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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9253
Philo Of Alexandria, That Every Good Person Is Free, 74-75


nanAnd in the land of the barbarians, in which the same men are authorities both as to words and actions, there are very numerous companies of virtuous and honourable men celebrated. Among the Persians there is the body of the Magi, who, investigating the works of nature for the purpose of becoming acquainted with the truth, do at their leisure become initiated themselves and initiate others in the divine virtues by very clear explanations. And among the Indians there is the class of the gymnosophists, who, in addition to natural philosophy, take great pains in the study of moral science likewise, and thus make their whole existence a sort of lesson in virtue. XII.


nanMoreover Palestine and Syria too are not barren of exemplary wisdom and virtue, which countries no slight portion of that most populous nation of the Jews inhabits. There is a portion of those people called Essenes, in number something more than four thousand in my opinion, who derive their name from their piety, though not according to any accurate form of the Grecian dialect, because they are above all men devoted to the service of God, not sacrificing living animals, but studying rather to preserve their own minds in a state of holiness and purity.


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1. Hebrew Bible, Deuteronomy, 12.31 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

12.31. לֹא־תַעֲשֶׂה כֵן לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כִּי כָּל־תּוֹעֲבַת יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר שָׂנֵא עָשׂוּ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶם כִּי גַם אֶת־בְּנֵיהֶם וְאֶת־בְּנֹתֵיהֶם יִשְׂרְפוּ בָאֵשׁ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶם׃ 12.31. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God; for every abomination to the LORD, which He hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters do they burn in the fire to their gods."
2. Herodotus, Histories, 2.14 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

2.14. And this prediction of the Egyptians about the Greeks was true enough. But now let me show the prospect for the Egyptians themselves: if, as I have already said, the country below Memphis (for it is this which rises) should increase in height in the same proportion as formerly, will not the Egyptians who inhabit it go hungry, as there is no rain in their country and the river will be unable to inundate their fields? ,At present, of course, there are no people, either in the rest of Egypt or in the whole world, who live from the soil with so little labor; they do not have to break the land up with the plough, or hoe, or do any other work that other men do to get a crop; the river rises of itself, waters the fields, and then sinks back again; then each man sows his field and sends swine into it to tread down the seed, and waits for the harvest; then he has the swine thresh his grain, and so garners it.
3. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Abraham, 184, 271, 3-4, 181 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

181. And also that barbarous nations have for many ages practised the sacrifice of their children as if it were a holy work and one looked upon with favour by God, whose wickedness is mentioned by the holy Moses. For he, blaming them for this pollution, says, that, "They burn their sons and their daughters to their Gods.
4. Philo of Alexandria, On The Cherubim, 91-97, 90 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

90. Since therefore it is naturally the case that things, which are changed, are changed in consequence of fatigue, and since God is subject to no variation and to no change, he must also by nature be free from fatigue, and that, which has no participation in weakness, even though it moves everything, cannot possibly cease to enjoy rest for ever. So that rest is the appropriate attribute of God alone. XXVII. And it has been shown that it is suitable to his character to keep festival; sabbaths therefore and festivals belong to the great Cause of all things alone, and absolutely to no man whatever. 90. Will you then, without shame call upon God, the father and sovereign of the world, to give his testimony in favour of those things, to witness which you will not venture even to bring your friend? And if you do so, will you do it knowing that he sees everything and hears everything, or not knowing this fact?
5. Philo of Alexandria, On The Creation of The World, 133, 172, 128 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

128. These things, and more still are said in a philosophical spirit about the number seven, on account of which it has received the highest honours, in the highest nature. And it is honoured by those of the highest reputation among both Greeks and barbarians, who devote themselves to mathematical sciences. It was also greatly honoured by Moses, a man much attached to excellence of all sorts, who described its beauty on the most holy pillars of the law, and wrote it in the hearts of all those who were subject to him, commanding them at the end of each period of six days to keep the seventh holy; abstaining from all other works which are done in the seeking after and providing the means of life, devoting that day to the single object of philosophizing with a view to the improvement of their morals, and the examination of their consciences: for conscience being seated in the soul as a judge, is not afraid to reprove men, sometimes employing pretty vehement threats; at other times by milder admonitions, using threats in regard to matters where men appear to be disobedient, of deliberate purpose, and admonitions when their offences seem involuntary, through want of foresight, in order to prevent their hereafter offending in a similar manner. XLIV.
6. Philo of Alexandria, On Dreams, 2.56 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

