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Full text of "A catechism of mythology; containing a compendious history of the heathen gods and heroes, indispensable to a correct knowledge of the ancient poets and the classics: with 75 engravings. To which is added, The mythology of northern Europe, translated from the French .."

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A 

CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY; 

CONTAINING A 

COMPENDIOUS HISTORY 

OF THE 

HEATHEN GODS AND HEROE8, 

INDISPENSABLE TO A 

CORRECT KNOWLEDGE 

OF THE 

ANCIENT POETS AND THE CLASSICS: 

With seventy-Jive Engravings. 



TO WHICH IS ADDED, THE 

MYTHOLOGY OF NORTHERN EUROPE, 

Translated from the French. 



"Ten thousand colours wafted through the air, 
In magic glances play upon the eye, 
Combining in their endless, fairy forms 
A wild creation." 



BY WILLIAM DARLINGTON, 

A DEAF AND DUMB YOUTH. 



BALTIMORE: 

PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM R. LUCAS. 

1832. 



34495 H 




Entered, according to the act of Congress, in the year 1832, 
by William Darlington, in the Clerk's office of the District 
Court of Maryland. 



J. D. Toy, Printer. 



TO 

MRS. MARTHA BRADSTREET, 

OF NEW YORK. 

Respected Madam^ 

In dedicating to you a work 
for which I conceive it difficult to find^ among 
the most distinguished of your sex, a more 
suitable patroness, I am actuated by those feel- 
ings of respect which your high, literary attain- 
ments and exalted virtues cannot fail to elicit 
from every honest heart. The consideration, 
also, that this work, which is chiefly designed 
for the entertainment and improvement of the 
young, and especially such as are laudably striving 
to excel in the cultivation of the imaginative fa- 
culties, may associate in their minds a name so 
justly entitled to their admiration and esteem, has 
had no small degree of influence in urging me to 
take this step. By directing their attention to the 
example of one who continually exhibits in that 
elevated station in society in which superior men- 
tal endowments and an ample fortune have placed 
you, that amiable deportment, gentleness and affa- 



iy DEDICATION. 

bility of manners^ that moderation^ and aversion to 
ostentatious display, by which your private hfe is 
so eminently distinguished, lasting impressions, 
and strong incentives to good, cannot but be the 
happy results. But that retiring modesty which 
adorns your character, admonishes me not to soil 
with fulsome eulogy, the lustre of those talents, 
of those elegant, colloquial accomplishments, and 
those revered virtues which enlighten and enliven 
the female circle in which you preside. 

Allow me to believe. My Dear Madam, that 
the goodness of your heart will throw a veil over 
the weakness which thus betrays my youthful 
ardour into a public avowal of that esteem and 
affection for you which will always be cherished 
by Your much obliged 

and devoted 

humble servant, 

The Author. 



PREFACE. 



As a general knowledge of ancient mythology is 
indispensable to a clear understanding, not only of the 
ancient poets and historians, but, also, of the best mo- 
dern poets, the duty of enlightening youth in this im- 
portant department of classical literature cannot be 
too strongly inculcated. 

The object of the author of this treatise, is to adapt 
a compendium of Heathen Mythology to the juvenile 
capacity; especially to free this subject from those li- 
centious and indelicate stories, with which it has 
so long been encumbered and defaced, and which are 
totally unfit for the eye of youth. The work also 
brings down the study of Mythology to the more com- 
mon purposes of education. 

As an object of faith, the countless throng of the 
heathen gods, when compared with the God of Chris- 
tians, appears fantastical and preposterous; but the ele- 
gant and agreeable fictions which Mythology fur- 
nishes, are admirably suited to the purposes of poetry, 
statuary, and painting. 

The elegant, the beautiful, the graceful, the lovely, 
the amorous, the novel, the romantic, the marvellous, 
the fairy, the fantastical, the sublime — these are the 
feasts in which imagination revels; the beauties and 
the terrors of creation; — to survey forests, precipices, 
1* 



VI PREFACE. 

caves, groves, valleys, mountains, rivers, winds, fields, 
and hospitable habitations — the happiness of the do- 
mestic scene — the alternate smiles and frowns of 
nature — the immense power of human industry — the 
wrestling of worth with poverty, of good with evil, 
of virtue with vice, of piety with persecution, of pa- 
triotism with usurpation; — these, and countless images 
like these — affecting, melancholy, serious, gay, inge- 
nious, interesting, new — are the subjects for which 
she seeks with restless assiduity. How many times, 
waking to the roar of divine wrath, while stupid and 
lustful indolence snores on in happy forgetfulness, 
does she scale the giddy wall of the celestial court- 
house, and picture the judgment: — now she follows 
the blasphemous in a wide path over the edge of the 
infernal precipices, where she beholds a thousand- 
fanged serpent come up and gnaw their guilty hearts; 
and, at last dropped by that serpent, she sees them 
trembling headlong from redhot rock to redhot rock 
into the fire-waving abyss, the victim of a trillion-fold 
death. 

Observation and reason afford ample testimony to 
the importance of being familiarly acquainted with the 
productions of Homer, Herodotus, Virgil, Horace, and 
so on, which are held out as models of fine writing. 
To improve the taste, the mind ought to be prepared by 
a perusal of the fictions of Greece and Rome. These 
contain many allegorical and mystical things, the true 
sense of which, though not suited to vulgar apprehen- 
sion, the refined and liberal may explain. 

In cases where evident morals are inculcated by 
Fables, observations have been given; while poetical 
extracts have been selected, which cannot fail to show 



PREFACE. Vii 

how Mythology is mingled with poetry: and thus I 
have attempted to demonstrate the importance of my- 
thological knowledge, and, at the same time, to render 
the work more valuable and interesting. 

When the student has acquainted himself with the 
brief abstract here introduced, principally with the 
view of awaking in him a spirit of inquiry and there- 
by leading him to a more minute and useful investi- 
gation of the various subjects which are laid before 
him, the author would recommend him for farther in- 
formation to the reading of Lempriere's Classical Dic- 
tionary, edited by Charles Anthon, Esq., or by Messrs. 
Da Pont and Ogilby, of New York. That dictionary 
is a universal note-book to all the editions of all the 
classics. 

By way of translation from the French, the author 
has added some things which that popular author does 
not contain, namely, an account of Temples, Oracles, 
Sibyls, and Games, and also of the Mythology of 
Northern Europe. 

(ji^-The engravings introduced, will, it is anticipat- 
ed, brighten the mental eye of the student. 

At the suggestion of an experienced teacher, the 
author has been induced to arrange and introduce an 
appropriate set of questions at the close of each chap- 
ter, with the hope of thereby better adapting the work 
to the convenience and utility of families and schools. 



CONTENTS 



Introduction 




. 


13 


PART I.- 


-Celestial Deities . 


. 17 


Fatum or Destiny 


17 


The Muses 


59 


Saturn 


20 


Diana . 


. 63 


Janus .... 


22 


Bacchus . 


66 


Cybele 


24 


Minerva 


. 72 


Vesta .... 


27 


Bellona, Victoria 


78 


Jupiter .... 


29 


Mars . . 


. 79 


Prometheus, Pandora, Deuca 




Venus, Cupid, Adonis 


82 


Hon 


35 


Pyramus and Thisbe 


. 89 


Juno .... 


37 


Pygmalion, Atal?nta . 


91 


Hymen, Nuptial Gods, &c. . 


41 


Lover's Leap, (Phocas, 


Sap- 


Ceres .... 


45 


pho) River Selemus 


92 


Sol 


49 


The Graces . 


. 93 


Aurora, Tithonus, and Phaeton 51 


Vulcan 


94 


Latona and Apollo 


53 


Mercury 


. 99 


PART II.- 


—Marine Deities 


. 103 


Oceauus, Nereus 


104 


Glaucus, Portumnus, Phorcys, 


Neptune, Triton 


106 


Saron 


112 


The Sirens, Scylla, Charybdis 108 


The Nymphs 


. 113 


Proteus .... 


110 


^olus 


116 


PART III.— Terrestrial Deities 


. 118 


Demogorgon 


119 


The Satyrs, the Fauns, I 


»an 128 


Terminus, Flora 


122 


Silenus, Midas, Sylvanus . 131 


Feronia, Pomona 


123 


The Penates and Lares 


]33 


Pales and other rural deities 


125 


The Genii . 


. 134 


PART IV.- 


-Infernal Deities . 


. 137 


Hell, Charon, Cerberus . 


139 


^geon 


. 154 


Pluto, Proserpine, Plutus . 


143 


Tityus, the Titans, Phlegyas 155 


The Judges of Hell, the Fu- 




Sisyphus . 


156 


ries, and the Fates . 


146 


Ixion, Salmoneus 


. 157 


Nemesis, Nox, Somnus, and 




Tantalus . 


158 


Mors 


150 


The Danaides (fifty sisters) 159 


Elysium .... 


152 


The Centaurs, Geryon, 


the 


Principal sufferers in hell. Gi- 




Harpies, the Gorgon 


s, the 


ants .... 


153 


Chimaera, the Sphinx . 163 


Typhon .... 


ib. 


(Edipus . 


164 



X CONTENTS. 

PART v.— Peculiar Deities . . 166 

Felicity, Hope . . 166 Liberty, Licentiousness, Si- 

Eternity, Time, Thought, Mer- lence. Chastity, Provi- 

cy. Virtue . . 167 dence, Justice, Fortune, 

Truth, Concordia, Pax, Fides 168 Opportunity. . . 169 

' Origin of Peculiar Deities . . . 170 ^ 

Fear, Paleness . . HO Hygeia .... 173 

Discord . . . .171 Friendship . . • .174 
Comus, Momus, JSsculapius 172 

PART VI.— Heroes .... 175 

Perseus, Pegasus, Bellerophon, Amphion, Arion . . . 199 

Andromeda . . .177 Troy, Dardanus, Priam, Pa- 
Theseus . . . . 181 ris, &c. . . .200 
Hercules . . . .184 ^neas .... 202 
Jason . . . . 192 Achilles, Polyxena . . 203 
Castor, Pollux, Clytemnestra, 194 Ulysses, Penelope . . 203 
Agamemnon . . .196 Orion, Atlas, Hesperus . 207 
Orpheus .... 197 

Egyptian Mythology . . . 206 

Osiris, Isis, Apis . 211,213 Harpocrates, Anubis . 216 
Typhon, Horus, Serapis 214, 215 

Persian Mythology . . . 217 

Mahabad . . . 2n man, Gosohoraun, Ta- 

The Zenda Avesta, Ahri- sehter ... 218 

Ormuzd, Mithras . .219 

Hindoo Mythology . . . 221 

Vedas, Brahma,Vishnu,Iswara, dra, .... 222 

Naravda, Seeva, &c. . 221 Seshanaya, Yamen, Carticeya, 
Ganesa, Menu, Lachamee, In- &c. . . . 223, 224 

Chaldean, Phoenician, Arabian, Syrian, -and 
OTHER Mythologies . . . 227 

Oannes, Omorca, Chronos, 229 

Mexican Mythology . . . 232 

Prince of Glory, . . 232 zal-cat, Ilaloc, Centeot, 

Teotl, Tez-cat-li-po-ca, Quet- Ix-liUot, &c. . 233, 235 



CONTENTS 

APPENDIX. 

Antiquity of Temples o-^S 

Temple of Belus . . «., r^^^ , ^ . ' ' 

Temple of Diana lil Jemple of Apollo . . 244 

Temjle of Jupiter Olympius Yb ^^"^^«°^ «f ^^ome . . ^tt 

Oracles . . . 247 

Oracle of Dodona . oar n 1 r rr, , •'«'** 

Oracle of Jupiter Ammon ' 249 Othpi'n ^ ?°P^^"^^^ • ^^2 
Oracle of Delphi 7 . Ito ^^^^ • . . 263 

SIBYLS . . . , 

GAMES ... ^^^ 

257 

Mythology OF Northern Europe . 263 

Genet?Ta^:Are%Tctt ''' ^^^^-jenets of the ancient ^^^ 

religion of Northern Eu Of the Dr'ds, * ! ! fg'J 

Of the religion of Northern ^^ *^^ different classes of 
Europefsince Odin 268 F"^'*'' ^l^'' °^^°"^^ «f 

Tenets of^ie Celts tn^refe'r- ''' tens""'^' '"" ^"^ 

:Sr tl^htla'^^TsS ^-*^^- oTi^e D;uids; their 
of this world ' 277 ^^^'f^T''- ^^^'^^onj 

Progress of the rpU<r;«n ^r -n • . ^^® Oak-misletoe . 297 

^ 'the people of the rrV%82 ^^X' ""'""^ °^ '"^ °- ,„. 
'''''r^JT^'^-^l OnheD^idesses- . " . " 3^* 

Conclusion 3Q3 



A 

CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 



INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF MYTHOLOGY- 

Mythology, taken in an extensive sense, signifies 
an explanation of any fabulous doctrine; but its im- 
port is commonly applied to the history of the gods and 
heroes of antiquity. The study of the Grecian and Ro- 
man Mythologies, in particular, is justly deemed im- 
portant to every one who aspires to the dignity of 
sound scholarship. The word Mythology is derived 
from the Greek words Mythos, a fable, and Logos, a 
word, or description. 

Its origin has been attributed to that most prominent 
cause, passion. The natural desire of man, when des- 
titute of a knowledge of the true God, to worship 
some object for the blessings which he receives, the 
artifices of priests and legislators, the fictions of poets, 
and the extreme ignorance of the great mass of man- 
kind in the primitive times of society, generated My- 
thology. 

Polytheism was the religion of the ancients. They 
acknowledged a plurality of gods. 

The ancients worshipped divinities by various re- 
presentations, called idols. The Babylonians worship- 
ped Bel or Baal as their idol, and so on. 

The Chaldeans, the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, and 
many other nations of antiquity, paid adoration to ob- 
jects in the skies, on earth, in the water, and to fire, un- 
2 



14 INTRODUCTION. 

der different forms and names, and attributed to them 
certain powers and qualities; but, as very few of their 
works have been transmitted to us, a knowledge of 
their mythology is not essentially necessary to a libe- 
ral education. 

The ancients are supposed to have borrowed much 
of their fabulous history from the Bible. The Egyp- 
tians were acquainted with the religion of the Jews, 
and their priests appear to have decked out in the 
robe of fiction many historical facts recorded in Scrip- 
ture; thus enveloping the history of the creation, and 
other sublime truths, in the obscurity of fable. 

The ancient Greeks, who, at first, were the most 
rude and uncivilized of all nations, admired whatever 
related to the worship of the gods that had been 
brought into their country by the colonies from Phoe- 
nicia and Egypt; so that they soon greatly increased 
their number, by bestowing divine honours on such 
as ranked high in the scale of fame. In time they 
excelled in civilization and refinement. They repre- 
sented their gods in human shape of the most excel- 
lent character. Every thing enchanting in female 
beauty, majestic, noble, muscular, or powerful, or what- 
ever excellence the eye could discover in the figure of 
man, was displayed in the statues of their deities. 

The natural consequence of raising mortals to the 
rank of gods, was, that the actions attributed to them, 
blend the mighty with the mean, and represent them, 
when considered literally, as guilty of the most extra- 
vagant follies and the most atrocious crimes. 

The study of mythology enables us to understand, 
and become acquainted with, antique statues, medals, 
paintings, and the like; to read the classic authors ad- 
vantageously; and to comprehend the writings of our 
poets, who make frequent allusions to the supposed 
actions of the fabulous deities. 

QUESTIONS. 

What is Mythology? 

From what is the word Mythology derived? 



INTRODUCTION. 15 

What was the origin of Mythology? 

What is Polytheism? 

What are idols? 

Had not the Chaldeans, the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, and 
many other nations besides the Grecians and Romans, a mytho- 
logy? 

Have not the Scriptures been looked upon as the grand source 
from which the ancients formed much of their fabulous history? 

Can the whole of the Grecian and Roman mythology be thus 
accounted for? 

What were the natural consequences of raising mortals to the 
rank of gods? 

What advantages do we derive from the study of mythology? 



OF THE GODS OF GREECE AND ROME. 'i 

The Grecians and Romans, having adopted this fa- 
bulous history as their religion, found, by experience, 
that it was admirably calculated to flatter the vanities 
and passions of human nature, while it incited them 
to the practice of the most illustrious virtues. 

The heathens, being ignorant of the proper attri- 
butes of the living God, supposed various gods and 
goddesses to have empire over the different parts of 
the universe; so that man was to believe himself to be 
every where observed by some of those deities, for 
whom he was taught to entertain the highest venera- 
tion. 

In the infancy of their republic, the deep and ex- 
tensive concerns of the Romans in war and politics, 
allowed them to bestow but little attention to science 
and philosophy. They, therefore, adopted, without 
scruple, the gods of the conquered nations, giving the 
preference to those of Greece. 

The worship of the gods of Greece and Rome, was 
generally conducted by priests in splendid and costly 
habits, who offered sacrifices of animals, fruits, vege- 
tables, perfumes, &c. These sacrifices were often ac- 
companied by prayers, music, dancing, and the like. 
Human victims were occasionally sacrificed. 



16 INTRODUCTIOIf. 

The gods may be divided into Celestial, Marine, Ter- 
restrial, and Infernal. We shall afterwards come to 
the subordinate gods, of whose residence the ancients 
had no positive idea. 

QUESTIONS. 

Why did the fabulous history of the heathen divinities serve the 
Greeks, and after them, the Romans, for their religion? 

As you have informed me that their system of mytholog-y was 
introduced in the absence of a true religion, assign your reason for 
that opinion? 

Did the Romans improve upon the mythology of tiie Greeks? 

In what manner was the worship of the gods conducted? 

How may the gods be divided? 



PART I. 



OF THE CELESTIAL DEITIES. 

Varron, skilled in heathen theology, enume- 
rates thirty thousand gods. They were invented 
to preside over all parts of the universe; over the 
passions, and vicissitudes of life. Moreover, when 
different nations or cities worshipped the same god un- 
der the name of Jupiter, each of those nations or cities 
pretended to have its particular Jupiter. Varron 
mentions more than three hundred Jupiters. It was 
so with the other gods and the demi-gods; upwards of 
forty Hercules were reckoned up; but as so many 
gods might disagree among themselves, the pagans 
felt the necessity of believing that there was a deity 
superior to all others. His name was Fatum or Des- 
tiny. He was supposed to be a blind god, governing 
all things by absolute necessity. Jupiter himself, the 
first and the greatest of the gods, was subject to his 
decrees. He had his kind of worship; but, as he could 
not be comprehended by the human understanding, 
the ancients durst not determine what was his figure; 
hence, they never adored his statue as they did that 
of the other gods. Yet some attempted to represent him 
in the form of an old man, holding between his hands 
the urn wherein the fortunes of mankind are wrapped 
up. Placed before him was a book in which futurity 
was written out. All the gods were to consult that 
book, because they could change none of its decrees. 
It was only by reading it, that they could foresee fu- 
turity; and to that circumstance the obscurity of the 



18 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

oracles, whose replies could be interpreted in a thou- 
sand different ways, is to be referred. — See figure 1. 

This idea of Destiny is the most beautiful confes- 
sion that men have made of the necessity of one 
supreme God; but it was out of their power to define 
and comprehend him, since they had forgotten the in- 
structions which God had given to the first patriarchs. 



CHAPTER I. 

Of the Different Orders of the Gods. 

The gods were divided into four orders. 

The first order comprised the superior f^ods, who 
were also called Dii majorum gentium, gods of the 
greater nations, because they were known and revered 
by all nations. They w^ere twenty in number, the 
first of whom was Jupiter. 

The ijifer^ior gods were comprised in the second or- 
der. They were named Dii mhiqrum gentium, gods 
of the smaller nations, because they had no place in 
heaven, and were not in the council of Jupiter. Pan, 
Pomona, Flora, and other rural deities, were included 
in this order. 

The third order was composed oi\\\&demi-gods, who 
derived their origin from a god by a female mortal, or 
from a goddess by a mortal. Such were Hercules, 
jEsculapius, Castor, Pollux, &c. &c. Heroes whose 
glorious actions raised them to the rank of immortals, 
were also received among these gods. 

The fourth order contained the virtues by which 
great men had been distinguished, as fidelity, concord, 
courage, prudence, &c.; and ev^ the miseries of life, 
as poverty, grief, and the like. 

The twenty gods of the first order were divided in- 
to two classes. 

The first class formed the council of Jupiter; which 
was composed of six gods and six goddesses. 



COUNCIL OF JUPITER. 19 

Jupiter, Neptune, Mercury, Apollo, Mars, and 
Vulcan, were the six gods. 

The six goddesses were called Juno, Ceres, Miner- 
va, Vesta, Diana, and Venus. 

The second class was composed of eight deities, who 
were not present at the supreme council. They were 
called Dii selecti, select gods. Their names were, 
Coelus, Saturn, Genius, Sol, Pluto, Bacchus, Terra, 
and Luna. 

Indigetes and Semones were neither of the first nor 
of the second class. The word indigetes signifies act- 
ing as gods, and semones signifies demi-men, because 
they were sons of a god and a female mortal, or of a 
goddess by a mortal. 

Before we give the history of Jupiter, it may be 
proper to speak of Saturn and Cybele, his parents, 
although their rank was far inferior to his own. 

The Greeks deemed Uranus the most ancient of all 
the gods. The Latins called him Coelus, or heaven. 

The oldest of the goddesses was, Vesta, Prisca, 
Titsea, Telus, or Terra — names all denoting, earth. 

QUESTIONS. 

Into how many orders were the gods divided? 

What gods did the first order comprise? 

What were comprised in the second order? 

What in the third? 

Wliat did the fourth order contain? 

Into how many classes were the twenty gods of the first order 
divided? 

What did the first class contain? 

Who were the six 'gods? 

Who were the six goddesses? 

Of what was the second class composed? 

What deities were there which were neither of the first nor of 
the second class? 

Was Jupiter superior to his father, Saturn, in rank? 

What god did the Greeks deem the most ancient? 

Who was the oldest of the goddesses? 



20 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 



CHAPTER II. 
Of Saturn. 

Saturn was the son of Coelus and Terra, and was 
worshipped by the ancients as the god of time. He was 
styled the father of the gods. 

Birthright secured the succession of the kingdom to 
Titan; but, in compliance with the request of his mo- 
ther, he yielded his right to his younger brother Saturn, 
on condition that he should not suffer any of his male 
children to live. To fulfil this condition, Saturn de- 
voured his sons as soon as they were born. Cybele, 
his wife, having, however, brought into the world Ju- 
piter and Juno at one birth, found means to hide Jupi- 
ter, and substituted for him a stone which Saturn de- 
voured. Cybele, wishing to conceal Jupiter from the 
sight of Saturn, caused him to be secretly carried to 
Crete, and brought up by the Corybantes or Curetes. 
The goat Amalthea suckled him, and the two nymphs 
Adrastea and Ida, otherwise called the Melisses, took 
care of his infancy. 

The poets relate, that, to prevent Saturn from hear- 
ing the cries of Jupiter, the priests of Cybele instituted 
a sort of dance, during which they beat brazen shields. 
Titan finding that the conditions were broken, sent for 
the Titans, who had each fifty heads and one hundred 
hands, overcame Saturn, and shut him and Cybele in 
a close prison, where they lay till Jupiter, being grown 
up, fought for them, and restored them to liberty. But 
before Jupiter released his father, he had usurped the 
kingdom; and, fearing that Saturn would employ all 
means to re-ascend his throne, he drove him from 
heaven. The dethroned king lied for refuge to Janus, 
king of Italy, who not only received him, but also 
shared with him his throne. — Italy was anciently call^ 
ed Latium or Saturn ia. 

In return for this kindness, Saturn offered him his 
services. His reign was called the golden age; during 



SATURN. 21 

which the earth afforded the inhabitants sustenance 
without culture; all things were in common; Astrea, 
the goddess of justice, ruled; and there were neither 
contentions nor wars among the people. In memory 
of that happy period, the Roman Saturnalia were in- 
stituted, and celebrated in December. On these fes- 
tive days the Senate did not sit; schools kept holy- 
days; presents were made to friends; no war was pro- 
claimed; no offender was executed; and masters serv- 
ed their slaves. 

Saturn was called Stercutius, because he was the 
first to fatten the earth with manure. 

He is represented under the figure of a decrepit 
old man, with wings, holding in one hand a scythe, 
and in the other a serpent with its tail to its mouth; 
designed thus emblematically to represent time and 
eternity. Sometimes he appears just ready to devour 
a child.— See Fig. 3. 

Obs. 1. It is probable that, as the father of agricul- 
ture, Saturn is represented in the figure of an old 
man, holding a scythe in his hand. 

Obs. 2. In a moral sence, Saturn is the emblem of 
time. Time, like an index in the heavens, points out and 
apportions to us the various stages of our existence; di- 
vides our terrestrial segment of eternity into the suc- 
cessive periods of hours, days, months, years, ages, 
and centuries, and marks the close of each: and as he 
pursues his rapid flight without deigning to be stayed 
by the entreaties of mortals, but continually presses 
forward with unimpeded wing, crushing and destroy- 
ing every created thing as he rushes along, he is aptly 
represented as devouring his own children. Hence, 
emblematically to figure forth the rapidity, the power, 
and the regularity of his course, wings, a scythe, and 
an hourglass were given to Saturn or Time, 

"Then Saturn came, who fled the pow'rs of Jove, 
Robb'd of his realms, and banish'd from above; 
The men dispers'd on hills to town he brought, 
The laws ordain'd, and civil customs taught; 
And Latium call'd the land, where safe he lay 



2^Z CATECHISM OF MYTHOI4OGY. 

From his unduteous son and his usurping sway. 

And hence the Golden Times derived their name." — Virgil. 

"December now brings Saturn's merry feasts, 

When masters bear their sportive servants' jests." — Ausonius. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Saturn? 

What do you farther learn concerning him? 

Did Saturn fulfil this promise? and what followed? 

Was Saturn grateful to Janus for this kindness? 

Why was Saturn called Stercutius? 

How is Saturn represented? 



CHAPTER HI. 

Of Janus, 

Janus, a god in the Roman calendar, is said by- 
some to have been the son of Ccelus, and a brother of 
Saturn; but by others he is described as the son of Apollo, 
and born in Thessaly, whence he removed to Italy, 
and founded a small town called Janiculum. 

Saturn, as has been shown, after having been de- 
throned by his son Jupiter, was hospitably received 
by Janus. To reward this kindness, therefore, Saturn 
taught his subjects to cultivate corn and the vine, to 
make bread, and to raise temples and altars to the gods, 
who had been previously worshipped in groves. 

Janus presided over the year, and had twelve altars, 
because it was composed of twelve months. It was he 
who gave his name to January. He is usually repre- 
sented with two faces, that of an old man, looking to- 
wards the year that is past, and that of a young man, 
regarding the year that has just commenced. He also 
had empire over highways, doors, gates, locks, and 
all new undertakings. The invention of crowns and 
banks is attributed to him. He first stamped copper 
coins. 

To Janus were offered cakes of new meal and salt, 
new wine and frankincense, on the day that the 



JANUS. 23 

Roman consuls entered on their office. At Rome, a 
temple of brass was erected to him by Numa Pompi- 
lius, the doors of which remained constantly opened 
in time of war, and shut in time of peace. For this 
reason he was deemed the god of peace. The temple 
was shut only three times: first, under Numa; next, 
after the second Punic war; and lastly, in the reign 
of Augustus, after the battle of Actium. 

Janus is called Bifrons by Virgil, and by Ovid, Bi- 
ceps, because he is painted with two faces; Claviger, 
or the "club bearer," because he holds the rod and the 
key in his hands; Janitor, because doors were under 
his protection; Junonius, because Juno committed to 
his care the calends of the month, which belonged to 
her; Patulacius and Clausius, because his temple was 
open and shut in time of war and peace. 

