Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/697

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It may also happen that the significance of a foreign symbol is knowingly modified, in order to adapt it to an idea or a faith previously destitute of all material expression or restricted to a few rudimentary representations. When the Persians had possessed themselves of Mesopotamia, they appropriated to themselves nearly all the imagery of the conquerors, in order to give form to their own religious conceptions, which the absence of a national art had left without any well-defined plastic representations. So, when the Christians began to reproduce on the walls of the Catacombs the scenes of the Old Testament and the parables of the New, they borrowed their primary models from classical and mythological art. Mercury Criophorus furnished the type of the Good Shepherd. Orpheus taming the wild beasts became a symbol of Christ and his preaching. The Christian holding to a cross to overcome temptation was represented by Ulysses tied to the mast of his ship, in order to resist the songs of the sirens. By an ingenious application of a myth which paganism has already spiritualized, Psyche offered the figure of a human soul to Love, whose place was taken by an angel. The religions of Gaul and India furnished examples of like assimilations from the time they came in contact with the symbolism of more advanced nations.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from the Revue des Deux Mondes.


THE annoyances caused by flies and mosquitoes have invited the special attention of Dr. Robert H. Lamborn, and prompted him to efforts to secure such study of their life histories and of their natural enemies as might lead to the discovery of some practicable means of mitigating their depredations. In 1889 he addressed a circular letter to the working entomologists of the country, offering prizes for essays containing original investigations regarding methods of destroying these pests. He had especially in view the utilization of the dragon-fly—a harmless insect, but at the same time exceedingly voracious and very fond of mosquitoes—and the possibility of propagating it artificially in places where mosquitoes abound. The results of the correspondence he had on the subject are published in this interesting book of studies, which, while it fails to verify the hopes which Dr. Lamborn entertained respecting the dragon-flies, does not fail but is encouragingly successful in pointing out some methods of considerable

  1. Dragon-Flies vs. Mosquitoes. Studies in the Life History of Irritating Insects, their Natural Enemies and Artificial Checks. By Working Entomologists. With an Introduction by Robert H. Lamborn, Ph.D. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1890.