A New System; or, an Analysis of Ancient Mythology. Volume II

By Jacob Bryant


I must continually put the reader in mind how common it was among the Greeks, not only out of the titles of the Deities, but out of the names of towers, and other edifices, to form personages, and then to invent histories to support what they had done. When they had created a number of such ideal beings, they tried to find out some relation: and thence proceeded to determine the parentage, and filiation of each, just as fancy directed. Some colonies from Egypt, and Canaan, settled in Thrace; as appears from numberless memorials. The parts which they occupied were upon the Hebrus, about Edonia, Sithonia, and Mount Hæmus. They also held Pieria, and Peonia, and all the sea coast region. It was their custom, as I have before mentioned, in all their settlements to form puratheia; and to introduce the rites of fire, and worship of the Sun. Upon the coast, of which I have been speaking, a temple of this sort was founded, which is called Torone. The name is a compound of Tor-On, as I have before taken notice. The words purathus, and puratheia, were, in the language of Egypt, Pur-Ath, and Por-Ait, formed from two titles of the God of fire. Out of one of these the Grecians made a personage, which they expressed Προιτος, Prœtus, whose daughters, or rather priestesses, were the Prœtides. And as they followed the Egyptian rites, and held a Cow sacred, they were, in consequence of it, supposed to have been turned into [615]cows; just as the priestesses of Hippa were said to have been changed into mares; the Œnotropæ and Peleiadæ into pigeons. Proteus of Egypt, whom Menelaus was supposed to have consulted about his passage homeward, was a tower of this sort with a purait. It was an edifice, where both priests and pilots resided to give information; and where a light was continually burning to direct the ships in the night. The tower of Torone likewise was a Pharos, and therefore styled by Lycophron φλεγραια Τορωνη, the flaming Torone. The country about it was, in like manner, called [616]Φλεγρα, Phlegra, both from these flaming Towers, and from the worship there introduced. There seems to have been a fire-tower in this region named Proteus; for, according to the antient accounts, Proteus is mentioned as having resided in these parts, and is said to have been married to Torone. He is accordingly styled by the Poet,

[617]φλεγραιας ποσις

Στυγνος Τορωνης, ᾡ γελως απεχθεται,

Και δακρυ.

The epithet στυγνος, gloomy, and sad, implies a bad character, which arose from the cruel rites practised in these places. In all these temples they made it a rule to sacrifice strangers, whom fortune brought in their way. Torone stood near [618]Pallene, which was styled [619]Γηγενων τροφος, the nurse of the earth-born, or giant brood. Under this character both the sons of Chus, and the Anakim of Canaan are included. Lycophron takes off from Proteus the imputation of being accessary to the vile practices, for which the place was notorious; and makes only his sons guilty of murdering strangers. He says, that their father left them out of disgust,

[620]Τεκνων αλυξας τας ξενοκτονας παλας.

In this he alludes to a custom, of which I shall take notice hereafter. According to Eustathius, the notion was, that Proteus fled by a subterraneous passage to Egypt, in company with his daughter Eidothea. [621]Αποκατεστη εις Φαρον μετα της θυγατρος Ειδοθεας. He went, it seems, from one Pharos to another; from Pallene to the mouth of the Nile. The Pharos of Egypt was both a watch-tower, and a temple, where people went to inquire about the success of their voyage; and to obtain the assistance of pilots. Proteus was an Egyptian title of the Deity, under which he was worshipped, both in the Pharos, and at [622]Memphis. He was the same as Osiris, and Canobus: and particularly the God of mariners, who confined his department to the [623]sea. From hence, I think, we may unravel the mystery about the pilot of Menelaus, who is said to have been named Canobus, and to have given name to the principal seaport in Egypt. The priests of the country laughed at the idle [624]story; and they had good reason: for the place was far prior to the people spoken of, and the name not of Grecian original. It is observable, that Stephanus of Byzantium gives the pilot another name, calling him, instead of Canobus, Φαρος, Pharus. His words are Φαρος ὁ Πρωρευς Μεναλαου, which are scarce sense. I make no doubt, from the history of Proteus above, but that in the original, whence Stephanus copied, or at least whence the story was first taken, the reading was Φαρος ὁ Πρωτευς Μενελαου; that is, the Proteus of Menelaus, so celebrated by Homer, who is represented, as so wise, and so experienced in navigation, whom they esteemed a great prophet, and a Deity of the sea, was nothing else but a Pharos. In other words, it was a temple of Proteus upon the Canobic branch of the Nile, to which the Poet makes Menelaus have recourse. Such was the original history: but Πρωτευς Μενελαου has been changed to πρωρευς; and the God Canobus turned into a Grecian pilot. As these were Ophite temples, a story has been added about this person having been stung by a serpent. [625]Πρωρευς εν τῃ νησῳ δηχθεις ὑπο οφεως εταφη. This Pilot was bitten by a serpent, and buried in the island. Conformable to my opinion is the account given by Tzetzes, who says, that Proteus resided in the [626]Pharos: by which is signified, that he was the Deity of the place. He is represented in the Orphic poetry as the first-born of the world, the chief God of the sea, and at the same time a mighty [627]prophet.

