eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: mysteries

Tertullian, On the Crown 15

“Be ashamed as Christ’s fellow-soldiers to be open to reproach not only from Christ himself but from any soldier of Mithra. For to him when he is initiated in a cavern, a veritable home of darkness, a crown is offered on a naked sword, as if in parody of martyrdom; this then is placed on his head, and he is enjoined with his own hand to lift it from his head and voluntarily to transfer it to his shoulder, declaring that Mithra is his crown. Thereafter he is never crowned. And this is regarded as evidence of his steadfastness, if ever he is tempted to break his oath, and forthwith he is regarded as a soldier of Mithra, should he have rejected the crown and claimed the god himself as his crown. We may recognise the craft of the devil, who counterfeits divine things to turn us from our faith and bring us into condemnation.” – Tertullian, On the Crown 15

Hesiod, Works and Days 752-758

“A man should not clean his body with water in which a woman has washed, for there is bitter mischief in that also for a time. When you come upon a burning sacrifice, do not make a mock of mysteries, for Heaven is angry at this also. Never make water in the mouths of rivers which flow to the sea, nor yet in springs; but be careful to avoid this. And do not ease yourself in them: it is not well to do this.” – Hesiod, Works and Days 752-758

Aelius Aristides, Oration 48.32

“For there was a feeling as if taking hold of the god and of clearly perceiving that he himself had come, of being midway between sleeping and waking, of wanting to look, of struggling against his departure too soon; of having applied one’s ears and hearing some things as in a dream, some waking; hair stood straight, tears flowed in joy; the burden of understanding seemed light. What man is able to put these things into words? Yet if he is one of those who have undergone initiation, he knows and is familiar with them.” – Aelius Aristides, Oration 48.32

IGLT 1265

“I, the torchbearer of the most sacred mysteries at Eleusis, Nicagoras, son of Minucianus, an Athenian, investigated the tombs [in the Valley of the Kings] many lifetimes after the divine Plato from Athens, and I marveled and gave thanks to the gods and the most devout Emperor Constantine who made this possible for me.” – IGLT 1265

Philodemos, On Piety 25-28

“Therefore I think it is especially necessary to despise those who transgress or mock the traditional rites. Furthermore it will appear that Epicurus loyally observed all the forms of worship and enjoined upon his friends to observe them, and not just be in accordance with the laws. For as he says to pray is right and natural for man, not because the gods would be hostile if we did not pray, but the act of doing so helps us gain a better understanding of those who surpass us in their power and excellence, enabling us to fulfill our potential. He also said that every wise man holds pure and holy thoughts about the divine, namely that the nature of divinity is great and august. And it is particularly at festivals that we attain our greatest understanding of things for during a festival all that a man can think about, and all that is upon his lips, are holy matters. He didn’t just advise others to participate in the worship of the gods – indeed, he was very active in religious matters, sharing in all festivals and sacrifices, and especially the Khoes festival and the mysteries celebrated in his city and elsewhere.” – Philodemos, On Piety 25-28

Sentences of Paulus 5.23.15-18

“Persons who celebrate or cause to be celebrated impious or noctural rites so as to enchant, bewitch or bind anyone, shall be crucified or thrown to wild beasts … Anyone who sacrifices a man, or attempts to obtain auspices by means of his blood, or pollutes a shrine or a temple, shall be thrown to wild beasts, or, if he is of superior rank, shall be punished with death … It has been decided that persons who are addicted to the art of magic shall suffer extreme punishment; that is to say, they shall be thrown to wild beasts or crucified.  Magicians themselves shall be burned alive … No-one shall be permitted to have books of magic in his possession, and when they are found with anyone they shall be publicly burned and those who have them, after being deprived of his property, if they are of superior rank shall be deported to an island, and if they are of inferior station shall be put to death; for not only is the practice of this art prohibited, but also knowledge of the same.” – Sentences of Paulus 5.23.15-18

BGU 6.121

“By the Order of the King. Those in the country districts who impart initiation into the mysteries of Dionysos are to come down by river to Alexandria, those residing not farther than Naukratis within 10 days after the promulgation of this decree, those beyond Naukratis within 20 days, and register themselves before Aristobulus at the registry office within 3 days of the day of their arrival, and they shall immediately declare from whom they have received the rites for three generations back and give in the Sacred Discourse (Hieroi Logoi) sealed, each man writing upon his copy his own name.” – BGU 6.121

