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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



1546
Augustine, Letters, 101
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Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

12 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Job, 14.4 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

14.4. מִי־יִתֵּן טָהוֹר מִטָּמֵא לֹא אֶחָד׃ 14.4. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one."
2. Hebrew Bible, Psalms, 51.5, 51.7 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

51.5. כִּי־פְשָׁעַי אֲנִי אֵדָע וְחַטָּאתִי נֶגְדִּי תָמִיד׃ 51.7. הֵן־בְּעָווֹן חוֹלָלְתִּי וּבְחֵטְא יֶחֱמַתְנִי אִמִּי׃ 51.5. For I know my transgressions; And my sin is ever before me." 51.7. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."
3. Cicero, Republic, 4.12 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4.12. Nostrae contra duo decim tabulae cum perpaucas res capite sanxissent, in his hanc quoque sanciendam putaverunt, si quis occentavisset sive carmen condidisset, quod infamiam faceret flagitiumve alteri. Praeclare; iudiciis enim magistratuum, disceptationibus legitimis propositam vitam, non poetarum ingeniis, habere debemus nec probrum audire nisi ea lege, ut respondere liceat et iudicio defendere. veteribus displicuisse Romanis vel laudari quemquam in scaena vivum hominem vel vituperari.
4. New Testament, Galatians, 1.12 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.12. For neither did Ireceive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me throughrevelation of Jesus Christ.
5. Augustine, Confessions, 10.33.49 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

6. Augustine, De Libero Arbitrio, 3.47-3.48, 3.51-3.54 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

7. Augustine, De Peccatorum Meritis Et Remissione Et De Baptismo Parvulorum, 3 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

8. Augustine, De Praedestinatione Sanctorum., 8 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

9. Augustine, On The Holy Trinity, 14-15, 13 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

10. Augustine, The City of God, 2.8-2.9, 2.13, 5.26, 6.5-6.8, 7.26 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

2.8. But, some one will interpose, these are the fables of poets, not the deliverances of the gods themselves. Well, I have no mind to arbitrate between the lewdness of theatrical entertainments and of mystic rites; only this I say, and history bears me out in making the assertion, that those same entertainments, in which the fictions of poets are the main attraction, were not introduced in the festivals of the gods by the ignorant devotion of the Romans, but that the gods themselves gave the most urgent commands to this effect, and indeed extorted from the Romans these solemnities and celebrations in their honor. I touched on this in the preceding book, and mentioned that dramatic entertainments were first inaugurated at Rome on occasion of a pestilence, and by authority of the pontiff. And what man is there who is not more likely to adopt, for the regulation of his own life, the examples that are represented in plays which have a divine sanction, rather than the precepts written and promulgated with no more than human authority? If the poets gave a false representation of Jove in describing him as adulterous, then it were to be expected that the chaste gods should in anger avenge so wicked a fiction, in place of encouraging the games which circulated it. of these plays, the most inoffensive are comedies and tragedies, that is to say, the dramas which poets write for the stage, and which, though they often handle impure subjects, yet do so without the filthiness of language which characterizes many other performances; and it is these dramas which boys are obliged by their seniors to read and learn as a part of what is called a liberal and gentlemanly education. 2.9. The opinion of the ancient Romans on this matter is attested by Cicero in his work De Republica, in which Scipio, one of the interlocutors, says, The lewdness of comedy could never have been suffered by audiences, unless the customs of society had previously sanctioned the same lewdness. And in the earlier days the Greeks preserved a certain reasonableness in their license, and made it a law, that whatever comedy wished to say of any one, it must say it of him by name. And so in the same work of Cicero's, Scipio says, Whom has it not aspersed? Nay, whom has it not worried? Whom has it spared? Allow that it may assail demagogues and factions, men injurious to the commonwealth - a Cleon, a Cleophon, a Hyperbolus. That is tolerable, though it had been more seemly for the public censor to brand such men, than for a poet to lampoon them; but to blacken the fame of Pericles with scurrilous verse, after he had with the utmost dignity presided over their state alike in war and in peace, was as unworthy of a poet, as if our own Plautus or N vius were to bring Publius and Cneius Scipio on the comic stage, or as if C cilius were to caricature Cato. And then a little after he goes on: Though our Twelve Tables attached the penalty of death only to a very few offenses, yet among these few this was one: if any man should have sung a pasquinade, or have composed a satire calculated to bring infamy or disgrace on another person. Wisely decreed. For it is by the decisions of magistrates, and by a well-informed justice, that our lives ought to be judged, and not by the flighty fancies of poets; neither ought we to be exposed to hear calumnies, save where we have the liberty of replying, and defending ourselves before an adequate tribunal. This much I have judged it advisable to quote from the fourth book of Cicero's De Republica; and I have made the quotation word for word, with the exception of some words omitted, and some slightly transposed, for the sake of giving the sense more readily. And certainly the extract is pertinent to the matter I am endeavoring to explain. Cicero makes some further remarks, and concludes the passage by showing that the ancient Romans did not permit any living man to be either praised or blamed on the stage. But the Greeks, as I said, though not so moral, were more logical in allowing this license which the Romans forbade; for they saw that their gods approved and enjoyed the scurrilous language of low comedy when directed not only against men, but even against themselves; and this, whether the infamous actions imputed to them were the fictions of poets, or were their actual iniquities commemorated and acted in the theatres. And would that the spectators had judged them worthy only of laughter, and not of imitation! Manifestly it had been a stretch of pride to spare the good name of the leading men and the common citizens, when the very deities did not grudge that their own reputation should be blemished. 