He was represented sometimes with two faces, and 
sometimes with four, to express the four seasons: — 
hence he was called Quadrifons. In his right hand he 
held a key, because he invented doors; and in the 
other, a staff, because he presided over public ways. 
His statues often mark in the right the number of three 
hundred, and in the left that of sixty, to signify the 
measure of the year. History informs us that Janus 
was represented with two faces, because he command- 
ed two different people, and divided his empire with 
Saturn. It also records that that prince had medals 
with two faces stamped, to announce that the totality 
of his states would be governed by the counsels of 
Saturn and himself. — See Fig. 2. 

"Thou double pate, the sliding year doth show. 
The only god that thine own back can view." 

"The laurel that the former year did grace, 

T' a fresh and verdant garland yields his place; 

Why is't that though I other gods adore, 

I first must Janus' deity implore? 

Because I hold the door, by which access 

Is had to any god you would address." Ovid. 

"Two gates of steel (the name of Mars they bear, 
And still are worshipped with religious fear) 



24 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Before his temple stand: the dire abode 

And the fear'd issues of the furious god 

Are fenc'd with brazen bolts; without the gates 

The weary guardian Janus doubly waits. 

Then when the sacred Senate votes the wars, 

The Roman consul their decree declares, 

And in his robes the sounding gates unbars. 

Then dire debate, and impious war shall cease. 

Then the stern age be soften'd into peace: 

Then banish'd faith shall once again return, 

And Vestal fires in hallow'd temples burn; 

And Remus with Quirinus shall sustain 

The righteous laws, and fraud and force restrain. 

Janus himself before his fane shall wait, 

And keep the dreadful issues of his gate 

With bolts and iron bars. Within remains 

Imprison'd Fury, bound in brazen chains; 

High on a trophy rais'd of useless arms 

He sits, and threats the world with vain alarms." — Virgil. 



QUESTIONS. 

Who was Janus? 

What return did dethroned Saturn make for this kindness? 

What was the peculiar province of Janus? 

How was Janus worshipped? 

Why was he called Bifrons or Biceps? 

How was Janus represented? 



CHAPTER IV. 
Of Cybele. 

Cybele, the mother of the gods, was the sister and 
wife of Saturn. Her festivals, called Megalesia, were 
celebrated with equal solemnity and pomp. Her 
priests were called Galli, Curetes, Corybantes, Tel- 
chines, Cabiri, Idaei, Dactyli, &c. At Rome she had 
a temple, called Opertum, to which men were never 
admitted. 

Her favorite was named Atys, for whose death her 
mad priests commemorated her sorrow. 

The box and the pine were sacred to her. 

Cybele is called Ops, because she succours and 
cherishes every thing which the earth sustains; Rhea, 



CYBELE. 25 

because benefits incessantly proceed from her on every 
side; Dindyme, because the mountain Dindymus in 
Phrygia was consecrated to her; Berecynthia, because 
she is painted with a crown of towers; Pasithea, be- 
cause she is considered the mother of all the gods; 
Bona Dea, or the ^'■Good Goddess,'^'' because she is 
profuse with earthly blessings; Fauna, because she 
favours all creatures; Fatua, because infants never cry 
till they come into the world; Pessinuntia, because an 
image of hers fell from heaven into the field of Pessi- 
nus in Phrygia. 

She is represented as seated in a chariot, drawn by 
lions, having garments of various colours, and figured 
with the images of different creatures. In one hand 
she holds a sceptre, and in the other a key, and wears 
a crown of turrets on her head. She is sometimes 
painted with numerous breasts She is usually des- 
cribed as sitting, to intimate the stability of the earth, 
and as wearing a drum or a discus, an emblem -of the 
winds. Her temples were round, in allusion to the 
form of the earth. — See Fig. 4. 

**High as the mother of the gods in place. 

And proud, like her, of an immortal race, 

Then, when in pomp she makes the Phrygian round. 

With golden turrets on her temples crown'd, 

A hundred gods her sweeping train supply. 

Her offspring all, and all command the sky."' — Vihgil. 

Ohs. 1. — The towers on her head, denote the towers 
and castles built on the earth; her keys are emblematical 
of the treasures she locks up in the earth in winter, 
and unlocks in summer; her chariot drawn by the 
lions, denotes the motion of the earth; and her gar- 
ments of divers colours are descriptive of the various 
hues in which the face of nature is bedecked. 

Ohs. 2. — The worship of Cybele and Terra is ex- 
tremely ancient. Several authors affirm that it was 
Cadmus who introduced it into Europe. They relate 
that Dardanus, contemporary with Cadmus, after the 
death of his brother Jasion, led Cybele, his sister-in- 
3 



56 CATECHISH OF MYTHOLOGY. 

law, and Corybas, his nephew, to Phrygia, where they 
introduced the mysteries of Terra, the mother of 
the gods. They also afl&rm that Cybele gave her own 
name to that goddess, and that the Corybantes, her 
priests, took their names from Corybas. In time Cybele 
was reckoned the mother of the gods. The goddess 
Astergatis was the symbol of the earth; and the Egyp- 
tians honored her as the moon, under the name of Isis. 
Such appears to be the origin of the worship of the 
Earth, which passed, with the other ceremonies of the 
Egyptians, first into Syria and Phoenicia, and afterwards 
into Phrygia, whence it at length arrived in Greece 
and Italy. We shall find that idolatry and fables have 
almost all followed in the same steps. The Romans 
highly distinguished themselves by the worship they 
paid to the mother of the gods. 

Obs. 3. — History informs us that Cybele was daugh- 
ter to a king of Phrygia; and that she left that coun- 
try for Latium, where she married Saturn. It was 
she who first fortified the walls of cities with towers; 
which gave rise to the representation of a crown of 
towers upon her head. Before she became the wife 
of Saturn, she had seen Atys, a Phrygian youth, to 
whom she wished to be wedded; but he prefered to 
her the nymph Sangaris. Fable says that the goddess 
revenged herself upon Atys, by binding Sangaris to 
a tree, which was cut down, and the nymph perish- 
ed. Atys, in despair, could not restrain his fury. 
His phrensy drove him to the mountains of Phrygia, 
where he killed himself with a hatchet. He was 
about to lose his life, when Cybele, having com- 
passion upon a mortal whom she had loved so much, 
changed him into a pine tree, which was from that 
time consecrated to her. This fable of Atys and San- 
garis is founded upon Midas, king of Pessinuntus' 
promising his daughter in marriage to the young Atys. 
Cybele, warned that she had a rival, collected troops, 
ran to Pessinuntus, and broke open the -^ates of the 
city. Atys in vain resisted the attack. He was mor- 
tally wounded, which caused the despair and death of 
Sangaris. 



VESTA. 27 

Concerning the birth of Cybele, history informs 
us that she was exposed when born, but it is silent 
as to the cause of such exposure, or how it was that 
she came to be acknowledged by her father. Cybele 
was so called from the name of the mountain upoo 
which she had been exposed. Some etymologists 
suppose this name to be derived from a Hebrew word, 
signifying to bring forth a child painfully, and that 
the tradition of Eve, condemned to the labor of bring- 
ing forth children, is concealed under this fable. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Cybele? 
Who was her favourite? 
What trees were sacred to her? 
By what names is Cybele called? 
How is Cybele represented? 



CHAPTER V. 
Of Vesta. 

There were two different goddesses of this name. 
Vesta the elder, or Terra, or Tellus, the wife of 
Ccslus and the mother of Saturn, was the older god- 
dess. She is painted as sitting with a drum, because 
the earth is immovable, (according to the erroneous 
notion of the ancients,) and contains the boisterous 
winds in its bosom. Vesta the younger, the goddess 
of fire, was the daughter of Saturn by his wife Rhea, 
and the sister of Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Juno, and 
Ceres. 

Vesta had a round temple at Rome founded by Nu- 
ma, who instituted four priestesses, afterwards in- 
creased to seven, to attend upon it. She was held in 
high estimation by the Romans. She had empire over 
the entrances of houses, (which from her were called 
Vestibular) altars, and hearths. A sacred fire kindled 
by the rays of the sun, was perpetually kept in her 
temple. It was annually drawn from sunbeams during 



28 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

the calends of March, and was hung up in nothing 
but earthen vessels. 

The direction of this fire was entrusted to noble 
virgins, called Vestals, who were chosen between the 
ages of six and ten years. They were not exempted 
from the priesthood nor permitted to marry until they 
had attained the age of thirty. They also took care of 
the palladium, on which the very existence of Rome 
was supposed to depend, and which was brought from 
Troy by iEneas. If they let the sacred fire expire, 
through inattention, or violated their vows of chastity, 
they were burnt alive, being shut up in a subterra- 
neous vault with a lamp and some provisions. If the 
fire happened to be extinguished, it was accounted 
a direful omen, and all business and amusements were 
suspended, until, by prayers and sacrifices, the crime 
was expiated. 

The vestals enjoyed great privileges. When they met 
a criminal, they had power to pardon him; when they 
went abroad, they were accompanied by lictors with 
the fasces; and even the consuls on meeting them, 
bowed their fasces in token of respect. Their declar- 
ations were admitted for an oath. 

Vesta, as the goddess of fire, had no statue?; but as 
the guardian of houses and hearths, she was repre- 
sented as wearing a long flowing robe, with a veil on 
her head, holding a lamp in one hand and a javelin in 
the other. On some medals she is depicted with a 
drum. — See Fig. 5. 

**No image Vesta's shape can e'er express, 
Or fires." 

Obs. 1. — Vesta is taken for the elements of earth 
and fire, which is accounted for by two different deities 
of that name. Vesta's fire was refined and celestial; 
whereas Vulcan's was gross. One is the fire of the 
artificer; the other is expressive of that vital heat 
which cherishes health and vigour, and pervades o'r- 
ganized nature. The ancients fancied that heat in an- 
imals proceeded from a vital spark in the heart. 

Obs. 2. — The worship of fire was introduced ori- 



JUPITER. 29 

ginally from the east, where the sun was deemed the 
most glorious image of the Supreme Being. It was 
the Persians' abhorrence of every other idol that in 
duced them to demolish the Grecian temples and 
statues. The sacred fire renewed by the rays of the 
sun, attended the monarchs in their wars. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Vesta? 

Please to tell me something- farther respecting Vesta. 
To whom was the direction of this fire entrusted? 
How was Vesta represented? 



CHAPTER VI. 

Of Jupiter. 

Jupiter, the greatest of the gods, was the son of 
Saturn and Cybele, and was the twin brother of Juno. 
He was saved by his mother from destruction, and en- 
trusted to the care of the Corybantes. 

Jupiter was born and educated on Mount Ida, in 
Crete. He was fed with the milk of the goat Amalthea, 
which he afterwards placed among the constellations. 
The horn of this goat, called the cornucopia or horn 
of plenty, he gave to the nymphs, and by it they were 
favoured with every thing they wished for. The 
shield with which he singly fought the giants, was 
made of the skin of the dead goat, and was called 
iEgis, a Greek word for a she-goat. 

After a war of ten years continuance. Terra pre- 
dicted to Jupiter, that he would gain a complete vic- 
tory over his enemies, if he would set at liberty those 
Titans whom his father had shut up in Tartarus, and 
if he could engage them to fight with him. Ac- 
cordingly he undertook this perilous adventure; killed 
Campus, who kept the prison, and delivered his rel- 
atives. The Cyclops gave a helmet to Pluto, and a 
trident to Neptune. With these arms they conquer- 
ed Saturn. Jupiter threw him headlong into the bot- 
3* 



30 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

torn of Tartarus, with the Titans, under the guard of the 
Hecatonhires, giants with one hundred hands each. 
Jupiter shared the universe with his brethren, Neptune 
and Pluto. For himself he reserved the jurisdiction of 
heaven and earth; gave Neptune the sovereignty of 
the sea; and appointed Pluto to the empire of hell. 

The giants, descendants of Titanus, warred against 
Jupiter; among the most daring and distinguished of 
whom were Porphyrion, Alcioneus, Ephialtus, Otus, 
Eurytus, Polibetes, Hippolytus, Gration, Agrius, 
Thaon, and Typhon. They threw enormous rocks, 
oak trees, pine trees, and other inflammable substances 
at heaven, and heaped up mountain upon mountain to 
scale it; but Jupiter, by the assistance of Hercules, 
defeated and destroyed them. Hesiod says that Jupi- 
ter was married seven times. His wives were Metis, 
Themis, Eurynome, Ceres, Mnemoyne, Latona and 
Juno. • Juno appears to have been the last and the 
most celebrated of his wives. By these wives he had 
a great number of children, and he was often con- 
nected with female mortals, by whom, also, he had 
children. 

Jupiter is described as having had recourse to the 
most unworthy artifices in order to gratify the basest 
of passions. Thus, he is said to have assumed the 
shape of a crow to woo his sister Juno, of a shower 
of gold to gain access to Danae, of a swan to seduce 
Leda, of a wild satyr to ravish Antiope, of Amphitry- 
on, to impose on his wife Alcmena, of fire to win Egi- 
na's affection, of Diana to deceive Calisto, of an eagle 
to carry away Ganymede, and also Asteria, of a bull 
to convey Europa, &c. In a word he was the father 
of almost all the gods and nymphs, committing incest 
and lewdness in various forms. 

Jupiter was worshipped as the Supreme God of the 
Heathens, and was represented as the father of gods 
and men, shaking heaven with his nod, and governing 
all things except the Fates, by his will, as supreme. 

Jupiter sits on a throne of ivory and gold, under a 
rich canopy, with a beard, holding thunderbolts 



JUPITER, 31 

in his right hand, and in his left, a sceptre of cypress 
surmounted with an eagle with expanded wings, 
which is his armour bearer; his vesture is an em- 
broidered cloak, and he has golden shoes. The an- 
cients considered him as skilled in every thing past, 
present, and future. — See Fig. 6. 

Jupiter was worshipped with the greatest solemnity. 
Goats, sheep, and bulls were the usual offerings, and 
the oak was sacred to him. His altars were never de- 
filed with human sacrifices. 

Almost every nation had its Jupiter. Varron enume- 
rates three hundred as a part of the thirty thousand gods 
recognized by the Heathens. He was called Jove 
by the Greeks; Assabinus, by the Ethiopians; Tara- 
nus, by the Gauls; Apis, by the inhabitants of the 
Lower Nile; Chronos, by the Arabians; Belus, by the 
Assyrians. He was surnamed Capitolinus, because 
he had the first temple at Rome on the Capitolinehill; 
Tarpeius, because his temple was built on the Tar- 
pean rock; Optimus and Maximus, because he was the 
best and the greatest of beings; Diespiter, because he was 
the father of light; Dodonaeus, because Dodona, a city in 
Epirus, was sacred to him; Elicius, because he heard 
the prayers of men; Feretrius, because he smote his 
enemies or gave peace; Fulminator, or Ceraunius, be- 
cause he hurled thunder; Latialis, because he was 
worshipped in Latium; Muscarius, because he drove 
away flies; Opitulator, because he was the helper; 
Stabilitor, because he supported the world; Almus, 
because he cherished all things; Olympius, because 
he resided on Mount Olympus; Xenius, because he 
made the laws and customs of hospitality; Zeus, be- 
cause he gave life to animals, &c. &c. 

"Here a vast hill 'gainst thund'ring Baal was thrown, 

Trees and beasts fell on't, burnt with lightning down; 

One flings a mountain, and its river too, 

Torn up with 't; that rains back on him that threw; 

Some from the main to pluck whole islands try; 

The sea boils round with flames shot thick from sky." 

CowLEr. 



32 CATECHISM OP MYTHOLOGY. 

"Great Jove himself, whom dreadful darkness shrouds. 
Pavilioned in the thickness of the clouds, 
With lightning arm'd, his red hand he puts forth, 
And shakes with burning bolts the solid earth: 
The nations shrink appalled; the beasts are fled; 
All human hearts are sunk and pierced with dread; 
He strikes vast Rhodope's exalted crown 
And hurls huge Athos and Ceraunia down. 
Thick fall the rains; the wind redoubled roars; 
The god now smites the woods, and now the sounding 
shores." Pitt's Virgil. 

"Now lows white bull on Asia's strand, 

And crops with dancing head the daisied land, 

With rosy wreaths, Europa's hand adorns 

His fringed forehead and his pearly horns; 

Light on his back the sportive damsel bounds, 

And pleased he moves along the flowery grounds; 

Bears with slow steps his beauteous prize aloof, 

Dips in the lucid flood his ivory hoof; 

Then wets his velvet knees, and wading laves 

His silky sides amid the dimpling waves. 

Beneath her robe she draws her snowy feet, 

And, half reclining on her ermine seat, 

Around his rais'd neck her radiant arms she throws. 

And rests her fair cheek on his curled brows; 

Her yellow tresses wave on wanton gales, 

And bent in air her azure mantle sails. 

While her fair train with beckoning hands deplore, 

Strain their blue eyes, and shriek along the shore. 

Onward he moves; applauding Cupid's guide. 

And skim on shooting wing the shining tide; 

Emerging Tritons leave their coral caves, 

Sound Europe's shadowy shores with loud acclaim, 

Hail the fair fugitive and shout her name." 

Darwin's Botanic Garden — Canto H. 

"He, whose all conscious eyes the world behold, 
Th' eternal thunderer, sat enthron'd in gold; 
High heav'n the footstool for his feet he makes, 
And wide beneath him all Olympus shakes. 
He spake; and awful bends his sable brows, 
Shakes his ambrosial curls, and gives the nod; 
The stamp of fate and sanction of the god: 
High heaven, with trembHng, the dread signal took. 
And all Olympus to the centre shook." — Homer. 

"Then spake th' almighty father as he sat 
Enthron'd in gold; and clos'd the great debate. 



JUPITER. 33 

Th' attentive winds a solemn silence keep; 

The wond'ring waves lie level on the deep; 

Earth to his centre shook; high heav'n was aw'd, 

And all th' immortal pow'rs stood trembling at the god." 

Virgil. 

"Jove can't resist the just man's cries. 
They bring him down, e'en from the skies; 
Hence he's Elicius call'd." — Ovid. 

"O! king of gods and men, whose awful hand 
Disperses thunder on the seas and land; 
Dispersing all with absolute command." — Virgil, 

" The heaven and earth's compacted frame, 

And flowing waters, and the starry flame, 
And both the radiant lights, one common soul 
Inspires, and feels, and animates the whole. 
This active mind, infus'd through all the space, 
Unites and mingles with the mighty mass." — Virgil. 

Obs. 1. — To understand the historical sense of this 
fable, it is necessary to know that different princes of 
the name of Jupiter successively reigned in Crete, as 
we see in Egypt several Pharaohs, and in Asia sever- 
al Dariuses. The most celebrated of the kings who 
appeared under the name of Jupiter, was nearly con- 
temporary with Abraham. He reigned in Thrace, 
Phrygia, and a part of Greece, which he conquered. 
Jupiter, king of Crete, also named Coelus or Uranus, 
had married Titea, or Terra, his sister, by whom he 
had several, children: Titan, Ocean, Japetus, and 
Chronos or Saturn. Saturn, though the youngest, 
supplanted Titan his elder brother, and put his father 
to a violent death. In process of time, Saturn having 
been dethroned by his son Jupiter, was treated by 
him as he had treated his father. After a glorious 
reign, he died in Crete, where he had a tomb with 
this epitaph: "i/ere lies Zeus, who ivas named Jupi- 
ter.^^ Eris, his son, succeeded 

Obs. 2. — Jupiter's throwing his father down into 
the infernal regions, may be thus accounted for:— 
Among the Greeks, countries in the east were consi- 
dered the highest places in the world, and were thence 



34 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

designated by the name of Heaven; those in the west 
were looked upon as the lowest, and were therefore 
called the Infernal Regions, or Hell. The Infernal 
Regions were placed in Spain, Italy, or Epirus, or in 
other countries west of Greece. The Titans having 
taken refuge in Spain, the poets represented them as 
having been driven into the Infernal Regions. So they 
gave the name of Tartarus to the river Tartese, in 
Spain; and, the Titans having been beaten near that 
river, and drowned in its waters^ were represented as 
having been plunged into Tartarus. Some of them hav- 
ing been recalled from Italy or Spain, were said to have 
been delivered from the Infernal Regions. By the 
combat of the giants who attempted to dethrone Jupi- 
ter, is meant the conspiracy of his enemies who at- 
tacked him on Mount Olympus, which was, no doubt, 
a fortress in Thessaly. Let our readers sharpen their 
minds in explaining the other fables related in re- 
lation to Jupiter. 

Obs. 3. — The gods, whom the poets have associated 
with Jupiter, only mark the different employments 
which the lords of his court filled. Mercury was his 
secretary of state and ambassador; Neptune, or iEolus, 
the admiral of his fleets; Vulcan, his high master of 
artillery; Mars, the general of his troops; Comus, his 
hotel master. By the Academy of the Muses, was 
meant those singers or dancers who composed a kind 
of ambulatory opera, governed by a skilful master by 
the name of Apollo. The bitches of the prince were 
called Harpies. 

Obs. 4. — The Titans were nothing more than a fam- 
ily of princes, who acknowledged Saturn for their 
sovereign, but who afterwards revolted. In order to 
represent, allegorically, their atrocious crimes and 
passions, the poets incarnated them in monstrous forms 
and powers. The different animals into which the 
frightened gods figured themselves, were nothing but 
their images carved on the prows of the ships in 
which they made away. A further account of them 
will be given under the head of the Sufferers in Hell. 



PROMETHEUS PANDORA. 35 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Jupiter? 

Where was Jupiter born and educated? 
What was his first exploit? 
Did he enjoy his new empire undisturbed? 
Was he married? 

Were the subsequent actions of Jupiter worthy of him as god 
supreme? 

What are the attributes of Jupiter? 
How is Jupiter depicted in the Pantheon? 
How was he honoured? 
Had not Jupiter a variety of names? 



CHAPTER VH. 

Of Prometheus, Pandora, Deucalion. 

Prometheus Avas the son of Japetus by Clymene, 
one of the Oceantides. He animated a man whom he 
had formed of clay, with fire, which, by the assistance 
of Minerva, he stole from heaven; a theft which so 
offended Jupiter, that he sent him Pandora with a 
golden box. 

Pandora was the first woman that Vulcan formed. 
As soon as she was created, Minerva gave her wisdom; 
Venus, beauty; Apollo, a knowledge of music; and 
Mercury, eloquence. 

Prometheus suspected the artifice of Jupiter, and 
therefore delivered over Pandora to his brother Epin- 
otheus, who being seduced by her beauty, chose her 
for his wife. The curiosity of Epinotheus was raised 
at seeing the box given by Jupiter. When opened, 
it was found to contain all the evils, which instantly 
escaped, and spread over the earth. But he shut the 
box again, and prevented Hope from flying out. That 
deluge of evils produced the Iron Age. 

Jupiter ordered Mercury to chain Prometheus to 
mount Caucasus, with a vulture continually preying 
on his liver. After thirty years suffering, he was re- 
leased by Hercules. — See Fig. 7. 

Prometheus had a son nanred Deucalion, who was 
king of Thessaly, and married to Pyrrha, daughter of 



36 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Epimetheus. In his age the human race was destroy- 
ed by a deluge. Only Deucalion and his wife escaped 
the general calamity by saving themselves in a vessel 
that he had constructed, according to his father's ad- 
vice. 

The vessel floated for nine days, and at length rest- 
ed upon the top of mount Parnassus, where they re- 
mained till the waters subsided. They then inquired 
of the oracle of Themis, how the earth was to be re- 
peopled, and were commanded to throw behind them 
the bones of their grandmother. 

They rightly guessed that by their grandmother 
was intended the earth, and by her bones were meant 
the stones. The stones thrown by Deucalion and by 
Pyrrha were changed into men and into women. 

*'No pow'r the pride of mortals can control: 

Prone to new crimes, by strong presumption driv'n. 
With sacrilegious hands Prometheus stole 

Celestial fire, and bore it down from heav'n: 
The fatal present brought on mortal race 

An army of diseases; death began 
With vigour then, to mend its halting pace, 

And found a more compendious way to man." — Horace. 

**Thy godlike crime was to be kind, 

To render with thy precepts less 

The sum of human misery than wretchedness, 

And strengthen man with his own mind." — Byron. 

Obs. 1. — Prometheus is a name derived from a 
Greek word signifying to foresee future events; Epi- 
metheus, from a word signifying to remember past 
events; and Pandora, from one signifying every gift. 

Obs. 2. — It is believed that Prometheus was the first 
inventor of statues. To render the fables of the poets 
intelligible, they placed Minerva by him, directing 
his labours by her counsels; whence he is said to have 
given, as it were, a soul to his statues. Prometheus 
taught the Scythians to live mildly and comfortably; 
which gave rise to the saying that he made a man 
with the aid of the goddess of wisdom. Hence, he 



JTJNO. 37 

is painted, stealing fire from heaven, either because 
he first established forges in Scythia, or because he 
was the inventor of the steel with which we elicit 
f^re from flints. King Jupiter having driven him from 
his kingdom, Prometheus hid himself in the forests on 
mount Caucasus, which seemed to be inhabited by 
eagles and vultures. The sorrow which he expe- 
rienced in so cruel an exile, was figured by a vulture 
tearing his liver. 

Ohs. 3. — The fables of Pandora and Deucalion, ap- 
pear evidently, to relate to the Fall of man and the 
General Deluge. 

Obs. 4. — The story of Pandora's box, was doubtless 
an attempt to account for the caus€ of that wonderful 
truth, which could not escape the observation even of 
the ancient heathens, namely, that a mixture of good 
and evil fills up the cup of life; and that among its 
bitterest dregs are always found some sweets, seems 
to have suggested the beautiful idea of Epimetheus' 
shutting the box ere Hope escaped. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Prometheus? 

What is said of Pandora? 

Did Prometheus accept the dangerous gift? 

Was Jupiter satisfied with this revenge? 

Who was the son of Prometheus? 

What afterwards happened to Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha? 

Did they obey the command of the oracle? 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Juno. 

Juno, the Queen of Heaven and Eartli, was the 
daughter of Saturn and Cybele, and the sister of Ju- 
piter. The poets describe her as the majestic Empress 
of the skies, with all that is lofty, graceful, and mag- 
nificent, in her visage, figure, and motion. Some say 
that she was born at Argos, while others fix her na- 
tivity at Samos. 

Juno was married to Jupiter. To render his wed- 
4 



38 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

ding more solemn, Jupiter charged Mercury to invite 
all the gods, men, and animals. The nymph Chelone 
refused to be present. Mercury threw her down into 
a river, and changed her into a turtle (which her name 
signifies) that she might keep eternal silence. 

The many conjugal infidelities of her husband ren- 
dered Juno haughty, jealous, and inexorable; and she 
punished his mistresses with unparalleled severity. 

She persecuted Hercules, the son of Jupiter by Alc- 
mena, with fury, so inveterate, that, as a punish- 
ment, Jupiter caused her to be suspended between 
heaven and earth. Vulcan having effected the rescue 
of his mother, was thrust out of the celestial abodes, 
and broke his leg by the fall. She, therefore, excited 
sedition among the gods to depose Jupiter; but by the 
help of Briareus, he frustrated their attempts, and 
Apollo and Neptune were cast out of heaven for the 
offence. 

