Hecatonchires come from the Greek Hecatoncheires which means “hundred handed”. They were gigantic and had fifty heads and one hundred arms each of great strength. There were three of them: Briareus also called Aegaeon, Cottus, and Gyges also called Gyes. They were of the same parents as the Titans and the Cyclopes, Uranus and Gaea (the Earth).
They were associated with the crashing of waves and earthquakes.
They participated in Gaia’s rebellion against Uranus. When Cronus came to power he imprisoned the Cyclopes in Tartarus. Later, Zeus released both the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes from the Underworld, where their father Uranus had imprisoned them.
For this reason they fought with Zeus against the Titans. With their hundred hands and tremendous strength and dexterity, they were able to hurl three hundred stones at one time at the Titans.
Being unable to overcome such a barrage, the Titans soon surrendered to Zeus. Zeus assigned the Hecatonchires to guard the Titans in Tartarus. One of them, Briareus, served as Zeus’s bodygard.
Roger Bacon (c. 1214 1294), also known as Doctor Mirabilis (Latin: “astounding teacher”), was one of the most famous Franciscan friars of his time. He was an English philosopher who placed considerable emphasis on empiricism, and has been presented as one of the earliest advocates of the modern scientific method in the West; though later studies have emphasized his reliance on occult and alchemical traditions. He was intimately acquainted with the philosophical and scientific insights of the Arab world, one of the most advanced civilizations at the time.
Bacon is thought to have been born near Ilchester in Somerset, though he has also been claimed by Bisley in Gloucestershire. His date of birth is equally uncertain. The only source is his statement in the Opus Tertium, written in 1267, that forty years have passed since I first learned the alphabet. The 1214 birth date assumes he was not being literal, and meant 40 years had passed since he matriculated at Oxford at the age of 13. If he had been literal, his birth date was more likely around 1220.
Bacon’s family appears to have been well-off, but, during the stormy reign of Henry III of England, their property was despoiled and several members of the family were driven into exile.
Roger Bacon studied and later became a Master at Oxford, lecturing on Aristotle. There is no evidence he was ever awarded a doctorate – the title Doctor Mirabilis was posthumous and figurative. He crossed over to France in 1241 to teach at the university of Paris, then the center of intellectual life in Europe, where the teaching of Aristotle, till that time forbidden because Aristotle was only available via Islamic commentators, had recently been resumed. As an Oxford Master, Bacon was a natural choice for the post. He returned to Oxford in 1247 and studied intensively for many years, forgoing much of social and academic life, ordering expensive books (which had to be hand-copied at the time) and instruments. He later became a Franciscan friar. He probably took orders in 1253, after 10 years of study which had left him physically and mentally exhausted.
The two great orders, Franciscans and Dominicans, were not long-established, and had begun to take the lead in theological discussion. Alexander of Hales led the Franciscans, while the rival order rejoiced in Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. Bacon’s abilities were soon recognised, and he enjoyed the friendship of such eminent men as Adam de Marisco and Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln. In the course of his teaching and research, he performed and described various experiments.
Life and Works
The scientific training Bacon had received showed him the defects in existing academic debate. Aristotle was known only through poor translations, as none of the professors would learn Greek. The same was true of Scripture. Physical science was not carried out by experiment in the Aristotelian way, but by arguments based on tradition.
Bacon withdrew from the scholastic routine and devoted himself to languages and experimental research. The only teacher whom he respected was a certain Petrus de Maharncuria Picardus, or “of Picardie”, probably identical with a certain mathematician, Petrus Peregrinus of Picardie, who is perhaps the author of a manuscript treatise, De Magnete, contained in the Bibliotheque Imperiale at Paris. The contrast between the obscurity of such a man and the fame enjoyed by the fluent young doctors roused Bacon’s indignation.
In the Opus Minus and Opus Tertium he pours forth a violent tirade against Alexander of Hales, and another professor, who, he says, acquired his learning by teaching others, and adopted a dogmatic tone, which caused him to be received at Paris with applause as the equal of Aristotle, Avicenna, or Averroes. Bacon was always an outspoken man who stated what he believed to be true and attacked those with whom he disagreed, which repeatedly caused him great trouble.
