The Great Pan Is Dead


EVERYONE HAS ONCE READ, for it comes up many times in literature, of that pilot in the reign of Tiberius, who, as he was sailing along in the Aegean on a quiet evening, heard a loud voice announcing that "Great Pan was dead." This engaging myth was interpreted in two contradictory ways. On the one hand, it announced the end of paganism: Pan with his pipes, the demon of still sun-drenched noon, the pagan god of glade and pasture and the rural idyll, had yielded to the supernatural. On the other hand the myth has been understood as telling of the death of Christ in the 19th year of Tiberius: the Son of God who was everything from Alpha to Omega was identified with Pan = "All." [n1 O. Weinreich ("Zum Tode des Grossen Pan," ARW 13 [1910] pp. 467-73) has collected the evidence for such strange notions, first found in 1549 (Guillaume Bigot), then three years later in Rabelais' Pantagruel, and ridiculed in later times, e.g., by Fontenelle, in the beginning of the 18th century: "Ce grand Pan qui meurt sous Tibere, aussi bien que Jesus-Christ, est le Maistre des Demons, dont l'Empire est ruine par cette mort d'un Dieu si salutaire a l'Univers; ou si cette explication ne vous plaist pas, car enfin on peut sans impieté donner des sens contraires a une mesme chose, quoy qu'elle regarde la Religion; ce grand Pan est Jesus-Christ luy-mesme, dont la mort cause une douleur et une consternation generale parmy leg Demons, qui ne peuvent plus exercer leur tirannie sur les hommes. C'est ainsi qu'on a trouve moyen de donner a ce grand Pan deux faces bien differentes" (Weinreich, PP.472-73).].


Here is the story, as told by a character in Plutarch's dialogue "On why oracles came to fail" (419 B-E):


The father of Aemilianus the orator, to whom some of you have listened, was Epitherses, who lived in our town and was my teacher in grammar. He said that once upon a time in making a voyage to Italy he embarked on a ship carrying freight and many passengers.




it was already evening when, near the Echinades Islands, the wind dropped and the ship drifted near Paxi. Almost everybody was awake, and a good many had not finished their after-dinner wine.


Suddenly from the island of Paxi was heard the voice of someone loudly calling Thamus, so that all were amazed. Thamus was an Egyptian pilot, not known by name even to many on board. Twice he was called and made no reply, but the third time he answered; and the caller, raising his voice, said, "When you come opposite to Palodes, announce that Great Pan is dead." On hearing this, all, said Epitherses, were astounded and reasoned among themselves whether it were better to carry out the order or to refuse to meddle and let the matter go. Under the circumstances Thamus made up his mind that if there should be a breeze, he would sail past and keep quiet, but with no wind and a smooth sea about the place he would announce what he had heard. So, when he came opposite Palodes, and there was neither wind nor wave, Thamus from the stern, looking toward the land, said the words as he heard them: "Great Pan is dead." Even before he had finished there was a great cry of lamentation, not of one person, but of many, mingled with exclamations of amazement. As many persons were on the vessel, the story was soon spread abroad in Rome, and Thamus was sent for by Tiberius Caesar. Tiberius became so convinced of the truth of the story that he caused an inquiry and investigation to be made about Pan; and the scholars, who were numerous at his court, conjectured that he was the son born of Hermes and Penelope.


Plutarch has not been accepted, and a "simple" explanation was suggested. As the ship drifted along shore by a coastal village, the passengers were struck by the ritual outcry and lamentations made over the death of Tammuz-Adonis, the so-called grain god, as was common in the Middle East in high summer. Other confused shouts were understood by the pilot Thamus as directed to him [n2 See F. Liebrecht, Des Gervasius von Tilbury Otia Imperialia (1856) pp. 179-80; J. G. Frazer, The Dying God (Golden Bough 3), pp. 7f.]. Out of that, gullible fantasy embroidered the tale, adding details for credibility as usual. This sounded good enough. The story had been normalized, that is, disposed of as insignificant.


One is still allowed to wonder why such a fuss was made at the time about exclamations which must have been familiar to contemporaries, and why, unless Plutarch be a liar, that most learned of mythologists, the Emperor Tiberius himself, thought the matter worth following up.




Therefore, with all due respect for the scholars involved, it is worth trying a different tack. One can assume that it was not all background noise, as we say today, but that there was an actual message filtered through: "The Great Pan is dead," Pan ho megas tethneke, and that it was Thamus who had to announce it.


