polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: apollon

Xenophon, Anabasis 3.1.5-7

“And Sokrates advised Xenophon to go to Delphi and consult the god in regard to this journey. So Xenophon went and asked Apollo to what one of the gods he should sacrifice and pray in order best and most successfully to perform the journey which he had in mind and, after meeting with good fortune, to return home in safety; and Apollon in his response told him to what gods he must sacrifice. When Xenophon came back from Delphi, he reported the oracle to Sokrates; and upon hearing about it Sokrates found fault with him because he did not first put the question whether it were better for him to go or stay, but decided for himself that he was to go and then asked the god as to the best way of going. However, he added, since you did put the question in that way, you must do all that the god directed.” – Xenophon, Anabasis 3.1.5-7

Hesiod, Works and Days 765ff

“Mark the days which come from Zeus, duly telling your slaves of them, and that the thirtieth day of the month is best for one to look over the work and to deal out supplies. For these are days which come from Zeus the all-wise, when men discern aright. To begin with, the first, the fourth, and the seventh — on which Leto bare Apollo with the blade of gold — each is a holy day. The eighth and the ninth, two days at least of the waxing month, are specially good for the works of man. Also the eleventh and twelfth are both excellent, alike for shearing sheep and for reaping the kindly fruits; but the twelfth is much better than the eleventh, for on it the airy-swinging spider spins its web in full day, and then the Wise One, gathers her pile. On that day woman should set up her loom and get forward with her work. Avoid the thirteenth of the waxing month for beginning to sow: yet it is the best day for setting plants. The sixth of the mid-month is very unfavourable for plants, but is good for the birth of males, though unfavourable for a girl either to be born at all or to be married. Nor is the first sixth a fit day for a girl to be born, but a kindly for gelding kids and sheep and for fencing in a sheep-cote. It is favourable for the birth of a boy, but such will be fond of sharp speech, lies, and cunning words, and stealthy converse. On the eighth of the month geld the boar and loud- bellowing bull, but hard-working mules on the twelfth. On the great twentieth, in full day, a wise man should be born. Such an one is very sound-witted. The tenth is favourable for a male to be born; but, for a girl, the fourth day of the mid-month. On that day tame sheep and shambling, horned oxen, and the sharp-fanged dog and hardy mules to the touch of the hand. But take care to avoid troubles which eat out the heart on the fourth of the beginning and ending of the month; it is a day very fraught with fate. On the fourth of the month bring home your bride, but choose the omens which are best for this business. Avoid fifth days: they are unkindly and terrible. On a fifth day, they say, the Erinyes assisted at the birth of Horcus whom Eris bare to trouble the forsworn. Look about you very carefully and throw out Demeter’s holy grain upon the well-rolled threshing floor on the seventh of the mid-month. Let the woodman cut beams for house building and plenty of ships’ timbers, such as are suitable for ships. On the fourth day begin to build narrow ships. The ninth of the mid-month improves towards evening; but the first ninth of all is quite harmless for men. It is a good day on which to beget or to be born both for a male and a female: it is never an wholly evil day. Again, few know that the twenty-seventh of the month is best for opening a wine-jar, and putting yokes on the necks of oxen and mules and swift-footed horses, and for hauling a swift ship of many thwarts down to the sparkling sea; few call it by its right name. On the fourth day open a jar. The fourth of the mid-month is a day holy above all. And again, few men know that the fourth day after the twentieth is best while it is morning: towards evening it is less good. These days are a great blessing to men on earth; but the rest are changeable, luckless, and bring nothing. Everyone praises a different day but few know their nature. Sometimes a day is a stepmother, sometimes a mother. That man is happy and lucky in them who knows all these things and does his work without offending the deathless gods, who discerns the omens of birds and avoids transgressions.” – Hesiod, Works and Days 765ff

