polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: zeus

Strabo, Geography 15.3

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

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

Hesiod, Works and Days 248-264

“You princes, mark well this punishment you also; for the deathless gods are near among men and mark all those who oppress their fellows with crooked judgements, and reck not the anger of the gods. For upon the bounteous earth Zeus has thrice ten thousand spirits, watchers of mortal men, and these keep watch on judgements and deeds of wrong as they roam, clothed in mist, all over the earth. And there is virgin Justice, the daughter of Zeus, who is honoured and reverenced among the gods who dwell on Olympos, and whenever anyone hurts her with lying slander, she sits beside her father, Zeus the son of Kronos, and tells him of men’s wicked heart, until the people pay for the mad folly of their princes who, evilly minded, pervert judgement and give sentence crookedly. Keep watch against this, you princes, and make straight your judgements, you who devour bribes; put crooked judgements altogether from your thoughts.” – Hesiod, Works and Days 248-264

Hesiod, Works and Days 225-247

“But they who give straight judgements to strangers and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just, their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Peace, the nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but light-heartedly they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit. But for those who practise violence and cruel deeds far-seeing Zeus, the son of Kronos, ordains a punishment. Often even a whole city suffers for a bad man who sins and devises presumptuous deeds, and the son of Kronos lays great trouble upon the people, famine and plague together, so that the men perish away, and their women do not bear children, and their houses become few, through the contriving of Olympian Zeus. And again, at another time, the son of Kronos either destroys their wide army, or their walls, or else makes an end of their ships on the sea.” – Hesiod, Works and Days 225-247

Theodoret, Ecclesiastical History 5.21

“The Prefect of the East attempted to destroy the huge and richly decorated temple of Zeus, but found that the building was firm and solid and that it was beyond the power of man to break up its closely compacted stones, for they were immense and well and truly laid, and moreover clamped fast with iron and lead. When the divine Marcellus saw the Prefect’s timidity he sent him on to the rest of towns while he himself began to pray fervently for the destruction of the temple. Next morning there came uninvited to the bishop a man who was no builder or mason or artificer of any sort, but only a simple laborer who carried stone and timber on his shoulders. The laborer begged the bishop to be given the chance to destroy the temple and Marcellus gave him everything that he requested for the job. Round the four sides of the temple went a portico united to it and on which its upper story rested. The columns were of great bulk, commensurate with the temple, each being sixteen cubits in circumference. The quality of the stone was exceptionally hard, offering great resistance to the mason’s tools. In each of these the man dug through its entire diameter, propping up the superstructure with olive timber before he went on to another. After he had hollowed out three of the columns, he set fire to the timbers. But a black demon appeared and would not suffer the wood to be consumed, as it naturally would be, by the fire, and stayed the force of the flame. After the attempt had been made several times and the plan was proved ineffectual, news of the failure was brought to the bishop, who was taking a nap. Marcellus forthwith hurried to the church and began to beseech the lord not to give in to the usurping power of the demon but to lay bare its weakness and exhibit his own strength, lest unbelievers should henceforth find excuse for greater wrong. At this the demon fled and the wood immediately caught fire and began to burn. When their support had vanished the columns themselves fell down and dragged twelve others with them. The side of the temple which was connected with the columns was dragged down by violence of their fall and carried away with them. The crash, which was tremendous, was heard throughout the town, and all ran to see the sight.” – Theodoret, Ecclesiastical History 5.21

Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 10.15

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

Lucian, On Sacrifices 10-13

“That is the way the gods live, and as a result, the practices of men in the matter of divine worship are harmonious and consistent with all that. First they fenced off groves, dedicated mountains, consecrated birds and assigned plants to each god. Then they divided them up, and now worship them by nations and claim them as fellow-countrymen ; the Delphians claim Apollo, and so do the Delians, the Athenians Athena (in fact, she proves her kinship by her name), the Argives Hera, the Mygdonians Rhea, the Paphians Aphrodite. As for the Cretans, they not only say that Zeus was born and brought up among them, but even point out his tomb. We were mis­taken all this while, then, in thinking that thunder and rain and everything else comes from Zeus ; if we had but known it, he has been dead and buried in Crete this long time! Then too they erect temples, in order that the gods may not be houseless and hearthless, of course; and they fashion images in their likeness, sending for a Praxiteles or a Polycleitus or a Phidias, who have caught sight of them somewhere and represent Zeus as a bearded man, Apollo as a perennial boy, Hermes with his first moustache, Poseidon with sea-blue hair and Athena with green eyes ! In spite of all, those who enter the temple think that what they behold is not now ivory from India nor gold mined in Thrace, but the very son of Cronus and Rhea, transported to earth by Phidias and bidden to be overlord of de­serted Pisa, thinking himself lucky if he gets a sacrifice once in four long years as an incident to the Olympic games. When they have established altars and formulae and lustral rites, they present their sacrifices, the farmer an ox from the plough, the shepherd a lamb, the goatherd a goat, someone else incense or a cake ; the poor man, however, propitiates the god by just kissing his own hand. But those who offer victims (to come back to them) deck the animal with gar­lands, after finding out far in advance whether it is perfect or not, in order that they may not kill some­thing that is of no use to them; then they bring it to the altar and slaughter it under the god’s eyes, while it bellows plaintively—making, we must suppose, auspicious sounds, and fluting low music to accom­pany the sacrifice! Who would not suppose that the gods like to see all this ? And although the notice says that no one is to be allowed within the holy-water who has not clean hands, the priest himself stands there all bloody, just like the Cyclops of old, cutting up the victim, removing the entrails, plucking out the heart, pouring the blood about the altar, and doing everything possible in the way of piety. To crown it all, he lights a fire and puts upon it the goat, skin and all, and the sheep, wool and all; and the smoke, divine and holy, mounts upward and gradually dissipates into Heaven itself.” – Lucian, On Sacrifices 10-13

P. Kellis 48

“Copy of the freeing. Aurelius Valerius, son of Sarapion, ex-magistrate of the city of the Mothites, to my own Hilaria, greetings. I agree that because of my exceptional Christianity I have freed you, under Zeus, Earth and Sun, together also with your peculium, and loyalty towards me, so that you shall have freedom unlimited by anyone who might lay a claim to you by this deed of freedom through the most reverend father Psekes….” – P. Kellis 48

Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon 5.2

“We were fortunate to arrive in time for the sacred festival of the great god whom the Greeks call Zeus, the Egyptians Serapis, and there was a procession of torches. It was the greatest spectacle I ever beheld, for it was late evening and the sun had gone down; but there was no sign of night — it was as though another sun had arisen, but distributed into small parts in every direction; I thought that on that occasion the city vied with the sky for beauty. I also visited the Gracious Zeus and his temple in his aspect as god of heaven; and then praying to the great god and humbly imploring him that our troubles might be at last at an end, we came back to the lodgings which Menelaus had hired for us.” – Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon 5.2

I.Strat. 1101

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

Epicurus, as quoted in Philodemos, On Piety 31

“Let us sacrifice to the gods devoutly and fittingly on the proper days, and let us appropriately perform all the acts of worship as the laws stipulate, in no way disturbing ourselves with opinions on matters concerning the most excellent and august beings. Moreover let us sacrifice justly for we draw closest to Zeus when we most act like Zeus.” – Epicurus, as quoted in Philodemos, On Piety 31

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

Jerome, Against Jovinianus 2.14

“Eubulus who wrote the history of Mithras in many volumes, relates that among the Persians there are three kinds of Magi, the first of whom, those of greatest learning and eloquence, take no food except meal and vegetables. At Eleusis it is customary to abstain from fowls and fish and certain fruits. Euripides relates that the prophets of Jupiter in Crete abstained not only from flesh, but also from cooked food. Xenocrates the philosopher writes that at Athens out of all the laws of Triptolemus only three precepts remain in the temple of Ceres: respect to parents, reverence for the gods, and abstinence from flesh.” – Jerome, Against Jovinianus 2.14

Suidas s.v. Serapis

“Archbishop Theophilus destroyed his statue in Alexandria at the time of emperor Theodosius the Great. Some said this depicted Zeus, some said it was the Nile because it had on its head the bushel and the cubit, that is to say the measure of water; others said that it was Joseph, others said that it was Apis, a rich man and king in the Egyptian city Memphis. When a famine had occurred he provided food for the Alexandrians out of his own stores, and after his death they built in honour of him a temple, in which a bull was bred, bearing a sign distinctive of the farmer and having some marks on the skin; the bull was also named after him and called Apis. The coffin of this Apis, in which his body lay, was transferred to Alexandria and they created a composite name out of the coffin (soros) and Apis and they called him Sorapis, but those afterwards called him Sarapis. An immense and brilliant temple for him was built by Alexander.” – Suidas s.v. Serapis