It was enough of a message for Tiberius' committee of experts (philologoi) to decide that it referred to Pan, the son of Penelope and of Hermes, number 3 in Cicero's list given in De natura deorum 3.56 [n3 Tertius Jove tertio natus et Maia, ex quo et Penelopa Pana natum ferunt. cf. also Herodotus 2.145]. Penelope, whoever she really was, must have had quite a life after the events narrated in the Odyssey [n4 As concerns the version according to which Pan was the son of Penelope and all the suitors, Preller remarks (Griechische Mythologie [1964], vol. 1, p. 745): "the repulsive myth."]. Mythology seems to have been a careful science in those circles.


If it is decided to credit the message, one is led to consider a number of similar stories, some of them collected by Jacob Grimm, but the bulk by Mannhardt [n5 J. Grimm, TM, pp. 453n., 1413f.; cf. pp. 989, 1011-12 ("The Devil's dead, and anyone can get to heaven unhindered"); W. Mannhardt, Wald- und Feldkulte, vol. 1 (1875), pp. 89-93; vol. 2 (1877), pp. 148ff.]. They are strictly on the level of folktale, which at least preserved their innocence from literate interference. There is a whole set of stories from the Tyrol concerning the "Fanggen," a kind of "Little People" (or giants), dryads or tree spirits whose existence is bound to trees, so that the felling of such a tree would annihilate a Fangga. They were once willing to live with peasants in the form of servant maids and would bring blessings to the home [n6 Generally, however, they are claimed to show rather revolting habits, such as eating children or disposing of them in another peculiar manner, as, for instance, pulverizing them into snuff. Thus, of one Fangga it is said: "Wenn sie kleine Buben zu fassen bekam, so schnupfte sie dieselben, wie Schnupftabak in ihre Nase, oder rieb sie an alten durren Baumen, die von stechenden Aesten starrten, his sie zu Staub geraspelt waren." It seems to be a very deep-seated desire of "higher powers" to change divine or human beings into powder and dust.], but would also vanish unaccountably. A favorite story is that of the master of the house coming home and telling the family of a strange message that he has heard from a voice, such as "Yoke-bearer, yoke-bearer, tell the Ruchrinden [Rough-bark] that Giki-Gaki is dead on the Hurgerhorn," or "Yoke-bearer, yoke-bearer, tell the Stutzkatze [also Stutzamutza, i.e., Docked Cat] Hochrinde [High-bark] is dead." At which point the housemaid breaks into a loud lament and runs away forever.




Or it might be that while the family was sitting at dinner, a voice called three times through the window: "Salome, come!" and the maid vanished. This story has a sequel: some years later a butcher was coming home at midnight from Saalfelden through a gorge, when a voice called to him from the rocky wall: "Butcher, when you come to such and such a place [zur langen Unkener Wand], call into the crack in the rock: 'Salome is dead.'" Before dawn the man had come to that point, and he shouted his message three times into the crack. And at once there came from the depths of the mountain much howling and lamentations, so that the man ran home in fear. Sometimes the message delivered is followed by the "flyting" of whole tribes of Little People: it was their "king" whose death had been announced [n7 "No is Pippe Kong dod" (Schleswig); otherwise "Konig Knoblauch" (King Garlic), "King Urban"; "Hipelpipel is dead" (Lausitz); "Mutter Pumpe is tot" (Hessen). Cf. Grimm, p. 453; K. Simrock, Handbuch der Deutschen Mythologie (1869),§ 125, pp. 416f.; F. Liebrecht, Zur Volkskunde (1879), p. 257n., who gives additional references. See also P. Herrmann, Deutsche Mythologie (1898), pp. 89f.]. It is remarkable that in most of the cases registered, the master was addressed as "Yoke-bearer." No one knows why. But the wild woodmaid invariably vanished.