In 1256 a new head of the scientific branch of the Franciscan order in England was appointed: Richard of Cornwall, with whom Bacon had strongly disagreed in the past. Before long, Bacon was transferred to a monastery in France, where for about 10 years he could communicate with his intellectual peers only in writing.
Bacon wrote to the Cardinal Guy le Gros de Foulques, who became interested in his ideas and asked him to produce a comprehensive treatise. Bacon, being constrained by a rule of the Franciscan order against publishing works out of the order without special permission, initially hesitated.
The cardinal became Pope Clement IV and urged Bacon to ignore the prohibition and write the book in secret. Bacon complied and sent his work, the Opus Majus, a treatise on the sciences (grammar, logic, mathematics, physics, and philosophy), to the pope in 1267. It was followed in the same year by the Opus Minus (also known as Opus Secundum), a summary of the main thoughts from the first work.
In 1268, he sent a third work, the Opus Tertium to the pope, who died the same year, apparently before even seeing the Opus Majus although it is known that the work reached Rome.
Some claim that Bacon fell out of favor, and was later imprisoned by the Franciscan order in 1278 in Ancona as his dissemination of Arab alchemy, and his protests against the ignorance and immorality of the clergy, roused accusations of witchcraft.
He supposedly stayed imprisoned for over ten years, until intercession of English noblemen secured his release. About this episode, the historian of science David C. Lindberg, quoted by James Hannam, says that “his imprisonment, if it occurred at all probably resulted with his sympathies for the radical ‘poverty’ wing of the Franciscans (a wholly theological matter) rather than from any scientific novelties which he may have proposed.”
Bacon died without important followers, was quickly forgotten, and remained so for a long time.
In his writings, Bacon calls for a reform of theological study. Less emphasis should be placed on minor philosophical distinctions as in scholasticism, but instead the Bible itself should return to the center of attention and theologians should thoroughly study the languages in which their original sources were composed. He was fluent in several languages and lamented the corruption of the holy texts and the works of the Greek philosophers by numerous mistranslations and misinterpretations. Furthermore, he urged all theologians to study all sciences closely, and to add them to the normal university curriculum.
He possessed one of the most commanding intellects of his age, or perhaps of any, and, notwithstanding all the disadvantages and discouragements to which he was subjected, made many discoveries, and came near to many others. He rejected the blind following of prior authorities, both in theological and scientific study.
His Opus Majus contains treatments of mathematics and optics, alchemy and the manufacture of gunpowder, the positions and sizes of the celestial bodies, and anticipates later inventions such as microscopes, telescopes, spectacles, flying machines and steam ships.
Bacon studied astrology and believed that the celestial bodies had an influence on the fate and mind of humans. He also wrote a criticism of the Julian calendar which was then still in use. He first recognized the visible spectrum in a glass of water, centuries before Sir Isaac Newton discovered that prisms could disassemble and reassemble white light.
Roger Bacon is considered by some to be the author of the Voynich Manuscript, because of his studies in the fields of alchemy, astrology, and languages.
Bacon is also the ascribed author of the alchemical manual Speculum Alchemiae, which was translated into English as The Mirror of Alchemy in 1597.
He was an enthusiastic proponent and practitioner of the experimental method of acquiring knowledge about the world. He planned to publish a comprehensive encyclopedia, but only fragments ever appeared.
Today I shall like to draw a line of simillarity between the story of David and Goliath, and the story of Odysseus and the Cyclopse, as it can be seen quite clearly where the two have certain common factors, so first I will give an overview of the story of David.
The Philistine army had gathered for war against Israel. The two armies faced each other, camped for battle on opposite sides of a steep valley. A Philistine giant measuring over nine feet tall and wearing full armor, came out each day for forty days, mocking and challenging the Israelites to fight. His name was Goliath. Saul, the King of Israel, and the whole army were terrified of Goliath.
One day David, the youngest son of Jesse, was sent to the battle lines by his father to bring back news of his brothers. David was probably just a young teenager at the time. While there, David heard Goliath shouting his daily defiance and he saw the great fear stirred within the men of Israel. David responded, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of God?”
