Cosmas Indicopleustes, Christian Topography (1897) pp. 389-392. Explanation of the plates
Plate I.----The picture on the left represents the City of Adulê----that on the right an Ethiopian travelling from Adulê to Axômê. The lower picture on the left is the tablet with the Greek inscription copied by Cosmas. It is surmounted by the figure of Ptolemy Euergetês, standing in a warlike attitude. The throne represented on the right is ascribed to the same Ptolemy by Cosmas, but erroneously. It was placed at Adulê by an Axumite conqueror. The writing on the right of it is Di/froj Ptolemoiko&j, Ptolemy's chair.
Plate 2.----The figure of the earth and the heaven, as Cosmas and the ancient Fathers conceived it. The cross-bar represents the firmament.
Plate 3.----A picture of the waters above the firmament.
Plate 4.----A representation of the conical mountain, and also of the sun and the moon under the firmament. The inscription along the pillars is: of oi9 stu&loi tou~ ou)ranou~, the pillars of the heaven.
Plate 5.----A tracing of the inhabited world (gh~ oi0koume/nh).
Plate 6.----A representation of the oblong rectangular figure of the earth which we inhabit, with its surrounding ocean, which is itself surrounded by the other earth which was the seat of Paradise and the abode of man before the Flood. The four gulfs which penetrate into our earth from the ocean, and the rivers which flow into it from Paradise, are also depicted. Above the ocean in the outer earth is this inscription: Fh~ pe/ran tou~ w)keanou~ e1nqa pro_ tou~ kataklusmou~ katw&koun oi( a!nqrwpoi , the earth beyond the ocean where men dwelt before the Flood. The lateral inscription is: Fh~ pe/ran tou~ w)keanou~, the earth beyond the ocean. The inscription in the figure of the great gulf coming from the west is Rwmaiko_j Ko&lpoj, the Roman gulf, ie., the Mediterranean. The gulf coming from the north Cosmas calls Kaspeta& Qa&lassa, the Caspian Sea. The name of the northern river is Feisw~n, and of the southern Fhw~n potamo&j, the Pison and Gihon of our bibles. |390
Plate 7.----A representation of the earth with the walls which come down to it from heaven. The four gulfs are shown, and the conical mountain in the north-west whence the earth slopes downward to the south.
Plate 8.----A picture of the conical mountain with three circling lines to show the paths of the sun as he moves round it at different altitudes, thus making the nights shorter or longer. The words written here are mikra_ nu_c, me/sh nu_c, mega&lh nu_c, short night, night of medium length, long night.
Plate 9.----The figure of the world according to the Ptolemaic system. The twelve signs of the Zodiac are shown, and the names are given of the Roman and Egyptian months. The earth, in the form which Cosmas so much abhorred, is in the centre, encircled by the orbits in succession of the Moon, Selh&nhj; of Mercury, E(rmou~; of Venus, 'Afrodi/thj; of the Sun, H(li/ou; of Mars, A1reoj; of Jupiter, Di/oj. The names of the Roman months are given in Greek characters, thus: Genarij, Fleba&rij, Ma&rtioj, Auri/llioj (u = v), Maioj, Iounioj, Ioulioj, 'Augustoj, Septebrioj, uktwbrioj, Noeurioj, Dikebrij. Above the outer rim of the Zodiac are given the names of the twelve signs with the names of the corresponding Egyptian months: Aigo&-kerwj Tybi; toco&thj Choiac; skorpi/oj Athyr: zugo_j Phaophy; parqe/noj Thôth; le/wn Mesori; karki/noj Epiphi; Didumoi Payni; tau~roj Pachôn; krio_j Pharmouth; i)xqu~j Phamenôth; u(dro&xooj Mechir.
Plate 10.----Antipodes drawn to deride the idea of their possibility.
Plate 11.----A delineation of the figure and dress of the pagan inhabitants of Attica, oi( e1cwqen 'Attikoi/, as seen in the time of Cosmas. These figures are meant for those of Hyperides and Menander, mentioned in p. 147.
