That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.


Postby admin » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:24 am


At Lycopolis in Egypt the destroying power of the sun was represented by a wolf; which, as Macrobius says, was worshipped there as Apollo. [1] The wolf appears devouring grapes in the ornaments of the temple of Bacchus περικιονιος at Puzzuoli; [2] and on the medals of Cartha he is surrounded with rays, which plainly proves that he is there meant as a symbol of the sun. [3] He is also represented on most of the coins of Argos, [4] where I have already shown that the diurnal sun Apollo, the light-extending god, was peculiarly worshipped. We may therefore conclude, that this animal is meant for one of the mystic symbols of the primitive worship, and not, as some antiquarians have supposed, to commemorate the mythological tales of Danaus or Lycaon, which were probably invented, like many others of the same kind, to satisfy the inquisitive ignorance of the vulgar, from whom the meaning of the mystic symbols, the usual devices on the medals, was strictly concealed. In the Celtic mythology, the same symbol was employed, apparently in the same sense, Lok, the great destroying power of the universe, being represented under the form of a wolf. [5]

The Apollo Didymæus, or double Apollo, was probably the two personifications, that of the destroying, and that of the creating power, united; whence we may perceive the reason why the ornaments before described should be upon his temple. [6] On the medals of Antigonus, king of Asia, is a figure with his hair hanging in artificial ringlets over his shoulders, like that of a woman, and the whole composition, both of his limbs and countenance, remarkable for extreme delicacy, and feminine elegance. [7] He is sitting on the prow of a ship, as god of the waters; and we should, without hesitation, pronounce him to be the Bacchus διφυης, were it not for the bow that he carries in his hand, which evidently shows him to be Apollo. This I take to be the figure under which the refinement of art (and more was never shown than in this medal) represented the Apollo Didymæus, or union of the creative and destructive powers of both sexes in one body.

As fire was the primary essence of the active or male powers of creation and generation, so was water of the passive or female. Appian says, that the goddess worshipped at Hierapolis in Syria was called by some Venus, by others Juno, and by others held to be the cause which produced the beginning and seeds of things from humidity. [8] Plutarch describes her nearly in the same words; [9] and the author of the treatise attributed to Lucian [10] says, she was Nature, the parent of things, or the creatress. She was therefore the same as Isis, who was the prolific material upon which both the creative and destructive attributes operated. [11] As water was her terrestrial essence, so was the moon her celestial image, whose attractive power, heaving the waters of the ocean, naturally led men to associate them. The moon was also supposed to return the dews which the sun exhaled from the earth; and hence her warmth was reckoned to be moistening, as that of the sun was drying. [12] The Egyptians called her the Mother of the World, because she sowed and scattered into the air the prolific principles with which she had been impregnated by the sun. [13] These principles, as well as the light by which she was illumined, being supposed to emanate from the great fountain of all life and motion, partook of the nature of the being from which they were derived. Hence the Egyptians attributed to the moon, as well as to the sun, the active and passive powers of generation, [14] which were both, to use the language of the scholastics, essentially the same, though formally different. This union is represented on a medal of Demetrius the second, king of Syria, [15] where the goddess of Hierapolis appears with the male organs of generation sticking out of her robe, and holding the thyrsus of Bacchus, the emblem of fire, in one hand, and the terrestrial globe, representing the subordinate elements, in the other. Her head is crowned with various plants, and on each side is in asterisc representing (probably) the diurnal and nocturnal sun, in the same manner as when placed over the caps of Castor and Pollux. [16] This is not the form under which she was represented in the temple at Hierapolis, when the author of the account attributed to Lucian visited it; which is not to be wondered at, for the figures of this universal goddess, being merely emblematical, were composed according to the attributes which the artists meant particularly to express. She is probably represented here in the form under which she was worshipped in the neighbourhood of Cyzicus, where she was called Αρτεμις Πριαπινη, the Priapic Diana. [17] In the temple at Hierapolis the active powers imparted to her by the Creator were represented by immense images of the male organs of generation placed on each side of the door. The measures of these must necessarily be corrupt in the present text of Lucian; but that they were of an enormous size we may conclude from what is related of a man's going to the top of one of them every year, and residing there days, in order to have a more intimate communication with the deity, while praying for the prosperity of Syria. [18] Athenæus relates, that Ptolemy Philadelphus had one of 120 cubits long carried in procession at Alexandria, [19] of which the poet might justly have said--

Horrendum protendit Mentula contum
Quanta queat vastos Thetidis spumantis hiatus;
Quanta queat priscamque Rheam, magnamque parentem
Naturam, solidis naturam implere medullis,
Si foret immensos, quot ad astra volantia currunt,
Conceptura globos, et tela trisulca tonantis,
Et vaga concussum motura tonitrua mundum.

[Google translate: Extended look horrible Cock
How much can Thetis huge gaps with foam;
Again, how can ancient Rhea, a great father
Nature, the nature of the solid to fill the marrow of my bones,
If you would be immense, as they fly to the stars,
Conceptura balls, and weapons, thundering triple,
And move wandering thunder shook the world.]

This was the real meaning of the enormous figures at Hierapolis:-- they were the generative organs of the creator personified, with which he was supposed to have impregnated the heavens, the earth, and the waters. Within the temple were many small statues of men with these organs disproportionably large. These were the angels or attendants of the goddess, who acted as her ministers of creation in peopling and fructifying the earth. The statue of the goddess herself was in the sanctuary of the temple; and near it was the statue of the creator, whom the author calls Jupiter, as he does the goddess, Juno; by which he only means that they were the supreme deities of the country where worshipped. She was borne by lions, and he by bulls, to show that nature, the passive productive power of matter, was sustained by anterior destruction, whilst the ætherial spirit, or active productive power, was sustained by his own strength only, of which the bulls were symbols. [20] Between both was a third figure, with a dove on his head, which some thought to be Bacchus. [21] This was the Holy Spirit, the first-begotten love, or plastic nature, (of which the dove was the image when it really deigned to descend upon man, [22]) proceeding from, and consubstantial with both; for all three were but personifications of one. The dove, or some fowl like it, appears on the medals of Gortyna in Crete, acting the same part with Dictynna, the Cretan Diana, as the swan is usually represented acting with Leda. [23] This composition has nearly the same signification as that before described of the bull in the lap of Ceres, Diana being equally a personification of the productive power of the earth. It may seem extraordinary, that after this adventure with the dove, she should still remain a virgin; but mysteries of this kind are to be found in all religions. Juno is said to have renewed her virginity every year by bathing in a certain fountain; [24] a miracle which I believe even modern legends cannot parallel.



