26. If any one perchance thinks that we are speaking wicked calumnies, let him take the hooks of the Thracian soothsayer,166 which you speak of as of divine antiquity; and he will find that we are neither cunningly inventing anything, nor seeking means to bring the holiness of the gods into ridicule, and doing so: for we shall bring forward the very verses which the son of Calliope uttered in Greek,167 and published abroad in his songs to the human race throughout all ages: –
“With these words she at the same time drew up her garments from the lowest hem,
And exposed to view formatas inguinibus res,
Which Baubo grasping168 with hollow hand, for
Their appearance was infantile, strikes, touches gently.
Then the goddess, fixing her orbs of august light,
Being softened, lays aside for a little the sadness of her mind;
Thereafter she takes the cup in her hand, and laughing,
Drinks off the whole draught of cyceon with gladness.”169
What say you, O wise sons of Erectheus?170 what, you citizens of Minerva?171 The mind is eager to know with what words you will defend what it is so dangerous to maintain, or what arts you have by which to give safety to personages and causes wounded so mortally. This172 is no false mistrust, nor are you assailed with lying accusations:173 the infamy of your Eleusinia is declared both by their base beginnings and by the records of ancient literature, by the very signs, in fine, which you use when questioned in receiving the sacred things, – ” I have fasted, and drunk the draught;174 I have taken out of the mystic cist,175 and put into the wicker-basket; I have received again, and transferred to the little chest.”176
27. Are then your deities carried off by force, and do they seize by violence, as their holy and hidden mysteries relate? do they enter into marriages sought stealthily and by fraud?177 is their honour snatched from virgins178 resisting and unwilling? have they no knowledge of impending injury, no acquaintance with what has happened to those carried off by force? Are they, when lost, sought for as men are? and do they traverse the earth’s vast extent with lamps and torches when the sun is shining most brightly? Are they afflicted? are they troubled? do they assume the squalid garments of mourners, and the signs of misery? and that they may be able to turn their mind to victuals and the taking of food, is use made not of reason, not of the right time, not of some weighty words or pressing courtesy, but is a display made of the shameful and indecent parts of the body? and are those members exposed which the shame felt by all, and the natural law of modesty, bid us conceal, which it is not permissible to name among pure ears without permission, and saying, “by your leave?”179 What, I ask you, was there in such a sight,180 what in the privy parts of Baubo, to move to wonder and laughter a goddess of the same sex, and formed with similar parts? what was there such that, when presented to the divine eyes181 and sight, it should at the same time enable her to forget her miseries, and bring her with sudden cheerfulness to a happier state of mind? Oh, what have we had it in our power to bring forward with scoffing and jeering, were it not for respect for the reader,182 and the dignity of literature!
28. I confess that I have long been hesitating, looking on every side, shuffling, doubling Tellene perplexities;183 while I am ashamed to mention those Alimontian184 mysteries in which Greece erects phalli in honour of father Bacchus, and the whole district is covered with images of men’s fascina. The meaning of this is obscure perhaps, and it is asked why it is done. Whoever is ignorant of this, let him learn, and, wondering at what is so important, ever keep it with reverent care in a pure heart.185 While Liber, born at Nysa,186 and son of Semele, was still among men, the story goes, he wished to become acquainted with the shades below, and to inquire into what went on in Tartarus; but this wish was hindered by some difficulties, because, from ignorance of the route, he did not know by what way to go and proceed. One Prosumnus starts up, a base lover of the god, and a fellow too prone to wicked lusts, who promises to point out the gate of Dis, and the approaches to Acheton, if the god will gratify him, and suffer uxorias voluptates ex se carpi. The god, without reluctance, swears to put himself187 in his power and at his disposal, but only immediately on his return from the lower regions, having obtained his wish and desire.188 Prostmmus politely tells him the way, and sets him on the very threshold of the lower regions. In the meantime, while Liber is inspecting189 and examining carefully Styx, Cerberus, the Furies, and all other things, the informer passed from the number of the living, and was buried according to the manner of men. Evius190 comes up from the lower regions, and learns that his guide is dead. But that he might fulfil his promise, and free himself from the obligation of his oath, he goes to the place of the funeral, and – “ficorum ex arbore ramum validissimum praesecans dolat, runcinat, levigat et humani speciem fabricatur in penis, figit super aggerem tumuli, et postica ex parte nudatus accedit, subsidit, insidit. Lascivia deinde surientis assumptâ, huc atque illuc clunes torquet et meditatur ab ligno pati quod jamdudum in veritate promiserat.”
