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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Cicero, On The Nature Of The Gods, 3.39

nanGod then is neither rational nor possessed of any of the virtues: but such a god is inconceivable! "In fact, when I reflect upon the utterances of the Stoics, I cannot despise the stupidity of the vulgar and the ignorant. With the ignorant you get superstitions like the Syrians' worship of a fish, and the Egyptian's deification of almost every species of animal; nay, even in Greece they worship a number of deified human beings, Alabandus at Alabanda, Tennes at Tenedos, Leucothea, formerly Ino, and her son Palaemon throughout the whole of Greece, as also Hercules, Aesculapius, the sons of Tyndareus; and with our own people Romulus and many others, who are believed to have been admitted to celestial citizenship in recent times, by a sort of extension of the franchise!

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1. Theocritus, Idylls, 17.13, 17.20-17.22 (4th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

2. Cicero, On Divination, 1.82, 1.90, 1.118, 2.35, 2.37-2.38 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.82. Quam quidem esse re vera hac Stoicorum ratione concluditur: Si sunt di neque ante declarant hominibus, quae futura sint, aut non diligunt homines aut, quid eventurum sit, ignorant aut existumant nihil interesse hominum scire, quid sit futurum, aut non censent esse suae maiestatis praesignificare hominibus, quae sunt futura, aut ea ne ipsi quidem di significare possunt; at neque non diligunt nos (sunt enim benefici generique hominum amici) neque ignorant ea, quae ab ipsis constituta et designata sunt, neque nostra nihil interest scire ea, quae eventura sunt, (erimus enim cautiores, si sciemus) neque hoc alienum ducunt maiestate sua (nihil est enim beneficentia praestantius) neque non possunt futura praenoscere; 1.90. Eaque divinationum ratio ne in barbaris quidem gentibus neglecta est, siquidem et in Gallia Druidae sunt, e quibus ipse Divitiacum Haeduum, hospitem tuum laudatoremque, cognovi, qui et naturae rationem, quam fusiologi/an Graeci appellant, notam esse sibi profitebatur et partim auguriis, partim coniectura, quae essent futura, dicebat, et in Persis augurantur et divit magi, qui congregantur in fano commentandi causa atque inter se conloquendi, quod etiam idem vos quondam facere Nonis solebatis; 1.118. Sed distinguendum videtur, quonam modo. Nam non placet Stoicis singulis iecorum fissis aut avium cantibus interesse deum; neque enim decorum est nec dis dignum nec fieri ullo pacto potest; sed ita a principio inchoatum esse mundum, ut certis rebus certa signa praecurrerent, alia in extis, alia in avibus, alia in fulgoribus, alia in ostentis, alia in stellis, alia in somniantium visis, alia in furentium vocibus. Ea quibus bene percepta sunt, ii non saepe falluntur; male coniecta maleque interpretata falsa sunt non rerum vitio, sed interpretum inscientia. Hoc autem posito atque concesso, esse quandam vim divinam hominum vitam continentem, non difficile est, quae fieri certe videmus, ea qua ratione fiant, suspicari. Nam et ad hostiam deligendam potest dux esse vis quaedam sentiens, quae est toto confusa mundo, et tum ipsum, cum immolare velis, extorum fieri mutatio potest, ut aut absit aliquid aut supersit; parvis enim momentis multa natura aut adfingit aut mutat aut detrahit. 2.35. sed tamen eo concesso qui evenit, ut is, qui impetrire velit, convenientem hostiam rebus suis immolet? Hoc erat, quod ego non rebar posse dissolvi. At quam festive dissolvitur! pudet me non tui quidem, cuius etiam memoriam admiror, sed Chrysippi, Antipatri, Posidonii, qui idem istuc quidem dicunt, quod est dictum a te, ad hostiam deligendam ducem esse vim quandam sentientem atque divinam, quae toto confusa mundo sit. Illud vero multo etiam melius, quod et a te usurpatum est et dicitur ab illis: cum immolare quispiam velit, tum fieri extorum mutationem, ut aut absit aliquid aut supersit; 2.37. Qui fit, ut alterum intellegas, sine corde non potuisse bovem vivere, alterum non videas, cor subito non potuisse nescio quo avolare? Ego enim possum vel nescire, quae vis sit cordis ad vivendum, vel suspicari contractum aliquo morbo bovis exile et exiguum et vietum cor et dissimile cordis fuisse; tu vero quid habes, quare putes, si paulo ante cor fuerit in tauro opimo, subito id in ipsa immolatione interisse? an quod aspexit vestitu purpureo excordem Caesarem, ipse corde privatus est? Urbem philosophiae, mihi crede, proditis, dum castella defenditis; nam, dum haruspicinam veram esse vultis, physiologiam totam pervertitis. Caput est in iecore, cor in extis; iam abscedet, simul ac molam et vinum insperseris; deus id eripiet, vis aliqua conficiet aut exedet. Non ergo omnium ortus atque obitus natura conficiet, et erit aliquid, quod aut ex nihilo oriatur aut in nihilum subito occidat. Quis hoc physicus dixit umquam? haruspices dicunt; his igitur quam physicis credendum potius existumas? 2.38. Quid? cum pluribus deis immolatur, qui tandem evenit, ut litetur aliis, aliis non litetur? quae autem inconstantia deorum est, ut primis minentur extis, bene promittant secundis? aut tanta inter eos dissensio, saepe etiam inter proxumos, ut Apollinis exta bona sint, Dianae non bona? Quid est tam perspicuum quam, cum fortuito hostiae adducantur, talia cuique exta esse, qualis cuique obtigerit hostia? At enim id ipsum habet aliquid divini, quae cuique hostia obtingat, tamquam in sortibus, quae cui ducatur. Mox de sortibus; quamquam tu quidem non hostiarum causam confirmas sortium similitudine, sed infirmas sortis conlatione hostiarum. 1.82. The Stoics, for example, establish the existence of divination by the following process of reasoning:If there are gods and they do not make clear to man in advance what the future will be, then they do not love man; or, they themselves do not know what the future will be; or, they think that it is of no advantage to man to know what it will be; or, they think it inconsistent with their dignity to give man forewarnings of the future; or, finally, they, though gods, cannot give intelligible signs of coming events. But it is not true that the gods do not love us, for they are the friends and benefactors of the human race; nor is it true that they do not know their own decrees and their own plans; nor is it true that it is of no advantage to us to know what is going to happen, since we should be more prudent if we knew; nor is it true that the gods think it inconsistent with their dignity to give forecasts, since there is no more excellent quality than kindness; nor is it true that they have not the power to know the future; 1.118. But it seems necessary to settle the principle on which these signs depend. For, according to the Stoic doctrine, the gods are not directly responsible for every fissure in the liver or for every song of a bird; since, manifestly, that would not be seemly or proper in a god and furthermore is impossible. But, in the beginning, the universe was so created that certain results would be preceded by certain signs, which are given sometimes by entrails and by birds, sometimes by lightnings, by portents, and by stars, sometimes by dreams, and sometimes by utterances of persons in a frenzy. And these signs do not often deceive the persons who observe them properly. If prophecies, based on erroneous deductions and interpretations, turn out to be false, the fault is not chargeable to the signs but to the lack of skill in the interpreters.Assuming the proposition to be conceded that there is a divine power which pervades the lives of men, it is not hard to understand the principle directing those premonitory signs which we see come to pass. For it may be that the choice of a sacrificial victim is guided by an intelligent force, which is diffused throughout the universe; or, it may be that at the moment when the sacrifice is offered, a change in the vitals occurs and something is added or taken away; for many things are added to, changed, or diminished in an instant of time. 2.35. yet, suppose the concession is made, how is it brought about that the man in search of favourable signs will find a sacrifice suitable to his purpose? I thought the question insoluble. But what a fine solution is offered! I am not ashamed of you — I am actually astonished at your memory; but I am ashamed of Chrysippus, Antipater, and Posidonius who say exactly what you said: The choice of the sacrificial victim is directed by the sentient and divine power which pervades the entire universe.But even more absurd is that other pronouncement of theirs which you adopted: At the moment of sacrifice a change in the entrails takes place; something is added or something taken away; for all things are obedient to the Divine Will. 2.37. How does it happen that you understand the one fact, that the bull could not have lived without a heart and do not realize the other, that the heart could not suddenly have vanished I know not where? As for me, possibly I do not know what vital function the heart performs; if I do I suspect that the bulls heart, as the result of a disease, became much wasted and shrunken and lost its resemblance to a heart. But, assuming that only a little while before the heart was in the sacrificial bull, why do you think it suddenly disappeared at the very moment of immolation? Dont you think, rather, that the bull lost his heart when he saw that Caesar in his purple robe had lost his head?Upon my word you Stoics surrender the very city of philosophy while defending its outworks! For, by your insistence on the truth of soothsaying, you utterly overthrow physiology. There is a head to the liver and a heart in the entrails, presto! they will vanish the very second you have sprinkled them with meal and wine! Aye, some god will snatch them away! Some invisible power will destroy them or eat them up! Then the creation and destruction of all things are not due to nature, and there are some things which spring from nothing or suddenly become nothing. Was any such statement ever made by any natural philosopher? It is made, you say, by soothsayers. Then do you think that soothsayers are worthier of belief than natural philosophers? [17] 2.38. Again, when sacrifices are offered to more than one god at the same time, how does it happen that the auspices are favourable in one case and unfavourable in another? Is it not strange fickleness in the gods to threaten disaster in the first set of entrails and to promise a blessing in the next? Or is there such discord among the gods — often even among those who are nearest of kin — that the entrails of the sacrifice you offer to Apollo, for example, are favourable and of those you offer at the same time to Diana are unfavourable? When victims for the sacrifice are brought up at haphazard it is perfectly clear that the character of entrails that you will receive will depend on the victim chance may bring. Oh! but someone will say, The choice itself is a matter of divine guidance, just as in the case of lots the drawing is directed by the gods! I shall speak of lots presently; although you really do not strengthen the cause of sacrifices by comparing them to lots; but you do weaken the cause of lots by comparing them with sacrifices.
