§ 1.1.1 By the present treatise, which includes in its design the Demonstration of the Gospel, I purpose to show the nature of Christianity to those who know not what it means; and here with prayers I dedicate this work to thee, Theodotus, most excellent of Bishops, a man beloved of God and holy, in the hope of so gaining from thee the help of thy devout intercessions on my behalf, whereby thou mayest give me great assistance in my proposed argument on the teaching of the Gospel. But first of all, it is well to define clearly what this word 'Gospel' means to express. It is this then that brings 'good tidings' to all men of the advent of the highest and greatest blessings, which having been long since foretold have recently shone forth on all mankind-a Gospel which makes not provision for undiscerning wealth, nor for this petty and much-suffering life, nor for anything belonging to the body and corruption, but for the blessings which are dear and congenial to souls possessing an intelligent nature, and on which the interests of their bodies also depend, and follow them like a shadow.
§ 1.1.2 Now the chief of these blessings must be religion, not that which is falsely so called and full of error, but that which makes a true claim to the title; and this consists in the looking up to Him, who in very truth is both acknowledged to be, and is, the One and Only God; and in the kindling of the life after God, wherein friendship also with Him is engendered; and this is followed by that thrice-blessed end of God's true favour, which coming from on high is dependent upon that better world, and is thereto directed, and terminates again therein.
§ 1.1.3 What then can be more blessed than this excellent and all-happy friendship with God? Is not He both the dispenser and provider to all men of life and light and truth and all things good? Does He not contain in Himself the cause of the being and the life of all things? To one then who has secured friendship with Him what more can be wanting? What can he lack, who has made the Creator of all true blessings his friend? Or who can be superior to him who claims in the place of a father and a guardian the great President and absolute Monarch of the universe?
§ 1.1.4 Nay, it is not possible to mention anything in which he who draws near in disposition to God the absolute Monarch, and through his intelligent piety has been deemed worthy of His all-blessed friendship, can fail to be happy alike in soul and body and all outward things.
§ 1.1.5 It is then this good and saving friendship of men with God that the Word of God sent down from above, like a ray of infinite light, from the God of all goodness proclaims as good tidings to all men; and urges them to come not from this or that place but from every part out of all nations to the God of the universe, and to hasten and accept the gift with all eagerness of soul, Greeks and Barbarians together, men, women, and children, both rich and poor, wise and simple, not deeming even slaves unworthy of His call.
§ 1.1.6 For indeed their Father, having constituted them all of one essence and nature, rightly admitted them all to share in His one equal bounty, bestowing the knowledge of Himself and friendship with Him upon all who were willing to hearken, and who readily welcomed His grace.
§ 1.1.7 This friendship with His Father Christ's word came to preach to the whole world: for, as the divine oracles teach,
'God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them,' and 'He came,' they say, 'and preached peace to them that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh.'
§ 1.1.8 These things the sons of the Hebrews were long ago inspired to prophesy to the whole world, one crying,
'All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto the LORD, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Him: for the kingdom is the LORD'S, and He is the ruler over the nations'; and again, 'Tell it out among the heathen that the LORD is king, for He hath also stablished the world, which shall not be moved'; and another saith, 'The LORD will appear among them, and will utterly destroy all the gods of the nations of the earth, and men shall worship Him, every one from his place.'
§ 1.1.9 These promises, having been long ago laid up in divine oracles, have now shone forth upon our own age through the teaching of our Saviour Jesus Christ; so that the knowledge of God among all nations, which was both proclaimed of old and looked for by those who were not ignorant of these matters, is duly preached to us by the Word, who has lately come from heaven, and shows that the actual fulfilment corresponds with the voices of the men of old.
§ 1.1.10 But why should we hasten on to anticipate in our eagerness the due order of intermediate arguments, when we ought to take up the subject from the beginning, and clear away all the objections? For some have supposed that Christianity has no reason to support it, but that those who desire the name confirm their opinion by an unreasoning faith and an assent without examination; and they assert that no one is able by clear demonstration to furnish evidence of the truth of the things promised, but that they require their converts to adhere to faith only, and therefore they are called 'the Faithful,' because of their uncritical and untested faith. With good reason therefore, in setting myself down to this treatise on the Demonstration of the Gospel, I think that I ought, as a preparation for the whole subject, to give brief explanations beforehand concerning the questions which may reasonably be put to us both by Greeks and by those of the Circumcision, and by every one who searches with exact inquiry into the opinions held among us.
§ 1.1.11 For in this way I think my argument will proceed in due order to the more perfect teaching of the Demonstration of the Gospel, and to the understanding of our deeper doctrines, if my preparatory treatise should help as a guide, by occupying the place of elementary instruction and introduction, and suiting itself to our recent converts from among the heathen. But to those who have passed beyond this, and are already in a state prepared for the reception of the higher truths, the subsequent part will convey the exact knowledge of the most stringent proofs of God's mysterious dispensation in regard to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
§ 1.1.12 Let us then begin the Preparation by bringing forward the arguments which will probably be used against us both by Greeks and by those of the Circumcision, and by every one who searches with exact inquiry into the opinions held among us.
§ 1.2.1 For in the first place any one might naturally want to know who we are that have come forward to write. Are we Greeks or Barbarians? Or what can there be intermediate to these? and what do we claim to be, not in regard to the name, because this is manifest to all, but in the manner and purpose of our life? For they would see that we agree neither with the opinions of the Greeks, nor with the customs of the Barbarians.
§ 1.2.2 What then may the strangeness in us be, and what the new-fangled manner of our life? And how can men fail to be in every way impious and atheistical, who have apostatized from those ancestral gods by whom every nation and every state is sustained? Or what good can they reasonably hope for, who have set themselves at enmity and at war against their preservers, and have thrust away their benefactors? For what else are they doing than fighting against the gods?
§ 1.2.3 And what forgiveness shall they be thought to deserve, who have turned away from those who from the earliest time, among all Greeks and Barbarians, both in cities and in the country, are recognized as gods with all kinds of sacrifices, and initiations, and mysteries by all alike, kings law-givers and philosophers, and have chosen all that is impious and atheistical among the doctrines of men? And to what kind of punishments would they not justly be subjected, who deserting the customs of their forefathers have become zealots for the foreign mythologies of the Jews, which are of evil report among all men?
§ 1.2.4 And must it not be a proof of extreme wickedness and levity lightly to put aside the customs of their own kindred, and choose with unreasoning and unquestioning faith the doctrines of the impious enemies of all nations? Nay, not even to adhere to the God who is honoured among the Jews according to their customary rites, but to cut out for themselves a new kind of track in a pathless desert, that keeps neither the ways of the Greeks nor those of the Jews?
§ 1.2.5 These then are questions which any Greek might naturally put to us, having no true understanding either of his own religion or of ours. But sons of the Hebrews also would find fault with us, that being strangers and aliens we misuse their books, which do not belong to us at all, and because in an impudent and shameless way, as they would say, we thrust ourselves in, and try violently to thrust out the true family and kindred from their own ancestral rights.
§ 1.2.6 For if there was a Christ divinely foretold, they were Jewish prophets who proclaimed His advent, and also announced that He would come as Redeemer and King of the Jews, and not of alien nations: or, if the Scriptures contain any more joyful tidings, it is to Jews, they say, that these also are announced, and we do not well to misunderstand them.
§ 1.2.7 Moreover they say that we very absurdly welcome with the greatest eagerness the charges against their nation for the sins they committed, but on the other hand pass over in silence the promises of good things foretold to them; or rather, that we violently pervert and transfer them to ourselves, and so plainly defraud them while we are simply deceiving ourselves. But the most unreasonable thing of all is, that though we do not observe the customs of their Law as they do, but openly break the Law, we assume to ourselves the better rewards which have been promised to those who keep the Law.
§ 1.3.1 These being questions which would naturally be the first put to us, let us, after invoking the God of the universe through our Saviour, His own Word, as our High Priest, proceed to clear away the first of the objections put forward, by proving at the outset that they were false accusers who declared that we can establish nothing by demonstration, but hold to an unreasoning faith.
§ 1.3.2 This then we will disprove at once, and with no long argument, both from the proofs which we employ towards those who come for instruction in our doctrines, and from our replies to those who oppose us in more argumentative discussions, and by the debates, whether written or unwritten, which we are zealous in holding both privately with each inquirer, and publicly with the multitudes; and especially by the books which we have in hand, comprising the general treatment of the Demonstration of the Gospel, in which is included our present discourse proclaiming to all men the good tidings of all the grace of God and His heavenly blessing, and accrediting in a more logical way by very many manifest proofs the dispensation of God concerning our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
§ 1.3.3 It is true that most of those before us have diligently pursued many other modes of treatment, at one time by composing refutations and contradictions of the arguments opposed to us, at another time by interpreting p. the inspired and sacred Scriptures by exegetical commentaries, and homilies on particular points, or again by advocating our doctrines in a more controversial manner. The purpose, however, which we have in hand is to be worked out in a way of our own. The very first indeed to deprecate deceitful and sophistical plausibilities, and to use proofs free from ambiguity, was the holy Apostle Paul, who says in one place, 'And our speech and our preaching was not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.' To which he adds: 'Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect; yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world that come to nought; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden.' And again: 'Our sufficiency,' he says, 'is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant.'
§ 1.3.4 Rightly then is the exhortation addressed to all of us, 'to be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh a reason concerning the hope that is in us.'
§ 1.3.5 Hence, by recent authors also, there are, as I have said, demonstrations without number, which we may carefully read, very able and clear, written in argumentative form in defence of our doctrine, and not a few commentaries carefully made upon the sacred and inspired Scriptures, showing by mathematical demonstrations the unerring truthfulness of those who from the beginning preached to us the word of godliness.
§ 1.3.6 Nevertheless all words are superfluous, when the works are more manifest and plain than words,-works which the divine and heavenly power of our Saviour distinctly exhibits even now, while preaching good tidings of the divine and heavenly life to all men.
§ 1.3.7 For instance, when He prophesied that His doctrine should be preached throughout the whole world inhabited by man for a testimony to all nations, and by divine foreknowledge declared that the Church, which was afterwards gathered by His own power out of all nations, though not yet seen nor established in the times when He was living as man among men, should be invincible and undismayed, and should never be conquered by death, but stands and abides unshaken, settled, and rooted upon His own power as upon a rock that cannot be shaken or broken-the fulfilment of the prophecy must in reason be more powerful than any word to stop every gaping mouth of those who are prepared to exhibit a shameless effrontery.
§ 1.3.8 For who would not acknowledge the truth of the prophecy, when the facts so manifestly all but cry out and say, that it was indeed the power of God, and not human nature, which before these things came to pass foresaw that they should happen in this way, and foretold them, and in deeds fulfilled them?
§ 1.3.9 Certainly the fame of His Gospel has filled the whole world on which the sun looks down; and the proclamations concerning Him ran through all nations, and are now still increasing and advancing in a manner corresponding to His own words.
§ 1.3.10 The Church also which He foretold by name stands strongly rooted, and lifted up as high as the vaults of heaven by prayers of holy men beloved of God, and day by day is glorified, flashing forth unto all men the intellectual and divine light of the religion announced by Him, and is in no way vanquished or subjected by His enemies, nay, yields not even to the gates of death, because of that one speech uttered by Himself, saying: 'Upon the rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'
§ 1.3.11 There are also countless other sayings and prophecies of our Saviour, by collecting which in a special work, and showing that the actual events agree with His divine foreknowledge, we prove beyond all question the truth of our opinions concerning Him.
§ 1.3.12 And in addition to all this, there is no small proof of the truth which we hold in the testimony of the Hebrew Scriptures, in which so vast a number of years beforehand the Hebrew prophets proclaimed the promise of blessings to all mortal life, and mentioned expressly the name of the Christ, and foretold His advent among men, and announced the novel manner of His teaching, which in its course has reached unto all nations. They predicted also the future unbelief in Him, and the gainsaying of the Jewish nation, and the deeds they wrought against Him, and the dismal fate which thereupon immediately and without delay overtook them: I mean the final siege of their royal metropolis, and the entire overthrow of the kingdom, and their own dispersion among all nations, and their bondage in the land of their enemies and adversaries, things which they are seen to have suffered after our Saviour's advent in accordance with the prophecies.
§ 1.3.13 In addition to this, who can fail to be astonished at hearing the same prophets preach in clear and transparent language, that the advent of Christ and the falling away of the Jews would be followed by the call of the Gentiles? Which call itself also straightway became a fact in accordance with the prophecies, through the teaching of our Saviour.
§ 1.3.14 For through Him multitudes from every race of mankind turned away from the delusion of idols, and embraced the true knowledge and worship of Him who is God over all, wellnigh ratifying the oracles of men of old, and especially that one which by Jeremy the prophet said 'O Lord my God, unto Thee shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers inherited false idols, and there was no profit in them. Shall a man make unto himself gods, which yet are no gods?'
§ 1.4.1 All these circumstances then confirm the story of the facts of our religion, and show that it was not contrived from any human impulse, but divinely foreknown, and divinely announced beforehand by the written oracles, and yet far more divinely proffered to all men by our Saviour; afterwards also it received power from God, and was so established, that after these many years of persecution both by the invisible daemons and by the visible rulers of each age it shines forth far more brightly, and daily becomes more conspicuous, and grows and multiplies more and more. Thus it is plain that the help which comes down from the God of the universe supplies to the teaching and name of our Saviour its irresistible and invincible force, and its victorious power against its enemies.
§ 1.4.2 Also the help thence gained towards a happy life for all men, not only from His express words, but also from a secret power, was surely an indication of His divine power: for it must have been of a divine and secret power, that straightway at His word, and with the doctrine which He put forth concerning the sole sovereignty of the One God who is over all, at once the human race was set free from the delusive working of daemons, at once also from the multitude of rulers among the nations.
§ 1.4.3 In fact, whereas of old in each nation numberless kings and local governors held power, and in different cities some were governed by a democracy, and some by tyrants, and some by a multitude of rulers, and hence wars of all kinds naturally arose, nations clashing against nations, and constantly rising up against their neighbours, ravaging and being ravaged, and making war in their sieges one against another, so that from these causes the whole population, both of dwellers in the cities, and labourers in the fields, from mere childhood were taught warlike exercises, and always wore swords both in the highways and in villages and fields,-when God's Christ was come all this was changed. For concerning Him it had been proclaimed of old by the prophets, 'In his days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace,' and 'they shall beat their swords into plow-shares and their spears into pruning-hooks; and nation shall not take sword against nation, and they shall not learn war any more.'
§ 1.4.4 In accordance with these predictions the actual events followed. Immediately all the multitude of rulers among the Romans began to be abolished, when Augustus became sole ruler at the time of our Saviour's appearance. And from that time to the present you cannot see, as before, cities at war with cities, nor nation fighting with nation, nor life being worn away in the old confusion.
§ 1.4.5 Surely there is good cause, when one considers it, to wonder why of old, when the daemons tyrannized over all the nations, and men paid them much worship, they were goaded by the gods themselves into furious wars against each other-so that now Greeks were at war with Greeks, and now Egyptians with Egyptians, and Syrians with Syrians, and Romans with Romans, and made slaves of each other and wore each other out with sieges, as in fact the histories of the ancients on these matters show-but that at the same time with our Saviour's most religious [and peaceful] teaching the destruction of polytheistic error began to be accomplished, and the dissensions of the nations at once to find rest from former troubles? This especially I consider to be a very great proof of the divine and irresistible power of our Saviour.
§ 1.4.6 And of the benefit which visibly proceeds from His doctrines you may see a clear proof, if you consider, that at no other time from the beginning until now, nor by any of the illustrious men of old, but only from His utterances, and from His teaching diffused throughout the whole world, the customs of all nations are now set aright, even those customs which before were savage and barbarous; so that Persians who have become His disciples no longer marry their mothers, nor Scythians feed on human flesh, because of Christ's word which has come even unto them, nor other races of Barbarians have incestuous union with daughters and sisters, nor do men madly lust after men and pursue unnatural pleasures, nor do those, whose practice it formerly was, now expose their dead kindred to dogs and birds, nor, strangle the aged, as they did formerly, nor do they feast according to their ancient custom on the flesh of their dearest friends when dead, nor like the ancients offer human sacrifices to the daemons as to gods, nor slaughter their dearest friends, and think it piety.
§ 1.4.7 For these and numberless things akin to these were what of old made havoc of human life.
'It is recorded, for instance, in history that the Massagetae and Derbices deemed those of their kindred who died a natural death most miserable, and for this reason hastened to sacrifice and to feast upon the aged among their dearest friends. The Tibareni used to throw their old kinsmen alive down a precipice; and the Hyrcanians and Caspians threw them out to birds and dogs, the former while alive, and the latter when dead. But the Scythians used to bury them alive, and to slaughter over their funeral pyres those who were most dear to the deceased. The Bactrians also used to cast those who had grown old alive to the dogs.' These however were customs of a former age, and are now no longer practised in the same manner, the salutary law of the power of the Gospel having alone abolished the savage and inhuman pest of all these evils.
§ 1.4.8 Then there is the fact that men no longer regard as gods either the lifeless and dumb images, or the evil daemons operating in them, or the parts of the visible world, or the souls of mortals long since departed, or the most hurtful of irrational animals; but instead of all these, solely through the teaching of our Saviour in the Gospel, Greeks and Barbarians together, who sincerely and unfeignedly adhere to His word, have reached such a point of high philosophy, as to worship and praise and acknowledge as divine none but the Most High God, the very same who is above the universe, the absolute monarch and Lord of heaven and earth, and sun and stars, Creator also of the whole world. They have also learned to live a strict life, so as to be guided even in looking with their eyes, and to conceive no licentious thought from a lustful look, but to cut away the very roots of every base passion from the mind itself. Must not then all these things help all men towards a virtuous and happy life?
§ 1.4.9 What also of the fact that men, far from perjuring themselves, have no need even of a truthful oath because of learning from Him to 'swear not at all,' but in all things to be guileless and true, so as to be satisfied with 'yea' and 'nay,' making their purpose to be stronger than any oath? And then the fact that even in simple sayings and common conversation they are not indifferent, but carefully measure their words even in these, so as to utter by their voice no lie, nor railing, nor any foul and unseemly word, because again of His admonition, wherein He said, 'for every idle word ye shall give account in the day of judgement'-to what a high degree of philosophic life do these things pertain?
§ 1.4.10 Add to this that whole myriads in crowds together of men, women, and children, slaves and free, obscure and illustrious, Barbarians and Greeks alike, in every place and city and district in all nations under the sun, flock to the teaching of such lessons as we have lately learned, and lend their ears to words which persuade them to control not only licentious actions, but also foul thoughts of gluttony and wantonness in the mind: and that all mankind is trained in a divine and godly discipline, and learns to bear with a noble and lofty spirit the insults of those who rise up against them, and not to repay the wicked with like treatment, but to get the mastery over anger and wrath and every furious emotion, and moreover to share their possessions with the helpless and needy, and welcome every man as of the same race, and to acknowledge the stranger, commonly so reputed, as being by the law of nature a close kinsman and a brother.
§ 1.4.11 How then could any one, taking all these things together, refuse to admit that our doctrine has brought to all men good tidings of very great and true blessings, and has supplied to human life that which is of immediate advantage towards happiness? For what thinkest thou of the fact that it induced the whole human race, not only Greeks, but also the most savage Barbarians and those who dwell in the utmost parts of the earth, to refrain from their irrational brutality and adopt the opinions of a wise philosophy? As, for example, the opinions concerning the immortality of the soul, and of the life laid up with God for His beloved after their departure hence, for the sake of which they studied to despise this temporary life; so that they showed those who were at any former time renowned for philosophy to be but children, and that death that was so much talked of and celebrated in the mouth of all philosophers to be a mere trifle; since, among us, females and young children, and barbarians and men apparently of little worth, by the power and help of our Saviour have shown by deeds rather than by words that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is true. Such also as is the fact, that all men universally in all nations are trained by our Saviour's teachings to sound and steadfast thoughts concerning God's providence as overseeing the whole world; and the fact that every soul learns the doctrine concerning the tribunal and judgement of God, and lives a thoughtful life, and keeps on guard against the practices of wickedness.
§ 1.5.1 But to understand the sum of the first and greatest benefit of the word of salvation, you must take into consideration the superstitious delusion of the ancient idolatry, whereby the whole human race in times long past was ground down by the constraint of daemons: but from that most gloomy darkness, as it were, the word by its divine power delivered both Greeks and Barbarians alike, and translated them all into the bright intellectual daylight of the true worship of God the universal King.
§ 1.5.2 But why need I spend time in endeavouring to show that we have not devoted ourselves to an unreasoning faith, but to wise and profitable doctrines which contain the way of true religion? As the present work is to be a complete treatise on this very subject, we exhort and beseech those who are fitly qualified to follow demonstrative arguments, that they give heed to sound sense, and receive the proofs of our doctrines more reasonably, and 'be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh us the reason of the hope that is in us.'
§ 1.5.3 But since all are not so qualified, and the word is kind and benevolent, and rejects no one at all, but heals every man by remedies suitable to him, and invites the unlearned and simple to the amendment of their ways, naturally in the introductory teaching of those who are beginning with the simpler elements, women and children and the common herd, we lead them on gently to the religious life, and adopt the sound faith to serve as a remedy, and instil into them right opinions of God's providence, and the immortality of the soul, and the life of virtue.
§ 1.5.4 Is it not in this way that we also see men scientifically curing those who are suffering from bodily diseases, the physicians themselves having by much practice and education acquired the doctrines of the healing art, and conducting all their operations according to reason, while those who come to them to be cured give themselves up to faith and the hope of better health, though they understand not accurately any of the scientific theories, but depend only on their good hope and faith?
§ 1.5.5 And when the best of the physicians has come upon the scene, he prescribes with full knowledge both what must be avoided and what must be done, just like a ruler and master; and the patient obeys him as a king and lawgiver, believing that what has been prescribed will be beneficial to him.
§ 1.5.6 Thus scholars also accept the words of instruction from their teachers, because they believe that the lesson will be good for them: philosophy, moreover, a man would not touch before he is persuaded that the profession of it will be useful to him: and so one man straightway chooses the doctrines of Epicurus, and another emulates the Cynic mode of life, another follows the philosophy of Plato, another that of Aristotle, and yet another prefers the Stoic philosophy to all, each of them having embraced his opinion with a better hope and faith that it will be beneficial to him.
§ 1.5.7 Thus also men pursue the ordinary professions, and some adopt the military and others the mercantile life, having: assumed again by faith that the pursuit will supply them with a living. In marriages also the first approaches and unions formed in the hope of begetting children had their beginnings from a good faith.
§ 1.5.8 Again, a man sails forth on an uncertain voyage, without having cast out any other anchor of safety for himself than faith and good hope alone: and, again, another takes to husbandry, and after casting his seed into the earth sits waiting for the turn of the season, believing that what decayed upon the ground, and was hidden by floods of rains, will spring up again as it were from the dead to life: and, again, any one setting out from his own land on a long journey in a foreign country takes with him as good guides his hope and his faith.
§ 1.5.9 And when you cannot but perceive that man's whole life depends on these two things-hope and faith-why do you wonder if also the things that are better for the soul are imparted by faith to some, who have not leisure to be taught the particulars in a more logical way, while others have opportunity to pursue the actual arguments, and to learn the proofs of the doctrines advocated? But now that we have made this short introduction, which will not be without advantage, let us go back to the first indictment, and give an answer to those who inquire who we are and whence we come. Well then, that being Greeks by race, and Greeks by sentiment, and gathered out of all sorts of nations, like the chosen men of a newly enlisted army, we have become deserters from the superstition of our ancestors,-this even we ourselves should never deny. But also that, though adhering to the Jewish books and collecting out of their prophecies the greater part of our doctrine, we no longer think it agreeable to live in like manner with those of the Circumcision,-this too we should at once acknowledge.
§ 1.5.10 It is time, therefore, to submit our explanation of these matters. In what other way then can it appear that we have done well in forsaking the customs of our forefathers, except by first setting them forth publicly and bringing them under the view of our readers? For in this way the divine power of the demonstration of the Gospel will become manifest, if it be plainly shown to all men what are the evils that it promises to cure, and of what kind they are. And how can the reasonableness of our pursuing the study of the Jewish Scriptures appear, unless their excellence also be proved? It will be right also to state fully for what reason, though gladly accepting their Scriptures, we decline to follow their mode of life: and, in conclusion, to state what is our own account of the Gospel argument, and what Christianity should properly be called, since it is neither Hellenism nor Judaism, but a new and true kind of divine philosophy, bringing evidence of its novelty from its very name.
§ 1.5.11 First of all then let us carefully survey the most ancient theologies, and especially those of our own forefathers, celebrated even till now in every city, and the solemn decisions of noble philosophers concerning the constitution of the world and concerning the gods, that we may learn whether we did right or not in departing from them.
§ 1.5.12 And in the clear statement of what is to be proved I shall not set down my own words, but those of the very persons who have taken the deepest interest in the worship of those whom they call gods, that so the argument may stand clear of all suspicion of being invented by us.
§ 1.6.1 It is reported then that Phoenicians and Egyptians were the first of all mankind to declare the sun and moon and stars to be gods, and to be the sole causes of both the generation and decay of the universe, and that they afterwards introduced into common life the deifications and theogonies which are matters of general notoriety.
§ 1.6.2 Before these, it is said, no one made any progress in the knowledge of the celestial phenomena, except the few men mentioned among the Hebrews, who with clearest mental eyes looked beyond all the visible world, and worshipped the Maker and Creator of the universe, marvelling much at the greatness of His wisdom and power, which they represented to themselves from His works; and being persuaded that He alone was God, they naturally spake only of Him as God, son from father successively receiving and guarding this as the true, the first, and the only religion. The rest of mankind, however, having fallen away from this only true religion, and gazing in awe upon the luminaries of heaven with eyes of flesh, as mere children in mind, proclaimed them gods, and honoured them with sacrifices and acts of worship, though as yet they built no temples, nor formed likenesses of mortal men with statues and carved images, but looked up to the clear sky and to heaven itself, and in their souls reached up unto the things there seen.
§ 1.6.3 Not here, however, did polytheistic error stay its course for men of later generations, but driving on into an abyss of evils wrought even greater impiety than the denial of God, the Phoenicians and then the Egyptians being the first authors of the delusion. For from them, it is said, Orpheus, son of Oeagrus, first brought over with him the mysteries of the Egyptians, and imparted them to the Greeks; just, in fact, as Cadmus brought to them the Phoenician mysteries together with the knowledge of letters: for the Greeks up to that time did not yet know the use of the alphabet.
§ 1.6.4 First, therefore, let us inquire how those of whom we are speaking have judged concerning the first creation of the world; then consider their opinions about the first and most ancient superstition found in human life; and, thirdly, the opinions of the Phoenicians; fourthly, those of the Egyptians; after which, fifthly, making a distinction in the opinions of the Greeks, we will first examine their ancient and more mythical delusion, and then their more serious and, as they say, more natural philosophy concerning the gods: and after this we will travel over the account of their admired oracles; after which we will also take a survey of the serious doctrines of the noble philosophy of the Greeks. So, when these have been thoroughly discussed, we will pass over to the doctrines of the Hebrews - I mean of the original and true Hebrews, and of those who afterwards received the name Jews. And after all these we will add our own doctrines as it were a seal set upon the whole. The history of all these we must necessarily recall, that so by comparison of the doctrines which have been admired in each country the test of the truth may be exhibited, and it may become manifest to our readers from what opinions we have departed, and what that truth is which we have chosen. But now let us pass to the first point.
§ 1.6.5 From what source then shall we verify our proofs? Not, of course, from our own Scriptures, lest we should seem to show favour to our argument: but let Greeks themselves appear as our witnesses, both those of them who boast of their philosophy, and those who have investigated the history of other nations.
§ 1.6.6 Well then, in recording the ancient theology of the Egyptians from the beginning, Diodorus, the Sicilian, leads the way, a man thoroughly known to the most learned of the Greeks as having collected the whole Library of History into one treatise. From him I will set forth first what he has clearly stated in the beginning of his work concerning the origin of the whole world, while recording the opinion of the ancients in the manner following.
§ 1.7.1 [DIODORUS] The full account of the ideas entertained concerning the gods by those who first taught men to honour the deity, and of the fabulous stories concerning each of the immortals, I shall endeavour to arrange in a separate work, because this subject requires a long discussion: but all that we may deem to be suitable to our present historical inquiries we shall set forth in a brief summary, that nothing worth hearing may be missed.
§ 1.7.2 But concerning the descent of the whole human race, and the transactions which have occurred in the known parts of the world, we shall give as accurate an account as may be possible about matters so ancient, and shall begin from the earliest times. 'With regard then to the first origin of mankind two explanations have been held among the most accepted physiologists and historians. For some of them, on the supposition that the universe is uncreated and imperishable, declared that the human race also has existed from eternity, their procreation of children having never had a beginning; while others, who thought the world to be created and perishable, said that, like it, mankind were first created within definite periods of time. 'For, according to the original constitution of the universe, heaven and earth, they said, had one form, their nature being mixed: but afterwards, when their corporeal particles were separated from each other, though the cosmos embraced in itself the whole visible order, the air was subjected to continual motion. The fiery part of it gathered towards the highest regions, because fire is naturally borne upwards by reason of its lightness; and from this cause the sun and all the multitude of stars were caught and carried off in the general whirl: but the muddy and turbid part of the air, in its commixture with the moist parts, settled down together because of its heaviness, and by revolving in itself and continually contracting made the sea out of the moist parts, and out of the more solid parts made the earth, muddy and quite soft.
'This was at first hardened from the fire round the sun shining upon it, and afterwards, when the surface was thrown into fermentation through the warmth, some of the liquid particles swelled up in many places, and tumours were formed about them surrounded by thin membranes, a thing which may still be seen going on in stagnant pools and marshy places, when upon the cooling of the ground the air becomes suddenly fiery, because the change does not take place in it gradually.
'The moist parts then being quickened into life by the warmth in the way mentioned, during the nights they received their nourishment direct from the mist which falls from the surrounding atmosphere, and during the days became hardened by the heat; and at last, when the pregnant cells attained their full growth, and the membranes were thoroughly heated and burst asunder, all various types of living things sprang up.
'And those of them which had received the largest share of heat went off into the upper regions, and became birds; while those which retained an earthy consistency were counted in the order of reptiles and of the other land animals; and those which had partaken most largely of the watery element ran together to the place congenial to their nature, and were called aquatic.
'But the earth being more and more solidified both by the fire about the sun and by the winds, at last was no longer able to quicken any of the larger creatures into life, but the several kinds of animals were generated from their union one with another.
'It seems that even Euripides, who was a disciple of the physicist Anaxagoras, does not dissent from what has been now said concerning the nature of the universe; for he thus writes in the Melanippe:
So heaven and earth at first had all one form;
But when in place dissevered each from other,
They gave to all things birth, and brought to light
Trees, birds, and beasts, and all the salt sea's brood,
And race of mortal men.
'Such are the traditions which we have received concerning the first beginnings of the universe. And they say that the primitive generations of mankind, living in a disorderly and savage state, used to go wandering out over the pastures, and procure for food the tenderest herbage, and the fruits of trees that grew wild: and that when warred on by the wild beasts they were taught by their own interest to help one another, and from gathering together through fear they gradually recognized each other's forms.
'And though their speech was originally indistinct and confused, by degrees they articulated their words, and settling with each other signs for every object lying before them, they made their interpretation of all things intelligible among themselves.
'But when such associations came to be formed throughout all the inhabited world, they had not all a language of the same sounds, because they each arranged their words as it chanced; and from this cause there were originally all kinds of languages, and the associations first formed became the progenitors of all the nations.
'So then the first generations of men, by whom none of the conveniences of life had been discovered, passed a hard time, being destitute of clothing, and unused to houses and fire, and altogether without any idea of prepared food. For not knowing even how to harvest their food that grew wild, they did not lay by any store of the fruits for their needs: and therefore in the winters many of them perished of the cold and scarcity of food.
'But afterwards, being gradually taught by experience, they took refuge in their caves in the winter, and laid by such fruits as could be kept. And when fire became known, the usefulness of other things was gradually discovered and the arts also were invented, and all other things that could benefit their common life.
'For necessity itself became universally men's teacher in all things, naturally suggesting the knowledge of each to a being well endowed by nature, and having for all purposes the help of hands, and speech, and ready wit. So concerning the origin of mankind and the most primitive mode of life we will be content with what has been said, making brevity our aim.'
§ 1.7.3 Thus much writes the aforesaid historian, without having mentioned God even so much as by name in his cosmogony, but having presented the arrangement of the universe as something accidental and spontaneous. And with him you will find most of the Greek philosophers agreeing, whose doctrines concerning the first principles of things, with their differences of opinion and of statement, based on conjectures not on a clear conception, I shall on the present occasion set forth from Plutarch's Miscellanies. And do thou, not casually but leisurely and with careful consideration, observe the mutual disagreement of the authors whom I quote.
§ 1.8.1 [PLUTARCH] 'Thales, it is said, was the first of all who supposed that water was the original element of the universe, for that all things spring from it and return to it.
'After him Anaximander, who had been a companion of Thales, said that the Infinite contained the whole cause of both the generation and decay of all things, and out of it he says that the heavens, and, generally, all the worlds, which are infinite in number, have been brought into distinct form. He declared that decay and, long before that, generation originated in the revolution of all these worlds from infinite ages. The earth, he says, is in figure cylindrical, and its depth a third part of its breadth. He says too that the eternal generative force of heat and cold was separated at the generation of this world, and that from it a kind of sphere of flame grew round the atmosphere of the earth as bark round a tree; and that when this flame was rent asunder and shut off into certain orbits, the sun and moon and stars came into existence. Further, he says that man at first was generated from animals of other kinds, because while the other animals quickly find food of themselves, man alone needs to be nursed for a long time; and for this reason, being such as he is, he could not in the beginning have been kept alive. These then are the opinions of Anaximander.
'But Anaximenes, it is said, declared the air to be the first element of the universe, and that this is in its generic nature infinite, but is differentiated by the qualities attached to it, and that all things are generated by virtue of a certain condensation and subsequent rarefaction of this air. Its motion however subsists eternally, and when the air was compressed, first, he said, the earth was produced, and was very broad, and therefore according to reason floated upon the air; and the sun, and moon, and other heavenly bodies were originally produced out of earth. He declares, for instance, that the sun is earth, but because of its swift motion it has a great supply of heat.
'Xenophanes of Colophon has proceeded by a way of his own, diverging from all who have been previously mentioned, for he leaves neither generation nor decay, but says that the All is always alike. For, says he, if it were to begin to be, it must previously not be; but Non-being cannot begin to be, nor can Non-being make anything, nor from Non-being can anything begin to be.
'He declares also that the senses are fallacious, and with them altogether disparages even reason itself. Also he declares that the earth being continuously carried down little by little in time passes away into the sea. He says also that the sun is formed from a gathering of many small sparks. With regard to the gods; also he declares that there is no ruling power among them; for it is not right that any of the gods should be under a master: and none of them needs anything at all from any; and that they hear and see universally and not partially.
'Also he declares that the earth is infinite, and not surrounded; by air on every side; and that all things are produced out of earth: the sun, however, and the other heavenly bodies he says 'are produced out of the clouds.
'But Parmenides the Eleatic, the companion of Xenophanes, both claimed to hold his opinions and at the same time tried to establish the opposite position. For he declares that in real truth the All is eternal and motionless; for he says it is
Sole, of sole kind, unmoving, uncreated
§ 1.8.2 and that generation belongs to the things which upon a false assumption are thought to exist, and he denies the truth of the sensual perceptions. He says too that if anything subsists besides Being, this is Non-being, and Non-being does not exist in the universe. Thus he concludes that Being is uncreated. The earth, he says, has arisen from the dense air having settled down.
'Zeno the Eleatic put forth nothing properly his own, but discussed these opinions more at large.
'Democritus of Abdera supposed that the All is infinite, because there was none who could possibly have framed it: he further says that it is unchangeable; and generally, everything being such as it is, he expressly asserts that the causes of the processes now going on have no beginning, but all things absolutely, past, present, and to come, are wholly fixed beforehand by necessity from infinite time. Of the generation of the sun and moon he says, that they moved in their separate courses, when as yet they had no natural heat at all, nor generally any brightness, but on the contrary were assimilated to the nature of the earth; for each of them had been produced earlier when the world was as yet in some peculiar rudimentary condition, and afterwards, when the orbit round the sun became enlarged, the fire was included in it.
'Epicurus son of Neocles, an Athenian, endeavours to suppress the vain conceit about gods: but also says that nothing is produced out of Non-being, because the All always was and always will be such as it is; that nothing new is brought to pass in the All because of the infinite time which has already passed; that all is body, and not only unchangeable, but also infinite; that the summum bonum is pleasure.
'Aristippus of Gyrene says that pleasure is the summum bonum, and pain the worst of evils; but all other physiology he excludes by saying that the only useful thing is to inquire
What for your home is evil and what good.
'Empedocles of Agrigentum made four elements, fire, water, air, and earth, and their cause friendship and enmity. There was first the mixture of the elements, out of which, he says, the air was separated and diffused all around; and next to the air the fire leaped out, and having no other place was driven upwards by the freezing of the air. And there are two hemispheres, he says, moving in a circle round the earth, the one wholly of fire, the other of air and a little fire mixed, which he supposes to be night; and the beginning of their motion resulted from its having happened when the fire predominated in the combination. And the sun is in its nature not fire, but a reflexion of fire, like the reflexion formed from water. The moon, he says, was formed separately by itself out of the air left by the fire; for this air froze just like hail: but its light it has from the sun. The ruling power, he says, is neither in the head nor in the breast, but in the blood; whence also he thinks that in whatever part of the body this ruling power (the blood) is more largely diffused, in that part men excel.
'Metrodorus of Chios says that the All is eternal, because if it were created it would have come from Non-being; and infinite, because eternal, for it had no first principle to start from, nor any limit, nor end. But neither does the All partake of motion; for it cannot be moved without changing its place; and a change of place must of necessity be either into plenum or into vacuum. The air being condensed makes clouds, then water, which also flowing down upon the sun extinguishes it: and it is rekindled again by evaporation. And in time the sun is made solid by the dryness, and forms stars out of the clear water, and from being extinguished and rekindled makes night and day, and eclipses generally.
'Diogenes of Apollonia supposes that air is the primary element, that all things are in motion, and that the worlds are infinite. His cosmogony is as follows: when the All was in motion, and was becoming in one part rare and in another dense, where the dense part happened to meet it formed a concretion, and so the other parts on the same principle; and the lightest having taken the highest position produced the sun.'
§ 1.8.3 Such is the judgement of the all-wise Greeks, those, forsooth, who were entitled physicists and philosophers, concerning the constitution of the All and the original cosmogony; in which they did not assume any creator or maker of the universe, nay, they made no mention of God at all, but referred the cause of the All solely to irrational impulse and spontaneous motion.
§ 1.8.4 So great also is their mutual opposition; for in no point have they agreed one with another, but have filled the whole subject with strife and discord. Wherefore the admirable Socrates used to convict them all of folly, and to say that they were no better than madmen, that is, if you think Xenophon a satisfactory witness, when in the Memorabilia he speaks thus: 'But no one ever yet either saw Socrates do, or heard him say, anything impious or irreligious. For even concerning the nature of all things, or other such questions, he did not discourse, as most did, speculating what is the nature of the cosmos, as the sophists call it, and by what necessary forces the heavenly bodies are each produced, but he even used to represent those who troubled their minds about such matters as talking folly.'
§ 1.8.5 And presently he adds:
'And he used to wonder, that it was not manifest to them, that it is impossible for men to discover these things; since even those who prided themselves most highly on discoursing of these subjects did not hold the same opinions one with another, but behaved to each other like mad people. For as among madmen some do not fear even things that should be feared, and others fear what is not at all fearful; ... so of those who trouble themselves about the nature of all things, some think that Being is one only, others that it is an infinite multitude; and some that all things are ever in motion, but others that nothing ever can be moved: and some that all things are created and perish, but others that nothing ever can either be created or perish.'
§ 1.8.6 So says Socrates, according to the testimony of Xenophon. And Plato also agrees with this account in his dialogue Concerning the Soul, describing him as thus speaking: 'For in my youth, Cebes, said he, I myself had a wonderful longing for this kind of wisdom which they call Physical Research: it seemed to me a magnificent thing to know the causes of everything, why each comes into being, and why it perishes, or why it exists. And I was constantly turning my mind this way and that, in examining first such questions as these:-Is it when hot and cold have assumed a kind of putrefaction, as some used to say,-is it then that living things are bred and nourished? And is the blood that by which we think, or the air, or the fire? Or is it none of these, but is the brain that which supplies the sensation of sight, and hearing, and smell? And from these might come memory and opinion, and from memory and opinion, when they have reached a settled state, in the same manner knowledge arises. And then again I speculated on their decay, and the changes to which the heaven and the earth are subject, and at last it seemed to me that I was of all things in the world the least fitted by nature for such speculation. And I will tell you a good proof of it: I was so utterly blinded by the mere inquiry, that even what I clearly understood before, at least as I and others thought, I then unlearned,- even what I thought I knew before.'
§ 1.8.7 So said Socrates, that very man so celebrated by all the Greeks. When, therefore, even this great philosopher had such an opinion of the physiological doctrines of those whom I have mentioned, I think that we too have with good reason deprecated the atheism of them all, since their polytheistic error also seems not to be unconnected with the opinions already mentioned. This, however, shall be proved on the proper occasion, when I shall show that Anaxagoras is the first of the Greeks mentioned as having set mind to preside over the cause of the All. But now pass on with me to Diodorus, and consider what he narrates concerning the primitive theology of mankind.
§ 1.9.1 [DIODORUS] 'It is said then that the men who dwelled of old in Egypt when they looked up to the cosmos, and were struck with astonishment and admiration at the nature of the universe, supposed that the sun and moon were two eternal and primal gods, one of whom they named Osiris, and the other Isis, each name being applied from some true etymology.
'For when they are translated into the Greek form of speech, Osiris is many eyed; with reason, for casting his beams in every direction he beholds, as it were with many eyes, the whole earth and sea: and with this the poet's words agree:
Thou Sun, who all things seest, and nearest all.
'But some of the ancient mythologists among the Greeks give to Osiris the additional name Dionysus, and, by a slight change in the name, Sirius. One of these, Eumolpus, speaks in his Bacchic poems thus:
§ 1.9.3 Some say also that the fawn-skin cloak is hung about him as a representation of the spangling of the stars.
'Isis too, being interpreted, means ancient, the name having been given to the Moon from her ancient and eternal origin. And they put horns upon her, both from the aspect with which she appears whenever she is crescent-shaped, and also from the cow which is consecrated to her among the Egyptians. And these deities they suppose to regulate the whole world.'
§ 1.9.4 Such then are the statements on this subject. You find, too, in the Phoenician theology, that their first 'physical philosophers knew no other gods than the sun, the moon, and besides these the planets, the elements also, and the things connected with them'; and that to these the earliest of mankind 'consecrated the productions of the earth, and regarded them as gods, and worshipped them as the sources of sustenance to themselves and to following generations, and to all that went before them, and offered to them drink-offerings and libations.' But pity and lamentation and weeping they consecrated to the produce of the earth when perishing, and to the generation of living creatures at first from the earth, and then to their production one from another, and to their end, when they departed from life. These their notions of worship were in accordance with their own weakness, and the want as yet of any enterprise of mind.'
§ 1.9.5 Such are the statements of the Phoenician writings, as will be proved in due course. Moreover, one of our own time, that very man who gains celebrity by his abuse of us, in the treatise which he entitled Of Abstinence from Animal Food, makes mention of the old customs of the ancients as follows in his own words, on the testimony of Theophrastus:
§ 1.9.6 [PORPHYRY] 'It is probably an incalculable time since, as Theophrastus says, the most learned race of mankind, inhabiting that most sacred land which Nilus founded, were the first to begin to offer upon the hearth to the heavenly deities not the first-fruits of myrrh nor of cassia and frankincense mingled with saffron; for these were adopted many generations later, when man becoming a wanderer in search of his necessary livelihood with many toils and tears offered drops of these tinctures as first-fruits to the gods.
'Of these then they made no offerings formerly, but of herbage, which they lifted up in their hands as the bloom of the productive power of nature. For the earth gave forth trees before animals, and long before trees the herbage which is produced year by year; and of this they culled leaves and roots and the whole shoots of their growth, and burned them, greeting thus the visible deities of heaven with their offering, and dedicating to them the honours of perpetual fire.
'For these they also kept in their temples an undying fire, as being most especially like them. And from the fume (θυμιασις) of the produce of the earth they formed the words θυμιατηρια (altars of incense), and θυειν (to offer), and θυσιας (offerings),-words which we misunderstand as signifying the erroneous practice of later times, when we apply the term θυσια to the so-called worship which consists of animal sacrifice.
'And so anxious were the men of old not to transgress their custom, that they cursed (αρωμαι) those who neglected the old fashion and introduced another, calling their own incense-offerings αρωματα.'
§ 1.9.7 After these and other statements he adds:
'But when these beginnings of sacrifices were carried by men to a great pitch of disorder, the adoption of the most dreadful offerings, full of cruelty, was introduced; so that the curses formerly pronounced against us seemed now to have received fulfilment, when men slaughtered victims and defiled the altars with blood.'
§ 1.9.8 So far writes Porphyry, or rather Theophrastus: and we may find a seal and confirmation of the statement in what Plato in the Cratylus, before his remarks concerning the Greeks, says word for word as follows:
§ 1.9.9 [PLATO] 'It appears to me that the first inhabitants of Hellas had only the same gods as many of the barbarians have now, namely the sun, moon, earth, stars, and heaven: as therefore they saw them always moving on in their course and running (θεοντα), from this their natural tendency to run they called them θεουσ (gods).'
§ 1.9.10 But I think it must be evident to every one on consideration that the first and most ancient of mankind did not apply themselves either to building temples or to setting up statues, since at that time no art of painting, or modelling, [or carving], or statuary had yet been discovered, nor, indeed, were building or architecture as yet established.
§ 1.9.11 Nor was there any mention among the men of that age of those who have since been denominated gods and heroes, nor had they any Zeus, nor Kronos, Poseidon, Apollo, Hera, Athena, Dionysus, nor any other deity, either male or female, such as there were afterwards in multitudes among both barbarians and Greeks; nor was there any daemon good or bad reverenced among men, but only the visible stars of heaven because of their running (θεειν) received, as they themselves say, the title of gods (θεων), and even these were not worshipped with animal sacrifices and the honours afterwards superstitiously invented.
§ 1.9.12 This statement is not ours, but the testimony comes from within, and from the Greeks themselves, and supplies its proof by the words which have been already quoted and by those which will hereafter be set forth in due order.
§ 1.9.13 This is what our holy Scriptures also teach, in which it is contained, that in the beginning the worship of the visible luminaries had been assigned to all the nations, and that to the Hebrew race alone had been entrusted the full initiation into the knowledge of God the Maker and Artificer of the universe, and of true piety towards Him. So then among the oldest of mankind there was no mention of a Theogony, either Greek or barbarian, nor any erection of lifeless statues, nor all the silly talk that there is now about the naming of the gods both male and female.
§ 1.9.14 In fact the titles and names which men have since invented were not as yet known among mankind: no, nor yet invocations of invisible daemons and spirits, nor absurd mythologies about gods and heroes, nor mysteries of secret initiations, nor anything at all of the excessive and frivolous superstition of later generations.
§ 1.9.15 These then were men's inventions, and representations of our mortal nature, or rather new devices of base and licentious dispositions, according to our divine oracle which says, The devising of idols was the beginning of fornication.
§ 1.9.16 In fact the polytheistic error of all the nations is only seen long ages afterwards, having taken its beginning from the Phoenicians and Egyptians, and passed over from them to the other nations, and even to the Greeks themselves. For this again is affirmed by the history of the earliest ages; which history itself it is now time for us to review, beginning from the Phoenician records.
§ 1.9.17 Now the historian of this subject is Sanchuniathon, an author of great antiquity, and older, as they say, than the Trojan times, one whom they testify to have been approved for the accuracy and truth of his Phoenician History. Philo of Byblos, not the Hebrew, translated his whole work from the Phoenician language into the Greek, and published it. The author in our own day of the compilation against us mentions these things in the fourth book of his treatise Against the Christians, where he bears the following testimony to Sanchuniathon, word for word:
§ 1.9.18 [PORPHYRY] 'Of the affairs of the Jews the truest history, because the most in accordance with their places and names, is that of Sanchuniathon of Berytus, who received the records from Hierombalus the priest of the god Ieuo; he dedicated his history to Abibalus king of Berytus, and was approved by him and by the investigators of truth in his time. Now the times of these men fall even before the date of the Trojan war, and approach nearly to the times of Moses, as is shown by the successions of the kings of Phoenicia. And Sanchuniathon, who made a complete collection of ancient history from the records in the various cities and from the registers in the temples, and wrote in the Phoenician language with a love of truth, lived in the reign of Semiramis, the queen of the Assyrians, who is recorded to have lived before the Trojan war or in those very times. And the works of Sanchuniathon were translated into the Greek tongue by Philo of Byblos.'
§ 1.9.19 So wrote the author before mentioned, bearing witness at once to the truthfulness and antiquity of the so-called theologian. But he, as he goes forward, treats as divine not the God who is over all, nor yet the gods in the heaven, but mortal men and women, not even refined in character, such as it would be right to approve for their virtue, or emulate for their love of wisdom, but involved in the dishonour of every kind of vileness and wickedness.
§ 1.9.20 He testifies also that these are the very same who are still regarded as gods by all both in the cities and in country districts. But let me give you the proofs of this out of his writings.
§ 1.9.22 [PHILO] 'These things being so, Sanchuniathon, who was a man of much learning and great curiosity, and desirous of knowing the earliest history of all nations from the creation of the world, searched out with great care the history of Taautus, knowing that of all men under the sun Taautus was the first who thought of the invention of letters, and began the writing of records: and he laid the foundation, as it were, of his history, by beginning with him, whom the Egyptians called Thoyth, and the Alexandrians Thoth, translated by the Greeks into Hermes.'
§ 1.9.23 After these statements he finds fault with the more recent authors as violently and untruly reducing the legends concerning the gods to allegories and physical explanations and theories; and so he goes on to say:
'But the most recent of the writers on religion rejected the real events from the beginning, and having invented allegories and myths, and formed a fictitious affinity to the cosmical phenomena, established mysteries, and overlaid them with a cloud of absurdity, so that one cannot easily discern what really occurred: but he having lighted upon the collections of secret writings of the Ammoneans which were discovered in the shrines and of course were not known to all men, applied himself diligently to the study of them all; and when he had completed the investigation, he put aside the original myth and the allegories, and so completed his proposed work; until the priests who followed in later times wished to hide this away again, and to restore the mythical character; from which time mysticism began to rise up, not having previously reached the Greeks.'
§ 1.9.24 Next to this he says:
'These things I have discovered in my anxious desire to know the history of the Phoenicians, and after a thorough investigation of much matter, not that which is found among the Greeks, for that is contradictory, and compiled by some in a contentious spirit rather than with a view to truth.'
§ 1.9.25 And after other statements:
'And the conviction that the facts were as he has described them came to me, on seeing the disagreement among the Greeks: concerning which I have carefully composed three books bearing the title Paradoxical History.'
§ 1.9.26 And again after other statements he adds:
'But with a view to clearness hereafter, and the determination of particulars, it is necessary to state distinctly beforehand that the most ancient of the barbarians, and especially the Phoenicians and Egyptians, from whom the rest of mankind received their traditions, regarded as the greatest gods those who had discovered the necessaries of life, or in some way done good to the nations. Esteeming these as benefactors and authors of many blessings, they worshipped them also as gods after their death, and built shrines, and consecrated pillars and staves after their names: these the Phoenicians held in great reverence, and assigned to them their greatest festivals. Especially they applied the names of their kings to the elements of the cosmos, and to some of those who were regarded as gods. But they knew no other gods than those of nature, sun, and moon, and the rest of the wandering stars, and the elements and things connected with them, so that some of their gods were mortal and some immortal.'
§ 1.10.1 'The first principle of the universe he supposes to have been air dark with cloud and wind, or rather a blast of cloudy air, and a turbid chaos dark as Erebus; and these were boundless and for long ages had no limit. But when the wind, says he, became enamoured of its own parents, and a mixture took place, that connexion was called Desire. This was the beginning of the creation of all things: but the wind itself had no knowledge of its own creation. From its connexion Mot was produced, which some say is mud, and others a putrescence of watery compound; and out of this came every germ of creation, and the generation of the universe. So there were certain animals which had no sensation, and out of them grew intelligent animals, and were called Zophasemin, that is observers of heaven; and they were formed like the shape of an egg. Also Mot burst forth into light, and sun, and moon, and stars, and the great constellations.'
