Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.


A picture is worth a thousand words.

~Napoleon Bonaparte

Friday, 25 January 2013

Chariots of Gods and UFO in religious art


"The wide-pathed earth yawned there in the plain of Nysa, and the lord [Hades], Polydegmon (Host of Many), with his immortal horses sprang out upon her - the Son of Cronus, Polyonomos (He who has many names) ...
He caught her [Persephone] up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away ... So he, that Son of Cronus, of many names, Polysemantor (Ruler of Many), Polydegmon (Host of Many), was bearing her away by leave of Zeus on his immortal chariot." - Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter

"Aidoneus Polysemantor (the Ruler of Many) openly got ready his deathless horses beneath the golden chariot [when commanded by Zeus to return Persephone to her mother]. And she mounted on the chariot, and the strong Argeiphontes [Hermes] took reins and whip in his dear hands and drove forth from the hall, the horses speeding readily. Swiftly they traversed their long course, and neither the sea nor river-waters nor grassy glens nor mountain-peaks checked the career of the immortal horses, but they cleft the deep air above them as they went." - Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter

"[Persephone] captive, through grassy plains, drawn in a four-yoked car with loosened reins, rapt over the deep." - Orphic Hymn 18 to Pluto

"Some are of opinion that ... here [near Olympia in Elis] the earth gaped (khanein) for the chariot of Hades and then closed up (mysai) once more." - Pausanias, Guide to Greece 6.21.1

"[In the meadows of Enna, in Sikelia is] a huge grotto which contains a chasm which leads down into the earth and opens to the north, and through it, the myth relates, Pluto [Hades], coming out with his chariot, effected the Rape of Kore ... The myth relates that it was near Syrakousa that Pluto effected the Rape of Kore and took her away in his chariot, and that after cleaving the earth asunder he himself descended into Hades, taking along with him the bride whom he had seized, and that he caused the fountain named Kyane to gush forth." - Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5.2.3-5.5.1

"While Proserpina [Persephone] was gathering flowers ... Pluto [Hades] came in his four-horse chariot, and seized her." - Hyginus, Fabulae 146

"[Hades] sees her [Persephone picking flowers in Sicily] and swiftly abducts what he sees, and bears her to his realm on black horses. She screamed ... Meanwhile a path gapes open for Dis; his horses barely endure the foreign daylight." - Ovid, Fasti 4.443

Hades returns Persephone to the upper world in his chariot, accompanied by Hermes and Hecate. The gods have their usual attributes: Hades a bird-tipped staff, Hermes a herald's wand, winged boots and petasos cap, and Hecate a four-headed Eleusinian torch. ca 350 BC


There were four types of dragon in ancient Greek mythology : the serpent Dracones, the marine Cetea, the fire-breathing Chimaera and the she-monster Dracaenae.

Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 77 (from Strabo 9. 1. 9) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"And it is from the hero [Kykhreus] that the serpent Kykhreides took its name - the serpent which, according to Hesiod, was fostered by Kychreus [on Salamis] and driven out by Eurylokhos because it was damaging the island, and was welcomed to Eleusis by Demeter and made her attendant."

Orphic Hymn 40 to Demeter (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"A car with Drakones yoked ‘tis thine [Demeter's] to guide, and, orgies singing, round thy throne to ride."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 14 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Ceres [Demeter] was distributing her bounties to men, she bade Triptolemus . . . go around to all the nations and distribute grain . . . He went in a dragon car, and is said to have been the first to use one wheel, so as not to be delayed in his journey. When he came to the king of the Getae . . . at the order of Carnabon one dragon was killed, so that Tiptolemus might not hope his dragon car could save him when he realized an ambush was being prepared. But Ceres is said to have come there, and restored the stolen chariot to the youth, substituting another dragon."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 5. 643 ff :
"Bounteous Ceres [Demeter] yoked her Angues Gemini (Serpent-Pair) to her chariot, and fixed the curbing bits and made her way between the earth and sky to Tritonia's city [Athens], and brought the chariot to Triptolemus, and gave him seed and bade him scatter it [throughout the earth, teaching mankind the practise of agriculture]. Partly in virgin land and part in fields long fallow . . . then [after he had finished his task she] bade the youth of Mopsosius [Triptolemos] drive her pair of Iugales Sacri (Sacred Serpents) homeward through the air."