This punishment did not reform Juno. Having 
perceived that Jupiter loved the nymph lo, she made 
her the object of her revenge. Whereupon, in order 
to deliver her from the persecution of Juno, Jupiter 
metamorphosed her into a cow. The trick could not 
deceive the goddess. She imperiously demanded that 
this cow should be entrusted to her, and Jupiter did 
not dare to refuse her. Juno set her under the guard 
of Argus, who had one hundred eyes. This spy of 
the goddess could not be surprised, because fifty of 
his eyes remained open, while the other half was 
given up to sleep, (a perfect image of jealousy.) Yet 
Mercury, at the request of Jupiter, found means to 
lull Argus iisleep by the sounds of his flute, and kill- 
ed him during his sleep. To reward Argus, Juno 
transformed him into a peacock, and impressed his 
eyes on its feathers. 

Juno was the mother of Mars, Vulcan, Hebe, and 
Ilithya, or Lucina. 

Hebe, the goddess of youth, was cupbearer to the 
gods. Having displeased her father Jupiter, she was 
removed from the ofl&ce, and Ganymede, a beautiful 



JUNO. 39 

youth whom he had taken up to heaven, was appoint- 
ed in her stead. Soon after, Hebe was married to Her- 
cules. 

Hebe is usually represented as a beautiful virgin, 
crowned with roses, and holding a vase or ewer, Avith 
a goblet, into which she pours nectar. Sometimes the 
eagle of Jupiter is depicted as drinking from the 
goblet. 

Iris was the usual attendant of Juno. She ascend- 
ed upon the rainbow, with expanded wings, with a 
blaze of glory round her head, and clothed in floating 
robes of beautiful, brilliant, and varying colours. . She 
conveyed the commands of Juno, created dissensions, 
and released the souls of females struggling in the 
pangs of death. She was the personification of the 
rainbow. 

The worship of Juno was the most solemn and gen- 
eral of all offered up to pagan divinities. She presided 
over the finery of women, over marriage, childbirth, 
power, empire, and riches; and was the special pa- 
troness of virtuous females; no woman of ill fame be- 
ing allowed to enter her temples. She is described 
as the 

''Great Queen of nuptual rights, 

Whose pow'r the soul unites, 

And fills the genial beds with chaste dehghts." 

An ewe lamb and a sow were burnt on her altars 
on the first day of every month. Young geese, the 
hawk, and peacock, were her favourite birds; the lily, 
poppy, and dittany, her favourite plants. 

Juno was called Argiva, because the Argives wor- 
shipped her; Bunea, because it was Bunseus, Mer- 
cury's son, who erected to her a temple; Coprotina, 
because maid-servants celebrated her festivals under 
a fig-tree; Curis, or Curitis, because the spear is sa- 
cred to her; Cingula, because it was she who unloos- 
ed the girdle which the bride wore when she was 
married; Dominduca and Interduca, because she 
brought the bride to her husband's house; Februalis, 
because her festivals were celebrated in the month of 



40 CATECHISM or MYTHOLOGT. 

February; Juga, because she is the goddess of mar- 
riage; Socigena, because she helps to couple the bride 
and the bridegroom; Lacinia, because it was Lacinius 
who built and dedicated a temple to her^, Lucina, or 
Lucilia, either because her temple was in a grove^ 
or because she brought infants into the tracts of light; 
Nuptialis, because married people praised her when 
they were happy; Parthenos, because she annually 
bathed herself in order to recover the youth and beau- 
ty of a virgin; Regina, because she was the queen of 
heaven; Perfecta, because marriage impi-oves human 
life; Pronuba, because marriages were accounted il- 
legal, unless she was invoked; Sospita, because woman 
kind were under her peculiar protection; Unxia, be- 
cause she annointed the posts of the door on account 
of a recent marriage, when the wife was called Uxor. 
Juno is represented in a long robe, seated on a 
throne, holding in one hand a golden sceptre, and in the 
other, a spindle; her head is sometimes covered with 
a radiant crown, and at other times, is encircled with 
a rainbow. Sometimes she traverses the heavens in a 
chariot, drawn by peacocks. — See Fig. 8. 

"^The goddess then to Argus straight convey'd 

Her gift, and him the v* atehful keeper made. 

Argus' head a hundred eyes possess'd,. 

And only two at once reclin'd to rest: 

The others watch'd, and. in a constant round,. 

Refreshment in alternate courses found. 

Where'er he turn'd he always To view'd; 

lo he saw, though she behind him stood. 

There Argus lies; and all that wond'rous light. 

Which gave his hundred eyes their useful sight,. 

Lies buried now in one eternal night. 

But Juno, that she might his eyes retain, 

Soon fix'd them in her gaudy peacock's train." — Ono. 

"Then Juno^ grieving that she (Dido) should sustain 

A death so ling'ring, and so full of pain, 

Sent Iris down to free her from the strife 

Of lab'ring nature^ and dissolve her life. 

Downward the various goddess took her flight,. 

And drew^ a thousand colours from the light; 

Tiien stood about the dying Ipver's head, 

And said, 'I thus devote tl^e to the dead:. 



HYMEN. 41 

This off 'ring to th' infernal gods I bear.' 

Thus, while she spoke, she cut the fatal hair: 

The struggling soul was loos'd, and life dissolv'd in air." 

Virgil. 
"At her command rush forth the steeds divine; 
Rich with immortal gold their trappings shine: 
Bright Hebe waits: Hebe, ever young, 
The whirling wheels are to the chariot hung. 
On the bright axle turns the bidden wheel 
Of sounding brass; the pohsh'd axle, steel: 
Eight brazen spokes in radiant order flame; 
Such as the heavens produce: and round the gold 
Two brazen rings of work divine were roll'd. 
The bossy naves, of solid silver, shone; 
Braces of gold suspend the moving throne; 
The car, behind an arching figure bore; 
The bending concave form'd an arch before; 
Silver the beam, th' extended yoke was gold. 
And golden reins th' immortal coursers hold." — Homer. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Juno? 

To whom was Juno married? 

Did she experience matrimonial happiness? 

Did she persecute Hercules? 

Did this punishment correct Juno? 

Had Juno any children? 

Who was Hebe? 

How is Hebe usually represented? 

Who was the usual attendant of Juno? 

Was Juno held in great veneration? 

What sacrifices were offered to her? 

What were the different names of Juno? 

How is Juno represented? 



CHAPTER IX. 

Hymen, JVuptial Gods, SfC. 

Hymen, the god of marriage, and special protector 
of virgins, was either the son of Bacchus and Venus, 
or of Apollo and one of the Muses. His presence at 
the nuptial rites was deemed so indispensable to the 
future happiness of the married pair, that his name 
was loudly invoked during their celebration. 
4* 



42 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Hymen was represented as a handsome youth, crown- 
ed with marjoram and roses, dressed in a saffron-colour- 
ed vest, and holding a burning torch in his hand. 

Symbolically, the youthfulness of Hymen repre- 
sents the importance of early marriage, his rosy crown, 
the rational pleasures of matrimony, and his torch, a 
chaste and perpetual flame of love. 

Jupiter Perfectus or Adultus, Juno Perfecta or 
Adulta, Venus, Suada, and Diana,, were legally soli- 
cited to preside at the nuptial rites- 

Jugatinus put the yoke of matrimony on man and 
woman. 

Domiducus introduced the bride into the bride- 
groom's house. 

Domitius was invoked to make the bride a good 
housewife. 

Manturna was invoked to make the wife abide with 
her husband through life. 

Viriplaca, the goddess of family peace, was wor- 
shipped, that husbands might be reconciled to their 
wives. When a married couple quarrelled, they 
usually repaired to her temple, and there unsealing 
the sources of confidence in their breasts, they laid 
aside all bad feelings, and came back happy. 

Children were delivered from misfortunes by Pi- 
lumnuSj so called from the pestle, with which the an- 
cients pounded their corn, before they made their 
bread. 

Intercidona was invoked, because she first taught 
the art of cutting wood with a hatchet or an axe to 
make fires. 

Deverra invented brooms, with which to brush all 
things cleanly. 

Janus opened the doors of life to infants. 

Cunia takes care of infants while they sleep in cra- 
dles. 

Nundina was invoked by parents, who gave names 
to their children soon after their birth; and was also 
called Nona Dies. When a boy entered the ninth 



INVENTAS, HORTA, AND QUIES. 43 

day of his age, or when a girl reached her eighth day, 
this was called the day of the purification. 

Inventas, or Inventus, takes care of youth. She is 
the Hebe of the Greeks. 

Horta, Hora, or Hersilia, exhorts us to noble ac- 
tions. Her temple stood open at all times, to admonish 
those who were entering on the scenes of life, 
that they should ^'beware of flattery," and strive to 
gain the praises of the virtuous and wise, only by 
good conduct and real excellence. 

Quies was the goddess of rest, and was supposed 
to be the donor of peace and quietness. She had a 
temple without the walls of Rome. 

Meditrina was the goddess of medicines, her festi- 
vals were called Meditrinalia, in which the Romans 
drank new and old wine, which served them for phy- 
sic. 

The Romans gave thanks to Vitula, the goddess of 
mirth, for mitigating the toils of life. 

Sentia was invoked to make a full conviction in 
children of the obligations of morality and religion. 

Angerona was worshipped, that anguish of mind 
might be removed. 

The Romans offered up prayers to Stata, or Statua 
Mater, in the Forum, that she might preserve it from 
fire at night. 

Thieves were patronized by Laverna, from whom 
they were named Laverniones. They worshipped her, 
when they put their designs and intrigues into execu- 
tion. She appears with a head, but no legs, or other 
limbs. 

Volumnus and Volumna presided over the will. 
They were particularly invoked at the nuptial rites, 
in order to ensure concord between the husband and 
the wife, and worshipped by the Etnesians. 

An altar was erected to Aius Locutius to give Rome 
warning of approaching calamities. A common sol- 
dier, named Ceditius, informed the tribunes that while 
he was one night passing through the streets, he heard 
a voice, saying, the ''Gauls are coming.'*' Nobody 



44 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

appreciated this information on account of his mean 
origin. After the Gallic war, Camillus dedicated a tem- 
ple to Aius Locutius, to remind the Romans of that war, 
and of the forewarning of Aius Locutius. 

Funerals were patronized by lAhitina, whom some 
consider the same as Venus, and others as Proser- 
pine. In her temple every thing for funeral purposes 
was sold or let. By her name is commonly meant the 
grave, and the Libitinarii were grave-diggers. Porta 
Libitina at Rome, was the gate through which the 
corpses were conveyed to be burnt. By Rationes 
LibitincB we usually understand the "bills of mortali- 
ty," or the "weekly bills." 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Hymen? 

How was Hymen represented? 

What do these emblems indicate? 

What five deities favoured the nuptial rites with their presence? 

What was the duty of Jugatinus? 

What was the province of Domiducus? 

What was the office of Domitius? 

What was the duty of Manturna? 

What goddess reconciled husbands to their wives? 

What was the province of Pilumnus? 

What is said of Tntercidona? 

What is known of Deverra? 

What was the duty of Janus? 

What goddess blesses sleeping infants? 

What is said of Nundina? 

What goddess blesses youth? 

What goddess patronizes noble actions? 

What was Quies? 

W^o was Meditrina? 

Who was Vitula? 

Who was Sentia? 

Who was Angerona? 

What is said of Stata or Statua Mater? 

Who was the goddess of thieves? 

What two deities presided over the will? 

What is said of Aius Locutius? 

What goddess presided over funerals? 



CERES. 45 

CHAPTER X. 

Of Ceres. 

Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, was the daugh- 
ter of Saturn and Cybele. She is regarded as the 
first inventress of the art of cultivating the earth. 

She is said to have repented of the improper demea- 
nor of which she had been guilty, put on mourning 
garments, and kept herself in such privacy, that a fa- 
mine would have afflicted the whole world, had not 
Pan discovered her. 

She taught Triptolemus, son of Celeus, king of At- 
tica, to plough, sow, and reap, to bake bread, and rear 
fruit trees. She gave him her chariot, drawn by 
winged dragons, and bade him travel and communi- 
cate his knowledge to those who then fed on acorns 
and roots. On his return to Athens, he celebrated 
the Eleusinian mysteries. 

The Eleusinian mysteries were a festival, cele- 
brated by the Greeks every fifth year. The initiated 
only were admitted; and whoever disclosed their se- 
crets, was put to an ignominious death. 

Proserpine, the daughter of Ceres, while gathering 
flowers in the plains of Enna, in Sicily, was carried 
oflf by Pluto, the god of Tartarus. The fountain 
Arethusa, which flowed under ground, was the wit- 
ness of this rape; of which she informed Ceres, who 
ran over the world with two flambeaux in her hand in 
quest of her daughter. Ceres complained to Jupiter, 
who decreed that Pluto should restore Proserpine, if 
she had eaten nothing in hell. But she had eaten a 
pomegranate. Ascalphus informed Ceres; which en- 
raged her so much that she cast the water of the Phle- 
gethon at his face, and he was soon metamorphosed into 
an owl, a bird which announces misfortunes. Minerva, 
however, took it under her protection, because it 
watches and discerns objects in the dark (an allegory 
which perfectly agrees with wisdom, always guarding 
against surprise.) To console Ceres, Jupiter ordain- 



46 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

ed, that Proserpine should pass six months with her 
husband Pluto, and six months with her. 

Arethusa, a most virtuous and beautiful nymph, was 
engaged in the service of Diana. While she was 
bathing herself in a cool and limpid river, Alpheus, 
the god of the river, in the shape of a man, addressed 
her. She ran away, but Diana, finding her over- 
whelmed with fear, changed her, at her own request, 
into a fountain, which she did in order to deliver her 
from the pursuits of the river Alpheus. 

Ceres metamorphosed Abbas into a lizard, for using 
towards her opprobrious laaguage; she punished Eri- 
sichthon for cutting down a grove sacred to her, with 
such insatiable hunger, that he gnawed his own flesh; 
and she changed some clowns into frogs, because they 
prevented her drinking at a spring. 

Her favorite retreat was Sicily, where every man 
made an annual sacrifice to her. The fountain of Cy- 
anne, when Pluto opened it with the stroke of his bi- 
dent, afforded him a passage, and was honoured with 
the blood of bulls. Sometimes rams were offered be- 
fore the corn was ripe; and sometimes, garlands of ears 
of corn. Sometimes a pregnant sow was sacrificed, 
because that animal injures the productions of the 
earth. When harvest came on, the husbandmen car- 
ried a pregnant cow or a heifer, with dancing and 
shouts through the fields, one of them being adorned 
with a crown, singing the praises of Ceres. After an 
oblation of wine mixed with honey and milk, the 
heifer was sacrificed. The name of this festival was 
Ambarvalia. Roman matrons annually celebrated her 
festival for eight days in April, when they abstained 
from wine, and every sensual indulgence. 

Ceres was denominated Melsena, because she was 
clad in black; Mammosa, because her breasts swell 
with milk; Alma, because she feeds and nourishes as 
a mother; Thesmophoris, because she taught men to 
aflSx boundaries to their possessions. 

Ceres was represented as a tall, beautiful, and majes- 
tic woman, with yellow hair, and a garland of corn- 



CERES. 47 

ears on her head. In one hand she holds a lighted 
torch, and in the other, a mixed bunch of poppies and 
corn-ears. In Sicily her image was represented in 
a black veil, with the head of a horse, and holding a 
dove in one hand, and in the other, a dolphin. Some- 
times she is represented as a country woman, mount- 
ed on an ox, holding a basket upon her left arm, and 
a hoe or sickle in her right hand. — See Fig. 9. 

"Ceres was she who first our furrows plough'd; 

Who gave sweet fruits, and early food allow'd; 

Ceres first tam'd us with her gentle laws; 

From her kind hand the world subsistence draws." — Virgil. 

"Ceres with the blood of swine we beset alone, 

Which thus requite the mischief they have done." — Ovid. 

"To thee, fair goddess, we'll a garland plait, 

Of ears of corn, t' adorn thy temple gate." — Tibullus. 

"Let ev'ry swain adore her power divine. 
And milk and honey mix with sparkling wine: 
Let all the choir of clowns attend the show, 
In long procession, shouting as they go; 
Invoking her to bless their yearly stores. 
Inviting plenty to their crowded floors. 
Thus in the spring, and thus in summer's heat. 
Before the sickles touch the rip'ning wheat. 
On Ceres call; and let the lab"ring find 
With oaken wreaths his hollow temples bind; 
On Ceres let him call, and Ceres praise. 
With uncouth dances, and with country lays." 

"To Ceres bland, her annual rites be paid. 

On the green turf, beneath the fragrant shade; 

When winter ends and spring serenely shines, 

Then fat the lamb, then mellow are the wines: 

Then sweet are slumbers on the flowery ground; 

Then with thick shades are lofty mountains crown'd. 

Let all the winds bend low at Ceres' shrine; 

Mix honey sweet, for her, with milk and mellow wine; 

Thrice lead the victim the new fruits around. 

And Ceres call, and choral hymns resound; 

Presume not, swaios, the ripened grain to reap, 

Till crown'd with oak in antic dance you leap. 

Invoking Ceres; and in solemn lays. 

Exalt your rural queen's immortal praise." — Pitt's Virgil. 



48 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Obs. 1. — In inquiring into the sense of the first of 
these fables, we find that the counsels of Ascalphus de- 
termined on Proserpine's receiving Pluto for her hus- 
band; at which Ceres was dissatisfied, and Ascalphus 
became the subject of her vengeance. It appears, how- 
ever, that his prudence and wisdom engaged Minerva to 
take him under her protection. 

Obs. 2. — The division of the year alluded to by the 
second fable, may be explained in two different ways. 
Proserpine was often taken for the moon, and one ex- 
pressed by this fable, the time at which she appeared to 
us, and the time at which she disappeared from us. 
Some explain it still more naturally by saying that 
king Jupiter allowed her to spend one part of the year 
in the kingdom of Pluto, and the other part in the 
usual abode of her mother Ceres. 

Obs. 3. — Allegorically, Proserpine may stand for 
the seed, and Ceres, for the fertility of the earth. The 
seed remains concealed under ground in winter, but 
in summer it bursts its concealment, and produces the 
the stalk and ear, exposing itself to the face of the 
sun. 

It is not our intention to present an unnecessary 
multiplication of these explanations of the fables. 
A few examples of the kind, however, may be useful 
to call forth the sagacity and critical acumen of the 
youthful reader, and, we hope, induce him to surpass 
ourselves in labours of this description. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Ceres? 

Was Ceres a chaste goddess? 

Was Ceres a beneficient goddess? 

What were the Eleusinian mysteries? 

What heavy misfortunes did Ceres experience? 

Who was Arethusa? 

Was Ceres insulted with impunity? 

What was her favorite retreat? 

What were the different names of Ceres?- 

How was Ceres represented? 



SOL. 49 



CHAPTER XI. 

Sol. 

Sol or Sun was much worshipped by the ancients. 
He was called Mithras by the Persians; Bel or Baal 
by the Chaldeans; Belphegor by the Moabites; Moloch 
by the Canaanites; Osiris by the Egyptians; and Ado- 
nis by the Syrians. The Massagetae offered horses to 
the sun, because they were swift. Apollo, Phoebus, 
and Sol, are generally thought to he one and the same 
deity. Apollo is always represented under the figure 
of a young man, who holds a bow or a harp in his 
hand, while the sun is represented with a head sur- 
rounded with rays, holding a globe in one hand; 
which is never observed in the representation of Apol- 
lo.— See Fig. 10. 

Sol presides over the twelve signs of the zodiac. 
Each of these signs answers to a month; so that the 
sun runs over them all during the course of the year; 
hence they are called the twelve houses of the sun. 

1. March, sign of Aries (a ram.) He represents 
that upon which Phryxus and Helle fled away to es- 
cape from the persecutions of their step-mother. 

2. April, sign of Taurus (a bull.) He represents 
that animal whose form Jupiter assumed to carry Eu- 
ropa away. 

3. May, sign of Gemini (the twins.) They repre- 
sent Castor and Pollux, sons of Jupiter and Leda. 

4. June, sign of Cancer (a crab.) The crab is sup- 
posed to have pricked Hercules, when killing the Ler- 
nean hydra. 

5. July, sign of Leo (a lion.) He represents the one 
of the Nemaen forest, killed by Hercules, whoso skin 
served him for a mantle. 

6. August, sign of Virgo (a virgin.) During the 
golden age, Astrasa dwelt on earth; but when that 
was over, being unable to bear the sight of the crimes 
which men committed, she returned with the other 
gods to heaven. She was the last who left the earth, 

5 



50 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

and retired into that part of heaven which makes the 
sign of Virgo. 

7. September, sign of Libra (a balance.) It repre- 
sents Justice, the balance of which alvvays ought to 
be perfectly equal. It also signifies that in this month, 
days and nights are equal. 

8. October, sign of Scorpio (a scorpion.) It repre- 
sents Orion whom Diana changed into that animal. 

9. November, sign of Sagittarius (a bow-man.) He 
represents the Centaur Chiron, who draws his bow. 
He had been the preceptor of Hercules; but in the 
battle of the Lapithes against the Centaurs, Hercules 
wounded him accidentally with one of his arrows, 
which had been dipped in the blood of the hydra. 
The wound caused Chiron such exqviisite pain, that 
he wished to die, though immortal. The gods, mov- 
ed with his complaints, granted him his request. He 
died, and was translated into heaven among the signs 
of the zodiac. 

10. December, sign of Capricornus (a goat.) It 
represents the goat Amalthea, or the princess Melissa, 
who took care of the infancy of Jupiter. 

11. January, sign of Aquarius (a butler.) He re- 
presents Gaenymede, pouring out the nectar to Jupi- 
ter and the other gods. He also designates abundant 
rains which fall during this month. 

12. February, sign of Pisces (the fishes.) They 
represent the Dolphins which conducted Amphitrite 
to Neptune. 

The names of the four horses that drew the chariot 
of the sun, were Eous, Pyrois, Aethon, and Phlegon, 
Greek names, meaning red, luminous, resplendent^ 
and loving the earth. The first designates sunrise, as 
the rays are red at that moment; the second marks the 
moment at which the rays are more clear; the third 
figures noon, a time at which that luminary is in all its 
splendor; and the fourth represents sunset, when it is 
seen to approach the earth. Horse or Seasons are sup- 
posed to be the daughters of the sun. Early in the 
morning, they prepare the chariot and the horses for 



AURORA, &C. 51 

their father, and open the gates of heaven. Ethes, 
Pasiphae, and Rhodia, were his reputed daughters. 
The poets say that on the birth-day of Rhodia, a show- 
er of gold fell, and that rose-bushes were covered 
with new flowers. Among the children of the sun, 
Aurora and Phaeton are the most celebrated. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was So]? 

How is the Sun represented? 

Over what twelve signs of the zodiac does Sol preside? 
What were the names of the four horses that drew the chariot 
of the sun? 

Who were supposed to be the daughter of Sol? 



CHAPTER XIi: 

Aurora f Tithonus, Memnon^and Phaeton, 

Aurora, the goddess of the morning dawn, and 
the harbinger of the sun, was the wife of Astroeus, 
one of the Titans, by whom she became the mother 
of the stars and winds. When she rises, the wing- 
ed hours unbar the gates of the east. She ascends 
in a golden chariot drawn by white horses; and ap- 
pears covered with a veil of a rich vermilion, with 
rosy fingers, and hair sprinkling the dew, and expand- 
ing the cups of flowers.. Nox and Somnus fly before 
her. 

Aurora was not faithful to her husband. She had 
Memnon and ^Emathion by Tithonus, and Phaeton by 
Cephalus. 

Tithonus begged of Aurora that she would favour 
him with the gift of immortality, which she did ac- 
cordingly. But as she forgot to off"er him perpetual 
youth, he became so much worn out with infirm old 
age, that he chose rather to die than live. She meta- 
morphosed him into a grasshopper, which the ancients 
deemed a happy and long lived insect. 

Memnon aided Priam in the Trojan war, and was 



52 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

killed by Achilles. His mother issued from her wood 
pile, birds, called Memnonides. The statue of Mem- 
non, set up in the temple of Serapis at Thebes, in 
Egjpt, is reported to have uttered a melodious sound 
at sunrise, and a lugubrious sound at sunset. 

Phaeton, the son of Sol, begged leave to drive the 
chariot of the sun for one day; but he found himself 
unequal to the task: the horses, running away, and 
setting the heavens and the earth on fire, Jupiter, with 
a stroke of thunder, precipitated him into the river 
Po. His sisters Lamethusa, Lampetia, and Phaethusa 
were turned into poplars — weeping amber, because 
they constantly shed tears for his death. Cygnus, his 
brother, died of grief, and was metamorphosed into a 
swan. 

TO THE GRASSHOPPER. 

Oh thou, of all creation blest, 
Sweet insect! that deligh'st to rest 
Upon the wild wood's leafy tops, 
To drink the dew that morning drops, 
And chirp thy song with such a glee, 
That happiest kings may envy thee. 
Whatever decks the velvet fields, 
Whate'er the circling seasons yield. 
Whatever buds, whatever blows, 
For thee it buds, for thee it grows. 
Nor yet art thou the peasant's fear, 
To iiim thy friendly notes are dear; 
For thou art mild as matin dew. 
And still, when summer's flowery hue 
Begins to paint the blooming plain. 
We hear thy sweet prophetic strain; 
Thy sweet prophetic strain we hear, 
And bless the notes and thee revere. 
The muses love thy shrilly tone; 
Apollo calls thee all his own; 
'Twas he who gave that voice to thee, 
Tis he who tunes thy minstrelsy. 
Unworn by age's dim decline. 
The fadeless blooms of youth are thine. 
Melodious insectl child of earth! 
In wisdom mirthful, wise in mirth; 
Exempt from every weak decay, 
That withers vulgar frames away; 



LATONA, APOLLO. 53 

With not a drop of blood to stain 

The current of thy purer vein; 

So blest an age is past by thee, 

Thou seemest a little deity! — Moore's Anacreon. 

Obs. 1. — Daybreak in fair weather, affords a most 
beautiful prospect of nature. It is associated in the 
mind with ideas of the young and untainted breeze, 
of the sweet and balmy scent of fields, the suffusion of 
a rosy blush, and of the freshness and liveliness of all 
things. 

Obs. 2.' — The fable of Tithonus is a pretty allegory, 
the end of which is to warn us that we form many in- 
discreet vows, and that if they were all heard, we 
should eternize our misfortunes and regrets. 

Obs. 3. — The fable of Phaeton appears to be an al- 
legory, representing an ambitious youth, involved in 
the difficulties of an undertaking beyond his capacity, 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Aurora? 

Was Aurora faithful to her husband? 

What is said of Tithonus? 

What is said of Meinnon? 

What fable is related of Phaeton? 



CHAPTER XIII, 

Of Lalona and Apollo, 

Latona was the daughter of Cceus the Titan and 
Phceba, or, according to Homer, of Saturn. Jupiter 
abandoned .Juno for Latona, who brought him two 
children, Apollo and Diana. But Juno drove her 
from heaven, and raised against her a frightful ser- 
pent, called Python, which the poets suppose to have 
been formed of the mud left on the earth by the wa- 
ters of the deluge. 

Juno, pursuing her rival every where, influenced 
Terra to swear not to give her a habitation; but Nep- 
tune, out of compassion for her, made the island De- 
los immovable, which had previously wandered about 
5* 



54 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

in the ^gean sea. Here Latona gave birth to Apol- 
lo and Diana. Juno discovered her retreat, and 
obliged her to flee from place to place. While she 
was passing through Lycia, she stopped near a swamp, 
where some peasants were working. Being exhaust- 
ed with fatigue and thirst, she asked of them some 
water to quench her thirst, saying to them, "Fow loUl 
preserve myl'ife;^^ but the Lycians, instigated by Juno, 
refused her that trifling service, and insulted her. La- 
tona turned them into frogs. 

