eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: priesthood

The Edict of King Childebert, 1.2-3

“Because it is necessary that our authority be used to correct the common people who do not observe the priests’ teaching as they should, we order that this charter be sent out generally into every locality, commanding that those persons who were warned about their land and other places where statues were put up or man-made idols dedicated to a demon, and who did not immediately cast them down, or who forbade the priests from destroying them, should be arrested and brought into our presence for trial … A report has reached us that many sacrileges occur among the population whereby god is injured and the people sink down into death through sin: night watches spent in drunkenness, obscenity and song even on the holy days of Easter, the Nativity and other feasts, with dancing women promenading through the villages. In no way do we permit the performance of any of these deeds which injure god. We command that whoever dares to perpetuate these sacrileges after having been warned by the priest and our edict shall receive an hundred lashes – unless he be a freedman or of higher status.” The Edict of King Childebert, 1.2-3

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Charlemagne, Admonitio Generalis 65

“Let no one be found among you who accepts arioli and observes dreams and omens, nor one who is a sorcerer or enchanter nor one who consults a pythoness.” – Charlemagne, Admonitio Generalis 65

Isidore of Seville, Etymologie 8.9.16

“The arioli are given that name because they utter their vile prayers around the altars of the idols, and they offer wicked sacrifices, through the celebrations of which they receive answers from the demons.” – Isidore of Seville, Etymologie 8.9.16

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 52.5

“When the children of some women are tormented by various kinds of trials or illnesses, the weeping mothers run about in a frenzy and say to themselves, ‘Let us consult that soothsayer or diviner, that caster of lots, that herbwoman; let us sacrifice one of the patient’s garments, a belt to be inspected and measured; let us offer some symbols, let us hang some protective charms on his neck.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 52.5

LSCG 77

“The man who purchases the priesthood shall exercise it for life, provided he continues to live in the city. He is to be exempt from all taxes and receive for himself the first portions from the one who makes a sacrifice, of entrails, shanks, knees, tongue, two double portions of meat, Hermes-cakes, the offerings of which anyone makes burnt-sacrifices. And in addition, an appropriate share of the banquet. If the city holds a banquet, he is to receive 1/12 gold stater. If outsiders sacrifice, he receives the same share as in the case of a Chian, but the sacrificer adds in addition …” – LSCG 77

Sig3 1004

“Gods! From the onset of winter until the spring plowing season the priest of Amphiaros is to go into the sanctuary with no greater interval than three days between visits, and he is to be in residence there not less than ten days in each month. He is to require the neokoros to care for the sanctuary in accordance with the law and also for those who visit the sanctuary. If anyone commits a crime in the sanctuary, whether a stranger or a member of the deme, the priest has authority to fine him up to the maximum of five drachmas, and he is to require security from the person so fined. Should he pay the fine, he is to deposit it in the treasury in the presence of the priest. If anyone suffers some private injury in the sanctuary, whether a stranger or a member of the deme, the priest is to give judgement up to a maximum of three drachmas; as for larger sums, the judgments provided in the laws for each victim are to be in effect here also. Any summons arising from an offense in the sanctuary must be issued on the same day. If the defendant does not make restitution, a trial is to be held on the next day. When a person comes to be healed by the god, he is to donate a first-fruit offering of at least nine obols of silver, and deposit it in the treasury in the presence of the neokoros. When he is present, the priest is to say the prayers over the sacrifices and place the victim on the altar; when he is not present the person making the sacrifices is to do this. During the public sacrifice each person to say the prayers for himself, but the priest is to say them over the public sacrifices and he is to receive the skin of all the victims sacrificed within the sanctuary. Each person may offer whatever sacrifices he wishes. No portions of meat are to be carried out of the precinct. Sacrificers are to donate the shoulder-portion of each victim to the priest except during a festival; at that time he is to receive the shoulder portion only from the public victims … Rules for incubation: the neokoros is to record the name and city of the incubator when he deposits his money, and to display it on a bulletin board for anyone to read. In the sleeping-hall men and women are to sleep separately, the men to the east of the altar, the women to the west …” – Sig3 1004

