then he declines again to Acheron.” The cause of these wanderings, according to the fable, was that two goddesses loved Adonis, Aphrodite, or more properly Astarte, and Persephone. Aphrodite, the Syrian Baalti, loved him so tenderly that the jealousy of Ares was aroused, and he sent a wild boar to gore him in the chase. When Adonis descended to the realm of darkness, Persephone was inflamed with passion for the comely youth. Consequently a strife arose between her and Aphrodite, which should possess him. The quarrel was settled by Zeus dividing the year into three portions, whereof one, from the summer solstice to the autumn equinox, was to belong to Adonis, the second was to be spent by him with Aphrodite, and the third with Persephone. But Adonis voluntarily surrendered his portion to the goddess of beauty. Others say, that Zeus decreed that he should spend six months in the heavens with Aphrodite, and the other six in the land of gloom with Persephone.
The worship of Adonis, who was the same as Baal, was general in Syria and Phœnicia. The devotion to Tammūz, we are told, was popular from Antioch to Elymaïs. It penetrated into Greece from Crete. Biblos in Phœnicia was the main seat of this worship.
Tammūz, or Adonis, was again identical with Osiris. This is stated by several ancient writers.
The myth relating to Osiris was very similar. The Egyptian sun-god was born at the summer solstice and died at the winter solstice, when processions went round the temple seeking him, seven times. Osiris in heaven was the beloved of Isis, in the land of darkness was embraced by Nepthys.
Typhon, as the Greeks call Seth or Bes, a monster represented in swine or boar shape, attacked Osiris, and slaying him, cut him up, and cast him into the sea. This took place on the 17th of the month Athor.
Then began the wailing for Osiris, which lasted four days; this was followed by the seeking, and this again by the finding of the God.
Under another form, the same myth, and its accompanying ceremonies, prevailed in Egypt, just as at Babylon that of Tammūz had its reflection in the more modern cultus of Yanbūshādh. The soul of the deceased Osiris was supposed to be incarnate in Apis; and, in process of mythologic degradation, the legend of Osiris passed over to Apis, and with it the significant ceremonial. Thus Herodotus tells us how that at Memphis the death of the sacred bull was a cause of general wailing, and its discovery one of exultation. When Cambyses was in Egypt, and the land groaned under foreign sway, no Apis appeared; but when his two armies were destroyed, and he came to Memphis, Apis had appeared; and he found the conquered people manifesting their joy in dances, and with feasting and gay raiment.
We have, it will be seen, among Phœnicians, Syrians, Egyptians, and Nabathæans, all Semitic nations, peculiar myths, with symbolic ceremonies bearing such a close resemblance to one another, that we are constrained to acknowledge them as forms, slightly varied, of some primæval myth.
We find also among the Arabs, another Semitic nation, a myth identical with that of the Babylonian Tammūz, prevalent among them not long after their adoption of Islamism. How shall we account for this? My answer is, that the pre-Mohammedan Arabs had a worship very similar to that of Tammūz, Baal, Adonis, or Osiris, and that, on their conversion to the faith of the prophet, they retained the ancient legend, adapting it to El Koudir, whom they identified with S. George, because they found that the Christians had already adopted this course, and had fixed the ancient myth on the martyr of Nicomedia. In Babylonia it had already passed to Yanbūshādh; and it was made to pass further to Gherghis, much as in Greece the story of Apollo and Python was transferred to Perseus and the sea-monster, and, as we shall see presently, was adopted into Christian mythology, and attributed to the subject of this paper. And indeed the process was perhaps facilitated by the fact that one of the names of this solar god was Giggras; he was so called after the pipes used in wailing for him.
The circumstances of the death of Tammuz vary in the different Semitic creeds.
Let me place them briefly in apposition.
Nabathæan myth. Tammūz.
- A great hero, and prophet; is cruelly put to death several times, but revives after each martyrdom. His death a subject of wailing.
Phœnician myth. Adon or Baal.
- A beautiful deity, killed by the furious Boar god. Revived and sent to heaven. Divides his time between heaven and hell, subject of wailing, seeking, and finding.