P. Oxy. 1213

“To Zeus Helios, great Serapis, and the associated gods. Menandros asks: is it granted me to marry? Answer me this.” – P. Oxy. 1213

Philostratos, Life of Apollonios of Tyana 6.3

“Apollonios asked, ‘Do you sacrifice to Aphrodite, my boy?’ And Timasion answered: ‘Yes, by Zeus, every day; for I consider that this goddess has great influence in human and divine affairs.'” – Philostratos, Life of Apollonios of Tyana 6.3

SB 5.7835

“May it be well. The law which those of the association of Zeus the highest made in common, that it should be authoritative. Acting in accordance with its provisions, they first chose as their president Petesouchos the son of Teephbennis, a man of parts, worthy of the place and of the company, for a year from the month and day aforesaid, that he should make for all the contributors one banquet a month in the sanctuary of Zeus, at ‘which they should in a common room pouring libations, pray, and perform the other customary rites on behalf of the god and lord, the king. All are to obey the president and his servant in matters pertaining to the corporation, and they shall be present at all command occasions to be prescribed for them and at meetings and assemblies and outings. It shall not be permissible for any one of them to … or to make factions or to leave the brotherhood of the president for another, or for men to enter into one another’s pedigrees at the banquet or to abuse one another at the banquet or to chatter or to indict or to accuse another or to resign for the course of the year or again to bring the drinkings to nought or … to hinder the (leader?)—contributions and other (?) levies and shall each pay … If any of them becomes a father, he shall contribute (?)—” – SB 5.7835

IDelos 5.2529.21

“They are to enter the temple of Zeus Kynthios and Athene Kynthia with pure hands and soul, with white clothing, barefooted, keeping pure from intercourse with a woman and from meat; and they are not to bring in … nor a key nor an iron ring nor a belt nor a purse nor weapons of war …” – IDelos 5.2529.21

Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History 5.16

“At the solicitation of Theophilus bishop of Alexandria the emperor issued an order at this time for the demolition of the heathen temples in that city; commanding also that it should be put in execution under the direction of Theophilus. Seizing this opportunity, Theophilus exerted himself to the utmost to expose the pagan mysteries to contempt. And to begin with, he caused the Mithreum to be cleaned out, and exhibited to public view the tokens of its bloody mysteries. Then he destroyed the Serapeum, and the bloody rites of the Mithreum he publicly caricatured; the Serapeum also he showed full of extravagant superstitions, and he had the phalli of Dionysos carried through the midst of the forum. The pagans of Alexandria, and especially the professors of philosophy, were unable to repress their rage at this exposure, and exceeded in revengeful ferocity their outrages on a former occasion: for with one accord, at a preconcerted signal, they rushed impetuously upon the Christians, and murdered every one they could lay hands on. The Christians also made an attempt to resist the assailants, and so the mischief was the more augmented. This desperate affray was prolonged until satiety of bloodshed put an end to it. Then it was discovered that very few of the heathens had been killed, but a great number of Christians; while the number of wounded on each side was almost innumerable. Fear then possessed the pagans on account of what was done, as they considered the emperor’s displeasure. For having done what seemed good in their own eyes, and by their bloodshed having quenched their courage, some fled in one direction, some in another, and many quitting Alexandria, dispersed themselves in various cities. Among these were the two grammarians Helladius and Ammonius, whose pupil I was in my youth at Constantinople. Helladius was said to be the priest of Jupiter, and Ammonius of Simius. Thus this disturbance having been terminated, the governor of Alexandria, and the commander-in-chief of the troops in Egypt, assisted Theophilus in demolishing the heathen temples. These were therefore razed to the ground, and the images of their gods molten into pots and other convenient utensils for the use of the Alexandrian church; for the emperor had instructed Theophilus to distribute them for the relief of the poor. All the images were accordingly broken to pieces, except one statue of the god before mentioned, which Theophilus preserved and set up in a public place; ‘ Lest,’ said he, ‘at a future time the heathens should deny that they had ever worshiped such gods.’ This action gave great umbrage to Ammonius the grammarian in particular, who to my knowledge was accustomed to say that ‘the religion of the Gentiles was grossly abused in that that single statue was not also molten, but preserved, in order to render that religion ridiculous.’ Helladius however boasted in the presence of some that he had slain in that desperate onset nine men with his own hand. Such were the doings at Alexandria at that time.” – Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History 5.16

