Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Signum Salomonis - Introduction

Signum Salomonis
(Study of comparable Etnography)
Leite De Vasconcelos
(1858 – 17 May 1941)
Published in  (1918)
Translation from Portugese
(of most of the introduction - some words or sentences
were omitted for the sake of clarity)

Signum Salomonis [Solomon's Seal] which spread over a vast part of the globe since ancient eras, enjoys great vitality in Portugal’s beliefs and culture, and has, there and overseas, different shapes, such as those shown in the following illustrations:
1. pentagram [1]

Fig. 2 is Fig. 1 but upside-down:

3. hexagram (six-pointed star) [2]

our people gave the name "Folded Solomon's Seal" to the following shapes or to some of them:

[1] Pentalpha, from penta, meaning “five”, and alpha, name of the first letter of the alphabet. It shows “five alphas” - according to the shape’s appearance. Pentalpha is a word used by several scholars, like, for example:
Chr. A. Lobeck, Aglaophamus sive de theologiae mysticae Graecorum causis, 1829, p. 1346;
Minervini, Novelle dilucidazioni sopra un antico chiodo magico, 1846, p. 23;
Le Blant & Renan, in Revue Archéolog., II, 345;
Teixeira de Aragão, Moedas de Portugal, I, 147;
Head, Historia nummorum, p. 465 (pentagon or pentalpha).
Scholars also call it: pentagram, pentagon and starred-polygon.
The English say pentacle (see Webster’s Dictionary).
In Magic books you can find it as Mercury’s star, as in Secrets merveilleux de la magie naturelle et cabalistique du Petit Albert, translated from Latin, Lyon, France, 1791, p. 147. 

Model of Mercury talisman
From the above mentioned book

And there are other names as well.
People also gave, pretty improperly, the name Solomon's Seal to an armillary sphere* which you can see in certain Portuguese coins from the XVIII and XIX centuries
[3] See O Archeologo Portugues, x, 171.

The page from Vol. X (1905) of O Archeologo Portugues mentioned above
Which is the journal of the Porugal Ethnological Museum
Edited by Leite De Vasconcelos

* "An armillary sphere is a model of objects in the sky consisting of a spherical framework of rings, centred on Earth, that represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude and other astronomically important features" (Source: Wikipedia)
[2] Hexalpha, from six and alpha. Synonym: hexagram.

Designed by Ze'ev Barkan


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Magen David - Article by Jacob Reifmann

Magen David
Jacob  Reifmann  (1818–1895)

HaShachar II Vienna 1871
Translated from Hebrew by Ze'ev Barkan

In all our books first and last from which  the law will go out there is no trace of the star  of David* except for the books of Practical Kabbalah. See the book Shoshan Sodot where it is written that you shall know that the star of David is for winning every  enemy and murderer and if you make the ring of pure silver on Thursday at the hour of Jupiter and fill it with light blue and the ring will carry the star of David and when you see your enemies you should say and so on. Hence, and like it in many other such books. and you should know that this star of David was used by ancients French priests and doctors who were called Druiden which means wizards , in the opinion of some linguists, and the ancient Germans learned from them to engrave this image (which they call Drudenfuss) on the cradles of little children, and they believe that it has the power to preserve them from any harm, especially from witchcraft. And even in these days there are many Christians who do so.

Drudenfuss, magical symbol on a house at Ahrweiler from 1639

And it is engraved on the flag of freedom that Emperor Karl gave to the Jews of Prague in 1317 C.E. Here it is in that synagogue known as Old New Synagogue . And my friend the great sage Rabbi Raphael Kirchheim from Frankfurt-am-Main wrote to me: "and even today the Star of David is spread in our districts as a drawing and as a mark in all the German taverns, and also in my town once they marked the  cart owners who bring wine from place to place".

And in the book Tmim De'im "and the pattern of two triangles inverted and embedded into each other which exists among us was very famous in the Gnostic cult  and they called it by the name King's Seal and boasted they did with it great wonders (Montfaucon Table 60 and Origines in his book Against Celsus Book VI chapter 25 mark 649). and even more wonderful is that this picture is known among our brethren, the children of Israel, by the name David's Shield and he who knows the hints of the Gnostics will understand that it is aimed at their hints that we should avoid mentioning. And the ancient Ashkenazi people who were worshiping the Idol called Tis had a cult called Druden; on their footwear they painted this image and named it Drudenfuss, meaning feet of the Drude. and also a triangle pattern containing and surrounded by the letters Abrakadabra was very famous among the nations, and we found it in the book of medicines by the special doctor of Emperor Valentine about three hundred years after the destruction of the Temple (see Sprengel Vol. II chapter 6 footnote 35). And the Muslims use that image called Solomon's seal. and it appears on the cover under the saddle of the Sultan's horse .

And also that the seals mentioned in the Laws of Tefillin and Mezuzah refer to Magen David labeled as King's Seal or Seal of Solomon. From all of this it is easy for you to know that this symbol is a strange branch in the vineyard of Israel. And The son of Yishai [King David] already said: "they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs" (Psalm 106:35) and the son of Amotz [Prophet Isaiah]: "You, Lord, have abandoned your people, the descendants of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and embrace pagan customs". (Isaiah 2:6). and in the book of Hasidim (Mark 1101): As the nations also custom Jewish customs in most places]. and in Sefer Hasidim ( article 1101): "the Jewish customs are like the customs of the nations in most places".