SIG3 1097

“Gods! The orgeones rent the sanctuary of Ergetes to Diognetos, son of Arkesilos from the deme Melite, for ten years, at the rate of 200 drachmas each year; he is to manage the sanctuary and the buildings constructed in it as a sanctuary; Diognetos shall whitewash the walls which need it, and shall construct and arrange whatever else he wants. At the expiration of the ten year period, he shall take away with him the woodwork, the roof-tiles and the doors and posts; but he shall remove none of the other furnishings. He shall tend the trees growing in the sanctuary; if any dies, he shall replace it and hand on the same number. Diognetos shall pay the rent money to the treasurer of the oregeones in office each year, one half of which is due on the first day of Elaphobolion. When the orgeones sacrifice to the hero in Boedromion, Diognetos is to have open the structure where the shrine is, as well as the shed, the kitchen, and the couches and tables for two dining rooms. Should Diognetos fail to pay the rent on time or meet any of the other requirements of the lease, the lease is to be void and he is deprived of all the property and contributions to the sanctuary’s upkeep that he has made, and the orgeones may rent to whomever they wish thereafter. Diognetos is to inscribe this lease on the stone which stands in the sanctuary. The term of the lease begins in the year when Koroibos is arkhon.” – SIG3 1097

SIG3 986

“Resolved by the council, Tellis presiding: In the sacred groves there is to be no pasturing or dumping of manure. If any one does herd sheep, pigs or cattle, the person who sees it should report it to the authorities in order to remain pure in the god’s sight. The fine for the shepherd, swineherd or cowherd shall be 1/12 stater for each animal. If any one is caught dumping manure, he shall pay five staters to become pure in the god’s sight. If the person who sees it does not report it he shall pay five staters, sanctified to the god.” – SIG3 986

IGS 13.7.2

“Resolved by the council and the people, on the motion of Agenor, when Meliton was presiding officer: No stranger is permitted to put in at the sanctuary of Hera; the temple attendant is to take care to keep them out. If he does not keep them out, he is to pay a fine of ten drachmas, sanctified to Hera, for each day. The superintendents are to take care to inscribe this decree in front of the doors.” – IGS 13.7.2

Aristophanes, Ploutos 654-695, 707-747

CARIO

Having arrived near to the temple with our patient, then so unfortunate, but now at the apex of happiness, of blessedness, we first led him down to the sea to purify him.

WIFE

Ah! what a singular pleasure for an old man to bathe in the cold seawater!

CARIO in the manner of the tragic messenger

Then we repaired to the temple of the god. Once the wafers and the various offerings had been consecrated upon the altar, and the cake of wheaten-meal had been banded over to the devouring Hephaestus, we made Plutus lie on a couch according to the rite, and each of us prepared himself a bed of leaves.

WIFE

Had any other folk come to beseech the deity?

CARIO

Yes. Firstly, Neoclides, who is blind, but steals much better than those who see clearly; then many others attacked by complaints of all kinds. The lights were put out and the priest enjoined us to sleep, especially recommending us to keep silent should we hear any noise. There we were all lying down quite quietly. I could not sleep; I was thinking of a certain stew-pan full of pap placed close to an old woman and just behind her head. I had a furious longing to slip towards that side. But just as I was lifting my head, I noticed the priest, who was sweeping off both the cakes and the figs on the sacred table; then he made the round of the altars and sanctified the cakes that remained, by stowing them away in a bag. I therefore resolved to follow such a pious example and made straight for the pap.

WIFE

You rogue! and had you no fear of the god?

CARIO

Aye, indeed! I feared that the god with his crown on his head might have been near the stew-pan before me. I said to myself, “Like priest, like god.” On hearing the noise I made the old woman put out her hand, but I hissed and bit it, just as a sacred serpent might have done. Quick she drew back her hand, slipped down into the bed with her head beneath the coverlets and never moved again; only she let flee a fart in her fear which stank worse than a weasel. As for myself, I swallowed a goodly portion of the pap and, having made a good feed, went back to bed.