1. Sat. lib. i. c. 17.

2. Plate 16. Fig. x.

3. Plate 10, Fig. 8, from one belonging to me.

4. Plate 9, Fig. 7, from one belonging to me.

5. Mallet, Introd. à l'Hist. de Danemarc.

6. See Ionian Antiq. vol. L c. 3, Pl. IX.

7. See Plate 10. Fig. 7, from one belonging to me. Similar figures are on the coins of most of the Seleucidæ.

8. De Bello Parthico.

9. In Crasso.

10. De Dea Syriâ.

11. Plutarch. de Is. & Os.

12. Calor solis arefacit, lunaris humectat. Macrob. Sat. vii. c. 10.

13. Plutarch. de Is. & Os.

14. Ibid.

15. Plate 10. Fig. 5, from Haym. Tes. Brit. p. 70.

16. See Plate 9. Fig. 7.

17. Plutarch. in Lucullo.

18. Lucian. de Dea Syriâ.

19. Deipnos. lib.

20. The active and passive powers of creation are called male and female by the Ammonian Platonics. See Proclus in Theol. Platon. lib. i. c. 28.

21. Lucian, de Dea Syria.

22. Matth. ch. iii. ver. 17.

23. See Plate __. Fig. 5. Καλψσι δε την Αρτεμιν Θρακες Βενδειαν, Κρητες δε Δικτυνναν. Palæph. de Incred. Tab. XXXI. See also Diodor. Sic. lib. v. & Euripid. Hippol. v. 145.

24. Pausan. lib. ii. c. 38.
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Postby admin » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:25 am



In the vision of Ezekiel, God is described as descending upon the combined forms of the eagle, the bull, and the lion, [1] the emblems of the ætherial spirit, the creative and destructive powers, which were all united in the true God, though hypostatically divided in the Syrian trinity. Man was compounded with them, as representing the real image of God, according to the Jewish theology. The cherubim on the ark of the covenant, between which God dwelt, [2] were also compounded of the same form, [3] so that the idea of them must have been present to the prophet's mind, previous to the apparition which furnished him with the description. Even those on the ark of the covenant, though made at the express command of God, do not appear to have been original; for a figure exactly answering to the description of them appears among those curious ruins existing at Chilminar, in Persia, which have been supposed to be those of the palace of Persepolis, burnt by Alexander; but for what reason, it is not easy to conjecture. They do not, certainly, answer to any ancient description extant of that celebrated palace; but, as far as we can judge of them in their present state, appear evidently to have been a temple. [4] But the Persians, as before observed, had no inclosed temples or statues, which they held in such abhorrence, that they tried every means possible to destroy those of the Egyptians; thinking it unworthy of the majesty of the deity to have his all-pervading presence limited to the boundary of an edifice, or likened to an image of stone or metal. Yet, among the ruins at Chilminar, we not only find many statues, which are evidently of ideal beings, [5] but also that remarkable emblem of the deity, which distinguishes almost all the Egyptian temples now extant. [6] The portals are also of the same form as those at Thebes and Philæ; and, except the hieroglyphics which distinguish the latter, are finished and ornamented nearly in the same manner. Unless, therefore, we suppose the Persians to have been so inconsistent as to erect temples in direct contradiction to the first principles of their own religion, and decorate them with symbols and images, which they held to be impious and abominable, we cannot suppose them to be the authors of these buildings. Neither can we suppose the Parthians, or later Persians, to have been the builders of them; for both the style of workmanship in the figures, and the forms of the letters in the inscriptions, denote a much higher antiquity, as will appear evidently to any one who will take the trouble of comparing the drawings published by Le Bruyn and Niebuhr with the coins of the Arsacidæ and Sassanidæ. Almost all the symbolical figures are to be found repeated upon different Phoenician coins; but the letters of the Phoenicians, which are said to have come to them from the Assyrians, are much less simple, and evidently belong to an alphabet much further advanced in improvement. Some of the figures are also observable upon the Greek coins, particularly the bull and lion fighting, and the mystic flower, which is the constant device of the Rhodians. The style of workmanship is also exactly the same as that of the very ancient Greek coins of Acanthus, Celendaris, and Lesbos; the lines being very strongly marked, and the hair expressed by round knobs. The wings likewise of the figure, which resembles the Jewish cherubim, are the same as those upon several Greek sculptures now extant; such as the little images of Priapus attached to the ancient bracelets, the compound figures of the goat and lion upon the frieze of the Temple of Apollo Didymæus, &c. &c. [7] They are likewise joined to the human figure on the medals of Melita and Camarina, [8] as well as upon many ancient sculptures in relief found in Persia. [9] The feathers in these wings are turned upwards like those of an ostrich, [10] to which however they have no resemblance in form, but seem rather like those of a fowl brooding, though more distorted than any I ever observed in nature. Whether this distortion was meant to express lust or incubation, I cannot determine; but the compositions, to which the wings are added, leave little doubt, that it was meant for the one or the other. I am inclined to believe that it was for the latter, as we find on the medals of Melita a figure with four of these wings, who seems by his attitude to be brooding over something. [11] On his head is the cap of liberty, whilst in his right hand he holds the hook or attractor, and in his left the winnow or separator; so that he probably represents the Ερως, or generative spirit brooding over matter, and giving liberty to its productive powers by the exertion of his own attributes, attraction and separation. On a very ancient Phoenician medal brought from Asia by Mr. Pullinger, and published very incorrectly by Mr. Swinton in the Philosophical Transactions of 1760, is a disc or ring surrounded by wings of different forms, of which some of the feathers are distorted in the same manner. [12] The same disc, surrounded by the same kind of wings, incloses the asterisc of the sun over the bull Apis, or Mnevis, on the Isiac Table, [13] where it also appears with many of the other Egyptian symbols, particularly over the heads of Isis and Osiris. [14] It is also placed over the entrances of most of the Egyptian temples described by Pococke and Norden as well as on that represented on the Isiac Table, [15] though with several variations, and without the asterisc. We find it equally without the asterisc, but with little or no variation, on the ruins at Chilmenar, and other supposed Persian antiquities in that neighbourhood: [16] but upon some of the Greek medals the asterisc alone is placed over the bull with the human face, [17] who is then the same as the Apis or Mnevis of the Egyptians; that is, the image of the generative power of the sun, which is signified by the asterisc on the Greek medals, and by the kneph, or winged disc, on the Oriental monuments. The Greeks however sometimes employed this latter symbol, but contrived, according to their usual practice, to join it to the human figure, as may be seen on a medal of Camarina, published by Prince Torremmuzzi. [18] On other medals of this city the same idea is expressed, without the disc or asterisc, by a winged figure, which appears hovering over a swan, the emblem of the waters, to show the generative power of the sun fructifying that element, or adding the active to the passive powers of production. [19] On the medals of Naples, a winged figure of the same kind is represented crowning the Taurine Bacchus with a wreath of laurel. [20] This antiquarians have called a Victory crowning the Minotaur; but the fabulous monster called the Minotaur was never said to have been victorious, even by the poets who invented it; and whenever the sculptors and painters represented it, they joined the head of a bull to a human body, as may be seen in the celebrated picture of Theseus, published among the antiquities of Herculaneum, and on the medals of Athens, struck about the time of Severus, when the style of art was totally changed, and the mystic theology extinct. The winged figure, which has been called a Victory, appears mounting in the chariot of the sun, on the medals of queen Philistis, [21] and, on some of those of Syracuse, flying before it in the place where the asterisc appears on others of the same city. [22] I am therefore persuaded, that these are only different modes of representing one idea, and that the winged figure means the same, when placed over the Taurine Bacchus of the Greeks, as the winged disc over the Apis or Mnevis of the Egyptians. The Ægis, or snaky breastplate, and the Medusa's head, are also, as Dr. Stukeley justly observed, [23] Greek modes of representing this winged disc joined with the serpents, as it frequently is, both in the Egyptian sculptures, and those of Chilmenar in Persia. The expressions of rage and violence, which usually characterise the countenance of Medusa, signify the destroying attribute joined with the generative, as both were equally under the direction of Minerva, or divine wisdom. I am inclined to believe, that the large rings, to which the little figures of Priapus are attached, [24] had also the same meaning as the disc; for, if intended merely to suspend them by, they are of an extravagant magnitude, and would not answer their purpose so well as a common loop.