3. Cicero, On Laws, 2.19 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4. Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, 1.42-1.43, 1.81-1.82, 1.101, 2.62, 3.37-3.38, 3.42-3.60 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.42. I have given a rough account of what are more like the dreams of madmen than the considered opinions of philosophers. For they are little less absurd than the outpourings of the poets, harmful as these have been owing to the mere charm of their style. The poets have represented the gods as inflamed by anger and maddened by lust, and have displayed to our gaze their wars and battles, their fights and wounds, their hatreds, enmities and quarrels, their births and deaths, their complaints and lamentations, the utter and unbridled licence of their passions, their adulteries and imprisonments, their unions with human beings and the birth of mortal progeny from an immortal parent. 1.43. With the errors of the poets may be classed the monstrous doctrines of the magi and the insane mythology of Egypt, and also the popular beliefs, which are a mere mass of inconsistencies sprung from ignorance. "Anyone pondering on the baseless and irrational character of these doctrines ought to regard Epicurus with reverence, and to rank him as one of the very gods about whom we are inquiring. For he alone perceived, first, that the gods exist, because nature herself has imprinted a conception of them on the minds of all mankind. For what nation or what tribe is there but possesses untaught some 'preconception' of the gods? Such notions Epicurus designates by the word prolepsis, that is, a sort of preconceived mental picture of a thing, without which nothing can be understood or investigated or discussed. The force and value of this argument we learn in that work of genius, Epicurus's Rule or Standard of Judgement. 1.81. Furthermore, Velleius, what if your assumption, that when we think of god the only form that presents itself to us is that of a man, be entirely untrue? will you nevertheless continue to maintain your absurdities? Very likely we Romans do imagine god as you say, because from our childhood Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Neptune, Vulcan and Apollo have been known to us with the aspect with which painters and sculptors have chosen to represent them, and not with that aspect only, but having that equipment, age and dress. But they are not so known to the Egyptians or Syrians, or any almost of the uncivilized races. Among these you will find a belief in certain animals more firmly established than is reverence for the holiest sanctuaries and images of the gods with us. 1.82. For we have often seen temples robbed and images of gods carried off from the holiest shrines by our fellow-countrymen, but no one ever even heard of an Egyptian laying profane hands on a crocodile or ibis or cat. What therefore do you infer? that the Egyptians do not believe their sacred bull Apis to be a god? Precisely as much as you believe the Saviour Juno of your native place to be a goddess. You never see her even in your dreams unless equipped with goat-skin, spear, buckler and slippers turned up at the toe. Yet that is not the aspect of the Argive Juno, nor of the Roman. It follows that Juno has one form for the Argives, another for the people of Lanuvium, and another for us. And indeed our Jupiter of the Capitol is not the same as the Africans' Juppiter Ammon. 1.101. The unlearned multitude are surely wiser here — they assign to god not only a man's limbs, but the use of those limbs. For they give him bow, arrows, spear, shield, trident, thunderbolt; and if they cannot see what actions the gods perform, yet they cannot conceive of god as entirely inactive. Even the Egyptians, whom we laugh at, deified animals solely on the score of some utility which they derived from them; for instance, the ibis, being a tall bird with stiff legs and a long horny beak, destroys a great quantity of snakes: it protects Egypt from plague, by killing and eating the flying serpents that are brought from the Libyan desert by the south-west wind, and so preventing them from harming the natives by their bite while alive and their stench when dead. I might describe the utility of the ichneumon, the crocodile and the cat, but I do not wish to be tedious. I will make my point thus: these animals are at all events deified by the barbarians for the benefits which they confer, but your gods not only do no service you can point to, but they don't do anything at all. 2.62. Those gods therefore who were the authors of various benefits owned their deification to the value of the benefits which they bestowed, and indeed the names that I just now enumerated express the various powers of the gods that bear them. "Human experience moreover and general custom have made it a practice to confer the deification of renown and gratitude upon of distinguished benefactors. This is the origin of Hercules, of Castor and Pollux, of Aesculapius, and also of Liber (I mean Liber the son of Semele, not the Liber whom our ancestors solemnly and devoutly consecrated with Ceres and Libera, the import of which joint consecration may be gathered from the mysteries; but Liber and Libera were so named as Ceres' offspring, that being the meaning of our Latin word liberi — a use which has survived in the case of Libera but not of Liber) — and this is also the origin of Romulus, who is believed to be the same as Quirinus. And these benefactors were duly deemed divine, as being both supremely good and immortal, because their souls survived and enjoyed eternal life. 3.37. Moreover, do you not also hold that all fire requires fuel, and cannot possibly endure unless it is fed? and that the sun, moon and other heavenly bodies draw sustece in some cases from bodies of fresh water and in other cases from the sea? This is the reason given by Cleanthes to explain why The sun turns back, nor farther doth proceed Upon his summer curve, and upon his winter one likewise; it is that he may not travel too far away from his food. We will defer consideration of the whole of this subject; for the present let us end with the following syllogism: That which can perish cannot be an eternal substance; but fire will perish if it is not fed; therefore fire is not an eternal substance. 3.38. But what can we make of a god not endowed with any virtue? Well, are we to assign to god prudence, which consists in the knowledge of things good, things evil, and things neither good nor evil? to a being who experiences and can experience nothing evil, what need is there of the power to choose between things good and evil? Or of reason, or of intelligence? these faculties we employ for the purpose of proceeding from the known to the obscure; but nothing can be obscure to god. Then justice, which assigns to each his own — what has this to do with the gods? justice, as you tell us, is the offspring of human society and of the commonwealth of man. And temperance consists in forgoing bodily pleasures; so if there is room for topic in heaven, there is also room for pleasure. As for courage, how can god be conceived as brave? in enduring pain? or toil? or danger? to none of these is god liable. 3.42. Nevertheless I should like to know what particular Hercules it is that we worship; for we are told of several by the students of esoteric and recondite writings, the most ancient being the son of Jupiter, that is of the most ancient Jupiter likewise, for we find several Jupiters also in the early writings of the Greeks. That Jupiter then and Lysithoë were the parents of the Hercules who is recorded to have had a tussle with Apollo about a tripod! We hear of another in Egypt, a son of the Nile, who is said to have compiled the sacred books of Phrygia. A third comes from the Digiti of Mount Ida, who offer sacrifices at his tomb. A fourth is the son of Jupiter and Asteria, the sister of Latona; he is chiefly worshipped at Tyre, and is said to have been the father of the nymph Carthago. There is a fifth in India, named Belus. The sixth is our friend the son of Alcmena, whose male progenitor was Jupiter, that is Jupiter number three, since, as I will now explain, tradition tells us of several Jupiters also. 3.43. For as my discourse has led me to this topic, I will show that I have learnt more about the proper way of worshipping the gods, according to pontifical law and the customs of our ancestors, from the poor little pots bequeathed to us by Numa, which Laelius discusses in that dear little golden speech of his, than from the theories of the Stoics. For if I adopt your doctrines, tell me what answer I am to make to one who questions me thus: 'If gods exist, are the nymphs also goddesses? if the nymphs are, the Pans and Satyrs also are gods; but they are not gods; therefore the nymphs also are not. Yet they possess temples viewed and dedicated to them by the nation; are the other gods also therefore who have hadded temples dedicated to them not gods either? Come tell me further: you reckon Jupiter and Neptune gods, therefore their brother orcus is also a god; and the fabled streams of the lower world, Acheron, Cocytus and Pyriphlegethon, and also Charon and also Cerberus are to be deemed gods. 3.44. No, you say, we must draw the line at that; well then, orcus is not a god either; what are you to say about his brothers then?' These arguments were advanced by Carneades, not with the object of establishing atheism (for what could less befit a philosopher?) but in order to prove the Stoic theology worthless; accordingly he used to pursue his inquiry thus: 'Well now,' he would say, 'if these brothers are included among the gods, can we deny the divinity of their father Saturation, who is held in the highest reverence by the common people in the west? And if he is a god, we must also admit that his father Caelus is a god. And