§ 1.10.2 Such was their cosmogony, introducing downright atheism. But let us see next how he states the generation of animals to have arisen. He says, then:
'And when the air burst into light, both the sea and the land became heated, and thence arose winds and clouds, and very great downpours and floods of the waters of heaven. So after they were separated, and removed from their proper place because of the sun's heat, and all met together again in the air dashing together one against another, thunderings and lightnings were produced, and at the rattle of the thunder the intelligent animals already described woke up, and were scared at the sound, and began to move both on land and sea, male and female.'
§ 1.10.3 Such is their theory of the generation of animals. Next after this the same writer adds and says:
'These things were found written in the cosmogony of Taautus, and in his Commentaries, both from conjectures, and from evidences which his intellect discerned, and discovered, and made clear to us.'
§ 1.10.4 Next to this, after mentioning the names of the winds Notos and Boreas and the rest, he continues:
'But these were the first who consecrated the productions of the earth, and regarded them as gods, and worshipped them as being the support of life both to themselves, and to those who were to come after them, and to all before them, and they offered to them drink-offerings and libations.'
§ 1.10.5 He adds also:
'These were their notions of worship, corresponding to their own weakness, and timidity of soul. Then he says that from the wind Colpias and his wife Baau (which he translates Night) were born Aeon and Protogonus, mortal men, so called: and that Aeon discovered the food obtained from trees. That their offspring were called Genos and Genea, and inhabited Phoenicia: and that when droughts occurred, they stretched out their hands to heaven towards the sun; for him alone (he says) they regarded as god the lord of heaven, calling him Beelsamen, which is in the Phoenician language lord of heaven, and in Greek Zeus.'
§ 1.10.6 And after this he charges the Greeks with error, saying:
'For it is not without cause that we have explained these things in many ways, but in view of the later misinterpretations of the names in the history, which the Greeks in ignorance took in a wrong sense, being deceived by the ambiguity of the translation.'
§ 1.10.7 Afterwards he says:
'From Genos, son of Aeon and Protogonus, were begotten again mortal children, whose names are Light, and Fire, and Flame. These, says he, discovered fire from rubbing pieces of wood together, and taught the use of it. And they begat sons of surpassing size and stature, whose names were applied to the mountains which they occupied: so that from them were named mount Casius, and Libanus, and Antilibanus, and Brathy. From these, he says, were begotten Memrumus and Hypsuranius; and they got their names, he says, from their mothers, as the women in those days had free intercourse with any whom they met.'
§ 1.10.8 Then he says:
'Hypsuranius inhabited Tyre, and contrived huts out of reeds and rushes and papyrus: and he quarrelled with his brother Ousous, who first invented a covering for the body from skins of wild beasts which he was strong enough to capture. And when furious rains and winds occurred, the trees in Tyre were rubbed against each other and caught fire, and burnt down the wood that was there. And Ousous took a tree, and, having stripped off the branches, was the first who ventured to embark on the sea; and be consecrated two pillars to fire and wind, and worshipped them, and poured libations of blood upon them from the wild beasts which he took in hunting.
'But when Hypsuranius and Ousous were dead, those who were left, he says, consecrated staves to them, and year by year worshipped their pillars and kept festivals in their honour. But many years afterwards from the race of Hypsuranius were born Agreus and Halieus, the inventors of hunting and fishing, from whom were named huntsmen and fishermen: and from them were born two brethren, discoverers of iron and the mode of working it; the one of whom, Chrysor, practised oratory, and incantations, and divinations: and that he was Hephaestus, and invented the hook, and bait, and line, and raft, and was the first of all men to make a voyage: wherefore they reverenced him also as a god after his death. And he was also called Zeus Meilichios. And some say that his brothers invented walls of brick. Afterwards there sprang from their race two youths, one of whom was called Technites (Artificer), and the other Geinos Autochthon (Earth-born Aboriginal). These devised the mixing of straw with the clay of bricks, and drying them in the sun, and moreover invented roofs. From them others were born, one of whom was called Agros, and the other Agrueros or Agrotes; and of the latter there is in Phoenicia a much venerated statue, and a shrine drawn by yokes of oxen; and among the people of Byblos he is named pre-eminently the greatest of the gods.
'These two devised the addition to houses of courts, and enclosures, and caves. From them came husbandmen and huntsmen. They are also called Aletae and Titans. From these were born Amynos and Magus, who established villages and sheepfolds. From them came Misor and Suduc, that is to say Straight and Just: these discovered the use of salt.
'From Misor was born Taautus, who invented the first written alphabet; the Egyptians called him Thoyth, the Alexandrians Thoth, and the Greeks Hermes.
'From Suduc came the Dioscuri, or Cabeiri, or Corybantes, or Samothraces: these, he says, first invented a ship. From them have sprung others, who discovered herbs, and the healing of venomous bites, and charms. In their time is born a certain Elioun called the Most High, and a female named Beruth, and these dwelt in the neighbourhood of Byblos.
'And from them is born Epigeius or Autochthon, whom they afterwards called Uranus; so that from him they named the element above us Uranus because of the excellence of its beauty. And he has a sister born of the aforesaid parents, who was called Ge (earth), and from her, he says, because of her beauty, they called the earth by the same name. And their father, the Most High, died in an encounter with wild beasts, and was deified, and his children offered to him libations and sacrifices.
'And Uranus, having succeeded to his father's rule, takes to himself in marriage his sister Ge, and gets by her four sons, Elus who is also Kronos, and Baetylus, and Dagon who is Siton, and Atlas. Also by other wives Uranus begat a numerous progeny; on which account Ge was angry, and from jealousy began to reproach Uranus, so that they even separated from each other.
'But Uranus, after he had left her, used to come upon her with violence, whenever he chose, and consort with her, and go away again; he used to try also to destroy his children by her; but Ge repelled him many times, having gathered to herself allies. And when Kronos had advanced to manhood, he, with the counsel and help of Hermes Trismegistus (who was his secretary), repels his father Uranus, and avenges his mother.
'To Kronos are born children, Persephone and Athena. The former died a virgin: but by the advice of Athena and Hermes Kronos made a sickle and a spear of iron. Then Hermes talked magical words to the allies of Kronos, and inspired them with a desire of fighting against Uranus on behalf of Ge. And thus Kronos engaged in war, and drove Uranus from his government, and succeeded to the kingdom. Also there was taken in the battle the beloved concubine of Uranus, being great with child, whom Kronos gave in marriage to Dagon. And in his house she gave birth to the child begotten of Uranus, which she named Demarus.
' After this Kronos builds a wall round his own dwelling, and founds the first city, Byblos in Phoenicia.
'Soon after this he became suspicious of his own brother Atlas, and, with the advice of Hermes, threw him into a deep pit and buried him. At about this time the descendants of the Dioscuri put together rafts and ships, and made voyages; and, being cast ashore near Mount Cassius, consecrated a temple there. And the allies of Elus, who is Kronos, were surnamed Eloim, as these same, who were surnamed after Kronos, would have been called Kronii.
'And Kronos, having a son Sadidus, dispatched him with his own sword, because he regarded him with suspicion, and deprived him of life, thus becoming the murderer of his son. In like manner he cut off the head of a daughter of his own; so that all the gods were dismayed at the disposition of Kronos.
'But as time went on Uranus, being in banishment, secretly sends his maiden daughter Astarte with two others her sisters, Rhea and Dione, to slay Kronos by craft. But Kronos caught them, and though they were his sisters, made them his wedded wives. And when Uranus knew it, he sent Eimarmene and Hora with other allies on an expedition against Kronos. and these Kronos won over to his side and kept with him.
'Further, he says, the god Uranus devised the Baetylia, having contrived to put life into stones. And to Kronos there were born of Astarte seven daughters, Titanides or Artemides: and again to the same there were born of Rhea seven sons, of whom the youngest was deified at his birth; and of Dione females, and of Astarte again two males, Desire and Love. And Dagon, after he discovered corn and the plough, was called Zeus Arotrios.
'And one of the Titanides united to Suduc, who is named the Just, gives birth to Asclepius.
'In Peraea also there were born to Kronos three sons, Kronos of the same name with his father, and Zeus Belus, and Apollo. In their time are born Pontus, and Typhon, and Nereus father of Pontus and son of Belus.
'And from Pontus is born Sidon (who from the exceeding sweetness of her voice was the first to invent musical song) and Poseidon. And to Demarus is born Melcathrus, who is also called Hercules.
'Then again Uranus makes war against Pontus, and after revolting attaches himself to Demarus, and Demarus attacks Pontus, but Pontus puts him to flight; and Demarus vowed an offering if he should escape.
'And in the thirty-second year of his power and kingdom Elus, that is Kronos, having waylaid his father Uranus in an inland spot, and got him into his hands, emasculates him near some fountains and rivers. There Uranus was deified: and as he breathed his last, the blood from his wounds dropped into the fountains and into the waters of the rivers, and the spot is pointed out to this day.'
§ 1.10.9 This, then, is the story of Kronos, and such are the glories of the mode of life, so vaunted among the Greeks, of men in the days of Kronos, whom they also affirm to have been the first and 'golden race of articulate speaking men,' that blessed happiness of the olden time!
§ 1.10.10 Again, the historian adds to this, after other matters:
'But Astarte, the greatest goddess, and Zeus Demarus, and Adodus king of gods, reigned over the country with the consent of Kronos. And Astarte set the head of a bull upon her own head as a mark of royalty; and in travelling round the world she found a star that had fallen from the sky, which she took up and consecrated in the holy island Tyre. And the Phoenicians say that Astarte is Aphrodite.
'Kronos also, in going round the world, gives the kingdom of Attica to his own daughter Athena. But on the occurrence of a pestilence and mortality Kronos offers his only begotten son as a whole burnt-offering to his father Uranus, and circumcises himself, compelling his allies also to do the same. And not long after another of his sons by Rhea, named Muth, having died, he deifies him, and the Phoenicians call him Thanatos and Pluto. And after this Kronos gives the city Byblos to the goddess Baaltis, who is also called Dione, and Berytus to Poseidon and to the Cabeiri and Agrotae and Halieis, who also consecrated the remains of Pontus at Berytus.
'But before this the god Tauthus imitated the features of the gods who were his companions, Kronos, and Dagon, and the rest, and gave form to the sacred characters of the letters. He also devised for Kronos as insignia of royalty four eyes in front and behind . . . but two of them quietly closed, and upon his shoulders four wings, two as spread for flying, and two as folded.
'And the symbol meant that Kronos could see when asleep, and sleep while waking: and similarly in the case of the wings, that he flew while at rest, and was at rest when flying. But to each of the other gods he gave two wings upon the shoulders, as meaning that they accompanied Kronos in his flight. And to Kronos himself again he gave two wings upon his head, one representing the all-ruling mind, and one sensation.
'And when Kronos came into the South country he gave all Egypt to the god Tauthus, that it might be his royal dwelling-place. And these things, he says, were recorded first by Suduc's seven sons the Cabeiri, and their eighth brother Asclepius, as the god Tauthus commanded them.
'All these stories Thabion, who was the very first hierophant of all the Phoenicians from the beginning, allegorized and mixed up with the physical and cosmical phenomena, and delivered to the prophets who celebrated the orgies and inaugurated the mysteries: and they, purposing to increase their vain pretensions from every source, handed them on to their successors and to their foreign visitors: one of these was Eisirius the inventor of the three letters, brother of Chna the first who had his name changed to Phoenix.'
§ 1.10.11 Then again afterwards he adds:
'But the Greeks, surpassing all in genius, appropriated most of the earliest stories, and then variously decked them out with ornaments of tragic phrase, and adorned them in every way, with the purpose of charming by the pleasant fables. Hence Hesiod and the celebrated Cyclic poets framed theogonies of their own, and battles of the giants, and battles of Titans, and castrations; and with these fables, as they travelled about, they conquered and drove out the truth.
'But our ears having grown up in familiarity with their fictions, and being for long ages pre-occupied, guard as a trust the mythology which they received, just as I said at the beginning; and this mythology, being aided by time, has made its hold difficult for us to escape from, so that the truth is thought to be nonsense, and the spurious narrative truth.'
§ 1.10.13 The same author, in his History of the Jews, further writes thus concerning Kronos:
'Tauthus, whom the Egyptians call Thoyth, excelled in wisdom among the Phoenicians, and was the first to rescue the worship of the gods from the ignorance of the vulgar, and arrange it in the order of intelligent experience. Many generations after him a god Sourmoubelos and Thuro, whose name was changed to Eusarthis, brought to light the theology of Tauthus which had been hidden and overshadowed, by allegories.'
§ 1.10.14 And soon after he says:
'It was a custom of the ancients in great crises of danger for the rulers of a city or nation, in order to avert the common ruin, to give up the most beloved of their children for sacrifice as a ransom to the avenging daemons; and those who were thus given up were sacrificed with mystic rites. Kronos then, whom the Phoenicians call Elus, who was king of the country and subsequently, after his decease, was deified as the star Saturn, had by a nymph of the country named Anobret an only begotten son, whom they on this account called ledud, the only begotten being still so called among the Phoenicians; and when very great dangers from war had beset the country, he arrayed his son in royal apparel, and prepared an altar, and sacrificed him.'
§ 1.10.15 Again see what the same author, in his translation from Sanchuniathon about the Phoenician alphabet, says concerning the reptiles and venomous beasts, which contribute no good service to mankind, but work death and destruction to any in whom they inject their incurable and fatal poison. This also he describes, saying word for word as follows:
'The nature then of the dragon and of serpents Tauthus himself regarded as divine, and so again after him did the Phoenicians and Egyptians: for this animal was declared by him to be of all reptiles most full of breath, and fiery. In consequence of which it also exerts an unsurpassable swiftness by means of its breath, without feet and hands or any other of the external members by which the other animals make their movements. It also exhibits forms of various shapes, and in its progress makes spiral leaps as swift as it chooses. It is also most long-lived, and its nature is to put off its old skin, and so not only to grow young again, but also to assume a larger growth; and after it has fulfilled its appointed measure of age, it is self-consumed, in like manner as Tauthus himself has set down in his sacred books: for which reason this animal has also been adopted in temples and in mystic rites.
'We have spoken more fully about it in the memoirs entitled Ethothiae, in which we prove that it is immortal, and is self-consumed, as is stated before: for this animal does not die by a natural death, but only if struck by a violent blow. The Phoenicians call it Good Daemon: in like manner the Egyptians also surname it Cneph; and they add to it the head of a hawk because of the hawk's activity.
'Epeis also (who is called among them a chief hierophant and sacred scribe, and whose work was translated [into Greek] by Areius of Heracleopolis), speaks in an allegory word for word as follows:
'The first and most divine being is a serpent with the form of a hawk, extremely graceful, which whenever he opened his eyes filled all with light in his original birthplace, but if he shut his eyes, darkness came on.'
'Epeis here intimates that he is also of a fiery substance, by saying he shone through, for to shine through is peculiar to light. From the Phoenicians Pherecydes also took the first ideas of his theology concerning the god called by him Ophion and concerning the Ophionidae, of whom we shall speak again.
'Moreover the Egyptians, describing the world from the same idea, engrave the circumference of a circle, of the colour of the sky and of fire, and a hawk-shaped serpent stretched across the middle of it, and the whole shape is like our Theta (θ), representing the circle as the world, and signifying by the serpent which connects it in the middle the good daemon.
'Zoroaster also the Magian, in the Sacred Collection of Persian Records, says in express words: And god has the head of a hawk. He is the first, incorruptible, eternal, uncreated, without parts, most unlike (all else), the controller of all good, who cannot be bribed, the best of all the good, the wisest of all wise; and he is also a father of good laws and justice, self-taught, natural, and perfect, and wise, and the sole author of the sacred power of nature.
'The same also is said of him by Ostanes in the book entitled Octateuch.'
§ 1.10.16 From Tauthus, as is said above, all received their impulse towards physiological systems: and having built temples they consecrated in the shrines the primary elements represented by serpents, and in their honour celebrated festivals, and sacrifices, and mystic rites, regarding them as the greatest gods, and rulers of the universe. So much concerning serpents.
§ 1.10.17 Such then is the character of the theology of the Phoenicians, from which the word of salvation in the gospel teaches us to flee with averted eyes, and earnestly to seek the remedy for this madness of the ancients. It must be manifest that these are not fables and poets' fictions containing some theory concealed in hidden meanings, but true testimonies, as they would themselves say, of wise and ancient theologians, containing things of earlier date than all poets and historians, and deriving the credibility of their statements from the names and history of the gods still prevailing in the cities and villages of Phoenicia, and from the mysteries celebrated among each people: so that it is no longer necessary to search out violent physical explanations of these things, since the evidence which the facts bring with them of themselves is quite clear. Such then is the theology of the Phoenicians: but it is now time to pass on and examine carefully the case of the Egyptians.
§ 2.0.1 PREFACE: The theology of the Phoenicians is of the character described above, and the word of salvation teaches us in the gospel to escape from it without looking back, and earnestly to seek the remedy for this madness of the ancients.
§ 2.1.1 Now it must be manifest that these are not fables and poetic fictions containing some theory concealed in covert meanings, but true testimonies, as they would say themselves, of ancient and wise theologians, comprising records of earlier date than all poets and historians, and deriving the credibility of their statements from the names and history of the gods prevailing to the present day in the cities and villages of Phoenicia, and from the mysteries celebrated among the inhabitants of each. This must be manifest, I say, from the confession both of the other historians and especially of their reputed theologians; for they hereby testified that the ancients who first composed the account of the gods did not refer at all to figurative descriptions of physical phenomena, nor make allegories of the myths concerning the gods, but preserved the histories in their literal form. For this was shown by the words already quoted of the authors whom I have mentioned; so that there is no longer need to search up forced physical explanations, since the proof which the facts bring with them of themselves is quite clear.
§ 2.1.2 Such, then, is the theology of the Phoenicians. But it is time to pass on and review that of the Egyptians also. in order to observe carefully and understand exactly whether our revolt from them is not well judged and reasonable, and whether it has not been successful upon the sole evidence of the gospel first of all among the Egyptians themselves, and then among those also who are of like mind with them.
§ 2.1.3 Now the whole Egyptian history has been translated at large into the language of the Greeks, and especially the part concerning their theology, by Manetho the Egyptian, both in the Sacred Book written by him, and in other of his works. Moreover, Diodorus, whom we mentioned before, collected his narratives from many sources, and described the customs of the several nations with the utmost possible accuracy: and being an eminent man, who had won no small reputation for learning among all lovers of literature, and had made a collection of all ancient history, and connected the earliest with the subsequent events, he adopted the theology of the Egyptians as the commencement of his whole treatise.
§ 2.1.4 think it better, therefore, to draw the representation of the subject before us from that treatise, as his writings are likely to be better known to the Greeks. This, then, is what he narrates word for word:
§ 2.1.5 [DIODORUS] 'The Egyptians say that in the original creation of the universe mankind came into existence first in Egypt by reason of its temperate climate and the nature of the Nile. For as that river caused great fertility and supplied food self grown, it gave an easy sustenance to the living creatures that were born.
§ 2.1.6 'The gods, they say, had been originally mortal men, but gained their immortality on account of wisdom and public benefits to mankind, some of them having also become kings: and some have the same names, when interpreted, with the heavenly deities, while others have received a name of their own, as Helios, and Kronos, and Rhea, and Zeus, who is by some called Ammon; and besides these Hera and Hephaestus, and Hestia, and lastly Hermes.
'Helios, they say, was the first king of the Egyptians, having the same name with the celestial luminary: some, however, of the priests say that Hephaestus was the first who became king, because he was the discoverer of fire.
'Kronos reigned next, and having married his sister Rhea begat, according to some authors, Osiris and Isis. but according to most, Zeus and Hera, who for their valour received the kingdom of the whole world. Of these were born five gods, Osiris, and Isis, and Typhon, and Apollo, and Aphrodite. Osiris is Dionysus, and Isis is Demeter; and Osiris, having married her and succeeded to the kingdom, did many things for the general benefit, and founded in the Thebaid a city of a hundred gates, which some called Diospolis, and others Thebes. . . . He also erected a temple to his parents Zeus and Hera, and golden shrines of the other gods, to each of whom he assigned honours, and appointed the priests to attend to them. Osiris also was the discoverer of the vine, and was the first to make use of bare land, and to teach the rest of mankind agriculture. Above all he honoured Hermes, who was endowed with an excellent genius for contriving what might benefit the common life.
§ 2.1.7 'For he was the inventor of letters, and arranged sacrifices for the gods, and invented a lyre, and taught the Greeks the explanation (ερμηνειαν) of these matters, from which circumstance he was called Hermes. He also discovered the olive-tree.
§ 2.1.8 'Osiris, after travelling over the whole world, set up Busiris in Phoenicia, and Antaeus in Aethiopia and Libya; and himself led an expedition with his brother Apollo, who, they say, was the discoverer of the laurel. In the expedition with Osiris there went his two sons, Anubis and Macedon; and he took with him also Pan, who is especially honoured by the Egyptians, and from whom Panopolis is named.
'And when he was near Taphosiris the tribe of Satyrs was, brought to him: and, being fond of music, he carried about with him a band of musicians, amongst whom were nine maidens skilful in singing and well educated in other respects, who among the Greeks are called Muses, and whose leader is Apollo. And since every nation welcomed Osiris as a god because of the benefits bestowed by him, he left memorials of himself behind him everywhere.
§ 2.1.9 'In India he founded not a few cities; and also visited the other nations, those about Phrygia, and crossed the Hellespont into Europe. His son Macedon he left as king of Macedonia; and Triptolemus he put in charge of agriculture in Attica.
'Afterwards he passed from among men to the gods, and from Isis and Hermes received temples and all the honours which are, held among the gods to be most distinguished. These two also taught men his initiatory rites, and introduced many customs, concerning him in the way of mysteries.
§ 2.1.10 'He was killed by Typhon his brother, a wicked and impious, person, who, having divided the body of the murdered man into, twenty-six parts, gave a portion to each of his accomplices in the, assault, wishing all to share in the pollution.
'But Isis, being the sister and wife of Osiris, avenged the murder, with the aid of her son Horus; and, having slain Typhon and his accomplices near what is now called the village of Antaeus, she became queen of Egypt.
'And having found all except one part of the body of Osiris, they say that round each part she moulded out of spices and wax the figure of a man corresponding in size to Osiris, and gave them to the priests throughout all Egypt to be worshipped: she also consecrated one of the animals found among them, of whatever kind they wished.
§ 2.1.11 'The sacred bulls, both Apis so called, and Mnevis, were consecrated to Osiris, and all the Egyptians in common were taught to worship them as gods, because these animals had helped the labours of the discoverers of wheat, both in sowing and in the common course of husbandry. Isis swore to accept the company of no man any more; and when she herself had passed from among men, she received immortal honours, and was buried at Memphis.
'So the parts of Osiris which had been found again are said to have been honoured with burial in the manner described; but they say that the member which had been cast into the river by Typhon was deemed worthy by Isis of divine honours no less than the rest.
'For she set up an image of it in the temples, and instituted worship, and made the initiations and sacrifices paid to this deity especially honourable. And as the Greeks received their orgiastic rites and Dionysiac festivals from Egypt, they also worship this member in their mysteries, and in the initiatory rites and sacrifices of this god, and call it Phallus.
§ 2.1.12 'But those who say that the god was born in Boeotian Thebes of Semele and Zeus talk, they say, at random. For when Orpheus had landed in Egypt and received initiation, he took part also in the Dionysiac mysteries, and, being friendly to the Cadmeans and honoured by them, he changed the place of the god's birth to please them; and the multitude, partly through ignorance and partly from their desire that the god should be called a Greek, gladly welcomed the initiations and mysteries.
'And for the transference of the birth and initiatory rites of the god Orpheus found occasion as follows. Cadmus, a native of the Egyptian Thebes, among other children begat Semele; and she having been violated by somebody or other became pregnant, and after seven months gave birth to a child, just such as the Egyptians consider Osiris to have been.
'And when the child died, Cadmus covered it with gold, and appointed the proper sacrifices for it, and also assigned the fatherhood to Zeus, thus magnifying Osiris, and taking away the reproach of the mother's seduction.
'Wherefore among the Greeks also a story was given out that Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, gave birth to Osiris by Zeus.
'Afterwards when the mythologists came forward, the story filled the theatre, and became to succeeding generations a strong and unalterable belief. And the most illustrious heroes and gods of the Egyptians are, it is said, universally claimed by the Greeks as their own.
§ 2.1.13 'Hercules, for example, was by birth an Egyptian, and moved by his valour travelled over much of the known world: but the Greeks claimed him as their own, though in truth he was different from the son of Alcmena who arose at some later time among the Greeks.
'Perseus also, it is said, was born in Egypt, and the birth of Isis was transferred by the Greeks to Argos, while in their mythology they said that she was lo, who was transformed into a cow: but some think the same deity to be Isis, some Demeter, some Thesmophoros, but others Selene, and others Hera.
'Osiris, too, some think to be Apis, and some Dionysus, some Pluto, some Ammon, some Zeus, and others Pan.
'Isis, they say, was the discoverer of many remedies, and of medical science: she also discovered the medicine of immortality, by which, when her son Horus had been treacherously attacked by the Titans, and was found dead under the water, she not only raised him up again and gave him life, but also made him partake of immortality.
§ 2.1.14 'Horus they say was the last of the gods who reigned over Egypt, and his name by interpretation is Apollo: he was taught medicine and soothsaying by his mother Isis, and benefited mankind by his oracles and cures.
'Most authors agree that in the time of Isis certain giants of great size, arrayed in monstrous fashion, stirred up war against the gods Zeus and Osiris. Also that the Egyptians made it lawful to marry sisters, because Isis had been married to Osiris her brother.'
§ 2.1.15 Such are their stories about these deities: but concerning the animals held sacred in Egypt, there is an account prevailing among them of the following kind:
§ 2.1.16 'Some say that the original race of gods, being few and overpowered by the multitude and impiety of the earth-born men, made themselves like certain irrational animals, and so escaped: and afterwards, by way of rendering thanks for their safety, they consecrated the natures of the very animals whose likeness they had taken.
'But others say that in their encounters with their enemies their leaders prepared images of the animals which they now honour, and wore these upon the head, and had this as a mark of their authority: and when they were victorious over their foes, they ascribed the cause to the animals whose images they wore, and deified them.
§ 2.1.17 'Others allege a third cause, saying that the animals have been so honoured because of their usefulness. For the cow bears calves, and ploughs, and sheep bear lambs and supply clothing and food by their milk and cheese, and the dog helps men in hunting, and keeps guard; and for these reasons the god whom they call Anubis has, they say, a dog's head, meaning that he was a bodyguard of Osiris and Isis.
'But some say that when Isis was searching for Osiris the dogs led the way before her, and drove off the wild beasts, and the men who encountered them.
'The cat too, they say, is useful against asps and the other venomous reptiles: the ichneumon breaks the crocodiles' eggs, and even destroys the crocodiles, by rolling itself in the mud, and leaping into their mouths when open, and, by eating away their entrails, leaves them quite dead.
'Of the birds the ibis, they say, is useful against snakes and locusts and caterpillars and the hawk against scorpions and horned serpents, and the smaller venomous beasts, and because of its helping in divinations: the eagle also, because it is a kingly bird.
§ 2.1.18 'The he-goat, they say, has been deified, like Priapus among the Greeks, because of its generative organ, for this animal has the strongest propensity to lust; and that member of the body which is the cause of generation is rightly honoured, as being the source of animal nature. And speaking generally, not only the Egyptians, but also not a few other nations have consecrated that member in their initiatory rites, as the cause of the reproduction of living beings.
'The priests who succeed to the hereditary priesthoods in Egypt are initiated in the mysteries of this deity: the Pans also and the Satyrs, they say, are honoured among men for the same reason; and therefore most persons dedicate images of them in the temples very similar to a he-goat; for this animal is traditionally said to be extremely lustful.
'The sacred bulls Apis and Mnevis are held in like honour as the gods, both on account of their help in agriculture, and because men ascribe the discovery of the fruits of the earth to them.
'Wolves are worshipped because of the likeness of their nature to dogs, and because in old times when Isis, with her son Horus, was going to fight against Typhon, Osiris, they say, came from Hades to the aid of his wife and child in the likeness of a wolf.
'But others say that the Ethiopians, having invaded Egypt, were driven away by a multitude of wolves; and on this account the city is called Lycopolis. The crocodile.is said to be worshipped because the robbers from Arabia and Libya are afraid to swim across the Nile on account of the crocodiles,
'They say too that one of their kings, being pursued by his own hounds, took refuge in the marsh, and then was taken up by a crocodile and, strange to say, carried over to the other side.
'Other causes also are alleged by some for the worship of the irrational animals. For when in old time the multitude revolted from the kings, and agreed that they would no longer have kings to rule over them, some one formed the idea of supplying them with different animals as objects of worship, so that while they severally worshipped that which was honoured among themselves, and despised that which was held sacred among others, the Egyptians might never be able all to agree together. When any of the animals mentioned dies, they wrap it in fine linen, and beat their breasts in lamentation, and bury it in the sacred sepulchres. And whosoever destroys any of these animals wilfully, incurs death, except if he kill a cat or the ibis; for if any one kills these, whether wilfully or not, he incurs death in any case.
§ 2.1.19 'Moreover, if a dog is found dead in a house, they all shave their whole body and make a mourning; and if wine, or corn, or any other of the necessaries of life happen to be stored in the house, they could not bear to use it any more.
'Apis they maintain at Memphis, and Mnevis in Heliopolis, and the he-goat at Mendes, and the crocodile in the lake Moeris, and the other beasts in sacred enclosures, offering them wheat-flour, or groats boiled in milk, and various kinds of cakes mixed with honey, and the flesh of a goose, either boiled or roasted.
'But to the carnivorous animals they throw many kinds of birds, and in company with each male animal they keep the most beautiful females, whom they call concubines.
§ 2.1.20 'When Apis dies and has been magnificently buried, they seek another like him; and when he is found, the people are released from their mourning, and he is brought first to Nilopolis. And at that time only the calf is seen by women, who stand before him and expose themselves; but at all other times they are forbidden to come in sight of this deity. For after the death of Osiris they say that his soul passed into Apis.'
§ 2.1.21 Such is the unseemly theology, or rather atheism, of the Egyptians, which it is degrading even to oppose, and from which we naturally revolted with abhorrence, when we found redemption and deliverance from so great evils in no other way than solely by the saving doctrine of the gospel, which announced the recovery of sight to the blind in understanding. Their graver theories and systems of natural science, we shall examine a little later, after we have discussed the mythology of the Greeks.
§ 2.1.22 The Egyptian and Phoenician mythologies having become thus mixed and combined, the superstitious belief of the ancient error has naturally gained the mastery in most nations. But, as I said, we have yet to speak of the notions of the Greeks.
§ 2.1.23 Now the character assumed by the solemnities of Egyptian theology is that which we have already set forth, and that the Greek doctrines are mere fragments and misunderstandings of the same we have frequently stated already upon the judgement of the writers quoted: this will, however, be made further manifest from the Greek theology itself, since, in their own records concerning the gods, they bring nothing forward from native sources, but fall into the fables of foreign nations: for they are shown to make use of similar statues and the very same mysteries, as we may learn from the history of these matters, which the author before mentioned, who brought the Libraries together into one body, narrates in the third and fourth books of the treatise before quoted, having commenced his history from the times of Cadmus. Now, that Cadmus came after Moses is proved by the exact successions of the chronological writings, as we shall show in due season. So that Moses is proved to be earlier even than the gods of Greece, seeing that he is before Cadmus, while the gods are shown to have come later than the age of Cadmus. Hear, however, the historian's own words:
§ 2.2.1 [DIODORUS] 'Cadmus, the son of Agenor, is said to have been sent from Phoenicia by the king to search for Europa. who had been carried off by Zeus: when he failed to find her, he came into Boeotia and founded the Thebes of that country; and having married Harmonia the daughter of Aphrodite, begat of her Semele and her sisters.
'And Zeus, after union with Semele, was entreated to make his intercourse with her like that with Hera. But when he came to her in godlike fashion with thunderings and lightnings, Semele was unable to bear it, and being pregnant, miscarried with the child, and herself perished from the fire. But Zeus took the child and delivered him to Hermes, and sent him away to the cave in Nysa, lying between Phoenicia and the Nile: and being thus reared by the Nymphs, Dionysus became the discoverer of wine, and taught men the culture of the vine.
'He discovered also the drink prepared from barley, which is called zyilius. He used to lead about with him an army not only of men, but also of women, and punished the impious and unjust.
§ 2.2.2 'He went on an expedition also into India for three years: and from that circumstance the Greeks established triennial sacrifices to Dionysus, and think that the god makes his appearances among men at that time: and all men worship him for his gift of wine, just as they worship Demeter for the discovery of corn as food.
§ 2.2.3 'But there is said to be also another Dionysus, much earlier in time than this one, whom some call Sabazius, a son of Zeus and Persephone, whose birth, and sacrifices, and ceremonies they represent at night, and in secret, because of the shame attendant upon their intercourse. He was the first who attempted to yoke oxen, and from this they represent him with horns. But Dionysus, the son of Semele, who is of later date, was delicate in body, and eminently beautiful, and very prone to amorous pleasures; in his expeditions he led about a multitude of women armed with spears made into thyrsi.
'They say also that he is accompanied in his travels by the Muses, who are virgins and extremely well trained, and charm the soul of the god by singing and dancing. Silenus too, as his tutor, contributes much to his progress in virtue. As a remedy against the headaches resulting from too much wine, his head is bound up with a band.
'And they call him Dimetor, because the two Dionysi were of one father, but two mothers. They also set a reed in his hand, because the men of old drank unmixed wine and became maddened, and beat each other with their staves, so that some were even killed, and from this cause they introduced the custom of using reeds instead of clubs.
§ 2.2.4 'He is called Bacchius from the Bacchae, and Lenaeus from the treading of the grapes in wine-presses, and Bromius from the roar of thunder which took place at his birth.
'They also say that he leads about Satyrs with him, who afford him pleasure and delight in their dances and their goat-songs; and that he established dramatic spectacles and a system of musical recitations. Such are the statements concerning Dionysus.
§ 2.2.5 'Priapus is said to be the son of Dionysus and Aphrodite, because men filled with wine are naturally excited to amorous pleasures. But some say that the ancients gave to the human organ of generation the mythological name Priapus.
'Others affirm that, because the genital member is the cause of the generation of mankind, therefore it had for ever received immortal honour: as indeed the Egyptians also said that Isis, in her search for the members of Osiris, when she could not find the male organ, appointed it to be worshipped as a god, and set it up in the temple.
'Nay, even among the Greeks, not only in the Dionysiac rites, but also in all others, this god receives a certain honour, being brought in with laughter and jesting in their sacrifices: as is also Hermaphroditus, who got his name as being begotten of Hermes and Aphrodite.
'This god, they say, appears at certain times among men, and is born with the bodily form of man and woman combined: but some say that such things are prodigies, and, being produced but rarely, are significant sometimes of evil and sometimes of good.
§ 2.2.6 'The Muses are daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, but some say of Uranus and Ge. Most mythologists also make them virgins, and say that they got their name from initiating men, that is teaching them the liberal arts.
§ 2.2.7 Now with respect to Heracles the Greeks tell such, stories as follow:
§ 2.2.8 'Of Zeus and Danae the daughter of Acrisius was born Perseus, and of Perseus and Andromeda Electryon, and of him Alcmena, by his union with whom Zeus begat Heracles, making the night which he passed with her thrice as long as usual: and this was the only intercourse sought by Zeus, not on account of amorous desire, as in the case with the other women, but chiefly for the sake of begetting a son.
'But Hera being jealous delayed Alcmena's labour, and brought Eurystheus into the world before the proper time, because Zeus had proclaimed that the child which should be born that day was to reign over the Persidae.
'And when Alcmena was delivered, she exposed the child, as it is said, through fear of Hera: but Athena admired the child, and persuaded Hera to give it the breast: and when the boy dragged at her breast with a violence beyond his age, Hera in great pain threw the child down, and Athena took it up and persuaded the mother to nurse it.
§ 2.2.9 'After this Hera sent two serpents to destroy the child, but the boy, undismayed, strangled the serpents by squeezing their necks in either hand. When Heracles was grown to be a man, Eurystheus, who had the kingdom of Argolis, ordered him to perform twelve labours.
§ 2.2.10 'And when he had fallen into much trouble, Hera sent a frenzy upon him, and through vexation of soul he became mad. As the disease increased, being out of his mind, he attempted to kill his companion and nephew Iolaus, and when he escaped, slew his own sons begotten of Megara, daughter of King Creon, by shooting them down with arrows as if they were enemies.
§ 2.2.12 'It is said that there was a peculiar coincidence in the birth of this god Heracles. For the first mortal woman visited by Zeus was Niobe, daughter of Phoroneus, and the last was Alcmena, mother of Heracles, whom they trace as descended from Niobe in the sixteenth generation. And with her Zeus ended his intercourse with mortal women.
§ 2.2.13 However, after finishing his labours, Heracles gave his own wife Megara to live with his nephew Iolaus, because of the calamity about his children; and for himself asked Iole, the daughter of Eurytus, in marriage, and, on her father's refusal, he fell sick, and received an oracle that he would be delivered from his sickness, if he first became sold into slavery.
'So he sails to Phrygia and is bought by one of his friends, and becomes a slave of Omphale, queen of those who were at that time called Maeonians, but now Lydians: and during the time of his slavery he has a son Cleolaus born to him of a slave. And, having married Omphale, he gets sons by her also.
§ 2.2.15 'After this again he married Deianeira the daughter of Oeneus, Meleager being now dead. And having taken captive the daughter of Phyleus, by intercourse with her he begat Tlepolemus. While he was supping with Oeneus, the servant made a mistake about something, and Heracles struck him with his fist and killed him.
'When on his journey he came to the river Evenus, he found the Centaur Nessus ferrying people across the river for hire. He ferried Deianeira over first, and, being enamoured of her for her beauty, tried to do violence to her; but when she cried out to her husband, Heracles shot the Centaur; and Nessus in the midst of his embrace, being at the point of death through the sharpness of the wound, told Deianeira that he would give her a philtre, so that Heracles might never wish to wed any other woman.
'He bade her therefore take of the blood which was dropping from the point of the arrow, and, after mixing it with oil, anoint therewith the tunic of Heracles: and this Deianeira did, and kept the philtre by her.
§ 2.2.16 'Again, Heracles took captive the daughter of Phylas, and by his union with her begat a son Antiochus: and yet again he took captive Astyaneira, the daughter of King Armenius, and by her begat a son Ctesippus.
§ 2.2.17 'And Thespius the Athenian, son of Erechtheus, having begotten fifty daughters by different wives, and being ambitious that they should get children by Heracles, entertained him at a splendid feast, and sent his daughters to him one by one: and he deflowered them all in one night, and became the father of the so-called Thespiadae.
§ 2.2.18 'He took Iole also captive, and, having to perform a sacrifice, he sent to his wife Deianeira and asked for the cloak and tunic which he was accustomed to wear for sacrifices: and she anointed the tunic with the philtre which the Centaur had given her, and sent it.
'And Heracles had no sooner put on the tunic than he fell into the greatest misery. For the arrow had been poisoned with the blood of the hydra, and so the tunic began to prey upon the flesh of his body because of its burning heat, so that in his extremity of pain he slew the messenger who had brought it, and, in accordance with an oracle, cast himself into the fire, and so ended his life. Such is the story of Heracles.
§ 2.2.19 'Now with regard to Asclepius they say that he was the son of Apollo and Coronis, and studied zealously the science of healing, and rose to such a height of fame, that many of the sick who were given over in despair were, beyond all expectation, cured by him; so that Zeus was enraged, and smote him with a thunderbolt and killed him; and Apollo, being enraged because of the death of his son, slew the Cyclopes who had forged the thunderbolt for Zeus: but Zeus was enraged at their death, and commanded Apollo to serve as a slave with Adrnetus, and took this revenge upon him for his crimes.'
§ 2.2.20 This, then, is what Diodorus has set forth in the fourth book of his Bibliothecae. And as to the rest of their theology, the same author again asserts that the Greeks borrowed it from the other nations, for in the third book of the same history he writes as follows: —
§ 2.2.21 'Now the people of Atlas say that their first king was Uranus, and of him were born by many wives five and forty sons, of whom eighteen were by a wife Titaea; and she, having been a virtuous woman and the author of many good deeds, was deified after her death, and had her name changed to Ge.
'Uranus also had daughters, Basileia, and Rhea who was also called Pandora. And because Basileia brought up her brothers with maternal affection, she was called Meter.
'And afterwards, when Uranus was dead, she lived with her brother Hyperion, and bore two sons, whom she named Helios and Selene.
'But the brethren of Rhea were afraid of them, and slew Hyperion, and drowned Helios in the river Eridanus. Selene, on learning this, threw herself down from a roof, and Meter became mad and wandered about the country, with her hair loose, driven frantic by drums and cymbals, until she too disappeared altogether.
'And the multitude, astonished at the catastrophe, transferred Helios and Selene to the stars of heaven, and regarded their mother as a goddess, and set up altars, and worshipped her with performances by drums and cymbals.
§ 2.2.22 'The Phrygians say that Maeon was king of Phrygia and begat a daughter named Cybele, who first invented a pipe, and was called the Mountain Mother. And Marsyas the Phrygian, who was friendly with her, was the first to join flutes together, and he lived in chastity to the end of his life.
'But Cybele became pregnant by intercourse with Attis, and when this was known, her father killed Attis and the nurses: and Cybele became mad and rushed out into the country, and there continued howling and beating a drum.
'She was accompanied by Marsyas, who entered into a musical contest with Apollo, and was defeated, and flayed alive by Apollo.
'And Apollo became enamoured of Cybele and accompanied her in her wanderings as far as the Hyperboreans, and ordered the body of Attis to be buried, and Cybele to be honoured as a goddess.
'Wherefore the Phrygians keep this custom even to the present day, lamenting the death of the youth, and erecting altars, and honouring Attis and Cybele with sacrifices.
'And afterwards, at Pessinus in Phrygia, they built a costly temple, and instituted most magnificent worship and sacrificial rites.
§ 2.2.23 'After the death of Hyperion the sons of Uranus divided the kingdom among themselves, the most illustrious of them being Atlas and Kronos. And of these Atlas took the regions along the coasts of the ocean, and became an excellent astronomer: and he had seven daughters who were called the Atlantides, and these, by union with the comeliest gods, became the founders of the most numerous race, and gave birth to such as for their worth became gods and heroes; thus the eldest of them, Maia, by union with Zeus became mother of Hermes.
§ 2.2.24 'But Kronos, surpassing all in arrogance and impiety, married his sister Rhea, and of her begat Zeus. There had been also another Zeus, the brother of Uranus and king of Crete, far inferior in fame to him of later birth.
'This latter then became, king of the whole world; but the other became king of Crete, and begat ten sons who were called Curetes: and his sepulchre, they say, is still shown in Crete.
'Now Kronos reigned in Sicily and Libya and Italy: but his son Zeus desired a life the opposite to his father's. And some say that he succeeded to the kingdom by his father's voluntary retirement, others that he was chosen by the multitude because of their hatred to his father.
'So when Kronos with the Titans made war against him, Zeus was victorious in battle, and marched over the whole inhabited world. He excelled in bodily strength and all virtues, and showed the greatest zeal in punishment of the impious and benefits to the good; in return for which, after his departure from among men, he was called Zeus, because he was thought to have been the author of the noble life (ζην) for mankind.
'These then are the principal heads of the theology held among the Atlanteans.'
§ 2.2.25 These the Greeks also are said to borrow. So Diodorus writes in the third volume of his histories: and in the sixth, the same author confirms the same theology from the writings of Euemerus the Messenian, speaking word for word as follows:
'With regard then to gods the men of old have handed down to their posterity two sets of notions. For some, say they, are eternal and imperishable, as the Sun and Moon and the other heavenly bodies, and besides these the winds, and the rest who partake of the like nature with them; for each of these has an eternal origin and eternal continuance. Other deities they say were of the earth; but, because of the benefits which they conferred on mankind, they have received immortal honour and glory, as Heracles, Dionysus, Aristaeus, and the others like them.
'Concerning the terrestrial gods many various tales have been handed down in the historical and mythological writers. Among the historians Euemerus, the author of the Sacred Record, has written a special history; and of the mythologists Homer, Hesiod, Orpheus, and such others as these, have invented very marvellous myths concerning the gods: and we shall endeavour to run over what both classes have recorded concisely and with a view to due proportion.
'Euemerus, then, was a friend of King Cassander and, having boon constrained for his sake to perform some important services for the king, and some long journeys, says that he was carried away southwards into the ocean; for, having started on his voyage from Arabia Felix, he sailed many days across the ocean, and landed on some oceanic islands, one of which is that called Panchaea, in which he saw the Panchaean inhabitants, who were eminent in piety, and honoured the gods with most magnificent sacrifices and notable offerings of silver and gold.
'The island also was sacred to the gods; and there were many other things to be admired both for their antiquity, and for the ingenuity of their manufacture, the particulars concerning which we have recorded in the books preceding this.
'Also therein on a certain exceedingly high hill is a temple of Zeus Triphylius, erected by himself at the time when he reigned over the whole inhabited world, being still among men. In this temple there is a golden pillar, on which is inscribed in the Panchaean language a summary of the acts of Uranus, Kronos, and Zeus.
'After this he says that Uranus was the first king, a gentle and benevolent man, and learned in the motion of the stars, who also was the first to honour the celestial deities with sacrifices, on which account he was called Uranus.
'By his wife Ilestia he had sons Pan and Kronos, and daughters Rhea and Demeter: and after Uranus, Kronos became king and, having married Rhea, begat Zeus and Hera and Poseidon.' And Zeus, having succeeded to the kingdom of Kronos, married Hera and Demeter and Themis, of whom he begat children, of the first the Curetes, of the second Persephone, and of the third Athena.
'And when he had come to Babylon he was entertained as a guest by Belus: and afterwards on arriving at the island Panchaea, which lay by the ocean, he built an altar to his own grandfather Uranus: and thence he came through Syria to the sovereign of that time Casius, of whom mount Casius is named; and came into Cilicia and conquered in war Cilix the ruler of the country; and visited very many other nations and was honoured among all, and was proclaimed a god.'
§ 2.2.26 After narrating these and similar tales concerning the gods as if they were mortal men, he further says:
'With regard to Euemerus who composed the Sacred Record, we will be satisfied with what has been said; but the legends of the Greeks concerning the gods we will try to run over briefly, following Hesiod and Homer and Orpheus.'
§ 2.2.27 Then he appends in order the mythologies of the poets. Let it suffice us, however, to have made these extracts from the theology of the Greeks, to which it is reasonable to append an account of the initiatory rites in the inner shrines of the same deities, and of their secret mysteries, and to observe whether they bear any becoming mark of a theology that is truly divine, or arise from regions below out of long daemoniacal delusion, and are deserving of ridicule, or rather of shame, and yet more of pity for those who are still blinded. These matters are unveiled in plain terms by the admirable Clement, in his Exhortation to the Greeks, a man who had gone through experience of all, but had quickly emerged from the delusion as one who had been rescued from evil by the word of salvation and through the teaching of the Gospel. Listen, then, to a brief statement of these matters also.
§ 2.3.1 [CLEMENT] 'Explore not then too curiously the secret shrines of impiety, nor the mouths of caverns full of prodigies, or the Thesprotian cauldron, or the Cirrhaean tripod, or the brazen urn of Dodona: leave also to antiquated fables the old stump held sacred amid desert sands, and the oracle there, now decayed with the oak itself. The fountain certainly of Castalia is silently forgotten, and another fountain of Colophon; the other oracular streams also are in like manner dead. And so, though emptied late of their vain glory, they have nevertheless been clearly proved to have run dry together with their own fabulous stories.
'Describe to us also the useless oracles of the other kinds of divination, or of frenzy rather, the Clarian, Pythian, Didymaean Apollo, Amphiaraus, and Amphilochus. Join also with them, if you will, observers of prodigies, and augurs, and the unholy interpreters of dreams: and bring and set together beside the Pythian god those that divine by wheat-flour, and by barley, and the ventriloquists still held in honour among the multitude. Yea more, let the shrines of the Egyptians and the necromancies of the Tyrrhenians be consigned to darkness. These are in very truth mad sophistry-schools of unbelieving men, and gambling houses of pure fraud. Partners in this jugglery are the goats that have been trained for divination, and crows taught by men to utter oracles to men.
'And what if I were to give you a catalogue of the mysteries? I shall not dance them out, as they say Alcibiades did, but according to the word of truth I will thoroughly lay bare the jugglery that is concealed in them, and those so-called gods of yours, to whom the mystic rites belong, I shall wheel in as it were upon the stage of life before the spectators of truth.
'The Bacchanals celebrate in their orgies the frenzy of Dionysus, keeping their monthly holiday with a feast on raw flesh, and, in performing the distribution of the flesh of the slaughtered victims, are crowned with their wreaths of serpents, and shout upon Eva, that Eva, through whom the deception crept in [and death followed in its train]: a consecrated serpent, too, is the symbol of the Bacchic orgies.
'Therefore, according to the exact pronunciation of the Hebrews, the name Heva, with an aspirate, is at once interpreted as the female serpent. Deo too and Kore have already become a mystic drama, and Eleusis celebrates by torchlight the wandering, and the rape, and their mourning.
'I think, too, that we ought to trace the etymology of orgies and mysteries, the one from the anger (οργης) of Deo aroused against Zeus, and the other from the pollution (μυσους) which had occurred with regard to Dionysus. Or even if you derive it from a certain Myus of Attica, who perished in hunting, as Apollodorus says, I do not grudge that your mysteries have been glorified by the honour of a name which is engraved upon a tomb.
'In another way also you may think of your mysteries as mytheria (hunting-stories) by the correspondence of letters. For fables such as these do most especially make prey of the most barbarous of the Thracians, the most senseless of the Phrygians, the most superstitious of the Greeks.
'Ill betide him then who first taught men this imposture, whether he were Dardanus, who instituted the mysteries of the Mother of the Gods, or one Eetion, who established the orgies and initiations of the Samothracians, or that famous Phrygian Midas, who learned the cunning imposture from Odrysus and then spread it among his subjects.
'For never will I be cajoled by that Cyprian islander Cinyras, who dared to transfer the lewd orgies of Aphrodite from night to day, in his desire to deify a harlot of his own country.
'But others say that Melampus son of Amythaon brought over from Egypt to Hellas the festivals of Deo, her grief so famed in song. These for my part I should call evil authors of impious fables, and parents of deadly superstition, as having in the mysteries implanted a seed of wickedness and corruption in man's life.
'And now, for it is time, I will prove that your orgies themselves are full of imposture and quackery: and if you have been initiated, you will laugh all the more at these your venerated fables. And I shall proclaim the hidden secrets openly, and not let modesty hinder me from speaking of things which you are not ashamed to worship.
'First then, the daughter of the foam, the Cyprus-born, the beloved of Cinyras, Aphrodite I mean,
Enamour'd of the source from which she sprang,
'those mutilated members of Uranus, those lustful members, which after their excision did violence to the waves, how wanton the members, of which your Aphrodite becomes the worthy fruit! In the mystic celebration of this pleasure of the sea a lump of salt and a phallus are delivered as a symbol of generation to those who are being initiated in the adulterous art: and they pay a piece of money to her, as lovers to a harlot.
'The mysteries of Deo, and the amorous embraces of Zeus with Demeter his mother, and the wrath of — I know not what to call her now — his mother or wife, Demeter, on account of which wrath, they say, she was called Brimo; the supplications of Zeus, and the drink of gall, the plucking out of the victim's heart, and unspeakable deeds, — these things the Phrygians celebrate in honour of Attis, and Cybele, and the Corybantes.
'They have also made up a story that Zeus, having torn off parts of a ram, brought and threw them into the lap of Deo, paying a fraudulent penalty for his violence, as though they had been parts of himself.
'The watchwords of this initiation, if set before you merely for amusement, will, I know, stir your laughter, although you may not be willing to laugh because of the exposures. I ate out of the drum, and drank out of the cymbal, I danced the κερνοπηορια, I slipped into the bridal-chamber. Are not these watchwords an outrage? Are not the mysteries a farce?
'But what if I should add the rest of the story? Demeter has a child, and her daughter grows up, and again this Zeus who begat her seduces his own daughter Pherephatta, after her mother Deo, forgetting his former crime, and he approaches her in the form of a serpent, it being thus proved who he was.
'Accordingly, in the Sabazian mysteries the sign for those who are initiated is The god gliding over the breast; and this is a serpent drawn over the breast of those who are initiated, a proof of the incontinence of Zeus. Pherephatta also gives birth to a son in the form of a bull.
'At all events, a certain sham, poet says:
Bull begets serpent, serpent begets bull.
§ 2.3.2 Upon the mount the herdsman's secret goad.
calling, I suppose, the reed which the Bacchanals brandish a herdsman's goad.
'Would you have me narrate to you also Pherephatta's gathering of flowers, and her basket, and her seizure by Aidoneus, and the chasm opening in the earth, and the swine of Eubuleus that were swallowed up with the two goddesses, on account of which in the Thesmophoria they throw down swine, when they visit the caves.
