Harpokrates, the god of eternal youth and fecundity, was typified by the figure of a boy holding his tongue, representing all that is ever fresh and young; he is the type of the Vernal Sun, bringing fertility to the land, enabling it to produce both food and drink. He is also frequently represented seated on a Lotus, the symbol of the Sun and fecundity.



Plate 8


Anubis is symbolised as a Jackal-headed god who, in the Egyptian religion, is depicted in the Judgment as weighing the souls of the dead; he is the Guardian of Souls in the under-world.

Gems bearing the figure of Bellerophon mounted on the winged steed Pegasus were believed to confer courage and were much prized by the Greek and Roman soldiers, Bellerophon being reputed to have first taught the art of governing horses with a bridle; this service to mankind and the valour he displayed when he slew the Chimaera, made him a fitting prototype to adorn a warrior's device.

Another engraved Talisman in great favour was the figure of Andromeda, heroine of one of the most romantic and popular of ancient myths. The sea-nymphs, jealous of her beauty, chained her to a rock in mid-ocean, that she might be at the mercy of a vile monster of the deep. But the warrior Perseus slew the monster, and married Andromeda. Her image was thought to promote harmony between lovers and peace between man and wife.

The Salus Ring

The Salus Ring (Illustration No. 112, Plate VIII) was worn by the devotees of Salus, or Hygiea, daughter of Aesculapius, who was worshipped as the goddess of Health. Several holy days were appointed in her honour and worship, and she was publicly invoked for the welfare of the rulers and for the general peace and prosperity of the community; also for an abundant harvest. She is usually represented with a serpent as a tribute to her attainments in the art of medicine, and her symbol was worn for Health and Success in all undertakings, as well as for general Good Fortune.