if so, the parents of Caelus, the Aether and the Day, must be held to be gods, and their brothers and sisters, whom the ancient genealogists name Love, Guile, Dear, Toil, Envy, Fate, Old Age, Death, Darkness, Misery, Lamentation, Favour, Fraud, Obstinacy, the Parcae, the Daughters of Hesperus, the Dreams: all of these are fabled to be the children of erebus and Night.' Either therefore you must accept these monstrosities or you must discard the first claimants also. 3.45. Again, if you call Apollo, Vulcan, Mercury and the rest gods, will you have doubts about Hercules, Aesculapius, Liber, Castor and Pollux? But these are worshipped just as much as those, and indeed in some places very much more than they. Are we then to deem these gods, the sons of mortal mothers? Well then, will not Aristaeus, the reputed discoverer of the olive, who was the son of Apollo, Theseus the son of Neptune, and all the other sons of gods, also be reckoned as gods? What about the sons of goddesses? I think they have an even better claim; for just as by the civil law one whose mother is a freewoman is a Freeman, so by the law of nature one whose mother is a goddess must be a god. And in the island of Astypalaea Achilles is most devoutly worshipped by the inhabitants on these grounds; but if Achilles is a god, so are Orpheus and Rhesus, whose mother was a Muse, unless perhaps a marriage at the bottom of the sea counts higher than a marriage on dry land! If these are not gods, because they are nowhere worshipped, how can the others be gods? 3.46. Is not the explanation this, that divine honours are paid to men's virtues, not to their immortality? as you too, Balbus, appeared to indicate. Then, if you think Latona a goddess, how can you not think that Hecate is one, who is the daughter of Latona's sister Asteria? Is Hecate a goddess too? we have seen altars and shrines belonging to her in Greece. But if Hecate is a goddess, why are not the Eumenides? and if they are goddesses, — and they have a temple at Athens, and the Grove ofurina at Rome, if I interpret that name aright, also belongs to them, — then the Furies are goddesses, presumably in their capacity of detectors and avengerss of crime and wickedness. 3.47. And if it is the nature of the gods to intervene in man's affairs, the Birth-Spirit also must be deemed divine, to whom it is our custom to offer sacrifice when we make the round of the shrines in the Territory of Ardea: she is named Natio from the word for being born (nasci), because she is believed to watch over married women in travail. If she is divine, so are all those abstractions that you mentioned, Honour, Faith, Intellect, Concord, and therefore also Hope, the Spirit of Money and all the possible creations of our own imagination. If this supposition is unlikely, so also is the former one, from which all these instances flow. Then, if the traditional gods whom we worship are really divine, what reason can you give why we should not include Isis and Osiris in the same category? And if we do so, why should we repudiate the gods of the barbarians? We shall therefore have to admit to the list of gods oxen and horses, ibises, hawks, asps, crocodiles, fishes, dogs, wolves, cats and many beasts besides. Or if we reject these, we shall also reject those others from whom their claim springs. 3.48. What next? If Ino is to be deemed divine, under the title of Leucothea in Greece and Matuta at Rome, because she is the daughter of Cadmus, are Circe and Pasiphaë and Aeetes, the children of Perseis the daughter of Oceanus by the Sun, to be not counted in the list of gods? in spite of the fact that Circe too is devoutly worshipped at the Roman colony of Circei. If you therefore deem her divine, what answer will you give to Medea, who, as her father was Aeetes and her mother Idyia, had as her two grandfathers the Sun and Oceanus? or to her brother Absyrtus (who appears in Pacuvius as Aegialeus, though the former name is commoner in ancient literature)? if these are not divine, I have my fears as to what will become of Ino, for the claims of all of them derive from the same source. 3.49. Or if we allow Ino, are we going to make Amphiaraus and Trophonius divine? The Roman tax‑farmers, finding that lands in Boeotia belonging to the immortal gods were exempted by the censor's regulations, used to maintain that nobody was immortal who had once upon a time been a human being. But if these are divine, so undoubtedly is Erechtheus, whose shrine and whose priest also we saw when at Athens. And if we make him out to be divine, what doubts can we feel about Codrus or any other persons who fell fighting for their country's freedom? if we stick at this, we must reject the earlier cases too, from which these follow. 3.50. Also it is easy to see that in most states the memory of brave men has been sanctified with divine honours for the purpose of promoting valour, to make the best men more willing to encounter danger for their country's sake. This is the reason why Erechtheus and his daughters have been deified at Athens, and likewise there is the Leonatic shrine at Athens, which is named Leōcorion. The people of Alabanda indeed worship Alabandus, the founder of that city, more devoutly than any of the famous deities. And it was there that Stratonicus uttered one of his many witty sayings; some person obnoxious to him swore that Alabandus was divine and Hercules was not: 'Well and good,' said Stratonicus; let the wrath of Alabandus fall on me and that of Hercules on you.' 3.51. As for your deriving religion from the sky and stars, do you not see what a long way this takes you? You say that the sun and moon are deities, and the Greeks identify the former with Apollo and the latter with Diana. But if the Moon is a goddess, then Lucifer also and the rest of the planets will have to be counted gods; and if so, then the fixed stars as well. But why should not the glorious Rainbow be included among the gods? it is beautiful enough, and its marvellous loveliness has given rise the time of legend that Iris is the daughter of Thaumas. And if the rainbow is a divinity, what will you do about the clouds? The rainbow itself is caused by some colroation of the clouds; and also a cloud is fabled to have given birth to the Centaurs. But if you enroll the clouds among the gods, you will undoubtedly have to enroll the seasons, which have been deified in the national ritual of Rome. If so, then rain and tempest, storm and whirlwind must be deemed divine. At any rate it has been the custom of our generals when embarking on a sea‑voyage to sacrifice a victim to the waves. 3.52. Again, if the name of Ceres is derived from her bearing fruit, as you said, the earth itself is a goddess (and so she is believed to be, for she is the same as the deity Tellus). But if the earth is divine, so also is the sea, which you identified with Neptune; and therefore the rivers and springs too. This is borne out by the facts that Maso dedicated a Temple of Fons out of his Corsican spoils, and that the Augur's litany includes as we may see the names of Tiberinus, Spino, almo, Nodinus, and other rivers in the neighbourhood of Rome. Either therefore this process will go on indefinitely, or we shall admit none of these; nts unlimited claim of superstition will not be accepted; therefore none of these is to be accepted. 3.53. Accordingly, Balbus, we also ought to refute the theory that these gods, who are deified human beings, and who are the objects of our most devout and universal veneration, exist not in reality but in imagination . . . In the first place, the so‑called theologians enumerate three Jupiters, of whom the first and second were born, they say, in Arcadia, the father of one being Aether, who is also fabled to be the progenitor of Proserpine and Liber, and of the other Caelus, and this one is said to have begotten Minerva, the fabled patroness and originator of warfare; the third is the Cretan Jove, son of Saturn; his tomb is shown in that island. The Dioscuri also have a number of titles in Greece. The first set, called Anaces at Athens, the sons of the very ancient King Jupiter and Proserpine, are Tritopatreus, Eubuleus and Dionysus. The second set, the sons of the third Jove and Leda, are Castor and Pollux. The third are named by some people Alco, Melampus and Tmolus, and are the sons of Atreus the son of Pelops. 3.54. Again, the first set of Muses are four, the daughters of the second Jupiter, Thelxinoë, Aoede, Arche and Melete; the second set are the offspring of the third Jupiter and Mnemosyne, nine in number; the third set are the daughters of Pierus and Antiope, and are usually called by the poets the Pierides or Pierian Maidens; they are the same in number and have the same names as the next preceding set. The sun's name Sol you derive from his being sole of his kind, but the theologians produce a number even of Suns! One is the son of Jove and grandson of Aether; another is the son of Hyperion; the third of Vulcan the son of Nile — this is the one who the Egyptians say is lord of the city named Heliopolis; the fourth is the one to whom Acanthe is said to have given birth at Rhodes in the heroic age, the father of Ialysus, Camirus, Lindus and Rhodus; the fifth is the one said to have begotten Aeetes and Circe at Colchi. 3.55. There are also several Vulcans; the first, the son of the Sky, was reputed the father by Minerva of the Apollo said by the ancient historians to be the tutelary deity of Athens; the second, the son of Nile, is named by the Egyptians Phthas, and is deemed the guardian of Egypt; the third is the son of the third Jupiter and of Juno, and is fabled to have been taskmaster of a smithy at Lemnos; the fourth is the son of Memalius, and lord of the islands near Sicily which used to be named the Isles of Vulcan. 