Herodotos, The Histories 4.79

“Skyles conceived a desire to be initiated into the rites of Dionysos Bakcheios; and when he was about to begin the sacred mysteries, he saw the greatest vision. He had in the city of the Borysthenites a spacious house, grand and costly (the same house I just mentioned), all surrounded by sphinxes and griffins worked in white marble; this house was struck by a thunderbolt. And though the house burnt to the ground, Skyles none the less performed the rite to the end. Now the Skythians reproach the Greeks for this Bacchic revelling, saying that it is not reasonable to set up a god who leads men to madness. So when Skyles had been initiated into the Bacchic rite, some one of the Borysthenites scoffed at the Skythians: ‘You laugh at us, Skythians, because we play the Bacchant and the god possesses us; but now this deity has possessed your own king, so that he plays the Bacchant and is maddened by the god. If you will not believe me, follow me now and I will show him to you.’ The leading men among the Skythians followed him, and the Borysthenite brought them up secretly onto a tower; from which, when Skyles passed by with his company of worshippers, they saw him playing the Bacchant; thinking it a great misfortune, they left the city and told the whole army what they had seen. After this Skyles rode off to his own place; but the Skythians rebelled against him and slew him.” – Herodotos, The Histories 4.79

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

Demosthenes, Against Neaira 73

“And this woman offered for you on behalf of the city the unspeakably holy rites, and she saw what it was inappropriate for her, being a foreigner, to see; and being a foreigner she entered where no other of all the Athenians except the wife of the king enters; she administered the oath to the gerarai who serve at the rites, and she was given to Dionysos as his bride, and she performed on behalf of the city the traditional acts, many sacred and ineffable ones, towards the gods.” – Demosthenes, Against Neaira 73

Strabo, Geography 4.4.6

“In the ocean, Poseidonios says, there is a small island, not very far out to sea, situated off the outlet of the River Leigeros in Gaul; and the island is inhabited by the women of the Samnitai, and they are possessed by Dionysos and make this god propitious by appeasing him with mystic initiations as well as other sacred performances; and no man sets foot on the island, although the women themselves, sailing from it, have intercourse with the men and then return again. And, he says, it is a custom of theirs once a year to unroof the temple and roof it again on the same day before sunset, each woman brining her load to add to the roof; but the woman whose load falls out of her arms is rent to pieces by the rest, and they carry the pieces round the temple with the cry of ‘Euah’, and do not cease until their frenzy ceases; and it is always the case, he says, that some one jostles the woman who is to suffer this fate.” – Strabo, Geography 4.4.6

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10.4.3

“Homer speaks of the beautiful dancing-floors of Panopeus, I could not understand until I was taught by the women whom the Athenians call Thyiades. The Thyiades are Attic women, who with the Delphian women go to Parnassos every other year and celebrate orgies in honor of Dionysos. It is the custom for these Thyiades to hold dances at places, including Panopeus, along the road from Athens. The epithet Homer applies to Panopeus is thought to refer to the dance of the Thyiades.” – Pausanias, Description of Greece 10.4.3

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.20.3

“In the city Brysiai in Lakedaimonia there still remains a temple of Dionysos with an image in the open. But the image in the temple women only may see, for women by themselves perform in secret the sacrificial rites.” – Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.20.3

Diodoros Sikeliotis, Library of History 4.3.2-5

“And the Boiotians and other Greeks and the Thracians, in memory of the campaign in India, have established sacrifices every other year to Dionysos, and believe that at that time the god reveals himself to human beings. Consequently in many Greek cities every other year Bacchic bands of women gather, and it is lawful for the maidens to carry the thyrsos and to join in the frenzied revelry, crying out ‘Euai!’ and honouring the god; while the matrons, forming in groups, offer sacrifices to the god and celebrate his mysteries and, in general, extol with hymns the presence of Dionysos, in this manner acting the parts of maenads who, as history records, were of old the companions of the god. He also punished here and there throughout all the inhabited world many men who were thought impious, the most renowned among the number being Pentheus and Lykourgos. And since the discovery of wine and the gift of it and because of the greater vigour which comes to the bodies of those who partake of it, it is the custom, they say, when unmixed wine is served during a meal to greet it with the words, ‘To the Good Deity!’ but when the cup is passed around after the meal diluted with water, to cry out ‘To Zeus Saviour!’ For the drinking of unmixed wine results in a state of madness, but when it is mixed with the rain from Zeus the delight and pleasure continue, but the ill effect of madness and stupor is avoided.” – Diodoros Sikeliotis, Library of History 4.3.2-5

