PALEOLITHIC ART MAGAZINE
THE THREE AGES OF THE MAN
"... there are two ways of fighting: one with laws, the other with force: the first is proper to man, the second to beasts: but because the first is often not enough, it is better to have recourse to the second. Therefore it is necessary for a prince to know how to use man and beast well....
Therefore, since a prince must know how to use the beast well, he must take the fox and the lion of those beasts; because the lion does not defend itself against snares, the fox does not defend itself against wolves. It is necessary, therefore, to be a fox to know the snares, and a lion to stun the wolves. Those who are simply on the lion do not realize this. Therefore a prudent Lord cannot, and must not, observe the faith, when this observance turns against him, and the reasons for which it was promised are extinguished." (Nicolò Machiavelli, The Prince, chap.XVIII)
"Being ... the human appetites insatiable, because, having by nature to be able and want to desire everything, and by luck to be able to achieve few; it results continuously a bad contentment in human minds ... which makes to blame the present times, commend the past, and desire the future. "(Nicolò Machiavelli, Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius,1517).
At Tiglieto (Genoa, Italy) it has been found by Pietro Gaietto a lithic sculpture in local stone of light brown color, height cm13, attributed to Upper Paleolithic.
Fig.1 Three-headed anthropomorphic sculpture in stone of Tiglieto
The little sculpture " represents three heads joined with look in three different directions... it seems that it represents the three ages. In this sense, the meaning, with the natural diversifications that time, space and cultural evolution involve, finds a parallel with the zoomorphic sculpture on bone (Upper Paleolithic, France), representing a skull of horse, a head of horse and a small head of colt, topic of cult of the Mousterian, than symbolically represents the three ages. " (Gaietto, 1982).
The interpretation of Gaietto about the three ages, therefore, finds, like by himself observed and documented , direct parallelisms with this magdalenian sculpture, probably handle of an harpoon for fishing (Fig.2)
Fig.2 Magdalenian sculpture on bone, France, representing three heads of horse
This topic of cult has the own roots in the Mousterian.
From Palo (Savona, Italy) comes an other paleolithic sculpture three-headed, found by Gaietto, height 14 cm, representing a human head, with one small head on the forehead and an other joining with look in opposite direction. The two big heads are of Homo sapiens sapiens, the small on the forehead is not clear. It is however matter of a varying of the bi-faced, a frequent type.
Fig.3 Sculpture with three heads of Palo
Making search, can be discovered meaningful parallelisms between this paleolithic three-headed sculpture and three-headed sculptures of historical age, and also with later representations in painting, beyond that with many examples in literary field. Before deepening the topic about the three-headed, it can however be useful to try to understand the origin of the three-head. A first observation regards the tie of the three-head with number three. The three, fundamental number for antonomasia, conventionally expression of spiritual and intellectual order, number of the sky, implies the superlativo idea: symbols, myths, fables and legends offer an infinite repertorio. The proverbs recite: " Not there is two without three "; " Omnia trina sunt perfecta ", said the Latins.
According to Severinus Boethius (latin philosopher and poet 480-526 BC), author, between the other works, of the treaty Geometry, the first surface is the triangle, in which every geometric figure can be subdivided. The equilateral triangle is symbol of harmony and divine : the man corresponds to its half, that is to the triangle rectangle, which in its turn, according to Plato, represents the Earth. However, in the Jewish tradition, the equilateral triangle represents God. For its strong symbolism, we find it in different civilizations, in East like in the West, as ornamental element.
For the Pythagoreans, they also concordant with the thought of several Theogonies relatively to preexisting of the time to every other thing, " all are number ", since they saw in the number analogies with all the events, and think it the constituent element of all. The numbers in their mind came from the Unit, that he is even and uneven, and are divine. The same eternal spirit was connected with the eternal shapes of the numbers.
According to the school of Pythagoras, number three expressed the perfection (already Plato said that the ternary was the number of the idea, expressing the moral and spiritual dynamism).
