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Hogarth judge

December 2017

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Hogarth judge

Questions about a John Martin painting




Question: Who was Sadak? And why was he after the Waters of Oblivion?

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Well, as a story it makes little sense. But this entry in Brewer's Dictionary would seem to be the reference:

Sadak and Kalasrade. Sadak, general of the forces of Amurath sultan of Turkey, lived with Kalasradê in retirement, and their home life was so happy that it aroused the jealousy of the sultan, who employed emissaries to see fire to their house, carry off Kalasradê to the seraglio, and seize the children. Sadak, not knowing who were the agents of these evils, laid his complaint before Amurath, and then learnt that Kalasrade was in the seraglio. The sultan swore not to force his love upon her till she had drowned the recollection of her past life by a draught of the waters of oblivion. Sadak was sent on this expedition. On his return, Amurath seized the goblet, and, quaffing its contents, found “that the waters of oblivion were the waters of death.” He died, and Sadak was made sultan in his stead.—J. Ridley: Tales of the Genii (“Sadak and Kalasradè,” ix., 1751).
These are the waters of forgetfulness. Those who drink of them will... um...

(Anonymous)

Waters of Oblivion

Hi, I came across this page when searching for the origins of the phrase 'waters of oblivion'. I thought it might be biblical, but haven't found any biblical source (yet). Does anyone know if the Ridley story is the first use of the phrase?

Re: Waters of Oblivion

I don't know that the "waters of oblivion" is a Biblical phrase. Greek mythology had Lethe, the river of forgetfulness. Orphic initiates believed that souls were made to drink from the waters of Lethe to forget their pasts before becoming reincarnated.