Joannes Richter


In the homepage for PALEOLITHIC ART MAGAZINE Licia Filingeri, Pietro Gaietto and other authors present an overview of paleolithic N-headed sculptures, suggesting these idols generally must be considered as deities.
Found sculptures will cover a long period of time from paleolithic eras until relatively recent centuries and finding locations are being spread worldwide in all continents.

Findings at the Hochdorf burial mound and at the burial location of the Nebra disc reveal pre-historical travelling and trading routes between Northern European and Mediterranean cultures, spreading religious and cultural knowledge.
The idea of N-headed sculptures seems to be covering all continents more or less simultaneously. The idea of N-headed sculptures may also be linked to an ancient creation-legend, already documented by Plato in Symposion. This article will describe some comments to the magazine's overview of these N-headed sculptures.

Comments to the article
"Hermaphrodite-the invisible Bifrontisme of the Divinity" 
by Licia Filingeri

In the article Hermaphrodite - the invisible Bifrontisme of the Divinity - Licia Filingeri claims:

"The hermaphrodithe substantive derives from a mythical divinity, Hermaphrodithe exactly, son of Hermes and Aphrodite, from which his name, that however derives also from andros (in Greek, man) and gunae (in Greek, woman); such derivation alludes in immediate and clear way to the possession of both the sexes. Hermaphrodithe is an original divinity from the East, and just from Syria; Syria transmitted them to the Cypriots, near which, more than elsewhere, we have found the traces.

In Fig. 4 Licia Filingeri claims:

"A head is bearded and is male, while the not bearded head could be female".


Joannes Richter comments:

In the centre part the wife's long hair is corresponding to the man's beard. The faces are mirrored for the left part and for the right part, indicating the not-bearded head to be a female person.

Fig.4 Two-faced Argo with eyes on the body

Licia Filingeri claims:
A head is bearded and is male, while the not bearded head could be female.

However: In the centre part the wife's hair is corresponding to the man's beard.
The faces are mirrored for the left part and for the right part, indicating the not-bearded head to be a female person.


In the same article Licia Filingeri claims:

"I make here the hypothesis that the myth of Hermaphrodithe, with its " invisible bifrontisme ", expresses a intrapsychic conflict between the feminine part and that male one of the human being, and at the same time indicates in the fusion both the way for the overcoming of the dissosciation, and the acquired ability to understand other from himself, through introspection and unconscious cognitive projection."

In The two-faced with the birds (february, 2001) Pietro Gaietto correctly claims:

The two-faced is present in nearly all the ancient religions of the world (with the exception of those people who practice " only " painting).


Joannes Richter comments to both articles:

The intrapsychic conflict between the feminine part and that male one of the human being (clearly visible in today's mainstream religions) has been caused by eliminating the female element of the basic Hermaphrodithe. It may only be restored after accepting and restoring the ancient, androgynous roots of religions.

In The roots of the Bifrontism (december, 2000) Licia Filingeri claims:

Originally, in the historical characterizations (sculptures and coins), of the two faces of Giano, one was bearded and the other not, perhaps sun and moon symbol .


Joannes Richter comments:

It would be very important to identify the direction of the faces. If they have been looking in opposite directions we might identify a reference to the androgynous creation legend.

In The roots of the Bifrontism (december, 2000) Licia Filingeri claims:

"Varro says that Janus was the God of the sky, practically identified with Juppiter."

Joannes Richter comments:

Yes: originally both deities (bi-faced Janus and IU-piter) are androgynous characters.

In The roots of the Bifrontism (december, 2000) Licia Filingeri claims:

"Janus or Dianus, like reminded also from Frazer (1910), was to the origin the double of Jupiter. 

Joannes Richter comments:

Basically IU-piter already has an androgynous character, which may have been lost in time. Originally the name may even have been d'IU-piter.

In  The roots of the Bifrontism (december, 2000) Licia Filingeri claims:

Janus would be the double of Jana (like Dianus of Diana), deriving their names from the same Ariane root DI, that means shining of light.

Joannes Richter comments:

We may have to consider the prefix "Di" also might be interpreted as "Dis" in "dissecting" and "splitting into 2 elements". Diana might have been a dissected element from a bifaced Ianus.

In The roots of the Bifrontism (december, 2000) Licia Filingeri claims:

The allegory of the double face and the double forehead has been interpreted in several ways. It is connected to the gift of science of the past and the future, made to him by Saturn, by him entertained during the persecution from Jove. According to other interpretations, since the month of January (Januarius) takes name from Janus and to he is dedicated, the double forehead that connotes the herms of the God would symbolize the vision of the passed year and what is beginning.

In some characterizations Janus have a virile face, with the beard, and a feminine face, probably in relationship to the symbolic meant of Sun and Moon expressed by the brace Janus-Jana or Diano-Diana. The two faces, bearded-old and beardless-young person, would allude also to his preside sliding of the time.

According to my point of view, the bifrontism since the beginning manifests like visual representation, at the same time ascertainment and celebration of braces of opposites, to begin from the twofold aspect of natural facts (life-death, male-female, day-night, sun-moon, beneficial-noxious, wet-dry etc), characterized and celebrated through the representations in sculpture.

