eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: acting

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

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

Pacianus of Barcelona, Parenesis 1.13

“Unhappy me! What wickedness did I let loose! I think they would not have known how to play the Little Stag on the Kalends had I not by my rebuke shown them how.” – Pacianus of Barcelona, Parenesis 1.13

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 193.1-3

“I rebuke the demented customs of those who for the sake of foolish gaiety observe the Kalends of January or the folly of other superstitions which men think give them license to get drunk and indulge in obscene chanting and games. Worse still is the indecent flaunting of men in women’s clothing and make-up grotesque enough to make the demons themselves blanch. They sing bawdy songs in praise of vice, sung with shameless gusto and accompanied by disjointed gestures and mumming in the likeness of she-goats and stags. The inventor of evil makes his entry through these in order to master souls ensnared by the appearance of play. I call upon the sober and upright members of this congregation to reprimand your neighbors and subordinates, to forbid them to use indecent language or sing those bawdy songs, and especially to deny alms to those who by sacrilegious custom are carried away by insanity rather than playfulness. And unless you want to share in their guilt I tell you: do not allow a little stag or a little yearling or monstrosities of any other sort to appear before your houses, but rather chastise and punish them and, if you can, even tie them up tightly. Admonish your household not to follow the sacrilegious customs of the unhappy Pagans.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 193.1-3

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 192.24

“During the Kalends of January wretched men, and worse yet, even some who are baptized, don false appearances, monstrous disguises, in which I know not whether they are primarily laughingstocks or rather objects of sorrow. What sensible person indeed could believe that he would find sane people who deliberately transform themselves into the state of wild beasts while playing the stag. Some are clothed in the hide of beasts, others don animal headdresses, rejoicing and exulting if thus they have changed themselves into the likeness of beasts so as not to appear to be men. Now truly, what is this! How vile! That those who are born men dress in women’s clothing and, by the vilest of perversion, sap their manly strength to resemble girls, not blushing to clothe their soldier’s muscles in women’s gowns: they flaunt their bearded faces, and they aim to look just like women. There are those who observe omens during the Kalends of January by refusing to give fire from their house or any other goods to anyone, no matter who asks; yet they accept diabolical gifts from others and give them to others themselves. That night, moreover, some rustics arrange little tables with the many things necessary for eating; they intend that the tables remain arranged like this throughout the night, for they believe that the Kalends of January can do this for them, that throughout the entire year they will continue to hold their feasts amid plenty. I command your household to get rid of these and other practices like them, which would take too long to describe, which are thought by ignorant people to be trifling sins, or none at all; and command your household to observe the Kalends as they do the Kalends of other months. And therefore the saintly fathers of ancient days, considering how most of mankind spent those days in gluttony and lechery, going mad with drunkenness and sacrilegious dancing, ordained throughout the whole world that all the churches should proclaim a public fast, so that wretched men might know that the evil that they brought upon themselves was so great that all the churches are obliged to fast for their sins. In fact, let no one doubt that anyone who shows any kindness to foolish men who lewdly indulging in amusements during those Kalends is himself a sharer of their sins.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 192.24

Pirmin of Reichenau, Dicta Pirmini 28.188-90

“Flee dancing, vaulting, and indecent and bawdy songs as you would the devil’s arrows; do not dare to perform them either by the church nor in your houses, nor in the roads nor in any other place, for they are remnants of Pagan custom. Avoid as well jokes, diabolical games and the gestures or words of mimes and prostitutes and generally any other sort of merrymaking.” – Pirmin of Reichenau, Dicta Pirmini 28.188-90

Register of the Church of Carthage 58; 60-61

“There remain still other requirements to be sought from the most pious emperors: that they should command the remaining idols throughout all Africa to be utterly extirpated, for in a number of coastal areas and in various rural estates the wickedness of such error flourishes. Thus the emperors should direct both the idols themselves to be destroyed and their temples which have been set up in these rural and remote areas. Further we request that those religious gatherings which occur contrary to decrees, namely those brought together by Pagan error and which both Pagans and Christians attend together – a horrible thought that Christians under Christian emperors might attend these secret celebrations! – that it is only right for the emperors to order them prohibited and banned from cities and estates by imposing a penalty. This is particularly necessary since the Pagans show no compunction about celebrating these sorts of rites on the birthdays of the most blessed martyrs in some cities and out in the sacred spots in the countryside. On those days, indeed – shameful to declare! – the dancing of the most wicked folk goes on in town squares and open spaces, and the respect due to the marital state and the modesty of countless women assembled in piety for the most sacred day is assaulted by lascivious insults, while access to holy worship itself is almost barred. We also request this: that theatrical shows and those of the games be removed from the Lord’s day and other most celebrated Christian days, especially because on the Eighth Day of holy Easter the people gather more at the Circus than at the church. The day of their worship will have to be moved – if indeed they do foregather – nor should any Christian be obliged to attend such shows, especially because in putting them on, contrary to god’s commands as they are, no pressure or persecution should be applied by anyone, but rather (as ought to be the case) a man should stand on his free will, divinely granted him.” – Register of the Church of Carthage 58; 60-61

