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A Little Antoine Madrolle Sampler: Part 1- A Marial Classical Genealogy & Exegesis

A portrait of Antoine Madrolle,

origin unknown.


Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, is part 1 of a planned sampler-series devoted to Antoine Madrolle (May 29 1791-April 14 1861) with excerpts from his seminal work, ‘Les Magnificences de Marie’, published in September 1844 in Paris. From page 30 to 45. Antoine Madrolle is often if not completely labelled as a ‘literary madman‘ by his fiercest critics and an ‘enthusiast’ by his friends. Many are discouraged in the tentative to read his books, as they appear to be the flowing lava of a brilliant intellect in constant eruption, sharing with us his epiphanies outside of the conventions of the ‘bon ton’ and common usage in literary practice. Today’s text does not fall in that peculiar category we will bring to light soon with our take about them and possible reading keys; on the contrary, it offers us the mentation of a gentle and cultivated mind, true to his Catholic faith, but curious to find clues and facts within the pre-Christian religions, here the classical greco-roman polytheism to corroborate the status of a Christian religious figure. Very much alike what father Jean-Joseph Brierre-Narbonne did by exploring all of the Jewish texts regarding the Messiah as signs or announcements and prophecies of the coming of Jesus-Christ (we will dedicate to this impressive but rather unknown figure some posts soon too). Here, Antoine Madrolle explores the classical past in the same manner, surveying the genealogy of the Virgin Mary. We ought to signal also that he is very respectful of the sources he explores and of the scholars or the famous poets of the classical age he brings up in his lengthy study, without showing any condescension or disdain, which sadly is rare in the Christian scholarly world, more used to a standard rigid and superior attitude. On the opposite, Madrolle here is like invoking friends and guests in the classical tradition of literary meals to discuss his subject of interest. There is more to Madrolle and this sampler-series devoted to him will bring, we hope, some much needed vindication by the use of his own words.


Chapter III:

The Virgin Mary,

according to the traditions

& the universal history

of the nations of the Antiquity


The Monogram of Virgin Mary. Picture by Holyart.

‘o femina sola superstes’

‘O woman who escaped death!’

(Ovid, Metamorphose, Book 1 verse 351)

Study, decipher the monuments and the literature of the oldest nations of the East-where the human genus is born, and where it preserves, better than anywhere else, the remnants of primitive truths-and you will find everywhere written: the virgin mother of a God who came or is to come.

And, first, she is everywhere in the heavens and in the spheres and seems to be-we can affirm this-the foundation, the key of astronomy, the very first science, because she is the very first and most shining display of humanity.

The sphere of the Magus and of the Chaldeans depicted in the heavens a young child being born called Jesus and even Christ, who was placed in the arms of the celestial Virgin, or the Virgin of the signs: the very one to whom Eratosthenes gives the name of Isis, mother of Horus, and whom the Greeks called Ceres, Astraía and Minerva.

The Virgin milking her son was displayed on the famous Zodiac of the Egyptians, ‘where the sign of the Messis is always followed by the Lamb, sign of spring’, as recorded by Macrobius.

Plutarch says that Janus, the genii  of the Roman year, was a Star that rose at the feet of the Virgin and it is remarkable that the Church which calls Mary Janua Caeli immediately after names her Stella Matutina; the wise mathematician, astronomer and wonder-clock-maker, Mister Antide Janvier, tells us the the Star rose at midnight the first day of the year.

The most eloquent of the Romans, Cicero expressed in verse, in his beautiful treatise ‘On the Nature of the Gods‘, the most attractive astronomical fiction: the constellation of the benevolent Virgin holding in her hand an ear of corn at the side of the shining Arcturus. ‘...beneath his bosoms fixed appears a glittering star, Arcturus, famous name, and bellow his feet moves the Virgin bright, holding her ear of corn resplendent.‘ and in its original Latin: ‘…subter praecordia fixa videtur Stella micans radiis Arcturus nomine claro; spicum illustre tenens splendenti corpore Virgo.’ (English translation of this verse by Harris Rackham (1868-1944) in his Loeb Classical Library  1933 edition of Cicero’s ‘De Natura Deorum’.) The sole order of these stars, Cicero adds proves divine Wisdom: ‘Atque ita demetata signa sunt, ut Divina solertia appareat.’ Which in English gives: ‘And the constellations are so accurately spaced out that their vast and ordered array clearly displays the skills of the divine creator.’ And this during the vigil over the Virgin Mary in labour of our Savior! (English translations by Harris Rackham (1868-1944) in his Loeb Classical Library 1933 edition of Cicero’s ‘De Natura Deorum‘)