Asclepius did the round of the patients and examined them all with great attention; then a slave placed beside him a stone mortar, a pestle and a little box.

WIFE

Of stone?

CARIO

No, not of stone.

WIFE

But how could you see all this, you arch-rascal, when you say you were hiding all the time?

CARIO

Why, great gods, through my cloak, for it’s not without holes! He first prepared an ointment for Neoclides; he threw three heads of Tenian garlic into the mortar, pounded them with an admixture of fig-tree sap and lentisk, moistened the whole with Sphettian vinegar, and, turning back the patient’s eyelids, applied his salve to the interior of the eyes, so that the pain might be more excruciating. Neoclides shrieked, howled, sprang towards the foot of his bed and wanted to bolt, but the god laughed and said to him, “Keep where you are with your salve; by doing this you will not go and perjure yourself before the Assembly.”

WIFE

What a wise god and what a friend to our city

CARIO

Thereupon he came and seated himself at the head of Plutus’ bed, took a perfectly clean rag and wiped his eyelids; Panacea covered his head and face with a purple cloth, while the god whistled, and two enormous snakes came rushing from the sanctuary.

WIFE

Great gods!

CARIO

They slipped gently beneath the purple cloth and, as far as I could judge, licked the patient’s eyelids; for, in less time than even you need, mistress, to drain down ten beakers of wine, Plutus rose up; be could see. I clapped my hands with joy and awoke my master, and the god immediately disappeared with the serpents into the sanctuary. As for those who were lying near Plutus, you can imagine that they embraced him tenderly. Dawn broke and not one of them had closed an eye. As for myself, I did not cease thanking the god who had so quickly restored to Plutus his sight and had made Neoclides blinder than ever.

WIFE

Oh! thou great Asclepius! How mighty is thy power!

The First Vatican Mythographer 78

“Solinus relates that among all the things that Egypt holds worthy of mention, the people especially marvel at a bull called Apis. This bill is notable for a spot, a white mark engendered by nature on its right flank, which bears the appearance of the horned Moon. Egypt worships this bull like a god because it gives certain clear signs about the future. The bull is seen also in Memphis. There its length of life is decided, for it is drowned in the depth of a sacred spring. It is killed so that it might not live longer than allowed. Soon, without public mourning, another bull is sought. A hundred priests accompany this bull to Memphis, and suddenly, as if panic-stricken, they utter predictions. The bull reveals everything clearly about future events, especially if it takes food from the hand of the one consulting it. The Jews made an image of its head for themselves in the wilderness.” – The First Vatican Mythographer 78

Zosimus, New History 5.39ff

“The Romans called to mind the aid which the city had formerly met with in emergencies; and that they, by transgressing their ancient institutions, were now left destitute of it. While they were occupied in these reflections, Pompeianus, the prefect of the city, accidentally met with some persons who were come to Rome from Tuscany, and related that a town called Neveia had delivered itself from extreme danger, the Barbarians having been repulsed from it by storms of thunder and lightning, which was caused by the devotion of its inhabitants to the gods, in the ancient mode of worship. Having discoursed with these men, he performed all that was in his power according to the books of the chief priests. Recollecting, however, the opinions that were then prevalent, he resolved to proceed with greater caution, and proposed the whole affair to the bishop of the city, whose name was Innocentius. Preferring the preservation of the city to his own private opinion, he gave them permission to do privately whatever they knew to be convenient. They declared however that what they were able to do would be of no utility, unless the public and customary sacrifices were performed, and unless the senate ascended to the capitol, performing there, and in the different markets of the city, all that was essential. But no person daring to join in the ancient religious ordinances, they dismissed the men who were come from Tuscany, and applied themselves to the endeavouring to appease the Barbarians in the best possible manner. With this design they again sent ambassadors. After long discussions on both sides, it was at length agreed, that the city should give five thousand pounds of gold, and thirty thousand of silver, four thousand silk robes, three thousand scarlet fleeces, and three thouand pounds of pepper. As the city possessed no public stock, it was necessary for the senators who had property, to undertake the collection by an assessment. Palladius was empowered to rate every person according to his estate, but was not able to complete the whole sum out of all, either because many persons concealed part of their property, or because the city was impoverished, through the avarice and unceasing exactions of the magistrates appointed by the emperor. The evil genius, who at that time presided over the human race, then incited the persons employed in this transaction to the highest pitch of wickedness. They resolved to supply the deficiency from the ornaments that were about the statues of the gods. This was in effect only rendering inanimate and inefficacious those images, which had been fixed up, and dedicated to sacred rites and ceremonies, and were decorated with precious attire, for preserving the city in perpetual felicity. And since every thing then conspired to the ruin of the city, they not only robbed the statues of their ornaments, but also melted down some of them that were made of gold and silver. Among these was that of Valour or Fortitude, which the Romans call Virtus. This being destroyed, all that remained of the Roman valour and . intrepidity was totally extinguished; according to the remarks of persons who were skilled in sacred rites and observances.” – Zosimus, New History 5.39ff

