eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: sacrifice

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

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Strabo, Geography 15.3

“The Persians therefore do not erect statues and altars, but sacrifice on a high place, regarding the heaven as Zeus; and they honour also the sun, whom they call Mithra, and the moon and Aphrodite and fire and earth and the winds and water.” – Strabo, Geography 15.3

The Council of Turin 23

“Returning to their own houses after mass, they return to the errors of the Pagans; having received the body of the lord they accept food sacrificed to demons. We urge pastors as well as priests to take care that on holy authority they drive out of the church those whom they notice persisting in this folly or doing things contrary to the teachings of the church at heaven knows what rocks, trees or springs, the chosen places of Pagans, and that they do not allow those who keep Pagan customs to participate in the sacrament of the altar.” – The Council of Turin 23

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

Pseudo-Gregory, Penitential 27.183-4

“In my opinion, to sacrifice to demons in machinis is to believe in their extremely foul illusions, or to make use of divinatory science through what is called false lots of the saints, or spells, symbols or whatever kind of pendants or bindings, in all of which is the skill of demons, coming from the pestiferous union of men and wicked angels.” – Pseudo-Gregory, Penitential 27.183-4

Charlemagne, Concilia 2.1.1-4

“We have decreed that each bishop, with the help of the gravio, who is the defender of the Church, should take care according to the canons that the people of god in his diocese do not perform Pagan acts but cast off and spurn every filth of Paganism, and that they should forbid sacrifices of the dead or sorcerers or soothsayers or amulets or omens or enchantments or the sacrificial victims which stupid men honor in the name of the blessed martyrs or confessors in the vicinity of churches, provoking god and his saints to anger, or those sacrilegious fires which they call nied fyr, and all those who love Pagan observances.” – Charlemagne, Concilia 2.1.1-4

The Council of Toledo 12.11.398-9

“We admonish all those who worship idols, venerate stones, light torches and honor sacred springs or trees, that they should know that they who are seen to sacrifice to the devil subject themselves to death. And, accordingly, as soon as the priests and civil authorities discover such things they are to devote themselves to uprooting the sacrilegious idolatry and all that is against the holy faith, which foolish men, entrapped by diabolic cults, devote themselves to. These are to be removed and destroyed. Moreover they are to restrain with blows those who assemble for such vileness and hand them over, loaded down with iron, to their masters if, at least, their masters promise under oath to guard them so vigilantly that they will be unable to further practice such wickedness. If their masters are unwilling to keep the guilty persons of this sort in their charge, they are then to be brought before the king by those who had punished them, so that the prince’s authority may exercise its free power to dispose of them. Nevertheless, let their masters, who have delayed in punishing the proclaimed faults of such slaves, be subject to the sentence of excommunication: let them also be aware that they have lost their power over the slave whom they refused to correct. If free-born persons are implicated in these faults, they are both to suffer the sentence of perpetual excommunication and to be punished with a particularly stringent exile.” – The Council of Toledo 12.11.398-9

Ratio de catichizandis rudibus 81, 82

“Do not pay honor to idols, do not use charms, do not read omens, do not make sacrifices to mountains, nor trees, nor at the corners of foundation stones. Foolish, faithless and wretched men make idols for themselves with their own hands. They cast and sculpt gods for themselves in the image of man, some from gold, some from silver, some from bronze. Then they set them up and adore them. But others make themselves gods from wood and stone. Others still adore animals and worship them as gods. They give these idols the names of men who died badly in the midst of vices and sins, and whose souls now suffer eternal torments.” – Ratio de catichizandis rudibus 81, 82

