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Re: VMs: Re: Left and right entropy
> I studied the alchemistical "Kunstbuechlein" (1549) yesterday and I noticed
> that it uses pictures of "bathers" to depict the process of "SOLUTIO".
FWIW, my current theory is that the nymphs derive specifically from water
nymphs in antiquity - here's a quote from pp.6-7 of Jean Gimpel's "The
"Over a millenium earlier, the poet Antipater of Thessalonica, living under
the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius, had celebrated in terms no less
enthusiastic the role of waterpower. Rejoicing that the water nymphs were
liberating mankind from the hard labor of grinding corn, he wrote:"
"Hold back your hands from the mill, O maids of the grindstone; slumber
Longer, e'en though the crowing of cocks announces the morning.
Demeter's ordered her nymphs to perform your hands' former labours.
Down on the top of the wheel, the spirits of the water are leaping,
Turning the axle and with it the spokes of the wheel that is whirling
Therewith spinning the heavy and hollow Nisyrian millstones."
It might be revealing to know how well-known Antipater's work was in the
14th-16th Century. :-)
Also, the shrines in Roman baths were called "nymphaea": here's another
relevant cutting from Fikret Yegül, "Baths and Bathing in Classical
There is little doubt that the association of baths and water
assumed a religious and metaphorical meaning in Classical
culture. The salubrious and spiritual qualities of water were
significant for all baths but particularly those connected with
natural springs. These baths often included shrines arranged
as nymphaea dedicated in honour of the nymphs and water
deities who protected the source and ensured its health-giving
To my eyes, the bathing, the curiously anthropomorphic piping and
(especially) the presence of the rainbow in the balnaeological section
point to the central theme (of that section, at least) probably being water
(its forms and properties).
The nymphs in the zodiac section seem likely to be just a stylistic
continuation of this theme. But that's just my weak inference, don't build
too many castles on it. :-)
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
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