However, the Pythagorean philosophy was based on three hinges: 1) the idea of immortality of the spirit; 2) its transmigration from a body to the other; 3) cyclical reappear of the events.
Three was the mysterious number for excellence, the symbol of the earth, the first male number, the number of the harmonybcomposed of unit and diversity.
The triangle, like remembered, was the first perfect figure; on the ground of the spiritual world, it was the first conception of the divinity, the " vehicle of the invisibile divinity ".
Seems therefore to prefigure a privileged interest with on the background a reflection about the time, in relationship to the human life.
Aspects of the nature and objects created by the man are often related the symbology of number three.
The higher mountain of the Slovenia, the Triglav (Tricorno Mount), 2864 m,, according to a legend of the ancient Slavics , represents the God with three heads who waking on the earth, the sky and the underground world.
The celtic pattern of the triskel (Fig.4) (tri-sceal, three histories) represents the three elements (water earth fire). In this culture, the triad triples the intensity and the majesty.
Fig.4 The celtic triskel
Many the objects connected to the symbolism of number three. And often they, like also the credences, are magically tied three by three.
A magical object is the tripod, tied to fire and sky like dynamism and communication, from where the use of the tripod in the oracle (Fig.5), in which the will of the gods was manifested .
Fig.5 Statere of Siracusa: the delphic tripod
Also the trident, with its three prongs, symbol of Neptune, represents symbolically the teeth of the devourer marine monsters that live in the humid caves, symbol of a devorer mother that wants to lead back to the nothing, cancelling the flowing of the time ( Fig.6).
Fig.6 Neptune with his Trident, etching XVI century
Coupled to the net, it is for the Christians symbol of the Christ fisherman of souls; having the three equal tips, is also symbol of Thrinity. In the Catacombe, it was also symbol of the Cross.
It is also solar emblem and of the flash (the lightning are represented from the tips).
In India the trident, trishula ( Fig.7), important emblema of Shiva and the goddess Kali, transforms the world: with reference to the time, the three tips, trikala, represent past, present and future, or also inertia, movement and equilibrium.
Fig.7 Indian Trishula
In the alchemic symbology, it is symbol of the fire and the heart.
Is centralized on the three the same symbol of the Sicily, the Trinacria, triple fish with a single head, or more commonly head of Gorgon with three legs, flexed to the height of the knee, which conventionally alludes to the three capes. The three legs have been connected to the cyclicity of the time. At Beja, Tunisy, on a statue of the God of the time, Baal, is a similar circular pattern, on a Taurus.
Again: in Asia Minor, between VI and IV century B.C., on the coins of several cities it is portrayed the Trinacria. Also at Creta and in celtic-Hyberian Spain is found the same symbol.
In relation to the myths, between the most ancient, there is the myth of the sun, to which, between the others, was interested Macrobe, like demonstrates his comment (1483) of the Somnium Scipionis by Cicero, in which draft neoplatonically of the Pythagorean ideas of the privileged role of the sun in animating the world, brings back us to the myths of the origins and to the birth of the world and of the Gods, of which we know narrations in nearly all the cultures.
Tied to the three are also the lunar myths.
The moon, for its several aspects, has been often described like triple, metaphor of life, death and rebirth, in one word the same arc of the life, interlaced with the vicissitudes of the time.
However, an other name of that, from a Phrygian root, Mene, means, in the root me -, " measure ", from which, probably, the Latin mensis, month, that originally indicated the lapse of time elapsing between two new moons.
Publius Virgilius Maro attributes to the Moon (Diana on earth) three heads: " tria virginis ora Dianae " (Aeneid, 4, 511), in how much goddess of the moon, the hunting and the animals, therefore three-shaped, with three natures, with three different names: Diana, goddess of the fertility, (correspondent to the Selene or Semele ( Semele means moon) of Greek mythology). Hecate, deadly black moon, Artemis (corresponding to the Latin Diana), the huntress, femininity in positive increase, at Atene represented with three heads.