29. Now, to prevent any one from thinking that we have devised what is so impious, we do not call upon him to believe Heraclitus as a witness, nor to receive from his account what he felt about such mysteries. Let him191 ask the whole of Greece what is the meaning of these phalli which ancient custom erects and worships throughout the country, throughout the towns: he will find that the causes are those which we say; or if they are ashamed to declare the truth honestly, of what avail will it be to obscure, to conceal the cause and origin of the rite, while192 the accusation holds good against the very act of worship? What say you, O peoples? what, ye nations busied with the services of the temples, and given up to them? Is it to these rites you drive us by flames, banishment, slaughter, and any other kind of punishments, and by fear of cruel torture? Are these the gods whom you bring to us, whom you thrust and impose upon us, like whom you would neither wish yourselves to be, nor any one related to you by blood and friendship?193 Can you declare to your beardless sons, still wearing the dress of boys, the agreements which Liber formed with his lovers? Can you urge your daughters-in-law, nay, even your own wives, to show the modesty of Baubo, and enjoy the chaste pleasures of Ceres? Do you wish your young men to know, hear, and learn what even Jupiter showed himself to more matrons than one? Would you wish your grown-up maidens and still lusty fathers to learn how the same deity sported with his daughter? Do you wish full brothers, already hot with passion, and sisters sprung from the same parents, to hear that he again did not spurn the embraces, the couch of his sister? Should we not then flee far from such gods; and should not our ears be stopped altogether, that the filthiness of so pure a religion may not creep into the mind? For what man is there who has been reared with morals so pure, that the example of the gods does not excite him to similar madness? or who can keep back his desires from his kinsfolk, and those of whom he should stand in awe, when he sees that among the gods above nothing is held sacred in the confusion caused by194 their lusts? For when it is certain that the first and perfect nature has not been able to restrain its passion within right limits, why should not man give himself up to his desires without distinction, being both borne on headlong by his innate frailty, and aided by the teaching of the holy deities?195
30. I confess that, in reflecting on such monstrous stories in my own mind, I have long been accustomed to wonder that you dare to speak of those as atheists,196 impious, sacrilegious, who either deny that there are any gods at all, or doubt their existence, or assert that they were men, and have been numbered among the gods for the sake of some power and good desert; since, if a true examination be made, it is fitting that none should be called by such names, more than yourselves, who, under the pretence of showing them reverence, heap up in so doing197 more abuse and accusation, than if you had conceived the idea of doing this openly with avowed abuse. He who doubts the existence of the gods, or denies it altogether, although he may seem to adopt monstrous opinions from the audacity of his conjectures, yet refuses to credit what is obscure without insulting any one; and he who asserts that they were mortals, although he brings them down from the exalted place of inhabitants of heaven, yet heaps upon them other198 honours, since he supposes that they have been raised to the rank of the gods199 for their services, and from admiration of their virtues.
31. But you who assert that you are the defenders and propagators of their immortality, have you passed by, have you left untouched, any one of them, without assailing him200 with your abuse? or is there any kind of insult so damnable in the eyes of all, that you have been afraid to use it upon them, even though hindered201 by the dignity of their name? Who declared that the gods loved frail and mortal bodies? was it not you? Who that they perpetrated those most charming thefts on the couches of others? was it not you? Who that children had intercourse with their mothers; and on the other hand, fathers with their virgin daughters? was it not you? Who that pretty boys, and even grown-up men of very fine appearance, were wrongfully lusted after? was it not you? Who declared that they202 were mutilated, debauched,203 skilled in dissimulation, thieves, held in bonds and chains, finally assailed with thunderbolts, and wounded, that they died, and even found graves on earth? was it not you? While, then, so many and grievous charges have been raised by you to the injury of the gods, do you dare to assert that the gods have been displeased because of us, while it has long been clear that you are the guilty causes of such anger, and the occasion of the divine wrath?
