Copyright Dr. Elizabeth Garner All Rights Reserved
Durer did not name this print and from the stance of the man with the bow, it can’t even be claimed to be representing Apollo and Diana but it is. Diana was Apollo’s twin virgin sister, the huntress.
Let’s look at the symbols in the print:
- The man is standing on the left side of the print with his head turned sideways towards the right; he is naked. He has long flowing hair and has a laurel wreath on top of his head, which is the symbol of honor first created by Apollo. His left arm is extended almost completely across the print holding a bow and arrow towards something on the right. His right arm is slightly pulling on the bow string.
- He wears a drapery sash which is knotted on his right side, it drapes over his right shoulder down his back and at the waist knot the sash divides into two with one end floating in an arc around his front, appearing to cover his genitals but doesn’t, and blowing backwards from behind him on his left side.
- Apollo carries a quiver of arrows but we can’t see where the quiver string is. The quiver is a very ornate quiver shaped like some musical instrument and highly decorated with swirls that have the meaning of outgoing or migration and in-coming or returning. Durer uses these same symbols with the same meaning in Melencolia symbol I. It means someone is returning to their maker, in other words, has died. There appears to be seven arrows in the quiver and Albrecht the Elder had fathered 7 girl children.
- He is beardless because he’s represented as Apollo; if not he would have been bearded because of whom he represents.
- Above the drapery which are above the man’s genitals are two half circles, which we first see in The Men’s Bath peeking out from under the cap of the sitting man in the front, Lukas Paumgartner (one half circle). This is a coded message for Jewishness- half circle representing the cloth circles Jews were forced to wear on their clothing. Durer uses this half circles to indicate the person is Jewish or crypto-Jewish or somehow related to Jews.
- Apollo’s stance is non-standard-the right leg is in the appropriate position but the left leg and foot is flat on the ground pointed sideways to the right.
- The woman is apparently a maiden; she wears no headdress and her hair is parted down the middle. She wears a headband with two drops hanging off of it. There is some drapery flowing from behind the right side of her head over her right shoulder. Her hair ornaments are indicative of Hungarian hair decoration (See the Revelation of Truth called the Four Witches for a deeper explanation). She is naked. Her left leg extends behind Apollo’s left leg almost touching his right foot. We can’t see her knee. She sits on a thick slab of stone. She has small breasts but her stomach seems a little big (possibly pregnant?). In her left hand she appears to be holding some hay or grass in her lap not necessarily for feeding to the stag.
- Behind Apollo is a stag lying on the ground; the stag’s right antler has two prongs, the left antler has 4 prongs.
- The print is monogrammed but not dated-the monogram is on a flat sheet with a corner curled.
You can see the double circles above the drapery that Durer used often to represent someone Jewish because these circles are depictions of the round badges Jews were forced to wear on their clothing. Reading the right testicle (as determined from the figure, not the viewer’s right) from right to left, as Hebrew is written, there is an “8, an “X with a slight strike through it,” a very ornate backwards E, and what looks like a trefoil. This cipher decodes into “My father was an immigrant from Hungary, we are noble Hungarians Jews.” We can not yet tell if the penis is circumcised or not, but most likely is.
And that’s all we have to go on. We first look for a Hungarian signifier and find that
it is the bow. Here’s the information on Hungarian bows:
The Hun Bow
The Hun bow is an asymmetric, composite and recurve bow. A recurve bow is one that, in contrast to the simple longbow, has ends that curve outward. It was invented in Central Asia and carried to Europe first by the Huns, a nomadic people that invaded Europe in the 4th century. The advantage of a recurve bow is that the shape curves back on itself. It is this design that gives the bows tremendous power compared to their size.
Its asymmetric shape allowed the bow to be increased in size without restricting its use from the saddle of a horse. The lower part had to be shorter to facilitate movement across the back and neck of the horse, but the upper part was not so constrained and could be longer. The result was a stronger, longer-range bow than those of the Germanic tribes of Europe. Quite simply, the users of the Hun bow could shoot down their enemies before they could use their bows. The asymmetry, however, led to less accuracy, although this was offset to some extent by the fact that the weapon was a composite bow.
The Hungarian Bow
This is an improvement of the Hun bow. It is a symmetric, composite and recurve bow invented in Central Asia. It improved the Hun bow by lengthening its lower part until both halves were of equal size. This symmetry increased both its range and accuracy. If the archer was using the Hungarian bow while mounted, he or she needed to stand up in the saddle, an action that was impossible until the invention of the stirrup.
The Old Magyar bow was made of five materials. Softwood; a glue made from fish air bladders, called halenyv (fish-glue); sinew; horn and bone. The core was shaped to accommodate the grip, two flexible “karok” or “arms”, and two “szarvak” or “horns” at the ends of the bow. Some research indicates that the wood was first bent under steam opposite to the direction in which it would eventually be drawn.
The back of the bow was strengthened by sinew. This was either done by layering the sinew to the softwood core or by gluing in bundles. (Kornél Bakay IN: 3. Régészeti Barangolások Magyarországon. (‘Archaeological Wanderings in Hungary’). ISBN 963 243 109 X). There were also some sinews twisted into thongs and tied around the bending points of the bow, where the basic components joined. There is some argument as to whether these were visible or not, as well as whether there were in fact five different pieces of wood, or only one, that is the wood core itself.