2.13. But Scipio, were he alive, would possibly reply: How could we attach a penalty to that which the gods themselves have consecrated? For the theatrical entertainments in which such things are said, and acted, and performed, were introduced into Roman society by the gods, who ordered that they should be dedicated and exhibited in their honor. But was not this, then, the plainest proof that they were no true gods, nor in any respect worthy of receiving divine honours from the republic? Suppose they had required that in their honor the citizens of Rome should be held up to ridicule, every Roman would have resented the hateful proposal. How then, I would ask, can they be esteemed worthy of worship, when they propose that their own crimes be used as material for celebrating their praises? Does not this artifice expose them, and prove that they are detestable devils? Thus the Romans, though they were superstitious enough to serve as gods those who made no secret of their desire to be worshipped in licentious plays, yet had sufficient regard to their hereditary dignity and virtue, to prompt them to refuse to players any such rewards as the Greeks accorded them. On this point we have this testimony of Scipio, recorded in Cicero: They [the Romans] considered comedy and all theatrical performances as disgraceful, and therefore not only debarred players from offices and honors open to ordinary citizens, but also decreed that their names should be branded by the censor, and erased from the roll of their tribe. An excellent decree, and another testimony to the sagacity of Rome; but I could wish their prudence had been more thorough-going and consistent. For when I hear that if any Roman citizen chose the stage as his profession, he not only closed to himself every laudable career, but even became an outcast from his own tribe, I cannot but exclaim: This is the true Roman spirit, this is worthy of a state jealous of its reputation. But then some one interrupts my rapture, by inquiring with what consistency players are debarred from all honors, while plays are counted among the honors due to the gods? For a long while the virtue of Rome was uncontaminated by theatrical exhibitions; and if they had been adopted for the sake of gratifying the taste of the citizens, they would have been introduced hand in hand with the relaxation of manners. But the fact is, that it was the gods who demanded that they should be exhibited to gratify them. With what justice, then, is the player excommunicated by whom God is worshipped? On what pretext can you at once adore him who exacts, and brand him who acts these plays? This, then, is the controversy in which the Greeks and Romans are engaged. The Greeks think they justly honor players, because they worship the gods who demand plays; the Romans, on the other hand, do not suffer an actor to disgrace by his name his own plebeian tribe, far less the senatorial order. And the whole of this discussion may be summed up in the following syllogism. The Greeks give us the major premise: If such gods are to be worshipped, then certainly such men may be honored. The Romans add the minor: But such men must by no means be honoured. The Christians draw the conclusion: Therefore such gods must by no means be worshipped. 5.26. And on this account, Theodosius not only preserved during the lifetime of Gratian that fidelity which was due to him, but also, after his death, he, like a true Christian, took his little brother Valentinian under his protection, as joint emperor, after he had been expelled by Maximus, the murderer of his father. He guarded him with paternal affection, though he might without any difficulty have got rid of him, being entirely destitute of all resources, had he been animated with the desire of extensive empire, and not with the ambition of being a benefactor. It was therefore a far greater pleasure to him, when he had adopted the boy, and preserved to him his imperial dignity, to console him by his very humanity and kindness. Afterwards, when that success was rendering Maximus terrible, Theodosius, in the midst of his perplexing anxieties, was not drawn away to follow the suggestions of a sacrilegious and unlawful curiosity, but sent to John, whose abode was in the desert of Egypt - for he had learned that this servant of God (whose fame was spreading abroad) was endowed with the gift of prophecy - and from him he received assurance of victory. Immediately the slayer of the tyrant Maximus, with the deepest feelings of compassion and respect, restored the boy Valentinianus to his share in the empire from which he had been driven. Valentinianus being soon after slain by secret assassination, or by some other plot or accident, Theodosius, having again received a response from the prophet, and placing entire confidence in it, marched against the tyrant Eugenius, who had been unlawfully elected to succeed that emperor, and defeated his very powerful army, more by prayer than by the sword. Some soldiers who were at the battle reported to me that all the missiles they were throwing were snatched from their hands by a vehement wind, which blew from the direction of Theodosius' army