eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: women

Jacob of Voragine, Legenda 13

“Once, long ago, many superstitions were observed by the country folk and Pagans concerning the Kalends, which the saints had great difficulty uprooting even from Christians. They used to adopt monstrous shapes, some dressing themselves in the skins of farm animals, others putting on the heads of wild animals. Others would dress up in women’s tunics, shamelessly tricking out their soldierly muscles in feminine finery.” – Jacob of Voragine, Legenda 13

Asterius of Amasa, Homily 38-43

“The common vagrants and the jugglers of the stage, dividing themselves into squads and hordes, hang about every house. The gates of the public officials they besiege with especial persistence, actually shouting and singing and dancing and some clapping their hands until he that is beleaguered within, exhausted, throws out to them whatever money he has and even what is not his own. And these mendicants going from door to door follow after one another, and until late in the evening, there is no relief from this nuisance. Even soldiers, whom you would think would be more disciplined, have come to learn vulgarity and the vile practices of the actors. They make sport of the laws and the government of which they have been appointed guardians. For they ridicule and insult the august officials. They mount a chariot as though upon a stage; they appoint pretended lictors and publicly act like buffoons. This is the noble part of their processions – I shudder to mention what else they get up to! For instance, the noble and brave champion loosens his tunic to his ankle, twines a girdle about his breast, puts on a woman’s sandals, dons a feminine wig and begins plying a distaff full of wool. He even sinks so low as to change the tone of his voice and utter words in a sharp, womanly treble.” – Asterius of Amasa, Homily 38-43

Ghärbald of Lüttich, Capitulary 2.10

“Let lot-casters and fortune-tellers be sought out, as well as those who observe the months and favorable moments and who observe dreams, and the people who carry around their necks those amulets which are inscribed with who knows what kind of words and veneficae, that is women who administer different potions in order to abort a pregnancy and who perform certain divinations so that they will be loved the better by their husbands as a result. Have all malefici, of whatever they be accused, brought in front of us so that their cases may be heard by us.” – Ghärbald of Lüttich, Capitulary 2.10

Isidore of Seville, Etymologie 2.11.1.140

“Menstrual blood is very dangerous, especially when used in harmful magic. Because of it plants fail to germinate, must turns sour, grass dies, trees drop their fruit, rust eats iron, bronze turns black. If dogs eat of it they get rabies. Asphalt, which resists both iron and water, crumbles immediately when polluted by that gore.” – Isidore of Seville, Etymologie 2.11.1.140

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

Regino of Prüm, De synodalibus causis 2.371

“Certain criminal women, who have turned back to Satan and are seduced by the illusions of demons and by phantasms, believe and avow openly that during the night hours they ride on certain beasts together with Diana, the goddess of the Pagans, and an uncounted host of women; that they pass over many lands in the silence of the dead of night; that they obey her orders as those of a mistress; and that on certain nights they are summoned to her service. If only these sorceresses could die in their impiety without dragging many others into their loss. Fooled into error, many people believe that these rides of Diana really exist. Thus they leave the true faith and fall into Pagan error in believing that a god or goddess can exist besides the only true god.” – Regino of Prüm, De synodalibus causis 2.371

St. Eligius, MGH SRM 4.706-07

“We abjure those who believe in or invoke the names of foul demons such as Neptune, Orcus, Diana, Minerva, the Genius and all such similar nonsense. Furthermore let no woman dare to name Minerva or other ill-omened personages while weaving or dyeing or doing any other work.” – St. Eligius, MGH SRM 4.706-07

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 52.5

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

Burchard of Worms, Decretum 19.5.179

“Did you do as certain women are accustomed to do? Those, I say, who have crying babies: they dig out the earth, and make a hole through a part, and they pull the baby through that hole, and they say that thus the crying baby will stop crying. If you did this or agreed to it, you shall do penance for five days on bread and water.” – Burchard of Worms, Decretum 19.5.179

Acts of the Council of Rome 35

“There are certain people, chiefly women, who are happy to attend holy days and the feasts of saints, not for the right reasons but rather to dance, sing indecent verses, participate in round dances and generally to behave like Pagans so that even if they come to church with minor sins, they leave with major ones.” – Acts of the Council of Rome 35

Atto of Vercelli, Sermon 134.849-51

“A custom has developed concerning the Annunciation of St. John the Baptist which is deplorable. Certain little trollops abandon the churches and the divine offices; they pass the whole night wherever they will, in the streets and crossroads, by springs and in the countryside; they form round dances, compose songs, draw lots and pretend that people’s prospects are to be predicted from things of this sort. Their superstition has given rise to madness to the point that they presume to baptize grass and leafy boughs, and hence they dare to call the turf and trees their godparents and good friends. And for a long while afterwards they strive to keep them hung up in their houses, as though for the sake of piety.” – Atto of Vercelli, Sermon 134.849-51