2.56. And yet, for sound sleep, the mere ground was sufficient (since, even to the present day, the accounts tell us that the gymnosophists, among the Indians, sleep on the ground in accordance with their ancient customs); and if it were not, at all events a couch made of carefully chosen stones or plain pieces of wood, would be a sufficient bed;
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.312-1.313, 3.163 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.312. And let us cling to the custom of addressing our supplications to him, and let us not, after we have subdued our enemies, imitate their impiety in those matters of conduct in which they fancy that they are acting piously, burning their sons and their daughters to their gods, not, indeed, that it is the custom of all the barbarians to burn their children. 1.313. For they are not become so perfectly savage in their natures as to endure in time of peace to treat their nearest and dearest relatives as they would scarcely treat their irreconcilable enemies in time of war. But that they do in reality inflame and corrupt the souls of the children of whom they are the parents from the very moment that they are out of their swaddling clothes; not imprinting on their minds, while they are still tender, any true opinions respecting the one only and truly living God. Let us not then be overcome by, and fall down before, and yield to their good fortune as if they had prevailed by reason of their piety. 3.163. But perhaps it is not wonderful if men, barbarians by nature, utterly ignorant of all gentleness, and under the command of despotic authority, which compelled them to give an account of the yearly revenue, should, in order to enforce the payment of the taxes, extend their severities, not merely to properties but also to the persons, and even to the lives, of those from whom they thought they could exact a vicarious payment.
8. Philo of Alexandria, On The Contemplative Life, 10, 2, 21, 3-6, 63-64, 7-9, 1 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1. Having mentioned the Essenes, who in all respects selected for their admiration and for their especial adoption the practical course of life, and who excel in all, or what perhaps may be a less unpopular and invidious thing to say, in most of its parts, I will now proceed, in the regular order of my subject, to speak of those who have embraced the speculative life, and I will say what appears to me to be desirable to be said on the subject, not drawing any fictitious statements from my own head for the sake of improving the appearance of that side of the question which nearly all poets and essayists are much accustomed to do in the scarcity of good actions to extol, but with the greatest simplicity adhering strictly to the truth itself, to which I know well that even the most eloquent men do not keep close in their speeches. Nevertheless we must make the endeavour and labour to attain to this virtue; for it is not right that the greatness of the virtue of the men should be a cause of silence to those who do not think it right that anything which is creditable should be suppressed in silence;
9. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 2.12, 2.18-2.20, 2.27 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

2.12. But that he himself is the most admirable of all the lawgivers who have ever lived in any country either among the Greeks or among the barbarians, and that his are the most admirable of all laws, and truly divine, omitting no one particular which they ought to comprehend, there is the clearest proof possible in this fact, the laws of other lawgivers 2.18. And a proof of this is to be found in the fact that of all the cities in Greece and in the territory of the barbarians, if one may so say, speaking generally, there is not one single city which pays any respect to the laws of another state. In fact, a city scarcely adheres to its own laws with any constancy for ever, but continually modifies them, and adapts them to the changes of times and circumstances. 2.19. The Athenians rejected the customs and laws of the Lacedaemonians, and so did the Lacedaemonians repudiate the laws of the Athenians. Nor, again, in the countries of the barbarians do the Egyptians keep the laws of the Scythians, nor do the Scythians keep the laws of the Egyptians; nor, in short, do those who live in Asia attend to the laws which obtain in Europe, nor do the inhabitants of Europe respect the laws of the Asiatic nations. And, in short, it is very nearly an universal rule, from the rising of the sun to its extreme west, that every country, and nation, and city, is alienated from the laws and customs of foreign nations and states, and that they think that they are adding to the estimation in which they hold their own laws by despising those in use among other nations. 2.20. But this is not the case with our laws which Moses has given to us; for they lead after them and influence all nations, barbarians, and Greeks, the inhabitants of continents and islands, the eastern nations and the western, Europe and Asia; in short, the whole habitable world from one extremity to the other. 2.27. but when, from the daily and uninterrupted respect shown to them by those to whom they had been given, and from their ceaseless observance of their ordices, other nations also obtained an understanding of them, their reputation spread over all lands; for what was really good, even though it may through envy be overshadowed for a short time, still in time shines again through the intrinsic excellence of its nature. Some persons, thinking it a scandalous thing that these laws should only be known among one half portion of the human race, namely, among the barbarians, and that the Greek nation should be wholly and entirely ignorant of them, turned their attention to their translation.
10. Philo of Alexandria, On The Embassy To Gaius, 215, 116 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

116. for all others, all men, all women, all cities, all nations, every country and region of the earth, I had almost said the whole of the inhabited world, although groaning over what was taking place, did nevertheless flatter him, dignifying him above measure, and helping to increase his pride and arrogance; and some of them even introduced the barbaric custom into Italy of falling down in adoration before him, adulterating their native feelings of Roman liberty.
11. Philo of Alexandria, Who Is The Heir, 97 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

