446 POLITICAL SCIENCE. which partook of the nature of mysteries, were suspected. The energetic action which the Roman senate took in relation to the Bacchanalia, on their appearance at and around Rome in A.U. 568 (B.C. 186), was dictated and justified by the immo- ralities of night meetings where both sexes were present, but it was of a piece with the whole system. Here, again, the Athenians were more careless than the Romans, as the re- peated mention of foreign rites, of secret orgies in honor of foreign gods not publicly recognized, testify. In other parts of Greece less visited by strangers, there may have been more strictness in keeping out foreign rites. The gods, as beings protecting the state and acknowledged there, had their rights and could not be offended with impu- nity. The due services must be performed towards them by the public priests. Their temples and everything deposited in them must be treated as sacred ; no impure thing like magic was allowed to attend religious ceremonies ; the mys- teries must not be profaned.* As faith in the existence and providence of the gods was considered to be necessary both for public morals and to secure their good will towards the state, atheists and scoffers might be punished as doing the state an injury, and as offending against the protecting dei- ties. I have not found any instance where atheism or blas- phemy was visited with penalties at Rome, at least before the settlement of Jews and Christians there, of which we shall speak by itself. Such things, seem to have been rare until the Romans learned them from Greece ; and then unbelief grew so fast in the upper classes that it was no time to keep them down by law. But sacrilege, the disclosure of religious secrets, and the violation of sepulchres, seem all to have been punishable by law. The first of these crimes was regarded as a very high one, but it is doubtful whether it did not include the stealing of private money deposited in a temple.t At Athens the crime of acrepeia, comprised a great variety of * Comp. Schoem., Gr. Alt, ii., 140 and onw. f See Rein, Criminalr. d. Rom., p. 694, note.