Felix Liebrecht speaks of the ways of certain ghostly werewolves, the "Lubins," that haunted medieval Normandy. These timid ghosts hunted in a pack, but to little point, for instead of turning on the intruder, they would disperse at the slightest noise, howling: "Robert est mort, Robert est mort." [n8 Liebrecht, Zur Volkskunde, p. 257n.]. This meaningless yarn gains perspective once its trail is followed back to the "Wolf ­Mountain" in Arcadia and the Lycaean "Wolf-games"—the parent-festival of the Lupercalia in Rome—held on this Mountain Lykaios. Pan is said to have been born here [n9 Pindar frg. 100 (68); Rhea had borne Zeus there also (Paus. 8.38.2f.), and on top of the mountain was a temenos of Zeus, where nothing and nobody cast a shadow], and here he had a sanctuary. Here also Zeus tilted a "table" –whence the place had the name Trapezous—because Lykaon had served him a dish of human meat,




consisting of his own son. Zeus turned Lykaon into a werewolf, and in tilting the "table" caused the Flood of Deukalion, the "table," of course, being the earth-plane through the ecliptic. This is the significant event of the tale, and the whole is so long no sensible person would try to summarize it.


Next, there is the case of Robert, known as Robert le Diable, allegedly a historical character who was supposed to have spells as a werewolf and then to do penance by "lying in the guise of a dog under the ladder." And thereby hangs the puzzle of the dynasty of the Scaligeri in Verona (we all remember Prince Escalus in Romeo and Juliet) whose powerful founder was Can Grande della Scala, "Great Dog of the Ladder," who became a host to Dante wandering in exile, and a patron of the Divine Comedy. His successors, Mastino, Cansignorio, had dog names too [n10 See O. Hofler, "Cangrande van Verona und das Hundesymbol der Langobarden," in Festschrift Fehrle (1940), pp. 107-37.]. Now, for the purposes of this essay, this is the end of this line of approach, except for two hints for the future. First, Pythagoras called the planets "the dogs of Persephone." Second, there is only one huge ladder, the Galaxy, and only one canine character lying under this ladder, Sirius. But at this point we are only ringing bells at random.


What matters here is the tenacious survival of motifs in simple surroundings. Moving one step down in folklore, there is a story spread all over northern Europe (Mannhardt 1, 93) of which this is the English version (the end is from a German variant). A clowder of cats have met in an abandoned broken-down house, where a man is watching them unobserved. A cat jumps on the wall and cries: "Tell Dildrum that Doldrum is dead." The man goes home and tells his wife. The house cat jumps up and yowls: "Then I am king of cats!" and vanishes up the chimney.

his is how the "body" of tradition survives the death of its "soul," fractured, with all ideas gone, preserved like flies in amber. Greek gods have become cats and housemaids among illiterate folk; the Powers pass, but the information remains. By checking on the repeats, one has the message of the Voice in the canonic form: "Wanderer, go tell Dildrum that the Great Doldrum is dead."




The bearer of the message may be an unknown pilot, a passerby, an animal, a watcher. The substance is that a Power has passed away, and that the succession is open. The cosmos has in its own way registered some key event.


For another example of hardly credible survival, there are also the findings of Leopold Schmidt on "Pelops and the Hazel Witch," [n11 "Pelops und die Haselhexe," Laos 1 (1951), pp. 67-78.] a collection of tales from the Alpine valleys of Southern Tyrol. It is again about housemaids among peasants. The story goes that a farm servant accidentally watches the dinner of some witches, in which a housemaid is boiled and consumed by her fellow witches. A rib is thrown at the young man, and when after the meal the witches rebuild and revive the girl, this rib is missing and has to be replaced by a hazel branch. At the very moment that the farmhand tells his master that his housemaid is a hazel witch, the housemaid dies. This is no witch hazel trick—it is simply a rehearsing of the archaic tale of Pelops, son of Tantalos, the Titan, who had been boiled and served for dinner by his evil father at the table of the gods. The gods, it is said, kept away from the food that looked suspicious, all except for Demeter, who, lost in her grief for the death of Persephone, absently ate a shoulder blade believing it to be mutton. The gods brought the child back to life. But a shoulder blade was missing and it was replaced by ivory. Pelops went on to become a famous hero, from whom the Peloponnesos was named, and he won the foot race at Olympia from King Oinomaos, thus inaugurating the Olympian games. The two are portrayed before the race on the metope of the temple of Zeus in Olympia. Oinomaos stands there looking stuffy, Pelops relaxed, and above the two the great figure of Apollo with arms outstretched, as if to consecrate the event. But Olympia became holy because it was the site where Zeus overcame his father Kronos [n12 Paus. 5.7.10. It is not from mere "religious" motifs that "in the hippodrome the pillar which marked the starting point had beside it an altar of the Heavenly Twins" (Pind. Olympian Odes 3.36; Paus. 5.15); cf. F. M. Cornford in Harrison (Themis [1962], p. 228); see also above, pp. 206f. n. 5, for the Circus Maximus in Rome.] and threw him down out of the royal chariot.