Joannes Richter comments:

These interpretations of the passed and the beginning of time may have been generated in later eras.
Androgynous creation legends (Platon's Symposion and the Sohar's legend) generally claim the male and the female halves of the first-born androgynous creature called "man" had been unable to see each other's faces. They felt lonely although they had been linked together. 
My idea: the opposite bifrontism is a celebration of the opposites "male-female" you are referring to. The Creator-God had to separate their skulls and corpses by splitting the androgynous man ("Adam") into female and male and to lead the female half (the "ornamented" bride) in front of the male half (the groom). Face-to-face they were allowed to see each other for the very first time. The legend seems to symbolize a marriage in which the bride is "to be unveiled" at the wedding ceremony. Existing wedding ceremonies suggest the use of a mirror in wedding ceremonies to enable the couple to view the rejoined duality as an image of  androgynous man and as an image of the Creator-God. 
Details about Afghan wedding symbols have been documented by Khaled Hosseini in The Kite runners. Afghan symbols seem to have been valid in modern times as the novel is describing the seventies around 1970. 


Licia Filingeri claims:

Hermaphrodithe is an important divinity because he comprises two beings, the man and the woman, even if iconographically the aspect is male. Hermaphrodithe is not the only hybrid divinity man-woman of every time and of the world; besides the bisexual known divinities; where a written history of the representation of a male divinity there is not, we do not know nothing.

Joannes Richter comments:

Well, it depends. The following topics  may indicate androgynous deities as well. Maybe you will find some interesting and discussable ideas in these topics:

--The four idols described by Pietro Gaietto, indicate a multiple (four-) faced deity in Mediterranean temples in or near Israel.
In studying the Sohar we may identify an androgynous creation-legend quite equivalent to the androgynous legend in Platon's Symposion, which basically describes a bi-faced androgynous "man".
In fact the English word "man" still describes a male or a female person.

--In German Mythology Jacob Grimm describes the German Creator as an androgynous deity. The largest number of sculptures in Germany has been Hermes-like and may have been devoted to the androgynous, main German creator deity Tuisco. The Hermes of Roquepertuse, (and many bi-faced other sculptures found nearby) may have been a similar Celtic deity.

--Apart from the singular and plural a third declension "dualis" may have existed in a great number of (indo-european and other) languages. The dualis is now extinct in a great number of languages, but may initially have symbolized bi-faced / androgynous deities.

--In a Celtic grave at Hochdorf (Germany) the king's purple clothes have been proven to be woven in (Byssos- or) twining-technology using the finest threads of blue and red at densities of 80 threads / cm. The high density weaving of red and blue colours cannot be identified without optical tools and the clothes look like a homogeneous purple material. The same technology (Byssos/Twining applying red, blue and purple) is found in the Bible. These Colors may refer to androgynous deities, symbolizing male (blue colors) and female (red colors) or divine symbols (purple). The English word " twining " referring to "twins", "two", "twilight" and "Tuisco" may be symbolizing matrimony, which may be considered as a religious act in "becoming immortal".

--A great number of androgynous Symbols may be identified in coloring schemes, in old rites, e.g. the maypoles and Need-Fires.The Maypole may or must also be considered an androgynous symbol. To may (German: maien) originally  indicates to make love. The maypole is an ancient marriage-symbol for joining a male/female-couple. Of course the erected and towering pole symbolizes the male element in this union (The ego-centric "I"). The large circular wreaths represent the female element, which must be considered to be the stabilizing and passive pole (The "You" in the union).In Indo-European and Germanic Mythology Jacob Grimm describes the Need-Fire as a universal method in which a sacred fire may be kindled by friction between a male wooden element and a female wooden element.

--The Pronouns U (you) and I may very well be identified within the main deities names (Thou and I inside Tuisco, "je" inside and "Du" at the outside of "Dieu", "io" inside "Dios"), indicating a religious bipolar symbolism.

Licia Filingeri claims for Hermes:

Near the Celts, he is " progenitor and founder of kings lineage".

Joannes Richter comments:

The proof may be found in German mythology. In periods of Roman expansion the most popular deity in Baden-Wuerttemberg has been Hermes or Mercury. The Romans may have named the deity Tuisco "Hermes" for the bi-faced sculptures. The first author to discover the androgynous nature of Tuisco is Wackernagel and Jacob Grimm describes his thesis in a somewhat cryptic way in the appendix to his book German mythology.
Grimm does not give any further comments to Wackernagels arguments, but lists a great number of details to Tuiscos son Man: "The son of earth-born Tvisco has been called Mannus, and no name may be sounding more German-like. Surely this word must have carried a deeper sense in ancient times".

Mannus however is the first hero, the son of God and Father of all people.

And as all Germans from Tvisco and Mannus the three, five or even seven main tribes descended from Mannus.

With these words Jacob Grimm describes the first German Creator god in German Mythology, but also specifies a row of ancestors in a genealogical tree starting with Tvisco:

Tvisco -> Mannus -> Ingvio -> Nerthus -> Fravio.