Syrian myth. Baal.
- Identical with the Phœnician.
Egyptian myth. Osiris.
- A glorious god and great hero, killed by the evil god. Passes half his time in heaven, and half in the nether world. Subject of wailing, seeking, and finding.
Arabian myth. El Khouder, original name Ta’uz.
- A prophet, killed by a wicked king several times and revived each time.
Oriental Christian myth. S. George.
- A soldier, killed by a wicked king, undergoes numerous torments, but revives after each. On earth lives with a widow. Takes to the other world with him the queen. Wailing and seeking fall away, and the festival alone remains.
From this tabular view of the legends it is, I think, impossible not to see that S. George, in his mythical character, is a Semitic god Christianized. In order to undergo the process of conversion, a few little arrangements were rendered necessary, to divest the story of its sensuous character, and purify it. Astarte or Aphrodite had to be got out of the way somehow. She was made into a pious widow, in whose house the youthful saint lodged.
Then Persephone, the queen of Hades, had to be accounted for. She was turned into a martyr, Alexandra; and just as Persephone was the wife of the ruthless monarch of the nether world, so was Alexandra represented as the queen of Diocletian or Datian, and accompanied George to the unseen world. Consequently in the land of light, George was with the widow; in that of gloom, with Alexandra: just as Osiris spent his year between Isis and Nepthys, and Adonis between Aphrodite and Persephone. According to the ancient Christian legend, the body of George travelled from the place of his martyrdom to that of his nativity; this resembles the journey of the body of Osiris, down the Nile, over the waves to Biblos, where Isis found him again.
The influence of Persian mythology is also perceptible in the legend. El Nedim says that Tammūz was brayed in a mill; this feature in his martyrdom is adopted from the Iranian tradition of Hom, the Indian Soma, or the divine drink of sacrifice, which was anthropomorphized, and the history of the composition of the liquor was transformed into the fable of the hero. The Hom was pounded in a mortar, and the juice was poured on the sacrificial flames, and thus carried up into heaven in fire; in the legend of the demigod, Hom was a martyr who was cruelly bruised and broken in a mortar, but who revived, and ascended to the skies. In the tale of George there is another indication of the absorption into it of a foreign myth. George revives the dead cow of the peasant Glycerius; the same story is told of Abbot William of Villiers, of S. Germanus, of S. Garmon, and of S. Mochua. Thor also brought to life goats which had been killed and eaten. The same is told in the Rigveda of the Ribhus: “O sons of Sudharvān, out of the hide have you made the cow to arise; by your songs the old have you made young, and from one horse have you made another horse.”
The numbers in the legend of the soldier-saint have a solar look about them. The torments of S. George last seven years, or, according to the Greek acts, seven days; the tyrant reigns over the four quarters of heaven, and seven kings; in the Nabathæan story, Tammūz preaches the worship of the seven planets, and the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Osiris is sought seven days. The seven winter months are features in all mythologies.
The manner in which S. George dies repeatedly represents the different ways in which the sun dies each day. The Greeks, and, indeed, most nations, regarded the close of day as the expiration of the solar deity, and framed myths to account for his decease. In Greek mythology the solar gods are many, and the stories of their deaths are distributed so as to provide each with his exit from the world; but in Semitic mythology it is not so, the sun-god is one, and all kinds of deaths are attributed to him alone, or, if he suffers anthropomorphism, to his representative.
Phaethon is a solar deity; he falls into the western seas. Herakles is another; he expires in flames, rending the poisoned garment given him by Dejanira. Phaethon’s death represents the rapid descent of the sun in the west; that of Herakles, the setting orb in a flaming western sky rending the fire-lined clouds, which wrap his body. The same blaze, wherein sank the sun, was also supposed to be a funeral pyre, on which lay Memnon; and the clouds fleeting about it, some falling into the fire, and some scudding over the darkling sky, were the birds which escaped from the funeral pyre. Achilles, a humanized sun-god, was vulnerable in his heel, just as the Teutonic Sigfried could only be wounded in his back: this represents the sun as retiring from the heavens with his back turned, struck by the weapon of darkness, just as Ares, the blind God, with his tusk slew Adonis, or sightless Hodr with his mistletoe shaft smote Baldur.