And do not be astonished that this image entered into their books of practical Kabbalah maybe because they love sublime incomprehensible things so much that they thought it is true which should be accepted from every one who says it, since  the one who says a wise thing is called wise even if he is not one of the sons of Israel.
As it is written in Megilah  (16a): Rabbi Yochanan said He who says a wise thing is called wise even if he is from the nations of the world. And that is why Rabbi Yochanan accepted medical wisdom from that pagan woman, and Abaye and Rav Pappa accepted the opinion of an Arab mechant (Avodah Zarah 28a and 29a).

And Rabbi said about two things: "Antoninus taught me this thing" (Sanhedrin 91b) and many wise men of our nation bring in their books things written by the scholars of the nations, see for example the the text written in the introduction to the book Melamed Ha-Talmidim and in the book Minchah Belulah (Parashat Shoftim for the verse Vechover Chaver) and Kabbalists bring and copy things from books written by the sages of the nations as I will show you later in my reply about the book Tzel Olam.

And the value of this symbol in the eyes of practical Kabbalists is, in my opinion, because it has six-points. Because the number six is precious and very notable, as it is written at the end of the introduction to the book Tzemach David  by R. David Ganz [see there]. And making this symbol in synagogues (on the curtain and the Torah coats) is, in my opinion, for keeping the members entering the synagogues from any harm and particularly from witchcraft. And it is the custon of th nations to put it on  the cradles of small children. And that it is made only in synagogues and not in other houses is explained by the fact that they have no Mezuzah which is capable of protecting from evil. As is written in Talmud Yerushalmi (Peah Ch. A , Daf 5) "Send me one Mezuzah" etc. and in [Talmud]  Bavli Avodah Zarah 11a ""chazza Mezuzuah" etc. and also see there (and in Menachot 33b) "The Lord's slaves are inside and He protects them from the outside" etc. And know that according to the Rambam's Hilchot Tefillin u'Mezuzah (Ch. 5 Halacha 4) not the Mezuzah is the protector but the keeping of the law of the Mezuzah. (See there and in other places) and it fits his known opinion about amulets. 

* Jacob  Reifmann Footnote: "Every time I mention the name "David's Shield" I will refer to the text in the book Aḳedat YiẓḦaḳ (Binding of Isaac) ( Parashat Emor - the mitzvah of counting the Omer) that tells about Psalm 67 in the form of a menorah which was engraved on David's [peace be upon him] shield (see there) because it is hanging by a thread, and that the writing of this hymn was in the form of a menorah was a recent invention of the Kabbalists. Research my words carefully and you will find that they are correct".
** Jacob  Reifmann's next footnote concerns the Mezuzah subject and doesn't contribute to the  star of David subject so I don't bring it here. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Star of David on an antique sad iron stand

Cast iron with a 1/4" top rail around the platform & measures 7 1/4" x 4 1/8" x 1 1/8".
(c) Pietro Bisenzi 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014


Star of David on the front page of
The Archéomètre
a book by 
Saint-Yves d'Alveydre
Published posthumously in 1911

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Star of David Article by Naftali Nussenblatt

Foreword by Ze'ev Barkan:
Dr. Naftali (Tulo) Nussenblatt (4.3.1895- 11.1943) wrote several books about Theodore Herzl. He was captured by the Nazis during the Warsaw ghetto uprising (April 1943) and died in a concentration camp in November 1943.

This article was a basic article, whether knowingly or not, for almost everyone who has researched the Star of David symbol.
It originally appeared in Yiddish in Vienna in YIVO-Bleter, 13 (1938), 460-76(.
Translator from Yidish into Hebrew: Hava Eisenstein
Translator from Hebrew into English: Ze'ev Barkan

Star of David

By Naftali Nussenblatt

Star of David or Hexagram ✡ is the name of the mark now known worldwide as a Jewish symbol. Long ago art historians, theologians, historians, Jews and Christians, started explaining this symbol, and as time went on they accumulated on the Star of David a lot of material, which is not easy to comprehend. Existing studies are almost always referring also to the pentagram, and why? because many believe that the hexagram and the pentagram not only are similar, but actually are the same: " In folklore Pentagram and Hexagram often replace each other" [1]. Winkler thinks that these two marks are parallel, but that Muslims and Jews tend to use more the hexagram [2]. Still, there is no doubt that we are dealing with two separate symbols, each of which has its own history. We shall leave out of the scope of this research the question how did it happen that the hexagram and the pentagram, which are two different stars with five or six branches, were considered, superficially, to be similar signs [3].