Near Olympia you can see the Kronion hill, which still bears the imprint of the celestial posterior. Exeunt the official characters. Only the great Olympic Games remained an "international" event which took place every four years and became the Greek way of counting time. What has all that to do with a little fairy housemaid in the Austrian Alps, thousands of years later? Nothing at first glance, and yet, if one dug deeper into the story of this shoulder blade, there would be a good case history to be made [n13 There is not only "moskhou omon chryseion," the golden shoulder of the ox in the hands of Mithras (Egyptian Maskheti, the Bull's Thigh, Ursa Major), and Humeri, an antiquated Latin name of Orion, as we know from Varro; the highest god, Amma, of the West Sudanese Dogon (or the Clarias senegalensis, the shadfish, an avatar of the Dogon's "Moniteur Faro," whose emblem is the very same as that of ithyphallic Min, the Egyptian Pan) carries in his humeri the first "eight grains," and these 8 sorts of grain (stereotypically including beans) play their cosmogonic role from the Dogon to China (cf. for another striking similarity of West Sudan and China, the chapter on the "shamanistic" drums, but there are many more). There is also the tale from modern Greece (see J. G. von Hahn, Griechische und Albanische Marchen [1918], vol. 1, pp. 181-84) of the "Son of the shoulder-blade," one of those "Strong Boys" who, after adventures in spirit land, grinds his mother to porridge on a hand mill. How these and other traditions are connected with the shoulder blade oracle, if they are connected at all, cannot be made out yet.]. Tradition goes on tenaciously, even through ages of submerged knowledge. At least, by now, some distance has been made well away from the fertility rites of Frazer and others, which accounted for things too patly. This is an important gain.


Returning to Plutarch's text the dialogue's chatty style gives an impression of casualness, but in these matters Plutarch usually knew more than he cared to discuss. There was a pilot, a kybernetes, giving an announcement from the stern deck (prumne) of his ship. These details seem not to be casual. For there is one stern and one pilot which cannot be overlooked in mythology. The stern is that of the constellation Argo, a ship which consists of a stern and little else. It is understood to be the Ship of the Dead with Osiris on board (he is the strategos of the ship, according to Plutarch's Isis and Osiris 359 EF), and the Pilot star in the stern is Canopus itself, the site of the great Babylonian god Ea (Sumerian Enki) , its name in Sumerian being mulNUNki, and Enki is the father of Tammuz, which might lead back to the trail.




But the striking thing is that Mesopotamian Canopus bears the name "Yoke-star of the Sea" [n14 See P. F. Gassmann, Planetarium Babylonicum (1950), 281; J. Schaumberger, in Kugler's 3. Erganzungsheft (1935), p. 325, and n. 2 (one version: the "yoke of Ea"); P. Jensen, Die Kosmologie der Babylonier (1890), pp. 16ff., 25; F. Boll—C. Bezold, Farbige Sterne (1916), p.121.]—the "Yoke-star of the Sky" being Draco. Here then there is a death fate, a pilot, and a yoke-bearer in an unsuspected but suggestive complex. Dealing with such profound experts of archaic myth as Plato and Plutarch, one is not likely to overlook the "Egyptian king Thamus" in Phaedrus (274C-­275B, see below, chapter XXIII), who drives it home to Thot-Hermes, who was very proud of just having invented writing, that this new art was an extremely questionable gain. It must have been a mighty "king" who dared to criticize Mercury's merits. But then, the chapter on the Galaxy and the fall of Phaethon will have shown that geographical terms are not to be taken at their face value, least of all "Egypt," a synonym of the ambiguous Nile.