97. for the good which was previously bestowed upon him was the departure from the Chaldaean philosophy, which was occupied about the things of the air, which taught me to suppose that the world was not the work of God, but was God himself; and that good and evil is caused in the case of all existing things, by the motions and fixed periodical revolutions of the stars, and that on these motions the origin of all good and evil depends; and the equable (homaleµ) and regular motion of these bodies in heaven, persuaded those simple men to look upon these things as omens, for the name of the Chaldaeans being interpreted is synonymous with equability (homaloteµs).
12. Philo of Alexandria, That Every Good Person Is Free, 75-97, 73 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

73. And all Greece and all the land of the barbarians is a witness of this; for in the one country flourished those who are truly called "the seven wise men," though others had flourished before them, and have also in all probability lived since their time. But their memory, though they are now very ancient, has nevertheless not been effaced by the lapse of ages, while of others who are more modern, the names have been lost through the neglect of their contemporaries.
13. Strabo, Geography, 15.1.59-15.1.66, 15.1.68, 16.2.39 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

15.1.59. Megasthenes divides the philosophers again into two kinds, the Brachmanes and the Garmanes. The Brachmanes are held in greater repute, for they agree more exactly in their opinions. Even from the time of their conception in the womb they are under the care and guardianship of learned men, who go to the mother, and seem to perform some incantation for the happiness and welfare of the mother and the unborn child, but in reality they suggest prudent advice, and the mothers who listen to them most willingly are thought to be the most fortunate in their offspring. After the birth of the children, there is a succession of persons who have the care of them, and as they advance in years, masters more able and accomplished succeed.The philosophers live in a grove in front of the city within a moderate-sized enclosure. Their diet is frugal, and they lie upon straw pallets and on skins. They abstain from animal food, and from sexual intercourse with women; their time is occupied in grave discourse, and they communicate with those who are inclined to listen to them; but the hearer is not permitted to speak or cough, or even to spit on the ground; otherwise, he is expelled that very day from their society, on the ground of having no control over himself. After living thirty-seven years in this manner, each individual retires to his own possessions, and lives with less restraint, wearing robes of fine linen, and rings of gold, but without profuseness, upon the hands and in the ears. They eat the flesh of animals, of those particularly which do not assist man in his labour, and abstain from hot and seasoned food. They have as many wives as they please with a view to numerous offspring, for from many wives greater advantages are derived.As they have no slaves, they require more the services, which are at hand, of their children.The Brachmanes do not communicate their philosophy to their wives, for fear they should divulge to the profane, if they became depraved, anything which ought to be concealed or lest they should abandon their husbands in case they became good (philosophers) themselves. For no one who despises alike pleasure and pain, life and death, is willing to be subject to the authority of another; and such is the character of a virtuous man and a virtuous woman.They discourse much on death, for it is their opinion that the present life is the state of one conceived in the womb, and that death to philosophers is birth to a real and a happy life. They therefore discipline themselves much to prepare for death, and maintain that nothing which happens to man is bad or good, for otherwise the same things would not be the occasion of sorrow to some and of joy to others, opinions being merely dreams, nor that the same persons could be affected with sorrow and joy by the same things, on different occasions.With regard to opinions on physical phenomena, they display, says Megasthenes, great simplicity, their actions being better than their reasoning, for their belief is chiefly founded on fables. On many subjects their sentiments are the same as those of the Greeks. According to the Brachmanes, the world was created, and is liable to corruption; it is of a spheroidal figure; the god who made and governs it pervades the whole of it; the principles of all things are different, but the principle of the world's formation was water; in addition to the four elements there is a fifth nature, of which the heavens and the stars are composed; the earth is situated in the centre of the universe. Many other peculiar things they say of the principle of generation and of the soul. They invent fables also, after the manner of Plato, on the immortality of the soul, and on the punishments in Hades, and other things of this kind. This is the account which Megasthenes gives of the Brachmanes. 15.1.60. of the Garmanes, the most honourable, he says, are the Hylobii, who live in the forests, and subsist on leaves and wild fruits: they are clothed with garments made of the bark of trees, and abstain from commerce with women and from wine. The kings hold communication with them by messengers, concerning the causes of things, and through them worship and supplicate the Divinity.Second in honour to the Hylobii, are the physicians, for they apply philosophy to the study of the nature of man. They are of frugal habits, but do not live in the fields, and subsist upon rice and meal, which every one gives when asked, and receive them hospitably. They are able to cause persons to have a numerous offspring, and to have either male or female children, by means of charms. They cure diseases by diet, rather than by medicinal remedies. Among the latter, the most in repute are unguents and cataplasms. All others they suppose partake greatly of a noxious nature.Both this and the other class of persons practise fortitude, as well in supporting active toil as in enduring suffering, so that they will continue a whole day in the same posture, without motion.There are enchanters and diviners, versed in the rites and customs relative to the dead, who go about villages and towns begging. There are others who are more civilized and better informed than these, who inculcate the vulgar opinions concerning Hades, which, according to their ideas, tend to piety and sanctity. Women study philosophy with some of them, but abstain from sexual intercourse. 