Apollo. Cicero mentions four Apollos. The Apol- 
lo of the Egyptians, called Horus, was the most an- 
cient, but the Apollo to whom the actions of the rest 
are usually ascribed, was the son of Jupiter and La- 
tona. He was born in the Island of Delos at the same 
birth with Diana, and was not unfrequently confound- 
ed with the sun. He presided over music, eloquence, 
medicine, poetry, divination, the fine arts, and archery. 

Having acquired his full stature as soon as born, he 
immediately with his arrows destroyed the serpent 
Python, which Juno had sent to persecute his mother. 
In conjunction with Diana, he slew the children of 
Niobe, because Niobe insulted their mother. Niobe 
herself was changed into a rock. 

His son ^sculapius had been killed by Jupiter 
with his thunderbolts for raising the dead to life; 
whereupon Apollo killed the Cyclops who forged 
them, and engaged w^ith Neptune against his sovereign. 
For this double offence, he was banished from hea- 
ven. 

Apollo hired himself as a shepherd to Admetus, 
king of Thessaly, and remained nine years in his ser- 
vice; and hence he has sometimes been called the god 
of shepherds. He assisted Neptune in building the 
walls of Troy, and when he was refused the stipu- 
lated reward by king Laomedon, he destroyed the in- 
habitants by a pestilence. 

Some say that Apollo was the inventor of the Lyre, 
while others advance that Mercury gave him this in- 
strument in exchange for the famous caduceus, or staff" 
with which Apollo drove the flocks of Admetus. 



APOLLO. 55 

His favorite boy, Hyacinthus, whom he accidental- 
ly killed with a quoit, he turned into a violet. He 
changed into a cypress Cyparissus, who died of grief 
for the loss of his pet deer; his mistress Daphne into 
a laurel; and his lover Leucothe, into a beautiful tree 
which drops frankincense. He despised Clytia, be- 
cause she discovered his amours with Leucothe; and 
she was changed into a sun-flower, or Heliotrope. 
He flayed Marsyas alive, because he contended with 
him in music; and gave Midas, king of Phrygia, a 
pair of "asses ears," for prefering Pan's music to his. 

Jupiter, thinking that he had now been sufficiently 
punished, recalled him to heaven, and entrusted to 
him the duty of giving light to the world; and from 
this circumstance, he has often been considered as 
the sun. 

No god was more honoured than Apollo. His ora- 
cles were in universal repute. His temples and sta- 
tues were raised in every country. His most splen- 
did temple was at Delphi. The olive and laurel, 
swans and griffins, crows and hawks, cocks and grass- 
hoppers, were sacrificed to iiim. The hawk and the 
wolf were sacred to him, because their eyes are pierc- 
ing; also the raven, the crow, and the swan, because 
they are thought to have had the gift of foreseeing fu- 
turity. Hence they served as augurs, &c. 

His favorite residence was on Mount Parnassus in 
Phocis, Greece, where he presided over the muses. 
Apollo was called Cynthius, because he was born on 
Mount Cynthus in the Island Delos; Delius, because 
Delos was his native island; Delphinus, because he 
guided Castilius, a Cretan, in the figure of a dolphin; 
Delphicus, because his oracle was held in high esteem 
at Delphi; DidyuiGeus, because he was twin-brother 
to Diana, from which circumstance we understand 
that they are used for the sun and moon; Nomius, be- 
cause he fed the cattle of Admetus; Paean, because he 
was skilful in the use of arrrows; Phcebus, in allu- 
sion to the light of the sun; Pythius, on account of 
his victory over the serpent Python, a victory which 



56 CATECHISH OF MYTHOLOGY. 

must be attributed to the sun, which, while enlight- 
ening and drying up the mud, kills venemous reptiles; 
Actiacus, on account of the promontory of Actium, 
celebrated for the victory which rendered Augustus 
master of Rome and of the world; Palatinus, because 
Augustus built him on Mount Palatine a temple to 
which he added a library. 

Apollo is represented as a tall, beardless youth, 
with long hair and a handsome shape, sometimes hold- 
ing in his hand a bow, with a quiver of arrows at his 
back, and sometimes a lyre, or harp. His head was 
crowned with laurel, and surrounded with rays ot 
light.— See Fig. 11. 

"Stay, nymph, he cried, I follow not a foe. 
Thus from the lion darts the trembhng doe: 
Thou shunn'st a god; and shunn'st a god that loves. 
But think from whom thou dost so rashly fly. 
Nor basely born, nor shepherd's swain am I. 

What shall be 

Or is, or ever was, in fate I see. 

Mine is the invention of the charming lyre; 

Sweet notes and heavenly numbers I inspire. 

Sure is ray bow, unerring is my dart. 

But ah! more deadly his, who pierc'd my heart. 

Med'cine is mine; what herbs and simples grow 

In fields, in forests, all their powers I know. 

And am the great physician call'd below." 

HYACINTHUS. 

"Behold the blood, which late the grass had dy'd, 
Was now no blood; from which a flower full blown. 
Far brighter than the Tyrian scarlet shone. 
Which seem'd the same, or did resemble right 
A lily, changing but the red to white." — Ovid, 

LEUCOTHE. 

"He mourned her loss, and sprinkled all her hearse. 
With balmy nectar, and more precious tears. • 

Then said since fate does here our joys defer, 
Thou shalt ascend to heav'n and bless me there. 
Her body straight embalm'd with heav'nly art. 
Did a sweet odour to the ground impart. 
And from the grave a beauteous tree arise. 
That cheers the gods with pleasing sacrifice." — Ovid» 



LATONA AND APOLLO. 5t 

Obs. l.-^The haughty Niobe derided the sacrifices 
of Latona; an indignity which brought on her the 
wrath of Apollo and Diana. They pierced with their 
arrows the children of Niobe in the plains near 
Thebes. We shall explain this fable by reconciling 
it with history. Niobe was the daughter of Tantalus, 
and sister of Pelops. She married Amphion, by 
w^hom she had fourteen children. A cruel plague 
having ravaged the country, they all died; and, as this 
plague was ascribed to an extreme heat, which the 
night itself could not abate, the fable of their death 
was imagined. Homer says, that the children of Niobe 
remained unburied for nine days, at the end of w^hich 
the gods themselves buried them. Those children be- 
ing dead of the plague, people durst not approach 
them. The Thebans, frightened for themselves, ap- 
peared insensible to the misfortunes of the queen, 
which caused the poets to say, that they had been 
changed into stones. Amphion soon died of sorrow 
or of the plague. Niobe returned to Lycia, where 
she ended her days in sorrow. The poets gave out, 
that she had been turned into a rock, because the ex^ 
cess of her sufferings rendered her in some measure 
immovable, and did not allow her complaints to be 
heard. The arrows of Apollo represent the rays of 
the sun. Such was their power, that sudden deaths 
were attributed to them. The history of the children 
of Niobe, killed by Apollo and Diana, proves how 
much we believe in the influence of the sun and 
moon. When Apollo was enraged, they represented 
him armed with his arrows; and to express that he 
was appeased, they put a lyre in his hand. 

Obs. '•Z. — The poets thus give an origin to the cy- 
press, a doleful and leafless tree. Apollo changed 
Cyparissus into cypress, to show that it was sacred to 
obsequies. 

Obs. 3. — We are informed by history that Daphne, 
daughter of a king of Thessaly, called Peneus, pur- 
sued by a young prince on the shores of a river which 
bore the same name, fell into its waters, and was 



58 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

drowned. The large quantity of laurels which grew 
along its banks, caused the poets to say that she had 
been transformed into a laurel. Pliny the naturalist 
affirms, that the laurel possesses the virtue of evading 
the thunderbolts. During the prevalence of contagious 
diseases, the people placed before their houses laurel 
branches, in hopes that the gods would spare those 
who rendered that honour to the nymph Daphne. 
Apollo wished the laurel to be consecrated to her; and 
its leaves, used in the crowning of those who should 
excel in poetry and in the Pythian games. 

Obs. 4. — A Greek prince by the name of Apollo, 
loved Clytia, and abandoned her for Leucothe. The 
despair of Clytia hurried her away, and she starved 
herself. When the poets saw that the sunflower al- 
ways inclined itself towards the sun, they published 
that Clytia had been turned into a sunflower, and that 
her form, having destroyed her sensibility, she still 
turns towards the sun to reproach his inconstancy. 

Obs. 5. — The Satyr Marsyas durst not pretend that 
the sounds of his flute would please more than those 
of Apollo's lyre. Judges were chosen. The god 
beat the satyr, and flayed him alive. The origin of 
this fable may be accounted for thus: before the inven- 
tion of the lyre, the flute was the instrument prefer- 
ed. Apollo with his lyre, found means to unite the 
beauty of song with the charm of harmony; and the 
poets painted the regrets and jealousy of Marsyas, by 
saying that Apollo had flayed him. 

Obs. 6. — Apollo is represented with long hair, in 
allusion to the sunbeams; with a harp, to show the 
harmony of our system; with a buckler, to denote his 
defending the earth; and with arrows, to signify his 
power of life and death. His killing the serpent Py- 
thon is taken for the sun's exhaling pestilential va- 
pours; his feeding Admetus' sheep, for its sustaining all 
creatures by its genial warmth; his destroying the 
Cyclops for forging Jupiter's thunderbolts, for its dis- 
persing those pestilential vapours which are fatal to 



MUSES. 59 

mankind. He is called the sun in heaven, Bacchus 
on earth, and Apollo in the infernal regions. 

Obs. 7. — A fable imagined about the raven, deserves 
to be related. Its plumage was at first white; but 
Apollo blackened it, because it misinformed him of 
the infidelity of Coronis. The fits of jealousy are ter- 
rible, and often blind. Apollo put that nymph to death, 
and repented of it too late. He turned her into a crow, 
and wished its doleful plumage and that of the raven 
to be at once the proof of his regrets and vengeance. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Latona? 

Please to give a farther account of Latona. 

Did not Juno discover her retreat? 

Who was Apollo? 

What were his first exploits? 

How did Apollo incense Jupiter against him? 

Whither did he retire? 

Of what is Apollo said to have been the inventor? 

Had Apollo any other adventures v/hile on earth? 

Did Apollo continue on earth? 

How was he honoured? 

Where was his ^vorite residence? 

Had not he various names? 

How is he represented? 



CHAPTER XIV. 

The Muses. 

The nine Muses were the daughters of Jupiter and 
Mnemosynes, or Memory, and the goddesses of the 
arts and sciences. Their names are, Clio (history,) 
Thalia (comedy,) Melpomene (tragedy,) Euterpe (mu- 
sic,) Terpsichore (dancing,) Erato (amatory poetry,) 
Polyhymnia (rhetoric,) Urania (astronomy,) and Cal- 
liope (Epic poetry.) 

The Muses are usually represented as virgins, beau- 
tiful, of an expr^sive countenance and majestic figure, 
dancing in a circle round Apollo, and singing in cho- 
rus to show the close and indissoluble relation of the 



60 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

liberal arts to the sciences. On their mountain, Pega- 
sus is seen to expand his wings towards heaven, and 
to open with the stroke of his hoof the fountain Hip- 
pocrenus, celebrated among the poets. 

One day when the Muses were going to Mount Par- 
nassus to learn the lessons of their master Apollo, a 
heavy fall of rain forced them to take shelter in the 
palace of Pyreneus, king of Phocis. Being insulted 
by that prince, they took wings and flew away. To 
pursue them, he rushed from the top of a tower; but 
not being able to keep himself in the air, he fell, and 
broke his head. 

1. Clio, crowned with laurel, held a trumpet in her 
right hand, and a book in her left. She was thought 
to be the inventress of the guitar. For this reason 
she usually held a guitar in her right hand, and in her 
left, a plectrum, instead of a fiddlestick. She is often 
represented writing histor}^ — See Fig. 12. 

2. Thalia had garments tressed up short for a free 
motion, wore the stock, and held a mask in one hand, 
and leaned the other on a pillar. — See Fig. 13. 

3. Melpomene was distinguished by a splendid robe, 
a buskin, a dagger, a sceptre, and a crown. She is 
usually seen to rest her hand upon the club of Her- 
cules, because the object of tragedy is to exhibit the 
glorious actions of heroes, and the most illustrious of 
all, is Hercules. — See Fig. 14. 

4. Euterpe had a tiara of flowers, and was surround- 
ed with flutes, lyres, guitars, and other attributes of 
music. — See Fig. 15. 

5. Terpsichore was represented in a dancing atti- 
tude, with a musical instrument. Her visage is ever 
smiling, and one of her feet lightly touches the earth. 
See Fig. 16. 

6. Erato had a headdress of rose and myrtle, and 
bore in one hand a lyre, and in the other a lute. She 
inspires light poetry, amorous songs; and her varying 
physiognomy cannot be painted, betause it changes 
every time that a new subject inspires her. — See Fig. 



MUSES. 61 

7. Polyhymnia was dressed in white, and bore a 
scroll in her left hand, with her right hand raised in a 
speaking attitude. She is painted with a lyre, as be- 
ing the inventress of harmony. Her countenance, 
which is raised towards heaven, announces that she 
presides over odes. — See Fig. 18. 

8. Urania was painted with a crown of stars, a robe 
of celestial blue, and various mathematical instruments 
around her. She holds a globe in her hand, which is 
sometimes laid on a tripod; a compass is then seen in 
her hand. — See Fig. 19. 

9. Calliope was represented with a crown of laurel, 
a trumpet in her right hand, and books in her left. 
She presides over heroic poems. By her are general- 
ly seen the trumpet of renown, crowns of laurel, bun- 
dles of arms and of trophies. — See Fig. 20. 

The Muses were called Heliconiades, because they 
inhabited the mountain Helicon in Bosotia; Parnas- 
sides, because Mount Parnassus was their favorite re- 
treat; Pegasides, because Pegasus, a winged horse, 
brought vocal waters from the fountain Helicon; Pie- 
rides, either because they dwelt on Mount Pierus, or 
because they changed into magpies the nine daugh- 
ters of Pierus, king of Macedonia, who had challeng- 
ed them to sing; Citherides (Mount Cytheron;) Aoni- 
des, (the country Aonia;) Aganippides, (the fountain 
Aganippe;) Castalides (the fountain Castalius) at the 
foot of Parnassus. 

Obs. 1. — The Muses were supposed by the hea- 
thens to preside over the works of genius, and when 
addressed, to aid writers in any particular branch of 
science. Some reckon no more than three of them, 
viz. Mnemo, Asede, and Melete, i. e. memory, sing- 
ing, and meditation; but Homer and Hesiod reckon 
nine, viz. Clio, which signifies glory; Thalia, flourish- 
ing; Melpomene, attracting; Euterpe, pleasing; Terp- 
sichore, rejoicing the heart; Erato, amiable; Polyhym- 
nia, a multitude of songs; Urania, the heavenly; and 
Calliope, sweetness of voice. The fable of the Muses 
allegorically represents the modifications of memory, 
6 



62 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

variously cultivated; in fact, conceptions of the mind 
represent external, and not innate, impressions; and it 
is with that mental endowment that mankind refine 
their intellect, and they are also indebted to it for their 
progress in knowledge. The name of the Muses is 
generally supposed to have been derived from the 
Greek muein, to explain the mysteries. 

Obs, 2. — The Muses were virgins, because a youth, 
named Adonis, having tried to please them, they put 
him to death. This fable is intended to represent un- 
successful attempts at poetry. This pretended death 
of Adonis, allegorically represents a man, vain of his 
intellectual powers, who considered himself a poet, but 
whose works could not survive him. Such was his 
poetic, or, rather, literary death. 

Obs. 3. — We learn from history thatPyrenus drove 
from his kingdom all learned and wise men, and shut 
up public schools. For this he was generally des- 
pised, and when he died, no one would honour his 
memory. After having unavailingly attempted to 
have his works admired, he thought he revenged him- 
self by persecuting the sciences; and the poets invent- 
ed the foregoing fable with a view to perpetuate this 
blemish of his character. 

Obs. 4. — The name of Musagete, or captain of the 
Muses was often given to Hercules, who appears to 
have been confounded with the sun. Mr. Court de 
Gebelin solves this problem ingeniously. He aflBrms 
that this celebrated Hercules and his twelve labours 
were merely the emblems of the sun and the twelve 
signs of the zodiac. He also explains the number of 
the fifty women given to that demi-god, by saying that 
they were the emblem of the fifty weeks in the year. 
The Muses, says he, were twelve months in the year; 
and, though they are usually nine in number, there 
must be added three months in the year during which 
people rest from the toils of agriculture. However 
learned this explanation may be, it is novel, and not 
generally adopted. 



DIANA. 63 

QUESTIONS. 

Who were the Muses? 

How are they usually represented? 

Give some account of them? 

How was Clio represented? 

How was Thalia represented? 

What was the picture of Melpomene? 

What was the representation of Euterpe? * 

How was Terpsichore depicted? 

How was Erato represented? 

How was Polyhymnia represented? 

How was Urania painted? 

How was Calliope represented? 

By what appellation were the Muses distinguished? 



CHAPTER XV. 

Diana, or Phceha. 

There were three goddesses of this name, the most 
celebrated of whom was the daughter of Jupiter and 
Latona, and twin-sister of Apollo. She was the queen 
of the woods, and the goddess of hunting. She devoted 
herself to perpetual celibacy, and had for her atten- 
dants sixty of the Oceanides and twenty other nymphs, 
all of whom swore an aversion to marriage. 

Though Diana was the patroness of chastity, she is 
said to have forgotten her dignity in the company of 
the god Pan, of the shepherd Endymion, and of the 
giant Orion. 

Diana expelled her favorite Calisto from her court, 
because she departed from the path of virtue; she 
pierced Chione with an arrow, because she was so 
rash as to prefer her own beauty to Diana's. One 
day, as Actseon pursued the pleasures of the chase, he 
proceeded to a beautiful fountain in a solitary situa- 
tion, environed with trees. While Diana was bath- 
ing in it, the youth imprudently gazed on the god- 
dess, who, casting the waters into his face, he was 
transformed into a stag. His own hounds came up, 
and tore him in pieces. 



64 ' CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

When Diana was worshipped in heaven, she was 
called Phoeba, Luna, or the moon; on earth, Diana; 
in hell, Hecate or Proserpine. To designate these 
three qualities or ofl&ces, the name of Triformis, and 
Tergemina, or the goddess with three forms, was given 
to her. She was denominated Tisiphone, because 
married women consecrated their girdle to her; Lu- 
cina, because she was invoked by women in childbed; 
Trivia, when she presided over cross-ways; Chitone, 
because women after childbirth used to offer her their 
children's clothes; Bubastis, by the Egyptians, and 
her festivals, named Bubastae, were annually cele- 
brated in the city Bubastis; Dictynna, from the name 
of the nymph whom she loved, and who first invented 
nets. 

Painters and sculptors represent her with a more 
exquisite form, a more majestic mien, and a taller sta- 
ture than her followers. She appears as a huntress, 
lightly clad, with a crescent on her forehead, her legs 
bare, buskins on her feet^ a bow in her hand, and a 
quiver full of arrows at her back. She is attended by 
her nymphs, and followed by dogs. Sometimes she 
is represented in a chariof drawn by hinds. At Ephe- 
sus she had a great number of breasts. — See Fig. 21. 
She had two temples of high celebrity; one at Ephe- 
sus, and the other in Chersonesus Taurica (now the 
Crimea.) The temple at Ephesus was justly account- 
ed one of the seven wonders of the world. It was 
227 years in building, and was supported by 127 su- 
perb columns, sixty feet high, each the gift of a king; 
Tt was burnt on the sixth of June (the birth-day of 
Alexander the Great) by Erostratus, who committed 
this atrocious crime in order to perpetuate his name 
with posterity. The inhabitants of Taurica held 
Diana in particular veneration, and offered on her al- 
tars all strangers shipwrecked on . their coast. At 
Sparta boys of high birth were annually whipped at 
the foot of her statue, till the blood followed the lash. 
Lycurgus introduced this custom. The Athenians 
offered goats to Diana; others a white kid, a boar pig. 



DIANA. 65 

or an ox. Among plants the poppy and dittany were 
sacred to her. 

Obs. 1. — Confounded with Hecate and Luna, Diana 
was the goddess of magic and enchantments. The 
magicians of Thessaly had the fame of drawing the 
moon down from heaven by dint of their incantations; 
eclipses were supposed to be produced by them; and 
on such occasions, drums and cymbals were beaten to 
prevent the incantations from being heard, and there- 
by to render the power of magic ineffectual. A 
moon-light scene was anciently deemed the very em- 
blem of chastity. 

Obs. 2. — Diana stands for the moon. The appear- 
ance of the woods and mountains in the moon, caused 
the poets to say that she was the goddess of hunting. 
The moon smiles upon the world, for which we alle- 
gorically take Pan. Diana is said to have become so 
enamoured of Endymion, that she came down every 
night from heaven to enjoy his company. This fiction, 
derogatory to Diana, is founded on the taste of Endy- 
mion for astronomy, and on his attentive observance 
of all the motions of the moon. Endymion retired to 
the mountains in Caria, where he often spent his 
nights, which caused the fable of Diana's nocturnal 
visits to him. Orion was an astronomer. 

Obs. 3. — The fable of Actseon appears allegorically 
to represent the character of a lunatic or madman, who 
often displays the fteetness of a stag, who cannot look 
at water, and whose disease is often brought on by the 
bite of a doa;. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Diana? 

Did she always avoid the addresses of lovers? 

What other actions are recorded of her? 

Had not Diana various names? 

How is Diana represented? 

Where was Diana particularly honoured? 



66 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGT 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Bacchus. 

Bacchus, the god of wine, and patron of drinkers, 
was the son of Jupiter and Semele, the daughter of 
Cadmus, king of Thebes. 

Juno was enraged at the intimacy between Jupiter 
and Semele; and to effect her ruin, she assumed the like- 
ness of an old woman, and prevailed on Semele to beg 
of Jupiter, that he would come and see her in all his 
glory and majesty, and thus prove that he was a god 
and not a man. 

Having sworn by Styx to comply with whatsoever 
request she might make, Jupiter descended, clothed 
in the splendour of celestial majesty, mingled with 
the storms, and handling the thunder and lightning. 
Semele perished amidst the fires of her lover. Jupi- 
ter, however, saved her infant, and shut it in his thigh, 
w^here it remained till its birth. This ridiculous fa- 
ble afterwards gave Bacchus the surname of Bimater, 
or one who has two mothers. 

Some Tyrrhenian pirates, having found him asleep, 
took him oif from the island of Naxos with a view to 
sell him for a slave. They had already proceeded on 
their voyage, when Bacchus, a blooming and lovely 
boy, awoke, and, apparently terrified, he asked how he 
came there. One of the crew replied: "Tell us where 
you wdsh to be, and thither we will conduct you." — 
"Naxos," replied the god, "is my home." Bacchus 
burst into tears, and the mariners laughed at his dis- 
tress; but they were soon astonished to find that their 
ship was immovable. The masts were surrounded 
with vines, and the oars with ivy. Bacchus waved a 
spear; tigers, panthers, and lynxes appeared around the 
ship; the pirates, struck with madness, leaped into the 
sea, and were changed into dolphins. " Bacchus once 
more made the ship float onward, and instantly arrived 
at the place of his destination, accompanied by a train 
of tigers, panthers, and dolphins. 



BACCHUS. 67 

Bacchus showed unexampled boldness in the war 
which the giants carried on against heaven. He fought 
in the shape of a lion, while the gods and goddesses 
fled into Egypt under the forms of different animals. 
He is said to have subjected Egypt, Phrygia, Syria, 
and India. In Ethiopia he was joined by a band of 
Satyrs, that ever after attended him, with songs, mu- 
sic, and dancing. He undertook an expedition to In- 
dia with an army, composed of men and women, arm- 
ed with cymbals and other musical instruments, him- 
self in a chariot drawn by a lion and a tiger. In his 
progress, all submitted to him; and he instructed the 
people in the arts of cultivating the vine; of making 
honey, and of tillage; founded Nysa, and planted a 
colony on the banks of the Indus. 

The Oschophoria were the first festiv^als instituted 
to Bacchus's honour by the Phoenicians, and celebrated 
by young men, when they ran with vine leaves in 
their hands, from the temple of Bacchus to the chapel 
of Minerva. 

The Trietrica were festivals instituted in winter 
nights by the Bacchse, and celebrated every three 
years. 

The Epilenaea were games celebrated in the time 
of vintage; the art of squeezing the grapes being un- 
known, they trod them, and begged of Bacchus that 
he would render them sweet and good. 

The Apaturia were feasts celebrated in honour of 
Bacchus by the Athenians, showing how greatly men 
may be deceived by wine. 

The Ambrosia were feasts instituted in January to 
his honour, and were by the Romans called Brumalia. 

Ascolia were festivals observed by the Athenians, 
who honoured Bacchus by trampling upon the skins 
of goats. In these rites the Romans daubed their faces 
with juice extracted from the bark of trees, and hung 
upon high trees Avooden or earthen images of Bacchus, 
called Oscilla. 

The Bacchanalia, or Dionysius, or Orgia, were the 
festivals of Bacchus solemnized in February at noon, 



68 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

and celebrated with riot and excess. They were ob- 
served by persons of both sexes, who disguised them- 
selves in tiger-skinSj with thyrsi, ran about the moun- 
tains and country, played on drums, pipes and flutes, 
and filled the air with shouts of Evoe Bacche! lo! lo! 
Evoe! Bacche! lo! Bacche! Evoe! 

Among both the Greeks and Romans, they were at- 
tended with drunkenness and debauchery; but such 
were the disorder and pollution of these rites, that they 
attracted the attention of the Roman senate, who pass- 
ed laws for the abolition of the Bacchanalia. 

Alcithoe, a Theban lady, refusing to be present at 
his festivals, because they were licentious, was chang- 
ed into a bat; and Pentheus, king of Thebes, for ridi- 
culing his orgies, was torn in pieces by the Baccha- 
nals, among whom were his mother and sister. Ly- 
curgus, not the Spartan lawgiver, would destroy the 
vineyards of Thrace. He armed himself with a scythe, 
and began to cut them, but awkwardly wounded his 
legs. 

As the god of vintage and drinkers, Bacchus was 
represented as holding in his hand a thyrsus, or jave- 
lin with an iron head, bound about with vine leaves. 
He is usually depicted as a corpulent, ruddy, and ef- 
feminate youth, crowned with ivy and vine leaves. 
His figure is sometimes that of a young, and some- 
times of an old man. Sometimes he has horns; at 
others, he appears naked on the shoulders of Pan, or 
in the arms of Silenus; and again he appears like 
Apollo, with fine hair, loosely flowing down his shoul- 
ders, and with beauty equal to Apollo's. He is com- 
monly seen riding in a car, drawn by panthers and 
tigers. — See Fig. 22. 

Bacchus v/as married to Ariadne, daughter to Minos, 
king of Crete, whom he found abandoned in the isle 
of Naxos. He presented her with a crown of seven 
stars, called Gnassia Coronia, which, at her death, he 
placed in the heavens as a constellation. 

Ariadne brought him a son, named Hymen, the god 
of marriage. He had many other children, but they 
deserve no particular notice. 



BACCHUS. 69 

The Egyptians sacrificed pigs to Bacchus before the 
doors of their houses. The goat was usually offered 
to him, because he destroyed the vine. The magpie 
was his favorite bird, because, in triumphs, people 
spoke with liberty. The fir, yew, and fig-tree, ivy 
and vine, were sacred to him. 