In the S. George fable, we have the martyr, like Memnon or Herakles, on the fire, and transfixed, like Achilles and Ajax; exposed in a brazen bull on a fire, that is, hung in the full rain-cloud over the western blaze; cast down a hill, like Phaethon; plunged into boiling metal, a representation of the lurid vapours of the west.
Having identified S. George or Tammūz with the sun, we shall have little difficulty in seeing that Aphrodite or Isis is the moon when visible, and Persephone or Nepthys the waned moon; Persephone is in fact no other than Aphrodite in the region of gloom, where, according to the decree of Zeus, she was to spend six months with Aidoneus, and six months in heaven.
But it is time for us to turn to the Western myth, that of the fight of S. George with the dragon; in this, again, we shall find sacred beliefs of antiquity reappearing in Christian form.
The story of S. George and the dragon first presents itself in the Legenda Aurea of Jacques de Voragine. It was accepted by the unquestioning clerks and laity of the middle ages, so that it found its way into the office-books of the Church.
O Georgi Martyr inclyte,
Te decet laus ct gloria,
Per quern puella regia,
Existens in tristitia,
Coram Dracone pessimo,
Salvata est. Ex animo
Te rogamus corde intimo,
Ut cunctis cum fidelibus
Cœli jungamur civibus
Nostris ablatis sordibus:
Et simul cum lætitia
Tecum simus in gloria;
Nostraque reddant labia
Laudes Christo cum gratia,
Cui sit honos in secula.
Thus sang the clerks from the Sarum “Horæ B. Mariæ,” on S. George’s day, till the reformation of the Missals and Breviaries by Pope Clement VII., when the story of the dragon was cut out, and S. George was simply acknowledged as a martyr, reigning with Christ. His introit was from Ps. Ixiii. The Collect, “God, who makest us glad through the merits and intercession of blessed George the martyr, mercifully grant that we who ask through him Thy good things may obtain the gift of Thy grace.” The Epistle, 2 Tim. ii. 8—11, and iii. 10—13; and the Gospel, S. John xv. 1—8.
The legend, as told by Voragine, is this.
George, a tribune, was born in Cappadocia, and came to Lybia, to the town called Silene, near which was a pond infested by a monster, which had many times driven back an armed host that had come to destroy him. He even approached the walls of the city, and with his exhalations poisoned all who were near. To avoid such visits, he was furnished each day with two sheep, to satisfy his voracity. If these were not given, he so attacked the walls of the town, that his envenomed breath infected the air, and many of the inhabitants died. He was supplied with sheep, till they were exhausted, and it was impossible to procure the necessary number. Then the citizens held counsel, and it was decided that each day a man and a beast should be offered, so that at last they gave up their children, sons and daughters, and none were spared. The lot fell one day on the princess. The monarch, horror-struck, offered in exchange for her his gold, his silver, and half his realm, only desiring to save his daughter from this frightful death. But the people insisted on the sacrifice of the maiden, and all the poor father could obtain, was a delay of eight days, in which to bewail the fate of the damsel. At the expiration of this time, the people returned to the palace, and said, “Why do you sacrifice your subjects for your daughter? We are all dying before the breath of this monster!” The king felt that he must resolve on parting with his child. He covered her with royal clothes, embraced her, and said, “Alas! dear daughter, I thought to have seen myself re-born in your offspring. I hoped to have invited princes to your wedding, to have adorned you with royal garments, and accompanied you with flutes, tambourins, and all kinds of music; but you are to be devoured by this monster! Why did not I die before you?”
