The new pantheon; or, an introduction to the mythology of the ancients
In poetry and works of elegant literature allusions are so frequently made to the Mythology of the Antients, as to render it desirable that young persons should acquire some knowledge of that subject; yet few of the sources whence information of this kind can be derived, are sufficiently pure to meet the eye of innocence.
Before the glorious splendour of truth beamed forth from the Gospel of Christ, upon the darkened world, the pollutions of licentiousness were intermingled even with religious rites and compositions.
Passions so degrading, and actions so shameful, were attributed by the Heathens to the false divinities whom their deluded imaginations had devised, that from the contemplation of such a spectacle, the delicate mind must turn away with disgust; so that, without some modification, such histories are utterly improper to be presented to the attention of youth. The following introduction to Pagan Mythology was intended to obviate this difficult;
In the successive editions of this work which the approbation of to the Public has called for, to the Grecian and Roman Mythology, illustrated by selections fromand , have been added brief accounts of the Buddhic, Indian, Persian, Egyptian, Scythian, Celtic, Arabian, and Canaanitish systems, diversified likewise by quotations from various poets; to which is subjoined a slight sketch of the Mexican and Peruvian religious fables and ceremonies.
The Mythology of the Greeks and Romans is evidently drawn from that of the Oriental nations.
Orpheus, Pythagoras, Thales, and other founders of Grecian philosophy and mythology, studied in Egypt; and having learned the doctrines of its priests, introduced them, modelled agreeably to their own ideas, into their own country. As this is the case, it might have appeared more natural to the source before the stream; to introduce the young student, first, to Eastern mythology, and afterwards duct him to its corrupt but elegant offspring. Yet as the mythology of Greece and Rome occurs so much more frequently in those books which are most commonly, and most early, used in education, it has been deemed preferable to retain the order generally adopted in works of this kind.
The information given concerning the Oriental Mythology is borrowed principally from’s Indian Antiquities, and the Asiatic Researches; from ’s excellent work on the Pagan Mythology; and from the Cyclopædia of . The Author acknowledges, likewise, his obligations to , for the information and pleasure he has received from his scientific work on Egyptian Mythology and Chronology.
Finally, the Author presumes to hope that, improved by some few alterations, and by considerable additions, the New Pantheon may be found to possess a juster claim to that favour which it has already experienced, may continue to enjoy that support which it has hitherto found, and may meet with still more extensive patronage.
Part I. §
Chap I. [Definitions of Mythology and Idolatry.] §
Mythology, an expression compounded of the two Greek words, muthos, a fable, and, logos, a discourse, signifies a system of fables, or the fabulous history of the false gods of the heathen world.
The term Idolatry is derived from the two Greek words, eidolon and latreia, signifying worship and representation, or image; and, consequently, it means the worship of images, or symbols of gods or superior powers.
Idolatry appears to have had its origin in very early ages, in India, Egypt, and Phenicia; whence it spread into Chaldea, Mesopotamia, and the neighbouring countries. From them it passed into Asia Minor, Greece, and the adjacent islands. In the time of Moses, the illustrious Hebrew lawgiver, Idolatry had attained to so great a height that, through him, the only true God gave the children of Israel a number of peculiar rites and ceremonies, to remove them, as far as possible, from its pernicious contagion, and to keep them separate from the surrounding nations, among whom it prevailed.
Chap. II. Grecian and Roman Mythology. §
The Mythology of the Greeks and the Romans is evidently derived from that of the Oriental nations. Orpheus, Pythagoras, Thales, and other founders of Grecian philosophy and mythology, travelled and studied in Egypt, where they learned those doctrines, which, having modelled according to their own ideas, they introduced into Greece. These were, in the course of time, diversified and augmented, until they expanded into that bulky, complicated system of mythology, which the poets adorned with all the charms of imagery and verse.
They are generally arranged in the following classes: — The Celestial; the Marine; the Terrestrial; the Infernal. To these may be added the class of Inferior Divinities, of whose residence no determinate ideas were given.
The Celestial Deities were ranked in four distinct orders.
The first order comprised the Supreme Gods, who were likewise called Gods of the Nations, because they were known and revered by every nation. They were twenty in number.
They were divided into two classes; the first was called the Council of Jupiter, the supreme divinity, and was composed of six gods, namely, Jupiter, Neptune, Mercury, Apollo, Mars, Vulcan; and of six goddesses, namely, Juno, Ceres, Minerva, Vesta, Diana, and Venus.
The second class was composed of eight divinities, who did not assist at the supreme Council. They were named Dii Selecti — Select Gods. These were Cœlus, Saturn, Genius, Orcus, Sol, Bacchus, Terra, and Luna.
The second order included the gods whom Ovid styled the celestial populace. They were called the Inferior Gods of Nations. They had no place in heaven; nor were they admitted to the Council of Jupiter. Pan, Pomona, Flora, and the other rural Deities, were of this class.
The third order was composed of demigods, who derived their origin from a god and a mortal, or from a goddess and a mortal. Such were Hercules, Esculapius, Castor, Pollux, &c. Heroes likewise, who, by their valour, had raised themselves to the rank of immortals, had a place among these.
The fourth order contained the virtues which had formed great men; Fidelity, Concord, Courage, Prudence, and others; and even the miseries of life, as Poverty, Pain, &c.
Those divinities who were not of the first or second class. The word, Semones, signifies half men, as being descended from an immortal and a mortal. Indigetes signifies deified mortals, or the peculiar gods of any country.
Chap. III. [The most ancient Divinities according to the Greeks, Saturn, Cybele.] §
Cœlus, or Heaven, whom the Greeks called Uranus, was, by their account, the most ancient of the gods, as Vesta Prisca, or Terra, different names for the earth, was of the goddesses. Their sons were called Titan and Saturn, which latter was the same as Chronos, or time.1
The right of seniority assigned the kingdom, to Titan, who, in compliance with his mother’s desire, yielded his right to his younger brother Saturn, on condition that he should destroy all his male children. Conformably to this agreement, Saturn devoured his sons as fast as they were born.
The name Chronos, given to Saturn, signifies time; and, as time sees all things produced, and all things perish, it is allegorically said, that Time or Saturn devours his own offspring.
Rhea, or Cybele, the wife of Saturn, concealed one of her sons, and had him privately educated; but all her precautions could not prevent Titan, the elder brother, from being informed of what had passed; who, wishing to preserve to his children their right of succession, made war on Saturn, conquered him, and confined both him and Cybele, till their son Jupiter released them by vanquishing Titan. But, taking the government into his own hands, he drove away his father Saturn, who sought refuge in Italy, with Janus, king of that country, by whom he was hospitably received. In gratitude for the kind reception he met with, Saturn endowed Janus with extraordinary prudence, with knowledge of future events, and with perpetual remembrance of the past. This the ancients wished to express by representing him with a double face; whence he is called Bifrons. We learn from history, that Janus was represented with two faces, because he governed two different people, and because he divided his kingdom with Saturn. He likewise caused medals to be struck with two faces, to shew that his dominions should be governed by the joint counsels of himself and Saturn.
The reputation of Saturn grew so famous in Latium, that the mountain, afterwards named the Capitoline Hill, was called Saturninus. From him, all Italy was sometimes called Saturnia; and the festival of the Saturnalia was instituted in honour of him, and of the happy state of things which prevailed, during his reign, in Italy, emphatically called the golden age.2
Janus received divine honours; but neither Saturn, nor he, was ever ranked among the Deities of the first class. Janus must be reckoned among those gods called Indigetes. Besides his having two faces, he was represented with a wand in his hand, as inspector of the public roads; and with a key, as being the inventor of doors. Numa Pompilius erected a temple to him, which was open in time of war, and shut during peace. The invention of crowns and boats was attributed to him; he was also the first who coined copper money. This Prince came from Perhibea, a town of Thessaly, into Italy. He there civilized the manners of the people, who were living in a wild and savage state; and when success had crowned his efforts, gratitude raised altars to his memory.
The ancient statues of Saturn wear chains, in remembrance of those with which his son loaded him. These were taken off during the festival of the Saturnalia, to shew that his reign had been that of happiness and liberty. He is frequently represented under the form of an old man, armed with a scythe, to imply that he presided over the times and seasons. Under this form, he was called Chronos or Time.
Cybele was generally regarded as the mother of the gods, and, on that account, was called Magna Mater — the Great Mother. She had many names, the most common of which are: Dindyméne, Idæa, and Berecynthia, from different mountains, where she was worshiped. She was likewise called Ops and Tellus, as presiding over the earth; and Rhea, from a Greek word, signifying to flow; because all plants, trees, and animals proceed from the earth. The box and pine trees were esteemed sacred to her. History informs us, that Cybele was the daughter of a king of Phrygia, who came from her own country into Italy, where she married Saturn. She was the first who fortified the walls of cities with towers, and she is therefore depicted with a crown of towers on her head.
Cybele is generally represented sitting, to denote the stability of the earth; and bearing a drum or disk, emblematical of the winds confined in the bowels of the earth. She wears a crown of towers, as before mentioned. She has keys in her hand, to signify her keeping, locked up in her bosom, the seeds of every sort of fruit. Her temples were round, in imitation of the form of the earth. The feasts of Cybele were called Megalesia, and her priests Galli, from a river of Phrygia; or Corybantes, from their striking themselves in their dances; or Curetes, from the island Crete, where they brought up Jupiter; or Dactyli, from the Greek word signifying fingers, because they were ten in number, like the fingers. The feasts of this goddess were celebrated with the noise of drums and cymbals, and with frightful yells and cries.3
She had a temple at Rome, called Opertum, into which men were never admitted.
Great guardian queen of Ida’s hills and woods,Supreme, majestic mother of the gods!Whose strong defence proud tow’ring cities share,While roaring lions whirl thy mighty car!Oh! kindly second this auspicious sign,And grace thy Phrygians with thy aid divine.Inspir’d by thee, the combat I require,My bosom kindles, and my soul’s on fire.’s .
Chap. IV. [Vesta, Vestal Virgins.] §
Vesta was the daughter of Saturn; the goddess of fire; emblematical of that pure vital heat, which, being diffused through the frame of Man, enlivens and cherishes him. Numa Pompilius raised an altar to her, and instituted those celebrated priestesses who bore the name of Vestals, or Vestal Virgins.
At first, they were only four in number, but were, afterwards, increased to seven.
The Roman virgins, destined for the service of Vesta, were chosen between the age of six and ten years. The time of their consecration to the goddess lasted thirty years, and it was not till after this term that they were free from their priesthood, and at liberty to marry. During the first ten years, they were instructed in the duties of their profession, practised them during the second ten, and in the last ten years, instructed the novices.
The chief employment of the vestals consisted in constantly maintaining the sacred fire, which burned in honour of Vesta. This fire was renewed by the rays of the sun, yearly, during the kalends of March, or latter part of February.
It was considered as being so important, that when it happened to expire, all public spectacles were forbidden till the crime was expiated.
This event was the subject of general mourning, and considered as a most direful presage. If either of the Vestal virgins had neglected her duty, or violated her vows, nothing could save her from the dreadful death of being buried alive.
It was said to contain, besides the consecrated fire, the Palladium, or sacred image of Minerva, and the Lares and Penates, or household gods, which Æneas saved from the destruction of Troy, and brought to Italy.
It is certain that the worship of Vesta, or of fire, was brought by Æneas from Phrygia; but the Phrygians received it originally from the East. The Chaldeans held fire in great veneration, and worshiped it as an emblem of the Deity. Zoroaster taught the Persians to venerate the Sun as the most glorious image of the Supreme Being, and to regard fire as the most striking emblem of his beneficent influence. The sacred fire, drawn from sun-beams, accompanied the Persian Monarchs in their wars; and their utter abhorrence of any other representation of the Divinity, instigated them to demolish the Grecian temples and statues of the Gods.
Chap. V. [Jupiter.] §
The generality of their philosophers supposed Jupiter the greatest of the Gods, to be the purest air, the æther: and Juno his wife, the grosser air which surrounds the earth.
Those who looked upon him as an animated God, as one of those men whose illustrious actions had procured him divine honours, contradicted themselves most egregiously: sometimes describing him as absolute sovereign of Gods and men; as the principle of all justice; and not unfrequently as the weakest and most criminal of mortals. He was supposed to be the master of the air, the clouds, the thunder and lightning; the God of foresight; the patron of strangers; the guardian of the rights of hospitality; the peculiar judge and protector of sovereigns and magistrates.
Yes; and this circumstance renders his history the more obscure. The first of them, is the Jupiter Ammon of the Libyans, who, there is reason to believe, was Ham, one of the sons of Noah. His temple, the ruins of which are still to be seen, was in an Oasis, or island of verdure, in the desert, west of Egypt. Jupiter Serapis, worshiped in Egypt, is also very ancient. Jupiter Belus, mentioned by Herodotus, was the Jupiter of the Assyrians. In short, almost every nation had its own Jupiter. The Ethiopians called him Assabinus; the Gauls, Taranus; the inhabitants of the lower Nile, Apis. The Romans considered him as the peculiar guardian God of their empire. They styled him Jupiter Capitolinus, from his chief temple on the Capitoline hill; Jupiter Tonans, or Thunderer; Jupiter Fulminans, or Fulgurator, Scatterer of the Lightning, Hurler of the Thunderbolts.
Jupiter having been saved from the devouring fury of his father Saturn, by the address of Rhea his mother, as has before been recounted, and nourished by the milk of the goat Amalthea, delivered his brothers and sisters from prison, made war upon Saturn, and being furnished with thunderbolts by the Cyclops, and aided by Neptune and Pluto, vanquished and precipitated him into the lowest depths of Tartarus. Dividing the empire of the universe into three parts, he retained Heaven for himself, entrusted the Sea to Neptune, and allotted to Pluto the infernal regions.
They almost all agree in regarding it as a confused tradition of the repeopling the world after the deluge, as related in the book of Genesis. Noah divided the earth among his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet. Ham went into Africa: and there is great probability that he was the person afterwards known under the name of Jupiter Ammon. Japhet had for his share the maritime parts of Asia, with the Archipelago and Europe, which caused him to be accounted, in aftertimes, the God of the sea. Shem had the rest of Asia, where the worship of fire became almost general, and this occasioning conflagrations of many cities, procured him the name of God of the infernal Regions.
His father, Saturn, who reigned over a very large empire, being suspicious of his children, caused them all to be confined. Rhea, Jupiter’s mother, had the address to save him, and sent him from Arcadia, where he then was, into Crete, to the recesses of Mount Ida. The Titans revolted against Saturn and imprisoned him; Jupiter leaving Crete, defeated them, re-established his father, and returned victorious. Saturn, again growing jealous of Jupiter, came to attack him in Crete, but being driven back into Greece, and defeated even there, he fled into Italy, where he was kindly received by Janus. Exciting the ‘Titans against his son, and being again beaten, he tied with them into Spain. Jupiter followed them thither, gave them another defeat, and thus terminated the war, after it had lasted ten years. Becoming master of such a mighty empire, he found it necessary to appoint governors to assist him. Of these, Atlas, who was set over the frontiers of Africa, became so famous there, that he gave name to the chain of mountains extending to the sea; which appellation they still retain; and the ocean that washes them was called the Atlantic Ocean. Jupiter ended his days in his favourite island Crete, having lived 120 years, and reigned 60, after the defeat of the Titans.
He was called Jou, that is, young, from being the youngest of Saturn’s sons, and from gaining great reputation in his youth. Afterwards Pater, or father, was added to it; whence was formed Joupater and Jupiter. He was also called Zeus; Optimus Maximus, or the Best, and Greatest; Jove; King of Gods and Men; All-powerful; Diespater, or Father of Day; Pluvius, as commanding the rain. The Thunderer as master of the thunder and lightning.
It was the most solemn of any paid to the heathen Deities; and, among different nations, greatly diversified. The victims most commonly offered to Jupiter were a goat, a sheep, or a white bull, with gilded horns; and, not unfrequently, only flour, salt, or incense. The oak and the olive were consecrated to him. He had three oracles, much celebrated; that of Dodona, that of Trophonius, and that of Ammon, in Lybia.
In their extreme blindness, the heathens, though ascribing to him power, wisdom, and justice, yet intermingled, in his character, many shameful vices and weaknesses of mortality. In his real history, as an earthly monarch, he would have been a truly illustrious Prince, had he not been excessively addicted to pleasure, and indulgent to his vicious passions.
Jupiter was generally represented seated on a throne, under the figure of a majestic man, with a venerable beard. In his right-hand, holding the thunder; in his left, a sceptre made of cypress wood, expressive of durability, and the image of victory; treading the Titans under his feet, and having an eagle near him with extended wings. The upper part of his body was naked, the lower part clothed. The throne denoted the stability of his empire; the upper part of his body, being uncovered, signified that he was visible to superior beings, and the celestial regions, while the long garments robing the lower part, expressed his invisibility to mortals. The sceptre was emblematical of his irresistible power; and the eagle with outstretched wings, of his sovereignty over the heavens.describes him with black eyebrows and curling hair; his head surrounded with clouds, and shaking the heavens with his nod; the eagle placed at his feet; the winged thunderbolt in his hand; by his side, respect and equity; before him, two urns of good and evil, which he distributes at pleasure to mankind. His thunderbolt was composed of hail, rain, fire, and wind, intermixed with lightning, terror, noise, and wrath.
He whose all conscious eyes the world behold,Th’ eternal Thunderer sits enthron’d in gold.High heaven the footstool of his feet he makes,And, wide beneath him, all Olympus shakes.He speaks, and awful bends his sable brows,Shakes his ambrosial curls and gives the nod;The stamp of fate and sanction of the God;High heav’n, with trembling, the dread signal takes,And all Olympus to the centre shakes.’s ’s Iliad.
Then spake th’ almighty Father as he sateEnthron’d in gold; and closed the great debate:Th’ attentive winds a solemn silence keep;The wondering waves lie level on the deep;Earth to the centre shakes; high heav’n is awed,And all th’ immortal pow’rs stand trembling at the God.’s .
Great Jove himself, whom dreadful darkness shrouds,Pavilion’d in the thickness of the clouds,With lightning arm’d, his red right hand puts forth,And shakes, with burning bolts, the solid earth;The nations shrink appall’d; the beasts are fled:All human hearts are sunk and pierc’d with dread;He strikes vast Rhodope’s exalted crown,And hurls huge Athos and Ceraunia down.Thick fall the rains; the wind redoubled roars;The God now smites the woods, and now the sounding shores.’s .
Chap. VI. [Juno.] §
The daughter of Saturn; the sister and wife of Jupiter. She was called by the Greeks Hera, or Mistress: or Megale, the Great. The Romans gave her the name of Juno Matrona, or the Matron; Juno Regina, or the Queen; Juno Moneta, the Admonisher.
Several cities disputed the honour of having given birth to this goddess: principally, Samos, and Argos, where she was more particularly worshiped.
Hebe, Mars, and Vulcan.
She was haughty and jealous, frequently quarreling with her husband Jupiter, and implacable in her anger.
As a majestic woman, seated upon a throne, holding, in one hand, a sceptre, and in the other, a spindle; wearing a radiant crown, and sometimes having her head encircled with a rainbow. Near her was generally placed her favourite bird, the peacock. In her temple at Argos, was her statue of gold and ivory, of prodigious size, above which were placed the Hours and Graces.
This goddess presided over empires and riches, and her worship was very solemn and universal in the heathen world. Young geese, and the hawk, as well as the peacock, were esteemed sacred to her. Of plants, the dittany and poppy were offered to her. In her sacrifices, an ewe lamb was the ordinary victim. She was regarded as the protectress of married women, and invoked by them under the name of Juno Lucina.
Juno’s Chariot.She speaks; Minerva burns to meet the war,And now heav’n’s empress calls her blazing car.At her command rush forth the steeds divine;Rich with immortal gold their trappings shine.Bright Hebe waits; by Hebe ever young,The whirling wheels are to the chariot hung.On the bright axle turns the bidden wheelOf sounding brass; the polished axle, steel.Eight brazen spokes in radiant order flame;The circles gold, of uncorrupted frame,Such as the heavens produce: and round the gold;Two brazen rings of work divine were roll’d.The bossy naves, of solid silver, shone;Braces of gold suspend the moving throne.The car, behind, an arching figure bore;The bending concave form’d an arch before.Silver the beam, th’ extended yoke was gold,And golden reins the immortal coursers hold;Herself, impatient, to the ready carThe coursers joins, and breathes revenge and war.’s ’s Iliad.
She was the blooming Goddess of youth; and was cup-bearer to Jupiter, until by an unfortunate fall, having displeased him, she was deprived of that honour. Ganymede, the beautiful son of Tros, king of Troy, was substituted in her place.
The attendant of Juno, as Mercury was of Jupiter. She is represented as being extremely beautiful; descending upon the rainbow, with expanded wings; a blaze of glory round her head; and clothed in floating robes of brilliant and varying colours. Her peculiar offices were, to convey the commands of Juno; to create dissensions; and to release the souls of females struggling in the pangs of death. She is the personification of the rainbow.
Chap. VII. [Ceres.] §
Ceres was the daughter of Saturn and Cybele, and was supposed to be the first who cultivated the earth.
Pluto, her brother, having carried off her daughter Proserpine, and taken her to the infernal regions, Ceres complained of this act of violence to Jupiter, who decreed that she should go and demand her daughter, and that Pluto should be compelled to restore her, provided she had neither eaten nor drunken during her residence in his dominions. Unfortunately she had taken part of a pomegranate, which was perceived and discovered} by Ascalaphus. This so irritated Ceres that she threw some of the water of Phlegethon into the informer’s face, and changed him into an owl, the harbinger of misfortune. Minerva afterwards took the owl under her protection, because it is a watchful bird and discerns objects in the dark. An allegory, expressive of wisdom, being always vigilant and guarded against surprise.
By the advice of Ascalaphus, Proserpine consented to marry Pluto, which was the cause of much regret to Ceres. Ascalaphus, thereupon, became the object of her vengeance; but his prudence and wisdom engaged Minerva to take him under her protection. Jupiter, to comfort and appease Ceres, ordained that Proserpine should pass only one half of the year in the infernal regions, and the other in heaven. Proserpine was frequently considered as being the moon, and this fable might be intended to express her time of disappearing.
Under that of a tall majestic woman, with yellow hair, surmounted by ears of corn, her right-hand, filled with poppies and wheat, and her left, grasping a lighted torch.
She is the goddess of fruits; for her very name is derived from the care she was supposed to take in producing and preserving the fruits of the earth. She is said to have taught the art of tilling the earth, and sowing corn, and making bread.
Swine, because they destroy the productions of the earth; and garlands, composed of ears of corn, were offered to her. The husbandmen carried through the fields, a sow big with young, or a cow-calf, at the beginning of harvest, with dancing and shouts of joy. One of them, adorned with a crown, sang the praises of Ceres; and after they had offered an oblation of wine mixed with honey and milk, before they began to reap, they sacrificed the sow.
To Ceres bland, her annual rites be paid,On the green turf, beneath the fragrant shade;When winter ends and spring serenely shines,Then fat the lambs, then mellow are the wines:Then sweet are slumbers on the flowery ground;Then with thick shades are lofty mountains crown’d.Let all the hinds bend low at Ceres’ shrine;Mix honey sweet, for her, with milk and mellow wineThrice lead the victim the new fruits around,And Ceres call, and choral hymns resound.Presume not, swains, the ripened grain to reap,Till crowned with oak in antic dance you leap,Invoking Ceres; and in solemn lays,Exalt your rural queen’s immortal praise.’s .
Chap. VIII. Of Apollo and of the Sun. §
The Greeks and Romans confounded the Sun with Apollo; but ancient monuments prove that they should be distinguished from each other.
Apollo is always represented as a young man, having a bow or lyre in his hand; while the Sun is depicted with his head surrounded with rays, holding in one hand a globe.
The adoration of the Sun is the first idolatrous worship known.
The Egyptians, Phenicians, Arabians, and Persians, adored the Sun, long before the Apollo of the Greeks was known. The Chaldeans called him Belus; the Egyptians, Osiris; the Ammonites, Moloch; the Persians, Mythras.
He was considered as ruling over the various changes of the year, attended by the months and hours; he is represented riding in a chariot drawn by four horses, Eous, Pyrois, Ethon, and Phlegon; Greek words, signifying red, luminous, hot, and loving the earth. The first denotes the rising of the Sun, whose rays are then red; the second, the period when he acquires a brighter colour; the third, signifies noon, when he is in all his glory; and the fourth, the time of his setting, when he appears to approach the earth.
The palace of the Sun.The Sun’s bright palace on high columns rais’d,With burnish’d gold and flaming jewels blaz’d.The folding gates diffus’d a silver light,And with a milder gleam refresh’d the sight.Of polish’d iv’ry was the covering wrought,The matter rival’d not the Sculptor’s thought,For in the portal was display’d on high,(The work of Vulcan) a fictitious sky.A waving sea the inferior earth embrac’d,And Gods and Goddesses the water grac’d.On earth, a different landscape courts the eyes,Men, towns, and beasts in distant prospects rise;And nymphs and streams and woods and rural deities.O’er all, the heaven’s refulgent image shines,Oh either gate were six engraven signs.The God sits high exalted on a throneOf blazing gems with purple garments on.The Hours in order, rang’d on either hand,And Days and Months and Years and Ages stand.Here Spring appears with flowery chaplets bound;Here Summer with her wheaten garlands crown’d;Here Autumn the rich trodden grapes besmear,And hoary Winter shivers in the rear.
Chariot and horses of the Sun.A golden axle did the car uphold;Gold was the beam; the wheels were orbed with gold;The spokes in rows of silver pleased the sight,The seat with party-colour’d gems was bright;Apollo shone amid the glare of light:He bade the nimble Hours, without delay,Bring forth the steeds; the nimble Hours obey.From their full racks the gen’rous steeds retire,Dropping ambrosial foam and snorting fire,And now the fiery horses neigh’d aloud,Breathing out flames and pawing where they stood.They spring together forth, and swiftly bearThe bounding car through clouds and yielding air.With winged speed, outstrip the eastern wind,And leave the breezes of the morn behind.’s Metamorphoses,
The Sun was supposed to have many children; the most celebrated of whom were, Aurora, Circe, and Phaeton. Aurora, every morning, opens the gates of heaven, precedes her father, and announces his return. She petitioned the Gods to bestow immortality upon Tithonus, son of Laomedon, king of Troy, whom she had married, forgetting to request perpetual youth to be granted with it. Consequently, Tithonus was burthened with all the infirmities of old age, while Aurora still flourished in full bloom. He intreated Aurora to obtain a reversion of this fatal gift, and permission to die.