3.56. One Mercury has the Sky for father and the Day for mother; he is represented in a state of sexual excitation traditionally said to be due to passion inspired by the sight of Proserpine. Another is the son of Valens and Phoronis; this is the subterranean Mercury identified with Trophonius. The third, the son of the third Jove and of Maia, the legends make the father of Pan by Penelope. The fourth has Nile for father; the Egyptians deem it sinful to pronounce his name. The fifth, worshipped by the people of Pheneus, is said to have killed argus and consequently to have fled in exile to Egypt, where he gave the Egyptians their laws and letters. His Egyptian name is Theuth, which is also the name in the Egyptian calendar for the first month of year. 3.57. of the various Aesculapii the first is the son of Apollo, and is worshipped by the Arcadians; he is reputed to have invented the probe and to have been the first surgeon to employ splints. The second is the brother of the second Mercury; he is said to have been struck by lightning and buried at Cynosura. The third is the son of Arsippus and Arsinoë, and is said to have first invented the use of purges and the extraction of teeth; his tomb and grove are shown in Arcadia, not far from the river Lusius. The most ancient of the Apollos is the one whom I stated just before to be the son of Vulcan and the guardian of Athens. The second is the son of Corybas, and was born in Crete; tradition says that he fought with Jupiter himself for the possession of that island. The third is the son of the third Jupiter and of Latona, and is reputed to have come to Delphi from the Hyperboreans. The fourth belongs to Arcadia, and is called by the Arcadians Nomios, as being their traditional lawgiver. 3.58. Likewise there are several Dianas. The first, daughter of Jupiter and Proserpine, is said to have given birth to the winged Cupid. The second is more celebrated; tradition makes her the daughter of the third Jupiter and of Latona. The father of the third is recorded to have been Upis, and her mother Glauce; the Greeks often call her by her father's name of Upis. We have a number of Dionysi. The first is the son of Jupiter and Proserpine; the second of Nile — he is the fabled slayer of Nysa. The father of the third is Cabirus; it is stated that he was king over Asia, and the Sabazia were instituted in his honour. The fourth is the son of Jupiter and Luna; the Orphic rites are believed to be celebrated in his honour. The fifth is the son of Nisus and Thyone, and is believed to have established the Trieterid festival. 3.59. The first Venus is the daughter of the Sky and the Day; I have seen her temple at Elis. The second was engendered from the sea‑foam, and as we are told became the mother by Mercury of the second Cupid. The third is the daughter of Jupiter and Dione, who wedded Vulcan, but who is said to have been the mother of Anteros by Mars. The fourth was conceived of Syria and Cyprus, and is called Astarte; it is recorded that she married Adonis. The first Minerva is the one whom we mentioned above as the mother of Apollo. The second sprang from the Nile, and is worshipped by the Egyptians of Sais. The third is she whom we mentioned above as begotten by Jupiter. The fourth is the daughter of Jupiter and Coryphe the daughter of Oceanus, and is called Koria by the Arcadians, who say that she was the inventor of the four-horse chariot. The fifth is Pallas, who is said to have slain her father when he attempted to violate her maidenhood; she is represented with wings attached to her ankles. 3.60. The first Cupid is said to be the son of Mercury and the first Diana, the second of Mercury and the second Venus, and the third, who is the same as Anteros, of Mars and the third Venus. "These and other similar fables have been culled from the ancient traditions of Greece; you are aware that we ought to combat them, so that religion may not be undermined. Your school however not merely do not refute them, but actually confirm them by interpreting their respective meanings. But let us now return to the point from which we digressed to this topic.
5. Cicero, Republic, 3.9.14 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

6. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, 1.28 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.28. ex hoc et nostrorum opinione Romulus in caelo cum diis agit aevum ann. 115, ut famae adsentiens dixit Ennius, et apud Graecos indeque perlapsus ad nos et usque ad Oceanum Hercules et ante retin. add. V c et perm.... 20 hercules fere omnia in r. V 1 tantus et tam praesens habetur deus; hinc Liber Semela natus eademque famae celebritate Tyndaridae fratres, qui non modo adiutores in proeliis victoriae populi Romani, sed etiam nuntii fuisse perhibentur. quid? Ino ino sed o in r. V 1 Cadmi inhoc admi G 1 filia nonne nonne ex nomine K 2 LEGKOE |ea R LEGKOQEA GKV ( Q in r. ) *leukoqe/a nominata a Graecis Matuta mutata K 1 V 1 (ut v.) Nonii L 1 habetur a nostris? Quid?...nostris Non. 66, 13 quid? totum prope caelum, ne pluris persequar, persequar pluris K nonne humano genere completum est?
7. Septuagint, Wisdom of Solomon, 14.15-14.16 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

14.15. For a father, consumed with grief at an untimely bereavement,made an image of his child, who had been suddenly taken from him;and he now honored as a god what was once a dead human being,and handed on to his dependents secret rites and initiations. 14.16. Then the ungodly custom, grown strong with time, was kept as a law,and at the command of monarchs graven images were worshiped.
8. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 6.1 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

6.1. 1.  The foregoing is told by Diodorus in the Third Book of his history. And the same writer, in the sixth Book as well, confirms the same view regarding the gods, drawing from the writing of Euhemerus of Messenê, and using the following words:,2.  "As regards the gods, then, men of ancient times have handed down to later generations two different conceptions: Certain of the gods, they say, are eternal and imperishable, such as the sun and moon and the other stars of the heavens, and the winds as well and whatever else possesses a nature similar to theirs; for of each of these the genesis and duration are from everlasting to everlasting. But the other gods, we are told, were terrestrial beings who attained to immortal honour and fame because of their benefactions to mankind, such as Heracles, Dionysus, Aristaeus, and the others who were like them.,3.  Regarding these terrestrial gods many and varying accounts have been handed down by the writers of history and mythology; of the historians, Euhemerus, who composed the Sacred History, has written a special treatise about them, while, of the writers of myths, Homer and Hesiod and Orpheus and the others of their kind have invented rather monstrous stories about the gods. But for our part, we shall endeavour to run over briefly the accounts which both groups of writers have given, aiming at due proportion in our exposition.,4.  "Now Euhemerus, who was a friend of King Cassander and was required by him to perform certain affairs of state and to make great journeys abroad, says that he travelled southward as far as the ocean; for setting sail from Arabia the Blest he voyaged through the ocean for a considerable number of days and was carried to the shore of some islands in the sea, one of which bore the name of Panchaea. On this island he saw the Panchaeans who dwell there, who excel in piety and honour the gods with the most magnificent sacrifices and with remarkable votive offerings of silver and of gold.,5.  The island is sacred to the gods, and there are a number of other objects on it which are admired both for their antiquity and for the great skill of their workmanship, regarding which severally we have written in the preceding Books.,6.  There is also on the island, situated upon an exceedingly high hill, a sanctuary of Zeus Triphylius, which was established by him during the time when he was king of all the inhabited world and was still in the company of men.,7.  And in this temple there is a stele of gold on which is inscribed in summary, in the writing employed by the Panchaeans, the deeds of Uranus and Cronus and Zeus.,8.  "Euhemerus goes on to say that Uranus was the first to be king, that he was an honourable man and beneficent, who was versed in the movement of the stars, and that he was also the first to honour the gods of the heavens with sacrifices, whence he was called Uranus or "Heaven.",9.  There were born to him by his wife Hestia two sons, Titan and Cronus, and two daughters, Rhea and Demeter. Cronus became king after Uranus, and marrying Rhea he begat Zeus and Hera and Poseidon. And Zeus, on succeeding to the kingship, married Hera and Demeter and Themis, and by them he had children, the Curetes by the first named, Persephonê by the second, and Athena by the third.,10.  And going to Babylon he was entertained by Belus, and after that he went to the island of Panchaea, which lies in the ocean, and here he set up an altar to Uranus, the founder of his family. From there he passed through Syria and came to Casius, who was ruler of Syria at that time, and who gave his name to Mt. Casius. And coming to Cilicia he conquered in battle Cilix, the governor of the region, and he visited very many other nations, all of which paid honour to him and publicly proclaimed him a god.",11.  After recounting what I have given and more to the same effect about the gods, as if about mortal men, Diodorus goes on to say: "Now regarding Euhemerus, who composed the Sacred History, we shall rest content with what has been said, and shall endeavour to run over briefly the myths which the Greeks recount concerning the gods, as they are given by Hesiod and Homer and Orpheus." Thereupon Diodorus goes on to add the myths as the poets give them.