Plate 12.----A representation of the outward form of the Tabernacle, h( Skhnh&. The words written outside indicate the directions, a)natolh&, east: bor)r(a~j, north; Du&sij, west. The double line in the centre drawn from north to south represents the veil, katape&tasma, dividing the Tabernacle into the inner and outer sanctuary. The division to the right represents the outer, which contained the table of shew-bread, h( tra&peza; the candlestick, luxni/a; Aaron's rod, r(a&bdoj the vessel of sprinkling, sta&mnoj; the two tables of the Law, ai9 plake/j; the serpent, o!fij. In the inner Tabernacle, e0swte/ra skhnh&, is depicted the Ark of the Testimony, h( kibwto&j tou~ marturi/ou. See pp. 148-154.
Plate 14.----A delineation of the coverings of the Tabernacle, skepa&smata th~j skhnh~j: the loops, a)gku&lai, and clasps, kri/koi, by which they were joined. |391
Plate 15. ---- A picture of the table of the Tabernacle turned by the lathe, tra&peza torneuto&j, and another of the candlestick with its seven lamp-wicks, luxni/a e(pta&muxoj; its shaft, kaulo&j; its ball, karu&iskoj, in the middle of the shaft; its spherical bowl, sfairwth_r krath_r; its lily, kri/non; and its branches kalami/skoi, three on each side of the shaft, making, along with the terminus of the shaft, seven in all, and representing, according to Cosmas, the seven days of the week. See p. 152.
Plate 1 6. ---- The Ark of the Testimony, h( kibwto&j tou~ marturi/ou. Above it is the Propitiatory or Mercy-seat, i(lasth&rion. Above it the Cherubim xeroubi/m figure of Zacharias on one side, and that of Abia on the other.
Plate 17. ---- A delineation of the Court of the Tabernacle, h( au)lh_ th~j skhnh~j; the other words denote the directions: a)natolh_, du&sij, a!rktoj, meshmbri/a, east, west, north, south.
Plate 18. ---- The upper figures represent the celestials; the middle, the terrestrials; and those below, the subterraneans or the buried. See pp. 300-303.
Plate 19. ---- A delineation of the order in which the contents of the outer Tabernacle were arranged. On the left is the table (tra&peza) of shew-bread, with three loaves at each of its four corners, to represent the fruits of each of the four seasons (see p. 152); then follow the candlestick, luxni/a; the vessel of sprinkling, sta&mnoj; the tables of the Law plake/j; the serpent o!fij.
Plate 20. ---- Melchisedek arrayed in his royal robes. See p. 175.
Plate 21. ---- A front and back view of Aaron wearing his priestly robes to_ sxh~ma tou~ i(ere/wj. Montfaucon states that Cosmas, in explanation of this sketch, wrote for the figure on the right: 'Aarw_n me/gaj a)rxiereu_j e)mprosqofanh&j front view of Aaron, the great high priest; and for the figure on the left: 'Aarw_n me/gaj a)rxiereu~j o)pisqofanh&j back view of Aaron, the great high priest.
Plate 22. ---- A delineation of the circle of the twelve months and the fruits produced in each month. Outside the circle are written the names of the Egyptian months Mhne\j 'Aigupti/oi, and of the four seasons, which he designates respectively, e0arinh& troph& the spring tropic; qerinh& troph& the summer tropic; metopwrinh& troph& the autumn tropic; xeimeri\nh& troph& the winter tropic. The fruit produced in Egypt in Pharmouth (April) is sko&roda, garlic; in Pachôn (May), ki/nna a kind of pulse; in Payni (June), ka&rua 'Arme/nia Armenian nuts; in Epiphi (July), si=toj kopu&mwra. Montfaucon takes the latter |392 word to be a mistake for suko&moroj the fig-mulberry, called also suka&minoj h( 'Aigupti/a; in Mesori (August), su~ka stafu&lia, figs, grapes: but to judge from the picture only one kind of fruit is indicated; in Thôth (September), elaio&dakna an unknown fruit; in Phaophy (October), foi/nikej, palms or palm-leaves; in Athyr (November), a)spara&gia asparagus; in Choiac (December), mala&xai mallows; in Tybi (January), e0utu&bia, endives; in Mechir (February), a)gla&tia: this is unknown; in Phamenôth (March), ki/tra fruit of citron?
The remaining plates are pictures of the animals and plants which Cosmas has described in the earlier portion of the eleventh book.
This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2003. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press SPIonic font, free from here.
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