Ovid, Fasti 4. 495 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"There is a cave, rough-formed of corroded pumice [on Mt Aitna in Sicily], a place neither man nor beast may enter [being sacred to Demeter]. When she [Demeter in search of Persephone] comes here, she brides and hitches Serpents to her chariot, and roams the sea, dry."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 6. 2 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"The winged courses of your [Demeter's] attendant Dracones."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 5. 562 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Then beside the Drakon-manger [by her home on Olympos] she [Demeter] balanced the curved yoke over the two necks of the monsters, and fastened the untamed crawlers with the yokestrap, pressing their jaws about the crooktooth bit. So golden brown Deo in that grim car conveyed her girl [Persephone] hidden in a black veil of cloud. Boreas roared like thunder against the passage of the wagon, but she whistled him down with her monster-driving whip, guiding the light wings of the quick drakones as they sped horselike along the course of the wind through the sky . . .
She alighted among the Pelorian cliffs of Threepeak Sikelia (Sicily) . . . [and] saw a neighbouring grotto like a lofty hall crowned and concealed by a roof of stone . . . The goddess passed through the dark hall, and concealed her daughter well-secured in this hollow rock. Then she loosed the Drakones from the winged car; one she placed by the jutting rock on the right of the door, one on the left beside the stone-pointed barrier of the entry, to protect Persephoneia unseen . . .
Ah, maiden Persephoneia! You could not find how to escape your mating! No, a drakon was your mate, when Zeus changed his face and came, rolling in many a loving coil through the dark to the corner of the maiden’s chamber, and shaking his hairy chaps: he lulled to sleep as he crept the eyes of those creatures of his own shape who guarded the door."

Medea avenges herself on Jason by slaying her own children upon the altar, and destroying Kreon and Glauke by fire in the palace (not shown). Triptolemos arrives on the scene with a flying, serpent-drawn chariot to assist Medea in her escape. ca 330 - 310 BC

 Triptolemos departs in a flying chariot. ca 550 - 530 BC

 Triptolemos departs in a winged, serpent-drawn chariot. Demeter and Persephone farewell him. ca 470 - 460 BC

 Triptolemos departs in a winged chariot to instruct mankind in the art of agriculture. He is farewelled by Demeter, ca 480 - 440 BC

Goddess Nyx (Night)

Detail of Nyx, the goddess of the night, driving her chariot down from the sky with the rising of the sun-god Helios. A misty veil of vapour descends from her body and her head is crowned with darkness. The figure is labelled NUKS on the vase. Opposite her, almost identical in form is her daughter Heos or Hemera. ca. 500 - 475 BC

Chariots of Apollo

 Apollo rides sidesaddle upon the back of a Gryps (Griffin), a winged, eagle-headed lion. The god strums a lyre with one hand and holds a laurel branch in the other. ca 380 BC

Apollo rides a winged tripod across the sea. He plays a lyre, and has a bow and quiver slung from his shoulder. Dolphins leap in the sea below him. The tripod may represent the orb of the sun. Period:Classical

 Marsyas challenges Apollon to a musical contest. The god arrives on the back of a swan playing his lyre. The satyrs stands to the far right with his arm raised. Two Mousai (Muses) are seated, one holding a lyre, reading to judge the contest. In the centre stands the pine tree to which the defeated Marsyas is destined to be tied and flayed. ca 380 BC

 The youth Hyacinthus, beloved of the god Apollo, rides across the sea on the back of a swan. ca 525 - 475 BC


Homeric Hymn 9 to Artemis (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.) :
"She [Artemis] waters her horses from Meles deep in reeds [a river in Lydia], and swifty drives her all-golden chariot through Smyrna to vine-clad Klaros where Apollon Argyrotoxos (god of the silver bow), sits waiting for [her]."

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 98 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Thou [Artemis in her childhood] dist find by the base of the Parrhasian hill [in Arkadia] deer gamboling - a mighty herd. They always herded by the banks of the black-pebbled Anauros - larger than bulls, and from their horns shone gold. And thou wert suddenly amazed and saidst to thine own heart: ‘This would be a first capture worthy of Artemis.’ Five were there in all; and four thou didst take by speed of foot - without the chase of dogs - to draw thy swift car. But one escaped over the river Keladon, by devising of Hera, that it might be in the after days a labour for Herakles, nad the Keryneian hill received her. Artemis, Parthenos (lady of Maidenhood), Tityoktone (Slayer of Tityos), golden were thine arms and golden thy belt, and a golden car didst thou yoke, and golden bridles, goddess, didst thou put on thy deer. And where first did thy horned team begin to carry thee? To Thrakian Haimos [to obtain frost]."