This beautiful allegory is intended to paint, in striking colours, the imprudence of many of our wishes, and to shew that were they all to be granted, they would frequently be productive of misery instead of happiness.
In order to prove that he was really the child of the Sun, Phaeton demanded of his father, to drive the chariot of light for one day. The Sun having sworn to grant whatever Phaeton should ask, could not refuse. In vain did he give to the rash youth, the most prudent directions for the management of the horses. They soon perceived the weakness and inexperience of the charioteer: quitted the usual track, and involved earth and heaven in one general conflagration. To save the world from absolute destruction, Jupiter hurled his dreadful thunderbolt, dashed Phaeton lifeless from the car into the river Po, in Italy, and scattered the fiery coursers. His sisters, called the Heliades, or daughters of the Sun, stood weeping in mournful silence round the body of their beloved brother, till they were changed into poplars and their tears became amber. His friend and relative, Cycnus, likewise, died of grief, and was metamorphosed into a swan.
The Fall of Phaeton.Jove call’d to witness every power above,And e’en the God whose son the chariot drove,That what he acts, he is compell’d to do,Or universal ruin must ensue.Straight he ascends the high ethereal throne,Whence fierce he us’d to dart his thunder down;Whence his dread show’rs and storms he used to pour;Then aiming at the youth with lifted handFull at his head he hurl’d the flaming brand,In awful thunderings —At once from life and from the chariot driv’n,The ambitious boy fell thunderstruck from heav’n;The coursers started with a sudden bound,And flung the reins and chariot to the ground:The studded harness from their necks they broke,Here fell a wheel, and here a silver spoke;Here, the bright beam and axle torn away,And scatter’d o’er the earth, the shining fragments lay.The breathless Phaeton, with flaming hair,Shot from the chariot, like a falling star;Till on the Po his blasted corpse was hurl’d,Far from his country in the western world.’s Met.
Circe was a most skilful sorceress, who poisoned her husband, a king of the Sarmatians. For this horrible action, she was banished by her subjects, and flying into Italy, established herself upon the promontory Circeum. She fell in love with Glaucus, a sea god, who, preferring a sea nymph, called Scylla, Circe transformed her into a sea monster, by poisoning the water, in which she was accustomed to bathe. She is said to have changed men into beasts, and to have drawn down the stars from heaven, by her powerful incantations. Circe was the emblem of voluptuousness; which, by this allegory the poets taught, degraded those into brute beasts who became its slaves, although their genius and talents might have been bright, as the stars in the firmament.
Circe.The Palace in a woody vale they found.High rais’d of stone; a shady space around,Where mountain wolves and brindled lions roam,By magic tam’d, familiar to the dome.With gentle blandishment, our men they meet,And wag their tails, and fawning lick their feet.Now on the threshold of the dome they stood,And heard a voice resounding thro’ the wood.Placed at her loom, within, the Goddess sung,The vaulted roofs and solid pavement rung.On thrones around, with downy coverings trac’d,With semblance fair, th’ unhappy men she plac’d.Milk newly press’d, the sacred flour of wheat,And honey fresh and Pramnian wines, the treat.But venom’d was the bread, and mix’d the bowl,With drugs of force to darken all the soul.Soon, in the luscious feast, themselves they lost,And drank oblivion of their native coast.Instant her circling wand the Goddess waves,To hogs transforms them; whom the sty receives.No more was seen the human form divine,Head, face, and members, bristle into swine.Still curst with sense, their minds remain alone,And their own voice affrights them when they groan.’s ’s Odyssey.
Now by rich Circe’s coast they bend their way,Circe, fair daughter of the God of day.A dangerous shore; the echoing forests rung,While at the loom the beauteous Goddess sung,Bright cedar brands supply her father’s rays,Perfume the dome, and round the palace blaze.Here, wolves with howlings scare the naval train,And lions roar, reluctant to the chain.Here, growling bears and swine their ears affright,And break the solemn silence of the night.These once were men; But Circe’s charms confine,In brutal shapes, the human form divine.’s .
Chap. IX. [Apollo.] §
The son of Jupiter and Latona.
Juno, incessantly pursuing her rival Latona, prevailed upon the Earth to afford her no asylum. Upon this, Latona took refuge in a floating island of the Archipelago, called Delos, which was frequently covered by the waves. Moved with compassion for her hapless fate, Neptune secured the island from being inundated, and rooted it firmly in the sea. Therein were born Apollo and Diana, her twin children.
He was called Delos, from the island in which he was born. Phœbus, a word signifying light and life. Pythius, from the dreadful serpent Python, which he killed with his arrows; Cynthius, from Mount Cynthus, in Delos; Delphicus from Delphi: Nomius, or law-giver; and Paean, from his mitigating pain, or from his great skill in hunting.
He was supposed to preside over music, physic, poetry, and rhetoric; to teach the art of divination, or foretelling future events; and that of archery. He was esteemed capable of inflicting, as well as of removing, pestilential disorders. The laurel was dedicated to him.
Among many absurd and immoral actions ascribed to him, as well as to the other heathen divinities, the following exploits are said to have been performed by Apollo. He destroyed the Cyclops, huge one-eyed giants, who forged Jupiter’s thunder-bolts, in order to revenge the death of his son Esculapius, who was killed by thunder, for having, by his great skill in physic, prevented men from dying, and thus depopulated the infernal regions. For this, Apollo was banished from the celestial realms, and forced, for a time, to undergo many trials and difficulties on earth. During his banishment, he invented the harp.
It is asserted by the poets, that he raised the walls of Troy by the music of his harp; and that a stone upon which he laid his lyre, became so melodious, that whenever it was stricken, it sounded like that instrument. Having unfortunately killed a very beautiful boy, called Hyacynthus, by the blow of a quoit, he caused to spring up from his blood, the flower called after his name.
Apollo was challenged to a musical contest by a satyr named Marsyas. He flayed him alive for his presumption, and afterwards metamorphosed him into a river in Phrygia, called, after him, Marsyas.
Midas, king of Phrygia, having determined the victory in favour of the god Pan, who also contended with Apollo for the prize of music, Apollo stretched his ears to the length and shape of asses’ ears, Midas’s barber necessarily discovering the secret, was bribed by him not to publish it; but being unable to retain so great a prodigy, he digged a hole in the earth, and whispering into it this sentence, “Midas has the ears of an ass,” filled it again. The reeds which grew out from the spot, when moved by the wind, uttered the fatal secret, “Midas has the ears of an ass.” A number of other stories, equally ridiculous, are told of Apollo.
She was, with great apparent reluctance, placed by the priests upon the sacred tripod, a kind of three-legged stool. A fit of phrenzy then seemed to seize her. She was violently convulsed, her hair stood erect, her mouth foamed, and whirling rapidly round, she appeared to pronounce involuntarily, frequently in verse, disjointed sentences, which contained the oracle. This was a contrivance of the priests; either by intoxicating the woman, by raising her emotions to a high degree of enthusiasm, or, as it was asserted, by placing her so as to inhale a mephitic vapour, which issued from a cavern under the temple at Delphos.
Phœbus.Phœbus, himself, the rushing battle led;A veil of clouds involv’d his radiant head:High, held before him, Jove’s enormous shieldPortentous shone, and shaded all the field,Vulcan to Jove th’ immortal gift consign’d,To scatter hosts and terrify mankind.As long as Phœbus bears unmov’d the shield,Sits doubtful conquest hovering o’er the field;“But when, aloft, he shakes it in the skies,Shouts in their ears, and lightens in their eyes,‘Deep horror seizes ev’ry Grecian breast,Their force is humbled, and their fear confest.’s ’s Iliad.
Apollo inflicting a pestilence upon the Greeks.Apollo heard. The favouring power attends,And from Olympus’ lofty tops descendsPent was his bow, the Grecian hearts to wound,Pierce as he mov’d his silver shafts resound.Breathing revenge, a sudden night he spread,And gloomy darkness roll’d around his head.The fleet in view, he twang’d his deadly bow;And hissing fly the feather’d fates below.On mules and dogs, the infection first began;And last the vengeful arrows fixed on man.’s ’s Iliad.
Chap. X. The Muses. §
Daughters of Jupiter and Mnemosyne, or memory; mistresses of the sciences, patronesses of poetry and music, companions of Apollo, directresses of the feasts of the gods.
As nine beautiful virgins, sometimes dancing in a ring, around Apollo, sometimes playing on various musical instruments, or engaged in scientific pursuits. They are called Muses, from a Greek word, signifying to meditate, to inquire.
They had, each, a name derived from some particular accomplishment of mind, or branch of science.
The first of the Muses, Clio, derived her name from the Greek word, signifying glory, renown. She presided over history. She was supposed to have invented the lyre, which she is frequently depicted as holding in her hand, together with the plectrum, the instrument with which the ancients struck their harp or lyre.
Thalia presided over comedy. Her name signifies the blooming. She is represented reclining on a pillar, holding in her hand a mask.
Melpomene presided over tragedy. She is generally seen with her hand resting upon the club of Hercules; because the object of tragedy was to represent the brilliant actions, and the misfortunes of heroes.
Euterpe was the patroness of instrumental music. Her name signifies the agreeable. She is always depicted as surrounded with various instruments of music.
Terpsichore, or the amusing, presided over the dance. She has always a smiling countenance; and one foot lightly touching the earth, while the other sports in air.
Erato. Her name is derived from the Greek word signifying love. She is the inspirer or light poetry: and of the triumphs and complaints of lovers.
Polyhymnia, as her name signifies, presides over miscellaneous poetry, and the ode.
Urania, or the heavenly, was esteemed the inventress of astronomy. In her hand she holds a globe, which sometimes appears placed on a tripod, and then she grasps a scale, or a pair of compasses.
Calliope owes her name to the majesty of her voice. She presided over rhetoric and epic poetry.
They had names common to them all. Heliconides, from Mount Helicon in Boeotia. Parnassides, from the mountain Parnassus in Phocis. Citherides, from mount Citheron. Aonides, from the country Aonia. Pierides, from Pieria in Thrace. Pegasides and Hippocrenides, from the famous fountain Hippocrene, formed by a kick of the winged horse Pegasus. Aganippides, from the fountain Aganippe, and Castalides from another fountain, at the foot of Parnassus, called Castalius.
The Muses are frequently represented surrounding Apollo, on Mount Parnassus or Helicon; while Pegasus, with extended wings, springs forwards into the air and at his foot gushes forth the fountain Hippocrene.
Chap. XI. Diana. §
The sister of Apollo, daughter of Jupiter and Latona.
The Egyptians called her Isis. Among the Greeks, Diana or Phebe was honoured under three different characters, and was therefore called the triform Goddess. As a celestial divinity she was Luna, the Moon; as a terrestrial Goddess, Diana, or Dictynna; and in the infernal regions, Hecate.
She was the goddess of chastity, of the chace, and of woods. In heaven, she was supposed to enlighten by her rays; on earth, to restrain the wild animals by her bow and dart; and in the realms below, to keep in awe the shadowy multitudes of ghosts.
Under the figure of a very tall and beautiful young virgin, in a hunting dress; a bow in her hand, a quiver of arrows suspended across her shoulders, and her forehead ornamented with a silver crescent. Sometimes she appears in a chariot of silver, drawn by hinds.
She had two temples famous in history. The first was that of Ephesus, one of the seven wonders of the world. This was burnt to the ground the very day on which Alexander the Great was born. A man, named Erostratus, wishing to make his name immortal, set fire to this magnificent temple; imagining that such an action would necessarily transmit his name to posterity.
It was this temple which is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, by selling silver models of which, the silversmiths of Ephesus made great profit; which, being in danger of losing by the introduction of Christianity, they excited a furious tumult against its first preachers.
The second temple of celebrity was in Taurica Chersonesus. This was infamous for human victims being therein sacrificed to Diana. All strangers, whether landing there, by choice, or driven by storms, were cruelly immolated.
Orestes and Pylades, so celebrated for their extraordinary friendship, killed the high priest Thoas, and brought the statue of the goddess into Italy.
It is full of absurdities not worth noticing. In her, is allegorised the moon, and by the silver chariot, its mild reflected light.
Chap. XII. Bacchus. §
The son of Jupiter and Semele; god of wine.
Sometimes, as an aged man with a venerable beard; sometimes, as a young man with horns, a red face, a body bloated, and puffed up; but more frequently, as most beautiful and effeminate, having long flowing hair. He rides in a chariot drawn by tigers and lions, or lynxes and panthers; his head is crowned with ivy or vine leaves, and in his hand is a thyrsus or javelin, entwined with branches of the same plants, and a cantharus or ancient cup.
Bacchus, from a Greek word, signifying to revel.
Biformis, because he was accounted both bearded and beardless; or, because wine renders some cheerful and gay, and others morose and dull.
Dionysius, from his father Jupiter; or, from the nymphs called Nysæ, by whom he was nursed.
Brisæus, from the use of grapes and honey.
Nictilius, because his feasts were celebrated in the night by torch light.
Euvyhe, an expression signifying well done, son! which his father Jove frequently addressed to him during the war of the Giants and the Gods.
He taught the art of cultivating the vine of making wine; of preparing honey for use. He invented commerce and navigation. Ha brought men from a savage to a civilized state. He subdued India, Phrygia, Egypt, Syria, and all the East. He is said, by the poets of antiquity, to have performed a number of strange absurdities; such as bestowing on Midas, king of Phrygia, to whom Apollo presented the pair of ass’s ears, the fatal gift of turning everything he touched into gold.
In consequence of this, Midas being almost starved to death, entreated the God to deprive him of the dangerous influence. This was effected by his washing in the river Pactolus, which, ever after, retained the reputation of possessing golden streams and golden sands.
The fir, the ivy, the fig, the vine, were consecrated to Bacchus. The goat was slain in his sacrifices, because peculiarly destructive to vines; and the Egyptians immolated swine to his honour.
The various festivals of the God of wine were celebrated, as may well be supposed, with riot and excess. His priestesses, called Bacchantes, Bassarides, Thyades, and Menades, ran wild upon the mountains disguised in tiger skins, with disheveled hair and torches, or thyrsi, in their hands. Nothing could be more absurd, impious, and licentious, than these horrid festivals, which were named Bacchanalia, Dionysia, Triterica, and Orgia; whence riotous meetings are frequently called orgies.
Bacchus.Bacchus, on thee we call, in hymns divine,And hang thy statues on the lofty pine.Hence, plenty ev’ry laughing vineyard fills,Through the deep valleys and the sloping hills.Where’er the God inclines his lovely face,More luscious fruits the rich plantations grace.Then let us Bacchus’ praises duly sing,And consecrated cakes and chargers bring;Dragg’d by their horns, let victim goats expire;And roast on hazel spits before the sacred fire.Come, sacred Sire, with luscious clusters crown’d,Let all the riches of thy reign abound;Each field replete, with blushing autumn, glow,And in deep tides, by thee, the foaming vintage flow.’s .
The best historians,, , and , assert that he was born in Egypt, and educated at Nysa, a city in Arabia Felix; whither he had been sent by his father, Jupiter Ammon. From them it appears that the Bacchus of the Greeks was no other than the famous Osiris, conqueror of India. This Bacchus is supposed, by many learned men, to be Moses. Both are represented as born in Egypt, and exposed in their infancy upon the Nile. Bacchus was educated at Nissa or Nysa, in Arabia, and in the same country Moses passed forty years. Bacchus, when persecuted, retired to the borders of the Red Sea; and Moses fled with the Israelites, from the Egyptian bondage, beyond the same sea. The numerous army of Bacchus, composed of men and women, passed through Arabia in their journey to India. The army of the Jewish legislator, composed of men, women, and children, was obliged to wander in the desert, long before they arrived in Palestine, which, as well as India, is part of the continent of Asia. The fable represents Bacchus with horns, which may be supposed to allude to the light that is said to have shone around the countenance of Moses, who, in old engravings, is frequently represented with horns. Moses received the Jewish law on Mount Sinai. Bacchus was brought up on Mount Nysa. Bacchus, armed with his thyrsus, defeated the giants. The miraculous rod of Moses was the means of destroying the descendants of the giants. Jupiter was said to have sent Bacchus into India to exterminate a sinful nation; and it is recorded, that Moses was commanded, by the true God, to do the same in Palestine. The god Pan gave Bacchus a dog to accompany him in his travels; Caleb, which, in Hebrew, signifies a dog, was the name of the faithful companion of Moses. Bacchus, by striking the earth with his thyrsus, produced rivers of wine. Moses, by striking the rock with his miraculous rod, caused water to gush out to satisfy the raging thirst of the Israelites. Others have regarded Bacchus as being the same with Nimrod, the first ambitious conqueror, and enslaver of men; that mighty hunter before the Lord.
Chap. XIII. Minerva. §
The goddess of wisdom and deliberate courage, and the patroness of the arts.
Jupiter being tormented with an excessive pain in his head, applied to Vulcan to open it with a keen axe; and upon his doing so, Minerva instantly sprang forth, a goddess armed.
As a beautiful woman of threatening aspect, armed with a golden helmet and breast-plate; in her right hand, brandishing a beaming lance; in her left, bearing the buckler, called Egis, from being covered with the skin of the Goat Amalthea, by whose milk Jupiter was nourished; having, as a boss, the terrific head of the Gorgon Medusa, encircled by snakes instead of hair, which turned into stone all who beheld it. A cock, the emblem of valour, stood on one side of her; and on the other, the owl, the emblem of meditation. A crown of olive was entwined around her helmet, because she taught the use of that fruit.
She was called Athena, from being the tutelary goddess of Athens; Pallas, from the Greek word, signifying the brandishing a javelin; Parthenos, or the Virgin; Tritonia, from the lake Triton; Ergatis, the Workwoman, from her having invented various arts, especially weaving and spinning; Glaukopis, or Blue-eyed.
At Athens; where a most magnificent temple was erected in honour of her, which was adorned with her famous statue, made of gold and ivory, by the celebrated Phidias. This temple, the ruins of which still remain; to charm the eye of taste, was called the Parthenon, from her name of Parthenos. There, likewise, the annual festival, called Panathena, was instituted for the same purpose.
The fable relates, that Minerva and Neptune disputing with each other the honour of giving a name to that city, the gods decided that whichsoever produced the most useful gift, should have that privilege. Neptune striking the ground with his trident, a fiery and beautiful horse sprang forth. Minerva produced an olive-tree in full bloom. The deities determined in favour of the latter, who consequently gave her own name to the city.
Of wisdom, prudence, conquest over vice and the passions.
An image of Pallas, which was supposed to have fallen from the skies. This was preserved, with great vigilance, in the citadel of Troy, because an Oracle had declared, that, as long as it remained there, the city would be invincible against all the attacks of its enemies.
Diomed and Ulysses, two of the illustrious Grecian Heroes, contrived to convey the Palladium away by a bold stratagem, and Troy was taken. Eneas the valiant son of Venus, and the great ancestor of the Romans, is said, by some of their writers, to have recovered and brought it with him into Italy. They assert that this celebrated image was deposited in the temple of Vesta, as a pledge of the stability of the empire and dominion of Rome. Hence, the word Palladium is sometimes used figuratively, to signify the preservation or safeguard of any valuable object. As, for example, the palladium of British liberty.
Minerva, arming.Pallas disrobes, her radiant veil untied,With flowers adorn’d, with art diversified;The labour’d veil her heavenly fingers wovePlows on the pavement of the court of Jove.Now heav’n’s dread arms her mighty limbs invest,Jove’s cuirass blazes on her ample breast;Deck’d in sad triumph for the mournful field,O’er her broad shoulders hangs his horrid shield,Dire, black, tremendous! Round the margin roll’d,A fringe of serpents, hissing, guards the gold:Here all the terrors of grim war appear,Here rages Force, here tremble Flight and Fear,Here storm’d Contention, and here Fury frown’d,And the dire orb portentous Gorgon crown’d.The massy golden helm she next assumes,That dreadful nods with four o’er shading plumes;So vast, the broad circumference containsA hundred armies on a hundred plains.The Goddess thus th’ imperial car ascends;Shook by her arm the mighty jav’lin bends,Ponderous and huge, that when her fury burns,Proud tyrants humbles, and whole hosts overturns.Swift at the scourge th’ ethereal coursers fly,While the smooth chariot cuts the liquid sky.Heav’n’s gates spontaneous open to the pow’rs,Heav’n’s golden gates, kept by the winged Hours,Commission’d in alternate watch they stand,The sun’s bright portals and the skies command,Involve in clouds th’ eternal gates of day,Or the dark barrier roll with ease away.The sounding hinges ring: on either sideThe gloomy volumes, pierc’d with light, divide.’s ’s Iliad.
Chap. XIV. Mars, Bellona, Victory. §
The son of Jupiter and Juno, the fierce, inexorable God of war and carnage.
As a formidable armed warrior, breathing death and destruction. He rides in a chariot drawn by horses, which are driven by a distracted woman. Discord flies before them in tattered garments.
Clamour and Anger, Fear and Terror, attend his progress. The dog, for his vigilance in pursuit of prey; the wolf, for his fierceness; the raven, because he follows embattled armies to feast upon the slain; the cock, for his wakefulness, whereby he prevents surprise; are consecrated to the furious God of battle.
Mars; Ares, or injury, calamity; from which name, the hill at Athens, which was the assembling place of that court of judicature so renowned for its justice, was called Areopagus; Gradivus, in peace; Quirinus, in war; Sylvester, when invoked to protect cultivated lands from the ravages of war; and Corythaix, or Shaker of the Helmet.
He had several temples at Rome, and among the Greeks and other warlike nations. His priests, at Rome, were called Salii, and had the care of the Ancilia, or sacred shields.
A shield being found, of a form, till then, unknown, was supposed to have fallen from heaven. The oracle was consulted, and declared that the empire of the world was destined for that city which should preserve this shield.
Numa Pompilius, second king of Rome, in order to secure it from being lost, caused several shields to be made, so exactly like it, that it was almost impossible to distinguish the original. Their form was oval. Their number was twelve; as was that of the priests at first, though afterwards increased to twenty-four.
There were many princes of this name, and almost every nation had its own Mars. The original Mars is supposed to be Belus,
She was the sister of Mars, the goddess of war and cruelty, called by the Greeks Enyo. She is described as preparing the chariot and horses of Mars for battle, and with disheveled hair driving them. She had a temple at Rome, and her priests offered to her, as a sacrifice, blood which flowed from wounds they inflicted upon themselves.
The daughter of Styx and Acheron. She had several temples in Greece and Rome. Games were instituted to her honour. She was represented as flying in air, holding a crown, a branch of palm, a globe; and sometimes she was depicted as an eagle.
Mars and Minerva in battle and discord.Loud clamours rose from various nations round,Mix’d was the murmur and confused the sound.Each host now joins, and each a God inspires,These Mars incites, and chose Minerva fires.Pale flight around, and dreadful terror reign,And Discord, raging, bathes the purple plain.Discord, dire sister of the slaughtering power,Small at her birth, but rising every hour,While scarce the skies her horrid head can bound,She stalks on earth and shakes the world around.The nations bleed where’er her steps she turns,The groan still deepens, and the combat burns.’s ’s Iliad.
Mars wounded.Now rushing fierce, in equal arms appear,The daring Greek; the dreadful God of war.Full at the chief, above his courser’s head,From Mars’ arm th’ enormous weapon fled:Pallas oppos’d her hand, and caus’d to glance,Far from the car, the strong immortal lance.Then threw the force of Tydeus’ warlike son;The javelin hiss’d; the Goddess urg’d it on:“Where the broad cincture girt his armour round,It pierc’d the God: his groin receiv’d the wound.From the rent skin the warrior tugs againThe smoking steel. Mars bellows with the pain;Loud as the roar encount’ring armies yield,When shouting myriads shake the thund’ring field.Both armies start, and trembling gaze around,And earth and heav’n re-echo to the sound.As vapours blown by Auster’s sultry breath,Pregnant with plagues, and shedding seeds of death,Beneath the rage of burning Sirius rise,Choke the parch’d earth and blacken all the skies;In such a cloud the God from combat driv’nHigh o’er the dusty whirlwind scales the heav’n.’s ’s Iliad.
Chap. XV. Venus. §
She is represented by the poets as springing from the froth of the sea. A sea-shell gliding smoothly on the surface of the waves, is wafted by the gentle zephyrs to the foot of Mount Cythera. Here the goddess lands, and as she walks, flowers bloom beneath her feet. The rosy Hours, who were entrusted with her education, receive and conduct her to heaven.
By the Eastern nations she was called Urania and Astarte. By the Greeks, the Romans, and others, Cythera, from the island to which she was first wafted in the sea-shell. Cypria, from Cyprus. Erycina, from mount Eryx, in Sicily. Idalia, from mount Idalus, in Cyprus. Acidalia, from a fountain of that name in Bœotia. Marina and Aphrodita, as produced from the foam of the sea; and Paphia, from Paphos. She had likewise the appellations of Mother; the Victorious; the Laughter-loving Goddess.
She is frequently represented borne in a spacious shell, sporting on the waves of the ocean; Cupids, Nereids, Dolphins, surround her. When she traverses the heavens, her chariot is drawn by doves and swans, accompanied by Cupid and the Graces. She is clothed in a light and airy manner, and wears round her waist the famous Cestus of love, a mysterious girdle, supposed to excite irresistible affection.
Temples were erected to her honour almost every where; but the most beautiful were those of Paphos, Gnidus, Amathus, Cythera, and Idalia. Cyprus was supposed to be her favourite residence. Her worship was various. In some places, only incense was consumed upon her altars; in others, a white goat was sacrificed. Women used frequently to consecrate their hair to this Goddess. The dove and the swan, the rose and the myrtle, were considered as sacred to her.