32. But you err, says my opponent, and are mistaken, and show, even in criticising these things, that you are rather ignorant, unlearned, and boorish. For all those stories which seem to you disgraceful, and tending to the discredit of the gods, contain in them holy mysteries, theories wonderful and profound, and not such as any one can easily become acquainted with by force of understanding. For that is not meant and said which has been written and placed on the surface of the story; but all these things are understood in allegorical senses, and by means of secret explanations privately supplied.204 Therefore he who says205 Jupiter lay with his mother, does not mean the incestuous or shameful embraces of Venus, but names Jupiter instead of rain, and Ceres instead of the earth. And he, again, who says that he206 dealt lasciviously with his daughter, speaks of no filthy pleasures, but puts Jupiter for the name of a shower, and by his daughter means207 the crop sown. So, too, he who says that Proserpina was carried off by father Dis, does not say, as you suppose,208 that the maiden was carried off to gratify the basest desires; but because we cover the seed with clods, he signifies that the goddess has sunk under the earth, and unites with Orcus to bring forth fruit. In like manner in the other stories also one thing indeed is said, but something else is understood; and under a commonplace openness of expression there lurks a secret doctrine, and a dark profundity of mystery.
33. These are all quirks, as is evident, and quibbles with which they are wont to bolster up weak cases before a jury; nay, rather, to speak more truly, they are pretences, such as are used in209 sophistical reasonings, by which not the truth is sought after, but always the image, and appearance, and shadow of the truth. For because it is shameful and unbecoming to receive as true the correct accounts, you have had recourse210 to this expedient, that one thing should be substituted for another, and that what was in itself shameful should, in being explained, be forced into the semblance of decency. But what is it to us whether other senses and other meanings underlie these vain stories? For we who assert that the gods are treated by you wickedly and impiously, need only211 receive what is written, what is said,212 and need not care as to what is kept secret, since the insult to the deities consists not in the idea hidden in its meanings,213 but in what is signified by the words as they stand out. And yet, that we may not seem unwilling to examine what you say, we ask this first of you, if only you will bear with us, from whom have you learned, or by whom has it been made known, either that these things were written allegorically, or that they should be understood in the same way? Did the writers summon you to take counsel with them? or did you lie hid in their bosoms at the time214 when they put one thing for another, without regard to truth? Then, if they chose, from religions awe215 and fear on any account, to wrap those mysteries in dark obscurity, what audacity it shows in you to wish to understand what they did not wish, to know yourselves and make all acquainted with that which they vainly attempted to conceal by words which did not suggest the truth!
34. But, agreeing with you that in all these stories stags are spoken of instead of Iphigenias, yet, how are you sure, when you either explain or unfold these allegories, that you give the same explanations or have the same ideas which were entertained by the writers themselves in the silence of their thoughts, but expressed by words not adapted216 to what was meant, but to something else? You say that the falling of rain into the bosom of the earth was spoken of as the union of Jupiter and Ceres; another may both devise with greater subtlety, and conjecture with some probability, something else; a third, a fourth may do the same; and as the characteristics of the minds of the thinkers show themselves, so each thing may be explained in an infinite number of ways. For since all that allegory, as it is called, is taken from narratives expressly made obscure,217 and has no certain limit within which the meaning of the story,218 as it is called, should be firmly fixed and unchangeable, it is open to every one to put the meaning into it which he pleases, and to assert that that has been adopted219 to which his thoughts and surmises220 led him. But this being the case, how can you obtain certainty from what is doubtful, and attach one sense only to an expression which you see to be explained in innumerable different ways?221
35. Finally, if you think it right, returning to our inquiry, we ask this of you, whether you think that all stories about the gods,222 that is, without any exception,223 have been written throughout with a double meaning and sense, and in a way224 admitting of several interpretations; or that some parts of them are not ambiguous at all, while, on the contrary, others have many meanings, and are enveloped in the veil of allegory which has been thrown round them? For if the whole structure and arrangement of the narrative have been surrounded with a veil of allegory from beginning to end, explain to us, tell us, what we should put and substitute for each thing which every story says, and to what other things and meanings we should refer225 each. For as, to take an example, you wish Jupiter to be said instead of the rain, Ceres for the earth, and for Libera226 and father Dis the sinking and casting of seed into the earth, so you ought to say what we should understand for the bull, what for the wrath and anger of Ceres; what the word Brimo227 means; what the anxious prayer of Jupiter what the gods sent to make intercession for him, but not listened to; what the castrated ram; what the parts228 of the castrated ram; what the satisfaction made with these; what the further dealings with his daughter, still more unseemly in their lustfulness; so, in the other story also, what the grove and flowers of Henna are; what the fire taken from Aetna, and the torches lit with it; what the travelling through the world with these; what the Attic country, the canton of Eleusin, the hut of Baubo, and her rustic hospitality; what the drought of cyceon229 means, the refusal of it, the shaving and disclosure of the privy parts, the shameful charm of the sight, and the forgetfulness of her bereavement produced by such means. Now, if you point out what should be put in the place of all these, changing the one for the other,230 we shall admit your assertion; but if you can neither present another supposition in each case, nor appeal to231 the context as a whole, why do you make that obscure,232 by means of fair-seeming allegories, which has been spoken plainly, and disclosed to the understanding of all?
