NOTE O, p. 230. The Story of Phaethon.
The identity of Phaethon and Nimrod has much to support it
besides the prima facie evidence arising from the statement that
Phaethon was an Ethiopian or Cushite, and the resemblance of his
fate, in being cast down from heaven while driving the chariot of
the sun, as "the child of the Sun," to the
casting down of Molk Gheber, whose very name, as the god of fire,
identifies him with Nimrod. 1. Phaethon is said
by Apollodorus (vol. i. p. 354) to have been the son of Tithonus;
but if the meaning of the name Tithonus be examined, it will be
evident that he was Tithonus himself. Tithonus was the husband of
Aurora (DYMOCK, sub voce). In the physical sense, as we have
already seen, Aur-ora signifies "The awakener of the
light;" to correspond with this Tithonus signifies "The
kindler of light," or "setter on fire."
* Now "Phaethon, the son of Tithonus," is in
Chaldee "Phaethon Bar Tithon." But this also
signifies "Phaethon, the son that set on fire." Assuming,
then, the identity of Phaethon and Tithonus, this goes far to
identify Phaethon with Nimrod; for Homer, as we have seen
(Odyssey, lib. v. 1. 121, p. 127), mentions the marriage of
Aurora with Orion, the mighty Hunter, whose identity with Nimrod
is established. Then the name of the celebrated son that sprang
from the union between Aurora and Tithonus, sows that Tithonus,
in his original character, must have been indeed the same as "the
mighty hunter" of Scripture, for the name of that son
was Memnon (MARTIAL, lib. viii., s. 21, p. 550, and OVID, Metam.
lib. xiii. 1. 517, vol. ii. p. 467), which signifies "The
son of the spotted one," * thereby identifying the
father with Nimrod, whose emblem was the spotted leopard's skin.
As Ninus or Nimrod, was worshipped as the son of his own wife,
and that wife Aurora, the goddess of the dawn, we see how exact
is the reference to Phaethon, when Isaiah, speaking of the King
of Babylon, who was his representative, says, "How art
thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning" (Isa.
xiv. 12). The marriage of Orion with Aurora; in other words, his
setting up as "The kindler of light," or
becoming the "author of fire-worship," is said
by Homer to have been the cause of his death, he having in
consequence perished under the wrath of the gods (Odyss. lib. v.
1. 124, p. 127). 2. That Phaethon was currently
represented as the son of Aurora, the common story, as related by
Ovid, sufficiently proves. While Phaethon claimed to be the son
of Phoebus, or the sun, he was reproached with being only the son
of Merops--i.e., of the mortal husband of his mother Clymene
(OVID, Metam. lib. ii. ll. 179-184, and Note). The story implies
that that mother gave herself out to be Aurora, not in the
physical sense of that term, but in its mystical sense; as "The
woman pregnant with light;" and, consequently, her son
was held up as the great "Light-bringer" who
was to enlighten the world,--"Lucifer, the son of the
morning," who was the pretended enlightener of the
souls of men. * The name Lucifer, in Isaiah, is the very word
from which Eleleus, one of the names of Bacchus, evidently comes.
It comes from "Helel," which signifies "to
irradiate" or "to bring light," and
is equivalent to the name Tithon. Now we have evidence that
Lucifer, the son of Aurora, or the morning, was worshipped in the
very same character as Nimrod, when he appeared in his new
character as a little child; for there is an inscription extant
in these words:-
Puero Phosphoro." (See WILKINSON, vol. iv. p. 410.)
This Phaethon, or Lucifer, who was cast down is further proved
to be Janus; for Janus is called "Pater Matutinus"
(HORACE, Sat. ii. 6, 20, p. 674; and the meaning of this name
will appear in one of its aspects when the meaning of the name of
the Dea Matuta is ascertained. Dea Matuta signifies "The
kindling or Light-bringing goddess," * and accordingly,
by Priscian, she is identified with Aurora: "Matuta,
quoe significat Aurorame" (PRISCIAN, ii. p. 591, apud
Sir WILLIAM BETHAM'S Etruria, vol. ii. p. 53). Matutinus is
evidently just the correlate of Matuta, goddess of the morning;
Janus, therefore, as Matutinus, is "Lucifer, son of the
morning." But further, Matuta is identified with Ino,
after she had plunged into the sea, and had, along with her son
Melikerta, been changed into a sea-divinity (Gradus ad Parnassum,
sub voce "Ino"). Consequently her son Melikerta, "king
of the walled city," is the same as Janus Matutinus, or
Lucifer, Phaethon, or Nimrod.
There is still another link by which Melikerta, the
sea-divinity, or Janus Matutinus, is identified with the
primitive god of the fire-worshippers. The most common name of
Ino, or Matuta, after she had passed through the waters, was
Leukothoe (OVID, Metam. lib. vi. ll. 541, 542). Now, Leukothoe or
Leukothea has a double meaning, as it is derived either form "Lukhoth,"
which signifies "to light," or "set
on fire," * or from Lukoth "to glean."
In the Maltese medal given (ante, p. 160), the reader will see
both of these senses exemplified. The ear of corn, at the side of
the goddess, which is more commonly held in her hand, while
really referring in its hidden meaning to her being the Mother of
Bar, "the son," to the uninitiated exhibits
her as Spicilega, or "The Gleaner,"--"the
popular name," says Hyde (De Religione, Vet. Pers., p.
392), "for the female with the ear of wheat represented
in the constellation Virgo." In Bryant (vol. iii. p.
245), Cybele is represented with two or three ears of corn in her
hand; for, as there were three peculiarly distinguished
Bacchuses, there were consequently as many "Bars,"
and she might therefore be represented with one, two, or three
ears in her hand. But to revert to the Maltese medal just
referred to, the flames coming out of the head of Lukothea, the "Gleaner,"
show that, though she has passed through the waters, she is still
Lukhothea, "the Burner," or "Light-giver."
And the rays around the mitre of the god on the reverse entirely
agree with the character of that god as Eleleus, or Phaethon--in
other words, as "The Shining Bar." Now, this "Shining
Bar," as Melikerta, "king of the walled
city," occupies the very place of "Ala-Mahozim,"
whose representative the Poe is elsewhere (ante, p. 252) proved
to be. But he is equally the Sea-divinity, who in that capacity
wears the mitre of Dagon (compare woodcuts, pp. 160 and 216,
where different forms of the same Maltese divinity are given).
The fish head mitre which the Pope wears shows that, in this
character also, as the "Beast from the sea," he
is the unquestionable representative of Melikerta.