The Seven Books of Arnobius Against the Heathen. (Cont.)Book V.

Arnobius (Cont.)

1. Admitting that all these things which do the immortal gods dishonour, have been put forth by poets merely in sport, what of those found in grave, serious, and careful histories, and handed down by you in hidden mysteries? have they been invented by the licentious fancy of the poets? Now if they seemed1 to you stories of such absurdity, some of them you would neither retain in their constant use, nor celebrate as solemn festivals from year to year, nor would you maintain them among your sacred rites as shadows of real events. With strict moderation, I shall adduce only one of these stories which are so numerous; that in which Jupiter himself is brought on the stage as stupid and inconsiderate, being tricked by the ambiguity of words. In the second hook of Antias – lest any one should think, perchance, that we are fabricating charges calumniously – the following story is written: – 


The famous king Numa, not knowing how to avert evil portended by thunder, and being eager to learn, by advice of Egeria concealed beside a fountain twelve chaste youths provided with chains; so that when Faunus and Martius2 Picus came to this place3 to drink, – for hither they were wont to come4 to draw water, – they might rush on them, seize and bind them. But, that this might be done more speedily, the king filled many5 cups with wine and with mead,6 and placed them about the approaches to the fountain, where they would be seen – a crafty snare for those who should come. They, as was their usual custom, when overcome by thirst, came to their well-known haunts. But when they had perceived cups with sweetly smelling liquors, they preferred the new to the old; rushed eagerly upon them; charmed with the sweetness of the draught, drank too much; and becoming drunk, fell fast asleep. Then the twelve youths threw themselves upon the sleepers, and cast chains round them, lying soaked with wine; and they,7 when roused, immediately taught the king by what methods and sacrifices Jupiter could be called down to earth. With this knowledge the king performed the sacred ceremony on the Aventine, drew down Jupiter to the earth, and asked from him the due Form of expiation. Jupiter having long hesitated, said, “Thou shalt avert what is portended by thunder with a head.”8 The king answered. “With an onion.”9 Jupiter again, “With a man’s.” The king returned, “But with hair.”10 The deity in turn, “With the life.11 With a fish,”12 rejoined Pompilius. Then Jupiter, being ensnared by the ambiguous terms used, uttered these words: “Thou hast overreached me, Numa; for I had determined that evils portended by thunder should be averted with sacrifices of human heads, not13 with hair and an onion. Since, however, your craft has outwitted me, have the mode which you wished; and always undertake the expiation of thunder-portents with those things which you have bargained for.”


2. What the mind should take up first, what last, or what it should pass by silently, it is not easy to say, nor is it made clear by any amount of reflection; for all have been so devised and fitted to be laughed at, that you should strive that they may be believed to be false – even if they are true – rather than pass current as true, and suggest as it were something extraordinary, and bring contempt upon deity itself. What, then, do you say, O you – ? Are we to believe14 that that Faunus and Martius Picus – if they are of the number of the gods, and of that everlasting and immortal substance – were once parched with thirst, and sought the gushing fountains, that they might be able to cool with water their heated veins? Are we to believe that, ensnared by wine, and beguiled by the sweetness of mead, they dipped so long into the treacherous cups, that they even got into danger of becoming drunk? Are we to believe that, being fast asleep, and plunged in the forgetfulness of most profound slumbers, they gave to creatures of earth an opportunity to bind them? On what parts, then, were those bonds and chains flung? Did they have any solid substance, or had their hands been formed of hard bones, so that it might be possible to bind them with halters and hold them fast by tightly drawn knots? For I do not ask, I do not inquire whether they could have said anything when swaying to and fro in their drunken maunderings; or whether, while Jupiter was unwilling, or rather unwitting, any one could have made known the way to bring him down to earth. This only do I wish to hear, why, if Faunus and Picus are of divine origin and power, they did not rather themselves declare to Numa, as he questioned them, that which he desired to learn from Jove himself at a greater risk? Or15 did Jupiter alone have knowledge of this – for from him the thunderbolts fall – how training in some kind of knowledge should avert impending dangers? Or, while he himself hurls these fiery bolts, is it the business of others to know in what way it is fitting to allay his wrath and indignation? For truly it would be most absurd to suppose that he himself appoints16 the means by which may be averted that which he has determined should befall men through the hurling of his thunderbolts. For this is to say, By such ceremonies you will turn aside my wrath; and if I shall at any time have foreshown by flashes of lightning that some evil is close at hand, do this and that, so that17 what I have determined should be done may be done altogether in vain, and may pass away idly through the force18 of these rites.


3. But let us admit that, as is said, Jupiter has himself appointed against himself ways and means by which his own declared purposes might fittingly be opposed: are we also to believe that a deity of so great majesty was dragged down to earth, and, standing on a petty hillock with a mannikin, entered into a wrangling dispute? And what, I ask, was the charm which forced Jupiter to leave the all-important19 direction of the universe, and appear at the bidding of mortals? the sacrificial meal, incense, blood, the scent of burning laurel-boughs,20 and muttering of spells? And were all these more powerful than Jupiter, so that they compelled him to do unwillingly what was enjoined, or to give himself up of his own accord to their crafty tricks? What! will what follows be believed, that the son of Saturn had so little foresight, that he either proposed terms by the ambiguity of which he was himself ensnared, or did not know what was going to happen, how the craft and cunning of a mortal would overreach him? You shall make expiation, he says, with a head when thunderbolts have fallen. The phrase is still incomplete, and the meaning is not fully expressed and defined; for it was necessarily right to know whether Diespiter ordains that this expiation be effected with the head of a wether, a sow, an ox, or any other animal. Now, as he had not yet fixed this specifically, and his decision was still uncertain and not yet determined, how could Numa know that Jupiter would say the head of a man, so as to17 anticipate and prevent him, and turn his uncertain and ambiguous words21 into “an onion’s head?”


4. But you will perhaps say that the king was a diviner. Could he be more so than Jupiter himself? But for a mortal’s anticipating22 what Jupiter – whom23 he overreached – was going to say, could the god not know in what ways a man was preparing to overreach him? Is it not, then, clear and manifest that these are puerile and fanciful inventions, by which, while a lively wit is assigned24 to Numa, the greatest want of foresight is imputed to Jupiter? For what shows so little foresight as to confess that you have been ensnared by the subtlety of a man’s intellect, and while you are vexed at being deceived, to give way to the wishes of him who has overcome you, and to lay aside the means which you had proposed? For if there was reason and some natural fitness that25 expiatory sacrifice for that which was struck with lightning should have been made with a man’s head, I do not see why the proposal of an onion’s was made by the king; but if it could be performed with an onion also, there was a greedy lust for human blood. And both parts are made to contradict themselves: so that, on the one hand, Numa is shown not to have wished to know what he did wish; and, on the other, Jupiter is shown to have been merciless, because he said that he wished expiation to be made with the heads of men, which could have been done by Numa with an onion’s head.


