eklogai

polytheist extractions

Suidas s.v. Xumbolous

“Xumbolous (meeting-signs): This is what they called omens through sneezes. These were dedicated to Demeter.” - Suidas s.v. Xumbolous

Benedict, Liber 2.172

“On the eve of the Kalends, late at night, the youths get up and carry around a shield, and one of them is masked, with a club, hanging from his neck. Hissing and sounding the drum, they go around to the houses and surround the shield: the drum sounds and the one with the mask hisses. This game over, they receive a reward from the master of the house according to what pleases him. Thus they do in each and every house. On that day, they eat all kinds of vegetables. Early in the morning, two of the youths get up; they are given olive branches and salt and they enter the houses. They greet the household, ‘Joy and gladness be in this house!’ They throw handfuls of leaves and salt into the fire and say, ‘So many children, so many piglets, so many lambs!’ They wish for all good things. Before the sun rises, they eat their honeycomb or something else sweet, so that the whole year will go well with them, without disputes or great labor.” – Benedict, Liber 2.172

St. Boniface, Epistolae 49

“Even now in Rome one can see, quite near the Basilica of Saint Peter, at the beginning of the Kalends of January, people executing choral dances in the squares in Pagan fashion, day and night, to the accompaniment of loud shouting and sacrilegious song.” – Boniface, Epistolae 49

Mauro and Immonide, Cena 184-87

“The Roman pope amuses himself thus at the Albs of Easter, when the master of the choir school comes, crowned with horns, like Silenus with a little ass amid songs and mockery, which priestly amusement denotes a mystery.” – Mauro and Immonide, Cena 184-87

Theophrastos, Characters 21.7

“When he has sacrificed an ox he nails up its skull facing his front door and wreathes it with large garlands, so that people coming in will see that he’s sacrificed an ox.” - Theophrastos, Characters 21.7

Giorgio Baglivi, Dissertatio de anatome, morsu et effectibus tarantulae pg. 313

“Those who have been bitten by the tarantula shortly thereafter fall to the ground half-dead, with a loss of strength and senses, with difficult breathing or moaning, often immobile and lifeless. With the beginning of the music, little by little these symptoms are attenuated, and the patient begins to move his fingers, his hands and then his feet, followed by other limbs; as the melodic rhythm becomes more pressing, the movement of his limbs gradually increases. If the patient is lying on the floor, he springs up to start the dance, sighs, and begins to contort himself in very strange ways. These first dances often last two or three hours: and after having rested briefly on the bed to wipe away his perspiration and to restore his strength, the patient resumes dancing with the same vigor. This can take place as many as a dozen times per day. The dances begin around dawn and continue without pause until around one in the afternoon. Sometimes they are compelled to stop, not because of their tiredness, but because they have perceived some dissonance in the musical instruments, a dissonance which, when it is perceived, provokes deep sighs and stabs of pain in the patient’s heart. They sigh and grieve at length until they resume dancing, the harmony having been reestablished. Around midday they rest from the music and dance. They put themselves to bed until their perspiration is over and then they refresh themselves with broth or over light food, given that the very serious lack of appetite which afflicts them would not permit them to take more substantial food. Around one o’clock in the afternoon, or at the latest around 2, they resume their dances with the same vigor. These dances last until evening, whereupon they have another light meal and then finally fall asleep. These dances usually continue for four days; rarely do they go beyond the sixth day. It is uncertain when the end will occur, since many continue to dance until they feel free of the symptoms, which usually takes place after the third or fourth day.” – Giorgio Baglivi, Dissertatio de anatome, morsu et effectibus tarantulae pg. 313

Anna Caggiano, Folklore Italiano 6.72ff

“All the wives offer – understood as a loan – handkerchiefs, shawls, scarves, petticoats and linens of every color, pots of basil, lemon verbona, mint and rue, mirrors and baubles, and last but not least a great tub full of water. The surroundings are decorated in this way, and when everything is ready the victim of the bite, dressed in gaudy colors, chooses as she pleases ribbons, handkerchiefs and shoes that remind her of the colors of the tarantula and she adorns herself with them while waiting for the musicians.” – Anna Caggiano, Folklore Italiano 6.72ff

