eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: wine

Isidore of Seville, De eccliasticis officiis 1.41

“On the Kalends of January even the faithful assume monstrous appearances and are changed into the character of wild animals; others make feminine gestures and feminize their male faces … They all make a great noise, with leaping and clapping dances and what is still more shameful, both sexes dance together in sung dances, with dulled senses, intoxicated with much wine.” – Isidore of Seville, De eccliasticis officiis 1.41

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Saint Augustine, Sermon 6.73-76

“I condemn the din of silly and shameful songs, the disgraceful junketing and dances that characterize this false feast day. Are you, who are supposedly Christians, going to join in the celebrations of good luck presents like a Pagan, going to play at dice and get yourself drunk? To do so is to associate with demons, for demons take pleasure in idle songs, in the trifling spectacle, in the manifold indecencies of the theaters, in the mad frenzies of the chariot races. Everything having to do with the Kalends of January is thoroughly Pagan and not fit for a decent Christian.” – Saint Augustine, Sermon 6.73-76

Maximus of Turin, Sermon 63.1

“How can you who have accepted the holy eucharist then celebrate a banquet of superstition during the Kalends of January? Befuddling the mind with wine, distending the belly with food, twisting the limbs in dances and engaging in depraved acts so that you are forced to forget what are the things that belong to god and instead pay dues to an idol – this is not what Christians do, but rather Pagans!” – Maximus of Turin, Sermon 63.1

Maximus of Turin, Sermon 98.1

“What sensible person who understands the sacraments of the lord’s birth does not condemn the Saturnalia nor reject the lechery of the Kalends? For there are many who still carry on with the superstitious old customs of the foolishness of the Kalends. They celebrate this day as the highest feast. Where they look thus for happiness they find, rather, sorrow. They wallow in wine and sicken themselves on feasting so that he who is chaste and moderate all year gets drunk and pollutes himself; and if he does not do so, he thinks that he has been deprives of the feast.” – Maximus of Turin, Sermon 98.1

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 193.1-3

“I rebuke the demented customs of those who for the sake of foolish gaiety observe the Kalends of January or the folly of other superstitions which men think give them license to get drunk and indulge in obscene chanting and games. Worse still is the indecent flaunting of men in women’s clothing and make-up grotesque enough to make the demons themselves blanch. They sing bawdy songs in praise of vice, sung with shameless gusto and accompanied by disjointed gestures and mumming in the likeness of she-goats and stags. The inventor of evil makes his entry through these in order to master souls ensnared by the appearance of play. I call upon the sober and upright members of this congregation to reprimand your neighbors and subordinates, to forbid them to use indecent language or sing those bawdy songs, and especially to deny alms to those who by sacrilegious custom are carried away by insanity rather than playfulness. And unless you want to share in their guilt I tell you: do not allow a little stag or a little yearling or monstrosities of any other sort to appear before your houses, but rather chastise and punish them and, if you can, even tie them up tightly. Admonish your household not to follow the sacrilegious customs of the unhappy Pagans.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 193.1-3

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 192.24

“During the Kalends of January wretched men, and worse yet, even some who are baptized, don false appearances, monstrous disguises, in which I know not whether they are primarily laughingstocks or rather objects of sorrow. What sensible person indeed could believe that he would find sane people who deliberately transform themselves into the state of wild beasts while playing the stag. Some are clothed in the hide of beasts, others don animal headdresses, rejoicing and exulting if thus they have changed themselves into the likeness of beasts so as not to appear to be men. Now truly, what is this! How vile! That those who are born men dress in women’s clothing and, by the vilest of perversion, sap their manly strength to resemble girls, not blushing to clothe their soldier’s muscles in women’s gowns: they flaunt their bearded faces, and they aim to look just like women. There are those who observe omens during the Kalends of January by refusing to give fire from their house or any other goods to anyone, no matter who asks; yet they accept diabolical gifts from others and give them to others themselves. That night, moreover, some rustics arrange little tables with the many things necessary for eating; they intend that the tables remain arranged like this throughout the night, for they believe that the Kalends of January can do this for them, that throughout the entire year they will continue to hold their feasts amid plenty. I command your household to get rid of these and other practices like them, which would take too long to describe, which are thought by ignorant people to be trifling sins, or none at all; and command your household to observe the Kalends as they do the Kalends of other months. And therefore the saintly fathers of ancient days, considering how most of mankind spent those days in gluttony and lechery, going mad with drunkenness and sacrilegious dancing, ordained throughout the whole world that all the churches should proclaim a public fast, so that wretched men might know that the evil that they brought upon themselves was so great that all the churches are obliged to fast for their sins. In fact, let no one doubt that anyone who shows any kindness to foolish men who lewdly indulging in amusements during those Kalends is himself a sharer of their sins.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 192.24

Rabanus Maurus, Homily 44

“A Pagan will drink until he vomits and once he gets himself completely drunk, jumps up like a madman in a frenzy to dance diabolically, leaping about and singing filthy, amorous and lewd verses.” – Rabanus Maurus, Homily 44

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

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 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