PLATE 22: Statue of a Bull in the Pagoda of Tanjore.

On the Phoenician coin above mentioned, this symbol, the winged disc, is placed over a figure sitting, who holds in his hands an arrow, whilst a bow, ready bent, of the ancient Scythian form, lies by him. [25] On his head is a large loose cap, tied under his chin, which I take to be the lion's skin, worn in the same manner as on the heads of Hercules, upon the medals of Alexander; but the work is so small, though executed with extreme nicety and precision, and perfectly preserved, that it is difficult to decide with certainty what it represents, in parts of such minuteness. The bow and arrows, we know, were the ancient arms of Hercules; [26] and continued so, until the Greek poets thought proper to give him the club. [27] He was particularly worshipped at Tyre, the metropolis of Phoenicia; [28] and his head appears in the usual form, on many of the coins of that people. We may hence conclude that he is the person here represented, notwithstanding the difference in the style and composition of the figure, which may be accounted for by the difference of art. The Greeks, animated by the spirit of their ancient poets, and the glowing melody of their language, were grand and poetical in all their compositions; whilst the Phoenicians, who spoke a harsh and untuneable dialect, were unacquainted with fine poetry, and consequently with poetical ideas; for words being the types of ideas, and the signs or marks by which men not only communicate them to each other, but arrange and regulate them in their own minds, the genius of a language goes a great way towards forming the character of the people who use it. Poverty of expression will produce poverty of conception; for men will never be able to form sublime ideas, when the language in which they think (for men always think as well as speak in some language) is incapable of expressing them. This may be one reason why the Phoenicians never rivaled the Greeks in the perfection of art, although they attained a degree of excellence long before them; for Homer, whenever he has occasion to speak of any fine piece of art, takes care to inform us that it was the work of Sidonians. He also mentions the Phoenician merchants bringing toys and ornaments of dress to sell to the Greeks, and practicing those frauds which merchants and factors are apt to practice upon ignorant people. [29] It is probable that their progress in the fine arts, like that of the Dutch (who are the Phoenicians of modern history), never went beyond a strict imitation of nature; which, compared to the more elevated graces of ideal composition, is like a newspaper narrative compared with one of Homer's battles. A figure of Hercules, therefore, executed by a Phoenician artist, if compared to one by Phidias or Lysippus, would be like a picture of Moses or David, painted by Teniers, or Gerard Dow, compared to one of the same, painted by Raphael or Annibal Caracci. This is exactly the difference between the figures on the medal now under consideration, and those on the coins of Gelo or Alexander. Of all the personages of the ancient mythology, Hercules is perhaps the most difficult to explain; for physical allegory and fabulous history are so entangled in the accounts we have of him, that it is scarcely possible to separate them. He appears however, like all the other gods, to have been originally a personified attribute of the sun. The eleventh of the Orphic Hymns [30] is addressed to him as the strength and power of the sun; and Macrobius says that he was thought to be the strength and virtue of the gods, by which they destroyed the giants; and that, according to Varro, the Mars and Hercules of the Romans were the same deity, and worshipped with the same rites. [31] According to Varro then, whose authority is perhaps the greatest that can be cited, Hercules was the destroying attribute represented in a human form, instead of that of a lion, tiger, or hippopotamus. Hence the terrible picture drawn of him by Homer, which always appeared to me to have been taken from some symbolical statue, which the poet not understanding, supposed to be of the Theban hero, who had assumed the title of the deity, and whose fabulous history he was well acquainted with. The description however applies in every particular to the allegorical personage. His attitude, ever fixed in the act of letting fly his arrow, [32] with the figures of lions and bears, battles and murders, which adorn his belt, all unite in representing him as the destructive attribute personified. But how happens it then that he is so frequently represented strangling the lion, the natural emblem of this power? Is this an historical fable belonging to the Theban hero, or a physical allegory of the destructive power destroying its own force by its own exertions? Or is the single attribute personified taken for the whole power of the deity in this, as in other instances already mentioned? The Orphic Hymn above cited seems to favour this last conjecture; for he is there addressed both as the devourer and generator of all (Παμφαγε, παγγενετωζ). However this may be, we may safely conclude that the Hercules armed with the bow and arrow, as he appears on the present medal, is like the Apollo, the destroying power of the diurnal sun.

On the other side of the medal [33] is a figure, somewhat like the Jupiter on the medals of Alexander and Antiochus, sitting with a beaded sceptre in his right hand, which he rests upon the head of a bull, that projects from the side of the chair. Above, on his right shoulder, is a bird, probably a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, descending from the sun, but, as this part of the medal is less perfect than the rest, the species cannot be clearly discovered. In his left hand be holds a short staff, from the upper side of which springs an ear of corn, and from the lower a bunch of grapes, which being the two most esteemed productions of the earth, were the natural emblems of general fertilization. This figure is therefore the generator, as that on the other side is the destroyer, whilst the sun, of whose attributes both are personifications, is placed between them. The letters on the side of the generator are quite entire, and, according to the Phoenician alphabet published by Mr. Dutens, are equivalent to the Roman ones which compose the words Baal Thrz, of which Mr. Swinton makes Baal Tarz, and translates Jupiter of Tarsus; whence he concludes that this coin was struck at that city. But the first letter of the last word is not a Teth, but a Thau, or aspirated T; and, as the Phoenicians had a vowel answering to the Roman A, it is probable they would have inserted it, had they intended it to be sounded: but we have no reason to believe that they had any to express the U or Y, which must therefore be comprehended in the preceding consonant whenever the sound is expressed. Hence I conclude that the word here meant is Thyrz or Thurz, the Thor or Thur of the Celtes and Sarmatians, the Thurra of the Assyrians, the Turan of the Tyrrhenians or Etruscans, the Taurine Bacchus of the Greeks, and the deity whom the Germans carried with them in the shape of a bull, when they invaded Italy; from whom the city of Tyre, as well as Tyrrhenia, or Tuscany, probably took its name. His symbol the bull, to which the name alludes, is represented on the chair or throne in which he sits; and his sceptre, the emblem of his authority, rests upon it. The other word, Baal, was merely a title in the Phoenician language, signifying God, or Lord; [34] and used as an epithet of the sun, as we learn from the name Baal-bec (the city of Baal), which the Greeks rendered Heliopolis (the city of the sun).