upon the enemy; nor did it only drive with greater velocity the darts which were hurled against them, but also turned back upon their own bodies the darts which they themselves were throwing. And therefore the poet Claudian, although an alien from the name of Christ, nevertheless says in his praises of him, O prince, too much beloved by God, for you Æolus pours armed tempests from their caves; for you the air fights, and the winds with one accord obey your bugles. But the victor, as he had believed and predicted, overthrew the statues of Jupiter, which had been, as it were, consecrated by I know not what kind of rites against him, and set up in the Alps. And the thunderbolts of these statues, which were made of gold, he mirthfully and graciously presented to his couriers who (as the joy of the occasion permitted) were jocularly saying that they would be most happy to be struck by such thunderbolts. The sons of his own enemies, whose fathers had been slain not so much by his orders as by the vehemence of war, having fled for refuge to a church, though they were not yet Christians, he was anxious, taking advantage of the occasion, to bring over to Christianity, and treated them with Christian love. Nor did he deprive them of their property, but, besides allowing them to retain it, bestowed on them additional honors. He did not permit private animosities to affect the treatment of any man after the war. He was not like Cinna, and Marius, and Sylla, and other such men, who wished not to finish civil wars even when they were finished, but rather grieved that they had arisen at all, than wished that when they were finished they should harm any one. Amid all these events, from the very commencement of his reign, he did not cease to help the troubled church against the impious by most just and merciful laws, which the heretical Valens, favoring the Arians, had vehemently afflicted. Indeed, he rejoiced more to be a member of this church than he did to be a king upon the earth. The idols of the Gentiles he everywhere ordered to be overthrown, understanding well that not even terrestrial gifts are placed in the power of demons, but in that of the true God. And what could be more admirable than his religious humility, when, compelled by the urgency of certain of his intimates, he avenged the grievous crime of the Thessalonians, which at the prayer of the bishops he had promised to pardon, and, being laid hold of by the discipline of the church, did pece in such a way that the sight of his imperial loftiness prostrated made the people who were interceding for him weep more than the consciousness of offense had made them fear it when enraged? These and other similar good works, which it would be long to tell, he carried with him from this world of time, where the greatest human nobility and loftiness are but vapor. of these works the reward is eternal happiness, of which God is the giver, though only to those who are sincerely pious. But all other blessings and privileges of this life, as the world itself, light, air, earth, water, fruits, and the soul of man himself, his body, senses, mind, life, He lavishes on good and bad alike. And among these blessings is also to be reckoned the possession of an empire, whose extent He regulates according to the requirements of His providential government at various times. Whence, I see, we must now answer those who, being confuted and convicted by the most manifest proofs, by which it is shown that for obtaining these terrestrial things, which are all the foolish desire to have, that multitude of false gods is of no use, attempt to assert that the gods are to be worshipped with a view to the interest, not of the present life, but of that which is to come after death. For as to those who, for the sake of the friendship of this world, are willing to worship vanities, and do not grieve that they are left to their puerile understandings, I think they have been sufficiently answered in these five books; of which books, when I had published the first three, and they had begun to come into the hands of many, I heard that certain persons were preparing against them an answer of some kind or other in writing. Then it was told me that they had already written their answer, but were waiting a time when they could publish it without danger. Such persons I would advise not to desire what cannot be of any advantage to them; for it is very easy for a man to seem to himself to have answered arguments, when he has only been unwilling to be silent. For what is more loquacious than vanity? And though it be able, if it like, to shout more loudly than the truth, it is not, for all that, more powerful than the truth. But let men consider diligently all the things that we have said, and if, perchance, judging without party spirit, they shall clearly perceive that they are such things as may rather be shaken than torn up by their most impudent garrulity, and, as it were, satirical and mimic levity, let them restrain their absurdities, and let them choose rather to be corrected by the wise than to be lauded by the foolish. For if they are waiting an opportunity, not for liberty to speak the truth, but for license to revile, may not that befall them which Tully says concerning some one, Oh, wretched man! Who was at liberty to sin? Wherefore, whoever he be who deems himself happy because of license to revile, he would be far happier if that were not allowed him at all; for he might all the while, laying aside empty boast, be contradicting those to whose views he is opposed by way of free consultation with them, and be listening, as it becomes him, honorably, gravely, candidly, to all that can be adduced by those whom he consults by friendly disputation. 