The history then of Menelaus in Egypt, if such a person ever existed, amounts to this. In a state of uncertainty he applied to a temple near Canobus, which was sacred to Proteus. This was one title out of many, by which the chief Deity of the country was worshipped, and was equivalent to On, Orus, Osiris, and Canobus. From this place Menelaus obtained proper advice, by which he directed his voyage. Hence some say, that he had Φροντις, Phrontis, for his pilot. [628]Κυβερνητης αριστος Μενελαου ὁ Φροντις, ὑιος Ονητορος. Menelaus had an excellent pilot, one Phrontis, the son of Onetor. This, I think, confirms all that I have been saying: for what is Phrontis, but advice and experience? and what is Onetor, but the Pharos, from whence it was obtained? Onetor is the same as Torone, Τορωνη, only reversed. They were both temples of Proteus, the same as On, and Orus: both Φλεγραιαι, by which is meant temples of fire, or light-houses. Hence we may be pretty certain, that the three pilots, Canobus, Phrontis, Pharos, together with Onetor, were only poetical personages: and that the terms properly related to towers, and sanctuaries, which were of Egyptian original.

These places were courts of justice, where the priests seem to have practised a strict inquisition; and where pains and penalties were very severe. The notion of the Furies was taken from these temples: for the term Furia is from Ph'ur, ignis, and signifies a priest of fire. It was on account of the cruelties here practised, that most of the antient judges are represented as inexorable; and are therefore made judges in hell. Of what nature their department was esteemed may be learned from Virgil,

[629]Gnossius hæc Rhadamanthus habet durissima regna:

Castigatque, auditque dolos, subigitque fateri, &c.

The temple at Phlegya in Bœotia was probably one of these courts; where justice was partially administered, and where great cruelties were exercised by the priests. Hence a person, named Phlegyas, is represented in the shades below, crying out in continual agony, and exhorting people to justice.

[630]—Phlegyasque miserrimus omnes

Admonet, et tristi testatur voce per umbras,

Discite justitiam moniti, et non temnere Divos.

Excellent counsel, but introduced rather too late. Phlegyas was in reality the Sun; so denominated by the Æthiopes, or Cuthites, and esteemed the same as Mithras of Persis. They looked up to him as their great benefactor, and lawgiver: for they held their laws as of divine original. His worship was introduced among the natives of Greece by the Cuthites, styled Ethiopians, who came from Egypt. That this was the true history of Phlegyas we may be assured from Stephanus, and Phavorinus. They mention both Phlegyas, and Mithras, as men deified; and specify, that they were of Ethiopian original. [631]Μιθραν, και Φλεγυαν, ανδρας Αιθιοπας το γενος. Minos indeed is spoken of, as an upright judge: and the person alluded to under that character was eminently distinguished for his piety, and justice. But his priests were esteemed far otherwise, for they were guilty of great cruelties. Hence we find, that Minos was looked upon as a judge of hell, and styled Quæsitor Minos. He was in reality a Deity, the same as Menes, and Menon of Egypt: and as Manes of Lydia, Persis, and other countries. And though his history be not consistently exhibited, yet, so much light may be gained from the Cretans, as to certify us, that there was in their island a temple called Men-Tor, the tower of Men, or Menes. The Deity, from a particular [632]hieroglyphic, under which the natives worshipped him, was styled Minotaurus. To this temple the Athenians were obliged annually to send some of their prime youth to be sacrificed; just as the people of Carthage used to send their children to be victims at [633]Tyre. The Athenians were obliged for some time to pay this tribute, as appears from the festival in commemoration of their deliverance. The places most infamous for these customs were those, which were situated upon the seacoast: and especially those dangerous passes, where sailors were obliged to go on shore for assistance, to be directed in their way. Scylla upon the coast of Rhegium was one of these: and appears to have been particularly dreaded by mariners. Ulysses in Homer says, that he was afraid to mention her name to his companions, lest they should through astonishment have lost all sense of preservation.

[634]Σκυλλην δ' ουκετ' εμυθεομην απρηκτον ανιην,

Μηπως μοι δεισαντες απολληξειαν ἑταιροι,

Ειρεσιης, εντος δε πυκαζοιεν σφεας αυτους.