'This fable the women in every city celebrate with festivals in various ways, the Thesmophoria, Scirophoria, Arretophoria, dramatizing the rape of Pherephatta in many ways.
'As to the mysteries of Dionysus, they are perfectly inhuman: for when he was yet a child, with the Curetes circling round him in a war-dance, and the Titans had treacherously crept in, they beguiled him with childish toys, did these Titans, and tore him in pieces while yet an infant, as the poet of this mystery, Orpheus the Thracian, says:
Cone, humming top, and dolls that bend their limbs,
Fair golden apples from the guardian Nymphs.
Of sweetest song, daughters of Hesperus.
'Nor will it be useless to set forth for condemnation the useless symbols of this mystery: dice, ball, hoop, apples, humming-top, mirror, and lock of wool.
'So then Athena, having stolen away the heart of Dionysus, was called Pallas from the pulsation of the heart: and the Titans, who had torn him in pieces, put a cauldron on a trivet, and threw in the limbs of Dionysus, and, having first boiled them down,
Then pierc'd with spits and held them o'er the fire.
'But afterwards Zeus suddenly appears — I suppose, if he was a god, he perceived the savour of the roasting flesh, for your gods acknowledge that savour to be their perquisite, — and with a thunderbolt he smites the Titans, and delivers the limbs of Dionysus to his son Apollo to bury: and he did not disobey Zeus, but bore the dead body, mangled as it was, to Parnassus and there deposited it.
'If you wish to be initiated in the orgies of the Corybantes also, two of them slew the third brother, and wrapped up the head of the corpse in a purple cloth, and put a wreath upon it, and carried him on a brazen shield, and buried him under the side of Mount Olympus.
'These are their mysteries, murders in short, and burials! And their priests, whom those concerned call Lords of the Mysteries, invent more wonders to add to the tragedy, forbidding to set a whole root of parsley on the table, because they think forsooth that parsley has sprung from the blood which streamed forth from the Corybant; just as the women who celebrate the Thesmophoria guard against eating the seeds of the pomegranate, for the drops which fell on the ground from the blood of Dionysus they suppose to have grown into pomegranates.
'As they call the Corybantes Cabeiri, they also proclaim the festival as the Cabeiria. For these very two fratricides, having carried off the chest in which the member of Dionysus was deposited, brought it by sea to Tyrrhenia, as purveyors of a noble cargo! And here they lived in exile, and imparted to the Tyrrhenians their highly venerable doctrine of religion, the chest and its contents, for them to worship; for which cause some not unreasonably will have it that Dionysus is called Attis, as having been mutilated.
'And what wonder if Tyrrhenians, who were barbarians, are initiated in such foul passions, when there is found among the Athenians, and in the rest of Hellas — I blush even to say it — the shameful legend of Deo.
'For Deo, wandering in search of her daughter Kore in the neighbourhood of Eleusis — this place is in Attica — grows weary, and sits down in sorrow upon a well. This is forbidden to those who are admitted to the mysteries even to the present day, lest the initiated should seem to be imitating the goddess in her mourning.
'Now at that time Eleusis was inhabited by the Earth-born: their names were Baubo, and Dysaules, and Triptolemus, also Eumolpus and Eubuleus. Triptolemus was a herdsman, Eumolpus a shepherd, and Eubuleus a swineherd. And from these last grew the flourishing family of the Eumolpidae, and that of the Heralds, the Hierophants I suppose, at Athens.
'And then Baubo — for I shall not shrink from telling it — having received Deo hospitably, offers her a draught. And when she refused to take it, and would not drink — for she was full of sorrow — Baubo became much annoyed as being forsooth disdained, and exposed herself to the goddess: and Deo, pleased at the sight, at last reluctantly accepted the draught, because she was delighted at what she saw.
'These are the secret mysteries of the Athenians! These are the things which Orpheus records! But I will set before you the very words of Orpheus, that you may have the master of mysteries himself as witness of their shamelessness:
She spake, and quick her flowing robes withdrawn
Showed all the secret beauty of her form.
The child Iacchus, laughing, stretched his hand
To touch her tender breasts, and Baubo smil'd;
Then, too, the goddess smil'd with cheerful thought,
And took the shining bowl which held the draught.
'There is also the watchword of the Eleusinian mysteries: I fasted, I drank the draught, I took from the chest, finished the work and put it back into the basket, and from the basket into the chest. Noble indeed the sights, and becoming to a goddess!
'Worthy rather are these mysteries of night, and of torch-light, and of the great-hearted, or rather weak-minded, people of the Erechtheidae, and of the other Greeks also, men for whom there remain after death things that they little look for,
'To whom then does Heracleitus the Ephesian address this foreboding? To night-walkers, sorcerers, bacchanals male and female, to the initiated. These he threatens with what follows death; to these he predicts the fire. For they receive an unholy initiation in what men regard as mysteries.
'Custom therefore, and vain opinion, and the mysteries of the serpent are a kind of fraud devoutly observed by men who, with spurious piety, promote their abominable initiations and profane orgiastic rites.
'What also are those mystic chests? For I must lay bare their holy things, and tell out their forbidden secrets. Are they not sesame-cakes, and pyramids, and balls, and flat cakes full of knobs, and lumps of salt? A serpent also, mystic symbol of Dionysus Bassarus?
'And besides these are there not pomegranates, and shoots of fig-trees, and reeds, and ivies, and round cakes also, and poppies?
'These are their holy things! And there are in addition the secret symbols of Themis, wild marjoram, a lamp, a sword, a woman's comb, which is an euphemistic and mystical name.
'O barefaced shamelessness! In times of old for modest men pleasure was veiled in night, and night in silence: but now the night that is sacred to wantonness is the talk of those who are to be initiated, and the fire exposes their lewd passions by the light of torches.
'Quench thou the fire, O Hierophant! Blush for thy lights, O bearer of the torch! That flame exposes thine Iacchus. Suffer the night to conceal the mysteries: let darkness pay respect to your dignified orgies. The fire is no hypocrite: its duty is to expose and to punish.
'These are the atheists' mysteries. And atheists I rightly call them, since they have not known Him who is truly God, but worship a child torn in pieces by Titans, and a poor wailing woman; and things for very shame unmentionable they shamelessly worship, and so are involved in a twofold atheism: the first, in that they are ignorant of God, not acknowledging Him who is God indeed; and the other and second delusion this, that they regard those which are not as though they were, and call them gods who have no true being, or rather no being at all, but have only received the name.' So far this author.
§ 2.4.1 With good reason then do we avow that we have been freed from all this, and rescued from the long and antiquated delusion as from some terrible and most grievous disease. First, we have been delivered by the grace and beneficence of Almighty God, and secondly by the ineffable power of our Saviour's teaching in the Gospel, and thirdly by sound reasoning, because we judged that it is an unholy and impious thing to honour with the adorable name of God mortals who have long been lying among the dead, and have not even left a memory of themselves as virtuous men, but have handed down examples of extreme incontinence and wantonness, of cruelty also and insanity, for those who come after them to follow.
§ 2.4.2 For must it not be the extreme of folly for lovers of temperance to yield the first place to the base and licentious, and for the wise and sensible to render august worship to those who have lost their senses, and those who practise justice and benevolence to those who, through excess of cruelty and inhumanity, are involved in the pollutions of infanticide and parricide?
§ 2.4.3 And does it not surpass every excess of impiety to degrade the adorable and all-holy name of God to parts of the human body, male and female, which we may not speak of, and to the irrational nature of brute beasts; and to honour as divine such foul and inhuman deeds as, even in the case of human malefactors would, if proved, fall under the inexorable penalties of the laws? But why need we spend time in proclaiming to every man, barbarian and Greek alike, his deliverance from the evils described, and in bringing to light the reasonableness of our revolt from gods falsely so called, when already the greater number even of the most superstitious, having woke up as it were from a deep slumber, and cleared the eye of the soul of its ancient film, became conscious of the deep folly of the error of their fathers, and took their stand upon reasoning, and withdrew from the old path, and chose the other way?
§ 2.4.4 Some of these made a bold assault, and with broad derision poured contempt upon the whole mythology of their own forefathers; while others, who shrank from the dogma of atheism, neither stood upon their old ways, nor withdrew from them altogether, but, with the purpose of glossing over and explaining their own dogma, gave to the true histories of the gods who had been celebrated among them the title of fables invented by poets, and said that physical theories were concealed in them. And however much they fail to bring any proof whatever of the truth of these theories, it will nevertheless be necessary for us to set forth for examination their solemn doctrines, that thus we may prove the reasonableness of that retreat from them which was provided for us solely by the teaching of our Saviour in the Gospel. Come then, let us take up their argument from the beginning and examine it.
§ 2.5.1 Now by the Greek theology I mean the popular and more mythical theology, which also prevailed much earlier among the Phoenicians and Egyptians and the other nations of whom mention was made in our preceding books; and the character of this has been proved to be something of the kind which has been already made manifest by the words quoted from the Greek historians themselves. And this character we have with good reason set before our readers in the beginning of this our Preparation for the Gospel for their judgement and decision, that both we and those who as yet have no experience of this subject, may learn for ourselves what we were long ago, and from what sort of forefathers we have sprung, by how great evils we were previously fettered, and in how great a stupor of impiety and ignorance of God our souls were buried, and then were favoured with an uprising and deliverance from all these evils at once by the sole teaching of the Gospel, provided for us in no other way than by the manifestation of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is God.
§ 2.5.2 For not in a mere part of the earth, nor in a corner of the land of one nation, but throughout the whole inhabited world, where the power of the most superstitious delusion especially prevailed, He, like a sun of intelligent and rational souls, spread abroad the beams of His own light: He translated us all, of every race of mankind, barbarians and Greeks alike, as it were from a terrible darkness and most gloomy and obscure night of superstitious error into the bright and shining day of the true worship of God the King of all.
§ 2.5.3 Certainly the statements that have been already quoted have plainly taught us, that those who in cities and villages have been excited about this delusion of many gods were all universally serving and worshipping images of the dead, and statues of men who have long since passed away. For the men of old, because of the extreme savageness of their life at that time made no account of God the Creator of all, nor paid any heed to the divine judgement which takes vengeance on wrong doing, but cast themselves headlong into every kind of profanity.
§ 2.5.4 For at that time there were no laws yet established for the guidance of life, no civilized government set in order among men, but they led a loose and wandering life like that of the beasts: and some of them, like irrational animals, cared for nothing beyond the filling of their belly, and among these the first kind of atheism found a home; but others, being in some small degree stirred by natural instincts, conceived that God, and God's power, was some good and salutary thing, and because they wished to find Him, they raised their souls aloft to heaven, and there stopping short in thought, and being astonished at the various beauties of the luminaries which gave and received light in heaven, declared that these were gods.
§ 2.5.5 But a third and different class cast themselves down upon earth, and seeing those who had been thought to excel their contemporaries in wisdom, or had become masters of the multitude by strength of body and power of government, such as giants or tyrants, or even sorcerers and quacks, who after some falling off from holier ways had devised their evil arts of sorcery, or others who had been the authors of some common benefit to human life, — to these, both while yet living and after death, they gave the title of gods. And from this cause the houses of their gods are mentioned as being tombs of the dead, as Clement relates in his Exhortation to the Greeks, bringing forward Greeks themselves as witnesses of his statement. Listen then again, if it please you, to what he writes in the following style:
§ 2.6.1 [CLEMENT] 'Naturally therefore superstition, having somewhere found a beginning, has become a fountain of senseless wickedness; and afterwards, as it was not checked, but gained increase and rushed on in full flood, it has created a multitude of daemons, sacrificing hecatombs, celebrating public festivals, setting up statues, and building temples, which indeed — for I will not keep silence even on this, but will convict them — were called euphemistically temples, but were in reality tombs, that is to say, tombs which had got the name of temples. But now, I pray you, forget at length your superstition, and be ashamed to worship tombs.
'In the temple of Athena at Larissa in the Acropolis is the tomb of Acrisius, and at Athens in the Acropolis the tomb of Cecrops, as Antiochus says in the ninth book of his Histories. And what of Erichthonius? Is he not buried in the temple of Athena Polias? And Ismarus the son of Eumolpus and Daeira, is he not buried in the precincts of the Eleusinium, which lies under the Acropolis? And the daughters of Celeus, are they not buried at Eleusis?
'Why should I tell you of the women who came from the Hyperboreans? There are two called Hyperoche and Laodice, who are buried in the Artemision at Delos, which is in the sanctuary of Delian Apollo.
'Leander says that Cleomachus is buried at Miletus in the Didymaeum. Here, if we follow Zeno of Myndus, it would not be right to pass over the monument of Leucophryne, who is buried in the temple of Artemis in Magnesia, nor yet the altar of Apollo in Telmessus, which also, the story says, is the monument of Telmesseus the soothsayer.
'Ptolemy too, the son of Agesarchus, in his first book concerning Philopator says that Cinyras and the descendants of Cinyras are buried in Paphos in the sanctuary of Aphrodite.
'Were I, however, to go over all the tombs which are worshipped by you, all time would not suffice for me to tell; [Homer, Od. xx. 351] while you, if no shame for these audacities steals over you, may wander round with your faith in the dead, utterly dead yourselves:
Ah! wretched men, what evil doom is this?
§ 2.6.2 A little further on he says:
'Another new god the Roman Emperor has deified with great solemnity in Egypt, and almost in Greece; his favourite Antinous, who was extremely beautiful, was deified by him, as Ganymede was by Zeus.
'For lust, when free from fear, is not easily restrained: and men now celebrate the sacred nights of Antinous, the shame of which was known to the lover who shared his vigils.'
§ 2.6.3 He also adds:
'And now the favourite's tomb is the temple and city of Antinous: for just as temples are held in reverence, so, I suppose, are tombs, pyramids, mausoleums, and labyrinths — other temples these of the dead, as those before mentioned were tombs of the gods.'
§ 2.6.4 And again, a little further on:
'Come then, let us also briefly make the round of your games, and put an end to these great sepulchral festivals, the Isthmian, Nemean, and Pythian, and besides these the Olympian. At Pytho the Pythian dragon is worshipped, and the festival of the serpent is proclaimed as the Pythia. At the Isthmus the sea cast up a miserable carcass, and the Isthmian games are a lamentation for Melicertes: at Nemea another child Archemorus is buried, and the boy's funeral games are called Nemea. Pisa is the tomb in your midst, O Panhellenes, of a Phrygian charioteer, and the Zeus of Phidias claims as his own the Olympian games, which are the funeral libations of Pelops.' So speaks our author.
§ 2.6.5 Now take thou up our argument again from the beginning, and observe the downfall of superstitious error. By nature and by our self-taught ideas, or rather ideas taught by God, there is a something noble and salutary that indicates the name and being of God: for all men had taken this for granted in their common reasonings, since the Creator of all things had implanted this conviction by innate ideas in every rational and intelligent soul.
§ 2.6.6 They had not, however, chosen the course which accords with reason. For only some one or two perchance, or at most a very few others, whose memory is recorded in the oracles of the Hebrews, could not adapt their idea of God to any of the things that are seen, but with unperverted reasonings led up their thoughts from visible things to the Creator of the whole world and the great Maker of the universe; and with purified eyes of the understanding perceived that He alone is God, the Saviour of all, and sole giver of good gifts. But the rest wandered about in all kinds of mental blindness, and were carried into an abyss of ungodliness, so that like wild beasts they limited the beautiful, and useful, and good to the pleasure of the eyes and the flesh.
§ 2.6.7 And in this way, as I have said before, the discoverers of the things supposed to be good and useful to the body, or certain governors, or tyrants, or even sorcerers and poisoners, though of mortal nature and subjected to the misfortunes of humanity, were called saviours and gods as givers of good things, and men transferred, the august conception which was implanted in them by nature to those whom they supposed to be benefactors.
§ 2.6.8 And accordingly so great a mental paralysis possessed them, that they took no account of the iniquities of those whom they regarded as gods, nor blushed at the shameful tales reported of them, but in all these things admired the men because of the benefits provided by them, or because of the governments and tyrannies which were then first established.
§ 2.6.9 For example, as I said before, since at that time no laws were yet administered, nor punishment suspended over evil deeds, they recorded as rightful and brave deeds, adulteries and sodomy, and incestuous and unlawful marriages, and bloodshed and parricides, and murders of children and brethren, and moreover, wars and seditions actually carried on by their own champions, whom they both accounted and called gods, and bequeathed the remembrance of them as worshipful and brave to later generations.
§ 2.6.10 Such was the ancient theology which was transformed by certain moderns of yesterday's growth, who boasted of having a more reasonable philosophy, and introduced what they called the more physical view of the history of the gods, by devising more respectable and ingenious explanations for the legends: yet they neither escaped altogether the fault of their forefathers' impiety, nor, on the other hand, could endure the self-manifested wickedness of their so-called gods.
§ 2.6.11 So, in their eagerness to palliate the fault of their fathers, they changed the legends into physical narratives and theories, and boasted, as the more mystical view, that the things which give nourishment and increase to the nature of the body are those which the legends set forth.
§ 2.6.12 Going on from this point, these men also gave the title of gods to the elements of the world, not just merely to sun and moon and stars, but also to earth and water, and air and fire, and their combinations and resultants, and moreover to the seasonable fruits of the earth, and all other produce of food both dry and liquid: and these very things, regarded as causes of the life of the body, they called Demeter, and Kore, and Dionysus, and other like names, and, by making gods of them, introduced a forced and untrue embellishment of their legends.
§ 2.6.13 But it was in a later age that these men, as if ashamed of the theologies of their forefathers, added respectable explanations, which each invented of himself, to the legends concerning their gods; for no one dared to disturb the customs of their ancestors, but paid great honour to antiquity, and to the familiar training which had grown with them from their boyhood.
§ 2.6.14 Their elders, however, besides their deifications of men, gave equal rank to their consecrations of brute animals, because of the benefit derived from them also for the causes previously assigned; and they devoted equal religious worship to the brutes, and with libations, sacrifices, mystic rites, and hymns, and songs, exalted the honours paid to them, in the same manner as to the men who had been deified. And so they marched on to such a pitch of evil, that, through excess of unbridled lust, they consecrated with divine honours those parts of the body that lead to impurity, and the unrestrained passions of mankind, while their so-called theologians declared that in these things there is no need at all to use solemn phrases. We must, then, hold it to have been proved on the highest testimony, that the oldest generations knew nothing more at all than the history, but adhered to the legends only. Since, however, we have once begun to glance at the august and recondite doctrines of the noble philosophers, let us go on and examine these also more fully, that we may not seem to be ignorant of their wonderful physical theories.
§ 2.6.15 But before we make our exposition of these doctrines, we must first indicate the mutual contradiction even here of these admirable philosophers themselves. For some of them make random statements, and set forth their opinions according to what comes into the mind of each individually: for they do not agree one with another even in their physical theories. While others more candidly sweep away the whole system, and banish from their own republic not only the indecent stories about the gods, but also the interpretations given of them; though sometimes they speak softly of the legends through fear of the punishment threatened by the laws.
§ 2.6.16 Listen then to the Greeks themselves speaking by the mouth of the one noblest of them all, now banishing and now again adopting the legends. Thus their admirable Plato, when he lays bare his own preference, with great boldness forbids altogether the thinking or saying such things concerning the gods, as had been said by them of old, whether they contained anything latent indicated in allegorical meanings, or were spoken without any allegorical meaning at all. But at other times he speaks softly of the laws, and says that we ought to believe the legends about the gods, though there is nothing indicated by them in allegorical meanings.
§ 2.6.17 But when at last he has dissociated his own theology from the ancient legends, and has stated his physical theories about the heaven, and sun, and moon, and stars, and moreover about the whole cosmos, and the parts of it severally, he again specially and separately goes through the ancient genealogical accounts of the gods just as follows word for word in the Timaeus.
§ 2.7.1 [PLATO] 'To tell of the other divinities and to learn their origin is beyond our power; but we must give credence to those who have spoken in former times, who being, as they said, the offspring of gods had, I suppose, a clear knowledge of their own ancestors. It is impossible therefore to disbelieve children of the gods, even though they speak without certain or probable proofs; but as they assert that they are reporting family histories, we must, in obedience to the law, believe them.
'On their authority then let the origin of these gods be admitted and stated by us as follows. The children of Earth and Heaven were Oceanus and Tethys; and their children Phorcys, and Kronos, and Rhea, and the rest of them: and from Kronos and Rhea sprang Zeus and Hera, and all whom we know as their reputed brethren, and still others who were their offspring.'
§ 2.7.2 These things, says Plato, 'we must in obedience to the law believe,' even though, he admits, they are stated 'without certain or probable proofs.' And we must observe how he indicates that the names and genealogies of the so-called gods have no hidden meaning to be explained by physical theories.
§ 2.7.3 But again, in another place the same author, laying open his own deliberate opinion, has used these words:
'In the first place, said I, the author of that greatest lie about the greatest gods told a bad lie, how Uranus did the deeds which Hesiod says he did, and how Kronos took revenge upon him.
'Again, even if the doings of Kronos and his treatment by his son were true, I should not have thought that they ought to be thus lightly told before young and thoughtless persons, but that they should be buried in silence, as the best thing; or if there were any necessity to tell them, then as few as possible should hear them in secret, after sacrificing no mere pig, but some great and scarce victim, so that very few might have a chance of hearing them.
'Why yes, said he, these stories certainly are mischievous.
'Aye, and they must not be told in our city, Adeimantus; nor must a young hearer be told that he would be doing nothing remarkable in committing the worst injuries nor in inflicting every kind of punishment upon his father for injuring him, but would be doing just what the first and greatest of the gods did.
'Nor do I myself think that such stories are fit to be told.
'Nor yet, said I, about gods going to war with gods and plotting and fighting (untrue as such things are) ought anything at all to be said, if at least the future guardians of our city are to regard it as very disgraceful to be lightly quarrelling one with another. Much less must we invent fables about wars of the giants, and work them in embroidery, with numberless other quarrels of all kinds of gods and heroes against their own kith and kin. But if there were any chance of our persuading them, that no citizen was ever at enmity with a fellow citizen, and that such a thing was unholy, rather should tales of this kind be told to children from the first by old men and old women and by those of mature age, and the poets should be compelled to make their tales like these.
'The chaining, too, of Hera by her son, and the hurling of Hephaestus out of heaven by his father, when he was going to defend his mother from a beating, and all the battles of the gods that Homer has invented, must not be admitted into the city, whether they are composed with or without allegorical meanings.'
§ 2.7.4 By these words, then, the philosopher clearly teaches that both the legends of the ancients concerning the gods, and the physical explanations of these legends supposed to be expressed in allegories are to be rejected; so that it can no longer be denied that there is good reason for our Saviour's teaching in the Gospel, which bids us to abandon these legends, seeing that they have been rejected even by their own friends.
§ 2.7.5 Hence it comes that I admire the ancient Romans for the manner in which, when they perceived that all the physiological theories of the Greeks concerning the gods were absurd and unprofitable, or rather were forced and inconsistent, they excluded them, legends and all, from their own theology. This too you may learn from the Roman Archaeology of Dionysius of Halicarnassus: for he, in his second book, when relating the history of Romulus, the first founder of the city of Rome, while recounting his other good deeds, writes on this point especially in the following manner:
§ 2.8.1 [DIONYSIUS OF HALICARNASSUS] 'But he knew that good laws and zeal in honourable pursuits render a state religious and temperate, and observant of justice, and brave in war: and for these things he took much forethought, beginning with the laws concerning acts of worship paid to gods and daemons.
'Temples therefore, and precincts, and altars, and the erection of statues, and their forms and emblems and powers, and gifts whereby they had conferred benefit on our race, and festivals of all such kinds as ought to be kept in honour of each god or daemon, and sacrifices wherewith they delight to be honoured by men, and sacred truces also and national festivals, and seasons of rest from labour, and all such matters he established in a manner similar to the best of the customs among the Greeks. But the traditional fables concerning them, in which there are any slanders or accusations against them, he considered to be wicked and unprofitable and unseemly, and unworthy not to say of gods but even of good men, and he excluded them all, and trained men both to speak and think all that was excellent concerning the gods, imputing to them no practice unworthy of their blessed nature.
'For among the Romans there is neither any story of Uranus being mutilated by his own children, nor of Kronos devouring his own offspring through fear of their attack, nor of Zeus overthrowing the dynasty of Kronos, and shutting up his own father in the prison of Tartarus; nor yet of wars, and wounds, and bonds, and servitudes of gods among men.
'Nor is any black-robed or mournful festival held among them, with women's wailings and lamentations over gods that vanished from sight, such as are celebrated among the Greeks in reference to the rape of Persephone, and the sufferings of Dionysus, and all other things of a like kind.
'Nor would any one see among them, even though their customs are now corrupted, any wild enthusiasms, nor Corybantic frenzies, nor Bacchanalian revels and secret initiations, no all-night vigils of men and women together in the temples of the gods, nor any other of the monstrosities akin to these, but all things concerning the gods practised and spoken of with reverence, such as is seen neither among Greeks nor barbarians.
'And what I have admired most of all, though countless races have come to settle in the city, who were strictly bound to worship their ancestral gods with the rites of their own country, the city has never by public consent sought to imitate any of the foreign customs, a propensity which has occurred to many states ere now: but even if any sacred rites have been introduced in accordance with oracles, the city adapted them to its own institutions, and cast out all mythical quackery, as for example the rites of the Idaean goddess.
'For in her honour the Consuls celebrate sacrifices and games every year according to the laws of the Romans: and her priests are a Phrygian man and Phrygian woman, and these go about the city begging for the goddess, as their custom is, with images fastened round their breasts, and rattling cymbals and accompanied by their followers playing on flutes the music of the Mother.
'But of the home-born Romans none proceeds through the city either so begging, or accompanied by flutes and dressed in an embroidered robe, nor celebrates the goddess with Phrygian orgies by any law or decree of the Senate.
'So cautious is the attitude of the state towards foreign customs concerning the gods, shunning as ill-omened all vain display in which there is anything unbecoming.
'But let no one suppose me to be ignorant that some of the Grecian legends are useful to mankind; some exhibiting the works of nature allegorically, and others composed for the sake of consoling human misfortunes, and others removing troubles and terrors of the soul and overthrowing unsound opinions, and others invented for the sake of some other utility.
'But although I know these things as well as anybody, I am nevertheless cautiously disposed towards them, and I prefer to accept the theology of the Romans, considering that the benefits derived from the Hellenic legends are small, and not capable of benefiting many, but only those who have searched out the purposes for which they are made. And those who have taken part in this branch of philosophy are rare; while the great mass unversed in philosophy loves to take the tales concerning the gods in the worse senses, and is affected in one of two ways; either it despises the gods as tossed about in great misery, or else it abstains from none of the most disgraceful and lawless doings, seeing that they are attributed to the gods.
'On these subjects, however, let inquiry be left to those who study merely the theoretical part of philosophy: but of the polity established by Romulus I thought these points worth recording.'
§ 2.8.2 Such, we see were the opinions entertained by the best philosophers, and by the ancient and most eminent men of the Roman empire concerning the theology of the Greeks — opinions which give no admission to physical theories in their legends concerning the gods, nor to their gorgeous and sophistical impostures.
§ 2.8.3 Since, however, we have once entered upon their refutation, let us go on and consider their interpretations and theories, to see what, after all, they carry with them that is venerable and worthy of the gods; and let us not say anything as of ourselves, but make use, on all points, of their own words, so that we may again learn their views from themselves.
§ 3.1 PREFACE: SUCH were the opinions entertained by the best philosophers and by the ancient and most eminent men of the Roman Empire in regard to the theology of the Greeks — opinions which give no admission to physical theories in the legends concerning the gods, nor to their gorgeous and sophistical impostures. Since, however, we have once entered upon their refutation, let us go on and consider their interpretations and theories, to see what, after all, they bring with them that is venerable and worthy of the gods; and let us say nothing of ourselves, but on all points make use of their own words, so that we may again learn their venerable secrets from themselves.
§ 3.2 Now much labour has been spent upon these subjects by numberless other professors of philosophy, who have made different subtle explanations of the same, and strongly insist that the opinion which occurred to each was the exact truth. But for my part I am content to bring forward my proofs from the most illustrious authors who are well known to all philosophers, and have carried off no small reputation for philosophy among the Greeks.
§ 3.3 Of whom take first and read the words of Plutarch of Chaeroneia on the questions before us, wherein with solemn phrase he perverts the fables into what he asserts to be mysterious theologies. And in unveiling these he says that Dionysus is drunkenness, and no longer the mortal man who has been exhibited by the history in the preceding book; and that Hera means the joint wedded life of husband and wife. Then, as if he had forgotten his rendering, he forthwith tacks on a different story, and no longer uses the name Hera as before, but calls the earth by her name, and gives the name Leto to oblivion and night. And again he says that Hera is the same as Leto. Then in addition to this he introduces Zeus as representing allegorically the power of the air.
§ 3.4 But why need I thus anticipate, when we may hear the man himself, in the essay which he wrote On the Daedala at Plataea, expounding as follows what was hidden from the multitude in the secret physiological doctrines concerning the gods.
§ 3.1.1 [PLUTARCH] 'THE physiology of the ancients both among Greeks and Barbarians was a physical doctrine concealed in legends, for the most part a secret and mysterious theology conveyed in enigmas and allegories, containing statements that were clearer to the multitude than the silent omissions, and its silent omissions more liable to suspicion than the open statements. This is evident in the Orphic poems, and in the Egyptian and Phrygian stories: 'out the mind of the ancients is most clearly exhibited in the orgiastic rites connected with the initiations, and in what is symbolically acted in the religious services.
'For instance, not to digress far from our present subjects, they do not suppose nor admit any intercourse between Hera and Dionysus; and they guard against combining their worship; and their priestesses at Athens, they say, do not speak to each other when they meet, nor is ivy ever brought into the precincts of Hera, not because of their fabulous and nonsensical jealousies, but because the goddess presides over marriage and bridal processions, and drunkenness is unbecoming to bridegrooms, and most unbefitting to a marriage feast, as Plato says: for the drinking of strong wine causes disorder both in body and soul, whereby what is sown and conceived being shapeless and misplaced does not take root well. Again, those who sacrifice to Hera do not consecrate the gall, but bury it beside the altar, meaning that the wedded life of wife and husband ought to be free from anger and wrath, and undisturbed by rage and bitterness.
'This symbolical style is more common in the tales and legends. As for instance, they relate that Hera, being brought up in Euboea. was stolen away while yet a virgin by Zeus, and was carried across and hidden in this region, where Cithaeron afforded them a shady recess, nature's own bridal-chamber. And when Macris — she was Hera's nurse — came to seek her, and wished to make a search, Cithaeron would not let her pry about, or approach the spot, on pretence that Zeus was there resting and passing the time in company with Leto. And as Macris went away, Hera thus escaped discovery on that occasion, and afterwards calling to mind her debt of gratitude to Leto she adopted her as partner in a common altar and common temple, so that sacrifices are first offered to Leto Μυχία, that is, 'of the inner shrine'; but some call her Νυχία, 'goddess of night.' In each of the names, however, there is the signification of secrecy and escape. Some say that Hera had secret intercourse there with Zeus, and, being undiscovered, was thus herself denominated Leto of the night: but when her marriage became openly known, and their intercourse first here in the neighbourhood of Citliaeron and of Plataea had been revealed, she was called Hera Τελεία and Γαμήλιος, goddess of the perfect life, and of marriage.
'Those who understand the fable in a more physical and becoming sense connect Hera with Leto in the following way. Hera, as has been said, is the Earth, and Leto is night, being a sort of oblivion on the part of those who turn to sleep. And night is nothing else but the shadow of the Earth. For when the Sun has reached the West and been hidden by the shadow, this spreads itself out and darkens the air: and this is the cause of the failure of the full moon in an eclipse, when the shadow of the earth touches the moon in her orbit and obscures her light. Moreover, that Leto is none other than Hera, you may learn from what follows. Artemis we of course call the daughter of Latona, but we also name the same goddess Eileithyia: Hera therefore and Leto are two names of one goddess.
'Again of Leto is born Apollo, and of Hera Ares, and they both have the same power: and Ares is so called as helping (ἀρήγων) in the mischances of violence and battle, and Apollo as delivering and releasing (ἀπαλλάττων καὶ ἀπολύων) a man from his bodily diseases. For which reason also of the most fiery and blazing luminaries one, the sun, is named Apollo, and the other of a fiery red is surnamed Ares. And it is not unsuitable that the same goddess (Hera) is called the goddess of marriage, and considered to be the mother of Eileithyia and of the sun. For the end of marriage is birth; and birth is the passing out of darkness into the sun and light. And it is a fine saying of the poet:
'But soon her child, by Eileithyia's aid,
Was brought to light, and saw the sun's bright rays.'
§ 3.1.2 Rightly did the poet crowd the composition by the preposition, thereby indicating the hardness of the labour, and made the end of the birth consist in seeing the sun. The same goddess therefore made also the marriage union, in order that she might prepare the way for birth.
'But perhaps we ought also to mention the more silly legend. For it is said that when Hera was at variance with Zeus, and was no longer willing to consort with him, but hid herself, he was wandering about in perplexity and fell in with Alalcomenes the earth-born, and was taught by him that, to deceive Hera, he must pretend to wed another wife. So Alalcomenes helped him, and they secretly cut down a tall and beautiful oak, and shaped it and dressed it in bridal array, and called it Daedale: then the hymeneal was duly chanted, and the nymphs of Triton brought lustral water, and Boeotia supplied flutes and festal processions. But when these performances went on, Hera could bear it no longer, but came down from Cithaeron, followed by the women of Plataea, and from anger and jealousy came running up to Zeus, and when the counterfeit became manifest, she was reconciled to him and with joy and laughter herself led the bridal procession, and gave additional honour to the statue, and called the festival Daedala, and nevertheless from jealousy burnt the thing, lifeless though it was.
'Such then is the legend: and the explanation of it is as follows. The variance and quarrel of Hera and Zeus is nothing else than the distemper and confusion of the elements, when they no longer bear a due proportion to each other in the cosmos, but disproportion and roughness arise, and they have a desperate fight and dissolve their connexion, and work the ruin of the universe.
§ 3.1.3 If then Zeus, that is, the force of heat and fire, gives occasion to the variance, a drought overtakes the earth: but if it is on the part of Hera, that is, the element of rain and wind, that any outbreak or excess takes place, there comes a great flood, and deluges and overflows everything. And as something of this kind occurred about those times, and Boeotia especially had been deeply flooded, as soon as ever the plain emerged and the flood abated, the order which followed from the tranquillity of the atmosphere was called the agreement and reconciliation of the deities. The first of the plants that sprang up out of the earth was the oak; and men welcomed this, because it gave a permanent supply of food and safety. For not only for the pious, as Hesiod says, but for all who survive the destruction,
'The top bears acorns, and the middle bees.'
§ 3.2.1 THIS is what Plutarch says; and we learn from the statements which he sets before us, that even the wonderful and secret physiology of the Greek theology conveyed nothing divine, nor anything great and worthy of deity, and deserving of attention.
§ 3.2.2 For you have heard Hera called at one time Gamelios, and a symbol of the joint life of husband and wife, and at another time the earth called Hera, and at another the element of water; and Dionysus translated into drunkenness, and Latona into night, and the sun into Apollo, and Zeus himself into the force of heat and fire.
§ 3.2.3 So then the original indecency of the legends, and the physiological explanation, which is thought to be more respectable, led not up to any heavenly, intellectual, and divine powers, nor yet to rational and incorporeal essences, but the explanation itself led down again to drunkenness, and marriage feasts, and human passions, and reduced the parts of the cosmos to fire, and earth, and sun, and the other elements of matter, without introducing any other deity.
§ 3.2.4 And Plato too knew this. In the Cratylus, at least, he expressly acknowledges that the first inhabitants of Greece knew nothing more than the visible parts of the cosmos, and supposed the luminaries in the heaven and the other phenomena to be the only gods.
§ 3.2.5 So he speaks as follows word for word:
'It appears to me that the first inhabitants of Greece acknowledged no other gods than those whom many of the barbarians acknowledge now, namely, sun, and moon, and earth, and stars, and heaven.'
§ 3.2.6 But such being the doctrines of the Greeks, let us look also at those which are far more ancient than these, I mean the Egyptian. They say that Isis and Osiris are the sun and the moon, and that they called the breath that pervades all things Zeus, and fire Hephaestus, and the earth Demeter; also the water was called among the Egyptians Oceanus, and their own river Nilus, and to him they ascribed the generations of the gods: the air, it is said, they call Athena.
§ 3.2.7 And these five gods, I mean Air, and Water, and Fire, and Earth, and Breath, travel over the whole world, transforming themselves at various times into various shapes and semblances of men and animals of all kinds; and there have been among the Egyptians themselves mortal men called by the same names with these, Helios, and Kronos, and Rhea, and Zeus too and Hera, and Hephaestus and Hestia. On these subjects also Manetho writes at large, and Diodorus concisely in his book before mentioned, giving the narrative just as follows word for word:
§ 3.3.1 [DIODORUS] 'THESE Gods,' he says (the Sun and the Moon, which are according to the Egyptians Osiris and Isis), 'govern the whole cosmos, supplying nourishment and growth to all things in three distinct seasons, which by an invisible motion complete their circuit, spring, summer, and winter; and these being each of a very opposite nature to the others complete the year in excellent harmony. These deities, they say, contribute most to the quickening of all things with life, Osiris making the chief contribution of fire and wind, and Isis of water and earth, and both alike of air; and by these all things are generated and nourished. And for this reason, they say, the whole body of universal nature is made up completely out of the sun and moon, and as to the live parts of these before mentioned, breath, fire, earth, water, and finally air — just as in a man we count up head, and hands, and feet, and the other members — in the same manner the body of the cosmos is all composed of the parts before mentioned.
'Each of these, they say, was regarded as a god, and a special name given to each according to his proper character, by those of the inhabitants of Egypt who first made use of articulate speech. So they called the wind Zeus, the word being so interpreted, and as he was the author of the soul in living beings they supposed him to be, as it were, a father of all.
'And with this, they say, the most illustrious poet of the Greeks agrees, when he speaks of this god, as
'Father of men and gods.'
'Fire by interpretation they called Hephaestus, considering him to be a great god, and to contribute much to the production and perfect growth of all things. The earth they supposed to be a sort of vessel containing all natural productions, and called it Mother: and the Greeks in like manner call it Demeter, the word having been a little changed through lapse of time.
'For of old she was called Γῆ μήτηρ (Earth Mother), as Orpheus bears witness, saying —
'Earth Mother of all, Demeter, giver of wealth.'
'The water, it is said, was called by the ancients Oceane, which being interpreted is 'Mother of food,' but among some of the Greeks it was supposed to be the Ocean, concerning which the poet says,
'Oceanus sire, and Tethys mother of gods.'
'For the Egyptians consider their river Nile to be the Ocean, and that the gods had their origin near it, because in Egypt alone of the whole world there are many cities founded by the elder gods, such as those of Zeus, Helios, Hermes, Apollo, Pan, Eileithyia, and many others.
'The air, it is said, they called Athena, the word being so interpreted, and they regarded her as the daughter of Zeus, and supposed her to be a virgin, because the air is naturally incorruptible, and occupies the highest place of the whole cosmos: on which account the fable went that she sprang from the head of Zeus. She was called also Tritogeneia from changing her nature thrice in the year, in spring, summer, and winter. She is also called Glaucopis, not as some of the Greeks supposed because she had light-blue eyes, for this is silly, but because the air has a bluish appearance.
'They say that the five gods before mentioned travel over the whole world, and appear to men in the forms of sacred animals, sometimes also transforming themselves into the likenesses of men or other things: and that this is not fabulous, but possible, since these are in truth the progenitors of all things. The poet too, they say, having landed in Egypt, and had tales of this kind imparted to him by the priests, in a certain passage of his poem stated the above-mentioned circumstance as actually occurring:
'They, curious oft of mortal actions, deign
In forms like these to round the earth and main,
Just and unjust recording in their mind,
And with sure eyes inspecting all mankind.'
'Thus much then the Egyptians say concerning the gods who are in heaven, and have had an eternal generation.
'But others, they say, were born of these on earth, who having been originally mortal have obtained immortality on account of their wisdom and general beneficence to mankind, and some of them have been kings in Egypt. Of these some have the same names, when interpreted, as the gods of heaven, but others have received a name of their own; as Helios, and Kronos, and Rhea, and Zeus also, whom some call Ammon; and in addition to these Hera, Hephaestus, and Hestia, and Hermes last: and Helios was the first king of the Egyptians, having the same name as the luminary in the heaven.'
§ 3.3.2 Such, then are the statements of the historian whom I have mentioned.
§ 3.3.4 [PLUTARCH] 'Let us begin again, and consider first the simplest of those who are thought to speak in the more philosophical way. Now, just as the Greeks make Kronos an allegorical name for time (Chronos), and Hera for the air, and the birth of Hephaestus for the transformation of air into fire, so these say that in like manner among the Egyptians Osiris is the Nile, wedded to Isis the earth, and Typhon is the sea, into which the Nile falls and disappears.'
§ 3.3.5 After these and similar statements, he refers the legends concerning the said deities back again to daemons, and then again gives first one allegorical rendering and afterwards another.
§ 3.3.6 Now we might reasonably ask, to which set of gods, will they say, do the forms belong which are engraven on their statues. Are they those of daemons? Or those of fire, and air, and earth, and water? Or likenesses of men and women, and shapes of brute animals and wild beasts?
§ 3.3.7 For it has been admitted even by themselves that certain mortal men have had the same names with the Sun and the universal elements, and that these men have been called gods. Of which then would it be reasonable to say that the sculptures on the lifeless statues are forms and images? Of the universal elements? Or, as their appearance plainly shows, of mortals now lying among the dead?
§ 3.3.8 Why, even if they would not say so themselves, surely true reason shouts and cries aloud, all but in actual speech, and testifies that they of whom we speak have been mortal men. And Plutarch with superabundant pains describes the particular character of their bodily shapes, in his work On Isis and the Gods of Egypt. speaking as follows:
'The Egyptians narrate that in body Hermes was short-armed, and Typhon red in complexion, and Horus fair, and Osiris dark-skinned, as having been by nature men.'
§ 3.3.9 Thus speaks Plutarch. So then their whole manufacture of gods consists of dead men; and their physical explanations are fictitious. For what need was there to model figures of men and women, when without them they could worship the sun and moon and the other elements of the cosmos?
§ 3.3.11 Were these in the first place names of the universal elements, which they have since ascribed to mortals, making them of the same name as the heavenly bodies? Or on the contrary, have they transferred the names in use among men to the natural substances?
§ 3.3.12 But why should they address the natural elements of the universe by names of mortal men? And the mysteries belonging to each god, and the hymns, and songs, and the secrets of the initiatory rites, — do these introduce the symbols of the universal elements, or of the mortal men of old who had the same names with the gods?
§ 3.3.13 Then as to wanderings, and drunken fits, and amours, and seduction of women, and plots against men, and countless things, which are in truth shameful and unseemly practices of mortal men, how could any one refer these to the universal elements, acts which bear upon their very face mortality and human passion?
§ 3.3.14 So that from all these proofs this wonderful and noble physiology is convicted of having no connexion with truth, and containing nothing really divine, but possessing only a forced and counterfeit solemnity of external utterance. Hear, however, what Porphyry records concerning these same gods in his Epistle to Anebo the Egyptian.
§ 3.4.1 [PORPHYRY] 'FOR as to Chaeremon and the rest, they do not believe in anything else prior to the visible worlds, since they account as a ruling power the gods of the Egyptians, and no others except the so-called planets, and those stars which fill up the zodiac, and as many as rise near them: also the divisions into the decani, and the horoscopes, and the so-called mighty Rulers, the names of which are contained in the almanacks, and their powers to heal diseases, and their risings and settings, and indications of future events.
'For he saw that those who assert the Sun to be the Creator twist the story of Osiris and Isis, and all the priestly legends, either into allusions to the stars and their appearances and disappearances and their solar distances at rising, or to the waxings and wanings of the moon, or to the course of the sun, or to the hemisphere of night, or of day, or to their river; and generally that they interpreted all things of physical phenomena, and nothing of incorporeal and living beings. And most of them made even our own free will depend upon the motion of the stars, binding all things down by indissoluble bonds, I know not how, to a necessity which they call fate, and making all things depend closely on these gods, whom, as the sole deliverers from the bonds of fate, they worship with temples, and statues, and the like.'
§ 3.4.2 Let then this quotation from the before-mentioned Epistle suffice, clearly declaring, as it does, that even the secret theology of the Egyptians made no other gods than the stars in the heaven, both those which are called fixed, and the so-called planets, and introduced no incorporeal mind as creator of the universe, nor any creative reason, nor yet a god or gods, nor any intelligent and invisible powers, but only the visible Sun. Wherefore also they referred the cause of the universe to the heavenly bodies alone, making all depend on fate, and the movement and course of the stars, as in fact this opinion has prevailed among them until now.
§ 3.4.3 If therefore all is interpreted by the Egyptians of the visible elements of the world alone, and nothing of incorporeal and living beings, and if the elements and all visible bodies are by their own account inanimate and irrational, and in their nature fleeting and perishable, — see into what difficulties their theology has fallen again, in deifying inanimate substance and dead and irrational bodies, especially since they referred nothing to incorporeal and intelligent beings, nor to a mind and reason creating the universe.
§ 3.4.4 But since it was acknowledged in the passages before quoted that their theological doctrines had been brought over to the Greeks from the Egyptians, it is time that the Greeks also should take their place with them, and give the same physiological explanations as the Egyptians, and be convicted of deifying nothing more than inanimate matter. For such were the august deities of the Egyptians according to the description of the writer before mentioned, who again, in the work which he entitled On Abstinence from Animal Food, gives such details as the following concerning the same people:
'Starting from this discipline and intimacy with the deity, they judged that the divine pervaded not man only, nor did soul tabernacle upon earth in man alone, but all animals were pervaded by almost the same kind of soul. Wherefore they admitted every animal into their manufacture of gods, and mixed up beasts and men just alike, and also the bodies of birds and men.
'For with them there is a figure represented like a man up to the neck, but having the face of a bird or a lion or some other animal: and, on the other hand again, the head of a man and members of some other animals, set partly below, and partly above. And hereby they indicate that according to the mind of the gods these animals also are associated one with another, and that it is not without a divine purpose that the wild beasts are bred up with us and tamed.
'Hence also the lion is worshipped as a god, and a division of Egypt which they call a Nome has from the lion the name Leonto-polites, and another, from the cow, Busirites, and another, from the dog, Cynopolites. For the power which is over all they worshipped through the associated animals which each of the gods had given them.
'Water and fire, the most beautiful of the elements, they reverence as being chief causes of our preservation, and exhibit them also in their temples; as, I believe, even now at the opening of the sanctuary of Serapis the worship is performed by means of fire and water, the precentor pouring out the water and exhibiting the fire, whenever he stands upon the threshold and wakes the god in the native language of the Egyptians.
'They reverence, therefore, these elements that bear a part in the sacrifices, and above these they reverence most highly the things which are more fully associated with the sacrifices: and such are all living beings, for in the village Anabis they even worship a man, and sacrifice is there offered to him, and the victims are consumed by fire upon the altars: and yet presently he would eat the proper things prepared for him as a man. As, therefore, we ought to abstain from eating man's flesh, so we should abstain from the flesh of other animals.
'But further out of their abundant wisdom and their familiarity with the divine, they perceived that certain animals were more dear than men to certain of their gods, a hawk, for instance, to the Sun, as having its whole nature made up of blood and breath, and feding pity even for man, and shrieking over an exposed corpse, and scraping up earth over it.'
§ 3.4.5 A little further on he says:
'An ignorant person might detest a beetle, being without judgement in things divine: but the Egyptians reverenced it, as a living image of the sun. For every beetle is male, and deposits his spawn in a marsh, and having made it into a ball carries it back with his hind feet, as the sun does the heaven, and waits a lunar period of days.
'In like manner they make some philosophic explanation concerning the ram, and another concerning the crocodile, and the vulture and the ibis, and generally as to each of the animals; so that out of their wisdom and their superior knowledge of things divine, they attained even to the worship of animals.'
§ 3.5.1 SUCH are the statements set forth concerning the noble physiology of the wise Egyptians by the above-mentioned author, who has made their secrets clear to us, namely that they worship water and fire, and that the essential nature of rational and irrational animals, not in body only but also in soul, is judged among them to be one and the same, so that he thinks they have called the beasts gods with good reason.
§ 3.5.2 Yet must it not be most unreasonable to admit the irrational and bestial nature to deification, on the ground, as they say, of participation in the same kind of soul with men? For they ought, if so, to have regarded them also as men, and given them a share of human glory and honour.
§ 3.5.3 This, however, they did not; but the beasts which were created by nature itself irrational, and have received this appellation, and not even been thought worthy of the title of men, they chose to accept, on no mere equality with men; but taking the highest title of God the universal King and Creator of all things, they have degraded it to the nature of beasts, and bestowed the title of gods upon things which have not been deemed worthy by God Himself even of the title of man.
§ 3.5.4 In addition to this, you have heard the mystic theosophy, which led the wonderful sages of Egypt to worship wolves and dogs and lions: you have learnt also the miracle of the beetle, and the virtue of the hawk. Laugh not then in future at their gods, but pity the thrice wretched human race for their great folly and blindness.
§ 3.5.5 Moreover, consider all things carefully, and see what blessings God's Christ came to bestow on us, since through His teaching in the Gospel he has redeemed even the souls of Egyptians from such a disease of lasting and long continued blindness, so that now most of the people of Egypt have been freed from this insanity.
§ 3.6.1 SUCH then were the notions received among the Egyptians, which are recorded as more ancient than all the doctrines of the Greeks. Therefore, you have in addition to the mythical theology that of a more physical character common to Greeks and Egyptians, who devised of old the superstition of polytheism; and you have learnt that among them nothing at all was known of the truly divine, incorporeal, and intelligent natures.
§ 3.6.2 However, let it be granted and allowed to these stargazers that they speak truth and are right in their physical explanation of the allegories; and let their sun become now Apollo, and now again Horus, and the same sun again Osiris, and numberless other things, as many as they would wish; and the moon in like manner either Isis or Artemis, or as many names as any one would choose to enumerate. For grant that these are not names indicative of mortal men, but of the real celestial luminaries: we should then have to worship the sun and the moon and the stars and the other parts of the cosmos as gods.
§ 3.6.3 In this way, therefore, the noble philosophy of the Greeks appears as it were 'ex machina,' on the one hand highly exalting the promise of the word, but on the other lowering the thought of the wise down to the sensible and visible workmanship of God, and deifying, through the celestial luminaries, nothing else than fire, and the nature of heat, and the parts of the cosmos, to which we may add the liquid and the solid elements and the composition of bodies.
§ 3.6.4 Must not then the gospel of Jesus our Saviour, the Christ of God, be great and admirable, as teaching all mankind to worship with befitting thoughts the God and Lord of sun and moon, and Maker of the whole cosmos, who is Himself high above and beyond the universe, and to celebrate in hymns not the elements of bodies, but Him who is the sustainer of life itself, and dispenser of all good things? For that gospel teaches us not to stand in awe of the visible parts of the cosmos and all that can be apprehended by fleshly sense, as they must be of perishable nature; but to marvel only at the mind which in all these exists unseen, and which creates both the whole and each several part; and to regard as God one sole Divine Power pervading and ordering all things, being in its nature incorporeal and intelligent, or rather impossible to describe and to conceive, which shows itself through all things whereby it works, and incorporeally pervades and traverses them all without intermixture, and throughout all things, not only in heaven but also upon earth, both the universal elements and the several parts, exhibits the perpetual mighty working of the Godhead, and presides over all in a manner which our sight and sense cannot perceive, and governs the whole cosmos by laws of ineffable wisdom.
§ 3.6.5 After we have given so many proofs in confutation of their inconsistent theology, both the more mythical so-called, and that which is forsooth of a higher and more physical kind which the ancient Greeks and Egyptians were shown to magnify, it is time to survey also the refinements of the younger generations who make a profession of philosophy in our own time: for these have endeavoured to combine the doctrines concerning a creative mind of the universe, and those concerning incorporeal ideas and intelligent and rational powers, — doctrines invented long ages afterwards by Plato, and thought out with accurate reasonings, — with the theology of the ancients, exaggerating with yet greater conceit their promise concerning the legends. Listen then to their physiology also, and observe with what boastfulness it has been published by Porphyry.
§ 3.7.1 [PORPHYRY] 'I speak to those who lawfully may hear:
Depart all ye profane, and close the doors.
'THE thoughts of a wise theology, wherein men indicated God and God's powers by images akin to sense, and sketched invisible things in visible forms, I will show to those who have learned to read from the statues as from books the things there written concerning the gods. Nor is it any wonder that the utterly unlearned regard the statues as wood and stone, just as also those who do not understand the written letters look upon the monuments as mere stones, and on the tablets as bits of wood, and on books as woven papyrus.'