5. In Timotheus, who was no mean mythologist, and also in others equally well informed, the birth of the Great Mother of the gods, and the origin of her rites, are thus detailed, being derived – as he himself writes and suggests – from learned books of antiquities, and from his acquaintance with the most secret mysteries: – Within the confines of Phrygia, he says, there is a rock of unheard-of wildness in every respect, the name of which is Agdus, so named by the natives of that district. Stones taken from it, as Themis by her oracle26 had enjoined, Deucalion and Pyrrha threw upon the earth, at that time emptied of men; from which this Great Mother, too, as she is called, was fashioned along with the others, and animated by the deity. Her, given over to rest and sleep on the very summit of the rock, Jupiter assailed with lewdest27 desires. But when, after long strife, he could no accomplish what he had proposed to himself, he, baffled, spent his lust on the stone. This the rock received, and with many groanings Acdestis28 is born in the tenth month, being named from his mother rock. In him there had been resistless might, and a fierceness of disposition beyond control, a lust made furious, and derived from both sexes.29 He violently plundered and laid waste; he scattered destruction wherever the ferocity of his disposition had led him; he regarded not gods nor men, nor did he think anything more powerful than himself; he contemned earth, heaven, and the stars.


6. Now, when it had been often considered in the councils of the gods, by what means it might be possible either to weaken or to curb his audacity, Liber, the rest hanging back, takes upon himself this task. With the strongest wine he drugs a spring much resorted to by Acdestis30 where he had been wont to assuage the heat and burning thirst31 roused in him by sport and hunting. Hither runs Acdestis to drink when he felt the need;32 he gulps down the draught too greedily into his gaping veins. Overcome by what he is quite unaccustomed to, he is in consequence sent fast asleep. Liber is near the snare which he had set; over his foot he throws one end of a halter33 formed of hairs, woven together very skilfully; with the other end he lays hold of his privy members. When the fumes of the wine passed off, Acdestis starts up furiously, and his foot dragging the noose, by his own strength he robs himself of his34 sex; with the tearing asunder of these parts there is an immense flow of blood; both35 are carried off and swallowed up by the earth; from them there suddenly springs up, covered with fruit, a pomegranate tree, seeing the beauty of which, with admiration, Nana,36 daughter of the king or river Sangarius, gathers and places in her bosom some of the fruit. By this she becomes pregnant; her father shuts her up, supposing that she had been37 debauched, and seeks to have her starved to death; she is kept alive by the mother of the gods with apples, and other food,38 and brings forth a child, but Sangarius39 orders it to be exposed. One Phorbas having found the child, takes it home,40 brings it up on goats’ milk; and as handsome fellows are so named in Lydia, or because the Phrygians in their own way of speaking call their goats attagi, it happened in consequence that the boy obtained the name Attis.41 Him the mother of the gods loved exceedingly, because he was of most surpassing beauty; and Acdestis, who was his companion, as he grew up fondling him, and bound to him by wicked compliance with his lust in the only way now possible, leading him through the wooded glades, and presenting him with the spoils of many wild beasts, which the boy Attis at first said boastfully were won by his own toil and labour. Afterwards, under the influence of wine, he admits that he is both loved by Acdestis, and honoured by him with the gifts brought from the forest; whence it is unlawful for those polluted by drinking wine to enter into his sanctuary, because it discovered his secret.42


7. Then Midas, king of Pessinus, wishing to withdraw the youth from so disgraceful an intimacy, resolves to give him his own daughter in marriage, and caused the gates of the town to be closed, that no one of evil omen might disturb their marriage joys. But the mother of the gods, knowing the fate of the youth, and that he would live among men in safety only so long as he was free from the ties of marriage, that no disaster might occur, enters the closed city, raising its walls with her head, which began to be crowned with towers in consequence. Acdestis, bursting with rage because of the boy’s being torn from himself, and brought to seek a wife, fills all the guests with frenzied madness:43 the Phrygians shriek aloud, panic-stricken at the appearance of the gods;44 a daughter of adulterous45 Gallus cuts off her breasts; Attis snatches the pipe borne by him who was goading them to frenzy; and he, too, now filled with furious passion, raving frantically and tossed about, throws himself down at last, and under a pine tree mutilates himself, saying, “Take these,46 Acdestis, for which you have stirred up so great and terribly perilous commotions.”47 With the streaming blood his life flies; but the Great Mother of the gods gathers the parts which had been cut off, and throws earth on them, having first covered them, and wrapped48 them in the garment of the dead. From the blood which had flowed springs a flower, the violet, and with49 this the tree50 is girt. Thence the custom began and arose, whereby you even now veil and wreath with flowers the sacred pine. The virgin who had been the bride, whose name, as Valerius51 the pontifex relates, was Ia, veils the breast of the lifeless youth with soft wool, sheds tears with Acdestis, and slays herself After her death her blood is changed into purple violets. The mother of the gods sheds tears also,52 from which springs an almond tree, signifying the bitterness of death.53 Then she bears away to her cave the pine tree, beneath which Attis had unmanned himself; and Acdestis joining in her wailings, she beats and wounds her breast, pacing round the trunk of the tree now at rest.54 Jupiter is begged by Acdestis that Attis may be restored to life: he does not permit it. What, however, fate allowed,55 he readily grants, that his body should not decay, that his hairs should always grow, that the least of his fingers should live, and should be kept ever in motion; content with which favours, it is said that Acdestis consecrated the body in Pessinus, and honoured it with yearly rites and priestly services.56


8. If some one, despising the deities, and furious with a savagely sacrilegious spirit, had set himself to blaspheme your gods, would he dare to say against them anything more severe than this tale relates, which you have reduced to form, as though it were some wonderful narrative, and have honoured without ceasing,57 lest the power of time and the remoteness58 of antiquity should cause it to be forgotten? For what is there asserted in it, or what written about the gods, which, if said with regard to a man brought up with bad habits and a pretty rough training, would not make you liable to be accused of wronging and insulting him, and expose you to hatred and dislike, accompanied by implacable resentment? From the stones, you say, which Deucalion and Pyrrha threw, was produced the mother of the gods. What do you say, O theologians? what, ye priests of the heavenly powers? Did the mother of the gods, then, not exist at all for the sake of the deluge? and would there be no cause or beginning of her birth, had not violent storms of rain swept away the whole race of men? It is through man, then, that she feels herself to exist, and she owes it to Pyrrha’s kindness that she sees herself addressed as a real being;59 but if that is indeed true, this too will of necessity not be false, that she was human, not divine. For if it is certain that men are sprung originally from the casting of stones, it must be believed that she too was one of us, since she was produced by means of the same causes. For it cannot be, for nature would not suffer it,60 that from one kind of stones, and from the same mode of throwing them, some should be formed to rank among the immortals, others with the condition of men. Varro, that famous Roman, distinguished by the diversity of his learning, and unwearied in his researches into ancient times, in the first of four books which he has left in writing on the race of the Roman people, shows by careful calculations, that from the time of the deluge, which we mentioned before, down to the consulship of Hirtius and Pansa,61 there are not quite two thousand years; and if he is to be believed, the Great Mother, too, must be said to have her whole life bounded by the limits of this number. And thus the matter is brought to this issue, that she who is said to be parent of all the deities is not their mother, but their daughter; nay, rather a mere child, a little girl, since we admit that in the never-ending series of ages neither beginning nor end has been ascribed to the gods.