The moon like Selene, from selas, splendor (, is sung by Hesiod in the Theogony: " Teia big Sun and the splendid Moon (Selénen)... generated, lying with Iperionin love " (Hesiod, Theogony, 371-374).
In Homeric Hymn XXXI to Helios it is sung: " weared the lighting dress, the divine Selene, yoked the white colts from the strong neck,she launches ahead the dazzling coach and appears, after the sunset, to the apex of the month. ".
Sappho, in the 600 B.C., sings " stars around to the beautiful moon / hides the luminous face / when, to its apex, more is shining/ over the earth " (Poems, fragment XVII), and still: " Selene with the rose fingers / wins all the stars " (Poems, fragment XXXXVII).
With the name of Hecate, instead, is represented the new moon, like the mesopotamic dark moon, symbol of death from which all re-births, powerful in sky, in earth and on the seas, tied to the world of the magic. For such its prerogatives, she was considered goddess of the Infera .
We remember a particular image three-headed of Hecate, mentioned in a hymn of the magical Papyrus of Paris, where is spoken about the Trivia moon, goddess of the three decades, with three faces, that consist in one human head with on the left one head of dog, and at right one head of cattle, or goat, or panther.
The figure of Hecate is very interesting.
For how much Greek and hellenistic Hecate can have aspect of three distinguished feminine figures, it is found also like herma or single three-headed figure (the aspect of Trivia), venered at the cross-roads, in Greece with the name of Triodits: with three bodies or three faces watching in three directions (like in the Bronzetto of the National Library of Paris) or three heads all equal on an only neck (like in a terracotta of Smirne, Turkey), or other variations on the topic.
Hecate is one of the personifications of Arthemis Persephone (the Latin Proserpina), in how much placed underground like spouse of Pluto or Ade.
Arthemis was the twin sister of Apollon (in its turn identified with the sun), lover of the hunting, represented with the arc and the quiver, crownwd from a increasing moon scythe, voted to the chastity, and protecting young virgin people, and the Amazons, symbol of the femininity in expansion and increase, in the full of her vigor. The goddess was also represented with three bodies and three heads: of dog, of lion and mare ( Fig.8).
Fig.8 Etching of XVI century representing Hecate three-headed
All that could make us to think that the concept of three could come, or quite to originate, from the observation of the lunar phases, scannned from a rhythm three plus three (new, increasing before the first quarter, and then first quarter; full, last quarter, decreasing after the last quarter), therefore from the invisibility to the full presence, that could have given origin to the metaphor of the three ages of the life of the man, from his apparition to his disappearance.
This reality, not casually, is just, like already has been pointed out, the enigma that the Sphynx puts to Oedipus, fundamental enigma, tied to the more immediate speculation, regarding the man himself and his wordly vicissitude.
This leads us back to the more archaic written that are in such area, and just to the more ancient Cosmogonies and Theogonies.
In the ancient Cosmogonies, it is spoken about three deluges, the Ogigius deluge, a second flooding and that of Athlantis, before that one of Deucalion and Pyrra, the only and the last reminded by the Greeks, all connoted from common elements: a God that informs an old savant man of the imminent deluge, and that suggests the construction of Arche in order to save the human lineage on a mount, symbol of spiritual regeneration.
Sings the Greek Hesiod in Theogony (VIII century), one of the most ancient western cosmogonies: " Therefore, first Chaos, and then / Gaia from the wide chest, sure place always of all / the immortals that hold the snowy summit of Mount Olympus, /and foggy Tartar in the recesses of the Earth with the wide roads, /after the Eros, beautifulst between immortals/... From Chaos had birth Erebus and the black Night./From Night came Ether and Day... Gaia first generated, similar to himselve, /Uranus starry/... with Uranus lying, generated the Ocean from the deep whirlpools ... and after these, last, had birth Chronus... " (vv 116-133).
It is remarkable that, in the Theogony of Hesiod, appears fifteen divine triads, and often, in the genealogy, nearly on purpose the number three is searched.