§ 3.7.2 After such proud boasting by way of prelude, hear how he goes on next to write, word for word:
'As the deity is of the nature of light, and dwells in an atmosphere of ethereal fire, and is invisible to sense that is busy about mortal life, He through translucent matter, as crystal or Parian marble or even ivory, led men on to the conception of his light, and through material gold to the discernment of the fire, and to his undefiled purity, because gold cannot be defiled.
'On the other hand, black marble was used by many to show his invisibility; and they moulded their gods in human form because the deity is rational, and made these beautiful, because in those is pure and perfect beauty; and in varieties of shape and age, of sitting and standing, and drapery; and some of them male, and some female, virgins, and youths, or married, to represent their diversity.
'Hence they assigned everything white to the gods of heaven, and the sphere and all things spherical to the cosmos and to the sun and moon in particular, but sometimes also to fortune and to hope: and the circle and things circular to eternity, and to the motion of the heaven, and to the zones and cycles therein; and the segments of circles to the phases of the moon; pyramids and obelisks to the element of fire, and therefore to the gods of Olympus; so again the cone to the sun, and cylinder to the earth, and figures representing parts of the human body to sowing and generation.'
§ 3.7.3 These are the statements of this wonderful philosopher: and what could be more unseemly than talking, as they do, in solemn phrase about shameful things? Or what more violently unreasonable than to assert that lifeless materials, gold, and marble, and such like, bear representations of the light of the gods, and manifestations of their heavenly and ethereal nature? That these are modern sophistries, and never entered, even in a drearn, into the imagination of the ancients, you may learn, on being informed that statues made of gold, and other material esteemed more precious, were even rejected among the men of former times. Plutarch, at all events, speaks somewhere thus, word for word:
§ 3.8.1 [PLUTARCH] 'THE making of wooden statues seems to be a primitive and ancient custom, inasmuch as the first image sent to Delos by Erysichthon for Apollo at the time of the religious embassies was of wood; also the image of Athena Polias was of wood, which was set up by the aborigines, and which the Athenians carefully preserve to the present day. The Samians also had a wooden figure of Hera, as Callimachus says:
No polish'd work of Smilis thou, but plank
Untouch'd by chisel, as by ancient rule
They made their gods: so Danaus of plain wood
Athena's seated form in Lindus set.
'And it is said that Peiras, who first founded the temple of Hera in Argolis, and appointed his own daughter Callithyia priestess, cut down a tall pear-tree from the wood about Tiryns, and formed a statue of Hera. For stone being rough and hard to work, and lifeless, they were not willing to have it carved into a likeness of a deity: and gold and silver they thought to be sickly colours and stains breaking out like bruises from a barren and corrupt soil which had been stricken by fire: but sometimes in sport they made use of ivory also, as a variation in luxury.'
§ 3.8.2 So says Plutarch; and long before him Plato knew well that there is nothing venerable nor suited to the divine nature in gold and ivory, and things manufactured out of lifeless material: for hear what sort of directions he gives in the Laws:
'The land, therefore, and the household hearth are for all men temples of all the gods; wherefore let no man consecrate temples a second time to the gods. In other cities gold and silver, whether in private houses or in temples, are an invidious possession; and ivory taken from a dead body is not a pure offering; iron also and bronze are implements of war.' Now I think these passages contain a clear refutation of the physical explanation which was put forward: but let us go on and examine the remainder of it. Hear then how he talks:
§ 3.9.1 [PORPHYRY] 'Now look at the wisdom of the Greeks, and examine it as follows. The authors of the Orphic hymns supposed Zeus to be the mind of the world, and that he created all things therein, containing the world in himself. Therefore in their theological systems they have handed down their opinions concerning him thus:
Zeus was the first, Zeus last, the lightning's lord,
Zeus head, Zeus centre, all things are from Zeus.
Zeus born a male, Zeus virgin undefiled;
Zeus the firm base of earth and starry heaven;
Zeus sovereign, Zeus alone first cause of all:
One power divine, great ruler of the world,
One kingly form, encircling all things here,
Fire, water, earth, and ether, night and day;
Wisdom, first parent, and delightful Love:
For in Zeus' mighty body these all lie.
His head and beauteous face the radiant heaven
Reveals, and round him float in shining waves
The golden tresses of the twinkling stars.
On either side bulls' horns of gold are seen,
Sunrise and sunset, footpaths of the gods.
His eyes the Sun, the Moon's responsive light;
His mind immortal ether, sovereign truth,
Hears and considers all; nor any speech,
Nor cry, nor noise, nor ominous voice escapes
The ear of Zeus, great Kronos' mightier son:
Such his immortal head, and such his thought.
His radiant body, boundless, undisturbed
In strength of mighty limbs was formed thus:
The god's broad-spreading shoulders, breast, and back
Air's wide expanse displays; on either side
Grow wings, wherewith throughout all space he flies.
Earth the all-mother, with her lofty hills,
His sacred belly forms; the swelling flood
Of hoarse resounding Ocean girds his waist.
His feet the deeply rooted ground upholds,
And dismal Tartarus, and earth's utmost bounds.
All things he hides, then from his heart again
In godlike action brings to gladsome light.
'Zeus, therefore, is the whole world, animal of animals, and god of gods; but Zeus, that is, inasmuch as he is the mind from which he brings forth all things, and by his thoughts creates them. When the theologians had explained the nature of god in this manner, to make an image such as their description indicated was neither possible, nor, if any one thought of it, could he show the look of life, and intelligence, and forethought by the figure of a sphere.
'But they have made the representation of Zeus in human form, because mind was that according to which he wrought, and by generative laws brought all things to completion; and he is seated, as indicating the steadfastness of his power: and his upper parts are bare, because he is manifested in the intellectual and the heavenly parts of the world; but his feet are clothed, because he is invisible in the things that lie hidden below. And he holds his sceptre in his left hand, because most close to that side of the body dwells the heart, the most commanding and intelligent organ: for the creative mind is the sovereign of the world. And in his right hand he holds forth either an eagle, because he is master of the gods who traverse the air, as the eagle is master of the birds that fly aloft — or a victory, because he is himself victorious over all things.'
§ 3.9.2 These things Porphyry tells you: and after they have been delivered in the manner already stated, it will be well to examine quietly and at leisure what after all the verses declare Zeus to be. I for my part think they make him to be none else than the visible world consisting of many various parts, both of those in heaven and in the ether, and of the stars which appear therein, — these being set first as in the head of a great body, — and also of the parts that lie in the air, and earth, and sea, and the like.
§ 3.9.3 Certainly the earth and mountains and hills are parts of the world, and the sea is rolled round in the midst of them like a girdle, and fire also and water, and night and day must be parts of the same nature of the world. These things I suppose to indicate directly the visible world, unless I am somewhat mistaken, and to show us the universe made up of various parts. He says at all events:
'For in Zeus' mighty body these all lie.'
§ 3.9.4 And what 'these all' are, he clearly states:
'Fire, water, earth, and ether, night and day.
His head and beauteous face the radiant heaven
Reveals, and round him float in shining waves
The golden tresses of the twinkling stars.'
§ 3.9.5 In the verses that follow these, he adds the statement that the mind of Zeus is the ether and nothing else, in agreement with the Stoics, who assert that the element of fire and heat is the ruling principle of the world, and that god is a body, and the Creator himself nothing else than the force of fire. For in this same sense I think it is said in the verses:
'His mind immortal ether, sovereign truth,
Hears and considers all.'
§ 3.9.6 Wherein without any concealment he supposed the world to be a great animal, and calling it Zeus, he represented the ether as his mind, and the remaining parts of the world as his body. Such is found to be the Zeus depicted by the verses. And the interpreter of the poem begins by saying, in accordance with the same, 'Zeus, therefore, is the whole world, animal of animals, god of gods;' thus clearly explaining that the Zeus of his theology is shown by the poem to be no other than the visible and sensible world.
§ 3.9.7 Now the doctrine was that of the Egyptians, from whom Orpheus took his theology, and thought that the world was the god composed of many gods who were parts of himself (for they were shown in what goes before to have also deified the parts of the world); and the statements which have been quoted from the verses declared nothing more than this.
§ 3.9.8 But Porphyry after his first interpretation adds another of his own, asserting that the God who is the Maker of the world is this creative mind which has been deified by the poet.
§ 3.9.9 But how could the poet, whether he were the Thracian Orpheus or any one else, deify just this mind, of which he never knew any thing at all, if indeed his theological doctrines came to him from the Egyptians or from the primitive Greeks? For these were proved to have understood nothing ideal or comprised in invisible and incorporeal essence, if Plato's assurance may suffice us, when in the Cratylus he admits 'that the first race of men in Greece believed only in these same gods which many of the barbarians believe in now, sun, and moon, and earth, and stars, and heaven.'
§ 3.9.10 We had also just now Chaeremon as a witness that the Egyptians believed in nothing previous to the visible world, 'nor in any other gods except the planets' and other stars, and interpreted all things in reference to the visible parts of the world, 'and nothing to incorporeal and living beings.'
§ 3.10.1 THESE then being the principles from which the poet started, whence, or how, or from whom did he receive the conception in his verses of the God who is above and beyond the world, and is the Maker of sun, and moon and stars, and of the heaven itself and the whole world?
§ 3.10.2 And whence did he get his knowledge of things incorporeal?
§ 3.10.3 Nay, of these things he knows nothing; for neither does the creative mind of the universe consist of many parts, nor can, the heaven be its head, nor fire and water and earth its body, nor yet sun and moon its eyes. And how can 'the wide expanse of air, and earth, and lofty hills' be the shoulders, and breast, and back, and belly, of the Divine Creator of the universe? Or how can the ether ever be thought of as the mind of the Maker of the universe, or of the creative mind?
§ 3.10.4 There is no need, then, to argue further that these are sophistic devices of the interpreter of the poem. For my part, indeed, I say that the man who asserts that the parts of the world are parts of God is guilty of the utmost impiety, and still more he who declared that God is the same as the world, and besides these the man who thinks that the creator of the universe is the mind of the world.
§ 3.10.5 For piety declares that He is the Maker and Preserver of the world, being distinct from that which He has made: but to say that He is the mind of the world, just like the soul of some animal, made altogether one therewith, and clothed with the universe, must pass the bounds of reverence.
§ 3.10.6 Yet certainly our sacred oracles teach us that He is present with the whole, and governs the world by His providence, and they speak of God in a worthy and becoming manner when they say: 'Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.' And again: 'He is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath.' And again: 'For in Him we live, and move, and have our being;' not, however, as in a part of the world, nor as in its soul and mind.
§ 3.10.7 But if there is occasion to use a simile, the sacred word somewhere exclaims in a manner more worthy of God and akin to truth: 'The heaven is My throne, and the earth is the footstool of My feet.'
§ 3.10.8 For if it was necessary to personify God at all in human language, mark the difference in the theology. For He who called the heaven His throne set apart God the universal Monarch above the throne and far higher than the universe, and yet did not sever the earth from His providence; for He teaches that the providential powers of His Godhead condescend even to things here below, and therefore He says: 'The earth is the footstool of My feet.'
§ 3.10.9 But neither the footstool, nor yet the throne, is the body of Him that is seated there, nor could ever be called parts of Him. And he who said that the heaven and the things therein are the head of god, and the ether his mind, and the other parts of the world his limbs and body, is convicted of knowing neither creator nor god.
§ 3.10.10 For he could not create himself, nor, since the ether was his mind, could he still himself be called mind. What sort of god too would he be. whose members were the earth and the mountains on the earth, mere senseless heaps of corporeal atoms? How too can it be reasonable to proclaim as god the kinsman and brother of fire, and air, and water, products of senseless and perishing matter?
§ 3.10.11 If, again, the mind of Zeus was nothing else except the aforesaid ether, and if ether is the highest and most fiery kind of air, and has received this name, as they say, from ἄθεσθαι, which means 'to be on fire,' and if both the air and the ether are material substances, see to what your mind of Zeus has come down.
§ 3.10.12 And who in his right senses would still address as god him who had a mind devoid of mind and of reason, since such is the nature of every material body? Wherefore we in our thoughts of God must receive the entire contrary to the doctrines which have been mentioned; that He is not the heaven, nor ether, nor sun, nor moon, nor the whole choir of the stars, nor the whole world itself together: but these are works of His hands, still small and petty in comparison with His incorporeal and intelligent powers: because all body is perishable and irrational, and such is the nature of things visible. But the things beyond in the invisible world being rational and immortal, and co-eternal with the blessed life of God the King of all, must be far better than all the things that are seen.
§ 3.10.13 Rightly therefore do the sacred oracles teach us concerning the visible parts of the world as follows: 'I will behold the heavens, the works of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained.' And again: 'Thou Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands.'.' And again: 'Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created all these.'
§ 3.10.14 Let this, then, suffice for answer to the first interpretation of the poem; and let us go on to examine what follows. Since it was not possible, he says, 'to make such an image as their description indicated, therefore they have made the representation of Zeus in human form, because it was according to mind that he wrought, and by generative laws brought all things to completion.'
§ 3.10.15 But how, if it was not possible to make an image such as the description indicated, and if, as we have seen, it indicated the parts of the sensible and visible world, heaven and the things in heaven, the air also, and earth, and all that is therein — if then, I say, it was not possible to compose an image of the visible parts of the world, how, inasmuch as god was mind, could any one make an image of him?
§ 3.10.16 And what likeness can a human body have to the mind of God? For my part I think there is nothing in it answering even to the mind of man, since the one is incorporeal, uncompounded, and without parts, while the other, being the work of common mechanics, is the imitation of the nature of a mortal body, and represents a deaf and dumb image of living flesh in lifeless and dead matter.
§ 3.10.17 Rather does the rational and immortal soul and the impassible mind in man's nature seem to me to be rightly spoken of as preserving an image and likeness of God, inasmuch as it is immaterial and incorporeal, and intelligent and rational in its essence, and is capable of virtue and wisdom.
§ 3.10.18 If then any one were able to fabricate an image and form of the soul in a statue, such a man might also make some representation of the higher natures; but if the mind of man is without form and cannot be seen or figured, neither discernible by sight, nor in its essence comprehensible by speech and hearing, who would be so mad as to declare that the statue made in the likeness of man bears the form and image of the Most High, God?
§ 3.10.19 Rather is God's nature imagined apart from all perishable matter, being contemplated by purified souls in lucid thought and in silence: whereas, in the representation of the visible Zeus, the figure must be an image of a man of mortal nature, yet not an imitation of the whole man, but of one and that the worse part of him, because it conveys not a trace of life and soul.
§ 3.10.20 How then can the God who is over all, and the mind which is the creator of the universe, be that same Zeus who is seen in the bronze or in the dead ivory? And how could the mind that was the creator of the universe be forsooth that very Zeus, the father of Hercules by Alcmena, and of the other men fabled to be sons of Zeus, who, having ended their mortal life in the way common to all men, have left indelible monuments of their proper nature to those who came after them?
§ 3.10.21 Accordingly, the first theologians among the Phoenicians, as we showed in the first Book, related that Zeus the son of Kronos, mortal son of mortal father, was a Phoenician by race: while the Egyptians, claiming the man as their own, confessed again that he was mortal, and agreed in this point at least with the Phoenicians.
§ 3.10.22 But further the Cretans, showing the grave of Zeus in their midst, would be third witnesses of the same fact. The Atlantians also, and all who have been previously mentioned as claiming Zeus for their own according to their native history, all alike declared him mortal, and recorded his deeds as those of a mortal man, but not deeds of a respectable or philosophic kind, being full of all indecency and wantonness.
§ 3.10.23 To those who have professed to give a more respectable turn to the legends Zeus was at one time a hot and fiery force, and at another the wind: but now, somehow or other they have made him appear as the creative mind of the universe.
§ 3.10.24 We must inquire, therefore, whom would they name as his father, and his father's father? For according to all the theologians Zeus is acknowledged to be the son of Kronos, and the verses of Orpheus before quoted made mention of 'the mighty son of Kronos': and Kronos was son of Uranus. Let us, therefore, grant to them that Zeus is the god over all, and the mind which created all. Who then was his father? Kronos. And who his grandfather? Uranus.
§ 3.10.25 But if Zeus as creator of all was before all, then those who were made by him ought to be counted as second and after him. For if either Kronos be time, as being by nature the offspring of heaven, that is of Uranus, or if time came into existence together with heaven, or if Uranus himself was the father of Kronos, and time subsequent to this latter, at all events the god who was the cause of the universe and creator of heaven and of time, was before them. And if so, Zeus could not be the third from Uranus.
§ 3.10.26 How then, among all Egyptians, and Phoenicians, and Greeks, and philosophers, is the mind that created the universe reckoned third in descent from Uranus? So the fiction of our philosopher is plainly detected, and will be still more fully detected from what he goes on to say, as follows.
§ 3.11.2 The poem quoted above declared that the ether is the mind of Zeus: but now our author's statement defines what the ether is, by saying that it is a very subtle air: but the air is body, and the ether a much more primitive kind of body.
§ 3.11.3 The mind, then, of Zeus is proved to be body, although the very subtlest kind of body. But how can body and mind be conceived the same, since in their natures they are diametrically opposed?
§ 3.11.4 Then somehow he has forgotten the express statement of the poems —
'His mind immortal ether, sovereign truth,
Hears and considers all; nor any speech,
Nor cry, nor noise, nor ominous voice escapes
The ear of Zeus, great Kronos' mightier son' —
§ 3.11.5 for hereby the ether is plainly declared to be the mind of Zeus.
§ 3.11.7 [PORPHYRY] 'And the power of the whole air is Hera, called by a name derived from the air: but the symbol of the sublunar air which is affected by light and darkness is Leto; for she is oblivion caused by the insensibility in sleep, and because souls begotten below the moon are accompanied by forgetfulness of the Divine; and on this account she is also the mother of Apollo and Artemis, who are the sources of light for the night.'
§ 3.11.8 Now here he says that the sublunar air is the mother of sun and moon, because the air is Leto. But how could the air become the mother of the sources of illumination, being itself acted on rather than acting? For sun and moon, produce different changes in the air at different times.
§ 3.11.9 But again, he next proceeds to say:
'The ruling principle of the power of earth is called Hestia, of whom a statue representing her as a virgin is usually set up on the hearth; but inasmuch as the power is productive, they symbolize her by the form of a woman with prominent breasts. The name Rhea they gave to the power of rocky and mountainous land, and Demeter to that of level and productive land. Demeter in other respects is the same as Rhea, but differs in the fact that she gives birth to Kore by Zeus, that is, she produces the shoot (κόρος) from the seeds of plants. And on this account her statue is crowned with ears of corn, and poppies are set round her as a symbol of productiveness.'
§ 3.11.10 Now here again mark in what manner he has degraded Rhea, who is said to be the Mother of the Gods and of Zeus himself, down to the level of rocks and earth, and makes utter confusion by saying that she is the same with Demeter, except that she differs 'in the fact that Demeter (he says) gives birth to Kore by Zeus, just as the level ground produces the shoot (κόρος) from the seeds of plants. 'Behold, here again you have Zeus transformed into the seeds of plants!
§ 3.11.11 To this he next adds a further statement:
'But since there was in the seeds cast into the earth a certain power, which the sun in passing round to the lower hemisphere drags down at the time of the winter solstice, Kore is the seminal power, and Pluto the sun passing under the earth, and traversing the unseen world at the time of the winter solstice; and he is said to carry off Kore, who, while hidden beneath the earth, is lamented by her mother Demeter.
'The power which produces hard-shelled fruits, and the fruits of plants in general, is named Dionysus. But observe the images of these also. For Kore bears symbols of the production of the plants which grow above the earth in the crops: and Dionysus has horns in common with Kore, and is of female form, indicating the union of male and female forces in the generation of the hard-shelled fruits.
'But Pluto, the ravisher of Kore, has a helmet as a symbol of the unseen pole, and his shortened sceptre as an emblem of his kingdom of the nether world; and his dog (κύων) indicates the generation (κύησιν) of the fruits in its threefold division — the sowing of the seed, its reception by the earth, its growing up. For he is called a dog (κύων), not because souls are his food (κῆρας βοράν, Cerberus), but because of the earth's fertility (κυεῖν), for which Pluto provides when he carries off Kore.
'Attis, too, and Adonis are related to the analogy of fruits. Attis is the symbol of the blossoms which appear early in the spring, and fall off before the complete fertilization; whence they further attributed castration to him, from the fruits not having attained to seminal perfection: but Adonis was the symbol of the cutting of the perfect fruits.
'Silenus was the symbol of the wind's motion, which contributes no few benefits to the world. And the flowery and brilliant wreath upon his head is symbolic of the revolution of the heaven, and the hair with which his lower limbs are surrounded is an indication of the density of the air near the earth.
'Since there was also a power partaking of the prophetic faculty, the power is called Themis, because of its telling what is appointed (τεθειμένα) and fixed for each person.
'In all these ways, then, the power of the earth finds an interpretation and is worshipped: as a virgin and Hestia, she holds the centre; as a mother she nourishes; as Rhea she makes rocks and dwells on mountains; as Demeter, she produces herbage; and as Themis, she utters oracles: while the seminal law which descends into her bosom is figured as Priapus, the influence of which on dry crops is called Kore, and on soft fruits and shell-fruits is called Dionysus. For Kore was carried off by Pluto, that is, the sun going down beneath the earth at seed-time; but Dionysus begins to sprout according to the conditions of the power which, while young, is hidden beneath the earth, yet produces fine fruits, and is an ally of the power in the blossom symbolized by Attis, and of the cutting of the ripened corn symbolized by Adonis.
'Also the power of the wind which pervades all things is formed into a figure of Silenus, and the perversion to frenzy into a figure of a Bacchante, as also the impulse which excites to lust is represented by the Satyrs. These, then, are the symbols by which the power of the earth is revealed.'
§ 3.11.12 So far, then, we have these statements (of Porphyry), which I have been compelled to set before you briefly, in order that we may not be ignorant of the fine doctrines of the philosophers. Thus, therefore, according to the accounts rendered by them, Kore is the power of the seed-crops, and Dionysus of the tree-fruits, and of the spring-flowers Attis is the symbol, and Adonis of the ripe fruits.
§ 3.11.13 Why then ought we to deify these things which have been made by the God of the universe for sustenance of the bodies of the animals upon the earth? Or why is the worship of the power of the earth becoming to us, who have received from God, the sovereign ruler of the world, a soul whose nature is heavenly, rational, and immortal, capable of contemplation by the purged eyes of thought?
§ 3.11.14 On hearing that Silenus is the motion of the wind, and the force which penetrates through all things, and that at one time he represents by his head the revolution of the heavens, and at another the density of the air by the shaggy hair of his beard, how can one patiently endure to see him thought worthy of no august worship, who ought to have been deified before all, while Adonis and Dionysus, the corn-crops forsooth and tree-fruits, are turned into gods?
§ 3.11.15 And who could patiently bear to hear Satyrs and Bacchantes spoken of with reverence, which are the foul and licentious passions of mankind, inasmuch as the former, the Satyrs, represented the impulses which excite to carnal pleasure, and the Bacchantes the inducements which concur to frenzy in those who take part herein?
§ 3.11.16 But what need to refute each part separately, when we ought merely to run over them so that none of their secrets may escape us, and to cut short the physical explanation of what follows, which the author before named has set forth, proceeding in the following manner:
'The whole power productive of water they called Oceanus, and named its symbolic figure Tethys. But of the whole, the drinking-water produced is called Achelous; and the sea-water Poseidon; while again that which makes the sea, inasmuch as it is productive, is Amphitrite. Of the sweet waters the particular powers are called Nymphs, and those of the sea-waters Nereids.
'Again, the power of fire they called Hephaestus, and have made his image in the form of a man, but put on it a blue cap as a symbol of the revolution of the heavens, because the archetypal and purest form of lire is there. But the fire brought down from heaven to earth is less intense, and wants the strengthening and support which is found in matter: wherefore he is lame, as needing matter to support him.
'Also they supposed a power of this kind to belong to the sun and called it Apollo, from the pulsation (πάλσις) of his beams. There are also nine Muses singing to his lyre, which are the sublunar sphere, and seven spheres of the planets, and one of the fixed stars. And they crowned him with laurel, partly because the plant is full of fire, and therefore hated by daemons; and partly because it crackles in burning, to represent the god's prophetic art.
'But inasmuch as the sun wards off the evils of the earth, they called him Heracles (Ἑρακλῆς), from his clashing against the air (κλᾶσθαι πρὸς τὸν ἀέρα) in passing from east to west. And they invented fables of his performing twelve labours, as the symbol of the division of the signs of the zodiac in heaven; and they arrayed him with a club and a lion's skin, the one as an indication of his uneven motion, and the other representative of his strength in Leo the sign of the zodiac.
'Of the sun's healing power Asclepius is the symbol, and to him they have given the staff as a sign of the support and rest of the sick, and the serpent is wound round it, as significant of his preservation of body and soul: for the animal is most full of spirit, and shuffles off the weakness of the body. It seems also to have a great faculty for healing: for it found the remedy for giving clear sight, and is said in a legend to know a certain plant which restores life.
'But the fiery power of his revolving and circling motion, whereby he ripens the crops, is called Dionysus, not in the same sense as the power which produces the juicy fruits, but either from the sun's rotation (δινεῖν), or from his completing (διανύειν) his orbit in the heaven. And whereas he revolves round the cosmical seasons (Spas), and is the maker of times and tides, the sun is on this account called Horus.
'Of his power over agriculture, whereon depend the gifts of wealth (Plutus), the symbol is Pluto. He has, however, equally the power of destroying, on which account they make Sarapis share the temple of Pluto: and the purple tunic they make the symbol of the light that has sunk beneath the earth, and the sceptre broken at the top that of his power below, and the posture of the hand the symbol of his departure into the unseen world.
'Cerberus is represented with three heads, because the positions of the sun above the earth are three — rising, midday, and setting.
'The moon, conceived according to her brightness, they called Artemis, as it were ἀερότεμις, cutting the air. And Artemis, though herself a virgin, presides over childbirth, because the power of the new moon is helpful to parturition.
'What Apollo is to the sun, that Athena is to the moon: for the moon is a symbol of wisdom, and so a kind of Athena.
'But, again, the moon is Hecate, the symbol of her varying phases and of her power dependent on the phases. Wherefore her power appears in three forms, having as symbol of the new moon the figure in the white robe and golden sandals, and torches lighted: the basket, which she bears when she has mounted high, is the symbol of the cultivation of the crops, which she makes to grow up according to the increase of her light: and again the symbol of the full moon is the goddess of the brazen sandals.
'Or even from the branch of olive one might infer her fiery nature, and from the poppy her productiveness, and the multitude of the souls who find an abode in her as in a city, for the poppy is an emblem of a city. She bears a bow, like Artemis, because of the sharpness of the pangs of labour.
'And, again, the Fates are referred, to her powers, Clotho to the generative, and Lachesis to the nutritive, and Atropos to the inexorable will of the deity.
'Also, the power productive of corn-crops, which is Demeter, they associate with her, as producing power in her. The moon is also a supporter of Kore. They set Dionysus also beside her, both on account of their growth of horns, and because of the region of clouds lying beneath the lower world.
'The power of Kronos they perceived to be sluggish and slow and cold, and therefore attributed to him the power of time (χρόνου): and they figure him standing, and grey-headed, to indicate that time is growing old.
'The Curetes, attending on Chronos, are symbols of the seasons, because time (Chronos) journeys on through seasons.
'Of the Hours, some are the Olympian, belonging to the sun, which also open the gates in the air: and others are earthly, belonging to Demeter, and hold a basket, one symbolic of the flowers of spring, and the other of the wheat-ears of summer.
'The power of Ares they perceived to be fiery, and represented it as causing war and bloodshed, and capable both of harm and benefit.
'The star of Aphrodite they observed as tending to fecundity, being the cause of desire and offspring, and represented it as a woman because of generation, and as beautiful, because it is also the evening star —
Hesper, the fairest star that shines in heaven.
'And Eros they set by her because of desire. She veils her breasts and other parts, because their power is the source of generation and nourishment. She conies from the sea, a watery element, and warm, and in constant movement, and foaming because of its commotion, whereby they intimate the seminal power.
'Hermes is the representative of reason and speech, which both accomplish and interpret all things. The phallic Hermes represents vigour, but also indicates the generative law that pervades all things.
'Further, reason is composite: in the sun it is called Hermes; in the moon Hecate; and that which is in the All Hermopan, for the generative and creative reason extends over all things. Hermanubis also is composite, and as it were half Greek, being found among the Egyptians also. Since speech is also connected with the power of love, Eros represents this power: wherefore Eros is represented as the son of Hermes, but as an infant, because of his sudden impulses of desire.
'They made Pan the symbol of the universe, and gave him his horns as symbols of sun and moon, and the fawn skin as emblem of the stars in heaven, or of the variety of the universe.'
§ 3.11.17 Such are his interpretations of the Greek mythology: that of the Egyptians again he says has symbols such as follow:
'The Demiurge, whom the Egyptians call Cneph, is of human form, but with a skin of dark blue, holding a girdle and a sceptre, and crowned with a royal wing on his head, because reason is hard to discover, and wrapt up in secret, and not conspicuous, and because it is life-giving, and because it is a king, and because it has an intelligent motion: wherefore the characteristic wing is put upon his head.
'This god, they say, puts forth from his mouth an egg, from which is born a god who is called by themselves Phtha, but by the Greeks Hephaestus; and the egg they interpret as the world. To this god the sheep is consecrated, because the ancients used to drink milk.
'The representation of the world itself they figured thus: the statue is like a man having feet joined together, and clothed from head to foot with a robe of many colours, and has on the head a golden sphere, the first to represent its immobility, the second the many-coloured nature of the stars, and the third because the world is spherical.
'The sun they indicate sometimes by a man embarked on a ship, the ship set on a crocodile. And the ship indicates the sun's motion in a liquid element: the crocodile potable water in which the sun travels. The figure of the sun thus signified that his revolution takes place through air that is liquid and sweet.
'The power of the earth, both the celestial and terrestrial earth, they called Isis, because of the equality (ἰσότητα), which is the source of justice: but they call the moon the celestial earth, and the vegetative earth, on which we live, they call the terrestrial.
'Demeter has the same meaning among the Greeks as Isis among the Egyptians: and, again, Kore and Dionysus among the Greeks the same as Isis and Osiris among the Egyptians. Isis is that which nourishes and raises up the fruits of the earth; and Osiris among the Egyptians is that which supplies the fructifying power, which they propitiate with lamentations as it disappears into the earth in the sowing, and as it is consumed by us for food.
'Osiris is also taken for the river-power of the Nile: when, however, they signify the terrestrial earth, Osiris is taken as the fructifying power; but when the celestial, Osiris is the Nile, which they suppose to come down from heaven: this also they bewail, in order to propitiate the power when failing and becoming exhausted. And the Isis who, in the legends, is wedded to Osiris is the land of Egypt, and therefore she is made equal to him, and conceives, and produces the fruits; and on this account Osiris has been described by tradition as the husband of Isis, and her brother, and her son.'
§ 3.12.1 [PORPHYRY] 'AT the city Elephantine there is an image worshipped, which in other respects is fashioned in the likeness of a man and sitting; it is of a blue colour, and has a man's head, and a diadem bearing the horns of a goat, above which is a quoit-shaped circle. He sits with a vessel of clay beside him, on which he is moulding the figure of a man. And from having the face of a ram and the horns of a goat he indicates the conjunction of sun and moon in the sign of the Ram, while the colour of blue indicates that the moon in that conjunction brings rain.
'The second appearance of the moon is held sacred in the city of Apollo: and its symbol is a man with a hawk-like face, subduing with a hunting-spear Typhon in the likeness of a hippopotamus. The image is white in colour, the whiteness representing the illumination of the moon, and the hawk-like face the fact that it derives light and breath from the sun. For the hawk they consecrate to the sun, and make it their symbol of light and breath, because of its swift motion, and its soaring up on high, where the light is. And the hippopotamus represents the Western sky, because of its swallowing up into itself the stars which traverse it.
'In this city Horus is worshipped as a god. But the city of Eileithyia worships the third appearance of the moon: and her statue is fashioned into a flying vulture, whose plumage consists of precious stones. And its likeness to a vulture signifies that the moon is what produces the winds: for they think that the vulture conceives from the wind, and declares that they are all hen birds.
'In the mysteries at Eleusis the hierophant is dressed up to represent the demiurge, and the torch-bearer the sun, the priest at the altar the moon, and the sacred herald Hermes.
'Moreover a man is admitted by the Egyptians among their objects of worship. For there is a village in Egypt called Anabis, in which a man is worshipped, and sacrifice offered to him, and the victims burned upon his altars: and after a little while he would eat the things that had been prepared for him as for a man.
'They did not, however, believe the animals to be gods, but regarded them as likenesses and symbols of gods; and this is shown by the fact that in many places oxen dedicated to the gods are sacrificed at their monthly festivals and in their religious services. For they consecrated oxen to the sun and moon.
§ 3.13.1 [PORPHYRY] 'THE ox called Mnevis which is dedicated to the sun in Heliopolis, is the largest of oxen, very black, chiefly because much sunshine blackens men's bodies. And its tail and all its body are covered with hair that bristles backwards unlike other cattle, just as the sun makes its course in the opposite direction to the heaven. Its testicles are very large, since desire is produced by heat, and the sun is said to fertilize nature.
'To the moon they dedicated a bull which they call Apis, which also is more black than others, and bears symbols of sun and moon, because the light of the moon is from the sun. The blackness of his body is an emblem of the sun, and so is the beetle-like mark under his tongue; and the symbol of the moon is the semicircle, and the gibbous figure.'
§ 3.13.2 Let it suffice that I have made these short extracts from the writing of the before-named author, so that we may not be ignorant of any secrets of the theology which is at once both Grecian and Egyptian, and from which we confess ourselves to be apostates and deserters, having rejected these doctrines with sound judgement and reasoning. For I am not going to be frightened by the arrogant voice which said,
'I speak to those who lawfully may hear:
Depart, all ye profane, and close the doors.
§ 3.13.3 Not we at all events are profane, but those who declared that such foul and unseemly legends about beetles and brute beasts were the thoughts of a wise theology — they who, according to the admirable Apostle, 'professing themselves to be wise, became fools,' seeing that they 'changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.'
§ 3.13.4 But since they used to refer all the secret and more mysterious doctrine on these subjects in a metaphorical sense to incorporeal powers, so as to appear no longer to apply their deification to the visible parts of the world, but to certain invisible and incorporeal powers, let us examine whether we ought not even so to admire. the divine power as one, and not to regard it as many.
§ 3.13.5 For it does not follow, because many shapes and parts and limbs have been created in one body, that we ought to believe them to have as many souls, nor to suppose that there are as many makers and creators of the body; but that as one soul moves the whole body, so one creative power framed the whole living being.
§ 3.13.6 Thus then in the case of the whole world also, since it is one, and consists of one kind of corporeal matter, but is divided into many parts, and reveals one natural sympathy of the universe, and a composition and mixture of its elements, with changes and transformations of one into another, while it exhibits the entire whole as one order and one harmony, we ought not to suppose many creative powers, but to deify only one, namely that which is in very truth 'the power of God, and the wisdom of God.'
§ 3.13.7 But our wise philosopher does not observe that he is transforming the Egyptian mythologies back into immaterial powers; for you have heard in what has gone before, how he confessed that Chaeremon and several others 'believed in nothing else as prior to the visible worlds, and placed the Egyptians first,' because they interpreted all things of physical laws and nothing of incorporeal and living beings.'
§ 3.13.8 If therefore, according to their own confession, it was characteristic of the Egyptians to refer nothing 'to incorporeal and living beings,' but to transfer all their mythological stories concerning the gods to the physical parts of the world, why then do they begin anew with their subtleties, and ascribe to the Egyptians doctrines which in no way belong to them, by asserting that they make their theology refer back to incorporeal powers? Such is the general charge to be brought.
§ 3.13.9 And in regard also to the particulars, I think that no long refutation is needed to disprove their forced rendering.
§ 3.13.10 For to pass over the nonsense of the Egyptians and all their prating foolery, and to come on to the physical theories of the wise Greeks, what man of sound mind would not at once condemn those who attempt to give such perverse interpretations?
§ 3.13.11 For grant that Zeus no longer means the fiery and ethereal substance, as however was supposed by the ancients according to Plutarch, but that he is the supreme 'mind' itself, 'the creator of the universe,' who giveth to all things life — how then shall his father be Kronos, whom they assert to be time, and his mother Rhea, whom our interpreter declared to be the power of rocks and mountains? For I cannot understand how, after calling Hera the air and the ether, he says that she is at the same time sister and wife of the mind that made the world and gave life to all things.
§ 3.13.12 But again let Leto be called a kind of oblivion (ληθώ) because of the insensibility, as they say, in sleep, and because oblivion accompanies the souls that are born into this sublunary world. How then could oblivion become the mother of sun and moon, Apollo and Artemis the children of Leto having been transformed into sun and moon?
§ 3.13.13 And why are we to worship Rhea or Demeter as a goddess, if the one was said to be symbolic of rocky and mountainous land, and the other of the plain? As they allegorize Kore into satiety (κόρος), for what reason do they think they ought to honour her with that venerable title?
§ 3.13.14 And why do they think we ought to worship as gods the seminal power, and the production of tree-fruits, or of the blossoms that appear in spring, and perish before they have perfected their fruit, or the symbols of the cutting of the ripe crops, surnaming them Dionysus and Attis and Adonis, instead of honouring above all these the human race for whose use and sustenance these things were provided by the Divine Creator of the universe?
§ 3.13.15 But passing from these points, you will by the like method confute all the rest of their grand physical theory, and with good reason rebuke the shamelessness of those, say, who declared that the sun was Apollo himself, and again Heracles, and at another time Dionysus, and again in like manner Asclepius.
§ 3.13.16 For how could the same person be both father and son, Asclepius and Apollo at once? And how could he be changed again into Heracles, since Heracles has been acknowledged by them to be the son of a mortal woman Alcmena? And how could the sun go mad and slay his own sons, seeing that this also has been ascribed to Heracles?
§ 3.13.17 But in the performance of his twelve labours Heracles is said to be the symbol of the distribution in the heaven of the zodiacal circle in which they say the sun revolves. Who then is now to be the Eurystheus, that enjoins the performance of the labours on the sun, as he did upon Heracles? And how can the fifty daughters of Thestius be referred to the sun, and the multitude of other female captives with whom the story says that Heracles consorted, and of whom were born to him mortal sons who continued the succession of their generations for a very long time? And who could the Centaur be, with whose blood Deianeira smeared the tunic, and so would have involved the sun, as in fact she did Heracles, in the misery that has been described?
§ 3.13.18 But now suppose they make the sun no longer Heracles, but Dionysus: and any one may with good reason say, 'What have these things to do with Dionysus?' For who was his mother, whether called Semele or Persephone? And how could Dionysus be both the sun and the power that sprouts forth in the moist fruits and nuts? And what can the multitude of women who went with him on his expedition mean? And who is the Ariadne of the sun, as there was, we know, the Ariadne of Dionysus. And why, when Dionysus is transformed into the sun, should he be the provider rather of wine, and not of corn and vegetables and all the fruits of the earth? And again, if they make the sun Asclepius, how is he stricken with the thunderbolt of Zeus on account of his sordid love of gain, according to Pindar the lyric poet of Boeotia, who speaks as follows:
'Him too by splendid bribe the gold
Seen glittering on his palm seduc'd.
Then swiftly from Kronion's hand
The flashing lightning, fraught with death,
With fiery bolt transfixing both,
Quench'd in each form the living breath.'
§ 3.13.19 Who again were the Asclepiadae, children of the sun, who after being themselves preserved to a long life, founded a race of mortals like all other men?
§ 3.13.20 However, while they try to escape, as it were by some sudden transformation, from the unseemly and fabulous narratives concerning the gods, their system will run back again to sun, and moon, and the other parts of the world.
§ 3.13.21 If at least they made Hephaestus fire and the force of heat, Poseidon the watery element, Hera the air, and the mountainous and rocky earth Rhea, the plain and fruitful earth Demeter, Kore the seminal power, and Dionysus the power which produces hard fruits, the sun Apollo, together with those who have been enumerated above, and the moon at one time Artemis, at another Athena, and again Hecate, and Eileithyia — are they not again convicted of deifying 'the creature rather than the Creator.' and the handiwork of the world but not the worker, with great risk and danger, and with mischief that must fall on their own head?
§ 3.13.22 But if they shall assert that they deify not the visible bodies of sun and moon and stars, nor yet the sensible parts of the world, but the powers, invisible in them, of the very God who is over all — for they say that God being One fills all things with various powers, and pervades all, and rules over all, but as existing in all and pervading all in an incorporeal and invisible manner. and that they rightly worship Him through the things which we have mentioned — why in the world therefore do they not reject the foul and unseemly fables concerning the gods as being unlawful and impious, and put out of sight the very books concerning them, as containing blasphemous and licentious teaching, and celebrate the One and Only and Invisible God openly and purely and without any foul envelopment?
§ 3.13.23 For this was what those who had known the truth ought to do, and not to degrade and debase the venerable name of God into foul and lustful fables of things unspeakable; nor yet to shut themselves up in cells and dark recesses and buildings made by man, as if they would find God inside; nor to think that they are worshipping the Divine powers in statues made of lifeless matter, nor to suppose that by vapours of gore and filth steaming from the earth, and by the blood of slain animals they are doing things pleasing to God.
§ 3.13.24 Surely it became these men of wisdom and of lofty speech, as being set free from all these bonds of error, to impart of their physical speculations ungrudgingly to all men, and to proclaim as it were in naked truth to all, that they should adore not the things that are seen, but only the unseen Creator of things visible, and worship His invisible and incorporeal powers in ways invisible and incorporeal, not by kindling fire nor yet by offerings of ranis and bulls, nay, nor yet by imagining that they honour the Deity by garlands and statues and the building of temples, but by worshipping Him with purified thoughts and right and true doctrines, in dispassionate calmness of soul, and in growing as far as possible like unto Him.
§ 3.13.25 But no one ever yet, barbarian or Greek, began to show all men this truth except only our Saviour; who, having proclaimed to all nations an escape from their ancient error, procured abundantly for them all a way of return and of devotion to the one true and only God of the universe. Yet the men perversely wise who boasted of the highest philosophy of life, whereby as the inspired Apostle says, though they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. They professed indeed to be wise, but became fools, . . . and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.
§ 3.14.1 So after their long and manifold philosophical speculation, and after their solemn systems of meteorology and physiology, they fell down from their high place, as it were from the loftiest mountain-top, and were dragged down with the common herd, and swept away with the polytheistic delusion of the ancients, pretending that they glorified the like deities with the multitude by offering sacrifice and falling down before images, and increasing, and still further strengthening, the vulgar opinion of the legendary stories concerning the gods.
§ 3.14.2 Must it not then be evident to all men that they are only talking solemn nonsense in their physical theories, and, as far as words go, putting a fair face on foul things by their perversion of the truth, but in actual deeds establishing the fabulous delusion, and the vulgar superstition? And so far there is no wonder, since they even record that their gods themselves assent to the fabulous stories concerning them.
§ 3.14.3 Hear at least how Apollo himself teaches men a hymn, which he put forth concerning himself, acknowledging that he was born of Leto in the island of Delos, and Asclepius again in Tricca, as also Hermes acknowledging that he was the child of Maia: for these things also are written by Porphyry in a book which he entitled Of the Philosophy derived from Oracles, wherein he made mention of the oracles which run as follows:
'Thou, joy of mortals, forth didst spring
From thy pure mother's sacred pangs.'
§ 3.14.4 To this he subjoins —
'But when the pangs of holy birth
Through all her frame fair Leto seized,
And in her womb twin children stirr'd,
Still stood the earth, the air stood still,
The isle grew fix'd, the wave was hush'd;
Forth into life Lycoreus sprang,
God of the bow, the prophet-king
On the divining tripod thron'd.' Asclepius again thus speaks of himself:
'From sacred Tricca, lo! I come, the god
Of mortal mother erst to Phoebus born,
Of wisdom and the healing art a king,
Asclepius nam'd. But say, what would'st thou ask?' And Hermes says:
'Lo! whom thou callest, Zeus' and Maia's son,
Hermes, descending from the starry throne,
Hither I come.'
§ 3.14.5 They also subjoin a description of the appearance of their own form, as Pan in the oracles gives the following description concerning himself:
'To Pan, a god of kindred race,
A mortal born my vows I pay;
Whose horned brows and cloven feet
And goat-like legs his lust betray.'
§ 3.14.6 These are the things which the author before named has set forth among the secrets Of the Philosophy drawn from the Oracles, Pan therefore was no longer the symbol of the universe, but must be some such daemon as is described, who also gave forth the oracle: for of course it was not the universe, and the whole world, that gave the oracle which we have before us. The men therefore who fashioned the likeness of this daemon, and not that of the universe, imitated the figure before described.
§ 3.14.7 How also could Hermes be thought of as the reason which both makes and interprets all things, when he confesses that he had for his mother Maia the daughter of Atlas, thus sanctioning the fable that is told concerning him, and not any physical explanation?
§ 3.14.8 So again, how could Asclepius be changed into the sun, when he lays claim to Tricca as his native place, and confesses that he was born of a mortal mother? Or how, if he were himself the sun, could be represented again as a child of the sun? Since in their physical theory they made his father Phoebus to be no other than the sun.
§ 3.14.9 And is it not the most ridiculous thing of all, to say that he was born of the sun and a mortal woman? For how is it reasonable that his father, the sun, whom they declare to be Apollo, should himself also have been born in the island Delos of a mortal mother again, namely Leto.
§ 3.14.10 Here observe, I pray you, how many gods born of women were deified by the Greeks, to be brought forward if ever they attempt to mock at our Saviour's birth: observe also that the remarks quoted are not the words of poets, but of the gods themselves.
§ 3.15.1 WHEN poets therefore, as they say, invent legends concerning the gods, while philosophers give physical explanations, we ought, I suppose, rightly to despise the former, and admire the latter as philosophers, and to accept the persuasive arguments of this better class rather than the triflings of the poets. But when on the other hand gods and philosophers enter into competition, and the former, as likely to know best, state exactly the facts concerning themselves in their oracles, while the latter twist their guesses about things which they do not know into discordant and undemonstrable subtleties, which does reason persuade us to believe? Or rather is this not even worth asking?
§ 3.15.2 If therefore the gods are to speak true in certifying the human passions attributed to them, they who set these aside must be false; but if the physical explanations of the philosophers are true, the testimonies of the gods must be false.
§ 3.15.3 But even Apollo himself, it may be said, somewhere in an oracle, when asked about himself who he was, replied:
'Osiris, Horus, Sun, Apollo, Zeus-born king,
Ruler of times and seasons, winds and showers.
Guiding the reins of dawn and starry night,
King of the shining orbs, eternal Fire.'
§ 3.15.4 So then the same witnesses agree both with the poets' legends and with the philosophers' guesses, allying themselves with both sides in the battle. For if they ascribe to themselves mortal mothers, and acknowledge their native places upon earth, how can they be such as the physicists describe them?
§ 3.15.5 Grant that Apollo is the sun — for their argument will again be caught running backwards and forwards and round to the same place — how then could Delos, the island which is now still seen at sea, be the native place of the sun, and Leto his mother? For this is what his own oracles just now certified as being true. And how could the sun become the father of Asclepius, a mortal man by nature, having begotten him of a mortal woman? But let us put this subject aside.
§ 3.16.1 THE falsehood of the oracle is to be refuted in another way. For surely the sun did not come down to them from heaven, and then, after fully inspiring the recipient, utter the Phoebean oracle; since it is neither possible nor right that so great a luminary should be subjected to man's compulsion: nay, not even if they should speak of the divine and intelligent power in the sun, because a human soul could never be capable of receiving even this.
§ 3.16.2 In the case of the moon also there would be the same argument. For if they mean to assert that she is Hecate, how then can it be right that she should be dragged down by constraint of men, and prophesy through the recipient, and be taken to help in base and amatory services, herself being ruler of the evil daemons — how right, I say, that Hecate should do these things? This the writer himself acknowledges, as we shall fully prove in due time.
§ 3.16.3 How again could Pluto and Sarapis be changed by physical theory into the sun, when the same author declares that Sarapis is the same with Pluto, and is the ruler of the evil daemons? Moreover, in recording oracles of Sarapis how could he say they were those of the sun?
§ 3.16.4 But in fact from all these considerations it only remains to confess that the physical explanations which have been described have no truth, but are sophisms and subtleties of sophistic men.
§ 3.17.1 THE ministrants indeed of the oracles we must in plain truth declare to be evil daemons, playing both parts to deceive mankind, and at one time agreeing with the more fabulous suppositions concerning themselves, to deceive the common people, and at another time confirming the statements of the philosophers' jugglery in order to instigate them also and puff them up: so that in every way it is proved that they speak no truth at all.
§ 3.17.2 After having said so much it is now time for us to pass on, and advance to the third kind of Greek theology, which they say is political and legal. For this has been thought most suitable to astonish the multitude, both because of the celebrated oracles, and the healings and cures of bodily sufferings, and the punishments inflicted upon some. And while they assert that they have had experience of these things, they have thoroughly persuaded themselves that they are doing rightly in their own devotion to the gods, and that we are guilty of the greatest impiety in not honouring the powers that are so manifest and so beneficent with the services that are due to them. To meet then these objections also, let us make another new beginning of our argument.
§ 4.1.1 In this fourth book of the Preparation for the Gospel, due order bids me to refute the third form of polytheistic error, from which we were delivered by the power and beneficence of our Redeemer and Saviour.
§ 4.1.2 For since they divide their whole system of theology under three general heads, the mythical treated by the poets in tragedy, and the physical which has been invented by the philosophers, and that which is enforced by the laws and observed in each city and country; and since two of these parts have been already explained by us in the preceding books, namely the historical, which they call mythical, and that which has transcended the mythical, and which they call physical, or speculative, or by any other name they please; in this present book it will be the right time to examine the third part, and this is what is established in the several cities and countries, and which they call political, or state-religion, which also is especially enforced by the laws, as both ancient and ancestral, and as in itself indicating the excellence of the power of those whom they deify.
§ 4.1.3 There are for instance oracles renowned among them, and responses, and cures, and healings of all kinds of sufferings, and judgements inflicted upon the impious; whereof they profess to have had experience, and have thoroughly persuaded themselves that they act rightly in honouring the deities, and that we are guilty of the greatest impiety in making no account of powers so manifest and so beneficent, but directly breaking the laws, which require every one to reverence ancestral customs, and not disturb what should be inviolable, but to walk orderly in following the religion of his forefathers, and not to be meddlesome through love of innovation. Thus they say that even death has been deservedly fixed by the laws as the punishment for those who transgress.
§ 4.1.4 As to the first form then of their theology, being historical and mythical, let any of the poets arrange it as he will, and so let any of the philosophers deal with the second form, reported to us through the allegorical interpretation of the legends in a more physical sense: but since the third form, as being both ancient and politic, has been legally ordained by their rulers to be honoured and observed, this, say they, let neither poet nor philosopher disturb; but let every one, both in rural districts and in cities, continue to walk by the customs which have prevailed from old time, and obey the laws of his forefathers.
§ 4.1.5 In answer then to this, it is time to render the reason alleged on our side, and to submit a defence of our Saviour's evangelic system, as protesting against what has been described, and laying down laws opposed to the laws of all the nations.
§ 4.1.6 Well then! it is manifest even to themselves that their lifeless images are no gods; and that their mythical theology offers no explanation that is respectable and becoming to deity, has been shown in the first book, as likewise in the second and third it has been shown that neither does their more physical and philosophical interpretation of the legends contain an unforced explanation.
§ 4.1.7 Come then, let us examine the third point — how we are to regard the powers that lurk in the carved images, whether as civilized and good and truly divine in character, or the very opposite of all these.
§ 4.1.8 Others, peradventure, in entering upon the discussion of these questions, might have laid it down that the whole system is a delusion, and mere conjuror's tricks and frauds, stating their opinion generally and concisely, that we ought not to attribute even to an evil daemon, much less to a god, the stories commonly told of them. For the poems and the compositions of the oracles, he would say, are fictions of men not without natural ability but extremely well furnished for deception, and are composed in an equivocal and ambiguous sense, and adapted, not without ingenuity, to either of the cases expected from the event: and the marvels which deceive the multitude by certain prodigies are dependent on natural causes.