All of this is almost to great to be true but it is and it sounds exactly like extracts from the prophet Isaiah! But we ought now to have the whole Antiquity explained by modern scientists that are above suspicion, like here Jérôme Lalande, the astronomer who writes in his ‘A Treatise of Astronomy‘: ‘The Constellation of the Virgin is the constellation that provides the most emblems, allegories, fables (the fable is the counterfeiting of the truth). She holds an ear of corn and she became Ceres, goddess of the harvests. Ceres consorting with Neptune gives birth to a horse, because when this constellation sets, Pegasus’ rises. As Pegasus is the neighbor of Libra, she became Themis; because she is close to the Vessel, she became the goddess of navigation, Isis; The city of Paris, the city of Isis also had a vessel in its crest. At spring, she rose at the arrival of night, it is the Sibyl opening the doors of the world of the dead, the Orcus; at the equinox, she opened the doors of the day; at the winter solstice, she rose at midnight; it was Janus starting the year; it was the star of the Eastern magi announcing the birth of Jesus-Christ.

The God of the new-born-day’s image was represented in the arms of the constellation under which he was born; and all of the images of the celestial Virgin, given to the worship of the nations, represented her milking the mystical child who was to defeat evil, and confound the prince of darkness, regenerate nature and rule upon the universe.’

(Note by the author: Noël-Antoine Pluche (13 November 1688 – 19 November 1761) perhaps sees further than the mundane Lalande as he is also a priest and by that rises above the realm of matter, writes in his ‘History of the Heavens’ (1738 for the first edition and 1765 for the revised and augmented edition), about this so-called astronomical fiction: ‘The aspect of the Virgin holding the ear of corn was to foster chaste inclinations and join fecundity to virtue.’

Another scientist, also the least objectionable, Charles-Francois Dupuis (26 October 1742 – 29 September 1809) developed this truth in a even more striking manner in his master-piece, ‘The Origin of all Cults’ (1794) and writes: ‘It is a fact, independent of all the hypothesis, of all the consequences that I want to demonstrate, that at the precise time of midnight, on December 25, in the centuries in which Christianity developed, the celestial sign that rose upon the horizon, and of which the ascendant presided to the opening of the new solar revolution, was the Virgin of the Constellations.

It is also a fact that the Sun god, born at the winter solstice, reunites with her and surrounds her of his fires at the time when we celebrate the Assumption, the day of the re-union of the mother with her son. It is again a fact, that she comes out of the solar rays in an heliac manner at the time when we celebrate her apparition in the world, or her Nativity. I do not examine what motive led to the establishment of these festivals: it is enough for me that they are three facts that no reasoning can destroy, and an attentive observer, who is well acquainted with the genius of the ancient mystagogues, is able to draw from them great consequences. Of course, there are always some persons who want to only see a pure game of chance and therefore prevent anything that goes against their crystalized opinions and prejudices. Finally, it is certain that the same Virgin, who alone can allegorically become a mother without ceasing being a virgin, fulfills three great functions of the Virgin, mother of Christ, either in the birth of her son, in hers, or in their re-union in the heavens.’