Pentagram and Hexagram

The pentagram looks like this: "When you put 5 points on a circle with equal spaces between them, you get a pentagram, also called pentalfa because of the five letters A comprising it" [4]. Other descriptions of the pentagram are: it consists of a pentagon with equilateral triangles, and it can be drawn by a single pull of the pen [5]; It is a triangle with one edge up; the other cuts [6] the first only from the right and not from the top-down. The Pentagram standing on one edge is called in Germany Drudenfuss, drude's foot, "magic foot", Alpfuss, "Seal of Solomon". in some places also the hexagram is called " Drudenfuss". [7] and we find the name "Seal of Solomon" for the first time in the Leiden [Netherlands] Papyrus, which was published by Dietrich. This papyrus was written before the Christian era, listing the types of amulets used in sorcery [8].
"Seal of Solomon", "Solomon's Knot", "Ring of Solomon" are considered to be different signs of witchcraft even though in Muslim sorcery it is generally now accepted also to name both pentagram and hexagram as Solomon's Seal. If so - Winkler asks - how is it that the in the most ancient documents ther is no mention that Seal of Solomon is associated with the pentagram or with its substitutes [9]. A seal ring for purposes of witchcraft is presented in the apocryphal book "The Testament of Solomon [10]. In Islam they draw the Hatam Suleiman as a hexagram, meaning "Seal of Solomon, drawn as a star with six points"[11]. Like the "Hitim Slimania" Solomon's ring [12]. Hein brings as "Solomon's Knot" a sign made of braided rosette-shaped made from four different parts [13]. Samuel Abulafia called the hexagram "Seal of Solomon". so as not to confuse the two marks they are talking in the 17th and 18th centuries about "Solomon's Knot" which is the pentagram, because you can draw it in one line, as a Knot. [14] Also a magical amulet with nine vertices is called Solomon's seal [15]. Ethiopians call the two signs [Pentagram and Hexagram] by the name Solomon's seal. They have a gold hexagram on a medal called the Seal of Solomon. Gudemann writes that in Jewish circles they call the pentagram [16] the "Star of David", because the Pentagram and the Hexagram signs are parallel to the names "Star of David" and "seal of Solomon", [and] Grunwald menttioned this specifically.

The names Seal of Solomon and Star of David for these symbols are not accidental. Very plausible that under these names are hiding stories of their own.

Hexagram is now the very known symbol for us. There are different definitions for it. According Strzygowski, the hexagram is a geometrical cutting of two triangles [17]. and by Grote the hexagram consists of gathered triangles [18]. According to Michaelis: two triangles embedded in succession [19]. According to Winkler - Two unrelated triangles [20]. According to Grunwald the Star of David consists of two equilateral triangles, which usually intersect so that they create six smaller triangles, gathered around a hexagon [21]. It also indicated by Strzygowski elsewhere that the hexagram is six triangles around a hexagon [22].


When the researchers tried to figure out what these two symbols indicate they explained them together, Seeing them as: lines to fill in the void [23], Cosmo-Astrological illustrations [24], Kabbalistic mystical symbols [25], geometric figures-or numbers [26], mathematical drawings [27], apotropaic properties [28], marks of stonemasons and potters [29], Orthodox icons, a Jewish symbol [30], seal-weight and decorations. Winkler believes may be more than one of these explanations suited each such symbol [31].
The multiplicity of explanation lies in the fact, mentioned above, that the two symbols interchange. It is unlikely to assume they derived from one origin, or that they initially meant the same, even though they met here and there throughout their history, which is stretching over thousands of years.
Well, from these contradictory explanations there is no way to explain for what actually points the Star of David, now known as the Jewish symbol. Where is the truth? Dr. [Moritz] Güdemann wrote about the Star of David: "Men of Jewish learning cannot accept the fact that the Jewish people would dig out of their attic of superstition a symbol or emblem that it shares with stables". This view may be correct about the pentagram, but is it also true for the hexagram? Professor Alfred Grotte tells us that he asked the Chief Rabbi [of Vienna], Dr. Güdemann, if it is allowed to use the Star of David when building a new synagogue. The answer was that there's no relationship between the Star of David and Judaism [33]. Grotte himself held the opposite view, based on the results of excavations at Tel-hum, reported in detail by [archaeologists] Kohl and Watzinger. Grotte concluded that "from early times the Star of David was received as a Jewish symbol, although they did not know where it comes from and what it means". He also points out the various theories that have been developed by Nothling and Wolff [34] about the Star of David. According to them the secret of the Star of David is associated with the Pyramid of Cheops, or with the secrets of the Temple in Jerusalem. Grotte does not agree with the opinion of Professor Samuel Krauss [35] who believes that the star of David served at the earliest times as a sign of a stonemason. (the hexagram was used as a sign of builders in Freemasonry and the like). Dr. M.. Grunwald, who wrote many studies about the Star of David for 40 years, came to the conclusion that it is a mysterious and universal symbol. Carl Watzinger wrote in his book, which deals with monuments in Palestine, that: "The fact that Tel Hum has a pentagram and hexagram on the frieze shows that already in the first centuries C.E they knew these symbols as Solomon's seal and Star of David"[36]. already in 1901 Grunwald estimated that when people say Solomon's seal it means pentagram. But it can be assumed that this theory is based on the names of these symbols rather than on their forms. various attempts to explain the pentagram and the hexagram can be found in works dealing with superstitions [37]. It is noteworthy that Winkler does not agree with the explanation offered by Robert Eisler that these symbols are universal symbols. Grotte also does not believe in such explanations. In his opinion the origin of the hexagram is in the Kabbalah.
]Assyriologist Alfred] Jeremias understands the pentagram as a universal symbol. The pentagram is obtained after we divide the sky into five parts . According to him, all [cultures of] the world were influenced by this ancient symbol, and it is used to this day, under various names, for protection from Satan. Jeremias proves that the origin of this symbol is in shumer. He says that the hexagram, our Star of David, is created when you place two equilateral triangles in a circle, so that their sides intersect in the middle. In this way the circle is divided into six equal parts [38]. Grotte has the opinion that the Magen David expresses the unity of opposites male and female [39]. In the Muslim world drew Al Buni[13th century] drew the human image in a pentagram, with its five vertices surrounding the head, arms and legs [40].
But we must separate the question of how the Star of David had been formed from the question of how it became a Jewish symbol. Whether the hexagram has a universal character does not contribute to how it was accepted as a symbol of Judaism and of the Israeli nation [41].

