eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: domestic cult

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

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

Capitula Vesulensia 22

“Dances and leapings and circuses and vile, lewd songs and diabolical pranks are not to be performed either in the roads or houses or in any other place because they are left over from Pagan custom.” – Capitula Vesulensia 22

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 54.6

“There are those who from naivety or ignorance or surely – which is more believable – from greed, neither feared nor blushed to eat of sacrifices or of sacrilegious food prepared in the Pagan fashion. True Christians, however, ought to avoid the devilish banquets held in the vicinity of a shrine or springs or of particular trees. And even if you keep yourself away from the diabolical feast, that is not enough, for there are some who eat the food that others prepare and bring home from the shrines, which is completely unacceptable.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 54.6

Burchard of Worms, Decretum 19.5.103

“Did you make little children’s bows and children’s shoes and throw them into your pantry or storehouse for the satyri and pilosi [“hairy ones”] to play with, so that they would bring you other people’s goods and enrich you as a result?” – Burchard of Worms, Decretum 19.5.103

Louis the Pious, Concilia 2.2.669-70

“There is no doubt that, as many have observed, minds are being infected with certain kinds of trickery and diabolical illusions by means of love potions, foods and amulets, so that, unaware of their own shame, they are considered by many to have succumbed to madness. There are those who claim that they can disturb the air with their spells, bring on hail, foretell the future, take away produce and milk and give it to other people. They are reputed to do countless such things. Whoever, man or women, who is known to be of this sort is to be punished particularly severely for it has been written of such people under title 23 of the Councils of Ancyra: Whoever seeks divinations and follows the customs of the Pagans or introduces such men into his house to find something by witchcraft or to carry out a purification or to avert some omen, he shall fall under the rule of five years’ penance.” – Louis the Pious, Concilia 2.2.669-70

Martin of Braga, Canones ex orientalium patrum synodis 71

“Anyone who, following Pagan custom, brings soothsayers and fortune-tellers into his house, as if to expel or uncover hexes or perform Pagan lustrations shall do five years of penance.” – Martin of Braga, Canones ex orientalium patrum synodis 71

Burchard of Worms, Decretum 19.5.62

“Did you observe the Kalends of January in the Pagan fashion by sitting on the roof of your house after having drawn a circle around you with a sword so that you might see from there and understand what will happen to you in the coming year? Or did you sit at the crossroads on the hide of a bull so that you would discover your future? ” – Burchard of Worms, Decretum 19.5.62

Burchard of Worms, Decretum 19.5.179

“Did you do as certain women are accustomed to do? Those, I say, who have crying babies: they dig out the earth, and make a hole through a part, and they pull the baby through that hole, and they say that thus the crying baby will stop crying. If you did this or agreed to it, you shall do penance for five days on bread and water.” – Burchard of Worms, Decretum 19.5.179

Martin of Braga, Canones ex orientalium patrum synodis 72

“It is forbidden for Christians to abide by any Pagan traditions and observe or honor the elements or the moon or the course of the stars or the empty falsehood of signs for building a house, planting corn or trees or contracting marriage.” – Martin of Braga, Canones ex orientalium patrum synodis 72

Euripides, Alkestis 97-99

“I do not see before the gates the basin for hand-washing which is customary at the doors of those who have died.” – Euripides, Alkestis 97-99

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

P. Oxy. 42.3069

“Aquila to Sarapion the philosopher, greetings! I was overjoyed to receive your letter. Our friend Callinicus was testifying to the utmost about the way of life you follow even under such conditions – especially in your not abandoning your austerities. Yes, we may deservedly congratulate ourselves, not because we do these things, but because we are not diverted from them by ourselves. Courage! Carry through what remains like a man! Let not wealth distract you, nor beauty, nor anything else of the same kind: for there is no good in them, if virtue is not joined to them; no without her they are vanishing and worthless. Under the protection of the gods, I expect to see you in Antinoopolis. Send Soteris the puppy, since she now spends her time by herself in the country. Good health to you and yours! Good health!” – P. Oxy. 42.3069

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

Homer, Odyssey 7.137

“Odysseus stepped quickly over the threshold into the palace of King Alkinous of the Phaiakians. He found the Phaiakian lords and rulers pouring libations from their cups to the Keen-Eyed Argos-Slaying Hermes to whom by custom they poured libation last when they turned their thoughts to the night’s rest.” – Homer, Odyssey 7.137

Cato, De Agricultura 143

“The mistress of the estate must not perform rites, or cause others to perform them for her, unless at her master’s orders: it must be understood that the master performs rites for all the household. She must be clean, and keep the farmhouse sweet and clean. She must have the hearth ready swept all round each day before she goes to bed. On the Kalends, the Ides, the Nones, and on a feast day, she must place a wreath at the hearth, and on those days she must make offering to the Lar of the Household according to her means.” – Cato, De Agricultura 143