Lucian, Amores 13-14

“When we had enjoyed the plants to our fill we entered into the temple. The goddess is sited in the middle, a most beautiful artistic work of Parian marble, smiling a little sublimely with her lips parted in a laugh. Her whole beauty is uncovered, she has no clothing cloaking her and is naked except in as far as with one hand she nonchalantly conceals her crotch. The craftsman’s art has been so great as to suit the opposite and unyielding nature of the stone to each of the limbs. Kharikles, indeed, shouted out in a mad and deranged way. ‘Happiest of all gods was Ares who was bound for this goddess’, and with that he ran up and stretching his neck as far as he could kissed it on its shining lips. But Kallikratidas stood silently, his mind numbed with amazement.

“The temple has doors at both ends too, for those who want to see the goddess in detail from the back, in order that no part of her may not be wondered at. So it is easy for men entering at the other door to examine the beautiful form behind. So we decided to see the whole of the goddess and went around to the back of the shrine. Then, when the door was opened by the keeper of the keys, sudden wonder gripped us at the beauty of the woman entrusted to us. Well, the Athenian, when he had looked on quietly for a little, caught sight of the love parts of the goddess, and immediately cried out much more madly than Kharikles, ‘Herakles! What a fine rhythm to her back! Great flanks! What a handful to embrace. Look at the way the beautifully delineated flesh of the buttocks is arched, neither too wanting and drawn in too close to the bones themselves, nor allowed to spread out excessively fat. No one could express the sweetness of the smile of the shape impressed upon the hips. How precise the rhythms of thigh and shin extending right straight to the foot. Such a Ganymede pours nectar sweetly for Zeus in Heaven! For I wouldn’t have received a drink if Hebe had been serving.’ As Kallikratidas made this inspired cry, Kharikles was virtually transfixed with amazement, his eyes growing damp with a watering complaint . . .” – Lucian, Amores 13-14

Demosthenes, Against Meidias 51-54

Now if I had not been chorus-master, men of Athens, when I was thus maltreated by Meidias, it is only the personal insult that one would have condemned; but under the circumstances I think one would be justified in condemning also the impiety of the act. You surely realize that all your choruses and hymns to the god are sanctioned, not only by the regulations of the Dionysia, but also by the oracles, in all of which, whether given at Delphi or at Dodona, you will find a solemn injunction to the State to set up dances after the ancestral custom, to fill the streets with the savour of sacrifice, and to wear garlands.

Please take and read the actual oracles.

“Oracles You I address, Pandion’s townsmen and sons of Erechtheus,
who appoint your feasts by the ancient rites of your fathers.
See you forget not Bacchus, and joining all in the dances
Down your broad-spaced streets, in thanks for the gifts of the season,
Crown each head with a wreath, while incense reeks on the altars.
For health sacrifice and pray to Zeus Most High, to Heracles, and to Apollo the Protector; for good fortune to Apollo, god of the streets, to Leto, and to Artemis; and along the streets set wine-bowls and dances, and wear garlands after the manner of your fathers in honor of all gods and all goddesses of Olympus, raising right hands and left in supplication, and remember your gifts.”

“Oracles from Dodona
To the people of the Athenians the prophet of Zeus announces. Whereas ye have let pass the seasons of the sacrifice and of the sacred embassy, he bids you send nine chosen envoys, and that right soon. To Zeus of the Ship sacrifice three oxen and with each ox three sheep; to Dione one ox and a brazen table for the offering which the people of the Athenians have offered.

The prophet of Zeus in Dodona announces. To Dionysus pay public sacrifices and mix a bowl of wine and set up dances; to Apollo the Averter sacrifice an ox and wear garlands, both free men and slaves, and observe one day of rest; to Zeus, the giver of wealth, a white bull.”

Besides these oracles, men of Athens, there are many others addressed to our city, and excellent oracles they are. Now what conclusion ought you to draw from them? That while they prescribe the sacrifices to the gods indicated in each oracle, to every oracle that is published they add the injunction to set up dances and to wear garlands after the manner of our ancestors.