In the Orphic Theogony, probably inspired also to Hesiod, it appears a Kronos, primeval cosmological figure, with three heads of dragon, and the head surrounded from a head of lion and one of Taurus, which generates the triad Ether, Chaos and Erebus.
Pherecydes of Syros, (half of VI century B.C.), mythograph and naturalist, master of Pythagoras, one of the most ancient sources of the Orphean conception, introduces Kronos, Zeus and Chtonie, three primeval entities. From Kronos the fundamental elements are been born: the fire, the breath of the air and the water. The Time is therefore the first cause of all the things. The principle of the being is not the matter, but the time, spiritual element, from which the same fundamental matters come .
To the beginning, always, in these storys we find the chaos, the union of earth and sky without future, fundamentally sterile, in how much Uranus devoured the own sons.
To the third generation of the gods, through Zeus, finally the order is established in the world.
The several passages that carry to the establishement of the cosmic order, fighting monsters and primeval beings, are described in Theogonies and Cosmogonies. The order is considered under the twofold aspect of natural law that governs the events and of moral law that guides the human conduct.
A similar task could to be carried out only by a maximum God, so Zeus assumes the more important degree between all the divinities.
It is interesting to notice that also in the representation of Zeus the three-headed gives back: in fact, one of his many prerogatives is of being three-eyes, therefore all-seeing: moreover, he is part of the most powerful trinity with Athena and Hermes (Ovid, Metamorphosis, 4, 753 and following).
Therefore, we are always under the aegis of number three, in this case prerogative of beings highly positive for the development of the humanity.
Sometimes, between these positive figures, there are feminine figures, like the Nymphs, the three mythical founders of the Sicily (from which the three Caps, Pachino, Peloro , Lilibeo), or the nine Muses (multiplication of a original triad), or the Bacchants.
The daughters of the Martyr Christian Sophia were three, Faith, Hope and Charity, they also martyrs under Adriano.
Also in the Christian universe, the legend of the three Marys (Mary Virgin, spouse of Joseph; Mary of Cleofas, spouse of Alfeo; Mary Salomé, spouse of Zebedeo).
We can also to observe that, also when three divine figures would be to himself in independent way, the tradition often alloyes them three to three in the cult of the faithfuls.
Always with relationship to the sacred one, and the divinity, number three is in the first place expression of totality: the Great Triad is composed from sky, earth and man, theyr son.
Near the Sumerians, there were gods of the sky, of the earth and of the water.
In the sacred texts of India three types of gods exist: of the sky, of the air and the earth.
In the Nepal, a
Kalasa, with human figures (late Kirati period, approximately 900 B.C. / 300 A.D., now at the Museum of Kathmandu).
Other figures with three heads are frequent at Katmandu, as this at Chusya Baha, southern inner wall, II level.
So also in the hymalaian civilizations, in Cambogia, the great sculpture of the Bodhisattva Lokesvara, the Budda with the compassion, with the Paredra ( Wife) (Fig.9)
Fig.9 Lokesvara with the paredra, golden bronze , XVII century, himalayan art
and Shiva and Parvati of XVII century (Fig.10).
Fig.10 Shiva and Parvati, sculpture in painted wood of the XVII century, himalayan culture
For the Buddhism, the Triratna is the triple jewel, Buddha, Dharma (or doctrine) and Sangha (monastic order and community of the believers).
For the Hindus, the divine manifestation is the Trimurti, expression of the absolute, itself triple: Brahma, God of the origin, Vishnu, Lord of the existence, and Shiva, that periodically dissolves the cosmos in order to prepare a new existence.
In China, the Hi and the Ho, Lords of the sun and of the moon, are three siblings.
Three are the vedic gods, Indra, Varuna and Mithra.
Their correspondent are the three Lords of the universe of the Indo-European Triad, the three siblings: Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, sons of Cibele: their triple male aspect is strengthened from the typical attributes: the lightning-sceptre of Zeus with three beams towards height and three towards the bottom; the trident of Poseidon; the three heads of the Cerberus dog that prevent to the spirits of the died persons to exit from the reign of Hades.