6.5. Now what are we to say of this proposition of his, namely, that there are three kinds of theology, that is, of the account which is given of the gods; and of these, the one is called mythical, the other physical, and the third civil? Did the Latin usage permit, we should call the kind which he has placed first in order fabular, but let us call it fabulous, for mythical is derived from the Greek μῦθος, a fable; but that the second should be called natural, the usage of speech now admits; the third he himself has designated in Latin, call ing it civil. Then he says, they call that kind mythical which the poets chiefly use; physical, that which the philosophers use; civil, that which the people use. As to the first I have mentioned, says he, in it are many fictions, which are contrary to the dignity and nature of the immortals. For we find in it that one god has been born from the head, another from the thigh, another from drops of blood; also, in this we find that gods have stolen, committed adultery, served men; in a word, in this all manner of things are attributed to the gods, such as may befall, not merely any man, but even the most contemptible man. He certainly, where he could, where he dared, where he thought he could do it with impunity, has manifested, without any of the haziness of ambiguity, how great injury was done to the nature of the gods by lying fables; for he was speaking, not concerning natural theology, not concerning civil, but concerning fabulous theology, which he thought he could freely find fault with. Let us see, now, what he says concerning the second kind. The second kind which I have explained, he says, is that concerning which philosophers have left many books, in which they treat such questions as these: what gods there are, where they are, of what kind and character they are, since what time they have existed, or if they have existed from eternity; whether they are of fire, as Heraclitus believes; or of number, as Pythagoras; or of atoms, as Epicurus says; and other such things, which men's ears can more easily hear inside the walls of a school than outside in the Forum. He finds fault with nothing in this kind of theology which they call physical, and which belongs to philosophers, except that he has related their controversies among themselves, through which there has arisen a multitude of dissentient sects. Nevertheless he has removed this kind from the Forum, that is, from the populace, but he has shut it up in schools. But that first kind, most false and most base, he has not removed from the citizens. Oh, the religious ears of the people, and among them even those of the Romans, that are not able to bear what the philosophers dispute concerning the gods! But when the poets sing and stage-players act such things as are derogatory to the dignity and the nature of the immortals, such as may befall not a man merely, but the most contemptible man, they not only bear, but willingly listen to. Nor is this all, but they even consider that these things please the gods, and that they are propitiated by them. But some one may say, Let us distinguish these two kinds of theology, the mythical and the physical - that is, the fabulous and the natural - from this civil kind about which we are now speaking. Anticipating this, he himself has distinguished them. Let us see now how he explains the civil theology itself. I see, indeed, why it should be distinguished as fabulous, even because it is false, because it is base, because it is unworthy. But to wish to distinguish the natural from the civil, what else is that but to confess that the civil itself is false? For if that be natural, what fault has it that it should be excluded? And if this which is called civil be not natural, what merit has it that it should be admitted? This, in truth, is the cause why he wrote first concerning human things, and afterwards concerning divine things; since in divine things he did not follow nature, but the institution of men. Let us look at this civil theology of his. The third kind, says he, is that which citizens in cities, and especially the priests, ought to know and to administer. From it is to be known what god each one may suitably worship, what sacred rites and sacrifices each one may suitably perform. Let us still attend to what follows. The first theology, he says, is especially adapted to the theatre, the second to the world, the third to the city. Who does not see to which he gives the palm? Certainly to the second, which he said above is that of the philosophers. For he testifies that this pertains to the world, than which they think there is nothing better. But those two theologies, the first and the third - to wit, those of the theatre and of the city - has he distinguished them or united them? For although we see that the city is in the world, we do not see that it follows that any things belonging to the city pertain to the world. For it is possible that such things may be worshipped and believed in the city, according to false opinions, as have no existence either in the world or out of it. But where is the theatre but in the city? Who instituted the theatre but the state? For what purpose did it constitute it but for scenic plays? And to what class of things do scenic plays belong but to those divine things concerning which these books of Varro's are written with so much ability? 6.6. O Marcus Varro! You are the most acute, and without doubt the most learned, but still a man, not God - now lifted up by the Spirit of God to see and to announce divine things, you see, indeed, that divine things are to be separated from human trifles and lies, but you fear to offend those most corrupt opinions of the populace, and their customs in public superstitions, which you yourself, when you consider them on all sides, perceive, and all your literature loudly pronounces to be abhorrent from the nature of the gods, even of such gods as the frailty of the human mind supposes to exist in the elements of this world. What can the most excellent human talent do here? What can human learning, though manifold, avail you in this perplexity? You desire to worship the natural gods; you are compelled to worship the civil. You have found some of the gods to be fabulous, on whom you vomit forth very freely what you think, and, whether you will or