Bacchus was called Biformis, because he was depict- 
ed both as a young and an old man, or with, and with- 
out, a beard; Brisasus, either because he invented the 
art of pressing grapes, or because he was born on the 
promontory Brisa in Lesbos; Bromius, because his mo- 
ther uttered dying groans; Bugens, Tauriformis, or 
Tauriceps, because he was painted as horned, or be- 
cause he first ploughed with oxen; Dithyrambus, be- 
cause he was born twice; Dionysius, because he prick- 
ed his father's side at the moment of his birth; Evius, 
Evous, Evan, or Hye, because Jupiter found that 
Bacchus had defeated the giants under the form of a 
lion, and exclaimed, " Well done son;^^ Eleus, because 
he animated his soldiers with acclamations before they 
fought; Jaccus, because he renders drunkards noisy; 
Lenaeus, because he cures mental disorders; Liber and 
Liber Pater, Eleutherios, or Lyceus, because he was 
worshipped in all free cities; Nyctilius, because his 
sacrifices were celebrated at night; Nysaeus, be- 
cause he was born on Mount Nysa; Rectus, or Orthos, 
because he taught a king of Athens to dilute his wine 
with water; Triumphus, because as the conquerors 
were triumphantly proceeding into the capitol, the 
soldiers exclaimed, "lo Triumphe." 

'^Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape, 

Crushed the sweet poison of misused wine." — Milton's Comus. 



-Still dost thou enjoy 



Unwasted youth! Eternally a boy 

Thou 'rt seen in heaven, whom all perfections grace; 

And when unhorn'd, thou hast e'er a virgin's face." 

"And glad with Bacchus, on the grassy soil^ 
Leap'd o'er the skins of goats besmear'd with oil. 
Thus Roman youth, deriv'd from ruin'd Troy, 
In rude Saturnian rhymes express their joy; 



70 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Deform'd with vizards, cat from barks of trees. 
With taunts and laughter loud their audience please; 
In jolly hymns they praise the god of wine. 
Whose earthen images adorn the pine. 
And there are hung on high, in honour of the vine. 
A madness so devout the vineyards fill, &c." — Virgil. 

"Bacchus, on thee we call, in hymns divine, 

And hang thy statues on the lofty pine; 

Hence, plenty ev'ry laughing vineyard fills. 

Through the deep valleys and the sloping hills. 

Where'er the god inclines his lovely face. 

More luscious fruits the rich plantations grace. 

Then let us Bacchus' praises duly sing. 

And consecrated cakes and chargers bring; 

Dragg'd by their horns let victim goats expire, 

And roast on hazel spits before the sacred fire. 

Come, sacred fire, with luscious clusters crown'd; 

Let all the riches of thy reign abound; 

Each field replete, with blushing autumn, glow, 

And in deep tides, by thee, the foaming vintage flow." — Virgil. 

"But put on horns, and Bacchus thou shalt be." — Ovid. 

"When gay Bacchus fills my breast, 

All my cares are lul'd to rest, 

Rich I seem as Lydia's king, 

Merry catch or ballad sing; 

Ivy wreaths my temples shade. 

Ivy that will never fade: 

Thus I sit in mind elate. 

Laughing at the farce of state." — Anacreon. 

Obs. 1. — In inquiring into the origin of the extra- 
ordinary fable relating to the birth of Bacchus, we 
find that Semele perished soon after the conflagration 
of her palace, but not before the child was born; 
whereupon Jupiter sent him by Mercury his messen- 
ger, to Nysa, a city near a mountain called Meros, a 
word, which signifies thigh. This fable has no other 
origin. 

Obs. 2. — Herodotus, Plutarch, and Diodorus Sicu- 
lus, relate that Bacchus, born in Egypt, was educated 
in Nisa, a city of Arabia Felix, to which place his fa- 
ther Ammon had sent him. They recognized in the 
Bacchus adopted by the Greeks, the famous Osiris, 
who conquered India. 



BACCHUS, ALIAS MOSES. 71 

Ohs. 3. — Many learned men believe, that the poets 
have represented Moses in their Bacchus. They find 
so striking resemblances between both, that it may be 
useful to notice some of them, but without pretending 
to give them as certainties, Moses and Bacchus were 
born in Egypt. The former was exposed on the Nile; 
the poets have told the same thing about the latter. 
The name of Moses and that of Mysos given to Bac- 
chus by Orpheus equally designate, that they were 
saved from the waters. Bacchus was educated in 
Arabia; Moses spent forty years in the same country. 
Bacchus, during a cruel persecution raised against 
him, retired to the shores of the Red sea: to deliver 
the Hebrews from the persecutions of the Egyptians, 
Moses crossed the Red sea. The army of Bacchus, 
composed of a large number of men and women, pass- 
ed through Arabia, to prosecute the conquest of In- 
dia: the army of the Hebrew legislator, composed of 
men, women, and children, wandered long in the wild- 
erness in their journey to the land of Canaan. Fa- 
ble represents Bacchus with horns: they allude to the 
two rays of light which shone on the forehead of Moses. 
Bacchus was educated on Mount Nisa: Moses receiv- 
ed the tables of the law on Mount Sinai. The trans- 
position of one letter renders the two names absolute- 
ly similar. Bacchus, armed with his thyrsus, defeat- 
ed the giants: Moses fought the giants, descendants of 
Enoch: a rod is the instrument of his miracles. Ju- 
piter sends Iris to Bacchus, with orders for him to pro- 
ceed to India and destroy an impious nation. God 
ordered Moses to go to Palestine and exterminate an 
idolatrous nation. The god Pan gives a dog to Bac- 
chus to follow him in his travels. Caleb, whose He- 
brew name signifies a dog, is the faithful companion of 
Moses. Bacchus, by striking the ground with his 
thyrsus, brought forth waves of Avine. Moses, by 
striking a rock with a miraculous rod, opened up a 
fountain. 

Obs. 4. — This parallel is too perfect not to allow us 
to disbelieve that the fable of Bacchus is nothing more 



72 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

than an ill formed tradition of the history of Moses, 
embellished with fiction. Yet some learned men en- 
deavour to prove that Bacchus is the same as Nimrod, 
son of Chus, whose name at first was Barchus, son of 
Chus; and, by corruption, became changed to that of 
Bacchus. Others suppose that Bacchus is the same as 
Noah, to whom the Scriptures ascribe the invention of 
the art of cultivating the vine. In conclusion, there- 
fore, it may be remarked, that, although the great He- 
brew lawgiver Moses, who was very celebrated in 
Egypt, was the real prototype of Bacchus, (the Egyp- 
tian Osiris,) yet the history of the latter received some 
embellishments by traits of character drawn from 
Noah. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Bacchus? 

What story is related of his birth? 

Did Jupiter grant this rash request? 

What exploit is recorded of Bacchus? 

What memorable actions did he perform when he came of age? 

Go on with your narrative. 

What were the Oschaphoria? 

What were the Trietrica? 

What were the Epileneea? 

What were Apaturia? 

What were the Ambrosia? 

What were Ascolia? 

What were the Bacchanaha, or Dionysius, or Orgia? 

Were not these solemnities disgraced? 

Did not Bacchus resent such as insulted him? 

How was Bacchus represented? 

To whom was Bacchus married? 

Had he any children? 

What victims were offered to Bacchus? 

By what surnames is he distinguished? 



CHAPTER XVH. 

JlTinerva. 



Among five goddesses of this name, whom Cicero 
mentions, he says that the most ancient issued from 
the Nile, and was much worshipped in Egypt. The 



MINERVA. 73 

second, the goddess of war, was the daughter of Sa- 
turn; the third, the goddess of wisdom, was the daugh- 
ter of Jupiter; the fourth, the tutelary goddess of 
Athens, was daughter to Vulcan; the last of the five, 
was the daughter of the giant Pallas, to whom the 
name of Minerva or Pallas was given. The fables of 
these different goddesses, are commonly confounded 
together. Jupiter complaining of the head-ache, 
Vulcan split his head with a hatchet; whence Minerva 
sprang out, not a child, but a goddess, formed, and in 
complete armour. She was immediately admitted into 
the assembly of the gods, and became Jvipiter's faith- 
ful counsellor. She was the most accomplished of all 
the goddesses. Minerva, Athenas, and Pallas, were, 
among the Greeks, the same divinity. Considered as 
Minerva, she presided over wisdom; as Athenas, she 
was the protectress of Athens; as Pallas, she'presided 
over war. 

Minerva was the only divinity that seemed equal to 
Jupiter. She could prolong the lives of men, or hurl 
the thunderbolts of Jupiter. The honour of giving 
a name to the city of Cecrops, produced a great dis- 
pute between Neptune and Minerva. The twelve 
great gods were chosen as arbiters of this difference. 
They decided that the deity who should confer the 
most valuable gift on the city, should give his name to 
it. No sooner had Neptune struck the earth with his 
trident, than a beautiful fiery courser, the emblem of 
ViTar, sprang forth. Minerva produced an olive-tree 
in full bloom, the emblem of peace. The gods, hav- 
ing unanimously pronounced Minerva the victor, she 
named the city Athenas, and became its tutelary deity. 

Minerva benefitted mankind with many inventions: 
those of the fine arts, the use of oil, the art of spin- 
ning, and that of adorning tapestry. These inventions 
were allegorically attributed to Minerva. The sciences 
and the arts are the true riches of the mind, not need- 
ing a goddess of Avisdom to produce them. The oil 
indicates that one must apply closely to labour, in or- 
der to acquire knowledge. The art of spinning indi- 
7 



74 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

cates that patience and perseverance should be evin- 
ced in his works; and the ornaments of tapestry show 
that he should endeavour to embellish them. 

Arachne, a lady of Colophon, who was highly cele- 
brated for her skill in works of tapestry, challenged 
Minerva to a trial of skill. Minerva struck her fore- 
head with a shuttle. The proud Arachne, being over- 
come, in despair, would have hung herself, but was 
suspended by Minerva, and metamorphosed into a 
spider. 

Minerva put out Tiresias's eyes, because he saw 
her bathing in the fountain of Helicon; but, to an- 
swer the prayers of his mother, she conferred on him 
the gift of prophecy. She aided Perseus in killing 
the Gorgon Medusa, whose snaky head she placed in 
her aegis, or shield, because it had the property of 
turning into stone whoever beheld it. 

While the citadel of Troy was building, an image 
of the goddess, called the Palladium, is reported to 
have fallen from heaven into or near it. By the ora- 
cle of Apollo, the Trojans were informed that no ene- 
my could succeed against them, if it remained in 
their city. The oracle was religiously observed for a 
long time; but at last, Ulysses and Diomedes, having 
gained a secret access to the city, removed the miracu- 
lous image, and Troy was soon after taken by the 
Greeks. 

Minerva was called by the Greeks, Athena, because 
she never drew milk from a mother or nurse's breast; 
Pallas, because she slew a giant of the same name, or be- 
cause she brandished her spear in war; Parthenos, be- 
cause she was a perpetual virgin; Tritonia, either be- 
cause her father brought her forth three months after his 
head had been struck, or because she was educated on 
lake Triton; in Greek, Ergatis, or the ^^working-ioo- 
vfian^"^ because she invented various arts, liberal and use- 
ful; Musica, because the serpent on her shield served 
the purpose of a harp; Glaucopus, or Coesia, because her 
eyes were of celestial blue; Plyotis, because her ef- 



MINERTA. 



75 



dgy was placed on the city gates and house-doors; Hip- 
pia, ^^the horse-woman.^^ 

In order to give more solemnity to the worship of 
Minerva, the Athenians held in honour of her, mag- 
nificent festivals, called Athenia. They were insti- 
tuted by Erichthonius, the third king of Athens. 
These feasts were afterwards named Parthenia, when 
Theseus had collected the twelve boroughs of Attica, 
and constituted them the city of Athens. They were 
by the Romans called Quinquatra, and celebrated in 
April. On these festival days, pupils made presents 
to their teachers. They were obliged to give them, 
in order to habituate themselves to acts of gratitude, 
and to allow themselves to indulge that happiness 
which a generous heart always experiences when it 
discharges its duty, or when it grants a benefit. These 
presents were called Minervalia, or gifts offered to 
wisdom. In the Acropolis, that is, the upper city or 
citadel, there were two magnificent temples of Miner- 
va; one called the Parthenon, in commemoration of 
her perpetual celibacy, and also the Hecatompedon, 
from being one hundred ieet in width. It was burnt 
by the Persians, but rebuilt by Pericles, who enlarg- 
ed it. It was constructed of the finest white marble, 
and was 27 feet 9 inches by 98 ieet 6 inches. Noble 
remains of it are still in being. The statue of the 
goddess, made of gold and ivory, 26 cubits high, was 
one of the masterpieces of Phidias. The other tem- 
ple was called Victory. In it the goddess was repre- 
sented with a pomegranate in her right hand, and a 
helmet in her left, but without wings, which Victory 
usually had. 

In general, Minerva appears as a beautiful woman, 
with a majestic and awe-striking countenance; armed 
with a golden helmet and breast-plate, and holding in 
her right hand abeaming lance, and in her left, the jEgis. 
The ^gis was a shield covered with the skin of a 
monster, called ^Egis, which vomitted whirlwinds of 
flame. In process of time the goddess engraved on it 
the head of Medusa. A crown of olive was entwined 



76 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

around her helmet. Her principal emblems were the 
cock, the owl, the basilisk, and the distaff. Statuaries, 
painters, and artists, generally invoked her patronage; 
in a word, every member of society solicited her in- 
fluence, as she had empire over Sense, Taste, and Rea- 
son. — See Fig. 23. 

''Out of her father's scull, as they report, 
Without a mother, all m arms leap'd forth." — Lucian. 

"Arachne thrice upon the forehead smote, 

Whose great heart brooks it not; about her throat 

A rope she ties; remorseful Pallas staid 

Her falling weight: — Live, wretch, yet hang, she said." 

Ovid. 
"With the bright wreath of serpent tresses crown'd, 
Severe in beauty, young Medusa frowned: 
Erewhile subdued, round Wisdom's iEgis rolled, 
Hiss the dread snakes, and flamed in burnished gold; 
Flashed on her brandished arm the immortal shield. 
And terror lighted on the dazzle field." — Botanic Garden* 

Obs. 1. — The idea of this poetical generation, ap- 
pears to have been taken from the Sacred Books, where 
Wisdom says, that she descended from the divine head 
before any other creature. Minerva allegorically 
stands for fortitude, long-tried virtue, deliberate cou- 
rage, divine stratagem, sound policy, and undaunted 
wisdom. 

Obs. 2. — The Mp.s represents allegorically the 
Eye of Omnipresence, before which the guilty flee. 

Obs. 3. — The fable of Minerva's disputing with Nep- 
tune, may be thus explained: Cecrops, having intro- 
duced an Egyptian colony among the people of Athens^ 
corrected their barbarous customs, and taught them to 
cultivate the earth, and especially the olive-tree. He 
introduced the worship of Minerva, to whom that tree 
was particularly sacred. The city then took the name 
of its tutelary divinity. Athens became famous for 
the excellence of its oils; its commerce much increas- 
ed by this means, attached much value to the cultiva- 
tion of that tree, and the necessity of securing the na- 
vigation of foreigners, corrected the propensity of the 
Athenians for piracy. To paint the origin of this re- 



MINERVA* 77 

formation, and to consecrate it, the poets imagined the 
fable o( Neptune surpassed by Minerva. Some his- 
torians say, that this fable was designed to represent 
a difference which had arisen between the sailors, 
who recognized Neptune for their chief, and the peo- 
ple, united with the senate, who were presided over 
by Minerva. The Areopagus was appointed to judge 
this difference. It decreed that agriculture and rural 
life should be preferred to the trade of pirates; it 
made wise and severe laws for securing the liberty of 
commerce. The poets consecrated this judgment by 
saying, that Neptune had been surpassed by Minerva, 
and that the twelve great gods had decided it. 

Obs. 4. — The fable of Arachne, is nothing but an 
allegory to represent the punishment of foolish pride, 
Obs. 5. — The fable of Tiresias shoAVs, that the tru- 
ly wise man does not care for the common events of 
life, and is attentive to the lessons of wisdom, which 
improve his experience, and enable him to foresee 
futurity. 

Obs. 6. — Minerva comes out of Jupiter's head, to 
show that wisdom was not invented by man, but has a 
celestial origin. She comes into the world, complete- 
ly armed, because the wise man, strengthened by his 
conscience, and by virtue, knows how to contend with 
vice, and resist misfortune. She is a virgin, because 
wisdom is not connected with corruption and pleasure. 
She is unadorned, and her looks are severe, because 
she is not in need of ornament. She shines no more 
under the splendour of purple, than under the sim- 
plest dress; her noble traits are equally beloved and 
respected under the wrinkles of age and under the 
fresh and charming appearance of youth. The owl, 
which surmounts her helmet, announces that wisdom 
often delights in meditating during the silence and 
calm of nights. She is often represented as holding 
a distaff and busying herself with it, to express that 
we should avoid idleness, and exercise ourselves in 
useful labours. 



78 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY, 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Minerva? 

Was Minerva a powerful goddess? 

Did Minerva bestow any other benefits on mankind? 

Relate her contest with Arachne? 

What other exploits did Minerva perform? 

What city was under her safeguard? 

By what names is she frequently mentioned? 

Was the worship of Minerva universally established: 

How is Minerva represented? 



CHAPTER XVHI. 

Bellona, Victoria. 

Bellona, or Duellonia, (often confounded with 
Pallas,) the goddess of war, and sister of Mars, was 
called Enyo by the Greeks. She is represented as 
preparing the chariot of Mars, appearing in battles 
with dishevelled hair, and holding in her hands a 
whip and a torch. In her temple at Rome, the senate 
gave audience to foreign ambassadors. Her priests, 
called the Bellonarii, offered their own blood, from 
wounds inflicted on their thighs and bodies. At 
Comona, in Cappadocia, Bellona is said to have had 
3000 priests.— See Fig. 24. 

Hesiod says, that Victoria was daughter of the Styx 
by Pallas or Acheron. She assisted Minerva in the 
fight against the giants. She had several temples in 
Greece and at Rome. It was in her temple that the 
Romans placed the statue of Cybele, which they 
brought from Pessinus. 

The Arcadians, when they arrived in Italy, erected 
a temple in honour of her. 

On some medals and marbles, Victoria is seen flying 
in the air, and holding in her hand a crown or a branch 
of the palm-tree. The Egyptians represented her in 
the form of an eagle, a bird always victorious. Now 
and then she is seen to be carried by a globe, to de- 



MARS. 79 



note that she rules the earth. In naval victories, she 
is seen on the prows of ships. 



qUESTIONS. 

Who was Bellona? and how is she depicted? 
Who was Victoria? 
Who honoured Victoria? 
How is she represented? 



CHAPTER XIX. 

*J\Iars, the God of War. 

There were many gods of this name. Diodorus 
Siculus says that the first Mars, to whom were attri- 
buted the invention of arms and the art of ranging 
troops in order of battle, was Belus, who, in the Sacred 
Volume, is called Nimrod, and styled a mighty hun- 
ter before the Lord. The second, was an ancient king 
of Egypt. The third, a king of Thrace, who was 
called Odin, or Mars Hypboreus. The fourth, the 
Mars of the Greeks, and surnamed Ares; and the 
fifth, the Mars of the Latins, the reputed father of 
Romulus and Remus. The Gauls called their Mars 
Hesus, and sacrificed to him human victims. Orion 
was the Mars of the Persians, and was regarded as the 
god of fights. But the most celebrated was the son 
of Jupiter and Juno, or, as the Roman poets say, of 
Juno alone. Flora, showed her a flower, the touch 
of which made her pregnant. His education was en- 
trusted to the god Priapus, who instructed him in 
dancing and every other exercise. 

•■^And mighty Mars^ for war renown'd, 

In adamantine armour frown'd."'— Addison. 

It is said that Hallirhotius, the son of Neptune, 
having ofl"ered violence to Alcippe, the daughter of 
Mars, the offended father slew him. For this, Nep- 
tune summoned him to appear before an assembly of 
gods (on a hill where afterwards the celebrated court 
of Areopagus was held,) by which he was acquitted. 



80 CATfiCHtSM or MYTHOLOGY. 

Mars won the aflfections of Venus, Vulcan's wife; 
but Apollo informing the injured husband of their in- 
trigue, he spread around the lovers invisible nets in 
which they were taken. The jealous husband ex- 
posed them to the sight of all the gods, but Neptune 
persuaded him to set them free. Mars, enraged at 
this discovery, transformed his favorite Alectryon into 
a cock, to punish him for not having warned him of 
the approach of the Sun; and Venus revenged her- 
self by treating the children of Apollo with unexam- 
pled severity. In the war between the Trojans and 
Greeks, Mars took the part of the former; but being 
wounded by Diomede, he hastily retreated to heaven, 
complaining to Jupiter that Minerva had directed the 
weapon of his antagonist. 

Mars had temples in all countries. His priests at 
Rome were called Salii. They were twenty-four in 
number, and had the care of the twelve ancilia, or sacred 
shields, one of which was supposed to have fallen 
from heaven. His victims were the horse, on account 
of his usefulness in war; the dog, for his acuteness in 
pursuit of prey; the wolf, for his ferocity and rapine; 
and the cock, for his vigilance to prevent surprise. 
Ravens, magpies, and vultures, were also offered, be- 
cause they followed armies, to feast on the slain. 

Mars was represented as a veteran, armed, fierce, 
and formidable, breathing discord, war, and carnage. 
With one hand he extends a spear, and, with the other 
he grasps a sword, imbued with blood. Sometimes 
he is represented riding in a chariot drawn by furious 
horses, called Flight and Terror, with the goddess 
Discord flying before them in tattered garments. Cla- 
mour and Anger appear in his train. He patronized 
whatever was bloody, cruel, or furious, as Minerva 
did skilful contrivances and stratagems in war. — See 
Fig. 25. 

Mars was called Gradivus, because he raged, as in 
war; Quirinus, because he was quiet, as in peace; and 
Salisubulus, because he inclined, sometimes to this 
side, and sometimes to that, in wars. The Greeks 



MARS. 81 

named him Corytaix, stirring his helmet, to paint him 
bloody and terrible. 

Mars had a numerous progeny; the chief of whom 
were Cupid, (while others account him to be the son 
of Vulcan,) and Harmonia, by Venus, and Tereus, by 
Bistonis. 

"Her torch Bellona waving through the air, 
Sprinkles with clotted gore her flaming hair, 
And through both armies up and down doth flee; 
While from her horrid breast Tisiphone 
A dreadful murmur sends." 

"My helmet let Bellona bring; Terror my traces fit; 
And, panic Fear, do thou the rapid driver sit." 

"Mars in the middle of the shining shield 
Is grav'd, and strides along the liquid field. 
The Dirse come from heav'n with quick descent. 
And Discord, died in blood, with garments rent, 
Divides the press; her steps Bellona treads. 
And shakes her iron rod above their heads." 

"Loud clamours rose from various nations round; 

Mix'd was the murmur, and confus'd the sound; ^ 

Each host now joins, and each a god inspires; 

These Mars incite, and those Minerva fires. 

Pale Flight around, and dreadful Terror reign; 

And Discord, raging, bathes the purple plain. 

Discord, dire sister of the slaught'ring pow'r, 

Small at her birth, but rising every hour; 

While scarce the skies her horrid head can bound; 

She stalks on earth, and shakes the world around; 

The nations bleed where'er her steps she turns; 

The groan still deepens, and the combat burns." 

Obs. 1. — The fable in reference to the birth of 
Mars, originated with the Roman poets, it being whol- 
ly unknown to the Greeks and other ancient nations. 
It was suggested by the jealousy which Juno expe- 
rienced in seeing the manner in which Jupiter brought 
forth Wisdom. 

Obs. 2. — The account of Mars appearing in the 
Areopagus, was embellished by the imagination of the 
poets. They forsook the noble simplicity of history 
for the brilliant attire of poetry. They gave out, that 
Mars had been acquitted by the twelve great gods. 



82 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGr. 

because the judges, twelve in number, were chosen 
from among the most illustrious families of Athens. 

Obs. 3. — We see the formidable god of fights, when 
crowned by victory, throwing aside his bloody trQ- 
phies, and laying down his laurels at the feet of 
Beauty. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Mars? 

What extraordinary circumstance is recorded of him? 

Enumerate some of the actions of Mars. 

Was the worship of Mars universal? 

How was Mars represented? 

What were the different names of Mars? 

What children had Mars? , 



CHAPTER XX. 

VenuSf Cupidf Adonis. 

Venus, the goddess of Love and Beauty, the mo- 
ther of Cupid, and the patroness of the Graces, is 
said by some to have been the daughter of Jupiter 
and Dione; by others to have sprung from the froth 
of the sea, borne in a sea-shell, and smoothly wafted 
by Zephyrus to the island of Cythera. Her delicate 
feet touched the earth, and flowers sprung up under 
her steps. She was received, and educated by the 
rozy Hours or Seasons, daughters of Jupiter and 
Themis, and was conducted to heaven. She had for 
her retinue Smiles, Graces, and Jests. 

Cicero reckons four Venuses. The first, daughter 
of Heaven and Light; the second, born of the foam of 
the sea, and mother to Cupid; the third, daughter of 
Jupiter and Dione, wife to Vulcan, and mother of 
Anteros; and the fourth was Astarte, wife to Adonis, 
and born in Phrygia. Pausanias distinguished three 
Venuses: a celestial Venus, who presided over chaste 
loves; a terrestrial Venus, who presided over mar- 
riages; and a third, called Aversative, who removed 



VENUS. 83 

criminal passions. Sir Isaac Newton admitted of but 
one Venus. He called her Calycopis. She was 
daughter to Otreus, king of Phrygia. She married 
Thoas, who was surnamed Cinyras, and was mother 
to -^neas. Thoas erected to her temples in Paphos, 
Amathontus, Cyprus, and Biblos; he instituted feasts 
in honour of Venus, called Orgies; and, for the pur- 
pose of watching over her worship, he formed a col- 
lege of priests. 

Venus is said to have behaved in the most licentious 
manner; and her worship was celebrated with the 
most shameful ceremonies. 

Juno, Minerva, and Venus, being present at the 
wedding of Thetis and Peleus, the goddess Discord 
threw into the assembly a golden apple, inscribed '^to 
the fair est. ^^ Each of the three goddesses claimed it 
as her own, but, at length, referred the decision to 
Paris, son of Priam, king of Troy, then feeding his 
flocks upon Mount Ida. Paris adjudged the apple to 
Venus, who, in return, rewarded him with the hand 
of the fairest Avoman in the world. He carried off 
Helen from her husband Menelaus, wiiich outrage 
kindled up the ilames of war, and finally levelled Troy 
with the ground. 

The Syrians called -their Venus Astarte; the Per- 
sians Anaitis; she was denominated Amicia, because 
she presided over the union of hearts; Armata, be- 
cause the Spartan women dedicated a temple to her, 
after having won a victory over the Messenians; Apa- 
turia, because she deceived lovers; Barbata, because 
the Roman women, afflicted with the shedding of their 
hair, prayed to her for the re-grow^th of it; Cypris, be- 
cause she was worshipped in the island of Cyprus; 
Cytherea, because she was carried in a sea-shell to the 
island Cythera; Calva, because the women in her 
temple converted their hair into ropes for engines, 
when Rome was pressed by the Gauls; Erycina, be- 
cause ^neas, her son, built to her honour a magnifi- 
cent temple on Mount Eryx in Sicily; Ridens, be- 
cause she was born laughing; Hortensis, because she 



84 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

presides over the productions of seeds and plants in gar- 
dens; Idalia and Acidalia, because the mountain Ida- 
lius in Cyprus, and the fountain Acidalius in Boeotia 
were consecrated to her; Marina, because she was 
born of the sea; Aphrodite or Anadyomne, because 
she rose from the waters; Melanis, because she was 
most admired in the night; Migonitis, because she was 
able to manage love; Murtea, because the myrtle was 
sacred to her; Paphia, because in the city Paphos in 
Cyprus, flowers and frankincense were sacrificed to 
her; Verticordia, or in Greek Epistrophia, because 
she changed hearts; sometimes Dione. 