Near the Celts, the popular thought was that the worlds were three: that advanced , the Sky, that one of middle, the Earth, and that inferior, the Sea, in which attending the rebirth. The Tryskele is the symbol of it.
In the remote times of the Inca culture, was venered only a single God, Illapa, sovereign lightning of the sky and the earth, in three persons, father, son and smaller son.
In historical times more recent, for the Christianity, God is solus et trinus, and Saintest Trinity is expression of it: also in this case, the three seem to be the perfect number.
Pope Urban VIII, however, in 1628, decided to prohibit the representation of the Saintest Trinity under shape of three-headed:  MACRI, Dominici. "Hierolexicon sive Sacrum Dictionarium in quo ecclesiastice voces... elucidantur". Venetiis, MDCCLXV. Pag. 378. See Icona]. This was the cause of the destruction of a great number of these artistic representations. Look at this purpose an ancient representation of the Trinity with three heads, in the Celestial Basilica at City of Monte Sant' Angelo, the more elevated center of the Gargano (Puglia), disfigured later on to the papal prohibition.
Therefore, near very many religious traditions or philosophical systems, the ternarius system, much important, refers generally to the different faces of an only God, of which they manifest the power.
In literary field, after myths of the classic historical age, fables, legends and sagas of every time and country privilege number three, that appears much often in the narrations.
The oath, according to ancient traditions, became more sacred if made in the presence of three witness, or in name of three divinities, or three attributes of a same God: Solon (640-588 B.C), at the beginning of V century B.C., in the Tables of the law carved on bronzee sheets, had prescribed that the oath came made in name of three gods.
In ancient chansons de geste, in oc and oil language, it is use that the king for three times invites a knight to undertake adangerous mission: to the third time, the volunteer makes itself ahead.
The hero who is ready to fight against a demon, announces in advance that he will launch three outcries: when he sees the demon, in the moment of the fight and in that one of the victory.
To make rotate the adversary three times on the own head before killing him also made part of the ritual of the knights.
In many fables, to get up and to seat down three times indicate respect and admiration.
The Eagle of the prosperity put down three times on the head of the prechosen to succeed to a dead king without descendancy.
Many prayers come repeated three times and, often, to the third repetition, they come re-united in one single, nearly performation of the original idea of divine triad.
In the Italian literature, in the Divina Commedia, Inferno, of Dante Alighieri, is unforgettable the image of the three fairs that threateningly make encounter to Dante in the dark forest, medieval tradition transmitted to the Poet probably through his masters, Vergilius and Brunetto Latini).
Still, in XXXIV song of the Inferno, where we find the traitors of the Church and the Empire, blocked in the ice in different positions, at the center of the quarter zone the enormous size of Luciferus is fixed in the ice, and its head has three faces of three different colors: the left is black, that central is red, the right is yellowish. Under every face, two great wings of bat, than moving about generate three twins that frost the surface of Cocito. From the six eyes exit tears that are stirred to the blood of three greatest sinners, Judas, Brutus and Cassius, chewed in eternal from the three mouths.
In the field of the figurative representation, in times not much far from us, and in the within of the western art, the first image that jumps me to the mind is the splendid oil on canvas of Titian, c.1565, The time governed by Prudence, exposed at the National Gallery of London. In the painting the three ages of the man are represented allegorically, through the representation of three human heads represented one of prospect, the maturity, and two to it lateral, on the left the old age, at right the youth (according to the tradition, the faces of the same Titian, of the son Horatius and the nephew Mark); they make as pendant to the representation below the three heads of animals, at the center the lion, on the left the dog, at right the wolf.
Titian retakes the triad of Macrobe of the lion with on the left the dog and on the right the wolf, disclosing clearly the implicit symbology tied to the time under shape of the three ages of the life, in how much his work wants to express a praise of the prudence, that knows to use the past in order to face the future. Up, to greater clarity of the pictorial content, the painter has written an inscription: EX PRAETERITO (on the left), PRUDENTER AGIT (at the center), NI FUTURU[M ] / ACTIONE[M ] DETURPET, " from the past prudently acts, in order not to damage the future action ".