History of symbols

The archaeological findings about the hexagram in the Jewish past are few: The earliest known hexagram, so far (with orbiting circles within circles) was found in the excavations of Gezer, painted on a ceramic bowl, and it was created before the Israelite era, from 1600 to 1400 B.C. [42]. Garrow Duncan estimates that this archaeological artifact is from the 13th century B.C. [43]. Later we find the hexagram in the 7th century B.C. on a stamp in Sidon. There it is in the second row to "fill the place" [44]. We find Pentagrams and hexagrams on the frieze in the synagogue in Tel-Hum (Capernaum). Hexagram appears on a tombstone in Tarent [Italy] from the third century C.E. Later we find it among the Karaites. And many times it appears on Jewish gravestones in the tenth century. In "Eshcol Hackofer" by the Karaite Judah Hadassi [written around 1148] the hexagram is already called shield of David. In the Kabbalah, particularly by the Lurian Kabbalah, the Star of David symbol was accepted as a beloved symbol by the Jews [45].
We find the hexagram frequently in ancient manuscripts from Yemen, [46]. Over time many large Jewish communities accepted the Star of David as their symbol. The Jewish-American society publishing company adopted this sign as its symbol in 1873. Bilu Movement embraced it in 1881. Later it was adopted by Hovevey Zion (Lovers of Zion Movement) and the political Zionists (including Herzl), and they spread it as a symbol of Judaism in general.
According to Jeremias the hexagram appears in non-Jewish circles for the first time in Babylon on an amulet from [Negro King] Koriglzo III [1400 BC] as a star with six rays. In a later period, around 1000 BC, we find stars with six straight lines. Jeremias shows in his book an illustration of the Hexagram of the goddess of fate on Etruscan mirror [47]. in the 6th century B.C. we find hexagram with a point in its center on a stamp for verification of coins from [the Greek island] of Aegina [48]. in Akhmim-Panopolis city, a bread-stamp was found with hexagram from the first to the third century C.E. [49]. In late Christian and Latin writings found in North Africa, Rome and Gaul, we find the hexagram and the pentagram with Christian monogram [50].
In ancient Coptic texts the hexagram appears with a lily in its center on bread- seals and as examples for learning how to sketch [51]  . Copts have sometimes hexagrams with a cross in the middle [52]. Armenian Christians have hexagrams without a cross [53]. In the Muslim world it appears on a manuscript from the 9th century in a prayer against the Alawite sect, and on top of tombstones in the same century [54]. On Arab coins, or on coins of all the Muslim nations, often we find hexagrams from the most ancient times. Sort of hexagrams were found in petroglyphs in Sahara [55]. In Sudan, it serves now as a royal symbol [56]. In the Muslim world we find the pentagram as well. Winkler, while examining the history of these symbols, refers to them as one symbol, and comes to the conclusion that they have not evolved independently in different places. He estimates that the source of the pentagram and the hexagram is in the Mediterranean: Syria, Asia Minor, and the islands of Greece. From there they entered to Italy Gallia and Egypt. Islam adopted them at least from two sources: the Copts and the Jews. Winkler explains these symbols in three ways: as a talisman, as a symbol on stamps and coins, and for defensive purposes [57]. There is confusion not only between the pentagram and the hexagram but also between them and Heptagram, the star with seven vertices. Both, pentagram and Heptagram, were considered as apotropaic symbols [58].
In ancient documents from Eilam and on ancient souvenirs from Babylon [59] the pentagram appears as a universal symbol. Robert Eisler understands the pentagram as a symbol of heavenly stairs, as an idiogram and as a cosmo-gram [60]. The earliest form of the pentagram is supposed to be found in the Sumerian culture [61]. pentagram is also found on the pottery in Gezer during the pre Israel era, on the frieze of the synagogue in Tel Hum, among the Pythagoreans [as a symbol of health], on coins from Asia Minor [62], and among the early Christians, in Islam, and among different nations till this day . [See the stars with five vertices on the flags of Chile, Cuba, Panama, Liberia, Turkey, and see the symbol of Esperanto] [63].
Pentagram means sky in the hieroglyphics once used by all the Indian tribes who lived in Canada before the Europeans arrived there [64]. Kepler was probably the first who thought that the Pentagram, unlike the hexagram, is a mathematical sign [65]. It can be assumed, correctly, that even among Jews in Israel the pentagram and the hexagram have their own history. These two symbols replace each other, because they look alike. If it turns out through history, that among the tribes of Israel, and later among the Jews in exile, the hexagram won greater importance, the question is, what was the point of that? What was the inherent logic of the hexagram that could influence the fact that this symbol iwa saved among Jews for nearly 3,500 years, and finally became a national-religious symbol [66]?
When the Star of David has become a symbol of Judaism? This question belong here indirectly. One can imagine rightly, that if the apparent meaning of the symbol will become clear, its development will look in a different light. What an idea can be expressed by our Star of David? In what time in our history emerged this idea? Where this symbol can have proof in our most ancient writings, same as we have for our menorah?