Venus was represented under a variety of forms. 
In her most admired statues, she was represented with 
every quality that could render her person and gait 
graceful, her countenance smiling and inviting, her 
manner complaisant, her clothing simple, elegant and 
light, in a word, her attitude charming and beautiful. 
She appears conscious of her worth, like Milton's 
Eve, yet bashful and '^half withdrawing.'^^ She was 
girt about the waist with a girdle, called Cestus, which, 
being worn by a female either ugly or handsome, had 
the power of rendering her charms irresistible to the 
person whose affection she desired to win. Some- 
times she is carried through the air in a car drawn by 
doves, swans, or sparrows. Her celestial carpet was 
damasked with the rose, the myrtle, and the apple. 
She was attended by beautiful boys, whose faces ex- 
hibited eloquent, but mischievous eyes, a sw^eet smile, 
a cherubic dimple, and blooming cheeks, fluttering 
round her, buoyed on silken wings. Her companion 
was Python Suada, the goddess of eloquence. Cupid, 
Hymen, and Adonis, and the Graces usually appear- 
ed in her retinue. When she holds a globe in her 
hand, she personates Venus Uranus, or the planet 
Venus. The statue of Scopas represents her seated 
on a car drawn by a sea-horse, with the Nereides and 
dolphins, carrying loves, swimming about her. She 
is frequently painted sitting on a shell, floating over 
the waves, and her head being surmounted with a 



VENUS, CUPID, ADONIS. 85 

veil blown by the breath of Zephyrus: Love swims 
by her; the Tritons surround her; and an oar is placed 
at her feet, in allusion to her origin; likewise a cor- 
nucopia, to express the riches which the commerce of 
the sea produces. The statue of Venus, made by 
Phidias, was the most perfect and elegant of any. 
One of her singular statues, represents her crowned 
with ears of corn, holding a thyrsus, surrounded with 
branches and leaves of grapes, with three arrows in 
one of her hands. Some thereby attempt to show that 
her superior traits appear most glowing, when the god 
of wine and the pleasures of the table are associated 
with her. Two loves attend her. — See Fig. 26. 

Cupid, the god of love, appears as a beautiful, 
naked boy, wath wings, a bow and quiver of arrows, 
and sometimes with a fillet over his eyes. Sometimes 
he is mounted on a lion, playing on a lyre, the fierce 
animal turning his head, and listening to its harmo- 
nious chords; at others, he breaks Jove's winged thun- 
derbolts, or delights in childish amusements. He was 
the youngest and strongest god. He was called Eros, 
because he had a golden dart, which causes love; 
Anteros, because his leaden dart procures hatred. — 
See Fig. 27. 

As Cupid and Venus were once walking together 
in a flowery field, Cupid boasted that he could gather 
more flowers than his mother. Venus accepted the 
challenge. Cupid flew from flower to flower, and 
was likely to win the victory, when Peristera aided 
Venus. Cupid, enraged at his defeat, turned her into 
a dove, which her name signifies. 

The name of Cupid's mistress was Psyche, a Greek 
word for the soul, to figure which her fable is a plain 
allegory. Her symbol is a butterfly. 

Adonis was son of Cinyras, king of Cyprus, by 
Myrrha. This nymph was metamorphosed into a 
tree, which bears her name. At the moment of his 
birth, the tree was opened. The Naiades received 
him, and took care of his infancy. Being brought up 
in the woods, he became passionately fond of hunting. 
8 



86 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGYr 

Mars, jealous of the attentions which Venus bestowed 
upon her favorite, raised an enormous wild-boar 
against him. Adonis being killed by that animal, 
Venus changed the blood that flowed from his wound 
into the flower Anemone, w^hich is said to have ever 
since retained the colour of its origin. Proserpine is 
said to hav^e brought him back to life on condition that 
he should remain six months with Venus and six months 
with her. Considered, in an emblematical point of view, 
the death and resuscitation of Adonis in succession, 
represent the alternate return of winter and summer. 

VENUS. 

"Heav'n gave her life, the sea a cradle gave. 
And earth's wide regions her with joy receive." 
"This part perform'd, the goddess flies sublime. 
To visit Paphos and her native clime; 
Where garlands, ever green and ever fair, 
With vows are offer'd, and with solemn pray'rr 
A hundred altars in her temple smoke, 
A thousand bleeding hearts her pow'r invoke." 

CUPID. 

"Thou art my strength, O son, and power alone." 

VENUS. 
"Young Dione, nursed beneath the waves, 
And rocked by Nereides, in their coral caves, 
Charmed the blue sisterhood with playful wiles. 
Lisped her sweet tones, and tried her tender smiles. ^ 
Then, on her beryl throne, by Tritons borne. 
Bright rose the goddess like the star of morn. 
With rosy fingers as uncurled they hung 
Round her fair brow, her golden locks she wrung; 
O'er the smooth surge in silver sandals stood, 
And looked enchantment on the dazzled flood. 
The bright drops rolling from her lifted arms, 
In slow meanders wander o'er her charms: 
See round her snowy neck their lucid track. 
Pearl her w^hite shoulders, gem her ivory back. 
Round her fine waist, and swelling bosom swim. 
And star with glittering brine each crystal limb, 

And beauty blazed to heaven and earth unveiled." 

Botanic Garden. 
"The froth, born Venus, ravishing to sight, 
Rose from the ample sea to upper light. 
And on her head the flowers of summer swelled. 



TENUS, CUPID, ADONIS. 87 

And blushed all lovely, and like Eden smelled, 
A garland of the rose; and a white pair 
Of doves about her flickered in the air. 
There her son Cupid stood before her feet, 
Two wings upon his shoulders, fair and fleet; 
And blind as night, as he is often seen, 
A bow he bore, and arrows bright and keen: 
No goddess she, commissioned to the field, 
Like Pallas, dreadful with her sable shield. 
Or fierce Bellona thundering at the wall. 
While flames ascend and mighty ruins fall. 
To the soft Cyprian shores she graceful moves. 
To visit Paphos and her blooming roves: 
While to her power a hundred altars rise, 
And grateful incense greets the balmy skies." 

ADONIS. 



-On Lebanon's sequestered height 



The fair Adonis left the realms of light, 

Bowed his bright locks, and, fated from his birth 

To change eternal, mingled with the earth; 

With darker horror shook the conscious v/ood, 

Groaned the sad gales, and rivers blushed with blood; 

And beauty's goddess bending o'er his bier, 

Breathed the soft sigh, and poured the tender tear. 

Admiring Proserpine, through dusky glades. 

Led the fair Phantom to Elysian shades, 

Clad with new form, with finer sense combined. 

And lit with purer flame the Ethereal mind. 

Erewhile emerging from infernal night. 

The youth immortal rises to the light, 

Leaves the drear chambers of the insatiate tomb. 

And shines and charms with renovated bloom." 

Botanic Garden, canto ii. 

Ohs. 1 . — ^The ancients thought that water was the pri- 
mitive element of which all things were formed; and 
Venus is allegorically represented as the principle of 
communicated life. In Homer and Virgil, we find 
Jupiter addressing Venus as his father, which is il- 
lustrated by the different views given of her charac- 
ter. She is considered as the model of the female form, 
and of blooming youth. She is the daughter of Jupi- 
ter; except when figured symbolically; she then be- 
comes the source of life and activity throughout the 
world. 

Ohs. 2. — The marriage of Venus with Vulcan, the 



88 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Ugliest of the gods, signifies that the empire of beau- 
ty extends to those who have not the gift of pleasing. 
It represents unequal unions in which the unequal 
gifts of nature are balanced by those of fortune. 

Obs, 3. — The fables and accounts of poets in rela- 
tion to Venus are obscure, for we find in them a med- 
ley of physics, morality, and history. Sometimes they 
consider her as a goddess, sometimes as a planet, and 
not unfrequently as a symbol of the passions. 

Obs. 4. — The history of Astarte was soon confound- 
ed by the Greeks with that of Venus. The uncer- 
tainty of historical facts, and. the impossibility of re- 
conciling them, allowed the poets the exercise of their 
imaginations as their guide. They consulted their 
passions or those of kings and great personages whom 
they wished to flatter. Hence, the most seductive 
paintings, and often the most scandalous adventures, 
were the materials they made use of to form the his- 
tory of their Venus. Painting and sculpture, sisters 
of poetry, imitated her flights. Venus was represent- 
ed as the goddess of pleasure; Cupid or Love was 
given her for her son, and all master-pieces which the 
arts and the poets could produce, were consecrated to 
her. 

Obs. 5. — Cupid was the god of love. , By his ar- 
rows are meant the shafts of love, a wound from which 
puts one out of the power of resistance. He was often 
represented as blind, because the fancy of the lover 
paints his mistress in qualities, the reality of which 
does not exist. He has wings, because favour is de- 
ceitful and love is precarious. Hesiod supposes Cu- 
pid to have been the son of Nox and iEther, and to 
have been produced at the same time with Chaos and 
Earth. He attempts to paint by this allegorical per- 
sonage, the moment at which the earth was peopled 
by men and animals. The poets represent him as the 
son of the god of riches by the goddess of poverty, to 
intimate that fortune and misery equally prove the 
power of love. By love some attempted to designate 
the physical principle, which served to unite the' se- 
parate particles of matter when chaos was cleared. 



PYRAMUS, THISBE. 89 

Cupid is allegorized with gentle, agreeable, caressing, 
deceptive, and malicious attributes. The poets at 
first distinguished two Loves, the one, son of Venus 
Urania, who presided over legitimate unions; the 
other, they called Anteros. 

Ohs. 6. — The mixture of the history of Astarte 
with that of Venus, gave rise to the fable of Adonis, 
which is thus explained. That young prince reigned 
over a part of Phoenicia, and joined to extreme beau- 
ty the most consummate qualities of mind. He mar- 
ried the daughter of Biblos, and succeeded to the 
throne of his father-in-law. While he was hunting 
in the forests of Mount Libyan, a wild-boar wounded 
him very dangerously. The queen, thinking the 
wound mortal, betrayed such poignant grief, that his 
subjects thought him dead, and mourning spread over 
Phoenicia. The prince recovered, however; and in a 
fit of frantick joy, they set forth the danger he had run, 
by saying that he had returned from the infernal re- 
gions. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Venus? 

Were there any goddesses of this name? 

Were the actions of Venus praiseworthy? 

Relate her contest for the prize of beauty. 

What are the usual names of Venus? 

How is Venus represented? 

Who was Cupid? 

Relate the fable of Cupid turning Peristera into a dove. 

Who was Cupid's mistress? 

Who was Adonis? 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Pyramus, Thisbe, Pygmalion, Atalanta, the Lover's Leap^ and the 
river Selemus. 

Pyramus and Thisbe were both youths of Bahlon, 
In age, size, and fortune, they resembled each other. 
With their beauty they alternately refined their joys 
and softened their cares, and by the most agreeable 



90 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

participation, considered each other as objects of de- 
light. Their love shot its roots deep, and grew luxu- 
riantly before they were fitted for conjugal happiness. 
They solicited the consent of their parents, which was 
refused by reason of a previous misunderstanding be- 
tween the two families. A partition-wall was made 
to separate their houses. But nothing is impregna- 
ble to love; for they regularly talked with each other 
through a chink in the w^all, where they conversed 
undiscovered, and which, at their parting, they care- 
fully shut on both sides; but through this aperture, a 
holy kiss, deemed the flower of matrimonial happi- 
ness, could not pass. After repeated promises of mu- 
tual sincerity, they agreed to meet under the shade 
of a large white mulberry tree, to cherish which a 
fountain sent forth its bubbling stream. Taking ad- 
vantage of the absence of her friends, Thisbe dressed 
herself in a new suit, and hastened with such warm 
anticipations of happiness, as time and experience im- 
perceptibly fritter away into languid hopes and 
strengthening apprehensions. The sudden appear- 
ance of a lioness so frightened her, that after having 
drojiped her veil, she ran into a cave. The lioness, 
just as she had come from the slaughter of some cat- 
tle, found the veil, and tore it with her jaws, besmear- 
ed with blood. P} ramus soon went forth, saw the 
vestiges of some wild beast, and found the veil of 
Thisbe bloody. Concluding that she was killed and 
devoured by the wild beast, he became distracted, and 
ran to the appointed tree; but as he did not find her, 
he stabbed himself with a sword. Thisbe, in the 
mean time, recovering from her fright, came forth to 
the mulberry tree, where, in agonizing grief, she had to 
encounter the awful scene of his death, and feel "the 
feeble, thrilling pressure" of his lips and his hand, 
and sink under "the last fond look of his gazing eye;" 
but still more his "faint, faltering accents, struggling 
in death to give one more assurance of affection!" 
Thisbe saw Pyramus dead. Her sight grew dim, 
her soft cheeks turned pale, and her lovely form faded 



PYGMALION, ATALANTA. 91 

away. Her disappointed love she hid in the recesses 
of her bosom; but it operated potently among the 
ruins of her peace. The desire of the heart failed 
with her. The charm of existence was broken. She 
bitterly repented of being the cause of her lover's 
death, and plunging his sword into her own body, 
she fell on him, gave him a bitter kiss, and died. The 
fountain ceasing its murmuring, Zephyrus sprinkled 
the blood of the slain lovers upon the mulberry tree, 
which before bore white berries, but afterwards 
red. 

Pygmalion, a fine statuary, considering the incon- 
veniences incident to a matrimonial life, seriously 
made up his mind to live single. He made an artificial 
image of Venus, where the finest features, ranged in 
the most exact symmetry, and heightened by the most 
blooming complexion, were so animated as to excite 
the passions which they expressed. When clad in 
sensibility's fairest robe, they could not be examined 
without emotion. No haughtiness, no forbidding ma- 
jesty, no boldness; smiles, gentleness, encouragement, 
and exquisite gracefulness, were reflected, as from a 
mirror, by her manner, by her countenance, by her 
person and carriage. Pygmalion could not help fall- 
ing in love with his own workmanship, and begged 
Venus to make it into a living woman. This being 
done, he had by her Paphos, from whom the isle of Pa- 
phos had its name. 

Atalanta was daughter to Schcenus, king of Scy- 
ros. She was equally virtuous and beautiful, and 
wonderfully swift in running. She always shunned 
male society. She was, however, at all times, besieg- 
ed with a train of wooers. In order to get rid of their 
importunities, she at length declared that whoever 
w^ould surpass her in running, should be her husband; 
but that whoever would be beaten by her, should be 
put to death. Accordingly they made their best ef- 
forts to beat her; but were all outrun: and the loss of 
their lives was attributed to the fault of their feet 

Venus gave Hippomonus some apples of the Hes- 



92 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

perides, who artfully threw them in the way. Ata- 
lanta, enticed by the sight of them, stopped to gather 
them. After having attained the goal, he claimed her 
as the prize of his victory. These two lovers were 
turned into a lion and lioness by Cybele, whose tem- 
ple they had profaned, when they were too impatient 
to have their nuptials consummated. 

There was in Leucate, near Nisapolis, a high place 
from which persons leaped into the sea to find a reme- 
dy for love. This place was, therefore, called "TAe 
Lover'' s Leap.^'^ Nets artfully spread, prevented them 
from receiving bruises when they fell, and rich tributes 
were paid to the inventors of this cheat. It was Pho- 
cas, who first leaped from the rock. Repeated experi- 
ments succeeded to do away this ridiculous usage. The 
nets were no longer kept up; but the promontory of 
Leucate remained famous, and the unfortunate Sap- 
pho, to whom Greece gave the name of "the tenth 
muse," still came to increase its celebrity. Driven to 
despair by the insensibility of Phaon, she ran to the 
promontory, threw herself headlong into the sea, and 
perished. 

The river Selemus was also reputed to have the 
virtue of extinguishing the fire of love by bathing 
one's self in its waters. 

QUESTIONS. 

Give the history of Pyramus and Thisbe. 
Favour me with the story of Pygmalion. 
What do you know respecting Atalanta? 
Did the example of thos&lovers deter one from undertaking the 
race? 

Give some account of the Lover's Leap^ 
What is said of the river Selemus? 



CHAPTER XXII. 

The Graces, 



The Graces, or Charities, were daughters of 
Bacchus and Venus. They were three and some- 



THE GRACES. 93 

times four in number, Aglaia, (shining,) Thalia, (flour- 
ishing,) Euphrosyne, (gay,) and Pasithea. They were 
the constant attendants of their mother, who some- 
times represented Hours or Seasons. They were 
supposed to give attractive charms to beauty, and dis- 
pense the gift of pleasing. They taught mankind the 
duties of gratitude and friendship, and promoted love 
and harmony among them. 

They appear as virgins, young, beautiful, modest, 
amiable, innocent, pure, lightly drest, and in elegant 
attitudes, and with their hands connected, to show the 
mutual affection that subsisted between them. Be- 
hold the real loveliness of their innocence, of their 
piety, of their good humour, the irresistible charms 
of their unaffected modesty and humanity, with all the 
rare and pleasing marks of sensibility; virtues which 
add new softness to their sex, and even beautify their 
beauty, the magicism of their celestial friendship, and 
the cherishing memory of their warm hearts! — See 
Fig. 28. 

Obs. 1. — The Graces are described as naked, young, 
smiling, and holding each other by the hand. They 
are naked, to intimate that they borrow nothing from 
art, and have no other charms than those of nature; 
they are young, because charms fall to the lot of youth, 
and the memory of a benefit should not grow old. 
The poets feigned that they were small and slender in 
stature, thereby to show that charms consist in little 
things, even in a gesture or a smile. They are in the 
attitude of dancing, holding each other by the hand, 
in order to teach us that we should, by reciprocal bene- 
fits, strengthen those bands which attach us to each 
other, and that we should be grateful for benefits and 
affectionate. The Graces were placed among the ugly 
Satyrs, undoubtedly to teach us that the defects of 
figure may be compensated by the charms of mind, 
and that we should judge no one by his external ap- 
pearance. They were said to be sprightly and light, 
because one should promptly oblige, and bestow a fa- 
vour with no expectation of reward. They were vir- 



94 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

gins, because inclination to render service, is to be ac- 
companied with prudence and discretion. 

Obs. 2. — By Venus and by the Graces, we mean, 
beauty and prettiness. By a beautiful female, we un- 
derstand, one that is graceful, well proportioned, de- 
licately made, and blessed with a symmetry of colour 
and feature which raises delight and admiration in the 
beholder. Beauty, when adorned with the vermillion 
veil of modesty, has charms that are irresistible. 
When she is clad in virtue's pure robe, she wins the 
esteem and respect of the beholder. But if she lay 
aside that veil or that robe, she makes a sorry and des- 
picable figure in society. 

*'So beauty armed with virtue, bows the soul 

With a commanding, but a sweet control." — Percival. 

The Graces are sometimes represented dressed, but 
more frequently naked, to show that whatever is tru- 
ly graceful, is so, in itself, without the aid of exter- 
nal ornaments. They bestow liberality, eloquence, 
wisdom, together with gaiety of disposition, and easi- 
ness of manners. Such alluring qualities of carriage 
and sweetness of temper, render a beautiful person 
interesting in the highest degree. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who were the Graces? 

What blessings did they bestow on the human race? 

How are they represented? 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

Vulcan. 

VtJLCAN, the god of fire, and the patron of those 
who worked in the metallic arts, was the son of Jupi- 
ter and Juno, or some say, of Juno without a father. 

He resided in heaven for a considerable time, but 
having offended Jupiter by relieving his mother, 
whom Jupiter had suspended by a chain from the 
threshold of heaven, he was thrust down from the ce- 



VULCAN. 95 

lestial court. Having fallen nine days and nine nights, 
he lighted on the isle of Lemnos, and was always after 
a cripple. 

The islanders used him so well, that he fixed his re- 
sidence among them, and taught them the use of fire 
and the art of working metals. 

Vulcan was married to the beautiful goddess Venus, 
but she appears to have despised her deformed hus- 
band, and to have had children by Mars, Mercury, Bac- 
chus, Neptune, and by xlnchises. 

Vulcan forged Jupiter's thunderbolts, and the arms 
of the gods. He constructed seats in such a manner 
as to make them self-moving. They were used by the 
gods at table and in council; and Avere carried from 
one side of the room to another. He also formed some 
golden statues, and animated them in such a manner 
that they followed him wherever he went; he fabri- 
cated the palace of the sun, the necklace of Hermoine, 
the crown of Ariadne, and the arms of Achilles; and 
likewise formed the first woman, whose name was 
Pandora. 

Vulcan is called Lemnius, because he fell upon the 
island of Lemnos; Mulciber, because he softened and 
polished iron; Tardipes, because he was lame; JEt- 
naeus, because a temple was dedicated to him on 
Mount iEtna. 

He was worshipped chiefly in Egypt, at Athens, and 
at Rome. Feasts celebrated to his honour, w^ere call- 
ed Lampadophories. As off'erings to him, whole vic- 
tims were burnt, with no part reserved, as in immo- 
lations to the other gods. A calf and a boar-pig were 
the principal victims. 

Vulcan is usually represented working at tha forge, 
holding in his left hand a thunderbolt wdth pincers 
on an anvil, and with his right, lifting a hammer. An 
eagle waits by his side to carry the bolt to Jupiter. 
He always appears with neglected beard and hair; his 
habit descends not quite to the knees; he wears a 
round and pointed cap. Sometimes he is seen sitting 
upon an anvil, supporting himself with a hammer. — 
See Fig. 29. 



96 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

His servants or workmen were called the Cyclops, 
a race of giants with a circular eye in the middle of 
their forehead. They were described as working in 
the caverns of Mount ^Etna. Apollo slew them all, 
because they had forged the thunderbolts with which 
Jupiter killed his son ^sculapius. The chief work- 
men were Polyphemus, Brontes, Sterops, and Pyrac- 
mon. Polyphemus was slain by Ulysses. 

VULCAN. 

"Cupid is Vulcan's son, Venus his wife: 
No wonder then he goes lame all his life." 

"Nor was his name unheard or unadored 
In ancient Greece: and in Ansonian island 
Men called him Mul ciber; and how he fell 
From heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove. 

From morn 
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve 
A summer's day; and with the setting sun. 
Drops from the zenith, hke a falling star, 
On Lemnos, the -3Egean isle." — Paradise Lost. 

"When of old, as mystic bards presume. 
Huge Cyclops dwelt in JGtna's rocky womb, 
On thundering anvils rung their loud alarms. 
And leagued with Vulcan forged immortal arms; 
Descending Venus sought the dark abode. 
And sooth'd the labours of the grisly god. 
While frowning loves the threatening falchion wield, 
And tittering graces peep behind the shield. 
With jointed mail their fairy Hmbs o'erwhelm, 
Or nod with pausing step the plumed helm; 
With radiant eye she view'd the boiling ore. 
Heard undismay'd the breathing bellows roar, 
Admired their sinewy arms, and shoulders bare, 
And ponderous hammers lifted high in air, 
With smiles celestial bless'd their dazzled sight, 
And beauty blazed amid infernal night." 

BOTAMC GauDEN — CANTO I. 

" The silver footed dame 

Reach'd the Vulcanian dome, eternal frame! 
High, eminent amid the works divine. 
Where heaven's far beaming brazen mansions shine. 
There the lame Architect the goddess found. 
Obscure in smoke, his forges flaming round; 
While bath'd in sweat, from fire to fire he flew, 
And paffing loud the roaring bellows blew. 



POLYPHEMUS. 97 

Then from his anvil the lame artist rose; 

Wide with distorted legs oblique he goes, 

And still the bellows, and, in order laid. 

Locks in their chest the instruments of trade. 

Then with a sponge the sooty workmen drest 

His brawny arms imbrown'd, and hairy breast: 

With his huge sceptre grac'd, and red attire, 

Came halting forth the sov'reign of the fire." — Homer. 

THE CYCLOPS. 

''Amid the Hesperian and Sicilian flood, 

All black with smoke a rocky island stood, ) 

The dark Vulcanian land, the region of the god. 5 

Here the grim Cyclops ply, in vaults profound. 

The huge ^-Eohan forge that thunders round. 

Th' eternal anvils ring, the dungeon o'er; 

From side to side the fiery caverns roar. 

Loud groans the mass beneath their ponderous blows, 

Fierce burns the flame, and the full furnace glows. 

Th' alternate blows the brawny brethren deal; 

Thick burst the sparkles from the tortur'd steel. 

Huge strokes, rough Sterops and Brontes gave. 

And strong Pyracmon shook the gloomy cave; 

Before their sovereign came, the Cyclops strove 

With eager speed, to forge a bolt for Jove, 

Such as by heaven's almighty lord are hurl'd. 

All charged with vengeance on a guilty world. 

Beneath their hands, tremendous to survey! 

Half rough, half form'd, the dreadful engine lay; 

Three points of rain, three forks of hail conspire. 

Three arm'd with wind; and three were barb'd with fire. 

The mass they temper'd thick with livid rays. 

Fear, Wrath, and Terror, and the lightning's blaze." 

Virgil. 

POLYPHEMUS. 

**The joints of slaughter'd wretches are his food. 
And for his wine he quaffs the streaming blood. 
These eyes beheld, when with his spacious hand 
He seiz'd two captives of our Grecian band; 
Stretch'd on his back, he dash'd against the stones 
Their broken bodies and their crackling bones. 
With spouting blood the purple pavement swims, 
While the dire glutton grinds the trembling limbs. 
Not unreveng'd Ulysses bore their fate. 
Nor thoughtless of his own unhappy state. 
For gorg'd with flesh, and drunk with human wine, 
While fast asleep the giant lay supine, 

9 



98 CATECHISM or MYTHOLOGY 

Snoring aloud, and belching from his maw 
His undigested foam and mosals raw; 
We pray, we cast the lots; and then surround 
The monstrous body, stretch'd along the ground; 
Each as he could approach him, lends a hand 
To bore his eyeball with a flaming brand; 
Beneath his frowning forehead lay his eye; 
For only one did this vast frame supply. 
But that a globe so large, his front so fill'd. 
Like the Sun's disk, or like the Grecian shield/' 

Obs. 1. — There were three distinguished Vulcans: 
the first, Tubal-cain, the son of Lamech, mentioned 
in Scripture. He was, no doubt, the first inventor of 
smiths' work. The second was one of the first kings 
of the Egyptians, or, rather, their first divinity. Their 
silence respecting his origin, renders it probable that 
he was the same Tubal-cain. The Grecians have 
made up the history of the third out of that of the 
first two, together with additions of their own. 

Obs. 2. — The Cyclops appear to have been the abo- 
riginals of Sicily. Ignorance of their origin caused 
them to be looked upon as the sons of Heaven and 
Earth. Their first settlement was probably made at 
the foot of Mount Etna; and the flames w^hich it vo- 
mits forth, caused it to be regarded as the forge of 
Vulcan. In like manner the horrible noise of that vol- 
cano was compared to the redoubled strokes of the 
Cyclops on their anvils. They are fabled to have had 
but one eye; to explain which, some suppose they 
wore a mask to keep off the fire with one hole above 
their eyes through which to see their works. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Vulcan? 

Did he reside in heaven? 

With what reception did he meet in Lemnos? 

To whom was Vulcan married? 

What actions are attributed to him? 

By what surnames was Vulcan distinguished? 

Was he worshipped? 

How is Vulcan generally represented? 

Who were his servants or workmen? 



MERCURY. 99 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

JSIercury. 

CJiCERO mentions five deities of this name, but the 
actions of all but one have been attributed to the son 
of Jupiter and Maia. Mercury was the messenger of 
the gods, the patron of travellers, shepherds, orators, 
merchants, thieves, and dishonest persons, the tutelar 
god of roads and crossways, the inventor of letters, 
weights, measures, &c. It was he who released the 
souls of men from their bodies, conducted them to 
Charon's boat, to be ferried across the Styx. After 
they had spent some time in the nether world, he led 
them back to revisit the realms of day, according to the 
doctrine of transmigration. 