15.1.61. Aristobulus says, that he saw at Taxila two sophists (wise men), both Brachmanes, the elder had his head shaved, but the younger wore his hair; both were attended by disciples. When not otherwise engaged, they spent their time in the market-place. They are honoured as public counsellors, and have the liberty of taking away, without payment, whatever article they like which is exposed for sale; when any one accosts them, he pours over them oil of jessamine, in such profusion that it runs down from their eyes. of honey and sesamum, which is exposed for sale in large quantity, they take enough to make cakes, and are fed without expense.They came up to Alexander's table and took their meal standing, and they gave an example of their fortitude by retiring to a neighbouring spot, where the elder, falling on the ground supine, endured the sun and the rain, which had now set in, it being the commencement of spring. The other stood on one leg, with a piece of wood three cubits in length raised in both hands; when one leg was fatigued he changed the support to the other, and thus continued the whole day. The younger appeared to possess much more self-command; for, after following the king a short distance, he soon returned to his home. The king sent after him, but he bade the king to come to him, if he wanted anything of him. The other accompanied the king to the last: during his stay he changed his dress, and altered his mode of life, and when reproached for his conduct, answered, that he had completed the forty years of discipline which he had promised to observe: Alexander made presents to his children. 15.1.62. Aristobulus relates also some strange and unusual customs of the people of Taxila. Those, who through poverty are unable to marry their daughters, expose them for sale in the market-place, in the flower of their age, to the sound of shell trumpets and drums, with which the war-note is given. A crowd is thus assembled. First her back, as far as the shoulders, is uncovered, then the parts in front, for the examination of any man who comes for this purpose. If she pleases him, he marries her on such conditions as may be determined upon.The dead are thrown out to be devoured by vultures. To have many wives is a custom common to these and to other nations. He says, that he had heard, from some persons, of wives burning themselves voluntarily with their deceased husbands; and that those women who refused to submit to this custom were disgraced. The same things have been told by other writers. 15.1.63. Onesicritus says, that he himself was sent to converse with these wise men. For Alexander heard that they went about naked, practised constancy and fortitude, and were held in the highest honour; that, when invited, they did not go to other persons, but commanded others to come to them, if they wished to participate in their exercises or their conversation. Such being their character, Alexander did not consider it to be consistent with propriety to go to them, nor to compel them to do anything contrary to their inclination or against the custom of their country; he therefore despatched Onesicritus to them.Onesicritus found, at the distance of 20 stadia from the city, fifteen men standing in different postures, sitting or lying down naked, who continued in these positions until the evening, and then returned to the city. The most difficult thing to endure was the heat of the sun, which was so powerful, that no one else could endure without pain to walk on the ground at mid-day with bare feet. 15.1.64. He conversed with Calanus, one of these sophists, who accompanied the king to Persia, and died after the custom of his country, being placed on a pile of [burning] wood. When Onesicritus came, he was lying upon stones. Onesicritus approached, accosted him, and told him that he had been sent by the king, who had heard the fame of his wisdom, and that he was to give an account of his interview, if there were no objection, he was ready to listen to his discourse. When Calanus saw his mantle, head-covering, and shoes, he laughed, and said, 'Formerly, there was abundance everywhere of corn and barley, as there is now of dust; fountains then flowed with water, milk, honey, wine, and oil, but mankind by repletion and luxury became proud and insolent. Jupiter, indigt at this state of things, destroyed all, and appointed for man a life of toil. On the reappearance of temperance and other virtues, there was again an abundance of good things. But at present the condition of mankind approaches satiety and insolence, and there is danger lest the things which now exist should disappear.'When he had finished, he proposed to Onesicritus, if he wished to hear his discourse, to strip off his clothes, to lie down naked by him on the same stones, and in that manner to listen to him; while he was hesitating what to do, Mandanis, who was the oldest and wisest of the sophists, reproached Calanus for his insolence, although he censured such insolence himself. Mandanis called Onesicritus to him, and said, I commend the king, because, although he governs so large an empire, he is yet desirous of acquiring wisdom, for he is the only philosopher in arms that I ever saw; it would be of the greatest advantage, if those were philosophers who have the power of persuading the willing and of compelling the unwilling to learn temperance; but I am entitled to indulgence, if, when conversing by means of three interpreters, who, except the language, know no more than the vulgar, I am not able to demonstrate the utility of philosophy. To attempt it is to expect water to flow pure through mud. 15.1.65. 