Mesopotamian storm-god of Akkad, known as Hadad in Syria, Phoenicia and Canaan. He is the same as Ishkur, the storm-god of Sumer. His cult dates
from the Early Dynastic Period, if not earlier. His power was both beneficial
and destructive, bringing lightning and floods but also fertilizing rain. Like many
sky- and storm-gods he holds a lightning-fork (see THUNDERBOLT). On Akkadian
cylinder seals he stands on a hybrid, dragon-like creature; in the neo-Assyrian
period, on a BULL, which is the god's zoomorphic form and also a symbol of his
power. He may wear a horned cap (see HORN), which is sometimes surmounted
by the Mesopotamian type of solar disk (see SUN). In neo-Assyrian reliefs he
may be represented by the sun symbol alone. The Hittite storm-god Teshub, who
was Adad under another name, may have, besides the lightning-fork and bull,
an AXE or MACE.Ages of Man.
Theme known in antiquity and revived at the end of the Middle
Ages. The number varies from three to twelve, usually three: childhood, youth
and old age; occasionally seven, when they may be linked to the planetary deities. Always implicit is the idea of the transitory nature of youth and beauty and
the inevitability of death (cf. VANITAS). Children at play and loving couples represent the first two; the third is an old man with a SKULL, or counting COINS. A
fourth sometimes follows the lovers, a soldier in ARMOUR or a man holding
COMPASSES, that is, learning his craft. The four ages are sometimes linked to the
FOUR SEASONS; twelve to the TWELVE MONTHS. In Titian's allegory of Prudence
youth, maturity and old age symbolize past, present and future.Ages of the World.
Hindu, Persian and Greek myths all tell how the world
evolved through a sequence of ages. They marked the stages in the decline of
the human condition from primal innocence to misfortune and woe. Certain
similarities suggest a common origin, probably Aryan. In both Hindu and Greek
the ages (Hindu, yuga
) are called Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron.
ages are most often numbered four to one (krita
), after the
four-sided dice used by Indian gamblers. Only in Persia is mankind finally delivered, by a righteous god (but see KALKIN). The Greek myth, the only one to
produce a significant iconography, is first told by Hesiod (who introduces a
Heroic age after Bronze).
It was adapted by Ovid,
whose version was the principal source used by artists. The subject seems to be unknown in antiquity but
became popular from the end of the Middle Ages. From the early 17th cent. the
older narrative scenes were replaced by allegorical figures with appropriate
attributes, derived from a newly published mythographical dictionary.
ages were the usual number:
|Golden Age: Pastoral landscape; men, women and animals mingle peacefully.
Cupid steals a HONEYCOMB. Shells used for cups and platters. 17th cent.— CORNUCOPIA or OLIVE branch, BEEHIVE.|
|Silver Age : Ploughing and sowing, humble dwellings being built. The figure
of Justice, one of the FOUR CARDINAL VIRTUES, with sword and scales, surveys
the scene. 17th cent. - PLOUGH, sheaf of CORN, a primitive hut.|
|Iron Age: Soldiers looting, violating women and children, and slaying a LAUREL-crowned female (personifying learning and the arts). 17th cent. — SWORD, |