The legend of Gargor and Habis

In the hills of the Tartessians, where it is said that the Titans declared war on the gods, lived the Curets, whose ancient king, Gargor, was the first to invent the custom of collecting honey, as recalled by the famous historian of religions of this country, Blanco Freijeiro, in his History of Seville, published in 1976.

Gargor and Habis

Gargor and Habis

And Vazquez Otero tells (Malagueñas Traditions, 1947), following Trogue Pompey:

“These kings, to sit with dignity on the throne, had to appear honest and pure in the eyes of all, and free from any defect, both physical and moral. Gargor absolutely had to hide the unfortunate weakness of having looked lustfully at his own daughter. He loved her, desired her, and finally possessed her. But then, with a broken heart, he observed how joy had fled from the princess's eyes.

She had become fierce, sullen, sad and withdrawn. She no longer sang and had stopped laughing. An infinite pain was gnawing at her, she was fading like a flower deprived of water, she was slowly going out like a lamp running out of oil, horrified at the thought of the infamy that was going to stain the reputation of the king, her father, so proud of his honor and the purity of his ancestors. She was more than once tempted to throw herself from the top of one of the precipices that abound there, in the heart of the Tartessian mountains, to end her life, but that would also damage her good name.

(…) Finally, the princess in tears had the courage to inform her father of her condition. He then ordered his most intimate and faithful servants to immediately lock his daughter in a distant and inaccessible tower. They were ordered to watch over her until she had given birth to the fruit of these monstrous loves and then to make the child disappear. »

This story is full of new elements and some very old ones. Gargor and the Curets belong to a mythological age (which also surely refers to a historical period), where Zeus Pater did not yet exist and where the Titans reigned, the race of warlike giants of which the Curets, according to some legends bequeathed to us by Antiquity. A Promethean age during which it is not clear that there were kings and princesses, or even parents and children.

Certainly not in the family sense that we give them today. People probably lived in family clans or grouped into tribes (groups of clans). Gargor, more than a king, could himself have been a Curete high-ranking, belonging to a clan which seems to have adopted the Bee as its distinctive sign.

And the said princess (to be taken in the sense of "main woman", the other meaning being non-existent at the time) was not his daughter - a relationship not recognizable in an orgiastic polyandry such as we find in many regions of Europe at the dawn of its history -, but probably her "sister", in other words a woman from the same clan

. Too young to be a matriarch, she could very well have been, as an earthly nymph, a high priestess or similar, heir designated by the political and religious power in force, which was then transmitted – and will do so long after – through the mother and not the father (the transmission of power, social status and inheritance through the father and not the mother is one of the main characteristics of the changes made mythologically – but surely with a clear historical basis – after the rise of Zeus in power).

During this golden age, (due to the type of collective procreation) only the fertile union of two brothers of the clan was considered incestuous, in other words two individuals belonging to the same totemic brotherhood (legal brotherhood and no blood), the only relationship that was taboo. The sacrificial killing of the illegitimate child was probably an automatic decision of this standard.

“What Gargor decreed was accomplished decisively. The mother's despair, which seemed to have no limits, was alleviated by the omen of certain Cabires, who predicted that this newborn would conquer death, that he would fully triumph over his enemies, and that finally he would reign, because the gods, from that very moment, protected him. »

It is said that the Cabires, represented today in an equatorial constellation, were protective spirits or genies about whom we have very little information today. Very archaic minor deities, these are religious survivals of the Uranus cycle. They were descendants of the union of a nymph named Cabeiro with Hephaestus, and lived on the island of Lemnos, where they celebrated one of the oldest and most respected mystery cults in the Aegean region. In the context of the legend of Gargor, they are also omens.

“Gargor, ashamed of the dishonor of his daughter, who had given him an illegitimate grandson, tried to get rid of him, seeking different means to destroy him. He ordered one of his most faithful servants to abandon him at the steepest point of a hill, near a rocky region where wild beasts had their lairs, so that they would devour him.

But it was not so. At the infant's cries, they came running and, oh surprise, rather than killing him, they caressed him and gently pushed him inside the cave, where they had their bed of dried fodder and spongy herbs. There, the females covered him and fed him milk from their breasts.

Gargor wanted to ensure the death of his offspring and sent his servant again so that the latter would bring him the remains which would attest to this. The servant heard the child crying and, considering it a divine miracle, knew that he was alive. As soon as the animals were gone, he entered the cave, took him in his arms for a moment to ensure that he was unharmed and in good health, and placed him back on the litter, fearing the imminent return of the animals.