John of Ephesos as quoted in the third book of the Chronicle of Zuqnin

“In the nineteenth year of the Emperor Justinian, they were busy, thanks to my zeal, with the matter of the Pagans who were discovered in Constantinople. These were illustrious and noble men, with a host of grammarians, sophists, scholastics and physicians. When they were discovered and, thanks to torture, denounced themselves, they were seized, flogged, imprisoned, and sent to the churches so that they might learn the Christian faith as was appropriate for Pagans. There were among them patricians and nobles. Then a powerful and wealthy Pagan named Phocas, who was a patrician, saw the harshness of the inquisition and knowing that those arrested had denounced him as a Pagan, and that a severe sentence had been given against him because of the zeal of the emperor, that night took deadly poison and so left this earthly life. When the emperor heard this, he ordered with justice that he should be interred like an ass, that there should be no cortege or prayer for him. So his family during the night put him on a litter, carried him, made an open grave and threw him in it like a dead animal. Thanks to this the Pagans were afraid for some time. Later on the goodness of god visited Asia, Caria, Lydia and Phrygia, thanks to the zeal of the victorious Justinian and by the efforts of his humble servant. So by the power of the holy spirit, 70,000 souls were instructed, and left behind the errors of Paganism, the worship of idols and the temples of the demons for the knowledge of the truth. All were converted, disavowed the errors of their ancestors, were baptized in the name of our lord Jesus Christ, and were added to the number of Christians. The victorious Justinian paid the expenses and clothing for baptism; he also took care to give three gold pieces to each of them. When god had opened their minds and had made known the truth, they helped us with their own hands to destroy their temples, to overthrow their idols, to extirpate the sacrifices that were offered everywhere, to cut down their altars, soiled with the blood of sacrifices offered to demons, and to cut down countless trees that they worshipped because they were leaving all the errors of their ancestors. The salutary sign of the cross was planted everywhere among them, and churches of god were founded everywhere. They were built and erected, to the number of eighty-six, with great diligence and zeal, in the high mountains and steep and in the plains, in all the places where there was Paganism. Twelve monasteries were also founded in places which were Pagan, and where the name of Christian name had never been heard from the beginning of the world until this time. Fifty-five churches were founded at public expense and forty-one at the expense of the new Christians. The victorious emperor gave them willingly, by our hands, the sacred vessels, clothes, books and brass items.” – John of Ephesos as quoted in the third book of the Chronicle of Zuqnin

Pope Zacharias, Epistle 80

“You must rebaptize those who have been christened by sacrilegious priests, I mean those who while professing Christ also immolate oxen and goats to the gods of the Pagans, eat the flesh and hold sacrifices to the dead.” – Pope Zacharias, Epistle 80

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

St. Boniface, Sermons 6.1

“All the sacrifices and soothsayings of the Pagan are sacrileges, as are the sacrifices of the dead and those conducted around corpses or over tombs. Also omens, amulets and offerings made on stones, or to springs, trees, Jupiter, Mercury or the other Pagan gods, because they are diabolic; and many other things which would take too long to list are all, according to the judgment of the holy fathers, sacrileges to be avoided and detested by Christians, and they are recognized as capital sins.” – St. Boniface, Sermons 6.1

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

Burchard of Worms, Decretum 19.5.94

“Did you eat any part of an idolothyte, that is, of the offerings made in some places at the graves of the dead, or near springs, trees, or stones, or at crossroads, or did you carry stones to a cairn, or crown crucifixes at crossroads with wreaths? If you did so or consented to any of these, you should do penance for thirty days on bread and water.” – Burchard of Worms, Decretum 19.5.94

Martin of Braga, De correctione rusticorum 16

“What is the lighting of candles at stones, trees, springs and crossroads but the cult of the devil?” – Martin of Braga, De correctione rusticorum 16

Homilia de sacrilegiis 2

“Whoever goes to the ancient altars, temples, groves of trees, stones or to any other place, or offers animals or some other thing there, or holds a feast in such a place, shall be liable to punishment.” – Homilia de sacrilegiis 2

Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae 21

“All those who make vows to springs, trees or groves, or who bring offerings there according to the custom of the Pagans and consume feasts in honor of demons shall be punished.” – Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae 21

Regino of Prüm, De synodalibus causis 2.5.43

“People sacrifice at trees, springs and stones as though at an altar and bring candles and a multitude of other offerings as if some divinity were to be found there who could benefit them or cause them mischief.” – Regino of Prüm, De synodalibus causis 2.5.43

Martin of Braga, De correctione rusticorum 8

“Many of the demons driven from heaven preside over the sea, rivers, springs or the woods; men who do not know god honor them and sacrifice to them as though they were gods.” – Martin of Braga, De correctione rusticorum 8