Cato, De Agricultura 139-141

“To open up a clearing, you must use the Roman rite, as follows. Do sacrifice of an expiation piglet, and say it thus: ‘Whatever god, whatever goddess you may be to whom this place is sacred, since it is proper to sacrifice the expiation swine for the taking of this sacred place, therefore, may what I do or what another by my order does be rightly done. Therefore in slaughtering for you this expiation swine I pray with good prayers that you be willing and favourable to me, to my house and household and to my children; wherefore, accept the slaughter of this expiatory piglet.’ If you want to dig there, do another Expiation. Say explicitly ‘for the purpose of working the land’. Then do some of the work on each consecutive day till all is done. If you interrupt it, or public or household holidays intervene, you must do another Expiation. You must consecrate the field as follows. Instruct Pig, Sheep and Ox to be driven all around: ‘Under the favour of the spirits and in confidence of a good outcome I entrust to you, (Manius), to consecrate by your care my farm, field and land; driving or drawing Pig, Sheep and Ox thereupon, wherever you may determine.’ First invoke Janus and Jove with wine, and say: ‘Father Mars, I ask and pray that you be ready and favourable to me, our house and household. Wherefore I have ordered Pig, Sheep and Ox to be driven all around my land and farm, so that you will prevent, ward off and avert sicknesses seen and unseen, childlessness and fruitlessness, disaster and storm; so that you will permit fruits, grains, vines and saplings to flourish and come to fruition; so that you will keep safe shepherds and flocks and give good heart and health to me, our house and household. Therefore, for the consecration and making sacred of my farm, field and land as aforesaid, accept the slaughter of this suckling Pig, Sheep and Ox.’ Repeat: ‘… therefore, Father Mars, accept the slaughter of this suckling Pig, Sheep and Ox.’ Do it with a knife. Have strues and fertum at hand. Offer immediately. As you slaughter the piglet, lamb and calf, then: ‘… therefore accept the slaughter of Pig, Sheep and Ox.’ Mars must not be named, nor must one say ‘lamb’ or ‘calf’. If all the offerings are unpromising, say it thus: ‘… Father Mars, if anything dissatisfies you in that suckling Pig, Sheep and Ox, I offer you this Pig, Sheep and Ox in expiation.’ If only one or two are doubtful, say it thus: ‘… Father Mars, since you were dissatisfied with that piglet, I offer you this piglet in expiation.’” – Cato, De Agricultura 139-141

Cato, De Agricultura 134

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

Cato, De Agricultura 131-32

“When the pear blossoms, make the Feast for the Oxen. After that, begin the spring ploughing. First plough the fields that are gritty and sandy; thus plough last those that are heaviest and wettest. The Feast may be performed as follows. Present a culigna of wine, as much as you wish, to Festive Jove. The day is holiday for the oxen, the oxherds, and those who perform the Feast. When you are to present, you do so thus: ‘Festive Jove, my household brings a culigna of wine to the Feast, as is proper in your domestic worship. Therefore accept the presentation of this Feast of ours.’ Wash your hands, and take the wine. ‘Festive Jove, accept the presentation of our Feast, accept our offertory wine.’ Offer to Vesta if you wish. The Feast to Jove: a roast from herd or flock; one urna of wine. You should share with Jove with proper purity and with the touch of your own hand. Then, once the Feast is performed, sow broomcorn millet, foxtail millet, garlic, lentil.” – Cato, De Agricultura 131-32

Cato, De Agricultura 83

“Make a dedication for the health of the oxen as follows. To Mars and Silvanus, in the forest, in daytime, dedicate the following per head of oxen: 3 lb. emmer, 4 lb. fat, 4 lb. lean meat, 3 pints wine. You may place it all together in one jug; the wine, also, may be placed all in one jug. They may be offered by a slave or a free person. When they have been offered, they should be consumed, at once, on the spot. No woman must be present or see the rite. You may make this dedication each year if you wish.” – Cato, De Agricultura 83

SIG3 1218

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

Codex Justinianus 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

The Diocesan Council of Auxerre

1. It is not permitted to dress up as a calf or a stag on the Kalends of January or to present diabolical gifts; on that day all favors shall be granted as on other days.

3. It is forbidden to make offerings or keep vigils on saints’ festivals in private houses, or to discharge vows among woods or at sacred trees or at springs, but, whoever has a vow, let him keep vigil in the church and fulfill his vow by giving to the servants of the church or the poor. Nor let anyone dare to make feet or images of men out of wood.

4. It is forbidden to turn to soothsayers or to augurs, or to those who pretend to know the future, or to look at what they call ‘the lots of the Saints’ or those they make out of wood or bread. But whatever a man wishes to do, let him do it in the name of god.

5. Forbid especially, in every way, these observances on the vigils which are kept in honor of Saint Martin.

8. It is forbidden to offer mellita, mulsa or any other mixture of wine and honey at the altar of the divine sacrifice. Any potion other than wine mixed with water is forbidden. Great sin and crime belong to the presbyter who dares offer any drink other than wine in the consecration of the blood of Christ.

– The Diocesan Council of Auxerre

Maximus of Turin, Sermon 107

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

Pausanias, Description of Greece 6.26.1-2

“Between the market-place and the Menios in the city of Elis is an old theater and a shrine of Dionysos. The image is the work of Praxiteles. Of the gods the Eleans worship Dionysos with the greatest reverence, and they assert that the god attends their festival, the Thyia. The place where they hold the festival they name the Thyia is about eight stades from the city. Three pots are brought into the building by the priests and set down empty in the presence of the citizens and of any strangers who may chance to be in the country. The doors of the building are sealed by the priests themselves and by any others who may be so inclined. On the morrow they are allowed to examine the seals, and on going into the building they find the pots filled with wine. I did not myself arrive at the time of the festival, but the most respected Elean citizens, and with them strangers also, swore that what I have said is the truth.” – Pausanias, Description of Greece 6.26.1-2

Miscellany of sources on Anthesteria

“For they announce with a herald the Dionysia, the Lenaia, the Khytroi and the Gephyrismoi.” – Aelian, On Animals 4.43

“Not all the magistrates lived together. The King kept what is now called the Boukoleion [cow-shed] near the Prytaneion. The evidence is that even now the mating and marriage of the wife of the King with Dionysos takes place there.” – Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians 3.5

