polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: athene

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

Zosimus, New History 5.37ff

“But the antiquity of the city, in the midst of these impious designs, was able to call to its aid the presiding deities by which it was preserved. It is, therefore, worthy of the pains to describe the cause to which the city owed its preservation ; it being divine and supernatural, and calculated to excite devotion in all who hear it. When Alaric advanced with all his forces against the city, he saw Athena, its tutelar goddess, walking along the wall, in the same form in which she is represented among the statues of the gods, which is in armour ready to attack those who oppose her. Before the walls he saw Achilles standing in an heroic posture, such as that in which Homer represents him engaging the Trojans so furiously in revenge for the death of Patroclus. Alaric, being struck with awe by this sight, desisted from his attempt on the city, and sent heralds with proposals for peace. These being accepted, and oaths mutually exchanged, Alaric entered Athens with a small number of troops. He was there entertained with all possible civility, and treated with great hospitality ; after which he received some presents, and departed, leaving the city and all Attica uninjured. Thus Athens, which was the only place that was preserved from the earthquake which happened under the reign of Valens, and shook the whole of Greece, as I mentioned in the preceding book, escaped also from this extreme danger.” – Zosimus, New History 5.37ff

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

Lucian, On Sacrifices 2

“So nothing, it seems, that the gods do is done without compensation. They sell men their blessings, and one can buy from them health, it may be, for a calf, wealth for four oxen, a royal throne for a hundred, a safe return from Troy to Pylos for nine bulls, and a fair voyage from Aulis to Troy for a king’s daughter! Hecuba, you know, purchased temporary immunity for Troy from Athena for twelve oxen and a frock. One may imagine, too, that they have many things on sale for the price of a cock or a wreath or nothing more than incense.” – Lucian, On Sacrifices 2

Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 29-30

“If we wished to do so, we might easily extend our observations on the theurgic labors of this blessed man. From among thousands, I will mention but one, which is really miraculous. One day Asklepigenia, daughter of Archiadas and Plutarche, and wife of our benefactor Theagenes, being still small, and being raised at her parents’, became ill with a sickness pronounced incurable by the physicians. Archiadas was in despair, as the child was the family’s only hope, and naturally uttered distressful lamentations. Seeing her abandoned by the physicians, the father, as in the gravest circumstances of life, turned to his last resort, and ran to the philosopher’s, as to the only person who could save her, and urgently besought him to come and pray for his daughter. The latter, taking with him the great Lydian Pericles, who also was a genuine philosopher, ran to the temple of Asklepios to pray to god in favor of the patient, for Athens was still fortunate enough to possess it, and it had not yet been sacked (by the Christians). While he was praying according to the ancient rite, suddenly a change manifested in the little girl’s condition, and there occurred a sudden improvement, for the Savior, being a divinity, swiftly gave her back her health. On completing the religious ceremonies, Proclus visited Asklepigenia, who had just been delivered from the sufferings that had assailed her, and who now was in perfect health. He had indeed performed his vows and offered his prayers in spite of everybody, so as to preclude any possibility of malicious slander, and the whole household had taken part in this act. This indeed was one of Proclus’s good fortunes, that he lived in the house that suited him best, where had dwelt both Syrianus, whom he called his father, and Plutarch, whom he called his grandfather. It was in the vicinity of the Asklepios temple which Sophokles had immortalized, and of the Dionysos temple near the theater, and was in sight of the Acropolis. His choice of the philosophic life amply proves how dear he was to the goddess friendly to wisdom (Athene), But the goddess testified to that herself when the statue of the goddess which had been erected in the Parthenon had been removed by the (Christian) people who move that which should not be moved. In a dream the philosopher thought he saw coming to him a woman of great beauty, who announced to him that he must as quickly prepare his house ‘because the Athenian Lady wishes to dwell with you.’ How high he stood in the esteem of Asklepios has already been shown in the story I have related above, and we were, in his last malady, thereof convinced by the god’s appearance. For being in a semi-waking condition, he saw a serpent creeping around his head, and from this moment on he felt relieved from his suffering; and he had the feeling that this apparition would cure him from his disease. But he seemed to have been restrained by an ardent and even violent desire for death, and I am indeed certain that he would have completely recovered his health if he had been willing to receive the cares demanded by his condition..” – Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 29-30

Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 6

“The parents of Proclus were Patricius and Marcella, Lykians of noble descent and very virtuous. At birth he was welcomed by the Constantinopolitan goddess Poliouchos (Athene), who as it were assisted his mother in childbirth. She might have been considered the cause of his life because he was born in the town she protects and saves; and who, when he reached childhood and youth, made him live well: for she appeared to him in a dream inducing him to follow philosophy. That is how he began so close an intimacy with the goddess, so that he sacrificed especially to her, and practiced her precepts with the greatest enthusiasm.” – Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 6

