The Churning of the Ocean of Milk, ca. 1780-90. Creator: Unknown
The Churning of the Ocean of Milk, ca. 1780-90. At the time of the great deluge aeons ago, many treasures— including amrita, the nectar of immortality—were lost beneath the primordial ocean. Gods and demons still jockeying for power decided to raise these powerful objects from the watery depths. They harnessed the serpent Vasuki as a rope to turn Mount Mandara and Vishnu assumed his tortoise avatar to support the giant pivot. The demons, tricked into pulling the head of the snake, were weakened by its poisonous breath. Here, many of the treasures have already been raised and are visible in the sky, while Vishnu is seen twice, below and atop the peak.
© Heritage Art/Heritage Images
Roman soldiers making a 'tortoise' with their shields, 1605. Artist: Unknown
Roman soldiers making a 'tortoise' with their shields, 1605. This tactic of the Roman infantry was intended to protect the soldiers from projectiles, but in this illustration the formation is depicted as being strong enough for chariots to drive over. Reconstruction from Poliorceticon sive de Machinis Tormentis Telis by Justus Lipsius. (Antwerp, 1605).
© Ann Ronan Picture Library / Heritage-Images