'The tendency of his discourse,' he said, 'was this, that the best philosophy was that which liberated the mind from pleasure and grief; that grief differed from labour, in that the former was inimical, the latter friendly to men; for that men exercised their bodies with labour in order to strengthen the mental powers, by which means they would be able to put an end to dissensions, and give good counsel to all, to the public and to individuals; that he certainly should at present advise Taxiles to receive Alexander as a friend; for if he entertained a person better than himself, he might be improved; but if a worse person, he might dispose him to good.'After this Mandanis inquired, whether such doctrines were taught among the Greeks. Onesicritus answered, that Pythagoras taught a similar doctrine, and enjoined his disciples to abstain from whatever has life; that Socrates and Diogenes, whose discourses he had heard, held the same opinions. Mandanis replied, 'that in other respects he thought them wise, but that in one thing they were mistaken, namely, in preferring custom to nature, for otherwise they would not be ashamed of going naked, like himself, and of subsisting on frugal fare; for the best house was that which required least repairs.' He says also that they employ themselves much on natural subjects, as prognostics, rain, drought, and diseases. When they repair to the city, they disperse themselves in the market-places; if they meet any one carrying figs or bunches of grapes, they take what is offered gratuitously; if it is oil, it is poured over them, and they are anointed with it. Every wealthy house, even to the women's apartment, is open to them; when they enter it, they engage in conversation, and partake of the repast. Disease of the body they regard as most disgraceful, and he who apprehends it, after preparing a pyre, destroys himself by fire; he (previously) anoints himself, and sitting down upon it orders it to be lighted, remaining motionless while he is burning. 15.1.66. Nearchus gives the following account of the Sophists. The Brachmanes engage in public affairs, and attend the kings as counsellors; the rest are occupied in the study of nature. Calanus belonged to the latter class. Women study philosophy with them, and all lead an austere life.of the customs of the other Indians, he says, that their laws, whether relating to the community or to individuals, are not committed to writing, and differ altogether from those of other people. For example, it is the practice among some tribes, to propose virgins as prizes to the conquerors in a trial of skill in boxing; wherefore they marry without portions; among other tribes the ground is cultivated by families and in common; when the produce is collected, each takes a load sufficient for his subsistence during the year; the remainder is burnt, in order to have a reason for renewing their labour, and not remaining inactive. Their weapons consist of a bow and arrows, which are three cubits in length, or a javelin, and a shield, and a sword three cubits long. Instead of bridles, they use muzzles, which differ little from a halter, and the lips are perforated with spikes. 15.1.68. As an instance of the disagreement among historians, we may adduce their (different) accounts of Calanus. They all agree that he accompanied Alexander, and underwent a voluntary death by fire in his presence, but they differ as to the manner and cause of his death. Some give the following account. Calanus accompanied the king, as the rehearser of his praises, beyond the boundaries of India, contrary to the common Indian custom; for the philosophers attend upon their kings, and act as instructors in the worship of the gods, in the same manner as the Magi attend the Persian kings. When he fell sick at Pasargadae, being then attacked with disease for the first time in his life, he put himself to death at the age of seventy-three years, regardless of the entreaties of the king. A pyre was raised, and a golden couch placed upon it. He laid down upon it, and covering himself up, was burnt to death.Others say, that a chamber was constructed of wood, which was filled with the leaves of trees, and a pyre being raised upon the roof, he was shut up in it, according to his directions, after the procession, with which he had been accompanied, had arrived at the spot. He threw himself upon the pyre, and was consumed like a log of wood, together with the chamber.Megasthenes says, that self-destruction is not a dogma of the philosophers, and that those who commit this act are accounted fool-hardy; that some, who are by nature harsh, inflict wounds upon their bodies, or cast themselves down precipices; those who are impatient of pain drown themselves; those who can endure pain strangle themselves; and those of ardent tempers throw themselves into the fire. of this last description was Calanus, who had no control over himself, and was a slave to the table of Alexander. Calanus is censured, while Mandanis is applauded. When Alexander's messengers invited the latter to come to the son of Jove, promising a reward if he would comply, and threatening punishment if he refused, he answered, 'Alexander was not the son of Jove, for he did not govern even the smallest portion of the earth; nor did he himself desire a gift of one who was satisfied with nothing. Neither did he fear his threats, for as long as he lived India would supply him with food enough; and when he died, he should be delivered from the flesh wasted by old age, and be translated to a better and purer state of existence.' Alexander commended and pardoned him. 16.2.39. What truth there may be in these things I cannot say; they have at least been regarded and believed as true by mankind. Hence prophets received so much honour as to be thought worthy even of thrones, because they were supposed to communicate ordices and precepts from the gods, both during their lifetime and after their death; as for example Teiresias, to whom alone Proserpine gave wisdom and understanding after death: the others flit about as shadows.Such were Amphiaraus, Trophonius, Orpheus, and Musaeus: in former times there was Zamolxis, a Pythagorean, who was accounted a god among the Getae; and in our time, Decaeneus, the diviner of Byrebistas. Among the Bosporani, there was Achaicarus; among the Indians, were the Gymnosophists; among the Persians, the Magi and Necyomanteis, and besides these the Lecanomanteis and Hydromanteis; among the Assyrians, were the Chaldaeans; and among the Romans, the Tyrrhenian diviners of dreams.Such was Moses and his successors; their beginning was good, but they degenerated.
14. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 4.12, 18.20 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