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

P. Oxy. 1612

“It was not we who originally invented those rites, which is to our credit, but it was a Nikaian who was the first to institute them…let the rites be his, and let them be performed among his people alone…unless we wish to commit sacrilege against Caesar himself, as we should commit sacrilege against Demeter and her Daughter also, if we performed to them here the ritual used there; for they are unwilling to allow any rites of that sort…” – P. Oxy. 1612

Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 28

“But since, as I said before, by his studies on this subject, Proclus had acquired a still greater and more perfect virtue, namely the theurgic, passing beyond the theoretic step, he did not conform his life exclusively to one of the two characteristics suitable to divine beings, but to both: not only did he direct his thoughts upward to the divine, but by a providential faculty which was not merely social, he cared for those things which were lower. He practiced the Chaldean prayer-meetings and conferences, and even employed the art of moving the divine tops. He was a believer in these practices, in unpremeditated responses, and other such divinations, which he had learned from Asklepigenia, daughter of Plutarch, to whom exclusively her father had confided and taught the mystic rites preserved by Nestorius, and the whole theurgic science. Even before that, according to the prescribed order, and purified by the Chaldean lustrations, the philosopher had, as epoptic initiate, witnessed the apparitions of Hekate under a luminous form, as he himself has mentioned in a special booklet. He had the power of producing rains by activating, at the right time, a particular rite, and was able to deliver Attica from a terrible drought. He knew how to foresee earthquakes, he had experimented with the divinatory power of the tripod, and had himself uttered verses prophetic about his own destiny.” – Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 28

Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 22

“Proclus on the contrary intoxicated himself with love for the primary beings. So he had himself achieved seeing directly the really beatific visions from beyond, establishing his assured science not on apodictic and discursive syllogisms, but on what he could contemplate with his eyes, on the intuitions of intellectual activity, on the models contained within divine reason. So he acquired this virtue whose true and proper name is not science, but rather wisdom, sophia, or any other if possible more reverend name. Conforming all his actions to this virtue, the philosopher had no trouble in understanding the whole Hellenic and foreign mythology, even those revelations which had been obscured by mythical fictions; and these he expounded for those who would or could attain their elevation, giving to all of them profoundly religious interpretations, and relating them all in a perfect harmony. The writings of the most ancient authors he studied thoroughly, and after having subjected them to criticism, he gathered whatever thoughts he therein found to be useful and fruitful; but whatever seemed to lack force or value he set aside, branding them ridiculous puerilities. What however was contrary to true principles, he very energetically discussed, submitting it to thorough-going criticism, in his lectures treating each one of these theories with as much clearness as vigor, and recording all his observations in books.” – Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 22

Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 18-19

“Proclus made use of the noble purificatory practices which woo us from evil, that is lustrations and all of the other processes of purification whether Orphic or Chaldean, such as dipping himself into the sea without hesitation every month, and sometimes even twice or thrice a month. He practiced this discipline, rude as it was, not only in his prime, but even also when he approached his life’s decline; and so he observed, without ever failing, these austere habits of which he had, so to speak, made himself a law … As to the necessary pleasures of food and drink, he made use of them with sobriety, for to him they were no more than a solace from his fatigues. He especially preached abstinence from animal food, but if a special ceremony compelled him to make use of it, he only tasted it, out of consideration and respect. Every month he sanctified himself according to the rites devoted to the Mother of the Gods by the Romans, and before them by the Phrygians; he observed the holy days observed among the Egyptians even more strictly than did they themselves; and especially he fasted on certain days, quite openly. During the first day of the lunar month he remained without food, without even having eaten the night before; and he likewise celebrated the New Moon in great solemnity, and with much sanctity. He regularly observed the great festivals of all peoples, so to speak, and the religious ceremonies peculiar to each people or country. Nor did he, like so many others, make this the pretext of a distraction, or of a debauch of food, but on the contrary they were occasions of prayer meetings that lasted all night, without sleep, with songs, hymns and similar devotions. Of this we see the proof in the composition of his hymns, which contain homage and praises not only of the gods adored among the Greeks, but where you also see worship of the god Marnas of Gaza, Asklepios Leontukhos of Askalon, Thyandrites who is much worshipped among the Arabs, the Isis who has a temple at Philae, and indeed all other divinities. It was a phrase he much used, and that was very familiar to him, that a philosopher should watch over the salvation of not only a city, nor over the national customs of a few people, but that he should be the hierophant of the whole world in common. Such were the holy and purificatory exercises he practiced, in his austere manner of life.” – Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 18-19

