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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

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4 results for "chaldaean"
1. Cicero, De Finibus, 3.10.35 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)  Tagged with subjects: •chaldaean theology, doctrine of silence Found in books: Simmons(1995) 321
2. Cicero, On The Ends of Good And Evil, 3.10.35 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)  Tagged with subjects: •chaldaean theology, doctrine of silence Found in books: Simmons(1995) 321
3. Iamblichus, Concerning The Mysteries, 3.31, 177.7-177.9 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)  Tagged with subjects: •chaldaean theology, doctrine of demons Found in books: Simmons(1995) 171
4. Porphyry, On Abstinence, 2.37-2.43 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)  Tagged with subjects: •chaldaean theology, doctrine of demons Found in books: Simmons(1995) 171
2.37. 37.The first God being incorporeal, immoveable, and impartible, and neither subsisting in any thing, nor restrained in his energies, is not, as has been before observed, in want of any thing external to himself, as neither is the soul of the world; but this latter, containing in itself the principle of that which is triply divisible, and being naturally self-motive, is adapted to be moved in a beautiful and orderly manner, and also to move the body of the world, according to the most excellent reasons [i.e. productive principles or powers]. It is, however, connected with and comprehends body, though it is itself incorporeal, and liberated from the participation of any passion. To the remaining Gods, therefore, to the world, to the inerratic and erratic stars, who are visible Gods, consisting of soul and body, thanks are to be returned after the above-mentioned manner, through sacrifices from iimate natures. The multitude, therefore, of those invisible beings remains for us, whom Plato indiscriminately calls daemons 17; but of these, some being denominated by men, obtain from them honours, and other religious observances, similar to those which are paid to the Gods; but others, who for the most part are not explicitly denominated, receive an occult religious reverence and appellation from certain persons in villages and certain cities; and the remaining multitude is called in common by the |67 name of daemons. The general persuasion, however, respecting all these invisible beings, is this, that if they become angry through being neglected, and deprived of the religious reverence which is due to them, they are noxious to those by whom they are thus neglected, and that they again become beneficent, if they are appeased by prayers, supplications, and sacrifices, and other similar rites. SPAN 2.38. 38.But the confused notion which is formed of these beings, and which has proceeded to great crimination, necessarily requires that the nature of them should be distinguished according to reason. For perhaps it will be said, that it is requisite to show whence the error concerning them originated among men. The distinction, therefore, must be made after the following manner. Such souls as are the progeny of the whole soul of the universe, and who govern the great parts of the region under the moon, these, being incumbent on a pneumatic substance or spirit, and ruling over it conformably to reason, are to be considered as good daemons, who are diligently employed in causing every thing to be beneficial to the subjects of their government, whether they preside over certain animals, or fruits, which are arranged under their inspective care, or over things which subsist for the sake of these, such as showers of rain, moderate winds, serene weather, and other things which co-operate with these, such as the good temperament of the seasons of the year. They are also our leaders in the attainment of music, and the whole of erudition, and likewise of medicine and gymnastic, and of every thing else similar to these. For it is impossible that these daemons should impart utility, and yet become, in the very same things, the causes of what is detrimental. Among these two, those transporters, as Plato calls them, [in his Banquet] are to be enumerated, who announce the affairs of men to the Gods, and the will of the Gods to men; carrying our prayers, indeed, to the Gods as judges, but oracularly unfolding to us the exhortations and admonitions of the Gods. But such souls as do not rule over the pneumatic substance with which they are connected, but for the most part are vanquished by it; these are vehemently agitated and borne along [in a disorderly manner,] when the irascible motions and the desires of the pneumatic substance, received an impetus. These souls, therefore, are indeed daemons, but are deservedly called malefic daemons. SPAN 2.39. 39.All these being, likewise, and those who possess a contrary power, are invisible, and perfectly imperceptible by human senses; for they are not surrounded with a solid body, nor are all of them of one form, but they are fashioned in numerous figures. The forms, however, which |68 characterize their pneumatic substance, at one time become apparent, but at another are invisible. Sometimes also those that are malefic, change their forms; but the pneumatic substance, so far as it is corporeal, is passive and corruptible: and though, because it is thus bound by the souls [that are incumbent on it,] the form of it remains for a long time, yet it is not eternal. For it is probable that something continually flows from it, and also that it is nourished. The pneumatic substance, therefore, of good daemons, possesses symmetry, in the same manner as the bodies of the visible Gods; but the spirit of malefic dsemons is deprived of symmetry, and in consequence of its abounding in passivity, they are distributed about the terrestrial region. Hence, there is no evil which they do not attempt to effect; for, in short, being violent and fraudulent in their manners, and being also deprived of the guardian care of more excellent dsemons, they make, for the most part, vehement and sudden attacks; sometimes endeavouring to conceal their incursions, but at other times assaulting openly. Hence the molestations which are produced by them are rapid; but the remedies and corrections which proceed from more excellent dsemons, appear to be more slowly effected: for every thing which is good being tractable and equable, proceeds in an orderly manner, and does not pass beyond what is fit. By forming this opinion, therefore, you will never fall into that most absurd notion, that evil may be expected from the good, or good from the evil. For this notion is not truly attended with absurdity, but the multitude, receiving through it the most erroneous conceptions of the Gods, disseminate them among the rest of mankind. SPAN 2.40. 