The sinew gave the wood bow a great amount of springiness, allowing it to be drawn further than a self-bow, and also more easily. To balance this, on the belly side, horn was added, most of which was probably from the ancestors of the Hungarian longhorn “gray” cattle. (Interestingly, these animals look almost identical to the famous Indian Brahmin cow.)
The horn added stiffness to the bow, and further, prevented the bow, once it had been fired, from going too far forward, causing “bowstring slap” and thus wasting kinetic energy. This is why Old and Medieval Magyar archers are never shown wearing any arm or hand-protection.
Finally, in the Magyar Hungarian bow, six pieces of bone were added. These were normally 2 to 4 millimeters thick and up to 30 centimeters (circa. one foot) long. They were glued to the wood core at right angles to the sinew and horn layers. Two were used to cover the so-called “horn” of the bow, two for the grip, and two for the other “horn” or end of the bow. The outer-side of these bone pieces was normally smooth, while the side to be glued to the wood is known to have been scratched rough, to help it stick. It was these pieces of bone, which would give archaeologists the clue as to how the Old Magyar bow was constructed. The bow would eventually be covered by a thin material, which presumably varied with time and place. It could be snakeskin, thin leather or bark.
The making of such a bow took a long time – even years – due to the need for “curing” the various materials. The Old Magyars valued their bows, which were important to them not only in warfare, but in supplementing their diet by hunting. This can be seen by how much care was taken of the bow. When unstrung, it was placed in a soft leather container slung from the left side of the archer on a belt, and when strung, it was carried in a hard-leather and metal bow case also on the left side.
The Stance of Apollo:
Apollo was a many sided god and was worshipped for various different qualities and capacities. He was a very punishing god, and because of this, he is depicted in one way as having a cow and arrows, these having the ability to cause sudden death.
In this print Apollo has a quiver of arrows with seven arrows-one for each of Albrecht the Elder’s daughters. So we know that the woman in the print is one of these daughters who probably died in 1502 also-and died a maiden, or is at least depicted as a maiden, since the daughter is Ursula, born in 1477. If she died in 1502, she was age 25, so it may be that Ursula had died earlier and Durer had yet to enshrine her. Since we will see below that the bear “girls” of Artemis, the Arktoi, were between the ages of 5-10, it is possible that Ursula had died earlier than 1502 and that THIS was the time for Durer to use his Cipher and enshrine her. Ursula was a common German and common Hungarian female name-it means she-wolf stemming from the Latin “Ursa” for wolf.
This particular stance of Apollo is the death stance of Apollo and was a known symbol of Apollo wreaking death upon a person or giving tribute to a person who had died. Since the Apollo has the laurel wreath on his head, we know that the person(s) are dead and that tribute to these people is being paid along with the swirls on the quiver.
Durer also uses this version of Apollo as a play on words. Apollo brought down arrows of plague upon the Greeks because they dishonored his priest Chryses.
The German word for crisis is Krise. The “Chryses” in this case is the CRISIS of Albrecht the Elder’s death and his sister Ursula who could have died of the plague. It meant that Durer would have to move both his mother, Margret, and any other Durer children still left in the Elder’s household into his own eventually, which did occur by 1504, and support all these extra people
The Maiden Artemis/Diana and the Bear-Ursa
Diana/ Artemis was the mythological Greek/Roman huntress. The reasons for worshipping Artemis as bear come from that animal’s qualities.
Young Athenian girls between the ages of five and ten were sent to the sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron to serve the Goddess for one year. During this time the girls were known as arktoi, or little she-bears.
The Helvetian (Swiss) tribes worshipped the She-Bear, and their town Berne, was named for her. The Franks, ancestors of the French, and the settlers of the Bavarian area where Nuremberg is located, were also “people of the Bear,” worshipping the bear goddess as Arduina. As we have seen, Artemis’s name and that of Arduina refer to the bear. Other such names include Arthur, as does the name Ursula.
This leaves us with the living stag, the fact that Diana/Ursula is holding grass and that she sits upon a thick slab of stone. The slab of stone represents a gravestone; we find Durer using a stone like this over and over again to represent the death of the person pictured.
The right 4 pronged antler represents Albrecht the Elder and his three other siblings left in Hungary, Ladislas, Catherine, and Johannes, which we have already met in the Temptation of the Idler. The two pronged left antler is representing Nuremberg, Albrecht and Barbara. The stag appears to be living, the stag muzzle is directly in the middle of the print and the woman is petting his head with her right hand.
We have already thoroughly described the Hungarian Stag in the Eustachium print, which is represented here. We have also discussed that the grass in Ursula/Diana’s hand is a death symbol in the Promenade.
And so we have Durer’s tribute to his father in the year of his father’s death-1502 –and the enshrinement of the death of his sister Ursula, child #9.
UPDATE JANUARY 18, 2014
Check back soon to find out what all these new messages mean.