Herodotos, The Histories 1.132

“As for ceremonial when the Persians offer sacrifice to the deities they erect no altar and kindle no fire. The libation, the flute music, the garlands, the sprinkled meal – all these things, familiar to us, they have no use for. But before a ceremony, a man sticks a spray of leaves, usually myrtle leaves, into his headdress, takes his victim to some open place and invokes the deity to whom he wishes to sacrifice. The actual worshiper is not permitted to pray for any personal or private blessing, but only for the king and for the general good of the community. (The actual worshiper is not permitted to pray for any personal or private blessing, but only for the king and for the general good of the community, of which he is himself a part.) When he has cut up the animal and cooked it, he makes a little heap of the softest green-stuff he can find, preferably clover, and lays all the meat upon it. This done, a Magian – a member of this caste is always present at sacrifices – utters an incantation over it in a form of words which is supposed to recount the birth of the gods. Then after a short interval the worshiper removes the flesh and does what he pleases with it.” – Herodotos, The Histories 1.132

Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 10.15

“Of the ceremonies of the priest and priestess of Jupiter; and words quoted from the praetor’s edict, in which he declares that he will not compel either the Vestal virgins or the priest of Jupiter to take oath. Ceremonies in great number are imposed upon the priest of Jupiter and also many abstentions, of which we read in the books written On the Public Priests; and they are also recorded in the first book of Fabius Pictor. Of these the following are in general what I remember: It is unlawful for the priest of Jupiter to ride upon a horse; it is also unlawful for him to see the ‘classes arrayed’ outside the pomerium, that is, the army in battle array; hence the priest of Jupiter is rarely made consul, since wars were entrusted to the consuls; also it is always unlawful for the priest to take an oath; likewise to wear a ring, unless it be perforated and without a gem. It is against the law for fire to be taken from the flaminia, that is, from the home of the flamen Dialis, except for a sacred rite; if a person in fetters enter his house, he must be loosed, the bonds must be drawn up through the impluvium to the roof and from there let down into the street. He has no knot in his head-dress, girdle, or any other part of his dress; if anyone is being taken to be flogged and falls at his feet as a suppliant, it is unlawful for the man to be flogged on that day. Only a free man may cut the hair of the Dialis. It is not customary for the Dialis to touch, or even name, a she-goat, raw flesh, ivy, and beans. The priest of Jupiter must not pass under an arbour of vines. The feet of the couch on which he sleeps must be smeared with a thin coating of clay, and he must not sleep away from this bed for three nights in succession, and no other person must sleep in that bed. At the foot of his bed there should be a box with sacrificial cakes. The cuttings of the nails and hair of the Dialis must be buried in the earth under a fruitful tree. Every day is a holy day for the Dialis. He must not be in the open air without his cap; that he might go without it in the house has only recently been decided by the pontiffs, so Masurius Sabinus wrote, and it is said that some other ceremonies have been remitted and he has been excused from observing them. The priest of Jupiter must not touch any bread fermented with yeast. He does not lay off his inner tunic except under cover, in order that he may not be naked in the open air, as it were under the eye of Jupiter. No other has a place at table above the flamen Dialis, except the rex sacrificulus. If the Dialis has lost his wife he abdicates his office. The marriage of the priest cannot be dissolved except by death. He never enters a place of burial, he never touches a dead body; but he is not forbidden to attend a funeral. The ceremonies of the priestess of Jupiter are about the same; they say that she observes other separate ones: for example, that she wears a dyed robe, that she has a twig from a fruitful tree in her head-dress, that it is forbidden for her to go up more than three rounds of a ladder, except the so called Greek ladders; also, when she goes to the Argei, that she neither combs her head nor dresses her hair. I have added the words of the praetor in his standing edict concerning the flamen Dialis and the priestess of Vesta: ‘In the whole of my jurisdiction I will not compel the flamen of Jupiter or a priestess of Vesta to take an oath.’ The words of Marcus Varro about the flamen Dialis, in the second book of his Divine Antiquities, are as follows: He alone has a white cap, either because he is the greatest of priests, or because a white victim should be sacrificed to Jupiter.” – Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 10.15