Didascalia Apostolorum 13

“Pagans, when they daily rise from their sleep, go in morning to worship and minister to their idols; and before all their works and undertakings they go first and worship their idols. Neither at their festivals and their fairs are they wanting, but are constant in assembling – not only those who live close by, but many travel from a great distance to attend such assemblies and dramatic spectacles.” – Didascalia Apostolorum 13

Censorinus, De die natali 12.2

“If music were not welcome to the immortal gods, theater spectacles would not have been established to conciliate the gods, the flute-player would not be used in all sacrifices in sacred temples, nor would a triumphal parade be conducted with the flute and horn player in honor of Mars, nor the lyre to Apollo, nor the flute and similar instruments to the Muses.” – Censorinus, De die natali 12.2

The Diocesan Council of Auxerre

1. It is not permitted to dress up as a calf or a stag on the Kalends of January or to present diabolical gifts; on that day all favors shall be granted as on other days.

3. It is forbidden to make offerings or keep vigils on saints’ festivals in private houses, or to discharge vows among woods or at sacred trees or at springs, but, whoever has a vow, let him keep vigil in the church and fulfill his vow by giving to the servants of the church or the poor. Nor let anyone dare to make feet or images of men out of wood.

4. It is forbidden to turn to soothsayers or to augurs, or to those who pretend to know the future, or to look at what they call ‘the lots of the Saints’ or those they make out of wood or bread. But whatever a man wishes to do, let him do it in the name of god.

5. Forbid especially, in every way, these observances on the vigils which are kept in honor of Saint Martin.

8. It is forbidden to offer mellita, mulsa or any other mixture of wine and honey at the altar of the divine sacrifice. Any potion other than wine mixed with water is forbidden. Great sin and crime belong to the presbyter who dares offer any drink other than wine in the consecration of the blood of Christ.

– The Diocesan Council of Auxerre

OGIS 50

“Be it resolved by the guild of artists dedicated to Dionysos and the Theoi Adelphoi, and by those who share membership in the guild, that Dionysios, the son of Mousaeus, who is a Prytanis for life, is hereby authorized to adorn himself, in accordance with native custom, with the crown of ivy, in recognition of his generosity to the city of the Ptolemaeans and to the guild of artists dedicated to the great Dionysos and the Theoi Adelphoi. This crowning shall take place publicly at the Dionysia, and this resolution shall be inscribed upon a stele and set up in front of the temple of Dionysos. The cost of the stele shall be paid by the treasurer Sosibios.” – OGIS 50

The Life of St. Samson of Dol 47

“Now it came to pass, on a certain day, as he was on a journey through a certain district which they call Tricurius, he heard, on his left hand to be exact, men worshiping a certain idol after the custom of the Bacchantes, by means of a play in honour of an image. Thereupon he beckoned to his brothers that they should stand still and be silent while he himself, quietly descending from his chariot to the ground and standing upon his feet and observing those who worshiped the idol, saw in front of them, resting on the summit of a certain hill, an abominable image. On this hill I myself have been and have adored and with my hand traced the sign of the cross which St. Samson with his own hand carved by means of an iron instrument on a standing stone. When St. Samson saw the image, selecting two only of the brothers to be with him, he hastened quickly towards them, their chief, Guedianus standing at their head, and admonished them that they ought not to forsake the one god who created all things and worship an idol. They pleaded as excuse that it was not wrong to celebrate the mysteries of their progenitors in a play. Some others were quite furious, some mocked, but those of a saner mind strongly urged him to go away.” – The Life of St. Samson of Dol 47

Iamblichus, On the Mysteries 37.3-6; 38.13-40

“To answer your question, the erection of phallic images is a symbol of generative power and we consider that this is directed towards the fecundating of the world; this is the reason, indeed, why most of these images are consecrated in the spring, since this is just when the world as a whole receives from the gods the power of generating all creation. And as for the obscene utterances (aiskhrorrêmosunai), my view is that they have the role of expressing the absence of beauty in matter and the previous ugliness of those things that are going to be brought to order, which, since they lack ordering, yearn for it in the same degree as they spurn the unseemliness that was previously their lot. So then, once again, one is prompted to seek after the causes of form and beauty when one learns the nature of obscenity from the utterance of obscenities; one rejects the practice of obscenities, while by means of uttering them one makes clear one’s knowledge of them, and thus directs one’s striving towards the opposite. And there is another explanation too. When the power of human emotions in us is everywhere confined, it becomes stronger. But when it is brought to exercise briefly and to a moderate extent, it rejoices moderately and is satisfied. By that means it is purged and ceases by persuasion, and not in response to force. It is by this means that, when we see the emotions of others in comedy and in tragedy, we still our own emotions, and make them more moderate and purge them. And in sacred rites, through the sight and sound of the obscenities, we are freed from harm that comes from actual indulgence in them. So things of this sort are embraced for the therapy of our souls and to moderate the evils which come to us through the generative process, to free us from our chains and give us riddance.” – Iamblichus, On the Mysteries 37.3-6; 38.13-40