9. But why do we speak of your having bemired the Great Mother of the gods with the filth of earth, when you have not been able for but a little time even to keep from speaking evil of Jupiter himself? While the mother of the gods was then sleeping on the highest peak of Agdus, her son, you say, tried stealthily to surprise her chastity while she slept. After robbing of their chastity virgins and matrons without number, did Jupiter hope to gratify his detestable passion upon his mother? and could he not be turned from his fierce desire by the horror which nature itself has excited not only in men, but in some other animals also, and by common62 feeling? Was he then regardless of piety63 and honour, who is chief in the temples? and could he neither reconsider nor perceive how wicked was his desire, his mind being madly agitated? But, as it is, forgetting his majesty and dignity, he crept forward to steal those vile pleasures, trembling and quaking with fear, holding his breath, walking in terror on tiptoe, and, between hope and fear, touched her secret parts, trying how soundly his mother slept, and what she would suffer.64 Oh, shameful representation! oh, disgraceful plight of Jupiter, prepared to attempt a filthy contest! Did the ruler of the world, then, turn to force, when, in his heedlessness and haste, he was prevented from stealing on by surprise;65 and when he was unable to snatch his pleasure by cunning craft, did he assail his mother with violence, and begin without any concealment to destroy the chastity which he should have revered? Then, having striven for a very long time when she is unwilling, did he go off conquered, vanquished, and overcome? and did his spent lust part him whom piety was unable to hold back from execrable lust after his mother?


10. But you will perhaps say the human race shuns and execrates such unions;66 among the gods there is no incest. And why, then, did his mother resist with the greatest vehemence her son when he offered her violence? Why did she flee from his embraces, as if she were avoiding unlawful approaches? For if there was nothing wrong in so doing, she should have gratified him without any reluctance, just as he eagerly wished to satisfy the cravings of his lust. And here, indeed, very thrifty men, and frugal even about shameful works, that that sacred seed may not seem to have been poured forth in vain – the rock, one says, drank up Jupiter’s foul incontinence. What followed next, I ask? Tell. In the very heart of the rock, and in that flinty hardness, a child was formed and quickened to be the offspring of great Jupiter. It is not easy to object to conceptions so unnatural and so wonderful. For as the human race is said by you to have sprung and proceeded from stones, it must be believed that the stones both had genital parts, and drank in the seed cast on them, and when their time was full were pregnant,67 and at last brought forth, travailing in distress as women do. That impels our curiosity to inquire, since you say that the birth occurred after ten months, in what womb of the rock was he enclosed at that time? with what food, with what juices, was he supplied? or what could he have drawn to support him from the hard stone, as unborn infants usually receive from their mothers! He had not yet reached the light, my informant says; and already bellowing and imitating his father’s thunderings, he reproduced their sound.68 And after it was given him to see the sky and the light of day, attacking all things which lay in his way, he made havoc of them, and assured himself that he was able to thrust down from heaven the gods themselves. O cautious and foreseeing mother of the gods, who, that she might not undergo the ill-will of so69 arrogant a son, or that his bellowing while still unborn might not disturb her slumbers or break her repose, withdrew herself, and sent far from her that most hurtful seed, and gave it to the rough rock.


11. There was doubt in the councils of the gods how that unyielding and fierce violence was to be subdued; and when there was no other way, they had recourse to one means, that he should be soaked with much wine, and bereft of his members, by their being cut off. As if, indeed, those who have suffered the loss of these parts become less arrogant, and as if we do not daily see those who have cut them away from themselves become more wanton, and, neglecting all the restraints of chastity and modesty, throw themselves headlong into filthy vileness, making known abroad their shameful deeds. I should like, however, to see – were it granted me to be born at those times – father Liber, who overcame the fierceness of Acdestis, having glided down from the peaks of heaven after the very venerable meetings of the gods, cropping the tails of horses,70 plaiting pliant halters, drugging the waters harmless while pure with much strong wine, and after that drunkenness sprung from drinking, to have carefully introduced his hands, handled the members of the sleeper, and directed his care skilfully71 to the parts which were to perish, so that the hold of the nooses placed round them might surround them all.


12. Would any one say this about the gods who had even a very low opinion of them? or, if they were taken up with such affairs, considerations, cares, would any man of wisdom either believe that they are gods, or reckon them among men even? Was that Acdestis, pray, the lopping off of whose lewd members was to give a sense of security to the immortals, was he one of the creatures of earth, or one of the gods, and possessed of72 immortality? For if he was thought to be of our lot and in the condition of men, why did he cause the deities so much terror? But if he was a god, how could he be deceived, or how could anything be cut off from a divine body?73 But we raise no issue on this point: he may have been of divine birth, or one of us, if you think it more correct to say so. Did a pomegranate tree, also, spring from the blood which flowed and from the parts which were cut off? or at the time when74 that member was concealed in the bosom of the earth, did it lay hold of the ground with a root, and spring up into a mighty tree, put forth branches loaded with blossoms,75 and in a moment bare mellow fruit perfectly and completely ripe? And because these sprang from red blood, is their colour therefore bright purple, with a dash of yellow? Say further that they are juicy also, that they have the taste of wine, because they spring from the blood of one filled with it, and you have finished your story consistently. O Abdera, Abdera, what occasions for mocking you would give96 to men, if such a tale had been devised by you! All fathers relate it, and haughty states peruse it; and you are considered foolish, and utterly dull and stupid.77


