Two variations on the theme of destroying giants are represented by the strange compounds γιγαντοπαντορηκτα and γιγαντοπνικτορηκτα on two stones in the Southesk collection.11
The obverse design of one is Chnoubis, of the other the cock-headed anguipede. The former word seems to mean “breaker (or
render) of all giants”; the other, “throttler and render of giants.”
Even greater violence is done to the language by the word βαροφιτα (βαρουφιτα, βαρωφιτα); it will be remembered that in unlearned texts of this period omicron and omega are used almost indifferently, and ου is sometimes written for omicron. The meaning seems to be “crusher of serpents,” as if from βαρεῖν and ὄφις. The verb is recorded in the lexicons only at a late period, and is more common in the transferred sense of “depress or trouble” than in the physical sense. I have not seen it meaning “crush,” though that is a natural development. The word βαρωφιτα is found on several Chnoubis amulets, always with γιγαντορῆκτα or another of the previously mentioned compounds of γίγας.
Because of the strange formation of βαροφιτα one might wonder if the word could be a corruption of βαρβαροφόντης, itself unrecorded though legitimately formed. The idea gains slightly in probability from the occurrence, in similar circumstances, of βαροφοντα and βαρβαρωφιτα; in the latter word, however, there may be an erroneous doubling of the first syllable.12
Yet βαρωφιτα is so much more common that the corruption would necessarily be of long standing and the original meaning forgotten. The first guess at this bizarre word, rendering it “serpent-crusher,” may be right after all.
Λεοντορῆκτα is engraved on a stone in the Newell collection which has on the obverse a lion-headed anguipede holding a whip and an orb.13
The combination of this legend with a leonine type suggests that the lion-headed god defends against lions; and one may possibly infer that the snake Chnoubis, in addition to his power to cure stomach ailments, was also a defender against snakes, just as, mythologically, he is perhaps conceived to be the conqueror of serpent-legged giants — similia similibus.
Ἑκατοντόμαχε, “hundred-fighter,” “match for a hundred,” is carved on the reverse of a stone in the British Museum.14
The obverse represents a radiate lion-headed god standing, the right hand raised, the left holding a tall staff. The word (written ἑκατοντάμαχος) is reported by Josephus as a name given by Alexander Jannaeus to a picked advanced guard of the army with which he fought Ptolemy X (Lathyrus).15
On the stone another word precedes, which King read as κένταυ(ρε) θεοῦ; but it may be a garbling of a copy which read κενταυρόμαχε or κενταυροκτόνε.
Προκύνη. A previously mentioned haematite representing the triple Hecate has round the goddess the words Βριμὼ προκύνη ῥηξίχθων, the second of which presents some difficulty.16
The lexicons do not include it, and
14 56127; King, Gnostics, Pl. L 2, and p. 444.