Migration of Symbols D’Alviella, Goblet
_Symbols: Their Migration and Universality_ is a Dover edition of the work _The Migration of Symbols_ first published in 1894 by Count Eugene Goblet d’Alviella which features a unique study and interpretation of symbols from around the world and their migrations and universality amongst all cultures. Count Goblet d’Alviella (1846 – 1925) was a lawyer and senator in Belgium as well as a noted freemason and professor of religions. This work on symbols is an important work in the development of archaeology and offers a unique interpretation of the symbols of man. This book features an introduction by Sir George Birdwood which speaks to this work by Count Goblet d’Alviella. The book mentions a wide variety of symbols from ancient cultures and notes their migrations across the globe from their ancient sources. The book also includes a wide variety of detailed drawings showing the ancient symbols and artifacts.
In the Introduction, Sir George Birdwood examines the symbols mentioned by the author as they relate to ancient cultures. Such symbols as the tricula or Vardhamana of the Buddhists are mentioned as well as the gammadion or swastika. These symbols as they relate to ancient religions and cultures are discussed including reference made to the ancient Hindus and ancient Egypt, Phoenicia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Greece (as well as ancient Europe). Birdwood mentions the “Feet of Buddha”, the triskelion, and the gammadion or “fylfot-cross” identified with the swastika of the Hindus. Birdwood also mentions the doubleheaded eagle born on the arms of the rulers of Austria and Russia as well as the “Tree of Life”. Important works cited by Birdwood include the work _The Industrial Arts of India_.
This book by Count d’Alviella begins with a preface that attempts to define the word “symbol”. The author notes the original meaning of this term amongst the Greeks and discusses how it came to be applied to anything that represents something. The author defines a symbol as “a representation which does not aim at being a reproduction”. The author mentions the theories of Herbert Spencer, Professor Sabatier, Creuzer, Max Muller, and several others concerning the nature of myth and discusses the nature of God and the “unknown and unknowable Reality”, mentioning also ancient mystery cults (the Eleusinian mysteries) and Christianity. In the first chapter of this book, the author discusses “On Symbols Common to Different Races”. The author mentions the identity of certain symbols in the symbolism of certain races and “spontaneous coincidences” among the appearance of ancient symbols. The author mentions such things as the Cross of ancient Christianity, St. Anthony’s Cross, the triscele, the Doubleheaded Eagle, the Hand of Providence, and the Lotus Flower. The author also notes the manner in which symbols are transmitted from nation to nation and the principle causes of their diffusion. The second chapter of this book discusses “On the Gammadion or Swastika”. This chapter explains the geographical distribution of the gammadion and its commong occurrence amongst all nations of the Old World with a few exceptions. The author also mentions the fylfot and the swastika. This chapter also includes sections discussing previous interpretations of the gammadion, probable meaning of the gammadion (the gammadion as charm, or solar movement mentioning the role of the Hindu deity Vishnu), and a discussion of the “cradle of the gammadion” (mentioning its Aryan or Pelasgic origin including a detailed chart showing its earliest migrations). The third chapter of this book discusses “On the Causes of Alteration in the Meaning and Form of Symbols”. The author mentions the manner in which ancient symbols may have different meanings in different traditions, mentioning such things as the Catacombs as a symbol amongst the Christians and the Thunderbolt symbol. The fourth chapter of this book discusses “Symbolism and Mythology of the Tree”. Here, the author discusses the sacred tree and its acolytes, interpretation of the sacred tree among the Semites, and the paradisiacal trees of the Aryans. The fifth chapter of this book discusses “On the Transmutation of Symbols”. Here, the author discusses such things as the blending of symbolic forms, the fusion of equivalent types, and the intermediate forms mentioning a wide variety of symbols in this account. The sixth chapter of this book discusses “On the Winged Globe, the Caduceus, and the Trisula”. This chapter includes sections discussing the Winged Globe outside Egypt, the transformations of the Caduceus, and the antecedents of the trisula. The book ends with a conclusion in which the author traces the importance of symbols for religions particularly mentioning the Christians and Buddhists as well as the role of fetiches and the importance of the evolution of the conception of God. The book also includes an Addenda which adds some interpretation to certain symbols mentioned in the text.
This book offers a fascinating account of the symbols of mankind and their origins and migrations. The book also notes the near universality of certain symbols such as the Cross and swastika as well as noting their origins. Such interpretations play an important role in archaeological study and this book offers a unique understanding of the ancient symbols. The book also includes detailed drawings of ancient symbols and the artifacts they appear on showing how such symbolism has progressed throughout the world. As such, this book remains an important study into the nature of symbols, their migration and universality.
The Migration of Symbols Donald Mackenzie