4.12. I well remember by what entreaties both you and the Midianites so joyfully brought me hither, and on that account I took this journey. It was my prayer, that I might not put any affront upon you, as to what you desired of me; 4.12. Such a sedition overtook them, as we have not the like example either among the Greeks or the Barbarians, by which they were in danger of being all destroyed, but were notwithstanding saved by Moses, who would not remember that he had been almost stoned to death by them.
15. Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 1.3, 4.45, 5.17, 7.351-7.357 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.3. I have proposed to myself, for the sake of such as live under the government of the Romans, to translate those books into the Greek tongue, which I formerly composed in the language of our country, and sent to the Upper Barbarians; I, Joseph, the son of Matthias, by birth a Hebrew, a priest also, and one who at first fought against the Romans myself, and was forced to be present at what was done afterward [am the author of this work]. 1.3. 12. I have comprehended all these things in seven books, and have left no occasion for complaint or accusation to such as have been acquainted with this war; and I have written it down for the sake of those that love truth, but not for those that please themselves [with fictitious relations]. And I will begin my account of these things with what I call my First Chapter. 1.3. When Antigonus heard of this, he sent some of his party with orders to hinder, and lay ambushes for these collectors of corn. This command was obeyed, and a great multitude of armed men were gathered together about Jericho, and lay upon the mountains, to watch those that brought the provisions. 4.45. But this incautiousness in war, and this madness of zeal, is not a Roman maxim. While we perform all that we attempt by skill and good order, that procedure is the part of barbarians, and is what the Jews chiefly support themselves by. 4.45. and on the day following he came to Jericho; on which day Trajan, one of his commanders, joined him with the forces he brought out of Perea, all the places beyond Jordan being subdued already. 5.17. insomuch that many persons who came thither with great zeal from the ends of the earth, to offer sacrifices at this celebrated place, which was esteemed holy by all mankind, fell down before their own sacrifices themselves, and sprinkled that altar which was venerable among all men, both Greeks and Barbarians, with their own blood; 5.17. The third tower was Mariamne, for that was his queen’s name; it was solid as high as twenty cubits; its breadth and its length were twenty cubits, and were equal to each other; 7.351. We, therefore, who have been brought up in a discipline of our own, ought to become an example to others of our readiness to die; yet if we dostand in need of foreigners to support us in this matter, let us regard those Indians who profess the exercise of philosophy; 7.352. for these good men do but unwillingly undergo the time of life, and look upon it as a necessary servitude 7.353. and make haste to let their souls loose from their bodies; nay, when no misfortune presses them to it, nor drives them upon it, these have such a desire of a life of immortality, that they tell other men beforehand that they are about to depart; and nobody hinders them, but everyone thinks them happy men, and gives them letters to be carried to their familiar friends [that are dead]; 7.354. o firmly and certainly do they believe that souls converse with one another [in the other world]. 7.355. So when these men have heard all such commands that were to be given them, they deliver their body to the fire; and, in order to their getting their soul a separation from the body in the greatest purity, they die in the midst of hymns of commendations made to them; 7.356. for their dearest friends conduct them to their death more readily than do any of the rest of mankind conduct their fellow-citizens when they are going a very long journey, who at the same time weep on their own account, but look upon the others as happy persons, as so soon to be made partakers of the immortal order of beings. 7.357. Are not we, therefore, ashamed to have lower notions than the Indians? and by our own cowardice to lay a base reproach upon the laws of our country, which are so much desired and imitated by all mankind?
16. Josephus Flavius, Against Apion, 1.7, 1.179, 2.167-2.168, 2.282 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.7. for they will find, that almost all which concerns the Greeks happened not long ago; nay, one may say, is of yesterday only. I speak of the building of their cities, the invention of their arts, and the description of their laws; and as for their care about the writing down of their histories, it is very near the last thing they set about. 1.7. Now, the very same thing will I endeavor to do; for I will bring the Egyptians and the Phoenicians as my principal witnesses, because nobody can complain of their testimony as false on account that they are known to have borne the greatest ill will towards us,—I mean this as to the Egyptians, in general all of them, while of the Phoenicians it is known the Tyrians have been most of all in the same ill disposition towards us: 1.179. This man, then [answered Aristotle], was by birth a Jew, and came from Celesyria: these Jews are derived from the Indian philosophers; they are named by the Indians Calami, and by the Syrians Judaei, and took their name from the country they inhabit, which is called Judea; but for the name of their city it is a very awkward one, for they call it Jerusalem. 2.167. Moreover, he represented God as unbegotten, and immutable, through all eternity, superior to all mortal conceptions in pulchritude; and, though known to us by his power, yet unknown to us as to his essence. 2.168. I do not now explain how these notions of God are the sentiments of the wisest among the Grecians, and how they were taught them upon the principles that he afforded them. However, they testify, with great assurance, that these notions are just, and agreeable to the nature of God, and to his majesty; for Pythagoras, and Anaxagoras, and Plato, and the Stoic philosophers that succeeded them, and almost all the rest, are of the same sentiments, and had the same notions of the nature of God; 2.282. Nay, farther, the multitude of mankind itself have had a great inclination of a long time to follow our religious observances; for there is not any city of the Grecians, nor any of the barbarians, nor any nation whatsoever, whither our custom of resting on the seventh day hath not come, and by which our fasts and lighting up lamps, and many of our prohibitions as to our food, are not observed;
17. New Testament, Romans, 1.14 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.14. I am debtor both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to the wise and to the foolish.
18. Plutarch, Alexander The Great, 69, 65 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