Venus.She said, and turning round, her neck she shew’d,That with celestial charms divinely glow’d,Her waving locks immortal odours shed,And breath’d ambrosial scents around her head.Her sweeping robe trail’d pompous as she trod,And her majestic port confess’d the God.To the soft Cyprian shores the GoddessTo visit Paphos and her blooming groves;Where to her pow’r a hundred altars rise,And breathing odours scent the balmy skies.Conceal’d, she bathes in consecrated bow’rs,The Graces unguents shed, ambrosial show’rs,Unguents which charm the Gods: She, last, assumesHer splendid robes; and full the Goddess blooms.’s , and ’s ’s Odyssey.
Venus wounded.Meanwhile (his conquest ravish’d from his eyes)The raging chief in chase of Venus flies:No Goddess she, commissioned to the field.Like Pallas, dreadful with her sable shield;Or fierce Bellona thundering at the wall,While flames ascend, and mighty ruins fall.Through breaking ranks his furious course he bends,And at the Goddess his broad lance extends.Through her bright veil the daring weapon drove,The ambrosial veil, which all the Graces wove:Her snowy hand the razing steel profan’d,And the transparent skin with crimson stain’d.From the clear vein a stream immortal flow’d,Such stream as issues from a wounded God;Pure emanation! uncorrupted flood:Unlike our gross, diseas’d terrestrial blood.’s ’s Iliad.
An allegorical representation, or emblem, of the passion of love. He was generally painted as a beautiful winged boy, with a bow and arrows, and very often with a bandage over his eyes. Ancient statues and intaglios sometimes represent him bestriding the back of a lion, and playing on a lyre; whilst the fierce savage turning his head, seems to listen to its harmonious chords.
Sometimes he appears mounted on a dolphin; and sometimes he is represented as breaking the winged thunderbolt of Jove. He was the son of Venus; his wife was Psyche; a Greek word, signifying Spirit, or Soul.
They were supposed to give its attractive charms to beauty of every kind, and to dispense the gift of pleasing. They were supposed by some, to be the daughters of Jupiter and Juno; by others, of Jupiter and Eurynome; but the most general opinion was, that they were daughters of Venus and Bacchus: they were represented sometimes as being three, and sometimes four, in number; named Aglaia, Thalia, Euphrosyne, Pasithea. They were painted as beautiful young virgins, crowned with flowers, ears of corn, grapes, and olive branches; lightly drest in gauze robes, and in elegant attitudes.
The towns of Perinthe, Byzantium, Delphi, and many others in Greece and Thrace, raised temples to their honour. They presided also over friendship and gratitude; and were worshiped as pure and innocent.
Chap. XVI. Vulcan. §
It appears that there were three of the name of Vulcan. The first was Tubalcain, mentioned byas the inventor of forging metals. The second was one of the Egyptian kings, or rather, their first divinity. The third, the Grecian Vulcan, was a Titan prince, son of Jupiter, obliged, by disgrace, to take refuge in the Isle of Lemnos, where he established the art of working iron and brass.
He was said by the poets to be the son of Jupiter and Juno. For having made the formidable thunderbolts, which Jupiter hurled at the giants attempting to scale the celestial region, Venus was bestowed upon him as a wife. Afterwards, misbehaving himself, Jupiter, with one kick of his foot, precipitated him from heaven. He fell upon the island of Lemnos, and was crippled by his fall. In the caves of that isle, and in the immense subterraneans of Mount Etna, he was supposed to follow his profession, assisted by the Cyclops, Giants with only one eye, and that in the middle of their foreheads.
Vulcan.Meanwhile the silver-footed dameReach’d the Vulcanian dome, eternal frame!High eminent amid the works divine,Where Heav’n’s far-beaming brazen mansions shine.There, the lame architect, the Goddess found,Obscure in smoke, his forges flaming round,While, bathed in sweat, from lire to fire he flew;And puffing loud, the roaring bellows blew.Then from his anvil the lame artist rose;Wide with distorted legs oblique he goes,And stills the bellows, and (in order laid)Locks in their chests his instruments of trade.Then with a sponge the sooty workman drestHis brawny arms imbrown’d, and hairy breast.With his huge sceptre grac’d, and red attire,Came halting forth the sov’reign of the fire:The monarch’s steps two female forms uphold.That mov’d, and breath’d, in animated gold;To whom were voice, and sense, and science giv’nOf works divine (such wonders are in heav’n!)’s ’s Iliad.
He was the God of fire; the inventor and patron of the art of fabricating arms and utensils from metals. The famous palace of the Sun, the armour of Achilles and Eneas; the elegant necklace of Hermione; the beautiful crown of Ariadne; an animated brazen dog, and a woman of the same metal, who was likewise endowed with life by the fire which Prometheus stole from the chariot of the sun; these, all, were works of his art.
Besides Vulcan, he was called Lemnius, Mulciber, and Tardipes.
At Athens and Rome, festivals were kept to his honour. Upon Mount Etna, a temple was dedicated to him, which was guarded by dogs, whose sense of smelling was said to be so exquisite, as to enable them to discern whether those who came thither were virtuous of vicious, and who fawned upon, or drove them away accordingly. The Romans in their most solemn treaties, invoked Vulcan the avenger; and the assemblies in which they discussed the most important affairs, were held in the temple of Vulcan. At Memphis, in Egypt, also, was a most magnificent edifice raised in honour of this God, before which stood a colossal statue seventy feet high.
Erictheus, fourth king of Athens, was his son, as were likewise Cacus, a horrid monster of cruelty, killed by Hercules, and Cœculus, a fierce and violent robber.
They were the workmen of Vulcan, and made Jove’s thunderbolts. By some, they are said to be sons of Neptune, by others, of Cœlus and Terra. The chief of them were Brontes, Steropes, and Pyracmon.
The Cyclops.Amid th’ Hesperian and Sicilian flood,All black with smoke, a rocky island stood,The dark Vulcanian land the region of the God.Here the grim Cyclops ply, in vaults profound,The huge Æolian forge that thunders round.Th’ eternal anvils ring, the dungeon o’er;From side to side the fiery caverns roar.Loud groans the mass beneath their ponderous blows,Fierce burns the flame, and the full furnace glows.To this dark region, from the bright abode,With speed impetuous, flew the fiery God.Th’ alternate blows the brawny brethren deal;Thick burst the sparkles from the tortur’d steel.Huge strokes, rough Steropes and Brontes gave,And strong Pyracmon shook the gloomy cave.Before their sovereign came, the Cyclops stroveWith eager speed, to forge a bolt for Jove,Such as by heaven’s almighty lord are hurl’d,All charg’d with vengeance, on a guilty world.Beneath their hands, tremendous to survey!Half rough, half form’d, the dreadful engine lay:Three points of rain, three forks of hail conspire,Three arm’d with wind; and three were barb’d with fire.The mass they temper’d thick with livid rays,Fear, Wrath, and Terror, and the lightning’s blaze.’s .
Chap. XVII. Mercury. §
There were two of that name; the Egyptian, and the Grecian Mercury. The most ancient of them, was the Thaut or Thot of the Egyptians, contemporary with Osiris. We meet with scarcely any personage in the ancient world more celebrated for great knowledge and admirable talents. To him the Egyptians were indebted for the flourishing state of their arts and commerce. He taught them geometry, and hieroglyphical characters.
He reformed their language; invented letters; regulated the harmony of their style; instructed them in astronomy; invented the lyre: and from his being the first who paid particular attention to eloquence, had the name of Hermes given to him, He is said to have left forty-two volumes of his works. These famous books have long been lost, and all that is known of them, is, that the first thirty-six contained the whole of the Egyptian philosophy, and the other six treated of medicine, surgery, and anatomy.
The son of Jupiter and Maia; the God of eloquence, of arts and sciences, and the messenger of Jupiter. He was the inventor of weights and measures, and conducted departing spirits to the infernal regions.
Mercury, from Mercatura, Commerce; Hermes, as the inventor of eloquence; Cyllenius, from Mount Cyllene, where he was born. Nomius, from his inventing laws. Camillus, from his office of minister to the Gods; and Vialis, because he presided over the formation of roads.
As a young man with a cheerful countenance, and lively eyes; wings were fixed to his cap and to his sandals; and in his hand was the caduceus, a wand, round which were entwined two serpents. The Egyptians gave him a face partly dark, and partly bright; to signify his being employed sometimes in heaven and sometimes in the infernal regions. His statues were frequently placed in the high roads, to point out the way to travellers.
Mercury.——— The God who mounts the winged winds,Fast to his feet the golden pinions binds,That high through fields of air his flight sustain,O’er the wide earth, and o’er the boundless main.He grasps the wand that causes sleep to fly,Or in soft slumbers seals the wakeful eye;Then shoots from heav’n to high Pieria’s steep,And stoops incumbent on the rolling deep.’s Odyssey — .
Mercury and Atlas.Swift at the word, the duteous Son of MayPrepares th’ almighty’s orders to obey;First, round his feet the golden wings he bound,That speed his progress o’er the seas profound,And earth’s unmeasur’d regions as he flies,Wrapt in a rapid whirlwind, down the skies.Then grasp’d the wand; the wand that calls the ghostsFrom hell, or drives ’em to the Stygian coasts,Invites, or chases, sleep with wond’rous pow’r,And opes those eyes that death had seal’d before.Thus arm’d, on wings of wind sublimely rodeThro’ heaps of opening clouds the flying God.From far, huge Atlas’ rocky sides he spies,Atlas, whose head supports the starry skies:Beat by the winds and driving rains, he shroudsHis shady forehead in surrounding clouds;With ice, his horrid beard is crusted o’er;From his bleak brows, the gushing torrents pour;Out-spread, his mighty shoulders heave belowThe hoary piles of everlasting snow,’s .
Chap. XVIII. Divinities of the Sea and Rivers. §
Each river and fountain had its peculiar Divinity. The Egyptians held the Sea in abhorrence, and reserved all their veneration for their famous river Nile. The Indians paid divine honours to the Ganges, which, to this day, is accounted sacred by the Hindoos. Oceanus and Nereus, personifications of the ocean; and their daughters, seventy-two Oceanides, and fifty Nereides; and three thousand aquatic nymphs, were regarded as Divinities.
The son of Cœlus and Terra. He was justly regarded as the principal marine Divinity, as he represents the vast collection of waters which gird the earth. From him sprang Nereus and Doris, and from them the various tribes of water nymphs. Oceanus was represented as an old man sitting upon the waves, holding a pike, and near him a sea monster of indescribable form.
The son of Saturn, brother of Jupiter. In the division of their father’s kingdom, the empire of the seas fell to his share. He was worshiped as the god of the seas. Amphitrite was his wife. He was represented with black hair and blue eyes, standing erect in a chariot formed of a vast shell drawn by seahorses; clothed in an azure mantle, and holding in his hand the trident which commanded the waves. Around him played the sea nymphs, and the Tritons sounding their trumpet of shells.
Besides Neptune, the Greeks called him Poseidon; and the Romans, Consus, the God of Counsel. These latter called the games which they celebrated to his honour Consualia, when the horses and mules were exempted from labour, and crowned with garlands of flowers.
He presided over the training of horses, having produced that animal by stamping his foot upon the ground, when he contested with Minerva the honour of giving a name to the city of Athens.
He was the ruler of the waters; the God of ships and of all maritime affairs, and his supreme command could raise the stormy waves, or calm the wildest fury of the tempest.
The Gods descending to battle.But when the Pow’rs, descending, swell the fight,Then tumult rises; Rage and pale Affright,Vary each face; then Discord sounds alarms;Earth echoes and the nations rush to arms.Now, through the trembling shores Minerva calls,And now, she thunders from the Grecian walls.Mars, hovering o’er his Troy, his terror shroudsIn gloomy tempests, and a night of clouds.Now, through each Trojan heart he fury pours,With voice divine from Ilion’s topmost tow’rs;Now, shouts to Simois from her beauteous hill;The mountain shakes, the rapid stream stands still.Above, the Sire of Gods his thunder rolls,And peals on peals, redoubled, rend the poles.Beneath, stern Neptune shakes the solid ground;The forests wave, the mountains nod around.Through all their summits, tremble Ida’s woods;And from their sources, boil their hundred floods.Troy’s turrets totter on the rocking plain;And the toss’d navies beat the heaving main.Deep in the dismal regions of the dead,Th’ infernal monarch rears his horrid headLeaps from his throne, lest Neptune’s arm should layHis dark dominions open to the day,And pour in light on Pluto’s drear abodes,Abhorred by men and dreadful ev’n to Gods.’s ’s Iliad.
Juno, Neptune, and Pallas, overthrowing Troy.Where yon rude piles of shattered ramparts rise,Stone rent from stone, in dreadful ruin lies,And black with rolling smoke the dusty whirlwind fliesThere, Neptune’s trident breaks the bulwarks down,There, from her basis heaves the trembling town;Heav’n’s awful queen, to urge the Trojan fate,Here, storms tremendous at the Scæan gate:Radiant in arms the furious goddess stands,And from the navy calls her Argive bands.On yon high tow’r, the martial maid behold,With her dread Gorgon, blaze in clouds of gold.And lo! the Gods with dreadful faces frown’d,And lower’d, majestically stern, around.Then, fell proud Ilion’s bulwarks, tow’rs, and spires;Then, Troy, though rais’d by Neptune, sunk in fires.’s .
The most remarkable of them were, Polyphemus, one of the Cyclops; a dreadful giant, who resided in Sicily, and devoured those human beings who were so unfortunate as to fall into his hands; Phorcus, father of the terrible Gorgons; Proteus, and Triton.
Polyphemus.Scarce had he said; when lo! th’ enormous swain,Huge Polyphemus, ’midst his fleecy train,A bulk prodigious! from the mountain’s brow,Descends terrific to the shore below:A monster grim, tremendous, vast and high;His front deform’d, and quench’d his blazing eye!His huge hand held a pine, tall, large, and strong,To guide his footsteps as he towers along.His flock attends, the only joy he knows;H is pipe around his neck, the solace of his woes.Soon as the giant reach’d the deeper flood,With many a groan, he cleansed the gather’d bloodFrom his bor’d eye-ball, in the briny main,And, bellowing, grinds his teeth in agonizing pain:Then, stalks enormous through the midmost tides,And scarce the topmost surges reach his sides.’s .
Chap. XIX. [Tritons, Syrens, Proteus, &c.] §
They were imaginary sea animals, the upper part of whose bodies was supposed to resemble that of man; the lower part that of the dolphin. The first of them was the son of Neptune and Amphitrite. This Triton, being the trumpeter of Neptune, terrified the giants in their war with the Gods, by the sound of his instrument.
They are represented as beautiful young females inhabiting the rocks on the coast of Sicily. The charms of their singing allured mariners to approach the dangerous shore, which proved their destruction. They were supposed to have uncommonly melodious voices, and to touch the lyre in a most enchanting manner.
A son of Neptune, who was entrusted with the care of his flocks, consisting of sea calves and other marine animals. He is represented by the poets, as possessing the faculty of changing himself into whatever forms he chose. Hence, a fickle person is frequently called a Proteus. History makes mention of a Proteus, king of Egypt, about the time of the Trojan war, who was illustrious for his secrecy, wisdom, and foresight.
Proteus.Now, thronging quick, to bask in open air,The flocks of ocean to the strand repair.Couch’d on the sunny sand, the monsters sleep;Then Proteus mounting from the hoary deep,Surveys his charge unknowing of deceit.Pleas’d with the false review secure he lies,And leaden slumbers press his drooping eyes,Shouting we seize the God; our force to evade,His various arts he summons to his aid.A lion now, he curls a surgy mane;Sudden, our bands a spotted pard retain,Then arm’d with tusks, and lightning in his eyes,A boar’s obscener shape the God belies.On spiry volumes, there, a dragon rides;Here, from our strict embrace, a stream he glides.And, last, sublime his stately growth he rearsA tree and well dissembled foliage wears.’s ’s Odyssey.
They were mortals changed into sea Gods, by some extraordinary influence. Egeon is spoken of, as a formidable giant, who issued from the sea, to assist the Titans against Jupiter, but being vanquished by Neptune, was forced to take refuge in the deepest recesses of the ocean.
The former was supposed to have been a most beautiful woman, who, having excited the jealousy of Neptune’s wife Amphitrite, was changed by her into a dreadful sea monster. She is represented as having six necks, and as many terrific heads: as rising suddenly from the dark abyss of waters, and sweeping off, at one tremendous stoop, six men together, from the deck of any passing vessel. Charybdis was said to have been a formidable woman, who used to plunder travellers, but was killed at last by Hercules. These were mere personifications of the dangerous rocks, and of the whirlpool between Reggio and Messina, on the coast of Sicily.
Scylla and Charybdis.Now, through the rocks, appall’d with deep dismay,We bend our course, and stem the desperate way:Dire Scylla, there, a scene of horror forms,And, here, Charybdis fills the deep with storms.When the tide gushes from her rumbling caves,The rough rock roars; tumultuous boil the waves;They toss, they foam, and wild confusion raise,Like waters bubbling o’er the fiery blaze.When in her gulfs the rushing sea subsides,She drams the ocean with refulgent tides;The rock rebellows with a thund’ring sound,Deep, wond’rous deep below, appears the ground.Struck with despair, with trembling hearts we view’dThe yawning dungeon and the tumbling floodWhen, lo, fierce Scylla stoop’d to seize her prey,Stretch’d her dire jaws and swept six men away,Chiefs of renown: loud echoing shrieks arise,I turn and view them, quiv’ring in the skies,They call us, and with outstretch’d arms implore,In vain they call; those arms are stretch’d no more.In the wide dungeon, she devours her food,And the flesh trembles, while she churns the blood.’s ’s Odyssey.
Sea birds, who were supposed to build their nests upon the waves, and to calm their violence by their presence. Halcyone, wife of Ceyx, king of Trachinia, seeing the corpse of her husband (who had been shipwrecked on his return from consulting the oracle of Delphi) driven on shore by the tide, threw herself into the sea. The Gods, pitying their unhappy fate, changed them into the birds called Halcyons, and imparted to them the power of stilling the waves.
Those who presided over rivers and waters, were named Naiades; those who resided in marshes, Lymniades. The wood nymphs were called Dryades and Hamadryades. The nymphs of the mountains, Oreades. Milk, honey, oil, and sometimes goats, were sacrificed to their honour.
Chap. XX. [Eolus, Demogorgon, Bona Dea, Terminus.] §
A son of Jupiter God of the winds and tempests; which he was supposed to retain in a vast cave, or to set at liberty, at his own will, or at the command of his father.
Boreas, the north wind; Auster, the south; Eurus, the east; and Zephyrus, the west wind.
He lived in the time of the Trojan War, and reigned over the Eolian islands, called, before, the Vulcanian. Eolus possessing penetration and foresight superior to his contemporaries, by frequently foretelling the approach of storms, seemed to them to be something more than mortal. By attentively observing the direction in which the smoke of volcanoes was driven by the winds, he learnt to distinguish those which blew most violently, and were of longest duration.
His descendants sent colonies into Asia Minor, and afterwards passed over into Italy.
Eolus.Thus fir’d with rage and vengeance, now she flies,To dark Æolia from the distant skies,Impregnated with storms; whose tyrant bindsThe blust’ring tempests, and reluctant winds.Their rage, imperial Æolus restrainsWith rocky dungeons, and enormous chains,The bellowing brethren, in the mountain pent,Roar round the cave, and struggle for a vent.From his high throne, their fury to assuage,He shakes his sceptre, and controls their rage;Or, down the void, their rapid whirls had drivenEarth, air, and ocean, and the tow’rs of heaven.But Jove, the mighty ruin to prevent,In gloomy caves th’ aerial captives pent;O’er their wild rage the pond’rous rocks he spread,And hurl’d huge heaps of mountains on their head \And gave a king, commission’d to restrain,And curb the tempest, or to loose the rein.
This allegorical Divinity was the genius of the earth. Such fear and veneration did his name inspire, that no one durst pronounce it aloud. Philosophers regarded this Deity as the spirit of heat, the life and support of plants, but he was reverenced by the people at large, as a real being. His figure was that of a dirty old man, pale and disfigured, covered with moss, and residing in the bowels of the earth.
Weary and disgusted with his dismal abode, Demogorgon formed a ball, seated himself upon it, and rising into the air, fixed the limits of the earth, and created the heavens. Passing over the Acroceraunian mountains which emitted fire, he took from them some flaming matter, with which he made the sun; he then placed it in the heavens to illumine the earth. From him proceeded Tartarus and Nox.
The names of Ops and Tellus were indifferently applied to the earth; and frequently also the appellations of the Goddesses, Vesta, Ceres, Proserpine, Rhea, Diana, and Cybele.
It was celebrated by the Romans in honour of the earth, with the utmost magnificence and attention. The house, in which it was performed, was superbly adorned, and the apartments splendidly illuminated. They were extremely cautious to prevent the presence of any male animal. The master of the house, his sons, his men-servants, were excluded; all the windows carefully closed, and even the pictures of males were veiled.
Numa, finding the laws which he had established for the security of property insufficient, persuaded the Romans that there existed a God, the guardian of boundaries, and the avenger of usurpation. He built a temple to him upon the Tarpeian Mountain, instituted feasts to his honour, and prescribed the form of his worship. He was represented under the form of an immoveable rock. Milk, cakes, and fruit, were offered to him, and his image was crowned with flowers and rubbed with oil.
Chap. XXI. [Flora, Pomona, Priapus, Pales, Rural Divinities.] §
Flora was the wife of Zephyrus, the Goddess of flowers; in honour of whom the Romans celebrated games.
The goddess of orchards, married to Vertumnus. The supposed skill of this goddess in the cultivation of fruit-trees and gardens, procured for her great reputation among the Romans, who placed her in the Pantheon. Pomona was represented under the form of a beautiful young woman sitting upon a basket of fruit; and near her, stood Vertumnus in the figure of a young man, holding fruit in one hand, and in the other, the horn of plenty.
He was considered likewise as the God of gardens. He was accounted the son of Venus and Bacchus; and his image, a most hideous mis-shapen figure, was set up to frighten away birds and thieves. The eastern nations worshiped him under the name of Baal Peor.
Pales was the goddess of shepherds and protectress of flocks. Her feasts, called Palilia or Parilia, were celebrated in the month of April, on which occasion, no victim was killed, and nothing offered but the fruits of the earth. The shepherds purified their flocks with the smoke of sulphur, olive wood, box, laurel, and rosemary. They then made a fire of straw, round which they danced; and, afterwards, presented to the goddess, milk, cheese, prepared wine, and millet cakes! It was during this feast, they celebrated the founding of Rome.
Anna Perenna, nearly the same as Pales; Bubona, goddess of herdsmen; Mellona, of bees; Seisa, protectress of corn when in the ground; Segesta, during the harvest; Tutelina when stored; and Robigus, who was invoked to preserve it from the mildew. Bonus Eventus, Good Success, was placed in the capital and honoured with a statue from the hand of Praxiteles. Populonia protected the fruits of the earth from hail and lightning. Pilumnus presided over the grinding of corn and Picumnus over the manuring of lands.
Hippona was the Goddess of horses and stables; and Collina of hills; while Jugatinus presided over hillocks. These were all invented by the Romans, and are not to be met with among the Grecian Deities.
The Satyrs, Fauns, and Egipans, were rural divinities, supposed to inhabit forests and mountains. They were represented as half men and half goats,
Chap. XXII. [Pan.] §
The God Pan held a principal place among the most ancient divinities. By the poets, he is said to be the son of Jupiter and Calista, or of Mercury and Penelope. Fie was represented under the form of a satyr, half man and half goat, holding in his hand the rural pipe, invented by him, and called Syrinx. He was generally venerated by the Arcadians, as the head of all the rural Deities. In the month of February, the Romans celebrated his feasts, which they called Lupercalia from the place consecrated to him, being supposed to be the same, where Romulus and Remus were suckled by the wolf, in Latin lupus. His priests were called Luperci. Pan was also regarded as the inspirer of sudden unfounded fright and terror; especially of the unaccountable consternation which sometimes turned armies to flight. The Athenians had a statue of him, like that of Mars. And in some antique gems and sculptures, his figure is nearly as formidable as that of Medusa.
It was extremely ancient. The Egyptians worshiping the sun as Osiris, and the moon as Isis, and the several parts of the universe under various names, adored the whole collectively, under a figure half man, and half other animals. To this deity the Greeks gave the appellation of Pan, that is, in their language, the whole.
The poets relate that Pan was successively in love with the nymphs Echo, Syrinx, and Pithy s. Echo preferred the beautiful Narcissus; who, seeing his own image in a fountain, was so captivated with it, that he remained gazing there, till he languished and died. Echo pined away with grief, but peing immortal, preserved her voice, repeating every sound which reached her. Syrinx was a nymph in the train of Diana, and, when pursued by Pan, fled for refuge to the river Ladon, her father, who changed her into a reed. Pan, observing that the reeds, when agitated by the wind, emitted a pleasing sound, connected some of them together, formed of them the rural pipe, and named it Syrinx. Pithys was more favourable to the God, but Boreas being jealous of this preference, with his powerful blast, precipitated her from a rock. While falling, she was changed into a pine tree, which was afterwards sacred to Pan.
Milk and honey were offered to this Deity
Chap. XXIII. [Silenus, Lares, Penates, Genii, &c.] §
He was the chief of the satyrs, the foster-father of Bacchus. The poets say that he was born at Malea. They represented him as an old man with a bald head, a flat nose, large ears, and every mark of intemperance. He was generally seen accompanying Bacchus, riding upon an ass, but so intoxicated, as to be almost incapable of keeping his seat. Historians give a different account of him. They say that he was a philosopher of great wisdom and learning, who accompanied Bacchus in his expedition to India, and was his principal counsellor.
Gods presiding over empires, cities, highways, houses, and individuals. Among these Divinities, were ranked the souls of them who had faithfully served the state; and families placed among them the spirits of their departed friends and relations. They were esteemed as the guardians of houses. They were worshiped, under the figure of small images of human form, and were kept in the most retired part of the edifices. Lamps, the symbols of vigilance, were consecrated to them, and that faithful domestic animal, the dog, was their sacrifice. When infants quitted one of their first ornaments, called the Bulla, it was deposited before the feet of these domestic Deities. During the public feasts of these Lares and Penates, small waxen images were suspended in the streets, and they were intreated, upon these alone, to lay the weight of their displeasure, if offended. The Romans supposed them to be descendants of Jupiter and Larmida.