Some suppose Scylla to have been a dangerous rock; and that it was abominated on account of the frequent shipwrecks. There was a rock of that name, but attended with no such peril. We are informed by Seneca, [635]Scyllam saxum esse, et quidem non terribile navigantibus. It was the temple, built of old upon that [636]eminence, and the customs which prevailed within, that made it so detested. This temple was a Petra: hence Scylla is by Homer styled Σκυλλη Πετραιη; and the dogs, with which she was supposed to have been surrounded, were Cahen, or priests.

As there was a Men-tor in Crete, so there was a place of the same name, only reversed, in Sicily, called Tor-men, and Tauromenium. There is reason to think, that the same cruel practices prevailed here. It stood in the country of the Lamiæ, Lestrygons, and Cyclopes, upon the river On-Baal, which the Greeks rendered Onoballus. From hence we may conclude, that it was one of the Cyclopian buildings. Homer has presented us with something of truth, though we receive it sadly mixed with fable. We find from him, that when Ulysses entered the dangerous pass of Rhegium, he had six of his comrades seized by Scylla: and he loses the same number in the cavern of the Cyclops, which that monster devoured. Silenus, in a passage before taken notice of, is by Euripides made to say, that the most agreeable repast to the Cyclops was the flesh of strangers: nobody came within his reach, that he did not feed upon.

[637]Γλυκυτατα, φησι, τα κρεα τους ξενους φερειν·

Ουδεις μολων δευρ', ὁστις ου κατεσφαγη.

From these accounts some have been led to think, that the priests in these temples really fed upon the flesh of the persons sacrificed: and that these stories at bottom allude to a shocking depravity; such, as one would hope, that human nature could not be brought to. Nothing can be more horrid, than the cruel process of the Cyclops, as it is represented by Homer. And though it be veiled under the shades of poetry, we may still learn the detestation, in which these places were held.

[638]Συν δε δυω μαρψας ὡστε σκυλακας ποτι γαιῃ

Κοπτ', εκ δ' εγκεφαλος χαμαδις ῥεε, δευε δε γαιαν.

Τους τε διαμελεϊστι ταμων ὡπλισσατο δορπον·

Ησθιε δ' ωστε λεων ορεσιτροφος, ουδ' απελειπεν

Εγκατα τε, σαρκας τε, και οστεα μυελοεντα.

Ἡμεις δε κλαιοντες ανεσχεθομεν Διι χειρας,

Σκετλια εργ' ὁροωντες, αμηχανιη δ' εχε θυμον.

[639]He answered with his deed: his bloody hand

Snatch'd two unhappy of my martial band,

And dash'd like dogs against the rocky floor:

The pavement swims with brains, and mingled gore.

Torn limb from limb, he spreads the horrid feast,

And fierce devours it like a mountain beast.

He sucks the marrow, and the blood he drains;

Nor entrails, flesh, nor solid bone remains.

We see the death, from which we cannot move,

And humbled groan beneath the hand of Jove.

One would not be very forward to strengthen an imputation, which disgraces human nature: yet there must certainly have been something highly brutal and depraved in the character of this people, to have given rise to this description of foul and unnatural feeding. What must not be concealed, Euhemerus, an antient writer, who was a native of these parts, did aver, that this bestial practice once prevailed. Saturn's devouring his own children is supposed to allude to this custom. And we learn from this writer, as the passage has been transmitted by [640]Ennius, that not only Saturn, but Ops, and the rest of mankind in their days, used to feed upon human flesh.—[641]Saturnum, et Opem, cæterosque tum homines humanam carnem solitos esitare. He speaks of Saturn, and Ops, as of persons, who once lived in the world, and were thus guilty. But the priests of their temples were the people to be really accused; the Cyclopians, Lamiæ, and Lestrygons, who officiated at their altars. He speaks of the custom, as well known: and it had undoubtedly been practised in those parts, where in aftertimes hie was born. For he was a native [642]of Zancle, and lived in the very country, of which we have been speaking, in the land of the Lestrygons, and Cyclopians. The promontory of Scylla was within his sight. He was therefore well qualified to give an account of these parts; and his evidence must necessarily have weight. Without doubt these cruel practices left lasting impressions; and the memorials were not effaced for ages.