19. Tacitus, Histories, 5.2.1 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

20. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, 1.15.71 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

21. Lucian, The Runaways, 7 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

7. Zeus. Ah, to be sure: the Gymnosophists. I have heard a great deal of them. Among other things, they ascend gigantic pyres, and sit quietly burning to death without moving a muscle. However, that is no such great matter: I saw it done at Olympia only the other day. You would be there, no doubt,–when that old man burnt himself?Phi. No, father: I was afraid to go near Olympia, on account of those hateful men I was telling you of; I saw that numbers of them were going there, to make their barking clamour heard in the temple, and to abuse all comers.
22. Philostratus The Athenian, Life of Apollonius, 4-6, 3 (2nd cent. CE

23. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 1.2, 1.5, 1.7, 1.9 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

24. Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 6.1 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

25. Porphyry, On Abstinence, 4.17 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

4.17. 17.For the polity of the Indians being distributed into many parts, there is one tribe among them of men divinely wise, whom the Greeks are accustomed to call Gymnosophists 18. But of these there are two sects, over one of which the Bramins preside, but over the other the Samanaeans. The race of the Bramins, however, receive divine wisdom of this kind by succession, in the same manner as the priesthood. But the Samanaeans are elected, and consist of those who wish to possess divine knowledge. And the particulars respecting them are the following, as the Babylonian Bardesanes 19 narrates, who lived in the times of our fathers, and was familiar with those Indians who, together with Damadamis, were sent to Caesar. All the Bramins originate from one stock; for all of them are derived from one father and one mother. But the Samanaeans are not the offspring of one family, being, as we have said, collected from every nation of Indians. A Bramin, however, is not a subject of any government, nor does he contribute any thing together with others to government. And with respect to those that are philosophers, among these some dwell on mountains, and others about the river Ganges. And those that live on mountains feed on autumnal fruits, and on cows' milk coagulated with herbs. But those that reside near the Ganges, live also on autumnal fruits, which are produced in abundance about that river. The land likewise nearly always bears new fruit, together with much rice, which grows spontaneously, and which they use when there is a deficiency of autumnal fruits. But to taste of any other nutriment, or, in short, to touch animal food, is considered by them as equivalent to extreme impurity and impiety. And this is one of their dogmas. They also worship divinity with piety and purity. They spend the day, and the greater part of the night, in hymns and prayers to the Gods; each of them having a cottage to himself, and living, as much as possible, alone. For the Bramins cannot endure to remain with others, nor to speak much; but when this happens to take place, they afterwards withdraw themselves, and do not speak for many days. They likewise frequently fast. But the Samanaeans are, as we have said, elected. When, however, any one is desirous of being enrolled in their order, he proceeds to the rulers of the city; but abandons the city or village that he inhabited, and the wealth and all the other property |130 that he possessed. Having likewise the superfluities of his body cut off, he receives a garment, and departs to the Samanaeans, but does not return either to his wife or children, if he happens to have any, nor does he pay any attention to them, or think that they at all pertain to him. And, with respect to his children indeed, the king provides what is necessary for them, and the relatives provide for the wife. And such is the life of the Samanaeans. But they live out of the city, and spend the whole day in conversation pertaining to divinity. They have also houses and temples, built by the king, in which they are stewards, who receive a certain emolument from the king, for the purpose of supplying those that dwell in them with nutriment. But their food consists of rice, bread, autumnal fruits, and pot-herbs. And when they enter into their house, the sound of a bell being the signal of their entrance, those that are not Samanaeans depart from it, and the Samanaeans begin immediately to pray. But having prayed, again, on the bell sounding as a signal, the servants give to each Samanaean a platter, (for two of them do not eat out of the same dish,) and feed them with rice. And to him who is in want of a variety of food, a pot-herb is added, or some autumnal fruit. But having eaten as much as is requisite, without any delay they proceed to their accustomed employments. All of them likewise are unmarried, and have no possessions: and so much are both these and the Bramins venerated by the other Indians, that the king also visits them, and requests them to pray to and supplicate the Gods, when any calamity befalls the country, or to advise him how to act. SPAN