9. Horace, Odes, 3.3 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3.3. 2. And as he was deliberating to whom he should commit the care of the East, now it was in so great a commotion, and who might be best able to punish the Jews for their rebellion, and might prevent the same distemper from seizing upon the neighboring nations also,— 3.3. So he came quickly to the city, and put his army in order, and set Trajan over the left wing, while he had the right himself, and led them to the siege: 3.3. At this city also the inhabitants of Sepphoris of Galilee met him, who were for peace with the Romans.
10. Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 34.48 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

11. Athenagoras, Apology Or Embassy For The Christians, 30, 29 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

29. But among the Greeks, also, those who are eminent in poetry and history say the same thing. Thus of Heracles:- That lawless wretch, that man of brutal strength, Deaf to Heaven's voice, the social rite transgressed. Such being his nature, deservedly did he go mad, and deservedly did he light the funeral pile and burn himself to death. of Asklepius, Hesiod says:- The mighty father both of gods and men Was filled with wrath, and from Olympus' top With flaming thunderbolt cast down and slew Latona's well-lov'd son - such was his ire. And Pindar: - But even wisdom is ensnared by gain. The brilliant bribe of gold seen in the hand Ev'n him perverted: therefore Kronos' son With both hands quickly stopp'd his vital breath, And by a bolt of fire ensured his doom. Either, therefore, they were gods and did not hanker after gold - O gold, the fairest prize to mortal men, Which neither mother equals in delight, Nor children dear - for the Deity is in want of nought, and is superior to carnal desire, nor did they die; or, having been born men, they were wicked by reason of ignorance, and overcome by love of money. What more need I say, or refer to Castor, or Pollux, or Amphiaraus, who, having been born, so to speak, only the other day, men of men, are looked upon as gods, when they imagine even Ino after her madness and its consequent sufferings to have become a goddess? Sea-rovers will her name Leucothea. And her son:- August Pal mon, sailors will invoke.
12. Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation To The Greeks, 2.13-2.14, 2.24 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

13. Origen, Against Celsus, 3.22-3.24, 3.26-3.32, 3.34-3.35, 3.37-3.39, 3.41-3.42, 7.53 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

3.22. But this low jester Celsus, omitting no species of mockery and ridicule which can be employed against us, mentions in his treatise the Dioscuri, and Hercules, and Æsculapius, and Dionysus, who are believed by the Greeks to have become gods after being men, and says that we cannot bear to call such beings gods, because they were at first men, and yet they manifested many noble qualifies, which were displayed for the benefit of mankind, while we assert that Jesus was seen after His death by His own followers; and he brings against us an additional charge, as if we said that He was seen indeed, but was only a shadow! Now to this we reply, that it was very artful of Celsus not here clearly to indicate that he did not regard these beings as gods, for he was afraid of the opinion of those who might peruse his treatise, and who might suppose him to be an atheist; whereas, if he had paid respect to what appeared to him to be the truth, he would not have feigned to regard them as gods. Now to either of the allegations we are ready with an answer. Let us, accordingly, to those who do not regard them as gods reply as follows: These beings, then, are not gods at all; but agreeably to the view of those who think that the soul of man perishes immediately (after death), the souls of these men also perished; or according to the opinion of those who say that the soul continues to subsist or is immortal, these men continue to exist or are immortal, and they are not gods but heroes, - or not even heroes, but simply souls. If, then, on the one hand, you suppose them not to exist, we shall have to prove the doctrine of the soul's immortality, which is to us a doctrine of pre-eminent importance; if, on the other hand, they do exist, we have still to prove the doctrine of immortality, not only by what the Greeks have so well said regarding it, but also in a manner agreeable to the teaching of Holy Scripture. And we shall demonstrate that it is impossible for those who were polytheists during their lives to obtain a better country and position after their departure from this world, by quoting the histories that are related of them, in which is recorded the great dissoluteness of Hercules, and his effeminate bondage with Omphale, together with the statements regarding Æsculapius, that their Zeus struck him dead by a thunderbolt. And of the Dioscuri, it will be said that they die often - At one time live on alternate days, and at anotherDie, and obtain honour equally with the gods. How, then, can they reasonably imagine that one of these is to be regarded as a god or a hero? 3.23. But we, in proving the facts related of our Jesus from the prophetic Scriptures, and comparing afterwards His history with them, demonstrate that no dissoluteness on His part is recorded. For even they who conspired against Him, and who sought false witnesses to aid them, did not find even any plausible grounds for advancing a false charge against Him, so as to accuse Him of licentiousness; but His death was indeed the result of a conspiracy, and bore no resemblance to the death of Æsculapius by lightning. And what is there that is venerable in the madman Dionysus, and his female garments, that he should be worshipped as a god? And if they who would defend such beings betake themselves to allegorical interpretations, we must examine each individual instance, and ascertain whether it is well founded, and also in each particular case, whether those beings can have a real existence, and are deserving of respect and worship who were torn by the Titans, and cast down from their heavenly throne. Whereas our Jesus, who appeared to the members of His own troop - for I will take the word that Celsus employs - did really appear, and Celsus makes a false accusation against the Gospel in saying that what appeared was a shadow. And let the statements of their histories and that of Jesus be carefully compared together. Will Celsus have the former to be true, but the latter, although recorded by eye-witnesses who showed by their acts that they clearly understood the nature of what they had seen, and who manifested their state of mind by what they cheerfully underwent for the sake of His Gospel, to be inventions? Now, who is there that, desiring to act always in conformity with right reason, would yield his assent at random to what is related of the one, but would rush to the history of Jesus, and without examination refuse to believe what is recorded of Him? 3.24. And again, when it is said of Æsculapius that a great multitude both of Greeks and Barbarians acknowledge that they have frequently seen, and still see, no mere phantom, but Æsculapius himself, healing and doing good, and foretelling the future; Celsus requires us to believe this, and finds no fault with the believers in Jesus, when we express our belief in such stories, but when we give our assent to the disciples, and eye-witnesses of the miracles of Jesus, who clearly manifest the honesty of their convictions (because we see their guilelessness, as far as it is possible to see the conscience revealed in writing), we are called by him a set of silly individuals, although he cannot demonstrate that an incalculable number, as he asserts, of Greeks and Barbarians acknowledge the existence of Æsculapius; while we, if we deem this a matter of importance, can clearly show a countless multitude of Greeks and Barbarians who acknowledge the existence of Jesus. And some give evidence of their having received through this faith a marvellous power by the cures which they perform, revoking no other name over those who need their help than that of the God of all things, and of Jesus, along with a mention of His history. For by these means we too have seen many persons freed from grievous calamities, and from distractions of mind, and madness, and countless other ills, which could be cured neither by men nor devils. 3.26. Let us see what Celsus says next, when he adduces from history marvellous occurrences, which in themselves seem to be incredible, but which are not discredited by him, so far at least as appears from his words. And, in the first place, regarding Aristeas of Proconnesus, of whom he speaks as follows: Then, with respect to Aristeas of Proconnesus, who disappeared from among men in a manner so indicative of divine intervention, and who showed himself again in so unmistakeable a fashion, and on many subsequent occasions visited many parts of the world, and announced marvellous events, and whom Apollo enjoined the inhabitants of Metapontium to regard as a god, no one considers him to be a god. This account he appears to have taken from Pindar and Herodotus. It will be sufficient, however, at present to quote the statement of the latter writer from the fourth book of his histories, which is to the following effect: of what country Aristeas, who made these verses, was, has already been mentioned, and I shall now relate the account I heard of him in Proconnesus and Cyzicus. They say that Aristeas, who was inferior to none of the citizens by birth, entering into a fuller's shop in Proconnesus, died suddenly, and that the fuller, having closed his workshop, went to acquaint the relatives of the deceased. When the report had spread through the city that Aristeas was dead, a certain Cyzicenian, arriving from Artace, fell into a dispute with those who made the report, affirming that he had met and conversed with him on his way to Cyzicus, and he vehemently disputed the truth of the report; but the relations of the deceased went to the fuller's shop, taking with them what was necessary for the purpose of carrying the body away; but when the house was opened, Aristeas was not to be seen, either dead or alive. They say that afterwards, in the seventh year, he appeared in Proconnesus, composed those verses which by the Greeks are now called Arimaspian, and having composed them, disappeared a second time. Such is the story current in these cities. But these things I know happened to the Metapontines in Italy 340 years after the second disappearance of Aristeas, as I discovered by computation in Proconnesus and Metapontium. The Metapontines say that Aristeas himself, having appeared in their country, exhorted them to erect an altar to Apollo, and to place near it a statue bearing the name of Aristeas the Proconnesian; for he said that Apollo had visited their country only of all the Italians, and that he himself, who was now Aristeas, accompanied him; and that when he accompanied the god he was a crow; and after saying this he vanished. And the Metapontines say they sent to Delphi to inquire of the god what the apparition of the man meant; but the Pythian bade them obey the apparition, and if they obeyed it would conduce to their benefit. They accordingly, having received this answer, fulfilled the injunctions. And now, a statue bearing the name of Aristeas is placed near the image of Apollo, and around it laurels are planted: the image is placed in the public square. Thus much concerning Aristeas. 