“Timaios says that the tyrant Dionysios at the festival of the Khoes set a golden crown as a prize for the one who first drank up his khous and that Xenocrates the philosopher finished first and, taking the golden crown and departing, placed it on the herm set up in his courtyard, the one on which he customarily placed flower crowns as he was going back home in the evening, and for this he was marveled at. Phanodemos says that Demophon the King instituted the festival of the Pitchers at Athens. When Orestes arrived at Athens after killing his mother Demophon wanted to receive him, but was not willing to let him approach the sacred rites nor share the libations, since he had not yet been put on trial. So he ordered the sacred things to be locked up and a separate pitcher of wine to be set beside each person, saying that a flat cake would be given as a prize to the one who drained his first. He also ordered them, when they had stopped drinking, not to put the wreathes with which they were crowned on the sacred objects, because they had been under the same roof with Orestes. Rather each one was to twine them around his own pitcher and take the wreathes to the priestess at the precinct in Limnai, and then to perform the rest of the sacrifices in the sanctuary. The festival has been called Khoes ever since. It is the custom at the festival of the Khoes at Athens that gifts and then pay be sent to teachers, the very ones who themselves invited their close friends to dinner in this way: ‘you play the teacher, you bum, and you have need of the pay-giving Khoes, dining not without luxury.’” – Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 10.437b-e

“Possis in his third book of Magnesian Things says that Themistokles when taking up the office of crownbearer in Magnesia sacrificed to Athene and called the festival the Panathenaia and when sacrificing to Dionysos the Khous-drinker also introduced the festival of the Khoes there.” – Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 12.533d

There are certain Khutroi. A festival in Athens so named, in which it was possible to mock both the others and especially those in government.” – Bekker, Anecdota 1.316

“It is commanded to those bringing back the victory spoils that they revile and make jokes about the most famous men along with their generals, like those escorts on wagons during the Athenian festival who used to carry on with jokes but now sing improvisational poems.” – Dionysios Halikarnassos, Roman Antiquities 7.72.11

“Among the Athenians holy women whom the king appoints in number equal to the altars of Dionysos to honor the god.” – Etymologicum Magnum s.v. gerarai

“(Orestes speaking) At first none of my hosts willingly received me, on the grounds that I was hated by the gods, but those who had scruples supplied me provisions at a single table since we were under the same roof, and by their silence they made me shunned so that I might be separated from them at food and drink, and filling for all an equal amount of wine in individual pitchers, they took pleasure. I did not think it right to question my hosts and grieved in silence and pretended not to know, sorrowing deeply because I was my mother’s murderer. I hear that my misfortunes have become a rite for the Athenians and that the custom still remains that the people of Athena honor the khoes-pitcher.” – Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 947ff

“A festival done among the Athenians on the twelfth of Anthesterion. The whole feast for Dionysos is jointly called Anthesteria, but its parts are Pithoigia, Khoes, Khutroi.” – Harpokration s.v. Khoes

“Instead of reproach and reproaching. Demosthenes in the speech For Ktesiphon. He takes the metaphor from those in the Dionysiac processions on wagons being reproached by each other.” – Harpokration s.v. processions and processing

“Generally priestesses, in particular those completing the sacrifices to Dionysos in Limnai, fourteen in number.” – Hesychius s.v. gerarai

“A marriage occurs between the wife of the king and the god.” – Hesychius s.v.marriage of Dionysos

“A festival in Athens.” – Hesychius s.v. Pithoigia

“A festival in Athens which they called Khoes.” – Hesychius s.v. twelfth

“Bear Watcher. Some have said that he is Icarius, father of Erigone, to whom, on account of his justice and piety, Father Liber gave wine, the vine, and the grape, so that he could show men how to plant the vine, what would grow from it, and how to use what was produced. When he had planted the vine, and by careful tending with a pruning-knife had made it flourish, a goat is said to have broken into the vineyard, and nibbled the tenderest leaves he saw there. Icarius, angered by this, took him and killed him and from his skin made a sack, and blowing it up, bound it tight, and cast it among his friends, directing them to dance around it. And so Eratosthenes says: Around the goat of Icarius they first danced. Others say that Icarius, when he had received the wine from Father Liber, straightway put full wineskins on a wagon. For this he was called Boötes. When he showed it to the shepherds on going round through the Attic country, some of them, greedy and attracted by the new kind of drink, became stupefied, and sprawling here and there, as if half-dead, kept uttering unseemly things. The others, thinking poison had been given the shepherds by Icarius, so that he could drive their flocks into his own territory, killed him, and threw him into a well, or, as others say, buried him near a certain tree. However, when those who had fallen asleep, woke up, saying that they had never rested better, and kept asking for Icarius in order to reward him, his murderers, stirred by conscience, at once took to flight and came to the island of the Ceans. Received there as guests, they established homes for themselves. But when Erigone, the daughter of Icarius, moved by longing for her father, saw he did not return and was on the point of going out to hunt for him, the dog of Icarius, Maera by name, returned to her, howling as if lamenting the death of its master. It gave her no slight suspicion of murder, for the timid girl would naturally suspect her father had been killed since he had been gone so many months and days. But the dog, taking hold of her dress with its teeth, led her to the body. As soon as the girl saw it, abandoning hope, and overcome with loneliness and poverty, with many tearful lamentations she brought death on herself by hanging from the very tree beneath which her father was buried. And the dog made atonement for her death by its own life. Some say that it cast itself into the well, Anigrus by name. For this reason they repeat the story that no one afterward drank from that well. Jupiter, pitying their misfortune, represented their forms among the stars. And so many have called Icarius, Boötes, and Erigone, the Virgin, about whom we shall speak later. The dog, however, from its own name and likeness, they have called Canicula. It is called Procyon by the Greeks, because it rises before the greater Dog. Others say these were pictured among the stars by Father Liber. In the meantime in the district of the Athenians many girls without cause committed suicide by hanging, because Erigone, in dying, had prayed that Athenian girls should meet the same kind of death she was to suffer if the Athenians did not investigate the death of Icarius and avenge it. And so when these things happened as described, Apollo gave oracular response to them when they consulted him, saying that they should appease Erigone if they wanted to be free from the affliction. So since she hanged herself, they instituted a practice of swinging themselves on ropes with bars of wood attached, so that the one hanging could be moved by the wind. They instituted this as a solemn ceremony, and they perform it both privately and publicly, and call it alétis, aptly terming her mendicant who, unknown and lonely, sought for her father with the god. The Greeks call such people alétides.” – Hyginus, Astronomica 2.2