Philo, On The Special Laws 4.3

“For generally the prophet proclaims nothing on his own. Rather, he merely lends his voice to him who prompts everything that he says. When he is inspired he becomes unconscious. Thought fades away and leaves the fortress of the soul. But the divine Spirit has entered there and and made its dwelling. And it makes all the vocal organs sound, so that the man expresses clearly what the Spirit gives him to say.” – Philo, On The Special Laws 4.3

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

Lampridius, Vita Antonini Heliogabali 3.4-5; 6.6-7.4

“He established Elagabalus as a god on the Palatine Hill close to the imperial palace and built him a temple, to which he desired to transfer the emblem of the Great Mother, the fire of Vesta, the Palladium, the shields of the Salii, and all that the Romans held sacred, purposing that no god might be worshipped at Rome save only Elagabalus. He declared, furthermore, that the religions of the Jews and the Samaritans and the rites of the Christians must also be transferred to this place, in order that the priesthood of Elagabalus might include the mysteries of every form of worship … He violated the chastity of a Vestal Virgin, and by removing the holy shrines he profaned the sacred rites of the Roman nation. He also desired to extinguish the everlasting fire. In fact, it was his desire to abolish not only the religious ceremonies of the Romans but also those of the whole world, his one wish being that the god Elagabalus should be worshipped everywhere. He even broke into the sanctuary of Vesta, into which only Vestal Virgins and the priests may enter, though himself defiled by every moral stain and in the company of those who had defiled themselves. He also attempted to carry away the sacred shrine, but instead of the true one he seized only an earthenware one, which the Senior Vestal had shown him in an attempt to deceive him, and when he found nothing in it, he threw it down and broke it. The cult, however, did not suffer at his hands, for several shrines had been made, it is said, exactly like the true one, in order that none might ever be able to take this one away. Though this be so, he nevertheless carried away the image which he believed to be the Palladium, and after washing it over with gold he placed it in the temple of his god. He also adopted the worship of the Great Mother and celebrated the rite of the taurobolium; and he carried off her image and the sacred objects which are kept hidden in a secret place. He would toss his head to and fro among the castrated devotees of the goddess, and he infibulated himself, and did all that the eunuch-priests are wont to do; and the image of the goddess which he carried off he placed in the sanctuary of his god. He also celebrated the rite of Salambo with all the wailing and the frenzy of the Syrian cult — thereby foreshadowing his own impending doom. In fact, he asserted that all gods were merely the servants of his god, calling some its chamberlains, others its slaves, and others its attendants for divers purposes.” – Lampridius, Vita Antonini Heliogabali 3.4-5; 6.6-7.4