3.27. Now, in answer to this account of Aristeas, we have to say, that if Celsus had adduced it as history, without signifying his own assent to its truth, it is in a different way that we should have met his argument. But since he asserts that he disappeared through the intervention of the divinity, and showed himself again in an unmistakeable manner, and visited many parts of the world, and made marvellous announcements; and, moreover, that there was an oracle of Apollo, enjoining the Metapontines to treat Aristeas as a god, he gives the accounts relating to him as upon his own authority, and with his full assent. And (this being the case), we ask, How is it possible that, while supposing the marvels related by the disciples of Jesus regarding their Master to be wholly fictitious, and finding fault with those who believe them, you, O Celsus, do not regard these stories of yours to be either products of jugglery or inventions? And how, while charging others with an irrational belief in the marvels recorded of Jesus, can you show yourself justified in giving credence to such statement as the above, without producing some proof or evidence of the alleged occurrences having taken place? Or do Herodotus and Pindar appear to you to speak the truth, while they who have made it their concern to die for the doctrine of Jesus, and who have left to their successors writings so remarkable on the truths which they believed, entered for the sake of fictions (as you consider them), and myths, and juggleries, upon a struggle which entails a life of danger and a death of violence? Place yourself, then, as a neutral party, between what is related of Aristeas and what is recorded of Jesus, and see whether, from the result, and from the benefits which have accrued from the reformation of morals, and to the worship of the God who is over all things, it is not allowable to conclude that we must believe the events recorded of Jesus not to have happened without the divine intervention, but that this was not the case with the story of Aristeas the Proconnesian. 3.28. For with what purpose in view did Providence accomplish the marvels related of Aristeas? And to confer what benefit upon the human race did such remarkable events, as you regard them, take place? You cannot answer. But we, when we relate the events of the history of Jesus, have no ordinary defense to offer for their occurrence - this, viz., that God desired to commend the doctrine of Jesus as a doctrine which was to save mankind, and which was based, indeed, upon the apostles as foundations of the rising edifice of Christianity, but which increased in magnitude also in the succeeding ages, in which not a few cures are wrought in the name of Jesus, and certain other manifestations of no small moment have taken place. Now what sort of person is Apollo, who enjoined the Metapontines to treat Aristeas as a god? And with what object does he do this? And what advantage was he procuring to the Metapontines from this divine worship, if they were to regard him as a god, who a little ago was a mortal? And yet the recommendations of Apollo (viewed by us as a demon who has obtained the honour of libation and sacrificial odours ) regarding this Aristeas appear to you to be worthy of consideration; while those of the God of all things, and of His holy angels, made known beforehand through the prophets- not after the birth of Jesus, but before He appeared among men- do not stir you up to admiration, not merely of the prophets who received the Divine Spirit, but of Him also who was the object of their predictions, whose entrance into life was so clearly predicted many years beforehand by numerous prophets, that the whole Jewish people who were hanging in expectation of the coming of Him who was looked for, did, after the advent of Jesus, fall into a keen dispute with each other; and that a great multitude of them acknowledged Christ, and believed Him to be the object of prophecy, while others did not believe in Him, but, despising the meekness of those who, on account of the teaching of Jesus, were unwilling to cause even the most trifling sedition, dared to inflict on Jesus those cruelties which His disciples have so truthfully and candidly recorded, without secretly omitting from their marvellous history of Him what seems to the multitude to bring disgrace upon the doctrine of Christianity. But both Jesus Himself and His disciples desired that His followers should believe not merely in His Godhead and miracles, as if He had not also been a partaker of human nature, and had assumed the human flesh which lusts against the Spirit; but they saw also that the power which had descended into human nature, and into the midst of human miseries, and which had assumed a human soul and body, contributed through faith, along with its divine elements, to the salvation of believers, when they see that from Him there began the union of the divine with the human nature, in order that the human, by communion with the divine, might rise to be divine, not in Jesus alone, but in all those who not only believe, but enter upon the life which Jesus taught, and which elevates to friendship with God and communion with Him every one who lives according to the precepts of Jesus. 3.29. According to Celsus, then, Apollo wished the Metapontines to treat Aristeas as a god. But as the Metapontines considered the evidence in favour of Aristeas being a man - and probably not a virtuous one - to be stronger than the declaration of the oracle to the effect that he was a god or worthy of divine honours, they for that reason would not obey Apollo, and consequently no one regarded Aristeas as a god. But with respect to Jesus we would say that, as it was of advantage to the human race to accept him as the Son of God- God come in a human soul and body - and as this did not seem to be advantageous to the gluttonous appetites of the demons which love bodies, and to those who deem them to be gods on that account, the demons that are on earth (which are supposed to be gods by those who are not instructed in the nature of demons), and also their worshippers, were desirous to prevent the spread of the doctrine of Jesus; for they saw that the libations and odours in which they greedily delighted were being swept away by the prevalence of the instructions of Jesus. But the God who sent Jesus dissipated all the conspiracies of the demons, and made the Gospel of Jesus to prevail throughout the whole world for the conversion and reformation of men, and caused Churches to be everywhere established in opposition to those of superstitious and licentious and wicked men; for such is the character of the multitudes who constitute the citizens in the assemblies of the various cities. Whereas the Churches of God which are instructed by Christ, when carefully contrasted with the assemblies of the districts in which they are situated, are as beacons in the world; for who would not admit that even the inferior members of the Church, and those who in comparison with the better are less worthy, are nevertheless more excellent than many of those who belong to the assemblies in the different districts? 3.30. For the Church of God, e.g., which is at Athens, is a meek and stable body, as being one which desires to please God, who is over all things; whereas the assembly of the Athenians is given to sedition, and is not at all to be compared to the Church of God in that city. And you may say the same thing of the Church of God at Corinth, and of the assembly of the Corinthian people; and also of the Church of God at Alexandria, and of the assembly of the people of Alexandria. And if he who hears this be a candid man, and one who investigates things with a desire to ascertain the truth, he will be filled with admiration of Him who not only conceived the design, but also was able to secure in all places the establishment of Churches of God alongside of the assemblies of the people in each city. In like manner, also, in comparing the council of the Church of God with the council in any city, you would find that certain councillors of the Church are worthy to rule in the city of God, if there be any such city in the whole world; whereas the councillors in all other places exhibit in their characters no quality worthy of the conventional superiority which they appear to enjoy over their fellow citizens. And so, too, you must compare the ruler of the Church in each city with the ruler of the people of the city, in order to observe that even among those councillors and rulers of the Church of God who come very far short of their duty, and who lead more indolent lives than others who are more energetic, it is nevertheless possible to discover a general superiority in what relates to the progress of virtue over the characters of the councillors and rulers in the various cities. 3.31. Now if these things be so, why should it not be consistent with reason to hold with regard to Jesus, who was able to effect results so great, that there dwelt in Him no ordinary divinity? While this was not the case either with the Proconnesian Aristeas (although Apollo would have him regarded as a god), or with the other individuals enumerated by Celsus when he says, No one regards Abaris the Hyperborean as a god, who was possessed of such power as to be borne along like an arrow from a bow. For with what object did the deity who bestowed upon this Hyperborean Abaris the power of being carried along like an arrow, confer upon him such a gift? Was it that the human race might be benefited thereby, or did he himself obtain any advantage from the possession of such a power?- always supposing it to be conceded that these statements are not wholly inventions, but that the thing actually happened through the co-operation of some demon. But if it be recorded that my Jesus was received up into glory, I perceive the divine arrangement in such an act, viz., because God, who brought this to pass, commends in this way the Teacher to those who witnessed it, in order that as men who are contending not for human doctrine, but for divine teaching, they may devote themselves as far as possible to the God who is over all, and may do all things in order to please Him, as those who are to receive in the divine judgment the reward of the good or evil which they have wrought in this life. 3.32. But as Celsus next mentions the case of the Clazomenian, subjoining to the story about him this remark, Do they not report that his soul frequently quitted his body, and flitted about in an incorporeal form? And yet men did not regard him as a god, we have to answer that probably certain wicked demons contrived that such statements should be committed to writing (for I do not believe that they contrived that such a thing should actually take place), in order that the predictions regarding Jesus, and the discourses uttered by Him, might either be evil spoken of, as inventions like these, or might excite no surprise, as not being more remarkable than other occurrences. But my Jesus said regarding His own soul (which was separated from the body, not by virtue of any human necessity, but by the miraculous power which was given Him also for this purpose): No one takes my life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. For as He had power to lay it down, He laid it down when He said, Father, why have You forsaken Me? And when He had cried with a loud voice, He gave up the ghost, anticipating the public executioners of the crucified, who break the legs of the victims, and who do so in order that their punishment may not be further prolonged. And He took His life, when He manifested Himself to His disciples, having in their presence foretold to the unbelieving Jews, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again, and He spoke this of the temple of His body; the prophets, moreover, having predicted such a result in many other passages of their writings, and in this, My flesh also shall rest in hope: for You will not leave my soul in hell, neither will You suffer Your Holy One to see corruption. 