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

Lucian, On Sacrifices 10-13

“That is the way the gods live, and as a result, the practices of men in the matter of divine worship are harmonious and consistent with all that. First they fenced off groves, dedicated mountains, consecrated birds and assigned plants to each god. Then they divided them up, and now worship them by nations and claim them as fellow-countrymen ; the Delphians claim Apollo, and so do the Delians, the Athenians Athena (in fact, she proves her kinship by her name), the Argives Hera, the Mygdonians Rhea, the Paphians Aphrodite. As for the Cretans, they not only say that Zeus was born and brought up among them, but even point out his tomb. We were mis­taken all this while, then, in thinking that thunder and rain and everything else comes from Zeus ; if we had but known it, he has been dead and buried in Crete this long time! Then too they erect temples, in order that the gods may not be houseless and hearthless, of course; and they fashion images in their likeness, sending for a Praxiteles or a Polycleitus or a Phidias, who have caught sight of them somewhere and represent Zeus as a bearded man, Apollo as a perennial boy, Hermes with his first moustache, Poseidon with sea-blue hair and Athena with green eyes ! In spite of all, those who enter the temple think that what they behold is not now ivory from India nor gold mined in Thrace, but the very son of Cronus and Rhea, transported to earth by Phidias and bidden to be overlord of de­serted Pisa, thinking himself lucky if he gets a sacrifice once in four long years as an incident to the Olympic games. When they have established altars and formulae and lustral rites, they present their sacrifices, the farmer an ox from the plough, the shepherd a lamb, the goatherd a goat, someone else incense or a cake ; the poor man, however, propitiates the god by just kissing his own hand. But those who offer victims (to come back to them) deck the animal with gar­lands, after finding out far in advance whether it is perfect or not, in order that they may not kill some­thing that is of no use to them; then they bring it to the altar and slaughter it under the god’s eyes, while it bellows plaintively—making, we must suppose, auspicious sounds, and fluting low music to accom­pany the sacrifice! Who would not suppose that the gods like to see all this ? And although the notice says that no one is to be allowed within the holy-water who has not clean hands, the priest himself stands there all bloody, just like the Cyclops of old, cutting up the victim, removing the entrails, plucking out the heart, pouring the blood about the altar, and doing everything possible in the way of piety. To crown it all, he lights a fire and puts upon it the goat, skin and all, and the sheep, wool and all; and the smoke, divine and holy, mounts upward and gradually dissipates into Heaven itself.” – Lucian, On Sacrifices 10-13

Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 364e-365e

“That Osiris is identical with Dionysos who could more fittingly know than yourself, Klea? For you are at the head of the inspired maidens of Delphi, and have been consecrated by your father and mother in the holy rites of Osiris. If, however, for the benefit of others it is needful to adduce proofs of this identity, let us leave undisturbed what may not be told, but the public ceremonies which the priests perform in the burial of the Apis, when they convey his body on an improvised bier, do not in any way come short of a Bacchic procession; for they fasten skins of fawns about themselves, and carry Bacchic wands and indulge in shoutings and movements exactly as do those who are under the spell of the Dionysiac ecstasies. For the same reason many of the Greeks make statues of Dionysos in the form of a bull; and the women of Elis invoke him, praying that the god may come with the hoof of a bull; and the epithet applied to Dionysos among the Argives is ‘Son of the Bull.’ They call him up out of the water by the sound of trumpets, at the same time casting into the depths a lamb as an offering to the Keeper of the Gate. The trumpets they conceal in Bacchic wands, as Socrates has stated in his treatise On The Holy Ones. Furthermore, the tales regarding the Titans and the rites celebrated by night agree with the accounts of the dismemberment of Osiris and his revivification and regenesis. Similar agreement is found too in the tales about their sepulchres. The Egyptians, as has already been stated, point out tombs of Osiris in many places, and the people of Delphi believe that the remains of Dionysos rest with them close beside the oracle; and the Holy Ones offer a secret sacrifice in the shrine of Apollo whenever the devotees of Dionysos wake the God of the Mystic Basket. To show that the Greeks regard Dionysos as the lord and master not only of wine, but of the nature of every sort of moisture, it is enough that Pindar be our witness, when he says ‘May gladsome Dionysos swell the fruit upon the trees, the hallowed splendour of harvest time.’ For this reason all who reverence Osiris are prohibited from destroying a cultivated tree or blocking up a spring of water.” – Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 364e-365e

Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 12.73

“And Ptolemy the seventh king of Egypt was a man of this sort, the same who caused himself to be styled Euergetes (‘Benefactor’) but who was called Kakergetes (‘Malefactor’) by the Alexandrians. Accordingly, Poseidonios the Stoic, who went with Scipio Africanus when he was sent to Alexandria, and who there saw this Ptolemy, writes thus, in the seventh book of his History (Fr. 6) ‘But owing to his luxury his whole body was eaten up with fat, and with the greatness of his belly, which was so large that no one could put his arms all round it; and he wore over it a tunic which reached down to his feet, having sleeves which reached to his wrists, and he never by any chance walked out except on this occasion of Scipio’s visit.’ And that this king was not averse to luxury he tells us when he speaks of himself, relating in the eighth book of his Commentaries how he was priest of Apollon at Kyrene, and how he gave a banquet to those who had been priests before him; writing thus: ‘The Artemitia is the great festival of Kyrene, on which occasion the priest of Apollon (and that office is one which lasts a year) gives a banquet to all those who have been his predecessors in the office; and he sets before each of them a separate dish. And this dish is an earthenware vessel, holding about twenty artabae, in which there are many kinds of game elaborately dressed, and many kinds of bread, and of tame birds, and of sea-fish, and also many species of foreign preserved meats and pickled-fish. And very often some people also furnish them with a handsome youth as an attendant. But we ourselves omitted all this, and instead we furnished them with cups of solid silver, each being of as much value as all the things which we have just enumerated put together; and also we presented each man with a horse properly harnessed, and a groom, and gilt trappings; and we invited each man to mount his horse and ride him home.’ And his son Alexander also became exceedingly fat,  the one, I mean, who put his mother to death who had been his partner in the kingdom. Accordingly Poseidonios, in the forty-seventh book of his History (Fr. 26), mentions him in the following terms: ‘But the king of Egypt being detested by the multitude, but flattered by the people whom he had about him, and living in great luxury, was not able even to walk, unless he went leaning on two friends; but for all that he would, at his banquets, leap off from a high couch, and dance barefoot with more vigour than even those who made dancing their profession.’ – Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 12.73