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 170 ff :
"For thee [Artemis] the Amnisiades rub down the hinds [the golden horned deer that draw the chariot of Artemis] loosed from the yoke, and from the mead of Hera they gather and carry for them to feed on much swift-springing clover, which also the horses of Zeus eat; and golden troughs they fill with water to be for the deer a pleasant draught."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3. 879 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"Artemis, standing in her golden chariot . . . driving off with her fast-trotting deer over the hills and far away to some rich-scented sacrifice."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 11. 344 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Artemis sovran of all creatures drives an antlered car drawn by stags."

 Detail of Artemis driving a deer-drawn biga (two steed chariot) from a painting depicting the death of Aktaion. The goddess holds a bow in one hand and wears a crown and veil. ca 460 - 440 BC

 The goddess Artemis drives a (biga) chariot drawn by a pair of horse-sized hinds. ca 450 - 425 BC

Chariot of Poseidon

 Poseidon rides across the sea on the back of a hippokampos (a fish-tailed horse), holding a trident. Period:Archaic

 Poseidon rides across the sea in a chariot drawn by two Hippokampoi (fish-tailed horses). He holds a trident in his hand. C3rd AD

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 37. 9 - 10 :
"From Akakesion [in Arkadia] it is four stades to the sanctuary of Despoine . . .
This Despoine the Arkadians worship more than any other god, declaring that she is a daughter of Poseidon and Demeter. Despoine is her surname among the many, just as they surname Demeter’s daughter by Zeus Kore . . .
Beyond the grove [of the sanctuary] are altars of Hippios (Horse) Poseidon, as being the father of Despoine."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 77 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Demeter bore this horse [Areion] to Poseidon, after having sex with him in the likeness of an Erinys."

THE ERINYES were three netherworld goddesses who avenged crimes against the natural order. They were particularly concerned with homicide, unfilial conduct, crimes against the gods, and perjury.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 25. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"When Demeter was wandering in search of her daughter, she was followed, it is said, by Poseidon, who lusted after her. So she turned, the story runs, into a mare, and grazed with the mares of Ogkios [in Arkadia]; realising that he was outwitted, Poseidon changed into a stallion and enjoyed Demeter. At first, they say, Demeter was angry at what had happened, but later on she laid aside her wrath and wished to bathe in the Ladon . . .
Demeter, they say, had by Poseidon a daughter, whose name they are not wont to divulge to the uninitiated, and a horse called Areion . . . In the Iliad there are verses about Areion himself: ‘Not even if he drive divine Areion behind, the swift horse of Adrastos, who was of the race of the gods.’
In the Thebaid it is said that Adrastos fled from Thebes: ‘Wearing wretched clothes, and with him dark-maned Areion.’
They will have it that the verses obscurely hint that Poseidon was father to Areion, but Antimakhos says that Gaia was his mother."

Poseidon drives a chariot drawn by two Hippokampoi (fish-tailed horses) across the sea. He wields a trident in his hand. Beneath him the old sea gods Okeanos and Tethys sit wrapped in the tail of a sea-serpent. C1st - C2nd AD

 Poseidon (Roman Neptune) with trident in hand, drives a chariot drawn by two Hippokampoi (fish-tailed horses) across the sea. period: Imperial Roman


 Detail of Dionysus riding a panther, from a scene of the procession of the retinue of the god. He holds a stick topped with a tragedy mask in one hand and a wreath in the other. ca 370 - 360 BC

 The youthful god Dionysus rides side-saddle on the back of a panther with a ribboned thyrsos (pine-cone tipped staff) in his hand. He is crowned with a wreath of ivy or vine-leaves.  ca 400 - 360 BC

 Dionysus drives a chariot drawn by three beasts: a panther, bull and Gryps (griffin). The god is crowned with a wreath of ivy leaves and holds a thyrsos (pine-cone tipped staff) in one 400 - 390 BC

 The god Dionysus, with wine cup and thyrsos rod, rides in a chariot drawn by two Kentauroi (Centaurs). Period:Late Roman


Helios was regarded as the inventor of the four-horse chariot, a natural association given the belief that the sun-god drove such a vehicle daily across the sky.