To find something more about the substance of the message we shall move many centuries back, to a text certainly ancient, but of undetermined date. It is the so-called "Nabataean Agriculture" which has little to do with farming but much to do with agrarian rites. The author, Ibn Wa'shijja, claimed to have derived it from an almost primordial Chaldean source [n15 Actually, he (and others) claimed that the book was written by three (or even more) authors, namely Ssagrit, Janbushad, and Qutama. The first living in the seventh thousand of the 7000 years of Saturn—which he ruled together with the Moon—the second at the end of the same millennium, the third appeared after 4000 years of the 7000-year cycle of the Sun had passed; so that between the beginning and the end of the book 18,000 solar years have passed (according to Maqrizi). See D. Chwolson, Die Ssabier und der Ssabismus (1856), vol. I, pp. 705f. (cf. p. 822 for the special alphabet used by Janbushad). So we are up to another "Tris-megistos," three times great, not just "thrice." Time is involved. Hermes is repeated three times historically.]. Modern critics have decided it was a fabrication of uncertain origin, a so-called falsification. Whatever else it may be, original it is not. Such things are built out of traditional material. Maimonides judged it worth quoting at length, Chwolson and Liebrecht analyzed it, comparing it with An-Nadim's report on the Tammuz festival of the Harranians, held in the month of July and called el-Buqat, the "weeping women." [n16 Chwolson, vol. 2, pp. 27f., 207, 209.]. Here first is a passage studied by Liebrecht [n17 Zur Volkskunde, pp. 2Sd.]:




It is said that once the Sakain (angels) and the images of the gods lamented over Janbushad, just as all Sakain had lamented over Tammuz. The tale goes that the images of the gods gathered from all corners of the earth in the temple of the Sun, around the great golden image, which hung between heaven and earth. The great image of the Sun was in the middle of the temple, surrounded by the images of the Sun from everywhere, and also by the images of the Moon, then those of Mars, then those of Mercury, of Jupiter, of Venus, and finally of Saturn


[n18 Let us note that the planets are not given in the astronomical order of their periods, but in the order given by the heptagram, which describes the days of the week.].


Chwolson's part of the text goes on:


This idol (that hung between earth and heaven) fell down at this point and began to lament Tammuz and to recount his story of sorrows. Then all the idols wept and lamented through the night; but on the rising of the morning star, they flew off and returned to their own temples in all corners of the world.


Such is the story which, Liebrecht says, was rehearsed in the temples after prayers, with more weeping and lamentations. This is then the archaic setting. It concerns planetary gods, the great cult of Harran. Two of them stand out, almost ex aequo: Tammuz and Janbushad. Now this latter is no other than Firdausi's Jamshyd [n19 See Liebrecht, p. 25In: "The Babylonian Izdubar [= Gilgamesh] is called by Ibn Wa'shijja's Book on the Nabataean Agriculture 'Janla-Shad' (Janbushad) , i.e. Jamshid . . . Thus Rawlinson in Athenaeum December 7, 1872."]. It has been seen already (p. 146) that Jamshyd is in Avestic Yima xsaeta, the name from which came Latin Saturnus. There is no question then, this is about Saturn/Kronos, the God of the Beginning, Yima (Indian Yama), the lord of the Golden Age. A lament over the passing of Kronos would have been in order even in Greece [n20 Cf. the report by Plutarch (Isis and Osiris 363E) on Egypt: There is also a religious lament sung over Cronus. The lament is for him that is born in the regions of the left, and suffers dissolution in the regions on the right; for the Egyptians believe that the eastern regions are the face of the world, the northern the right, and the southern to the left. The Nile, therefore, which runs from the south and is swallowed up by the sea in the north, is naturally said to have its birth on the left and its dissolution on the right." Kronos having been the ruler of "galactical times" (Geb "inside" Nut), this makes more sense than meets the eye. See also chapter XIII, "Of Time and the Rivers."] since he had been dethroned and succeeded by Zeus.




But who was Tammuz? The grain god dying with the season, the rural Adonis, would hardly fit into such exalted company. Now it is clear he was astronomical first of all. So much has been written about his fertility rites that it took time to locate the real date, given by Cumont [n21 "Adonis et Sirius," Extrait des Melanges Glotz, vol. 1 (1932), pp. 257-64. But see for the different dates of the Adonia, F. K. Movers, Die Phonizier (1841), vol. 1, pp. 195-218, esp. p. 205.]. The lament over Adonis-Tammuz did not fall simply in "late summer": it took place in the night between July 19 and 20, the exact date which marked the opening of the Egyptian year, and remained to determine the Julian calendar. For 3000 years it had marked the heliacal rising of Sirius.


