Excerpts from Hieroglyphika


When they wish to symbolize a god, or something sublime, or something lowly, or superiority, or victory, or Ares, or Aphrodite, they draw a hawk. A god, because the hawk is fecund or long-lived. And again, since it seems to exist as a symbol of the sun, beyond all other birds in the sharpness of its sight, because of the rays of its eyes. And for this reason the physicians use hawkweed for eye-trouble. And since the sun is the lord of sight, they draw him sometimes in the shape of a hawk. And sublime things, since the other birds, when they wish to fly upwards, proceed on a slant, it being impossible for them to rise directly. Only the hawk flies straight upwards. And lowliness, because the other birds cannot fly directly downwards. And superiority, because they seem to be superio to all the other birds. And blood, because it is said this bird drinks not water, but blood. And victory, because this bird seems to conquer every other. For when it is oppressed by a stronger beast, it betakes itself to the air and, turning on its back, prepares for battle with its talons extended. It is impossible for any other anima fighting against it to do this, and thus its opponents are driven to defeat. – 1.6

When they mean Ares and Aphrodite, they draw two hawks. One of which, the male, represents Ares; the female, Aphrodite. For the other animals do not submit to union with the male as the hawk does. For though she is served by the male thirty times in a day, if called by the male, after being withdrawn, she submits again. And therefore the Egyptians call every female who obeys the male Aphrodite. But she who does not so obey, they do not so call. Because of this, they have consecrated the hawk to the sun, for similarly they ascribe the sun thirty sexual unions with a female.

Denoting Ares and Aphrodite in another way, they draw two crows, male and female. For this bird lays two eggs, from which a male and a female are born. And when it happens – which occurs rarely – that two males or two females are hatched, the males joined to females in marriage do not unite with another crow, nor does the female unite with another crow until death, but they finish their lives in solitude. Wherefore when men meet with one female crow, they interpret the augury as meaning that they will lead a celibate life. And the Greeks, because they share this notion, to this very day call out in their ignorance during a marriage, “Ekkori, kori, koronen, Boy, drive away the crows! – 1.8



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