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 13 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Jupiter [Zeus] seeing that he [Erikhthonios] first among men yoked horses in four-horse chariots, admired the genius of a man who could rival the invention of Sol (the Sun), who first among the gods made use of the quadriga." 

 The sun-god Helios or his son Phaethon drives the four-horse chariot of the sun into the sky at dawn. He is crowned with shining aureole of the sun . Beneath his chariot the Astra Planeta (gods of the planet stars) dive into the sea, and before him (not shown) Selene the Moon rides away, and Eos the Dawn chases Kephalos. Period: High Classical


Greek Name: Hippoi Helioi (Horses of the Sun); Latin Name: Equi Solis (Horses of the Sun)
Homeric Hymn 31 to Helius (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.) :
"As he [Heliosthe Sun] rides his chariot, he shines upon men and deathless gods, and piercingly he gazes with his eyes from his golden helmet. Bright rays beam dazzlingly from him, and his bright locks streaming from the temples of his head gracefully enclose his far-seen face: a rich, fine-spun garment glows upon his body and flutters in the wind: and stallions carry him. Then, when he has stayed his golden-yoked chariot and horses, he rests there upon the highest point of heaven, until he marvellously drives them down again through heaven to Oceancs."

Mimnermus, Fragment 12 (trans. Gerber, Vol. Greek Elegiac) (Greek elegy C7th B.C.) :
"For Helios the Sun’s lot is toil every day and there is never any respite for him and his horses, from the moment rose-fingered Eos (the Dawn) leaves Oceanus and goes up into the sky. A lovely bed . . . carries him, as he sleeps soundly, over the waves on the water’s surface from the place of the Hesperides [in the West] to the land of the Aithiopes [in the East], where his swift chariot and horses stand until early-born Eos (the Dawn) comes. There the son of Hyperion mounts his other vehicle."

Orphic Hymn 8 to Helius (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"Helios (the Sun) . . . dancing in thy four-yoked car . . . with sounding whip four fiery steeds you guide, when in the glittering car of day you ride."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 23. 2 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"Phaethon [son of Helios], as he drove the chariot, was unable to keep control of the reins, and the horses, making light of the youth, left their accustomed course; and first they turned aside to traverse the heavens, setting it afire and creating what is now called the Milky Way, and after that they brought the scorching rays to many parts of the inhabited earth and burned up not a little land."

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 11 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of an ancient Greek painting depicting the fall of Phaethon :] In his passion for driving this son of Helios (the Sun) [Phaethon] ventured to mount his father’s chariot, but because he did not keep a firm rein he came to grief and fell into the Eridanos . . .The sun’s orb (hêliou kyklos) as it plunges toward the earth draws in its train the Astera (Stars) . . . while the horses have thrown off their yoke and rush madly on."

Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 2. 22 (trans. Conybeare) (Greek biography C1st to 2nd A.D.) :
"You see Helios the sun himself represented sometimes borne upon a four horse car ... and sometimes again traversing the heavens with his torch, in case you are depicting the aither and the home of the gods."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 183 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Names of the Horses of Sol [Helios the Sun]. Eous; by him the sky is turned. Aethiops, as if faming, parches the grain. These trace-horses are male. The female are yoke-bearers: Bronte, whom we call thunder (tonitrua), Sterope, whom we call lightning (fulgitrua). Eumelus of Corinth is the authority for this. There are also the ones that Homer names: Abraxas, Therbeeo. Ovid, too: Pyrois, Eous, Aethon, and Phlegon."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 2. 78 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"My [Helios'] horses too, when fire within their breast rages, from mouth and nostrils breathing flames, are hard to hold; even I can scarce restrain their ardent hearts, their necks that fight the rein."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 214 ff :
"Beneath the far Hesperian sky extend the pastures of the Equi Solis (Horses of the Sun). For grass they graze ambrosia, to rebuild their strength, tired by the duties of the day, fresh for the morrow’s toil. His team there cropped heavenly pasturage and night took turn."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 11. 257 :
"Titan [Helios the Sun] was setting and his chariot sloped to the western waves."

Ovid, Fasti 3. 415 :
"Phoebus [Helios] climbs steep Olympus from Oceanus and plucks the sky on winged horses."

Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 5. 428 ff :
"Scarce can Tethys gather the fragments of yoke and axle [after the fall of Phaethon from the chariot], or rescue Pyroeis [one of the horses of the Sun] who fears the father’s [Helios’] grief."

Statius, Thebaid 3. 406 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"Far on the sloping margin of the western sea sinking Sol [Helios the Sun] had unyoked his flaming steeds, and laved their bright manes in the springs of Oceanus; to meet him hastens Nereus of the deep and all his company, and the swift-striding Horae (Hours), who strip him of his reins and the woven glory of his golden coronet, and releive his horse’s dripping breasts of the hot harness; some turn the well-deserving steeds into the soft pasture, and lean the chariot backward, pole in air."

Statius, Achilleid 1. 689 ff :
"Phoebus [Helios the Sun], stooping low upon the verge of Olympus, was sending forth broken rays, and promising to his panting steeds the yielding shore of Oceanus."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 1. 207 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"He [the monster Typhon] pulled out a stallion [of the sea] by his brine-soaked mane from the undersea manger, and threw the vagabond nag to the vault of heaven, shooting his shot at Olympus - hit Helios the Sun’s chariot, and the horses on their round whinnied under the yoke."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 17. 269 :
"O Helios, cutting the air in your fiery chariot, pouring your light on the Kaukasian plowland."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 27. 8 :
"Phaethon [Helios], blazing shepherd of the everflowing years, checked the course of his firebred steeds."

 Detail of Helios driving the chariot of the sun. The god and his team are surrounded by a shining aureole. ca 340 BC

Ovid, Metamorphoses 7. 207 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[Medea the witch cries out to the sky gods :] `Thee too, bright Luna [Selene the Moon], I banish, though thy throes the clanging bronze assuage; under my spells even my grandsire’s [Helios the Sun’s] chariot grows pale and Aurora [Eos the Dawn] pales before my poison’s power.'"

 Helios-Sol represents Sunday in a mosaic depicting the seven days of the week. He drives a four-horse chariot through the sky, crowned with the aureole of the sun.C3rd AD


Orphic Hymn 55 to Aphrodite (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"[Aphrodite] To drive thy rapid two-yoked car of gold."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 9. 708 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Cytherea [Aphrodite] was riding in her dainty chariot, winged by her swans, across the middle air making for Cyprus, when she heard afar Adonis' dying groans, and thither turned her snowy birds."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 14. 597 ff :
"[Aphrodite] carried by her doves across the sky, reached the Laurentian coast."

Statius, Silvae 1. 2. 51 (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"She [Aphrodite] raised her starry limbs, and passing the proud threshold of her chamber called to the reign her Amyklaian doves. Amor [Eros, love] harnesses them, and seated on the jewelled car bears his mother rejoicing through the clouds."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 6. 6 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"Venus [Aphrodite] . . . ordered her carriage to be prepared; Vulcan [Hephaistos] had lovingly applied the finishing touches to it with elaborate workmanship, and had given it to her as a wedding-present before her initiation into marriage. The thinning motion of his file had made the metal gleam; the coach's value was measured by the gold it had lost. Four white doves emerged from the large herd stabled close to their mistress's chamber. As they strutted gaily forward, turning their dappled necks from side to side. They submitted to the jewelled yoke. They took their mistress aboard and delightedly mounted upwards. Sparrows sported with the combined din of their chatter as they escorted the carriage of the goddess, and the other birds, habitually sweet songsters, announced the goddess’s approach with the pleasurable sound of their honeyed tunes. The clouds parted, and Caelus [Uranus, Heaven] admitted his daughter; the topmost region delightedly welcomed the goddess, and the tuneful retinue of mighty Venus had no fear of encounter with eagles or of plundering hawks."

In ancient Greek vase-painting the chariot of Aphrodite was sometimes depicted drawn by a pair of Erotes (winged Love-Gods).

  Aphrodite rides on the back of the swan, accompanied by a pair of winged Erotes (love-gods) holding myrtle wreaths. Period: Late Classical

 Ares casts a spear at a Gigante from his chariot, driven by the goddess Aphrodite, while Eros aims his bow. ca 400 - 390 BC

Let's look at UFO in religious art.    Diego Coughi has a great website that demystifies strange claims of UFO's in religious art. I will look at the most interesting examples.