Then she fell at her father’s feet and besought his blessing. He accorded it her, weeping, and he clasped her tenderly in his arms; then she went to the lake. George, who passed that way, saw her weeping, and asked the cause of her tears. She replied:—“Good youth! quickly mount your horse and fly, lest you perish with me.” But George said to her:—“Do not fear; tell me what you await, and why all this multitude look on.” She answered:—“I see that you have a great and noble heart; yet, fly!” “I shall not go without knowing the cause,” he replied. Then she explained all to him; whereupon he exclaimed:-— “Fear nothing! in the name of Jesus Christ, I will assist you.” “Brave knight!” said she; “do not seek to die with me; enough that I should perish; for you can neither assist nor deliver me, and you will only die with me.”
At this moment the monster rose above the surface of the water. And the virgin said, all trembling, “Fly, fly, sir knight!”
His only answer was the sign of the cross. Then he advanced to meet the monster, recommending himself to God.
He brandished his lance with such force, that he transfixed it, and cast it to the ground. Then, addressing the princess, he bade her pass her girdle round it, and fear nothing. When this was done, the monster followed like a docile hound. When they had brought it into the town, the people fled before it; but George recalled them, bidding them put aside all fear, for the Lord had sent him to deliver them from the dragon. Then the king and all his people, twenty thousand men, without counting women and children, were baptized, and George smote off the head of the monster.
Other versions of the story are to the effect that the princess was shut up in a castle, and that all within were perishing for want of water, which could only be obtained from a fountain at the base of a hill, and this was guarded by the “laidly worm,” from which George delivered them.
“The hero won his well-earn’d place
Amid the saints, in death’s dread hour;
And still the peasant seeks his grace,
And next to God, reveres his power.
In many a church his form is seen
With sword, and shield, and helmet sheen:
Ye know him by his steed of pride,
And by the dragon at his side.”
The same story has attached itself to other saints and heroes of the middle ages, as S. Secundus of Asti, S. Victor, Gozo of Rhodes, Raimond of S. Sulpice, Struth von Winkelried, the Count Aymon, Moor of Moorhall, “who slew the dragon of Wantley,” Conyers of Sockburn, and the Knight of Lambton, “John that slew ye Worme.” Ariosto adopted it into his Orlando Furioso, and made his hero deliver Angelica from Orca, in the true mythic style of George; and it appears again in the tale of Chederles. The cause of the legend attaching itself to our hero, was possibly a misunderstanding of an encomium, made in memory of S. George, by Metaphrastes, which concludes thus: “Licebat igitur videre astutissimum Draconem, adversus carnem et sanguinem gloriari solitum, elatumque, et sese efferentem, a juvene uno illusum, et ita dispectum atque confusum, ut quid ageret non haberet.” Another writer, summing up the acts of S. George, says: “Secundo quod Draconem vicit qui significat Diabolum;” and Hospinian, relating the sufferings of the martyr, affirms distinctly that his constancy was the occasion of the creation of the legend by Voragine.
If we look at the story of Perseus and Andromeda, we shall find that in all essential particulars it is the same as that of the Cappadocian Saint.
Cassiope having boasted herself to be fairer than Hera, Poseidon sent a flood and a sea-monster, to ravage the country belonging to her husband Cepheus. The oracle of Ammon having been consulted, it was ascertained that nothing would stop the resentment of the gods except the exposure of the king’s daughter, Andromeda, on a rock, to be devoured by the monster. At the moment that the dragon approached the maiden, Perseus appeared, and learning her peril, engaged the monster and slew him.
The scene of this conflict was near Joppa, where in the days of S. Jerome the bones of the huge reptile were exhibited, and Josephus pretends to have seen there the chains which attached the princess to the rock. It was at Berytus (Beyrut) that the fight of S. George with the dragon took place.
Similar stories were prevalent in Greece. In the isle of Salamis, Cenchrius, a son of Poseidon, relieved the inhabitants from the scourge of a similar monster, who devastated the island. At Thespia, a dragon ravaged the country round the city; Zeus ordered the inhabitants to give the monster their children by lot. One year it fell on Cleostratus. Menestratus determined to save him. He armed himself with a suit covered with hooks, and was devoured by the dragon, which perished in killing him. Pherecydes killed a great serpent in Caulonia, an adventure afterwards related of Pythagoras, with the scene shifted to Sybaris; and Herakles, as is well known, slew Hydra. But these are all versions—echoes—of the principal myth of Apollo and Python.
