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WikiProject Religion (Rated Stub-class, Low-importance)
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Hey, fellow editors! I was wondering if there was any help that you had with this book. DrPhen (talk) 15:34, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Is this article even for real??[edit]

I think this article is totally made up. I'm a pretty big mythology geek and I've NEVER heard of anything like this before. All the Google hits either come back to this article or quote it directly. It should be deleted. MythBuffer (talk) 21:24, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

It's for real. Google books shows quite a few matches for the term. I think the involved editor might get a bit more luck dealing with mythological weapons from WP:MILHIST though. They tend to have gotten a bit more organized than we have. John Carter (talk) 21:50, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
Here are three examples: [1], [2], [3] The Latin is bidens, bidentis, and it means the same thing etymologically as "trident," except it's got two (bi-) teeth (dent-) instead of three (tri-). I'd been meaning to look into a stub for this for a while, since it's come up in reference to a couple of Roman deity articles. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:45, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
My Chambers 1998 dictionary gives: "a two-pronged tool; a two-year old sheep" and "(Roman antiq) a place struck by lightning", adding the possible connection with sheep sacrifice. -84user (talk) 23:48, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
See bidental, and the reference to Cook I give below. The bidens was a two-year-old sheep, in reference to how its teeth come in; a bidens was the prescribed victim for certain sacrifices. The etymology is the same for the implement and the sheep, "two-toothed."Cynwolfe (talk) 03:05, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

By Jove[edit]

I was about to add this sentence cited from a book by J.T. Sibley: The Roman god Pluto also wielded a bident.[1]

However, as I see the article now claims that neither "Pluto nor Hades is depicted with a bident in ancient art", I wonder which source is reliable? Page 91 has a drawing of a tile from Urbs Salvia with a caption claiming Jove holds a bident in his right hand and a trident in his left. Page 92 has a drawing of a medallion with caption claiming Hades wielding a bident. To this non-expert the figures certainly look like they are depicting bidents. The book credits the figure from "Cook 1925; 802, fig. 769", bit Google's preview does not include the credit for the Jove figure. I'll leave this note here for any experts reading.

  1. ^ Sibley, J. T. (2009). The Divine Thunderbolt. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 91, 120, 121. ISBN 1425765408. "two pronged (bident) variant of the trident as Pluto in his agricultural aspect ... Jupiter carries a bident ... Like Hades, Pluto also .. bident" 

-84user (talk) 00:33, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

If I'm not mistaken, XLibris is a self-publishing company. The sources that say the bident of Pluto is a modern invention are from the early 19th century, and not that great, but when I wrote Pluto (mythology), which has a section on iconography, I can't recall finding anything about the bident, except in later art. If I'd been able to sort it out, I'd have put it in there. The two-pronged thunderbolt of Jove has to do with the Etruscan tradition of divination by means of fulgura, thunder and lightning; A.B. Cook touches on this in his monumental but somewhat dated work Zeus, so that's the reference you have. Cook relates this to the bidental (it's online here). I doubt this really has much to do with Hades, or Pluto for that matter; it probably has more to do with Summanus.
In antiquity, the religious traditions pertaining to Hades and to Pluto (Greek Plouton) differ. Each is the ruler of the underworld, and in some sense the same figure, but it can't be assumed that what applies to one applies to the other. Hades as a god belongs primarily to the Greek Archaic period. The name Plouton begins to be favored in association with the Eleusinian Mysteries, and is used in the philosophy and literature of Classical Athens, where the name Hades is almost always used for the underworld as a place.
"Classical mythology" is a different matter. It's about later uses of the myths, and takes its modern shape during the Renaissance. In my opinion, modern or contemporary mythology is appropriate for encyclopedic treatment of a deity or hero or magical object. You just have to be clear about the historical context. You can't assume that because the figure called Pluto is pictured with a bident in the 16th century, the figure called Hades had a bident in ancient Greece. Cynwolfe (talk) 03:01, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I suspected Xlibris might be some kind of vanity press, that's what stayed my hand when I noticed the contradiction. Since then I've been scouring Commons:Commons images with bidents (and tridents) for photographs or illustrations of mosaics, engravings and paintings from Roman, Greek and Egyptian times. I'll put them in Commons:Category:Bidents if I find any. -84user (talk) 16:28, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

Thank you very much![edit]

I would like to thank all of you for coming to write this article. I was starting to think that the WikiProject on Mythology was defunct/expired or something! — Preceding unsigned comment added by DrPhen (talkcontribs) 01:32, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

Symbols of Hades[edit]

I used the HotCat tool to add the Category:Symbols of Hades tag to this article a while ago, but now I'm not sure if it belongs here. As far as I can tell, while there is a strong correlation between Pluto and Hades, they're not exactly identical, and I'm not sure if there really is a connection between the bident and Hades (as opposed to Pluto). Can anyone review that category for me and see if it's still appropriate in anyway? DrPhen (talk) 18:15, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

If there are RS that attribute the bident to Hades in any time period, to me it's a valid category. The article explains the difficulties of the evidence. So far, I've only found the bident attached to the name of Pluto, because it's an attribute of the ruler of the underworld primarily from the Middle Ages onward, when Pluto was the name used for the syncretized Greco-Roman figure. So the category in my view is harmless, and potentially useful, since anyone coming here via the category can learn what the questions are regarding Hades and the bident. And if readers come with misconceptions about the ancient Hades and the bident, again they can see what the evidence is. Or at least the small presentation of it we have here. I see categories as a research tool for finding sets of closely related articles, and don't see a category as a source of information per se, but I think I'm in a minority there. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:11, 19 May 2012 (UTC)