Many UFO websites claims that on Titian's Giordano's and Reni's paintings we see UFO.

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 5 :
"When Ariadne wed Liber [Dionysus] on the island of Dia [Naxos], and all the gods gave her wedding gifts, she first received this crown [the crown which became the constellation Corona] as a gift from Venus [Aphrodite] and the Horae. But, as the author of the Cretica says, at the time when Liber [Dionysus] came to Minos with the hope of lying with Ariadne, he gave her this crown as a present. Delighted with it, she did not refuse the terms. It is said, too, to have been made of gold and Indian gems, and by its aid Theseus is thought to have come from the gloom of the labyrinth to the day, for the gold and gems made a glow of light in the darkness."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 61. 5 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"He [Theseus] carried off Ariadne [from Crete] and sailed out unobserved during the night, after which he put in at the island which at that time was called Dia, but is now called Naxos. At this same time, the myths relate, Dionysus showed himself on the island, and because of the beauty of Ariadne he took the maiden away from Theseus and kept her as his lawful wife, loving her exceedingly. Indeed, after her death he considered her worthy of immortal honors because of the affection he had for her, and placed among the stars of heaven the Crown of Ariadne [the constellation Corona]."

Ovid, Fasti 3. 459 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[The constellation] Corona (the Crown) of Cnossos' girl [Ariadne]: Theseus' crime deified her. She gave that ingrate the winding thread [of the labyrinth] and gladly swapped her perjured husband for Bacchus [Dionysus] . . . He [Dionysus-Liber] embraces her [Ariadne] and mops her tears with kisses, and says: ‘Let us seek heaven's heights together. You have shared my bed and you will share my name. You will be named Libera, when transformed. I will create a monument of you and your crown, which Volcan [Hephaistos] gave Venus [Aphrodite] and she gave you.’
He does what he said, and turns its nine gems to fires, and the golden crown glitters with nine stars [the constellation Corona]."
Crown of Ariadne: The crown of the Cretan princess Ariadne. She received from the gods as a wedding gift upon her marriage to the god Dionysus. After her death it was set amongst the stars as the constellation Corona. (Hyginus 2.5)

Titian, Bacchus and Ariadne

 Luca Giordano, Bacchus and Ariadne

 Guido Reni, Bacchus and Ariadne

 Tintoretto, Bacchus, Venus and Ariadne

Another paintingThe " Foundation of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome ", better known as " The Miracle of the Snow ",  painted by  Masolino da Panicale. And lot's of UFO's !

 MASOLINO da Panicale, Founding of Santa Maria Maggiore

The church is often popularly called Our Lady of the Snows, This name for the basilica had become popular in the 14th century in connection with a legend that the 1911  Catholic Encyclopedia reports thus: "During the pontificate of Liberius, the Roman patrician John and his wife, who were without heirs, made a vow to donate their possessions to the Virgin Mary. They prayed that she might make known to them how they were to dispose of their property in her honor. On 5 August, at the height of the Roman summer, snow fell during the night on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. In obedience to a vision of the Virgin Mary which they had the same night, the couple built a basilica in honor of Mary on the very spot which was covered with snow. From the fact that no mention whatever is made of this alleged miracle until a few hundred years later, not even by  Sixtus III in his eight-line dedicatory inscription ... it would seem that the legend has no historical basis.

" ... we have a visual representation of a strange event involving Papa Liborio (352-366 AD). According to this historical tradition, the Pope had a dream by angels order to build a new church in Rome in the exact place where a miraculous snowfall would manifest. The next day, a strange substance like snow fell from heaven against all weather forecasting, on a hot August day. The phenomenon was confined to the area of Rome, which was then built the basilica of S . Maria Maggiore. (...) What was the cause of this snowfall "impossible"? Masolino da Panicale, in his painting, is a detailed scene of the event, with the snow falling from a "cloud" large and elongated, gray and shaped like a cigar, which are visible under the clouds smaller. Careful observation of the latter, however, shows that clouds do not seem normal. Indeed they all clearly outlined in their outlines and anything but flimsy, and are then represented in pairs and in an identical manner with illuminated only the upper part, with the majority of "discs daytime" fitted with dome. "

Here the ancient facade of the church of the same scene that Masolino to paint an altar inside:

The story of the Miracle of the Snow struck the popular imagination, so much so that many artists represented the scene and several churches dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows were built in other parts of Italy. 