3.34. I am, however, of opinion that these individuals are the only instances with which Celsus was acquainted. And yet, that he might appear voluntarily to pass by other similar cases, he says, And one might name many others of the same kind. Let it be granted, then, that many such persons have existed who conferred no benefit upon the human race: what would each one of their acts be found to amount to in comparison with the work of Jesus, and the miracles related of Him, of which we have already spoken at considerable length? He next imagines that, in worshipping him who, as he says, was taken prisoner and put to death, we are acting like the Get who worship Zamolxis, and the Cilicians who worship Mopsus, and the Acarians who pay divine honours to Amphilochus, and like the Thebans who do the same to Amphiaraus, and the Lebadians to Trophonius. Now in these instances we shall prove that he has compared us to the foregoing without good grounds. For these different tribes erected temples and statues to those individuals above enumerated, whereas we have refrained from offering to the Divinity honour by any such means (seeing they are adapted rather to demons, which are somehow fixed in a certain place which they prefer to any other, or which take up their dwelling, as it were, after being removed (from one place to another) by certain rites and incantations), and are lost in reverential wonder at Jesus, who has recalled our minds from all sensible things, as being not only corruptible, but destined to corruption, and elevated them to honour the God who is over all with prayers and a righteous life, which we offer to Him as being intermediate between the nature of the uncreated and that of all created things, and who bestows upon us the benefits which come from the Father, and who as High Priest conveys our prayers to the supreme God. 3.35. But I should like, in answer to him who for some unknown reason advances such statements as the above, to make in a conversational way some such remarks as the following, which seem not inappropriate to him. Are then those persons whom you have mentioned nonentities, and is there no power in Lebadea connected with Trophonius, nor in Thebes with the temple of Amphiaraus, nor in Acaria with Amphilochus, nor in Cilicia with Mopsus? Or is there in such persons some being, either a demon, or a hero, or even a god, working works which are beyond the reach of man? For if he answer that there is nothing either demoniacal or divine about these individuals more than others, then let him at once make known his own opinion, as being that of an Epicurean, and of one who does not hold the same views with the Greeks, and who neither recognises demons nor worships gods as do the Greeks; and let it be shown that it was to no purpose that he adduced the instances previously enumerated (as if he believed them to be true), together with those which he adds in the following pages. But if he will assert that the persons spoken of are either demons, or heroes, or even gods, let him notice that he will establish by what he has admitted a result which he does not desire, viz., that Jesus also was some such being; for which reason, too, he was able to demonstrate to not a few that He had come down from God to visit the human race. And if he once admit this, see whether he will not be forced to confess that He is mightier than those individuals with whom he classed Him, seeing none of the latter forbids the offering of honour to the others; while He, having confidence in Himself, because He is more powerful than all those others, forbids them to be received as divine because they are wicked demons, who have taken possession of places on earth, through inability to rise to the purer and diviner region, whither the grossnesses of earth and its countless evils cannot reach. 3.37. The Egyptians, then, having been taught to worship Antinous, will, if you compare him with Apollo or Zeus, endure such a comparison, Antinous being magnified in their estimation through being classed with these deities; for Celsus is clearly convicted of falsehood when he says, that they will not endure his being compared with Apollo or Zeus. Whereas Christians (who have learned that their eternal life consists in knowing the only true God, who is over all, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent; and who have learned also that all the gods of the heathen are greedy demons, which flit around sacrifices and blood, and other sacrificial accompaniments, in order to deceive those who have not taken refuge with the God who is over all, but that the divine and holy angels of God are of a different nature and will from all the demons on earth, and that they are known to those exceedingly few persons who have carefully and intelligently investigated these matters) will not endure a comparison to be made between them and Apollo or Zeus, or any being worshipped with odour and blood and sacrifices; some of them, so acting from their extreme simplicity, not being able to give a reason for their conduct, but sincerely observing the precepts which they have received; others, again, for reasons not to be lightly regarded, nay, even of a profound description, and (as a Greek would say) drawn from the inner nature of things; and among the latter of these God is a frequent subject of conversation, and those who are honoured by God, through His only-begotten Word, with participation in His divinity, and therefore also in His name. They speak much, too, both regarding the angels of God and those who are opposed to the truth, but have been deceived; and who, in consequence of being deceived, call them gods or angels of God, or good demons, or heroes who have become such by the transference into them of a good human soul. And such Christians will also show, that as in philosophy there are many who appear to be in possession of the truth, who have yet either deceived themselves by plausible arguments, or by rashly assenting to what was brought forward and discovered by others; so also, among those souls which exist apart from bodies, both angels and demons, there are some which have been induced by plausible reasons to declare themselves gods. And because it was impossible that the reasons of such things could be discovered by men with perfect exactness, it was deemed safe that no mortal should entrust himself to any being as to God, with the exception of Jesus Christ, who is, as it were, the Ruler over all things, and who both beheld these weighty secrets, and made them known to a few. 3.38. The belief, then, in Antinous, or any other such person, whether among the Egyptians or the Greeks, is, so to speak, unfortunate; while the belief in Jesus would seem to be either a fortunate one, or the result of thorough investigation, having the appearance of the former to the multitude, and of the latter to exceedingly few. And when I speak of a certain belief being, as the multitude would call it, unfortunate, I in such a case refer the cause to God, who knows the reasons of the various fates allotted to each one who enters human life. The Greeks, moreover, will admit that even among those who are considered to be most largely endowed with wisdom, good fortune has had much to do, as in the choice of teachers of one kind rather than another, and in meeting with a better class of instructors (there being teachers who taught the most opposite doctrines), and in being brought up in better circumstances; for the bringing up of many has been amid surroundings of such a kind, that they were prevented from ever receiving any idea of better things, but constantly passed their life, from their earliest youth, either as the favourites of licentious men or of tyrants, or in some other wretched condition which forbade the soul to look upwards. And the causes of these varied fortunes, according to all probability, are to be found in the reasons of providence, though it is not easy for men to ascertain these; but I have said what I have done by way of digression from the main body of my subject, on account of the proverb, that such is the power of faith, because it seizes that which first presents itself. For it was necessary, owing to the different methods of education, to speak of the differences of belief among men, some of whom are more, others less fortunate in their belief; and from this to proceed to show that what is termed good or bad fortune would appear to contribute even in the case of the most talented, to their appearing to be more fully endowed with reason and to give their assent on grounds of reason to the majority of human opinions. But enough on these points. 3.39. We must notice the remarks which Celsus next makes, when he says to us, that faith, having taken possession of our minds, makes us yield the assent which we give to the doctrine of Jesus; for of a truth it is faith which does produce such an assent. Observe, however, whether that faith does not of itself exhibit what is worthy of praise, seeing we entrust ourselves to the God who is over all, acknowledging our gratitude to Him who has led us to such a faith, and declaring that He could not have attempted or accomplished such a result without the divine assistance. And we have confidence also in the intentions of the writers of the Gospels, observing their piety and conscientiousness, manifested in their writings, which contain nothing that is spurious, or deceptive, or false, or cunning; for it is evident to us that souls unacquainted with those artifices which are taught by the cunning sophistry of the Greeks (which is characterized by great plausibility and acuteness), and by the kind of rhetoric in vogue in the courts of justice, would not have been able thus to invent occurrences which are fitted of themselves to conduct to faith, and to a life in keeping with faith. And I am of opinion that it was on this account that Jesus wished to employ such persons as teachers of His doctrines, viz., that there might be no ground for any suspicion of plausible sophistry, but that it might clearly appear to all who were capable of understanding, that the guileless purpose of the writers being, so to speak, marked with great simplicity, was deemed worthy of being accompanied by a diviner power, which accomplished far more than it seemed possible could be accomplished by a periphrasis of words, and a weaving of sentences, accompanied by all the distinctions of Grecian art. 3.41. But since he has charged us, I know not how often already, with regarding this Jesus, who was but a mortal body, as a God, and with supposing that we act piously in so doing, it is superfluous to say any more in answer to this, as a great deal has been said in the preceding pages. And yet let those who make this charge understand that He whom we regard and believe to have been from the beginning God, and the Son of God, is the very Logos, and the very Wisdom, and the very Truth; and with respect to His mortal body, and the human soul which it contained, we assert that not by their communion merely with Him, but by their unity and intermixture, they received the highest powers, and after participating in His divinity, were changed into God. And if any one should feel a difficulty at our saying this regarding His body, let him attend to what is said by the Greeks regarding matter, which, properly speaking, being without qualities, receives such as the Creator desires to invest it with, and which frequently divests itself of those which it formerly possessed, and assumes others of a different and higher kind. And if these opinions be correct, what is there wonderful in this, that the mortal quality of the body of Jesus, if the providence of God has so willed it, should have been changed into one that was ethereal and divine? 