more on columbia
clyde lewis on columbia
Columbia Americana Imagery from 'The Teddyssey, 1907'
very interesting in how it shows mythological forms imposed on american iconography
Awakening the Goddess Columbia:
In the late 18th and early 19th century, a stream of images crystallized the goddess form into "Columbia." The ideas that animated her can best be seen by her attributes, that is the objects or symbols that are displayed with her. She is most often shown with an eagle, broken chains and pottery, a cornucopia, images of George Washington, a laurel wreath, a liberty pole and cap, a liberty tree, an olive branch, a rattlesnake, a shield and a stone tablet. The statue of Columbia behind the speaker's chair in the house of representatives is a fine example. In this one we see the Eagle, and on the other side a snake coiled around a Greek column.
Columbia is not a Greek or Roman goddess, although she borrowed a few attributes when she needed them, but a consciously created god-form archetype inserted into the mass consciousness of the country at its founding. She now stands, 19 feet tall, atop the Capital dome gazing to the west toward the Djed/obelisk of the Washington Monument.
In the United States' youngest years, images of the Plumed Greek Goddess or the Indian Princess soon shared space, and at times meshed with, slightly different versions of the female figure of freedom. Columbia, sometimes considered the feminine counterpart to Christopher Columbus, emerged as yet another icon for the United States. Dressed in classical robes, but with a kinder face than the Plumed Greek Goddess, Columbia did not appear with plumed ostrich feathers, nor bows and arrows. But the liberty cap and pole almost always accompanied her, and the stars and stripes of America could be found on her dress or cap.
A Glossary of Props:
Bald Eagle Broken Chains Broken Jug or Vase Cornucopia Depiction of George Washington Laurel Wreath Liberty Pole and Cap Liberty Tree Olive Branch Rattlesnake
Shield of the United States Stone Tablet
It was a conversation with Freeman back in 2003 that first pointed this goddess out to me. Since then, Freeman has gone on to produce a series of documentaries, one of which explored the Goddess Columbia meme. You can download the whole show with bittorrent if you register here: conspiracycentral