Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/238

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A Solution of the Gorgon Myth.

according to Six (De Gorgone, p. 3) similar species of representations are found. The remarkable part of his enumeration is that no land is named at all except islands and seacoast places adjoining the Mediterranean.[1] I venture to suggest that some of the well-known developments with which we have to deal may be attributed to its having spread inland far from the familiar objects on the shore.

Let me now ask your attention to Fig. 2, which is from a sketch of a terra-cotta figure of the Gorgon now in the Kircherian Museum in Rome. This, and two others near it, are in rather low relief; the subject, represented slightly differing in treatment, is identical in all. They are all said to have been found in Apulia—that is, on the sea, in the neighbourhood of Taranto, the district then known as Magna Græcia. Alongside these, and belonging to the same locality, are several other reliefs, some damaged, but no two quite alike; of these Fig. 3 is a fair specimen.[2]

Fig. 2.

Fig. 3.

  1. It will not be overlooked that both the great exploits attributed to Perseus, the slaying of the dragon with the preservation of Andromeda, and the slaying of the Gorgon, have their scenes laid on the shore. Who can contend that both stories may not have had their origin in one and the same phenomenon?
  2. Here it should be remarked that Fig. 2, representing several identical reliefs, has ten arms or tentacles, five on each side of an upright spear-shaped projection. It has been suggested (Edward Lovett) that one pair of these arms is intended for horns, and that the central straight device "is an exact representation of the Belemnite, i.e. the 'Bone' of the fossil Cephalopods." Fig. 3 has but eight arms without horns, while the central object is like the bone of the common cuttle-fish.