eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: statues

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

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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

The Council of Toledo 16.129-30

“We declare that bishops and judges together are to destroy idols and that masters are to forbid their slaves to practice idolatry. Since the sacrilege of idolatry has developed throughout almost all of Span and Gaul, the holy synod has decreed with the consent of the most glorious prince that every priest, together with the district judge, is to examine carefully the sacrilege reported in his region, and to expel any that they find without delay. Moreover, they are to use force on all those implicated in such error by whatever punitive measures they can, up to a penalty of death. If they fail to do this, both should know that they are subject to the danger of excommunication. Moreover if any masters fail to uproot this evil from their estates and are unwilling to prohibit their households, they are to be banished by the bishop from the communion of the faithful.” – The Council of Toledo 16.129-30

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 53.1

“If, dearly beloved, we rejoice indeed because we see you hasten faithfully to church, we are saddened and grieved because we know that some of you go off even more often to the ancient worship of idols, like godless Pagans who lack the grace of baptism. We have heard that some of you pay your vows to trees, pray to springs and commit acts unmentionable. In fact there are unhappy wretches who not only do not want to destroy the shrines of Pagans but even do no fear nor blush to rebuild what was destroyed. And if someone who is mindful of god wants to burn sacred trees or scatter and destroy diabolical altars, they go mad with rage and are overcome by great frenzy, so that they even dare to strike those who tried to overturn the sacrilegious idols for the love of god … And why do such wretches bother to come to church or accept the sacrament of baptism if afterwards they are to return to the sacrilege of idols?” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 53.1

Letter of Pope Gregory to King Ethelbert in Bede HE 1.32.12

“Do not follow the cult of idols; overturn the sanctuaries used as shrines and edify your subjects by the great purity of your life and by exhortation, threats, persuasion, chastisement and good example.” – Letter of Pope Gregory to King Ethelbert in Bede HE 1.32.12

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

St. Columban, Penitential 24.104-5

“But if any layman ate or drank in the vicinity of shrines out of ignorance, let him promise immediately never to do so again, and let him repent for forty days on bread and water; if, however, he did it for contempt after a priest preached to him that this was sacrilege, and he communed afterwards at the table of demons, and if he did it or repeated it only because of the vice of gluttony, let him repent for three quadragesimae on bread and water; if, in fact, he did this as a cult of demons or in honor of idols, let him do penance for three years.” – St. Columban, Penitential 24.104-5

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

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

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

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

Register of the Church of Carthage 58; 60-61

“There remain still other requirements to be sought from the most pious emperors: that they should command the remaining idols throughout all Africa to be utterly extirpated, for in a number of coastal areas and in various rural estates the wickedness of such error flourishes. Thus the emperors should direct both the idols themselves to be destroyed and their temples which have been set up in these rural and remote areas. Further we request that those religious gatherings which occur contrary to decrees, namely those brought together by Pagan error and which both Pagans and Christians attend together – a horrible thought that Christians under Christian emperors might attend these secret celebrations! – that it is only right for the emperors to order them prohibited and banned from cities and estates by imposing a penalty. This is particularly necessary since the Pagans show no compunction about celebrating these sorts of rites on the birthdays of the most blessed martyrs in some cities and out in the sacred spots in the countryside. On those days, indeed – shameful to declare! – the dancing of the most wicked folk goes on in town squares and open spaces, and the respect due to the marital state and the modesty of countless women assembled in piety for the most sacred day is assaulted by lascivious insults, while access to holy worship itself is almost barred. We also request this: that theatrical shows and those of the games be removed from the Lord’s day and other most celebrated Christian days, especially because on the Eighth Day of holy Easter the people gather more at the Circus than at the church. The day of their worship will have to be moved – if indeed they do foregather – nor should any Christian be obliged to attend such shows, especially because in putting them on, contrary to god’s commands as they are, no pressure or persecution should be applied by anyone, but rather (as ought to be the case) a man should stand on his free will, divinely granted him.” – Register of the Church of Carthage 58; 60-61

Didascalia Apostolorum 13

“Pagans, when they daily rise from their sleep, go in morning to worship and minister to their idols; and before all their works and undertakings they go first and worship their idols. Neither at their festivals and their fairs are they wanting, but are constant in assembling – not only those who live close by, but many travel from a great distance to attend such assemblies and dramatic spectacles.” – Didascalia Apostolorum 13

The Martyrdom of Saint Theodotus 14

“It was the custom among them yearly to bathe the images of the gods in the nearby lake, and on that day was the chance for them to be cleansed along with their idols. Each of the idols was set up on a wagon, and they were led through the city and into the countryside where the lake was. The whole populace of the city went out with them to see the sight, for the sound of the pipes and cymbals attracted attention, as did the dancing women with hair let loose like maenads, and there was a great pounding of their feet striking the ground and lots of musical instruments accompanying them.” – The Martyrdom of Saint Theodotus 14