Domenico Sangenito to Antonio Bulifon, Lettere memorabilia istorche, politiche ed erudite 141ff

“The tarantati want ribbons, chains, precious garments, and when they are brought they receive them with inexplicable joy, and with great reverence they thank the person who brought them. All of the aforementioned items are placed in an orderly fashion along the pen where the dancers make use of one or another item from time to time, according to the impulses the attack gives them.” – Domenico Sangenito to Antonio Bulifon, Lettere memorabilia istorche, politiche ed erudite 141ff

Ludovico Valletta, De Phalangio Apulo 76

“With regard to the astonishing and complex agitation of the entire body, not long ago I personally saw a woman stricken with the poison who, although prey to the delirium of a violent fever, and her mind possessed with horrible phantasms – or rather, she was assaulted by a host of insolent demons – at the sound of the musical instruments she nonethless abandoned herself to a dance that was so excited, to such a frenetic agitation of her limbs and whirling her head, that my own head and eyes, enthralled by the same agitation, suffered from dizziness. This woman had suspended a rope from the ceiling of her humble dwelling, the end of which, just touching the floor in the middle of the room, she tenaciously squeezed between her hands; throwing herself upon it, she abandoned herself with the weight of her whole body, her feet planted on the floor, turning her head to and fro, her face glowing, with a surly look. I was deeply astonished, not being able to explain why the dizziness provoked by that rapid and violent head shaking did not make her reel and fall to the ground. Due to this agitation and the incredible exertion borne, the woman’s whole body and above all her face were covered with abundant perspiration; reddened by such strenuous agitation, she ran gasping to a great tub full of water prepared at her request, and she completely submerged her head in it, whence the cold water gave her some relief from the heat with which she blazed.” - Ludovico Valletta, De Phalangio Apulo 76

Athanasius Kircher, Magnes sive de arte magnetica opus tripartitum pg. 759

“Some tarantati let themselves hang from the trees by ropes, showing great enjoyment at such suspension – those stricken with this passion are usually the ones bitten by tarantulas in the habit of hanging the strings of their webs from trees.” – Athanasius Kircher, Magnes sive de arte magnetica opus tripartitum pg. 759

Ludovico Valletta, De Phalangio Apulo 92

“The families of the tarantati hire the musicians, to whom many gifts are given and a great deal of drink is offered in addition to the daily compensation agreed upon, so that they may take some refreshment and thus play the musical instruments with greater vigor. It follows that a man of modest conditions, who laboriously earns a living with the diligent fatigue of his arms, in order to be cured of this illness, is often forced to pawn or sell objects of fundamental necessity, even if his household furnishings are shabby, in order to pay the aforementioned payment. It must be considered that no one would want to expose himself to this misfortune if he could combat the poison in another way, or if he did not feel compelled to dance from the bottom of his heart. I will spare the details of the many other aids and expedients the poison victims use to raise and cheer their melancholy spirits during the dance, items also needed for one reason or another. For instance there are artificial springs of limpid water constructed in such a way that the water is gathered and always returns to flow anew; these springs are covered and surrounded by green fronds, flowers and trees. Further, lasses dressed in sumptuous wedding gowns have the task of dancing with the tarantati, festively singing and playing the same melody with them during the dance; then there are the weapons and the multicolored drapery hung on the walls. All of these, and many others, cannot be procured without payment.” – Ludovico Valletta, De Phalangio Apulo 92

Ludovico Valletta, De Phalangio Apulo 77ff

“The tarantati rejoice at the sight of limpid waters, of artificial springs that flow with a soft murmur into a tub prepared for this purpose, gratifying themselves with the green fronds freshly picked from the trees and strewn here and there in the space dedicated to the dance in order to represent a forest.” – Ludovico Valletta, De Phalangio Apulo 77ff

Q. M. Corrado, De copia latini sermonis 171

Tarantati are attracted to water, to springs, to a green branch, to all pleasant things.” – Q. M. Corrado, De copia latini sermonis 171