Literature and the arts, true expression of public thought and society are here in agreement with the customs, the laws and the institutions. Mythology, the oldest literature of the Heathens, is but a long and confused Marial theogony; and we can say, the poets that are its painters, are like ‘pregnant‘ of conceptions of such nature: Hesiod, the most ancient of the Greek poets, announces ‘a virgin, daughter of the greatest of Gods in the Heavens’. Aratus called her daughter of Dawn. She was called Justice. She lived at the time of the Golden Age, and left the earth to rise up into the Heavens, as soon as she saw that humanity, despite herself, was led into corruption. Poetical Heathenry also indicated the miraculous Assumption of the Virgin Mary in verses such as these: ‘Victa jacet Pietas, et Virgo caede madentes Ultima coelstum terras Astraea reliquit.’ Ovidius, ‘Metamorphōsēs’, I-203. And in English: ‘Virgin Astraea, the last immortal left on the bloodstained earth, withdrawn from it in horror.‘ (‘The Metamorphoses’ I-203 by Ovid. English translation by Charles Martin)

William Jones writes in his ‘Systema Brahmicum‘: ‘It was an ancient belief of the Antiquity, that the divinity from time to time incarnated, and under a human form came to instruct or comfort struggling humanity. These sort of apparitions were called Theophanies by the Greeks, and in the sacred books of the Brahmins, Avataras. Now, in the same books it is stipulated that when a God condescends in such visits on earth, He incarnates in the bosom of a Virgin, without the need of a sexual impregnation. The Brahmin taught and still do teach that Buddha was born of a virgin called Maia, without any male participation. This virgin Maia, Goddess of Imagination, became a mother due to her virginal will and intelligence.

The Egyptians, according to Plutarch, in his ‘Isis and Osiris’, agree that a woman can conceive by the mere breath of a God.

The Greeks make Minerva spring out of the head of Jupiter, and even the mother of Plato was rumored to have conceived him in such manner with Apollo being the divine father; The Roman tutelar figure, Romulus is said to be the son of a virgin called Ilia, according to saint Jerome in his ‘commentaries upon Isaiah‘.

Varro, the most learned of the Romans, quite in an energic manner celebrates Jupiter, father & mother of the Gods: ‘Progenitor genitrixque’.

A great and visible trail, ancient and preparatory of Mary, is found with this Queen, this Goddess-we might even say: Universal-that appears in the East, in Egypt, celebrated in Greece, in Italy, Spain, Gaul, in Germany and even in the New World until and after the coming of the mother of the Savior: Isis; bride of Osiris in life and death-we may say; children of Saturn, father of the Gods, and Rhea, the daughter of heaven and earth, conceived, married and already father and mother in turn as early as in the womb of their mother, says Plutarch in their story ex professo. Isis, blended with all of the Goddesses and all of the things Christianity mixed in Mary; Herodotus mixes her with Ceres, the mother of Crops; by Plutarch, again, with Minerva, whose conception is super-natural, and whose Wisdom is well known; by Diodorus with the Moon that presides over the sea; by Apuleius, with the Mother of the Gods; Isis, the Goddess born from navigation-whose vessel had a splendid annual festival with the Egyptians, and then the Greeks-especially in Corinth, and finally in Rome, especially during the Imperial times. Isis, the most glorious and famous of the brides of the Antiquity. The exemplar ‘marie’ widow (A Via-Hygeia note: It is a word play in French between Mary and ‘marrir’. The old French verb ‘marrir’, meaning to be afflicted, to be sad: s’affliger, se désoler), seeking all around the earth her husband, immortal like her. Osiris, betrayed by his cunning brother, timorous usurper, coward and regicide, the exemplar bad guy, Typhon; Osiris, abandoned on the river Nil, cut in pieces and his limbs dispersed, to avoid Isis and her persistent and devoted search. Isis, rediscovering them with such a religious care and covering them in magnificent mausoleums (author’s note: comes from Moses). Isis, victorious over the regicide, the deicide Typhon, or Python, the most famous serpent of the profane antiquity, alike our Christian Isis crushing with her feet the head of the most famous serpent of the sacred antiquity. Isis, mother of torn heroes (bacchus, etc…), or the ‘amasis‘ kings (‘beloved by Isis‘, according to the Orientalist Saint-Martin). And finally, rising up to the Heavens to live on the Moon, as spouse of the Sun.