not, you wet therewith even the civil gods. You say, forsooth, that the fabulous are adapted to the theatre, the natural to the world, and the civil to the city; though the world is a divine work, but cities and theatres are the works of men, and though the gods who are laughed at in the theatre are not other than those who are adored in the temples; and you do not exhibit games in honor of other gods than those to whom you immolate victims. How much more freely and more subtly would you have decided these had you said that some gods are natural, others established by men; and concerning those who have been so established, the literature of the poets gives one account, and that of the priests another - both of which are, nevertheless, so friendly the one to the other, through fellowship in falsehood, that they are both pleasing to the demons, to whom the doctrine of the truth is hostile. That theology, therefore, which they call natural, being put aside for a moment, as it is afterwards to be discussed, we ask if any one is really content to seek a hope for eternal life from poetical, theatrical, scenic gods? Perish the thought! The true God avert so wild and sacrilegious a madness! What, is eternal life to be asked from those gods whom these things pleased, and whom these things propitiate, in which their own crimes are represented? No one, as I think, has arrived at such a pitch of headlong and furious impiety. So then, neither by the fabulous nor by the civil theology does any one obtain eternal life. For the one sows base things concerning the gods by feigning them, the other reaps by cherishing them; the one scatters lies, the other gathers them together; the one pursues divine things with false crimes, the other incorporates among divine things the plays which are made up of these crimes; the one sounds abroad in human songs impious fictions concerning the gods, the other consecrates these for the festivities of the gods themselves; the one sings the misdeeds and crimes of the gods, the other loves them; the one gives forth or feigns, the other either attests the true or delights in the false. Both are base; both are damnable. But the one which is theatrical teaches public abomination, and that one which is of the city adorns itself with that abomination. Shall eternal life be hoped for from these, by which this short and temporal life is polluted? Does the society of wicked men pollute our life if they insinuate themselves into our affections, and win our assent? And does not the society of demons pollute the life, who are worshipped with their own crimes?- if with true crimes, how wicked the demons! If with false, how wicked the worship! When we say these things, it may perchance seem to some one who is very ignorant of these matters that only those things concerning the gods which are sung in the songs of the poets and acted on the stage are unworthy of the divine majesty, and ridiculous, and too detestable to be celebrated, while those sacred things which not stage-players but priests perform are pure and free from all unseemliness. Had this been so, never would any one have thought that these theatrical abominations should be celebrated in their honor, never would the gods themselves have ordered them to be performed to them. But men are in nowise ashamed to perform these things in the theatres, because similar things are carried on in the temples. In short, when the fore-mentioned author attempted to distinguish the civil theology from the fabulous and natural, as a sort of third and distinct kind, he wished it to be understood to be rather tempered by both than separated from either. For he says that those things which the poets write are less than the people ought to follow, while what the philosophers say is more than it is expedient for the people to pry into. Which, says he, differ in such a way, that nevertheless not a few things from both of them have been taken to the account of the civil theology; wherefore we will indicate what the civil theology has in common with that of the poet, though it ought to be more closely connected with the theology of philosophers. Civil theology is therefore not quite disconnected from that of the poets. Nevertheless, in another place, concerning the generations of the gods, he says that the people are more inclined toward the poets than toward the physical theologists. For in this place he said what ought to be done; in that other place, what was really done. He said that the latter had written for the sake of utility, but the poets for the sake of amusement. And hence the things from the poets' writings, which the people ought not to follow, are the crimes of the gods; which, nevertheless, amuse both the people and the gods. For, for amusement's sake, he says, the poets write, and not for that of utility; nevertheless they write such things as the gods will desire, and the people perform. 6.7. That theology, therefore, which is fabulous, theatrical, scenic, and full of all baseness and unseemliness, is taken up into the civil theology; and part of that theology, which in its totality is deservedly judged to be worthy of reprobation and rejection, is pronounced worthy to be cultivated and observed - not at all an incongruous part, as I have undertaken to show, and one which, being alien to the whole body, was unsuitably attached to and suspended from it, but a part entirely congruous with, and most harmoniously fitted to the rest, as a member of the same body. For what else do those images, forms, ages, sexes, characteristics of the gods show? If the poets have Jupiter with a beard and Mercury beardless, have not the priests the same? Is the Priapus of the priests less obscene than the Priapus of the players? Does he receive the adoration of worshippers in a different form from that in which he moves about the stage for the amusement of spectators? Is not Saturn old and Apollo young in the shrines where their images stand as well as when represented by actors' masks? Why are Forculus, who presides