MIFAO 104.127-33

“Now, what means your not going to the Wise Woman about the two boys who died in your charge? Consult the Wise Woman about the death the two boys suffered: was it their fate or was it their lot? While you consult about them for me, also see about my own life and the life of their mother. And should she happen to mention any god to you, you will be sure to write me afterwards about his name and any work that he wills to be done by one who knows their duty.” – MIFAO 104.127-33

O OIM 13512

“Year 9, fourth month of the inundation, day 13. Day that the eight women came outside to the place of women, when they were menstruating. They got as far as the back of the house which … the three walls.” – O OIM 13512

Hesiod, Works and Days 765ff

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

Hesiod, Works and Days 752-758

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

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

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

Cato, De Agricultura 143

“The mistress of the estate must not perform rites, or cause others to perform them for her, unless at her master’s orders: it must be understood that the master performs rites for all the household. She must be clean, and keep the farmhouse sweet and clean. She must have the hearth ready swept all round each day before she goes to bed. On the Kalends, the Ides, the Nones, and on a feast day, she must place a wreath at the hearth, and on those days she must make offering to the Lar of the Household according to her means.” – Cato, De Agricultura 143

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

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

Lucian, De Dea Syria 6

“I saw too at Byblos a large temple, sacred to the Byblian Aphrodite: this is the scene of the secret rites of Adonis: I mastered these. They assert that the legend about Adonis and the wild boar is true, and that the facts occurred in their country, and in memory of this calamity they beat their breasts and wail every year, and perform their secret ritual amid signs of mourning through the whole countryside. When they have finished their mourning and wailing, they sacrifice in the first place to Adonis, as to one who has departed this life: after this they allege that he is alive again, and exhibit his effigy to the sky. They proceed to shave their heads, too, like the Egyptians on the loss of their Apis. The women who refuse to be shaved have to submit to the following penalty: to stand for the space of an entire day in readiness to expose their persons for hire. The place of hire is open to none but foreigners, and out of the proceeds of the traffic of these women a sacrifice to Aphrodite is paid.” – Lucian, De Dea Syria 6

Plutarch, Life of Nikias 7

“The women were celebrating at that time the festival of Adonis, and in many places throughout the city little images of the god were laid our for burial, and funeral rites were held about them, with wailing cries of women, so that those who cared anything for such matters were distressed.” – Plutarch, Life of Nikias 7

Plutarch, Life of Alkibiades 18

“After the people had adopted this motion and all things were made ready for the departure of the fleet, there were some unpropitious signs and portents, especially in connection with the Adonia. This fell at that time, and little images like dead folk carried forth to burial were in many places exposed to view by the women, who mimicked burial rites, beat their breasts, and sang dirges.” – Plutarch, Life of Alkibiades 18

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

Demosthenes, Against Neaira 73

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

Strabo, Geography 4.4.6

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

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.23.1

“In Alea at Arkadia there is a temple of Dionysos with an image. In honor of Dionysos they celebrate every other year a festival called Skiereia, and at this festival, in obedience to a response from Delphoi, women are flogged.” – Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.23.1

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.20.3

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

Plutarch, On the Bravery of Women 13

“When the despots in Phocis had seized Delphi, and the Thebans were waging war against them in what has been called the Sacred War, the women devotees of Dionysos, to whom they give the name Thyiads, in Bacchic frenzy wandering at night unwittingly arrived at Amphissa. As they were tired out, and sober reason had not yet returned to them, they flung themselves down in the market-place, and were lying asleep, some here, some there. The wives of the men of Amphissa, fearing, because their city had become allied with the Phocians, and numerous soldiers of the despots were present there, that the Thyiads might be treated with indignity, all ran out into the market-place, and, taking their stand round about in silence, did not go up to them while they were sleeping, but when they arose from their slumber, one devoted herself to one of the strangers and another to another, bestowing attentions on them and offering them food. Finally, the women of Amphissa, after winning the consent of their husbands, accompanied the strangers, who were safely escorted as far as the fronteir.” – Plutarch, On the Bravery of Women 13

Plutarch, Life of Alexander 2.5-6

“All the women of Makedonia were addicted to the Orphic rites and the orgies of Dionysos from very ancient times (being called Klodones and Mimallones), and imitated in many ways the practices of the Edonian women and the Thracian women about Mount Haemus, from whom, as it would seem, the word ‘threskeuein‘ came to be applied to the celebration of extravagant and superstitious ceremonies. Now Olympias, who affected these divine possessions more zealously than other women, and carried out these divine inspirations in wilder fashion, used to provide the revelling companies with great tame serpents, which would often lift their heads from out the ivy and the mystic winnowing baskets, or coil themselves about the wands and garlands of the women, thus terrifying the men.” – Plutarch, Life of Alexander 2.5-6