3.42. Celsus, then, does not speak as a good reasoner, when he compares the mortal flesh of Jesus to gold, and silver, and stone, asserting that the former is more liable to corruption than the latter. For, to speak correctly, that which is incorruptible is not more free from corruption than another thing which is incorruptible, nor that which is corruptible more liable to corruption than another corruptible thing. But, admitting that there are degrees of corruptibility, we can say in answer, that if it is possible for the matter which underlies all qualities to exchange some of them, how should it be impossible for the flesh of Jesus also to exchange qualities, and to become such as it was proper for a body to be which had its abode in the ether and the regions above it, and possessing no longer the infirmities belonging to the flesh, and those properties which Celsus terms impurities, and in so terming them, speaks unlike a philosopher? For that which is properly impure, is so because of its wickedness. Now the nature of body is not impure; for in so far as it is bodily nature, it does not possess vice, which is the generative principle of impurity. But, as he had a suspicion of the answer which we would return, he says with respect to the change of the body of Jesus, Well, after he has laid aside these qualities, he will be a God: (and if so), why not rather Æsculapius, and Dionysus, and Hercules? To which we reply, What great deed has Æsculapius, or Dionysus, or Hercules wrought? And what individuals will they be able to point out as having been improved in character, and made better by their words and lives, so that they may make good their claim to be gods? For let us peruse the many narratives regarding them, and see whether they were free from licentiousness or injustice, or folly, or cowardice. And if nothing of that kind be found in them, the argument of Celsus might have force, which places the forenamed individuals upon an equality with Jesus. But if it is certain that, although some things are reported of them as reputable, they are recorded, nevertheless, to have done innumerable things which are contrary to right reason, how could you any longer say, with any show of reason, that these men, on putting aside their mortal body, became gods rather than Jesus? 7.53. After these remarks of Celsus, which we have done our best to refute, he goes on to address us thus: Seeing you are so eager for some novelty, how much better it would have been if you had chosen as the object of your zealous homage some one of those who died a glorious death, and whose divinity might have received the support of some myth to perpetuate his memory! Why, if you were not satisfied with Hercules or Æsculapius, and other heroes of antiquity, you had Orpheus, who was confessedly a divinely inspired man, who died a violent death. But perhaps some others have taken him up before you. You may then take Anaxarchus, who, when cast into a mortar, and beaten most barbarously, showed a noble contempt for his suffering, and said, 'Beat, beat the shell of Anaxarchus, for himself you do not beat,'- a speech surely of a spirit truly divine. But others were before you in following his interpretation of the laws of nature. Might you not, then, take Epictetus, who, when his master was twisting his leg, said, smiling and. unmoved, 'You will break my leg;' and when it was broken, he added, 'Did I not tell you that you would break it?' What saying equal to these did your god utter under suffering? If you had said even of the Sibyl, whose authority some of you acknowledge, that she was a child of God, you would have said something more reasonable. But you have had the presumption to include in her writings many impious things, and set up as a god one who ended a most infamous life by a most miserable death. How much more suitable than he would have been Jonah in the whale's belly, or Daniel delivered from the wild beasts, or any of a still more portentous kind!

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
academics Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 111
alabanda Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128, 129
alabandus Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128, 129
alexander the great Xinyue (2022), Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, 140
apollo Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128
aristotle Brenk and Lanzillotta (2023), Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians, 171
assyrians Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 129
atargatis Wynne (2019), Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage, 173
augurs,augurate Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 129
augustus,as triumphator Xinyue (2022), Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, 140
bacchus,as deified hero Xinyue (2022), Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, 140
celsus deJauregui (2010), Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity, 234
chaldeans Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 129
character Brenk and Lanzillotta (2023), Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians, 171
citizenship Rupke (2016), Religious Deviance in the Roman World Superstition or Individuality?, 104
cosmos,compared to a house Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 110, 111
cotta Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 111
criminalization Rupke (2016), Religious Deviance in the Roman World Superstition or Individuality?, 104
deified heroes,canon or catalogue of Xinyue (2022), Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, 140
dionysus deJauregui (2010), Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity, 234
dioscuri Xinyue (2022), Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, 140
diuinatione) Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 129
divination Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128, 129
divitiacus Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 129
druids Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 129
egyptians Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128, 129
ennius Xinyue (2022), Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, 140
epicurus Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128
euhemerism deJauregui (2010), Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity, 234
god; gods Brenk and Lanzillotta (2023), Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians, 171
gods Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 110, 111
greece Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 129
haruspices Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 129
heavens,spheres Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 111
hercules Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 129; Xinyue (2022), Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, 140
hermeticism deJauregui (2010), Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity, 234
honor Brenk and Lanzillotta (2023), Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians, 171
ino Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128, 129
isis Brenk and Lanzillotta (2023), Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians, 171
juno Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128; Xinyue (2022), Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, 140
jupiter Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 111; Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128, 129
jupiter ammon Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128
justice Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 111
lanuvium Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128
leucothea Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128, 129
licinius crassus,m. Rupke (2016), Religious Deviance in the Roman World Superstition or Individuality?, 104
lucilius balbus,q Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128
magi Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128, 129
maximus Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128
milo Rupke (2016), Religious Deviance in the Roman World Superstition or Individuality?, 104
minerva Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128
myth Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 111
neptune Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128
osiris Brenk and Lanzillotta (2023), Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians, 171
palaemon Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128, 129
parthia Xinyue (2022), Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, 140
physics Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 111
pompey Rupke (2016), Religious Deviance in the Roman World Superstition or Individuality?, 104
prophecy Xinyue (2022), Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, 140
providence Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 110, 111
ptolemy i soter Xinyue (2022), Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, 140
ratio Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 129
resurrection deJauregui (2010), Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity, 234
rome Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 110
romulus Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 129; Xinyue (2022), Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, 140
stoicism Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128, 129
superstition,syrian religion' Wynne (2019), Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage, 173
superstition Brenk and Lanzillotta (2023), Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians, 171
tenedos Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128, 129
tennes Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128, 129
theology Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 110, 111
tyndareus Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 129
vegetarianism Brenk and Lanzillotta (2023), Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians, 171
velleius,c Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128
virtues Frede and Laks (2001), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath, 110, 111
vulcan Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128
worship Brenk and Lanzillotta (2023), Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians, 171
xenophanes Rosa and Santangelo (2020), Cicero and Roman Religion: Eight Studies, 128
zeus deJauregui (2010), Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity, 234