The monster Python was sent by Hera to persecute Leto, when pregnant. Apollo, the moment that he was born, attacked the hideous beast and pierced him with his arrows. And from the place where the serpent died, there burst forth a torrent.
A similar myth is found among the Scandinavian and Teutonic nations. In these Northern mythologies Apollo is replaced by Sigurd, Sigfried, and Beowulf.
The dragon with which Sigurd fights in Fafnir, who keeps guard over a treasure of gold. Sigfried, in like manner, in the Nibelungen Lied, fights and overcomes a mighty dragon, and despoils him of a vast treasure. The Anglo-Saxon poem of Beowulf contains a similar engagement. A monster Grendel haunts a marsh near a town on the North Sea. At night the evil spirit rises from the swamp, and flies to the mountains, attacking the armed men, and slaying them. Beowulf awakes, fights him, and puts him to flight. But next night Grendel again attacks him, but is killed by the hero with an enchanted sword. He fights a dragon some years later, and robs it of an incalculable store of gold. The Icelandic Sagas teem with similar stories; and they abound in all European household tales.
In the Rigveda we have the same story. Indra fights with the hideous serpent Ahi, or Vrita, who keeps guard over the fountain of rains. In Iranian mythology, the same battle is waged between Mithra and the dæmon Ahriman.
It seems, then, that the fight with the dragon is a myth common to all Aryan peoples.
Its signification is this:—
The maiden which the dragon attemps to devour is the earth. The monster is the storm-cloud. The hero who fights it is the sun, with his glorious sword, the lightning-flash. By his victory the earth is relieved from her peril. The fable has been varied to suit the atmospheric peculiarities of different climes in which the Aryans found themselves. In India, Vrita is coiled about the source of water, and the earth is perishing for want of rain, till pierced by the sword of Indra, when the streams descend. “I will sing,” says the Rigveda, “the ancient exploits by which flashing Indra is distinguished. He has struck Ahi, he has scattered the waters on the earth, he has unlocked the torrents of the heavenly mountains (i. e., the clouds). He has struck Ahi, who lurked in the bosom of the celestial mountain, he has struck him with that sounding weapon wrought for him by Twachtri ; and the waters, like cattle rushing to their stable, have poured down on the earth.” And again:—
“O Indra, thou hast killed the violent Ahi, who withheld the waters!”
“O Indra, thou hast struck Ahi, sleeping guardian of the waters, and thou hast precipitated them into the sea; thou hast pierced the compact scale of the cloud; thou hast given vent to the streams, which burst forth on all sides.”
Among the ancient Iranians the same myth prevailed, but was sublimated into a conflict between good and evil. Ahriman represents Ahi, and is the principle of evil; corrupted into Kharaman, it became the Armenian name for a serpent and the devil. Ahriman entered heaven in the shape of a dragon, was met by Mithra, conquered, and like the old serpent of Apocalyptic vision, “he shall be bound for three thousand years, and burned at the end of the world in melted metals,” Aschmogh (Asmodeus) is also the infernal serpent of the books of the Avesta; he is but another torm of Ahriman. This fable rapidly followed in Persia the same process of application to known historical individuals that it pursued in Europe. In the ninth hymn of the Yaçna, Zoroaster asks Hōma who were the first of mortals to honour him, and Hōma replies: “The first of mortals to whom I manifested myself was Vivanghvat, father of Yima, under whom flourished the blessed age which knew not cold of winter, or scorching heat of summer, old age or death, or the hatred produced by the Devas. The second was Athwya, father of Thraetana, the conqueror of the dragon Dahak, with three heads, and three throats, and six eyes, and a thousand strengths.” This Thraetana, in the Shahnāmeh, has become Feridun, who overcomes the great dragon Zohak.