36. But you will perhaps say that these allegories are not found in the whole body of the story, but that some parts are written so as to be understood by all, while others have a double meaning, and are veiled in ambiguity. That is refined subtlety, and can be seen through by the dullest. For because it is very difficult for you to transpose, reverse, and divert to other meanings all that has been said, you choose out some things which suit your purpose, and by means of these you strive to maintain that false and spurious versions were thrown about the truth which is under them.233 But yet, supposing that we should grant to you that it is just as you say, how do you know, or whence do you learn, which part of the story is written without any double meaning,234 which, on the other hand, has been covered with jarring and alien senses? For it may be that what you believe to be so235 is otherwise, that what you believe to be otherwise236 has been produced with different, and even opposite modes of expression. For where, in a consistent whole, one part is said to be written allegorically, the other in plain and trustworthy language, while there is no sign in the thing itself to point out the difference between what is said ambiguously and what is said simply, that which is simple may as well be thought to have a double meaning, as what has been written ambiguously be believed to be wrapt in obscurity.237 But, indeed, we confess that we do not understand at all by whom this238 is either done, or can be believed to be possible.
37. Let us examine, then, what is said in this way. In the grove of Henna, my opponent says, the maiden Proserpine was once gathering flowers: this is as yet uncorrupted, and has been told in a straightforward manner, for all know without any doubt what a grove and flowers are, what Proserpine is, and a maiden. Summanus sprung forth from the earth, borne along in a four-horse chariot: this, too, is just as simple, for a team of four horses, a chariot, and Summanus need no interpreter. Suddenly he carried off Proserpine, and bore her with himself under the earth: the burying of the seed, my opponent says, is meant by the rape of Proserpine. What has happened, pray, that the story should be suddenly turned to something else? that Proserpine should be called the seed? that she who was for a long time held to be a maiden gathering flowers, after that she was taken away and carried off by violence, should begin to signify the seed sown? Jupiter, my opponent says, having turned himself into a bull, longed to have intercourse with his mother Ceres: as was explained before, under these names the earth and falling rain are spoken of I see the law of allegory expressed in the dark and ambiguous terms. Ceres was enraged and angry, and received the parts239 of a ram as the penalty demanded by240 vengeance: this again I see to be expressed in common language, for both anger and (testes and) satisfaction are spoken of in their usual circumstances.241 What, then, happened here, – that from Jupiter, who was named for the rain, and Ceres, who was named for the earth, the story passed to the true Jove, and to a most straightforward account of events?
38. Either, then, they must all have been written and put forward allegorically, and the whole should be pointed out to us; or nothing has been so written, since what is supposed to be allegorical does not seem as if it were part of the narrative.242 These are all written allegorically, you say. This seems by no means certain. Do you ask for what reason, for what cause? Because, I answer, all that has taken place and has been set down distinctly in any book cannot be turned into an allegory, for neither can that be undone which has been done, nor can the character of an event change into one which is utterly different. Can the Trojan war be turned into the condemnation of Socrates? or the battle of Cannae become the cruel proscription of Sulla? A proscription may indeed, as Tullius says243 in jest, be spoken of as a battle, and be called that of Cannae; but what has already taken place, cannot be at the same time a battle and a proscription; for neither, as I have said, can that which has taken place be anything else than what has taken place; nor can that pass over into a substance foreign to it which has been fixed down firmly in its own nature and peculiar condition.