This specific association of animals recalls therefore the triple image from the Saturnalia of Macrobe (I, 20, 13 and following), associated to the statue of Serapis in Alexandria, in which, next to the sun, appears Cerberus, figure with three heads of animals, just dog, lion and wolf, involved in the coils of a snake, one of the heads, that of middle, a lion, symbolizes the present, that has more force, regarding past ( the rapacious wollf which, as the time, devorates all the things, without leaving memory) and the future ( the dog, with the new pleasant hopes)( Fig.11).
Fig.11 Etching XVI century representing Serapis with near a three-headed figure, according to the narration of Macrobe
It is a cyclical image of the time (see Statue of Serapis. Roman copy of II century B.C., restored, from original of Bryaxis. The God, represented in throne like judge of the defunct, is accompanied from three-headed Cerberus. Naples, National Archaeological Museum). Serapis was a God Egyptian of the Ptolemaic and Roman age, resulting from the commixtion of the divinity Apis, or Hosirid-Apis with a God stranger to Egypt, later identified with Pluto, Aesculapius or Giove.
Beside Serapis, always is found Cerberus, the caretaker of the Ade, reign of the underworld, waking so that neither the dead men exits, neither enters alive, dog three-headed, with three heads, different according to the several traditions: or with central head of lion, of dog on the right and wolf on the left, or according to Apollodorus, with three dog heads, a tail of dragon, and long the back dulled heads of snake of every type (Apollodorus, Library, II, 12).
In the bronzes of the National Library of Paris, there is an interesting varying: the panther replaces the wolf. It constitutes the object of the last of the twelve labors of Heracles (represented in a rich Greek amphora with continuous profile of the painter of Andokides), which in the Odyssey the same Heracles tells to Ulixes; Orpheus, come down in the Inferos in the search of the loved Eurydice, encounters also Cerberus, and therefore also Enea, which he sends asleep with a soporific tart, as Vergile sings. Dante, in his turn, places it to guard of the girone of the greedy ones: "... Cerberus, cruel and different fair, /with three throats as a dog barks/over the people that there are submerged. " (The Divina Commedia, Inferno, VI,13-15) (Fig.12)
Fig.12 Dante throws the tart to Cerberus. Etching by Gustave Doré
Other monster with three heads, like Cerberus of the lineage of Echidna and Tipheus, was the Chimaera, a goat spitting flames: it had goat and lion heads, and the third, of snake, to the top of the tail. Rapid like the wind, incinerates with its breath. Bellerophons, with the aid of the winged horse Pegasus, hit it mortally.
In Greek mythology, Echidna with Tipheus and their sons, primeval monstrous beings, mixed of human and animals features, represented obstacles to set up of the cosmic order.
Echidna, that lived outside from the world, in the Arima cave, had woman aspect but the inferior part of the body was like a snake. Tipheus was a monster with hundreds heads vomiting flames, described also like a winged giant with the serpentiformi legs, or like snake, or with ears and horns of Taurus on human head, or winged, with the body covered of feathers. Their sons, all three-headed, represent forces of the Hells and of the storms.
They oppose themselves to the good and the beautiful (to the Eros, would say Plato), to the evolution of the man and the regulation from the I on the drivers, with the aims of direct it back towards controllable channels.
Such regulation comes finally put into effect by Zeus, who first takes charge of eliminate Tipheus with lightning blows, burying him under the Etna. Later on, different heroes succeeded to him: the main, Hercules, who during the twelve labors captures the monstrous dog with different heads and tail as snake, Cerberus, and kills with blows of club Ortro, dog with two heads, with tail as a snake, the Lernean Hydra, policephalus dragon, having poisonous blood, Ladon, dragon with hundreds heads, beyond to most feracious and strongest Nemeian Lion.