over doors, and Limentinus, who presides over thresholds and lintels, male gods, and Cardea between them feminine, who presides over hinges? Are not those things found in books on divine things, which grave poets have deemed unworthy of their verses? Does the Diana of the theatre carry arms, while the Diana of the city is simply a virgin? Is the stage Apollo a lyrist, but the Delphic Apollo ignorant of this art? But these things are decent compared with the more shameful things. What was thought of Jupiter himself by those who placed his wet nurse in the Capitol? Did they not bear witness to Euhemerus, who, not with the garrulity of a fable-teller, but with the gravity of an historian who had diligently investigated the matter, wrote that all such gods had been men and mortals? And they who appointed the Epulones as parasites at the table of Jupiter, what else did they wish for but mimic sacred rites. For if any mimic had said that parasites of Jupiter were made use of at his table, he would assuredly have appeared to be seeking to call forth laughter. Varro said it - not when he was mocking, but when he was commending the gods did he say it. His books on divine, not on human, things testify that he wrote this - not where he set forth the scenic games, but where he explained the Capitoline laws. In a word, he is conquered, and confesses that, as they made the gods with a human form, so they believed that they are delighted with human pleasures. For also malign spirits were not so wanting to their own business as not to confirm noxious opinions in the minds of men by converting them into sport. Whence also is that story about the sacristan of Hercules, which says that, having nothing to do, he took to playing at dice as a pastime, throwing them alternately with the one hand for Hercules, with the other for himself, with this understanding, that if he should win, he should from the funds of the temple prepare himself a supper, and hire a mistress; but if Hercules should win the game, he himself should, at his own expense, provide the same for the pleasure of Hercules. Then, when he had been beaten by himself, as though by Hercules, he gave to the god Hercules the supper he owed him, and also the most noble harlot Larentina. But she, having fallen asleep in the temple, dreamed that Hercules had had intercourse with her, and had said to her that she would find her payment with the youth whom she should first meet on leaving the temple, and that she was to believe this to be paid to her by Hercules. And so the first youth that met her on going out was the wealthy Tarutius, who kept her a long time, and when he died left her his heir. She, having obtained a most ample fortune, that she should not seem ungrateful for the divine hire, in her turn made the Roman people her heir, which she thought to be most acceptable to the deities; and, having disappeared, the will was found. By which meritorious conduct they say that she gained divine honors. Now had these things been feigned by the poets and acted by the mimics, they would without any doubt have been said to pertain to the fabulous theology, and would have been judged worthy to be separated from the dignity of the civil theology. But when these shameful things - not of the poets, but of the people; not of the mimics, but of the sacred things; not of the theatres, but of the temples, that is, not of the fabulous, but of the civil theology, - are reported by so great an author, not in vain do the actors represent with theatrical art the baseness of the gods, which is so great; but surely in vain do the priests attempt, by rites called sacred, to represent their nobleness of character, which has no existence. There are sacred rites of Juno; and these are celebrated in her beloved island, Samos, where she was given in marriage to Jupiter. There are sacred rites of Ceres, in which Proserpine is sought for, having been carried off by Pluto. There are sacred rites of Venus, in which, her beloved Adonis being slain by a boar's tooth, the lovely youth is lamented. There are sacred rites of the mother of the gods, in which the beautiful youth Atys, loved by her, and castrated by her through a woman's jealousy, is deplored by men who have suffered the like calamity, whom they call Galli. Since, then, these things are more unseemly than all scenic abomination, why is it that they strive to separate, as it were, the fabulous fictions of the poet concerning the gods, as, forsooth, pertaining to the theatre, from the civil theology which they wish to belong to the city, as though they were separating from noble and worthy things, things unworthy and base? Wherefore there is more reason to thank the stage-actors, who have spared the eyes of men and have not laid bare by theatrical exhibition all the things which are hid by the walls of the temples. What good is to be thought of their sacred rites which are concealed in darkness, when those which are brought forth into the light are so detestable? And certainly they themselves have seen what they transact in secret through the agency of mutilated and effeminate men. Yet they have not been able to conceal those same men miserably and vile enervated and corrupted. Let them persuade whom they can that they transact anything holy through such men, who, they cannot deny, are numbered, and live among their sacred things. We know not what they transact, but we know through whom they transact; for we know what things are transacted on the stage, where never, even in a chorus of harlots, has one who is mutilated or an effeminate appeared. And, nevertheless, even these things are acted by vile and infamous characters; for, indeed, they ought not to be acted by men of good character. What, then, are those sacred rites, for the performance of which holiness has chosen such men as not even the obscenity of the stage has admitted? 