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
abraham, criticism of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
abraham, defense of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
alexandria, conflicts in Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 199
alexandria, platonism and stoicism in, ancient/barbarian wisdom, development of interest in Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
anaxagoras Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
ancient/barbarian wisdom, development of interest in Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
animals Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
anthropogeography Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 95
apion Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
apollonius Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 167
aristotle Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 167
asceticism Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
asia/asians Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36
assyrians Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
athens/athenians Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36
authority, scripture Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
babylonians Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
balaam, barbarians, jews as Feldman, Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered (2006) 92
barbarians/barbarity, brutal and cruel behavior ascribed to Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 38
barbarians/barbarity, jews as Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36
barbarians/barbarity, josephus on Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 38
barbarians/barbarity, philo on Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36, 38
barbarians/barbarity, praise accorded to Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36, 38
barbarians Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 95; Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
brahmins Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
buddhism, sarmanae Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
buddhism Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
burchard, c. Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
calanus Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
celts Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
chaeremon Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
chaldeans Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
child sacrifice, in biblical israel Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
child sacrifice Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
clearchus of soli Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
clement of alexandria Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 167
clineas Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
criticism of abraham Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
daniel, book of Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 199
diaspora Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 95
divine, torah/law Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
druids Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
egyptians Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36; Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
enoch Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
essenes Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
ethnography Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 95
europe/europeans Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36
exemplars Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
gaius caligula Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 38
gnostic, terminology Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 199
greece/hellas Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36
greeks/hellenes, shared characteristics with barbarians Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36
greeks Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
gymnosophists Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319; Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
hebrews Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 199
herodotus Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
india, and gymnosophists Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
india Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
indians Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
interest in Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
interpretation Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
italy Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 38
jews/judeans/ioudaioi, as compared with greeks and barbarians Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36, 38
jews Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
josephus Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 38
judea Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 95
kahn, paul Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 265
law, ensouled law Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
law, mosaic (law of moses) Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
law, natural Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
law, pre-sinaitic Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
law, revealed Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
law, universal Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
law, unwritten Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
magi Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
mendels, d. Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
middle platonism Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
moses Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
nile Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
numenius, ancient/barbarian wisdom, development of interest in Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
numenius, on the academics dissension from plato Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
on the academics dissension from plato (numenius) Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
paideia/greek education Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 38
palestine Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 95
peripatetics Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
persia, magi and Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
persia/persians/iran Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36, 38
persians Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36, 38
philo of alexandria, ancient/barbarian wisdom, development of interest in Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
philo of alexandria, and the philosophical lifestyle Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
philo of alexandria, law of moses Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
philo of alexandria Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400; Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
philos essenes Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
physics Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
pigs Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
porphyry Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
pythagoras and pythagoreanism Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
pythagoreans Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
qumran, cemetery site at Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
revelation Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
rome, romans Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 95
rome/romans, and josephus Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 38
sacrifice of isaac, ethical interpretation of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
sacrifice of isaac Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
sage Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
sceptics Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
scythians Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36
self-immolation Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
seven sages Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 400
sparta/spartans Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36
suttee Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
syria/syrians Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 36
tatian and celsus, ancient/barbarian wisdom, development of interest in Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
tatian and celsus Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
topoi, ethnographic Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 95
vespasian Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 95
vienne and lyons, on septimus severus Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 199
virtue' Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
waszink, j. h. Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 52
wisdom Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95
writing, sacred Najman, The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity (2010) 95