Oedipus, in his turn, solving the famous enigma, which, as it is known, has to do with the three ages of the man, forces the Sphynx, sister of the Nemeian lion, with feminine face on body of winged lion, to kill himself (the Sphynx, in its turn, re-enters in the cycle of the time in how much seems tied to the solar aegyptian God Ra).
Echidna finally will be killed from Argon panoptes, he also figure with three eyes, of which one on the nape, like according to some traditions the same Hecate.
Always between the monsters, the Harpies, Aiello, Ocypete and Celaeno, daughters of the Oceanine Electra and Taumante, had feminine face and body of bird; Vergile defines them " ugly", that is dirty, stinking; Dante, in XIII song of the Inferno, places them as guard of the suicides, in the II girone: " Here the ugly Harpies their nests make, / that hunted from the Strofade the Troians / with sad notice of future damage. / Wings have great, and human necks and aces, / feet with claws, and feathered l the large belly; / they make complains on the strange trees. " (vv 9-15). They were beated from the Argonauts, the first mythical navigators.(Fig.13)
Fig.13 Arpia, from an etching of the XVI century
But the most ancient of all were the Erinyes or Furiae or Dirae or Maniae, three sisters, Alecto, without rest, Tisiphone, punishing the murders and Megaera, or enemy. They had black bodies, head of dog, wings of bat and eyes injected of blood. They personified the remorses that torment the conscience horribly, like their goads with the bronze tips, with which they tormented their victims, especially the patricides, until the death.
The Gorgons, that with a look could petrify, were three sisters, daughters, as Hesiodus narrates, of Ceto and Phorcys: Medusa was the most famous, the only not immortal, guilty to bedding Poseidon in the temple of Athena; then Euryale, the wide and Stheno, the strenght .
Theyr sisters and caretakers were the three Graeae, that had a single eye and a single tooth, that they used by turns: Enyo, Pephredo and Dino.
Also the three Latin Parcae (" those who withhold the wire of the life "), are tied to the number three: they were the correspondent of the Greek Moirae, and had in hand the human destiny: Clotho wove the wire of the life, giving it; Lachesis measured it and Atropos, " the one who cannot be avoided ", cutted it with the scissors.
Also, three were the gallic Fatae (the etimo derives from Fatum, destiny), analogous to the pre-celtic Matres or Matrones.
The Germanic Parcae Norni were three: Urd, the past, Werdandi, the present and Skuld, the future.
In Swedish mythology, the Rune (letters of the sacred alphabet, 24, divided in 3 families) were associated with the Norni: every Runa is the complete representation of Destiny.
Also the three Hesperides, daughters of Atlas and Hespere, Aigle, Hesperie, and Arethousa, caretakers of the tree from gold apples, made part of Greek Olympus .
Therefore, the three seem to allude to three different stages of one same being, therefore a passage in the time, or also the three moments of the day, the waking, the sleep and the dream, beyond to the passage through the three worlds, sky, air, earth.
From what we have seen, could be just deduced that the three, the triangolation, are at the same base of the thought.
Since the primeval times, it seems to constitute the perceptive structure that allows to characterize and to forward whichever process relating to our world, giving approach to the symbolic function.
The oedipical triangulation, as an example, place for excellence of the phantasmization, with reference to the overcoming of the rivalry, allows to the human being the location and set in of the most important function of the symbolization, through the character of union, synthesis and resolution.
It seems moreover that the presence of the three-headed is tied in privileged way to the triad present, past and future, therefore to a definition of the time, and consequently of the concept of the sacred and however of trascendence tied to the time, in its positive and negative aspects, like demonstrates the symbolism of a part of the trifacies figures represented in sculpture, in all the times and near many cultures.
The small sculpture of Tiglieto contains already in nuce this deep reflection, and, through the symbology of the representation, appears like a first attempt by the man to master in some way the primeval existential anguish, with a processing that have been transmitted through the longest times, in order to reach with unchanged meant and value until us.
GAIETTO, P., (1982), Presculpture and prehistorical sculpture, Genova, E.R.G.A.
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