39. Whence, then, do we prove that all these narratives are records of events? From the solemn rites and mysteries of initiation, it is clear, whether those which are celebrated at fixed times and on set days, or those which are taught secretly by the heathen without allowing the observance of their usages to be interrupted. For it is not to be believed that these have no origin, are practised without reason or meaning, and have no causes connected with their first beginnings. That pine which is regularly born into the sanctuary of the Great Mother,244 is it not in imitation of that tree beneath which Attis mutilated and unmanned himself, which also, they relate, the goddess consecrated to relieve her grief? That erecting of phalli and fascina, which Greece worships and celebrates in rites every year, does it not recall the deed by which Liber245 paid his debt? Of what do those Eleusinian mysteries and secret rites contain a narrative? Is it not of that wandering in which Ceres, worn out in seeking for her daughter, when she came to the confines of Attica, brought wheat with her, graced with a hind’s skin the family of the Nebridae246 and laughed at that most wonderful sight in Baubo’s groins? Or if there is another cause, that is nothing to us, so long as they are all produced by some cause. For it is not credible that these things were set on foot without being preceded by any causes, or the inhabitants of Attica must be considered mad to have received247 a religious ceremony got up without any reason. But if this is clear and certain, that is, if the causes and origins of the mysteries are traceable to past events, by no change can they be turned into the figures of allegory; for that which has been done, which has taken place, cannot, in the nature of things, be undone.248
40. And yet, even if we grant you that this is the case, that is, even if the narratives give utterance to one thing in words, but mean249 something else, after the manner of raving seers, do you not observe in this case, do you not see how dishonouring, how insulting to the gods, this is which is said to be done?250 or can any greater wrong be devised than to term and call the earth and rain, or anything else, – for it does not matter what change is made in the interpretation, – the intercourse of Jupiter and Ceres? and to signify the descent of rain from the sky, and the moistening of the earth, by charges against the gods? Can anything be either thought or believed more impious than that the rape of Proserpine speaks of seeds buried in the earth, or anything else, – for in like manner it is of no importance, – and that it speaks of the pursuit of agriculture to251 the dishonour of father Dis? Is it not a thousand times more desirable to become mute and speechless, and to lose that flow of words and noisy and252 unseemly loquacity, than to call the basest things by the names of the gods; nay, more, to signify commonplace things by the base actions of the gods?
41. It was once usual, in speaking allegorically, to conceal under perfectly decent ideas, and clothe253 with the respectability of decency, what was base and horrible to speak of openly; but now venerable things are at your instance; vilely spoken of, and what is quite pure254 is related255 in filthy language, so that that which vice256 formerly concealed from shame, is now meanly and basely spoken of, the mode of speech which was fitting257 being changed. In speaking of Mars and Venus as having been taken in adultery by Vulcan’s art, we speak of lust, says my opponent, and anger, as restrained by the force and purpose of reason. What, then, hindered, what prevented you from expressing each thing by the words and terms proper to it? nay, more, what necessity was there, when you had resolved258 to declare something or other, by means of treatises and writings, to resolve that that should not be the meaning to which you point, and in one narrative to take up at the same time opposite positions – the eagerness of one wishing to teach, the niggardliness of one reluctant to make public?259 Was there no risk in speaking of the gods as unchaste? The mention of lust and anger, my opponent says, was likely to defile the tongue and mouth with foul contagion.260 But, assuredly, if this were done,261 and the veil of allegorical obscurity were removed, the matter would be easily understood, and by the same the dignity of the gods would be maintained unimpaired. But now, indeed, when the restraining of vices is said to be signified by the binding of Mars and Venus, two most inconsistent262 things are done at the very same time; so that, on the one hand, a description of something vile suggests an honourable meaning, and on the other, the baseness occupies the mind before any regard for religion can do so.
42. But you will perhaps say, for this only is left which you may think263 can be brought forward by you, that the gods do not wish their mysteries to be known by men, and that the narratives were therefore written with allegorical ambiguity. And whence have you learned264 that the gods above do not wish their mysteries to be made public? whence have you become acquainted with these? or why are you anxious to unravel them by explaining them as allegories? Lastly, and finally, what do the gods mean, that while they do not wish honourable, they allow unseemly, even the basest things, to be said about them? When we name Attis, says my opponent, we mean and speak of the sun; but if Attis is the sun, as you reckon him and say, who will that Attis be whom your books record and declare to have been born in Phrygia, to have suffered certain things, to have done certain things also, whom all the theatres know in the scenic shows, to whom every year we see divine honours paid expressly by name amongst the other religious ceremonies? Whether was this name made to pass from the sun to a man, or from a man to the sun? For if that name is derived in the first instance from the sun, what, pray, has the golden sun done to you, that you should make that name to belong to him in common with an emasculated person? But if it is derived from a goat, and is Phrygian, of what has the sire of Phaethon, the father of this light and brightness, been guilty, that he should seem worthy to be named from a mutilated man, and should become more venerable when designated by the name of an emasculated body?