Thus does this singular medal show the fundamental principles of the ancient Phoenician religion to be the same as those which appear to have prevailed through all the other nations of the northern hemisphere. Fragments of the same system every where occur, variously expressed as they were variously understood, and oftentimes merely preserved without being understood at all; the ancient reverence being continued to the symbols, when their meaning was wholly forgotten. The hypostatical division and essential unity of the deity is one of the most remarkable parts of this system, and the farthest removed from common sense and reason; and yet this is perfectly reasonable and consistent, if considered together with the rest of it: for the emanations and personifications were only figurative abstractions of particular modes of action and existence, of which the primary cause and original essence still continued one and the same.

The three hypostases being thus only one being, each hypostasis is occasionally taken for all; as is the case in the passage of Apuleius before cited, where Isis describes herself as the universal deity. In this character she is represented by a small basaltine figure, of Egyptian sculpture, at Strawberry Hill, which is covered over with symbols of various kinds from top to bottom. [35] That of the bull is placed lowest, to show that the strength or power of the creator is the foundation and support of every other attribute. On her head are towers, to denote the earth; and round her neck is hung a crab-fish, which, from its power of spontaneously detaching from its body, and naturally reproducing, any limbs that are hurt or mutilated, became the symbol of the productive power of the waters; in which sense it appears on great numbers of ancient medals of various cities. [36] The nutritive power is signified by her many breasts, and the destructive by the lions which she bears on her arms. Other attributes are expressed by various other animal symbols, the precise meaning of which I have not sagacity sufficient to discover.



1. Ezek. ch. i. ver. 10, with Lowth's Comm.

2. Exod. ch. xxv. ver. 22.

3. Spencer de Leg. Ritual Vet. Hebræor, lib. iii. dissert. 6.

4. See Le Bruyn, Voyage en Perse, Planche cxxiii.

5. See Le Bruyn and Niebuhr.

6. See Plate 18. Fig. 1 from the Isiac Table, and Plate 19. Fig 5 from Niebuhr's prints of Chilminar. See also Plate 18. Fig. 2 and Plate 19. Fig. 1 from the Isiac Tables and the Egyptian Portals published by Norden and Pococke, on every one of which this singular emblem occurs.

7. See Le Bruyn, Planche cxxiii. Ionian Antiquities, vol. i. c. 3. Plate 9., and Plate 2. Fig. 2.

8. See Plate 20. Fig. 2, from one of Melita, belonging to me.

9. See Le Bruyn, Planche cxxi.

10. As those on Figures described by Ezekiel were. See c. i. v. II.

11. See Plate 20. Fig. 2, engraved from one belonging to me.

12. See Plate 9. Fig. 9, engraved from the original medal, now belonging to me.

13. See Plate 19, Fig. 1, from Pignorius.

14. See Plate 18. Fig. 2, from Pignorius.

15. See Plate 18. Fig. 1, from Pignorius.

16. See Niebuhr and Le Bruyn, and Plate 19. Fig. 2, from the former.

17. See Plate 4. Fig. 2, and Plate 19. Fig. 4, from a medal of Cales, belonging to me.

18. See Plate 21. Fig. 2, copied from it.

19. See Plate 21. Fig. 3, from one belonging to me.

20. See Plate 19. Fig. 5. The coins are common in all collections.

21. See Plate 21. Fig. 4, from one belonging to me.

22. See Plate 21. Fig. 5 and 6, from coins belonging to me.

23. Abury, p. 93.

24. See Plate 2. Fig. 1, and Plate 3. Fig. 2.

25. See Plate 9. Fig. 10 b.

26. Homer's Odyss. Λ, ver. 606.

27. Strabo, lib. xiv.

28. Macrob. Sat. lib. i. c. 20.

29. Homer. Odyss. O, ver. 414.

30. Ed. Gesner.

31. Sat. lib. i. c. 20.

32. Αιει Βαλεοντι ἑοικως. Odyss. λ, ver. 607.

33. See Plate 9. Fig. 10 a.

34. Cleric. Comm. in 2 Reg. c. i. ver. 2.

35. A print of one exactly the same is published by Montfaucon, Antiq. expliq. vol. i. Plate 93. Fig. i.

36. See those of Agrigentum, Himera, and Cyrene. On a small one of the first-mentioned city, belonging to me, a cross, the abbreviated symbol of the male powers of generation, approaches the mouth of the crab, while the cornucopia issues from it (see Plate 20. Fig. 3): the one represents the cause, and the other the effect of fertilization.
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Postby admin » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:26 am