And who, as a scientist, for 1800 centuries, did not admire, did not comment or rather had the urge to comment the beautiful verse of Aeschilus’ ‘Prometheus‘? -‘It is in the region of the delta of the sacred river Nil that the astonishing word of the oracle must be accomplished, who not long ago called you future bride of God. It is there that a divine hand will touch you solely, and you will become a mother without having known a man. IO, O virgin daughter of Inachus…From your race a hero will be born that will be my liberator!

And who, as a scientist, for 1800 centuries, was not struck, even dazzled by another Virgin-Poetry of such nature? The last prophet of a Virgin-Mother of a savior long awaited by a lost world and who is precisely the chronicler of the rule of Augustus, the solar first emperor, whose pacific and flourishing empire will see the birth of the Son of God, Virgil Maro-who carries the integer name of this Virgin full of life, grace and poetry! And Virgil rose even higher than Aeschilus in his ‘Eclogue IV‘: ‘Jam redit et Virgo: redeunt saturnia regna; jam nova progenies coelo dimittitur alto….Casta fave Lucina: tuus jam regnat Apollo…Occidet et Serpens…Incipe, parve puer, risu cognoscere matrem, Nec Deus hunc Mensa, Dea nec dignata cubili est.‘ Which translates in English: ‘...Now is come the last age of Cumaean song; the great line of the centuries begin anew. Now the Virgin returns, the reign of Saturn returns; now a new generation descends from heaven on high. Only do you, pure Lucina, smile on the birth of the child, under whom the iron brood shall at last cease and a golden race spring up throughout the world! Your own Apollo now is king!’ and further: ‘…the serpent too will perish…’ and further more: ‘Begin, baby boy, to recognize your mother with a smile….The child who has not won a smile from his parents, no god ever honored with his table, no goddess with her bed!‘ (Virgil, Eclogues, English translation by Henry Rushton Fairclough and George Patrick Goold, Loeb Classical Library 1916 & 1999).

Ovid himself, the poet of profane love and the voluptuous chronicler of the daughter of the Cesars has shout: ‘O femina Sola Superstes‘, ‘O woman who escaped death!‘ (Metamorphoses, book I-351). He published his most beautiful poem, the ‘Fasti‘ and especially the most appealing month of this calendar, the month of May, only to consecrate it to the majesty of Maia: ‘Hinc sata majestas; hos est Ea censa parentes: Quaque die partu est edita, magna fuit’ and in English: ‘From them sprang Majesty, then the goddess reckons her parents, she who became great on the very day she was born.’ And further on: ‘Mater abest; mater jubeo, Ramane, requiras.‘…’Divumque arcessite matrem.’…’Coelestum matrem.’ and in English: ‘The Mother is absent; thou Roman, I bid thee seek the Mother. When she shall come, she must be received by chaste hands.’…’Fetch the Mother of the Gods: she is to be found on Mount Ida.’…’The mother of the Gods is lodged on a hollow ship…’(‘Fasti‘ V-25,26/then IV 259, 263, 276-English translation by James George Frazer, revised by George Patrick Goold, Loeb Classical Library, 1931 and 1996).

Horace, also, is rather inspired by an incredible and ternary Virgin to whom he consecrates a landscape dominating tree: ‘Montium custos nemorumque Virgo, quae laborantis utero puellas ter vocata audis adimisque leto, diva triformis, imminens villae tua pinus esto, quam per exactos ego laetus annos verris obliquum meditantis ictum sanguine donem.’ ‘Carmina, liber tertius-22’ and in the English translation: ‘Virgin who guard the mountains and the woods, who when thrice invoked give ear to young women in labour and rescue them from death, three-formed Goddess, let the pine that overhangs my villa be yours, so that at the end of every year I may joyfully present it with the blood of a young boar practising its sidelong slash.’ (Horace, Odes, Book III-22, English translation by Niall Rudd, Loeb Classical Library, 2004). And the following Ode is about that the true worship of the Gods is through righteous deeds and dedicated care to the poor and not in the mere surface offering of expensive and precious materials in sacrifice.