Nicetas Choniates, Historia 647-51

“Even now they were still desirous of money, for absolutely nothing can satiate the avarice of the barbarians. They eyed the bronze statues and threw them into the fire. And so the bronze statue of Hera, standing in the agora of Constantine, was broken into pieces and consigned to the flames. The head of this statue, which could hardly be drawn by four oxen yoked together, was brought to the great palace. The statue of Paris, also called Alexander, opposite it was cast off its base. This statue was connected with that of the goddess Aphrodite to whom the apple of Eris was depicted as being awarded by Paris. These barbarians – who do not appreciate beauty! – did not neglect to overturn the statues standing in the Hippodrome or any other marvelous works. Rather, these too they turned into coinage, exchanging great things for small, thus acquiring petty coins at the expense of those things created at enormous cost. They then threw down the great Hercules Trihesperus, magnificently constructed on a base and girded with the skin of a lion, a terrifying thing to see even in bronze. He was represented as standing, carrying in his hands neither quiver nor arrows nor club, but having his right foot and right hand extended and his left foot bent at the knee with the left hand raised at the elbow. He was very broad in the chest and shoulders and had thick hair, plump buttocks, and strong arms, and was of such huge size, Ι think, as Lysimachus considered the real Hercules to have been – Lysimachus who sculpted from bronze this first and last great masterpiece of his hands. The statue was so large that the rope around his thumb had the size of a man’s belt and the lower portion of the leg, the height of a man. But those who separate manly vigour from other virtues and claim it for themselves (considering it the most important quality) did not leave this Hercules (although it was the epitome of this attribute) untouched.” – Nicetas Choniates, Historia 647-51

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

Quodvultdeus, The Book of the Promises and Prophecies of God 3.38

“At Carthage Caelestis had a temple of very substantial size ringed about by sanctuaries of all their gods. Its precinct was decorated with mosaic pavements and expensive columns and walls, and extended nearly one thousand paces. When it had been closed for a long time and, from neglect, thorny thickets invaded the enclosure, the Christian inhabitants wanted to claim it for use of the true religion. The Pagan inhabitants grew angry at this and clamored that there were snakes and other venomous creatures there to protect the temple. This only aroused the fervor of the Christians until the feast of holy Easter arrived and a great crowd gathered there, approaching from every direction to purify the temple, destroy the images and consecrate it to their own use. All the other temples of the city were razed to the ground, leaving only a narrow strip of land for the dead. Later the Vandals destroyed even the sacred way that once wound through the temples, appropriately enough leaving no reminders of the evil that had once flourished here.” – Quodvultdeus, The Book of the Promises and Prophecies of God 3.38

Besa, Life of Shenoute 83-84

“Another time our holy Apa Shenoute arose to go to the village of Pleuit in order to throw down the idols which were there. So when the Pagans came to know of this, they went and dug in the place which led to their village and buried some magical potions which they had made according to their books because they wanted to hinder him on the road. Our father Apa Shenoute mounted his donkey, but when he began to ride down the road, as soon as the donkey came to a place where the potions had been buried, it would stand still and dig with its hoof. Straightaway the potions would be exposed and my father would say to the servant, ‘Pick them up so that you can hang them around their necks!’ When he entered the village, the Pagans saw him with the magical vessels which the servant had gathered up. They immediately fled away and disappeared, and my father entered the temple and destroyed the idols, smashing them one on top of the other.” – Besa, Life of Shenoute 83-84

The Life of the Younger Saint Symeon the Stylite 161

“On his way to the city of Antioch he destroyed many of the unrighteous found en route, so that men shuddered with fear at his countenance. For everywhere he suppressed all evil-doing whether in word or deed, inflicting punishment, including death, on those who had gone astray, so that from then on even those living a blameless life feared his presence. He claimed that what he did was in response to an oracle from god which appeared to him in a dream, namely that the lord was angry with the Hellenes and heretics and he should reveal the idolatrous errors of the atheists and gather together all their books and burn them. After some investigation he discovered that the majority of the leaders of the city and many of its inhabitants were preoccupied with Hellenismos, Manichaeism, astrological practices, automatism and other hateful heresies. He arrested them and put them in prison, and after gathering together all of their books – a huge number – he burned them in the middle of the stadium. He brought out their idols and their polluted accoutrements and hung them along the streets of the city, and their wealth was expended on numerous fines.” – The Life of the Younger Saint Symeon the Stylite 161