It is said of Orpheus by Horace, Cædibus, et victu fœdo deterruit: by which one should be led to think, that the putting a stop to this unnatural gratification was owing to him. Others think, that he only discountenanced the eating of raw flesh, which before had been usual. But this could not be true of Orpheus: for it was a circumstance, which made one part of his institutes. If there were ever such a man, as Orpheus, he enjoined the very thing, which he is supposed to have prohibited. For both in the [643]orgies of Bacchus and in the rites of Ceres, as well as of other Deities, one part of the mysteries consisted in a ceremony styled ωμοφαγια; at which time they eat the flesh quite crude with the blood. In Crete at the [644]Dionusiaca they used to tear the flesh with their teeth from the animal, when alive. This they did in commemoration of Dionusus. [645]Festos funeris dies statuunt, et annuum sacrum trietericâ consecratione componunt, omnia per ordinem facientes, quæ puer moriens aut fecit, aut passus est. Vivum laniant dentibus Taurum, crudeles epulas annuis commemorationibus excitantes. Apollonius Rhodius speaking of persons like to Bacchanalians, represents them [646]Θυασιν ωμοβοροις ικελαι, as savage as the Thyades, who delighted in bloody banquets. Upon this the Scholiast observes, that the Mænadas, and Bacchæ, used to devour the raw limbs of animals, which they had cut or torn asunder. [647]Πολλακις τῃ μανιᾳ κατασχισθεντα, και ωμοσπαρακτα, εσθιουσιν. In the island of Chios it was a religious custom to tear a man limb from limb by way of sacrifice to Dionusus. The same obtained in Tenedos. It is Porphyry, who gives the account. He was a staunch Pagan, and his evidence on that account is of consequence. He quotes for the rites of Tenedos Euelpis the Carystian. [648]Εθυοντο δε και εν Χιω τῳ Ωμαδιῳ Διονυσῳ ανθρωπον διεσπωντες· και εν Τενεδῳ, φησιν Ευελπις ὁ Καρυστιος. From all which we may learn one sad truth, that there is scarce any thing so impious and unnatural, as not at times to have prevailed.

We need not then wonder at the character given of the Lestiygones, Lamiæ, and Cyclopians, who were inhabitants of Sicily, and lived nearly in the same part of the island. They seem to have been the priests, and priestesses, of the Leontini, who resided at Pelorus, and in the Cyclopian towers: on which account the Lamiæ are by Lucilius termed [649]Turricolæ. They are supposed to have delighted in human blood, like the Cyclopians, but with this difference, that their chief repast was the flesh of young persons and children; of which they are represented as very greedy. They were priests of Ham, called El Ham; from whence was formed ’Lamus and ’Lamia. Their chief city, the same probably, which was named Tauromenium, is mentioned by Homer, as the city of Lamus.

[650]Ἑβδοματῃ δ' ἱκομεσθα Λαμου αιπυ πτολιεθρον.

And the inhabitants are represented as of the giant race.

[651]Φοιτων δ' ιφθιμοι Λαιστρυγονες, αλλοθεν αλλος,

Μυριοι, ουκ ανδρεσσιν εοικοτες, αλλα Γιγασι.

Many give an account of the Lestrygons, and Lamiæ, upon the Liris in Italy; and also upon other parts of that coast: and some of them did settle there. But they were more particularly to be found in [652]Sicily near Leontium, as the Scholiast upon Lycophron observes. [653]Λαιστρυγονες, ὁι νυν Λεοντινοι. The antient Lestrygons were the people, whose posterity are now called Leontini. The same writer takes notice of their incivility to strangers: [654]Ουκ ησαν ειθισμενοι ξενους ὑποδεχεσθαι. That they were Amonians, and came originally from Babylonia, is pretty evident from the history of the Erythrean Sibyl; who was no other than a Lamian priestess. She is said to have been the daughter of Lamia, who was the daughter of Poseidon. [655]Σιβυλλαν—Λαμιας ουσαν θυγατερα του Ποσειδωνος. Under the character of one person is to be understood a priesthood: of which community each man was called Lamus, and each priestess Lamia. By the Sibyl being the daughter of Lamia, the daughter of Poseidon, is meant, that she was of Lamian original, and ultimately descended from the great Deity of the sea. Who is alluded to under that character, will hereafter be shewn. The countries, to which the Sibyl is referred, point out her extraction: for she is said to have come from Egypt, and Babylonia. [656]Ὁι δε αυτην Βαβυλωνιαν, ἑτεροι δε Σιβυλλαν καλουσιν Αιγυπτιαν. If the Sibyl came from Babylonia and Egypt, her supposed parent, Lamia, must have been of the same original.

The Lamiæ were not only to be found in Italy, and Sicily, but Greece, Pontus, and [657]Libya. And however widely they may have been separated, they are still represented in the same unfavourable light. Euripides says, that their very name was detestable.

[658]Τις τ' ουνομα τοδ' επονειδιστον βροτοις

Ουκ οιδε Λαμιας της Λιβυστικης γενος.