§ 4.1.9 For there are many kinds of roots, and herbs, and plants, and fruits, and stones, and other powers, both solid and liquid of every kind of matter in the natural world; some of them fit to drive off and expel certain diseases; others of a nature to attract and superinduce them; some again with power to secrete and disperse, or to harden and to bind, and others to relax and liquidate and attenuate; some again to save and others to kill, or to give a thorough turn, and change the present condition, altering it now this way and now that; and some to work this effect for a longer and some for a shorter time; and again, some to be efficacious on many and others only on a few; and some to lead and others to follow; and some to combine in different ways, and to grow and decay together. Yet further, that some are conducive to health, not unconnected with medical science, and others morbific and deleterious; and lastly that some things occur by physical necessities, and wax and wane together with the moon, and that there are countless antipathies of animals and roots and plants, and many kinds of narcotic and soporific vapours, and of others that produce delusion: that the places also, and regions in which the effects are accomplished give no little help; also that they have tools and instruments provided from afar in a way well fitted to their art, and that they associate with themselves in their jugglery many confederates from without, who make many inquiries about those who arrive, and the wants of each, and what he is come to request; also that they conceal within their temples many secret shrines and recesses inaccessible to the multitude; and that the darkness also helps their purpose not a little; and not least the anticipatory assumption itself, and the superstition of those who approach them as gods, and the opinion which has prevailed among them from the time of their forefathers. To this must be added also the silliness of mind of the multitude, and their feeble and uncritical reasoning, and on the other hand the cleverness and craftiness of those who are constantly practising this mischievous art, and the deceitful and knavish disposition of the impostors, at one time promising what will please each person, and soothing the present trouble by hopes of advantage, and at other times guessing at what is to come, and prophesying obscurely, and darkening the sense of their oracles by equivocations and indistinctness of expression, in order that no one may understand what is foretold, but that they may escape detection by the uncertainty of their statement.
§ 4.1.10 They might also say that many events coincide with other frauds and quackeries, when certain so-called spells are associated with the events, with a kind of unintelligible and barbaric incantation, in order that the occurrences which are not in the least affected by them may seem to be hastened by them. Most, too, even of those who are supposed to start with a good education are especially astonished at the poetry of the oracles themselves, finely adorned as it is by the combination of the words, finely inflated also by the pompous grandeur of the language, and arrayed with much, boastful exaggeration and arrogant pretence of inspiration, and deceiving nearly all the people by their ambiguous sound.
§ 4.2.1 Certainly all their oracles which have been free from ambiguity have been uttered not according to foreknowledge of the future but by mere conjecture, and thousands of these, or rather almost all, were often convicted of having failed in their prediction, the issue of the matters having turned out contrary to the answer of the oracle; unless perhaps on rare occasions some one event out of tens of thousands agreed therewith by some course of luck, or according to the conjectural expectation of what would happen, and so was thought to make the oracle speak true.
§ 4.2.2 And of this you would find them most loudly boasting, and carving inscriptions upon columns, and shouting to the ends of the earth, not choosing to remember at all, that so many persons, it might chance, were disappointed, but publishing it high and low that to this one man out of ten thousand something promised by the oracle had turned out right. Just as if, when men were casting lots two at a time out of ten thousand, and it happened perhaps just once that they both fell upon the same numbers, a man should wonder how one and the same number happened to come round to both at once in consequence of divination and foreknowledge.
§ 4.2.3 For such is the case of the one out of myriads upon myriads of oracular answers that on some one occasion happened to turn out true; and on observing this the man who possesses no firmness in the depth of his soul is exceedingly amazed at the oracle, though it were much better for him to cease from his folly by calculating to how many others the aforesaid soothsayers have been the cause of death, and of sedition, and wars, and to consider the histories of the ancients, and observe that they never pointed out any effect of divine power even at that time when the oracles of Greece were flourishing, and those which formerly were celebrated, but now exist no longer, were firmly established, and thought worthy of all care and zeal by their countrymen, who revered and fostered them by ancestral laws and mysterious rites.
§ 4.2.4 And certainly in that period especially they were proved to be impotent in the calamities of war, in which the fine soothsayers being powerless to help were convicted of deceiving those who sought their protection by the ambiguity of their oracles; and this we shall accordingly show at the proper opportunity, by proving how they even goaded on those who consulted them into war with each other, and how they failed to give answers even about serious matters, and how they used to mislead their inquirers, making sport of them by their oracles, and tried to conceal their own ignorance by the darkness of uncertainty.
§ 4.2.5 But observe from your own inquiries how they often promised to the sick strengthening, and life, and health, and then being trusted as though they were gods, exacted large rewards for this inspired traffic; and not very long afterwards it was discovered what sort of persons they were, being proved to be human impostors and no gods, when some unfortunate catastrophe seized upon their deluded victims.
§ 4.2.6 What need to say that these wonderful prophets did not render their assistance even to their own next neighbours, those I mean who dwelt in the same city? But you might there see persons sick, and maimed, and mutilated all over their body, in thousands. Why in the world then did they promise such good hopes to the foreigners, who arrived from a far country, but not also to those who dwelt in the same place with them, to whom before all, as being their own friends and fellow citizens, they ought to have rendered the benefit of the presence of their gods? Was it not that they could more easily deceive the strangers, who knew nothing of their roguery, but not their intimates, as these were not ignorant of their craft, but conscious of the trickery practised upon those who were to be initiated?
§ 4.2.7 Thus then the whole business was not divine nor beyond the pgwer of man's device; so that in the greatest calamities, I mean those which are suspended from on high over the heads of the ungodly from the all-ruling God, their temples, with votive offerings, statues and all, were subjected to utter destruction and sudden overthrow.
§ 4.2.8 For where will you find the temple that was at Delphi, celebrated from the earliest times among all the Greeks? Where is the Pythian god? Where the Clarian? Where even the god of Dodona? As for the Delphian shrine, the story goes that it was burnt a third time by Thracians, the oracle not having been able to give any help to the knowledge of what was coming, nor the Pythian god himself to guard his own abode. It is recorded also that the Capitol at Rome met the same fate in the times of the Ptolemies, when the temple of Vesta at Rome is also said to have suffered conflagration. And about the time of Julius Caesar it is recorded that the great statue, which was the glory of the Greeks and of Olympia, was struck by lightning from the god at the very time of the Olympic games. On another occasion also, they say, the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus was burnt, and the Pantheon destroyed by lightning, and the Serapeium at Alexandria burnt down in like manner.
§ 4.2.9 Of these events written testimonies are current among the Greeks themselves; but it would be a long story, if any one meant to enumerate the several particulars, in trying to prove that the wonderful oracle-mongers have been found unable to defend even their own temples; and it is not likely that they who have been of no use to themselves in misfortunes would ever be able to give help to others.
§ 4.2.10 By adding one circumstance to those which have been mentioned, such man would have clearly seen the main sum and substance of the matter, that ere now, many of the most highly inspired even of their chief hierophants, and theologians, and prophets, who were celebrated for this kind of theosophy, not only in former times but also recently in our own day, under cruel tortures before the Roman courts declared that the whole delusion was produced by human frauds, and confessed that it was all an artfully contrived imposture; and they had the whole character of the system and the methods of their evil practices registered in the words uttered by them in public records. Therefore they paid the just penalty of their pernicious deception, and revealed every word, and certified by actual facts the proof of the things which we have mentioned.
§ 4.2.11 But, you ask, what sort of persons were these? Think not that they were any of the outcast and obscure. Some came to them from, this wonderful and noble philosophy, from the tribe who wear the long cloak and otherwise look so supercilious; and some were taken from the magistrates of the city of Antioch, who indeed in the time of our persecution prided themselves especially on their outrages against us. We know also the philosopher and prophet who suffered at Miletus the like punishments to those which we have mentioned.
§ 4.2.12 These arguments then, and yet more than these, one might bring together to assert that the authors of the oracles are not gods nor yet daemons, but the delusion and deceit of human impostors.
§ 4.2.13 And there were among the Greeks themselves whole sects distinguished in philosophy who defended this opinion; as the school of Aristotle, and all the successors of the Peripatetic school; Cynics too and Epicureans, in whom what I most admire is, how, after being brought up in the customs of the Greeks, and been taught even from the cradle, son from father, that those of whom we speak are gods, they have not been easily caught, but proved with all their might that even the renowned oracles, and the seats of divination which were sought after among all, had no truth, and declared that they were useless, nay gather mischievous.
§ 4.2.14 But though there are thousands who have wrought the overthrow of the oracles by many arguments, for me I think it is sufficient at present, for a testimony of what I have stated, to make a single quotation from one of them in answer to the arguments devised by Chrysippus concerning fate from the predictions of the oracles. This author then writes against him to prove that he wrongly derives indications of fate from the oracles, and that the oracles of the Greeks give false answers in most cases, and that rarely from a coincidence some events agree with them, and that their prediction of the future is useless and mischievous. Hear, however, what he says, word for word.
§ 4.3.1 [DIOGENIANUS] 'But Chrysippus, in the book before mentioned, brings also another proof of the following kind. He says that the predictions of the prophets could not be true unless all things were fast bound by fate: which is itself a most silly argument. For he argues as if it were evident or would be more readily admitted by any one, that all the predictions of the so-called prophets came to pass, than that all things take place according to fate, as if the former would not itself be an equally false statement, since plain experience shows the contrary; I mean that not all the things foretold, or rather not the greatest part of them, come to pass.
'Thus Chrysippus has brought us his proof, by establishing each proposition from the other. For he wishes to show that all things take place according to fate from the existence of prophecy: but the existence of prophecy he could not prove in any other way, if he did not first assume that all things occur according to fate.
'But what method of proof could be more wretched than this? For that some things come to pass according to the plain meaning of what the prophets foretell would be a sign, not of the existence of prophetic science, but of the accidental concurrence of the events in agreement with the predictions — a thing which gives us no indication of any science.
'For neither should we call an archer scientific who hit the mark once now and then, but missed many times; nor a physician who killed the greater number of those who were attended by him, but was able to save one sometimes; nor do we ever give the name of science to that which does not succeed in all, or at least in the greatest part of its proper operations.
'Now that most of the predictions of the so-called prophets fail, the whole experience of human life would bear witness; and so would these men themselves who profess the art of prophecy, because it is not by this that they help themselves in the exigencies of life, but use sometimes their own judgement, and sometimes the counsel and cooperation of those who have been thought to possess experience in each kind of affairs.
'But with regard to the want of consistency in this which we have chosen to call prophecy, we will render fuller proof elsewhere, bringing forward the opinions of Epicurus on this point also. But at present we will add to what has been said only this much, that at most the fact of the so-called prophets speaking truth sometimes in their predictions must be an effect, not of science, but of an accidental cause; for it is not that a man never hits the proposed mark, but that he does not hit it always, nor even in most cases, and not from science even when he does occasionally succeed, this is what we have chosen to call a work of chance — we who have arranged our own ideas in clear order under each term. Further, if even by hypothesis it were true that the prophetic art is able to discern and to foretell all things future, it might be concluded that all things are according to fate, but the usefulness of the art and its benefit to life could never be shown; and it is for this purpose especially that Chrysippus seems to sing the praises of the prophetic art.
'For what benefit would it be to us to learn beforehand the misfortunes certain to come to pass, which it would not even be possible to guard against? For how could any one guard against the things which take place according to fate? So that there is no benefit to us in the prophetic art, but rather it would tend to some mischief, by causing mankind to grieve in vain beforehand over the predicted misfortunes which must of necessity come to pass.
'For no one will affirm that the prediction of future blessings affords on the other hand equal delight: since man is not naturally so disposed to rejoice over expected blessings, as to be grieved over misfortunes. Especially as we hope that the latter will not happen at all to ourselves, until we hear it: but all of us, so to say, rather look for blessings, because our nature is congenial thereto; for most persons have formed hopes of things even greater than what can possibly come to pass.
'Hence it results that the prediction of blessings either does not at all increase the joy, because even apart from the prediction every one of his own accord expects the better fortune, or else increases it but little by the supposed certainty, and often even diminishes the joy, when less is foretold than what was hoped for; but the prediction of evils causes great perturbation, both because of their repulsive nature, and because the prediction is sometimes opposed to men's hopes.
'But even if this did not happen, nevertheless it would be evident, I think, to every one that the prediction would be useless. For if any one shall affirm that the usefulness of the prophetic art will be maintained on account of the prediction of the misfortune which will certainly happen unless we should guard against it, he can no longer show that all things are to happen in accordance with fate, if it is in our power either to guard or not to guard against them.
'For if any one shall say that this choice also is controlled by necessity, so as to extend fate to all things that exist, the usefulness of prophecy on the other hand is destroyed; for we shall keep guard if it is so fated, and evidently we shall not keep guard if it is not fated that we shall keep guard, even though all the prophets foretell to us what is about to happen.
'As to Oedipus, for instance, and Alexander son of Priam, even Chrysippus himself says that though their parents had recourse to many contrivances to kill them, in order that they might guard against the mischief predicted from them, they were unable to do so.
'Thus there was no benefit, he says, even to them from the prediction of the evils, because they were effects proceeding from fate. Let this then be enough, and more than enough, to have been said in regard to not merely the uncertainty but also the uselessness of the prophetic art.'
§ 4.3.2 Thus far the philosopher. Do thou however consider with thyself, how those who were Greeks, and had from an early age acquired the customary education of the Greeks, and knew more accurately than any men the customs of their ancestors concerning the gods, all Aristotelians, and Cynics, and Epicureans, and all who held like opinions with them, poured ridicule upon the oracles which were renowned among the Greeks themselves.
§ 4.3.3 And yet, if the stories current concerning the miraculous power of the oracles were true, it was natural that these men also should have been struck with wonder, being Greeks, and having an accurate understanding of the customs of their ancestors, and regarding nothing worthy to be known as of secondary importance.
§ 4.3.4 To collect, however, these and all similar evidences, in order to overthrow the argument on behalf of the oracles, there would be abundant means: but it is not in this way that I wish to pursue the present discussion, but in the same way as we started at first, by granting that those who stand forth in their defence speak truth; in order that from their own avowals, when they affirm that oracles are true, and that the alleged responses are divinely inspired Pythian oracles, we may learn the exact explanation of the things alleged.
§ 4.4.1 Now I think it is plain to every one that the proof of the matters before us will embrace not a small part, but a very great and at the same time very necessary part of the evangelic argument. For suppose it should be shown that all men everywhere, both Greeks and Barbarians, before the advent of our Saviour Jesus Christ, had no knowledge of the true God, but either regarded 'the things that are not as though they were,' or were led about hither and thither like blind men by certain wicked spirits fighting against God, and by evil and impure daemons, and were by them dragged down into an abyss of wickedness (for what else ailed them but possession by daemons?) — how can the great mystery of the Gospel dispensation fail to be seen in a higher light? I mean, that all men from all quarters have been sailed back by our Saviour's voice from the delusion handed down from their fathers about the tyranny of daemons, and that the men who dwell as far off as the ends of the earth have been released from the deception which from the earliest age oppressed their whole life. For since His time and up to the present the antiquated seats of delusion in all the heathen nations have been broken up and destroyed — shrines and statues and all — and temples truly venerable, and schools of true religion have been raised up in honour of the Absolute Monarch and Creator of the universe in the midst of cities and villages by the power and goodness of our Saviour throughout the whole world. And by prayers of holy men the sacrifices which are worthy of God have been purified from all wickedness, and in freedom of soul from all passions, and in the acquirement of every virtue, according to the divine doctrines of salvation, are day by day continually offered up by all nations — those sacrifices which alone are acceptable and pleasing to the God who is over all?
§ 4.4.2 Now if these things be so, how can we have failed to show at the same time, that with sound reason, arid without giving ourselves over to folly, we have turned away from the superstition handed down from our fathers, and with just and true judgement have chosen the better part, and become lovers of the inspired and true religion? But enough of this, and let us now take in hand the subjects before us.
§ 4.5.1 Those, therefore, who have accurately discussed the Greek theology in a manner different from the systems which we have already mentioned, distribute the whole subject under four heads. First of all they have set apart the first God, saying that they know him to be the One over all, and First, and Father and King of all gods, and that after him the race of gods is second, that of daemons third, and heroes fourth. All these, they say, participating in the nature of the higher power act and are acted upon in this way and in that, and everything of this kind is called light because of its participating in light. But they also say that evil rules the essence of the lower nature; and this evil is a race of wicked daemons, who treat the good in no way as a friend, but possess chief power in the nature of the adversaries of good, just as God does in that of the better sort; and everything of this kind is called darkness.
§ 4.5.2 After defining these points in this manner, they say that the heaven, and the ether as far down as the moon, are assigned to gods; and the parts about the moon and the atmosphere to daemons; and the region of the earth and parts beneath the earth to souls. And having made such a distribution they say that we ought to worship first of all the gods of heaven and of the ether, secondly the good daemons, thirdly the souls of the heroes, and fourthly to propitiate the bad and wicked daemons.
§ 4.5.3 But while making these verbal distinctions they in fact throw all into confusion, by worshipping the wicked powers only, instead of all those whom we have mentioned, and are wholly enslaved by them, as the course of our argument will prove. It is in your power, at any rate, to consider from what will be laid before you, what character we ought to ascribe to the powers which operate through the statues, whether as gods or daemons, and whether bad or good.
§ 4.5.4 For our divine oracles never call any daemon good, but say that all are bad who share this lot and even this appellation, since no other is truly and properly god except the One Cause of all: but the gentle and good powers, as being in their nature created, and following far behind the uncreated God who is their Maker, but nevertheless separated also from the mischievous race of daemons — these the Scriptures deem it right to name neither gods nor daemons, but as being intermediate between God and daemons they are accustomed to call them by a well-applied and intermediate name, angels of God, and 'ministering spirits,' and divine powers, and archangels, and any other names corresponding to their offices; but the daemons, if indeed it behoves us to declare the origin of their name also, are called according to their nature daemons, not as the Greeks think in consequence of their being knowing (δαημονας), and wise, but because of their fearing and causing fear (δειμαινειν).
§ 4.5.5 Certainly the divine and good powers are different in name as well as in character, from the daemons; since it would be of all things most absurd to adjudge one and the same appellation to the powers which are alike neither in purpose nor in natural character.
§ 4.6.1 Come then, let us examine what is, according to them, the character of the oracles, in order that we may learn what kind of power we must ascribe to them, and whether we withdrew from them rightly or not. Now if I were going to bring forward my own proofs of the matters to be set forth, I know well that I should not render my argument unassailable by those who are inclined to find fault. Wherefore instead of asserting anything of my own, I shall make use again of the testimonies of those who are without.
§ 4.6.2 But as there are among the Greeks historians and philosophers without number, I judge the most suitable of all in reference to the subjects before us to be that very friend of the daemons, who in our generation is celebrated for his false accusations against us. For he of all the philosophers of our time seems to have been most familiar with daemons and those whom he calls gods, and to have been their advocate, and to have investigated the facts concerning them much the most accurately.
§ 4.6.3 He therefore, in the book which he entitled Of the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles, made a collection of the oracles of Apollo and the other gods and good daemons, which he especially chose out of them as thinking that they would suffice both for proof of the excellence of the supposed deities, and for the encouragement of what he is pleased to call 'Theosophy.'
§ 4.6.4 From these oracles, therefore, which have been selected and thought worthy to be remembered it is fair to judge the soothsayers, and to consider what sort of power they possess. But first let us observe how at the beginning of his work the person indicated swears in the following words that he is 'verily speaking the truth':4
§ 4.7.1 [PORPHYRY] 'Sure, then, and steadfast is he who draws his hopes of salvation from this as from the only sure source, and to such thou wilt impart information without any reserve. For I myself call the gods to witness, that I have neither added anything, nor taken away from the meaning of the responses, except where I have corrected an erroneous phrase, or made a change for greater clearness, or completed the metre when defective, or struck out anything that did not conduce to the purpose; so that I preserved the sense of what was spoken untouched, guarding against the impiety of such changes, rather than against the avenging justice that follows from the sacrilege.
'And our present collection will contain a record of many doctrines of philosophy, according as the gods declared the truth to be; but to a small extent we shall also touch upon the practice of divination, such as will be useful both for contemplation, and for the general purification of life. And the utility which this collection possesses will be best known to as many as have ever been in travail with the truth, and prayed that by receiving the manifestation of it from the gods they might gain relief from their perplexity by virtue of the trustworthy teaching of the speakers.'
§ 4.7.2 After making such preludes, he protests and forewarns against revealing to many what he is going to tell, in the following words:
§ 4.8.1 [PORPHYRY] 'And do thou endeavour to avoid publishing these above all things, and casting them even before the profane for the sake of reputation, or gain, or any unholy flattery. For so there would be danger not only to thee for transgressing these injunctions, but also to me for lightly trusting thee who couldst not keep the benefits secret to thyself. We must give them then to those who have arranged their plan of life with a view to the salvation of the soul.'
§ 4.8.2 And further on he adds:
'These things I beg you to conceal as the most unutterable of secrets, for even the gods did not make a revelation concerning thein openly, but by enigmas.'
§ 4.8.3 Since, then, his discourse adopted such lofty strains, let us now examine, by help of the inspired Pythian oracles, what character we ought to ascribe to the invisible deified powers: for thus may the man also be tested from his own words and practices.
§ 4.8.4 The aforesaid author, then, in his work which he entitled Of the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles, gives responses of Apollo enjoining the performance of animal sacrifices, and the offering of animals not to daemons only, nor only to the terrestrial powers, but also to the etherial and heavenly powers.
§ 4.8.5 But in another work the same author, confessing that all, to whom the Greeks used to offer sacrifices by blood and slaughter of senseless animals, are daemons and not gods, says that it is not right nor pious to offer animal sacrifices to gods.
§ 4.8.6 Hear, therefore, his first utterances, in which, collecting the facts concerning The Philosophy to be derived from Oracles, he shows how Apollo teaches that the gods ought to be worshipped. This he sets forth in writing as follows:
§ 4.9.1 [PORPHYRY] 'Next in order after what has been said concerning piety we shall record the responses given by them concerning their worship, part of which by anticipation we have set forth in the statements concerning piety. Now this is the response of Apollo, containing at the same time an orderly classification of the gods.
Friend, who hast entered on this heaven-taught path,
Heed well thy work; nor to the blessed gods
Forget to slay thine offerings in due form,
Whether to gods of earth, or gods of heaven,
Kings of the sky and liquid paths of air
And sea, and all who dwell beneath the earth;
For in their nature's fullness all is bound.
How to devote things living in due form
My verse shall tell, thou in thy tablets write.
For gods of earth and gods of heaven each three:
For heavenly gods pure white; for gods of earth
Cattle of kindred hue divide in three
And on the altar lay thy sacrifice.
For gods infernal bury deep, and cast
The blood into a trench!
For gentle Nymphs Honey and gifts of Dionysus pour.
For such as flit for ever o'er the earth
Fill all the blazing altar's trench with blood,
And cast the feathered fowl into the fire.
Then honey mix'd with meal, and frankincense,
And grains of barley sprinkle over all.
But when thou comest to the sandy shore,
Pour green sea-water on the victim's head,
And cast the body whole into the deep.
Then, all things rightly done, return at last
To the great company of heavenly gods.
For all the powers that in pure ether dwell,
And in the stars, let blood in fullest stream
Flow from the throat o'er all the sacrifice:
Make of the limbs a banquet for the gods,
And give them to the fire; feast on the rest,
Filling with savours sweet the liquid air.
Breathe forth, when all is done, thy solemn vows.'
§ 4.9.2 Then a few words later he explains this response, interpreting it as follows:
'Now this is the method of the sacrifices, which are rendered according to the aforesaid classification of the gods. For whereas there are gods beneath the earth, and on the earth, and those beneath the earth are called also infernal gods, and those on the earth terrestrial, for all these in common he enjoins the sacrifice of black four-footed victims. But with regard to the manner of the sacrifice he makes a difference: for to terrestrial gods he commands the victims to be slain upon altars, but to the infernal gods over trenches, and moreover after the offering to bury the bodies therein.
'For that the four-footed beasts are common to these deities, the god himself added when questioned:
For gods of earth and Erebus alone
Four-footed must their common victims be;
For gods of earth soft limbs of newborn lambs.
§ 4.9.3 'But to the gods of the air he bids men sacrifice birds as whole burnt-offerings, and let the blood run round upon the altars: birds also to the gods of the sea, of a black colour, but to cast them alive into the waves. For he says:
Birds for the gods, but for the sea-gods black.
§ 4.9.4 'He names birds for all the gods save the Chthonian, but black for the sea-gods only, and therefore white for the others.
'But to the gods of the heaven and the ether he bids thee consecrate the limbs of the victims, which are to be white, and eat the other parts: for of these only must thou eat, and not of the others. But those whom in his classification he called gods of heaven, these he here calls gods of the stars.
'Will it then be necessary to explain the symbolic meanings of the sacrifices, manifest as they are to the intelligent? For there are four-footed land animals for the gods of the earth, because like rejoices in like. And the sheep is of the earth and therefore dear to Demeter, and in heaven the Ram, with the help of the sun, brings forth out of the earth its display of fruits. They must be black, for of such colour is the earth, being naturally dark: and three, for three is the symbol of the corporeal and earthly.
'To the gods of earth then one must offer high upon altars, for these pass to and fro upon the earth; but to the gods beneath the earth, in a trench and in a grave, where they abide. To the other gods we must offer birds, because all things are in swift motion. For the water of the sea also is in perpetual motion, and dark, and therefore victims of this kind are suitable. But white victims for the gods of the air: for the air itself is filled with light, being of a translucent nature. For the gods of heaven and of the ether, the parts of the animals which are lighter, and these are the extremities; and with these gods we must participate in the sacrifice: for these are givers of good things, but the others are averters of evil.'
§ 4.9.5 Such are the wonderful theosophist's statements taken from The Philosophy to be derived from Oracles.
§ 4.10.1 But now come, let us compare with this the same person's contrary utterances, set down by him in the book which he entitled On Abstinence from Animal Food. Here indeed, moved by right reasoning, he first of all confesses that we ought not to offer anything at all, either incense or sacrifice, to the God who is over all, nor yet to the divine and heavenly powers who come next to Him.
§ 4.10.2 Then as he goes on, he refutes the opinions of the multitude, by saying that we ought not to regard as gods those who rejoice in the sacrifices of living creatures. For to offer animals in sacrifice, he says, is of all things most unjust, and unholy, and abominable, and hurtful, and therefore not pleasing to gods. But in speaking thus it is evident that he must convict his own god: for he said just before that the oracle enjoined the sacrifice of animals, not only to the infernal and terrestrial gods, but also to those of the air, the heaven, and the ether.
§ 4.10.3 And whereas such are Apollo's injunctions, yet he, appealing to Theophrastus as witness, says that the sacrifice of animals is not fit for gods, but for daemons only: so that, according to the argument of himself and Theophrastus, Apollo is a daemon and not a god; and not Apollo only but also all those who have been regarded as gods among all the heathen, those to whom whole peoples, both rulers and ruled, in cities and in country districts, offer animal sacrifices. For these we ought to believe to be nothing else than daemons, according to the philosophers whom we have mentioned.
§ 4.10.4 But if they say that they are good, how then, if indeed bloody sacrifice was unholy and abominable and hurtful, could those who were pleased with such things as these be good? And if they should also be shown to delight not only in such sacrifices as these, but, with an excess of cruelty and inhumanity, in the slaughter of men and in human sacrifices, how can they be other than utterly blood-guilty, and friends of all cruelty and inhumanity, and nothing else than wicked daemons?
§ 4.10.5 Now when these things have been demonstrated by us, I suppose that good reason has been rendered for our withdrawal from the practices mentioned. For even to confer the honour of one who is invested with regal dignity among men upon robbers and housebreakers is not holy nor pious, much less to degrade the adorable name of God and His supreme honour to wicked spirits.
§ 4.10.6 Hence we who have been taught to worship only the God who is over all, and to honour in due degree the divinely favoured and blessed powers which are around Him, bring with us no earthy or dead offering, nor gore and blood, nor anything of corruptible and material substance; but with a mind purified from all wickedness, and with a body clothed with the ornament of purity and temperance which is brighter than any raiment, and with right doctrines worthy of God, and beside all this with sincerity of disposition, we pray that we may guard even unto death the religion delivered unto us by our Saviour.
§ 4.10.7 But now after these previous explanations it is time for us to proceed to the proofs of our assertions. And first of all it is reasonable to go through the arguments by which the aforesaid author, in his book entitled On Abstinence from Animal Food, says that neither to the God who is over all, nor to the divine powers next to Him, ought we to bring anything of earth either as burnt-offering or sacrifice; because such things are alien to seemly worship.
§ 4.11.1 [PORPHYRY] 'To the God who is over all, as a certain wise man said, we must neither offer by fire nor dedicate any of the things of sense; for there is no material thing which is not at once impure to the immaterial. Wherefore neither is speech by the outward voice proper to Him, nor even the inward speech, whenever it is defiled by passion of the soul. But we worship Him in pure silence, and with pure thoughts concerning Him. United therefore and made like to Him, we must offer our own self-discipline as a holy sacrifice to God, the same being both a hymn of praise to Him and salvation to us. Therefore this sacrifice is perfected in passionless serenity of soul and in contemplation of God.'
§ 4.12.1 'But to the gods who are his offspring, and known only by the mind, we must now add also that hymnody which is produced by speech: for the proper sacrifice for each deity is the first-fruit of the gifts which he has bestowed, and by which he sustains our being and keeps it in existence. As therefore a husbandman brings first-fruits of sheaves and of tree-fruits, so let us offer them first-fruits of noble thoughts concerning them, giving thanks for the things of which they have granted us the contemplation, and because they feed us with true food by the vision of themselves, dwelling with us, and showing themselves to us, and shining upon the path of our salvation.'
§ 4.12.2 So speaks this author; and statements closely related and akin to his concerning the First and Great God are said to be written by the famous Apollonius of Tyana, so celebrated among the multitude, in his work Concerning Sacrifices, as follows:
§ 4.13.1 [APOLLONIUS OF TYANA] 'In this way, then, I think, one would best show the proper regard for the deity, and thereby beyond all other men secure His favour and good will, if to Him whom we called the First God, and who is One and separate from all others, and to whom the rest must be acknowledged inferior, he should sacrifice nothing at all, neither kindle fire, nor dedicate anything whatever that is an object of sense — for He needs nothing even from beings who are greater than we are: nor is there any plant at all which the earth sends up, nor any animal which it, or the air, sustains, to which there is not some defilement attached — but should ever employ towards Him only that better speech, I mean the speech which passes not through the lips, and should ask good things from the noblest of beings by what is noblest in ourselves, and this is the mind, which needs no instrument. According to this therefore we ought by no means to offer sacrifice to the great God who is over all.'
§ 4.13.2 Now these things being so, see next what kind of account the former writer gives of animal sacrifice, calling up Theophrastus as witness of his statement.
§ 4.14.1 [PORPHYRY] 'But when the sacrifices of first-fruits were allowed by mankind to run into great disorder, they began to adopt the most dreadful offerings full of cruelty, so that the curses formerly denounced against us seemed now to have received accomplishment, by men cutting the victims' throats, and defiling the altars with blood, from the time that they experienced famines and wars, and had recourse to bloodshed. Therefore the deity, as Theophrastus says, indignant at these several crimes, seems to have inflicted the suitable punishment, inasmuch as some men have become atheists, while others would more justly be called evil-minded than impious, because they believed the gods to be in their nature vile and no better than ourselves. Thus some of them, it appears, came to differ no sacrifices, while others offered evil sacrifices and had recourse to unlawful victims.'
§ 4.14.2 Again the same author adds this also:
'Which things being so, Theophrastus rightly forbids those who wish to be really pious to sacrifice things with life, making use of other arguments of this kind.'
§ 4.14.3 He further says:
'Moreover we ought to offer such sacrifices as shall injure no one, for a sacrifice above all things ought to be harmless to all. But if any one should say that God has given us animals for our use no less than the fruits of the earth, yet at all events when he sacrifices animals he inflicts some harm upon them, inasmuch as they are robbed of their life. These then we must not sacrifice, for by its very name sacrifice is something holy; but no one is holy who renders thank-offerings out of things belonging to another, whether grain or plants, if taken against his will. For how can it be a holy thing, when wrong is done to those who are robbed? But if he who lays hands even upon another man's crops makes not a holy offering, most certainly it is not holy to take things more precious than these from any, and offer them: for thus the harm becomes greater. And far more precious than the fruits of the earth is life, which man ought not to take by sacrificing living things.'
§ 4.14.4 And he adds:
'We must abstain therefore from offering living things in our sacrifices.'
§ 4.14.5 And again he says:
'What therefore is neither holy nor of little cost must not be offered in sacrifice.'
§ 4.14.6 And presently:
'So that if we are to sacrifice animals to the gods, even these we must offer for some of the following purposes: for whatever we sacrifice is sacrificed for some one of these purposes. Would then any one of us, or would any god think that he received honour, when by what we consecrate we are at once shown to be doing wrong? Or would he not rather think that such a deed was a dishonour? But surely we confess that by slaying in our sacrifice those animals which do no wrong we shall do wrong to them: so that we must not sacrifice any of the other living beings for the sake of honouring the gods: no, nor yet as rendering thanks to them for their benefits. For he that would render just recompense for a benefit, and a worthy return for a kind deed, ought to provide these gifts without doing evil to any. For he will be thought to make no better return, than a man would if he were to seize his neighbour's property to crown any persons by way of repaying them with gratitude and honour. Nay, nor yet (may we offer animals) because of any need of good things. For if a man seeks to gain good treatment by unjust conduct, it is suspected that, even if well treated, he will not be grateful.
'So that not even in hope of benefit must we sacrifice animals to the gods: for in so doing one might perhaps deceive man, but to deceive God is impossible. If therefore sacrifice should be offered for some one of these purposes, and if we must not offer animals for the sake of any of them, it is manifest that we must not offer such sacrifices to the gods at all.'
§ 4.14.7 And again he adds:
'For both nature and the whole feeling of man's soul were pleased with offerings of the former kind:
When with pure blood of bulls no altar dripped,
But this was held by men the foulest crime,
To rend the life, and feed upon the limbs.'
§ 4.14.8 And after other matters he says:
'But when a young man has learned that gods delight in costliness, and, as is said, in feasts upon kine and other animals, when would he ever choose to be thrifty and temperate? And if he believes that these offerings are pleasing to the gods, how can he avoid thinking that he has license to do wrong, being sure to buy off his sin by his sacrifices? But if he be persuaded that the gods have no need of these sacrifices, but look to the moral disposition of those who approach them, receiving as the greatest offering the right judgement concerning themselves and their affairs, how can he fail to be prudent, and just, and holy?
'The best sacrifice to the gods is a pure mind and a soul free from passions; but also congenial to them is the offering of other sacrifices in moderation, not carelessly however, but with all earnestness. For their honours must be like those paid in the case of good men, such as chief seats in public assemblies, rising up at their approach, and honourable places at table, and not like grants of tribute.'
§ 4.14.9 Hereby then it was clearly acknowledged, according to the Greeks and their philosophers, that nothing endued with life can rightly be sacrificed to the gods, for the act is unholy, and unjust, and hurtful, and not far from a pollution. He was no god then nor yet a truthful and good daemon — that oracle-monger of whom we heard just now as exacting drink-offerings of blood and burnt-offerings; nor yet all those to whom the oracle commanded animals to be sacrificed. A deceiver therefore and a cheat and an utterly wicked daemon must we call him who so lied, and called them gods who are not, and enjoined the sacrifice of animals not only to the terrestrial and infernal gods, but also to the gods of heaven and ether and the stars. What then, if not gods, we ought to suppose all those before mentioned to be, the writer himself shall explain again in what follows.
§ 4.15.1 [PORPHYRY] 'He who cares for religion knows that nothing which has life is offered to gods, but to daemons either good or evil; knows also whose interest it is to sacrifice to them, and how far they proceed who need their help.' And presently he says again:
§ 4.15.2 'Those who thoroughly understood the powers that are in the universe brought their bloody sacrifices not to gods but to daemons, which fact also is certified by the theologists themselves; and moreover that some of the daemons do harm, but others are good and will not molest us.' Thus far the aforesaid author. But since he asserted that some of the daemons are good and others bad, how may we see that their supposed gods are all found to be not even good daemons, but bad? You may find the proof of this as follows.
§ 4.15.3 What is good gives help, but the contrary does harm. If then those who have been everywhere proclaimed either as gods or as daemons — the very same, I say, who have been celebrated by them all, and are worshipped by all the heathen nations, as Kronos, and Zeus, and Hera and Athena, and the like, also the invisible powers, and the daemons who operate through graven images — if these should be found to delight not only in slaughter and sacrifices of irrational animals, but also in manslaughter and human sacrifices, thus destroying the souls of the miserable men, what worse harm could you conceive than this?
§ 4.15.4 For if the offering of irrational animals was called by the philosophers execrable and sacrilegious, abominable too and unjust and unholy and not harmless to the offerers, and for all these reasons unworthy of the gods, what are we to think of the offering made by human sacrifice? Would not this be most impious, most unholy of all? How then could it reasonably be declared welcome to good daemons, and not rather to utterly abominable and destructive spirits?
§ 4.15.5 Come then, let us examine and prove how widely the plague of polytheistic error held sway over the life of man before our Saviour's teaching in the gospel. For we shall prove that this error was abolished and destroyed no earlier than the times of Hadrian, when Christ's teaching was already shining forth like light over every region.
§ 4.15.6 And to this not our testimony, but the voices again of our adversaries themselves shall expressly bear witness, charging upon the preceding ages wickedness so great, that the superstitious pass at length beyond nature's limits, being so utterly driven frantic and possessed by the destroying spirits, as even to suppose that they propitiate the bloodthirsty powers by the blood of their dearest friends and countless other human sacrifices.
§ 4.15.7 Sometimes a father sacrificed his only son to the daemon, and a mother her beloved daughter, and the dearest friends would slay their relatives as readily as any irrational and strange animals, and to the so-called gods in every city and country they used to offer their home-friends and fellow citizens, having sharpened their humane and sympathetic nature to a merciless and inhuman cruelty, and exhibiting a frantic and truly daemoniacal disposition.
§ 4.15.8 So then by examining all history both Grecian and barbarian you would find how some used to dedicate sons, and others daughters, and others even themselves for sacrifice to the daemons. And for this I offer you the same witness as before, in the same work in which he forbad the sacrifice of irrational cattle as unholy and most unjust: and this is what he says word for word.
§ 4.16.9 [PORPHYRY] 'And that we say this not lightly, but with the fullest testimony of history, the following instances may suffice to prove. For even in Rhodes a man used to be sacrificed to Kronos on the sixth day of the month Metageitnion. This custom prevailed for a long time before it was changed: for one of those who had been publicly condemned to death was kept in custody until the festival of Kronos, and when the festival was come, they brought the man forth outside the gates opposite the temple of Aristobule, gave him a drink of wine, and cut his throat.
§ 4.16.10 'And in what is now called Salamis, but formerly Coronia, in the month Aphrodisius according to the Cyprians, a man used to be sacrificed to Agraulos, the daughter of Cecrops and nymph Agraulis. This custom continued until the times of Diomedes; then it changed, so that the man was sacrificed to Diomedes; and the shrine of Athena, and that of Agraulos and Diomedes are under one enclosure. The man to be sacrificed ran thrice round the altar, led by the youths: then the priest struck him in the throat with a spear, and so they offered him as a burnt-sacrifice upon the pyre that was heaped up. 'But this ordinance was abolished by Diphilus, king of Cyprus, who lived in the times of Seleucus the theologian, and changed the custom into a sacrifice of an ox: and the daemon accepted the ox instead of a man; so little is the difference in value of the performance.
§ 4.16.11 'Also at Heliopolis in Egypt Amosis abolished the law of human sacrifice, as Manetho bears witness in his book Concerning Antiquity and Religion. The men were sacrificed to Hera, and were examined just as the pure calves that were sought after and sealed. Three men were sacrificed in the day: but instead of them Amosis ordered the same number of waxen images to be supplied.
§ 4.16.12 'Also in Chios they used to sacrifice a man to Dionysus Omadius, tearing him limb from limb; in Tenedos also, as Euelpis of Carystus states. For even the Lacedemonians, Apollodorus says, used to sacrifice a man to Ares.
§ 4.16.13 'The Phoenicians, too, in the great calamities of war, or pestilence, or drought, used to dedicate one of their dearest friends and sacrifice him to Kronos: and of those who thus sacrificed the Phoenician history is full, which Sanchuniathon wrote in the Phoenician language, and Philo Byblius translated into Greek in eight books.
§ 4.16.14 'And Ister, in his Collection of Cretan Sacrifices, says that the Curetes in old times used to sacrifice boys to Kronos. But that the human sacrifices in almost all nations had been abolished, is stated by Pallas, who made an excellent collection concerning the mysteries of Mithras in the time of the Emperor Hadrian. Also at Laodicea in Syria a virgin used to be offered to Athena every year, but now a hind.
§ 4.16.15 'Moreover the Carthaginians in Libya used to perform this kind of sacrifice, which was stopped by Iphicrates. The Dumateni also, in Arabia, used every year to sacrifice a boy, and bury him under the altar, which they treated as an image.
§ 4.16.16 'Phylarchus states in his history that all the Greeks in common offered human sacrifices before going out against their enemies. I say nothing of the Thracians and Scythians, and how the Athenians slew the daughter of Erechtheus and Praxithea. Nay, even at the present time, who knows not that in the Great City a man is sacrificed at the festival of Jupiter Latiaris?
§ 4.16.17 And again he says: 'From which time until now not only in Arcadia at the Lycaea, nor only in Carthage to Kronos do the whole people offer human sacrifice, but periodically for the sake of keeping the custom in remembrance they always sprinkle kindred blood upon the altars.'
§ 4.16.18 So then from the aforesaid writing let these passages suffice: but from the first book of Philo's Phoenician History I will quote the following: [PHILO BYBLIUS] 'It was a custom of the ancients in the great crises of danger for the rulers of a city or nation, in order to avert the general destruction, to give up the most beloved of their children for sacrifice as a ransom to the avenging daemons: and those who were so given up were slain with mystic rites. Kronos, therefore, whom the Phoenicians call El, who was king of the country, and subsequently, after his decease, was deified and changed into the star Saturn, had by a nymph of the same country called Anobret an only-begotten son (whom on this account they called Jeiid, the only-begotten being still so called among the Phoenicians); and when extreme dangers from war had befallen the country, he arrayed his son in royal apparel, and prepared an altar and sacrificed him.' Such, was the manner of these doings.
§ 4.16.19 With good reason therefore does the excellent Clement himself also, in his Exhortation to the Greeks, when finding fault with these very customs, lament as follows over the delusion of mankind and say: [CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA] 'Come then, let us further observe, what inhuman daemons and haters of mankind your gods were, not only delighting in driving men mad, but also gloating over human slaughter, making for themselves occasions of pleasure now in the armed conflicts of the arena, and now in the endless contests for glory in war, that so they might have the fullest opportunities of freely glutting themselves with human slaughter. And at length, falling like pestilences upon cities and nations, they demanded merciless libations of blood. For instance, Aristomenes the Messenian slew three hundred men in honour of Zeus of Ithome, supposing that hecatombs so many and also of such quality would give good omens; for among them was Theopompus, the king of the Lacedemonians, a noble victim. The Tauri, the nation who dwell about the Tauric Chersonese, sacrifice forthwith to the Tauric Artemis whatever strangers they take on their coasts, those I mean who have been wrecked at sea. These are the sacrifices which Euripides dramatizes on the stage. Monimus, too, in his Collection of Marvels, relates that at Pella in Thessaly a man of Achaia was offered in sacrifice to Peleus and Cheirou. And that the Lyctians, who are a race of Cretans, sacrificed men to Zeus, is declared by Anticleides in his Returns of the Greeks: and Dosidas says that the Lesbians offered the like sacrifice to Dionysus. The Phocaeans also, for I must not omit them, are said by Pythocles in the third book On Concord to offer a man as a burnt-sacrifice to Artemis Tauropolos. Erechtheus of Attica, and Marius of Rome, sacrificed their own daughters, the one to Pherephatta, as Demaratus states in his first book of Subjects of Tragedy, and Marius to the Averters of Evil, as Dorotheus relates in the fourth book of the Italica. Friends truly of mankind the daemons are clearly proved by these examples!
§ 4.16.20 'Must not then the piety of the daemon-worshippers be of the like kind, the former receiving the flattering title of Saviours, and the latter asking safety of those who plot against safety? At least, while imagining that they offer to them a sacrifice of good omen, they forget that they are cutting men's throats themselves. For of course the murder does not become a sacrifice because of the place. Nor, if one should slay a man in honour of Artemis and Zeus in a so-called sacred place (would it become a sacrifice) any more than if, from anger or covetousness, he should slay the man in honour of like daemons on altars rather than on highways, and call it a holy sacrifice. But such a sacrifice is murder and manslaughter.
§ 4.16.21 'Why then, O men, ye wisest of all living creatures, why do we flee from savage wild beasts, and, if we fall in anywhere with a bear or a lion, turn out of the way —
§ 4.16.22 As when some traveller spies, Coiled in his path upon the mountain side, A deadly snake, back he recoils in haste, His limbs all trembling, and his cheek all pale — but though you have perceived and understand that daemons are destructive and pernicious, treacherous, enemies of mankind, and destroyers, you do not turn aside nor shrink back from them?'
§ 4.16.23 Thus far Clement. But I have also to present to you another witness of the blood-thirstiness of the impious and inhuman daemons, namely, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a man who published a complete and accurate work on the History of Rome. Now he too writes that Zeus and Apollo once demanded human sacrifices, but those of whom they were demanded offered to the gods their portion of all crops and cattle, but were beset by all kinds of misfortune, because they did not also sacrifice men. There is nothing, however, like hearing the writer himself, who tells the story as follows: [DIONYSIUS OF HALICARNASSUS] 'But a small part (of the Pelasgians) remained in Italy, through the prudence of the Aborigines. The first beginning of ruin to the inhabitants of the cities seeme'd to be the damage of the land by drought, when neither did any fruit remain to ripen upon the trees, but all fell off unripe, nor did any of the seeds, which put forth shoots and blossomed, complete the normal periods for the ripening of the ear; nor did grass grow sufficient for cattle; and of the springs some were no longer good to drink, and some were failing from heat, and some completely drying up. And disasters akin to these occurred in regard to offspring of cattle and women: for the fruit of the womb either miscarried, or perished at the time of birth, in some cases causing death to the mothers also. And whatever escaped the danger of parturition was crippled, or imperfect, or injured through some other mischance, and was not fit to be reared. Then, too, the rest of the population which was in the prime of life began to be ravaged by diseases and deaths of more than ordinary frequency. And when they inquired of oracles, which of the gods or daemons they had offended that they suffered thus, and what they could do with a hope of alleviating their troubles, the god made answer, that, after obtaining what they wished, they had not paid what they vowed, but still owed the most precious part. For when a general dearth had fallen upon their land, the Pelasgi made a vow to Zeus and to Apollo and to the Cabeiri that they would offer in sacrifice tithes of all future produce: but when their prayer was fulfilled, they chose out the portion of all crops and cattle, and offered these in sacrifice to the gods, as though they had vowed these only. This story is told by Myrsilus the Lesbian, who writes in almost the same words as I have now used, except only that he does not call the people Pelasgians but Tyrrhenians; and the reason of this I will state a little later.
§ 4.16.24 'When they learned the answer of the oracle that had been brought back, they could not conjecture the meaning. But in their perplexity, one of the older men who had guessed the oracle said, that they had mistaken the whole matter if they supposed that the gods were accusing them unjustly: for though all the first-fruits of property had been rightly and justly paid by them, yet the portion of human offspring, a thing most precious above all to the gods, was still due. But if the gods were to receive their just share of this also, they would then have fully satisfied the oracle. Some thought then that this was good advice, but others that the speech was concocted as part of a plot: and when some one brought forward the proposal that they should ask the god again whether it was his pleasure to receive tenths of men, they sent ambassadors a second time, and the god made answer that they should do so. Hereupon a quarrel arose among them as to the method of choosing the tenths: and the chief men of their cities then first fell into dissension among themselves, and afterwards the rest of the multitude became suspicious of the magistrates; and their emigrations were not made with any order, but as was to be expected when men were driven away by frenzy and infatuation. So when a portion of them migrated, many households were utterly destroyed; for the relatives of those who went forth did not approve of being left behind by their dearest friends and remaining among their worst enemies. These then were the first who removed from Italy, and wandered into Greece and many barbarous lands; and after the first emigrants, others had the same feeling, and this went on continuously for years. For those who were in power in the cities did not cease to choose out the victims from the youth who at the time were growing into manhood, both as deeming thus to pay due service to the gods, and because they feared seditious movements from those who had escaped. There were many also who from enmity were driven away by their opponents under a specious pretext; so that the migrations became numerous, and the Pelasgic race was scattered abroad over a very great part of the earth.'
§ 4.16.25 Also a little later he says: 'Now it is said that the ancients offer these sacrifices to Kronos, as was done in Carthage while the city remained, and is done among the Celts unto this day, and in certain other of the Western nations who offer human sacrifices; but that Hercules, wishing to put a stop to the custom of this sacrifice, set up the altar on the hill of Saturn, and dedicated holy offerings hallowed by pure fire. And in order that the people might have no timorous scruple, as having neglected their ancestral sacrifices, he taught the inhabitants to appease the wrath of the god, by substituting for the men whom they used to cast into the stream of the Tiber bound hand and foot, images made like men and arrayed in the same manner as the former, and to throw them into the river in order that the foreboding, whatever there was of it remaining in the souls of all, might be removed as the likenesses of their old suffering were still preserved. And this the Romans continued to do even to my time, a little after the spring equinox, on the so-called Ides in the month of May, meaning this day to be the division of the month: on which day, after sacrificing the customary victims, the so-called Pontifices, the most distinguished of the priests, and with them the Virgins who guard the undying fire, and the Praetors, and those of the other citizens who have the right to be present at the sacred services, throw from the sacred bridge into the stream of the Tiber images fashioned in human forms, which they call Argei.'
§ 4.16.26 Such are these statements. And Diodorus also narrates similar facts in the twentieth book of his Bibliotheca Historica, after the death of Alexander of Macedon, in the time of the first Ptolemy, concerning the Carthaginians when besieged by Agathocles the tyrant of Sicily, writing word for word thus: [DIODORUS] 'They alleged also that Kronos was set against them, inasmuch as they used in earlier times to sacrifice the best of their sons to this god, but afterwards bought children secretly, and reared them and sent them for the sacrifice; and when an inquiry was held, some of those who had been sacrificed were found to have been supposititious. So when they had taken thought of this, and saw the enemy encamping close to their walls, they had a superstitious fear of having abolished the honours which their fathers had paid to the gods: and, being eager to amend their errors, they chose out two hundred of their most distinguished sons and offered them as a public sacrifice; and others who were under suspicion gave themselves up of their own accord, in number not less than three hundred. Now they had a brazen statue of Kronos, stretching forth his upturned hands inclined towards the ground, in such a way that the boy placed thereon rolled off and fell into a pit full of fire.'
§ 4.16.27 Such are the stories handed down by this author also in his own history. With good reason then does the scripture of the Hebrews lay blame upon those of the circumcision who emulated such practices, saying: 'They offered their sons and their daughters to the daemons, and the land was defiled with their blood, and was polluted with their works.' But in fact I believe it to be hereby clearly proved that the most ancient and primitive erection of carved images and all the idolatrous creation of gods among the heathen was the work of daemons, and of daemons who were not even good, but utterly wicked and worthless: so that the oracle speaks truth which says in the prophecies, 'All the gods of the heathen are daemons'; as also the passage of the Apostle where he says, 'That the things which they sacrifice, they sacrifice to daemons and not to God.' Or if there was any good one among them, on whose account they might share in the title of the good, he would be a benefactor and saviour of all, a friend of justice, and a guardian of mankind. But if he were such, how could he delight in human slaughter? And why did he not forbid mankind by oracles to follow such practices? Surely he was worse and more wicked than men, since they by legal punishments brought the blood-guilty to a better mind. For it was no god, but a man, who abolished the long-continued and wide-spread plague of human sacrifice.
§ 4.16.28 But that these were the works of worthless and wicked daemons would be still more manifest to you, were you to consider their practices of infamous and unbridled fornication still observed in Heliopolis in Phoenicia, and among many other people. For they say that men ought to practise adulteries, and seductions, and other unlawful kinds of intercourse, in honour of the gods, as a sort of debt due to them, and to consecrate to the gods the first-fruits of adultery and fornication, dedicating to them the gains of this ignoble and unseemly commerce, just as if it were some worthy kind of thank-offering: for these practices are similar to their human sacrifices.
§ 4.16.29 If therefore it is not the part even of a decent man to delight in murders, and obscene language, and illicit intercourse with women who sell away their beauty for hire, far be it from us to say that it is the part of gods or good daemons to accept such offerings. But if any one should say that, though these are confessedly the acts of evil daemons, there are nevertheless others, namely the good daemons, whom they especially worship as saviours; where then, we should ask, were their good saviours, if they worshipped them, that they did not hinder the wicked daemons from so treating their suppliants? And where were the good daemons that they did not drive away the mischievous, and bring aid to their worshippers? And why did they neglect and overlook the rational and religious race of mankind when oppressed by the cruelty of the evil daemons, instead of plainly warning them all to flee straight away, and shun every so-called god as being no god but a wicked daemon, to whom things cruel and inhuman and unlawful and disgraceful are dear? And if either in Rhodes there was long ago a supposed god who rejoiced in human sacrifices, the true god, if indeed there was one, would have repressed the practice and warned them all to regard such an one not as a god but as an evil daemon. Or if in Salamis, which also was formerly called Coronea, a man was sacrificed in the month Aphrodisius according to the Cyprians, their true god would have shown them that this too was a wicked daemon, and so would have stopped the proceeding as impious and unholy.
