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Caryatids Room
Roman art
Julio-Claudian Period
Late Antiquity
Gaul, Africa and Syria

The god Pan

Ma 266 Sully Room 17

Pan and the Devil  

The god Pan is depicted here seated on a rock
with a crooked staff at his feet for trapping hares.
This marble statue belongs to a series of
ancient replicas showing Pan teaching
the shepherd Daphnis how to play the pipe.
Originally the god of shepherds,
Pan was also a musical divinity with one
of his attributes being the syrinx, a reed pipe.

 Pan in Louvre museum

God of fertility, this son of Hermes and a nymph was above all famous for his bestial and insatiable sexual appetite. His legendary ugliness meant that his advances were often shunned. The fear that he inspired is at the origin of the word panic. He is depicted as a hoofed man with goat horns.
Pan and Syrinx     RF 1949-21
Sully 2è room 25
The subject is drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphosis.
The god Pan pursues the nymph Syrinx whom he is in love with. To escape him, she takes refuge with her father who turns her into reed.
Pan then made a pipe
out of her branches. AR5

 Pan and the Devil

According to Herodotus (II, 46),
the cult of Pan began in Egypt where
it was customary to worship goats.
The expression ‘goat-shaped demons’ used in the Bible is possibly an allusion to this form of pagan worship (Leviticus 17:7; 2 Chronicles 11:15).
According to some, this god’s half-man half-goat form and the Inferno, the work of the Italian poet Dante AR3 Alighieri, influenced the imagination
of artists of the Middle Ages and the conception
of a devil with horns and pointed tail.
Such a representation risks raising doubts
as to the existence of this spirit creature,
whom the Bible repeatedly presents as
an absolutely real person.
The Scriptures give no physical description
of the Devil, even if he is described as
a 'serpent' or depicted with the features of
a voracious 'dragon'. - Revelation 12:9.

The Divine Comedy, Dante
Illustration by Gustave Doré

The Temptation of Christ        Inv 1384
  Pieter Stevens II  
Around 1567  
Esterhazy Collection
  Temporary exhibition 2008

  Valentine's Day & the cult of Faunus

Another sculpture also shows Pan making advances towards Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Eros flutters above them batting his wings – exactly like the cupids seen today on Valentine's Day cards.
The customs attached to the festival which bears the name of this Christian martyr comes from an ancient Roman orgiastic festival. This was linked to the cult of Faunus, the god represented as half man, half goat. It was celebrated each year on 15 February and honoured Juno, the Roman goddess of women, and Pan, the god of nature.
So as to give a ‘Christian’ meaning to this pagan festival, in 496 Pope Gelasius changed the Lupercalia festival of 15 February into Saint Valentine’s Day on the 14th. The sentimental significance of this ancient festival, however, has not been lost.  AR4
The exit of the spring, Pan’s Cave became a pagan centre of worship.
From the third century BC, sacrifices were thrown into the cave as an offering to the god Pan.
Pan, the half-man half-goat god of fear (therefore of ‘panic’), is often depicted playing the pipe. The city known by the name Panias was over time and through the influence of Arabic changed into its modern name of Banias.
 Pan 's Cave                     www.Biblé


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