This universality of the goddess was more concisely represented in other figures of her, by the mystic instrument called a Systrum, which she carried in her hand. Plutarch has given an explanation of it, [1] which may serve to show that the mode here adopted of explaining the ancient symbols is not founded merely upon conjecture and analogy, but also upon the authority of one of the most grave and learned of the Greeks. The curved top, he says, represented the lunar orbit, within which the creative attributes of the deity were exerted, in giving motion to the four elements, signified by the four rattles below. [2] On the centre of the curve was a cat, the emblem of the moon; who, from her influence on the constitutions of women, was supposed to preside particularly over the passive powers of generation; [3] and below, upon the base, a head of Isis or Nepthus; instead of which, upon that which I have had engraved, as well as upon many others now extant, are the male organs of generation, representing the active powers of the creator, attributed to Isis with the passive. The clattering noise, and various motions of the rattles being adopted as the symbols of the movement and mixture of the elements from which all things are produced; the sound of metals in general became an emblem of the same kind. Hence, the ringing of bells, and clattering of plates of metal, were used in all lustrations, sacrifices, &c. [4] The title Priapus, applied to the characteristic attribute of the creator, and sometimes to the Creator himself, is probably a corruption of Βριαπυοε (clamorous or loud); for the Β and Π being both labials, the change of the one for the other is common in the Greek language. We still find many ancient images of this symbol, with bells attached to them. [5] as they were to the sacred robe of the high priest of the Jews, in which he administered to the Creator. [6] The bells in both were of a pyramidal form, [7] to show the ætherial igneous essence of the god. This form is still retained in those used in our churches, as well as in the little ones rung by the Catholic priests at the elevation of the host. The use of them was early adopted by the Christians, in the same sense as they were employed by the later heathens; that is, as a charm against evil daemons; [8] for, being symbols of the active exertions of the creative attributes, they were properly opposed to the emanations of the destructive. The Lacedemonians used to beat a pan or kettle-drum at the death of their king, [9] to assist in the emancipation of his soul at the dissolution of the body. We have a similar custom of tolling a bell on such occasions, which is very generally practised, though the meaning of it has been long forgotten. This emancipation of the soul was supposed to be finally performed by fire; which, being the visible image and active essence of both the creative and destructive powers, was very naturally thought to be the medium through which men passed from the present to a future life. The Greeks, and all the Celtic nations, accordingly, burned the bodies of the dead, as the Gentoos do at this day; while the Egyptians, among whom fuel was extremely scarce, placed them in pyramidal monuments, which were the symbols of fire; hence come those prodigious structures which still adorn that country. The soul which was to be emancipated was the divine emanation, the vital spark of heavenly flame, the principle of reason and perception, which was personified into the familiar daemon, or genius, supposed to have the direction of each individual, and to dispose him to good or evil, wisdom or folly, and all their consequences of prosperity and adversity. [10] Hence proceeded the doctrines, so uniformly inculcated by Homer and Pindar, [11] of all human actions depending immediately upon the gods; which were adopted, with scarcely any variations, by some of the Christian divines of the apostolic age. In the Pastor of Hermas, and Recognitions of Clemens, we find the angels of justice, penitence, and sorrow, instead of the genii, or daemons, which the ancients supposed to direct men's minds and inspire them with those particular sentiments. St. Paul adopted the still more comfortable doctrine of grace, which served full as well to emancipate the consciences of the faithful from the shackles of practical morality. The familiar daemons, or divine emanations, were supposed to reside in the blood; which was thought to contain the principles of vital heat, and was therefore forbidden by Moses. [12] Homer, who seems to have collected little fragments of the ancient theology, and introduced them here and there, amidst the wild profusion of his poetical fables, represents the shades of the deceased as void of perception, until they had tasted of the blood of the victims offered by Ulysses; [13] by which their faculties were renewed by a reunion with the divine emanation, from which they had been separated. The soul of Tiresias is said to be entire in hell, and to possess alone the power of perception, because with him this divine emanation still remained. The shade of Hercules is described among the other ghosts, though he himself, as the poet says, was then in heaven; that is, the active principle of thought and perception returned to its native heaven, whilst the passive, or merely sensitive, remained on earth, from whence it sprung. [14] The final separation of these two did not take place till the body was consumed by fire, as appears from the ghost of Elpenor, whose body being still entire, he retained both, and knew Ulysses before he had tasted of the blood. It was from producing this separation, that the universal Bacchus, or double Apollo, the creator and destroyer, whose essence was fire, was also called Λιχνιτης, the purifier, [15] by a metaphor taken from the winnow, which purified the corn from the dust and chaff, as fire purified the soul from its terrestrial pollutions. Hence this instrument is called by Virgil the mystic winnow of Bacchus. [16] The Ammonian Platonics and Gnostic Christians thought that this separation, or purification, might be effected in a degree even before death. It was for this purpose that they practised such rigid temperance, and gave themselves up to such intense study; for, by subduing and extenuating the terrestrial principle, they hoped to give liberty and vigour to the celestial, so that it might be enabled to ascend directly to the intellectual world, pure and unincumbered. [17] The clergy afterwards introduced Purgatory, instead of abstract meditation and study; which was the ancient mode of separation by fire, removed into an unknown country, where it was saleable to all such of the inhabitants of this world as had sufficient wealth and credulity.

It was the celestial or ætherial principle of the human mind, which the ancient artists represented under the symbol of the butterfly, which may be considered as one of the most elegant allegories of their elegant religion. This insect, when hatched from the egg, appears in the shape of a grub, crawling upon the earth, and feeding upon the leaves of plants. In this state, it was aptly made the emblem of man, in his earthly form, in which the ætherial vigour and activity of the celestial soul, the divine particula mentis, was supposed to be clogged and incumbered with the material body. When the grub was changed to a chrysalis, its stillness, torpor, and insensibility seemed to present a natural image of death, or the intermediate state between the cessation of the vital functions of the body and the final releasement of the soul by the fire, in which the body was consumed. The butterfly breaking from the torpid chrysalis, and mounting in the air, was no less natural an image of the celestial soul bursting from the restraints of matter, and mixing again with its native æther. The Greek artists, always studious of elegance, changed this, as well as other animal symbols, into a human form, retaining the wings as the characteristic members, by which the meaning might be known. The human body, which they added to them, is that of a beautiful girl, sometimes in the age of infancy, and sometimes of approaching maturity. So beautiful an allegory as this would naturally be a favourite subject of art among a people whose taste had attained the utmost pitch of refinement. We accordingly find that it has been more frequently and more variously repeated than any other which the system of emanations, so favourable to art, could afford.

Although all men were supposed to partake of the divine emanation in a degree, it was not supposed that they all partook of it in an equal degree. Those who showed superior abilities, and distinguished themselves by their splendid actions, were supposed to have a larger share of the divine essence, and were therefore adored as gods, and honoured with divine titles, expressive of that particular attribute of the deity with which they seemed to be most favoured. New personages were thus enrolled among the allegorical deities; and the personified attributes of the sun were confounded with a Cretan and Thessalian king, an Asiatic conqueror, and a Theban robber. Hence Pindar, who appears to have been a very orthodox heathen, says, that the race of men and gods is one, that both breathe from one mother, and only differ in power. [18] This confusion of epithets and titles contributed, as much as any thing, to raise that vast and extravagant fabric of poetical mythology, which, in a manner, overwhelmed the ancient theology, which was too pure and philosophical to continue long a popular religion. The grand and exalted system of a general first cause, universally expanded, did not suit the gross conceptions of the multitude; who had no other way of conceiving the idea of an omnipotent god, but by forming an exaggerated image of their own despot, and supposing his power to consist in an unlimited gratification of his passions and appetites. Hence the universal Jupiter, the aweful and venerable, the general principle of life and motion, was transformed into the god who thundered from Mount Ida, and was lulled to sleep in the embraces of his wife; and hence the god whose spirit moved [19] upon the face of the waters, and impregnated them with the powers of generation, became a great king above all gods, who led forth his people to smite the ungodly, and rooted out their enemies from before them.



1. De Is. & Os.

2. See Plate 10. Fig. 4, engraved from one in the collection of R. Wilbraham, Esq.

3. Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. ii. c. 46.

4. Clem. Alex. Προτζ. p. 9. Schol in Theocrit. Idyll. II. ver. 36.

5. Bronzi dell' Hercol. Tom. vi. Plate 98.

6. Exod. ch. xxviii.

7. Bronzi dell' Hercol. Tom. vi. Plate 98. Maimonides in Patrick's Commentary on Exodus, ch. xxviii.

8. Ovid. Fast. lib. v. ver. 441. Schol. in Theocrit Idyll. ii. ver. 36.

9. Schol. in Theocrit. Idyll. II. ver. 36.

10. Pindar. Pyth. v. ver. 164. Sophocl. Trachin. ver. 922. Hor. lib. ii. epist. ii. ver. 187.

11. Εκ Θεων μαχαναι ηγσαι Βροτεαις αρεταις, και σοποι, και χερσι Βιαται, Περιγλωσσοι τ᾽ εφ Ιν. Pindar Pyth. i. ver. 79. Passages to the same purpose occur in almost every page of the Iliad and Odyssey.

12. Levit. ch. xvii. ver. 11 & 14.

13. Odyss. ζ, ver. 152.

14. Those who wish to see the difference between sensation and perception clearly and fully explained, may be satisfied by reading the Essai analytique sur l'Ame, by Mr. Bonnet.