6.8. But all these things, they say, have certain physical, that is, natural interpretations, showing their natural meaning; as though in this disputation we were seeking physics and not theology, which is the account, not of nature, but of God. For although He who is the true God is God, not by opinion, but by nature, nevertheless all nature is not God; for there is certainly a nature of man, of a beast, of a tree, of a stone, - none of which is God. For if, when the question is concerning the mother of the gods, that from which the whole system of interpretation starts certainly is, that the mother of the gods is the earth, why do we make further inquiry? Why do we carry our investigation through all the rest of it? What can more manifestly favor them who say that all those gods were men? For they are earth-born in the sense that the earth is their mother. But in the true theology the earth is the work, not the mother, of God. But in whatever way their sacred rites may be interpreted, and whatever reference they may have to the nature of things, it is not according to nature, but contrary to nature, that men should be effeminates. This disease, this crime, this abomination, has a recognized place among those sacred things, though even depraved men will scarcely be compelled by torments to confess they are guilty of it. Again, if these sacred rites, which are proved to be fouler than scenic abominations, are excused and justified on the ground that they have their own interpretations, by which they are shown to symbolize the nature of things, why are not the poetical things in like manner excused and justified? For many have interpreted even these in like fashion, to such a degree that even that which they say is the most monstrous and most horrible - namely, that Saturn devoured his own children - has been interpreted by some of them to mean that length of time, which is signified by the name of Saturn, consumes whatever it begets; or that, as the same Varro thinks, Saturn belongs to seeds which fall back again into the earth from whence they spring. And so one interprets it in one way, and one in another. And the same is to be said of all the rest of this theology. And, nevertheless, it is called the fabulous theology, and is censured, cast off, rejected, together with all such interpretations belonging to it. And not only by the natural theology, which is that of the philosophers, but also by this civil theology, concerning which we are speaking, which is asserted to pertain to cities and peoples, it is judged worthy of repudiation, because it has invented unworthy things concerning the gods. of which, I know, this is the secret: that those most acute and learned men, by whom those things were written, understood that both theologies ought to be rejected - to wit, both that fabulous and this civil one - but the former they dared to reject, the latter they dared not; the former they set forth to be censured, the latter they showed to be very like it; not that it might be chosen to be held in preference to the other, but that it might be understood to be worthy of being rejected together with it. And thus, without danger to those who feared to censure the civil theology, both of them being brought into contempt, that theology which they call natural might find a place in better disposed minds; for the civil and the fabulous are both fabulous and both civil. He who shall wisely inspect the vanities and obscenities of both will find that they are both fabulous; and he who shall direct his attention to the scenic plays pertaining to the fabulous theology in the festivals of the civil gods, and in the divine rites of the cities, will find they are both civil. How, then, can the power of giving eternal life be attributed to any of those gods whose own images and sacred rites convict them of being most like to the fabulous gods, which are most openly reprobated, in forms, ages, sex, characteristics, marriages, generations, rites; in all which things they are understood either to have been men, and to have had their sacred rites and solemnities instituted in their honor according to the life or death of each of them, the demons suggesting and confirming this error, or certainly most foul spirits, who, taking advantage of some occasion or other, have stolen into the minds of men to deceive them? 7.26. Concerning the effeminates consecrated to the same Great Mother, in defiance of all the modesty which belongs to men and women, Varro has not wished to say anything, nor do I remember to have read anywhere anything concerning them. These effeminates, no later than yesterday, were going through the streets and places of Carthage with anointed hair, whitened faces, relaxed bodies, and feminine gait, exacting from the people the means of maintaining their ignominious lives. Nothing has been said concerning them. Interpretation failed, reason blushed, speech was silent. The Great Mother has surpassed all her sons, not in greatness of deity, but of crime. To this monster not even the monstrosity of Janus is to be compared. His deformity was only in his image; hers was the deformity of cruelty in her sacred rites. He has a redundancy of members in stone images; she inflicts the loss of members on men. This abomination is not surpassed by the licentious deeds of Jupiter, so many and so great. He, with all his seductions of women, only disgraced heaven with one Ganymede; she, with so many avowed and public effeminates, has both defiled the earth and outraged heaven. Perhaps we may either compare Saturn to this Magna Mater, or even set him before her in this kind of abominable cruelty, for he mutilated his father. But at the festivals of Saturn, men could rather be slain by the hands of others than mutilated by their own. He devoured his sons, as the poets say, and the natural theologists interpret this as they list. History says he slew them. But the Romans never received, like the Carthaginians, the custom of sacrificing their sons to him. This Great Mother of the gods, however, has brought mutilated men into Roman temples, and has preserved that cruel custom, being believed to promote the strength of the Romans by