Philostratus speaks of their bestial appetite, and unnatural gluttony. [659]Λαμιας σαρκων, και μαλιστα ανθρωπειων ερᾳν. And Aristotle alludes to practices still more shocking: as if they tore open the bodies big with child, that they might get at the infant to devour it. I speak, says he, of people, who have brutal appetites. [660]Λεγω δε τας θηριωδεις, ὁιον την ανθρωπον, την λεγουσι τας κυουσας ανασχιζουσαν τα παιδια κατεσθεειν. These descriptions are perhaps carried to a great excess; yet the history was founded in truth: and shews plainly what fearful impressions were left upon the minds of men from the barbarity of the first ages.

One of the principal places in Italy, where the Lamia seated themselves, was about Formiæ; of which Horace takes notice in his Ode to Ælius Lamia.

[661]Æli, vetusto nobilis ab Lamo, &c.

Authore ab illo ducis originem,

Qui Formiarum mœnia dicitur

Princeps, et innantem Maricæ

Littoribus tenuisse Lirim.

The chief temple of the Formians was upon the sea-coast at Caiete. It is said to have had its name from a woman, who died here: and whom some make the nurse of Æneas, others of Ascanius, others still of [662]Creusa. The truth is this: it stood near a cavern, sacred to the God Ait, called Ate, Atis, and Attis; and it was hence called Caieta, and Caiatta. Strabo says, that it was denominated from a cave, though he did not know the precise [663]etymology. There were also in the rock some wonderful subterranes, which branched out into various apartments. Here the antient Lamii, the priests of Ham, [664]resided: whence Silius Italicus, when he speaks of the place, styles it [665]Regnata Lamo Caieta. They undoubtedly sacrificed children here; and probably the same custom was common among the Lamii, as prevailed among the Lacedæmonians, who used to whip their children round the altar of Diana Orthia. Thus much we are assured by Fulgentius, and others, that the usual term among the antient Latines for the whipping of children was Caiatio. [666]Apud Antiquos Caiatio dicebatur puerilis cædes.

The coast of Campania seems to have been equally infamous: and as much dreaded by mariners, as that of Rhegium, and Sicily. Here the Sirens inhabited, who are represented, as the bane of all, who navigated those seas. They like the Lamii were Cuthite, and Canaanitish priests, who had founded temples in these parts; and particularly near three small islands, to which they gave name. These temples were rendered more than ordinary famous on account of the women, who officiated. They were much addicted to the cruel rites, of which I have been speaking; so that the shores, upon which they resided, are described, as covered with the bones of men, destroyed by their artifice.

[667]Jamque adeo scopulos Sirenum advecta subibat,

Difficiles quondam, multorumque ossibus albos.

They used hymns in their temples, accompanied with the music of their country: which must have been very enchanting, as we may judge from the traditions handed down of its efficacy. I have mentioned, that the songs of the Canaanites and Cretans were particularly plaintive, and pleasing:

[668]They sang in sweet but melancholy strains;

Such as were warbled by the Delian God,

When in the groves of Ida he bewail'd

The lovely lost Atymnius.

But nothing can shew more fully the power of antient harmony than the character given of the Sirens. Their cruelty the antients held in detestation; yet always speak feelingly of their music. They represent their songs as so fatally winning, that nobody could withstand their sweetness. All were soothed with it; though their life was the purchase of the gratification. The Scholiast upon Lycophron makes them the children of the muse [669]Terpsichore. Nicander supposes their mother to have been Melpomene: others make her Calliope. The whole of this is merely an allegory; and means only that they were the daughters of harmony. Their efficacy is mentioned by [670]Apollonius Rhodius: and by the Author of the Orphic [671]Argonautica: but the account given by Homer is by far the most affecting.

[672]Σειρηνας μεν πρωτον αφιξεαι, ἁι ῥα τε παντας

Ανθρωπους θελγουσιν, ὁτις σφεας εισαφικανει.

Ὁστις αϊδρειῃ πελασει, και φθογγον ακουσει

Σειρηνων, τῳ δ' ουτι γυνη, και νηπια τεκνα

Οικαδε νοστησαντι παρισταται, ουδε γανυνται·

Αλλα τε Σειρηνες λιγυρῃ θελγουσιν αοιδῃ,

Ἡμενοι εν λειμωνι· πολυς τ' αμφ' οστεοφιν θις

Ανδρων πυθομενων, περι δε ῥινοι φθινυθουσιν.

They are the words of Circe to Ulysses, giving him an account of the dangers which he was to encounter.

[673]Next where the Sirens dwell, you plough the seas.