UPZ 1.8

“To Dionysios one of the friends and strategos, from Ptolemaios son of Glaukias, Makedonian, one of those in katoche in the great Serapeion in Memphis in my 12th year. Being outrageously wronged and often put in danger of my life by the below-listed cleaners from the sanctuary, I am seeking refuge with you thinking that I shall thus particularly receive justice. For in the 21st year, on Phaophi 8, they came to the Astartieion in the sanctuary, in which I have been in katoche for the aforesaid years, some of them holding stones in their hands, others sticks, and tried to force their way in, so that with this opportunity they might plunder the temple and kill me because I am a Greek, attacking me in concerted fashion. And when I made it to the door of the temple before them and shut it with a great crash, and ordered them to go away quietly, they did not depart; but they struck Diphilos, one of the servants compelled to remain by Serapis, who showed his indignation at the way they were behaving in the sanctuary, robbing him outrageously and attacking him violently and beating him, so that their illegal violence was made obvious to everybody. When the same men did the same things to me in Phaophi of the 19th year, I petitioned you at that time, but because I had no one to wait on you it happened that when they went unwarned they conceived an even greater scorn for me. I ask you, therefore, if it seems good to you, to order them brought before you, so that they may get the proper punishment for all these things. Farewell. Mys the clothing seller, Psosnaus the yoke-bearer, Imouthes the baker, Harembasnis the grain-seller, Stotoetis the porter, Harchebis the doucher, Po… os the carpet-weaver, and others with them, whose names I do not know.” – UPZ 1.8

Prokopios, The Wars of Justinian 1.19.34-37

“Diocletian went so far as to select a certain island in the River Nile close to the city of Elephantine and there construct a very strong fortress in which he established certain temples and altars for the Romans and the barbarians in common, and he settled priests of both nations in this fortress, thinking that the friendship between them would be secure by reason of their sharing the things sacred to them. And for this reason he named the place Philae. Now both these nations, the Blemyes and the Nobatae, believe in all the gods in which the Hellenes believe, and they also reverence Isis and Osiris, and not least of all Priapus. But the Blemyes are accustomed also to sacrifice human beings to the sun. These sanctuaries in Philae were kept by these barbarians even up to my time, but the Emperor Justinian decided to tear them down. Accordingly Narses, a Persarmenian by birth, whom I have mentioned before as having deserted to the Romans, being commander of the troops there, tore down the sanctuaries at the emperor’s order, and put the priests under guard and sent the statues to Byzantium.” – Prokopios, The Wars of Justinian 1.19.34-37

AE 631

“To the liberator of the Roman world, the restorer of the temples, reviver of town councils and of the state, destroyer of the barbarians, our lord Julian ever Augustus, mighty victor over the Almanns, mighty victor over the Franks, mighty victor over the Sarmatians, chief priest, father of his country: the provincial assembly of the Phoenicians ordered this.” – AE 631

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

I.Strat. 1101

“When Ptolemaios was the chief magistrate, in the month of Artemisios, with Sosandros, son of Diomedes, secretary of the town council, the following was proposed: In former times the city has been saved from many great and constant dangers by the providence of its protective and mighty deities, Zeus of Panamara and Hekate, whose sanctuaries were recognized by a decree of the sacred Roman Senate as being inviolable and possessing the right to receive suppliants, on account of the manifest miracles which they performed for the safety of the eternal empire of our Roman lords. It is right to apply all possible zeal to honoring Zeus and Hekate and not neglect any opportunity to honor and entreat them. Statues of the aforementioned deities stand in the august council-chamber, producing miracles which manifest their divine power. On account of these miracles the whole populace offers sacrifice, burns incense, prays and gives thanks without ceasing to these deities who manifest themselves. It is right to honor them with a hymn-singing procession. The council has decided to select thirty boys from among the well-born, whom the supervisor of education and the public guardians of boys shall lead each day to the council-chamber, dressed in white, wearing crowns made of olive branches, likewise carrying olive branches in their hands and accompanied by a lyre-player and herald. Moreover the annually chosen priest of Hekate is to select boys from within the precinct of the goddess’ temple and from the neighborhood every year and they are to sing the customary hymn to the goddess.” – I.Strat. 1101