“Because Trophime, daughter of Artemidoros, also known as Kikinnas, had been asked by the god to fulfil a service and refused to come quickly, the god punished her and made her insane. Now, she asked Meter Tarsene and Apollo Tarsios and Mes Artemidorou Axiottenos, who rules over Koresa. And the god ordered me to register myself for sacred service.” – BIWK 57

IMagnMai 215

(Side A) To good fortune!  During the presidency of Akrodemos, son of Dioteimos, the Magnesian people consulted the god concerning a sign which happened.  For an image of Dionysos was visible in a tree that had been struck by lightening and blown by a heavy wind.  What does this mean?  Why does it continue?  In order to find this out, oracular messengers named Hermonax, son of Epikratos, and Aristarchos, son of Diodoros, were sent to Delphi.

The god answered:

Magnesians, who obtained the holy city on the Maeander river and defend our possessions: you came to hear from my mouth what the appearance of Bakchos, seen lying by a bush, means.  He was made manifest while still a youth, when the clear‑aired city was founded but temples were not yet built for Dionysos.

Now do the following, oh extremely strong people.  Dedicate temples which delight in the wand of the god and appoint a perfect and sacred priest.  Come onto Thebes’ holy ground, so that you may receive maenads who are descendants of Ino, Kadmos’ daughter.  They will give to you good rites and customs and will consecrate Bacchic associations (thiasoi) in the city.

According to the oracle and by means of the oracular messengers, three maenads named Kosko, Baubo, and Thettale were sent from Thebes.  Kosko gathered together the association of Platanistenai, Baubo the association before the city, and Thettale the association of Kataibatai.  They died and were buried by the Magnesians.  Kosko lies in Koskobounos district, Baubo in Tabarnis district, and Thettale near the theatre.

(Side B)  Apollonios Mokolles, ancient initiate, dedicated this ancient oracle to the god Dionysos, inscribing it upon a plaque together with the altar.

– IMagnMai 215

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

P.Mich.inv. 4219

“Of Idios Logos. Of Pheneb(ythis). The 2nd year of Antoninus Caesar the lord. Harsies, the third, son of Kolanth(os), grandson of Orsenouphis, his mother being Senpeteminis, (paid) for admission to the priesthood of the famous temple of Aphrodite and Apollon and the associated gods 20 silver drachmas, total 20 drachmae, through Ploutog( ), son of Ket( ). The 3rd year, Thoth 6.” – P.Mich.inv. 4219

Rutilius Namatianus, On his Return 1.371-6

“We halted our weary way at nearby Faleria, although Phoebus had scarcely reached mid-point in the sky. As it happened, happy villagers were easing their weariness with joyful rites at the crossroads in the countryside; it was indeed on that day that Osiris was at last restored to life and arouses the seeds readily to yield new crops.” – Rutilius Namatianus, On his Return 1.371-6

Dittenberger, Sylloge2, 653

Concerning sacred men and sacred women. The scribe of the magistrates is to administer the following oath, then and there, to those who have been designated sacred men, who pour the blood and wine when the [offerings] are kindled, that no one may be remiss: “I swear, by the gods for whom the mysteries are celebrated: I shall be careful that the things pertaining to the initiation are done reverently and in fully lawful manner; I myself shall do nothing shameful or wrong at the conclusion of the mysteries, nor shall I confide in anyone else; rather, I shall obey what is written; and I shall administer the oath to the sacred women and the priest in accordance with the rule. May I, by keeping the oath, experience what is in store for the pious, but may one who breaks the oath experience the opposite.” If someone does not wish to take the oath, he is to pay a fine of one thousand drachmai, and in his place he is to appoint by lot another person from the same clan. The priest and the sacred men are to administer the same oath to the sacred women in the sacred area of Karneios on the day before the mysteries, and they are to administer an additional oath as well: “I also have lived purely and lawfully with my husband.” The sacred men are to fine one who does not wish to take the oath one thousand drachmai and not allow her to celebrate the things pertaining to the sacrifices or participate in the mysteries. Rather, the women who have taken the oath are to celebrate. But in the fifty-fifth year those who have been designated sacred men and sacred women are to take the same oath in the eleventh month before the mysteries.