Their song is death, and makes destruction please.

Unblest the man, whom music makes to stray

Near the curst coast, and listen to their lay.

No more that wretch shall view the joys of life,

His blooming offspring, or his pleasing wife.

In verdant meads they sport, and wide around

Lie human bones, that whiten all the ground:

The ground polluted floats with human gore,

And human carnage taints the dreadful shore.

Fly, fly the dangerous coast.

The story at bottom relates to the people above-mentioned; who with their music used to entice strangers into the purlieus of their temples, and then put them to death. Nor was it music only, with which persons were seduced to follow them. The female part of their choirs were maintained for a twofold purpose, both on account of their voices and their beauty. They were accordingly very liberal of their favours, and by these means enticed seafaring persons, who paid dearly for their entertainment. Scylla was a personage of this sort: and among the fragments of Callimachus we have a short, but a most perfect, description of her character.

[674]Σκυλλα, γυνη κατακασα, και ου ψυθος ουνομ' εχουσα.

Κατακασα is by some interpreted malefica: upon which the learned Hemsterhusius remarks very justly—κατακασα cur Latine vertatur malefica non video. Si Grammaticis obtemperes, meretricem interpretabere: erat enim revera Νησιωτις καλη ἑταιρα, ut Heraclitus περι απις: c. 2. Scylla then, under which character we are here to understand the chief priestess of the place, was no other than a handsome island strumpet. Her name it seems betokened as much, and she did not belie it: ου ψυθος ουνομ' εχουσα. We may from these data decipher the history of Scylla, as given by Tzetzes. Ην δε πρωτον Σκυλλα γυνη ευπρεπης· Ποσειδωνι δε συνουσα απεθηριωθη. Scylla was originally a handsome wench: but being too free with seafaring people she made herself a beast. She was, like the Sibyl of Campania, said by Stesichorus to have been the daughter of [675]Lamia. Hence we may learn, that all, who resided in the places, which I have been describing, were of the same religion, and of the same family; being the descendants of Ham, and chiefly by the collateral branches of Chus, and Canaan.

The like rites prevailed in Cyprus, which had in great measure been peopled by persons of these [676]families. One of their principal cities was Curium, which was denominated from [677]Curos, the Sun, the Deity, to whom it was sacred. In the perilous voyages of the antients nothing was more common than for strangers, whether shipwrecked, or otherwise distressed, to fly to the altar of the chief Deity, Θεου φιλιου, και ξενιου, the God of charity and hospitality, for his protection. This was fatal to those who were driven upon the western coast of Cyprus. The natives of Curium made it a rule to destroy all such, under an appearance of a religious rite. Whoever laid their hands upon the altar of Apollo, were cast down the precipice, upon which it stood. [678]Ευθυς εστιν ακρα, αφ' ἡς ῥιπτουσι τους ἁψαμενους του βωμου του Απολλωνος. Strabo speaks of the practice, as if it subsisted in his time. A like custom prevailed at the Tauric Chersonesus, as we are informed by Herodotus. [679]Θυουσι μεν τῃ Παρθενῳ τους τε ναυηγους, και τους αν λαβωσι Ἑλληνων επαναχθεντας, τροπῳ τοιῳδε. Καταρξαμενοι ῥοπαλῳ παιουσι την κεφαλην. Ὁι μεν δη λεγουσι, ὡς το σωμα απο του κρημνου διωθεουσι κατω· επι γαρ κρημνου ἱδρυται το Ἱρον. κτλ. The people of this place worship the virgin Goddess Artemis: at whose shrine they sacrifice all persons, who have the misfortune to be shipwrecked upon their coast: and all the Grecians, that they can lay hold of, when they are at any time thither driven. All these they without any ceremony brain with a club. Though others say, that they shove them off headlong from a high precipice: for their temple is founded upon a cliff.

The den of Cacus was properly Ca-Chus, the cavern or temple of Chus, out of which the poets, and later historians have formed a strange personage, whom they represent as a shepherd, and the son of Vulcan. Many antient Divinities, whose rites and history had any relation to Ur in Chaldea, are said to have been the children of Vulcan; and oftentimes to have been born in fire. There certainly stood a temple of old upon the Aventine mountain in Latium, which was the terror of the neighbourhood. The cruelties of the priests, and their continual depredations, may be inferred from the history of Cacus. Virgil makes Evander describe the place to Æneas; though it is supposed in his time to have been in ruins.

[680]Jam primum saxis suspensam hanc aspice rupem,

Disjectæ procul ut moles, desertaque montis

Stat domus, et scopuli ingentem traxere ruinam.