Mercury was born on Mount Cyllene, in Arcadia, 
and, in his infancy, was entrusted to the care of the 
seasons. On the day of his birth, he is said to have 
stolen the oxen of Admetus, tended by Apollo, This 
theft being discovered by Battus, Mercury gave him a 
cow to keep the secret; but to test his fidelity. Mercu- 
ry appeared to him in another shape, and offered him 
a higher reward to reveal it: whereupon, Battus told 
him all he knew. The god was incensed at this du- 
plicity, and turned him into a stone. At different 
times he is said, in sport, and in spite of their utmost 
vigilance, to have purloined from Apollo his bow and 
quiver, from Neptune his trident, from Venus her 
girdle, from Mars his sword, from Jupiter his sceptre, 
and from Vulcan his tools. 

Mercury greatly distinguished himself in the wars 
of the giants, delivered Mars from a long confinement, 
purified the Danaides, tied Ixion to his wheel, and 
destroyed the hundred-eyed Argus. He chained Pro- 
metheus to Mount Caucasus, sold Hercules to Om- 
phale, queen of Lydia, and conducted Priam to the 
tent of Achilles. 

Mercury possessed attributes connected with en- 
chantment, and bore a caduceus, or rod of power, 



100 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY 

with wings at the top, and a couple of serpents en-* 
twined about it. The virtues of this wand were such 
that every thing it touched, when awake, would sink 
into sleep, and when asleep, would awaken. When 
it was applied to the dying, their spirit separated gent- 
ly from the mortal frame; but when applied to the 
dead, they returned to life. It also had the power of 
settling controversies: two implacable enemies, when 
moved with it, instantly become reconciled. He saw 
two serpents fighting, and when he laid his wand be- 
tween them, they regarded each other with eyes of 
affection, and entwined themselves around it. 

Mercury was represented in a variety of ways: 
most commonly, however, as a naked youth, standing 
on tip-toe, having on his head a winged hat, called 
PetasuSy and on his feet, winged sandals, called Tala- 
ria. He held in one hand his rod, and in the other, 
a purse. — See Fig. 30. 

Mercury had many children. The most celebrated 
were Hermaphroditus by Venus, and Pan by Pene- 
lope, the wife of Ulysses. 

The animals sacred to Mercury, were the goat and 
the dog. Offerings of milk and honey were made to 
him, and the tongues were burnt on his altar with 
great solemnity, because he was the god of eloquence. 
The Roman merchants annually celebrated his festi- 
val in a temple near the circus Maximus. 

Mercury was called Hermes by the Greeks, because 
he was the god of rhetoricians and orators; Cylle- 
nius, either from the name of Mount Cyllenus on 
which he was born, or because his statues had neither 
hands nor feet; Nomius, on account of the laws of 
which he was the author; Camillus, because he served 
the gods; Caduceator, because he bore the caduceus; 
Vialis, because he presided over highways; Dolius. 
because he patronized fraud and treachery. 

-The god who mounts the winged winds, 



Fast to his feet the golden pinions binds, 
That high through fields of air his flight sustain, 
O'er the wide earth, and o'er the boundless main; 
He grasps the wand that causes sleep to fly,, 



MERCURY. 101 

Or in soft slumbers seals the wakeful eye; 

Then shoots from heav'n to high Pieria's steep. 

And stoops incumbent on the roiling deep." — Homer. 

"Hermes obeys; with golden pinions binds 

His flying feet, and mounts the western winds. 

And, whether o'er the seas or earth he flies, 

Witli rapid force they bear liim down the skies. 

But first he grasps, within his awful hand, 

The mark of sov'reign pow'r, his magic wand: 

With this he draws the souls from hollow graves; 

With this he drives them down the Stygian waves; 

With this he seals in sleep the wakeful sight 

And eyes, though clos'din death, restores to light." — Virgil. 

"Thee, wing-foot, all the gods, both high and low, 
The arbiter of war and peace allow.;' — Ovid. 

Obs. 1. — He who has furnished the poets with most 
materials for fable, is Mercury Trismegistus, or three 
times great, king of Egypt, who lived a little after 
Moses. He was the author of ancient books on reli- 
gion, which the Egyptians carefully preserved. 

Obs. 2. — To understand the historical sense of the 
fable of Mercury, we must recollect that the ancients, 
not critical observers of chronology, confounded 
several Mercuries into one. The Mercury, son of 
Maia, and grandson of Atlas, reigned after Jupiter, 
his father, in a part of Italy and Gaul. The qualities 
of his mind were such that he was accounted the god 
of thieves, as well as the inventor of several arts; for 
he was sly, dissembling, crafty, and cunning. He 
consulted the learned, and profitted by their discourses 
to instruct himself in the sciences and arts. The de- 
licate negociations in which he was employed, caused 
him to be deemed the interpreter and messenger of 
the gods. The Gauls honoured him under the name of 
--Theutates, and offered him human victims. The 
Egyptians worshipped him under the name of Thaut. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Mercury? 
Where was Mercury born? 
What actions are recorded of him? 
What other actions are attributed to him? 
9* 



/ 



102 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGf 

What are the attributes of Mercury? 

In what manner was Mercury represented? 

Had Mercury any children? 

What were the sacrifices offered to Mercury? 

By what different names was Mercury called==^ 



PAKT II. 



OF THE MARINE DEITIES. 

The wants and necessities of life are continually 
recurring. To have them unsupplied, causes death. 
Hence the most unenlightened nations have sought 
out some supernatural beings to preside over their for- 
tunes and destinies; and hence, too, every element has 
had its divinity. But the gross ignorance of miserable 
beings groping in nature's darkness, has rendered it 
impossible for them to form just conceptions of a pure, 
spiritual, and holy Supreme Being who is worthy to 
receive their highest adorations: and hence we find in 
all the gods of the heathens, an incongruous jumble 
of spiritual and carnal, divine and human essence; — 
a compound of corruption and incorruption, of the 
mighty and the feeble, of noble and ignoble, of the 
fascinating and the disgusting, of the amiable and the 
execrable, of good and evil. 

Thus, the Egyptians gave the name of Osiris and 
Isis to the sun and moon. Neptune, celebrated be- 
cause he commanded the fleet of Jupiter, became the god 
of the seas. Every river, every fountain, every collec- 
tion of water had its particular deity. This worship 
varied according to the customs and opinions of the dif- 
ferent nations, but the worship of water was ge- 
neral. The Egyptians held the sea in horror, because 
it represented to them the tremendous Typhon. They 
reserved their whole veneration for the waters of the 
Nile. They named this river Ocean, Ypeus, or Ni- 
leus, and often Siris, by an abbreviation of Osiris. 



104 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Among them this river, or, rather, the god of the wa- 
ter, was represented by a vessel, full of holes, which 
they called Hydria. The Persians having pretend- 
ed to sustain the pre-eminence of fire, their great di- 
vinity, the Egyptian priests accepted the challenge. 
The Hydria was placed on a hot coal fire, but the 
holes of the vessel, skilfully closed with wax, let es- 
cape the water it contained, and the Nile was victo- 
rious. From that time nothing equalled the respect 
of the Egyptians for the Hydria, which they also call- 
ed Canopus, their god. According to them, the Nile, 
or water in general, was the principle of all things, 
and it only gave motion and life to all that breathes. 

The Indians rendered the Ganges divine honours. 
This superstition still lasts, and the princes who reign 
on the banks of this river, make their subjects pay 
for the right of bathing and drawing water from it. 
Almost all the inhabitants of the earth have libations 
to the ocean, seas, fountains, and rivers. The most 
astonishing effects were attributed to the water, and 
the poets infinitely extended this sort of idolatrous 
worship by adding to it the charms and graces of their 
fictions. Hence sprang the sea deities whose number 
surpassed those of heaven and other parts of the uni- 
verse. Oceanus had by Tethys, seventy-two nymphs, 
named Oceanides; Nereus, fifty Nereides, whose names 
Hesiod mentions. The same poet makes the number 
of the nymphs of the waters amount even to three 
thousand; and if the Naiades, the Napaex, the Lim- 
niades, &c. &c. be added, we shall find that the dei- 
ties of the water were innumerable. We shall pre- 
sent a few of the most important fables belonging to 
this part of mythology. 



CHAPTER I. 

Oceanus J JS''ereus. 
Oceanus, a powerful sea deity, was the son of Coe- 
lus and Terra. He was considered as the first god of 



OCEANUS, NEREUS. 105 

the waters, because he contains the greatest collection 
of water, and communicates it to the other seas and 
to the earth by that admirable circulation of rivers, 
fountains, clouds, and rains, which carry every where 
fruitfulness. 

Oceanus was married to Tethys, by whom he is 
said to have had three thousand children. His nymphs 
were called after his name, Oceanides and Oceantides. 
The Argonauts, before they prosecuted their expe- 
dition, offered him flour, honey, and oil on the sea- 
coast, and sacrificed to him bulls in order to solicit his 
protection. The sailors usually offered a lamb or 
young pig, when the sea was calm, and a black bull, 
when it was agitated. 

Oceanus is represented as an old man, with a long 
flowing beard, sitting on the waves of the sea, and 
holding a pike in his hand. 

Nereus, son to Oceanus, was a famous prophet. 
He was described with a long flowing beard, and sky- 
coloured head. By his wife Doris, he had fifty daugh- 
ters, called Nereides, who compose the train of Am- 
phitrite. They are described as young and beautiful 
virgins, mounted on dolphins, and bearing Neptune's 
trident in their hands, or sometimes garlands of flow- 
ers. 

Thetis was the most illustrious of the Nereides, 
and is to be distinguished from the wife of Oceanus. 
Jupiter loved her; but having read in the book of 
Destiny that she Avould have a son greater than his 
father, he gave her for a wife to Peleus^ who was fa- 
ther to Achilles. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Oceanus? 

To whom was Oceanus married? .^ 

How was Oceanus honoured? 

How is Oceanus represented? 

Who was Nereus? 

Who was the most illustrious of the Nereides? 



106 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGlf* 

CHAPTER II. 

Jfeptune, Triton. 

Neptune, the ruler of the waters, and the god of 
maritime afifairs, was the son of Saturn and Cybele. 
He received as his portion of dominion, the empire of 
the sea. 

He engaged the gods to dethrone his brother Jupi- 
ter; for which offence, Neptune and Apollo were con- 
demned to serve Laomedon, king of Troy, for one 
year, during which they built the walls of that fa- 
mous city. Neptune laid waste the Trojan territories, 
because the king had refused him a stipulated re- 
ward. 

Neptune was married to Amphitrite, daughter of 
Oceanus and Tethys. A dolphin had persuaded her 
to take Neptune for her husband, notwithstanding her 
vow of celibacy. By her he had Triton. But like 
Jupiter, he was unfaithful to his wife; and his pro- 
geny by his various mistresses are too numerous to be 
mentioned here. 

Neptune was a powerful deity. He could cause 
earthquakes, and raise islands from the bottom of the 
sea at his will. 

He was most venerated by the Libyans. The 
Greeks and Romans celebrated their Isthmean games 
and Consualia in honour of him. During his feasts, 
horses and mules crowned with flowers, rested from 
their toils. Nobody durst disturb their rest. His or- 
dinary victims were the horse and the bull. 

Neptune was called Hippius, because he produced 
a horse out of the ground by a stroke of his trident; 
Posedon, because he broke vessels; Hippodromus, be- 
cause he presided over horse-races; Consus, because 
he was the god of counsel. Amphitrite was called 
Salacia, because the salt water is in the bottom of the 
sea, and Venilia, because the sea ebbs and flows by 
turns. 

Neptune is represented with black hair and blue 



AMPHITRITE, TRITON. 107 

eyes, clad in a robe of rich azure, holding a trident in 
his right hand, and embracing his queen Amphitrite 
with his left arm. Sometimes he stands up, and sits 
down at others, in a chariot made of shell, and drawn 
by sea-horses or dolphins, and surrounded by Tritons, 
nymphs, and sea-monsters. He wears a radiated 
crown on his head. — See Fig. 31. 

Triton was the son of Neptune, and trumpeter to 
his father. He could calm the ocean and abate storms 
at pleasure. He is represented as half man and half 
fish, blowing a wreathed sea-shell, which serves him 
for a trumpet with which to convene the water deities 
when Neptune requires their presence. 

"Good Neptune's steeds to rest are set up here, 

In the iEgean gulph, whose fore parts harness bear, 

Their hinder parts fish-shaped." 

''Shaking his trident, urges on his steeds. 

Who with two feet beat from their brawny breasts 

The foaming billows; but their hinder parts 

Swim, and go smooth against the curling surge." 

" He smooth'd the sea, 

Dispell'd the darkness, and restor'd the day. 
High on the waves hie azure car he guides. 
Its axle, thunder, and the sea subsides; 
And the smooth ocean rolls her silent tides." 
■Where'er he guides 



His finny coursers, and in triumph rides. 

The waves unruffle, and the sea subsides." 

"Him and his martial train the Triton bears. 

High on his poop the sea-green god appears; 

Frowning, he seems his crooked shell to sound, 

And at the blast the billows dance around. 

A hairy man above the breast he shows; 

A porpoise tail beneath his body grows, 

And ends a fish: his breast the waves divide, 

And froth and foam augment the murmuring tide." — Virgil 

"Old Triton rising from the deep he spies. 

Whose shoulders rob'd with native purple rise, 

And bids him his loud-sounding shell inspire. 

And give the floods a signal to retire. 

He his wreath'd trumpet takes (as given in charge) 

That from the turning bottom grows more large; 

This, when the Numen o'er the ocean sounds, 

The east and west from shore to shore rebounds." — Ovid. 



108 CATECHISM OJF MYTHOLOGY. 

Obs. 1. — Amphitrite is quite a poetical personage. 
Her name signifies that the sea surrounds the land. 
By Nejptune the ancients understood the element of 
water: Amphitrite, his wife, is water itself. The en- 
terprise of the dolphin shows that it surpasses all 
other fishes in industry. Neptune placed in the rank of 
immortals, and considered as the god of the sea, was 
undoubtedly a prince, hero, or captain who, command- 
ing a great naval army, had signalized himself by his 
talents and heroic exploits in some sea-fight. 

Obs. 2. — By the use of his trumpet Triton is said 
to have frightened away the giants in their wars with 
the gods. This fable may be considered as a corrupt- 
ed tradition of the fall of the walls of Jericho. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Neptune? 

Was Neptune satisfied with this portion? 
Was Neptune married? 
Was Neptune a powerful deity? 
How was Neptune honoured? 

What were the usual names of Neptune and his wife Amphi- 
trite? 

How is Neptune represented? 

Who was Triton? and how is he represented? 



CHAPTER III. 

The Sirens, Scylla, Ckaryhdis. 

The Sirens were thi-ee in number, supposed to 
have been the daughters of Achelaus and Melpomene: 
their names were Parthenope, Ligeia, and Leucosia, 
or, according to others, Molpe, Aglaophonos, and 
Thelxiope. Homer informs us that they resided in 
the straits of Messina, between Sicily and Naples. 
Ovid says, that they were the companions of Proser- 
pine, when Pluto carried away the daughter of Pro- 
serpine. They requested the gods to grant them 
wings to look after her about the great sea, and obtain- 
ed them. The jealous Juno inspired them with the 



SIRENS, SCYLLA, CHARYBDIS. 109 

perfidious idea of challenging the nine Muses in sing- 
ing. They were overcome, and the pupils of Apollo 
punished them by pulling off their wings, of which 
they made crowns. 

The Sirens appear as beautiful young females, with 
the faces of women and the bodies of flying fishes, 
holding, one a lyre, another, a flute, and the third, 
singing. They knew how to accommodate their songs 
to the tempers of men. Such was the sweetness and 
melody of their notes, that passengers were often al- 
lured by them to their destruction. The Tritons and 
Sirens are sometimes called mermen and mermaids. 

Ulysses and Orpheus were the only two passengers, 
who escaped their machinations. The former being 
forewarned by Circe of their dangerous melody, stop- 
ped the ears of his comrades with wax, and caused 
himself to be bound fast to the mast, by which means 
he safely passed the fatal coast. Orpheus played on 
his harp, and sang the praises of the gods with such 
effect, that he overcome the Sirens. On this they pre- 
cipitated themselves into the sea, and were changed 
into stones. 

Scylla was the daughter of Phorcus, or, as some 
,say, of Typhon. She was courted by Glaucus, whom 
Circe loved with such violence, that she poured the 
juice of poisonous herbs into the waters of the foun- 
tain where Scylla was wont to bathe; and in washing 
herself in the waters, she became a monster of a hi- 
deous form, with six different heads, each with three 
rows of teeth, with twelve feet, and with the lower 
parts of the body, like dogs, which never ceased bark- 
ing: for which metamorphosis she threw herself into 
the sea, and was turned into a rock. 

Charybdis is said to have been an avaricious woman, 
who stole away Hercules' oxen, for which crime Ju- 
piter struck her dead with thunder, and then turned 
her into a whirlpool. 

^'Sirens were once sea-monsters^ mere decoys, 
Trepanning seamen with their tuneful voice." — Ovid. 

10 



110 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

"Far on the right her dogs foul Scy]la hides: 
Charybdis roaring on the left presides, 
And in her greedy whirlpool sucks the tides; 
Then spouts them from below: with fury driv'n, 
The waves mount up, and wash the face of heav'n. 
But Scylla from her den, with open jaws 
The sinking vessel in her eddy draws; 
Then dashes on the rocks. A human face 
And virgin bosom hide the tail's disgrace: 
Her parts obscene below the waves descend, 
With dogs enclos'd, and in a dolphin end." — Virgilv 

Obs. 1. — Some are inclined to consider the Sirens 
as girls of pleasure. 

Obs. 2. — The fable of the Sirens seems to pourtray 
the folly, as well as the danger, of pursuing those spe- 
cious allurements to pleasure, to sensual delight, and 
to an indulgence in dreams of earthly glory, by in- 
viting us to a banquet served up with every thing 
that is good and desirable, when, in truth, they would 
but plunge us into scenes of voluptuousness, dissipa- 
tion, and riot, and finally land us on the rocks of ruin. 

Obs. 3. — During a tempest the continual dash of 
the waves against a rock, is analogous to the barking 
of dogs. Scylla and Charybdis represent lust and 
gluttony, vices which render our voyage through life 
equally hazardous and perilous. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who were the Sirens? 
How are they represented? 

Who were the only two passengers, that escaped their machina- 
tions? 
What story is related of Scylla? 
What is said of Charybdis? 



CHAPTER IV. 

Proteus. 

Proteus, an amphibious deity, had for his mother 
the nymph Phoenice. He was called Vertumnus by 
the Latins. His prime duty was to take care of sea- 



PROTEUS. Ill 

calves, and other marine animals. He could convert 
himself into any shape he pleased, and had the gift of 
divination. 

The fable of Aristseus illustrates the power of Pro- 
teus to metamorphose himself. Eurydice was about 
to be married to Orpheus. The hymeneal altar was 
already' prepared in a field enameled with flowers; 
the furious Aristeus appears, and opposes her union. 
He rudely rushes to seize her, and she flees into a 
field, where a venomous serpent, hidden under the 
flowers, is bruised by the foot of Eurydice. The ser- 
pent revenges itself by inflicting on her a mortal 
wound. The nymphs, afflicted at this misfortune, 
punished Aristseus by killing his bees. In order to 
repair that loss, his mother Cyrene sends him to con- 
sult Proteus; recommends him to surprize Proteus in 
his sleep, and to bind him fast with cords; and assures 
him, that, after having in vain attempted his metamor- 
phosis, he will resume his original form, and will tell 
him the secret of which he is in need. Proteus, sur- 
prised by Aristseus, awakes, loaded with the bonds; 
but he cannot change Aristaeus' form. He is, there- 
fore, compelled to yield, with the hope of regaining 
his liberty. He directs that youth to immolate four 
heifers to the manes of Eurydice. Numerous swarms 
of bees immediately burst forth from them. Hence, 
Virgil intimates, that when exposed to the sun, the 
skin of a bull or heifer attracts insects, which are soon 
changed into bees. 

Ohs. — Historians state, that Proteus was king of 
Egypt, about the time of the Trojan war, famed for 
wisdom, foresight, secrecy, cunning, and eloquence, 
which the poets metaphorically express by saying, 
that he changed himself into different forms. A fickle 
person is called a Proteus. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Proteus? 

What fable relates to the power of Proteus to metamorphose 
himself? 



112 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

CHAPTER V. 

Glauciis, Porturniius, Phorcys, Saron, 

Glaucus was a Boetian fisherman. One day he 
perceived that the fishes recovered their strength by 
touching an herb upon which he had emptied»out his 
nets, after which they instantly leaped into the sea. He 
wished to try its effects upon himself; and as soon as he 
had touched it, he instantly leaped into the sea, and 
became a sea-dog. . 

PoRTUMNus, so Called by the Latins, was son to 
Athamas and Ino, daughter of Cadmus. Juno, an ene- 
my to Cadmus, because he was brother to Europa, 
inspired Athamas with such fury, that he threatened 
to tear Ino to pieces with her son Melicerta. Both 
precipitately ran away, and fell into the sea, and be- 
came sea-deities. The name of Ino was changed to 
that of Leucothea, and Melicerta was called Palaemon. 
He was painted with a key in his right hand, to de- 
signate that the poets are under his protection and 
safeguard. The Roman ladies much honoured Leu- 
cothea; but they durst not offer vows to that goddess, 
because they dreaded for their children the misfor- 
tunes which had overwhelmed Leucothea and her 
son. No female slave had a right to enter her tem- 
ple. 

Phorcys or Phorcus, a marine god, was the son of 
Pontus and Terra: but some say, of Neptune. He 
was father to the Gorgons, of whom we shall speak. 
Thoosa, his daughter, was mother to Polyphemus, the 
most celebrated of the Cyclops. 

Saron was considered as the particular god of mor- 
tals. He was king of Corinth, and very fond of hunt- 
ing. In pursuing a stag, he leaped accidentally into 
the sea, where, exhausted with heat and fatigue, he 
perished. His body was cast up by the sea near the 
wood sacred to Diana, in the Phoeban swamps. It 
was buried in the porch of the temple; and from that 
time, that swamp is called Sai'onic, instead of Phceban. 



THE NYMPHS. 113 

The king-fishers, sea-birds, have power to build 
their nests on the waves, even during winter. The 
ancients had a superstition, that, for fourteen days, 
from the 13th to the 28th of December, the sea re- 
mains calm and appears to respect those birds. Mari- 
ners give to that time the name of '^halcyon days.'''' 
This singularity produced a fable: Alcyone, wife of 
Ceyx, king of Trachinia, saw, in a dream her hus- 
band returning to consult the oracle of Delphi. At 
day-break, as she ran along the shore, she perceived 
a floating body, and recognized Ceyx. In the midst 
of her despair, she threw herself headlong into the 
sea. The gods, moved with compassion, changed 
them both into alcyons or king-fishers. 

QUESTIONS. 

What is said of Glaucus? 

What story is told of Portumnus? 

Who was Phorcys? 

What story is related of Saron? 

Mention the fables of the king-fishers. 



CHAPTER VI. 

^he JVymphs. 

The Nymphs are young virgins who attend on ce- 
lestial, terrestial, and marine deities. 

Dryades have empire over the woods. 

Hamadryades are born, and expire with trees. 

Oreades, or Oriestiades, preside over the moun- 
tains. 

Aurse have dominion over the air. 

Naphaese preside over the groves and valleys. 

The meadows and fields acknowledge Limoniades 
for their proctors. 

Melias watched over the ash, 

Naides, or Naiades, govern the fountains. 

Fluviales, or Potamides, are the nymphs of the ri- 
vers. 

10* 



114 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Limnades inhabit the lakes and ponds. 

Hesiod and Pindar call Neptune Nymphagetes, be- 
cause he is the captain of (50) nymphs. 

Agappidae and Musas were the nymphs of Apollo. 

Bacchae, Bassarides, Eloides, and Thyades, were the 
njmphs of Bacchus. 

Diana had hunting nymphs for her attendants. 

Nereides attended upon Tethys. 

Echo was once a nymph, but she has left behind her 
nothing but her voice. 

Juno struck her speechless, because she found her- 
self long detained by her tedious discourses; a cir- 
cumstance which afforded the nymphs time to quit the 
company of Jupiter. 

Echo saw, loved, followed, and embraced Narcissus 
in the woods; but he shunned her. 

The grief of Echo was so great as to consume away 
her flesh, and dissolve her into stones. 

When Narcissus pined away with self-love, with 
the assistance of the gods, he was changed into a daf- 
fodil, which plant still bears his name. 

ECHO. 

'•She was a nymph, though only now a sound; 
Yet of her tongue no other use was found. 
Than now she has; which never cpuld be more, 
Than to repeat what she had heard before. 

This change impatient Juno's anger wrought, 
Who, when her Jove she o'er the mountains sought. 
Was oft by Echo's tedious tales misled, 
Till the shy nymphs to caves and grottos fled. 

Her flesh consumes and moulders with despair. 
And all her body's juice is turn'd to air; 
So wond'rous are the effects of restless pain. 
That nothing but her voice and bones remain; 
Nay, e'en the very bones at last are gone. 
And metamorphos'd to a thoughtless stone; 
Yet still the voice does in the woods survive. 
The form's departed, but the sound's alive," 

NARCISSUS. 

"There was by chance a living fountain near. 
Whose unpolluted channel ran so clear. 
That it seem'd liquid silver." 



THE NYMPHS. 115 

"A little drop of water does remove 

And keep him from the object of his love." 

"My love does vainly on myself return. 

And fans the cruel flames with which I burn. 

The thing desir'd I still about me bore, 

And too much plenty has confirm'd me poor. 

O that I from my much loved self could go! 

A strange request, yet would to God 't were so." 

Obs. — The word nymph is derived from lymph^ 
water ^ or from the Phoenician word nephas, soul. 
Before the system of Tartarus and Elysium was adopt- 
ed, people believed that souls wandered about tombs, 
or in gardens and woods which they had loved while 
they were united with the body. Those places were 
religiously respected; and thence proceeded the cus- 
tom of sacrificing to manes under green trees. Nymphs 
were charged to preside over them; and their numbers 
was immense. 

QUESTIOXS. 

By what title are young virgins, who attend on celestial, terres- 
4;rial, and marine deities, distinguished? 

What name is given to those nymphs who have empire over the 
woods? 

What name is common to the nymphs who are born and expire 
with trees? 

Whom do the mountains have for their rulers? 

What nymphs have dominion over the air? 

What nymphs preside over the groves and valleys? 

What nymphs do the meadows and fields acknowledge for their 
protectors? 

What appellation was given to the nymphs who took charge of 
the ash? 

By what nymphs are the fountains governed? 

By what name are the nymphs of the rivers distinguished? 

Who inhabit the lakes and ponds? 

Under what denomination do Hesiod, Homer, and Pindar, make 
Neptune the captain of fifty nymphs? 

Who were the nymphs of Apollo? 

By v/hat names were the nymphs of Bacchus calledi* 

Whom had Diana for her attendants? 

What sea nymphs attended upon Tethys? 

Who was Echo? 

Why did Juno strike her speechless? 

What youth in the woods did Echo see, love, follow, and embrace? 

Was the grief of Echo great? 

Into what flower was Narcissus at length turaed? 



116 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

CHAPTER VII. 

^oLus, the god of the winds and tempests, is usu- 
ally supposed to have been the son of Jupiter, by 
Acesta or Sergesta, the daughter of Hippotus. 