15. Orph. Hymn. 45.

16. Mystica vannus Iacchi. Georg. i. ver. 166.

17. Plotin. Ennead. vi. lib. IV. ch. 16. Mosheim, Not y in Cudw. Syst. Intell. ch. v. sect. 20.

18. Nem. v. ver. 1.

19. So the translators have rendered the expression of the original, which literally means brooding as a fowl on its eggs, and alludes to the symbols of the ancient theology, which I have before observed upon. See Patrick's Commentary.
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Postby admin » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:26 am


Another great means of corrupting the ancient theology, and establishing the poetical mythology, was the practice of the artists in representing the various attributes of the creator under human forms of various character and expression. These figures, being distinguished by the titles of the deity which they were meant to represent, became in time to be considered as distinct personages, and worshipped as separate subordinate deities. Hence the many-shaped god, the πολυμορφος and μυριομορφος of the ancient theologists, became divided into many gods and goddesses, often described by the poets as at variance with each other and wrangling about the little intrigues and passions of men. Hence too, as the symbols were multiplied, particular ones lost their dignity; and that venerable one which is the subject of this discourse, became degraded from the representative of the god of nature to a subordinate rural deity, a supposed son of the Asiatic conqueror Bacchus, standing among the nymphs by a fountain, [1] and expressing the fertility of a garden, instead of the general creative power of the great active principle of the universe. His degradation did not stop even here; for we find him, in times still more prophane and corrupt, made a subject of raillery and insult, as answering no better purpose than holding up his rubicund snout to frighten the birds and thieves. [2] His talents were also perverted from their natural ends, and employed in base and abortive efforts in conformity to the taste of the times; for men naturally attribute their own passions and inclinations to the objects of their adoration; and as God made man in his own image, so man returns the favour, and makes God in his. Hence we find the highest attribute of the all-pervading spirit and first-begotten love foully prostituted to promiscuous vice, and calling out, Hæc cunnum, caput hic, præbeat ille nates. [Google translate: This cunt, head, buttocks, he may.] [3]

He continued however still to have his temple, priestess and sacred geese, [4] and offerings of the most exquisite kind were made to him:

Crissabitque tibi excussis pulcherrima Iumbis
Hoc anno primum experta puella virum.

[Google translate: Crissabitque you knocked out the most beautiful Iumbis; This year, the first trial of a young woman.]

Sometimes, however, they were not so scrupulous in the selection of their victims, but suffered frugality to restrain their devotion:

Cum sacrum fieret Deo salaci
Conducta est pretio puella parvo. [5]

[Google translate: When God the sacrifices should be carried; The contracts with the price of a small girl.]

The bride was usually placed upon him immediately before marriage; not, as Lactantius says, ut ejus pudicitiam prior Deus prælibasse videatur [Google translate: to his former self, God seems to prælibasse], but that she might be rendered fruitful by her communion with the divine nature, and capable of fulfilling the duties of her station. In an ancient poem [6] we find a lady of the name of Lalage presenting the pictures of the "Elephantis" to him, and gravely requesting that she might enjoy the pleasures over which he particularly presided, in all the attitudes described in that celebrated treatise. [7] Whether or not she succeeded, the poet has not informed us; but we may safely conclude that she did not trust wholly to faith and prayer, but, contrary to the usual practice of modern devotees, accompanied her devotion with such good works as were likely to contribute to the end proposed by it.

When a lady had served as the victim in a sacrifice to this god, she expressed her gratitude for the benefits received, by offering upon his altar certain small images representing his characteristic attribute, the number of which was equal to the number of men who had acted as priests upon the occasion. [8] On an antique gem, in the collection of Mr. Townley, is one of these fair victims, who appears just returned from a sacrifice of this kind, and devoutly returning her thanks by offering upon an altar some of these images, from the number of which one may observe that she has not been neglected. [9] This offering of thanks had also its mystic and allegorical meaning; for fire being the energetic principle and essential force of the Creator, and the symbol above mentioned the visible image of his characteristic attribute, the uniting them was uniting the material with the essential cause, from whose joint operation all things were supposed to proceed.

These sacrifices, as well as all those to the deities presiding over generation, were performed by night: hence Hippolytus, in Euripides, says, to express his love of chastity, that he likes none of the gods revered by night. [10] These acts of devotion were indeed attended with such rites as must naturally shock the prejudices of a chaste and temperate mind, not liable to be warmed by that ecstatic enthusiasm which is peculiar to devout persons when their attention is absorbed in the contemplation of the beneficent powers of the Creator, and all their faculties directed to imitate him in the exertion of his great characteristic attribute. To heighten this enthusiasm, the male and female saints of antiquity used to lie promiscuously together in the temples, and honour God by a liberal display and general communication of his bounties. [11] Herodotus, indeed, excepts the Greeks and Egyptians, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the Romans, from this general custom of other nations; but to the testimony of the former we may oppose the thousand sacred prostitutes kept at each of the temples of Corinth and Eryx; [12] and to that of the latter the express words of Juvenal, who, though he lived an age, later, lived when the same religion, and nearly the same manners, prevailed. [13] Diodorus Siculus also tells us, that when the Roman prætors visited Eryx, they laid aside their magisterial severity, and honoured the goddess by mixing with her votaries, and indulging themselves in the pleasures over which she presided. [14] It appears, too, that the act of generation was a sort of sacrament in the island of Lesbos; for the device on its medals (which in the Greek republics had always some relation to religion) is as explicit as forms can make it. [15] The figures appear indeed to be mystic and allegorical, the male having evidently a mixture of the goat in his beard and features, and therefore probably represents Pan, the generative power of the universe incorporated in universal matter. The female has all that breadth and fulness which characterise the personification of the passive power, known by the titles of Rhea, Juno, Ceres, &e.

When there were such seminaries for female education as those of Eryx and Corinth, we need not wonder that the ladies of antiquity should be extremely well instructed in all the practical duties of their religion. The stories told of Julia and Messalina show us that the Roman ladies were no ways deficient; and yet they were as remarkable for their gravity and decency as the Corinthians were for their skill and dexterity in adapting themselves to all the modes and attitudes which the luxuriant imaginations of experienced votaries have contrived for performing the rites of their tutelar goddess. [16]

The reason why these rites were always performed by night was the peculiar sanctity attributed to it by the ancients, because dreams were then supposed to descend from heaven to instruct and forewarn men. The nights, says Hesiod, belong to the blessed gods; [17] and the Orphic poet calls night the source of all things (παντων γενεσις) to denote that productive power, which, as I have been told, it really possesses; it being observed that plants and animals grow more by night than by day. The ancients extended this power much further, and supposed that not only the productions of the earth, but the luminaries of heaven, were nourished and sustained by the benign influence of the night. Hence that beautiful apostrophe in the "Electra" of Euripides, Ω νυξ μελαινα, χυσεων αστρων τροφε, &c.