The king, upset by this news and determined to kill him, ordered his servant to enter the cave, take him out and take him to a place where death would be safer. He was placed on a very narrow dirt road, through which numerous herds of cows and horses must necessarily pass, so that he would succumb under the footsteps of the quadrupeds. But the gods had higher undertakings in mind for him. So he escaped again as before from the terrible danger.

The king then made his pack fast and, when he saw that the dogs were foaming, he threw the tender body at them (…). But the greyhounds surrounded him and flattered him. Gargor's servants persisted with the same method, they put the child in the pigsty among the hungry pigs, but he found the same affectionate welcome among them as among the wild beasts, and the sows nursed him.

Gargor, desperate, to put an end to him once and for all, ordered him to be thrown into the ocean. But divine favor was manifested there very clearly, because the furious waves brought him back to land like a ship and abandoned him on a distant beach where a doe offered him her milk and all her mother's eagerness. The effects of such feeding were not long in coming, the little one acquired such agility and such lightness of feet that he ran, through the mountains and the woods, as fast as the deer themselves.

The written basis for all these adventures comes from a Roman writer from the first century BC, Trogus Pompey, author of a “Universal History” which was lost and who resumed, in the chapter of “Philippics”, the ancient legend of Gargor and Habis. If we consider, logically taking into account its antiquity, that the first inscription on this subject, the source from which Pompey directly or indirectly drank, was a pictographic narrative, the real meaning of the narration is much less fabulous than it does not appear in its alphabetical wording.

Let's see this:

The child is first abandoned to a clan of troglodyte bandits (perhaps the Wolf clan, in other words lycanthropes). Due to their state being both wild and suburban, the matriarch of the clan, instead of killing the child, turned a blind eye to the breach of the norm; its nymphs, tender, were already nursing the creature.

Then, he is adopted, fed and educated successively by the clan of Bull-Men (minotaurs or cowboys), Horsemen (centaurs or cabbalists, knights, horsemen), Dog-Men (canines, guardians, warriors), Men of the Sea (newts or sailors, fishermen), Deer-Men (hunters) and Goat-Men (satyrs or goatherds and shepherds).

In other words, this child of the Bee clan (to which the high priestess matriarch, the Queen Bee, belonged) thus acquired a unique and prodigious brotherhood with all the other clans. He practiced all the trades and all the arts and finally, as his mother wished, he acquired a new legitimacy, born from the acceptance of all.

“Confident in his lightness, he took advantage of it and obtained prey everywhere. The peasants of the region, annoyed by this behavior, worked together to get rid of him. He was finally caught in a net and presented to the king. When Gargor contemplated this young man, arrogant, shaggy, with vigorous and well-proportioned forms, with an intelligent look (...), he was seized with fear. Then, when they retired to the privacy of their room, he discovered the signs that had been imprinted on his body as a child, and recognized the young man as his grandson.

Repentant, he gave thanks to the gods for having freed him from the serious dangers to which he had exposed him. He pulled him towards him and hugged him tenderly. He gave him the name Habis, recognized him as his grandson and, amazed by the events and the astonishing adventures from which he had emerged unscathed, proclaimed him his heir to the throne.

Thus ends the years-long cunning plan hatched by Gargor and, perhaps, the clever priestess and her advisors. Because the name was precisely that ofApis, which means bee. This was the last condition to be fulfilled: the Bee clan forgave the parents' fault and cleansed the son of all stains.

Note that Pi and Bi were written in Iberian and Tartessian with the same syllabic letter and that in the legend of Io (the white cow, born female on the banks of the Great River), there are episodes where at the end , in Egypt, his son, the calf Epaphos, is kidnapped by the Curets ; Once saved, Io is called Isis and her son, who becomes an ox, is named Apis.

In some versions of this legend we can still see that it is also called Abidis and is considered the founder of towns like Astigi (Ecija) and Asturica (Astorga). In this case, we would understand very well why the Asturians are also called "Coritos", a name which very closely resembles that of " Curets ".

Habis' gesture has survived because the historian Justin summarized "The Philippics" in his Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum (chapter XLIV et seq.) which has, for its part, been preserved. Justin comments:

“His adventures would seem fabulous to us, if we did not also read that the founders of Rome were suckled by a she-wolf, and Cyrus, king of Persian, by a female dog. »

In the 5th century, Childeric I still kept brooches in the shape of a bee as a royal emblem.