13. Through her bosom, we are told,78 Nana conceived a son by an apple. The opinion is self-consistent; for where rocks and hard stones bring forth, there apples must have their time of generating.79 The Berecyntian goddess fed the imprisoned maiden with nuts80 and figs, fitly and rightly; for it was right that she should live on apples who had been made a mother by an apple. After her offspring was born, it was ordered by Sangarius to be cast far away: that which he believed to be divinely conceived long before, he would not have81 called the offspring of his child. The infant was brought up on he-goats’ milk. O story ever opposed and most inimical to the male sex, in which not only do men lay aside their virile powers, but beasts even which were males become mothers!82 He was famous for his beauty, and distinguished by his remarkable83 comeliness. It is wonderful enough that the noisome stench of goats did not cause him to be avoided and fled from. The Great Mother loved him – if as a grandmother her grandson, there is nothing wrong; but if as the theatres tell, her love is infamous and disgraceful. Acdestis, too, loved him above all, enriching him with a hunter’s gifts. There could be no danger to his purity from one emasculated, you say; but it is not easy to guess what Midas dreaded? The Mother entered bearing84 the very walls. Here we wondered, indeed, at the might and strength of the deity; but again85 we blame her carelessness, because when she remembered the decree of fate,86 she heedlessly laid open the city to its enemies. Acdestis cites to fury and madness those celebrating the nuptial vows. If King Midas had displeased him who was binding the youth to a wife, of what had Gallus been guilty, and his concubine’s daughter, that he should rob himself of his manhood, she herself of her breasts? “Take and keep these,” says he,87 “because of which you have excited such commotions to the overwhelming of our minds with fear.” We should none of us yet know what the frenzied Acdestis had desired in his paramour’s body, had not the boy thrown to him, to appease his wrath,88 the parts cut off.


14. What say you, O races and nations, given up to such beliefs? When these things are brought forward, are you not ashamed and confounded to say things so indecent? We wish to hear or learn from you something befitting the gods; but you, on the contrary, bring forward to us the cutting off of breasts, the lopping off of men’s members, ragings, blood, frenzies, the self-destruction of maidens, and flowers and trees begotten from the blood of the dead. Say, again, did the mother of the gods, then, with careful diligence herself gather in her grief the scattered genitals with the shed blood?89 With her own sacred, her own divine90 hands, did she touch and lift up the instruments of a disgraceful and indecent office? Did she also commit them to the earth to be hid from sight; and lest in this case they should, being uncovered, be dispersed in the bosom of the earth, did she indeed wash and anoint them with fragrant gums before wrapping and covering them with his dress? For whence could the violet’s sweet scent have come had not the addition of those ointments modified the putrefying smell of the member? Pray, when you read such tales, do you not seem to yourselves to hear either girls at the loom wiling away their tedious working hours, or old women seeking diversions for credulous children,91 and to be declaring manifold fictions under the guise of truth? Acdestis appealed to92 Jupiter to restore life to his paramour: Jupiter would not consent, because he was hindered by the fates more powerful than himself; and that he might not be in every respect very hard-hearted, he granted one favour – that the body should not decay through any corruption; that the hair should always grow; that the least of his fingers alone in his body should live, alone keep always in motion. Would any one grant this, or support it with an unhesitating assent, that hair grows on a dead body, – that part93 perished, and that the rest of his mortal body, free from the law of corruption, remains even still?


15. We might long ago have urged you to ponder this, were it not foolish to ask proofs of such things, as well as to say94 them. But this story is false, and is wholly untrue. It is no matter to us, indeed, because of whom you maintain that the gods have been driven from the earth, whether it is consistent and rests on a sure foundation,95 or is, on the contrary, framed and devised in utter falsehood. For to us it is enough – who have proposed this day to make it plain – that those deities whom you bring for ward, if they are anywhere on earth, and glow with the fires of anger, are not more excited to furious hatred by us than by you; and that that story, has been classed as an event and committed to writing by you, and is willingly read over by you every day, and handed down in order for the edifying of later times. Now, if this story is indeed true, we see that there is no reason in it why the celestial gods should be asserted to be angry with us, since we have neither declared things so much to their disgrace, nor committed them to writing at all, nor brought them publicly to light96 by the celebration of sacred rites; but if, as you think, it is untrue, and made up of delusive falsehoods, no man can doubt that you are the cause of offence, who have either allowed certain persons to write such stories, or have suffered them, when written, to abide in the memory of ages.


16. And yet how can you assert the falsehood of this story, when the very rites which you celebrate throughout the year testify that you believe these things to be true, and consider them perfectly trustworthy? For what is the meaning of that pine97 which on fixed days you always bring into the sanctuary of the mother of the gods? Is it not in imitation of that tree, beneath which the raging and ill-fated youth laid hands upon himself, and which the parent of the gods consecrated to relieve her sorrow?98 What mean the fleeces of wool with which you bind and surround the trunk of the tree? Is it not to recall the wools with which Ia99 covered the dying youth, and thought that she could procure some warmth for his limbs fast stiffening with cold? What mean the branches of the tree girt round and decked with wreaths of violets? Do they not mark this, how the Mother adorned with early flowers the pine which indicates and bears witness to the sad mishap? What mean the Galli100 with dishevelled hair beating their breasts with their palms? Do they not recall to memory those lamentations with which the tower-bearing Mother, along with the weeping Acdestis, wailing aloud,101 followed the boy? What means the abstinence from eating bread which you have named castus? Is it not in imitation of the time when the goddess abstained from Ceres’ fruit in her vehement sorrow?


17. Or if the things which we say are not so declare, say yourselves – those effeminate and delicate men whom we see among you in the sacred rites of this deity – what business, what care, what concern have they there; and why do they like mourners wound their arms and102 breasts, and act as those dolefully circumstanced? What mean the wreaths, what the violets, what the swathings, the coverings of soft wools? Why, finally, is the very pine, but a little before swaying to and fro among the shrubs, an utterly inert log, set up in the temple of the Mother of the gods next, like some propitious and very venerable deity? For either this is the cause which we have found in your writings and treatises, and in that case it is clear that you do not celebrate divine rites, but give a representation of sad events; or if there is any other reason which the darkness of the mystery has withheld from us, even it also must be involved in the infamy of some shameful deed. For who would believe that there is any honour in that which the worthless Galli begin, effeminate debauchees complete?


18. The greatness of the subject, and our duty to those on their defence also,103 demand that we should in like manner hunt up the other forms of baseness, whether those which the histories of antiquity record, or those contained in the sacred mysteries named initia,104 and not divulged105 openly to all, but to the silence of a few; but your innumerable sacred rites, and the loathsomeness of them all,106 will not allow us to go through them all bodily: nay, more, to tell the truth, we turn aside ourselves from some purposely and intentionally, lest, in striving to unfold all things, we should be defiled by contamination in the very exposition. Let us pass by Fauna107 Fatua, therefore, who is called Bona Dea, whom Sextus Clodius, in his sixth book in Greek on the gods, declares to have been scourged to death with rods of myrtle, because she drank a whole jar of wine without her husband’s knowledge; and this is a proof, that when women show her divine honour a jar of wine is placed there, but covered from sight, and that it is not lawful to bring in twigs of myrtle, as Butas108 mentions in his Causalia. But let us pass by with similar neglect109 the dii conserentes, whom Flaccus and others relate to have buried themselves, changed in humani penis similitudinem in the cinders under a pot of exta.110 And when Tanaquil, skilled in the arts of Etruria,111 disturbed these, the gods erected themselves, and became rigid. She then commanded a captive woman from Corniculum to learn and understand what was the meaning of this: Ocrisia, a woman of the greatest wisdom divos inseruisse genitali, explicuisse motus certos. Then the holy and burning deities poured forth the power of Lucilius,112 and thus Servius king of Rome was born.