New explanation

Looking carefully at the Star of David, and taking into account all the intersecting lines , it can easily be discovered that the two triangles put on each other create three cutting points. And it can be determined as a fact, that if the star is drawn in a circle, then the area of the circle is divided into 13 fields. And the question is whether this distribution to 13 parts of the circle has any particular meaning? And do we have here a matter with a picture that hides within it a special account, that points to a particular event in our history?
The meaning of the number 12 in our history is known and accepted, since there is of particular importance to the number of the twelve tribes. And because the tribe of Joseph was divided in two, it became 13. Thus gets the number 13, according to our understanding, a special significance. In history the division of the tribes into 13 played an important role, and also the division of the circle into 13 parts - this was the area in which the tribes had to set up their camp. And this is the camp for the tribes of Israel, as described in the Book of Numbers Chapter II, where it says: "The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting, some distance from it, each of them under their flag and holding the banners of their family. On the east, toward the sunrise, the flag of the camp of Judah" etc. From the meaning of the words in this chapter we can understand that the whole camp was in the form of a circle. In reality, the earliest form of a military base is a circle. Such a field camp is shown in the relief of Ashurbanipal II - and in its center stands the King's tent [67].
There are important evidence in the Bible that, the tribes of Israel camped in a circle: I Samuel, XVII describes such a camp: it is called there 'circle' ('Ma'agela'). Luther was wrong when he translated this word to the word Wagenburg [68]. Apparently this is a technical term for fortified camp [69]. There is no doubt at all that 'Ma'agela' means a round camp. King Saul had also a round camp, according to I Samuel 26:5: "Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him [70]. Professor Krauss points out that these two verses in I Samuel when he refers to the "'Ring of the camp" [71].
When, in Numbers Chapter II, the order of the camp of Israel is mentioned as "around the tent of meeting some distance from it" there is no doubt that the meaning is that the camp is round. In this round the 13 tribes of Israel find their places when the Temple, the Tabernacle, is at the center. The tribe of Levi is in the middle of the camp on all four sides, i.e. also around the tent of meeting. The 12 tribes also are camped "around the tent of meeting some distance from it", on the four sides of the tent, thus creating a single unit from three tribes, namely, one military unit, and each such unit has its own special function. Therefore they are called: Flag Camp [Degel Machane] of Judah, Flag Camp [Degel Machane] of Reuben, and so on. The round camp, is also fortified, or has a wall around it, or is open but strategically stands higher than any other type of camp. The force protecting the circular camp needs less space than required from the force protecting the square camp. In such camp, due to attacks from all sides, you have to make sure there's a place to keep the inventory. And it is clear from the plain meaning of the verse in Numbers, that the center of the camp "inside the camps"["Betoch Hamachanot"] was the tabernacle, around it was the "Levites Camp", which included, in the east, only Moses, Aaron, and their children, and this is, of course, the leadership of the tribes.
That is the order in Numbers Chapter III. It is inconceivable that the other tribes had formed one circle, because even if the numbers in the Pentateuch are in Numerology, the camp had to be sized properly to include all 12 tribes next to each other in one circle - that is a bad strategic situation, and in fact impossible. From a strategic perspective, they must take care of inventory, that is, some tribes in the circular camp must stand before the last line, they should be the first to fight, and they must stand in a position from which they can protect the entire camp. So we have to divide the 13 tribes to the strategic points in the round, which we mentioned above, or simply, to divide a circle into 13 sectors. We already know that our symbol, the Star of David, divides a circle into 13 sectors, and if we are now trying to describe the layout of the camp of Israel according to the Star of David, it turns out that this symbol does present a circular camp, in which there are two circles each with six tribes! [in the center is the 13th tribe, Levi, with the Tabernacle]. The drawings below show this clearly.