Malalas, Chronicle 284-5

“Likewise Commodus set aside a specific quantity of gold for torches, lights, and other expenses for the celebration of the nocturnal dramatic festival, held every three years and known as Orgies or the Mysteries of Dionysos and Aphrodite, which some call Maioumas because it is celebrated in the month of May-Artemisios.” – Malalas, Chronicle 284-5

Demosthenes, Against Meidias 51-54

Now if I had not been chorus-master, men of Athens, when I was thus maltreated by Meidias, it is only the personal insult that one would have condemned; but under the circumstances I think one would be justified in condemning also the impiety of the act. You surely realize that all your choruses and hymns to the god are sanctioned, not only by the regulations of the Dionysia, but also by the oracles, in all of which, whether given at Delphi or at Dodona, you will find a solemn injunction to the State to set up dances after the ancestral custom, to fill the streets with the savour of sacrifice, and to wear garlands.

Please take and read the actual oracles.

“Oracles You I address, Pandion’s townsmen and sons of Erechtheus,
who appoint your feasts by the ancient rites of your fathers.
See you forget not Bacchus, and joining all in the dances
Down your broad-spaced streets, in thanks for the gifts of the season,
Crown each head with a wreath, while incense reeks on the altars.
For health sacrifice and pray to Zeus Most High, to Heracles, and to Apollo the Protector; for good fortune to Apollo, god of the streets, to Leto, and to Artemis; and along the streets set wine-bowls and dances, and wear garlands after the manner of your fathers in honor of all gods and all goddesses of Olympus, raising right hands and left in supplication, and remember your gifts.”

“Oracles from Dodona
To the people of the Athenians the prophet of Zeus announces. Whereas ye have let pass the seasons of the sacrifice and of the sacred embassy, he bids you send nine chosen envoys, and that right soon. To Zeus of the Ship sacrifice three oxen and with each ox three sheep; to Dione one ox and a brazen table for the offering which the people of the Athenians have offered.

The prophet of Zeus in Dodona announces. To Dionysus pay public sacrifices and mix a bowl of wine and set up dances; to Apollo the Averter sacrifice an ox and wear garlands, both free men and slaves, and observe one day of rest; to Zeus, the giver of wealth, a white bull.”

Besides these oracles, men of Athens, there are many others addressed to our city, and excellent oracles they are. Now what conclusion ought you to draw from them? That while they prescribe the sacrifices to the gods indicated in each oracle, to every oracle that is published they add the injunction to set up dances and to wear garlands after the manner of our ancestors.

– Demosthenes, Against Midias 51-54

Lucian, How to Write History

“There is a story of a curious epidemic at Abdera, just after the accession of King Lysimachus. It began with the whole population’s exhibiting feverish symptoms, strongly marked and consistent from the very first attack. About the seventh day, the fever was relieved, in some cases by a violent flow of blood from the nose, in others by perspiration no less violent. The mental effects, however, were most ridiculous; they were all stage-struck, mouthing blank verse and ranting at the top of their voices. Their favourite recitation was the Andromeda of Euripides; one after another would go through the great speech of Perseus; the whole place was full of pale ghosts, who were our seventh-day tragedians vociferating: ‘O Love, who lord’st it over gods and men…’ and the rest of it. This continued for some time, till the coming of winter put an end to their madness with a sharp frost. I find the explanation of the form the madness took in this fact: Archelaus was then the great tragic actor, and in the middle of the summer, during some very hot weather, he had played the Andromeda in Abdera; most of them took the fever in the theatre, and convalescence was followed by a relapse – into tragedy, the Andromeda haunting their memories.” – Lucian, How to Write History

The Council of Trullo, Canon 62

“The so-called Kalends, and what are called Bota and Brumalia, and the full assembly which takes place on the first of March, we wish to be abolished from the life of the faithful. And also the public dances of women, which may do so much harm and mischief. Moreover we drive away from the life of Christians the dances given in the names of those falsely called gods by the Greeks whether of men or women, and which are preformed after an ancient and un-Christian fashion; decreeing that no man from this time forth shall be dressed as a woman, nor any woman in the garb suitable to men. Nor shall he assume comic, satyric, or tragic masks; nor may men invoke the name of the execrable Bacchus when they squeeze out the wine in the presses; nor when pouring out wine into jars [to cause a laugh], practicing in ignorance and vanity the things which proceed from the deceit of insanity. Therefore those who in the future attempt any of these things which are written, having obtained knowledge of them, if they be clerics we order them to be deposed, and if laymen to be cut off.” – The Council of Trullo, Canon 62