19. We shall pass by the wild Bacchanalia also, which are named in Greek Omophagia, in which with seeming frenzy and the loss of your senses you twine snakes about you; and, to show yourselves full of the divinity and majesty of the god, tear in pieces with gory mouths the flesh of loudly-bleating goats. Those hidden mysteries of Cyprian Venus we pass by also, whose founder is said to have been King Cinyras,113 in which being initiated, they bring stated fees as to a harlot, and carry away phalli, given as signs of the propitious deity. Let the rites of the Corybantes also be consigned to oblivion, in which is revealed that sacred mystery, a brother slain by his brothers, parsley sprung from the blood of the murdered one, that vegetable forbidden to be placed on tables, lest the manes of the dead should be unappeasably offended. But those other Bacchanalia also we refuse to proclaim, in which there is revealed and taught to the initiated a secret not to be spoken; how Liber, when taken up with boyish sports, was torn asunder by the Titans; how he was cut up limb by limb by them also, and thrown into pots that he might be cooked; how Jupiter, allured by the sweet savour, rushed unbidden to the meal, and discovering what had been done, overwhelmed the revellers with his terrible thunder, and hurled them to the lowest part of Tartarus. As evidence and proof of which, the Thracian bard handed down in his poems the dice, mirror, tops, hoops, and smooth balls, and golden apples taken from the virgin Hesperides.


20. It was our purpose to leave unnoticed those mysteries also into which Phrygia is initiated, and all that114 race, were it not that the name of Jupiter, which has been introduced by them, would not suffer us to pass cursorily by the wrongs and insults offered to him; not that we feel any pleasure in discussing115 mysteries so filthy, but that it may be made clear to you again and again what wrong you heap upon those whose guardians, champions, worshippers, you profess to be. Once upon a time, they say, Diespiter, burning after his mother Ceres with evil passions and forbidden desires, for she is said by the natives of that district to be Jupiter’s mother, and yet not daring to seek by open116 force that for which he had conceived a shameless longing, hits upon a clever trick by which to rob of her chastity his mother, who feared nothing of the sort. Instead of a god, he becomes a bull; and concealing his purpose and daring under the appearance of a beast lying in wait,117 he rushes madly with sudden violence upon her, thoughtless and unwitting, obtains his incestuous desires; and the fraud being disclosed by his lust, flies off known and discovered. His mother burns, foams, gasps, boils with fury and indignation; and being unable to repress the storm118 and tempest of her wrath, received the name Brimo119 thereafter from her ever-raging passion: nor has she any other wish than to punish as she may her son’s audacity.


21. Jupiter is troubled enough, being overwhelmed with fear, and cannot find means to soothe the rage of his violated mother. He pours forth prayers, and makes supplication; her ears are closed by grief. The whole order of the gods is sent to seek his pardon; no one has weight enough to win a hearing. At last, the son seeking how to make satisfaction, devises this means: Arietem nobilem bene grandibus cum testiculis deligit, exsecat hos ipse et lanato exuit ex folliculi tegmine. Approaching his mother sadly and with downcast looks, and as if by his own decision he had condemned himself, he casts and throws these120 into her bosom. When she saw what his pledge was,121 she is somewhat softened, and allows herself to be recalled to the care of the offspring which she had conceived.122 After the tenth month she bears a daughter, of beautiful form, whom later ages have called now Libera, now Proserpine; whom when Jupiter Verveceus123 saw to be strong, plump, and blooming, forgetting what evils and what wickedness, and how great recklessness, he had a little before fallen into,124 he returns to his former practices; and because it seemed too125 wicked that a father openly be joined as in marriage with his daughter, he passes into the terrible form of a dragon: he winds his huge coils round the terrified maiden, and under a fierce appearance sports and caresses her in softest embraces. She, too, is in consequence filled with the seed of the most powerful Jupiter, but not as her mother was, for she126 bore a daughter like herself; but from the maiden was born something like a bull, to testify to her seduction by Jupiter. If any one asks127 who narrates this, then we shall quote the well-known senarian verse of a Tarentine poet which antiquity sings,128 saying: “The bull begot a dragon, and the dragon a bull.” Lastly, the sacred rites themselves, and the ceremony of initiation even, named Sebadia,129 might attest the truth; for in them a golden snake is let down into the bosom of the initiated, and taken away again from the lower parts.


22. I do not think it necessary here also with many words to go through each part, and show how many base and unseemly things there are in each particular. For what mortal is there, with but little sense even of what becomes a man, who does not himself see clearly the character of all these things, how wicked they are, how vile, and what disgrace is brought upon the gods by the very ceremonies of their mysteries, and by the unseemly origin of their rites? Jupiter, it is said, lusted after Ceres. Why, I ask, has Jupiter deserved so ill of you, that there is no kind of disgrace, no infamous adultery, which you do not heap upon his head, as if on some vile and worthless person? Leda was unfaithful to her nuptial vow; Jupiter is said to be the cause of the fault. Danae could not keep her virginity; the theft is said to have been Jupiter’s. Europa hastened to the name of woman; he is again declared to have been the assailant of her chastity. Alcmena, Electra, Latona, Laodamia, a thousand other virgins, and a thousand matrons, and with them the boy Catamitus, were robbed. of their honour and130 chastity. It is the same story everywhere – Jupiter. Nor is there any kind of baseness in which you do not join and associate his name with passionate lusts; so that the wretched being seems to have been born for no other reason at all except that he might be a field fertile in131 crimes, an occasion of evil-speaking, a kind of open place into which should gather all filthiness from the impurities of the stage.132 And yet if you were to say that he had intercourse with strange women, it would indeed be impious, but the wrong done in slandering him might be bearable. Did he lust133 after his mother also, after his daughter too, with furious desires; and could no sacredness in his parent, no reverence for her, no shrinking even from the child which had sprung from himself, withhold him from conceiving so detestable a plan?