Presumably, in principle, the Magen David appeared in the map of the camp, and helped maintain order, and strategic goals. Of course, that must be assumed that at first it was presented only roughly, and only later the exact shape of the Star of David was perfected.
Thus, according to what is described in Numbers chapter two, stood up the field camp, where there were parked 13 tribes arranged in three circles, for special protection of the temple in the center. (Compare it to the secret of Metatron according to the "Book of Creation" and the nickname of God: 'The place' !) [72]. In the first security circle, there is room for six tribes, and in the second circle, which is used as a reservoir, there is room for six other tribes, that is, the balance of power is distributed equally in each circle. In the center of the last circle, immediately before the tent of meeting, Levites were used as the last line of defense, which is also the guard corps of Moses. The place of the tribal Israeli leadership is also east of the tent of meeting, there are Moses, Aaron and his sons. There is no denying that this is a genius strategic plan here, which provides an excellent defensive for each side of the camp.
There is in this plan a cover for protection against assaults from the main directions of East, West, South and North, as well as the directions: southeast, southwest, northwest and northeast. In addition, this structure has another advantage: every three tribes form an independent protection group under the leadership of Judah, Reuben, Dan and Gad, each of which must first defend his position, and can, when necessary, come to the aid of the neighboring group, without leaving his post and without jeopardizing the team and his position. Therefore, the Star of David is an image and symbol of the United Tribes of Israel in a military alliance designed to protect the common temple.
From this perspective the instructions in Numbers Chapter II, that the camp of Judah Issachar and Zebulun should be in the east, receive a special significance. On the same side they are in direct contact with "Moses, Aaron and his sons," that is, with the leadership of the tribes. In the same direction march the Tribes, at the top the group of Judah, which has the biggest number of warriors. After it comes the southern group: Reuben, Gad and Simeon. You can figure out the order of march in "Parashat Behaalotcha" only on the basis of the order in the camp. The order of their encampment was also the order in which they marched. Many ask how do we describe a march in a circle? It is easy to answer this question when imagining the order of the camp and march of the tribes, and the way it is made up of 4 groups each with three interconnected tribes.
Our declarations regarding the camp of Israel, that it was divided into 13 sectors, as is shown in the Star of David, allows us to understand why the tribes were placed according to the order written in the book of Numbers. Martin Knott [73] asked according to which principle the tribes were divided. He estimated that the division to the four groups for the four main directions was based on a principle that we can not know it now, and the composition of the individual groups was based on the mechanical division of the tribes according to their number. This question gets its response according to the the conclusions cited so far: the division of the tribes indeed was made for strategic reasons. The group under the leadership of Judah was the pioneer, and it was parked on the eastern side, from where was the expected main attack. in this direction marched the tribes. the other group was under the leadership of the tribe of Dan, and had to defend the South. Thus, the order of the camp and march started from the east, and continued in the form of a ring to the south the west and the north. To this fact of the constant order of the camp of Israel there were associated stars [74]. There is no doubt at all that this matter is a Babylonian influence, but we can also accept the hypothesis that the interpretations by the stars to the order of the encampment of the tribes, and the interpretations by the stars to the Star of David - were attempts to connect to an ancient memory about the connection between the shape of the Star of David and the order of the camps.
I have already mentioned that the name of our of symbol, derived from the order of the camps of the 13 tribes, embodies its own story, which has yet to be explored. [on the Question] why this symbol is called by the tradition of the Jewish people specifically by the name of David, we can perhaps answer that David was actually the one who created the kingdom, and united all the tribes, and resumed with his army this lost political tradition. Thus, the Star of David hides deep and important logic: it is the symbol of the togetherness of the tribes of Israel, of the alliance to fight for the common temple and defend it from all sides. This deep internal logic, although forgotten over time, may be the best explanation for the survival of this icon in our history.
That is also why many new streams of Judaism accepted this symbol as an ancient Jewish symbol. For example, the Karaites, then the magical national-religious community, the lovers of Zion [Chovevey Zion], and more recently the political Zionism. These are all ideas and movements, that in their goals and platforms took into account the unity of Israel.
But even in the new religions that came out from the Jewish religion: the Star of David was adopted by the first Christians and by the first Muslims, although the Christians removed it away very quickly, just like they did to the menorah, which appeared as a symbol of the early Christians. In contrast, Muslims kept the Star of David since then to this day. Lovers of Zion accepted it in 1881, as can be seen from the letter of Mordechai Hacohen to Z. D. Levontin [75] where it reads:"Committee members carried the Star of David with the word "Zion" embroidered in it.

At that time developed once again an argument over the Star of David. In the letter of sculptor Mark Antokolski to Stasov from 1879 we read: "as for a certain Gordon you mentioned in your letter to me, who attacks us that for our interpretation of the Star of David as a Jewish symbol, I am truly am amazed by the awkwardness of Mr. Gordon. Because according to my view it does not matter if it was a symbol of antiquity or not, and I would add in parentheses, for if the Star of David was created in the 14th century, more or less, it is impossible that it was created in King David's Time. for me it is enough that it existed for a long time, and that it is recieved by the people so ardently, as there are in every culture all sorts of possible legends, stories, traditions and symbols "[76].
In early political Zionism, the question was asked once again what sign will be used as its symbol. Herzl wrote in [his book] "The Jewish State" about a Jewish flag which has seven gold stars against seven hours of our working day. But various Zionist groups already used the Star of David as a sign and symbol. At first they painted the seven stars of Herzl around the Magen David. David Wolfson tells how he ordered the Zionist flag for the first congress in Basel, and that he was the one who decided to put on it the Star of David symbol [77].
On November 30, 1896, Herzl met with Colonel Goldsmith in England. Herzl was very impressed with the romantic image of the Colonel. Herzl tells about it in his diaries. In one place he writes, "he presented to me the flag of the Lovers of Zion: symbol of the twelve tribes" [78].
in May 1898 Herzl checked in detail the question of the Star of David in a correspondence with Dr. Max Bodenheimer, after he received a letter from him which had a stamp that had a Star of David with 12 stars around it. Herzl wrote about the Star of David thus:"your 12 stars surrounding the Star of David is incorrect since the 12 tribes are already in the body of the Star of David itself "[79].

This is the heritage about the significance of the Star of David, which is the symbol of the 12 tribes. It was known to Herzl through Goldsmith. Herzl's hypothesis, that the Magen David symbolizes the 12 tribes, influenced me to conduct this investigation about the history of the Star of David and its meaning.


* It is a very pleasant duty to thank here, first, the historian Dr. Korale Gutman from Krakow, whose important guidelines and referrals to important books helped me a lot; to my friend Dr. Leo Oppenheim, from the Department of Oriental Research at the University of Vienna - for his advice in general and for his tips on Sumerian culture in particular. To Dr. Franz Kobler from Vienna - for showing me the letters of Antokolsky to Stasov about the Star of David. With thanks and love I mention here the historian Dr. Max Eisler, who passed away in December 1937, in his conversations with me he showed his kind involvement in this work.

1. Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 1930, Vol. I, p. 2014

2. H. A. Winkler, Siegel und Charaktere in der Muhammedanischen Zauberei, 1930, p. 120.

3. Hugo Prinz, Altorientalische Symbolik, Berlin, 1915, p. 21. See stars with five and six arms on ancient coins and in heraldry; Reallexikon der Vorgeschichte Vol. 12, p. 432; Dr. A. Wessely, Neue griechische Zauberpapyri, Wien 1893, p. 69, 70.

4. Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart,1930, IV p. 1065.

5. Lexikon fur Theologie und Kirche, 1931, Vol 3.

6. M. Grunwald, Jahrbuch fur judische Volkskunde, (J.j.V.) 1925.

7. Grimms worterbuch II, p. 1455.

8. M. Grunwald, Jahrbuch fur judische Geschichte und Literature (J.f.j.G.L.) 1901;
Alfred Grotte, Eine neue Hypothese uber den Ursprung des Magen Dawid, Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums (M.G.W.), 1922, 1-3.

9. H. A. Winkler, Siegel und Charaktere, p. 127, 137.

10. Leopold Low, Graphische Requisiten Und Erzeugnisse Bei Den Juden, Leipzig 1870, p. 57, 213.

11.‪Enzyklopaedie des Islam, 1924, Vol. IV.

12. Winkler, Siegel und Charaktere, p. 121.
13. Prof. Alois Raimund Hein, Künstliche Wirbeltypen, Wein kunstethnoraphischer Beitrag zur allgemeinen Ornament geschichte. Wien 1929,p, 100.

14.M . Grunwald, Ein altes Symbol in neuer Beleuchtung, J.f.j.G.L.1901, p. 123; Dr. B. Vajda, Menorah, Davidschild und Salomo-Siegel, M.G.W. 1918; [Hebrew] Hamelitz, 17 June 1889, an article by YFZ Talpiot 10, 164, 165

15. Dr. W. Ahrens, Hebraische Amulette, Berlin 1916, p. 6.

16. M. Gudemann, Der Magen David oder Davidschild, M.G.W. 1916,p. 135.

17. J. Strzygowski, Asiens Bildende Kunst in Stichproben, Augsburg 1930 p. 288.

18.Alfred Grotte, Eine neue Hypothese uber den Ursprung des Magen David, M.G.W. 1922, 1-3.

19. J. Michaelis, Der Davidsschild, Der Morgen, 1934/1935.

20. H . Winkler, Altorientalische Forschungen, III, 192.

21. Alois Breier, Max Eisler, Max Grunwald, Holzsynagogen in Polen,
1933, Anhang, p. 19.

22. J . Strzygowski, Spuren indogermanischen Glaubens in der bildenden
Kunst, Heidelberg, 1936.

23. Mark Lidzbarski, Ephemeris fur semitische Epigraphik, 1908, Bd. II 145;
Adler, The Jews in Southern Italy, J.Q. R., XIV; Winkler, Siegel und Charaktere, p. 121.

24. M Grunwald, Judisches Lexikon; Breier, Eisler, Grunwald, Holzsynagogen in Polen. 1933, Anhang (1901-1933). There you"ll find a list of works Grunwald wrote on this subject; Robert Eisler, Weltenmantel und Himmelszelt, 1910, II, p. 322.;

25. [Hebrew] Grunwald DZ"VV; Gaster, Rimon 1923 no. 3, 7, 30.

26. Johanna Michaelis, Der Dawidschild, Morgen, 1934—1935.

27. Kepler (Grunwald ‫ זע J.f.G.L. 1901, p. 125.

28. Grimm; Grunwald; Gudemann; Vaida; vide Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 1930, IV, 1063; Franz J. Dolger, Die Fischdenkmaler in der fruhchristlichen Plastik, 1927, Tafel 225, Nr. 2.

29. Prof. Samuel Krauss, Die gallilaischen Synagogenruinen und die Halakha. M.G.W. 1921, p. 211;

Prof. S. Krauss, Hexagramm und Hakenkreuz in der Synagoge, Das Zeit, 1924; Winkler, Siegel und Charaktere, 1930, p. 121-122.

30. Alfred Grotte, Eine neue Hypothese uber den Ursprung des Magen ‪David, M.G.W. 1922, 1-3; Watzinger, Denkmaler Palastinas, 1935, II, p. 112.

31. H.A. Winkler, Siegel und Charaktere, 1930, p. 126.

32. M. Gudemann, Der Magen David oder Davidschild, M.G.W. 1916,p. 135.

33. Grotte, M.G.W 1922.

34. Dr. Fritz Nothling, Die kosmischen Zahlen der Cheopspyramide; O. Wolff, Der Tempel von Jerusalem, eine kunsthistorische Studie uber seine Masse und Proportionen, 1913.

35. Prof. S. Krauss, M.G.W., 1921 ; Das Zelt, 1924, Nr. 6.

36. Carl Watzinger, Denkmaler Palestinas, 1935, II, p. 112.

37. Handbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens, II, p. 180.

38. Alfred Jeremias, Handbuch der altorientalischen Geisteskultur 1929, p. 189.

39. Otto, Handbuch der kirchlichen Archaologie.

40. H. A. Winkler, Siegel und Charaktere, p. 120. About the subject of symbolism see also comment 41.

41. Rahel Wischnitzer-Bernstein, Symbole und Gestalten der jüdischen Kunst, 1935;
Ernst Cohn-Wiener. Jüdische Kunst, 1929, p. 30; Robert Eisler, Weltenmantel und Himmelszelt, p 302 , note.