Not only the sacrifices to the generative deities, but in general all the religious rites of the Greeks, were of the festive kind. To imitate the gods, was, in their opinion, to feast and rejoice, and to cultivate the useful and elegant arts, by which we are made partakers of their felicity. [18] This was the case with almost all the nations of antiquity, except the [19] Egyptians and their reformed imitators the Jews, [20] who being governed by a hierarchy, endeavoured to make it awful and venerable to the people by an appearance of rigour and austerity. The people, however, sometimes broke through this restraint, and indulged themselves in the more pleasing worship of their neighbours, as when they danced and feasted before the golden calf which Aaron erected, [21] and devoted themselves to the worship of obscene idols, generally supposed to be of Priapus, under the reign of Abijam. [22]



1. Theocrit. Idyll. i. ver. 21.

2. Horat. lib. i. Sat. viii. Virg. Georg. iv.

3. Priap. Carm. 21.

4. Petron. Satyric.

5. Priap. Carm. 34.

6. Priap. Carm. 3.

7. The Elephantis was written by one Philænis, and seems to have been of the same kind with the Puttana errante of Aretin.

8. Priap. Carm. 34. Ed. Scioppii.

9. See Plate 3. Fig. 3.

10. Ver. 613.

11. Herodot. lib. ii.

12. Strab. lib. viii.

13. Sat. ix. ver. 24.

14. Lib. iv. Ed. Wessel.

15. See Plate 9. Fig. 8, from one belonging to me.

16. Philodemi Epigr. Brunk. Analect. vol. ii. p. 85.

17. Εργ· ver. 730.

18. Strabo, lib. x.

19. Herodot. lib. ii.

20. See Spencer de Leg. Rit. Vet. Hebræor.

21. Exod. ch. xxxii.

22. Reg. c. xv. ver. 13 Ed. Cleric.
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Postby admin » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:27 am


The Christian religion, being a reformation of the Jewish, rather increased than diminished the austerity of its original. On particular occasions however it equally abated its rigour, and gave way to festivity and mirth, though always with an air of sanctity and solemnity. Such were originally the feasts of the Eucharist, which, as the word expresses, were meetings of joy and gratulation; though, as divines tell us, all of the spiritual kind: but the particular manner in which St. Augustine commands the ladies who attended them to wear clean linen, [1] seems to infer, that personal as well as spiritual matters were thought worthy of attention. To those who administer the sacrament in the modern way, it may appear of little consequence whether the women received it in clean linen or not; but to the good bishop, who was to administer the holy kiss, it certainly was of some importance. The holy kiss was not only applied as a part of the ceremonial of the Eucharist, but also of prayer, at the conclusion of which they welcomed each other with this natural sign of love and benevolence. [2] It was upon these occasions that they worked themselves up to those fits of rapture and enthusiasm, which made them eagerly rush upon destruction in the fury of their zeal to obtain the crown of martyrdom. [3] Enthusiasm on one subject naturally produces enthusiasm on another; for the human passions, like the strings of an instrument, vibrate to the motions of each other: hence paroxysms of love and devotion have oftentimes so exactly accorded, as not to have been distinguished by the very persons whom they agitated. [4] This was too often the case in these meetings of the primitive Christians. The feasts of gratulation and love, the αγαπαι and nocturnal vigils, gave too flattering opportunities to the passions and appetites of men, to continue long, what we are told they were at first, pure exercises of devotion. The spiritual raptures and divine ecstasies encouraged on these occasions, were often ecstasies of a very different kind, concealed under the garb of devotion; whence the greatest irregularities ensued; and it became necessary for the reputation of the church, that they should be suppressed, as they afterwards were by the decrees of several councils. Their suppression may be considered as the final subversion of that part of the ancient religion which I have here undertaken to examine; for so long as those nocturnal meetings were preserved, it certainly existed, though under other names, and in a more solemn dress. The small remain of it preserved at Isernia, of which an account has here been given, can scarcely be deemed an exception; for its meaning was unknown to those who celebrated it; and the obscurity of the place, added to the venerable names of S. Cosimo and Damiano, was all that presented it from being suppressed long ago, as it has been lately, to the great dismay of the chaste matrons and pious monks of Isernia. Traces and memorials of it seem however to have been preserved, in many parts of Christendom, long after the actual celebration of its rites ceased. Hence the obscene figures observable upon many of our Gothic Cathedrals, and particularly upon the ancient brass doors of St. Peter's at Rome, where there are some groups which rival the devices on the Lesbian medals.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (c. AD 400), the exchange of the peace occurs at the midpoint of the service, when the scripture readings have been completed and the Eucharistic prayers are yet to come. The priest announces, "Let us love one another that with one accord we may confess--" and the people conclude the sentence, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Trinity, one in essence and undivided." At that point the Kiss of Peace is exchanged by clergy at the altar, and in some churches among the laity as well (the custom is being reintroduced, but is not universal). Immediately after the peace, the deacon cries "The doors! The doors!"; in ancient times, the catechumens and other non-members of the church would depart at this point, and the doors be shut behind them. At that, worshipers then begin reciting the Nicene Creed. In the Eastern Orthodox Liturgy, the Kiss of Peace is preparation for the Creed: "Let us love one another that we may confess...the Trinity."

-- Kiss of Peace, by Wikipedia



1. Aug. Serm. cliii.

2. Justin Martyr. Apolog.

3. Martini Kempii de Osculis Dissert. viii.

4. See Procèc de la Cadiere.
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Postby admin » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:33 am



It is curious, in looking back through the annals of superstition, so degrading to the pride of man, to trace the progress of the human mind in different ages, climates, and circumstances, uniformly acting upon the same principles, and to the same ends. The sketch here given of the corruptions of the religion of Greece, is an exact counterpart of the history of the corruptions of Christianity, which began in the pure theism of the eclectic Jews, [1] and by the help of inspirations, emanations, and canonizations, expanded itself, by degrees, to the vast and unwieldy system which now fills the creed of what is commonly called the Catholic Church. In the ancient religion, however, the emanations assumed the appearance of moral virtues and physical attributes, instead of ministering spirits and guardian angels; and the canonizations or deifications were bestowed upon heroes, legislators, and monarchs, instead of priests, monks, and martyrs. There is also this further difference, that among the moderns philosophy has improved, as religion has been corrupted; whereas, among the ancients, religion and philosophy declined together. The true solar system was taught in the Orphic school, and adopted by the Pythagoreans, the next regularly-established sect. The Stoics corrupted it a little, by placing the earth in the centre of the universe, though they still allowed the sun its superior magnitude. [2] At length arose the Epicureans, who confounded it entirely, maintaining that the sun was only a small globe of fire, a few inches in diameter, and the stars little transitory lights, whirled about in the atmosphere of the earth. [3]

How ill soever adapted the ancient system of emanations was to procure eternal happiness, it was certainly extremely well calculated to produce temporal good; for, by the endless multiplication of subordinate deities, it effectually excluded two of the greatest curses that ever afflicted the human race, dogmatical theology, and its consequent religious persecution. Far from supposing that the gods known in their own country were the only ones existing, the Greeks thought that innumerable emanations of the divine mind were diffused through every part of the universe; so that new objects of devotion presented themselves wherever they went. Every mountain, spring, and river, had its tutelary deity, besides the numbers of immortal spirits that were supposed to wander in the air, scattering dreams and visions, and superintending the affairs of men.

