The Survival of the Pagan Gods: The Mythological Tradition and Its Place in Renaissance Humanism and Art (Bollingen Series XXXVIII)
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Another entry in the Bollingen collection. Bollingen is a series of monographs on art, culture and philosophy.
Publisher's Blurb and Selected Reviews:
The gods of Olympus died with the advent of Christianity--or so we have been taught to believe. But how are we to account for their tremendous popularity during the Renaissance? This illustrated book, now reprinted in a new, larger paperback format, offers the general reader first a discussion of mythology in late antiquity and the Middle Ages, and then a multifaceted look at the far-reaching role played by mythology in Renaissance intellectual and emotional life.
"Such a synthesis has never been attempted before, and the author . . . has performed this much-needed service with exceptional distinction and clarity of purpose."--Art Digest
"Here is a book . . . that tells us what became of the gods after the fall of Rome, in what strange disguises they lived on, and how they emerged in the Quattrocento with odd attributes and symbols the ancients never knew. . . . It is a formidable task, demanding vast learning in many fields; and it is brilliantly performed."--The Times Literary Supplement
and profane, THE HISTORICAL TRADITION 87 Annales histonae illustnwn principum Hanoniae ah initio rerum usque ad annum Christi 1390; partially translated mto French by Jean Wauquelin around 1445, and publisted by E. Sackur, MGH, Scnptores, xxx, pt i (1896). (Cf. cod. 9242 of the Bibliotheque Royale, Brussels; see fig. 6.) 38 The library of Philip the Good contained seventeen volumes destined to disseminate the legend. See Doutrepont, “La litterature frangaise a la cour des dues de Bourgogne,”
superstition and magic, or at the very least became inextricably involved with them. Let us note, furthermore, that this process of “absorption” of the gods by the stars which we have sketched finally resulted in assuring the gods of survival. One might indeed call it a piece of unhoped-for good luck on their side, for the old mythology had long been bankrupt and the Olympians had become mere phantoms. Now, however, a providential shelter is offered them: “the great gods find honorable refuge in
reversal of the true order of things—that is, seeing things not so much according to their essence as acTHE PHYSICAL TRADI TI ON De naturahum effectuum admirandorum ill: “Freiheit und Notwendigkeit.” causis sive de incantationibus (Basel, 1556). 88 Cassirer, op. cit, pp. 116-117. 88 Individuum und Cosmos m der Philosophic 90 Ibid, p. 117. der Renaissance (Leipzig-Berlin, 1927), chap. 91 Ibid., p. 118. 87 60 THE SURVIVAL OF THE PAGAN GODS cording to their worth—and is tantamount to admitting
Mercury, Saturn, Hercules, and Ju piter in their train—are the champions of Virtue. In the sky above, Reason herself takes part in the battle, sheds light on her fellow combatants, and cov110 Engraved by N. Beatrizet, 1545. 37. Wisdom overcoming the vices ers her adversaries with dense clouds.m The edifying intent of the composi tion is still further emphasized by the legend: Discite mortales torn praestant nubibus astra Quarn Ratio igriavis Sancta cupidinibus.m 111 CL, in Mantegna’s
e tnsta lei si truova D*oro a retd, paradiso terrestre E quid il primo secol si rinnuova. (“In that high and wooded place where languorous and sad she dwells— In the Age of Gold, the earthly paradise— There it is that the first century is renewed.*) Cf. the motto: “Le temps revient," vst Conclusiones, xxxi, 8. (‘“Whoever under stands deeply and with intellect the division of the unity of Venus into a trinity of Graces, will find the proper way of advancing into Orphic theology.”) Marsilio