P.Lond. 26

“To King Ptolemy and Queen Kleopatra the sister, gods Philometores, greeting. Thaues and Taous, twins, perform rites in the great Sarapeion at Memphis. And formerly, when you stayed in Memphis and went up to the temple to sacrifice, we petitioned you and presented a petition to you, carrying before you our complaint that we had not received the required salary that should have been given to us by the Sarapeion and the Asklepeion. But since we still have not received this in full, we have necessarily been compelled— undone as we are by hunger—to peition you once again and to place before you in a few words the selfishness of those who are treating us unjustly. For you had previously set aside an allocation for the Sarapeion and the Asklepeion; and from this the twins who preceded us also received the daily necessities. And furthermore, they indicated to us, when we first went into the temple, for a few days rightaway, that whatever was appropriate for us would be carried out in due course; but subsequently it has not been done. Consequently, we both sent people who petitioned the director, and we reported on these things to you when you happened to be in Memphis. And when the appointed administrators of the Sarapeion and Askleprion were cruel to us, and denied us the privileges you granted, and paid no attention to religious duty, being oppressed by necessities, we asked Achomarres, the temple supervisor, several times to pay us. And we approached the son of Psintaes, the temple supervisor, when he was going up to the temple the day before yesterday, and gave him information about each of these things. And when he had summoned Archomarres, he ordered him to pay all we were owed. But the latter, who is the most unfeeling of men, promised us that he would comply with the order. But when the son of Psintaes had departed from Memphis, he (Archomarres) no longer took any account of the issue. And not only this man, but also others associated with the Sarapeion and others in the administration of the Asklepeion, from whom it is customary for us to receive our necessities, are cheating us, whose names and obligations, on account of being so numerous, we decided not to record. We beg you, therefore—hoping on the basis of the aid which comes from you—to send our petition to Dionysios—a member of the court and stratêgos —in order the he might write to Apollonios the director so that he, in turn, having received from us the written list of what pay is owed us, and for what length of time and by whom, may compel them to pay it to us in order that, when we have everything in order, we may fulfill the customary duties to Sarapis and Isis much better on behalf of you and your children. May it be granted to you to rule all the land that you desire. May you prosper.” – P.Lond. 26

Harris Stela 8-10

“I went to the residence of the Greek kings, which is located on the shores of the Great Green [the Mediterranean], on the west side of the Canopic branch, and whose name is Rhakotis. The King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the god Philopator Philadelphos, the young Osiris, left his palace in life and vigor and went to the temple of Isis … He presented the goddess with with numerous and profuse offerings. As he left the temple of Isis in his chariot, the king himself stopped his chariot and placed on my head a diadem of gold and all sorts of genuine precious stones, bearing the effigy of the king. I thus became his priest, and he promulgated a royal decree for all the cities and nomes, saying ‘I have promoted Psenptais, the high priest of Ptah, to be priest of my cult, and I have accorded him revenues in the temples of Upper and Lower Egypt.'” – Harris Stela 8-10

I.Faiyum 2.112

“Place of asylum by royal ordinance. Access forbidden to undesirables. To King Ptolemy Alexander, god Philometor, greetings on behalf of the priests of Isis Sachypsis, the very great goddess who was the first to appear, of the temple in Theadelphia … Oh very great king, given that the sanctuary in question has been sacred since the time of your ancestors, and that it has been venerated and placed in the highest rank in all times past, but that now, certain impious people, who are behaving contrary to convention, are not only driving out by force the suppliants who come to take refuge there, but also, by treating them roughly and using the most terrible violence, are committing sacrilegious acts, offending the piety you display toward the divine and especially toward the goddess Isis, oh most holy king, we therefore pray you, victory bearing god, if it pleases you, to ordain that the said sanctuary be a place of asylum, and that stelai of stone be erected towards the four winds, at a distance of fifty cubits around the temple, bearing the inscription ‘access denied to undesirables.’ That, most great king, in your interest … so that the sacrifices, libations, and all the other ceremonies instituted by you, your children, and your ancestors in honor of Isis and Serapis, might be better celebrated, and so that we might be blessed by your beneficent deeds. Good fortune. Reply of the King: To Lysanias, the strategos of the nome; execute the request of the priests. Year 21, Mekhir 7.” – I.Faiyum 2.112

