Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism
by Thomas Inman, M.D. (1874)
Pagan and Christian symbolism
Is a copy of figures given in Bryant's Ancient Mythology, plates xiii., xxviii., third edition, 1807.
The first two illustrate the story of Palemon and Getus, introducing the dolphin. That fish is symbolic of the female, in consequence of the assonance in Greek between its name and that of the womb, delphis and delphus. The tree symbolises the arbor vitæ, the life-giving sprout; and the ark is a symbol of the womb.
The third figure, where a man rests upon a rock and dolphin, and toys with a mother and child, is equally suggestive. The male is repeatedly characterised as a rock, hermes, menhir, tolmen, or upright stone, the female by the dolphin, or fish. The result of the junction of these elements appears in the child, whom both parents welcome.
The fourth figure represents two emblems of the male creator, a man and trident, and two of the female, a dolphin and ship.
The two last figures represent a coin of Apamea, representing Noah and the ark, called Cibotus. Bryant labours to prove that the group commemorates the story told in the Bible respecting the flood, but there is strong doubt whether the story was not of Babylonian origin. The city referred to was in Phrygia, and the coin appears to have been struck by Philip of Macedon. The inscription round the head is [—Greek inscription—]
See Ancient Faiths, second edition, Vol. ii.., pp. 128, and 885-892.