40.It must be admitted, therefore, that one of the greatest injuries occasioned by malefic dsemons is this, that though they are the causes of the calamities which take place upon the earth, such as pestilence, sterility, earthquakes, excessive dryness, and the like, yet they endeavour to persuade us, that they are the causes of things the most contrary to these, viz. of fertility, [salubrity, and elementary peace.] Hence, they exonerate themselves from blame, and, in the first place, endeavour to avoid being detected as the sources of injury; and, in the next place, they convert us to supplications and sacrifices to the beneficent Gods, as if they were angry. But they effect these, and things of a similar nature, in consequence of wishing to turn us from right conceptions of the Gods, and convert us to themselves; for they are delighted with all such as act thus incongruously and discordantly, and, as it were, assuming the persons of other Gods, they enjoy the effects of our imprudence and folly; conciliating to themselves the good opinion of the vulgar, by inflaming the minds of men with the love of riches, power, and pleasure, |69 and fulling them with the desire of vain glory, from which sedition, and war, and other things allied to these, are produced. But that which is the most dire of all things, they proceed still farther, and persuade men that similar things are effected by the greatest Gods, and do not stop till they even subject the most excellent of the divinities to these calumnies, through whom they say every thing is in perfect confusion. And not only the vulgar are affected in this manner, but not a few also of those who are conversant with philosophy. The cause of this, however, extends equally to philosophers, and the vulgar; for of philosophers, those who do not depart from the prevailing notions, fall into the same error with the multitude; and again, the multitude, on hearing assertions from celebrated men conformable to their own opinions, are in a greater degree corroborated in conceiving things of this kind of the Gods. SPAN 2.41. 41.For poetry also inflames the opinions of men, by employing a diction adapted to produce astonishment and enchantment, and not only allures the ears, but is also capable of procuring belief in things that are most impossible. At the same time, however, it is requisite to be firmly persuaded, that what is good can never injure, or what is evil can never be beneficial; for, as Plato says, it is not the province of heat to refrigerate, but of that which is contrary to heat; and, in like manner, neither is it the province of that which is just to injure. But divinity is naturally the most just of all things; since otherwise he would not be divinity. Hence this power and portion of good is not to be abscinded from beneficent daemons; for the power which is naturally adapted, and wishes to injure, is contrary to the power which is beneficent: but contraries can never subsist about the same thing. As malefic daemons, therefore, injure the mortal race in many respects, and sometimes in things of the greatest consequence, good daemons not only never cease to act conformably to their office, but also, as much as possible, presignify to us the dangers which are impendent from malefic daemons, unfolding these through dreams, through a divinely inspired soul, and through many other things; so that he who is capable of explaining what is signified, may know and avoid all the perils with which he is threatened. For they indicate [future events] to all men, but every one cannot understand what they indicate nor is every one able to read what is written by them; but he alone is able to do this, who has learnt their letters. All enchantment, however, [or witchcraft,] is effected through daemons of a contrary nature; for those who perpetrate evil through enchantments, especially venerate these malefic beings, and the power that presides over them. |70 SPAN 2.42. 42.For they are full of every kind of imagination, and are sufficiently qualified to deceive, through effects of a prodigious nature; and through these, unhappy men procure philtres, and amatory allurements. For all intemperance, and hope of possessing wealth and renown, and especially deception, exist through these, since falsehood is allied to these malevolent beings; for they wish to he considered as Gods, and the power which presides over them is ambitious to appear to be the greatest God. These are they that rejoice in libations, and the savour of sacrifices, through which their pneumatic vehicle is fattened; for this vehicle lives through vapours and exhalations, and the life of it is various through various exhalations. It is likewise corroborated by the savour of blood and flesh. SPAN 2.43. 43.On this account, a wise and temperate man will be religiously afraid to use sacrifices of this kind, through which he will attract to himself such-like daemons; but he will endeavour in all possible ways to purify his soul. For these malefic beings do not attack a pure soul, because it is dissimilar to them; but if it is necessary to cities to render them propitious, this is nothing to us. For by these riches, and things external and corporeal, are thought to be good, and their contraries evil; but the smallest attention is paid by them to the good of the soul. We however, to the utmost of our ability, endeavour not to be in want of those things which they impart; but all our endeavour is to become similar to God, and to the [divine] powers with which he is surrounded both from what pertains to the soul, and from externals; and this is effected through an entire liberation from the dominion of the passions, an evolved perception of truly existing beings, and a vital tendency towards them. On the other hand, we strive to become dissimilar to depraved men and evil daemons, and, in short, to every being that rejoices in a mortal and material nature. So that, conformably to what is said by Theophrastus, we also shall sacrifice from those things which theologists permit us to use for this purpose; as well knowing, that by how much the more we neglect to exempt ourselves from the passions of the soul, by so much the more we connect ourselves with a depraved power, and render it necessary that he should become propitious to us. For, as theologists say, it is necessary for those who are bound 18 to things |71 external, and have not yet vanquished their passions, should avert the anger of this [malefic] power; since, if they do not, there will be no end to their labours. SPAN