“For the Khoes, for the public slaves: victim, 23 drachmae; pots, 5; two measures of wine, 16.” – IG ii 1672.204

“He was of an age for ‘Khoic’ things, but Fate anticipated the Khoes.” – IG ii 13139.71

“Whoever of the Iobacchoi receives an allotment or office or position, let him make a libation to the Iobacchoi worthy of his position – marriage, birth, Khoes, ephebia, civil service, staff-bearing, council …” – IG ii 1368 127-31

“For the Limnaian one they held festivals with choruses.” – Kallimakhos, Hekale fr. 305

“Nor did the morn of the Broaching of the Jars pass unheeded, nor that whereon the Pitchers of Orestes bring a white day for slaves. And when he kept the yearly festival of Ikarios’ child, thy day, Erigone, lady most sorrowful of Attic women, he invited to a banquet his familiars, and among them a stranger who was newly visiting Egypt, whither he had come on some private business.” – Kallimakhos, Aitia 1.1

“Khoes were once called pilikai. The type of pitcher earlier was like the Panathenaic amphorae, but later it took on the form of an oinochoe, like those put out at the festival, a sort that they once called olpai, using them for the pouring of wine just as Ion of Chios says in the Eurutidai. But now such a pitcher, having been sanctified in some manner, is used only in the festival, and the one for daily use has changed its form.” – Krates, Attic Dialect Book Two as cited in Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 11.495a-c

“Let the priest have the robe he wishes and a golden crown in the month Lenaion and Anthesterion so that he may lead those bringing home Dionysos in the proper way.” – LSAM 37.19-24

“At the festival the priests and priestesses of Bacchic Dionysos will bring the god home from dawn to dusk.” – LSAM 48.21-23

“As for their cups made by Therikles and their goblets and their gold and all the gods produced among them and envied in their courts, I would not take them in exchange for our yearly Khoes and the Lenaia in the theater and yesterday’s talk and the schools in the Lyceum and the holy Academy, I swear by Dionysos and his bacchic ivy, with which I wish to be crowned more than with Ptolemaic diadems, for where in Egypt will I see an assembly, a vote taken? Where the democratic thron speaking its mind? Where the law-givers with ivy in their holy hair? What roped enclosure? What election? What Khutroi? What potter’s quarter, agora, courts, beautiful acropolis, mysteries, nearby Salamis, the Narrows, Psyttalia, Marathon?” – Menander, Epistles 4.18.10

“Anthesteria is for three days, the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth – but the twelfth day is most special.” – P. Oxy. VI 853

“At the temple of Dionysos in Lemnai the Athenians bring the new wine from the jars and mix it in honor of the god and then they drink it themselves. Because of this custom Dionysos is called Limnaios, because the wine was mixed with water and then for the first time drunk diluted. Therefore the streams were called Nymphs and Nurses of Dionysos because mixed-in water increases the wine. Then having taken pleasure in the mixture they hymned Dionysos in songs, dancing and addressing him as Euanthes and Dithyrambos and the Bacchic One and Bromios.” – Phanodemos, cited in Athenaios’ Deipnosophistai 11.465a

“Children in Athens during the month of Anthesterion are crowned with flowers on the third year from birth.” – Philostratos, Heroikos 12.2

“Apollonios said he was amazed at the Athenians regarding the Dionysia, which they celebrate in the season of Anthesterion, for he thought they visited the theater to hear monodies and songs from the parabasis and all the other lyrics belonging to comedy and tragedy, but when he heard that they dance twists to the sound of the aulos and that amid both Orphic epics and theologies they act, sometimes as Seasons sometimes as Nymphs and sometimes as Bacchai, he was amazed at this.” – Philostratos, Life of Apollonios of Tyana 4.21

“For in the month Anthesterion a trireme raised into the air is escorted into the agora which the priest of Dionysos steers like a helmsman with its lines loose from the sea.” – Philostratos, Lives of the Sophists 1.25.1

“A plant that at the Khoes they chewed from dawn as a preventative medicine. They also smeared their houses with pitch for this is unpollutable. Therefore also at the birth of children they smear their houses to drive away daimones.” – Photius s.v. buckthorn

“On the day of the month Anthesterion at which the souls of the departed are thought to come up, they chewed buckthorn beginning at dawn and smeared the doors with pitch.” – Photius s.v. polluted days

“This is about those mocking openly. For in Athens at the festival of the Khoes those reveling on the wagons mocked and reviled those they met and they did the same also at the Lenaia.” – Photius s.v. that from the wagons

“Some say this proverb was said because of the number of Karian slaves, since they were feasting at the Anthesteria and not working. When the festival ended they said, sending them out to work, ‘to the door, Kares; it’s no longer Anthesteria.’ But some have the proverb as follows: ‘to the door, Keres; Anthesteria is not inside,’ since the souls were going throughout the city in the Anthesteria.” – Photius s.v. To the door Kares, it’s no longer Anthesteria