Hic spelunca fuit, vasto submota recessu,

Semihominis Caci, facies quam dira tegebat,

Solis inaccessum radiis: semperque recenti

Cæde tepebat humus; foribusque affixa superbis

Ora virûm tristi pendebant pallida tabo.

Huic monstro Vulcanus erat pater.

Livy mentions Cacus as a shepherd, and a person of great strength, and violence. [681]Pastor, accola ejus loci, Cacus, ferox viribus. He is mentioned also by Plutarch, who styles him Caccus, Κακκος. [682]Τον μεν γαρ Ἡφαιστου παιδα Ρωμαιοι Κακκον ἱστορουσι πυρ και φλογας αφιεναι δια του στοματος εξω ῥεουσας. As there were both priests, and priestesses, in temples of this sort, persons styled both Lami, and Lamiæ; so we read both of a Cacus, and a Caca. The latter was supposed to have been a Goddess, who was made a Deity for having betrayed her brother to Hercules. [683]Colitur et Caca, quæ Herculi fecit indicium boum; divinitatem consecuta, quia perdidit fratrem. In short, under the characters of Caca, and Cacus, we have a history of Cacusian priests, who seem to have been a set of people devoted to rapine and murder.

What we express Cocytus, and suppose to have been merely a river, was originally a temple in Egypt called Co-Cutus: for rivers were generally denominated from some town, or temple, near which they ran. Co-Cutus means the Cuthite temple, the house of Cuth. It was certainly a place of inquisition, where great cruelties were exercised. Hence the river, which was denominated from it, was esteemed a river of hell; and was supposed to have continual cries, and lamentations resounding upon its waters.

[684]Cocytus, named of lamentation loud

Heard on its banks.

Milton supposes the river to have been named from the Greek word κωκυτος: but the reverse is the truth. From the baleful river and temple Co-cutus came the Greek terms κωκυτος, and κωκυω. Acheron, another infernal river, was properly a temple of Achor, the θεος απομυιος of Egypt, Palestine, and Cyrene. It was a temple of the Sun, called Achor-On: and it gave name to the river, on whose banks it stood. Hence like Cocutus it was looked upon as a melancholy stream, and by the Poet Theocritus styled [685]Αχεροντα πολυστονον, the river of lamentations. Aristophanes speaks of an eminence of this name, and calls it [686]Αχεροντιος σκοπελος ἁιματοσταγης, the rock of Acheron, dropping blood.

[615] Prœtides implerunt falsis mugitibus auras. Virgil. Eclog. 6. v. 48.

[616] Herod. l. 7. c. 123.

Ἡ Παλληνη Χερρονησος, ἡ εν τῳ Ισθμῳ κειται. ἡ πριν μεν Ποτιδαια, νυν δε Κασσανδρεια, Φλεγραια δε πριν εκαλειτο· ωκουν δ' αυτην ὁι μυθυομενοι Γιγαντες, εθνος ασεβες, και ανομον. Strabo. Epitome. l. 7. p. 510.

[617] Lycophron. v. 115.

[618] Stephanus places Torone in Thrace, and supposes it to have been named from Torone, who was not the wife, but daughter of Proteus. Απο Τορωνης της Πρωτεως. Some made her the daughter of Poseidon and Phœnice. See Steph. Φλεγραια. There were more towers than one of this name.

[619] Παλληνιαν επηλθε Γηγενων τροφον, Lycoph. v. 127.

[620] Lycophron. v. 124.

[621] Eustath. on Dionysius. v. 259.

[622] Herodot. l. 2. c. 112.

[623] Πρωτεα κικλησκω, ποντου κληιδας εχοντα. Orphic Hymn. 24.

[624] Aristides. Oratio Ægyptiaca. v. 3. p. 608.

[625] Stephanus Byzant. Φαρος.

[626] Chilias. 2. Hist. 44. p. 31. Πρωτευς φοινικης φινικος παις—περι την φαρον κατοικων.

[627] Orphic Hymn to Proteus. 24.

[628] Eustath. in Dionys. v. 14.

Φροντιν Ονητοριδην. Homer. Odyss. Γ. v. 282. See also Hesych.

[629] Æneid. l. 6. v. 556.

[630] Virg. Æneid. l. 6. v. 618.

[631] Stephanus. Αιθιοπια.

[632] The hieroglyphic was a man with the head of a bull; which had the same reference, as the Apis, and Mneuis of Egypt.

[633] Diodorus Sic. l. 20. p. 756.

[634] Homer. Odyss. Μ. v. 222.

[635] Epist. 79.