43. But what the meaning of this is, is already clear to all. For because you are ashamed of such writers and histories, and do not see that these things can be got rid of which have once been committed to writing in filthy language, you strive to make base things honourable, and by every kind of subtlety you pervert and corrupt the real senses265 of words for the sake of spurious interpretations;266 and, as ofttimes happens to the sick, whose senses and understanding have been put to flight by the distempered force of disease, you toss about confused and uncertain conjectures, and rave in empty fictions.
Let it be granted that the irrigation of the earth was meant by the union of Jupiter and Ceres, the burying of the seed267 by the ravishing of Proserpine by father Dis, wines scattered over the earth by the limbs of Liber torn asunder by the Titans, that the restraining268 of lust and rashness has been spoken of as the binding of the adulterous Venus and Mars.
44. But if you come to the conclusion that these fables have been written allegorically, what is to be done with the rest, which we see cannot be forced into such changes of sense? For what are we to substitute for the wrigglings269 into which the lustful heat270 of Semele’s offspring forced him upon the sepulchral mound? and what for those Ganymedes who were carried off271 and set to preside over lustful practices? what for that conversion of an ant into which Jupiter, the greatest of the gods, contracted the outlines of his huge body?272 what for swans and satyrs? what for golden showers, which the same seductive god put on with perfidious guile, amusing himself by changes of form? And, that we may not seem to speak of Jupiter only, what allegories can there be in the loves of the other deities? what in their circumstances as hired servants and slaves? what in their bonds, bereavements, lamentations? what in their agonies, wounds, sepulchres? Now, while in this you might be held guilty in one respect for writing in such wise about the gods, you have added to your guilt beyond measure273 in calling base things by the names of deities, and again in defaming the gods by giving to them the names of infamous things. But if you believed without any doubt274 that they were here close at hand, or anywhere at all, fear would check you in making mention of them, and your beliefs and unchanged thoughts should have been exactly275 as if they were listening to you and heard your words. For among men devoted to the services of religion, not only the gods themselves, but even the names of the gods should be reverenced, and there should be quite as much grandeur in their names as there is in those even who are thought of under these names.
45. Judge fairly, and you are deserving of censure in this,276 that in your Common conversation you name Mars when you mean277 fighting, Neptune when you mean the seas, Ceres when you mean bread, Minerva when you mean weaving,278 Venus when you mean filthy lusts. For what reason is there, that, when things can be classed under their own names, they should be called by the names of the gods. and that such an insult should be offered to the deities as not even we men endure, if any one applies and turns our names to trifling objects? But language, you say, is contemptible, if defiled with such words.279 O modesty,280 worthy of praise! you blush to name bread and wine, and are not afraid to speak of Venus instead of carnal intercourse!
166 Orpheus, under whose name there was current in the time of Arnobius an immense mass of literature freely used, and it is probable sometimes supplemented, by Christian writers. Cf. c. 19.
167 Lit., “put forth with Greek mouth.”
168 Lit., “tossing.”
169 It may be well to observe that Arnobius differs from the Greek versions of these lines found in Clem. Alex. (vol. 2. p. 177) and Eusebius (Praepar. Evang., ii. 3), omitting all mention of Iacchus, who is made very prominent by them; and that he does not adhere strictly to metrical rules, probably, as Heraldus pointed out, because, like the poets of that age, he paid little heed to questions of quantity. Whether Arnobius has merely paraphrased the original as found in Clement and Eusebius, or had a different version of them before them, is a question which can only be discussed by means of a careful comparison between the Greek and Latin forms of the verses with the context in both cases.
170 So LB., Hild., and Oehler, reading Erechthidae O (inserted by Hild.) for the MS erithideo.
171 i.e., Athenians.