They were likewise ranked in the number of these domestic Divinities. Every man was supposed to have two, accompanying him; one, the author of his happiness, the other, of his misery. They were represented as young men, holding, in one hand, a drinking vessel, and in the other, a horn of plenty. Sometimes they were depicted under the form of serpents. The forehead was peculiarly consecrated to them. It was the universal custom to invoke these Genii on birth-days. The ground was strewed with flowers; and wine was offered to them in cups. The opinion prevailed that the universe abounded in spirits, presiding over its various parts and movements.speaks of Gnomes, Sylphs, and Salamanders, the first inhabiting the earth; the second, the air; the third, the fire.
Chap XXIV. [Infernal Regions.] §
Before the entrance of the infernal regions, called Avernus, was stationed a host of dreadful forms; diseases, terror, old age, hunger, sleep, death, war, discord, and the furies, the avengers of guilt, with snaky hair, and whips of scorpions. Near this dismal cavern is the road to the river Acheron, whither resort the departed spirits, in order to pass over. Charon4, the aged, surly, boat- man, receives those into his bark who had been honoured with funeral rites, but rejects inexorably those who have not; and they are condemned to wander for a whole century on its solitary shores. On the other side of the river, is the gate leading to the palace of Pluto, the sovereign of these dreary realms, which is guarded by Cerberus, an enormous dog with three heads, one of which is always upon the watch5. Within this seat of horror are seen first, the souls of infants who expired as soon as born; then those who are put to death unjustly, or who killed themselves. Beyond them, wandering in myrtle groves, are the victims to love and despair. Then succeed the abodes of heroes. Not far from them, is seen the dread tribunal, where Minos, Eacus, and Rhadamanthus administer strict justice, and pass the irreversible sentence. Then Tartarus, the tremendous prison, surrounded by three massy walls, having three gates of solid brass, round which the flaming Phlegethon rolls his waves of fire, and Cocytus extends his stagnant marsh. Here likewise is the river Styx, by which if the Gods swore, their oath was inviolable; and Lethe, whose waters, when tasted, produced forgetfulness of past events.
Infernal Regions.At hell’s dread mouth a thousand monsters wait;Grief weeps, and Vengeance bellows in the gate:Base Want, low Fear, and Famine’s lawless rage,And pale Disease, and slow repining Age.Fierce formidable fiends! the portal keep;With Pain, Toil, Death, and Death’s half-brother Sleep.There, joys embitter’d with remorse, appear;Daughters of Guilt! here, storms destructive War;Mad Discord there, her snaky tresses tore;Here, stretch’d on iron beds, the Furies roar.Full in the midst, a spreading elm display’dHis aged arms, and cast a mighty shade.Each trembling leaf, with some light vision teems,And heaves, impregnated with airy dreams.
The Elysian Fields, the abodes of the virtuous, are crowned with eternal spring and immortal beauty.
From the funeral rites of the Egyptians. A priest, answering to the Grecian Mercury; took charge of the body, immediately after death. Another, who wore a mask resembling three heads, like those ascribed to Cerberus, ferried it over the Nile, to Heliopolis, he city of the Sun. The Elysian fields were the beautiful plains surrounding the lake Acherusa, near Memphis. But before the corpse was thus wafted over the river, a tribunal of forty judges assembled, before whom, any, who thought themselves injured by the deceased, might bring forward their accusations. If the charges were proved, the rites of interment were refused; but if not, the accuser was liable to a heavy punishment, and the body was conveyed to the Elysian fields, accompanied by the applauses of the attendants. Even their monarchs were not exempted from this judgment.
The Poets describe the Elysian fields, the abodes of heroes and virtuous characters, as adorned with all the beauties of nature, which can sooth and delight the mind. Hills, covered with fragrant shrubs, delicious valleys, flowery plains, shady groves, lucid streams, mild and balmy air, and unclouded gentle sunshine, all conspire to render the Elysian fields the seats of happiness and tranquillity. Their possessors are represented as employed in those pursuits, and enjoying those gratifications, which pleased them most, during life.
Elysian fields.These rites complete, they reach the flowery plains,The verdant groves where pleasure endless reigns.Here glowing æther shoots a purple ray.And o’er the region pours a double day.From sky to sky th’ unwearied splendour runs,And nobler planets roll round brighter suns.Some wrestle on the sands; and some in play,And games heroic, pass the hours away.Those raise the song divine, and these advance,In measur’d steps, to form the solemn dance.Others, beneath a laurel grove, were laid,And, joyful, feasted in the fragrant shade.Here, glittering through the trees, his eyes surveyThe streams of Po descending from the day.Here, a blest train advance along the meads,And snowy wreaths adorn their graceful heads:Patriots, who perish’d for their country’s right,Or nobly triumph’d in the field of fight:There, holy priests, and sacred poets stood,Who sang with all the raptures of a God:Worthies, -who life by useful arts refin’d;With those, who leave a deathless name behind,Friends of the world, and fathers of mankind.
Chap. XXV. [Pluto, Proserpina, Plutus.] §
Pluto, the supreme ruler of the infernal regions, was the third son of Saturn and Ops.
His principal names were Dis, signifying riches; Hades; Urgus, derived from the Latin word, to impel; Februus, from the word expressing the purifications which were practised in funeral rites; Orcus, Quietus, and Summanus.
Sometimes seated on a throne, surrounded with gloomy darkness; his countenance severe and frowning; in his hand a two-pronged fork, or a key, emblematical of the impossibility of returning from his dominions; his head crowned with the flowers of the Narcissus, or with Cypress or Ebony. Sometimes he is seen in a black chariot, drawn by black horses, a helmet on his head, which has the power of rendering him invisible. The victims offered to him were generally black sheep.
The daughter of Ceres, whom Pluto carried off and married, in the manner which has been already related in the history of Ceres.
The son of Ceres and Jason; the God of riches, who was represented as blind, to signify that riches are dispensed indifferently to the good and the wicked.
When the souls left the bodies which they animated, they were conducted by Mercury, either to Tartarus, or the Elysian fields; the wicked to the former, the virtuous to the latter.
It was almost universally believed, that after remaining a thousand years in that abode, the souls returned to earth, and animated other bodies, either of men or animals. Before they quitted the infernal regions, they drank of the waters of Lethe, which made them forget all past events.
This idea was derived likewise from the Egyptians, and in imitation of them,, , and other poets, introduced it into their writings.
Chap. XXVI. [Judges of the Infernal Regions, Furies, Fates, Nemesis, Manes, Nox, Somnus, Mors.] §
Minos, son of Jupiter, and king of Crete, was supreme judge. Rhadamanthus, son of Jupiter and Europa, was judge of the Asiatics. Eacus, son of Jupiter and Egina, was appointed to judge the Europeans. The tribunal stood in a place called the Field of Truth, which falsehood and calumny could never approach.
They were three in number; Tisiphone6, Megæra, and Alecto7. They were accounted to be the daughters of Acheron and Nox. Their names signify rage, slaughter, and envy. They are represented with torches in their hands: their heads covered with snakes instead of hair, and holding whips of serpents or scorpions; and funeral robes bound round their waists with girdles of snakes. The Greeks named them Diræ, Erinnes, Disturbers of the Mind. They were also called Eumenides, or the Mild, when supposed to be appeased by Minerva.
The Fates or Parcæ were three in number, daughters of Necessity. They were supposed to spin and cut the thread of human life and destiny. Clotho held the distaff; Lachesis turned the spindle; Atropos cut the thread. Happy days were spun out of gold and silver, while the thread of sorrow was of black worsted. The Fates are represented as three women bending under the weight of years. Clotho wore a robe of various colours, and a crown composed of seven stars. Her distaff reached from heaven to earth. The robe of Lachesis was spangled with stars, and near her lay a number of spindles. Atropos, clothed in black, held the fatal shears, ready to cut the thread of life.
The goddess who presided over the punishment of guilt. She is represented as traversing the earth, with great diligence, in search of the wicked; furnished with wings, a helm, and a chariot wheel, to signify thano place could secure the guilty from her pursuit. As a daughter of Astrea, or Justice, she rewarded virtue, while she punished vice with unrelenting severity.
The gods, called Manes, were not clearly distinguished by the ancient poets. They were frequently considered as the souls of the dead, and sometimes confounded with the Lares. These divinities, however, presided over funerals, and departed spirits, who were supposed to wander about the tombs.
Nox, or Night, was the daughter of Chaos. She was represented in a long black veil spangled with stars, traversing the expanse of the firmament in a chariot of ebony.
The god of sleep, son of Nox, represented as a child in a profound sleep, holding in his hand, poppies, which serve also for his pillow.
Mors, or Death, was a daughter of Nox, depicted in the form of a skeleton, wearing a black robe, covered with stars; having wings of an enormous length; her fleshless arms supporting a scythe.
Chap. XXVII. [Worship of the Infernal Deities, Infernal Criminals, Momus, Esculapius.] §
To these terrible Deities no altars were ever raised. Trenches were cut in the earth, into which was poured the blood of black sheep, or heifers. During the prayers, the priest lowered his hands towards the earth, instead of raising them towards heaven. Being regarded as implacable, these Deities were objects of great terror. No hymns were composed to their honour; no temples dedicated to them.
The Titans were represented as being precipitated into Tartarus for having made war against Jupiter and the Gods; they were Atlas, Briareus, Gyges, Iapetus, Hyperion, and Oceanus. Some poets speak of them as whelmed beneath Sicily, and pretend that the dreadful eruptions of Etna, are occasioned by their violent struggles. Sisyphus, for having attempted to deceive Pluto, is condemned to the never-ceasing labour of rolling an enormous rock up to the summit of a steep mountain.
Sisyphus.With many a weary step, and many a groan,Up the high hill he heaves a huge, round stone;The huge, round stone, resulting with a bound,Thunders impetuous down, and smokes along the ground.Again the restless orb his toil renews,Dust mounts in clouds, and sweat descends in dews.’s ’s Odyssey.
Phlegyas, a son of Mars, for having set fire to the temple of Apollo, at Delphi, sees, with terror, a vast stone suspended over his head, perpetually threatening to fall and crush him beneath its weight.
The giant Tityus, a son of Jupiter, whose body covers nine acres, was slain by the arrow of Apollo, because he dared to insult Diana, and was thrown into Tartarus, where vultures unceasingly prey upon his liver, which is continually renewed.
Tityus.There Tityus, large and long, in fetters bound,O’erspreads nine acres of infernal ground;Two ravenous vultures, furious for their food,Scream o’er the fiend, and riot in his blood:Incessant, gore the liver in his breast;Th’ immortal liver grows, and gives th’ immortal feast.
Ixion, the rival of Jupiter, is bound to a wheel surrounded with serpents, and perpetually turning over a river of fire.
Tantalus, King of Phrygia, for having savagely murdered his own son Pelops, and served up his body at a banquet of the Gods, is condemned to the ever-enduring pain of parching thirst, and ravenous hunger. Though plunged in water, and surrounded with delicious food, they both elude his eager grasp.
Tantalus.There, Tantalus, along the Stygian bound,Pours out deep groans; his groans thro’ hell resound;E’en in the circling floods, refreshment craves,And pines with thirst, amidst a sea of waves.When to the water, he his lip applies,Back from his lip the treacherous water flies.Above, beneath, around, his hapless head,Trees of all kinds delicious fruitage spread.The fruit he strives to seize; but blasts arise,Toss it on high, and whirl it to the skies.
Lastly, the daughters of Danaus, fifty in number, who, all but one, at the command of their inhuman father, in one night killed their husbands, the sons of Egyptus, their father’s brother, were sentenced to the continued toil of filling, with water, vessels which had no bottom.
They deified virtues, passions, blessings, and evils. Virtue, Good Fortune, Hope, Eternity, Concord, Time, Thought, Filial Piety, Compassion, Fidelity, Liberty, Silence, Licentiousness, Modesty, Justice, Providence, Opportunity, Fear, Flight, Paleness, Discord; all these were personified, and honoured under their respective emblems.
Comus presided over entertainments and the pleasures of the table. Momus, son of Somnus and Nox, was the god of raillery and repartee. He was the perfect buffoon of the feasts of the Gods.
The God of Physic, the son of Apollo and Coronis. Being exposed upon a mountain immediately after his birth, he was nourished by a goat. A shepherd discovering him, surrounded by rays of light, carried him home, and committed him to the care of his wife. He was afterwards placed under the tuition of Chiron, the Centaur. At Epidaurus, he was worshiped under the form of a serpent, and sometimes under that of an old man, holding a staff encircled by a serpent.
Chap. XXVIII. [Of Heroes, Demigods, Centaurs, Sphynx, Chimæra, Harpies, and Gorgons.] §
Princes and others, who, having, in their life-time, performed illustrious actions, were, after their death, placed in the rank of subordinate Deities; had temples built in honour of them, and a high degree of worship paid to their memory. They were supposed to enjoy continued existence, and to interest themselves greatly in the affairs of mortals.
Inachus, Cecrops, Deucalion, who survived the Deluge of the poets; Pelops and Cadmus, who introduced the knowledge of letters. These were all leaders of colonies from various parts of the eastern countries, into Greece, and, respectively, founders of the States of Argos, Sicyon, Athens, Thebes, and Lacedemon.
The son of Jupiter and Alcmena. He, being persecuted by the anger of Juno, traversed the earth, destroying monsters, giants, and oppressors of various kinds. For his illustrious actions he was deified, and regarded as the god of strength. He was also named Alcides, from his extraordinary force and valour.
Twelve of his most remarkable actions were particularized by the name of his labours. He killed, in the forest of Nemea, an enormous lion, whose skin he afterwards wore. He destroyed, in the lake of Lerna, the Hydra, a dreadful serpent, which had seven heads; as fast as either one of which was cut off, another instantly sprang up in its place. He bound the Erymanthian wild boar, an animal of astonishing size and fierceness. He, on foot, hunted down, after a chace of a year, a hind consecrated to Diana, whose feet were of brass, and whose horns were of gold. He killed or drove away the Stymphalides, birds which fed upon human flesh. He defeated the Amazons, a nation of warlike women, and took prisoner Hippolyte, their queen. In one day, by turning a river through it, he cleansed the stable of Augeas, which had not been emptied for thirty years, though three thousand oxen were constantly lodged in it.
He tamed a furious bull, who did great mischief in Crete. He vanquished Diomede, tyrant of Thrace, who fed his horses with the flesh of his guests. He slew Geryon, king of Spain, a cruel giant with three bodies. He destroyed the huge dragon who guarded the golden apples in the gardens of the Hesperides. He dragged up to the light of day, Cerberus, the triple-headed dog of the infernal regions.
When in his cradle, he strangled two serpents, sent by Juno to destroy him. He delivered Hesione, daughter of Laomedon, king of Troy, from a horrible sea monster, to which she was exposed. At last, he burnt himself to death on a funeral pile, formed of trees, which he had torn up by the roots, when driven to distraction by the agony he suffered from a garment poisoned by the blood of the Lernean hydra. He was represented as a prodigiously muscular man, clothed in the skin of the Nemean lion, and leaning upon a formidable club. The poplar tree was consecrated to him.
Hercules.The choirs of old and young, in lofty lays,Resound great Hercules’ immortal praise,How, first, his infant hands the snakes o’er threw,That Juno sent; and the dire monsters slew.What mighty cities, next, his arms destroy,Th’ Oechalian walls, and stately tow’rs of Troy.The thousand labours of the hero’s hands,Enjoin’d by proud Euristheus’ stern commands,And Jove’s revengeful queen. Thy matchless mightO’ercame the cloud-born Centaurs in the fight,Hylæus, Pholus sunk beneath thy feet,And the grim bull whose rage dispeopled Crete.Beneath thy arm Nemea’s lion fell;Thy arm with terror fill’d the realms of hell.Nor Lerna’s fiend thy courage could confound,With all her hundred heads that hiss’d around.Hail mighty chief, advanc’d to heav’n’s abodes,Hail son of Jove, a God amongst the Gods.’s .
Son of Egeon, king of Athens; a hero who, like Hercules, went about destroying oppressors and combating wild beasts. Pirithous, king of the Lapithæ, a people of Thessaly, was his friend, and his companion in many of his enterprises. The poets relate a number of extravagant tales of them both.
Great grandson of Erectheus, king of Athens, the most ingenious and celebrated artist of Greece; a skilful architect, and most expert sculptor. He invented the wedge, the axe, the level, and the auger, and was the first who made use of sails, which, by poetical licence, were called wings. He is said to have built, for Minos, king of Crete, an edifice so curiously constructed, that a person once placed in it, could not find his way out again. This was called the labyrinth. Hence the proverb, to be in a labyrinth, that is, in a situation from which it is difficult to extricate one’s self.
Jason, the son of Eson and Alcimede, was the leader of the Argonauts, or heroes who sailed in the ship Argo, from Greece to Colchis, to fetch the golden fleece. This was an expedition undertaken to recover some treasures, which had been carried thither from their own country. This enterprise, and the dangers attending it, were highly ornamented by poetic fiction. The treasure being represented as a ram having a golden fleece, and the difficulties they met with, as formidable monsters guarding it; which were overcome by Jason, through the magical aid of Medea, daughter of Aetes, king of Colchis, who fell in love with, and accompanied him to Greece.
Hercules; Telamon; Castor and Pollux, the famous twin sons of Jupiter and Leda, celebrated, the former, for skill in horsemanship, the latter, in pugilism; Orpheus, the great poet and musician; Calais and Zethes, the winged sons of Boreas; and Lynceus, famous for astonishingly quick sight, with many other heroes, were engaged in this expedition.
Yes, many. The heroes of the Theban war, Eteocles, Polynices, Adrastus, Tydeus, Capaneus, Amphiaraus, Hippomedon. Those of the Trojan war, Achilles, Nestor, Ulysses, Diomede, Hector, Paris, Agamemnon, Menelaus, and Ajax.
Imaginary beings, half men and half horses; the idea of which was suggested by the Thessalians, who first mounted and managed horses. One of these Centaurs, named Chiron, was celebrated as being very respectable for knowledge and virtue. To him was committed the education of Achilles, and of other heroes.
A monster, having the face, hands, and voice of a young woman, the wings of a bird, the body of a dog, the eyes of a dragon, and the talons of a lion. She infested the country round Thebes, proposing enigmas to passengers, and tearing to pieces the unhappy wretches who could not answer them. Œdipus answering her riddles, she cast herself headlong from a rock, and died, dashed to pieces.
A dreadful monster, having the head and breast of a lion, the belly of a goat, the tail of a serpent, and vomiting forth fire. This fiction was occasioned by a lambent flame of some ignited gas, issuing from a small cavity in the side of a lofty mountain of Lycia, and which is still apparent. On the summit of the mountain, were lions; in the middle, goats pastured; and the lower regions were infested by serpents. Bellerophon, a famous hero, made this mountain habitable, and was, therefore, said to have killed the Chimæra.
Chimæra.First, dire Chimæra’s conquest was enjoin’d;A mingled monster of no mortal kind:Behind, a dragon’s fiery tail was spread;A goat’s rough body, bore a lion’s head;Her pitchy nostrils flaky flames expire;Her gaping throat emits infernal fire.’s .
The Harpies were fierce winged animals, with the faces of virgins, the bodies of birds, the claws of lions.
Harpies.Safe from the storm, the Stromphades I gain,Encircled by the vast Ionian main,Where dwelt Cœlene, with her Harpy train.Such fiends to scourge mankind, so fierce, so fell,Heav’n never summon’d from the depth of Hell;A virgin face with wings and hooked claws,Heath in their eyes, and famine in their jaws;While proof to steel, their hides and plumes remain,We strike th’ impenetrable fiends in vain.’s .
The Gorgons were the three daughters of Phorcus and Cete. Instead of hair, their heads were covered with vipers. So dreadful was their appearance, as to turn into stone all who beheld them. They had the faces and breasts of women, and the tails of serpents. The head of one of these monsters, cut off by Perseus, was fixed in the formidable shield of Minerva, called the Egis.
The son of Iapetus, who incurred the wrath of Jupiter, by stealing fire from the chariot of the sun, to animate the figure of a man which he had formed of clay, with exquisite skill. For this theft, he was chained down to a rock on mount Caucasus: and a vulture was commissioned to prey unceasingly upon his liver, which renewed itself as fast as it was devoured. From this torment Hercules delivered him, by killing the vulture. Prometheus was venerated as the inventor of many useful arts. An altar was dedicated to him by the Athenians.
Chap. XXIX. [The seven Wonders of the World.] §
First. The Colossus of Rhodes, a statue of Apollo, seventy cubits high; striding across the mouth of the harbour; so that a large ship, under sail, might pass between its legs. A man could not grasp its thumb with his two arms. After having stood fifty years, it was overthrown by an earthquake.
Second. The temple of Diana, at Ephesus, a work of astonishing magnificence. It was supported by 127 pillars, each sixty feet high. It took 220 years to finish it. It was designedly set on fire on the day that Alexander the Great was born.
Third. The Mausoleum, a most beautiful sepulchre of marble, built by Artemisia, queen of Caria, in honour of her deceased husband, Mausolus.
Fourth. A statue of Jupiter, in his temple, in the city of Olympia, formed with wonderful art by, of ivory and gold, and of prodigious size.
Fifth. The walls of Babylon, built by Semiramis, whose circumference was sixty miles, and whose breadth was so great, that six chariots could drive upon them abreast.
Sixth. The pyramids of Egypt, three of which still remain to astonish mankind. The largest of them is 143 feet long, and 1000 high. It is constructed of enormous stones, thirty feet thick. It is recorded that 360,000 men were employed in building it, during the space of twenty years. The other two are smaller. It is supposed they were intended as sepulchres for the kings of Egypt.
Seventh. The Palace of Cyrus, king of Persia, which is recorded to have been a most splendid edifice, of which the stones were cemented with gold. It was built with equal skill and magnificence by an architect, named.
Part II. §
Chap. I. Oriental Mythology. §
The history of Oriental Mythology and superstition may be arranged in four divisions, succeeding each other in chronological order.
The first is that of the doctrines of the Emanation and Transmigration of Souls. The second is that of Astrolatry or Sabism, the worship of the heavenly bodies, and of the visible elements. The third is that of the dogma of Two Principles; or of the warfare between light and darkness, between the good and the evil genius. The fourth is the age of Pantheism.
Among the various systems of religion or philosophy, which have prevailed in the oriental regions, none is of higher antiquity, (excepting the divine Mosaic Dispensation,) than the doctrine of the emanation and wandering of souls, which teaches that from the infinite essence of the Eternal Being emanated all the powers of nature, all the capacities of mind and matter, and all individual living creatures, whether animals or plants; for all plants were supposed to contain imprisoned souls, involved in shades of darkness, as the recompense of past transgressions, but endued with inward conscience, and still not only susceptible of happiness or pain, but also sensible of the destruction awaiting them, as they were ever hastening towards the inevitable goal, in that career which was allotted to them. Thus every soul, from the most exalted intelligence to the herb of the field, was imagined to be wandering towards its doom, in a world always tending to decay and ruin. The reunion of particular beings with the Original Essence, or Great Soul, was regarded as possible, but not necessarily implied; while the perversely guilty were considered as cut off, and cast away for ever.
From these ideas of various kinds of living and conscious beings, concealed under such a vast diversity of forms, and of their perpetual approach towards, or departure from, the common source, arose the fiction of the Metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls; that is, their passing through numerous animal and other forms. With the same principle was closely connected the belief in a former life, or the pre-existence of souls; and the obscure remembrance of perfections and events which existed in that preceding state, occasionally awakened by the sight of beautiful objects, partaking in some degree of the same qualities.
Chap II. [Oriental Mythology, continued.] §
Astrolatry, the second division of the Oriental Mythology, included not only the worship of the heavenly bodies, or pure Sabism, but, likewise, that of many other material, visible objects; such as deified illustrious men, &c
When men had gradually departed from the only living and true God, and had lost the sublime idea of an invisible but ever present Intelligence, they saw nothing in nature so beautiful and beneficial as the sun, and soon began to render him divine honours, as the dispenser of light, representing him by various forms and symbols. The moon and stars, objects next in splendour to the great luminary of day, attracted also a proportionate degree of their admiration and worship. This species of idolatry began, as the sacred records of the Old Testament inform us, soon after the Deluge, being known in the time of Abraham. This was naturally accompanied by a belief in Astrology, or the doctrine of the stars possessing some mysterious influence over the concerns and welfare of mortals, and the false science of forming, from their aspects, predictions of the fate of individuals, and of whole communities of the human race. From the worship of the heavenly bodies, men proceeded to that of the elements, seas, rivers, and other sensible objects; and, at last, celebrated heroes, sages, and legislators, who, during their lives, had obtained great fame and extensive respect, by brilliant or beneficial actions, were ranked among the deities.
Perceiving the difference, and feeling the influence, of what appeared, to limited human capacity, good and evil, men could not believe that the same being was the author of both; and therefore imagined two deities, nearly equal in power, and both eternal, carrying on perpetual warfare; the one benevolent, the other malevolent. To these deities different nations assigned different names; and worshiped them under various symbolical forms and images.
The doctrine of Pantheism teaches that there is but one Being existing; a Being eternal, infinite; of whom all other beings are parts; and that consequently there are no individual separate existences.
“All are but parts of one stupendous whole,Whose body Nature is and God the soul;That, changed through all, and yet in all the same;Great in the earth as in the ethereal frame,Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees;Lives through all life, extends through all extent;Spreads undivided, operates unspent;Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,As full, as perfect in a hair as heart;As full, as perfect in vile man that mourns,As the rapt seraph that adores and burns.To Him no high, no low, no great, no small;He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.”.
Chap. III. Paganism. — Buddhism. §
Though all the various systems of Pagan Mythology appear to be streams, wandering more or less widely from the patriarchal religion, yet the existence of two principal sects, venerating a supreme God, but differing in the names they assigned him, and in their rites and forms of worship, may be distinctly traced to very high antiquity. The one may be called the Osiric, or Brahminical superstition, the source of the Egyptian, Persian, and Grecian Mythologies, which is still professed, though greatly corrupted, by the Hindûs, and many other people in the central and eastern regions of Asia. The other may be styled the Thothic, or Buddhic superstition, the parent of the Scythian and other systems, which, in a corrupted state, likewise extends from the north of Tartary to Ceylon, throughout China, the Birman empire, the eastern peninsula of India, with the numerous islands to the south of it; most of the countries east of the Ganges, and in Tibet, where resides the Grand Lama, the Chief Priest of that religion, who is supposed to be immortal, by the transmigration of his soul into an infant body, as his successive material coverings are worn out, and are dissolved by death.