In northern mythology, the serpent is probably the winter cloud, which broods over and keeps from mortals the gold of the sun’s light and heat, till in the spring the bright orb overcomes the powers of darkness and tempest, and scatters his gold over the face of the earth. In the ancient Sagas of Iceland, the myth has assumed a very peculiar form, which, if it would not have protracted this article to an undue length, I should have been glad to have followed out. The hero descends into a tomb, where he fights a vampire, who has possession of a glorious sword, and much gold and silver. After a desperate struggle, the hero overcomes, and rises with the treasures to the surface of the earth. This too, represents the sun in the northern realms, descending into the tomb of winter, and there overcoming the power of darkness, from whom he takes the sword of the lightning, and the treasures of fertility, wherewith the earth is blessed on the return of the sun to the skies in summer.
This is probably the ancient form of the Scandinavian myth, and the King of gloom reigning over his gold in the cairn, was only dragonized when the Norse became acquainted with the dragon myths of other nations. In the Saga of Hromund Greipson, the hero is let down by a rope into a barrow, into which he had been digging for six days. He found below the old king Thrain the Viking, with a kettle of quivering red flames suspended from the roof of the vault above him. This king, years before, had gathered all the treasures that he had obtained in a long life of piracy, and had suffered himself to be buried alive with his ill-gotten wealth. Hromund found him seated on a throne in full armour, girded with his sword, crowned, and with his feet resting on three boxes containing silver. We have the same story in the Gretla; only there the dead king is Karr the old; Grettir is led to open his cairn, by seeing flames dancing on the mound at night. In the struggle underground, Grettir and the vampire stumble over the bones of the old king’s horse, and thereby Grettir is able to get the upper hand.
Similar stories occur in the Flóamanna Saga, the younger Saga of Olaf the saint (cap. 16), the elder Olaf Saga (3—4), the history of Olaf Geirstafaalp, the Holmverja Saga, and the Bârda Saga. The last of these is strongly impressed with Christian influence, and gives indications of the transformation of the evil being into a dragon. Gest visited an island off the coast of Helluland (Labrador), where lay buried a grimly dæmon king Raknar. He took with him a priest with holy water and a crucifix. They had to dig fifty fathoms before they reached the chamber of the dead. Into this Gest descended by a rope, holding a sword in one hand, and a taper in the other. He saw below a great dragon-ship, in which sat five hundred men, champions of the old king, who were buried with him. They did not stir, but gazed with blank eyes at the taper flame, and snorted vapour from their nostrils. Gest despoiled the old king of all his gold and armour, and was about to rob him of his sword, when the taper expired. Then, at once, the five hundred rose from the dragon-ship, and the dæmon king rushed at him; they grappled and fought. In his need, Gest invoked S. Olaf, who appeared with light streaming from his body, and illumining the interior of the cairn. Before this light, the power of the dead men failed, and Gest completed his work in the vault. In the story of Sigurd and Fafnir, the dragon is more than half man; but in the battle of Gull-Thorir the creature is scaled and winged in the most approved Oriental style.
Let me place in apposition a few of the Aryan myths relating to the strife between the sun and the dæmon of darkness, or storm.
Indian myth. Indra fights Ahi.
- Indra kills Ahi, who is identified with the storm-cloud, and releases from him the pent-up waters, for want of which the earth is perishing. Ahi a serpent.
Persian myth. Mithra and Ahriman.
- Mithra is clearly identical with the sun, and Ahriman with darkness. Ahriman a dragon.
Greek myth. Apollo and Python; Perseus and the sea-monster.
- Apollo identical with the sun, Python the storm-cloud. Apollo delivers his mother from the assault of the dragon. Perseus delivers Andromeda from the water-born serpent. In other Greek fables it is the earth which is saved from destruction by the victory of the hero.
Teutonic myth. Sigfried and the dragon.
- Sigfried conquers the dragon who keeps guard over a hidden treasure, the hero kills the dragon and brings to light the treasure.
Scandinavian myth. Sigurd and Fafnir.
- Like the myth of Sigfried. Other, and perhaps earlier form, the dragon is a king of Hades, who cannot endure light, and who has robbed the earth of its gold. The hero descends to his realm, fights, overcomes him, and despoils him of his treasures.