Cato, De Agricultura 134

“Before you harvest, you may do sacrifice of the Harvest Sow, in the following way. A female piglet, the Harvest Sow is offered to Ceres before the following crops are put up: emmer, wheat, barley, broad bean, rapeseed. With incense and wine address Janus, Jove and Juno before you slaughter the female pig. Offer a strues to Janus thus: ‘Father Janus, as I offer you this strues, I pray with good prayers that you be ready and favourable to me and my children, to my house and household.’ Offer and present a fertum to Jove thus: ‘Jove, as I offer you this fertum, I pray with good prayers that you be ready and favourable to me and my children, to my house and household, accepting this fertum.’ Then give wine to Janus thus: ‘Father Janus, since in offering you a strues I prayed well with good prayers, therefore accept this offertory wine.’ Then to Jove thus: ‘Jove, accept this fertum, accept this offertory wine.’ Then slaughter the Harvest Sow. When the organs are cut out, offer and present a strues to Janus as you did before; offer and present a fertum to Jove as you did before; give Janus wine and give Jove wine as you gave it before on account of the offering of the strues and the slicing of the fertum. Then give the organs and the wine to Ceres.”  – Cato, De Agricultura 134

SIG3 1218

“These are the laws concerning the dead; bury the dead person as follows: in three white cloths, a spread, a garment, and a coverlet – there may be less – worth not more than 300 drachmas. Carry it out on a wedge-footed bed and do not the cover the bier completely with the cloths. Bring not more than three khoes of wine to the tomb and not more than khous of olive oil, and bring back the vessels. Carry the dead man, covered over, up to the tomb in silence. Perform the preliminary sacrifice according to ancestral custom. Bring the bed and its coverings from the tomn indoors. On the following day first sprinkle the house with sea water, then wash it with water having anointed it with earth; when it has been sprinkled throughout, the house is purified and sacrifices should be made on the hearth. The women who go to the funeral are to leave the tomb before the men. Do not carry out the rites performed on the thirtieth day in honor of the deceased. Do not put a kylix under the bed, do not pour out the water, and do not bring the seepings to the tomb. Whenever someone dies, when he is carried out, no women should go to the house other than those polluted by death. The mother and wife and sisters and daughters are polluted, and in addition to these not more than five women, children of the daughters and of the cousins, and no one else. Those polluted washed from head to foot … a pouring of water are purified …” – SIG3 1218

Codex Justinianus 9.18.6

“Many persons do not hesitate to disturb the elements by the use of magic, plot against the lives of innocent people, and, by the invocation of household gods, dare to provide means by which anyone can destroy his enemies by evil arts. Such person shall be thrown to wild beasts, as they are of a nature different from that of ordinary mortals.” – Codex Justinianus 9.18.6

Codex Justinianus 1.11.7

The Emperors Valentinian and Martian to Palladius, Praetorian Prefect: No one, for the purpose of reverence or worship, shall reopen the temples of the Pagans, which have already been closed, in order that the honor which was formerly shown to their idols and their infamous and execrable rites may be removed from our age; for it is held to be sacrilege instead of religion to adorn the impious portals of shrines with garlands; to kindle profane fires on the altars; to burn incense upon the same; to slaughter victims there, and to pour out libations of wine from bowls. Anyone who attempts to perform sacrifices contrary to this our decree, and against the prohibition of the most sacred ancient constitutions, can be lawfully accused of the crime before any judge, and, if convicted, shall suffer the confiscation of all his property, and the extreme penalty, and the accomplices of the crime as well as the ministers of the sacrifices shall undergo the same penalty to which he was sentenced; so that, terrified by the severity of this our law, they may desist from celebrating forbidden sacrifices through the fear of punishment. If, however, the most illustrious Governor of the province as well as the judge himself, when the accusation has been lawfully made and the crime established, should, after proper examination, neglect to punish an offence of such gravity, they shall each immediately be compelled to pay fifty pounds of gold into our treasury.” – Codex Justinianus 1.11.7

Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 171

“There was a man from the east who visited a particular temple every day, bringing incense and perfumes to an image on the door frame. In return for this he collected a dinar from beneath its feet. This happened every day, for a long time, until it was discovered what he was doing and he was arrested.” – Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 171

Al-Qwazwini, Athar 138

“In the village of Absoug on the west bank of the Nile, there is a temple whose door has a picture of a mouse on a stone which keeps the mice away. People take a clay imprint of this to their homes to keep mice out.” – Al-Qwazwini, Athar 138

