He was a neo-platonist, a vegetarian, and he wrote about finding a cave and being afraid of what was inside, but overcome by curiosity to discover what was in there. Sounds like one of my earlier posts on Parmenides or Empedocles! So what is this cave? Where is Vinci? Is it a literal cave? Was it a metaphor for initiation? I think it was both. Vinci is a small town in the hills of Tuscany. There could easily have been a literal cave near his home.
One of The Loyal Horde posted a link on facebook today about one of the many theories behind the Mona Lisa. I'm a conspiracy theory fan (it goes well with my being a syncretist- I like to world to fit together neatly!) so this just floated my boat. Here is an excerpt from the article she posted:
“The Mona Lisa's landscape is not a fantasy, but a precise survey map of Rome and its vicinity. The survey cleverly defines the two extremes of religion, marking the center of Christianity on the right side, and the center of paganism on the left. The dome of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican is one end of the survey, and the site of the cult practices of the goddess Diana at Lake Nemi is the other. A line between the two endpoints, 29.5 km apart, intersects the Tempietto of Bramante,” says Lund.
The Tempietto of Bramante is at the top of Janiculum Hill, the ancient, pre-roman cult center of Janus. It was officially annexed as part of Rome in the mid 600s BCE. What is it called in Italian? il Gianicolo. Sound like San Gennaro? Not a coincidence!
The author, Scott Lund, discusses the theory that The Mona Lisa is also Anima Sol (an anagram) which refers to Janus, and the "missing" columns of the painting which frame the rest as an arch, another symbol of Janus. I agree with the author that the Mona Lisa wasn't a commissioned painting for a rich noble- it took 16 years to complete! And she's wearing no jewelry. Seriously, you're rich and this is you photo shoot and you don't bling it up? Riiight. ;)
He has other interesting theories about the placement of the basilica, the tempietto, and Lake Nemi and how they line up. I'm not surprised. It makes perfect sense that Capitoline Hill, a male center of worship and Lake Nemi, a female centered area of worship have, directly in the center, Janus looking in either direction, both male and female. He gets into wormhole theories, which are still a bit beyond the scope of my practice (the most I'll think about ancient alients as deities is when I watch the movie Stargate!) but the article, and site, are worth exploring if only for the questions they raise.