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

Iamblichus, On the Mysteries 3.14

“This whole branch of prophecy, diverse as it is, is embraced by a single power which one could call the introduction of light. This power illuminates with divine light the aetherial and luminous body that surrounds the soul, and from this divine light accordingly divine apparitions, moved by the will of the gods, seize the imaginative power in us.” – Iamblichus, On the Mysteries 3.14

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.20.3

“In the city Brysiai in Lakedaimonia there still remains a temple of Dionysos with an image in the open. But the image in the temple women only may see, for women by themselves perform in secret the sacrificial rites.” – Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.20.3

Livy, History of Rome 39.13

“Then Hispala gave an account of the origin of these rites. At first they were confined to women; no male was admitted, and they had three stated days in the year on which persons were initiated during the daytime, and matrons were chosen to act as priestesses. Paculla Annia, a Campanian, when she was priestess, made a complete change, as though by divine monition, for she was the first to admit men, and she initiated her own sons, Minius Cerinnius and Herennius Cerinnius. At the same time she made the rite a nocturnal one, and instead of three days in the year celebrated it five times a month. When once the mysteries had assumed this promiscuous character, and men were mingled with women with all the licence of nocturnal orgies, there was no crime, no deed of shame, wanting. More uncleanness was wrought by men with men than with women. Whoever would not submit to defilement, or shrank from violating others, was sacrificed as a victim. To regard nothing as impious or criminal was the very sum of their religion. The men, as though seized with madness and with frenzied distortions of their bodies, shrieked out prophecies; the matrons, dressed as Bacchae, their hair dishevelled, rushed down to the Tiber with burning torches, plunged them into the water, and drew them out again, the flame undiminished, as they were made of sulphur mixed with lime. Men were fastened to a machine and hurried off to hidden caves, and they were said to have been rapt away by the gods; these were the men who refused to join their conspiracy or take a part in their crimes or submit to pollution. They formed an immense multitude, almost equal to the population of Rome; amongst them were members of noble families both men and women. It had been made a rule for the last two years that no one more than twenty years old should be initiated; they captured those to be deceived and polluted.” – Livy, History of Rome 39.13

Livy, History of Rome 39.8

“A low-born Greek went into Etruria first of all, but did not bring with him any of the numerous arts which that most accomplished of all nations has introduced amongst us for the cultivation of mind and body. He was a hedge-priest and wizard, not one of those who imbue men’s minds with error by professing to teach their superstitions openly for money, but a hierophant of secret nocturnal mysteries. At first these were divulged to only a few; then they began to spread amongst both men and women, and the attractions of wine and feasting increased the number of his followers. When they were heated with wine and the nightly commingling of men and women, those of tender age with their seniors, had extinguished all sense of modesty, debaucheries of every kind commenced; each had pleasures at hand to satisfy the lust he was most prone to. Nor was the mischief confined to the promiscuous intercourse of men and women; false witness, the forging of seals and testaments, and false informations, all proceeded from the same source, as also poisonings and murders of families where the bodies could not even be found for burial. Many crimes were committed by treachery; most by violence, which was kept secret, because the cries of those who were being violated or murdered could not be heard owing to the noise of drums and cymbals.” – Livy, History of Rome 39.8

LSAM 48

“Whenever the priestess performs the holy rites on behalf of the city … it is not permitted for anyone to throw pieces of raw meat [anywhere], before the priestess has thrown them on behalf of the city, nor is it permitted for anyone to assemble a thiasos of mainades before the public thiasos [has been assembled] … to provide [for the women] the implements of initiation in all the orgies … And whether a woman wishes to perform an initiation for Dionysos Bakchios in the city, in the countryside, or on the islands, she must pay a piece of gold to the priestess at each biennial celebration.” – LSAM 48

Demosthenes, On the Crown 259-60

“On attaining manhood, you abetted your mother in her initiations and the other rituals, and read aloud from the cultic writings. At night, you mixed the libations, purified the initiates, and dressed them in fawnskins. You cleansed them off with clay and cornhusks, and raising them up from the purification, you led the chant, ‘The evil I flee, the better I find.’ … In the daylight, you led the fine thiasos through the streets, wearing their garlands of fennel and white poplar. You rubbed the fat-cheeked snakes and swung them above your head crying ‘Euoi Saboi’ and dancing to the tune of ‘hues attes, attes hues‘. Old women hailed you ‘Leader’, ‘mysteries instructor’, ‘ivy-bearer’, ‘liknon carrier’, and the like.” – Demosthenes, On the Crown 259-60