Marcianus, Institutes 3.2-3

“Things which are sacred, religious, and holy are not the property of anyone. Sacred things are those which are publicly and not privately consecrated; and hence if anyone should make anything sacred for himself privately, it is not sacred but profane; where, however, a temple has once been made sacred the place still remains so, even after the edifice has been demolished.” – Marcianus, Institutes 3.2-3

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

Maximus of Turin, Sermon 107

“Some days ago I admonished your charity, brethren, that as holy and religious men, you should remove all pollution of idols from your properties and cast out the whole error of Paganism from your fields. For it is not right that you, who have Christ in your hearts, should have Antichrist in your houses; that your men should honor the devil in his shrines while you pray to god in church. And let no one think he is excused by saying, ‘I did not order this, I did not command it.’ Whoever knows that sacrilege takes place on his estate and does not forbid it, in a sense orders it. By keeping silence and not reproving the man who sacrifices, he lends his consent. For the blessed apostle states that not only those who do sinful acts are guilty, but also those who consent to the act. You, therefore, brother, when you observe your peasant sacrificing and do not forbid the offering, sin, because even if you did not assist the sacrifice yourself you gave permission for it. If your order was not behind the crime your will is still to blame. As long as you remain silent, what your peasant does pleases you: if he did not act in this way perhaps he would displease you. So the subject does not merely involve himself in sin when he sacrifices, he also involves his lord, who does not forbid him; if he had done so neither would have sinned. Idolatry is a great evil. It pollutes those who practice it. It pollutes the inhabitants of the region. It pollutes those who look on. It penetrates its ministers, it penetrates those who know of it and those who keep silent. The peasant’s offering defiles the lord of the land. He cannot not be polluted when he eats food gathered by sacrilegious hands, brought forth by earth stained with blood, stored in foul barns. For all things are defiled, all are abominable, where the devils dwell, whether houses, fields or peasants. There is nothing free from evil where everything is steeped in evil. If you entered a rustic shrine you would find there bleaching sods and dead coals – a worthy devil’s sacrifice when a dead god is worshiped with dead things. And if you went into the fields you would see wooden altars and stone images, suitable to a rite in which insensible gods are served at moldering altars. If you woke up earlier than you usually do you would see a rustic reeling with wine. You ought to know that he is what they call either a devotee of Diana, one who is epileptic or made mad by the moon, or a soothsayer. For a god who makes mad usually has a frantic priest. Such a priest prepares himself with wine for his goddess’ blows, so that, being drunk, the wretch may not feel his punishment. They do this not only out of intemperance but by design, so that, buoyed up by wine, they may feel less pain. The seer who thinks piety is intensified by cruelty is wholly useless. How merciful his god must be to others who is so cruel to his priests! To sketch briefly this seer’s dress. He has a shaggy head with long hair. His breast is bare, he has a cloth half round his loins, and like a gladiator prepared for combat, he brandishes a weapon in his hand. But he is worse than a gladiator, for he is forced to fight against another man, whereas this fellow has to fight against himself. The gladiator strikes at others’ guts, this man tears his own limbs to pieces, and if one can say this, as his trainer works on the gladiator, so his god urges this man on to self-flagellation. Wrapped in this dress, bloody with his self-slaughter, judge for yourselves whether he is a gladiator or a priest! As the public outrage of gladiators has been removed by the religious piety of our princes, these gladiators of insanity should be removed by Christians from their own dwellings.” – Maximus of Turin, Sermon 107

Tacitus, Annals 11.31.2

“Messalina meanwhile, more wildly profligate than ever, was celebrating in mid-autumn a representation of the vintage in her new home. The presses were being trodden; the vats were overflowing; women girt with skins were dancing, as Bacchanals dance in their worship or their frenzy. Messalina with flowing hair shook the thyrsus, and Silius at her side, crowned with ivy and wearing the buskin, moved his head to some lascivious chorus.” – Tacitus, Annals 11.31.2

The Council of Trullo, Canon 65

“Those who light fires in front of their businesses and homes on the new moons and, behaving foolishly and following an ancient custom, jump over them, we order from this time forward to desist from this practice. Whoever continues to follow such practices, if he is a cleric, let him be deposed, if a laymen, let him be excommunicated.” – The Council of Trullo, Canon 65

Philostratos, Life of Apollonios of Tyana 6.3

“Apollonios asked, ‘Do you sacrifice to Aphrodite, my boy?’ And Timasion answered: ‘Yes, by Zeus, every day; for I consider that this goddess has great influence in human and divine affairs.'” – Philostratos, Life of Apollonios of Tyana 6.3

Horace, Odes 3.22

“Virgin who guards the mountains and the woods, who when thrice invoked give ear to young women in labour and rescue them from death, three-formed goddess, let the pine that overhangs my villa be yours, so that at the end of every year I may joyfully present it with the blood of a young boar practising its sidelong slash.” – Horace, Odes 3.22

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