– Demosthenes, Against Midias 51-54

Quintus Curtius Rufus, Historiae Alexandri Magni 4.7.23-24

“What is worshiped as the god does not have the same form that artificers have commonly given to the deities; its appearance is very like that of a navel fastened in a mass of emeralds and other gems. When an oracle is sought, the priests carry this in a golden boat with many silver cups hanging from both sides of the boat; matrons and maidens follow, singing in the native manner a kind of rude song, by which they believe Jupiter is propitiated and led to give a trustworthy response.” – Quintus Curtius Rufus, Historiae Alexandri Magni 4.7.23-24

Propertius, Elegies 2.33A

“Once again to my sorrow the dismal rites have returned: now for ten nights is Cynthia engaged in worship. Down with the rites which the daughter of Inachus has sent from the warm Nile to the matrons of Italy! The goddess that has so often sundered ardent lovers, whoever she was, was always harsh. In your secret love of Jove, Io, you certainly discovered what it means to travel on many paths. When Juno bade you, a human girl, put on horns and drown your speech in the hoarse lowing of a cow, ah, how often did you chafe your mouth with oak leaves and chew in your stall the arbute you had fed on! Is it because Jupiter has taken that wild shape from your features that you have become such a haughty goddess? Are the swarthy daughters of Aegyptus too few for your worship? What profit is it to you that girls should sleep alone? Take it from me, either you will have horns again or else, cruel creature, we will banish you from our city: the Nile has never found favour with the Tiber.” – Propertius, Elegies 2.33A

Emperor Julian, Letter to a Priest

“You must above all exercise philanthropy, for from it result many other blessings, and moreover that choicest and greatest blessing of all, the good will of the gods. What creature of the sea uses corn, what land animal uses things that grow in the sea? And I have not yet mentioned gold and bronze and iron, though in all these the gods have made us very rich; yet not to the end that we may bring reproach on them by disregarding the poor who go about in our midst, especially when they happen to be of good character— men for instance who have inherited no paternal estate, and are poor because in the greatness of their souls they have no desire for money. Now the crowd when they see such men blame the gods. However it is not the gods who are to blame for their poverty, but rather the insatiate greed of us men of property becomes the cause of this false conception of the gods among men, and besides of unjust blame of the gods. Who, I ask, ever became poor by giving to his neighbours? Indeed I myself, who have often given lavishly to those in need, have recovered my gifts again many times over at the hands of the gods, though I am a poor man of business; nor have I ever repented of that lavish giving. And of the present time I will say nothing, for it would be altogether irrational of me to compare the expenditure of private persons with that of an Emperor; but when I was myself still a private person I know that this happened to me many times. My grandmother’s estate for instance was kept for me untouched, though others had taken possession of it by violence, because from the little that I had I spent money on those in need and gave them a share. We ought then to share our money with all men, but more generously with the good, and with the helpless and poor so as to suffice for their need. And I will assert, even though it be paradoxical to say so, that it would be a pious act to share our clothes and food even with the wicked. For it is to the humanity in a man that we give, and not to his moral character. This too, when I consider it, seems to me altogether wrong; I mean that we call Zeus by the title ‘God of Strangers,’ while we show ourselves more inhospitable to strangers than are the very Scythians. How, I ask, can one who wishes to sacrifice to Zeus, the God of Strangers, even approach his temple? With what conscience can he do so, when he has forgotten the saying ‘From Zeus come all beggars and strangers; and a gift is precious though small ? Again, the man who worships Zeus the God of Comrades, and who, though he sees his neighbours in need of money’, does not give them even so much as a drachma, how, I say, can he think that he is worshipping Zeus aright? When I observe this I am wholly amazed, since I see that these titles of the gods are from the beginning of the world their express images, yet in our practice we pay no attention to anything of the sort. The gods are called by us ‘gods of kindred,’ and Zeus the ‘God of Kindred,’ but we treat our kinsmen as though they were strangers. I say ‘kinsmen’ because every man, whether he will or no, is akin to every other man.” – Emperor Julian, Letter to a Priest

Dittenberger, Sylloge3, 985

“Good Fortune! They were written for the health and common welfare and the noblest thought, the commandments given to Dionysius [by Zeus], granting access in sleep to his own house both to free men and women, and to household slaves. For here are the altars of Zeus Eumenes, Hestia who is seated beside him, and the other Savior Gods: Eudaimonia, Plutus, Arete, Hygiaea, Tyche Agathe, Agathos Daimon, Mneme, Charities, Nike.