Regarding transferral. The sacred men are to hand over, to those appointed as successors, the chest and the books that Mnasistratos donated; they also are to hand over whatever else may be furnished for the sake of the mysteries.

Regarding wreaths. The sacred men are to wear wreaths, the sacred women a white felt cap, and the first initiates among the initiated a tiara. But when the sacred men give the order, they are to take off their tiara, and they are all to be wreathed with laurel.

Regarding clothing. The men who are initiated into the mysteries are to stand barefoot and wear white clothing, and the women are to wear clothes that are not transparent, with stripes on their robes not more than half a finger wide. The independent women are to wear a linen tunic and a robe worth not more than one hundred drachmai, the daughters an Egyptian or linen tunic and a robe worth not more than a mina, and the female slaves an Egyptian or linen tunic and a robe worth not more than fifty drachmai. The sacred women: the ladies are to wear an Egyptian tunic or an undergarment without decoration and a robe worth not more than two minas, and the [daughters] an Egyptian tunic or a robe worth not more than one hundred drachmai. In the procession the ladies among the sacred women are to wear an undergarment and a woman’s wool robe, with stripes not more than half a finger wide, and the daughters an Egyptian tunic and a robe that is not transparent. None of the women are to wear gold, or rouge, or white makeup, or a hair band, or braided hair, or shoes made of anything but felt or leather from sacrificial victims. The sacred women are to have curved wicker seats and on them white pillows or a round cushion, without decoration or purple design. The women who must be dressed in the manner of the gods are to wear the clothing that the sacred men specify. But if anyone somehow has clothing contrary to the rule, or anything else of what is prohibited, the supervisor of the women is not to allow it, but the supervisor is to have the authority to inflict punishment, and it is to be devoted to the gods.

Oath of the supervisor of the women. When the sacred men themselves take the oath, they also are to administer the oath to the supervisor of the women, before the same sacred men: “I truly shall be careful concerning the clothing and the rest of the things assigned to me in the rule.” – Dittenberger, Sylloge2, 653

Homer, Iliad 1.458-469

“When they had done praying and sprinkling the barley-meal, they drew back the heads of the victims and killed and flayed them. They cut out the thigh-bones, wrapped them round in two layers of fat, set some pieces of raw meat on the top of them, and then he laid them on the wood fire and poured wine over them, while the young men stood near him with five-pronged spits in their hands. When the thigh-bones were burned and they had tasted the inward meats, they cut the rest up small, put the pieces upon the spits, roasted them till they were done, and drew them off: then, when they had finished their work and the feast was ready, they ate it, and every man had his full share, so that all were satisfied. As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink, pages filled the mixing-bowl with wine and water and handed it round, after giving every man his drink-offering. Thus all day long the young men worshiped the god with song, hymning him and chaunting the joyous paean, and the god took pleasure in their voices.” – Homer, Iliad 1.458-469

Euripides, Melanippe Captive Fr. 13

“Men’s criticism of women is worthless twanging of a bowstring and evil talk. Women are better than men, as I will show …Women run households and protect within their homes what has been carried across the sea, and without a woman no home is clean or prosperous. Consider their role in religion, for that, in my opinion, comes first. We women play the most important part, because women prophesy the will of Loxias in the oracles of Phoibos. And at the holy site of Dodona near the Sacred Oak, females convey the will of Zeus to inquirers from Greece. As for the sacred rites of the Fates and the Nameless Goddesses, all these would not be holy if performed by men, but prosper in women’s hands. In this way women have a rightful share in the service of the gods. Why is it then, that women must have a bad reputation? Won’t men’s worthless criticism stop, and men who insist on blaming all women alike, if one woman turns out to be evil? Let me make the following distinctions: there is nothing worse than a bad woman, and nothing better in any way than a good one.” – Euripides, Melanippe Captive Fr. 13

Apa Pinution to Dioscorus of Alexandria 5.10-11

“At once my father made a sign to the borthers, ‘Seize him!’ But that unclean priest cried out, saying, ‘Great god Kothos, commander-in-chief of the air, the brother of Apollo, save me! I am your high priest.’ My father said to him, ‘I shall burn you alive, and also your god Kothos.’ And when we went into the village the multitude of the orthodox came out ahead of us singing psalms. Then he gave the command, and a fire was kindled. He threw Homer into it. He was burned along with the idols that had been found in his house. And of the rest of the pagans, some became Christians and received baptism. But others did not wish to receive it. Rather, they threw everything they owned into the depths of the cisterns and wells and fled with only their idols into the desert. And they counted the idols that had been destroyed that day and found them to number 306. As for those who fled, the Chistians dwelt in their houses.” – Apa Pinution to Dioscorus of Alexandria 5.10-11