polytheist extractions

Ps.-Nicolaus, Ecphrasis of the Tychaion 8.2-9

“A sacred precinct is established in the middle of Alexandria, composed of many more gods, but the whole precinct is named after Tyche. And those who gave the area its name seem to me to do so out of necessity. For as to those from whom everything is hidden by Tyche, for them the name of the gods had been hidden because of Tyche. The area is decorated somewhat as follows. It is completely adorned from floor to ceiling. The decoration is divided into semicircles, and varied columns are placed in front of each. The semicircles, in turn, are made to serve as receptacles for statues, and it is possible to measure the semicircles in terms of their statues; columns are set up alongside the statues. Gods are placed standing— not all but only twelve in number. And a column capital holds the Founder out apart from the two end ones and middle ones, and he stands, himself bearing a token of the Soter, but being borne up by the things by which the city is customarily nourished. And the nature of the earth is represented by Charis; half the stated number of gods surround her in their middle. And in the very middle stands a statue of Tyche, making clear by a crown the victories of Alexander; and Earth is being crowned by Tyche, and Earth herself is crowning the victor. Victories stand on either side of Tyche, with the craftsman admirably showing the power of Tyche, that Tyche knows how to be victorious over all. The decoration of the area is completed with a crown of laurel made from a statue. And one man philosophizes on a chair at one end, while another stands naked at the other end, holding an image of heaven in his left hand, while holding his right hand ready for everything, and he stands bare of covering. And bronze stelae stand in the middle of the floor, engraved with the laws of the city. And in the middle are the doors leading to the precinct of the Muses. Bronze kings stand in the middle, not all that time has brought, but those it has brought who were most revered. These things were a wonder to see, a benefit to learn of, and a crime to hide away in silence.” – Ps.-Nicolaus, Ecphrasis of the Tychaion 8.2-9


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