Christian myth. S. George and dragon.
- S. George delivers a princess from a monster, who is about to devour her. According to another version, the dragon guards the spring of water, and the country is languishing for want of water; S. George restores to the land the use of the spring by slaying the dragon.
This table might have been considerably extended by including Keltic and Sclavonic fables, but it is sufficiently complete to show that the legend of S. George and the dragon forms part of one of the sacred myths of the Aryan family, and it is impossible not to grasp its signification in the light cast upon it by the Vedic poems.
And when we perceive how popular this venerable myth was in heathen nations of Europe, it is not surprising that it should perpetuate itself under Christianity, and that, when once transferred to a hero of the new creed, it should make that hero one of the most venerated and popular of all the saints in the calendar.
In the reign of Constantine the Great, there existed a great and beautiful church between Ramula, the ancient Arimathæa, and Lydda or Decapolis, dedicated by the Emperor to S. George, over his tomb. Ramula also bore the name of Georgia, and the inhabitants pretended that the warrior saint was a native of their town. A temple of Juno at Constantinople was converted into a church, with the same dedication, by the first Christian Emperor, and according to one tradition, the bones of the martyr were translated from his tomb near Lydda, to the church in the great city of Constantine. At an early date his head was in Rome, or at all events one of his heads, for another found its way to the church of Mares-Moutier, in Picardy, after the capture of Byzantium by the Turks, when it was taken from a church erected by Constantine Monomachus, dedicated to the saint. The Roman head, long forgotten, was rediscovered in 751, with an inscription on it which identified it with S. George. In 1600 it was given to the church of Ferrara. In Rome, at Palermo, and at Naples there were churches at a very early date, consecrated to the martyr. In 509 Clotilda founded a nunnery at Chelles in his honour; and Clovis II. placed a convent at Barala under his invocation. In this religious house was preserved an arm of S. George, which in the ninth century was transported to Cambray; and fifty years later S. Germain dedicated an altar in Paris to the champion. In the sixth century a church was erected to his honour at Mayence; Clothaire in the following century dedicated one at Nimègue, and his brother another in Alsace. George had a monastery dedicated to him at Thetford, founded in the reign of Canute; a collegiate church in Oxford placed under his invocation in the reign of the Conqueror. S. George’s, Southwark, dates from before the Norman invasion. The priory church of Griesly in Derbyshire was dedicated to SS. Mary and George, in the reign of Henry I. The Crusades gave an impetus to the worship of our patron. He appeared in light on the walls of Jerusalem, waving his sword, and led the victorious assault on the Holy City. Unobtrusively he and S. Michael slipped into the offices, and exercised the functions, of the Dioscuri. Robert of Flanders, on his return from the Holy Land, presented part of an arm of the saint to the city of Toulouse, and other portions to the Countess Matilda and to the abbey of Auchin. Another arm of S. George fell miraculously from heaven upon the altar of S. Pantaleon at Cologne, and in honour of it Bishop Anno founded a church.
The church of Villers-Saint-Leu contains relics of the saint, which were given to it in 1101 by Alexander, chaplain of Count Ernest, who had received them from Baldwin at Jerusalem.
The enthusiasm of the Crusaders for the Eastern soldier-saint who led them to battle, soon raised S. George to the highest pitch of popularity among the nobles and fighting-men of Europe. England, Aragon, and Portugal assumed him as their patron, as well as most chivalrous orders founded at the date of these wars. In 1245, on S. George’s day, Frederic of Austria instituted an order of knighthood under his patronage; and its banner, white charged with a blood-red cross, in battle floated alongside of that of the empire. When the emperor entered the castle of S. Angelo at Rome, these two banners were carried before him. The custody of the sacred standard of S. George was confided to the Swabian knights. In the early part of the thirteenth century there existed a military order under the protection of S. George at Genoa, and in 1201 an order was founded in Aragon, with the title of knights of S. George of Alfama.