23. I should wish, therefore, to see Jupiter, the father of the gods, who ever controls the world and men,134 adorned with the horns of an ox, shaking his hairy ears, with his feet contracted into hoofs, chewing green grass, and having behind him135 a tail, hams,136 and ankles smeared over with soft excrement,137 and bedaubed with the filth cast forth. I should wish, I say, – for it must be said over and over again, – to see him who turns the stars in their courses, and who terrifies and overthrows nations pale with fear, pursuing the flocks of wethers, inspicientem testiculos aretinos, snatching these away with that severe138 and divine hand with which he was wont to launch the gleaming lightnings and to hurl in his rage the thunderbolt.139 Then, indeed, I should like to see him ransacking their inmost parts with glowing knife;140 and all witnesses being removed, tearing away the membranes circumjectas prolibus, and bringing them to his mother, still hot with rage, as a kind of fillet141 to draw forth her pity, with downcast countenance, pale, wounded,142 pretending to be in agony; and to make this believed, defiled with the blood of the rain, and covering his pretended wound with bands of wool and linen. Is it possible that this can be heard and read in this world,143 and that those who discuss these things wish themselves to be thought pious, holy, and defenders of religion? Is there any greater sacrilege than this, or can any mind144 be found so imbued with impious ideas as to believe such stories, or receive them, or hand them down in the most secret mysteries of the sacred rites? If that Jupiter of whom you speak, whoever he is, really145 existed, or was affected by any sense of wrong, would it not be fitting that,146 roused to anger, be should remove the earth from under our feet, extinguish the light of the sun and moon; nay more, that he should throw all things into one mass, as of old?147


24. But, my opponent says, these are not the rites of our state. Who, pray, says this, or who repeats it? Is he Roman, Gaul, Spaniard, African, German, or Sicilian? And what does it avail your cause if these stories are not yours, while those who compose them are on your side? Or of what importance is it whether you approve of them or not, since what you yourselves say148 are found to be either just as foul, or of even greater baseness? For do you wish that we should consider the mysteries and those ceremonies which are named by the Greeks Thesmophoria,149 in which those holy vigils and solemn watchings were consecrated to the goddess by the Athenians? Do you wish us, I say, to see what beginnings they have, what causes, that we may prove that Athens itself also, distinguished in the arts and pursuits of civilization, says things as insulting to the gods as others, and that stories are there publicly related under the mask of religion just as disgraceful as are thrown in our way by the rest of you? Once, they say, when Proserpine, not yet a woman and still a maiden, was gathering purple flowers in the meadows of Sicily, and when her eagerness to gather them was leading her hither and thither in all directions, the king of the shades, springing forth through an opening of unknown depth, seizes and bears away with him the maiden, and conceals himself again in the bowels150 of the earth. Now when Ceres did not know what had happened, and had no idea where in the world her daughter was, she set herself to seek the lost one all over the151 world. She snatches up two torches lit at the fires of Aetna;152 and giving herself light by means of these, goes on her quest in all parts of the earth.


25. In her wanderings on that quest, she reaches the confines of Eleusis as well as other countries153 – that is the name of a canton in Attica. At that time these parts were inhabited by aborigines154 named Baubo, Triptolemus, Eubuleus, Eumolpus,155 Dysaules: Triptolemus, who yoked oxen; Dysaules, a keeper of goats; Eubuleus, of swine; Eumolpus, of sheep,156 from whom also flows the race of Eumolpidae, and from whom is derived that name famous among the Athenians,157 and those who afterwards flourished as caduceatores,158 hierophants, and criers. So, then, that Baubo who, we have said, dwelt in the canton of Eleusis, receives hospitably Ceres, worn out with ills of many kinds, hangs about her with pleasing attentions, beseeches her not to neglect to refresh her body, brings to quench her thirst wine thickened with spelt,159 which the Greeks term cyceon. The goddess in her sorrow turns away from the kindly offered services,160 and rejects them; nor does her misfortune suffer her to remember what the body always requires.161 Baubo, on the other hand, begs and exhorts her – as is usual in such calamities – not to despise her humanity; Ceres remains utterly immoveable, and tenaciously maintains an invincible austerity. But when this was done several times, and her fixed purpose could not be worn out by any attentions, Baubo changes her plans, and determines to make merry by strange jests her whom she could not win by earnestness. That part of the body by which women both bear children and obtain the name of mothers,162 this she frees from longer neglect: she makes it assume a purer appearance, and become smooth like a child, not yet hard and rough with hair. In this wise she returns163 to the sorrowing goddess; and while trying the common expedients by which it is usual to break the force of grief, and moderate it, she uncovers herself, and baring her groins, displays all the parts which decency hides;164 and then the goddess fixes her eyes upon these,165 and is pleased with the strange form of consolation. Then becoming more cheerful after laughing, she takes and drinks off the drought spurned before, and the indecency of a shameless action forced that which Baubo’s modest conduct was long unable to win.





1 So most edd., inserting er; in MS and Oehler, vid-entur.

2 So named either because he was said to have made use of the bird of Mars, i.e., a woodpecker (picus), in augury, or because according to the legend he was changed into one by Circe.

3 i.e., the Aventine. The story is told by Plutarch in his Life of Numa, c. 15, and by Ovid, Fasti. iii. 291 sqq.

4 The MS reads, sollemniter haec, corrected, as above, solenne iter huc by all edd. except Hild.

5 So the MS and most edd., reading pocula non parvi numeri, for which Elmh. and Orelli have received from the margin of Ursinus, poc non parva mero – “cups of great size, with pure wine.”

6 i.e., mulsum.

7 i.e., Faunus and Picus.

8 Capite.

9 Caepitio.

10 Jupiter is supposed to say humano, meaning capite, to be understood, i.e., “with a man’s head,” while the king supplies capillo – “with a man’s hair.”

11 Anima (MS lia).

12 Maena. There is here a lacuna in the text; but there can be no difficulty in filling it up as above, with Heraldus from Plutarch, or with Gelenius from Ovid, piscis – “with the life of a fish.”

13 The MS and both Roman edd. read Numa, corrected by Gelenius, as above, non.

14 The MS and edd. read cred-i-musne – “do we believe,” for which Meursius suggests -e- as above.

15 Lit., “or whether.” Below the MS reads corruptly ad ipsum – “to him.”

16 The MS reads scire, but “knows” would hardly suit the context. Instead of adopting any conjecture, however, it is sufficient to observe, with Oehler, that scire is elsewhere used as a contraction for sciscere.

17 The MS omits ut.

18 So Cujacius, inserting vi, omitted by the MS.

19 Lit., “so great.”

20 Lit., “the fumigation of verbenae,” i.e., of boughs of the laurel, olive, or myrtle.

21 Lit., “the uncertain things of that ambiguity.”

22 Lit., “unless a mortal anticipated” – praesumeret, the MS reading.

23 So Oehler, supplying quem.

24 Lit., “liveliness of heart is procured.”

25 Lit., “why.”

26 So Ovid also (Metam., i. 321), and others, speak of Themis as the first to give oracular responses.

27 So the MS and edd., reading quam incestis, except Orelli, who adopts the conjecture of Barthius, nequam – “lustful Jupiter with lewd desires.”

28 So the MS and edd., except Hildebrand and Oehler, who throughout spell Agdestis, following the Greek writers, and the derivation of the word from Agdus.