Lucan, another poet contemporary of the birth of our Savior, expresses beautifully the possible incarnation of a God in the bosom of the Virgin, who was delivering the divines oracles in Delphi: ‘Hoc ubi Virgineo conceptum est pectore Numen. Humanam feriens animam sonat, oraque vatis Solvit.‘ and in English: ‘As soon as a God penetrates in the bosom of the Virgin, striking a human soul, He resonates, He opens the mouth of the Priestess…’ (Lucan, Pharsalia, Book V, lines 71-A Via-Hygeia translation from the French 1837 French Dubochet edition).

Lucrece, himself, begins with his ‘De rerum natura’ with a complex invocation of an Empedoclean Venus, whose worshipers strayed into superstitions and have built a counterfeit image of Her original essence: ‘Aeneadum genetrix, hominum divomque voluptas, alma Venus, caeli subter labentia signa quae mare navigerum, quae terras frugiferentis concelebras, per te quoniam genus omne animantum concipitur visitque exortum lumina solis: te, dea, te fugiunt venti, te nubila caeli adventumque tuum, tibi suavis daedala tellus summittit flores, tibi rident aequora ponti placatumque nitet diffuso lumine caelum.’ and ‘nam tibi de summa caeli ratione deumque disserere incipiam et rerum primordia pandam, unde omnis natura creet res, auctet alatque, quove eadem rursum natura perempta resolvat, quae nos materiem et genitalia corpora rebus reddunda in ratione vocare et semina rerum appellare suemus et haec eadem usurpare corpora prima, quod ex illis sunt omnia primis.‘ and finally: ‘Humana ante oculos foede cum vita iaceret in terris oppressa gravi sub religione, quae caput a caeli regionibus ostendebat horribili super aspectu mortalibus instans, primum Graius homo mortalis tollere contra est oculos ausus primusque obsistere contra...’ Which translates in English: ‘O mother of Aeneas’ children, who delight both men and gods, dear Venus, you Who fill with fruitfulness the busy sea and teeming lands beneath the canopy of gliding stars, all creatures are created through you, through you we are illuminated by the sun: the winds and clouds all flee away at your approach, for you a rich display throughout the beautiful and chequered earth of flowers is seen, the seas betray their mirth, for you the radiant land spreads out its light. As soon as springtime’s face has come in sight and procreant gales storm from the West, set free, birds forecast your approach ecstatically.’ Furthermore ‘I will begin to discuss and lay out the beginnings of things, whence all nature creates things, increases and wings, whereupon the same nature again resolves which make us material and genital bodies of things to be paid in order to call and the seeds of things we shall call and use these same things, the first bodies, because from them all things are first‘ and finally ‘When humankind by everyone was seen to be lamentably undone by harsh religion, which up in the sky showed its fierce face to every mortal eye, a Grecian first ventured to elevate men’s eyes so that they might then tolerate that scourge: no godly fates nor lightning’s flash nor threatening thunder ever could abash!‘.

Of an even higher inspiration, Horatius again, the friend of Virgil and Augustus, describes the Virgin rising at the Capitol, at the side of the Pontiff: ‘…Usque adeo postera crescam laude recens, dum Capitolium scandet cum tacita Virgine Pontifex.‘ (Horatius, Carmina, Liber tertius-30) which translates in English: ‘…As long as the pontiff climbs the Capitol with the silent virgin.’ (Horace, Odes, Book III-30 English by Niall Rudd)

All these are facts,

and for those who understand them,

they are truly remarkable!




Original French




Antoine Madrolle signed his letters and his books with this monogram, A.M.  He was conscious that they were also the Marial monogram and felt it as a blessing and a special bond.


A.M: Auspice Maria, meaning “Under the protection of Mary.” it is also used as Ave Maria, ‘Hail Mary’. Monogram at the center of a star, at the porch of the Notre-Dame du Plan d’Ilheu Chapel in Gaudent, France.


A Little Antoine Madrolle Sampler: Part 1- A Marial Classical Genealogy & Exegesis

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