The creation; the general deluge, with the deliverance of Noah and his children, and their re-peopling the earth; the dispersion of men into various parts, at the building the tower of Babel, appear to enter in different modes, into almost all the systems of Pagan Mythology, Traces of those events are distinguishable in the Buddhic, the Hindû, the Egyptian, Persian, Babylonian, Celtic, and Grecian, and in many of the more modern religions of tribes, not blessed with the glorious light of the Gospel of Christ. To many of them, Noah seems to be a great object of worship, and even the ark itself, in which the Patriarch was saved.
It gives the name Buddha, or Boodha, significative of truth and wisdom, to the Supreme God, who appears to be the same as the Vishnu of the Hindûs. It asserts that at the solicitation of many of the deities, Buddha descended repeatedly to earth, and animated various human bodies; in which he exercised every possible virtue, and exhibited extraordinary instances of self-denial and piety. After the last of these manifestations, it supposes him to have ascended to the hall of glory, named Mookze, a region higher than the twenty-sixth heaven, where he remains in happiness and incorruptibility; while his doctrine will remain in splendour for five thousand years. In process of time, another Buddha is to appear upon earth; and, after an infinite number of ages, the universe will perish and a new order of things succeed. Buddha is represented as not purely spirit, but as having a body eighteen cubits high; as eating rice and vegetables, and as having many other attributes of human nature: and yet he is imagined to pass through the different worlds with vast rapidity. His temples are generally in rocky caves, formed by nature, but enlarged and ornamented by art. According to the respective forms and sizes of his temples, the images of this deity are either standing erect, or sitting with the legs crossed; or lying on the right side. They are universally yellow. A large yellow robe, lined with red, covers the whole body, excepting the right breast. Like all other Indian statues of gods, they are adorned with bracelets. The head is exposed; the hair is plaited up together, at the back of it; and the top is surmounted by the form of a flame. The sides of the temples are generally decorated with the figures of other divinities. On one side of the temples of Buddha, which are called by the general name of Veharri, are always monuments in the shape of cupolas, placed on pedestals, and supposed to contain some particles of his bones. His priests are clothed in yellow, are forbidden to marry, to partake of animal food, or to eat any thing after noon-day. Their business is to keep the temples clean, and their lamps always lighted; to scatter fresh flowers on the statues of Buddha, and to perform musical services in his honour every morning and evening.
Chap. IV. Indian Mythology. §
The real doctrine contained in the sacred books of the ancient Indian Mythology, is the unity of the Deity; in whom the universe is comprehended; of which the elements, stars, and planets, became objects of worship, because parts of him, the great whole. But though the oldest Hindû scriptures seem to make the world one with the Deity, yet they also explicitly convey the doctrine of creation, in the true sense. They assert the prior existence of an Eternal and Spiritual Being, who, by an act of his will, called forth the material universe, and gave origin to all subordinate souls, which are represented as emanating successively from the essence of the Supreme. The holy books containing the principles of the Indian Mythology are called the Vedas. The sacred language of the Brahmins or Hindû priests is named the Sanscreet, or Sanscrit. The One Supreme Being is denominated Brahme, or the Great One; he is declared to be uncreated and eternal, and his essence is asserted to be infinitely above the comprehension of any mind but his own. He is supposed to manifest his power by the operation of his Divine Spirit; who is entitled Vishnu, or Veeshnu, the Preserver, the Pervader; and Narayan, or Mover on the Waters; who preserves and supports the whole order of nature. The Divine Power, engaged in creating, is the Deity Brahmá; and when viewed in the light of the Destroyer, or rather the Changer of forms, he is termed Siva, Seeva, Mahádéva, or Mahadeo. These three celestial beings, or this three-fold Divinity, armed with the terrors of almighty power, pursue, throughout the whole creation, the rebellious Dewtahs, or malignant Spirits, who were led astray by Mahasoor, their chief, hurling upon them the Agnyastra, or fiery bolts of vengeance. The Hindû Mythology resembles, in many respects, that of the Scythians, the ancient Persians, Egyptians, and Greeks. It is very fanciful; inculcating the doctrine of a multiplicity of aerial beings; dividing the world into ten parts; and setting over each, a presiding guardian Spirit.
It teaches that water is the primitive element, and the idea of the Spirit of the universal Creator moving on the waters, is similar to, and probably borrowed from, the sublime opening of the book of Genesis
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth; and the earth was void and waste; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.”
It asserts that this world was all darkness, till the self-existent, invisible God, making it manifest with five elements, and other glorious forms, perfectly dispelled the gloom. He, desiring to raise up various creatures by an emanation of his own glory, first created the waters and impressed them with a power of motion. By that motion, was produced a golden egg, blazing like a thousand suns, in which was born Brahma, the parent of all rational beings. That God having dwelt in the egg, during a long series of ages, meditating on himself, at last divided it into two equal parts; and from these halves, formed the heavens and the earth; placing in the midst, the subtle ether; the eight points of the world, and the permanent receptacle of the waters.
Casyapa, the ancient God of the heavens, with Aditi his consort, parents of many of the inferior Deities.
Ganesa, or Pollear son of Seeva, the God of wisdom, depicted with an elephant’s head, the symbol of sagacious discernment, and attended by a rat, which the Indians regarded as a wise and provident animal.
All sacrifices and religious ceremonies; addresses to superior Gods; serious writings, and worldly affairs of moment, are begun by pious Hindûs, with an invocation of Ganesa. His image is set up in their streets and their high roads; and against their temples and houses. They daily sprinkle it with oil and adorn it with flowers.
Menu, or Satyavrata, the lawgiver. Fourteen of this name, are supposed, by the Hindûs, to have existed successively. The history of the third of these, bears a strong resemblance to that of Noah.
Lachsmee, the goddess of abundance, who presides over agricultural labours, and is the wife of Vishnu. She is represented with a twisted cord under her arm, somewhat resembling the cornucopia, or horn of plenty of the Grecian Ceres.
Indra, the King; the God of the Heavens chief of the good spirits. His consort is named Sachi; his celestial city, Amarávati; his palace, Vaijayanta; his garden, Nandana; his chief elephant, Airavat; his charioteer, Matali; and his weapon, Vajra, or the thunderbolt. He is the master of the thunder; the ruler of the winds and showers. His peculiar place of abode is Meru, or the North Pole, allegorically represented as a mountain of gold and gems.
In the mid garden tower’d a giant tree,Rock-rooted on a mountain top it grew;Rear’d its unrival’d head on high,And stretch’d a thousand branches o’er the sky,Drinking with all its leaves, celestial dew.Lo! where from thence, as from a living well,A thousand torrents flow!For still in one perpetual shower,Like diamond drops, ethereal waters, fellFrom every leaf of all its ample bower.Rolling adown the steepFrom that aerial heightThrough the deep shade of aromatic treesHalf seen, the cataracts shoot their gleams of light,And pour upon the breezeTheir thousand voices; far away, the roar,In modulations of delightful sound,Half-heard and ever varying, floats around,Below, an ample lake expanded lies,Blue as the over-arching skies.On that ethereal lake whose waters lie,Blue and transpicuous, like another sky,The elements had rear’d their king’s abode.And form’d a palace worthy of the God,Built on the lake, the waters were its floor;And here, its walls were water arch’d with fire,And here, were fire with water vaulted o’er.And spires and pinnacles of fireRound watery cupolas aspire,And domes of rainbow rest on fiery towers,And roofs of flame are turreted aroundWith cloud; and shafts of cloud with flame are bound,Here, too, the elements for ever veer,Ranging around with endless interchanging;The parts all shifting, still unchang’d the whole.Even we, on earth, at intervals descryGleams of the glory, streaks of flowing light,Openings of heaven, and streams that flash at nightIn fitful splendour, through the northern sky.’s Kehama.
Seshanaga, the Sovereign of Patala, or the infernal regions; the king of serpents. He is thus described in the Bhagavat, a sacred Hindû poem.
His appearance is gorgeous and brilliant. He has a thousand heads; and on each of them, is a crown set with resplendent gems. His neck, tongues, and body, are black. His eyes gleam like torches. The skirts of his robes are yellow. A sparkling jewel is hung on each one of his ears. His arms are extended, and adorned with rich bracelets. His hands bear the holy shell, the radiated weapon, the war-mace, and the lotos.
Yama or Yamen, God of death. He is esteemed to be a child of the sun, and thence named Vaivaswata. He is called also, King of Justice. He is distinguished as being the judge of departed souls; for the Hindûs believe, that when a soul leaves its body, it is immediately conveyed to Yamapur, or the city of Yama; where it receives a just sentence from him; and thence, either ascends to Swerga, or the first heaven; or is driven down to Narac, the region of serpents; or assumes, on earth, the form of some animal; unless its offence had been so heinous, as to merit a vegetable, or even a mineral prison.
Two forms inseparable in unityHath Yamen; even as with hope or fear,The soul regardeth him, doth he appear.They, who polluted with offences come,Behold him as the KingOf terrors; black of aspect, red of eye,Reflecting back upon the sinful mindIts own inborn deformity.But to the righteous spirit, how benign,His awful countenance,Where tempering justice with parental love,Goodness, and heav’nly grace,And sweetest mercy shine. Yet is he stillHimself the same, one form, one face, one will;And these his twofold aspects are but one;And change is noneIn him; for change in Yamen could not be,The immutable is he.
Bhaváni, or Parvati, the consort of Seeva, the Goddess of generation, whose rites and emblems are shamefully immoral and indecent.
Carticéya, the son of Parvati, the leader of the celestial armies. He is represented as riding upon a peacock; clothed in a robe spangled with eyes; having six heads, and numerous hands, which grasp spears, sabres, and other weapons of war.
Seraswatti, the wife of Brahmá, and emblem of his creative power, the patroness of the arts and sciences. She is depicted as holding in her hands the palmira leaf, and the reed for writing.
Durgá, the same Goddess, when regarded as difficult of access, the severe, the majestic Divinity of heroic virtue, the vanquisher of demons and giants.
Camá, the beautiful God of love, having a bow of cane, and shafts enwreathed with flowers.
Surádevi, the Goddess of wine, who arose from the ocean, when, after the deluge, it was churned by the Gods, with the mountain Mandar, and forced to throw up the sacred things, and animals, and the water of life, which it had swallowed.
Varuna, the genius of the waters.
Agni, the genius of fire.
Agnyastra, the fabricator of the heavenly fiery shafts.
Pavan, the ruler of the winds.
Mariatale, the favouring Goddess of the Parias, the lowest and miserably despised Caste, or division of the Hindûs; rejected by their countrymen, and condemned to perform all the most laborious and degrading offices of life.
The worship of the sun appears to have been the very source and fountain of idolatry in India. That luminary is adored by the Hindûs, under the name of Surya, and the sect amongst them which is peculiarly addicted to his worship is called Saura. Surya is represented as riding in a chariot, drawn by seven green horses, guided by his charioteer Arun, or the dawn.
“The walls were of red marble, interspersed with streaks of gold. On the pavement was an image of the radiant Divinity, hardly inferior to himself in splendour; his rays being imitated by a boundless profusion of rubies, pearls, and diamonds of inestimable value, arranged in a most judicious manner, and diffusing a lustre scarcely endurable by the sight.” In the Hindû work, called the Ayeen Akbery, is another description of a temple of the Sun.
“Near to Juggernaut, is the temple of the Sun, in the erecting of which was expended the whole revenue of Orissa for twelve years. The wall which surrounds the edifice, is one hundred and fifty cubits high, and nineteen cubits thick; having three entrances. At the eastern gate are two very fine figures of elephants, each with a man upon his trunk. On the west are two surprising figures of horsemen completely armed, who, having killed two elephants, are seated upon them. In front of that gate is an octagonal pillar of black stone, fifty cubits high. Nine flights of steps lead to an extensive inclosure, in which is a large dome, constructed of stone, upon which are carved the sun and the stars; and round them is a border, on which is represented a variety of human figures, expressive of different passions; some kneeling, others prostrate; together with a number of strange imaginary animals.” The vestiges of this superstition are still evident in all the sacred rites, and various ceremonies of the Hindû priests. At their first assuming the Zennar, or sacred cord of three threads, the mystic symbol of their faith, they learn the Gayteree, ox invocation of praise to the sun. At sun-rise, they turn to the east, and filling the palms of their hands with water, and at the same time, repeating a prayer, they throw it towards that luminary. They preserve, constantly burning, a kind of sacred fire, kindled by the friction of two pieces of palass wood, with which they perform the Howm, or burnt sacrifice. The new-born babe of a Brahmin is exposed to the solar beam. They worship God in the Sun and in Fire.
The Hindûs regard the Moon as a male Deity, to whom they give the name of Chandra, and whom their poets describe as sitting in a splendid chariot, drawn by two antelopes, and holding in the right hand a rabbit. Fountains are by them dedicated to this Divinity.
Rama, an incarnate Deity; an appearance on earth of the preserving power, or Vishnu, in the person of the sovereign of Ayodhya, a conqueror of high renown; who delivered his wife Sita from the giant Ravan, king of Lanca. He is said to have commanded an intrepid army of monkeys, by whose agility lie raised a bridge of rocks on the sea; a portion of which, the Hindûs assert to be yet inexistence; alluding, probably, to the rocks between Ceylon and the western peninsula of India, which have been absurdly named Adam’s bridge. A large breed of Apes is, certainly, held in great veneration by the Hindûs, and fed by the Brahmins, who have a regular establishment for their support, on the banks of the Ganges. These apes live in tribes of three or four hundred together, with wonderful order and subordination, and are very gentle animals.
Creeshna, or Chrishna, a manifestation of Vishnu. He is regarded by the Hindûs, as the God of shepherds; of whose nature and actions, their sacred writings give the most extraordinary and strange representations. He is depicted as splendidly decorated, wearing a rich garland of wild flowers, and having his ankles adorned with strings of pearls. His complexion is dark blue, approaching to black, and hence, the large bee of that colour is often drawn fluttering over his head. His character and attributes greatly resemble those of the Grecian Apollo.
The Avatars are successive manifestations of Vishnu, or the preserving power, supposed to have been made in various forms, to answer benevolent purposes. Of this number, were Rama, Chrishna, and Buddha, who was the ninth incarnation of Vishnu, imagined to have taken place a thousand years before our Lord Jesus Christ, in order to put an end to public and national human sacrifices, and to appoint in their place, the innocent oblation of fruits, flowers, and incense.
All the Avatars are painted with coronets of gems; jewels in their ears; necklaces; garlands of flowers hanging down below their waists; loose mantles of golden tissue, or coloured silk, with embroidered hems. In their hands are placed the sacred shell; elliptical rings, and maces, or battle-axes.
In ancient times, not only sacrifices of beasts were common amongst the Hindûs, but even of human beings, Vestiges of this sanguinary superstition are still evident, in frequent instances of voluntary suicide; and in the shocking practice of women burning themselves with their deceased husband, which is yet encouraged by the Brahmins, and which civil authority has not been able effectually to check.
The Vedas themselves enjoin upon some particular occasions, the sacrifice of a man; which is called Neramedha; or of a bull, which is named Gomedha; or of a horse, which is styled Aswamedha. The Aswamedha Jug, or horse sacrifice, required the animal to be white, with its right ear black; and was performed only by powerful sovereigns previous to their entering upon some hazardous war. It was imagined that whosoever could celebrate this sacrifical rite, one hundred times, would thereby obtain power equal to that of Indra, and gain possession of the Swerga his delicious abode. The Ayeen Akbery mentions five kinds of meritorious suicide, for the choice of the voluntary victim; namely, starving, burning with dried cow-dung, burying in snow, devouring by alligators whilst in the act of prayer and confession of sins in the Ganges; cutting the throat at Allahabad, at the confluence of the Ganges and the Jumna.
Those of the highest antiquity are the subterranean temples at Salsette, and in the small isle of Elephanta near Bombay, which is thus denominated from the figure of a large elephant admirably well cut in the solid rock, of which the island is composed.
This astonishing cavern, which, as containing an assemblage of all the deified heroes and princes of India, may be called the Hindû Pantheon, is about half way up the steep side of the mountain, from whose stony bosom, it is excavated. The temple is about one hundred and twenty feet square, and eighteen feet high. The enormous mass of solid rock which forms its roof is supported by four rows of pillars, of beautiful proportion and finely fluted. Over these columns, runs a ridge of stone, so cut, as to resemble a huge beam, which is richly adorned with carved work. Along the sides of the cavern, are ranged between forty and fifty statues, each, twelve, or fifteen feet in height; of exact symmetry; but though round and prominent, yet not one of them is detached from the main rock. Some of these statues wear a kind of helmet; others, crowns richly ornamented with gems, whilst others display only large bushy ringlets of curled or flowing hair. Many of them have four hands, and many six; grasping sceptres and shields; symbols of justice and religion; or warlike weapons. Amongst them, are conspicuous, the triform representation of Brahmé, and the frightful image of Seeva. The principal Hindû temples of more modern date are those of Jaggernaut, Benares, Mattra, Tripetty, and Seringham. The Indian Pagodas, in general, are commonly erected near the banks of the Ganges, the Kistna, or some other sacred river, for the benefit of ablution in the purifying stream. At the entrance of all the most considerable of them, is a portico, supported by rows of lofty columns, with handsome flights of stone steps. Under these porticoes, multitudes assemble, at the rising of the sun, and having bathed in the stream below, await the opening of the gates, which universally front the east, to admit the first solar ray. Of these temples, that of Jaggernaut is the most celebrated. It is an immense circular building, from the centre of which, in an eastern aspect, is protruded, the vast image of a bull, one of the emblems of Seeva, for whom Jaggernaut is only another name. Here, are practised the most abominable and cruel rites. The horrible idol is paraded in a lofty and heavy car which is disgraced by shamefully indecent figures; and many of the deluded miserable wretches, who make long pilgrimages to the detestable Jaggernaut. Throw themselves on the ground, to be crushed beneath the ponderous wheels. This is the residence of the chief Brahmin of all India. The image of Jaggernaut stands in the centre of the pagoda, upon an elevated altar, encompassed with iron rails, under a magnificent dome. So vast was the number of pilgrims, who resorted to the Jaggernaut, that the average annual amount of a tax of half-a-crown on each one of them, exacted by a Mahommedan prince of the country, was 750,000 l.; and 8000 lb. weight of provisions, were daily prepared for the use of the priests and the pilgrims. The priests of the temple of Seringham, with their families, composing a multitude of not less than 40,000 persons, were maintained by the liberality of the pilgrims frequenting its celebrated shrine. The idol images in these temples are generally of the most monstrous forms that imagination can picture. Some have numerous heads and arms, the rude symbols of super-human wisdom and gigantic power. Some have large horns branching from their heads; and others huge tusks, protruding from extended open mouths. Numbers of sacred hieroglyphical animals are sculptured on the wails. The bull of Seeva; the eagle of Vishnu; the elephant of Ganesa; the ram; the ape; the rhinoceros, are blended together in groups.
The Castes are hereditary, immutable divisions of the people, established in the earliest times, by their sacred laws. Of these there are four; that of the priests or Brahmins; that of the military; that of the agricultural and traders; and that of the labourers and artisans. These are as much separated, and have as little mutual communication, as persons of a different nation, or a different species. They cannot intermarry, nor join in any common occupations, nor remove from one Caste to another. Those of the superior Castes regard those of the inferior with the utmost contempt, and consider themselves as polluted by their approach. Even the lowest Hindûs refuse to eat with strangers of any class whatsoever. The loss of Caste degrades a Hindû to a most miserable condition; cuts him off from all society, and causes him to be regarded as an impure and detestable animal. The Brahmin Caste holds all the others in the most humiliating bonds. The Brahmins abstain entirely from animal food and fermented liquors; and the other Castes exercise an uncommon degree of temperance and self-denial. The abstinence from animal food is occasioned by their belief in the doctrine of the Metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls through various bodies. The Sanscrit, or sacred language, in which their books of religion are written, has long ceased to be a spoken tongue; and is understood only by the priest’s and the learned.
The Hindûs pay religious worship to the Ox, the Cow, and many other animals; to the Ganges, and other rivers, which they account sacred. They believe that Vishnu, who has already been incarnate nine times, in different forms, will appear once more in the figure of a horse, in order to put an end to all things here. They are taught to practise most cruel, absurd, and impure rites; and that it is meritorious to inflict on themselves severe penances; such as wearing an iron collar, set with spikes, about the neck; dragging constantly along a heavy weight; remaining for a long time in the most painful positions of body; drowning themselves in the Ganges, or exposing themselves, in its holy waters, to be devoured by tigers or alligators.
Chap. V. Egyptian Mythology. §
The ancient Egyptian Mythology, before it was debased and corrupted, appears to have taught the doctrine of God’s being the soul which animates all nature; not extrinsic, or external to, and separate from, the world, but embodied in it, as the human soul is supposed to be in the human body. From this Universal Soul, it was imagined that all the gods and demi-gods, as well as the souls of men and inferior animals, and even of plants, were emanations. Thence, the worship of the Egyptians was directed towards material objects, or the departments and powers of nature. They considered every part of the visible universe as endowed with inherent life, energy, and intelligence.
They worshiped the intelligent and active cause of the phenomena of nature, as it is displayed in its most striking and powerful agencies, but without clearly distinguishing the cause from the effect; or they believed that the elements themselves were animated. The operations of nature described in mystical and poetical language were, probably, mistaken by the unthinking multitude for real adventures of gods or daemons, or other superhuman beings. Barbarous nations have ever regarded storms, winds, and the moving bodies in the heavens, as animated and guided by genii; and the same superstition, ornamented, and reduced to a system of symbolical representations, appears to have been the popular religion of the most civilized nations of antiquity. But though it is most probable that the Egyptians, like almost all other people, at first held the belief of one Supreme Deity, the Creator of all things, yet they lapsed into idolatry so early, that the Greeks acknowledged their having borrowed from them, not only their religious ceremonies, but, also, most of their gods.
The inhabitants of the Thebais, in Upper Egypt, were said to have worshiped the immortal, uncreated God alone, whom they called Cneph; for which reason they were exempted from contributing to the maintenance of the sacred animals, adored in Lower Egypt.
The Sun and Moon appear to have been the chief objects of Egyptian worship, under various forms and names.
The Egyptians had several methods of representing, by symbols, the progress of the sun, and the changes of the seasons. They depicted the sun under the emblem of a newborn infant, at the winter solstice, and as passing, during the year, through all the stages of life, until towards the return of winter, he became old and weak. Sometimes a figure with painted wings denoted the sun; and the wings were of different colours, according as the emblem represented that luminary in the upper or the lower half of the Zodiac. While in the upper hemisphere, he had wings of a brilliant hue; but in the wintry months, he was painted with pinions of dark-blue.
The Crocodile, the Cow, the Dog, the Ox, the Ibis, the Cat, and other animals, and even some inanimate substances, which were used, at first, as hieroglyphics, finally came to be objects of adoration among that superstitious race. Thus the goddess Bubastis, supposed to be a personification of the moon, was worshiped under the figure of a cat, and all the cats that died in Egypt were salted, for preservation, and buried at Bubastos. The cat was honoured by the Egyptians with a peculiar reference to the moon, with the changes of whose aspect that animal was supposed to have a certain mysterious sympathy.
Such was the religion of the vulgar; but the learned had better knowledge, and sounder philosophy, which they communicated to those who were initiated into the sacred mysteries. It is universally agreed, that the ancient Egyptians believed the human soul to be immortal. They admitted likewise the doctrine of the transmigration, or passage of souls successively through various bodies. The bodies of their deified mortals were preserved, by embalming, in their sepulchres; while their souls were imagined to be transferred to, and to shine forth in, different Stars.
Osīris, Isis, Horus, Typhon, Serāpis, Anūbis, Harpōcrătes, with several others, known as Grecian Deities; as Ammon, the Egyptian Jupiter; the Egyptian Hercules, or Sem; Mendes, the Egyptian Pan; Papremis, the Egyptian Mars; Thoth, the Egyptian Mercury, Tithrambo, Eilethyia, Nepthys, or Venus, Urania, and Buto, or Latona.
Osīris, the great object of the adoration of the Egyptians, was sometimes regarded as a deification of some illustrious prince in a very early age of the world; but was generally considered to be a personification of the sun. He was the supposed author of all good, in constant opposition to Typhon, the author of evil; by whom he was, at one time, vanquished and slain, or inclosed in an ark, and exposed to the waves. This ark was said to have drifted on the coast of Phenicia, and Osīris to have been restored to life and liberty. The Egyptians annually commemorated this event by committing to the waters an image of this deity, in a vessel formed of the papyrus plant, and which they imagined to be wafted to Byblos by supernatural influence. For a season, they bewailed the God as lost or dead; and when he was thought to be found, or re-animated, they poured forth extravagant bursts of joy. The historical fact appears to be, that Osīris was an illustrious and beneficent monarch of ancient Egypt, who was slain by the treachery of Typhon his wicked brother; but whose death was avenged by Horus, his son, and Isis his consort. Some writers imagine Osīris to have been the Israelitish Patriarch Joseph; and others regard him as Moses. Some assert that he was a king more ancient than either of them; while others say that he was Misraim, son of Ham. Osīris was represented under different forms; sometimes under the figure of a man sailing in a ship on the ocean, which was supported by a crocodile; or floating on the aquatic lotos. Sometimes he was depicted by a serpent, and an eye, to express his power and providence. Frequently he was seen in the appearance of a hawk, significative of his piercing sight and rapidity of motion. But the greatest adoration was paid to his living image, the ox, Apis.
