PART 2 – Ch.XIV.13

(KION OURANOU. The Sky Column on Atlas Mountain

in the country of the Hyperboreans)

 

PART 2

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XIV. 13. Prometheus (Mithra) as theos ex petras, invictus de petra natus, in Romanian carols.

 

During the Graeco-Roman antiquity there still existed a legend connected to the Pelasgian theology from the Danube, which treated the birth of the god Mithra (Prometheus) from stone, called in dogmatic sense theos ex petras (Firmicus, De err. prof. rel. c. 20), invictus de petra natus (Commodianus, Ed. Migne, Patr. curs. ser. prim. lat. V. 210-211).

Various statues and bas-reliefs from the Roman epoch show Mithra as a youth with long tresses, or with curly hair, naked or clothed in a sort of Daco-Phrygian costume, rising or emerging into light from a stone pillar, while around the pillar is figured a coiled serpent [1].

 

[1. A statue representing the birth of the god MIthra from stone has been discovered at Sarmizegetusa and is reproduced in Arch. Epigr. Mitth. VII. p. 224 and in Kiralyi, Dacia, II. p.343. Other two monuments showing theos ex petras were discovered at Apulum. One of these is reproduced at Hene, Beytrage z. dacischen Geschichte, fig. 13 ].

 

The emergence of Prometheus or Mithra from a pillar of stone refers in fact to the same antique legend communicated by Eschyl.

Mercury, sent by Jove to Prometheus, chained on Pharang, addresses him the following words:

“Firstly the father of gods will shatter with his thunders and the fire of his lightning this corner of Pharang, and will hide your body in a womb of stone, and after a long interval of time you will again come out into the light, and then the winged dog of Jove, the bloodthirsty aquila, will avidly rip pieces from your body and will eat your black liver” (Prometheus vinctus, v. 1016 seqq).

After the doctrine about the birth of the god Mithra from a stone pillar had been established as an absolute religious truth, the Pelasgian theology had attributed a divine character also to the pillar (the creative power). “Petra genetrix” and “Petra genetrix domini” are mentioned as divinities on two inscriptions from Upper Pannonia (C. I. L. III, nr. 4524, 4543).

This cult of Prometheus or Mithra, emerged, or born from a stone pillar is celebrated even today in Romanian carols.

In one of these religious hymns is said that God had been enclosed into a stone pillar, which was on a height, on the lower part of the key of heaven, or in other words, in a stone pillar from the region which the ancient Roman theology called Cardines mundi.

The text of this Romanian carol, which by its contents appears to be very archaic, is the following:

 

High up at the key of heaven, good group was assembled

Only Saints of those saintly, and they read and prophesied [2],

And they read of Good God, but Good God they did not know.

- And Ion Sant – Ion…., from his mouth like this he spoke…

You read, you prophesy, and you read of Good God,

But Good God you do not know, while I come, I know him well,

Down at the key of heaven, in stone pillar he’s locked up.

- When the Saints heard this, all jumped up and flew,

High and higher they soared, with clouds they mingled,

Low and lower they plunged, on pillar of stone they dropped;

When they arrived there, books in hands they took,

And read, and prophesied, for three days and for three nights,

Pillar of stone in four was split, behold Good God escapes

 

   (Communicated by the teacher T. Popescu from the village Rasova, Constanta district)

 

[2. It means that the saints consulted oracle books. As results from this carol, whose essence is epic-theogonic, the Pelasgian tribes from near the Lower Danube had their own sacred books of prophecies.

We also note that Abaris, the renowned priest and prophet of Apollo, had written, according to Suidas, a book of oracles in the Scythian language].

 

As we see, the text of this carol refers to the locking of the god Mithra in the pillar of stone, and his release through the mysterious power of the ancient prayers or sacred formulae (the Latin race had always strongly believed in the miraculous power of the ancient prayers and formulae – Pliny, II.54;XXVIII.3).

Another version refers to theos ex petras in the spirit of later legends, as God born from the stone.

 

A group of small Saints, Lerului Domne, Domn in the sky,

Enquired after Good God, enquired but found him not,

But Ilie [3], well he knows him….and they talked and he told them….

See you that block of stone, from afar drop on it,

From nearby pray, stone in four split,

From there Good God is born, you will know him when he’s born,

On your wings take him, high and higher lift him,

High and higher to the legion, where there’s Saint Ion

 

   (Communicated by the teacher Baiculescu, Baltati village, Ramnicul-Sarat district).

 

[3. Saint Ilie is the god Helios (Sol), whose eternal eye sees everything (Ovid, Met. IV. 120; Homer, Hymn. in Cer. v. 62). In a Romanian carol from Transilvania (Gaz. Trans. Nr. 281, 1899) the divinity of the Sun is invoked under the name “Ilion”].

 

 

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