29 So Ursinus suggested, followed by later edd., ex utroque (MS utra.) sexu; for which Meursius would read ex utroque sexus – “and a sex of both,” i.e., that he was a hermaphrodite, which is related by other writers.

30 Lit., “him.”

31 Lit., “of thirsting.”

32 Lit., “in the time of need.”

33 So the edd., reading of the MS and edd., unum laqueum, may be rendered; for which Canterus conjectured imum – “the lowest part of the noose.”

34 So the edd., reading eo quo (MS quod) fuerat privat sexu; for which Hild. and Oehler read fu-tu-erat – “of the sex with which he had been a fornicator.”

35 Lit., “these (i.e., the parts and the blood) are,” etc.

36 The MS here reads Nata, but in c. 13 the spelling is Nana, as in other writers.

37 Lit., “as if.”

38 The MS reads t-abulis, corrected as above p- by Jos. Scaliger, followed by Hild. and Oehler. The other edd. read bacculis – “berries.”

39 So all the edd., except Hild. and Oehler, who retain the MS reading sanguinarius – “bloodthirsty.”

40 So Salmasius, Orelli, and Hild., reading repertum nescio quis sumit Phorbas, lacte; but no mention of any Phorbas is made elsewhere in connection with this story, and Oehler has therefore proposed forma ac lacte – “some one takes the child found, nourishes it with sweet pottage of millet (forma) and milk,” etc.

41 [See vol. 2. p. 175.]

42 Lit., “his silence.”

43 Lit., “fury and madness.”

44 The MS, first five edd., and Oberthür, read exterriti adorandorum Phryges; for which Ursinus suggested ad ora deorum – “at the faces of the gods,” adopted by Oehler; the other edd. reading ad horam – “at the hour, i.e., thereupon.”

45 It seems probable that part of this chapter has been lost, as we have no explanation of this epithet; and, moreover (as Oehler has well remarked), in c. 13 this Gallus is spoken of as though it had been previously mentioned that he too had mutilated himself, of which we have not the slightest hint.

46 i.e., genitalia.

47 Lit., “so great motions of furious hazards.”

48 So most edd., reading veste prius tectis atque involutis for the MS reading, retained by Hild. and Oehler, tecta atque involuta – “his vest being first drawn over and wrapt about them;” the former verb being found with this meaning in no other passage, and the second very rarely.

59 Lit., “from.”

50 i.e., the pine.

51 Nourry supposes that this may refer to M. Valerius Messala, a fragment from whom on auspices has been preserved by Gellius (xiii. 15); while Hild. thinks that Antias is meant, who is mentioned in c. 1.

52 So Orelli punctuates and explains; but it is doubtful whether, even if this reading be retained, it should not be translated, “bedewed these (violets).” The MS reads, suffodit et as (probably has) – “digs under these,” emended as above in LB., suffudit et has.

53 Lit., “burial.”

54 So it has been attempted to render the MS, reading pausatae circum arboris robur, which has perplexed the different edd. Heraldus proposed pausate – “at intervals round the trunk of the tree;” LB. reads -ata – “round … tree having rested.” Reading as above, the reference might be either to the rest from motion after being set up in the cave, or to the absence of wind there.

55 Lit., “could be done through (i.e., as far as concerns) fate.”

56 So Oehler, reading sacerdotum antistitiis for the MS antistibus, changed in both Roman edd. and Hild. to -stitibus – “with priests (or overseers) of priests.” Salmasius proposed intestibus – “with castrated priests.”

57 i.e., in the ever-recurring festival of Cybele.

58 Lit., “length.”

59 So the edd., reading orari in alicujus substantiae qualitate for the MS erari restored by Oehler, num-erari – “numbered in the quality of some substance,” from the reading of an old copy adopted by Livineius.

60 Lit., “through the resistance of nature.”

61 B.C. 43.

62 Lit., “the feeling commonly implanted.”

63 Lit., “was regard of piety wanting” – defuit, an emendation of Salmasius (according to Orelli) for the MS depuit.

64 Lit., “the depth and patience of his sleeping mother.”

65 Lit., “from the theft of taking by surprise” – obreptionis, for which the MS, first four edd., Oberth., Hild., and Oehler read object. – “of what he proposed.”

66 So Heraldus, reading conventionis hujusmodi coetum for the MS coeptum.

67 Sustulisse alvos graves.

68 Most edd. read as an interrogation.

69 Perhaps, “that she might not be subject to ill-will for having borne so.”

70 i.e., to form nooses with. The reading translated is an emendation of Jos. Scaliger, adopted by Orelli, peniculamenta decurtantem cantheriorum, for the MS peniculantem decurtam tam cantherios, emended by each ed. as he has thought fit.

71 Lit., “the cares of art.”

72 Lit., “endowed with the honour of.”

73 The MS here inserts de – “from the body from a divine (being).”

74 So the edd. (except Oehler), reading tum cum for the MS tum quae quod.

75 Balaustiis, the flowers of the wild pomegranate.

76 Dares supplied by Salmasius.

77 [The Abderitans were proverbially such. “Hinc Abdera, non tacente me.” – Cicero, Ep. ad Attic., iv. 16.]

78 Lit., “he says.”

79 Lit., “must rut” – suriant, as deer. The MS, first four edd., and Elm. read surgant – “rise,” corrected as above in the margin of Ursinus.

80 Lit., “acorns” – glandibus.

81 The MS reads des-, emended as above ded-ignatus by Stewechius, followed by Heraldus and Orelli.

82 i.e., he-goats are made to yield milk.

83 Lit., “praiseworthy.”

84 Lit., “with.”

85 So the MS, both Roman edd., LB., Hild., and Oehler, reading rursus, for which the others receive the emendation of Gelenius, regis – “the king’s carelessness.”

86 Lit., “the law and fate.”

87 i.e., Attis.

88 The MS reads satietati-s objecisset offensi, corrected as above by Hild. (omitting s), followed by Oehler. The conjectures of previous edd. are very harsh and forced.

89 Lit., “flows.”

90 Lit., “herself with sacred, herself with divine.”

91 [γραώδεις μύθους, 1Ti_4:7. Compare Ignatius, vol. 1. p. 62. But even the old wives’ tales among Hebrews were clean in contrast with the horrible amusements here imputed even to the girls at the loom, and children, among the Gentiles.]

92 Lit., “spoke with.”

93 i.e., the part cut off and buried separately.

94 So the MS, according to Crusius, the edd. inserting s, di-s-cere – “to learn.”

95 Lit., “on firmness of faith.”

96 Lit., “sent to public testifying.”

97 The festival of Cybele began on the 22nd of March, when a pine tree was introduced into the mysteries, and continued until the 27th, which was marked by a general purification (lavatio), as Salmasius observed from a calendar of Constantine the Great. [An equinoctial feast, which the Church deposed by the Paschal observances. March 22 is the prima sedes Paschae.]