3 Maccabees 2.27-30

“King Ptolemy set up a stone on the tower in the courtyard with this inscription: ‘None of those who do not sacrifice shall enter their sanctuaries, and all Jews shall be subjected to a registration involving poll tax and to the status of slaves. Those who object to this are to be taken by force and put to death; those who are registered are also to be branded on their bodies by fire with the ivy-leaf symbol of Dionysos, and they shall also be reduced to their former limited status.’ In order that he might not appear to be an enemy of all, he inscribed below: ‘But if any of them prefer to join those who have been initiated into the mysteries, they shall have equal citizenship with the Alexandrians.'” – 3 Maccabees 2.27-30

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

Theodoret, Ecclesiastical History 4.21; 5.20

“At Antioch Valens spent considerable time, and gave complete license to all who under cover of the Christian name, Pagans, Jews, and the rest preached doctrines contrary to those of the Gospel. The slaves of this error even went so far as to perform pagan rites, and thus the deceitful fire which after Julian had been quenched by Jovian, was now rekindled by permission of Valens. The rites of the Jews, of Dionysos and Demeter were no longer performed in a corner as they would have been in a pious reign, but by revellers running wild in the forum. Valens was a foe to none but to them that held the apostolic doctrine. Against the champions of the apostolic decrees alone he persisted in waging war. Accordingly, during the whole period of his reign the altar fire was lit, libations and sacrifices were offered to idols, public feasts were celebrated in the forum, and votaries initiated in the orgies of Dionysos ran about in goatskins, mangling dogs in Bacchic frenzy.” – Theodoret, Ecclesiastical History 4.21; 5.20

Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History 5.16

“At the solicitation of Theophilus bishop of Alexandria the emperor issued an order at this time for the demolition of the heathen temples in that city; commanding also that it should be put in execution under the direction of Theophilus. Seizing this opportunity, Theophilus exerted himself to the utmost to expose the pagan mysteries to contempt. And to begin with, he caused the Mithreum to be cleaned out, and exhibited to public view the tokens of its bloody mysteries. Then he destroyed the Serapeum, and the bloody rites of the Mithreum he publicly caricatured; the Serapeum also he showed full of extravagant superstitions, and he had the phalli of Dionysos carried through the midst of the forum. The pagans of Alexandria, and especially the professors of philosophy, were unable to repress their rage at this exposure, and exceeded in revengeful ferocity their outrages on a former occasion: for with one accord, at a preconcerted signal, they rushed impetuously upon the Christians, and murdered every one they could lay hands on. The Christians also made an attempt to resist the assailants, and so the mischief was the more augmented. This desperate affray was prolonged until satiety of bloodshed put an end to it. Then it was discovered that very few of the heathens had been killed, but a great number of Christians; while the number of wounded on each side was almost innumerable. Fear then possessed the pagans on account of what was done, as they considered the emperor’s displeasure. For having done what seemed good in their own eyes, and by their bloodshed having quenched their courage, some fled in one direction, some in another, and many quitting Alexandria, dispersed themselves in various cities. Among these were the two grammarians Helladius and Ammonius, whose pupil I was in my youth at Constantinople. Helladius was said to be the priest of Jupiter, and Ammonius of Simius. Thus this disturbance having been terminated, the governor of Alexandria, and the commander-in-chief of the troops in Egypt, assisted Theophilus in demolishing the heathen temples. These were therefore razed to the ground, and the images of their gods molten into pots and other convenient utensils for the use of the Alexandrian church; for the emperor had instructed Theophilus to distribute them for the relief of the poor. All the images were accordingly broken to pieces, except one statue of the god before mentioned, which Theophilus preserved and set up in a public place; ‘ Lest,’ said he, ‘at a future time the heathens should deny that they had ever worshiped such gods.’ This action gave great umbrage to Ammonius the grammarian in particular, who to my knowledge was accustomed to say that ‘the religion of the Gentiles was grossly abused in that that single statue was not also molten, but preserved, in order to render that religion ridiculous.’ Helladius however boasted in the presence of some that he had slain in that desperate onset nine men with his own hand. Such were the doings at Alexandria at that time.” – Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History 5.16