§ 4.16.30 If also at Heliopolis in Egypt Amosis abolished the law of human sacrifice, the true god would have taught them that the man was far better than the god: for there again he who was the author of the human sacrifice was no god but a daemon. Nor would the true god have ordained that men must not consider Hera's daemon impure, since the history showed that three men were sacrificed to her every day.
§ 4.16.31 And what could be more truly daemoniacal than the so-called Dionysus Omadius, to whom, it is said, they sacrifice a man in Chios, tearing him limb from limb, or the other in Tenedos, whom also in like manner they used to propitiate by human sacrifice? Their true god would also have forbidden to sacrifice a man to Ares, the daemon who is the bane of mortals and lover of war, and would have made a law against sacrificing to him the dearest either of their kindred or of strangers.
§ 4.16.32 If also, as they say, a virgin was sacrificed every year to Athena at Laodicea in Syria, their true god would not have shunned to call her too a wicked daemon; as also him in Libya who delighted in the like sacrifices, and him in Arabia, to whom they sacrificed a boy every year; and buried him under the altar.
§ 4.17.1 All these, and those who delighted in obscenities of language and illicit seductions of women and all the madness which has been before mentioned, the true and good god, or daemon, would have forewarned them, not by any means to regard as gods. But none of them ever yet is recorded to have done this, except only the God who is honoured among the Hebrews, as being the Only and true God.
§ 4.17.2 For He alone forewarned all men by Moses the Prophet and Theologian, not to reverence the wicked daemons as good, but on the contrary to shun and repel them, as being evil spirits; and moreover He made a law to destroy their shrines and their unholy and profane sacrifices, and utterly to banish from among men the remembrance of them as gods, and the honour that was assigned to them: for it was an impiety that those who were cared for by the good should propitiate the evil.
§ 4.17.3 And whether it is Phylarchus, or any one else, who records that all the Greeks, before going out to their wars, offer a human sacrifice, do not thou hesitate to take him also as a witness of the daemoniacal possession of the Greeks: do not neglect either to declare that those in Africa, and the Thracians, and the Scythians, who follow the like practices, have been subjected to the same daemoniacal frenzies; as also the Athenians, and the inhabitants of the Great City, since these also used to sacrifice men at the festivals of Jupiter Maximus.
§ 4.17.4 But in fact if you were to collect the catalogue of all those who have been mentioned above, you would find that, as I might almost say, the whole manufacture of gods by the heathen depends upon these same murderous spirits and evil daemons. For if in Rhodes, and in Salamis and the other islands, and at Heliopolis in Egypt, in Chios, and Tenedos, and Lacedemon, Arcadia, Phoenicia, Libya, and, besides all these, in Syria and Arabia, and among the Panhellenes and the Athenians who stand at the very head of them, in Carthage also and Africa, and among Thracians and Scythians, it has been shown that the rites of human sacrifice to daemons were celebrated in old times, and continued down to our Saviour's time, why may you not say with good reason that all mankind were at that time enslaved to wicked daemons, and that life was not relieved from these great evils before our Saviour's teaching shed light upon the world? For indeed it was proved by the statement of history that these things continued till the times of Hadrian, and have been abolished since his reign: and this was exactly the time at which the doctrine of salvation began to flourish among all mankind.
§ 4.17.5 Moreover it is not in their power to say that they used to sacrifice to the evil daemons; since the history made it clear that the human sacrifices were dedicated especially to the great gods themselves. For it affirmed that they were offered to Hera and to Athena, to Kronos and Ares and Dionysus, and to supreme Zeus himself, and to Phoebus, that is to Apollo the most venerable and most wise of all: and these and none other they address as the greatest and best of saviours and gods.
§ 4.17.6 These then must themselves be the wicked daemons. For if they delighted in such human sacrifices and homicides, may you not with good reason reckon them in the same class of blood-guiltiness with the wicked spirits, whether they were said themselves to delight in such offerings, or to acquiesce in them, and connive at their being done by others?
§ 4.17.7 For why should they permit men at all to propitiate the wicked spirits? Or why allow them to err so far as to worship and flatter the evil daemons? And why to be enslaved by the wicked, when, as being good themselves and gods, it behoved them by their greater and more divine power to drive away everything whatsoever base and wicked as far as possible from man's daily life?
§ 4.17.8 Surely a good father would not calmly see his own son corrupted by evil men; nor would a prudent master calmly see his servant led away by his enemies, nor yet a commander in time of war give up his own soldiers as prisoners to the enemy, when it was in his power to bring them safe off; nor would a shepherd give up his sheep to the wolves: and shall then gods and good daemons give up mankind in subjection to the bad and wicked daemons? And shall
§ 4.17.9 'The thrice ten thousand guardians of mankind,' I mean their shepherds and preservers, kings and fathers and lords, deliver up their dearest ones to their enemies and foemen, fierce as wild beasts, to harry and plunder in so merciless and cruel a manner? Will they not cast a shield over their suppliants, and fight in their defence? Will they not drive the hostile and wicked daemons far away from the human fold, like savage and devouring beasts? And will they not teach every man to be of good courage because he is closely allied with a countless multitude of gods and good daemons, and, because he is consecrated to those who are not only stronger but also the more numerous and the greatest gods, to pay little or rather no regard to the weakness of the wicked daemons? But since they did not act thus, but on the contrary themselves helped the evil daemons by permitting the fore-mentioned human sacrifices by their oracles, and by delighting in all kinds of obscene language and the practices attendant thereon, it is proved by deed, as the saying is, that they were not themselves at all different in nature from the evil daemons, but rather were of one and the same will and purpose; and that, to speak yet more truly, he was no god at all, nor any good daemon, that was worshipped of old by all the heathen in every city and country district.
§ 4.17.10 For how could the wicked ever become friendly to the good, unless one should say that one mixture might be made of light and darkness? And how much better is human reason than those supposed gods, when it enjoins that no sacrifice should be offered even to wicked daemons! So at all events the writer formerly quoted, in the work wherein he asserted that men ought not to offer living victims, says that neither ought we to sacrifice to wicked daemons, speaking in this wise:
§ 4.18.1 [PORPHYRY] 'Wherefore a wise and prudent man will guard against using sacrifices such as these, whereby he will draw down daemons of this kind to himself, but will be careful to purify his soul in every way; for they never attack a pure soul, because of its being unlike themselves. But if it is necessary for States to propitiate these daemons also, that is nothing to us; for States regard wealth and externals and things for the body as good, and the contrary as ill; but there are in them very few who care for the soul.' After this he adds:
§ 4.19.1 [PORPHYRY] 'We, however, as far as possible, will require none of the things which these evil daemons supply: but with all our soul and with all outward means we make every endeavour, by freedom from passions, and a clearly formed conception of the realities of being, and the life that looks to them and agrees with them, to grow like to God and those about Him; but to grow unlike to wicked men and daemons and, generally, to all that takes delight in what is mortal and material. 'But the philosopher whom we describe as standing aloof from external things will not, we may fairly say, trouble daemons, nor have need of soothsayers, nor of the entrails of animals; for he has made it his care to stand aloof from the very things for which divinations exist. For he neither lets himself fall into marriage, that he should trouble the soothsayer about a wedding, nor into commerce; nor will he trouble him about a servant, or a theft, or any other of the vanities of mankind. But on the subjects of his inquiry no soothsayer, nor animal's entrails will indicate the truth. By himself alone, as we said, he will approach the god whose seat is in his own true heart, and there uniting all his powers in one full stream will receive his suggestions concerning the life eternal.' [Porphyry, ibid. ii. 52]
§ 4.19.2 Hereby then his language most clearly shows to whom we must ascribe the oracles, and the inquiries by inspection of sacrifices, and those prognostications about uncertainties at which the multitude marvel. For by calling all these things 'vanities,' he rejects them as being wrought by wicked daemons.
§ 4.19.3 So when going through his account of evil daemons, and asserting that the wise and prudent man never gave himself over to them, nor drew such daemons to himself by his sacrifices, he next subjoins a statement that the philosopher 'will have no need of oracles nor of the entrails of animals,' and such like, as being part of the evil craft of daemons.
§ 4.19.4 If then according to this the wise and prudent man ought to beware of using sacrifices of this kind, whereby to draw the daemons to himself — and if by these were meant sacrifices by shedding of blood, and by slaughter of brute animals — none could justly be called prudent and wise among those who of old used to sacrifice animals to the daemons, and much less any of those who offered human sacrifices.
§ 4.19.5 But almost all nations in the world, so to speak, before our Saviour was made known unto mankind, were convicted of propitiating the evil daemons by the human sacrifices which were performed in every place: none of these therefore was wise and prudent.
§ 4.19.6 So then the common sense and consideration of mankind, guided by true reason, expressly forewarns every wise and prudent man not to make use of sacrifices for courting the favour of the wicked daemons, 'but to be diligent in purifying his soul in all ways; for they do not assail a pure soul, because it is unlike themselves.'
§ 4.19.7 But their god Apollo (for we must again compare him with men, and show how far he falls short of right reason) enjoins sacrificing to the picked daemon, not otherwise of course than as being friendly to him: and the bad is friendly to the bad. The witness of this is the same author as before, in the work which he entitled Of the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles, who relates the following story word for word:
§ 4.20.1 [PORPHYRY] 'So when the prophet was eager to see the deity with his own eyes, and was urgent, Apollo said that such a thing was impossible before giving ransom to the wicked daemon. And these are his words: To the dread genius of thy fatherland Bring thou, for ransom meet, libations first, Then fragrant incense, and dark blood of grapes, With rich milk from the mothers of thy flock. 'Again, he spake more plainly on the same subject:
§ 4.20.2 Bring wine and milk, and water crystal-clear, Holm boughs and acorns, and in order lay The entrails, and the rich libations pour. 'But when asked what prayer should be used he began, but, did not finish, speaking thus: O daemon, crowned king of erring souls Beneath dark caves, and on the earth above — '
§ 4.20.3 So spake the wonderful god, or rather the most wily daemon: but the dictates of natural reason are the very contrary, exhorting us 'to purify the soul,' but not to draw the wicked daemons to our side by sacrifices, 'for they do not assail a pure soul, because it is unlike them.' But then if he who was cautious, and did no sacrifice to daemons, was rightly judged to be a wise and prudent man, I leave it to you to consider, who and what kind of being he could reasonably be esteemed who, by his oracle, advised men to sacrifice to the wicked daemons.
§ 4.20.4 Now if from this point you review what has been said, it will be evident what sort of beings in natural disposition those were who delighted in human sacrifices, or those who had long before enslaved the whole human race to such beings. But should any one say that the custom of human sacrifice is not wicked, but was most rightly practised by the men of old, he must at once condemn all of the present day, because none worship after the manner of their fathers.
§ 4.21.1 If, however, it was prudent in those of our day to make their escape from that harsh and fierce cruelty, then none of the ancients was wise in propitiating the wicked daemons by human sacrifices. But in fact it is plain even to a blind man, as the saying is, that those who were deified of old by all the heathen, could neither be gods nor good daemons but were as far removed as possible from goodness.
§ 4.21.2 Wherefore also they might justly be called enemies of God and impious, who ruined all human life, and from whom never any save only our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ provided the way of escape for all men, by preaching to all alike, Greeks and Barbarians, a cure for their ancestral malady, and deliverance from their bitter and inveterate bondage. To that deliverance the language of the Demonstration of the Gospel urges men to hasten, shouting with loud voice to be heard of all, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me, He hath sent me to preach good tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to heal the broken-hearted.' And again, 'To bring out the prisoners from their bonds, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.' For these are the things which long ages ago the truly divine oracles of the Hebrews foretold, preaching the good tidings of deliverance for us who had long been blind of soul, and fast bound in the many-linked fetters of wicked daemons. Wherefore with good reason, after being enlightened in the eyes of our understanding by the word of salvation, and made prudent, and wise, and pious, and free from all ills, we will neither sacrifice nor be in bondage to the supposed gods of the heathen, who formerly indeed tyrannized over us also; but having been led and brought near by our Saviour's teaching to the only true God, who is both our Lord and our Preserver, our Saviour and Benefactor, and moreover our Maker and Creator, and sole King of the universe, Him only we will believe to be the true God, and to Him alone will we render the homage which is due, honouring and worshipping Him only, not as the daemons like, but as the Saviour of all mankind sent down from Him has taught us by the doctrine of His Gospel.
§ 4.21.3 If we worship God in this way, far from fearing the wicked daemons, we shall pursue and drive them away from us by chastity, and a pure disposition, and by a life of prudence and perfect virtue, which has been marked out by our Saviour: for it was acknowledged that they cannot approach a pure soul because it is unlike themselves. But neither shall we need divination and oracles, nor shall we scrutinize the entrails of animals, nor pry into any of the operations of daemoniacal influence.
§ 4.21.4 For Christ's word enjoined on us to be careful to shun the very things for the sake of which these practices are eagerly pursued by the multitude; and exhorted us to desire only those things concerning which no soothsayer nor any entrails of animals will give clear indication of the truth, but only the Word of God Himself, who dwells in the true hearts of those who, because of perfect purity of soul, are able to receive Him inwardly in themselves. For concerning these He says somewhere in the holy Scriptures, 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.' These then are the proofs of the wickedness of the daemons derived from the topic of sacrifices. Hear however what the author of the work On Abstinence from Animal Food relates again on the same subject, expressly acknowledging that, while the wicked daemons are sculptured in many shapes, and give their character to forms of all kinds, they elude and deceive most men. For, says he, by slipping into the persons of good beings, and alluring the multitude to their company by inflaming men's passions, they wish themselves to be entitled the supreme gods.
§ 4.21.5 And so far, says he, have they prevailed, as to deceive even the wisest poets and philosophers of the Greeks, whom he also admits to have been the authors of the perversion of the multitude: he says also that from them all kinds of imposture arose, and the things which allure men to pleasure are supplied by them; also he says how they wish to be gods, though they are really evil daemons, and how the power which presides over them is supposed to be the supreme god.
§ 4.22.1 [PORPHYRY] 'All souls which fail to control the spirit connected with them, but are for the most part controlled by it, are on this account greatly vexed and harassed, whenever the angry passions and desires of the spirit are excited: and these souls might reasonably be themselves called daemons, but mischievous ones.' And the whole number, both these and those of the adverse power, are invisible and perfectly imperceptible by human senses. For they are not clothed with a solid body, nor all with one form, but their forms being moulded in various shapes, and expressing the character of their spirit, sometimes become visible, at other times are invisible: sometimes also the daemons, at least the worst sort of them, change their forms.
'The spirit, in so far as it is corporeal, is capable of suffering and of perishing: but, by being so bound in subjection to the soul that the character thereof continues for a long time, it is nevertheless not rendered eternal; for it is natural that some portion of it should be continually wasting away and changing.
'The spirits then of the good are well proportioned, as also are the bodies of those which become visible; but those of the maleficent are misproportioned. These last, occupying chiefly the region near the earth with their sensuous nature, omit no effort to work all kinds of evil. For with a disposition wholly violent and treacherous, and deprived of the guardianship of the better daemons, they make their assaults for the most part forcibly and suddenly like ambuscades, here trying to lie hid, and there using violence.'
§ 4.22.2 Presently he adds:
'These things and the like they do with the purpose of turning us away from the right notion of the gods, and drawing us towards themselves. For they themselves delight in all things that are done in this irregular and inconsistent way; and having slipped as it were into the persons of the other gods, they take advantage of our thoughtlessness, and attach the multitude to their company, by inflaming men's lusts by amours, and desires of wealth and power and pleasure, and again by ambitions, out of which things grow wars and seditions, and the like.
'But worst of all, from these crimes they mount up higher, and make men believe the like concerning the chief gods, until they bring even the God of all goodness under these accusations, and say that by Him all things are thrown into confusion. And not only ordinary men have been thus affected, but also not a few of those who are occupied in philosophy.
'And the cause of their errors has been mutual; for of the students of philosophy, those who did not depart from the common train of thought came to agree with the opinions of the multitude: and on the other hand again the multitudes, hearing from those who were thought to be wise what agreed with their own opinions, were confirmed in holding more strongly such thoughts concerning the gods.
§ 4.22.3 'For poetry further inflamed men's imaginations by using language adapted to astonish and beguile, and able to work in them a fascination and belief concerning things utterly impossible; whereas they ought to have been firmly persuaded that the good never does harm, nor the evil ever does good. For, as Plato says, to chill is no property of heat, but of the contrary principle; (nor is to warm a property of cold, but of the contrary); so neither is it a property of the just to do harm.
'And of course the divine is by nature most just of all, else it would not be divine. Wherefore this power and office (of doing harm) must be far removed from the beneficent daemons. For the power which is naturally fit and willing to do harm is contrary to the beneficent power, and opposites can never exist in the same subject.'
§ 4.22.4 Again:
'It is by the adverse powers, however, that the whole imposture is accomplished; for these and their prince are especially honoured by those who, through their impostures, work mischief.
§ 4.22.5 'For they are full of every kind of illusion, and well able to deceive by their wonder-working. By their help those possessed by evil daemons prepare philters and love-potions: for all lewdness, and hope of wealth and fame is wrought by them, and deception above all.
'For falsehood is congenial to them: for they wish to be gods, and the power who presides over them wishes to be thought the supreme god. These are they who delight in libations and burnt-offerings, by which very things the spiritual and bodily element is nourished and fattened. For this element lives on vapours and exhalations, in various ways by their various contrivances, and is strengthened by the sacrifices of blood and flesh.'
§ 4.22.6 Hereby then we have heard them confess that not only the poets among the Greeks inflamed men's imaginations concerning the evil daemons as if they were gods and good, but so did also those of the philosophers who were thought to be earnest about the gods; for they themselves worshipped not gods but wicked daemons, and so plunged the multitude and the common people headlong into the like delusion.
§ 4.22.7 In their statement at all events it was clearly confessed that the multitudes, by hearing from those who were thought to be wise doctrines about the gods agreeing with their own opinions, were encouraged to think still more of the wicked daemons as if they were gods. And these charges are not brought upon our authority, but by the very men who know their own affairs much more accurately than we do.
§ 4.22.8 In fact the same writer, having made no slight acquaintance with the superstition which is unknown to most, says that the wicked daemons wish to be gods, and to have among men the reputation of being good.
§ 4.22.9 And who the power presiding over them happens to be, shall be made clear by the same author again, who says that the rulers of the wicked daemons are Sarapis and Hecate; but the sacred scripture says Beelzebul. Hear then how he writes on this point in his book Of the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles.
§ 4.23.1 [PORPHYRY] 'But it is not without reason that we suspect the wicked daemons to be subject to Sarapis, nor from being persuaded only by the symbols, but because all the sacrifices for propitiating or averting their influence are offered to Pluto, as we showed in the first book. But this god is the same as Pluto, and for this reason especially rules over the daemons, and grants tokens for driving them away.
'It was he then who made known to his suppliants how they gain access to men in the likeness of animals of all kinds; whence among the Egyptians also, and the Phoenicians, and generally among those who are wise in divine things, thongs are violently cracked in the temples, and animals are dashed against the ground before worshipping the gods, the priests thus driving away these daemons by giving them the breath or blood of animals, and by the beating of the air, in order that on their departure the presence of the god may be granted.
'Every house also is full of them, and on this account, when they are going to call down the gods, they purify the house first, and cast these daemons out. Our bodies also are full of them, for they especially delight in certain kinds of food. So when we are eating they approach and sit close to our body; and this is the reason of the purifications, not chiefly on account of the gods, but in order that these evil daemons may depart. But most of all they delight in blood and in impure meats, and enjoy these by entering into those who use them.
'For universally the vehemence of the desire towards anything, and the impulse of the lust of the spirit, is intensified from no other cause than their presence: and they also force men to fall into inarticulate noises and flatulence by sharing the same enjoyment with them.
'For where there is a drawing in of much breath, either because the stomach has been inflated by indulgence, or because eagerness from the intensity of pleasure breathes much out and draws in much of the outer air, let this be a clear proof to you of the presence of such spirits there. So far human nature ventures to investigate the snares that are set about it: for when the deity enters in, the breathing is much increased.'
§ 4.23.2 So much then concerning the wicked daemons, the ruler of whom he says is Sarapis. But the same author also teaches us that Hecate rules them, speaking thus:
'Are not these perhaps they over whom Sarapis rules, and whose symbol is the three-headed dog, that is the wicked daemon in the three elements, water, earth, air: these are restrained by the god, who has them under his hand. But Hecate also rules them, as holding the threefold, elements together.'
§ 4.23.3 And again he says:
'After quoting yet one oracle, composed by Hecate herself, I will bring my account of her to an end.
'Lo! here the virgin, who in changing forms
Runs forth o'er highest heaven, with bovine face,
Three-headed, ruthless, arm'd with shafts of gold,
Chaste Phoebe, Ilithyia, light of men;
Of nature's elements the triple sign,
In ether manifest in forms of fire,
Upon the air in shining car I sit,
While earth in leash holds my black brood of whelps.'
After these verses the author plainly states who the whelps are; namely, that they are the wicked daemons, of whom we have just ceased speaking. So much then for these statements. But by still more evidence let us go on to confirm our argument, that those who are by the many regarded as gods are in reality wicked daemons, bringing with them no good at all.
§ 5.1.1 THOUGH the statements already set forth were sufficient to prove that those who have been honoured among the heathen as gods in every city and country district were not gods nor yet good daemons, but the very contrary, yet I am not sorry still further to strengthen the same argument even superabundantly by more numerous and ample proofs, since the demonstration thereof clearly shows the deliverance from the evils of former times which was provided for all men by our Saviour's teaching in the Gospel Hear therefore how Greeks themselves confess that their oracles have failed, and never so failed from the beginning until after the times when the doctrine of salvation in the Gospel caused the knowledge of the one God, the Sovereign and Creator of the universe, to dawn like light upon all mankind.
§ 5.1.2 We shall show then almost immediately that very soon after His manifestation there came stories of the deaths of daemons, and that the wonderful oracles so celebrated of old have ceased. But already it has been proved above that, until after the teaching of the Gospel, the human sacrifices which were formerly so cruelly and ruthlessly perpetrated among all the heathen have never admitted any cessation of evils: and on the present occasion it is a good thing to add to this that not only the superstitious worship of daemons but also the multitude of ruling powers among the heathen became from that time extinct.
§ 5.1.3 For almost in every city and village you might in old times see kings, and tyrants, and local governors, and lords, and ethnarchies and multitudes of rulers, by reason of which they were continually rushing into wars against one another, and ever perpetually at work in raiding country districts, and besieging cities, and making slaves and captives of their neighbours, being wildly driven by their local daemons into mutual wars.
§ 5.1.4 Which being so, I leave it to you to consider for yourself in what kind of confusion of mutual evils and misfortunes the whole of life was entangled.
§ 5.1.5 Since then it was only after the time of our Saviour's abode among men that these troubles together with the delusion of polytheism were removed all at once out of the way, must we not wonder exceedingly at the great mystery of the exhibition of true salvation in the Gospel? For thereby all at once in the whole world inhabited by man houses of prayer and temples were set up and consecrated, in cities and villages and in the deserts of barbarous nations, to the sovereign Ruler and Creator of all things and the only God; and books and lectures, and all kinds of learning, and instructions containing exhortations concerning the highest virtue and the mode of life accordant with true godliness, have been delivered in the hearing of men and women and children alike, while all the oracles and divinations of daemons are dead.
§ 5.1.6 Nor, since the divine power of our Saviour in the Gospel shone forth like light upon all men, is any man now so mad as to dare to propitiate the murderous and bloodthirsty and misanthropic and inhuman daemons by the murder of his best-beloved, and by the slaughter of men in sacrifices, such as the sages and kings of old, being verily possessed by daemons, loved to practise.
§ 5.1.7 But with regard to the fact that the evil daemons no longer have any power to prevail since our Saviour's advent among men, the very same author who is the advocate of the daemons in our time, in his compilation against us, bears witness by speaking in the following manner:
§ 5.1.8 [PORPHYRY] 'And now they wonder that for so many years the plague has attacked the city, Asclepius and the other gods being no longer resident among us. For since Jesus began to be honoured, no one ever heard of any public assistance from the gods.'
§ 5.1.9 This is Porphyry's statement in his very words. If then, according to this confession, 'since Jesus began to be honoured no one ever heard of any public assistance from the gods, because neither Asclepius nor the other gods were any longer resident,' what ground is there henceforth for the opinion that they are gods and heroes?
§ 5.1.10 For why do not rather the gods and Asclepius prevail over the power of Jesus? If indeed, as they would say, He is a mortal man — perhaps they would even say that He is a deceiver — while they are gods and saviours, why then have they all fled in a body, Asclepius and all, having turned their backs to this mortal, and given over all humanity forthwith into the power of Him who, as they would say, is no longer living?
§ 5.1.11 But He even after death, ever continues to be honoured every day among all nations, plainly showing the certainty and divinity of the life after death to those who are able to discern it.
§ 5.1.12 Moreover though He is one, and as might be supposed alone, He drives away the multitude of the gods throughout the whole world, and bringing their honours to naught, so prevails that they are gods no longer, nor exercise any power, nor anywhere show themselves, nor reside as they were wont in the cities, because they were no gods but evil daemons; while only His honours, and those of the God of the universe who sent Him down, increase every day, and advance to greater dignity over all humanity.
§ 5.1.13 Whereas on the contrary those gods, if indeed there were any who really cared for things on earth, ought to have utterly put aside His deception, if any there were, and themselves to bestow their own remedies and benefits abundantly on all.
§ 5.1.14 But in fact they have often attempted this by means of those at various times in power who have made most violent war upon the teaching of our Saviour. Nevertheless, they found the object of their attempt impracticable, as the divine power of our Saviour always more than conquered them all, and overthrew all the insurrections of the evil daemons against His teaching, and drove the daemons themselves away; for evil daemons verily they were, though falsely supposed to be gods or even good daemons.
§ 5.2.1 THESE then, being certain daemons who dwell about the earth and underground, and haunt the heavy and cloudy atmosphere over the earth, and have been condemned, for causes which we shall afterwards allege, to inhabit this dark and earthly abode, love to dwell in graves and monuments of the dead and in all loathsome and impure matter, and delight in bloodshed and gore and the bodies of animals of all kinds, and in the exhalation from the fumes of incense and of vapours rising out of the earth. These and their rulers, who are certain powers of the air, or of the nether world, having observed that the human race was grovelling low about the deification of dead men, and spending its labour very zealously upon sacrifices and savours which were to them most grateful, were ready at hand as supporters and helpers of this delusion; and gloating over the miseries of mankind, they easily deceived silly souls by certain movements of the carved images, which had been consecrated by them of old in honour of the departed, and by the illusions produced by oracles, and by the cures of bodies, which these same daemons were secretly ravaging by their own operation, and then again releasing the men and letting them go free from suffering.
§ 5.2.2 Hereby they the more drove the superstitious headlong into supposing sometimes that they were heavenly powers and certain real gods, and at other times that they were the souls of the deified heroes.
§ 5.2.3 From this cause the belief in the polytheistic error began now to be regarded by the multitude as something greater and more venerable, as their thought passed from what was visible to the invisible nature of those who were hidden in the statues, and so confirmed the delusion more strongly.
§ 5.2.4 Thus then at length the terrestrial daemons, and 'the world-rulers' that haunt the air, and the 'spiritual hosts of wickedness,' and the leader of them all in malice, were regarded among all men as the greatest of gods; the memory also of those long dead came to be thought worthy of greater worship.
§ 5.2.5 For the shapes of the consecrated images in the various cities were thought to wear the semblance of dead men's bodies, but of their souls and their divine and incorporeal powers the evil daemons made counterfeit presentations by abundance of fictitious miracles; until at length their consecrated ministers themselves used continually to exaggerate the folly of the illusion, and prepare most of their contrivances by evil arts of jugglery, while the evil daemons again took the lead themselves in teaching these tricks to their ministers. These daemons at all events were the authors of the imposture which was the beginning of the mischief to all human life, as was in fact proved in the preceding book.
§ 5.3.1 SINCE, therefore, these wicked and earthly daemons, as well as the aerial and infernal spirits, whom the divine oracles call 'world-rulers' and 'spiritual hosts of wickedness, and principalities, and powers,' at one time played the part of good daemons, and at another assumed the semblance of heavenly deities, and again at other times metamorphosed themselves into heroes, and in some cases by their deeds let the evidence of their wickedness directly appear, the delusion naturally went on increasing much among mankind. For some admitted that they were gods, and others that they were heroes and daemons but not gods: and while entitling some of the daemons good, but calling others bad, they yet affirmed that it was necessary to propitiate the bad also, on account of the damage they could inflict: so that their whole manufacture of deities fell into several classes.
§ 5.3.2 The first kind is that which consists of the luminaries which are seen in the sky, and these they say were the first to be called gods (θεούς) because of their running (θέειν), and because they are the cause of our beholding (θεωρεῖν) things visible. The second class is that which has been advanced to great honour because of the benefits said to be conferred by them on our common life: and this kind they themselves acknowledge to have been begotten of men, bringing forward as examples the so-called heroes, Heracles, and the Dioscuri, and Dionysus, and the corresponding deities among the barbarians.
§ 5.3.3 From this class, after separating and putting aside the more disgraceful acts recorded of them, they assumed a third kind of deification, and called it mythical. Of this kind, indeed, they became ashamed, although it was real and most ancient; so they have changed it into a better agreement, as they say, with natural laws, by allegories of a more figurative nature, according to certain theories which they devised.
§ 5.3.4 Yet even at this stage of deception they were not satisfied to stop: for after having degraded the venerable and adorable name of God to the level of their own passions, they further invented a fourth manner of deification, not worthy even of refutation, because it manifestly carries with it its own shame.
§ 5.3.5 Then by giving to their own foul and unbridled lusts the name of gods, an Eros, and Aphrodite, and Desire, and by calling speech Hermes, and reasoning Athena, they have adopted these also in their own theology, and thus remodelled human actions into the fifth kind of deities.
§ 5.3.6 For they made images to represent the operations of war and of art, and assigned them to certain gods, the operations of war to Ares and Athena, and those of art to Hephaestus and certain others.
§ 5.3.7 In addition to all these they brought in a sixth and seventh kind, consisting of daemons, a truly versatile and multiform class, pretending at one time to be gods, and at another to be souls of the dead; nor did they give us any aid to the cultivation of virtue in the soul, but always made a mock of every person who feared the gods, carrying him down into the depths by their delusive error.
§ 5.3.8 Even this class, though it was wicked throughout, they have divided into two, the mischievous and the beneficent, and given them the titles of good and bad.
§ 5.3.9 These things being so, I think it is necessary for us to put aside the matters that do not even need refutation, and to consider the sequel of our argument concerning daemoniacal operation, of which we took a partial and preliminary view in the preceding book, and will now complete what remains.
§ 5.3.10 Come then, let us now at last proceed to the actual proofs. And I will place first those which are drawn from the book which Plutarch has written On the Cessation of Oracles: where, on the point that the prophetic and oracular shrines among the heathen are the abodes of evil daemons, he writes in the following manner:
§ 5.4.1 [PLUTARCH] 'Now though they are right who say that Plato, by his discovery of the element which underlies the qualities generated (which element they call matter), released the philosophers from many great difficulties: yet to me it seems that those men solved more and greater difficulties, who set the race of daemons midway between gods and men, and discovered that it, in a manner, brings together and unites our society with them; whether this doctrine comes from the Magi and Zoroaster, or is Thracian and derived from Orpheus, or Egyptian, or Phrygian, as we conjecture from seeing that with the initiations in both regions there are mingled many symbols of mortality and mourning in the orgiastic performance of their sacred rites. Among the Greeks Homer is seen to make use of both the names indifferently, and occasionally to call the gods daemons. But Hesiod is the first who plainly and definitely set forth four races of rational beings — gods, then daemons, then heroes, and, last of all, men: he seems, however, to make a change from this order, so that the men of the golden age are set. apart as a numerous class of good daemons, and the demi-gods as heroes.'
§ 5.4.2 Then he says next:
'But upon these matters it is not necessary for us to dispute with Demetrius: for whether the time be more or be less, whether it be fixed or indefinite, in which the soul of a daemon and the life of a hero undergo change, it will none the less be proved, in the judgement of whomsoever he chooses, by the testimony of wise men of old, that there are certain natures on the confines, as it were, between gods and men, susceptible of mortal influences and involuntary changes, whom it is right for us, according to the custom of our fathers, to regard and address as daemons, and to hold in reverence.'
§ 5.4.3 To this, after other matters, he adds:
'It seems to me to be no unreasonable postulate that those who preside over the oracles are not gods, who ought rightly to be kept clear from matters pertaining to earth, but daemons in the service of gods. But to take as it were a handful out of the verses of Empedocles, and charge these daemons with sins, and infatuations, and heaven-sent wanderings, and to imagine them dying deaths like men, I consider too bold and barbaric.'
§ 5.4.4 Again he adds to what has been quoted the following:
'For in daemons also, as in men, there are degrees of virtue; some having but a feeble and obscure remnant, a sort of residue, of the part subject to passion and destitute of reason, while in others this part is large and hard to be extinguished; and traces and symbols of this are in many places preserved by sacrifices and initiations and mythologies, and retained in scattered fragments. Now with respect to the Mysteries, in which we might obtain the, chief indications and elucidations of the truth concerning daemons, 'I must keep a religious silence,' as Herodotus says: but as to festivals and sacrifices, as well as days of ill omen mourning, on which the eating of raw flesh and the rending of victims, and fasting and beating of the breast are practised, and again in many places obscene language at the temples, and other frantic excitements with tumult and tossing of the head, these, I should say, are performed not in honour of any god, but as propitiatory offerings for the sake of averting evil daemons. And it is neither credible that gods demanded or accepted the human sacrifices offered of old, nor, without cause, would kings and generals have submitted to them by giving up their sons and devoting and sacrificing them; but they were trying to avert and to satisfy the anger and sullenness of harsh and stubborn powers of vengeance, or the furious lusts of some, who were neither able nor willing to have intercourse of bodies with bodies. But just as Heracles besieged Oechalia for the sake of a maiden, so oftentimes strong and violent daemons, demanding a human soul that is enveloped in a body, . . . bring pestilences upon cities and barrenness of the soil, and stir up wars and seditions, until they succeed in obtaining the object of their desire.'
§ 5.4.5 Hereby the philosopher before mentioned clearly proved that the sacrifices described above were offered in honour of evil daemons in all the cities. Or even if among these there were, as they say, some who were by nature good, or even gods, what need was there to offer worship to the bad, when they ought to have been driven away by the good?
§ 5.4.6 For if indeed they had some good champions, surely it was right to have confidence in these without caring at all for the worse kind, and to turn away the adverse powers by modest words and prayers, not by obscene language.
§ 5.4.7 But when they did nothing of this kind, but tried to make supplication to the evil daemons by a foul and licentious life and unseemly words, and by feeding on raw flesh, and rending victims asunder, and by human sacrifices, how was it even possible that doing such deeds, and pursuing practices pleasing to the wicked, they should be received as friends by the Supreme God, or by the divine Powers subject to Him, or by any good beings at all?
§ 5.4.8 But in fact it is. manifest to all that he who practises the things that are dear to the wicked can never be a friend of the good. So then it was not to gods, nor yet to good daemons, but only to the wicked, that those of whom I have spoken paid worship.
§ 5.4.9 And this argument is still further confirmed by Plutarch, in the passage where he says that the mythical narratives told as concerning gods are certain tales about daemons, and the deeds of Giants and Titans celebrated in song among the Greeks are also stories about daemons, intended to suggest a new phase of thought.
§ 5.4.10 Of this kind then perhaps were the statements in the Sacred Scripture concerning the giants before the Mood, and those concerning their progenitors, of whom it is said, 'And when the angels of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, they took unto them wives of all that they chose,' and of these were born 'the giants the men of renown which were of old.'
§ 5.4.11 For one might say that these daemons are those giants, and that their spirits have been deified by the subsequent generations of men, and that their battles, and their quarrels among themselves, and their wars are the subjects of these legends that are told as of gods. Plutarch indeed, in the discourse which he composed On Isis and the gods of the Egyptians, speaks as follows word for word:
§ 5.5.1 [PLUTARCH] 'THEY therefore do better who think that the incidents recorded concerning Typhon and Osiris and Isis refer to sufferings neither of gods nor of men, but of certain mighty daemons, whom Plato and Pythagoras and Xenocrates and Chrysippus, following the ancient theologians, state to have been stronger than men, and far superior in power to our nature; having, however, their divine element not unmixed nor unalloyed, but sharing both in the nature of the soul and the bodily sense, which is susceptible of pleasure and pain, and in all the feelings which, being engendered by these alternations, trouble some of them more and some less. For various degrees of virtue and vice are found in daemons just as in men. Thus the deeds of the Giants and Titans celebrated in song among the Greeks, and many unholy practices of Kronos, and the contests of Python with Apollo, and the banishments of Dionysos, and the wanderings of Demeter, fall nothing short of the acts of Osiris and Typhon, which one may hear everywhere made the subject of licentious fables. Also the things which, being veiled in mystic rites and initiations, are kept secret and out of sight, have a similar relation to the gods.'
§ 5.5.2 Presently he adds:
'Empedocles even asserts that the daemons suffer punishment for any sins and offences which they have committed:
The angry ether drives them down to sea;
Sea spits them out upon the solid earth;
Earth flings them to the blazing Sun; he back
To ether's whirling depths. Thus each from each
Receives, and all reject the hateful crew:
§ 5.5.3 until having been thus chastened they recover once more their natural place and rank. Akin to these and suchlike stories are said to be the legends told concerning Typhon, how that he committed dreadful crimes out of envy and spite, throwing everything into confusion, and filled both earth and sea all full of evils, and then was punished for it.'
§ 5.5.4 Having put forward these statements, and worked out the argument more fully in the book which I have mentioned, Plutarch relates the like stories also in his book On the Cessation of Oracles, in the following manner:
'This man ascribed his inspiration to daemons, and had much to say about Delphi, and there was none of the stories told here about Dionysos, nor of the sacred rites performed, of which he had not heard; but those also he asserted to be mighty sufferings of daemons, and the same of the story about the Python, and that the slayer's banishment was not for nine years nor to Tempe, but that he was driven out and entered into another world: and afterwards, in the revolutions of nine Great Years having become pure and a true Phoebus in brilliancy, he returned thence and took possession of the oracle, which was guarded in the meantime by Themis. Such, he said, was the case also with the legends of Typhon and the Titans, that there were battles of daemons against daemons, then banishments of the conquered, or punishments by a god of those who had committed sins, such as Typhon is said to have committed upon Osiris, and Kronos on Uranos; gods, whose honours among us have become more obscure, or have altogether ceased, since they have departed into another world. For I learn that the Solymi, who are neighbours of the Lycians, used to pay the highest honours to Kronos: but after he killed their chief rulers Arsalos, and Arytos, and Tosibis, and fled, and departed to some place or other — for they cannot tell whither — he was neglected, but Arsalos and his companions were addressed as gods by the name Sciri, and the Lycians make their imprecations both public and private in their name. Many stories like these you may gather from the mythologies. But if we call certain daemons by the customary names of the gods, it is not to be wondered at, said the stranger; for each of them likes to be called after the god with whom he has been associated, and of whose power he partakes: even as among us one is Dius, and another Athenaeus, and a third Apollonius, or Dionysius, or Hermaeus. But though some of these by accident were rightly so named, the greater part received names not at all befitting them, but changed in derivation from the names of gods.'
§ 5.5.5 So much says Plutarch in his careful treatise On the Cessation of Oracles, showing, in addition to the other points, that the daemons are subject to death, the very thing which I shall bring forward at the proper time.
§ 5.5.6 But meanwhile, let us collect whatever else concerning the power and operation of the good daemons, as he calls them, is set forth at another time by the author of the compilation against us in the book which he entitled Of the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles: for now again, as indeed often before, I shall make use especially of him as a witness and evidence of the delusion about those whom they imagine to be gods, in order that they may be put to shame at being stricken by their own spears and arrows.
§ 5.5.7 For thus the demonstration of the matters which lie before us, being derived from the very friends of their gods, who have both been esteemed devout, and have accurately examined the account of their own religion, will be found complete and irrefutable.
§ 5.5.8 Now the author aforesaid writes as follows in his book which he entitled Of the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles, wherein he protests against betraying the secrets of the gods, and binds himself by oath and exhorts others to conceal what he shall say and not publish it to many.
§ 5.5.9 What then Avere these matters of such importance? He affirms that Pan is a servant of Dionysos, and that he being one of the good daemons appeared once upon a time to those who were working in the fields. What ought a good deity, or at all events the advent of a good deity, to confer on those to whom the manifestation of the good has been vouchsafed?
§ 5.5.10 Did then any good result to the beholders of this good daemon, or have they found him an evil daemon, and learned this by practical experience? This admirable witness says indeed that those to whom this blessed sight was vouchsafed all died at once; for thus he speaks:
§ 5.6.1 [PORPHYRY] 'IN other cases also ere now some were shown to be servants of certain gods, as Pan of Dionysos: and this has been made clear by Apollo of Branchidae in the following verses. For nine persons were found dead; and when the inhabitants of the country district inquired the cause, the god made answer:
Lo! where the golden-horned Pan
In sturdy Dionysos' train
Leaps o'er the mountains' wooded slopes!
§ 5.6.2 His right hand holds a shepherd's staff,
His left a smooth shrill-breathing pipe,
That charms the gentle wood-nymph's soul.
But at the sound of that strange song
Each startled woodsman dropp'd his axe,
And all in frozen terror gaz'd
Upon the Daemon's frantic course.
Death's icy hand had seiz'd them all,
Had not the huntress Artemis
In anger stay'd his furious might.
To her address thy prayer for aid. '
§ 5.6.3 Hast thou now heard how Apollo of Branchidae described both the figure and the deeds of the daemon whom Porphyry calls good? See then also the noble achievements of the rest, for the sake of which forsooth they abandoned their life in heaven, and chose the company of men instead.
§ 5.6.4 Surely it was their duty at any rate to set an example of temperance, and to suggest what was profitable and beneficial to mankind: but they did nothing of the kind. Hear what things are brought to light by him, who had searched out the most unutterable secrets, and was favoured with the knowledge of things forbidden.
§ 5.6.5 At one time he says that some of these good daemons are the slaves of amorous pleasures, and then that others delight in drums and flutes, and women's clatter; and that others again take pleasure in wars and battles, and Artemis in hunting, and Deo in the fruits of the ground; that Isis is still mourning for Osiris, and Apollo uttering oracles. Such are the benefits conferred on mankind by those whom they call good daemons! Now listen to the proofs of this.
§ 5.7.1 [PORPHYRY] 'NE'ER mid the immortal gods an idle threat
Or unaccomplish'd doom to seers inspir'd
Spake Hecate; but from the almighty mind
Of Zeus descends in brightest truth array'd.
Lo! by my side walks Wisdom with firm step,
Leaning on oracles that ne'er can fail.
§ 5.7.2 In bonds secure me: for my power divine
Can give a soul to worlds beyond the sky.'
§ 5.7.3 Perhaps then on this account the soul is of threefold form and parts: and one part of it is irascible, and another concupiscent, by which latter it is invited to amorous indulgence. These are not my ideas, do not suppose it, but what you have heard from the writer before mentioned; from whom again the following is taken:
'But what utterly perplexes me is, how, being invoked as superiors, they receive orders as inferiors; and while requiring their worshipper to be just, they submit when bidden themselves to do injustice; and, while they would not listen to one who invokes them, if defiled by sensual pleasure, do not hesitate themselves to lead any whom they meet into lawless indulgence.'
§ 5.7.4 This also you may find in the same author's Epistle to Anebo the Egyptian. And in the aforesaid treatise Of the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles, in addition to what has been quoted, he speaks as follows:
'Moreover, some of them have plainly shown what office is assigned to each, as the Didymaean Apollo does in what follows: (the inquiry was, whether a man is bound to take an oath which one has tendered to him):
Rhea, great mother of the blessed gods,
Loves flutes and rattling drums and female rout.
§ 5.7.5 The din of war is bright-helm'd Pallas' joy.
Latona's daughter o'er the rocky steep
With spotted hounds pursues the savage beast.
Great Juno sends the soft rain's welcome sound;
Rich crops of full-ear'd grain are Deo's care:
And Pharian Isis by Nile's fruitful stream
With wildered steps her fair Osiris seeks.'
§ 5.7.6 If then 'flutes, and the rattle of drums, and a throng of women' are the care of the Mother of the Gods, we ought surely to practise these things to the neglect of every virtue, because the aforesaid goddess has no care for modesty or any other devout practice: as also the din of battle, and conflicts, and wars are dear to Athena, and not peace nor the things of peace. Also let Artemis 'Latona's daughter' care for her spotted hounds, because, as a huntress, she wages war afield with the wild beasts, and for the other goddesses in like manner the offices enumerated. Well then what would these things contribute towards the divinely favoured and blessed life? But consider whether what he adds next seems to you to be the mark of a divine, or of a vicious and utterly wicked nature.
§ 5.8.1 [PORPHYRY] 'THIS also was rightly declared by Pythagoras of Rhodes, that the gods who are invoked over the sacrifices have no pleasure therein, but come because they are dragged by a certain necessity of following, and some of them more, and some less.
'Some however, having made as it were a custom of being present, attend more readily, and especially if they happen to be of a good nature: but others, even if they are accustomed to be present, are eager to do some harm, and especially if any one seems to behave rather carelessly in the performances.
'For as Pythagoras had made these statements, I learned, by close observation of the oracles, how true his words are. For all the gods say that they have come by compulsion, yet not simply so, but as it were, if I may so speak, by compulsion under the guise of persuasion.
'In what goes before we have mentioned those statements of Hecate, as to the means by which she says she is made to appear:
The lightsome air and boundless realm of stars,
Unsullied home of deity, I leave,
To tread the fruitful earth at thy command:
Thou know'st the secret spell, which mortal man
Has learn'd, to charm immortal spirits down.
I come at sound of thy persuasive prayer,
Which man inspir'd by heavenly counsels learn'd.
'And still more plainly:
What need of thine, by spells that bind the gods,
Calls Hecate from swiftest ether down?
Some from the sky thy wheel with mystic charm
Draws swiftly, though unwilling, down to earth.
And others floating midway on the winds,
From the bright empyrean far remov'd,
As ominous dreams thou dost to mortals send,
Service unseemly laid on powers divine.
Some from their lofty home above the sky
Down through mid air with Harpies swift descending
Bow to the mystic spells that bind the gods,
And rushing swiftly down to Deo's earth
Bring messages to man of things to come.
'And again another is compelled to say:
Hear the unwilling voice thy power constrains.'
§ 5.8.2 After this again the author says:
'For they give out answers for their own compulsion, as will be shown by Apollo's answer as to means of compelling him. It is expressed thus:
Strong to compel and weighty is this name.
'Then he added:
Then come thou swiftly at these words,
Drawn from my heart in mystic chant,
The while I quench the sacred fire.
Thus nature dares thy birth divine,
Immortal Paean, to declare.
'And again Apollo himself speaks:
A stream of heavenly light from Phoebus flowing,
Veiled in the clear breath of the purest air,
By soothing song and mystic spell allured
Falls like a glory round the prophet's head,
Pierces the delicate membrane of the brain,
Fills the soft coating of the inward frame,
Thence surging upward in hot stream returns,
And through the living pipe gains welcome voice.'
§ 5.8.3 To this the writer adds the remark:
'Nothing could be plainer than this, nothing more godlike and more natural; for that which comes down is a spirit; and an emanation from the heavenly power having entered into an organized and living body, uses the soul as a basis, and through the body, as its organ, utters speech.'
§ 5.8.4 But this is sufficient to prove that they suffer compulsion; and that they also request to be set free, as if it were not in their own power to withdraw, you may learn from what follows.
§ 5.9.1 [PORPHYRY] 'Now that the gods so summoned are eager to withdraw, will be shown by such passages as the following, where they say:
But now release the king; for mortal frame
No longer can the present god endure.
Why with long prayers torment this mortal frame?
§ 5.9.2 Go now, return with speed; thy saving work
On me is done.'
'And how to dismiss them, Apollo himself will teach us, saying:
Cease then thy cunning spells, let the man rest,
Free the old image from its willow bands,
And from my limbs with vigorous hand rend off
The linen shroud.
'He told also the mode of dismissal:
Lift thy foot up high before thee,
Stop the muttering from the cave;
§ 5.9.3 and the verses that follow these.'
§ 5.9.4 To which he adds, if they are still tardy in the dismissal:
Unwrap the linen cloud, and set the prophet free.
'Again at another time he gave a form of dismissal such as this:
Ye Nymphs and Naiads with the Muses join
To set Apollo free; and then in songs
Exalt the praises of the archer god.
'At another time he says:
Now loose the wreaths, with water bathe my feet,
Rub out the magic lines, and let me go.
The branch of laurel from my right hand take,
And both my eyes, both nostrils wipe with care:
Then raise, O friends, this mortal from the ground.'
§ 5.9.5 Upon this the author further remarks:
'So then he exhorts them to rub out the lines, that he may go free; for these hold him fast, as indeed does also the form of dress in which he is arrayed, because it bears representations of the gods who have been invoked.'
§ 5.9.6 By these quotations I think it has been clearly shown that there is nothing at all worthy of deity, nothing either great or truly divine in these spirits who have fallen to such a depth of degradation as to be drawn and dragged down by any common men, not by reason of any attainment in virtue and wisdom, but merely by their pursuing and practising the arts of magical imposture.
§ 5.9.7 Neither, therefore, did Pythagoras the Rhodian speak rightly, nor would the author of this testimony of theirs, nor any man whatsoever call them with good reason gods, nay, nor yet good daemons, dragged about as they are by mortal men and mere impostors, not according to their own judgement, but dragged by force and compulsion, and without having in themselves the power of release from their bonds.
§ 5.9.8 For if the deity is not subject to force or to compulsion, but is in nature superior to all things, being free and incapable of suffering, how can they be gods who are beguiled by juggling tricks managed by means of such dresses, and lines, and images? — beguiled, I say, by wreaths also and flowers of the earth, and withal by certain unintelligible and barbarous cries and voices, and subdued by ordinary men, and, as it were, enslaved by bonds, so that they cannot even keep safe in their own control the power of independence and free will.
§ 5.9.9 How, too, can they be called good daemons if they are dragged down by force and compulsion? For what is the cause that they give themselves up grudgingly and not of their own free will to those who need help?
§ 5.9.10 If they are good and make their appearance for a good purpose, and if there is, as was said, any benefit to the soul from them, they ought surely to welcome the good by choice, and anticipate the suppliants by their benefits instead of waiting to be compelled.
§ 5.9.11 But if the transaction was not honourable and not beneficial, and therefore its occurrence not according to their mind, how then could they be good, if they practised what is neither honourable nor expedient?
§ 5.9.12 Or how can they deserve to be admired and honoured with divine worship who are enslaved by common impostors of the most abandoned character, and compelled to perform what is neither honourable nor expedient contrary to their judgement, and are led and dragged down, not because they approve of men's morality, nor to promote virtue or any branch of philosophy, but by forbidden practices of impostors? Such practices the same author has mentioned again in his Epistle to the before-mentioned Egyptian, as though he were consulting a prophet upon secret truths, and requesting to be taught by him the words in which they accomplish these results. For he asks as in doubt, and speaks somewhat as follows.
§ 5.10.1 [PORPHYRY] 'BUT what utterly perplexes me is, how, though invoked as superiors, they receive orders as inferiors, and while requiring their worshipper to be just, submit when bidden themselves to do injustice; and, while they would not listen to one who invokes them, if defiled by sensual pleasure, do not hesitate themselves to lead any whom they meet into lawless indulgence.
'They also give orders that their interpreters must be abstainers from animal food, that they may not be tainted with the vapours from the carcases, though they are themselves mightily allured by the vapours from the sacrifices; also that the initiate must not touch a dead body, though it is by means of dead animals that the gods are for the most part brought down.
'But much more absurd than this is the notion that a man under the power of any ordinary master should employ threats, not merely to a daemon perchance or to a dead man's soul, but to the royal Sun himself, or the Moon, or any of the deities in heaven, and try to frighten them by lies, in order that they may speak the truth.
'For to say that he will batter the heavens, and publish the secrets of Isis, and show the forbidden mystery at Abydos, and stop the sacred boat, and scatter the limbs of Osiris for Typhon, — is not this the last excess of stupidity on the part of him who threatens things of which he has neither knowledge nor power, and of degradation to those who have been frightened at so vain an alarm, and at mere fictions, like very silly children?
'And yet Chaeremon the sacred scribe records these things as common talk among the Egyptians, and they say that these and other such methods are most forcible.
'What meaning have the very prayers, which speak of him who arose out of a marsh, and is seated upon the lotus, and voyages in a ship, and changes his shapes hourly, and is transfigured according to the signs of the zodiac? For thus they say he is beheld by our eyes, not knowing that what they are attaching to him is the peculiar affection of their own imagination.