Nicola Caputo of Lecce, De Tarantulae anatomie et morsu pg. 201

“They customarily adorn the bedroom dedicated to the dance of the tarantati with verdant branches outfitted with numerous ribbons and silken sashes in gaudy colors. They place similar drapery throughout the room; sometimes they prepare a sort of cauldron or tub full of water, decorated with vine leaves and green fronds from other trees; or they make pretty fountains of limpid water spout, capable of lifting the spirits, and it is near these that the tarantati perform the dance, seeming to draw the greatest delight from them, as well as the rest of the setting. They contemplate the drapes, the fronds, and the artificial rivulets, and they wet their hands and heads at the fountain. They also remove damp bands of vine leaves from the cauldron and strew them all over their bodies, or – when the vessel is large enough – they plunge themselves inside, and in this way they can more easily bear the fatigue of the dance. It often happens that those who go dancing through the towns and hamlets accompanied by the usual music are brought to an orchard, where, in the shade of a tree, near a pond or brook offered by nature or prepared through craft, they abandon themselves to the dance with the greatest delight, while groups of youths in search of pleasure and pranks gather near. Among the latter mingle more than a few who are approaching old age and who, contemplating with serious curiosity the melodic frolicking, seem to exhort the youths with unspoken admonishment.” - Nicola Caputo of Lecce, De Tarantulae anatomie et morsu pg. 201

Acts of the Apostles 28.1-6

“After we were brought safely through we learned that the island was called Malta. The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all as it had begun to rain and was cold. When Paul had gathered a bundle of vinewood sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand they said to one another, ‘No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.’ He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.”  - Acts of the Apostles 28.1-6

Acts of the Apostles 9.3-8

“Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And he said, ‘Who are you?’ And the reply came, ‘I am the Lord Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.” – Acts of the Apostles 9.3-8

Nicola Caputo of Lecce, De Tarantulae anatomie et morsu pg. 229

“It is said among the citizens of Galatina – whose belief has no support other than the testimony of uninterrupted tradition – that one night the apostle St. Paul, who sailed our seas after Peter’s preaching, was passing by the promontory of Santa Maria of Leuca and came to Galatina incognito for fear of persecutors, with the aim of visiting neophytes. He was welcomed there and received information at the home of a devotee. which still exists today and for this reason is called the House of St. Paul. The citizens of this town tell various things in relation to the legend, but the most important thing they say is that to reward the piety of this religious man, St. Paul obtained the power to heal for him and his descendants, a power obtained from god through the merits of Jesus Christ; they could heal by making the sign of the cross on small wounds of those who had been bitten by poisonous animals, such as scorpions, vipers, phalangids and the like, making them drink water from a well of the House of St. Paul. It is said that when the descendants of this devotee had died out, some victims of the bite of the taranta, scorpion or viper came to the well – it, too, is still visible – while the poison was in action, and asked to be healed by St. Paul, whence they were immediately cured after drinking the water; they returned home with glad hearts and gave thanks to their benefactor. This is the tradition of the citizens of Galatina, who relate various healings of this sort. Whether or not the story is to be believed in its entirety is not for us to judge, but it is too great a contrast with the faith of these citizens to maintain it is an entirely false story and that all of these events are to be attributed to the natural virtues of the water.” - Nicola Caputo of Lecce, De Tarantulae anatomie et morsu pg. 229

Gervase of Tilbury, Otia Imperialia 3.103

“In the Rhône stands the castle of Roquemaure. On the estate of this castle there are vines which the people call brumestae, producing good fat grapes. These vines flower and produce clusters of grapes as ordinary vines do, but then they cheat their husbandman’s expectation: for when it comes to the feast of St. John the Baptist, all the fruit vanishes, and nothing which might even grow into fruit is found on them.” – Gervase of Tilbury, Otia Imperialia 3.103