“Once when it was the festival of the Khoes the two of them were feasting by themselves, and Apemantos said, ‘What a nice symposium the two of us are having, Timon,’ and Timon replied, ‘Indeed, if only you weren’t here.’” – Plutarch, Life of Antony 70

“And yet what difference does it make if one puts a kylix down before each of the guests and a khous, having filled it with wine, and an individual table just as the sons of Demophon are said to have done for Orestes, and orders him to drink ignoring the others, as opposed to what now happens where, putting out meat and bread, each feasts as if from his private manger except that we are not compelled to be silent as were those feasting Orestes.” – Plutarch, Questiones Convivales 2.10.1

“At Athens on the eleventh of the month of Anthesterion they begin drinking new wine, calling the day Pithoigia. And in the old days, it is likely, they poured a libation of wine before drinking, and prayed that the use of the drug be harmless and healthful or saving for them. Among us Boiotians the month is called Prostaterios and it is customary, sacrificing on the sixth to the Agathos Daimon, to taste the wine after a west wind. This wind of all the winds especially moves and changes the wine and wine that has already avoided it seems to remain stable.” – Plutarch, Questiones Convivales 3.7.1

“And those drinking the new wine first drink it in the month Anthesterion after winter. We call that day the day belonging to the Agathos Daimon; the Athenians call it Pithoigia.” – Plutarch, Questiones Convivales 8.10.3

“During the month of Anthesterion they have many memorial ceremonies for the destruction and ruin brought about by rain, since around that time the Flood happened.” – Plutarch, Life of Sulla 14

“They also introduced laws concerning the comic actors, that there should be a contest in the theater during the Khutroi and that the winner be chosen for the city.” – Plutarch, Life of the Ten Orators 841

Khous is an Attic measure, holding eight kotylai. For those inviting people to a feast used to put out crowns and perfume and hors d’oeuvres and other such things while those who were invited brought stews and a basket and a khous.” – Scholium on Aristophanes’ Acharnians 961

“For at the Khoes there was a contest about drinking a khous first, and the winner was crowned with a leafy crown and got a sack of wine. They drink at the sound of a trumpet. An inflated sack was set as a prize in the festival of Khoes, on which those drinking for the contest stood, and the one drinking first as victor got the winesack. They drank a quantity like a khous.” – Scholium on Aristophanes’ Acharnians 1002

“The Khutroi and Khoes are celebrated in Athens, at which, boiling pansperma in a pot, they sacrifice to Dionysos alone and Hermes.” – Scholium on Aristophanes’ Acharnians 1076

“The King had care of the contest of the khous and gave the prize to the victor, the winesack.” – Scholium on Aristophanes’ Acharnians 1224f

Limnai. A sacred place of Dionysos in which there is a house and shrine of the god.” – Scholium on Aristophanes’ Frogs 216

At the beginning and the end of the pithos. And among the ancestral customs there is a festival Pithoigia, in accord with which it was not proper to keep slave or hired hand from the enjoyment of wine but, having sacrificed, to give all a share of Dionysos’ gift.” – Scholium to Hesiod’s Works and Days 368

“Anthesterion: It is the eighth month amongst the Athenians, sacred to Dionysos. It is so called because most things bloom (anthein) from the earth at that time.” – Suidas s.v. Anthesterion

“And again: Orestes arrived in Athens – it was a festival of Dionysos Lenaios, and since, having murdered his mother, he might not be able to drink with them, something along the following lines was contrived. Having set up pitchers of wine for each of the celebrants he ordered them to drink from it, with no common sharing between them; thus Orestes would not drink from the same bowl [as anyone else] but neither would be vexed by drinking alone. Hence the origin of the Athenian festival of the Pitchers.” – Suidas s.v. Khoes

“Those who had survived the great deluge of Deukalion boiled pots of every kind of seed, and from this the festival gets its name. It is their custom to sacrifice to Hermes Khthonios. No one tastes the pot. The survivors did this in propitiation to Hermes on behalf of those who had died.” – Theopompos, in the Scholia to Aristophanes’ Acharnians 1076

“The Athenians have the custom of sacrificing to none of the Olympians on Khutroi, but to Chthonic Hermes alone. None of the priests may taste the pot which all throughout the city make. With this offering they beseech Hermes on behalf of the dead.” – Theopompos, in the Scholia to Aristophanes’ Frogs 218

“Outside the Acropolis … is the sanctuary of Dionysos in Limnai, for whom the older Dionysia are celebrated on the twelfth in the month Anthesterion, just as also the Ionians descended from the Athenians still customarily do so.” – Thucydides 2.15.4

“In the ancestral festivals of the Greeks askolia and pithoigia were performed in honor of Dionysos, that is, his wine. The askolia happened as followed: placing wine-skins blown up and filled with air on the ground they leapt on them from above with one foot and were carried and they often slipped down and fell to the ground. They did this, as I said, honoring Dionysos, for the wineskin is the skin of a goat and the goat disgraces himself by eating the shoots of the grapevine. The pithoigia was a public symposium for, opening the pithoi, they gave a share of the gift of Dionysos to all.” – Tzetzes on Hesiod’s Works and Days 368

“Some say this proverb was said because of the number of Karian slaves, since they were feasting at the Anthesteria and not working. When the festival ended they said this, sending them out to work. Others maintain that the proverb came about because the Kares once held a part of Attica, and whenever the Athenians held the festival of Anthesteria, they gave them a share of the libations and received them in the city and in their houses, but after the festival, when some of the Kares were left behind in Athens, those who came upon them said the proverb as a joke to them.” – Zenobius s.v. To the door Kares, it’s no longer Anthesteria

Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 364e-365e

“That Osiris is identical with Dionysos who could more fittingly know than yourself, Klea? For you are at the head of the inspired maidens of Delphi, and have been consecrated by your father and mother in the holy rites of Osiris. If, however, for the benefit of others it is needful to adduce proofs of this identity, let us leave undisturbed what may not be told, but the public ceremonies which the priests perform in the burial of the Apis, when they convey his body on an improvised bier, do not in any way come short of a Bacchic procession; for they fasten skins of fawns about themselves, and carry Bacchic wands and indulge in shoutings and movements exactly as do those who are under the spell of the Dionysiac ecstasies. For the same reason many of the Greeks make statues of Dionysos in the form of a bull; and the women of Elis invoke him, praying that the god may come with the hoof of a bull; and the epithet applied to Dionysos among the Argives is ‘Son of the Bull.’ They call him up out of the water by the sound of trumpets, at the same time casting into the depths a lamb as an offering to the Keeper of the Gate. The trumpets they conceal in Bacchic wands, as Socrates has stated in his treatise On The Holy Ones. Furthermore, the tales regarding the Titans and the rites celebrated by night agree with the accounts of the dismemberment of Osiris and his revivification and regenesis. Similar agreement is found too in the tales about their sepulchres. The Egyptians, as has already been stated, point out tombs of Osiris in many places, and the people of Delphi believe that the remains of Dionysos rest with them close beside the oracle; and the Holy Ones offer a secret sacrifice in the shrine of Apollo whenever the devotees of Dionysos wake the God of the Mystic Basket. To show that the Greeks regard Dionysos as the lord and master not only of wine, but of the nature of every sort of moisture, it is enough that Pindar be our witness, when he says ‘May gladsome Dionysos swell the fruit upon the trees, the hallowed splendour of harvest time.’ For this reason all who reverence Osiris are prohibited from destroying a cultivated tree or blocking up a spring of water.” – Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 364e-365e

Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 353e-c

“As for wine, those who serve the god in Heliopolis bring none at all into the shrine, since they feel that it is not seemly to drink in the day-time while their Lord and King is looking upon them. The others use wine, but in great moderation. They have many periods of holy living when wine is prohibited, and in these they spend their time exclusively in studying, learning, and teaching religious matters. Their kings also were wont to drink a limited quantity prescribed by the sacred writings, as Hecataeus has recorded; and the kings are priests. The beginning of their drinking dates from the reign of Psammetichus; before that they did not drink wine nor use it in libation as something dear to the gods, thinking it to be the blood of those who had once battled against the gods, and from whom, when they had fallen and had become commingled with the earth, they believed vines to have sprung. This is the reason why drunkenness drives men out of their senses and crazes them, inasmuch as they are then filled with the blood of their forbears. These tales Eudoxus says in the second book of his World Travels are thus related by the priests.” – Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 353e-c

Demosthenes, Against Neaira 74-9

“In ancient times, Athenians, there was a monarchy in our city, and the kingship belonged to those who in turn were outstanding because of being indigenous. The king used to make all of the sacrifices, and his wife used to perform those which were most holy and ineffable – and appropriately since she was queen. But when Theseus centralized the city and created a democracy, and the city became populace, the people continued no less than before to select the king, electing him from among the most distinguished in noble qualities. And they passed a law that his wife should be an Athenian who has never had intercourse with another man, but that he should marry a virgin, in order that according to ancestral custom she might offer the ineffably holy rites on behalf of the city, and that the customary observances might be done for the gods piously, and that nothing might be neglected or altered. They inscribed this law on a stele and set it beside the altar in the sanctuary of Dionysos En Limnais. This stele is still standing today, displaying the inscription in worn Attic letters. Thus the people bore witness about their own piety toward the god and left a testament for their successors that we require her who will be given to the god as his bride and will perform the sacred rites to be that kind of woman. For these reasons they set in the most ancient and holy temple of Dionysos in Limnai, so that most people could not see the inscription. For it is opened once each year, on the twelfth of the month Anthesterion. These sacred and holy rites for the celebration of which your ancestors provided so well and so magnificently, it is your duty, men of Athens, to maintain with devotion, and likewise to punish those who insolently defy your laws and have been guilty of shameless impiety toward the gods; and this for two reasons: first, that they may pay the penalty for their crimes; and, secondly, that others may take warning, and may fear to commit any sin against the gods and against the state. I wish now to call before you the sacred herald who waits upon the wife of the king, when she administers the oath to the venerable priestesses as they carry their baskets in front of the altar before they touch the victims, in order that you may hear the oath and the words that are pronounced, at least as far as it is permitted you to hear them; and that you may understand how august and holy and ancient the rites are. I live a holy life and am pure and unstained by all else that pollutes and by commerce with man and I will celebrate the feast of the wine god and the Iobacchic feast in honor of Dionysos in accordance with custom and at the appointed times. You have heard the oath and the accepted rites handed down by our fathers, as far as it is permitted to speak of them, and how this woman, whom Stephanos betrothed to Theogenes when the latter was king, as his own daughter, performed these rites, and administered the oath to the venerable priestesses; and you know that even the women who behold these rites are not permitted to speak of them to anyone else. Let me now bring before you a piece of evidence which was, to be sure, given in secret, but which I shall show by the facts themselves to be clear and true.” – Demosthenes, Against Neaira 74-9

Plutarch, Life of Alexander 67.1-3

“Accordingly, after refreshing his forces here, he set out and marched for seven days through Carmania in a revelling rout. He himself was conveyed slowly along by eight horses, while he feasted day and night continuously with his companions on a dais built upon a lofty and conspicuous scaffolding of oblong shape; and wagons without number followed, some with purple and embroidered canopies, others protected from the sun by boughs of trees which were kept fresh and green, conveying the rest of his friends and commanders, who were all garlanded and drinking. Not a shield was to be seen, not a helmet, not a spear, but along the whole march with cups and drinking-horns and flagons the soldiers kept dipping wine from huge casks and mixing-bowls and pledging one another, some as they marched along, others lying down; while pipes and flutes, stringed instruments and song, and revelling cries of women, filled every place with abundant music. Then, upon this disordered and straggling procession there followed also the sports of bacchanalian license, as though Bacchus himself were present and conducting the revel.” – Plutarch, Life of Alexander 67.1-3