98 Lit., “for the solace of so great a wound.”

99 So Stewechius, followed by Orelli and Oehler, reading quibus Ia for the MS jam, which would refer the action to Cybele, whereas Arnobius expressly says (c. 7) that it was the newly wedded wife who covered the breast of Attis with wools. Jam is, however, received from the MS by other edd., except Hild., who asserts that the MS reads Iam, and Elmenh., who reads Ion.

100 i.e., priests of Cybele, their names being derived from the Phrygian river Gallus, whose waters were supposed to bring on frenzy ending in self-mutilation.

101 Lit., “with wailing.”

102 Lit., “with.”

103 Lit., “and the duty of defence itself.”

104 i.e., secret rites, to which only the initiated were admitted.

105 Lit., “which you deliver” – traditis; so Elmenh., LB., and later edd., for the unintelligible MS tradidisse, retained in both Roman edd.

106 Lit., “deformity affixed to all.”

107 MS fetam f. Cf. i. 36, n. 70, p. 422, supra.

108 So Heraldus, from Plutarch, Rom., 21, where Butas is said to have written on this subject (αἰτίαι) in elegiacs, for the MS Putas.

109 Lit., “in like manner and with dissimulation.”

110 i.e., heart, lungs, and liver, probably of a sacrifice.

111 i.e., “divination, augury,” etc.

112 Vis Lucilii, i.e., semen. [He retails Pliny xxxvi. 27.]

113 Cf. iv. 24.

114 So the MS and edd., reading gens illa, for which Memmius proposed Ilia – “and all the Trojan race.”

115 Lit., “riding upon” – inequitare.

116 Lit., “most open.”

117 Subsessoris.

118 Lit., “growling” – fremitum.

119 The MS reads primo, emended as above by the brother of Canterus, followed by later edd.

120 i.e., testiculi.

121 Virilitate pignoris visa.

122 So Ursinus suggested, followed by Stewechius and later edd., concepti foetus revocatur ad curam; the MS reads concepit – “is softened and conceived,” etc.

123 Jupiter may be here called Verveceus, either as an epithet of Jupiter Ammon – “like a wether,” or (and this seems most probable from the context), “dealing with wethers,” referring to the mode in which he had extricated himself from his former difficulty, or “stupid.” The MS reads virviriceus.

124 Lit., “encountered” – aggressus.

125 Lit., “sufficiently.”

126 i.e., Ceres.

127 Lit., “will any one want.”

128 i.e., handed down by antiquity. [Vol. 2. p. 176, this series.]

129 These seem to have been celebrated in honour of Dionysius as well as Zeus, though, in so far as they are described by Arnobius, they refer to the intrigue of the latter only. Macrobius, however (Saturn., i. 18), mentions that in Thrace, Liber and Sol were identified and worshipped as Sebadius; and this suggests that we have to take but one more step to explain the use of the title to Jupiter also.

130 Lit., “of.”

131 Lit., “that he might be a crop of” – seges, a correction in the margin of Ursinus for the MS sedes – “a seat.”

132 So all edd., reading scenarum (MS scr-, but r marked as spurious), except LB., followed by Orelli, who gives sentinarum – “of the dregs.” Oehler supplies e, which the sense seems to require. [Note our author’s persistent scorn of Jove Opt. Max.]

133 Lit., “neigh with appetites of an enraged beast.”

134 This clearly refers to the Aeneid, x. 18.

135 Lit., “on the rear part.”

136 Suffragines.

137 So the margin of Ursinus, Elmenh., LB., Oberth., Orelli, and Oehler, reading molli fimo for the MS molissimo.

138 Lit., “censorial.”

139 Lit., “rage with thunders.”

140 So Gelenius, followed by Stewechius and Orelli, reading smilia for the corrupt and unintelligible MS nullas.

141 Infulae, besides being worn by the priest, adorned the victim, and were borne by the suppliant. Perhaps a combination of the two last ideas is meant to be suggested here.

142 i.e., seemingly so.

143 Lit., “under this axis of the world.”

144 So the MS, followed by Hild. and Oehler; the other edd. reading gens for mens.

145 Lit., “felt himself to be.”

146 Lit., “would the thing not be worthy that angry and roused.”

147 i.e., reduce to chaos, in which one thing would not be distinguished from another, but all mixed up confusedly.

148 Lit., “what are your proper things.”

149 Every one since Salmasius (ad solinum, p. 750) has supposed Arnobius to have here fallen into a gross error, by confounding the Eleusinian mysteries with the Thesmophoria; an error the less accountable, because they are carefully distinguished by Clemens Alexandrinus, whom Arnobius evidently had before him, as usual. There seems to be no sufficient reason, however, for charging Arnobius with such a blunder, although in the end of ch. 26 he refers to the story just related, as showing the base character of the Eleusinia (Eleusiniorum vestrorum notas); as he here speaks of mysteria (i.e., Eleusinia, cf. Nepos, Alc., 3, 16) et illa divina quae Thesmophoria nominantur a Graecis. It should be remembered also that there was much in common between these mysteries: the story of Ceres’ wanderings was the subject of both; in both there was a season of fasting to recall her sadness; both had indecent allusions to the way in which that sadness was dispelled; and both celebrated with some freedom the recovery of cheerfulness by the goddess, the great distinguishing feature of the Thesmophoria being that only women could take part in its rites. Now, as it is to the points which the two sets of mysteries were at one that allusion is made in the passage which follows, it was only natural that Arnobius should not be very careful to distinguish the one from the other, seeing that he was concerned not with their differences, but with their coincidence. It seems difficult, therefore, to maintain that Arnobius has here convicted himself of so utter ignorance and so gross carelessness as his critics have imagined. [Vol. 2. p. 176.]

150 Lit., “caverns.”

151 Lit., “in the whole.”

152 The MS is corrupt – flammis onere pressas etneis, corrected as above by Gelenius from c. 35., f. comprehensas. – Ael.

153 Lit., “also.”

154 Lit., “(they were) earth-born who inhabited.”

155 The MS wants this name; but is has evidently been omitted by accident, as it occurs in the next line.

156 Lit., “of woolly flock.”

157 Cecropios et qui.

158 i.e., staff-bearers.

159 Cinnus, the chief ingredients, according to Hesychius (quoted by Oehler), being wine, honey, water, and spelt or barley. [P. 503, inf.]

160 Lit., “offices of humanity.”

161 Lit., “common health.” Arnobius is here utterly forgetful of Ceres’ divinity, and subjects her to the invariable requirements of nature, from which the divine might be supposed to be exempt.

162 So the conjecture of Livineius, adopted by Oehler, gene-t-ri-cum for the MS genericum.

163 So Stewechius, followed by Oehler, reading redit ita for the MS redita; the other edd. merely drop a.

164 Omnia illa pudoris loca.

165 Pubi.