Gervase of Tilbury, Otia Imperialia 3.86

“Yet the same infallible scripture testifies, as Augustine points out, that angels have appeared in bodies of such kind that they could not only be seen but also touched. And there is, too, a widespread folk-belief in a phenomenon which many people have experienced themselves, or have heard reliably described by others with first-hand experience, whose word is trustworthy: these people claim to have seen Silvani and Panes which are the creatures that people call incubi; the French word for them is duses. I do not presume to make a definitive statement on this basis as to whether some spirits with bodies made from the element of air can arouse or experience lust, so that somehow or other they mate with women or undergo the like from men. But certainly, even this element is perceived by the bodily sensation of touch when a fan is set in motion. But here is something that we do know, from reputable sources: many men become the lovers of larvas of this kind, which they call fays and when they have transferred their affections with a view to marrying other women, they have died before they could enjoy carnal union with their new partners. And we have seen many men who had attained the summit of worldly happiness, but then, as soon as they renounced the embraces of fays of this kind, or spoke about them in public, they lost not only their worldly prosperity, but even the solace of a wretched life.” – Gervase of Tilbury, Otia Imperialia 3.86

Gervase of Tilbury, Otia Imperialia 3.60

“Here is another thing, no less wonderful and quite widely known, which happened in Great Britain. There was a hunting-forest in Gloucestershire teeming with boars, stags, and every kind of game commonly found in England. In a leafy glade of this forest was a hillock, which rose to a man’s height at its highest point. Knights and other hunters used to climb up on top of the hillock whenever, worn out with heat and thirst, they sought some relief from their discomfort. Now given the right combination of place and circumstances, if anyone strayed a long way from his companions and climbed it alone and then, though alone, said ‘I’m thirsty’ as if he were speaking to someone else, at once, to his surprise, there would be a cupbearer standing at his side, in rich attire, with a merry face, and holding in his outstretched hand a large horn, adorned with gold and jewels, such as is used by the old English as a drinking-vessel. Some nectar of an unfamiliar but delicious taste would be offered him. When he had drunk it, all the heat and weariness of his sweating body would leave him, so that anyone would believe, not that he had just been engaged in action, but that he was eager to start. When he had consumed the nectar, the server would provide him with a napkin with which to wipe his lips; and then, his ministration completed, he would disappear without waiting for a reward for his services or for conversation to satisfy curiosity.” – Gervase of Tilbury, Otia Imperialia 3.60

Gervase of Tilbury, Otia Imperialia 3.43

“Also in the kingdom of Arles, in the province of Aix, they say that there is a crag on whose steep face, which is like a wall pierced with windows, two or more ladies appear to travelers when they are a long way away, conversing with each other, as they pretend, and clapping their hands at a shared joke. These women seem beautiful, charming and alluring to people at a distance, but when they come closer the vision utterly vanishes into illusion.” – Gervase of Tilbury, Otia Imperialia 3.43

Tertullian, On the Crown 15

“Be ashamed as Christ’s fellow-soldiers to be open to reproach not only from Christ himself but from any soldier of Mithra. For to him when he is initiated in a cavern, a veritable home of darkness, a crown is offered on a naked sword, as if in parody of martyrdom; this then is placed on his head, and he is enjoined with his own hand to lift it from his head and voluntarily to transfer it to his shoulder, declaring that Mithra is his crown. Thereafter he is never crowned. And this is regarded as evidence of his steadfastness, if ever he is tempted to break his oath, and forthwith he is regarded as a soldier of Mithra, should he have rejected the crown and claimed the god himself as his crown. We may recognise the craft of the devil, who counterfeits divine things to turn us from our faith and bring us into condemnation.” – Tertullian, On the Crown 15

Strabo, Geography 15.3

“The Persians therefore do not erect statues and altars, but sacrifice on a high place, regarding the heaven as Zeus; and they honour also the sun, whom they call Mithra, and the moon and Aphrodite and fire and earth and the winds and water.” – Strabo, Geography 15.3

Jacob of Voragine, Legenda 13

“Once, long ago, many superstitions were observed by the country folk and Pagans concerning the Kalends, which the saints had great difficulty uprooting even from Christians. They used to adopt monstrous shapes, some dressing themselves in the skins of farm animals, others putting on the heads of wild animals. Others would dress up in women’s tunics, shamelessly tricking out their soldierly muscles in feminine finery.” – Jacob of Voragine, Legenda 13