Diodoros Sikeliotis, Library of History 17.72.1-6

“Alexander held games in honour of his victories. He performed costly sacrifices to the gods and entertained his friends bountifully. While they were feasting and the drinking was far advanced, as they began to be drunken a madness took possession of the minds of the intoxicated guests. At this point one of the women present, Thais by name and Attic by origin, said that for Alexander it would be the finest of all his feats in Asia if he joined them in a triumphal procession, set fire to the palaces, and permitted women’s hands in a minute to extinguish the famed accomplishments of the Persians. This was said to men who were still young and giddy with wine, and so, as would be expected, someone shouted out to form the comus and to light torches, and urged all to take vengeance for the destruction of the Greek temples. Others took up the cry and said that this was a deed worthy of Alexander alone. When the king had caught fire at their words, all leaped up from their couches and passed the word along to form a victory procession in honour of Dionysos. Promptly many torches were gathered. Female musicians were present at the banquet, so the king led them all out for the comus to the sound of voices and flutes and pipes, Thais the courtesan leading the whole performance. She was the first, after the king, to hurl her blazing torch into the palace. As the others all did the same, immediately the entire palace area was consumed, so great was the conflagration. It was most remarkable that the impious act of Xerxes, king of the Persians, against the acropolis at Athens should have been repaid in kind after many years by one woman, a citizen of the land which had suffered it, and in sport.” – Diodoros Sikeliotis, Library of History 17.72.1-6

Diodoros Sikeliotis, Library of History 4.3.2-5

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

Porphyry, On Abstinence from Animal Foods 4.6-8

“Chaeremon the Stoic, therefore, in his narration of the Egyptian priests, who, he says, were considered by the Egyptians as philosophers, informs us, that they chose temples, as the places in which they might philosophize. For to dwell with the statues of the gods is a thing allied to the whole desire, by which the soul tends to the contemplation of their divinities. And from the divine veneration indeed, which was paid to them through dwelling in temples, they obtained security, all men honouring these philosophers, as if they were certain sacred animals. They also led a solitary life, as they only mingled with other men in solemn sacrifices and festivals. But at other times the priests were almost inaccessible to any one who wished to converse with them. For it was requisite that he who approached to them should be first purified, and abstain from many things; and this is as it were a common sacred law respecting the Egyptian priests. But these philosophic priests having relinquished every other employment, and human labours, gave up the whole of their life to the contemplation and worship of divine natures and to divine inspiration; through the latter, indeed, procuring for themselves, honour, security, and piety; but through contemplation, science; and through both, a certain occult exercise of manners, worthy of antiquity. For to be always conversant with divine knowledge and inspiration, removes those who are so from all avarice, suppresses the passions, and excites to an intellectual life. But they were studious of frugality in their diet and apparel, and also of continence and endurance, and in all things were attentive to justice and equity. They likewise were rendered venerable, through rarely mingling with other men. For during the time of what are called purifications, they scarcely mingled with their nearest kindred, and those of their own order, nor were they to be seen by anyone, unless it was requisite for the necessary purposes of purification. For the sanctuary was inaccessible to those who were not purified, and they dwelt in holy places for the purpose of performing divine works; but at all other times they associated more freely with those who lived like themselves. They did not, however, associate with any one who was not a religious character. But they were always seen near to the gods, or the statues of the gods, the latter of which they were beheld either carrying, or preceding in a sacred procession, or disposing in an orderly manner, with modesty and gravity; each of which operations was not the effect of pride, but an indication of some physical reason. Their venerable gravity also was apparent from their manners. For their walking was orderly, and their aspect sedate; and they were so studious of preserving this gravity of countenance, that they did not even wink, when at any time they were unwilling to do so; and they seldom laughed, and when they did, their laughter proceeded no farther than to a smile. But they always kept their hands within their garments. Each likewise bore about him a symbol indicative of the order which he was allotted in sacred concerns; for there were many orders of priests. Their diet also was slender and simple. For, with respect to wine, some of them did not at all drink it, but others drank very little of it, on account of its being injurious to the nerves, oppressive to the head, an impediment to invention, and an incentive to venereal desires. In many other things also they conducted themselves with caution; neither using bread at all in purifications, and at those times in which they were not employed in purifying themselves, they were accustomed to eat bread with hyssop, cut into small pieces. For it is said, that hyssop very much purifies the power of bread. But they, for the most part, abstained from oil, the greater number of them entirely; and if at any time they used it with pot-herbs, they took very little of it, and only as much as was sufficient to mitigate the taste of the herbs.