Tammuz was extremely durable, for he is found in Sumer as Dumuzi, already the object of the midsummer lamentations. It was seen that he was worshiped as the son of Enki, who was the Sumerian Kronos. The cult went on in Harran as late as the 13th century, long after Mohammedanism had engulfed the Ssabian population. Notwithstanding the severe displeasure of the Caliph of Baghdad, it went through sporadic but intense revivals in an area that spread from Armenia to Quzistan [n22 See Liebrecht, Gervasius von Tilbury, pp. 180-82; Zur Volkskunde, pp. 253ff.; W. Robertson Smith, The Religion of the Semites (1957), p. 412 (lamentations over "the king of the Djinns," and over "Uncud, Son of the grape cluster").]. As mentioned, the celebration was called el-Buqat, "the weeping women." And the lament was mainly over the god who was cruelly killed by being ground between millstones, just like John Barleycorn in the rhyme we quoted earlier [n23 It was Felix Liebrecht who first felt reminded of John Barleycorn.]:


They roasted o'er a scorching fire

The marrow of his bones

But a miller used him worst of all

For he ground him between two stones.




What kind of grinding could it have been? Surely, the lament referred in popular consciousness to the death of a corn god, called also Adonis (the Lord), slain by a wild boar, but the celestial aspect is predominant compared with the agrarian one, and more ancient, too; the more so as that "wild boar" was Mars [n24 See Nonnos 41.208ff. on Aphrodite: "Being a prophet, she knew, that in the shape of a wild boar, Ares with jagged tusk and spitting deadly poison was destined to weave fate for Adonis in jealous madness." Cf. for the other sources, Movers, vol. 1, pp. 222ff.].


This leaves a knotted story to untangle. It is hampered considerably by too many "identifications" taken for granted by the scholars who with magnificent zeal have extirpated the dimension of time in the whole mythology. Actually, it is not known yet who Tammuz is [n25 To give tiniest minima only: Tammuz = Saturn (Jeremias in Roscher s.v. Sterne, col. 1443); Tammuz = Mars (W. G. Baudissin, Adonis und Esmun [1911], p. 117, quoting the Chronicle of Barhebraeus). For the unheard-of number of names given to "Tammuz" in Mesopotamia, see M. Witzel, Tammuz-Liturgien (1935). For his name "Dragon of the Sky" (Usungal-an-na) = Sin (the Moon) see K. Tallqvist, Akkadische Gotterepitheta (1938), p. 482; see also p. 464, where Tammuz = "Mutterschafbild" ("mothersheep-image").]. He looks almost like a title, just as "Horus" was a title. There is doubt of his "identity" -as taken in the current sense-with Adonis, and with Osiris [n26 It is worth noticing that the death of Osiris, in his turn, was announced by "the Pans and Satyrs who lived in the region around Chemmis (=Panopolis), and so, even to this day, the sudden confusion and consternation of a crowd is called a panic" (Plutarch: Isis and Osiris, c. 14, 356D).], Attis, Balder [n27 All the gods of the North came together, in best "Nabataean" fashion, to weep over Balder's death.], and others. The "Nabataean Agriculture" leaves no doubt that there were lamentations over Tammuz and Janbushad/ Jamshyd. The Egyptians lamented on account of Kronos and Maneros [n28 We leave aside, though, the cases Linos, Maneros, Memnon, Bormos, etc. See Movers, vol.1, p.244.] (Herodotus 2.79).   Tammuz, after all, is not the only star who came to fall in the course of the Precession. (And was not King Frodhi a repetition of Freyr, Kai Khusrau a repetition of Jamshyd, as Apis was the repetition of Ptah [the Egyptian Saturn-Hephaistos], and Mnevis that of Ra?)


This is a long way from Great Pan, and it is not clear yet who or what was supposed to have passed away in the time of Tiberius, that is, which "Pan." Creuzer [n29 Symbolik und Mythologie der Alten Volker (1842), vol. 4, pp. 65ff.] claimed right away that he was Sirius—and any suggestion from Creutzer still carries great weight—the first star of heaven and the kingpin of archaic astronomy.