Isis, the consort of Osīris, appears to have been an emblem of the moon. She was esteemed as the cause of abundance, and regarded, like Osīris, to be one of the sources of the inundation of the Nile. The cow was her symbol. Her image was usually in the form of a woman, with cows’ horns on her head; representing the appearance of the moon, in her increase and decrease; and holding, in her right hand, the sistrum (a kind of cymbal), and in her left, an urn; the former, significative of the perpetual motion which prevails in nature; the latter, of the fertilising effects of the Nile. She was esteemed to possess great knowledge of the secrets of nature, and uncommon skill in the science of medicine. Temples were erected to her honour, and festivals held in her praise; some of which were very absurd, and even indecent. Prayers were addressed to her for the cure of distempers, and she was imagined to indicate remedies in dreams. She was said to have been translated into the moon, and to be the general mother.
Typhon and Nepthys stand opposed to Osīris and Isis, in all respects. As all fertile regions and prolific causes were supposed to belong to Osīris and Isis; so all barren and unproductive elements were assigned to Typhon, and Nepthys, his consort, the sister of Isis. When Osīris was the fertilizing Nile, Typhon was the sterile sea which swallows up the river. Hence, the sea was held in abomination by the Egyptians. When Osīris was water or moisture in general, Typhon was heat or drought. As the land of Egypt, fertilized by the waters of the Nile, was the reign of Isis; so the desert, which lies beyond the genial influence of that river, was the unfruitful Nepthys. When those arid tracts were watered and rendered productive by some unusual extent of the annual inundation, then Osīris was said to leave his garland of melilotus in the bed of Nepthys; and this extraordinary operation of nature was recorded by the Egyptians in allegorical language. When Osīris was recognized in the northern or Etesian wind, which, in Upper Egypt, is very salubrious, the southern blast from the desert, that burns up and destroys every thing which has life, was imputed to Typhon; whence comes its appellation of Tyfoon.
When Osīris was the light and heat of the sun, Typhon was the darkness and cold of winter.
Every thing of a malignant nature, either in the vegetable, animal, or intellectual world, was regarded in the Egyptian mythology as the operation of Typhon. Hence all those animals whose aspect is hideous, and whose disposition is fierce and untameable, were sacred to Typhon; such as the crocodile, the hippopotamus, and others. The Typhonian animals were symbols of darkness and destruction.
Typhon was depicted as a tremendous monster of terrific bulk, having several heads, and wings on his shoulders; and his thighs terminating in the volumes of two enormous serpents. Having inclosed Osīris in an ark, he drove Horus, his son, into the floating island Chemmis; and compelled all the other deities to take refuge under the forms of various animals, which were afterwards esteemed sacred on that account. At last, he was overwhelmed, thunder-stricken, under Mount Etna, or in a cavern in Cilicia. Nepthys was called by the Greeks Aphrodite, or Venus. A white cow was the sacred animal, or living symbol of this goddess, the divinity of the nightly heavens.
Horus was the son of Osīris and Isis, and held in great veneration by the Egyptians. He was regarded as being the renovator and preserver of nature, who overcame, for a time, though he could not actually destroy, Typhon; and who restored the dominion of Osīris.
This Egyptian god bore some relation to the sun, as well as Osīris. The Greeks identified him with their Apollo; and the books of Hermes ascribed to him the office of presiding over the star of day, of guiding its movements, and, consequently, of regulating the times and seasons. Light was considered to be one of his attributes; and obelisks, as emblems of the solar rays, were dedicated to him. When his father was vanquished by Typhon, aided by Isis his mother, Horus revenged his death, expelled the usurper, and reigned gloriously over all Egypt. The Titans put Horus to death; but Isis, who possessed the greatest skill in the science of medicine, and knew its profoundest secrets, finding his body in the Nile, restored her son to life, and rendered him immortal. His statues represent him as a child.
The allegory of Horus has been thus explained: — The Khamsin wind makes great ravages in Egypt, during the spring of the year, raising whirlwinds of burning sand, which darken the air, obscure the face of the sun, and frequently suffocate travellers. This circumstance was described by the death of Osīris, and the triumph of Typhon. When the sun approaches the sign Leo, he changes the state of the atmosphere, disperses those dangerous tempests, and brings the northern winds that chase away the malignant vapours, and preserve to Egypt coolness and salubrity, under a burning sky. This is the victory of Horus over Typhon, and his illustrious reign.
Anūbis, was the constant companion and precursor of Osīiris and Isis; the harbinger of those deities, the opener or beginner of all their operations. Anūbis was greatly venerated by the Egyptians in general, but chiefly in the city Cynopolis. The statue of this god had the head of a dog: dogs were accounted sacred to him; and where his worship principally prevailed, these animals were fed in the temples, at the public charge. He was probably emblematical of Sirius, the dog star; and was supposed to give Warning of the approach of the inundation of the Nile, as a dog awakens vigilance by his barking. In the festivals of the gods, his image was the leader of the pompous processions; and he had the office of conducting the souls of the dead to their place of destination.
The solar Osīris, after he was overcome by Typhon, the power of darkness, and shorn of his beams, became Serāpis. Serāpis was considered, likewise, as a personification of the Nile. He was also the Pluto of the Egyptians, and, at the same time, corresponded to the Grecian Esculapius, whose rites were borrowed from those of Serāpis; to whom, too, the same animals were appropriated, the serpent and the cock. Some writers have supposed that this deity was known and reverenced in Egypt, in very early periods; and that he was the same with the ox. Apis, whom, when alive, the Egyptians venerated as the personification of their great god Osīris, but who, when dead, was named Sorāpis, or Serāpis; that is, Apis in his soros, or coffin. Others have maintained that Serāpis was not originally an Egyptian divinity, but brought into that country from Sinōpe, by Ptolemy Lagus, directed so to do, by a divine vision.
His image was erected in a temple, built for that purpose at Alexandria, and called the Serapeum. It is said to have exceeded in magnificence, all the other temples of that age, excepting that of the capitol at Rome. This edifice was, long afterwards, destroyed by order of the Emperor Theodosius. The celebrated statue of the god was broken to pieces, and its limbs borne in triumph through the city, by the Christians and then thrown into a fire kindled in the amphitheatre. This image was of the human form, bearing a basket on its head, emblematic of plenty. The right hand leaned upon the head of a serpent, whose body was coiled round a figure with the heads of a dog, a lion, and a wolf. In the left hand was a cubit measure, intended to sound the depth of the water of the Nile. Till the period of the introduction of Serāpis, the Egyptians never offered animal victims to their gods, but worshiped them only with prayers and frankincense. By the example of Ptolemy, and his court, this deity became so great a favourite with the Egyptians, as to make them almost forget their ancient gods. The provinces vied with one another in erecting temples to him, and burning incense upon his altars.
Harpōcrǎtes, a son of Isis, was considered as the god of silence, meditation, and mystery. He was likewise regarded as a type of the annual rise of the sun after passing the winter solstice, when his beams are as yet weak, and the day has but a short duration. He represented also that power in nature which fosters the opening of buds, and the springing lip of tender and esculent plants. There were no animals sacred to him, as to the other Egyptian deities; but the first-fruits of leguminous plants and the opening blossoms of the peach-tree were sacrificed to him. The figure, under which Harpōcrǎtes was usually represented, was that of a naked boy crowned with an Egyptian mitre, having his finger placed upon his lips, and sitting on the flower of the lotus expanding itself on the surface of the water.
Ammon was the Egyptian Jupiter. He was worshiped in the Theban Nome, or kingdom, the capital of which was, on that account, called by the Greeks, Diospolis, that is, the City of Jupiter. The worship of this deity was introduced from Egypt into Greece. The statue of the Theban Jupiter was carried up the Nile into Ethiopia, with a splendid procession, every year, or to his temple at Meroë. There he was received with great pomp, and reconducted to Egypt, after he had been exhibited at the annual festival of the Ethiopians, or Meroites. Ammon is supposed to have represented the Spirit of the universe, which was conceived to be invisible in its nature; but, like other objects of Egyptian superstition, to be subject to the power of incantation, and to present itself sometimes in a defined shape to the eyes of the magician. The Egyptian philosophers reckoned five elements, adding to the four usually enumerated one, which they termed Spirit, which was the same as the celestial ether of the Greeks, supposed to fill the highest region of the heavens. Hence, a quickening influence was imagined, by the Egyptians, to be derived into all animated creatures. This vital ether, or principle of life, was called Ammon, or Jupiter.
Sem was the Egyptian Hercules, and one of the twelve native deities. His attribute was strength or power, and more particularly the power of gravitation. He was addressed as the starry-robed Sem, the king of fire, who setteth in array the universe, who revolveth circle after circle. As Jupiter Ammon denoted the vital force that moves and enlivens animal bodies; so, by Sem, or Hercules, the Egyptians expressed that power which arranges and distributes the parts of inanimate nature, which actuates and directs the movements of those great masses which raise the idea of prodigious strength, by their motion.
Mendes, or Pan, was one of the eight gods who constituted the first, or most ancient, rank of the Egyptian deities. He was worshiped under the form of a goat; and great abominations degraded his rites.
Papremis was the Egyptian Mars, worshiped under the figure of the hippopotamus; which animal was supposed to denote the western quarter of the heavens, and was represented as gaping upwards, and receiving into his jaws the descending sun. Papremis seems to have been a form of Typhon, the genius of destruction. The hippopotamus, the huge behemoth, was an apt image of the god of war. From the time of Job, the hippopotamus has been a type of strength and impetuosity.
An Egyptian god, whom the Greek and Latin writers uniformly named Hermes, or Mercury. To this Hermes, or Theuth, or Thoth, all the science and learning of the Egyptians were attributed. He taught them the art of writing, gave them laws, and instructed them in astronomy, geometry, medicine, and other sciences. Hence the books composed by the priests on such subjects, were called Hermetic books, as being consecrated to Hermes, and supposed to be the effect of his inspiration. Like other Egyptian deities, Thoth had a sacred animal appropriated to him, whose figure was connected with his particular rites. The animal consecrated to Thoth was the Ibis, a bird of which prodigious numbers have been found embalmed in mummy pits; and which, when seen sitting with the neck bent forwards, and the head concealed under the wing, resembled the form of the heart. The Ibis was, therefore, the emblem by which the Egyptians represented the heart; and as they, in common with many other ancient nations, regarded that part of the body as the seat of intellect, they devoted that bird to Thoth, the personification of wisdom and intelligence.
Yes. Some writers assert that two sages of the name of Hermes, or Mercury, lived at the interval of an age from each other. The first of these existed in the earlies period of Egyptian history, when the country was divided into several governments, each having its own monarch. At that time Egypt had no foreign commerce, but confined her attention to agriculture, and the pastoral life. Her shepherds were true heroes; her kings, philosophers.
In the midst of a brilliant constellation of learned and virtuous men, the first Hermes shone with peculiar lustre; he penetrated into the profoundest depths of natural history and theology; and invented, or compiled, their system of Mythology. In the second age of Egyptian history, when the shepherd kings, from Asia, had inundated the country with their barbarous multitudes, and totally changed the face of things, with respect to customs, manners, and taste, and had introduced gross idolatry, the second, arose. He was the restorer of the ancient religion, and of the laws and sciences of the preceding Mercury, collecting them into forty-two volumes, which were called, “The Treasure of Remedies for the Soul.”
designated the virtues and the emotions of the soul, by the figures of animals, of insects, of plants, of stars, and many other symbolical characters; concealing the mysteries of religion under hieroglyphics and allegories, whence arose the figures of cows, of oxen, dogs, cats, crocodiles, and smaller reptiles, reverenced by the Egyptians, and which are, now, found engraven on their ancient obelisks and temple walls.
The same as the Grecian Lucina. To her was dedicated a city in the Thebaid, called after her name. She was ranked among the ancient or elder divinities. Every third day, in each lunation, was consecrated to her; and her images had the form of a female vulture, with the wings spread, and composed of precious stones.
Tithrambo, or Brimo, was Isis in the vindictive character; and corresponded to the Grecian Proserpine, Hecate, Erinnys, the punisher of guilt, the mistress of the furies. This goddess was supposed to inflict various diseases upon those who incurred her anger; such as madness, and particularly blindness.
Bouto was another goddess worshiped by the Egyptians, and called by the Greeks Latona. At Boutos, near the Sebennytic mouth of the Nile, was a celebrated temple dedicated to this divinity. It was a magnificent edifice, having porticoes forty cubits high. The shrine of the goddess was of one solid stone, having equal sides, each forty cubits in length. Bouto appears to have been the personification of night and darkness. Her sacred animal was the Mygale, or shrew-mouse. This animal was reverenced by the Egyptians, on account of its supposed blindness, an emblem of primeval night or darkness.
The objects of worship to the Egyptians were, in the animal kingdom, —
Of quadrupeds, — the Ox, the Dog, the Gat, the Wolf, the Ram, the Goat, the Deer, the Monkey, the Ichneumon, the Shrew-mouse, the Lion, and the Hippopotamus;
Of birds, — the Hawk, the Crow, the Vulture, the Eagle, the Ibis, the Goose, and the fabulous Phoenix;
Of reptiles, — the Crocodile, and serpents of various kinds;
Of insects, — the Scarabæus, or Beetle;
Of fishes, — those which bore the names of Oxyrhynchus, Lepidotus, Phagri, and Mæotæ: these fishes were considered as prophetic messengers of the annual approach of the inundation of the Nile.
In the vegetable kingdom, — the Lotus, that species of which, named Nymphæa Nelumbo, was imagined, by the Egyptians, to be symbolical of the sun rising from the bosom of the ocean, because it throws its flower above the surface of the water. The infant Harpocrates is represented reposing on the blossom of this plant. The Peach-tree, Lentils of various sorts, the Onion, the Leek, the Acacia, the Heliotrope, the Laurel, were all regarded as sacred by that superstitious people.
It appears, likewise, that, even in certain minerals, the Egyptians fancied there existed relations to the attributes of their gods. Among these are mentioned, solar and lunar stones, and the selenite, which was conceived to imitate the phases of the moon. These fancied analogies, and the mystical powers which were supposed to result from them, appear to have given rise, in a later period, to the doctrine of talismans, so celebrated among the Arabians first, and afterwards among the Europeans.
The people of Ombos dug tanks, or great cisterns of water, for the crocodiles; fed them carefully, and taught them to obey a particular call. The worshipers of these terrible animals were so infatuated that mothers rejoiced when their children were devoured by them, believing that great honour was conferred upon them by those consecrated creatures, when they condescended to take their offspring as food. The asp was supposed to be commissioned by the goddess Isis, as a minister of her vengeance, to destroy the impious. For these venemous reptiles subterranean chambers were prepared, under many of the temples, in which they were fed with the fat of oxen. Another kind of serpent was preserved in a tower, and the priests, every day, placed cakes in its chamber.
It is related that a labourer employed in digging a trench in a vineyard, accidentally cut an asp in two, by a blow of his spade, and was so terrified by the horrible impiety which he imagined that he had committed by this involuntary act, that he became frantic, and ran hither and thither, imploring succour, fancying himself pursued by the angry reptile-god.
The Bull, Apis, was worshiped and guarded with peculiar reverence. He was, probably, regarded as a personification of Osīris, the tutelar genius of the Nile, and an image of the soul of that deity. Apis was venerated not as a symbol only, but as an incarnation of some daemon or spiritual being; for when one sacred bull died, and another was substituted, the people imagined that they still adored the same being, who had only undergone a new transmigration. He was a black bull, having a white star on the forehead, the figure of an eagle on his back, and a crescent on his right side. The imagined offspring of the celestial elements, of a flash of lightning, or of a moon-beam, he lived twenty-five years; at the end of which period, it was asserted, he voluntarily divested himself-of mortal life, by plunging into the Nile.
The discovery of a new Apis, considered as the revivification of the preceding deity, was celebrated by a joyous festival, called Theophania, which continued seven days. The renewed god was fed, during four months, with milk, in a house which fronted the rising sun. He was then conveyed to Memphis, where a delightful abode, ample space for exercise, and suitable companions, were provided for him. The man from whose herd the divine animal sprang was regarded as the happiest of mortals, and was an object of respect and envy.
Among the Egyptians it was a capital crime to kill any of the sacred animals; but if an ibis, or a hawk, were destroyed accidentally, the unfortunate author of the deed was put to death by the multitude, without form of law. When a house happened to be set on fire, the chief alarm of the Egyptians arose from the propensity of the cats to rush into the flames; and if this circumstance happened, it excited a general lamentation. Upon the death of a cat, every inmate of the house in which the event took place cut off his eyebrows; but to celebrate the funeral of a dog, the whole head was shaved. In the extremity of famine, when they were driven by hunger almost to devour one another, the Egyptians were never accused of slaughtering the sacred animals.
Chap. VI. Persian Mythology. §
The Persian religion appears to have been founded chiefly upon the doctrine of the two principles of good and evil, perpetually at variance with each other. Ormuzd, or Oromazes, was the name given to the personification of the benevolent principle, whence’ proceeded all good; and Ahriman, or Arimanius, was the denomination assigned to the malevolent principle.
The uncorrupted religion of the ancient Persians was greatly superior to all the other Oriental systems, in sublimity, in its near approach to true religion, and in its moral tendency.
It is represented by some as inculcating
“a firm belief that one Supreme God made the world by his power, and continually governed it by his providence; a pious fear, love, and adoration of him; a due reverence for parents and aged persons: a paternal affection for the whole human species; and a compassionate tenderness even for the brute creation.”
It did not consecrate the horrible symbols of destruction, of death, of licentiousness; but the most beautiful and beneficial of elements, fire and the solar light; and, above all, the energy of life, and of the soul.
Seven Genii of the elements and chief powers of nature, called Amshaspands, were represented by the Persian mythology, as standing round the throne of the Universal Ruler; the noblest and first among his subjects.
Heaven was depicted as filled by the sacred Feruers, or divine prototypes and ideas of all created things.
The star of day, Mithras, or the friend of mankind, stood as the Mediator between them and the Deity.
Animal sacrifices were abolished by that religion; and simple vegetable, or other offerings, indicated a secret intercourse with the Creator, through the medium of the fairest productions of the earth. The elements were not the only immediate and sensible objects of worship to the votaries of this religion. Heroes also received their veneration, not as fierce conquerors and destroyers, and as such ranked among the destructive agents of nature; but as sent from heaven to vanquish ferocious giants, the powers of darkness, and malevolent spirits.
A reign of unchanging bliss, realms of ever-beaming light, were taught by this system, as well as a scene of primitive blessedness and perfection. The sacred fire, which was reverenced as the emblem of the great. First Cause, the All-vivifying Principle, kindled by concentrated sunbeams, was preserved with the greatest care.
The priests who had the charge of this fire; of conducting the simple religious rites, and of giving moral and philosophical instruction, were named Magi, and were justly held in high estimation. But this comparatively pure religion did not remain a long time uncorrupted; it soon degenerated into Sabism, the adoration of the sun, moon, and other celestial bodies. Temples were dedicated to them; images of them were formed, and magnificent festivals were instituted to their honour.
Mahabad, one of fourteen beings of that name destined to appear in human shape, for the government of the world, was supposed to have received from the Supreme a sacred book in a heavenly language. Cayumers, the reputed great-grandson of Noah, produced a partial reformation. The complicated system of Polytheism was rejected; but the regulations of Mahabad were retained, with a superstitious veneration for the sun, the planets, and fire.
The Persian Mythology was finally restored, in some degree, to its primitive simplicity, by Zeratush, or, who visited India to receive instruction from the Brahmins.
The book containing the Persian Mythology, as reformed and arranged by, was called the Zend-Avesta, and is till extant. The Zend-Avesta divides the period of the work of creation into six intervals. It asserts that in the sixth of these, man alone was created; and that he mysteriously consisted of two characters, or persons, distinguished from each other, as the Man, and the Man-Bull; that these were the first of beings formed by the immediate hand of the Supreme. The Man was called Kaiomorts, and the Bull, Aboudad, and they were combined together, constituting one being; so that the man was the pure and holy soul of the Man-Bull. For some time after the production of this intelligent creature, there was a season of happiness, and the Man-Bull resided in an elevated region, which the Deity had assigned him. At last, an evil being, named Ahriman, or Arimanius, corrupted the world. After having dared to visit heaven, he descended to the earth, assumed the form of a serpent, and introduced a number of evil demons or spirits, whom he had seduced from obedience to the great Deity. By his venom, the Man-Bull was poisoned, and died. But after he was dead, from his left arm issued a being called Goschoraun, who, approaching the Creator God, raised a cry louder than the shout of a thousand armies, complaining of the power of Ahriman and the prevalence of evil; and supplicating a deliverer. In the mean time, a universal opposition to the will of the Supreme was raised by Ahriman, when a second Man-Bull appeared, named Taschter, to whom was committed the charge of producing a universal deluge. This personage is spoken of as a star, or a sun, and as existing upon earth, under three forms. During this period, a conflict took place between the author of good, and Ahriman the producer of evil, in which the latter was subdued. Taschter’s light shone on high for thirty days and thirty nights. He is represented as having three bodies, of a man, a horse, and a bull; from each of which he caused rain to pour down in drops as large as the head of an ox. The earth was covered with water, and all the Kharfesters, the mischievous genii, were destroyed. At length, the creating God drove back the waters from the face of the earth by a mighty wind. Another bull was then formed, who became the author of all abundance, and from whom is derived the second race of men. According to the Zend-Avesta, when the waters retired from the surface of the globe, the summit of mount Albordi was the first land that became visible. The sun and the moon then appeared upon its summit; and the latter of these is said to have received, preserved, and purified the offspring of the Man-Bull. The moon is declared to have caused every thing to be produced, when the world was renewed after the general deluge. She is celebrated as the common mother, from whom proceed all the various descriptions of animals. Zoroaster retained the custom, still practised by a tribe called Sagnicas, near Benares, that whosoever enters upon the sacerdotal office, lights a fire by rubbing together two pieces of a hard wood named Semi, which he keeps lighted through life, for the nuptial ceremony, for the performance of solemn sacrifices, the obsequies of departed ancestors, and his own funeral pile. The reformed religion of Persia continued in force till that country was subdued by the Mussulmans, who by violence, established Islamism, or Mahommedanism, which is the prevalent system, at present; though numbers still preserve their ancient faith. These are called Parsees, or Guebres.
Ormuzd, Oromasdes, Orosmades, or Oromazes, was the name given to the Supreme Creator, by the Persian Mythology. He was adored as the author and principle of good, He was supposed to have produced the good spirits and genii residing in the stars; and to have included them in an egg, which was broken by Ahriman, whence proceeded confusion, and the mixture of evil with good. It was imagined that an incessant struggle is maintained between him and the evil principle, till the latter shall be finally destroyed. Zoroaster described Orosmades, as residing in the midst of a pure and divine fire which fills the immensity of space: and by means of which, not only bodies, but spirits also, axe rendered visible; as being the first principle of all things; as diffused throughout the universe, but as making the most brilliant manifestation of his presence, in that fine and subtle ether. The ancient Persians regarded it as impious to pretend to form visible images of him, or to erect temples to his honour, with the idea of his making them his dwelling-place. They venerated fire as his sacred emblem; the sun as his image; and their worship of him consisted in bloodless sacrifices, and simple rites.
Mithras is supposed to have been a personification of the sun. He was esteemed to be the first production of the power of Orosmades, and was invoked as the mediator between him and Ahriman. He was represented by Zoroaster, as seated next the throne of Orosmades, surrounded by an infinite multitude of genii, of different ranks and various orders, who presided over the divisions of time, the succession of the seasons, and the various operations of the natural world.
His symbols were, the bull, or the Man-Bull; the serpent; a serpent, a globe, and wings united. Certain mysteries were called by his name, similar to those of Isis and Ceres; founded chiefly on traditions concerning the deluge, and upon astronomical opinions. They were celebrated in deep caverns, or in artificial grottoes, in the mountains of Persia. The Mithratic caves were supposed to be emblems of the world, and sometimes of the ark of safety. The worship of this deity was introduced at Rome, A. U. C. 687.
Ahriman was the supposed author of evil, who endeavoured to introduce universal confusion amongst the works of Oromasdes, and was in perpetual opposition to him. Zoroaster described him as being the chief of the Jynges, the highest rank of genii; who, aspiring to equal himself to the God Mithras, by his eloquence seduced all the spirits of his order to unite with him, to disturb the harmony of the heavenly region. To punish these rebellious genii, Oromasdes suddenly withdrew his rays, and the sphere of Ahriman became a chaos of eternal night, in which reigned discord, hatred, confusion, anarchy, and violence. By the power, and through the compassion of Oromasdes, from this chaos, arose the sun and the planets. Into the different planets were distributed the seven genii, the principal companions, and ministers of Ahriman, with the subaltern spirits of that species, according to their different dispositions. The God Mithras labours unceasingly to reclaim and purify these spirits, and thus to capacitate them for their primitive felicity.
———————— Robed in purest whiteThe magi rang’d before the unfolded tent.Fire blaz’d beside them. Towards the sacred flameThey turn’d, and sent their tuneful praise to heav’n.Prom Zoroaster was the song derived,Who, on the hills of Persia, from his cave,By flowers environ’d, and melodious founts.Which sooth’d the solemn mansion, had revealed,How Oromazes, radiant source of good,Original, immortal, fram’d the globeIn fruitfulness and beauty; how with stars,By him, the heavens were spangled; how the sunRefulgent Mithras, purest spring of light,And genial warmth, whence teeming nature smiles,Burst from the east, at his creating voice;When, strait beyond the golden verge of day.Night show’d the horrors of her distant reign,Where black, and hateful, Arimanius frown’d,The author foul of evil; How, with shades,From his dire mansion, he deform’d the worksOf Oromazes; turn’d to noxious heat,The solar beam, that foodful Earth might parch,That streams exhaling might forsake their beds,Whence, pestilence and famine; how the pow’rOf Oromazes, in the human breastBenevolence and equity infus’d,Truth, temperance, and wisdom sprung from heaven;When Arimanius blacken’d all the soulWith falsehood and injustice, with desiresInsatiable; with violence and rage,Malignity and folly. If the handOf Oromazes, on precarious lifeShed wealth and pleasure, swift the infernal God,With wild excess, or avarice, blasts the joy.But, yet at last, shall Arimanius fallBefore his might, and evil be no more.’s Leonidas.