172 The MS, 1st ed., Hild., and Oehler read ita – “It is thus not,” etc.; the others as above, ista.
173 Delatione calumniosa. [Conf. vol. 2. p. 175, beginning with “These I would instance”.]
174 Cyceon. [P. 499, c. 25, supra, and 503, c. 35, infra.]
175 The MS reads exci-ta, corrected as above, ex cista, in the margin of Ursinus.
176 [It is a pity that all this must be retailed anew after Clement, vol. 2. pp. 175, 177, notes.]
177 Lit., “by stealthy frauds.”
178 Lit., “is the honour of virginity snatched from them?”
179 Sine veniâ ac sine honoribus praefatis.
180 So Stewechius, LB., and Orelli, reading spec-t-u in t-ali for the MS in specu ali.
181 Lit., “light.” [Note Clement, vol. 2. p. 175, line beginning “I publish without reserve”.]
182 So the MS, Hild., and Oehler, reading noscentis.
183 This allusion is somewhat obscure. Heraldus regards tricas Tellenas as akin in sense to t. Atellanas, i.e., “comic trifles;” in which case the sense would be, that Arnobius had been heaping up any trifles which would keep him back from the disagreeable subject. Ausonius Popma (quoted by Orelli) explains the phrase with reference to the capture of Tellenae by Ancus Martius as meaning “something hard to get through.”
184 The MS reads alimoniae, corrected from Clem. Alex. by Salmasius, Alimontia, i.e., celebrated at Halimus in Attica.
185 Lit., “in pure senses.” [Ironically said.]
186 Cicero (de Nat. Deor., iii. 23) speaks of five Dionysi, the father of the fifth being Nisus. Arnobius had this passage before him in writing the fourth book (cf. c. 15, and n. 78), so that he may here mean to speak of Liber similarly.
187 Lit., “that he will be.”
188 So the MS, acc. to Hild., reading expe-titionis; acc. to Crusius, the MS gives -ditionis – “(having accomplished) his expedition.”
189 Lit., “is surveying with all careful examination.”
190 MS cuius. [Retailed from Clement, vol. 2. p. 180. As to the arguments the Fathers were compelled to use with heathen, see note 87, same volume, p. 206.]
191 i.e., the sceptic.
192 Cum wanting in the MS.
193 Lit., “by right of friendship.”
194 Lit., “of.”
195 Lit., “of holy divinity.” Orelli thinks, and with reason, that Arnobius refers to the words which Terence puts into the mouth of Chaerea (Eun., iii. 5, vv. 36-43), who encourages himself to give way to lust by asking, “Shall I, a man, not do this?” when Jove had done as much. [Elucidation III.]
196 Lit., “to speak of any one as an atheist … of those who,” etc.
197 So the MS and edd., reading in eo, for which we should perhaps read in eos – “heap upon them.”
198 Subsicivis laudibus.
199 Lit., “to the reward (meritum) of divinity.”
200 Lit., “unwounded.”
201 So the edd., reading tardati for the MS tradatis, except Hild., who reads tardatis.
202 i.e., the gods.
203 Exoletos. Cf. iv. c. 35, note 175, p. 487, supra.
204 Subditivis secretis.
205 Both Roman edd. and MS read dicet – “shall say;” all others as above – dicit.
206 i.e., Jupiter.
207 Lit., “in the signification of his daughter.”
208 So the margin of Ursinus – ut reris for the MS ut ce-reris.
209 Lit., “colours of.”
210 The MS and both Roman edd. read indecorum est, which leaves the sentence incomplete. LB., followed by later edd., proposed decursum est, as above (Oehler, inde d. – “from these recourse has been had”), the other conjectures tending to the same meaning.
211 “We need only;” lit., “it is enough for us to.”
212 Lit., “heard.”
213 Lit., “in the obscure mind of senses.”
214 “Or at the time,” aut tum, the correction of LB. for the MS sutum.
215 Lit., “fear of any reason and of religion.”
216 Lit., “proper.”
217 Lit., “from shut-up things.”
219 Lit., “placed.”
220 Lit., “his suspicion and conjectural (perhaps “probable”) inference.”
221 Lit., “to be deduced with variety of expositions through numberless ways.”
222 The MS, first four edd., and Hild. read de his – “about these,” corrected in the others dîs or diis, as above.
223 Lit., “each.”
225 Lit., “call.”
226 i.e., Proserpine. The readiness with which Arnobius breaks the form of the sentence should be noted. At first the gods represent physical phenomena, but immediately after natural events are put for the gods. In the MS two copyists have been at work, the earlier giving Libero, which is rather out of place, and is accordingly corrected by the later, Libera, followed by LB., Oberthür, Orelli, Hild., and Oehler.
