The Royal Arch Banner

Q. What is the meaning and origin of the device on the Royal Arch banner which is represented below?

A. The center of the device consists of the figures of the lion, eagle, ox, and man, the meaning of which has just been explained. The cross which divides them is a correct representation of the equator, cut at right angles by the great solstitial colure, The grotesque and imaginary creatures standing on each side are also astronomical emblems, being compounded of the three figures of the man, the eagle, and the ox—exhibiting the face and body of a man, the wings of the eagle, and the feet of the ox—emblematic of the winter solstice and the autumnal and vernal equinoxes, as before explained. Some are, however, of the opinion that the lower parts of the figures represent the legs of a goat instead of the ox. This would make them refer to Capricornus, the Goat, which now marks the winter solstice, thus clearly denoting the "precession of the equinoxes," in consequence of which the figure of the man (Aquarius) was changed into that of a goat (Capricornus), as the solstitial point left Aquarius and entered Capricornus.

Capricornus is also identical in mythology with Pan, who is represented as a god, with the body of a man and the legs of a goat. Astronomical emblems and figures similar to these compound creatures on the Royal Arch banner were quite common among the sun-worshipping nations of antiquity, and were called sphinxes. The Egyptians, who held the constellation Leo in especial reverence, more frequently combined the human figure with that of a lion, to which they sometimes added the wings of the eagle. These were called andro-sphinxes; others, called crio-sphinxes, had the head of a ram, alluding to the sign Aries. The winged Greek sphinxes, common vases, were partly Egyptian and Phoenician. The Assyrians more particularly esteemed the constellation Taurus, and therefore generally combined the figure of a bull with the head and face of a man, to which the wings of the eagle were always attached.

In the Assyrian Museum at the Louvre, M. Botta deposited a slab taken from the palace of Khorsabad, which is ornamented with figures almost identical with those on the Royal

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