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Beside, the original word, hakany, determineth not the doubt. For that by lexicographers or dictionary interpreters, is rendered suspension and crucifixion, there being no Hebrew word peculiarly and fully expressing the proper word of crucifixion, as it was used by the Romans; nor easy to prove it the custom of the Jewish nation to nail them by distinct parts unto a cross, after the manner of our Saviour crucified; wherein it was a special favour indulged unto Joseph to take down the body.
Lipsius lets fall a good caution to take off doubts about suspension delivered by ancient authors, and also the ambiguous sense of крɛμáσαι among the Greeks. Tale apud Latinos ipsum suspendere, quod in crucem referendum moneo juventutem; as that also may be understood of Seneca, Latrocinium fecit aliquis, quid ergo meruit? ut suspendatur. And this way of crucifying he conceiveth to have been in general use among the Romans, until the latter days of Constantine, who in reverence unto our Saviour abrogated that opprobrious and infamous way of crucifixion. Whereupon succeeded the common and now practised way of suspension.
But long before this abrogation of the cross, the Jewish nation had known the true sense of crucifixion: whereof no nation had a sharper apprehension, while Adrian crucified five hundred of them every day, until wood was wanting for that service. So that they which had nothing but 'crucify' in their mouths, were therewith paid home in their own bodies; early suffering the reward of their imprecations, and properly in the same kind.
Of the Picture of God the Father; of the Sun, Moon, and Winds, with others.
THE picture of the Creator, or God the Father, in the shape
6 Chap. xxii.] The first and second subjects this chapter were Nos. 14 and 15, of chapter xxii. in editions 1672 and 1686. There they were obviously out of their place, occurring in the midst of a very different class of observations. I have therefore removed them: and having found (in No. 1827 of the Sloanian MSS. in the British Museum) some
of an old man, is a dangerous piece, and in this fecundity of sects may revive the anthropomorphites. Which although maintained from the expression of Daniel, "I beheld where the ancient of days did sit, whose hair of his head was like the pure wool;" yet may it be also derivative from the hieroglyphical description of the Egyptians; who to express their eneph or Creator of the world, described an old man in a blue mantle, with an egg in his mouth, which was the emblem of the world. Surely those heathens, that notwithstanding the exemplary advantage in heaven, would endure no pictures of sun or moon, as being visible unto all the world, and needing no representation, do evidently accuse the practice of those pencils that will describe invisibles. And he that challenged the boldest hand unto the picture of an echo, must laugh at this attempt, not only in the description of invisibility, but circumscription of ubiquity, and fetching under lines incomprehensible circularity.
The pictures of the Egyptians were more tolerable, and in their sacred letters more veniably expressed the apprehension of divinity. For though they implied the same by an eye upon a sceptre, by an eagle's head, a crocodile and the like, yet did these manual descriptions pretend no corporal representations, nor could the people misconceive the same unto real correspondencies. So, though the cherub carried some apprehension of divinity, yet was it not conceived to be the shape thereof; and so perhaps, because it is metaphorically predicated of God that he is a consuming fire, he may be harmlessly described by a flaming, representation.
* Certain hereticks who ascribed human figure unto God, after which they conceived he created man in his likeness.
additional instances of mistakes in "pictural draughts," I have formed the two transplanted numbers, together with the hitherto unpublished matter, into a new chapter.
7piece.] This is a very just and worthy censure, and well followed with scorne in the close of this paragraph. St. Paul saw things in a vision which himself could not utter: and therefore they are verye bold with God, who dare to picture him in any shape visible to the eye of mortality, which Daniel himself behelde not, but in a rapture and an extatical vision: unlesse they can answere that staggering question, "To what will you liken me?"-Wr.
St. Augustine censures this impropriety; Ep. cxxii.
Yet if, as some will have it, all mediocrity of folly is foolish, and because an unrequitable evil may ensue, an indifferent convenience must be omitted, we shall not urge such representments; we could spare the Holy Lamb for the picture of our Saviour, and the dove or fiery tongues to represent the Holy Ghost.
2. The sun and moon are usually described with human faces; whether herein there be not a Pagan imitation, and those visages at first implied Apollo and Diana, we may make some doubt; and we find the statue of the sun was framed with rays about the head, which were the indeciduous and unshaven locks of Apollo. We should be too iconomical* to question the pictures of the winds, as commonly drawn in human heads, and with their cheeks distended; which notwithstanding we find condemned by Minutius, as answering poetical fancies, and the Gentile description of Eolus, Boreas, and the feigned deities of winds.