[636] Ακουσιλαος Φορκυνος και Ἑκατης την Σκυλλαν λεγει. Στησικορος δε, εν τῃ Σκυλλῃ, Λαμιας την Σκυλλαν φησι θυγατερα ειναι. Apollonius. Schol. l. 4. v. 828.

[637] Euripides. Cyclops. v. 126.

[638] Odyss. l. Ι. v. 389.

[639] Imitated by Mr. Pope.

[640] Ennius translated into Latin the history of Euhemerus, who seems to have been a sensible man, and saw into the base theology of his country. He likewise wrote against it, and from hence made himself many enemies. Strabo treats him as a man devoted to fiction. l. 2. p. 160.

[641] Ex Ennii Historiâ sacrâ, quoted by Lactantius. Divin. Institut. vol. 1. c. 13. p. 59.

[642] Μεσσηνιον Ευημερον. Strabo. l. 1. p. 81.

[643] Clemens. Cohort. p. 11. Arnobius. l. 5.

[644] Διονυσον Μαινολον οργιασουσι Βακχοι, ωμοφαγιᾳ την ἱερομανιαν αγοντες, και τελισκουσι τας κρεονομιας των φονων ανεστεμμενοι τοις οφεσιν. Clemens Cohort. p. 11.

[645] Julius Firmicus. p. 14.

[646] Apollon. Rhod. l. 1. v. 636.

[647] Scholia Apollon. l. 1. v. 635.

[648] Porphyry περι αποχης. l. 2. p. 224.

[649] Turricolas Lamias, Fauni quas Pompiliique

Instituere Numæ. Lactant. de falsâ Relig. l. 1. c. 22. p. 105.

[650] Homer Odyss. Κ. v. 81.

[651] Ibid. Κ. v. 120.

[652] Εν μερει τινι της χωρας (της Σικελιας) Κυκλωπες, και Λαιστρυγονες, οικησαι. Thucyd. l. 6. p. 378.

[653] Scholia. v. 956. Leon in Leontium is a translation of Lais (לוש) Leo: Bochart.

[654] Lycoph. above.

[655] Plutarch de Defect. Orac. vol. 1. p. 398.

Ἑτεροι δε φᾳσιν εκ Μαλιαιων αφικεσθαι Λαμιας θυγατερα Σιβυλλαν. Clem. Alex. Strom. l. 1. p. 358. Pausanias makes her the daughter of Jupiter and Lamia. l. 10. p. 825.

[656] Clemens Alex. l. 1. p. 358.

[657] See Diodorus. l. 20. p. 778. of the Lamia in Libya, and of her cavern.

[658] Euripides quoted ibid.

[659] Philostratus. Vita Apollon. l. 4. p. 183.

[660] Aristot. Ethic. l. 7. c. 6. p. 118. See Plutarch περι πολυπραγμοσυνης, And Aristoph. Vespæ. Schol. v. 1030.

[661] Horace, l. 3. ode 17.

[662] Virgil Æn. l. 7. v. 1. See Servius.

[663] Strabo. l. 5. p. 357. Κολπον Καιατταν. κλ.

[664] Ibid. p. 356.

[665] Silius. l. 8.

[666] De Virgilianâ continentiâ. p. 762. Caiat signified a kind of whip, or thong, probably such was used at Caiate.

[667] Virgil. Æneid. l. 5. v. 873.

[668] See Nonnus. l. 19. p. 320.

[669] V. 653. See Natalis Comes.

[670] L. 4. v. 892.

[671] V. 1269.

[672] Odyss. l. Μ. v. 39.

[673] From Mr. Pope's translation.

[674] Callimachi Frag. 184. p. 510.

[675] Apollon. l. 4. v. 828. Scholia. She is said also to have been the daughter of Hecate and Phorcun. Ibid. The daughter of a Deity means the priestess. Phor-Cun signifies Ignis Dominus, the same as Hephastus.

[676] Herodotus. l. 7. c. 90.

[677] Κυρος ὁ ἡλιος. See Radicals. p. 48.

[678] Strabo. l. 14. p. 1002. the promontory was called Curias Κυριας ακρα· ειτα πολις Κουριον.

[679] L. 4. c. 103.

[680] Virgil. Æneid. l. 8. v. 190.

[681] Livy. l. 1. c. 7.

[682] Plutarch. in Amatorio. vol. 2. p. 762.

[683] Lactantius de F. R. l. 1. c. 20. p. 90.

[684] Milton. l. 2. v. 579.

[685] Theoc. Idyl. 17. v. 47.

[686] Aristoph. Βατραχ. v. 474. So Cocytus is by Claudian described as the river of tears.

—— presso lacrymarum fonte resedit

Cocytos. De Rapt. Proserp. l. 1. v. 87.

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