227 The MS reads primo. Cf. c. 20.
229 [κυκεὼν, a draught resembling caudle. See p. 499, note 159.]
230 Lit., “by change of things.”
231 The MS omits ad, supplied by Ursinus.
232 So all edd., except Hild. and Oehler, reading obscur-atis for the MS -itatibus.
233 Lit., “were placed above the interior truth.”
234 Lit., “with simple senses.”
235 i.e., involved in obscurity.
236 i.e., free from ambiguity.
237 Lit., “of shut-off obscurities.”
238 The reference is to the words in the middle of the chapter, “how do you know which part is simple?” etc.; Arnobius now saying that he does not see how this can be known.
240 Lit., “for penalty and.”
241 Lit., “in their customs and conditions.”
242 i.e., if historical, the whole must be so, as bits of allegory would not fit in.
243 Cicero, pro Rosc. Am., c. 32.
244 The MS and edd. read matris deae – “of the mother goddess;” for which Meursius proposed deûm – “mother of the gods,” the usual form of the title. Cf. cc. 7 and 16. [See Elucidation V.; also note the reference to St. Augustine.]
245 The name is wanting in the MS. Cf. c. 28.
246 No Attic family of this name is mentioned anywhere; but in Cos the Nebridae were famous as descendants of Aesculapius through Nebros. In Attica, on the other hand, the initiated were robed in fawn-skins (νεβρίδες), and were on this account spoken of as νεβρ-ζοντες. Salmasius has therefore suggested (ad Solinum, p. 864, E) that Arnobius, or the author on whom he relied, transferred the family to Attica on account of the similarity of sound.
247 Lit., “who have attached to themselves.”
248 Arnobius would seem to have been partial to this phrase, which occurs in the middle of c. 38.
249 Lit., “say.”
250 Lit., “with what shame and insult of the gods this is said to be done.”
251 Lit., “with.”
252 Lit., “din of.”
254 Lit., “strong in chastity.”
255 The MS, first three edd., Elm., Oehler read commorantur – “lingers,” i.e., “continues to be spoken of;” the other edd. receive commemorantur, as above, from the errata in the 1st ed.
256 The MS, first four edd., and Oehler read gravitas – seriousness; corrected pr. as above, in all edd. after Stewechius.
257 So, perhaps, the unintelligible MS dignorum should be emended digna rerum.
258 So all edd. since Stewechius, adding s to the MS voluisse.
259 i.e., the mere fact that the stories were published, showed a wish to teach; but their being allegories, showed a reluctance to allow them to be understood.
260 The edd. read this sentence interrogatively.
261 i.e., “if you said exactly what you mean.” The reference is not to the immediately preceding words, but to the question on which the chapter is based – “what prevented you from expressing,” etc.
262 Lit., “perverse.”
264 Lit., “is it clear to you.”
265 Lit., “natures.”
266 Lit., “things.”
267 So most edd. reading occultatio for the MS occupatio.
268 So all edd., reading com-, except Hild. and Oehler, who retain that MS reading, im-pressio – “the assault of,” i.e., “on.”
269 Lit., “waves” – fluctibus, the reading of the MS, LB., Hild., and Oehler; the other edd. reading fustibus – “stakes.”
270 So Meursius, changing the MS o- into u-rigo.
271 The first four edd. retain the MS, reading partis – “brought forth;” the others adopt a suggestion of Canterus, raptis, as above.
272 Lit., “vastness.”
273 Addere garo gerrem, a proverb ridiculing a worthless addition, which nullifies something in itself precious, garum being a highly esteemed sauce (or perhaps soup), which would be thrown away upon gerres, a worthless kind of salt fish. Arnobius merely means, however, that while such stories are wrong, what follows is unspeakably worse.
274 Lit., “with undubitable knowledge.”
275 Lit., “it ought to have been so believed, and to be held fixed in thought just,” etc.
276 Lit., “are in this part of censure.”
277 Lit., “for.”
278 Lit., “the warp,” stamine.
279 i.e., if things are spoken of under their proper names.
280 The MS reads ac unintelligibly.