Richard of St.-Victor, Sermones centum 177.1036

“What wickedness takes place during this feast; fortune-tellings, divinations, deceptions and feigned madnesses. On this day, having been seized up by the furies of their bacchant-like ravings and having been inflamed by the fires of diabolical instigation, they flock together to the church and profane the house of god with vain and foolish rhythmic poetry in which sin is not wanting but by all means present, and with evil sayings, laughing and cacophony they disrupt the priest and the whole congregation applauds for the people love these things.” – Richard of St.-Victor, Sermones centum 177.1036

Isidore of Seville, De eccliasticis officiis 1.41

“On the Kalends of January even the faithful assume monstrous appearances and are changed into the character of wild animals; others make feminine gestures and feminize their male faces … They all make a great noise, with leaping and clapping dances and what is still more shameful, both sexes dance together in sung dances, with dulled senses, intoxicated with much wine.” – Isidore of Seville, De eccliasticis officiis 1.41

Asterius of Amasa, Homily 38-43

“The common vagrants and the jugglers of the stage, dividing themselves into squads and hordes, hang about every house. The gates of the public officials they besiege with especial persistence, actually shouting and singing and dancing and some clapping their hands until he that is beleaguered within, exhausted, throws out to them whatever money he has and even what is not his own. And these mendicants going from door to door follow after one another, and until late in the evening, there is no relief from this nuisance. Even soldiers, whom you would think would be more disciplined, have come to learn vulgarity and the vile practices of the actors. They make sport of the laws and the government of which they have been appointed guardians. For they ridicule and insult the august officials. They mount a chariot as though upon a stage; they appoint pretended lictors and publicly act like buffoons. This is the noble part of their processions – I shudder to mention what else they get up to! For instance, the noble and brave champion loosens his tunic to his ankle, twines a girdle about his breast, puts on a woman’s sandals, dons a feminine wig and begins plying a distaff full of wool. He even sinks so low as to change the tone of his voice and utter words in a sharp, womanly treble.” – Asterius of Amasa, Homily 38-43

Peter Chrysologos, De kalendis Ianuariis 1.261-64

“The Pagans bring out their gods on this day. With planned defilements and premeditated disgrace they pull them hither and thither dragging them all about. Not content with hauling their portable gods through the streets others dress in masks and costumes, performing the roles of the idols and acting out the shameful, sacrilegious stories of those wicked demons. It should be abundantly clear to any decent Christian that participation in these foul rites and Pagan spectacles brings about defilement, yet some of you have the temerity to say, ‘This isn’t the deliberate pursuit of godlessness, these good luck visits are just for fun; this is a celebration of a new beginning, not just a superstition from the past. This is just New Years, not the threat of Paganism.’ What foolishness and conceit! To know that it is contemptible all you have to do is look at those who have made themselves equal to beasts, put themselves on the level with asses, made themselves up as cattle, those who masquerade as demons.” – Peter Chrysologos, De kalendis Ianuariis 1.261-64

John Chrysostom, On the Kalends 48.95-62

“We deplore the demons marching in procession in the marketplace, the all-night devilish celebrations, the tauntings, the invectives, the nightlong dances, the ridiculous comedies and the drunkenness of the revelers that one sees everywhere on the Kalends.” – John Chrysostom, On the Kalends 48.95-62

Saint Augustine, Sermon 6.73-76

“I condemn the din of silly and shameful songs, the disgraceful junketing and dances that characterize this false feast day. Are you, who are supposedly Christians, going to join in the celebrations of good luck presents like a Pagan, going to play at dice and get yourself drunk? To do so is to associate with demons, for demons take pleasure in idle songs, in the trifling spectacle, in the manifold indecencies of the theaters, in the mad frenzies of the chariot races. Everything having to do with the Kalends of January is thoroughly Pagan and not fit for a decent Christian.” – Saint Augustine, Sermon 6.73-76

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