IDelos 5.2529.21

“They are to enter the temple of Zeus Kynthios and Athene Kynthia with pure hands and soul, with white clothing, barefooted, keeping pure from intercourse with a woman and from meat; and they are not to bring in … nor a key nor an iron ring nor a belt nor a purse nor weapons of war …” – IDelos 5.2529.21

Scholia on Kallimakhos’ Hymn to Demeter v. 1

“Ptolemy Philadelphos among other imitations of Athenian customs which he established in Alexandria, instituted the Procession of the Basket. For it was the custom in Athens that on a fixed day a basket should be borne upon a carriage in honor of Athene.” – Scholia on Kallimakhos’ Hymn to Demeter v. 1

Porphyry, as quoted in Macarius Magnes’ Apocriticus 4.21; 23

“At any rate, if you say that angels stand before god, who are not subject to feeling and death, and immortal in their nature, whom we ourselves speak of as gods, because they are close to the godhead, why do we dispute about a name? And are we to consider it only a difference of nomenclature? For she who is called by the Greeks Athene is called by the Romans Minerva; and the Egyptians, Syrians, and Thracians address her by some other name. But I suppose nothing in the invocation of the goddess is changed or lost by the difference of the names. The difference therefore is not great, whether a man calls them gods or angels, since their divine nature bears witness to them, as when Matthew writes thus: ‘And Jesus answered and said, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of god; for in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels in heaven’ (Matt. xxii. 29-30). Since therefore he confesses that the angels have a share in the divine nature, those who make a suitable object of reverence for the gods, do not think that the god is in the wood or stone or bronze from which the image is manufactured, nor do they consider that, if any part of the statue is cut off, it detracts from the power of the god. For the images of living creatures and the temples were set up by the ancients for the sake of remembrance, in order that those who approach thither might come to the knowledge of the god when they go; or, that, as they observe a special time and purify themselves generally, they may make use of prayers and supplications, asking from them the things of which each has need. For if a man makes an image of a friend, of course he does not think that the friend is in it, or that the limbs of his body are included in the various parts of the representation; but honour is shown towards the friend by means of the image. But in the case of the sacrifices that are brought to the gods, these are not so much a bringing of honour to them as a proof of the inclination of the worshippers, to show that they are not without a sense of gratitude. It is reasonable that the form of the statues should be the fashion of a man, since man is reckoned to be the fairest of living creatures and an image of god. It is possible to get hold of this doctrine from another saying, which asserts positively that god has fingers, with which he writes, saying, ‘And he gave to Moses the two tables which were written by the finger of god’ (Exod. xxxi. 18). Moreover, the Christians also, imitating the erection of the temples, build very large houses, into which they go together and pray, although there is nothing to prevent them from doing this in their own houses, since the lord certainly hears from every place … I could also give proof to you of that insidious name of ‘gods’ from the law, when it cries out and admonishes the hearer with much reverence, ‘Thou, shalt not revile gods, and thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.’ For it does not speak to us of other gods than those already within our reckoning, from what we know in the words, ‘Thou shalt not go after gods’ (Jer. vii. 6); and again, ‘If ye go and worship other gods’ (Deut. xii. 28). The gods we honour are mentioned not only by Moses but by his successor Joshua as well. For he says to the people, ‘And now fear him and serve him alone, and put away the gods whom your fathers served’ (Josh. xxiv. 14). And further Paul says, ‘For though there be that are called gods, whether on earth or in heaven, yet to us there is but one god and father, of whom are all things” (1 Cor. viii. 5). Therefore you make a great mistake in thinking that god is angry if any other is called a god, and obtains the same title as himself. For even rulers do not object to the title from their subjects, nor masters from slaves. And it is not right to think that god is more petty-minded than men. Enough then about the fact that gods exist, and ought to receive honour.” – Porphyry, as quoted in Macarius Magnes’ Apocriticus 4.21; 23

Dittenberger, Sylloge2, 566, 2-9, (S3, 982)

“Whoever wishes to visit the temple of the goddess [Athene Nikephoros], whether a resident of the city or anyone else, must refrain from intercourse with his wife (or husband) that day, from intercourse with another than his wife (or husband) for the preceding two days, and must complete the required lustrations. The same prohibition applies to contact with the dead and with the delivery of a woman in childbirth. But if he has come from funeral rites or from the burial, he shall purify [sprinkle] himself and enter by the door where the holy water stoups are, and he shall be clean that same day.” – Dittenberger, Sylloge2, 566, 2-9, (S3, 982)