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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Satyr

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Fig. 312—Macacus Arabicus

There is much to suggest the probability that the 'satyr' of ; , if not also the 'hairy ones' (rendered 'devils') of , were no other than a species of ape or baboon. The only species of ape of the baboon form known in Arabia is the Macacus Arabicus, remarkable for stature and aspect, having the doglike nose and approximating eyes of baboons; the skin of the face of a reddish color; the snout, lips, and chin black; the forehead low, and the sides of the head furnished with bushy, long, white hair; the breast, arms and shoulders similarly covered, but the loins and lower extremities of a fine chestnut; the tail of the same color, of no great length, tufted at the end, and all the hands black. It is found from the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, through Southern Arabia to the Euphrates, and even beyond the junction of that river with the Tigris. Like other large and formidable Simiadæ, it is less solicitous about the vicinity of trees, because it is armed with powerful canines; holds its enemy firmly grasped, and fights, not singly, but assisted by the whole troop: it frequents scrubby underwood near water, but becomes more rare eastward of Yemen. Comparing the characters of this species, we find it by configuration, colors, and manners peculiarly adapted to the purposes of idolatry in its grossest and most debasing aspect. The Hebrew people, already familiar with a similar worship in Egypt, may have copied the native tribes in the wilderness, and thus drawn upon themselves the remonstrance in , where the allusion to these animals is very descriptive, as is that in ; and again, , where the image is perfect, when we picture to ourselves the 'hairy ones' lurking about the river in the juniper and liquorice jungle, as described by Mr. Rich in his Memoir on the Ruins of Babylon.

 

 

 

 


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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Satyr'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/kbe/s/satyr.html.

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