And Aristotle says (Rhet. 2.14, 1401 a 15) that, wishing to circumscribe a "dog," one was permitted to use "Dog-star" (Sirius) or Pan, because Pindar states him to be the "shape-shifting dog of the Great Goddess" (O makar, honte megalas theou kyna pantodapon kaleousin Olympioi) [n30 See also Plato's Cratylus408B: ton Pana tou Hermou einai hyon diphye echei to eikos.]. But this is far enough for now. The amazing significance of Sirius as leader of the planets, as the eighth planet [n31 Creuzer takes Pan-Sirius for Eshmun/Shmun, "the eighth," great god of Chemmis], so to speak, and of Pan, the dance-master (choreutes) as well as the real kosmokrator, ruling over the "three worlds," [n32 Cf. the Orphic Hymn to Pan (no. 11; see also Hymn 34.25): Pana kala krateron, nomion, kosmoio to sympan/ ouranon ede thalassan ide chthona pam­basileian/ kai pyr athanaton . . . Echous phile . . . pantophyes, genetor panton, polyonyme daimon/ kosmokrator . . . As concerns his love for Echo, Macrobius (Sat. 1.22.7) explains it as harmony of the spheres: quod significat harmoniam caeli, quae soli arnica est, quasi sphaerarum omnium de quibus nascitur moderatori, nec tamen potest nostris umquam sensibus deprehendi. But then, Macrobius was the first among the "sun-struck" mythologists, harmlessly claiming Saturn and Jupiter and everybody else, including Pan, to be the Sun. It is not the echo itself which is the harmony of the spheres but the syrinx—Pan makes it out of the reeds into which his beloved Echo had changed—and the seven reeds of Pan's pipe are indeed the seven planets, the shortest representing the Moon, the longest Saturn. (It is worth consideration that in China the echo was understood as the acoustical pendant to the shadow, so that under the pillar or tree, in the very center of the world, the kien-mu, there is no echo and no shadow.)] would take a whole volume. The important point is that the extraordinary role of Sirius is not the product of the fancy of silly pontiffs, but an astronomical fact. During the whole 3000-year history of Egypt Sirius rose every fourth year on July 20 of the Julian calendar. In other words, Sirius was not influenced by the Precession, which must have led to the conviction that Sirius was more than just one fixed star among others. And so when Sirius fell, Great Pan was dead.


Now, Creuzer had no monopoly on deriving from Egypt the ideas connected with Pan, nor has the derivation been invented independently here. W. H. Roscher undertook this task in his article on "The Legend of the Death of the Great Pan," [n33 "Die Legende vom Tode des Grossen Pan," in Fleckeisens Jahrbucher fur Hassische Philologie (1892), pp. 465-77. Referring to the "Panic" element in Mannhardt's stories about the Fanggen, Roscher declares it "an accidentally similar motif."] being convinced that the myth could not be understood by means of Greek Ideas and opinions, the less so, as Herodotus (2.145) informs us of the following:




In Greece, the youngest of the gods are thought to be Heracles, Dionysos, and Pan; but in Egypt Pan is very ancient, and once one of the "eight gods" who existed before the rest [n34 Archaiotatos kai ton okton ton proton legoumenon theon]; HeracIes is one of the "twelve" who appeared later, and Dionysos one of the third order who were descended from the twelve. I have already mentioned the length of time which by the Egyptian reckoning elapsed between the coming of Heracles and the reign of Amasis; Pan is said to be still more ancient, and even Dionysos, the youngest of the three, appeared, they say, 15000 years before Amasis. They claim to be quite certain of these dates, for they have always kept a careful written record of the passage of time. But from the birth of Dionysos, the son of Semele, daughter of Cadmus, to the present day is a period about 1600 years only; from Heracles, the son of Alcmene, about 900 years; from Pan, the son of Penelope—he is supposed by the Greeks to be the son of Penelope and Hermes—not more than about 800 years, a shorter time than has elapsed since the Trojan war [n35 Cf. A. Wiedemann, Herodots zweites Buch (1890), pp. 515-18.].


These details are given, without meddling with them, in order to draw attention to the modest numbers; whoever takes these elapsed years for historical ones [n36 See J. Marsham, Canon chronicus Aegypticus, Ebraicus, Graecus (1672), p. 9: "Immensa Aegyptiorum chronologia astronomica est, neque res gestas sed motus coelestes designat!" See also Ideler (Beobachtungen, 1806), p. 93, Apart from the sensible 17th century, at the beginning of the 19th century still, the progressive delusion was remarkably underdeveloped.], presupposes a special Egyptian (and Babylonian, Indian, etc.) frame of mind, a human nature, in fact, which is fundamentally different from ours, forgetting that we are all members of the very same species, Homo sapiens.




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