Chap. VII. Scythian and Celtic Mythology. §
The religion of the ancient Scythians, or Cuthites, is supposed to have been the first corruption of Patriarchism, or the primitive doctrine, which began at a period, not later than the building of the tower of Babel, and which was, probably? no very wide departure from divine truth. At that era, it is imagined that Polytheism likewise was introduced, and that the struggle between the two systems was one operating cause of the dispersion of mankind. In process of time the Mythology of the Scythians became very debased. They worshiped a great number of Gods and Goddesses, but their chief deity, whom they called Tahiti, is the Vesta of after-times. Next to her, they reverenced Papeus, the Jupiter of the Greeks, and Apia, or the Earth, who was regarded as his consort. The celestial Venus, Apollo, and Neptune, under the names of Strippasa, Oestosyrus, and Thamimasides. But the God of war was their favourite divinity. To him they consecrated groves, in which were oaks of extraordinary size, esteemed so sacred, that to lop a branch from them, or even to wound their trunk, was accounted sacrilege, and punished with death. These oaks were sprinkled with the blood of the victims offered to their Gods, so that the bark of the oldest of them was encrusted with it. To him they raised wooden altars of immense magnitude, which were quadrangular; having three sides perpendicular, and the fourth, an inclined plane, affording easy access to the summit, on which was erected a cimeter, as an image, or emblem of the God. They sacrificed horses to him, and every hundredth man taken in battle. The priest having poured a libation of wine upon the head of the destined captive, pierced his throat, and received the blood in a bowl, and with it washed the sacred sword. The right arm of the victim was then cut off, thrown up into the air, and suffered to remain on the spot where it fell. The Scythians also offered to their gods the first fruits of the earth, and portions of the spoils they gained in war. Fire, as the principle of all things; the wind, as the cause of life; and the sword, as the cause of death, were likewise venerated by them. A being, named Zamolxis, imagined to have the charge of conducting departed spirits to their respective abodes, was worshiped by them; and they sacrificed to him in behalf of their deceased friends. To all of these Deities groves, and not temples, were consecrated by the Scythians: and priests were appropriated to the conducting their respective rites.
The religion of the ancient Germans, Gauls, and Britons, and other Celtic nations. This, like almost all the other systems of Paganism, in its primitive simplicity, taught the existence of one great Supreme Being, the universal Creator and Ruler. To him was given the name of Teutates, compounded of the two British words Deu-tatt, signifying God the Parent, or Creator. When these ancient nations sunk into idolatry, Teutates was degraded into the sovereign of the infernal world, and worshiped with the most abominable and cruel rites. The priests of this religion were called Druids, and they had the entire direction of all theological concerns. By them, as the favourites of the Gods, and depositaries of their counsels, the people offered all their sacrifices and prayers. To them was intrusted the education of the youth. They were honoured in the highest degree, and determined all controversies, whether public or individual. Whoever refused submission to their decrees was interdicted by them from the sacrifices. This interdiction was a most severe punishment, since they against whom it was directed were held in universal detestation as impious and execrable. They were rendered incapable of any trust, or honour; were put out of the protection of the laws, and exposed to insult and injury. The Druids were exempted from taxes and military service. It was esteemed unlawful to commit their religious doctrines to writing. They were taught and transmitted entirely by tradition, and by poems, which the Druids learnt and recited, at the expense of great labour. Amongst their leading doctrines, were those of the immortality of the soul, and its transmigration through various bodies. Their acknow-leged divinities were, Teutates, Hesus, the god of war; Dis, or Pluto; Andate, the goddess of victory, and many of the Grecian deities. Like the Scythians, they performed their religious ceremonies in sacred groves, and paid peculiar respect to the oak, and superstitious reverence to the misletoe, growing upon that tree. When any was discovered, the Druids went in pompous procession to gather it. Every thing being prepared for the sacrifice, and the banquet under the oak, they began the ceremony by-tying two white bulls to it by the horns. Then one of the Druids, cloathed in white garments, ascended the tree, and with a golden hook, cut off the misletoe; which was received into a white sagum, or cloak. The sacred groves were surrounded by a ditch or a mound. In their centre was a circular area, inclosed with one or two rows of large stones. This was the temple. Close to that were the Carnedde, or consecrated mount; and the Cromlech, or stone of sacrifice. Human victims were frequently offered by those who laboured under disease, or were about to go to battle. Upon important public occasions, the Druids constructed colossal images of wicker work; filled them with human beings, and consumed them, together, by fire. Criminals were deemed the offerings most acceptable to the Gods; but when these were wanting, innocent persons were frequently immolated.
The poethas thus described a druidical grove:
“Not far away, for ages past had stoodAn old unviolated sacred wood;Whose gloomy boughs thick interwoven madeA chilly cheerless everlasting shade;There, not the rustic gods, nor satyrs sport,Nor fawns and sylvans with the nymphs resort;But barb’rous priests some dreadful pow’r adore,And lustrate ev’ry tree with human gore.”’s Lucan, book iii. l. 594, &c.
Chap. VIII: Scandinavian mythology.
The Scandinavians are supposed to be descended from the Scythians, and their religion to be a corruption of that of those people. The religion of the ancient Scythians was extremely simple. In its primeval purity, it taught the being of a supreme God, and Lord of the universe. To that Deity, it attributed infinite power, boundless knowledge, and incorruptible justice. It forbade the representation of this God, under any corporeal form; or the supposed confinement of him within the inclosure of walls, but enjoined the celebration of his worship in consecrated woods. From this Supreme, were imagined to spring a vast number of subaltern divinities, and genii, who directed all operations in the natural world, and who severally presided over the celestial bodies, over rivers and mountains, over the winds, tempests, thunder, and lightning. To this was added the belief of a future state, in which they were rewarded with numberless joys, who fulfilled the three fundamental maxims of the religion, to serve the Supreme Divinity with sacrifice and prayer, to do no wrong to others, and to be brave and intrepid themselves; while they who violated them, suffered the severest tortures. The descendants of the Scythians corrupted this plain system. They associated to the Supreme God, many of those genii, who had been always considered as subordinate to him, and, by degrees, selected as the objects of their peculiar adoration, those divinities, whose dominion they supposed to be exercised principally over those things, which they most highly valued. Thus it happened to the Scandinavians, who being fierce and fond of war, regarded the Supreme as the God of battle.
The Scandinavian mythology was of a gloomy, sanguinary character. As the fierce heroes of the north delighted in battle and slaughter, their religion partook of that character. Human victims were frequently offered, and were often esteemed substitutes for warriors, or princes about to die, In times of great danger, or public calamity, even their kings were sometimes sacrificed, to appease the anger of their Deities. Every ninth month, a festival of nine days was held, in each of which nine animal victims, frequently captives or slaves, were slain on a large stone, at the foot of the altar, on which was burning the everlasting fire. The bodies were opened by the priests, who drew omens from the entrails. Part of the blood was sprinkled on the people, and part on the sacred grove, in which the bodies were finally suspended. Sometimes, the miserable victims were precipitated into a deep well, near the consecrated inclosure. The Scandinavians, by degrees, adopted the custom of building temples for their Gods; the most famous of which were, at Upsal and Drontheim.
Odin, Frea, and Thor, formed the court, or supreme council of the Gods.
According to Scandinavian mythology, Giants existed before the Gods: who were supposed to be born, to reign, and to die, like earthly monarchs. Odin, or Wodin, the greatest of their Gods, proceeded from Borus, and from Beyzla, the daughter of the giant Baldorn. Aided by his two brothers, Vile and Ve, he created man and woman of two clumps of wood, which were floating on the shore of the ocean. The first of these Divinities imparted to them life and soul; the second, reason and movement; the third, hearing, sight, speech, raiment, and a name. The sons of Borus, afterwards, erected in the centre of the world the fortress of Asgard, which was the dwelling place of all the Gods. The particular abode of Odin was called Lidskialf, or the trembling gate. He is called the universal father; the father of battles; because he adopts, as his children, all those who die with arms in their hands. Odin takes no nourishment but wine, and distributes to two wolves, named Geri and Freki, the food served up to him at the celestial banquets. Considering Odin as a historical personage, the general opinion is that he was a Prince of some Scythian tribe, who, after the ruin of Mithridates, with whom he was in alliance, fled before the victorious arms of Pompey, and established himself in the north of Europe, with his army and the principal inhabitants of his country. There, assuming the name of Odin, he became the chief object of the idolatrous worship of the Scandinavians. Having been a mighty warrior, he was accounted the God of battles, who gave victory, and revived courage in the conflict.
Having, in a certain degree, civilized the barbarous tribes he subdued, and introduced conveniences unknown amongst them before, he was also worshiped as the god of arts and sciences. To him were ascribed the attributes of divinity; magnificent temples were built and sacrifices offered. The fourth day of the week was consecrated to him, and called Wodin’s day, now corrupted into Wednesday. The supposed actions of Odin are represented by the Scandinavian poets as most marvellous. In battle he slaughtered thousands at a blow. Odin is said, finally, to have retired into Sweden, and feeling the approach of death, and wishing to meet it, as he had often braved it in the field, he assembled his companions, and inflicted upon himself nine deep wounds with the point of his lance. As he was expiring, he declared that he was going into Scythia to take his place amongst the other deities, at the immortal banquet, where he would receive those who died with arms in their hands.
Frea, or Frigga, the daughter of Niorder, God of the winds and seas, was represented as the most amiable of the Goddesses. She was the wife of Odin, accompanied him in battle, on horseback, and shared the dead with him. Continually lamenting the departure of her spouse, she wept tears of gold; and from her constantly searching for him, she was called Vanadis, goddess of hope. She was supposed to have the knowledge of the future, which she never revealed. She inhabited a magnificent palace of heaven, named Fansal, the illustrious abode. Virgins of high birth consecrated themselves to her service. In the temple at Upsal was seen her image reclining on cushions, adorned with the emblems of fertility and abundance. Under the name of Hertha, she was regarded as the earth; and she was worshiped by most of the German tribes, as the goddess of love and pleasure; the patroness of marriage. To her was consecrated the sixth day of the week; which still bears her name, Frea’s day, or Friday. She was attended by Fulla, her handmaid, with long flowing hair, and a bandeau of gold.
Thor was esteemed to be the eldest and bravest of the sons of Odin and Frea. He was supposed to rule over the aerial regions; to launch the thunder; to point the lightning; to direct the meteors, winds, and storms. His palace was named, the Asylum against terror; and was said to contain 540 halls. Three articles of his armour, were particularly celebrated by the Scandinavian poets; his club, which was represented as instinct with life, and voluntarily returning to his hand after he had hurled it at his foes; his belt, inspiring strength and valour; his gauntlets, without which he could not grasp the formidable club. Prayers were addressed to him for favourable winds, refreshing rains, and fruitful seasons. The fifth day of the week was dedicated to him, and called after his name, Thor’s day; Thursday.
Niorder, who presided over the seas, navigation, hunting, and fishing. He espoused Skada, daughter of the giant Thiasse; who preferring the mountains of her father, to the humid palace of her husband, prevailed with him to spend nine out of every twelve days in the hilly regions, while the other three were spent on the shores of the ocean. Niorder is supposed to have been a king of some part of Sweden, and high priest of Upsal.
Irminsul, or the column of the universe. He is imagined to have been a deification of Arminius, the noble leader of the Cherusci; who revived the spirit of liberty among the Germans, and opposed a glorious resistance to the insatiable ambition of the Romans.
Surtur, prince of the Genii of fire. He was described as inhabiting a luminous world, situated towards the south; and as being destined, at the last day, to vanquish the Gods, and to give up the earth to flames.
Balder, a son of Odin. He was represented as possessing a majestic, attractive beauty; light hair and dazzling eyes. He was mild and eloquent, uttering just and irrevocable decrees. Into his palace no impure person could enter; and upon its columns were engraven those Runic rhymes which were imagined to have power to revive the dead. He was killed, unintentionally, by his blind brother, Hoder.
Heimdal; the guardian of the heavens. He was styled the powerful; the holy; the God with golden teeth. He was represented as posted in the celestial fortress, at one end of the bridge Bifrost, which reached from earth to heaven, and was evidently an emblem of the rainbow. There he defended the passage against the giants; taking less sleep than a bird; seeing a hundred leagues round him, by night as well as by day; hearing the grass growing on the ground, and the wool on the backs of the sheep. He held in his hand a trumpet, the sound of which might be heard throughout all worlds. He was esteemed to be the standard-bearer of the Gods; the judge and pacificator of combats and disputes. He was represented with a cock’s crest upon his head. Tyr, the dispenser of victory. Braga, the God of poetry.
To these, may be added, several children of Odin: Hoder the blind; the silent Vidar, who walked the waters and the air; Vali, the formidable archer; Uller, who presided over the trial by duel; and Forseti, who decided the differences between Gods and men. Iduna, queen of youth; Saga, goddess of waterfalls; Vara, the witness of oaths; Lofen, the guardian of friendship; Synia, avenger of broken faith.
It was called Niflheim, and was represented as consisting of nine vast regions of ice, situated under the north pole. Near its eastern gate reposed the body of Vala, the prophetess.
Hard by the eastern gate of HellIn ancient time, great Vala fell;And there she lies in massive tomb,Shrowded by night s eternal gloom.Fairer than Gods, and wiser, sheHeld the strange keys of destiny,She knew what chanc’d ere time beganEre world there was, or Gods, or man;No mortal tongue has ever said,What hand unknown laid Vala dead.But yet if rumour rightly tells,In her cold bones the Spirit dwells;And still if bold intruder come,Her voice unfolds his hidden doom.And oft the rugged ear of HellIs sooth’d by some melodious spell,Slow breathing from the hollow stoneIn witching notes and solemn tone.’s Helga.
The Dog of darkness, similar to the Grecian Cerberus, guarded the entrance.
Uprose the King of men with speedAnd saddled strait, his coal-black steed;Down the yawning steep he rode,That leads to Hela’s drear abode.Him, the dog of darkness spied;His shaggy throat he opened wide,While from his jaws, with carnage fill’d,Foam, and human gore distill’d.Hoarse he bays with hideous din,Eyes that glow and fangs that grin.’s Descent of Odin.
Here was the principal abode of Loke, the cruel, cunning, and malicious enemy of Gods and men. Here resided Hela, the dreadful Goddess of death, daughter of the evil genius Loke, and the giantess Angherbode, or messenger of ill she was described as occupying an immense palace; where her hall was Sorrow; her table, Famine; her knife, Hunger; her Servants, Slowness and Delay; her gate, Precipice; her vestibule, Languor; her bed, Malady and Leanness; her tent, Malediction. One half of her body was of the colour of putrid, and the other of living, flesh. In this region of horrors roamed the wolf Fenris, a monster dreaded by the Gods, as destined to be one instrument of their destruction; and the equally formidable serpent.
The Maids of the God of war; the Goddesses of slaughter. It was their province to select those that were to fall in battle; to bear the invitation of Odin, to the most distinguished; to conduct the souls of heroes slain, to Valhalla, his hail; and there, to pour out for them, the beverage of the Gods.
On steeds that seem’d as fleet as light,Six maids in brilliant armour dight.Their chargers of ethereal birth.Paw’d, with impatient hoof, the earth,And snorting fiercel ’gan to neigh,As if they heard the battle bray,And burn’d to join the bloody fray.But They unmov’d and silent sate,With pensive brow, and look sedate.Proudly each couch’d her glittering spearAnd seem’d to know nor hope nor fear.So mildly firm their placid air.So resolute, yet heav’nly fair.But not one ray of pity’s beam,From their dark eyelids seem’d to gleam;Nor gentle mercy’s melting tear,Nor love might ever harbour there.Was never woman’s beauteous face,So stern and yet so passionless.Helga.
The most ancient, is the Voluspa; the prophecy of Vala, or Vola, It begins with a description of Chaos; relates the formation of the world; the creation of its various inhabitants, giants, gods, men, and dwarfs. It then proceeds to a description of the employments of the Destinies, called Nornies; the functions of the Deities; their most remarkable adventures; their disputes with Loke, and the vengeance that ensued. It concludes with a representation of the final ruin by a general conflagration. The Edda, which is a commentary on the Voluspa, compiled in Iceland, in the 13th century, contains the system of Scandinavian mythology. It speaks of the giants, as existing in chaos, before the earth. It describes the palace of Odin, the Valhalla in the city of Midgard, or Asgard; where the souls of heroes who had fallen in battle, enjoy their supreme felicity. They spend the day in hunting shadowy forms of wild beasts, or in combats with shadowy warriors; and at night assemble in the hall of Odin, to feast, and drink mead, of ale, out of the sculls of their enemies, whom they had killed in their mortal life. It mentions Odin’s steed, as being named Sleipner, having eight legs, and running with inconceivable speed. It speaks of the embalmed head of Mimer, the prophet, which Odin used to carry with him and consult. It gives the names of some of the giants, and ascribes to them marvellous exploits. But the most extraordinary part of the sacred books of the Scandinavian mythology is the description they give of the end of the world; which is called the twilight of the Gods. Three successive, severe, and dreadful winters, will announce its approach to the children of men. The snow will fall from the four corners of the world. The wolf Fenris will devour the sun; another monster will carry off the moon; the stars will vanish from the heavens; the tottering mountains will crumble to pieces; the sea will rush upon the land; the great serpent, advancing to the shore, will inundate the air and water, with floods of venom. In the midst of this confusion, the heaven will open; the Genii of fire will enter, and with Surtur at their head, will pass the bridge Bifrost. They will unite with Fenris and Loke, and range themselves in battle array, upon an extensive plain. Immediately Heimdal sounds his trumpet; Odin consults the head of Mimer; the great ash tree Idrasil, which overshadowed the gates of his palace, is agitated. The combat begins between Odin and Fenris; Thor and the great serpent; Frey, the son of Niorder, and Surtur. Tyr attacks the horrible dog Garme, and they kill each other. At the same instant Frey is beaten down. Thor overthrows the huge serpent; but in striking him recoils nine paces, and falls stifled by the venom of the monster. Odin is devoured by Fenris, who is killed by Vidar. Loke and Heimdal fall by mutual wounds. Surtur scatters his fires over all the earth, till it is consumed. Vidar, the god of silence, and Vali, the god of strength, alone survive. A new system will then be established.
Besides those already enumerated, two more vague and doubtful beings are found in the Scandinavian mythology. Hræsvelger, who sits at the extremity of the heavens, a giant in the clothing of an eagle: from whose wings proceed the winds; and Svalin, who holds a curious shield before the sun, to prevent the hills from being burnt, and the sea from being evaporated by excessive heat.
He, who at heav’n’s extremest verge,Still broods o’er ocean’s swelling surge,“With giant form, and frequent flingsThe tempest from his eagle wings.And that dark power, whose ample shieldBefore the sun’s bright face is held;Screening from flame, the liquid main,Each shadowy hill and grassy plain.Helga.
The northern mythology makes the Sun to be a female, and the moon a male divinity.
The Song of Vala.(From’s Helga.)Silence all ye sons of glory!Silence all ye powers of light!While I sing of ancient story,Wonders wrapt in mystic night.
I was rock’d in giants’ cradle,Giants’ lore my wisdom gave;I have known both good and evil,Now I lie in lowly grave.
Long before the birth of Odin,Mute was thunderous ocean’s roar:Stillness o’er the huge earth brooding,Strand was none, nor rocky shore.
Neither grass nor green tree growing,Vernal shower, nor wintry storm,Nor those horses, bright and glowing,Dragg’d the Sun’s refulgent form.
He who rules, by night, the heaven,Wist not where his beams to throw;All to barren darkness given,There, confusion; Hell below.
Imir sate in lonely sadness,Watching o’er the fruitless globe;Never morning beam’d with gladness;Never eve, with dewy robe.
Who are those in pride advancing,Through the barren tract of night?Mark their steel divinely glancing,Imir falls in holy fight!
Of his bones, the rocks high swelling,Of his flesh the glebe is made;From his veins the tide is welling,And his locks are verdant shade.
Hark his crest with gold adorning,Chanticleer on Odin calls.Hark! another bird of morning,Claps his wings in Hela’s halls.
Nature shines in glory beaming;Elves are born, and man is form’dEv’ry hill with gladness teeming,Ev’ry shape with life is warm’d.
Who is he by heav’n’s high portal,Beaming like the light of morn?’Tis Heimdallar’s form immortal,Shrill resounds his golden horn.
Say, proud Warder rob’d in glory,Are the foes of nature nigh?Have they climb’d the mountains hoary?Have they storm’d the lofty sky?
On the wings of tempest riding,Surtur spreads his fiery spell;Elves in secret caves are hiding;Odin meets the wolf of hell,
She must taste a second sorrow,She who wept when Balder bled.Fate demands a nobler quarry;Death must light on Odin’s head.
See ye not yon silent stranger?Proud he moves with low’ring eyes.Odin, mark thy stern avenger!Slain the shaggy monster lies.
See the serpent weakly crawling!Thor has bruis’d its loathsome head!Lo the stars from heav’n are falling!Earth has sunk in ocean’s bed!
Glorious Sun, thy beams are shrowded,Vapours dark around thee sail;Nature’s eye with mists is clouded;Shall the Powers of ill prevail?
Say, shall earth with freshness teeming,Once again from ocean rise?Shall the dawn of glory streaming,Wake us to immortal joys?
He shall come in might eternal,He whom eye hath never seen.Earth, and Heav’n, and Powers infernal,Mark his port and awful mien.
He shall judge, and he shall sever,Shame from glory, ill from good;These shall live in light for ever,Those shall wade the chilling flood.
Dark to dwell in woe repining,Far beyond the path of day,In that bower, where serpents twining,Loathsome spit their venom’d spray.
— —————A few grey stonesNow mark the spot where Odin’s temple stood,And there the traveller seeks with busy eyeHis altar green with moss. The northern chiefsCast not their captive In the dungeon nowTo the viper brood, nor to the eagle’s shapeCarve out his mangled form..
Chap. IX. Arabian and Babylonian Mythology. §
The primitive Arabian religion admitted the existence of one Supreme God, the Maker and Lord of the Universe, who was denominated Allah Taala, that is, the Most High God. But the Arabians soon degenerated, and fell into the error of adoring the heavenly bodies; and, by degrees, gross idolatry was introduced among the common people, worshiped among particular tribes. Of the angels or intelligences which the Arabians to reside in them, and to govern the world under the Supreme Deity. These they reverenced as inferior divinities, and implored their intercession with the greatest God. Seven celebrated temples were dedicated to the seven planets, and statues were erected to their honour. Besides the stars, which were general objects of worship throughout Arabia, there were some that were peculiarly They worshiped the fixed stars and the planets: and the angels, whom they supposed venerated, the Coran mentions three, Allat, Al-Uzzah, and Manah. These were called goddesses, and the daughters of God; and this appellation was conferred, not only on the angels, but on their images likewise, which they believed to be animated by those angels. Allat was the idol of the tribe Thakif, and to him was consecrated a temple, at a place named Nakhlah. Al-Uzzah was the idol of the tribes of Koreish and Kenanah. But according to some writers, this idol was an acacia tree, over which was built a chapel. Manah was the object of worship to the tribes of Hodhail and Khozaah, who occupied the country between Mecca and Medina. Manah is supposed to have been represented by the black stone placed in the Caaba, the temple at Mecca; which has been so reverenced by the Mahometans, as being one of the precious stones of Paradise that fell down to the earth with Adam; and being taken up again, or, otherwise preserved at the deluge, was brought back by the angel Gabriel, to Abraham, when he was building the Caaba. This stone is set in silver, and fixed in the south-east angle of that sacred edifice, which is a building so ancient, that its original use, and the period of its erection, are totally unknown. It was built, probably, by some of the earliest descendants of Ishmael, and intended for religious purposes. It was held in great veneration long before the birth of. The Arabian writers describe five antediluvian idols, who are said to have been men of exemplary virtue and high reputation. Their statues were, at first, only testimonies of civil honour, which, in process of time, was heightened into religious reverence. The Arabians had, likewise, a great number of other idols; each tribe and family maintaining its own appropriate deity.
The Babylonian Mythology gave rise to almost all the idolatrous superstitions that spread among the neighbouring nations, and is charged with having introduced the abominable custom of human sacrifices, to appease, or to conciliate their false deities.
Their mythology was much blended with their science; as the Chaldeans were not only their priests, but also their philosophers. They were greatly addicted to astrology, and ascribed powerful influence to the stars and planets. Belus, the supposed founder of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires, became the principal object of worship among the later Babylonians, and was, in fact, their Jupiter. A temple was erected to him, in Babylon, and a tower, which was used by the Chaldeans as an observatory. The temple consisted of eight towers, raised one above the other. In an apartment of one of them was placed a magnificent bed, and a golden table near it; but without any image. Here the God was supposed to come to repose himself; hence it has been inferred that the Babylonians regarded him as the Supreme God. Beneath this was another apartment, in which was a gigantic statue of Belus, made of solid gold, and a throne of the same metal. This image, supposed to be the great Pul, or Belus, who was deified by his son Tiglathpileser, being situated below the Supreme Deity, seems to have implied, that Belus divided the empire of the universe with him; that as the former was the God of heaven, so the latter was a delegated God on earth. Some have thought, that by their superior deity, the Babylonians meant the sun.
Chap X. [Idol deities of the Canaanites, Philistines, Syrians, &c. — and of the Mexicans and Peruvians.] §
Baal, a mere title, denoting lord, and Moloch, Molech, or Malek, which signifies king, were variously combined to express various attributes of the idols known by those names. Thus, Baal-Peor, who was the idol of the Moabites, whose rites were most detestable and cruel; and who is regarded as being the same as Typhon; means lord of the opening. Baal-Zebub, lord of flies; Baal-Berith, Addra, Malek, Ana-Malek, and Melchom, signifying the burning king. The chief god of the Philistines was Dagon, whose statue was compounded of the figures of a man and a fish; his name signifies the sun worshiped under the form of a fish. Moloch, the same as the Saturn of the Carthaginians, was the chief deity of the Phenicians, and other neighbouring nations; in honour of whom, human victims, principally children, were immolated. Adonis, or Thammuz, was worshiped throughout Phrygia and Syria, under that name, or the appellation of Attis or Atys, and his supposed death by the tusk of a wild boar was annually lamented with solemn ceremonies. Rimmon and Astarte, queen of heaven, the Moon, distinguished by her silver crescent, were likewise, objects of worship, amongst those nations. These our sublime poetnotices.