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 172-74

“It was found in some of the holy books of the Egyptian priests that king Budshir bin Qfitwim exhausted himself in the worship of the luminous heavenly bodies to the point where their spirits entered into him. He became infatuated with these spirits and starved himself; his body gave up food and drink. When he became ecstatic the spirits desired him as he desired them, so they raised him up to their place and purified him of all painful evils of earth and made him a heavenly spirit, floating within their luminosity and able to do as they did.” – Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 172-74

Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 172-74

“King Menaus, who was the first king of the Egyptians, is also responsible for founding the cult of the holy bull. The reason for this is because he became seriously ill and despaired. But then in his sleep he saw a great spirit speaking to him and it said, ‘Nothing will cure you but your worship of cows,’ because the zodiac at that time was in the sign of Taurus, which is in the image of a bull with two horns. When the king awoke he gave orders and they got a handsome piebald bull and made for it in his palace a shrine with a gilded dome and he worshiped him in secret, afraid that others might find out, and he was cured. Later on a bull appeared in a dream and talked to the king and directed him to worship and look after the bull and in return the bull would look after the king’s interests and strengthen and cure him. So the king established a shrine for the bull and arranged servants to care for it and hold the service of its cult. According to some of their books that bull, after they worshiped him for some time, ordered them to make an image of him in gold, a hollow one, and to take some hair from his head and tail and a scraping from his horn and hooves, and put it all in the statue. And he informed them that he would join his heavenly world and that they were to place his body in a stone sarcophagus and establish it in the shrine with his statue on top, when the planet Saturn was in his sign and the Sun was looking upon him in trine. And the statues was to be inscribed with the signs of the images of the seven planets, and they did that. Later on after the holy bull was buried people from all over Egypt and neighboring areas flocked to his shrine with offerings to his statue and he would tell them whatever they wanted to know.” – Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 172-74

Al-Ya’qubi, Tarikh 1.87-88

“The Sage of the Copts is Hermes the Copt. He was the first builder of temples and the inventor of the script of the temples. And in our time nobody knows how to read it, because only the elite among them were writing in it; they would not allow the common people to do so. The ones in charge of it were their sages and priests. This script held the secrets of their religion and the origins of sciences which nobody was allowed to see but their priests, who did not teach it to anyone unless ordered to do so by the king. Their religion was the worship of the planets and stars. From their sayings: The souls are old and were in the upper paradise and every thirty six thousand years all this is in the world will perish, either from dust meaning the earth, its earthquakes and eclipses, or from fire and burning, destructive poisons, or from great and noxious wind in which animals, plants and humans will perish. Then nature will bring back to life from every kind and the world will return after its demise. They honored spirits and gods who descend into the idols, causing the idols to speak, but that was deception for they did not let the common people see how the idols were made to speak, which was a craft of the priests and the result of certain drugs. Through tricks such as whistles or screams they made people think that the idol was indeed a bird or some other animal. Then the priests would translate the sound of the idol according to whatever they like to judge, using astronomical signs and physiognomy. They say that when the souls depart they go to these deities who are the planets who wash and purify them of whatever sins they had. The souls then go up to paradise where they belong. They say that their prophets were spoken to by the planets, which informed them that the spirits descend into the idols and take up residence there, foretelling events before they happen. They had such precise and wondrous astuteness which which they instilled in the common people the illusion that they were conversing with the planets and gaining knowledge of the future. This was possible only because of the perfection of their knowledge of the secrets and signs of the zodiac and their exact physiognomy. They were seldom wrong.” – Al-Ya’qubi, Tarikh 1.87-88

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