'If these things are spoken symbolically, as being symbols of his powers, let them tell us the interpretation of the symbols. For it is evident that if it was what the sun undergoes, as in eclipses, the same thing would have been seen by all who gaze upon him.
'Further, what is meant by the unintelligible names, and among these the preference of the barbarous names over those which properly belong to each deity? For if he who hears looks to the thing signified, the thought remaining the same is sufficient to show it, whatsoever the name may be.
'For, I suppose, the god invoked was not an Egyptian by birth: and even if he was an Egyptian, yet surely he did not use the Egyptian language, nor any human language at all. For either these were all impostors' tricks, and symbols of the passions which affect us, veiled by the titles which they ascribe to the gods, or else we have been unconsciously holding ideas concerning the deity contrary to his real condition.'
§ 5.10.2 After these statements he again expresses his doubts to the Egyptian, saying:
'If some are passionless (though others are subject to passions, and for this reason, they say, phalli are set up to these latter, and obscene phrases uttered), quite useless will be those invocations of gods which profess to summon them to aid, and to appease their wrath, and to make expiation, and yet more useless the arts by which gods are said to be constrained. For the passionless nature can neither be enticed, nor forced, nor compelled by necessity.'
§ 5.10.3 And then he adds again:
'Vain has their study of wisdom been, who worried the divine mind about finding a runaway slave, or buying a farm, or perchance about a marriage, or commerce. Or if there has been no neglect of wisdom, and if her associates speak most truly on other subjects, but nothing sure or trustworthy in regard to happiness, then they were neither gods nor good daemons, but only that deceiver as he is called.'
§ 5.10.4 So far then let these quotations suffice from this work of Porphyry. Moreover, these noble gods themselves became the first instructors in this evil art of imposture. For whence could men know these things, except from the daemons themselves having revealed their own case, and published one against another the spells that bind them?
§ 5.10.5 Do not suppose that this is our own statement: for we do not admit that we either understand or wish to know any of these things. Yet in proof of the absurdity of these practices, and at the same time in our own defence for withdrawing from them, let us bring forward our witness to these facts, who is regarded as a wise man among his acquaintances, and both knows and expounds accurately his own system.
§ 5.10.6 The same author then, in the aforesaid collection of oracles, speaks thus word for word.
§ 5.11.1 [PORPHYRY] 'BUT not only have they themselves informed us of their mode of life, and the other things which I have mentioned, but they also suggested by what sort of things they are pleased and prevailed upon, and moreover by what they are compelled, and what one ought to sacrifice, and what day to avoid, and what sort of figure should be given to their statues, and in what shapes they themselves appear, and in what kind of places they abide; and of all the things whereby men thus honour them there is not one which they were not taught by the daemons themselves. As the proofs which confirm this are many, we will bring forward a few out of the number, not to leave our statement without witness.'
§ 5.12.1 'THAT they themselves suggested how even their statues ought to be made, and of what kind of material, shall be shown by the response of Hecate in the following form:
My image purify, as I shall show:
Of wild rue form the frame, and deck it o'er
With lizards such as run about the house;
These mix with resin, myrrh, and frankincense,
Pound all together in the open air
Under the crescent moon, and add this vow.
'Then she set forth the vow, and showed how many lizards must be taken:
Take lizards many as my many forms,
And do all this with care. My spacious house
With branches of self-planted laurel form.
Then to my image offer many a prayer,
And in thy sleep thou shalt behold me nigh.
'And again in another place she described an image of herself of this same kind.'
§ 5.13.1 'MOREOVER they have themselves indicated how they appear with regard to their forms, and from these their images were set up as they are. Sarapis for example says of himself, after seeing Pan:
A brilliant light shone through the god's own house;
He came, the mighty god, and met me there.
My matchless strength, and glow of lordly fire,
And waving curls he saw, which from my head
On either side play round my radiant brows,
And mingle with the red beard's sacred locks.
'Pan also taught men a hymn concerning himself, which runs as follows:
To Pan, a god of kindred race,
A mortal born my vows I pay;
Whose horned brows and cloven feet
And goat-like legs his lust betray,
§ 5.13.2 and the rest.
'Hecate also speaks of herself thus:
Do all anon: a statue too therein;
My form — Demeter bright with autumn fruits,
White robes, and feet with golden sandals bound.
Around the waist long snakes run to and fro,
Gliding o'er all with undefiled track,
And from the head down even to the feet
Wrapping me fairly round with spiral coils.
'And the material, she says, must be
Of Parian stone or polish'd ivory.
§ 5.14.1 'IN many cases the gods, by giving signs of their statements beforehand, show by their knowledge of the arrangement of each man's nativity that they are, if we may so say, excellent Magians and perfect astrologers. Again he said that in oracular responses Apollo spake thus:
Invoke together Hermes and the Sun
On the Sun's day, the Moon when her day comes,
Kronos and Aphrodite in due turn,
With silent prayers, by chiefest Magian taught,
Whom all men know lord of the seven-string'd lyre.
'And when they cried You mean Ostanes, he added:
Call with loud voice seven times each several god. '
§ 5.14.2 The same writer also alleges what follows:
'The symbols of Hecate are wax of three colours, white and black and red combined, having a figure of Hecate bearing a scourge, and torch, and sword, with a serpent to be coiled round her; and the symbols of Uranus are the mariners' stars nailed up before the doors. For these symbols the gods themselves have indicated in the following verses. The speaker is Pan:
Evil spirits drive afar:
Then upon the fire set wax
Gleaming fair with colours three,
White and black must mingle there
With the glowing embers' red,
Terror to the dogs of hell.
Then let Hecate's dread form
Hold in her hand a blazing torch,
And the avenging sword of fate;
While closely round the goddess wrapp'd
A snake fast holds her in his coils,
And wreathes about her awful brow.
Let the shining key be there,
And the far-resounding scourge,
Symbol of the daemons' power.'
§ 5.14.3 By these and the like quotations this noble philosopher of the Greeks, this admirable theologian, this initiate in secret mysteries, exhibits The Philosophy to be derived from Oracles as containing secret oracles of the gods, while openly proclaiming the plots laid against men by their wicked and truly daemoniacal power. For what benefit to human life can there be from these evil arts of sorcery? Or what pleasure to the gods in this scrupulous care about lifeless statues? Of what divine power can there be a likeness in the formation of such shapes? Why should he not have counselled us to study philosophy rather than to practise magic and pursue forbidden arts, if the path of virtue and philosophy is sufficient for a happy and blessed life? But he, continuing his own refutation, adds to what has been mentioned the following:
§ 5.15.1 [PORPHYRY] 'Now that they love the symbols of their features is signified by Hecate comparing them with what men love, as follows:
What mortal longs not for the features carv'd
In bronze, or gold, or silver gleaming bright?
What god loves not this pedestal, whereon
I weave the tangled web of human fates?'
§ 5.15.2 He has made it clear that not only the features are dear, but that also, as I said, the gods themselves are confined therein, and dwell in the underlying likeness as it were in a sacred place: for they could not be supported on earth, except on sacred ground: and that ground is sacred which bears the image of the deity; but if the image be taken away, the bond which held the deity on earth is loosed.
§ 5.15.3 By all these testimonies, then, I think it is clearly proved that their gods were found to be daemons haunting the earth and enslaved to passions: wherefore it seems to me that I have followed sound reason in turning away from them.
§ 5.15.4 You see, for instance, how they say that their magic figures and images of that kind hold them fast in certain spots of ground: though they ought, if, as they say, there is any real divinity in them, to set foot in no other place, except only in the thought of the soul, and that thought too purified from all filth and from every stain, and adorned with modesty and righteousness and all the other virtues.
§ 5.15.5 For when these previously exist in a man's soul as in a truly hallowed place, the advent of a divine Spirit would naturally follow; nor would, souls already prepared by virtuous and godly practice for the reception of the Deity have had any further need of the evil arts of sorcery.
§ 5.15.6 So that they of whom we were just now speaking are expressly convicted on all this evidence of being certain daemons who haunt the earth, and are the slaves of passion and of bodily pleasures. Listen, however, next to what statements the same writer makes concerning the cessation of their celebrated oracles.
§ 5.16.1 'OF Pytho and of Claros, sacred shrines
Of Phoebus, let my tongue speak reverent words.
Erewhile ten thousand oracles divine
Gush'd forth on earth in flowing streams, and breath
Of dizzy vapours. Some the earth herself,
Wide opening her deep bosom, back received,
And some the course of countless time destroy'd.
The Sun alone, which lights our mortal life,
Hath still his spring in Didyma's deep vale,
Where flows the sacred stream from Mycale:
And still beneath Parnassus' lofty peaks
Springs Castalia's fair fount; mid Clarian rocks
Still from the cave prophetic voices sound.
'But to some people of Nicaea he gave this response:
Nought can restore the Pythian voice divine:
Enfeebled by long ages, it hath laid
The keys of silence on the oracle.
Yet still to Phoebus bring your offerings due.
§ 5.16.2 To this we may here opportunely add the words of Plutarch from the book which he has written On the Cessation of Oracles.
§ 5.16.3 [PLUTARCH] 'When Ammonius had ceased, Tell us rather, my Cleombrotus, said I, about the oracle: for the reputation of the deity there was great in former times, but now it seems to be fading away.
'But as Cleombrotus kept silence and looked down, Demetrius said that there was no need for men to inquire and doubt about the state of things there, when they saw the decay of the oracles here, or rather the failure of all except one or two: but we ought to consider generally through what cause they have grown thus feeble.
'For why need we speak of the others, when Boeotia, which in former times, as far as oracles were concerned, spake with many voices, is now completely forsaken by them, just as streams run dry, and a great drought of inspiration has overspread the land. For in no other place now except at Lebadeia does Boeotia enable inquirers to draw from the well of prophecy: but of the rest, silence has overtaken some and utter desolation others.' In addition to this the same author speaks of their daemons dying, as follows:
§ 5.17.1 'THE opinion, said he, that those who preside over the oracles are not gods — for gods ought rightly to be kept free from the affairs of earth — but daemons who are servants of gods, seems to me no unfair assumption. But to take as it were a handful out of the verses of Empedocles, and to lay sins and frenzies and heaven-sent wanderings upon these daemons, and to imagine them dying deaths like men, I consider too bold and barbaric. Hereupon Cleombrotus asked Philip who the young man was, and whence he came; and when he had learned his name and city, he said, We are not ourselves unconscious, Heracleon, that we have entered upon strange arguments: but in dealing with great subjects it is not possible to arrive at a probable opinion without employing great principles.
'But you are yourself unconsciously taking back what you grant. For you admit that daemons exist; but, in claiming that they are not wicked and not mortal, you no longer have daemons to defend. For in what do they differ from the gods, if they are both in regard to essence incorruptible, and in regard to virtue free from passion and from sin?
'While Heracleon was silently pondering in himself some answer to this, Philip said to him, Nay, Heracleon, that daemons are wicked was admitted not only by Empedocles, but also by Plato, and Xenocrates and Chrysippus: and moreover when Democritus prayed that he might meet with favourable apparitions, it was evident that he knew of others perverse and mischievous, with certain propensities and impulses.
'Now with regard to the death of such beings, I have heard a story from a man who was no fool nor braggart. For the father of Aemilianus the rhetorician, whose hearers some of us have been, was Epitherses, my fellow citizen and grammar-master. He said that once on a voyage to Italy he embarked in a ship carrying merchandise and many passengers: and at evening off the Echinades the wind dropped, and the ship drifted and came near to Paxi; that most of them were awake, and were drinking after they had supped. And suddenly a voice was heard from the island Paxi, some one calling aloud on Thamus, so that they were amazed. For Thamus was the pilot, an Egyptian, not even known by name to many of those on board. Though called twice however, he kept silence, but the third time he answered him that called. He then raised his voice higher and said, When thou art come off Pelodes, announce that the Great Pan is dead.
'On hearing this, Epitherses said they were all struck with amazement, and began to take counsel together, whether it were better to do what was commanded, or not to meddle with the matter, but let it pass; whereupon Thamus decided, that if there should be wind, he would sail past and keep quiet, but if the wind should fail and a calm come on near the place, he would report what he had heard.
'When therefore he was come off Pelodes, as there was neither wind nor sea, Thamus looking from the poop towards the land spake as he had heard, that The Great Pan is dead: and he had no sooner ceased speaking than there came a loud lamentation, not of one but of many, mingled with amazement.
'And inasmuch as there were many persons present, the tale was soon spread in Rome, and Thamus was sent for by Tiberius Caesar. And Tiberius so fully believed the story, that he made thorough inquiry and research about Pan; and the learned men of his court being present in great number conjectured that it was Pan the son of Hermes and Penelope.
'So then Philip had witnesses to his story in some of those who were present, and had heard it from the aged Aemilian. But Demetrius said that there were many desert islands scattered about among those on the coast of Britain, some of which were named after daemons and heroes. And that he himself, being sent by the Emperor to make an investigation and survey, sailed to the nearest of the desert islands, which had but few inhabitants, and these all sacred persons inviolable to the Britons.
'Very soon after his arrival there arose a great commotion in the air, and many portents in the sky, and violent blasts of wind, and falling of thunderbolts. And when this abated, the islanders said that one of the higher powers had been extinguished; for as a lamp, they said, while lighted does no harm, but being extinguished is hurtful to many, so great souls are benignant and harmless in their shining, but their extinction and dissolution oftentimes, as now, cause winds and storms, and often infect the air with pestilent diseases.
'There was however one island there, in which Kronos was confined and guarded in his sleep by Briareus; for his sleep had been artfully contrived to keep him bound; and there were many daemons about him as attendants and servants.'.
§ 5.17.2 So far Plutarch. But it is important to observe the time at which he says that the death of the daemon took place. For it was the time of Tiberius, in which our Saviour, making His sojourn among men, is recorded to have been ridding human life from daemons of every kind: so that there were some of them now kneeling before Him and beseeching Him not to deliver them over to the Tartarus that awaited them.
§ 5.17.3 You have therefore the date of the overthrow of the daemons, of which there was no record at any other time; just as you had the abolition of human sacrifice among the Gentiles as not having occurred until after the preaching of the doctrine of the Gospel had reached all mankind. Let then these refutations from recent history suffice.
§ 5.18.1 BUT since the matters which have been mentioned are not known to all, it seems to me well to pass from this point to subjects which are self-evident to all the learned, and to examine the oracular responses of most ancient date which are repeated in the mouth of all Greeks, and are taught in the schools of every city to those who resort to them for instruction.
§ 5.18.2 Take up again therefore the ancient records from the beginning, and observe what kind of answer the Pythian god gives to the Athenians when afflicted with a pestilence on account of the death of Androgeus. The Athenians were all suffering from a pestilence for one man's death, and thought to receive the help of the gods.
§ 5.18.3 What advice then does this saviour and god give them? To cultivate justice and benevolence and all other virtue in future, some one will perhaps suppose; or to repent of the offence, and to perform some holy and religious rites, as the gods would thereby be propitiated. Nay, nothing of the kind.
§ 5.18.4 For what indeed did their admirable gods, or rather their utterly wicked daemons, care for these things? So again they say what is natural and familiar to themselves, things merciless and cruel and inhuman, plague upon plague, and many deaths for one.
§ 5.18.5 In fact Apollo bids them every year send of their own children seven grown youths, and as many maidens, fourteen innocent and unconcerned persons for one. and that not once only but every year, to be sacrificed in Crete in the presence of Minos: so that even to the time of Socrates, more than five hundred years afterwards, this dreadful and most inhuman tribute was still kept in memory among the Athenians. And this it was that caused the delay in the death of Socrates.
§ 5.18.6 This answer of the oracle is at once stated and very justly condemned in a vigorous argument by a recent author, who has composed a separate work on The Detection of Impostors: to whose own words, and not mine, now listen, as he aims his stroke at the author of the response in the manner following:
§ 5.19.1 [OENOMAUS] 'WHAT then? When the Athenians had caused the death of Androgeus, and suffered a pestilence for it, would they not have said that they repented? Or if they did not say so, would it not have been proper for thee to say Repent, rather than to say this?
Of plague and famine there shall be an end,
If your own flesh and blood, female and male,
By lot assigned to Minos, ye send forth
Upon the mighty sea, for recompense
Of evil deeds: so shall the god forgive.
'I pass over the fact that you gods are indignant at the death of Androgeus at Athens, but sleep on while so many die in all places and at all times: though thou knewest that Minos at that time was master of the sea, and of mighty power, and all Hellas was paying court to him: he Avas therefore a lover of justice, and a good lawgiver, and seemed to Homer to be
Frequent in converse close with mighty Zeus, and after death he became a judge in Hades: and thou for this offence wouldst exact these penalties on his behalf!
'But I pass over these matters just as you gods do, and also the fact that after letting the murderers escape ye bade them send the innocent to death, yea, sent them to a man whom ye were about to exhibit as a judge of all mankind, but who in this very case knew not how to give judgement. And yet how many ought you gods in justice to send to the Athenians in place of these youths, whom ye unjustly slew in revenge for Androgeus? '
§ 5.20.1 'BUT since I happen to have mentioned this subject, let me now relate the incidents of the narrative concerning the Heracleidae. For they once set out to invade the Peloponnese by way of the Isthmus, but failed in the attempt. So Aristomachus the son of Aridaeus, because his father had perished in the invasion, comes to thee to learn about the way: for he was eager as his father had been. And thou tellest him,
Heaven shows the way to victory through the straits.
'So he starts on the enterprise by way of the Isthmus, and is killed in battle. His son Temenus, unhappy son of hapless sire, was the third who came to thee, and thou gavest the same promise to him as to his father Aristomachus: and he said, But my father trusted thee, and perished in the invasion.
'Then thou said'st, I do not mean straits on land, but on the broad-bosomed, because, I suppose, it was difficult for thee to say simply by the sea. And he went by sea, after making them think that he was making his incursion by land, and he encamped midway between Navatus and Typaeum. He killed with his spear Carnus son of Phylander, an Aetolian knight, doing, as I think, quite rightly. And when a plague presently fell upon them, and Aristodemus died, they returned again, and Temenus came and complained of his failure, and was told that he had brought upon himself the penalty for the messenger of the god, and he heard the poem concerning his vow to the Carnean Apollo, which told him in the oracular answer,
Thou sufferest vengeance for my prophet's death.
'What then says Temenus? What must I do? And how can I appease you?
To the Carnean god due honour vow.
'O most accursed, and most shameless prophet! Dost thou then not understand that he who hears the word straits will miss its meaning? Yet knowing this thou none the less givest this answer, and then lookest on at his mistake.
'But the word strait was ambiguous, and chosen in order that, if he were victorious, thou mightest seem to be the cause of his victory; but, if defeated, not at all to blame for his defeat, being able to take refuge in the broad-bosomed. But the man went on the broad-bosomed, and did not succeed; and again, an excuse is found in the death of thy messenger Carnus.
'Yet how, most noble god, didst thou, to whom Carnus was so dear, bid him be inspired for others, but not for himself? And though thou shouldest have saved Carnus, who was but one, how didst thou suffer him to die, and for his death didst bring an Homeric plague upon the multitude, and dictate vows for the plague?
'And if he had accomplished nothing by his vow, another excuse would have been found for thy quibble, and ye would never have ceased, they on their side inquiring, and thou quibbling, so that whether they were victorious or defeated thy malpractice would not have been detected. For their passion and eagerness were strong enough to mislead them, so as to make them not distrust thee, even if they were to be slain a thousand times.
'To this it is worth while to add the story of Croesus. He reigned over Lydia, having received the government as it had come down to him from a long line of ancestors. Then hoping to succeed somewhat beyond his forefathers, he was minded to show piety towards the gods, and, after making trial of them all, he preferred the Apollo of Delphi, and proceeded to adorn his temple with bowls and ingots of gold, and a countless multitude of offerings, and made it in a short time the richest of all temples in the world; nor in his magnanimity did he omit all that sufficed for sacrifices.
'So after he had made such loans to the god, the Lydian king naturally felt confidence in his magnificent works of piety, and resolved to make an expedition against the Persians, expecting to increase his empire greatly by the alliance of the god.
'What then did the wonderful oracle-monger do? That very same Delphian, Pythian, friendly god contrives that his suppliant, his dear friend, his client should not only fail to win the foreign empire, but also be driven from his own, the god not doing this at all purposely, I think, but rather in ignorance of what was to happen: for surely it was not with any knowledge of the future (since he was no god nor any superhuman power) that he craftily contrived his response to suit either event, and with the seeming affirmation,
The Halys crossed,
Croesus a mighty empire shall destroy,
overturned the kingdom of Lydia which had come down from a succession of ancestors to the pious king, great and ancient as it was, and rendered to his favoured worshipper this fruit of his extreme zeal towards him.' After this hear what indignation the writer not unreasonably utters.
§ 5.21.1 [OENOMAUS] 'IT seems then that thou dost verily know all things that are worth no more than sand, but knowest nothing that is excellent. For example, that the smell of a strong-shelled tortoise boiling should strike on thy senses, is a piece of knowledge worth but sand, not being even true in itself, but nevertheless becoming to the braggart and the shameless, who looks supercilious over his empty bits of knowledge and tries to persuade Croesus the Lydian captive not to despise him.
'For he relying upon the trial (of the oracles), intended soon after to ask thee whether he should make an expedition against the Persians, and to make thee his adviser concerning his insane and grasping policy. And thou didst not shrink from telling him, that The Halys crossed,
Croesus a mighty empire shall destroy.
'That certainly was well contrived, that it mattered nought to thee, if he should suffer some strange disaster from being incited by an ambiguous oracle to attack a foreign empire, nor if certain bitter and malicious persons, instead of duly praising thee for having driven a madman headlong, went so far as to accuse thee of having uttered a phrase which was not even equally balanced, that the Lydian king might hesitate and take counsel; but they said that the word καταλῦσαι could be understood by the Greeks only in one way, not to be driven from his own empire, but to acquire the empire of another.
'For Cyrus, the semi-Mede or semi-Persian, or, as he was called in the riddle, the mule, being of a royal race by his mother, but of an ordinary stock on his father's side, shows incidentally the inflated poetry, but especially the blind divination of the soothsayer, if he did not know that the riddle would be misunderstood.
'If, however, he was thus playing with him not from ignorance but from insolence and malice, heavens! how strange are the playthings of the gods. And if it was not this, but that the things must of necessity so happen, this is of all deceitful speeches the most wicked. For if it must so happen, why nevertheless dost thou, unhappy god, sit at Delphi chanting empty and useless prophecies? And of what use art thou to us? And why are we so mad, who run to thee from all quarters of the earth? And what right hast thou to the savour of sacrifices?'
§ 5.21.1 This plain speaking of Oenomaus in the Detection of Impostors is not free from cynical bitterness. For he will not admit that the oracles which are admired among all the Greeks proceed from a daemon, much less from a god, but says that they are frauds and tricks of human impostors, cunningly contrived to deceive the multitude. And since I have once mentioned these matters, there can be no objection to hearing other refutations also; and first, that in which the same author says that he had been himself deceived by the Clarian Apollo: he writes as follows:
§ 5.22.2 [OENOMAUS] 'BUT forsooth I too must take some part in the comedy, and not pride myself on not having fallen into the common derangement; and I must tell of the bargain in wisdom, which I myself imported out of Asia, from thee, O Clarian god:
In the land of Trachis lieth
Thy fair garden, Heracles,
Where all flowers for ever blooming,
Laden with perpetual dews,
Culled all day, yet ne'er diminish.
'Then I myself also, impotent fool that I was, became elated by the Heracles, and the garden of Heracles in its bloom, dreaming of a certain Hesiodic sweat because of the name Trachis, and on the other hand of an easy life because of the blooming garden.
'Then, on my inquiring further whether the gods were inclined to help me, some one of the multitude, swearing by the very gods that were to help, said that he certainly had heard that this very answer had been given from thee to one Callistratus, a merchant of Pontus.
'When I heard this, what, thinkest thou, was my indignation, at being forsooth robbed by him of my virtue? But although dissatisfied I nevertheless began to inquire whether the merchant also had been at all flattered by the Heracles. So then it appeared that he also was in some trouble, and was bent upon gain, and expecting from his gain some pleasant kind of life.
'So as it appeared that the merchant was no better treated than myself, I would no longer accept the oracle, nor the Heracles, but disdained to share the same treatment, when I saw the troubles that were actually present and the pleasures that existed only in hope.
'However, it appeared that none went without his share in the oracle, neither robber nor soldier, neither lover nor mistress, neither flatterer, nor rhetorician, nor sycophant. For of what each man desired, the trouble came first, while the joy was only expected.'
§ 5.22.3 Having made these statements, he immediately adds, how after a second and third inquiry he found that the wonderful prophets knew nothing, but were concealing their own ignorance simply by the obscurity of their ambiguous language. So he speaks as follows:
§ 5.23.1 [OENOMAUS] 'But since my business was now so forward, and I wanted only a man to act as a stranger's guide to wisdom, and he was difficult to find, I requested thee also to point out such an one:
On Eupelians and Achaeans obligation he will lay,
And, if true, for his conjecture shall receive no little pay.
'What sayest thou? If I was desirous of becoming a sculptor or painter, and was seeking for teachers, was it sufficient for me to hear Ἔν τε τοῖσιν Εὐπέλευσιν, or rather should I not have said that the speaker was mad?
'This, however, thou art perhaps not able to understand, for the characters of mankind are very obscure: but whither I had better travel from Colophon is no longer a matter so unintelligible to the god:
When a man large stones projecteth from a widely-whirling sling,
With the blows he slays grass-eating geese unutterably great.
'Now who will interpret for me what in the world is meant by these grass-eating geese unutterably great? Or the widely-whirling sling? Will Amphilochus, or the god of Dodona, or wilt thou at Delphi, if I should come thither? Wilt thou not go and hang thyself with thy widely-whirling sling, and take thy unintelligible verses with thee? '
§ 5.23.2 But now, after such censures as these, it is time to observe again from the beginning how the same author confutes the most ancient oracular responses, those at Delphi, which are held forsooth in the very highest admiration in the histories of Greece.
'Vast was the Persian host in arms against the Athenians, nor was there any other hope of safety for them, except the god only. So they, not knowing who he was, invoked him as the helper of their forefathers. This was the Apollo at Delphi. What therefore did this wonderful deity do? Did he fight in defence of his friends? Did he remember the libations and burnt offerings, and the customary honours which they paid to him in sacrificing their hecatombs? Not at all. But what said he? That they should flee, and provide a wooden wall for their flight: thus indicating the navy, by means of which alone he said that they could be saved when their city was burned. O mighty help of a god!
'Then he pretends forsooth to foretell a siege not only of the other buildings in the city, but also of the very temples consecrated to the gods. But this was what all might expect from the invasion of the enemy, apart from any oracle.'
§ 5.23.3 Very naturally therefore the writer again makes sport of this delusion of the Greeks, and censures it in the following words:
§ 5.24.1 [OENOMAUS] 'PERHAPS, however, such answers as I have described are those of an intentional mischief-maker; find we ought rather to bring forward for judgement his other answers which were given to the Athenians. So then let the responses to the Athenians be read:
Wretches, why sit ye here? Fly, fly to the ends of creation,
§ 5.24.2 (Quitting your homes, and the crags which your city crowns with her circlet.)
Neither the head, nor the body is firm in its place, nor at bottom
Firm the feet, nor the hands (nor resteth the middle uninjured.
All — all ruined and lost). Since fire and impetuous Ares,
Speeding along in a Syrian chariot, hastes to destroy her.
Not alone shalt thou suffer; full many the towers he will level,
Many the shrines of the gods he will give to a fiery destruction.
Even now they stand with dark sweat horribly dripping,
Trembling and quaking for fear.
'Lo! there you have the oracle that was given to the Athenians. Is there perchance anything prophetic in it? Yes, surely, some one will say, for you had so much confidence in him yourself: and this will be known, if you add what was further said to them when they besought him to help them. So then, let it be added:
Pallas has not been able to soften the lord of Olympus,
Though she has often prayed him, (and urged him with excellent counsel).
Yet once more I address thee in words than adamant firmer
When the foe shall have taken (whatever the limit of Cecrops
Holds within it, and all which divine Cithaeron shelters),
Then far-seeing Zeus grants this to the prayers of Athene;
Safe shall the wooden wall continue for thee and thy children;
Wait not the tramp of the horse, not the footmen mightily moving
Over the land, but turn your back to the foe, and retire ye.
Yet shall a day arrive when ye shall meet him in battle.
Holy Salamis, thou shalt destroy the offspring of women,
When men scatter the seed, or when they gather the harvest.
'Thy Zeus is worthy of himself, O son of Zeus! Thy Athena also is worthy of Athena, O brother of Athena! And this eagerness and counter-eagerness well become the father and the daughter, or rather the gods in general! And this ruler of Olympus, too weak to destroy this one city without bringing against it that countless host from Susa, was forsooth a mighty god, having dominion over the world, and persuasive withal, as moving so many nations from Asia into Europe, but yet unable in Europe to overthrow one single city.
'And thou too, the prophet so bold and so ready also to run needless risks for nothing, dost thou not cry pity? (so the men Blight say, on whose behalf Pallas has not been able to soften the lord of Olympus). Or was it that Zeus was wroth not with the men, but with the stones and timber? And then wast thou to save the men, and he to burn the buildings with foreign fire? Because he had at the moment no thunderbolt?
'Or rather are we somewhat bold, and foolhardy in forbidding you gods to talk such nonsense? But how knewest thou, O prophet, that
Holy Salamis shall destroy the offspring of women,
§ 5.24.3 but didst not further know whether it would be,
When men scatter the seed, or when they gather the harvest?
'And how knewest thou not even this, that a man might say that the offspring of women were either those of his own kindred, or might say that they were the enemies, if he scented the evil device?
'But we must wait for what will happen, for happen one or other of these must. For in truth Salamis the holy would not have been inappropriate even in case of defeat, as being called by such an epithet in compassion: and the naval battle that was to take place either
When men scatter the seed, or when they gather the harvest,
§ 5.24.4 is beplastered with poetical bombast, in order that, by this artifice, the prediction might escape detection, and it might not be clearly seen at the moment, that a naval battle does not take place in winter.
'Now too it is not difficult to see the stage-play, and the wheeling in of the gods, the one beseeching and the other refusing to yield, so useful for the coming event, and the unexpected turn of the war, the one if they should be saved, the other if they should be destroyed. For if they should be saved, behold! the prayers of Pallas have been foreshown, which were able to turn the anger of Zeus: or if not, even this result is not unprovided for by the prophet; for Pallas is not able to soften Zeus. And to meet half-evil fortunes the artist mixed the oracle, as though Zeus had on the one hand fulfilled his own purpose, but on the other hand had not disregarded the request of his daughter.
'And as to the towers, it might perhaps have been false that many would be destroyed, if they had attacked them with reeds instead of iron and fire, though in this case even with reeds so great an army could at all events have accomplished something. But it was I, says he, who discovered the wooden wall which alone could not be destroyed. Yes, it was thy advice, but not a prophecy, not unlike that Haste, oh! haste thee away, nor blush to behave like a coward.
'He therefore who solved that riddle was as good as thyself in discerning that the city of the Athenians was the Persian's avowed cause for the invasion, and the whole expedition was directed against this city first and chiefly. For even I myself, who am no prophet, should have discerned this, and bidden not only the Lydian king, but also the Athenians to turn their backs and flee. For Yet shall a day arrive when ye shall meet him in battle, for there cometh on the tramp of the horse and the footmen mightily moving. Also that they must flee in ships, and not on the mainland: for it would have been ridiculous, as they had ships, and dwelt by the sea, not to have collected their goods in all haste, and put on board all the provisions they had, and made their escape, giving over the land to those who chose to take it.'
§ 5.24.5 These then were the answers given to the Athenians: but those given to the Lacedaemonians were utterly weak and ridiculous. For either, says he, the whole city shall be besieged, or it shall mourn the loss of the king. From every circumstance, it was natural for any one to guess this, that either one or the other would happen.
§ 5.24.6 But surely it was no divination of a god to use such ambiguity in ignorance of the future, when he ought to have given help, and appeared opportunely as saviour of the Greeks, and rather to have procured the victory over the enemies and barbarians for the Greeks, as his own friends. And if he had not power to do this, he should at least have provided that they should suffer no harm, and not be conquered. But even this he failed to do, nay, he did not even know how the circumstances of their defeat would turn out. Wherefore on this point also hear how his censure is expressed.
§ 5.25.1 [OENOMAUS] 'BUT, thou wilt say, one must not give the same advice to the Lacedaemonians. That is true. For thou knewest not, O sophist, as in the case of Attica, what course the affairs of Sparta would take. Therefore thou wast afraid lest thou shouldest bid them flee, and then they should flee, and the enemy never invade them.
'Since therefore it was necessary to say something, this is what thou saidst to the Lacedaemonians:
O habitants of Sparta's spacious streets,
Either your glorious city shall be sacked
By Perseus' warrior sons, or else a king
Sprung from the race of mighty Heracles
Must die, and all Laconia mourn his fate.
'Again there is the combination most unlike prophecy. However, let it pass, that we may not seem to be both wearisome and incompetent by trampling upon thee twice for the same fault; but let us examine the remaining facts.
'In so great a danger all were looking to thee, and thou wast both their informant of the future, and their adviser as to present action. And while they believed thee trustworthy, thou wast sure that they were fools; and that the present opportunity was convenient for drawing on the simpletons, and driving them headlong, not only to the schools of sophistry at Delphi and Dodona, but also to the seats of divination by barley and by wheat-flour, and to the ventriloquists.
'For at that time not only the gods were believed, but also cats and crows, and the delusions of dreams. It was not difficult therefore to see that they would neither have accepted both misfortunes rather than one, nor the greater instead of the less, and it was less that one, even their king, should fall instead of all.
'So then with the fall of the city there would be no escape for him either; but if he were posted somewhere else by himself, perhaps something unexpected might happen. The remaining course then was for those who reasoned thus to send the king to carry on the war, and stay at home themselves out of danger, awaiting the event.
'For him therefore, taking his stand with a few against that immense host, destruction was manifest; but Sparta had a respite from fear, and hopes of the unexpected: while the trick would be equally undetected, whether the city escaped or was captured.
'Why so? Because it had not been said, forsooth, that the city should be saved if the king died, but that either he should perish alone or the whole city together: and this answer could not be called to account in either case, whether he were to perish alone or not alone. Such is the fruit of arrogance and folly.'
§ 5.25.2 Such was the course in this case. But it would not be right to pass by the answer which he gave to the Cnidians, when they offered vows and prayed for the alliance of the god.
§ 5.26.1 [OENOMAUS] 'THE Cnidians also suffered something like this, when Harpagus made an expedition against them. For when they tried to cut through the Isthmus there and make their city an island, at first they stuck close to the work; but when they had to face the labour, they were for giving up and consulting the oracle. And thou saidst to them:
Fence not the isthmus off, nor dig it through:
Jove would have made an island, had he wished:
§ 5.26.2 and the lazy cowards were persuaded, and turned back from the work, and gave themselves up to Harpagus. But mark the cunning trick: for since it was not certain that they would escape, even if they dug the trench, thou didst stop them from this; but in not bidding them to continue the work, thou dost promise their escape.
'To this however thou didst add, not that it was better for them not to dig it, but that it was not the pleasure of Zeus that it should be an island. So then in discouraging them the chances were evenly balanced; but in giving them encouragement the promise of escape preponderated: in this case then it was safe for the sophist to deter them. And so, without telling them anything of what they had come for, thou sentedst them away with the idea that they had heard something good.'
§ 5.26.3 Now I think these instances sufficiently convict the feebleness both of the givers and receivers of the responses, and that there is no truth or inspiration to be found in their declarations.
§ 5.26.4 But you will see the mischievous disposition either of the evil daemons or of the men who played false with the divinations, if you learn how in the war of Greeks against each other they irritated those who consulted them, whereas they ought to have been arbiters of peace and friendship.
§ 5.26.5 At one time, therefore, this Delphian god again irritates the Lacedaemonians, as if they were his friends and familiars, against the Messenians, and at another time gives an answer against the Lacedaemonians to the Messenians, if the latter should propitiate the daemons again by human sacrifice. Listen now to this story also.
§ 5.27.1 [OENOMAUS] 'WHEN wisdom is associated with divination she will review such answers as these, and will permit no random discourse, inasmuch as she makes all things sure by their moorings to herself, and assigns their degrees of precedence. Nor will she permit the Pythian prophet, in his folly, to prophecy either to these, or to the Lacedaemonians about the Messenians, and the land which the Messenians held after defeating the Lacedaemonians by a stratagem.
Set not thy hand to deeds of war alone,
So Phoebus bids; for as by stratagem
The people hold Messenian soil, so now
Shall they be caught by arts which they first used.
'Wisdom bids them rather think of peace and frugality and contentment. But they perhaps, though disciplined by the laws of Lycurgus, had come to inquire from insatiate desire and vainglory, that they might not seem to be inferior in battle to Messenians, though reputed to have been bred up in habits of endurance.
'But surely if they had been thus bred up in habits of endurance, they would have been content with little, and would have had no need of fighting, and arms, and the rest of such folly.
'This was the answer to the Lacedaemonians against the Messenians; but on the other hand the answer to the Messenians against the Lacedaemonians was as follows; for thou didst give oracles to the Messenians also against the Lacedaemonians, and not only to the Lacedaemonians against the Messenians:
A virgin of the race of Aepytus
The lot shall choose, whom to the infernal gods
Thou must devote, Ithome thus to save.
'For I do not accept the false inventions, that the victim chosen from the race of Aepytus was not a pure virgin, and therefore the Messenians could not offer the sacrifice. For it is thy nature to make confusion.'
§ 5.27.2 Such then are the statements of ancient history. And in our own days also one might observe thousands of similar cases, in which from ancient times even to our own the successive rulers at one time rushed into unprofitable wars by the advice of the oracles, at another time were foiled by the obscurity of the responses, or again were misled from the actual deceit of the oracles.
§ 5.27.3 What need to tell how at times in the greatest crises either of battle-array against the enemy, or of danger in bodily sickness, men gained no help or healing from the supposed gods. But their answers from the oracles always and constantly turn out to be such as the ancient histories prove them to have been.
§ 5.27.4 But of those Pythian responses which Were most celebrated among the Greeks there was a certain one addressed to Lycurgus, to whom at his coming the Pythoness addressed that famous answer:
'To my rich shrine thou com'st, Lycurgus, dear
To Zeus and all who in Olympus dwell:
Whether to hail thee god or mortal man
Doubts my prophetic soul, yet hope prevails
To welcome thee as god. To seek good laws,
Lycurgus, thou art come; such will I give.'
§ 5.27.5 These, with the additional lines, were the words of the oracle. Let us then examine closely what observations were made in answer thereto in the criticism before quoted. The author writes thus:
§ 5.28.1 [OENOMAUS] 'BUT when the precursor and model of Tyrtacus once came to thee, thou saidst he had come from hollow Laccdaemon, a friend of Zeus and all who in Olympus dwell, and that thou wert in doubt, whether to hail him god or mortal man, yet hope prevailed to welcome him as god, because he came to seek good laws.
'But, if he was a god, how was it that the friend of Zeus and all who in Olympus dwell did not understand civic law?
'However, since such matters as have been shown to this most godlike of men by the voice of the god cannot perhaps be discovered without a god's help, let us look at the divine utterance, and the things which thou didst teach Lycurgus: To seek good laws,
Lycurgus, thou art come; such will I give.
'Give then, I should say: for no such gift as this didst thou ever yet promise to any man.
So long as to the oracles ye pay
Your promises and vows, and justice due
To fellow citizens and strangers give,
Show to the aged reverence sincere,
Duly respect the sons of Tyndarus,
Menelaus and the deathless heroes, who
In noble Lacedaemon dwell enshrined,
So long far-seeing Zeus shall guard your home.
'Apollo! What divine teaching and exhortation! And for this no long voyage is needed, nor a journey from Peloponnesus to Delphi, or even to the very Hyperboreans, whence, as they say, in accordance with the response of another prophetess, Asteria,
Founders and priests of fragrant Delos came.
'I suppose that this Lycurgus never had a nurse, nor ever sat in a company of old men, from whom, as well as from her, he might have heard nobler and wiser lessons than these.
'Perhaps, however, thou wilt add something more, if Lycurgus entreat thee to speak plainly.
If some should lead aright, and others follow, —
§ 5.28.2 shall still say that this comes from the same company, and request Lycurgus not to desist, for the chance that he may go back to Sparta with some political lesson received from thee.
Two ways there are diverging far apart,
This leading on to freedom's glorious home,
That to the hateful cell of slavery.
This manly valour treads and concord true,
And to this path be ye the peoples' guides.
Through hateful strife and baneful cowardice
Men reach the other path; of that beware.
'Thou bid'st them to be manly: this we have often heard even from the cowardly. But also to be of one mind: this we have heard not only from the wise, but ere now from the very leaders of sedition: so we can excuse thee from giving us this exhortation.
'Nevertheless being a prophet didst thou not know that we have received it many a time and from many persons, who had neither eaten greedily of the laurel, nor drunk the water of Castalia, nor ever been supercilious about wisdom?
'Tell us then about manliness, tell us about freedom, tell us about concord, in what way they are engendered in a state, and bid not us, who are ignorant, to lead the peoples in this path, but lead us thyself. For it is a noble path, but difficult for us and formidable.'
§ 5.28.3 To this he adds further remarks.
§ 5.29.1 [OENOMAUS] 'THOU art ready to speak of marriage also:
From Argive pastures choose a well-bred foal
Of dark-maned sire.
'And about children:
Astion, of race most honourable,
None gives thee honour; but thy Labda soon
Conceives, and bears a mighty rock, (to crush
The tyrants, and on Corinth justice do).
'About a colony:
'Gainst men of gold lead forth a numerous host,
Brass on thy shoulders, iron in thine hand.
No spot on earth can match Pelasgia's soil,
What soil with thine, Pelasgia, can compare?
The mares of Thrace, or Sparta's beauteous dames,
Or men who drink fair Arethusa's fount.
'And it seems to me that thou art no better than the so-called marvel-mongers, nay not even than the rest of the quacks and sophists. At them, however, I do not wonder, that they throw men over for pay; but I do wonder at thee, the god, and at mankind, that they pay to be thrown over.
'Then the famous Socrates, in answer to him who asked whether he should marry or not, said neither, but that he would repent of both: and to the man who wished for children he said that he would not do right, if, instead of trying how, if he should have children, he might treat them in the best way, he made no account of this but was only considering how he might get them.
'And when another man had determined to travel, because things were not well with him at home, he said that he was not taking right counsel; for he would go away and leave his country where it was, but would take his folly with him, which would make him disagreeable to the people there just as much as to those at home. And not only when he was questioned, but also of his own accord he often resorted to such conversations.'
§ 5.30.1 'FOR twenty days before the Dog-star rise,
And twenty days that follow next thereon,
In shady bower let Bacchus be thy leech:'
'A medical and not a prophetical answer given to the Athenians when troubled by the burning heat.
Grandson of Presbon, son of Clymenus,
Thyself, Erginus, would'st the race prolong:
'Tis late; yet give the old plough a new tip.
'For a young woman to be wedded to an old man, if he desires children, this is the advice not of a prophet, but of one who understands nature. Desire, however, sets the weaklings beside themselves.'
§ 5.31.1 'FOR this reason, if thou canst not persuade them to learn something worthy of the school of a god instead of their contemptible questions, I recommend thee to take a rod to them rather than to say to Archilochus of Paros after he had thrown away his substance in political follies, and in sorrow had come to consult thee:
To Thasos, Archilochus, go, and dwell in that glorious island.
'For he would have profited more had he been told in this other way:
Archilochus, come to thy senses, in poverty make no bewailing.
'Or to the Cretans who had come to thee:
Dwellers in Phaestus and Tarra and wave-beaten headland of Dium,
Hear ye my bidding, and offer the Pythian lustrations to Phoebus
In pious devotion, so dwell ye for ever in Creta's fair island,
Worshipping wealth and Zeus in customs not those of your fathers.
'It would have been better for them to be told:
Dwellers in folly and madness and self-conceited elation,
Hear ye my bidding, and offer at home in pious devotion
Lustrations your folly to purge; so dwell ye in wisdom for ever
Worshipping wealth in customs not those of your sires but divine.
'Beware lest thou need lustration more than Crete, for inventing lustrations such as those of Orpheus and Epimenides.'
§ 5.32.1 'BUT why, O wisest of gods, if Charilaus and Archelaus, the kings of Lacedaemon,
Give to Apollo as his share of gain
One half, it were far better for themselves?
'To what other Apollo dost thou mean? For surely thou dost not claim this for thyself, O most shameless prophet, lest any one should rebuke thee, as sharing so basely with the robbers.'
§ 5.32.2 Enough, however, of this subject. So come, let us append to it the verses in which at another time Apollo admires Archilochus, a man who in his own poems employed against women all kinds of foul and unspeakable abuse, which any modest man would not endure even to listen to: Euripides also he admires though he was expelled from the school and philosophy of Socrates, and is caricatured upon the stage even to the present day: besides these Homer also, whom the noble Plato banishes from his own republic, as in no respect profitable, but as having been the author of language which utterly corrupts the young. For these reasons again the author before mentioned scoffs at the soothsaying god as follows:
§ 5.33.1 [OENOMAUS]
'IMMORTAL and renowned in song thy son,
Telesicles, among all men shall be.
'Now this son was Archilochus.
A son, Mnesarchus, thou shalt have, whom all
Mankind shall honour, who to noble fame
Shall rise, encircled with the festal grace
Of sacred crowns.
'The son was Euripides.
'Homer was told:
Life hath a twofold destiny for thee;
This shall in darkness veil twin orbs of light;
That with immortal gods, in life, in death,
Shall set thee equal.
'And for this cause it was said of him:
Happy and hapless, born to either doom.
'The speaker is not a man, but one who has sometimes insisted that he must not
As god be careless of the woes of men.
'Come then, thou god, be not careless even of us. For we desire, if it be not wrong, some of us worthy fame, others sacred crowns, others equality with the gods, and others immortality itself. 'What then was that, for which Archilochus seemed to thee worthy of heaven? Grudge not to other men that upward path, thou of all gods best friend to man! What dost thou bid us do? Or must we, of course, do what Archilochus did, if we would show ourselves worthy of the home of you gods? Abuse bitterly the maidens who are unwilling to marry us, and associate with profligates far baser than the basest of men? But not without poetry, for that is the language of gods, as well as of god-like men like Archilochus. And no wonder perhaps. For through excellence in this art the home is well ordered, and the private life is happy, and cities are kept in concord, and nations are well governed.
'Not unnaturally therefore he was regarded by thee as a servant of the Muses, and his murderer deemed worthy neither of admission to you gods, nor of speech from you, because he had slain a man of skilful speech.
'There was no injustice then in the threat against Archias, nor anything inopportune in the Pythia avenging Archilochus though long since dead, and commanding the blood-guilty one to depart out of the temple; for he had slain a servant of the Muses.
'To me at all events thou didst not appear to be out of order in avenging the poet; for I remembered the other poet also, and the sacred crowns of Euripides; though indeed I was in doubt, and desirous of hearing, not that he had been crowned, but how these crowns were sacred; nor that his fame sprang up, but in what way it was noble fame.
'For he used to be applauded in the crowds, I know: also he was agreeable to tyrants, this too I know: and he practised an art which won admiration not only for the lover of it himself, but also for the city of Athens, because it alone gave birth to tragic poets.
'If therefore the applause is a competent judge, and the table in the Acropolis, I have nothing more to say, since I see Euripides supping in the Acropolis, and the commons both of the Athenians and the Macedonians applauding. But if apart from these the gods have any vote, and that trustworthy, and not inferior to the vote of the tyrants or to that of the crowds, come tell us, for which of his excellences did you gods give your vote in favour of Euripides, that we may hasten at full speed to heaven in the track marked out by your praises.
'For surely there is no lack even now of Sapaeans or Lycambes ready to be caricatured, nor in the present day would either a Thyestes, or an Oedipus, or the hapless Phineus object to be made a subject of tragedy; nor would they, I think, be envious of any one who desired the friendship of the gods: but even those of old, if they had learned that there would be a certain Euripides, a man who came to be dear to the gods for having dressed them up, they would, I think, have ceased to care for their old misfortunes, and instead of giving their mind to better ways would have turned to making verses. And if they heard loud-sounding names of men of former times, they would use them for their journey to heaven, that on their arrival they might sit in Olympus among the boxers, in the hall of Zeus. For this is what the poet at Delphi says.
'Now let us look at the question which the happy Homer asks of the god: for I suppose it was something about heaven, and important enough to call forth an answer from the god; otherwise he would not so readily have pronounced him happy, and in addition to this happiness have awarded him an answer.
Thou seek'st a fatherland, but none is thine.
A motherland thou hast, nor near, nor far
From Minos' realm: there is thy doom to die,
When from the tongues of schoolboys thou hast heard
A long-drawn hymn thou canst not understand.
'Was it then a terrible thing, O thou wisest of men, or rather of gods, if this happy man should know neither where on earth he sprang from his mother's womb, nor where he should close his eyes and lie? I should have thought it of equal importance, whether a Homer or one of the beetles came to consult the god on these points, and that the god could no more have given any guidance on such unknown matters to Homer than to a beetle.
'As for example, if a beetle did not spend his life and his old age on that same dunghill on which he was begotten, but fell in with an adverse wind, and a cruel beetle-daemon, who caught him up into the air and carried him away by force to some other land and some other dunghill, and then he came to Delphi and inquired which was the dunghill of his fatherland, and what land would receive him when dead.' Let this suffice then about the poets.
§ 5.34.1 BUT since this wonderful god by his own responses has deified not only poets but even boxers and athletes, the author before mentioned seems to me to pass an appropriate censure on this also in the following words:
§ 5.34.2 [OENOMAUS]
'O thou who knowest to number the sands and to measure the ocean
Who hast ears for the silent, and knowest the dumb man's meaning.'
'I would that thou wert ignorant of all such things, but knewest this, that the art of boxing is no better than that of kicking, that thou mightest either have immortalized asses also, or else not Cleomedes boxer of Astypalaea, in such words as these:
Last of the heroes was he, Cleomedes of Astypalaea;
Now no longer a mortal with sacrifice honour him duly.
'For what then, O ancient interpreter of the religion of the Greeks, as Plato calls thee, didst thou deify this man? Was it because at the Olympic games he struck his antagonist a single blow and laid open his side, and thrust in his hand and seized his lung?
'By Apollo! how godlike a deed! Or was it not that alone, but also because, being punished by a fine of four talents for this act, he did not submit, but in wrath and indignation turned his anger against the boys in the school, by pulling away the column which upheld the roof. Is it for these deeds then, thou manufacturer of gods, that we ought to honour Cleomedes?
'Or wilt thou add this also, as the other proof at once of his manliness and his friendship with the gods, that having stepped into a sacred chest, and pulled the cover over it, he could not be caught by his pursuers when they wished to drag him out? A hero then no longer mortal art thou, O Cleomedes, for inventing such contrivances to attain immortality.
'The gods at least were immediately sensible of thy good deeds, and snatched thee up to heaven, just as Homer's gods snatched Ganymede; but him they chose for his beauty, and thee for thy strength, and for the good use made of it!
'I wish therefore, O prophet, as I said, that thou hadst let alone the sand and the sea, and instead of them hadst learned how much boxing is worth, that thou mightest regard the pugnacious asses as gods, and the wild asses as the very best of the gods: and there would have been some proper oracle over the death of a wild ass, rather than over thy boxer:
Chief of the deathless gods is a wild ass, not Cleomedes;
Now no longer a mortal with sacrifice honour him duly.
'For indeed you must not wonder, if even a wild ass should lay claim to immortality, as being fully provided with divine qualifications, and should not endure what he heard, but should threaten that with a blow he would knock even Cleomedes himself into the pit, and not permit him to go up to heaven.
'For he would say that he was more worthy of the very gifts of the gods than Cleomedes, as being ready to fight not with him alone, even if he were to use thongs of iron, but also with the Thasian boxer, both at once, him I mean on account of whose statue the gods were aggrieved, and made the land of the Thasians barren.
'About this man also we trust to no human testimony but to that of the same god. And from these facts I clearly perceived that boxing was, as we said, a godlike pursuit, though most persons, even those who think themselves wise, were not aware of it: or they would have given up being gentlemen, and would have practised the art of the Thasian boxer, whom the gods, though they did not grant immortality to him, as they did to Cleomedes, yet loved much.
'Thus his statue of bronze exhibited a power beyond the images of other men, by falling down upon his enemy who was scourging it, which seems to show a kind of divine solicitude.
'But the senseless Thasians, having no experience in things divine, were indignant and accused the statue of a crime, and exacted punishment, and ventured to sink it in the sea.
