The Great God Pan, looking rather wolfish here.


Faunus, Sylvanus, Baphomet

Pan in known to us from Greek Mythology as the God of the fields and forests. He enters into the stories of several of the Classic Greek Gods including both Apollo and Zeus where he is seen as a childhood friend to each of them. He is associated with the island of Crete in these stories and we cannot ignore the figures from Etruscan and Roman Mythology of Satyrs, Fauns, and Silenoi. These last are generally seen as older Satyrs who are variously young boys or men. Fauns are seen as definitely nature spirits and not human.

A Satyr

For me the Estruscan civilisation, which entered modern day Italy sometime around 1000 BC, arrived from Crete. It is said to have introduced agriculture, forestry and other arts of civilisation including sophisticated water engineering which later passed on to Rome. Wikipedia equates the arrival with the development of the iron age Villanovan culture.

But let us look at the name Pan. It is used in Greek to mean ‘all’ or ‘universal’ and as such has entered the English language as in Pan-American Airlines, or panacea, a cure all. Elsewhere I may consider the roots of the word Pan in this connection, but for the moment wish to focus on the God and his role in ancient cultures.

Pan is spoken of as the god of the woods and fields and also as the All-Father. He is goat-faced with small horns, a bare human chest and the shaggy haunches of a goat. It is in this regard that the Silenoi are shown prancing around with shaggy goat skins covering their legs. The name Silenoi relates them to the God Silenus, a Bacchic figure.

Silenus accompanied by Satyr and Faun
by Jegher Christoffel

The introduction of agriculture is said to have been by one Saturnus and here I cannot help but relate that word to the word Satyr.

However this distinctive figure is found under other names including Faunus, said to be the Roman equivalent of the Greek Pan. I see them as the same God and the name being Latinised in one form to give the -us ending.

Described as Pompeii Faunus with other names included Pan, Bacchus etc. Is this a modern piece?

He is also known from the Knights Templar where he was called Baphomet. For those who are not practised at the art of sound elision and transmutation I should point out that Pan/Fan/Faun/Foen/Phom are all relatively close to one another to represent dialectal differences and no more.

Baphomet, based on the image by Eliphas Levi

The Foehn is a wind which blows into southern Germany in spring from the south. It brings irascibility with it. It blows, I conjecture, from the land of the Foens. That land is the land surrounding the city we now call Venice. Venice I suggest is the leading city of those worshippers of Foen, Faunus to the Romans, and Pan to ourselves. We might ask also if the English area called the Fens gets its name from the same source as Venizia. Were they visited by those who were used to paddling about in low marshes.

Pannonia, Wikipedia states, “was a province of the Roman Empire bounded on the north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy”.

Pan is associated with turmoil and chaos and we might consider the festivals of Saturnalia as examples of the source for that derivation. Smith tells us that ‘any woman on the streets after nightfall offered herself as fair game to the roudy youths that frequented the streets’, hence the word pandaemonium. Smith also tells us Pan was gifted with prophecy which art he taught to Apollo and to have instilled fear and awe into travellers giving rise to the word Panic and that he was especially connected with Dionysus and Cybele. Does Cybele have the same root as Cyprus we might ask? The pronunciation using a hard ‘c’ to give Ku-bele and Ku-prus, the latter name I associate with Copper and in turn with cup, as well as Capri.

Pan is particularly associated with music and credited with the invention of two instruments, the Pan pipes which are a common instrument in Roumanian music, the Syrinx, and a double boled reeded flute. He is sometimes shown playing each of these.

Pan with flute

He was particularly worshipped in Arcadia in Greece and later adopted by Athens. Arcadia is an interesting name to be found in Akkadia, Iraq and elsewhere.