The Germans obviously must have accepted the idea of a divine family of ancestors just like a row of generations within a human family. Gods were just as mortal as humans, being relieved by and inheriting some gifts to another generation in a kind of Ragnarok (Undoing). Some sources claim another predecessor for Tuisco, whose name may have been Duih, Thuih or even Tyr and in the case of a starting point Thuih we may read:

Thuih -> Tuisco -> Mannus -> Ingvio -> Nerthus -> Fravio.

These investigations and comparisons with neighboring religions lead to the assumption, Tuisco and Mannus must have been androgynous beings, just like the equivalent creator gods and their first androgynous human being. Tuisco and Mannus seem to be the parental deities for the German people. Related to the Mediterranean religions Tuisco is to be compared to the Roman God Diu-piter and to the Hebrew God JHVH. The other non-androgynous gods of the Celts and Germans seem to be of a lesser magnitude, being local representatives of the famous ancestor.

Comments to the article 
by Pietro Gaietto

In the article FOUR-HEADED HERMAE OF ROME Pietro Gaietto, Director of the website of the Museum of the Origins of Man documents several sources for four-headed sculptures in the Bible and he writes:

It is important to become aware of the connections between the two-faced anthropomorphic sculptures of the Paleolithic and the successive prehistoric ages, with the two, three and four-faced anthropomorphic sculptures of the historical ages, that represents divinities, and where has been no interruption and no connection with the zoomorphic paintings of the upper Paleolithic and the Mesolithic, and no connection with the art and the religions of the people who have produced graffiti on cliffs. We know with certainty, also from written testimonies, that the sculptures with two, three, four heads or faces, were of religious character, i.e. that were divinities. 

- a) the Ba' al of Tyrus that Ahab, king of Israel, introduces in IX century B.C. in Samaria, as a result of his wedding with Izebel, daughter of the king of Syria ( The Kings 16. 29 followings): it is described like "four-shaped" by Eustachius from Antiochia (approximately 300 a.D.);

- b) the idol that Manasse king of Juda (VII century) makes to construct and to place in the temple of Jerusalem (2 Chr.. 33. 7), but removing them when he returns repenting from Babylon (2 Chr. 33. 15): in the Syrian version (Pesitta) of 2 Chr. 33. 7 he is described like a idol " four-faced". Efrem Syrus (+ 373 a.D.), in the poem against Julian the Apostate, and Jacob from Sarug (+ 521) in the homily on "the Fall of the Idols" and in that of palm Sunday, reproach the Hebrew to have adored a idol "four-faced", and that this idol was that one of Manasse, and just the simulacrum of 2 said explicitly in Barhebreus, like also in George Syncellus, Cedrenus and Suida (in Greek the name of the God with four faces is expressed with "Zeus"). Also in the Thalmud the idol of Manasse has four faces, while in the Syrian "Apocalypses of Baruch" it has five - and of this conception is found an echo in St. Girolamus;

- c) the simulacrum of Jahve make made by Micha son of Efraim for his private cult (illegitimate), then come in possession of the Danites and worshipped later on in Dan-Lajis (Jew. 17 and 18): it is, according to the Thalmud, the same as the idol of Manasse, and it had in fact four faces;

- d) also the "imagine of jealousy" in the Temple of Jerusalem ,according to Ezech. 8. 3, 5, is identified in the judaic and christian tradition with the idol of Manasse, and has therefore four faces.

The four-headed early Hebrew God may refer to the four lettered Tetragrammaton and other" Cabbalastic symbolism

Additionally to the above information provided to the article by Licia Filingeri I would like to add the following three equivalent sculptures found in Dhenia (Cyprus), in Ruegen(Germany) and in India respectively:

Plank-shaped idols found in Dhenia (Cyprus)

The Pierides Museum in Larnaca (Cyprus) reveals several plank-shaped idols of red polished ware and incised decoration, found in Dhenia. These 1-, 2- and 3-headed idols are dated early bronze age (1900 before Christ).



Svetovid is associated with war and divination and depicted as a four-headed god with two heads looking forward and two back. A statue portraying the god shows him with four heads, each one looking in a separate direction, a symbolical representation of the four directions of the compass, and also perhaps the four seasons of the year. The main temple of Svantevit, as he was called by the local Rani, was located in Arkona on Rugia Island in the Baltic Sea (today Rügen, in Germany).  Svetovid's Androgynous symbolism is being discussed in Androgynous symbolism in Svetovid / Zbruch idols


Brahma is the Hindu god (deva) of creation and one of the Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. He is not to be confused with the Supreme Cosmic Spirit in Hindu Vedanta philosophy known as Brahman. Brahmā's consort is Saraswati, the goddess of learning. Brahmā is often identified with Prajapati, a Vedic deity. The temple at the city of Pushkar houses a life-sized idol of the 4-headed God deity.
Brahma carving at a temple in Halebidu may indicate androgynous Symbolism as the deity's frontal face reveals a beard, whereas the left and right faces do not wear beards.



Copyright © 2000-2009 by Paleolithic Art Magazine, all rights reserved.