“To him Zeus gave commandments: To observe the purifications and cleansing rites, and offer the sacrifices in accordance with ancestral rites and as now practiced. Those who enter this house [i.e. temple], both men and women, both bond and free, are to take oath before all the gods that, conscious of no guile toward man or woman, they will not [administer] an evil drug to men, nor will they learn or practice wicked charms, nor [give] any philter, or any abortive or contraceptive drug, nor [commit] robbery or murder, either carrying it out themselves or advising another or acting as witness [for his defence], nor overlook complacently those who rob [or withold – i.e. offerings] in this house; and if anyone shall do any of these things or advise them, they will not consent or pass over it in silence, but will bring it out into the open and see that [the crime] is punished.

“A man [is not to take] another woman in addition to his own wife, either a free woman or a slave who has a husband, nor is he to corrupt either a child [boy] or a virgin, nor is he to counsel another [to do so]; but if he should witness anyone [doing this], he must not hide it or keep silent about it. Woman and man [alike], whoever does any of the things above written, let them not enter this house. For the gods who dwell here are mighty and watch over these things and will not hold back [punishment] from those who transgress [their] commandments. A free woman is to be pure and is not to know bed or intercourse with any other man except her own [husband]. If she does know it, she shall not be pure [as before], but is defiled and full of corruption within her family [i.e. she has corrupted the family line] and is unworthy to worship this god for whom these rites were established, or to offer sacrifices, or to …. [about twelve lines are missing] to stumble upon or to see the mysteries observed. If anyone does any of these things with which the commandments here copied have to do, terrible curses from the gods will come upon those who disregard them. For god does not by any means will that these things should come to pass, nor does he desire it, but to obey [i.e. God wills that men should obey the commandments, and not be punished for disobedience.]

“To those who obey, the gods will be gracious and will always be giving them everything good, such as the gods are wont to give to men whom they love. But if any transgress, they will hate such persons and will lay upon them great penalties.

“These commandments were placed here by Agdistis, the most holy Guardian and Mistress of this house, that she might show her good will [or intensions] to men and women, bond and free, so that they might follow the [rules] written here and take part in the sacrifices which [are offered] month by month and year by year, even those, both mmen and women, who believe within themselves [i.e. are faithful to] this writing in which the commandments of god are written, so that those who follow the commandments may become known openly, and also those who do not.

“O Zeus the Savior, graciously and favorably accept this account and …. [about eighteen lines are missing] provide a good requital, health, safety, peace, security by land and sea …. [about twenty-one lines are missing] likewise.” – Dittenberger, Sylloge3, 985

The Epistles of Diogenes 36.1-30

The Epistles of Diogenes 36.1-30:

“I came to Cyzicus and, while making my way along the road, I saw this written on a doorway: ‘The son of Zeus, the gloriously triumphant Herakles, lives here. Let no evil enter.’ Then after going on a bit, I saw another door with the same iambic verse written on it.

“But what,” I continued, “do you citizens of Cyzicus consider to be evil?”
“Sickness, poverty, death, things of that sort,” he said.
“Then you believe that if these should enter your house they will harm you; but if not, they will do you no injury and that is why you put this verse up?”

Euripides, Melanippe Captive Fr. 13

“Men’s criticism of women is worthless twanging of a bowstring and evil talk. Women are better than men, as I will show …Women run households and protect within their homes what has been carried across the sea, and without a woman no home is clean or prosperous. Consider their role in religion, for that, in my opinion, comes first. We women play the most important part, because women prophesy the will of Loxias in the oracles of Phoibos. And at the holy site of Dodona near the Sacred Oak, females convey the will of Zeus to inquirers from Greece. As for the sacred rites of the Fates and the Nameless Goddesses, all these would not be holy if performed by men, but prosper in women’s hands. In this way women have a rightful share in the service of the gods. Why is it then, that women must have a bad reputation? Won’t men’s worthless criticism stop, and men who insist on blaming all women alike, if one woman turns out to be evil? Let me make the following distinctions: there is nothing worse than a bad woman, and nothing better in any way than a good one.” – Euripides, Melanippe Captive Fr. 13