WINGED DISC, THE. The winged disc or solar disc is a figure composed of a disc, representing the sun, and two wings, one on each side of it. There is perhaps reference to it in the Old Testament (Malachi iv. 2 : " the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings "; see however, the journal of the Manchester Egyptian and Oriental Society, 1917, p. 67.). In any case, it has been a common religious symbol in ancient Egypt, Babylonia, and elsewhere. According to Pro fessor Elliot Smith, indeed, it originated in Egypt, and was carried thence all over the world. " The winged disc with a pair of serpents is the commonest and most distinctive symbol of the ancient Egyptian religion, and is constantly found carved upon the lintels of the great doors of the temples. It appeared in a great variety of forms in Egypt and was widely adopted and distributed abroad, especially by the Phoenicians (see Count d'Alviella. " The Migration of Symbols," 194, p. 204 et seq.)." It is found in Asia Minor, Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia, as well as in Carthage, Cyprus. Sardinia, and elsewhere in the Mediterranean. "In modified forms
it occurs in India and the Far East, and ultimately it re-appears in America in a practically complete form and in precisely homologous situations. upon the lintels of doors in sun-temples. But the curious feature of these American winged discs is that they are invariably re versed: and the body of the serpent, which even in the Egyptian models is often conventionalized into a lattice like pattern, is now replaced by a geometrical design. This only becomes intelligible when it is compared with the (reversed) Egyptian original " (G. Elliot Smith, Anc. Egypt. Cir., 1916, p. 31). In most cases the design is still further modified in a characteristically American manner. Often the place of the sun's disc is taken by the face of the god. The American development of the winged disc is essentially geometrical, and Dr. Rivers has pointed out that the transformation of a naturalistic into a geometri cal design is usually due not to simplification, but to a blending of different cultural influences.