In 1348 King Edward III. founded S. George’s Chapel, Windsor. In the following year he was besieging Calais. Moved by a sudden impulse, says Thomas of Walsingham, he drew his sword with the exclamation “Ha! Saint Edward! Ha! Saint George!” The words and action communicated spirit to his soldiers: they fell with vigour on the French, and routed them with a slaughter of two hundred soldiers. From that time S. George replaced Edward the Confessor as patron of England. In 1350 the celebrated order was instituted. In 1415, by the Constitutions of Archbishop Chichely, S. George’s Day was made a major double feast, and ordered to be observed the same as Christmas Day, all labour ceasing; and he received the title of spiritual patron of the English soldiery.
In 1545 S. George’s Day was observed as a red letter day, with proper Collect, Epistle, and Gospel; but in the reign of Edward VI. it was swept away, and the holding of the chapter of the garter on S. George’s Day was transferred to Whitsun Eve, Whitsun Day, and Whitsun Monday. Next year, the first of Queen Mary, the enactment was reversed, and since then the ancient custom has obtained, and the chapter is held annually on the feast of the patron.
In concluding this paper, it remains only to point out the graceful allegory which lies beneath the Western fable. S. George is any Christian who is sealed at his baptism to be “Christ’s faithful soldier and servant unto his life’s end,” and armed with the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of the faith, marked with its blood-red cross, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word or power of God.
The hideous monster against whom the Christian soldier is called to fight is that “old serpent, the devil,” who withholds or poisons the streams of grace, and who seeks to rend and devour the virgin soul, in whose defence the champion fights.
If the warfare symbolized by this legend be carried out in life, then, in Spenser’s words—
“Thou, amongst those saints whom thou doest see,
Shall be a saint, and thine owne nations frend
And patrone: thou Saint George shalt called bee,
Saint George of mery England, the sign of victoree.”
- Second Series, vol. vii. pt. i.
- Historie of that Most famous Saint and Soldier of Christ Jesus, S. George of Cappadocia, 1633.
- Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, chap, xxiii.
- Mas’ûdi, übers. von Sprenger, vol. i. p. 120.
- Sinai and Palestine, p. 274.
- Ernest Renan, Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathæan Agriculture, London, 1862, p. 5.
- Chwolson: ūber Tammūz. St. Petersburg, 1860, pp. 41—56. The translation is for the most part from the Christian Remembrancer, No. cxii., an article on Tammūz, with the conclusions of which I cannot altogether agree. My own conviction as to Tammūz will be seen in the sequel.
- Chwolson: Die Ssabier, ii. 27.
- Orph. Hymn lv. 5, and 10, 11.
- Theocrit. Id. xv. 103, 104, 136.
- Cyrill. Alex, in Isa.; Apollodor. lib. iii. c. 14.
- Schol. in Theocrit. Id. iii. v. 48, and xv. v. 103.
- Ammian. Marcell. xxii. 9. Œlian, Hist. animal, xii. 33.
- Lucian. de dea Syria. n. 7. Steph. de Urb. v.
- Thalia. c. 27.
- See my note in Appendix to “The Folklore of the N. Counties of England,” London, 1866. pp. 321-4.
- Orland. Fur. c. xi.
- Noël: Dict. de la Fable; art. Chederles.
- Christian Remembrancer, vol. xlv. p. 320.
- Hieron. Epist. 108. Joseph. Bell. Jud. iii. c. 7.
- Rigveda, sect. i. lec. 2. p. xiii. Ed. Langlois, iii. p. 329.
- Ibid. vol. i. p. 44; ii. p. 447. In the Katha Sarit Sagara, a hero fights a dæmon monster, and releases a beautiful woman from his thraldom. The story as told by Soma Deva has already progressed and assumed a form very similar to that of Perseus and Andromeda. Katha Sarit Sagara, book vii. c. 42.
- Boundehesch, ii. 351. 416.
- Bârdar S. Snæfellsass. Kjobnhavn. 1860. pp. 41—43.
- Gull-Thoris Saga. Leipzig, 1858. c. iv.