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Telesphorus



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Telesphorus, the son, or at least the companion of Aesculapius - symbol of success attendant on the exercise of the healing art, and allusive to that state of a person with whom disease has ended, and to whom perfect health is restored.  Telesphorus is figured as a little boy in a hooded cloak, standing by Aesculapius - In an antique painting he is introduced at the side of Atropos (one of the Fates), whose arm he holds back at the moment when she is going to sever the thread of life. - Amongst those coins of Caracalla which bear the express reference to the alleged recovery of that ferocious tyrant from a horrible complication of diseases, mental as well as bodily, and to the various deities (such as Apollo, Serapis Hercules, Sol, Luna, etc.) who during the paroxysms of his painful illness, were invoked for his relief, there is one on which are a bearded man, naked to the waist, with his staff and serpent, and a dwarfish figure, wrapped in a mantle, standing near him. - Here then we see Aesculapius and Telesphorus jointly recognised as deities who were supposed to bestow their care and power in the reparation of health. Dion records the fact that Caracalla's having implored the aid of Aesculapius; and to the same period of Caracalla's history belongs what Herodianus relates of him - viz., that passing from Thrace into Asia, he went to Pergamus, in order that in the city where the god of medicine was adored with peculiar veneration, he might place himself under this salutary influence, as was the custom. This is clearly confirmed by the Greek coins of Pergamenses, on not a few of which Caracalla is represented offering sacrifices and vota to Aesculapius.  It is to this subject that allusion is made on that remarkable gold medal edited by Vaillant (Pr. ii p. 249), the reverse of which has for epigraph PM. TR. P. XVII. COS. IIII. P. P.; and for type, the emperor dressed in the paludamentum, sacrificing at the altar of Aesculapius, which stands before the doors of a temple. (Pergamus contained a magnificent temple dedicated to that divinity.) Buonarotti also gives a fine bronze medallion of Caracalla, with Aesculapius and  Telesphorus, struck on the same occasion of that emperor's going to Pergamus (about A.D. 215), to be cured of his corporeal ailment, and (hopeless case for a fratricide!) of his mind's disease - See Aesculapius.

Tellus (the earth), considered to be the same pagan deity as Cybele, Mater Magna, and Rhea, - At the celebration of the secular games at Rome, a sow pig was as a customary victim, slain in sacrifice to Tellus, personifying the fertile mother of all things terrestrial. - See LVD. SAEC. FRC.


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