Prolegomena to Theokritos, Bucolicorum Graecorum 2.5

“Concerning the Thalusia: At one time there were troubles at Syracuse which it was deemed were caused by Artemis. So the farmers brought gifts and sang a joyful hymn to the goddess and later on this became a customary event. As the rustics sang they would carry loaves of bread with figures of wild beasts on them, purses full of every type of seed, and a goat-skin with wine; they poured out libations for all those they met, wore a garland and deer antlers, and carried a shepherd’s rabbit-prod in their hands. The winner of the competition receives the bread of the defeated. They also sing other songs of a playful, funny nature, first saying in reverent tones, Receive good fortune, receive good health, which we bring from the goddess, by which she gave her command.” – Prolegomena to Theokritos, Bucolicorum Graecorum 2.5

Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics 8.1160a

“Some kinds of associations seem to be formed for the purpose of enjoyment, such as thiasoi devoted to religious revels and eranoi devoted to feasting; these exist for the sake of sacrifices and fellowship: they hold their sacrifices and meetings, portioning out honors to the gods and providing themselves with pleasurable refreshment. In ancient times, for instance, sacrifices and meetings were held as a kind of first-fruits following the gathering of the crops, since they had the most leisure at those seasons.” – Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics 8.1160a

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

Xenophon, Anabasis 3.1.5-7

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

Hesiod, Works and Days 765ff

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

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

Hesiod, Works and Days 724-745

“Never pour a libation of sparkling wine to Zeus after dawn with unwashen hands, nor to others of the deathless gods; else they do not hear your prayers but spit them back. Do not stand upright facing the sun when you make water, but remember to do this when he has set towards his rising. And do not make water as you go, whether on the road or off the road, and do not uncover yourself: the nights belong to the blessed gods. A scrupulous man who has a wise heart sits down or goes to the wall of an enclosed court. Do not expose yourself befouled by the fireside in your house, but avoid this. Do not beget children when you are come back from ill-omened burial, but after a festival of the gods. Never cross the sweet-flowing water of ever-rolling rivers afoot until you have prayed, gazing into the soft flood, and washed your hands in the clear, lovely water. Whoever crosses a river with hands unwashed of wickedness, the gods are angry with him and bring trouble upon him afterwards. At a cheerful festival of the gods do not cut the withered from the quick upon that which has five branches with bright steel [i.e. do not cut your fingernails]. Never put the ladle upon the mixing-bowl at a wine party, for malignant ill-luck is attached to that.” – Hesiod, Works and Days 724-745

Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 11

“The mother of Galerius, a woman exceedingly superstitious, was a votary of the gods of the mountains. Being of such a character she made sacrifices almost every day, and she feasted her servants on the meat offered to idols.” – Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 11

Prokopios, The Secret History 11.24-36

“Now all the residents of my own Caesarea and of all the other cities, regarding it as a foolish thing to undergo any suffering in defence of a senseless dogma, adopted the name of Christians in place of that which they then bore and by this pretence succeeded in shaking off the danger arising from the law. And all those of their number who were persons of any prudence and reasonableness showed no reluctance about adhering loyally to this faith, but the majority, feeling resentment that, not by their own free choice, but under compulsion of the law, they had changed from the beliefs of their fathers, whether Manichaeans or polytheists. And all the farmers, having gathered in great numbers, decided to rise in arms against the Emperor, putting forward as their Emperor a certain brigand, Julian by name, son of Savarus. And when they engaged with the soldiers, they held out for a time, but finally they were defeated in the battle and perished along with their leader. And it is said that one hundred thousand men perished in this struggle, and the land, which is the finest in the world, became in consequence destitute of farmers. And for the owners of the land who were Christians this led to very serious consequences. For it was incumbent upon them, as a matter of compulsion, to pay to the Emperor everlastingly, even though they were deriving no income from the land, the huge annual tax, since no mercy was shewn in the administration of this business. Justinian then carried the persecution to the Hellenes as they are called, maltreating their bodies and plundering their properties. But even those among them who had decided to espouse in word the name of Christians, seeking thus to avert their present misfortunes, these not much later were generally seized at their libations and sacrifices and other unholy acts. And the prosecution of these cases was carried out in reckless fashion, since the penalty was exacted even without an accuser, for the word of a single man or boy, and even, if it so happened, of a slave compelled against his will to give evidence against his owner, was considered definite proof. Those who were thus convicted had their privates removed and were paraded through the streets.” – Prokopios, The Secret History 11.24-36