So David volunteered to fight Goliath. It took some persuasion, but King Saul finally agreed to let David fight against the giant. Dressed in his simple tunic, carrying his shepherd’s staff, sling shot and a pouch full of stones, David approached Goliath. The giant cursed at him, hurling threats and insults.
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied … today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air … and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel … it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
As Goliath moved in for the kill, David reached into his bag and slung one of his stones at Goliath’s head. Finding a hole in the armor, the stone sank into the giant’s forehead and he fell face down on the ground. David then took Goliath’s sword, killed him and then cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. So the Israelites pursued, chasing and killing them and plundering their camp.
Now for the story of Odysseus:
He and his men stopped there to get food and to rest. He found a large cave containing enormous cheeses, gigantic loaves of bread and a huge bowl of milk. Minutes later the cave began to shake and in came a herd of sheep followed by their shepherd, a one-eyed giant!
Odysseus and his men hid but the “round eye” (the cyclops) had seen them. The monstrous figure picked up a handful of the soldiers and ate one. This left Odysseus and the rest of his men devastated. The horrible monster put a gigantic boulder in front of the cave entrance so that they couldn’t escape. “I am Polyphemus!” it boomed,” Son of Poseidon.” The Cyclops asked Odysseus his name.”I’m Nobody, my name is Nobody,” said wily Odysseus. The cyclops said he’d kill him last.
Odysseus came up with a plan. The next day he and his crew gave the cyclops all their wine and got him drunk. Then they sharpened a huge stick and burnt the end. They left it to cool and then they rammed it into his eye while he slept. It left the cyclops screaming and his neighbours came to see what was the matter. “Nobody blinded me!” he roared. “Who blinded you?” they asked. “Nobody!” he replied. His neighbours looked at each other and went away.
The next day Odysseus and his men escaped, hidden under the sheep, as they went out to graze. The blinded giant felt the sheep but the men were fortunate that he did not check underneath. When it was safe to jump off they ran to their ships and sailed away. Polyphemus was furious!
Then Odysseus taunted the cyclops. “It was I, Odysseus, who blinded you!” The cyclops heard him and cursed him. He threw a rock into the water and just missed Odysseus’ ship. The cyclops called on his father, Poseidon god of the sea, to ensure Odysseus never gets home.
In both these stories we see an example where a single man had rose to succed where the army has failed. In the case of David his army was too frightend to attack, while David showed courage in the case of Odysseus, his men were being defeated and even eaten, but Odysseus rose to prevail.
We can also see cleverness used over raw power in both these stories, for David he had spotted the whole in the armor and used to his advanrage striking Golaith down to his level so he could then cut off his head.
With Oydsseus, he uses wine to weaken his oppenent so he can blind him in order to presue his escape.
There is also the connection of sheep in both these stories, where David is disgusied himself as if he were but a sheephearder, dressed in only a plain tunic, with a sheephearders staff, Odysseus, and his men hid beneath the belly of sheep to ultimately escape the Cyclopse.
The similarities in these stories can be explained perhaps in mans desire and wish to beleive in his own power, as well as his own cleverness, and the seemingly universal draw to root for the underdog, as well it makes man feel as if he can overcome all odds against him in the end, and perhaps it also speaks to mans constant need to reassure humself of his own intelgence and surpramcy over other beings.
What unnatural things we’ll see
winding and twisting painfully.
What disdain in your eyes for this
unwilling compromise. How I feel that
I could wrap my fingers around your
neck and choke from you such
How ungrateful a slave to a master
who has guided you with a heavy hand
to insure your salvation.
What a thing of beauty my porcelain
doll so easy to shatter.
How easy I could break you for
how you look at me. Such scolding
eyes and demure frown as if you have some right
like a child who won’t stop crying. You
force me to such discipline. To mar that
sweet flesh would be a pleasure if you will
How reluctantly you kneel before the
one who will be your only mercy. How
frightful you cry and plead when you
want something but what do I get
from you? Only disobedience and contemptive
I wish only that you would embrace
me like a father and accept my rule.