Next, Moloch, horrid king besmear’d with bloodOf human sacrifice, and parents’ tears;Though for the noise of drums and timbrels loud,Their children’s cries unheard, that passed through fireTo his grim idol. Kim the AmmoniteWorship’d in Rabba, and her wat’ry plain.Next Chemos, the obscene dread of Moab’s sons;Peor, his other name. With these, in troop,Came Astoreth, whom the Phenicians callAstarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns:To whose bright image, nightly by the moon,Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs.——— —— Thammuz came next behind,Whose annual wound, in Lebanon, allur’dThe Syrian damsels to lament his fate.——— —— Next, came oneWho mourn’d in earnest, when the captive arkMaim’d his brute image; head and hands lopp’d off.Dagon his name; sea monster; upward man,And downward fish; yet had his temple high,Rear’d in Azotus, dreaded through the coastOf Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon.Him followed Rimmon, whose delightful seatWas fair Damascus, on the fertile banksOf Abbana and Pharpar, lucid streams.
The chief God of the Mexicans was called Vitzliputzli, or Mexitli, whom they suppose to have conducted the march of their ancestors, from the northern regions to their southern situation. He was imagined to be a cruel deity, fond of blood; and to him were offered, annually, multitudes of human victims, on the summit of his pyramidal temple in ancient Mexico. The unhappy victims were stretched out, by four priests, upon a convex green stone, as an altar; and while they were yet alive, their hearts were extracted by the high priest, and their bodies precipitated down the steps, which formed the sides of the temple.
The image of Vitzliputzli was the figure of a man, seated on an azure-coloured stool, in an ark or litter; at each corner of which was a piece of wood carved into the shape of a serpent’s head. His forehead also was azure, and a band of the same colour passed under his nose, from one ear to the other. On his head was a rich plume of feathers, covered on the top with gold. In his left hand was a white target; and in his right, an azure staff in form of a waving wand. The ark within which he reposed was covered with linen clothes, feathers, jewels, and ornaments of gold, and conspicuously placed upon a lofty altar. Before him was a veil, or curtain. In conjunction with Vitzliputzli, the Mexicans worshiped another God, whom they called Kaloc. These were always placed together, as companions, and as enjoying an equal degree of power. They reverenced likewise a goddess, who was styled the Great Mother, and regarded as the goddess of the waters. The chief deities of the Peruvians were Viracocha, or Pachacamac, whom they worshiped in connection with the sun; Pachamama, or the Earth; and Mamacocha, or the mother sea. They did not practise the sanguinary rites of the Mexicans, but, like them, they consecrated virgins to the service of their divinities, similar to the vestal virgins.
A survey of the absurdities presented to view in the Heathen Mythology, ought surely to excite our gratitude towards the supreme Lord of Providence, for having delivered us from such deplorable mental blindness.
Though the philosophers of antiquity probably regarded those monstrous fictions as conveying lessons of wisdom, under the veil of allegory, yet, it is certain, that the people, at large, received them as literal truths, and cherished them with such veneration, that it was dangerous, in the highest degree, to express any doubts on the subject. The wisest sages deemed it more expedient to conceal their better knowledge from all, excepting a few select disciples, than to shake the common faith, and disturb the public religion. Hence, even in those polished nations, amongst whom the arts and sciences flourished with progressive vigour, religion and morality remained stationary, wretchedly debased and obscured.
From a small, almost, unnoticed, spot on the surface of the earth, faintly gleamed for ages, the light of heavenly truth, until, at the season appointed in the eternal counsels of the Most High, the day-spring burst forth into a flood of radiance, piercing and scattering the gloomy clouds of ignorance. Jesus, the Christ of God, the Prince of Peace, appeared. The Sun of Righteousness, the glorious luminary of the moral world arose, and the dark shades of intellectual night swiftly fled away. We behold one God, the Creator, the Preserver, the Ruler of the universe; clad in glory; arrayed in strength; seated upon the throne of uncaused being: unchangeably possessed of almighty power, unerring wisdom, perfect purity, unbounded goodness: ever present in all parts of the vast creation; ever providing for the happiness of all creatures.
How thankful should we be for these sublime, rational, encouraging, delightful ideas of the Deity, the all-directing mind; for this most precious knowledge, communicated unto us by our Lord Jesus Christ!
How earnestly should we desire, how diligently endeavour, that this unsullied beam of celestial splendour, may enlighten our understandings, may purify our hearts, may elevate our affections, may guide our steps through all the changing scenes of this imperfect state, and may cheer our fainting spirits, in the awful hour of dissolution; that thus we may not have received the grace of God in vain.
What general name is given to the incarnations of Vishnu, and how are they represented?
Achĕrōn, a river of hell Page 99
Acīdǎlĭa, a name of Venus 61
Adītī, consort of Casyapa, a Hindû goddess 133
Adōnis, a Phrygian deity 218
Agǎnīppĭdes, a name of the Muses 43
Aglaiǎ, one of the Graces 64
Agnī, the Hindû genius of fire 138
Agnyāstra, Hindû rocket 138
Ahrīmān, a Persian deity 185
Alcīdes, a name of Hercules 110
Alcmenǎ, the mother of Hercules 110
Alēcto, one of the Furies 102
Amālthæǎ, the goat which nourished Jupiter 17
Ammōn, the Egyptian Jupiter 165
Amphītrītē, the wife of Neptune 74
Amshāspānds, genii of the elements 177
Ancīlĭa, sacred shields 57
Annǎ Pĕrēnnā, a rural divinity 87
Anūbis, an Egyptian deity 161
Aŏnĭdēs, a name of the Muses 43
Apes, venerated by the Hindûs 142
Aphrŏdītǎ, a name of Venus 61
Apis, a name of Jupiter 16
Apōllo, the god of the fine arts 36
Arabian Mythology 213
Arēs, a name of Mars 57
Argŏnāuts, the companions of Jason 114
Arimānĭus, the author of evil 177
Arūna, the charioteer of the Sun 139
Ascǎlǎphŭs, a son of Achĕrōn 26
Assabīnus, a name of Jupiter 16
Astārtē, a name of Venus 61
Astarte, a Phrygian goddess 218
Astrēǎ, Justice 104
Athēna, a name of Minerva 53
Atrŏpŏs, one of the Fates 103
Aurōra, a daughter of Sol 32
Aūstĕr, the south wind 82
Avatārs, incarnations of Vishnu 143
Avērnus, a poisonous lake 93
Ayeen Akbery, a Hindû book 139, 144
Baal-Peor, the idol of the Moabites 217
Babylonian mythology 213
Bācchānālĭǎ, festivals of Bacchus 49
Bācchāntēs, priestesses of Bacchus 49
Bācchŭs, the god of wine 46
Bāldĕr, a son of Odin 201
Bāssǎrĭdĕs, priestesses of Bacchus 49
Bēllĕrŏphōn, the conqueror of Chĭmærǎ 116
Bēllōnǎ, the goddess of war 58
Bēlus, a Babylonian deity 216
Bēlus, a name of Sol 30
Bĕrĕcȳnthĭǎ, a name of Cybĕle 10
Bhavānī, the wife of Seeva 137
Bĭfōrmĭs, a name of Bacchus 47
Bĭfrōst, a bridge which reached from earth to heaven 202
Bŏnǎ Dĕǎ, the bountiful goddess 85
Bŏnŭs-Evēntŭs, a rural divinity 87
Bŏrĕās, the north wind 82
Brāgā, a Scandinavian deity 202
Brāhmá, a Hindû god 131
Brāhme, the supreme Hindû god 130
Brahmins, Hindû priests 148
Brisæus, a name of Bacchus 47
Brōntēs, one of the Cyclops 68
Būbōna, the goddess of herdsmen 87
Būddah, a pagan deity 127
Bouto or Buto, an Egyptian goddess 171
Cǎcŭs, a son of Vulcan 68
Cādmŭs, the inventor of letters 109
Cāllĭŏpē, one of the Muses 43
Cāma, the Hindû god of love 138
Cǎmīllŭs, a name of Mercury 71
Canaanites’ idolatry 217
Cārtīceya, a Hindû god 137
Cāstǎlĭdĕs, a name of the Muses 43
Cāstǎlĭŭs, a fountain of Parnassus 43
Castes, divisions of the Hindû people 148
Cāstŏr, a son of Jupiter 114
Casyāpa, a Hindû god 133
Cĕcrōps, the founder of Athens 109
Celtic mythology 188
Cēntaūrs, a people of Thessaly 115
Cērbĕrŭs, the three-headed dog 94
Cĕrēs, the goddess of corn 26
Cēstŭs, the girdle of Venus 62
Chaldēans, Babylonian priests 216
Chāndra, a name of the moon 141
Chǎrōn, the ferry-man of hell 93
Chǎrbdĭs, a sea monster 80
Chĭmærǎ, a monster destroyed by Bellerŏphon 116
Chīrōn, a centaur; tutor of Esculapius 109
Chronos, the Grecian name of Saturn. 6
Cīrcē, a daughter of Sol. 34
Cithĕrĭdes, a name of the Muses 43
Clīo, one of the Muses 41
Clōthō, one of the Parcæ 103
Cneph, God, worshiped in the Thebaïs 152
Cōctŭs, a stagnant marsh 95
Cœcŭlus, a son of Vulcan 68
Cœlus, the same as Uranus 5
Cōllīnǎ, the goddess of hills 88
Cōmus, the god of revelry 108
Cōnsuālia, games in honour of Neptune 74
Cōnsŭs, a name of Neptune 74
Cŏrōnĭs, the mother of Esculapius 108
Cŏry̌bāntĕs, priests of Cybele 11
Corythaix, a name of Mars 57
Creeshna, or Chrishna, the Hindû god of shepherds 142
Cromlecks, Celtic stones of sacrifice 192
Cŭpīd, the god of love 63
Cūrētĕs, priests of Cybele 11
Cy̌bĕlē or Vesta the elder, the wife of Saturn 9
Cy̌clōps, the forgers of Jupiter’s thunderbolts 68
Ccnŭs, a friend of Phaëton 33
Cllēnĭŭs, a name of Mercury 71
Cnthĭŭs, a name of Apollo 37
Cy̌thĕrǎ, a name of Venus 61
Dactli, a name of the priests of Cybele 11
Dædǎlŭs, the inventor of sails 113
Dagon, a god of the Philistines 218
Dǎnǎŭs, the father of the Danaide 108
Dēlŏs, a name of Apollo 37
Dēlphĭcŭs, another name of Apollo 37
Dēlphōs, a famous oracle 40
Demogorgon, the genius of the earth 83
Deūcǎlĭon, a hero of antiquity 109
Dewtahs, malignant spirits 131
Diāna, the goddess of the chase 44
Dīctnnǎ, a name of Diana 44
Dĭēs Pater, a name of Jupiter 19
Dĭī Selēcti, gods of the second class 4
Dīndy̌mēnē, a name of Cybele 10
Dĭŏnsiǎ, festivals of Bacchus 49
Dĭŏnsĭŭs, a name of Bacchus 47
Dīræ, a name of the Furies 102
Dis, a name of Pluto 99
Dōdōnǎ, an oracle of Jupiter 20
Dōrĭs, the wife of Nereus 73
Druids, Celtic priests 191
Dryǎdĕs, wood nymphs 82
Dūrgā, a name of Seraswatti 138
Eǎcŭs, a judge of the infernal regions 101
Echō, daughter of the air and earth 90
Edda, a sacred book of the Scandinavians 207
Egēōn, a sea god 79
Egĭpāns, rural divinities 88
Egĭs, the shield of Minerva 52
Egyptian Mythology 150
Ely̌sĭan Fields, the abodes of the just 96
Eno, a name of Bellona 58
Eŏlŭs, the god of the winds 82
Eōŭs, one of the horses of Sol 30
Eratō, one of the Muses 42
Ergatīs, a name of Minerva 53
Eilethyia, an Egyptian goddess 170
Erīcthĕŭs, a son of Vulcan 68
Erīnnys, the Furies 102
Erostrǎtus, a famous incendiary 45
Erycīna, a name of Venus 61
Esculāpĭus, the god of physic 108
Ethōn, one of the horses of Sol 30
Eūmĕnĭdēs, the Furies 103
Eŭphrŏsy̌nĕ, one of the Graces 64
Eurus, the east wind 82
Eūtērpē, one of the Muses 42
Euvyhe, a name of Bacchus 47
Fates, the Parcæ 103
Fauns, rural divinities 88
Fĕbrŭŭs, a name of Pluto 99
Fēnrĭs, a Scandinavian evil deity 205
Flōra, the goddess of flowers 86
Fōrsētĭ, a son of Odin 203
Frēǎ, a Scandinavian goddess 199
Fŭllǎ, the handmaid of Frea 200
Furies, the punishers of the guilty 101
Gāllī, priests of Cybele 11
Ganēsa, a name of the Hindû god of wisdom 133
Ganymede, the successor of Hebe 25
Gāyteree, an invocation to the sun 140
Genii, domestic divinities 92
Glaūcŭs, a sea god 79
Glaukōpis, a name of Minerva 53
Gnomes, invisible agents 93
Gorgons, Mĕdūsǎ, Euryǎle, and Stheno 117
Graces, daughters of Jupiter 64
Gradīvus, a name of Mars 57
Grand Lama 126
Hades, a name of Pluto 99
Hālcy̌ons, sea birds 81
Hǎmǎdradēs, wood nymphs 82
Harpies, Aēllo, Ocy̌pĕtē, Cĕlēnō 116
Harpōcrǎtes, an Egyptian god 164
Hēbē, goddess of youth 25
Hecate, a name of Diana 44
Heimdāl, a Scandinavian deity 202
Hēla, the Scandinavian goddess of death 204
Hēlĭǎdĕs, daughters of Sol 38
Hĕlĭcŏnĭdĕs, a name of the Muses 43
Heliopolis, a city of Elysium 96
Hĕrǎ, a name of Juno 23
Hērcŭlēs, son of Jupiter and Alcmena 110
Hermes, an Egyptian sage 160, 167
Hērmēs, a name of Mercury 71
Heroes of the Trojan war 115
Heroes of the Theban war 115
Hertha, a name of the goddess Frea 119
Hindû mythology 129
Hindû pantheon 145
Hindû sacrifices 143
Hindû temples 145
Hippŏcrēnides, a name of the Muses 43
Hippōnǎ, the goddess of horses 88
Hōder, a son of Odin 202
Horus, an Egyptian deity 160
Howm, the burnt sacrifice of the Hindûs 141
Hraēsvēlgĕr, a Scandinavian deity 269
Hy̌ǎcnthus, the son of Amyclas 38
Idǎliǎ, a name of Venus 61
Idaæa, a name of Cybele 10
Idŭnā, a Scandinavian goddess 203
Inǎchŭs, a hero of antiquity 109
Indian pagodas 146
Indĭgĕtes, local deities 5
Indra, a Hindû god 134
Ino, a sea god 79
Irĭs, the attendant of Jupiter 25
Irminsūl, a Scandinavian deity 201
Isĭs, a celebrated Egyptian goddess 157
Ixīōn, a criminal of the infernal regions 107
Jaggernaut, a Hindû idol 147
Jānŭs, a deity of the ancient Romans 8
Jāsōn, the leader of the Argonauts 114
Jou, the true name of Jupiter 19
Jove, a name of Jupiter 19
Jugatīnus, a rural divinity 88
Jūno, the wife of Jupiter 22
Jupiter, the supreme god of the Pagans 15
Jupiter Ammon, an Egyptian deity 165
Kaloc, a Mexican god 221
Labours of Hercules 110
Lāchĕsĭs, one of the Parcæ 103
Lachsmee, a Hindû goddess 133
Lādon, the father of Syrinx 90
Lama, Grand 126
Lares, household gods 91
Larmida, the mother of the Lares 92
Lātōna, the mother of Apollo 36
Lemnĭus, a name of Vulcan 67
Lerna, a marsh drained by Hercules 110
Lēthē, a river of hell 95
Lōfen, a Scandinavian deity 203
Lōké, the Scandinavian god of evil 204
Lūna, Isis, Diana 44
Lupercālĭa, feasts of Pan 89
Lŭpērci, priests of Apollo 89
Lymnīădes, marsh nymphs 82
Magi, Persian priests 179
Mahabad, a Persian deity 179
Mahasoor, a malignant spirit 131
Māiă, the mother of Mercury 70
Mamacocha, a Peruvian deity 221
Mariatale, a Hindû goddess 138
Mărīnā, a name of Venus 61
Mars, the god of war 57
Mārsy̌as, a satyr killed by Apollo 38
Maxĭmus, a name of Jupiter 19
Megæra, one of the furies 102
Megăle, a name of Juno 23
Mĕgălēsĭă, festivals of Cybele 11
Mellōna, goddess of bees 87
Mēlpŏmĕnĕ, one of the Muses 42
Mēnădes, priestesses of Bacchus 49
Menū, a name of a Hindû god 133
Mercury, an Egyptian sage 155
Mērcury, the messenger of the gods 69
Meru, the north pole 134
Mexican idolatry 219
Mĭdās, a king of Phrygia 38
Mīmĕr, a Scandinavian prophet 207
Mĭnērvă, the goddess of wisdom 52
Mīnōs, one of the infernal judges 101
Mendes, the Egyptian Pan 167
Mithras, a Persian deity 184
Mnēmŏsy̌ne, the mother of the Muses 41
Moloch, a name of Sol 30
Moloch, a Phenician deity 218
Mōmŭs, the god of laughter 108
Mors, a daughter of Nox 104
Mŭlcĭbĕr, a name of Vulcan 67
Muses, daughters of Jupiter 41
Mythrās, a name of Sol 30
Nāiădes, river nymphs 82
Nārac, the Hindû hell 135
Nārāyān, a Hindû god 130
Nĕmĕsĭs, the avenging goddess 108
Neptune, god of the ocean 74
Nepthys, the wife of Typhon 158
Nērĕĭdĕs, sea nymphs 73
Nēreūs, the son of Oceanus 73
Niflheim, the Scandinavian hell 203
Nĭorder, a Scandinavian deity 201
Nōmius, a name of Apollo 37
Nomius, a name of Mercury 71
Nornes, the Scandinavian destinies 206
Nox, the mother of the Furies 104
Nȳctĕlĭŭs, a name of Bacchus 47
Nȳsæ, the nurses of Bacchus 47
Ocĕănĭdes, sea nymphs 73
Ocĕănus, the son of Ceelus and Terra 73
Odin, or Wodin, a Scandinavian god 196
Opērtum, the temple of Cybele at Rome 11
Ops, the name of Cybele 10
Optĭmus, a name of Jupiter 19
Orcŭs, a name of Pluto 99
Orēădes, mountain nymphs 82
Orēstēs, the friend of Pylades 46
Orgĭă, festivals of Bacchus 49
Ormuzd, a Persian deity 183
Oromāzes, the author of all good 183
Osiric superstition 125
Osīris, an Egyptian deity 155
Osīrĭs, a personification of the sun 30
Pachacamac, a name of Viracocha 221
Pachamama, a Peruvian deity 221
Pæān, a name of Apollo 37
Palemon, a sea god 79
Pales, the goddess of shepherds 87
Palilia, feasts of Pales 87
Pallādĭum, a sacred image of Minerva 54
Pallas, Minerva 53
Pan, the god of shepherds 88
Panathēnæă, a festival in honour of Minerva 53
Papeus, a Scythian god 188
Păphĭa, a name of Venus 61
Parias, a caste or division of Hindûs 138
Parnāssĭdes, a name of the Muses 43
Parnassus, a famous mountain 43
Parthĕnos, a name of Minerva 53
Pārvātī, a name of Bhavani 137
Pasĭthĕa, one of the Graces 54
Pāvan, the Hindû god of winds 138
Pegāsĭdes, a name of the Muses 43
Pegăsus, a winged horse 43
Pelops, a hero of antiquity 109
Pĕnātes, household gods 91
Papremis, the Egyptian Mars 167
Persian Mythology 176
Peruvian idolatry 219
Phaeton, a son of Sol 32
Phebe, a name of Diana 44
Philistines’ idolatry 217
Phlĕgĕthōn, a river of fire 95
Phlegon, a horse of Sol 30
Phlĕgy̌ās, a king of the Lapithae 106
Phœbŭs, a name of Apollo 37
Phōrcŭs, a sea god 77
Picūmnus, a rural divinity 88
Pĭĕrĭdĕs, a name of the Muses 43
Pilumniis, a rural divinity 88
Pīrĭthŏŭs, the friend of Theseus 113
Pithys, a nymph beloved by Pan 90
Plūto, the god of the infernal regions 98
Plūtus, the god of riches 99
Plŭvīŭs, a name of Jupiter 19
Pollear, a name of the Hindû god of wisdom 138
Pōllūx, the twin-brother of Castor 114
Pŏlyhymnĭa, one of the Muses 42
Pŏly̌phēmŭs, the chief Cyclop 76
Pōmōnă, the goddess of orchards 86
Pŏpŭlōnĭă, a rural divinity 87
Pōrtūmnŭs, a sea god 79
Poseidon, a name of Neptune 74
Prĭāpŭs, the god of gardens 83
Prīscă, the same as Vesta and Terra 5
Prŏsērpĭne, the wife of Pluto 99
Prŏtĕŭs, a son of Neptune 78
Psyche, the wife of Cupid 64
Pul, a Babylonian deity 217
Py̌lădēs, the friend of Orestes 46
Py̌rācmōn, one of the Cyclops 68
Py̌rŏis, a horse of Sol 30
Pthĭus, a name of Apollo 37
Quĭētŭs, a name of Pluto 99
Quĭrīnus, a name of Mars 57
Rāma, an incarnate deity 141
Rhădămănthus, an infernal judge 101
Rhĕă, a name of Cybele 10
Rimmon, a Phrygian deity 218
Rōbīgus, a rural divinity 87
Sabism, worship of the sun 179
Sāga, a Scandinavian goddess 203
Salamanders, genii of fire 93
Sălĭī priests of Mars 57
Sanscrit, the sacred language of the Hindûs 149
Saron, a sea god 79
Saturnāliă, a festival in honour of Saturn 9
Satūrnĭa, a name of Italy 8
Satyavrāta, a name of a Hindû god 133
Satyrs, rural divinities 88
Scandinavian mythology 188
Scylla, a sea monster 80
Scythian mythology 188
Sĕgēstă, the protectress of corn during harvest 87
Seisa, the protectress of corn in the ground 87
Sĕmĕlē, the mother of Bacchus 46
Semōnes, gods of a middle nature 5
Serāpis, an Egyptian god 16
Sem, the Egyptian Hercules 162
Seraswāttī, the wife of Brahmá 167
Seshanāga, the Hindû god of the infernal regions 133
Silēnus, the chief of the Satyrs 91
Sirens, female sea monsters 78
Sīsy̌phŭs, an infernal criminal 106
Sītā, the wife of Vishnu 141
Sīvā, Seeva, Mahádéva, or Mahadeo, a Hindû god 131
Sleipner, the name of Odin’s steed 207
Somnus, the god of sleep 104
Sphynx, a female monster 115
Stĕrŏpēs, one of the Cyclops 68
Styx, a river of hell 95
Sumanus, a name of Pluto 99
Superstitions of the Hindûs 149
Sūradevī, the goddess of wine 138
Sūrtur, a genius of fire 201
Sūrya, a name of the sun 139
Svālin, a Scandinavian deity 209
Swerga, the Hindû heaven 136
Sylphs, aerial beings 93
Sȳlvēster, a name of Mars 57
Synia, a Scandinavian deity 203
Syrian idolatry 217
Syrinx, the pipe of Pan 90
Tabiti, the chief Scythian god 188
Tāntălŭs, an infernal criminal 107
Taranus, a name of Jupiter 16
Tārdĭpēs, a name of Vulcan 67
Tārtărŭs, the infernal prison 95
Tellus, a name of Cybele 10
Temple of Jaggernaut 146
Temple of the sun in India 139
Teutates, the Celtic supreme 190
Tithrambo, a name of Isis 170
Termĭnus, the guardian of boundaries 85
Tērpsĭchŏre, one of the Muses 42
Terra, the same as Vesta and Prisca 5
Thălīă, one of the Muses 42
Thălīă, one of the Graces 64
Thaut or Thoth, the Egyptian Mercury 167
Thēseūs, a famous hero of antiquity 113
Thōās, a priest of Diana 46
Thōr, a Scandinavian god 200
Thothic superstition 126
Thȳădes, priectesses of Bacchus 49
Tisĭphŏnē, one of the Furies 101
Tītān, the brother of Saturn 6
Titans, giants 105
Tīthōnus, the husband of Aurora 32
Tĭtyŭs, a giant killed by Apollo 106
Trismegistus, an Egyptian sage 170
Tritērica, festivals in honour of Bacchus 49
Trītōnĭa, a name of Minerva 53
Tritōns, marine animals 77
Trophōnĭus, an oracle of Jupiter 20
Tutelīna, a rural divinity 87
Typhon and Nepthys, Egyptian deites 158
Tyr, a Scandinavian deity 202
Uller, a son of Odin 203
Urānĭa, one of the Muses 43
Urănus, the same as Cœlus 5
Urgus, a name of Pluto 99
Vāivaswāta, a name of Yama 136
Valhāllă, the hall of Odin 205
Vali, a son of Odin 208
Valkyries, Scandinavian goddesses 205
Vānădis, a name of the goddess Frea 199
Vārā, a Scandinavian deity 203
Varūna, the Hindû genius of the waters 138
Vedas, the holy books of the Hindis 130
Vesta, the goddess of fire 12
Vestal Virgins, priestesses of Vesta 12
Venus, the goddess of beauty 60
Vertūmnŭs, the god of tradesmen 86
Viālĭs, a name of Mercury 71
Victory, daughter of Styx and Acheron 59
Vidar, a son of Odin 203
Viracocha, a Peruvian deity 221
Vishnū, or Veeshnu, a Hindû god 130, 141
Vitzliputzli, a Mexican god 220
Volūspā, a sacred book of the Scandinavians 206
Vulcan, the god of fire 65
The Wonders of the World 118
Yāma, or Yamen, the Hindû god of death 136
Zend-Avesta, the sacred book of the Persians 180
Zennar, the sacred cord of the Hindû priests 140
Zĕphy̌rŭs, the west wind 82
Zeus, a name of Jupiter 19
Zoroaster, a Persian priest 180