Translator Disclaimer
1 June 2012 Le serpent barbu : réalités, croyances et représentations. L'exemple de Zeus Meilichios à Athènes
Laurent Gourmelen
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

The bearded snake: realities, beliefs and representations. The example of Athenian Zeus Meilichios

In Athens, on a series of votive steles discovered in Munychia, Zeus Meilichios is represented typically as the “bearded snake”, easily recognized by the appendix under the reptile's throat. This representation suggests the ambivalence of the contradictory values assumed by the god, benevolent and protective, but also fearsome and vengeful, as shown in an analysis of Athenian mythical and religious traditions. The same applies to various other divine or heroic figures. Thus this peculiarity seems to take on a symbolic meaning and one might see it as an iconic motif suggesting a dual identity. But, as in the case of the “cheek snake”, can this motif also be explained in reference to a real peculiarity, specific to a species of reptile known to the ancient Greeks ? The idea of a reference to a particular species of snake can enlighten and enrich our understanding of the “bearded snake” motif, without howewer enabling us to reach a definitive conclusion.

© Publications Scientifiques du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris.
Laurent Gourmelen "Le serpent barbu : réalités, croyances et représentations. L'exemple de Zeus Meilichios à Athènes," Anthropozoologica 47(1), 323-343, (1 June 2012). https://doi.org/10.5252/az2012n1a10
Received: 2 July 2011; Accepted: 1 February 2012; Published: 1 June 2012
JOURNAL ARTICLE
21 PAGES


Share
SHARE
KEYWORDS
ambivalence
Athènes
Athens
Bearded Snake
Diasia
dieu
Duality
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top