Make some vow to me my darling that
I will not have cause you to suffer.
How unfair it is that you make yourselfbleed and blame it on me.
To summon an evil spirit, the magcian performed certain rigidly prescribed rites. One method was to cut a bough of wild hazel, that had not yet borne fruit, with a new knife, while the sun rose over the horizon. Carrying a bloodstone and two wax candles, the magician sought a secluded spot, such as ruined castle or abandoned house. A triangle was traced on the floor with the bloodstone, and the candles were set at the sides of the figure. At the base of the triangle the letters “I H S” were written, flanked by two crosses. Around the triangle a circle was circumscribed. Standing within the triangle, and holding the hazel wand, the magician summoned the spirit with an appeal containing the following conjuration: “Aglon Tetragram Vaycheon Stimulmathon Erohares Retragsammathon Clyoran Icion Esitic Existien Eryona Onera Erasyn Moyn Meffias Soter Emmanuel Saboth Adonai, I call you. Amen.“
The pact involved the surrender of soul and body of the magician, at the expiration of twenty years, although, if the pact was written on virgin parchment, outside the magic circle the pact was void. Pacts were made between the magician and Satan, and written, or at least signed, in blood, the magician selling his soul and receiving from the Devil treasure, some tangible favor, or power. The formalities attending such contracts are minutely described in the Compendium Maleficarum—Witches’ Manual—a seventeenth century treatise on witchcraft by Francesco Maria Guazzo.
In 1616 a witch, Stevenote de Audebert, produced in court what purported to be a contract she had made with Satan. In 1664, again, Elizabeth Style, an English witch, confessed in court to having made a pact with the Devil whereby she would have twelve years of gay and elegant life. Urbain Grandier, a magician who was executed in 1634, had made a similar pact, still preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale, in Paris. In the library in Upsala rests another contract signed by a young undergraduate, Daniel Saltherius, who sold himself to the Devil. Saltherius later in life became a Professor of Hebrew in a German university.
Cases are recorded, however, of pledges to Satan recanted and pacts annulled. St. Basil, in the fourth century A.D., managed to retrieve a Satanic pact entered into by a young man in love with a harlot. Legend narrates that a certain Theophilus, after making a pact, repented, and recovered the contract. In the thirteenth century a Portuguese student, a certain Giles, after signing, likewise repented. He entered a monastery and one night was confronted by the Demon himself, who returned the contract in disgust.
The mythical king of the serpents. The basilisk, or cockatrice, is a creature that is born from a spherical, yolkless egg, laid during the days of Sirius (the Dog Star) by a seven-year-old rooster and hatched by a toad.
The basilisk could have originated from the horned adder or hooded cobra from India. Pliny the Elder described it simply as a snake with a golden crown. By the Middle Ages, it had become a snake with the head of a cock, and sometimes with the head a human. In art, the basilisk symbolized the devil and the antichrist. To the Protestants, it was a symbol of the papacy.
According to legend, there are two species of the creature. The first kind burns everything it approaches, and the second kind can kill every living thing with a mere glance. Both species are so dreadful that their breath wilts vegetation and shatters stones. It was even believed that if a man on horseback should try to kill it with a spear, the power of the poison conducted through the weapon would not only kill the rider, but the horse as well. The only way to kill a basilisk is by holding a mirror in front of its eyes, while avoiding to look directly at it. The moment the creature sees its own reflection, it will die of fright.
However, even the basilisk has natural enemies. The weasel is immune to its glance and if it gets bitten it withdraws from the fight to eat some rue, the only plant that does not wither, and returns with renewed strength. A more dangerous enemy is the cock for should the basilisk hear it crow, it would die instantly.
The carcass of a basilisk was often hung in houses to keep spiders away. It was also used in the temples of Apollo and Diana, where no swallow ever dared to enter. In heraldry the basilisk is represented as an animal with the head, torso and legs of a cock, the tongue of a snake and the wings of a bat. The snake-like rump ends in an arrowpoint.
“Basilisk.” Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.