Τρις γαζ μυριοι εισιν επι χθονι πουλϋ Βοτειρη
Αθανατοι Ζηνος, φυλαχες θνητων ανθρωπων. [4]

An adequate knowledge of these they never presumed to think attainable, but modestly contented themselves with revering and invoking them whenever they felt or wanted their assistance. When a shipwrecked mariner was cast upon an unknown coast, he immediately offered up his prayers to the gods of the country, whoever they were; and joined the inhabitants in whatever rites they thought proper to propitiate them with. [5] Impious or prophane rites he never imagined could exist, concluding that all expressions of gratitude and submission must be pleasing to the gods. Atheism was, indeed, punished at Athens, as the obscene ceremonies of the Bacchanalians were at Rome; but both as civil crimes against the state; the one tending to weaken the bands of society by destroying the sanctity of oaths, and the other to subvert that decency and gravity of manners, upon which the Romans so much prided themselves. The introduction of strange gods, without permission from the magistrate, was also prohibited in both cities; but the restriction extended no farther than the walls, there being no other parts of the Roman empire, except Judea, in which any kind of impiety or extravagance might not have been maintained with impunity, provided it was maintained merely as a speculative opinion, and not employed as an engine of faction, ambition, or oppression. The Romans even carried their condescension so far as to enforce the observance of a dogmatical religion, where they found it before established; as appears from the conduct of their magistrates in Judea, relative to Christ and his apostles; and from what Josephus has related, of a Roman soldier's being punished with death by his commander for insulting the Books of Moses. Upon what principle then did they act, when they afterwards persecuted the Christians with so much rancour and cruelty? Perhaps it may surprise persons not used to the study of ecclesiastical antiquities, to be told (what is nevertheless indisputably true) that the Christians were never persecuted on account of the speculative opinions of individuals, but either for civil crimes laid to their charge, or for withdrawing their allegiance from the state, and joining in a federative union dangerous by its constitution, and rendered still more dangerous by the intolerant principles of its members, who often tumultuously interrupted the public worship, and continually railed against the national religion (with which both the civil government and military discipline of the Romans were inseparably connected), as the certain means of eternal damnation. To break this union, was the great object of Roman policy during a long course of years; but the violent means employed only tended to cement it closer. Some of the Christians themselves indeed, who were addicted to Platonism, took a safer method to dissolve it; but they were too few in number to succeed. This was by trying to moderate the furious zeal which gave life and vigour to the confederacy, and to blend and soften the unyielding temper of religion with the mild spirit of philosophy. "We all," said they, "agree in worshipping one supreme God, the Father and Preserver of all. While we approach him with purity of mind, sincerity of heart, and innocence of manners, forms and ceremonies of worship are indifferent; and not less worthy of his greatness, for being varied and diversified according to the various customs and opinions of men. Had it been his will that all should have worshipped him in the same mode, he would have given to all the same inclinations and conceptions: but he has wisely ordered it otherwise, that piety and virtue might increase by an honest emulation of religions, as industry in trade, or activity in a race, from the mutual emulation of the candidates for wealth and honour." [6] This was too liberal and extensive a plan, to meet the approbation of a greedy and ambitious clergy, whose object was to establish a hierarchy for themselves, rather than to procure happiness for others. It was accordingly condemned with vehemence and success by Ambrosius, Prudentius, and other orthodox leaders of the age.

It was from the ancient system of emanations, that the general hospitality which characterised the manners of the heroic ages, and which is so beautifully represented in the Odyssey of Homer, in a great measure arose. The poor, and the stranger who wandered in the street and begged at the door, were supposed to be animated by a portion of the same divine spirit which sustained the great and powerful. They are all from Jupiter, says Homer, and a small gift is acceptable. [7] This benevolent sentiment has been compared by the English commentators to that of the Jewish moralist, who says, that he who giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord, who will repay him tenfold. [8] But it is scarcely possible for anything to be more different: Homer promises no other reward for charity than the benevolence of the action itself; but the Israelite holds out that which has always been the great motive for charity among his countrymen -- the prospect of being repaid ten-fold. They are always ready to show their bounty upon such incentives, if they can be persuaded that they are founded upon good security. It was the opinion, however, of many of the most learned among the ancients, that the principles of the Jewish religion were originally the same as those of the Greek, and that their God was no other than the creator and generator Bacchus, [9] who, being viewed through the gloomy medium of the hierarchy, appeared to them a jealous and irascible God; and so gave a more austere and unsociable form to their devotion. The golden vine preserved in the temple at Jerusalem, [10] and the taurine forms of the cherubs, between which the Deity was supposed to reside, were symbols so exactly similar to their own, that they naturally concluded they meant to express the same ideas; especially as there was nothing in the avowed principles of the Jewish worship to which they could be applied. The ineffable name also, which, according to the Massorethic punctuation, is pronounced Jehovah, was anciently pronounced Jaho, Ιαω, or Ιευω, [11] which was a title of Bacchus, the nocturnal sun; [12] as was also Sabazius, or Sabadius, [13] which is the same word as Sabbaoth, one of the scriptural titles of the true God, only adapted to the pronunciation of a more polished language. The Latin name for the Supreme God belongs also to the same root; Ιυ-πατηρ, Jupiter, signifying Father Ιευ, though written after the ancient manner, without the dipthong, which was not in use for many ages after the Greek colonies settled in Latium, and introduced the Arcadian alphabet. We find St. Paul likewise acknowledging, that the Jupiter of the poet Aratus was the God whom he adored; [14] and Clemens of Alexandria explains St. Peter's prohibition of worshipping after the manner of the Greeks, not to mean a prohibition of worshipping the same God, but merely of the corrupt mode in which he was then worshipped. [15]



1. Compare the doctrines of Philo with those taught in the Gospel of St. John, and Epistles of St. Paul.

2. Brucker, Hist. Crit. Philos. p. ii. lib. ii. c. 9. s. i.

3. Lucret. lib. v. 565, & seq.

4. Hesiod. ver. 252, μυριοι, &c., are always used as the ancient Greek poets.

5. See Homer. Odyss. ε, ver. 445, & seq. The Greeks seem to have adopted by degrees into their own ritual all the rites practised in the neighbouring countries.

6. Symmach. Ep. 10 & 61. Themist. Orat ad Imperat.

7. Odyss. ζ, ver. 207.

8. See Pope's Odyssey.

9. Tacit. Histor. lib. v.

10. The vine and goblet of Bacchus are also the usual devices upon the Jewish and Samaritan coins, which were struck under the Asmonean kings.

11. Hieron. Comm. in Psalm. viii. Dioidor. Sic. lib. i. Philo-Bybl. ap. Euseb. Prep. Evang. lib. I. c. ix.

12. Macrob. Sat. lib. I. c. xviii.

13. Macrob. Sat. lib. I. c. xviii.

14. Act. Apost. c. xvii. ver. 28.

15. Stramat. lib. v.
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