Pope Gregory, Epistle 11.56

“The temples of idols found in the land should not be destroyed, though it is proper to do so with the idols that are contained in them. Let blessed water be prepared, and sprinkled in these temples, and altars constructed and relics deposited since these are well-built temples and it is only proper that they be transferred from the worship of idols to that of the true god. And when the people see that the temples are not destroyed they may put error away from their hearts and, knowing and adoring the true god, may have recourse to the places that, over long centuries, their people have become familiar with. And since they are wont to kill many oxen in sacrifice to demons, they should have also some solemnity of this kind in a changed form, so that on the day of dedication, or on the anniversaries of the holy martyrs whose relics are deposited there, they may make for themselves tents of the branches of trees around these temples that have been changed into churches, and celebrate the solemnity with religious feasts. Nor let them any longer sacrifice animals to the devil, but slay animals to the praise of god for their own eating, and return thanks to the giver of all for their fullness, so that while some joys are reserved to them outwardly, they may more easily incline their minds towards the inner joys. For it is undoubtedly impossible to cut away everything at once from hard hearts, since one who strives to ascend to the highest place must needs rise by steps or paces, and not by leaps.” – Pope Gregory, Epistle 11.56

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

“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

Al-Baghdadi, Al-Ifadah 109-10

“And as for the idols, they were very common in the ancient world even with the Christians, most of whom, Copts and Sabaeans, were inclined towards their construction in the old tradition of their ancestors and set up idols in the places of their worship. They can even go so far as depicting their god surrounded by angels. All these are the remains of the traditions of their predecessors, although the predecessors were much wiser and elevated god beyond any logical or physical reach of comprehension, let alone depiction.” – Al-Baghdadi, Al-Ifadah 109-10

Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 169

“King Menqaus built a temple with statues that cure all illnesses and wrote on top of the shrine of every statue what it would cure, so people benefited from this temple for a time until some kings spoiled. Another king, Shasta, cared so much for the health of his people that in every city he erected a statue of a woman which people suffering from depression could visit. As soon as a depressed person sees it, he smiles and forgets all his care. People hold it circumambulate it. At a later date they worshiped her.” – Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 169

Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 167

“King Shadat erected another idol as well, a cow with two large udders; if a woman whose milk has decreased or dried up touches it, her milk will flow again.” – Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 167

Al-Maqrizi, Khitat 1.651

“The idol stands on one leg and has only one arm which is raised high. There are inscriptions on his forehead and around the body. He has a prominent phallus. Many people use this idol when they are unable to attain an erection, but it is only successful if the person is able to remove the phallus without damaging the idol. Afterwards they wear the phallus around their waist and they get the desired result.” – Al-Maqrizi, Khitat 1.651

Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 166

“There is a standing statue with an erect penis; if one who is impotent and cannot have an erection for any reason comes to this statue and holds it with both hands, he will recover and obtain the desired erection and the strength to copulate.” – Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 166

Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks 2.20-22

“Of queen Clotild the king had a firstborn son whom the mothers wished to be baptized; she therefore persistently urged Clovis to permit it, saying, ‘The gods whom ye worship are naught; they cannot aid either themselves or others, seeing that they are images carved of wood or stone or metal. Moreover the names which ye have given them are the names of men not of gods. Saturn was a man, fabled to have escaped by flight from his son to avoid being thrust from his kingdom; Jupiter also, the lewdest practicer of debaucheries and unnatural vice, the abuser of the women of his own family, who could not even abstain from intercourse with his own sister … What powers had Mars and Mercury? They may have been endowed with magical arts but they never had the power of a divine name.’  [continues on like this for a while] Though the queen ever argued thus, the king’s mind was nowise moved towards belief, but he replied, ‘It is by command of our gods that all things are created and come forth; it is manifest that thy god availeth in nothing; nay more, he is not even proven to belong to the race of gods.’ But the queen, true to her faith, presented her son for baptism. She gave an expensive donation to the church, hoping that she might thus move god to touch the heart of her husband, which no amount of preaching could reach. The boy was duly baptized and named Ingomer, but died while yet clothed in the white raiment of his regeneration. Thereupon the king was moved to bitter wrath, nor was he slow to reproach the queen saying, ‘If the child had been dedicated in the name of my gods, surely he would have survived. But now, baptized in the name of thy god, he could not live a single day.’ The queen replied, ‘I render thanks to almighty god, creator of all things, who hath not judged me all unworthy, and deigneth to take into his kingdom this child born of my womb. My mind is untouched by grief at this event, since I know that they which be called from this world in the white clothes of baptism shall be nurtured in the sight of god.’ Afterwards she bore another son who was baptized with the name of Chlodomer. When he too began to ail, the king said, ‘It cannot but befall that this infant like his brother shall straightaway die, being baptized in the name of thy Christ.’ But the mother prayed and god ordained that the child should recover.” – Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks 2.20-22

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