“It was not lawful for them therefore to meddle with the esculent and potable substances, which were produced out of Egypt, and this contributed much to the exclusion of luxury from these priests. But they abstained from all the fish that was caught in Egypt, and from such quadrupeds as had solid, or many-fissured hoofs, and from such as were not horned; and likewise from all such birds as were carnivorous. Many of them, however, entirely abstained from all animals; and in purifications this abstinence was adopted by all of them, for then they did not even eat an egg. Moreover, they also rejected other things, without being calumniated for so doing. Thus, for instance, of oxen, they rejected the females, and also such of the males as were twins, or were speckled, or of a different colour, or alternately varied in their form, or which were now tamed, as having been already consecrated to labours, and resembled animals that are honoured, or which were the images of any thing that is divine, or those that had but one eye, or those that verged to a similitude of the human form. There are also innumerable other observations pertaining to the art of those who are called mosxofragistai, or who stamp calves with a seal, and of which books have been composed. But these observations are still more curious respecting birds; as, for instance, that a turtle should not be eaten; for it is said that a hawk frequently dismisses this bird after he has seized it, and preserves its life, as a reward for having had connexion with it. The Egyptian priests, therefore, that they might not ignorantly meddle with a turtle of this kind, avoided the whole species of those birds. And these indeed were certain common religious ceremonies; but there were different ceremonies, which varied according to the class of the priests that used them, and were adapted to the several divinities. But chastity and purifications were common to all the priests. When also the time arrived in which they were to perform something pertaining to the sacred rites of religion, they spent some days in preparatory ceremonies, some indeed forty-two, but others a greater, and others a less number of days; yet never less than seven days; and during this time they abstained from all animals, and likewise from all pot-herbs and leguminous substances, and, above all, from a venereal connexion with women; for they never at any time had connexion with males. They likewise washed themselves with cold water thrice every day; viz. when they rose from their bed, before dinner, and when they betook themselves to sleep. But if they happened to be polluted in their sleep by the emission of the seed, they immediately purified their body in a bath. They also used cold bathing at other times, but not so frequently as on the above occasion. Their bed was woven from the branches of the palm tree, which they call bais; and their bolster was a smooth semi-cylindric piece of wood. But they exercised themselves in the endurance of hunger and thirst, and were accustomed to paucity of food through the whole of their life.

“This also is a testimony of their continence, that, though they neither exercised themselves in walking or riding, yet they lived free from disease, and were sufficiently strong for the endurance of modern labours. They bore therefore many burdens in the performance of sacred operations, and accomplished many ministrant works, which required more than common strength. But they divided the night into the observation of the celestial bodies, and sometimes devoted a part of it to offices of purification; and they distributed the day into the worship of the gods, according to which they celebrated them with hymns thrice or four times, viz. in the morning and evening, when the sun is at his meridian altitude, and when he is declining to the west. The rest of their time they devoted to arithmetical and geometrical speculations, always labouring to effect something, and to make some new discovery, and, in short, continually exercising their skill. In winter nights also they were occupied in the same employments, being vigilantly engaged in literary pursuits, as paying no attention to the acquisition of externals, and being liberated from the servitude of that bad master, excessive expense. Hence their unwearied and incessant labour testifies their endurance, but their continence is manifested by their liberation from the desire of external good. To sail from Egypt likewise, was considered by them to be one of the most unholy things, in consequence of their being careful to avoid foreign luxury and pursuits; for this appeared to them to be alone lawful to those who were compelled to do so by regal necessities. Indeed, they were very anxious to continue in the observance of the institutes of their country, and those who were found to have violated them, though but in a small degree were expelled from the college of the priests. The true method of philosophizing, likewise, was preserved by the prophets, by the hierostolistae, and the sacred scribes, and also by the horologi, or calculators of nativities. But the rest of the priests, and of the pastophori, curators of temples, and ministers of the gods, were similarly studious of purity, yet not so accurately, and with such great continence, as the priests of whom we have been speaking. And such are the particulars which are narrated of the Egyptians, by a man who was a lover of truth, and an accurate writer, and who among the Stoics strenuously and solidly philosophized.” – Porphyry, On Abstinence from Animal Foods 4.6-8

Jerome, Against Jovinianus 2.13

“Chaeremon the Stoic, a man of great eloquence, has a treatise on the life of the ancient priests of Egypt who, he says, laid aside all worldly business and cares and were ever in the temple, studying nature and the regulating causes of the heavenly bodies; they never had intercourse with women; they never from the time they began to devote themselves to the divine service set eyes on their kindred and relations, nor even saw their children; they always abstained from flesh and wine, on account of the light-headedness and dizziness which a small quantity of food caused, and especially to avoid the stimulation of the lustful appetite engendered by this meat and drink. They seldom ate bread, that they might not load the stomach. And whenever they ate it, they mixed pounded hyssop with all that they took, so that the action of its warmth might diminish the weight of the heavier food. They used no oil except with vegetables, and then only in small quantities, to mitigate the unpalatable taste. What need, he says, to speak of birds, when they avoided even eggs and milk as flesh. The one, they said, was liquid flesh, the other was blood with the colour changed? Their bed was made of palm-leaves, called by them baiae: a sloping footstool laid upon the ground served for a pillow, and they could go without food for two or three days. The humours of the body which arise from sedentary habits were dried up by reducing their diet to an extreme point.” – Jerome, Against Jovinianus 2.13

Herodotos, The Histories 2.60

“When the people are on their way to Boubastis, they go by river, a great number in every boat, men and women together. Some of the women make a noise with rattles, others play flutes all the way, while the rest of the women, and the men, sing and clap their hands. As they travel by river to Boubastis, whenever they come near any other town they bring their boat near the bank; then some of the women do as I have said, while some shout mockery of the women of the town; others dance, and others stand up and lift their skirts. They do this whenever they come alongside any riverside town. But when they have reached Boubastis, they make a festival with great sacrifices, and more wine is drunk at this feast than in the whole year besides. It is customary for men and women (but not children) to assemble there to the number of seven hundred thousand, as the people of the place say.” – Herodotos, The Histories 2.60

Phylarchos, The Histories Frag. 25

“Those who sacrifice to Helios in Greece make their libations of honey as they never bring wine to the altars. They do this because they believe that it is proper that the god who keeps the whole universe in order and regulates everything and is always going round and superintending the whole, should in no respect be connected with drunkenness.” – Phylarchos, The Histories Frag. 25