emasculating their men. Compared with this evil, what are the thefts of Mercury, the wantonness of Venus, and the base and flagitious deeds of the rest of them, which we might bring forward from books, were it not that they are daily sung and danced in the theatres? But what are these things to so great an evil - an evil whose magnitude was only proportioned to the greatness of the Great Mother, - especially as these are said to have been invented by the poets? As if the poets had also invented this that they are acceptable to the gods. Let it be imputed, then, to the audacity and impudence of the poets that these things have been sung and written of. But that they have been incorporated into the body of divine rites and honors, the deities themselves demanding and extorting that incorporation, what is that but the crime of the gods? Nay more, the confession of demons and the deception of wretched men? But as to this that the Great Mother is considered to be worshipped in the appropriate form when she is worshipped by the consecration of mutilated men, this is not an invention of the poets, nay, they have rather shrunk from it with horror than sung of it. Ought any one, then, to be consecrated to these select gods, that he may live blessedly after death, consecrated to whom he could not live decently before death, being subjected to such foul superstitions, and bound over to unclean demons? But all these things, says Varro, are to be referred to the world. Let him consider if it be not rather to the unclean. But why not refer that to the world which is demonstrated to be in the world? We, however, seek for a mind which, trusting to true religion, does not adore the world as its god, but for the sake of God praises the world as a work of God, and, purified from mundane defilements, comes pure to God Himself who founded the world.
11. Augustine, Retractiones, 1.6, 1.11 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

12. Anon., Xii Tables, 8.1



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
augustine,confessiones Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 109
augustine,de civitate dei Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 109
augustine,de doctrina christiana Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 72
augustine,de musica Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 72
augustine,de ordine Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 72
augustine,de quantitate animae Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 72
augustine,disciplinarum libri Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 72
augustine,ep. 101 ad memorium Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 72, 109
augustine,on canon of liberal arts Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 72
augustine,on muses Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 109
augustine,on music Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 109
augustine,retractationes Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 72
augustines works,bapt. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,c. ep. man. fund. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,c. litt. petil. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,catech. rud. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,doctr. chr. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,fund. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,gen. litt. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,lib. arb. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,mus. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,pecc. merit. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,praed. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,retract. vii Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,simpl. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,spir. et litt. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
augustines works,trin. Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
babblers,garrulity,loquacity Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
baptism,water baptism Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
carmina Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
damnation,eternal Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
demons Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
execution,capital punishment,death penalty Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
hadot,i. Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 109
law of the twelve tables Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
leningrad codex Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
licentius,carmen ad augustinum Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 72
memorius Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
morals Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
music Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
neoplatonism Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
original sin,inherited/original guilt Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
original sin,pre-augustinian traditional Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
orthodoxy,orthodox Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
paedobaptism Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
poetry,poets Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
salvation Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
schools Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
sexuality Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
sin,adams sin/fall Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
students Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
the will Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 147
theatre Rohmann (2016), Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity, 225
varro,marcus terentius,disciplinarum libri' Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 109
varro,marcus terentius,disciplinarum libri Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 72