by Alexander Hislop

Philologos Religious Online Books

Symbols of Nimrod and Baal-Berith

Fig. 36: Symbols of Nimrod and Baal-Berith

From BRYANT: the first figure, the divided bull, is from vol. iii. p. 303; the second, the god on the fish, from the same vol., p. 338. The former is just another symbol of that which is represented by the mighty tree cut asunder (see Christmas and Lady-day). That tree represented Nimrod as "the mighty one" cut in pieces in the midst of his power and glory. The divided man-bull symbolises him as "The prince" who was cut asunder in like manner; for the name for a prince and a bull is the same. The fish over the bull shows the transformation he was supposed to undergo when put to death by his enemies; for the story of Melikerta, who with his mother Ino was cast into the sea, and became a sea-god (SMITH's Class. Dict., "Athamas," p. 100), is just another version of the story of Bacchus, for Ino was the foster-mother of Bacchus (SMITH, sub voce "Dionysus," p. 226). Now, on the second medal, Melikerta, under the name of Palaemon, is represented as triumphantly riding on the fish, his sorrows being over, with the fir-tree, or pine, the emblem of Baal-Berith, "Lord of the Covenant," as his ensign. This, compared with what is stated ... about the Christmas-tree, shows how the fir-tree came to be recognised in the character of the Christmas-tree. The name Ghelas above the divided bull and the fish is equivocal. As applied to the fish, it comes from Ghela, "to exult or leap for joy," as dolphins and such like fished do in the sea; as applied to the divinity, whom both the fish and the bull represented, it comes from Ghela, "to reveal," for that divinity was the "revealer of goodness and truth" (WILKINSON, vol. iv. p. 189).

The Two Babylons
Alexander Hislop

Chapter IV
Doctrine and Discipline

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