42. R. A. Stewart Macalister, The Excavation of Gezer, London 1912, Vol. III. PI. 159, Nr. 12.

43. J. Garrow Duncan, Corpus of Dated Palestinian Pottery, London 1930, p. 10, 7.

44. Mark Lidzbarski, Ephemeris für semitischen Epigraphik.

45. M. Grunwald, Judisches Lexikon 1929, III ; Breier, Max Eisler, M. Grunwald, Holzsynagogen in Polen, Jewish Encyclopedia; H A Winkler, Siegel und Charaktere in der muhammedanischen Zauberei, 1930, p. sq; Robert Eisler, Weltenmantel und Himmelszelt.

46. V. Stasov et D. Günzburg, L'Ornement Hebreu. Berlin 1905.

47. A. Jeremias, Handbuch der altorientalischen Geisteskultur, 1929, p. 184, 196, Abb. 115.

48. Winkler, Siegel und Charaktere, p. 122.

49. R. Forrer, Die frühchristlichen Alterthumer aus dem Graberfelde von Achmin-Panopolis, Strassburg 1893, Tafel 9, Nr. 3.

50. Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, I, 2014.

51. Al. Gayet, L'art Copte, Paris 1901, p. 98, 307.

52 . J. Strzygowski, Koptische Kunst, Catalogue general des Antiquites Egyptiennes du Musee du Cairo, Bd. XII, Wien 1904, p. 140, 231.

53. Jurgis Baltrusaitis, Etudes sur l'art en Georgie et en Armenie. Paris 1929.

54. J. Strzygowski, Ornamente, Altarabische Grabsteine in Kairo, "Islam", 1911, II.

55. Winkler, Siegel und Charaktere, p. 120, 125.

56. S. Gottlieb, W Sudanie - panstwie z pod znaku Dawida, "Nowy Daiennik", Krakow, 28 kwietnia 1937.

57. Winkler, Siegel und Charaktere, p. 126.

58. R. Eisler, Weltenmantel und Himmelszelt, I, 302.

59. Jeremias, Handbuch p. 195; Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, IV, 1063.

60. Robert Eisler, Weltenmantel und Himmelszelt.

61. Sumerisches Lexikon v. P. Anton Deimel, Rom 1930, II, p. 523.

62. Lexikon fur Theologie und Kirche, 1931, III.

63. R. Eisler, Weltenmantel; Winkler, Siegel und Charaktere.

64. Karl Faulmann, Illustrierte Geschichte der Schrift, Wien 1880, p. 233.

65. M. Grunwald, Jahrbuch f.G.L., 1901, p. 125.

66. About the subject of symbolism see also comment 41.

67. Reallexikon der Vorgeschichte 1924, III.

68. E. Riehem, Handbuch des biblischen Altertums, 1884, p. 866

69. E. Kautzsch, Die heilige Scrift.

70. In addition, you should compare it to the story of Honi that appears in the Babylonian Talmud, Ta'anit (fast) 23:a

71. Prof. S. Krauss, Heerwesen bei den Juden, Judisches Lexicon, Vol II.

72. Vgl. Grunwald, Ein altes Symbol in neuer Beleuchtung, J.f.j.G.L. 1901.

73. Dr. Martin Noth, System der zwolf Stamme, Stuttgart 1930.

74. Dr. E. Bischoff, Babilonisch-Astrales im Weltbilde des Talmud und Midrash, Leipzig 1907.

75 . Franz Kobler, Jüdische Geschichte in Briefen aus Ost und West,. 1938, p. 454.

76. Mark Antokolski, Jewo zizn, tworenia, pisma i statji, ed. W. W Sasow, Peterburg 1905, p. 449.

77. [Hebrew] L. Yafe, Congress book, Jerusalem, (7), 214

78. Theodor Hrzl, Tagebucher, I, p. 323.

79. Herzls letter to Max Bodenheimer 30.05.1898; Mai 1898, Welt 1910 Nr. 20, p. 472. [Translation by Susanne Eisner-Kartagener : "One more thing. As a watermark you have used the shield of David, with a lion at its centre. So far we quite agree. However, here, in Romania, England, America the seven pointed flag has already widely been accepted, with the following design:
In my doodle the centre field is meant to represent a lion. In each of the six small triangles there is a star, as well as a star at the very crest. The twelve surrounding stars that your suggest are incorrect for the simple reason that the twelve tribes are already contained within the shield of David".

Comment by the translator, Hava Eizenstein, head of Yiddish in Israel:
"At the end of 2014 Mr. Ze'ev Barkan asked me to translate Nusenblatt's article from Yiddish to Hebrew. I worked on the translation with all my heart, so much so, that even in me shimmered a hypothesis, that may be, the six vertices of the Star of David are alluding to the Six books of the Mishna, the oral tradition arranged by "Rabbi" [Rabbi Judah Ha'Nasi] based on what he had learned and received from his ancestors and teachers, based on the written law of Moses received from God. And since our nation exists only through the Torah "[as Rabbi Saadia Gaon wrote] therefore we can say that the shield of David is the symbol of Israel".

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Etruscan Hexagram

Hexagram on a ball held in the hands of a Fate Godess. From an Etruscan mirror. 
Etruscan mirrors date between 530-200 B.C.E
A. Jeremias, Handbuch der altorientalischen Geisteskultur, 1929, p. 196, Abb. 115.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Early Muslim Ornaments from Strzygowski's Book

Early Muslim Ornaments from Strzygowski's Book: J. Strzygowski, Ornamente, Altarabische Grabsteine in Kairo, "Islam", 1911, II

This artifact appears also in "signum Salomonis"
by Leite de Vasconcelos (1918)
as carvings on a tombstone from Cairo Museum