'They did not escape however, these Thasians, but the gods showed them how great a wrong they had dared to commit, by sending a famine upon them as the minister of divine justice, which with difficulty taught them what the counsels of the gods were; and thou the most philanthropic of gods didst send them help in thine own fashion, saying:
Bring thy banished ones home, and gather a liberal harvest.
'But again the stupid people supposed that they must recall the men who were in banishment: but they were mistaken; for as the gods have no love at all for mankind, what care they about men being recalled from banishment, in comparison with their care for statues? For this of course the land gained no help towards being relieved of its barrenness, but that some wise person who understood the mind of the gods conceived that the banished one was the statue which had been drowned in the sea. And so it was. For no sooner was it set up again, than immediately the land began to flourish, and the Thasians thenceforward (enjoying abundant harvests) wore long hair in honour of Ceres.
'Must not then these be clear proofs that a godlike athleticism is honoured by the gods? For again the gods were wroth because of an insult to the statue of a conqueror in the pentathlum, and for this the Locrians were famished, like the Thasians, until they found a remedy in thy oracle, running thus:
Hold the dishonoured in honour, and then shalt thou plough up thy land.
'For neither did the Locrians perceive the meaning of the gods before they had thee to help them in the matter. But they had cast the pentathlete Euthycles into prison, on a charge of having received bribes against his country: and not only so, but after he was dead they committed outrages upon his statues, until the gods could not endure their conduct, and sent the most violent famine upon them. And they would have utterly perished by the famine, had there not come help from thee, saying that they ought to honour men trained and fattened, who are no less dear to the gods than the oxen which the millers fatten, and by sacrificing which men sometimes win your assent. Not less perhaps, but even much more, than fat cattle do you delight in fat men, so that sometimes you grow angry with a whole city and a whole nation, because one or two persons do wrong to these failings.
'How I wish then, O prophet, thou hadst been our trainer instead of prophet, or both prophet and trainer together, that as there is a Delphic oracle so there might have been a Delphic gymnasium. For it would not have been inappropriate to the Pythian contest that the gymnasium also should be Pythian.'
§ 5.34.3 To this I will append what he says by way of proving that the gods whom we are discussing are also flatterers of tyrants.
§ 5.35.1 'HAPPY the man who now to my sacred dwelling approacheth,
Cypselus, son of Aetion, king of illustrious Corinth.
'So then tyrants also are happy, and not only those who conspire against tyrants:
Cypselus, who shall work full many misfortunes to Corinth,
§ 5.35.2 and Melanippus, who wrought many blessings for the city of Gela.
'But if Cypselus was happy, O thou miserable god, how could Phalaris fail to be happy too, being of like character with Cypselus? So that your oracle would have run better in this other way:
Phalaris, happy art thou, and Melanippus likewise,
Leaders and guides of mankind in the pathways of heavenly discord.
'But I have also heard an oracle of thine in prose concerning Phalaris, praising and honouring him, because after he had discovered their conspiracy and tortured them, he admired their endurance and released them. So Loxias and his father Zeus voted Phalaris a respite from death, because he behaved mercifully towards Chariton and Melanippus. But I wish thou hadst just taught us about death and life, that life is a most noble thing. To all this let us add the following:'
§ 5.36.1 'FAR better will Methymna's dwellers fare,
If Dionysus' wooden head they honour.
'For the cities offer sacrifice and keep festivals not only to wooden heads of Dionysus, but also to heads of stone, and bronze, and gold; not only to wooden heads but also to actual heads of Dionysus, and to very many of the other gods of Hesiod.
'For verily there are
Three times ten thousand on the fruitful earth,
§ 5.36.2 not immortals, but rulers of mankind of wood and stone: and if they
Man's insolence or just behaviour scanned,
§ 5.36.3 there never would have been raised a crop of nonsense so great, that at length the evil has reached even to you gods, having passed over to Olympus, where, as they say,
The abode of the gods is for ever secure.
'Yet surely if it were secure, it would not be accessible to nonsense, nor would any one of the Olympians have reached such a pitch of insanity as to turn a log of olive-wood into a god. This log became entangled in the meshes of a net, and was dragged up by the Methymnaeans, who caught it in their nets twice, it may be, and thrice, or oftener in the same place, and thence ran out into the Libyan sea, and did not cast it out upon the land: for if they had done that, it would not have stuck fast in the meshes, no, by Dionysus!
'But as the top of the log was like a head (Apollo! what a strange contrivance!), one might ask, what business had it in the sea? Why, what else, to be sure, except that it sat waiting until some insane men (for I will not say, gods also) should meet with it, and believe it to be fallen not from Zeus, but from Poseidon, and then should carry it off to their town, as if it were some lucky prize, though in reality it was unlucky, and no prize, but a firebrand? Or perhaps it was not enough that of itself it utterly ruined them, but an increase of infatuation, so to say, fetched from Delphi gave it new strength and intensity.'
§ 5.36.4 So far Oenomaus. But now, after what has been stated, pass again to The Philosophy to be derived from Oracles of the author who has made the compilation against us, and read from the responses of the Pythian god concerning Fate, and see whether it will not occur to you also that the account of the celebrated oracles is still more inconsistent with any divine power.
§ 6.1 PREFACE: In the books which we have already completed we have sufficiently exposed the character of the oracles; and the divine power of our Saviour has exhibited in the teaching of His Gospel an excellence worthy of God and at the same time beneficial to man; for by it alone, and by no other teaching, deliverance from the daemoniacal phantoms, which had from the beginning over shadowed and afflicted the whole life of man, was secured for all.
§ 6.2 Now let us examine their false doctrines about fate, and so restore the true account of the same subject, in order that the daemons who have been supposed to inspire the oracles may be shown not only by the wickedness of their system, but also by the error and falsity of their opinions, to be worthless and impotent. Consider therefore whether it will not occur to you also that the account of them is inconsistent with divine power, both from what I shall set before you in refutation of their doctrine concerning fate, and from the very manner in which they are said to perform their divinations.
§ 6.3 For it is not said that they have gained the knowledge of future events beforehand by any superior power, but that they guess what is coming from observation of the motion of the stars, just as men do. Thus, it is said, they have no power either to help, or to effect anything at all, except what is in accordance with fate. And the evidence of this shall be that self-same daemons' advocate, who in his book entitled Of the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles, speaks word for word as follows:
§ 6.1.1 [PORPHYRY] 'The gods, if they speak with a knowledge of things determined by fate, declare that their utterances are derived from the course of the stars, and almost all the truthful gods acknowledge this.'
§ 6.1.2 Then a little farther down he says:
'Apollo was asked of what sex a woman's child would be, and by the stars he said it would be female, having learned this from the time of conception: and thus he speaks:
The shoot springs forth from earth, whose thirsty meads
All freshening moisture from their mother drain,
While life still stirs within her its due time.
§ 6.1.3 No boy she bears, 'tis but a feeble girl;
The Moon with Venus watched the chaste embrace
That brings thee soon, O friend, a female child.
'See how from the time of conception, because the Moon was then approaching Venus, he said that a girl would be born. Moreover from those signs they foretell diseases; for listen:
A baneful poison ravages his breast
And pours its cruel pangs o'er all the lung, —
'and so on: to which he adds:
So wrought the purpose of the Fates, which urged
Their deadly strife, to slay thee by disease,
Since Saturn treads on high his baneful path.
'And after some other verses:
But the Destroyer, hastening on to meet
The star of Saturn, forced thee to conclude
Life's fated day, and robbed thy soul of hope.
§ 6.1.4 For this thy godlike father's sacred heart
Warned thee to shun the baneful god of war.'
§ 6.1.5 These things show that their divination is not from any divine power in them, but from observation of the stars according to mathematical principles; so that in this they differ nothing from other men, nor show any work of a higher or more divine nature. But see how they also destroy our free-will, by referring not only external events and things independent of us, but also our own purposes, to the course of the stars.
§ 6.2.1 [PORPHYRY] 'Thus also Apollo spake concerning a certain man, explaining at the same time whence came his eagerness for war:
In Mars he hath a vehement natal star,
Which drives him on, yet not unto the tomb:
§ 6.2.2 For Jupiter's decree foretold it thus,
And soon shall give him glory from the war.
'And again on another man:
Saturn's long hair outspread and cruel rays
Saddened the hapless boy's tempestuous life.'
§ 6.2.3 So great a horror of Fate have these brave gods, as to confess that they cannot even defend their own temples when struck by lightning! Much hope there must be then for men to get help by prayer from those who are not even able to help themselves! Of what use is it henceforth to be pious, and to worship and serve the gods, who can give no help at all even to themselves? Hear, however, what the oracle says:
§ 6.3.1 [PORPHYRY] 'Thus even shrines and temples have their destinies, and Apollo's own temple had been destined to be struck by lightning, as he says:
Offspring of Erichthonius' godlike race,
Boldly ye come mine oracle to ask
When shall this fairest shrine be laid in dust.
§ 6.3.2 Hear then this utterance of the voice divine,
That issues from the laurel-shaded cave.
§ 6.3.3 When high in air the warring winds resound,
And storms embattled meet with thundering crash,
While the wide world lies wrapped in silent frost,
And the imprisoned air no outlet finds,
A blazing torch falls, where it will, to earth.
§ 6.3.4 Whereat the wild beasts on the mountain tops
Flee in swift terror to their dens, nor stay
To scan with trembling eyes Jove's fallen bolt.
§ 6.3.5 Shrines of the blessed, trees of stateliest growth,
Steep mountain peaks, fair ships upon the sea
All shattered lie beneath those wings of fire.
§ 6.3.7 Ye therefore, though by mighty pain oppressed,
Bear with brave souls the counsels of the Fates
That know no change: for whatsoe'er the lot
Their whirling spindles twine, his awful brow
Zeus nods on high to fix the changeless doom.
§ 6.3.8 Thus in long ages past this fairest shrine
By fiery bolts from heaven was doomed to fall.'
§ 6.3.9 If therefore by the spindles of the Fates even the shrines of the venerable gods and their holy temples are conquered by 'wings of fire,' what hope can be left for mortal men to escape from their destiny? If, moreover, there is no help from the gods, but one must in any case
'Bear with brave soul the counsels of the Fates
That know no change,'
§ 6.3.10 what is the meaning, some one may say, of our useless zeal concerning the gods?
§ 6.3.11 Or what need to assign a portion 'of libation and burnt-offering,' and the honour thereof, to those who are not worthy even of these things, if they have no power to help us at all? For then we ought not to ascribe the bestowal of good things to them, but to that (destiny) which they confessed to be the cause of the evil.
§ 6.3.12 For if anything either good or the reverse is destined for men, it will of necessity occur, and, whether the gods will or not, it will come to pass. We ought therefore to worship Necessity only, and care little, or rather nothing, for the gods, as being able neither to annoy nor to benefit us.
§ 6.3.13 But then if He, who is God over all, is sole ruler of the Fates, and sole Lord over them also — for, as the Oracle says:
'Whate'er the lot
Their whirling spindles twine, his awful brow
Zeus nods on high, to fix the changeless doom' —
§ 6.3.14 why then dost thou not put aside all else, and confess that the universal Monarch and the Lord of Fate is the only God, and only Giver of good, and Saviour? Seeing that for Him alone it is easy to turn and change even what you call
'The counsels of the Fates
That know no change:'
§ 6.3.15 so that the man who has been consecrated to the all-ruling God, and worships only Him, is enslaved neither to necessity nor to fate, but. as being free and released from every bond, follows without hindrance the divine dispensations of salvation. Such is the path which true reason shows: but see by what means this author, the contrary, that the decrees of fate are dissolved.
§ 6.4.1 [PORPHYRY] 'For when a certain man prayed that he might be visited by a god, the god said that he was unfit because he was bound down by nature, and on this account suggested certain expiatory sacrifices, and added:
A blast of daemon power with gathered force
The fortunes of thy race hath overrun,
Which thou must scape by magic arts like these.
'Hereby it is clearly shown that the use of magic in loosing the bonds of fate was a gift from the gods, in order to avert it by any means.'
§ 6.4.2 It is Porphyry who tells you this, not I. But how was it, that he who advised to loose the bonds of fate by magic arts, though he was himself a god, did not annul the destiny of his own temple to be burned by lightning? And how can we fail to see what is the character of him who encourages the use of magic, and not of philosophy? Besides all this the same author confesses that the gods speak falsely.
§ 6.5.2 [PORPHYRY] 'But further, the exact knowledge of the course of the stars, and the consequences dependent on them, is unattainable by men, and not by them only, but also by some of the daemons. Hence when consulted they speak falsely on many matters.'
§ 6.5. To this again he adds:
'Also, they say, it is the surrounding atmosphere that compels the oracles to be falsified, and not that the deities present willingly add the falsehood. For they often declare beforehand that they are going to speak falsely: but the inquirers persist, and compel them to speak, because of their folly. Apollo, for instance, once upon a time, when the condition of the atmosphere was, as we stated, unfavourable, said:
Cease from these words of power, lest I speak false.
'And that what I was saying is true, will be shown by the oracles.
'For example, one of the gods when invoked made answer:
To tell the constellations' sacred course
This day befits not; all prophetic power
Lies bound and fettered in the silent stars.'
§ 6.5.3 And he adds:
'It is shown therefore whence the falsehood often arises.'
§ 6.6.1 Is there not now an end of all doubt in your judgement, that there was nothing divine at all in the responses of the gods? For how could the divine ever speak falsely, being in nature most truthful, since surely the divine is truthful? And how could a good daemon ever deceive the inquirers by false statements? Or how could that which is 'fettered' by the course of the stars be superior to man?
§ 6.6.2 Nay, a mortal man who paid any little regard to virtue would never lie, but would choose rather to reverence the truth; nor would he lay the blame of a lie upon any necessity of fate or course of the stars. But even if any one were to bring fire or sword against his body, to compel him to pervert the word of truth, yet even against this he would reply in freedom's tone:
§ 6.6.3 'Come fire, come sword;
Burn, and scorch up this flesh, and gorge thyself
With my dark blood: for sooner shall the stars
Sink down to earth, and earth rise up to heav'n,
Than fawning word shall meet thee from my lips.'
§ 6.6.4 But the deluding and deceitful daemon makes pretences and cajoles the senseless, in order that whenever he should fail of foretelling what was to come, he might provide himself an excuse for his blunder in fate.
§ 6.6.5 So when the daemon had by his oracular answers made everything depend on fate, and had taken away the freedom arising from self-determined action, and subjugated this also to necessity, see into what a deadly pit of evil doctrines he has plunged those who believe him.
§ 6.6.6 For if we must refer not only external events, but also the desires founded upon reason, to the stars and fate, and if human judgements are extorted by some inexorable necessity, there will be an end of your philosophy, an end also of religion: nor is there, as we thought, any praise of virtue for the good, nor any friendship with God, nor any worthy fruit of self-denying toils, if universal causation has been usurped by necessity and fate.
§ 6.6.7 So then it is not right to blame those who offend in the affairs of life, nor yet the impious and the most infamous, nor even to admire the virtuous; but on this principle, as I said, there will be an end also of the great glory of philosophy, if it is made dependent not on voluntary study and discipline, but on necessity imposed by the stars.
§ 6.6.8 See then into what an abyss of evil doctrines these wonderful gods have cast men down, and observe how this doctrine urges on and encourages to recklessness, and injustice, and countless other evils, bringing about an entire overthrow of the whole life.
§ 6.6.9 If, for example, a man were at once to give credit to the marvellous responses of the gods, that truthfulness or falsehood, and the will to start upon an expedition or any other business, or the unwillingness to undertake such matters, was no work of ours but of inexorable fate, would he not choose to be careless and indolent in all matters that could not be performed without labour and pains and exertion on our own part?
§ 6.6.10 For if he thought that this or that would take place by fate, whether we took trouble and care about it or not, would he not certainly wish to choose the easier course, and give himself, up to carelessness, since the result to be attained would be brought to pass by fate and necessity?
§ 6.6.11 Hence one may hear the multitude say, This will be accomplished, if it is destined for me, and why need I give myself trouble?
§ 6.6.12 For if he who set out on an expedition, did this not from his own choice, but from being driven by external necessity, so also evidently would the man who set himself to robbery and plundering graves and all other practices whether impious and lawless or orderly and prudent: for this would be a consequence of the doctrine of fate.
§ 6.6.13 How then would the man who believed that he was undertaking these practices not of his own will, but under external necessity, be likely to give heed to one who admonished him and taught him not to give himself over abjectly to the practices before mentioned?
§ 6.6.14 For he would say to his monitor, as has been said by some before our time, Why, sir, do you admonish me? For this of course does not rest with me, to change my purpose, since fate has determined it beforehand. What need then to exert myself for things which I shall not be able even to desire, unless this also is my destiny. And if it is so destined, I shall desire it even without your teaching, being led thereto by fate. Why then do you trouble yourself to no purpose? But if you mean to say that your exhortation and teaching is also brought about by necessity, to exhort and persuade me thus, yet even in this case what need to be so earnest? For the exhortation is idle and useless. Since if it is so fated, I shall be diligent; and if it is not so fated, the result will be that we both take trouble in vain.
§ 6.6.15 Must not the man who holds this opinion rather give up indolently and say to himself, Come, let me not care to toil, nor trouble myself to no purpose: for that which, is fated will of necessity come to pass? But if a man is diligent about anything, or teaches or encourages himself or another, either to obey or to disobey, and to sin or not to sin, and to rebuke sinners, and to praise them that do well, is it not clearly proved that he has left us the reality of our power and free-will, and simply attaches to it the name of fate; just as if any one were to call by the name of evil that natural goodness, by the presence of which the living being is best governed?
§ 6.6.16 In the same way (since we plainly feel ourselves compelled by no external cause in chastening our sons, and scourging our domestics when they have done amiss, and in wishing or not wishing this or that, but feel that we make such movements quite independently by our own power) he would be wrong who said that these things are done according to fate, with a view to paralyse our own exertions and the exhortations and admonitions given to others, which we see to be the chief sources of success in human affairs.
§ 6.6.17 Moreover this doctrine would overthrow laws, which are made for the sake of their usefulness to man. For what need is there to command or forbid those who are constrained by a necessity of a different kind? Nor will it be right to punish offenders, since for the same reason they have done no wrong, nor to award honours to the doers of the noblest deeds, though these customs of reward and punishment have severally been a chief cause of checking injustice and of readiness to do good.
§ 6.6.18 But further, this opinion would overthrow piety towards the deity, if, fettered as we are by the necessities of fate, neither God Himself, nor the ministers of these oracular gods give us any help either in answer to our prayers or for our piety.
§ 6.6.19 And would it not be most shameless and impudent to say that we are moved like lifeless puppets pulled by strings this way and that by some external power, to will of necessity to do this or that, and to choose other things against our will? For we plainly feel ourselves desiring this or that by our own impulse and motion, and again we take ourselves to task for carelessness, and feel that we succeed or not from this cause, and suffer no compulsion from any external source, but choose some things by voluntary determination, and shun and decline others of our own deliberate purpose.
§ 6.6.20 So evident therefore is the argument for free-will that, in the same way as the feeling of pain and pleasure, and seeing and hearing this or that, is perceived not by reasoning but by actual sensation, so we consciously feel ourselves moving of ourselves and of our own purpose, and choosing some things and rejecting others; thus the freedom and independence of the rational and intelligent nature in us is in any case justly to be acknowledged.
§ 6.6.21 And although the mass of mankind are perplexed by countless things happening to us contrary to our purpose, we must in this case distinguish the nature of the circumstances in which we are placed, and take into consideration the law by which things not in our own power come to pass. For thus the cause of these events also will be attributed to no irrational fate, but to another law, dependent on the providence of the universe. Let us then examine the problem carefully.
§ 6.6.22 That both the existence and the government of all things depend as a whole on the providence of God, the statutes of true religion plainly declare.
§ 6.6.23 But then the several events being caused according to their particular kind, some by habit, some by nature, some by impulse and impression, and others by reasoning and our own judgement and purpose, and some again produced according to a primary law, and others according to effects contingent upon the primary occurrences, render the arrangement of the whole complex and intricate, the author of the universe having allotted to each class of beings a proper and distinct constitution of nature.
§ 6.6.24 Though it would be difficult, therefore, for any one to examine fully the principle of all the rest, yet that of freewill he may more easily learn in the following manner. Man is not a thing of one simple kind, nor consisting of one nature only, but is composed of two opposites, body and soul, the former attached contingently as an instrument to the soul, but the intelligent essence subsisting in accordance with its primary law, and of these the one is irrational and the other rational, and the one perishable but the other imperishable, and the one mortal but the other immortal; so that we have a body of the same kind as brute beasts, but a soul akin to the rational and immortal nature. In this case then surely it is natural, that this double product, inasmuch as it partakes of a double nature, should regulate its life in a twofold and diverse manner, at one time serving the bodily nature, and at another welcoming with the diviner part its proper liberty. Thus the same man is both a slave and free, having had such a combination of soul and body allotted to him by God, for reasons known to Himself.
§ 6.6.25 If therefore any one were to subject the natural functions either of the body or of the soul to necessity as their cause, calling it 'fate,' he would miss the proper name. For if there were some irresistible necessity of fate, and if many of the functions which by nature belong to the body and the soul are thereby impeded, and if ten thousand other external things combine by some accident in attaching themselves contrary to nature to both soul and body, how can fate and nature be the same thing?
§ 6.6.26 For if they say that fate is unalterable, and that nothing can happen contrary to it (because necessity is inexorable), and if, as I said, many things happen both to soul and body contrary to their natural functions, a man would not use right names, if he said that fate and nature are the same.
§ 6.6.27 So then of our inward experiences part must depend upon reasoning and the choice that is in our own power, such as are the natural functions of the soul, and part on the nature of the body, and another part must be incidental to them, I mean to soul and body, but effects due by nature to others: yet no one could rightly detach either the free-will of the soul, or the natural action of the body, nor yet the contingency of external things from Him who is their Author.
§ 6.6.28 For God Himself, the God of the universe, has been shown to be the Creator both of things in our own power and of things dependent on nature, and of things accidental. For the declaration of the divine Scripture, 'He spake, and they were made: he commanded and they were created,' must be understood universally of all things.
§ 6.6.29 So then if, at any time when we form certain purposes, other things happen contrary to our intention, we must remind ourselves, that this is owing, as we said, to that twofold and heterogeneous character of the combination in us, I mean of soul and body, in consequence of which the essence of the soul, which is of an intelligent and rational nature, in a body which is by nature childish, shares the position of an irrational being contrary to its own nature: and the mind, which is naturally wise, often in consequence of some accident becomes silly, from being distraught by excessive ailments, say, of the body.
§ 6.6.30 Oftentimes too old age, having in the course of nature overtaken the body, deprives the understanding of the right judgements of its prime, by blunting the rational power of the intelligent soul contrary to nature.
§ 6.6.31 Injuries again and pains and mutilations, which have happened to the body contrary to its nature, accidentally overcome the free-will of the soul, when it gives in to the pains because of its connexion with the body: so that an inevitable bond is found to have been thrown in the way of the freedom of the soul, at one time by the nature of the body, at another by accidents coming from without.
§ 6.6.32 Nevertheless the power of our free-will has, as we said, reached such a pitch of courage and strength, as to dare in many cases to encounter and oppose the bodily nature and the accidents from without.
§ 6.6.33 The bodily nature invites the man to amorous desire, but the soul having bridled the passion by sound reason becomes master of the bodily nature. And again the one, necessitating hunger and thirst and cold and feelings of this kind, invites to the remedies and satisfactions which are in accordance with nature; but the will being persuaded by sound reasons, and having voluntarily embraced certain ascetic counsels, by many days' fasting and endurance beats off the natural desire of the body, choosing and preferring this course by excellence of reason.
§ 6.6.34 Then again the one naturally delights in all pleasures, and in the easy movement of the body: but the will from a desire of virtue welcomes the life of labour and hardship.
§ 6.6.35 But there are also some who have turned to evil, and 'changed the natural use into that which is against nature, . . . men with men working unseemliness.'
§ 6.6.36 Thus then reason does not give way in all things to nature, but conquers in many, as also it is conquered; and the man now leads, and now is himself led, so that in some cases even prematurely he hastens by violent hands to release himself from the body, whenever he judges life to be unprofitable for him. If then his whole contest were with the proper nature of the body only, this would be tolerable: but since God has planted his civil and social life in the midst of a multitude, so that he is made to pass his time among wild beasts and venomous reptiles, and amid fire and water and the surrounding air, and the perverted and diverse natures in all these, his conflict and resistance is naturally not only against his own bodily nature intimately connected with him, but also against the countless accidents from without, in the midst of which he who leads this mortal life must live, so that he has to hold out bravely against these also.
§ 6.6.37 Ere now, for instance, many such and such kinds of food, and such and such temperatures of the atmosphere, and sudden frosts, and burning heats, and very many other things, though moving naturally according to certain laws proper to them, yet by falling accidentally upon us, have caused no common disturbance of our independence because of the connexion with the body; for our bodily nature cannot withstand the assaults from without, but is overpowered and conquered by the external circumstances which occur according to their proper nature.
§ 6.6.38 Again, we pass our lives in company with a multitude of men who share the same nature with us, and, acting on their individual right, take away our independence by the free exercise of their own choice: therefore in this way again we shall naturally be subject to the purposes of others, when their independent power thus in a manner makes use of us, either against the body or in regard to the soul.
§ 6.6.39 For as our bodily nature is often overpowered by things which assail it from without, so sometimes our will also, being disturbed by a thousand external wills, is induced by its own independent decision to give itself up to the external forces; and sometimes is rendered better, and sometimes worse: since bad company is apt to corrupt, just as on the contrary the intercourse of honourable men makes us better. For 'evil communications corrupt good manners,' just as the company of the good saves and improves.
§ 6.6.40 And though the rational faculty of the soul is carried this way and that by the arguments of those who encounter it from without, yet the proper virtue of the rational essence gains strength again, and proves its power to be truly divine and godlike, when by holding out against all external circumstances, and gaining the victory over them all by a free spirit, without abating aught of its own virtue, it is prepared for the study of philosophy. When however it is careless, it is affected by the evil with the worst results, just as also it is improved by careful attention from without.
§ 6.6.41 What need after this to say, that 'both fruitfulness and barrenness in souls and bodies' such as these, brought about by some accident in a manner proper to the government of the world and right and good for the whole, work a vast amount of disturbance of every kind to individual portions, and especially to our independence.
§ 6.6.42 But over all existing things universally, both those that occur through us and our causation, and those that come accidentally from without, and those that are due to the operations of nature, there rules one almighty and all-powerful providence of God that extends through all, which also arranges most things by diviner laws inexpressible by us, guiding the whole in due obedience to the rein, and changing many even of natural consequences to suit the occasion, and working and co-operating with our wills, and at other times assigning their proper place to external circumstances.
§ 6.6.43 When these things have been divided in this manner into three classes, those which depend on ourselves, those which take place according to natural law, and those which are accidental, and when all are summed up in one law which proceeds from the counsel of God, there will be no room for the doctrine of fate.
§ 6.6.44 Thus we shall have found that the source of evil, about which many have doubted, has place in nothing natural, neither in bodies, nor in spiritual substances, much less in things that occur accidentally from without: it will be found, I say, solely in the self-determined motion of the soul, and in this, not when following the course of nature it walks in the straight road, but when it departs from the king's highway, and turns by its own decision into the course contrary to nature, being its own master.
§ 6.6.45 For the soul having obtained this excellent gift from God is free and master of itself, having assumed the determination of its own motion: but the divine law united with it by nature, like a beacon and a star, calls to it with a voice from within and says, 'Thou shalt walk in the king's highway, thou shalt not turn aside to the right hand nor to the left,' teaching us that 'the king's highway' is the path in accordance with right reason.
§ 6.6.46 For the Creator of all implanted in every soul this natural law as a helper and defender in its actions; and while by His law He showed it the right way, by the self-determined freedom bestowed on it He declared the choice of the better course to be deserving of praise and approbation, and of greater honours and rewards for its good deeds, because it performed them not under compulsion but by its own independent decision, though it had the power of choosing the opposite: so that, on the other hand, that soul which chose the worst acts was deserving of blame and punishment, as having 'proprio motu' transgressed the law of nature, and given birth to a source and fount of wickedness, and used itself basely not from any external necessity but of free determination and judgement. 'The chooser then is answerable, God is not to blame.' For God made neither nature nor yet the substance of the soul evil: since a good Being may not create anything but what is good. Everything, then, that is according to nature is good: and every rational soul possesses by nature the good gift of free-will, which has been given for choosing what is good.
§ 6.6.47 But when it acts wickedly, it is not nature that should be blamed: since evil comes to it not by nature but against nature, being a matter of choice but not an effect of nature. For when one who had power to choose the good, instead of choosing this, voluntarily rejected the better part and claimed the worse, what room for excuse could be left to him after becoming the cause of his own disease, and disregarding the innate law which was, as it were, his preserver and healer?
§ 6.6.48 The man then who pays no regard to all these considerations, but thinks everything dependent upon necessity and the course of the stars, and asserts that the causes of the perversity of men's offences proceed not from us but from the power that moves all things — must he not be introducing an unholy and impious argument?
§ 6.6.49 For if either he should suppose the course of the world to be automatic and undesigned, he would be convicted at once as an atheist, besides being blind to the all-wise harmony and arrangement of the universe revolving in its eternal motion with beauty and order. If on the other hand he shall confess that God's providence is the guiding and moving force which presides over all and administers all by a law of perfect wisdom, even thus he will not have escaped from the absurdity of impiety; since as to the sins committed among men he acquits the offenders of having committed any of their wrong deeds of their own determination, but attributes the cause of the evils to the general providence, miscalling it necessity and fate, and saying that it is the cause of all the foul and infamous deeds and cruelty and bloodguiltiness among men.
§ 6.6.50 And who could be more impious than the man who represents the God of the universe, the very Maker and Creator of this world, as by compulsion forcing one man, who is unwilling to commit an impiety, to do so, and to be an atheist of necessity, and a blasphemer against God Himself; and forcing another, whom He constituted by nature a male, to bear the woman's part contrary to nature, not of his own will but under compulsion from Him; and a third to become a murderer not of his own determination but driven by a necessity from God; so that he cannot reasonably blame the offenders, but must either believe that these are no sins at all, or declare God to be the author of all evils?
§ 6.6.51 For whether God Himself, being present with all things, and seeing all and hearing all, compels men to act thus, or Himself constituted the course of the universe and the motion of the stars such as we see it, to effect and to compel such actions, He who arranged such an instrument, and contrived the net for ensnaring the prey, must Himself be also the one to blame for those who are caught therein.
§ 6.6.52 Whether therefore by Himself alone, or else by some necessity contrived by Himself, He entangles the unwilling in these evils. Himself and no other must be the author of all evil; and it could no longer be justly said that man was prone to sin, but the doer thereof was God. And what statement could be more impious than this?
§ 6.6.53 He then who brings in fate, directly thrusts out God and God's providence, just as he who makes God ruler over all must overthrow the argument concerning fate. For either God and fate must be the same thing, or different the one from the other: the same thing, however, they cannot be.
§ 6.6.54 For if they say that fate is a certain chain of causes which has come down unbroken and unchanged from the course of the heavenly bodies, must there not be prior to fate the corporeal elements out of which even the heavenly bodies are composed, and of which heavenly bodies one would naturally say that fate is some accidental conjunction?
§ 6.6.55 But how could that which is accidental to the elements be the same thing with the God who is over all, if indeed the elements are considered lifeless and irrational in their proper nature, while God apart from bodies is essential life and wisdom, bestowing the benefit of His creative work both upon the particular elements and on the arrangement of the universe?
§ 6.6.56 God, therefore, and fate are not the same thing. But then if they are different, which is the stronger? Why, nothing is nobler, nothing more mighty than God. Therefore He will conquer and prevail over the bad; else, by yielding to fate when it does evil, He would draw the blame upon Himself, because being able to restrain the evil-working necessity He did not restrain it, but let it loose for the ruin and destruction of all things; or rather He wrought this Himself, if He is to be represented as Maker and Creator of all things even of fate itself.
§ 6.6.57 But supposing Him to take no account of the administration of the world, there would again rise up the atheists' voice, against which we ought to shut our ears, since the Divine providence and power display themselves manifestly both in the universal effects of perfect wisdom and skill, and in the indubitable evidences in ourselves of the free and self-governing power of the rational soul.
§ 6.6.58 For in accordance with this power, though ten thousand obstacles from without by some accident oppose both the body's nature and the independent efforts of our will, nevertheless the freedom of virtue in the soul holds out against all, showing that the choice of the good, so far as in us lies, is irresistible and invincible.
§ 6.6.59 And this the present time of our Saviour's teaching has proved by actual facts. For to show that these are not mere sounds and empty words, you have the opportunity of witnessing the conflict of the godly, and of observing those who by voluntary choice have accepted the sufferings of the contest for religion: sufferings of which countless multitudes both of Greeks and Barbarians throughout the whole world inhabited by man have given proof, by gladly enduring all bodily outrages, and going through every kind of torture with a cheerful countenance, and finally accepting with a glad welcome the release of the soul from the body in many various forms.
§ 6.6.60 Yet surely in this case no reason would permit us to name fate as the cause. For where, pray, did the course of the stars ever in the world's history bring forth such champions of piety? Or at what time before our Saviour's teaching was sown broadcast among all men, has human life exhibited such a conflict throughout the whole world inhabited by man?
§ 6.6.61 Or where has all time produced a school of doctrines such as these, able to overthrow superstitious error, and to teach all men, both Greeks and Barbarians, the knowledge of the One God over all?
§ 6.6.62 And to whom among the celebrated sages of all time, Barbarian or Greek, was there ever vouchsafed such a fate as this, to make the doctrine proposed by him give light to the whole world, and be known even to the ends of the earth, and to win the reputation of a God among those devoted to him?
§ 6.6.63 But if these things were not in the beginning, nor have ever happened, nor been heard of, then the cause of them was not a chain of causes and a necessity. For there would have been nothing to hinder others also from receiving long ago the same nativity and fate by the same revolution and cycle of the stars.
§ 6.6.64 From what kind of fate then has our Saviour God appeared and been proclaimed throughout the whole world, while those who were of old esteemed gods among both Greeks and Barbarians have been overthrown, and not otherwise overthrown than by the teaching of the new God?
§ 6.6.65 And what sort of fate announced to all men that God is the Creator of all things, and compelled them to affirm that there is no such thing as fate? And how did fate force men both to say and to think that fate itself does not exist? And what of those who for the sake of our Saviour's pious teaching have for a long time past endured all kinds of conflicts, and are even yet carrying on the struggle?
§ 6.6.66 They found therefore one and the same destiny, to be brought into subjection under one system and doctrine, and to display one mind and will, and the same virtue of soul, to accept one and the same kind of life, to love the same doctrine, and to endure contentedly the same sufferings for their steadfast piety.
§ 6.6.67 But what sound reason would allow us to say this, that young and old together, of every age, and of either sex, men of barbarous nature, slaves and free, learned and uneducated, not born in a corner of the earth nor under these same stars with us, but throughout the whole world inhabited by man, have been forced by a necessity of fate to prefer a certain doctrine to all the customs of their forefathers, and to welcome death for the religion of the One God over all, and to be thoroughly instructed in the teaching concerning the immortality of the soul, and to prefer a philosophy that consists not in words but in deeds?
§ 6.6.68 For these are the things that even a blind man could clearly see to be the proper effects of no necessity, but of learning and instruction, being manifest proofs of voluntary purpose and free-will.
§ 6.6.69 There would be countless other arguments to prove the proposition, most of which I shall omit, and for my part be contented with what I have stated; but I will leave you to consider your own reading of your venerable philosophers, that so you may learn how much wiser and better than your oracular deities was the man who convicted their wonderful responses of falsehood, and castigated the Pythian god himself for his answers concerning fate. So listen again to him who entitled his own writing, 'The detection of impostors,' and note with what a fine vigorous spirit he corrects the error of the multitude, and indeed of Apollo himself, by what he writes as follows word for word:
§ 6.7.1 [OENOMAUS] 'To think then that thou should'st sit in Delphi unable, even should'st thou wish it, to keep silence! So Apollo, the son of Zeus, now wishes, not because he wishes, but because he is ordained by necessity to wish! But since I have been led on, I know not how, into this argument, I am inclined to pass over all the rest, and inquire into a matter that is appropriate and well worth inquiry. For, so far as it depends on the philosophers, there has been lost out of human life, whether one likes to call it a rudder, or ballast, or foundation — there has been lost the governing power of our life, which we suppose to be absolute over the highest necessity; but Democritus, unless I am mistaken, and Chrysippus think to prove the noblest of man's faculties, according to the former, a slave, and according to the latter, half-enslaved. Their argument, however, is worth no more than a man can claim for the things of man: but if deity also now makes war upon us, good heavens, what will become of us?'
'But that is not likely nor just, if at least we may conjecture from these responses following:
Hated of all thy neighbours, belov'd of the blessed Immortals,
Sit thou still, with thy lance drawn inward, patiently watching.
'What then? says the Argive; if I should so wish, is it in my power, and can I, if it shall please me, sit still, patiently watching? It is in thy power, thou would'st say, and thou canst; or how should I have enjoined this on thee?
Carystus, heir of noble Cheiron's race,
Forsake thy native Pelion, and seek
Euboea's cape: there thou art doomed to found
A sacred home. But haste, and tarry not.
'Is there then anything really dependent on man, O Apollo, and have I power to will to forsake Pelion? Yet surely I used to hear from many wise men, that if it is fated for me to seek Euboea's cape, and found a sacred home, I shall both come thither and settle, whether thou tell me or not, and whether I should will it or not. If, however, there is any need for me too to will what necessity forces me to will even if I should he unwilling — but thou, O Apollo, art more worthy to be believed, and so I am inclined to give heed rather to thee:
Tell thou the Parians, Telesicles,
I bid thee found in the Aerian isle
A city fair to view.
'Yes, surely' (some one will perhaps say in vain conceit, or to confute thee), 'I shall tell them, even if thou bid me not: for so it is fated: and the Aerian isle is Thasos, and the Parians will come to it, when my son Archilochus shall have explained to them, that this island was formerly called Aeria. I suppose therefore that thou, being terrible in taking vengeance, wilt not bear with him, so ungrateful and audacious as he is, since if thou hadst not chosen to inform him, he would never have given the message, nor would his son Archilochus have led the colony of Parians, nor would the Parians have inhabited Thasos.
'I know not therefore whether thou sayest these things without knowing what thou sayest. But since we seem to be at leisure to hold even a long conversation, and since the subject is of no slight importance, tell me this, for perhaps a few points out of many are sufficient.
'Are we, I and thou, anything? You will say, Yes. But whence do we know this? Whereby did we determine that we do know it? Is it not the fact that nothing else is so satisfactory a proof (of our existence) as our conscious sensation and apprehension of ourselves?
' What again? How did we ever find out that we are animals? And how that among animals we are, as I should say, men, and among men one an impostor, and another an exposer of impostors; but as thou would'st say, the one a man, the other a god, and the one a prophet, the other a false accuser? And let it be as thou sayest, if I be proved wrong.
'But how do we know that we are conversing at the present moment? What sayest thou? Did we not rightly judge our apprehension of ourselves by that which is most immediate, the fact itself? Evidently so. For we found nothing else either higher than it, or prior to it, or more trustworthy.
'For if this is not to be so, then let not hereafter one named Alcmaeon come to thee at Delphi, after he has slain his mother, and been driven from home, and is longing to return home. For he knows not either whether he himself is anything at all, nor whether he is driven from home, nor whether he is longing for home. But even if Alcmaeon is mad, and imagines things that do not exist, yet the Pythian god at least is not mad. And thou must not speak to him thus:
How to return to thy home thou seek'st, son of Amphiaraus.
'For even thou knowest not yet whether any son of Amphiaraus is consulting thee, nor whether thou, the consulted, art anything at all, and able to answer concerning the matters on which he consults thee.
'Neither therefore let Chrysippus, the author of the semi-slavery, whatever that exactly is, attend in the Stoa, nor think that those drivellers will attend there to listen to him, the Nobody: neither let him take his stand and struggle about nothing against Arcesilaus present in person, and Epicurus not present.
'For what Arcesilaus is, and what Epicurus, or what the Stoa is, or what the young men, or what the Nobody, he neither knows nor can know; for he knows not even, what comes far earlier, whether he himself is anything.
'But neither will you gods nor Democritus endure that any one should talk thus: for there is no more trustworthy criterion than that of which I speak; nor if there seem to be any others, could they be made equal to this, or, if made equal, could not surpass it.
'So then, some one may say, since thou, O Democritus, and thou, O Chrysippus, and thou, O prophet, are indignant if any one should wish to deny your consciousness of yourselves — for of those many books of yours it is no longer possible to deny the existence — come, let us also be indignant on the other side.
'How, pray? Is this self-consciousness to be the most trustworthy and primary evidence wherever it pleases you? but where it pleases you not, is there some occult power, Fate, or Destiny, to tyrannize over it? — a power having for each of you a different meaning, proceeding according to one from god, and according to another from those minute bodies which are carried down, and tossed up, and twirled round, and broken up, and separated, and combined by necessity?
'For lo! the manner of our self-consciousness is the same in which we are also conscious of our voluntary or enforced actions. And we are not unconscious of the great difference between walking and being carried, or between choosing and being compelled.
'But do you ask the reasons for which I bring these matters into the discussion? Because thou, O prophet, hast failed to perceive things over which we have power, and thou that knowest all things seemest not to know these which are fast moored to our own will.
'And it was evident that this would be the source of no little trouble: for he who knows not the source, which was the cause of the consequences, would be likely, I suppose, to know the consequences themselves!
'Evidently then he was an impudent prophet who foretold to Laius that his son would kill him: for the son surely would be master of his own will, and neither any Apollo, nor any higher than he, would be able by any power to attain to a knowledge of things which neither exist at present, nor need ever come into existence.
'For surely the most ridiculous of all things is this, the mixture and combination of the two notions, that there is something in men's own power, and that there is nevertheless a fixed chain of causation. For, as the wiser sort say, it is like the account in Euripides.
'For that Laius should choose to beget a child, was in the power of Laius himself, and this had escaped the notice of Apollo: but after he had begotten a son, there lay upon him an inevitable necessity of dying by his son's hand. In this way therefore the necessity dependent on the future event supplied to the prophet his presentiment of what would take place.
'But I suppose the son also, as well as the father, was master of his own will: and as the latter had the power of begetting or not, so the son had the power of slaying or not. Now this is the character of all your oracular answers: and this was that which the Apollo of Euripides said:
And all thy house shall wade through streams of blood:
'namely, that the son shall be blinded by his own hand, on account of the marriage with his mother and of the sovereignty to which he succeeded for his solution of the riddle; and that his sons shall fall by mutual slaughter, because of the banishment of the one from the kingdom, and the ambition of the other, and the marriage of the exile at Argos, and the expedition of seven ridiculous chieftains, and the battle: and since these things were separately dependent on many causes and powers, how could it be possible for thee to understand, or for the chain of causes to bind them together?
'For if on the contrary Oedipus being his own master had not wished to reign, or, having wished and accomplished this, had not chosen to marry Jocasta, or after marrying had not been puffed up with pride, nor been desponding and disagreeable, how could the several events have been brought to pass? How could he have torn out his eyes? Or how could he have cursed his sons with the curse described by Euripides and thee?
'In what way too could the events which followed these have taken place, if there were no causes existing before thou could'st tell anything about the future? And again, if the sons had agreed and reigned together, or if they had made an arrangement to reign by turns and adhered to the terms settled; or if he who was banished had determined to go off not to Argos but to Libya or to the Perrhaebi; or if after having arrived at Argos he had decided to be a salt-fish-monger, and not to take a rich wife but some poor workwoman or huckstress; or if Adrastus had not given him his daughter, or if he had given her, but Polynices had not desired to return home; or if, though desiring it, he had restrained himself; or if Adrastus had given no heed to his request for alliance in war; or if neither Amphiaraus nor Tydeus nor the several other commanders of divisions would follow Adrastus; or if, though they followed, Polynices on arriving had not fought with his brother, but either had reigned together with him by agreement, or, if he refused, had retired, being persuaded by what Euripides says:
How foolishly thou com'st thine home to sack;
'or if, not this one, but the other had listened to those other Euripidean subtleties:
Are sun and night content to serve man's need,
And wilt thou bear no equal in the house?
'how in any such case could they have joined battle, and all the house of Laius waded through blood?
'However, these things, you will say, have come to pass. They have come to pass: but by what way didst thou attain to the knowledge of them? Dost thou not see how frequently the whole action of the play has been broken through by the power which lies in us who perform the action? And so I will take whatever supposed case thou wilt, and cut across that chain of yours, and show that it is impossible.
'Yet thou wilt say that thou knowest the last links of the supposed case. Yes, but the whole case has been regulated by the force of our interruption of the chain.
'Or perhaps thou dost not understand what I mean? Yet in every supposed case, O prophet, there are the living beings often making either few or many fresh beginnings therein. And these beginnings having cut across the events preceding them always themselves bring others on: and these latter may proceed as long as no other beginning supervenes from any source, commanding the events which come after it to conform not to those which went before but to itself.
'Now such afresh beginning may be either an ass, or a dog, or a flea. For surely, by Apollo! thou wilt not rob even the flea of his free will: but the flea will act upon a certain impulse of his own, and being sometimes mixed up with human affairs will make himself the commencement of some new course; and thou art unconsciously consulting this kind of animal.
Trachis, the home of godlike Heracles,
Thou hast destroyed, O Locrian; and on thee
Zeus hath sent curses, and shall yet send more.
'What sayest thou? Had it not then been destined by you gods to be destroyed? And why are we mortals to blame, and not that necessity of yours? Thou doest not justice, O Apollo, nor art right in laying the punishment upon us who do no wrong.
'And this Zeus of yours, I mean the necessity of your necessity, why does he take vengeance upon us, and not upon himself (if he must punish some one), for having shown the necessity to be of such a character? And why too does he threaten us? Or why, as if we were the masters of this event, do we suffer famine for it? Moreover it will either be rebuilt by us, or not; and whichever it may be, this has been fixed by fate.
'Cease therefore from thy wrath, O Zeus, the lord of famine: for that which has been destined will be, and that is what thy chain has been appointed to do: and we are nothing compared to it. And thou too cease, Apollo, from uttering vain oracles: for just that which will be, will be, even though thou keep silence. And what is to be done to us, O Zeus and Apollo, who are not at all the causes of your enactment of law, enactment, that is, of necessity. Or what have we to do with your threatened curses, which yourselves deserve to bear for what we were compelled by necessity to do? Oeteans, rush not in blind frenzy on.
'Why, Apollo, we are not rushing on, but are being driven, and not by blind frenzy, but by that necessity of yours.
'And how is it, O Apollo, that thou praisest that famous Lycurgus, who was not virtuous either willingly or by choice, but unwillingly? That is if a man can be virtuous unwillingly. But what ye do now is just as if one were to praise and honour those who are beautiful in body, but to blame and punish the ugly.
'For the wicked might justly say to you, You did not permit us, O ye gods, to become virtuous; and not only so, but you even forced us to be wicked. And as to the virtuous, if they walk about with their elbows stuck out, one will not permit it, but will say to them, O Chrysippus and Cleanthes and the rest of your band, since you have been made to be virtuous, I give praise to virtue, but no praise to you in whom virtue resides.
'Nay, even Epicurus, against whom you, Chrysippus, so often railed, I acquit of the charges, so far at least as you can judge. For how is he to blame, who was not of his own accord luxurious or unjust, as you so often reproached him?
Well ordered lives the gods approving view,
And welcome holy offerings of the just.
'Now it seems to me that you gods would not say this, unless you were persuaded that men seek the objects of their pursuit not involuntarily but with a will: and after what has been already proved, no sophist either divine or human will dare to say that whatever men will is ordained by fate: or else we shall no longer use reasoning with him, but take a stout strap, as for an unruly boy, and curry his ribs right well.'
§ 6.7.2 Thus did Oenomaus inveigh, against the soothsayer. And if you do not like this kind of argument, yet take and read the extracts from the other philosophers concerning fate, which are fit to overthrow not only the oracles that have already been quoted, but also generally all the other contrivances in defence of the dogma.
§ 6.7.3 For since not only unlearned and simple persons, but also many who prided themselves greatly upon education and philosophy, have e'er now been dragged into agreement with the dogma, I think it absolutely necessary to set forth the mutual contradictions of the philosophers themselves, for an accurate examination of the problem. First then I will quote for you from Diogenianus the arguments concerning fate, which he urged against Chrysippus as follows:
§ 6.8.1 [DIOGENIANUS] 'In addition to all this it is worth while to quote also the opinions of Chrysippus the Stoic on this subject. For in his first book Of Fate wishing to show that all things are comprehended under necessity and fate, he employs among certain other testimonies the following expressions in the poet Homer:
For me the hateful doom of death,
E'en from my birth assigned, too soon hath yawn'd,
'and: Though the time shall come For him to suffer all such things as fate
Decreed, when first his thread of life was spun;
His fate I say no mortal e'er hath shunned.
'But he does not observe that the expressions elsewhere used by the Poet are directly opposed to these, I mean those which Chrysippus himself employs in his Second Book, when he wishes to prove that there are also many things caused by us, as for example:
They by their own presumptuous folly died,
§ 6.8.2 and this:
Perverse mankind, whose wills, created free,
Charge all their woes on absolute decree;
All to the dooming gods their guilt translate,
And follies are miscalled the crimes of fate.
'For these expressions and such as these are opposed to the idea that all things take place according to fate. Nor indeed was he able to perceive even this, that Homer by no means bears witness to his dogma even in those former verses. For it will be found from them that he suggests not that all things are brought to pass according to fate, but rather that certain things occur according thereto.
'For the passage —
For me the hateful doom of death,
E'en from my birth assigned, too soon hath yawned —
'could not mean that all things occur according to fate, but only just that he was soon to die: for most truly it is fated that every being born into life must die.
'Moreover the passage —
Though the time shall come
For him to suffer all such things as fate
Decreed, when first his thread of life was spun —
'has the same meaning. For it does not say that all things which are to befall him hereafter will occur according to fate, but that certajn things will occur to him according to necessity. For what else than this is signified by the distinction such things as? And many things, though not all, are laid upon us according to necessity.
'Again, the verse —
His fate I say no mortal e'er hath shunned —
'is a very good statement. For who could possibly escape things that of necessity occur to every living being? So that Chrysippus, far from having Homer voting with him in the opinion that all things take place according to fate, would have him as an opponent; since the latter has often and plainly stated that many things occur through our causation, but can nowhere be found to say expressly that all things occur according to necessity.
'And inasmuch as a poet does not promise us the true nature of real things, but imitates all kinds of human passions, and dispositions, and opinions, it would be suitable for him often to make contrary statements: but it would not befit a philosopher to make contrary statements, nor to use the testimony of a poet for this purpose.'
§ 6.8.3 After other matters, he says, also:
'But Chrysippus thinks that he brings another strong proof of the presence of fate in all things, in the adoption of names of this kind. For he says that destiny (πεπρωμενην) is a certain arrangement determined (πεπερασμενην) and concluded, and that fate (ειμαρμενην) is a kind of bond woven (ειρομενην) either out of the will of Zeus, or of any other cause.
' Moreover the goddesses of fate (Μοιρας) have been so called from some one of them having been assigned (μεμερισθαι) and allotted to each of us. In the same way he says that the word το χρεων (the debt) is used, meaning the portion that falls to our share and is due to us according to fate. And the number of the Fates suggests the three periods in which all things revolve, and by which they are fulfilled.
'Lachesis is so called from casting lots (λαγχανειν) for each man's destiny: Atropos from the unchanging (ατρεπτον) and unalterable character of the distribution; and Clotho from all things being twisted together (συγκλεκωσθαι) and woven, and from their having only one appointed solution. For by this and the like silly talk he thinks that he proves the necessity present in all things.
'But it occurs to me to wonder if in speaking thus he was not conscious of his own nonsensical talk. For let it be granted that men entertained these notions when they imposed the names that have been set forth, according to his own etymologies, and supposed that fate had bound all things fast, and that the causes which had been from eternity predetermined were immutable in all real existences and all passing events.
'What then, Chrysippus? do you follow all the opinions of mankind, and does not one of them appear to you to be mistaken on any point, and are all men capable of seeing the truth?
'How then say you that there is no man who does not seem to you as mad as Orestes and Alcmaeon, except the wise? And there have been, say you, only one or two wise, and the rest for their folly have been equally mad with those whom I have named?
'And how do you refute the errors of those opinions of theirs about riches, for example, and fame, and sovereignty, and pleasure in general, things which most men have thought good? How say you, too, that the established laws and the constitutions of states have all been wrong? Or why did you write such a multitude of books, if on no point mankind held mistaken opinions?
'For we must not say that, when they hold the same opinions with you, they judge rightly, but when they differ, are mad.
'For in the first place even you do not call yourself wise, much less do we, that we should make their concurrence with your opinion a criterion of their good judgement at any time; and further, even if this were true, why should you say that they are all equally mad, instead of commending them, in as far as they appeared to be of the same opinions with you, for having g