3.8 In divers pieces, and that signal one of Testa, describing Hector dragged by Achilles about the walls of Troy, we find him drawn by cords or fastenings about both his ancles; which notwithstanding is not strictly answerable unto the account of Homer, concerning this act upon Hector, but rather applicable unto that of Hippothous drawing away the body of Patroclus, according to the expression of Homer:
Hippothous pede trahebat in forti pugna per acrem pugnam.
*Or quarrelsome with pictures. Dion. Ep. 7, a, ad Policar. et Pet. Hall. not. in vit. S. Dionys.
8 §3.] The rest of this chapter is now first printed ;-from MS. SLOAN. 1827, 3;-where it is thus prefaced :-"Though some things we have elsewhere delivered of the impropriety, falsity, or mistakes, in pictural draughts, yet to awaken your curiosity, these may be also considered. -In divers pieces, &c."
9 Testa.] Pietro Testa, a painter of Lucca and Rome, drowned 1632, in the Tyber, endeavouring to save his hat, which had been blown off by a gust of wind.-Gr.
For that act performed by Achilles upon Hector is more particularly described:
Amborum retro pedum perforavit tendines
Ad talum usque a calce, bubulaque innexuit lora
So that he bound not these ties about his feet, but made a perforation behind them, through which he ran the thongs, and so dragged him after his chariot: which was not hard to effect; the strength of those tendons being able to hold in that tracture; and is a common way practised by butchers, thus to hang their sheep and oxen.1
This, though an unworthy act, and so delivered by Homer, yet somewhat retaliated the intent of Hector himself towards the body of Patroclus, the intimate of Achilles; and stands excused by Didymus upon the custom of the Thessalians, to drag the body of the homicide unto the grave of their slain friends; and the example of Simon the Thessalian, who thus dealt with the body of Eurodamus, who had before slain his brother.
4. But, not to amuse you with pictures derived from Gentile histories, the draught of Potiphar's lady lying on a bed, and drawing Joseph unto her, seems additional unto the text, nor strictly justifiable from it; wherein it is only said, that, after some former temptation, when Joseph came home to despatch or order his affairs, and there was no man of the house then within, or with him, that she laid hold of his garment and said, "lye with me," without such apt preparations either of nakedness, or being in her bed, or the like opportunities, which pictures thereof have described.
5. The picture of Moses, praying between Hur and Aaron, seems to have miscarried in some draughts; while some omit the rod which he should hold up in his hand; and others describe him on his knees, with his hands supported by them: whereas it is plainly said in the text, that, when Moses was weary of standing, he sat down upon the rock. And therefore, for the whole process, and full representation, there must be more than one draught; the one representing him
1 oxen.] In the royal library at Turin is a curious volume, containing the Iliad, illustrated by the monks. One of the illuminations represents the burial of Hector, and a train of Benedictines assisting in the funeral ceremony.
in station, the other in session, another in genuflexion. And though in this piece Aaron is allowed to be present on the hill at Rephidim, yet may he also challenge a place in the other piece of mount Sinai (wherein he is often omitted), according to the command of God unto Moses: "Thou shalt come up, thou and Aaron with thee; but let not the priests nor the people break through, to come up unto the Lord."
6. The picture of Jael nailing the head of Sisera unto the ground, seems questionable in some draughts; while Sisera is made to lie in a prone posture, and the nail driven into the upper part of the head; whereas it is plainly delivered that Jael struck the nail through his temples, and fastened him to the ground: and which was the most proper and penetrable part of the skull; such as a woman's hand might pierce, driving a large nail through, and longer than the breadth of a head, according to the description,—that she took no ordinary nail, but such as fastened her tent, and pierced his head, and the ground under it.
7. An improper spectacle at a feast, and very incongruous unto the birth-day of a prince, a time of pardon and relaxation, was the head of John the Baptist. More properly, in the noble picture thereof, the hand of Reuben hath left out the person of Herodias, who was not in the room, agreeably unto the delivery of St. Mark; that, after Herod had promised to grant her daughter whatever she would ask, she went out to enquire of her mother, Herodias, what she should demand. And that Salome, or her daughter, brought in the head of John unto Herod, as he was sitting at the table, though it well sets off the picture, is not expressed in the text; wherein is only said that she brought it unto
8. That King Ahasuerus feasted apart from the queen, is confirmable from Scripture account. Whether the queen were present at the fatal feast of Belshazzar seems of greater doubt; forasmuch as it is said in the text, that, upon the fright and consternation of the king, when none of the Chaldeans could read the hand-writing on the wall, the queen came in, and recommended Daniel unto him. But if it be only meant and understood of the queen-mother, the draught may hold, and the licentia pictoria not culpable in that notable piece of Tintoret or Bassano describing the feast of