Mathias Grunewald's version.

Let's look again at Mosalino's Foundation of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome'

The same Masolino clouds has been similar in other paintings, such as this Madonna and Child

Other painters of that period are depicted stylized clouds in the same way: Here are some details from the works of Benozzo Gozzoli:

 Benozzo Gozzoli, Madonna della Cintola

 Madonna della Cintola (detail)

 Benozzo Gozzoli. Madonna and Child Surrounded by Saints.

 Domenico  Ghirlandaio, View of the Tornabuoni Chapel (detail)

Another UFO in the painting titled "The Madonna with Saint Giovannino" attributed to Sebastiano Mainardi or Jacopo del Saddler

This is the painting that has done the most to discuss the ufologists, who see in the scene at the top right, behind the Madonna, the testimony of a "close encounter" with an unidentified flying object. In the scene we see a character who, with one hand on her forehead, looking towards an apparition in the sky. With him is a dog and also looks towards the strange object.

And a detail.

Diego Coughi  draws our attention to another peculiarity we may see on the upper left side on the painting.

Similar image we may see at Botticelli 's Madonna of the Book

A star on the forehead.

The Black Madonna of Częstochowa, Poland

A star on the shoulder.

Botticelli, Madonna of the Sea

Diego Coughi wrote, "We are facing one of the most striking cases, including those published in many UFO sites, the misunderstanding of the meaning of a work of art, because only those unfamiliar with the artistic symbolism of the time can get to argue that there are elements mysterious and incongruous. "

Crucyfiction, Visoki Decani Monastery, Kosovo


The story, published in the journal Yugoslav "Lumière" in 1964, arrived in Western Europe in an article published in 1967 by Spoutnik, a Russian magazine in France. In the same article, signed by Viatcheslaw Zaitsev, also spoke of the "Astronaut in Fergana" and other "visitors of the universe",even Jesus, according to Zaitsev, would be a cosmonaut!
 But the Crucifixion of Decani  follows a traditional iconographic model widely used in the Middle Ages.

Other paintings that depict human aspect of Sun and Moon in the same position as in Crucyfiction, Visoki Decani Monastery.

The Sun and Moon are also featured on crucifixions painted by Dürer, Crivelli, Raphael, and Bramantino.

 Albrecht DÜRER, Crucifixion

 Raphael, Crucifixion (Città di Castello Altarpiece)

 Bramantion, Crucifixion

A nice combination of  Christ , Apollo and  Diane.

And the most hilarious example of UFO!

 Paulo Uccello,  Scenes from the Life of the Holy Hermits detail

 Scenes from the Life of the Holy Hermits

We see St. Gerome and his red hat, a traditional Catholic cardinal's  hat.
In the Middle Ages, Jerome was often ahistorically depicted as a  cardinal.

More red hat and St. Jerome.

 Benozzo Gozzoli, The Departure of St Jerome from Antioch

 Cosme Tura, St. Jerome

 Marinus van Reymerswaele, St.Jerome

 Marinus van Reymerswaele, St. Jerome

Albrecht DÜRER, St Jerome in the Wilderness

 Penitance of  St Jerome, Aelbrecht Bouts

 Hieronymus BOSCH, St Jerome in Prayer

 Hermit Saints Triptych (central panel) St. Jerome

Lucas Cranach the Elder, The Penance of St Jerome

 Lucas Cranach the Elder, St Jerome Writing in a Landscape

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg as St Jerome in a Landscape

Joachim Patenier,  St Jerome in the Desert

 Antonio da Fabriano II , St. Jerome in his Study

 Francesco Bassano the Younger, St Jerome

 Hieronymus Bosch, Job Triptych, right inner wing, detail

 Niccolo Colantonio,  showing St. Jerome's removal of a thorn from a lion's paw

Niccolo Colantonio's painting reminds of Pan removing a thorn from the foot of a Satyr

 Crivelli, CarloSt Jerome and St Augustine

 Dieric Bouts the Elder

An interesting painting, goddess Venus, Cupid and St. Jerome. 

Giorgio Vasari, Temptations of St Jerome

 Rubens, St Jerome in His Hermitage

 Caravaggio,  St Jerome

UFO in Egypt. Tomb of Ptahhotep