-^olus is represented as shutting up the winds in a 
vast rocky cavern, and occasionally letting them loose 
over the world. When Ulysses was returning home 
from Troy, ^olus gave him all the winds confined in 
a bag that he might thereby have power to resist all 
obstacles to his voyage. 

On coming within sight of the place of his destina- 
tion, the companions of Ulysses, supposing that the 
bag was full of money, untied it. The winds rushed 
out with great violence, and blew him back many a 
weary league, and thus greatly protracted his voyage 
home. 

The Winds are fabled to have been the sons of 
Aurora and Astrseus, one of the giants who waged 
war with the gods. They were the attendants or 
secretaries of ^olus. Their names were Boreas, who 
had empire over the north-wind; Eurus, over the east- 
wind; Auster, over the south-wind; and Zephyrus, 
over the west-wind. 

Boreas, wishing to marry Ory thia, daughter of Erech- 
theus, king of Athens, was refused by that prince. 
He therefore blew her away, and carried her to Thrace; 
where he had by her two sons, Calais and Zethes. 

Boreas, having metamorphosed himself into a horse, 
gave birth to twelve colts of such swiftness, that they 
ran on the water without sinking, and over the ears of 
corn without bending them. This allegorically repre- 
sents the swiftness of the winds. 

Virgil thus beautifully describes Juno's visit to JEolus: 
"Thus rag'd the goddess, and with fury fraught. 
The restless regions of the storms she sought, 
Where, in a spacious cave of living stone. 
The tyrant iEolus, from his airy throne, 



JEOL.US. 117 

With pow'r imperial curbs the strugghng winds, 
And sounding tempests in dark prisons binds. 
This way and that, th' impatient captives tend, 
And, pressing for release, the mountains rend. 
High in this hall th' undaunted monarch stands. 
And shakes his sceptre, and their rage commands; 
Which did he not, their unresisted sway- 
Would sweep the world before them in their way; 
Earth, air and seas, through empty space would roll. 
And heav'n would fly before the driving soul. 
In fear of this the father of the gods 
Confined their fury to these dark abodes. 
And locked them safe, oppress'd with mountain loads; 
Impos'd a king with arbitrary sway. 
To loose their fetters, or their force allay." 

Obs. — The deification ofthewindjproceeded from the 
great veneration with which the ancients, during the 
Trojan war, held Mollis, king of the ^olian islands, 
(at that time called the Vulcanian, now called Lipari) 
on account of his uncommon skill and divine accura- 
cy, in calculating when and from what points the wind 
would blow. This knowledge he acquired by closely 
observing the direction in which the smoke of the 
volcanoes was sent by the winds. 

QUESTIONS 

Who was -SLolus? 

What was the office of iEolus.? 

What followed? 

Who were the Winds? 

Whom did Boreas marry? 

What did Boreas produce, when he became a horse? 



PART III. 



OF THE TERRESTRIAL DEITIES. 

The confused and feeble recollections of sacret. 
tradition, were not sufficient to bring man back to a 
knowledge of the true God. Strength, number, and 
address, secured him the dominion of the earth; but 
he enjoyed it without gratitude, and thought of noth- 
ing but gratifying his wants and passions. Though his 
pride was great, he acknowledged that he could not 
command the elements, and that, having unceasingly 
withstood the dangers which threatened his life, he 
was in need of assistance and protection. His sor- 
rows, his fears, and necessities, seem to have forced 
him to believe that there was a power superior to his 
own. He therefore submits to implore that Being; 
but he presumptuously thinks he has the right of at- 
taching value to his homage; and, consequently, of 
bringing him under obligation to watch over his ne- 
cessities, and to relieve his wants. 

But the idea of one God supreme, universal, and the 
dispenser of all blessings, was a conception too grand 
to enter his mind. He therefore divides his functions, 
and distributes his power, among a multiplicity of gods: 
and bowing down to the divinities of his imagination, he 
vainly hopes that, by offering numerous sacrifices, he 
can purchase the pardon of his sins, and the indul- 
gence of his passions and desires. 

Thus man blindly and madly went on, continually 
increasing the number of the gods of heaven, of the 
earth, of the seas, and of hell. The earth itself be- 



DEMOGORGON. 119 

came a divinity. Woods, harvests, gardens, meadows, 
countries, had divine protectors. Houses had their 
gods. Lares and Penates, and each of them his hon- 
ours, offices, and worship. At first, the gods were con- 
sidered as beings invisible and superior to human na- 
ture; but some men having distinguished themselves 
by the cultivation of fields and gardens, or by some 
useful invention, their names were given to those un- 
known divinities, and often the divinity and the mor- 
tal became confounded together. They counted twelve 
of the first order, which were called Consentes. These 
differed from the twelve great gods, of whom we have 
previously spoken. 

Jupiter and Terra were the first two. The Sun 
and the Moon which so materially influence crops and 
vegetation, w^ere the second two. Ceres, the goddess of 
corn, and Bacchus, the god of wine, were the third; and 
Robigus and Flora, were the fourth. Robigus pre- 
vented fruits from being blighted, and watched over 
them to make them ripen: Flora watched over the 
birth of flowers. Minerva and Venus were the fifth. 
The former made olive-trees grow, and the latter pre- 
sided over gardens. Finally, Water and Bonus Even- 
tus were the sixth. The first, because, without it, the 
earth is dry and produces nothing; and the second, 
whose name signifies good success, watched to procure 
good crops. Such were the principal gods of the earth. 
Their functions and names prove that they owed their 
origin and the worship paid to them, to the want of 
their assistance, felt by those who contrived them. 



CHAPTER I. 

Demosorson. 



Allegorically, Demogorgon represents the ge- 
nius of the earth. No person, having great fear and 
veneration for his name, durst pronounce it in a high tone 
of voice. Philosophers considered this divinity as the 



120 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

spirit of heat, which produces plants, and gives them 
life. The people honoured him as a true god. He 
was represented in the form of an old man, filthy, co- 
vered with moss, pale, and deformed, always inhabit- 
ing the bowels of the earth. He had Eternity and 
Chaos for his companions. 

Wearied with the tediousness of his drear abode, 
he formed a mass of dirt upon which he sat, and, ris- 
ing into the air, he surrounded the earth and formed 
the heaven. Having passed on to the mountain Acro- 
ceraunia, which cast forth flames, he drew from its 
bowels ignited dirt, which he sent into heaven to give 
light to the world, and with which burning matter he 
formed the sun, which he gave to the earth for her 
husband. 

These produced Tartarus and Nox. Demogorgon, 
disturbed in his den by the sorrows which Chaos ex- 
perienced, issued out of the bottom of the earth dis- 
cord, that she might dwell on its surface. She was 
the first of his children. In like manner he sent forth 
the three Parcae, the serpent Python, Nox, Tartarus, 
and so forth. 

The Arcadians originally considered earth to be 
animated by a genius, who received from them the 
name of Demogorgon. 

Among the ditferent names borne by Earth, the most 
ancient is Titaea, which signifies dirt, or earth, as 
Uranus does heaven. Chaos alone was more ancient 
than heaven and earth. He was arbitrarily called Ops, 
or Tellus; and the name of the goddess Vesta, 
Ceres, Proserpine, Rhea, Diana, or Cybele, was fre- 
quently given to him. 

Among the different festivals of Earth, one was cal- 
led the festival of the good goddess. On the first day 
of May, Vestals entered the house of the high priest, 
to make a sacrifice to the good goddess, the mysteri- 
ous deity, whose name women only knew. This sa- 
crifice, offered for the safety and prosperity of the 
Roman people, was done with the most extensive pre- 
parations and the most extraordinary circumspection. 



DEMOGORGON. 121 

The house where the feast was celebrated, was adorn- 
ed at great expense, and as it always took place at 
night, a variety of lights illumined the rooms. The 
principal care consisted in removing men. The mas- 
ter of the house, his children and slaves, were all ex- 
cluded, the windows were carefully closed, and the 
paintings of men and of male animals were covered 
with a curtain. 

Earth was usually represented in the form of a 
globe. 

Milton thus beautifully illustrates the subject: 

"Silence! ye troubled waves, and thou deep, peace^, 

Said then th' omnific word. Your discord end; 

Nor stay'd, but on the wings of cherubim 

Uplifted, in pafernal glory rode 

Far into Chaos, and the world unborn; 

For Chaos heard his voice: hira all his train 

Follow'd in bright procession to behold 

Creation, and the wonders of his night." 

Paradise Lost. 

Ohs. — We shall not descend to particulars concerning 
this monstrous generation. This gross account leaves 
a glimpse of the genuine history of the creation of the 
world. Chaos is an allegorical divinity, representing 
that confused mass of matter, from which the universe 
was formed. The idea of this generation is evidently 
taken from the Mosaic account of the creation. 

QUESTIONS. 

Give some account of Demogorgon. 

What descriptions have the poets transmitted to us respecting 
that obscure and singular deity? 

What deities sprang from the Earth and the sun? 

What nation was the first which considered the earth animated 
by a genius? 

What was the most ancient name given to the Earth? 

What was one of Earth's festivals called? 

How was the goddess Earth usually represented? 



11 



122 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY, 

CHAPTER II. 

Terminus. 

Terminus was the god of boundaries and landmarks. 
Landmarks, called Lapides Terminalia, were deemed 
sacred. His festiTals called Terminalia, were always 
observed on the last day of the year. Milk, fruits, 
and cakes, were offered to him. His image was a head 
without a body, to show that he was not to be moved. 
He was often represented by a pyramidial stone, sur- 
mounted with a head. Before Numa introduced his 
worship, the Romans honoured a protector of bounda- 
ries under the name of Jupiter Terminalis, and the 
Greeks, under Jupiter Horius. 

Obs. — Respect for the sacred right of property, is 
necessary to secure the repose and existence of socie- 
ty. Without it, weakness would be stripped by 
strength, and lands would remain uncultivated; for it 
enables man to prosecute business with certainty and 
facility. Such is the origin of those laws which 
caused men to mark their property by boundaries. 
Ceres, protectress of tillage, is said by the ancients to 
have introduced the use of boundaries. Plutarch 
ascribes this invention to Numa Pompilius; but many 
affirm that it is due to the celebrated Thaut or Egyp- 
tian Mercury, who, in that way, corrected disorders 
occasioned by the overflowing of the Nile. Such 
was the progress of civilization, that it became the 
essence of good policy to show, that the violation of 
limitary laws was impious. 

QUESTION. 

Who was Terminus? 



CHAPTER III. 

Flora, Feronia, Pomona, 

Flora, the goddess of flowers and gardens, was 
the Chloris of the Greeks. She was married to Ze- 



FLORA, TERONIA, POMONA. 123 

phyrus, who gave her empire over the flowers of the 
field. She is represented as a beautiful nymphj bless- 
ed with perpetual youth, and crowned with flowers, 
and bearing a cornucopia, or horn of plenty. — See 
Fig. 34. 

Zephyr us, the god of the west- wind, was the son 
of Astrseus and Aurora, and the Favonius of the La- 
tins. He is represented as a beautiful and delicate 
youth, with wings on his shoulders, and a wreath of 
flowers around his head. 

Flora was worshipped among the Latins before the 
foundation of Rome, in which city Tatius built her a 
temple. In the season of flowers, when all nature is 
jocund and smiling, the Romans instituted games to 
her, called Floralia, which were celebrated with the 
most licentious rites. 

Feronia was the goddess of woods and orchards. 
A grove near Mount Soracte was sacred to her. It 
was once said to be on fire; but no sooner had her 
image been removed thence, than the grove became 
green again. It was customary to offer a yearly sacri- 
fice to this goddess, and to wash the face and hands in 
the waters of her fountain. Those who were inspired 
by her, could walk barefoot over burning coals with- 
out injury. 

Pomona, the goddess of fruit, was unknown among 
the Greeks. She lived in celibacy, and constantly 
employed herself with the pruning hook, or in engraft- 
ing, or hollowing lines in the turf, in which to con- 
duct the rills to promote the growth of her trees. 
Her regular priest was called Flamen Pomonalis. 

She appears as a rosy, beautiful, and robust woman, 
sitting on a basket full of flowers and fruits, and hold- 
ing apples on her knees, and surrounded with branches 
loaded with fruits. — See Fig. 35. 

Vertumnus was the god of orchards and of spring. 
He could change himself into whatever forms he 
chose, but was usually represented as a young man 
crowned with flowers, covered up to the waist, and 
holding in one hand fruits, and a erown of plenty in 



124 CATECHISM QF MYTHQLOGY. 

the other. He was often represented in the character 
of a ploughman, reaper, vine dresser, or, of an old 
woman, (because he was the symbol of the year and 
of the variations of the seasons,) to signify spring, 
summer, autumn, and winter. Some authors confound 
him with Janus. — See Fig. 36. 

As Pomona had received the addresses of all the 
rural gods with perfect indifference, it devolved upon 
Vertumnus to gain her affection; to do which he as- 
sumed the different shapes of a fisherman, a soldier, a 
peasant, a reaper, &c.; but in vain. At length, how- 
ever, he succeeded in gaining access to her under the 
form of an old woman; and by his artful speeches and 
caresses, and by returning to his usual figure, he at 
last prevailed upon her to marry him. 

Priapus, the god of gardens, was the son of Venus 
by Mercury, or Adonis; or, according to some, by 
Bacchus, or Hercules. He was the patron of licen- 
tiousness, and a favorite with the inhabitants of Lamp- 
sac us, who erected temples to his honour. His wor- 
ship was introduced into Rome, but he was more 
revered there as the god of orchards and gardens, 
though not without some marks of lasciviousness and 
impurity. 

Priapus appeared with a human face, the ears of a 
goat, a crown of vine leaves, and a stick or club and 
a scythe in his hands, his lower part being a shape- 
less log. He was called Phallus, and Fascinum, be- 
cause his limbs were deformed; Avistupor, because 
he drove away mischievous birds; and by various other 
names. The Orientals worshipped Priapus under the 
name of Beelphegor. 

POMONA AND VERTUMNUS. 

"'The god Vertumnus lov'd Pomo?ia fair, 
A nymph that made tlie orchard's growth her care; 
To gain her love a thousand shapes he tries, 
But all in vain, to please the virgin's eyes. 
At length a sober matron's form he wears, 
Furrow'd with age and crown'd with silver hairs. 
Enters with totfring step the silent grove, 
And thus attempts to warm her heart to love." 



PALES AND OTHERS. 125 

Obs. 1. — Flora the first, appears to have existed 
anciently, but her origin is unknown. The Romans 
honoured a second Flora, and ascribed to her a wor- 
ship paid to the first, who was probably nothing but 
an allegorical personage. Acta Laurentia, a rich wo- 
man of bad character, bequeathed the inheritance of 
her immense estates to the Roman senate. They were 
accepted; but to conceal the disgrace of the donor, 
they assimilated Laurentia to the ancient Flora, and 
honoured her as the goddess of groves and flowers. 

Obs. 2. — Vertumnus is said to have been an ancient 
king of Etruria, celebrated for his love of the culti- 
vation of gardens. 

Obs. 3. — The figure of Priapus usually served as a 
bug-bear to frighten away thieves and birds. Hence, 
all the appearances he assumes, are distinguished by 
misshapen or hideous Jlttributes. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Flora? and how is she represented- 

Who Avas Zephyrus? 

How was Flora worshipped? 

Give a brief account of Feronia. 

Who was Pomona? 

What is the portrait of Pomona? 

Who was Vertumnus? 

Relate the manner in which he married Pomona.^ 

Who was Priapus? 

What was the portrait of Priapus? and w^hat were his names? 



CHAPTER IV. 

Pales and some other Rural Deities. 

Pales was the goddess of sheepfolds and pastures, 
chiefly worshipped at Rome, where her feasts were 
celebrated every April, under the name of Palilia. 
At such times, the peasants perfumed their sheep with 
the fumes of olive, box, fir, rosemary, laurel, and 
sulphur. They kindled great fires of straw, around 
and over which they danced and leaped; and offered 
11* 



126 CATECHISM OF MYTftOL0Gf< 

to the goddess, milk, cheese, boiled wine, and cakes 
made of millet. This custom still lingers in Ireland. 

Anna Perenna was another deity of the same order 
with Pales. The most natural joy and the simplest 
pleasures always animated the festivals of these two 
goddesses. 

The management of rural affairs, was entrusted to 
Rurina, or Rusina. 

Collina is seated on the throne of the hills. 

Jugatinus presided over hillocks. 

Vallonia reigned over the valleys. 

Hippona watched over the horses and stables. 

Buhona presided over the oxen. 

Seia is the deity whose oflfice it is to preserve the 
seed whilst buried in the bosom of the earth. 

The husbandmen invoked Segetia to protect the 
corn during harvest. 

Runcina presides over weeding. 

The ancients invoked Occator to have their fields 
harrowed. 

Sator and Sarritor preside over sowing and raking. 

Rohigus presided over the corn. To him festivals, 
denominated Robigalia, were celebrated in order to 
preserve the corn from rust or blights. 

Bonus Eventus, or Good Success, was honoured 
with a peculiar worship. His statue made by Praxi- 
teles, was set up in the capitol. He was marked 
among the great terrestrial and rural gods. 

Populonia was worshipped, that she might prevent 
the hail and the thunder-bolt from destroying the pro- 
ductions of the earth. 

Stercutius, Stercutus, or Sterculius, Sterquilinus, 
or Picumnus, first invented the art of manuring the 
earth. 

Proserpine caused the corn to sprout forth from the 
earth. 

Nodosus, or Nodotus, made it his business to knot 
and join the stalks. 

Volusia enwraps the blade, and envelops the beard. 
Patelina makes the corn come forth fiom the pod. 



PALES, AND OTHERS. 127 

Flora causes the ear to blossom. 

Lactura, or Lactucina, makes the ear yield milk, 

Matura causes the ear to arrive at maturity. 

The worship of Hostilina caused the ears of corn 
to grow level, and produce a good crop. 

The corn is reaped by order of Tutelinaj or Tutu- 
lina. 

Millers and bakers invoked Pilumnus. He first in- 
vented the art .of grinding corn, and kneading and 
baking bread. 

The poets ascribe the invention of making honey to 
Mellona. 

As the art of grinding wheat was unknown, the 
power of Fornax was employed in baking corn in ovens. 
Her festivals, called Fornacalia, were first instituted 
by Numa. 

"A goddess Fornax is, and Jier the clowns adore, 
That they may 've kindly batches by her pow'r." 

Obs. — All these deities were of Roman origin. 
They bore their names from the offices which they 
performed, and were unknown to the Greeks. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Pales? 

What do you know of Anna Perenna? 

What goddess watched over the country? 

What goddess reigns over hills? 

What god presides over the hillocks? 

What deity presides over valleys? 

What divinity presides over horses and stables? 

Who watches over oxen? 

What deity preserves the seed in the ground? 

To what divinity did husbandmen pray for the protection of the 
corn during harvest? 

What goddess presides over weeding? 

What god did the ancients invoke to have their fields harrowed? 

What gods preside over sowing and raking? 

What deity presides over the corn? 

What is said of Bonus Eventus? 

What divinity was invoked to preserve the productions of the 
earth? 

What god first invented the art of manuring the earth? 

What goddess produces the corn from the ground? 

What god knots and joints stalks? 



128 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

What is the duty of Volusia? 
What is the office of Patelina? 
What is the province of Flora? 
What is the business of Lactura? 
What is Matura's duty? 
What is said of Hostilina? 
W^hat is said of Tutelina? 
What god did millers and bakers invoke? 
To what goddess do the poets ascribe the invention of making 
honey? 

What is said of Fornax? 



CHAPTER V. 

Satyi's, Fauns y Pan. 

The Satyrs, who inhabited forests and mountains, 
are painted as libidinous gods, with short horns on the 
head, and with the feet and legs of a goat, dancing un- 
der the shade of a tall and spreading oak. They were 
indifferently called Panes, Egypans, Fauns, and Syl- 
van i. 

The Fauns are described as having the horns and 
ears, hoofs, and legs, of goats, connected with a hu- 
man body, and as being crowned with pine branches. 
When they met drunkards, they stupified them with 
their looks. 

The Fauns, the Satyrs, and the Sylvans, performed 
different offices. The Fauns presided over the fields; 
the Satyrs, over the woody plains; the Sylvans, over 
the woody mountains. 

Pan, the god of hunters, of shepherds, and country 
folks, was the son of Mercury and Dryope; or, ac- 
cording to some, of Mercury and Penelope, or Jupiter 
and Calisto. He made the most eminent figure in the 
rural world, presiding over the fields, valleys, moun- 
tains, woods, and plains. 

The upper part of his figure is that of a man, with 
horns on his head, and a long beard; his lower parts 
have the likeness of a goat; being clothed with the 
skin of a leopard. In one hand he holds a sheep- 



crook, and in the other a pipe of unequal reeds. — See 
Fig. 37. 

As soon as Pan was born, his education was en- 
trusted to the nymph Sinoe; but his unsightly form 
threw her into such terror, that she abandoned her 
charge. 

He became enamoured with the beautiful nymph 
Syrinx, daughter of the river Ladon; but she fled 
from him. Pan overtaking her, at her earnest prayer, 
she was metamorphosed into a bunch of reeds. Hear- 
ing the moaning but musical sound which was made 
by the whistling of the wind through them, he made 
of them pipes, which, from her, he called Syrinx, and 
which are now familiarly entitled Pandean pipes, or 
mouth organs. 

Under the likeness of a beautiful white goat or dog. 
Pan won the heart of Diana. By the nymph Echo, 
he had a son, called Lynx, or, according to some, a 
daughter, Irynge, a famous sorceress. The nymph 
Pith3"S was more sensible of the tenderness of Pan; 
but Boreas, jealous of this preference, made use of his 
blasts to throw her headlong from the top of a rock. 
The gods changed her into a pine tree, a tree sacred 
to Pan. 

The origin of the phrase panic fear, is uncertain. 
Some attribute it to the sudden fright which Pan ex- 
cited among the Gauls under Brennus when they 
were about to plunder the city of Delphi, at whose 
sight they fled, as if an enemy had been at their heels. 
Others say that it originated from frightful noises, or 
strange and unaccountable sounds, which are some- 
times heard in solitary places. Hence, a fear without 
a cause, is called a panic fear. 

Pan was worshipped, particularly in Egypt, Arca- 
dia, and Rome. In Arcadia, he gave oracles on Mount 
Lycaeus. At Rome, festivals, called Lupercalia, were 
instituted to his honour, and celebrated in February. 
They were the Lycaea of the Greeks. The Luperci, 
his priests, ran about the streets, lashing every one 
they met with whips. The women eagerly received 



130 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

the lash, because they believed that each one who 
felt it, would prove a happy mother. There were 
some other rural deities resembling Pan. 

The Fauns, his servants, and the Satyrs, who watch- 
ed over the vineyards, woods, and fields, and who 
were usually found in the train of Bacchus, had their 
upper part like a man and their lower parts like a 
shaggy goat. 

Pan was called Deus Arcadiae, because he was 
more particularly adored in Arcadia; Tnnus or Inculus, 
because he was supposed to have afflicted dreamers 
with the night-mare; Lupercus or Lyceus, because 
he guarded the sheep-folds from wolves. 

"Pan loves the shepherds, and their flocks he feeds." — Virgil. 

''He sighs, his sighs the tossing reeds return 

In soft small notes, like one that seem'd to mourn. 

The new, but pleasant notes the gods surprise, 

Yet this shall make us friends at least, he cries: 

So he this pipe of reeds unequal fram'd 

With wax; and Syrinx from his mistress nam'd. 

"And while soft ev'ning gales blew o'er the plains, 
And shook the sounding reeds, they taught the swains: 
And, thus the pipe was fram'd, and tuneful reed: 
And while the tender flocks securely feed, 
And harmless shepherds tune their pipes to love. 
And amaryllis sounds in ev'ry grove." — Lucretius. 

Obs. — The true origin of Pan was very ancient. 
The Egyptians worshipped the whole world under 
the name of Pan, which means all. His image re- 
presents the universe, of which he is the symbol. 
His upper parts are descriptive of the heavens; his 
horns, of the new moon; his smiling, rubicund face, 
of the splendour of day; his leopard's skin, of the 
starry firmament; the shaggy appearance of his legs, 
thighs, tail, and feet, of the fecundity of the earth, 
covered with shrubs, corn, and grass, and replete 
with wild beasts. 

QUESTIONS. 

Please to describe the Satyrs. 
Describe the Fauns. 



SILENUS, MIDAS, SYLVANUS. 131 

How did the Fauni, the Satyri, and the Sylvani differ as to their 
oflfices? 
Who was Pan? 

Describe the disgusting form of Pan. 
What effects did his uncouth figure produce? 
Had Pan any amours? 

Was he not more successful in his addresses to others? 
What gave rise to the exprefision. panic fear? 
Was not Pan's worship well established? 
Were there any other rural deities that resembled Pan? 
By what surnames is Pan distinguished? 



CHAPTER VI. 

Silenus, J\Iidas, Sylvamis. 

SiLENus, the foster father, guardian, preceptor, and 
perpetual companion of Bacchus, Avas represented as 
a fat and jolly old man, with a flat nose, large ears, a 
bald head, a tail, cloven feet, and a crown of flowers. 
He appears mounted on an ass, but so intoxicated as 
to be almost incapable of keeping his seat. The cup 
out of which he drank, was called Cantharus; and a 
staff with which he supported himself w^hen he walk- 
ed with a staggering step, Ferula. His attendants 
were called Sileni, which name was applied to those 
who were advanced in years. — See Fig. 38. 

Midas, having received Silenus hospitably, Bacchus 
promised to grant him his first request. That prince, 
greedy after riches, asked of him the gift of turning 
every thing he should touch into gold. His request 
was granted, but it soon become fatal to him. Under 
his hand, trees, and stones, and even the dishes of his 
table, became gold. When half starved, he entreated 
the God to recall his gift; upon which he was directed 
to bathe in the river Pactolus, which thence had the 
fame of having golden sands. 

Sylvanus was an old man, small in stature, with the 
tail and feet of a goat. He presided over the woods, 
and held in his hand a branch of cypress, in memory 
of his favorite boy, Cyparissus. 



132 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Ohs, 1. — Historians and poets occasionally introduce 
Silenus as a wise and learned philosopher. Being 
asked, "What was the best thing that could befall 
man," he deliberately replied, "It is best for all never 
to be born, but being born, to die very quickly." His 
drunkenness being almost continual, was mysterious, 
and was considered merely the result of the deep at- 
tention with which he meditated. The fondness of 
Silenus for wine, and his establishment of the orgies 
in Lydia, caused him to be represented in the figure 
of a drunken man. The gravest authors say, that the 
ass given him to ride upon, served to represent the 
slow, but sure, steps of philosophy. 

Obs. 2. — The idea of Midas' changing every thing 
into gold, is taken from his great riches gained by com- 
merce, or by oppression. 

Obs. 3. — Apollo's punishing Midas, the son of Gor- 
dius, and king of Phrygia, with asses'' ears, will be 
thus accounted for: better to watch over the secret 
affairs of his kingdom, Midas maintained faithful spies 
and informers to bring him intelligence of every 
seditious word uttered by his subjects. For this con- 
duct the discontented painted him with asses' ears. 
His barber not having ventured boldly to say that he 
had asses' ears, had entrusted his secret to a marsh, 
whei-e the reeds, agitated by the wind, uttered these 
words: "Midas has asses' ears." 

Many of the ridiculous fables of the ancients, by 
which they attempted to amuse and instruct the vul- 
gar, are too coarse and too silly to merit notice. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Silenus? 

What favour did Bacchus confer upon Midas in reward for his 
kindness to Silenus? 
Who was Sylvanus? 



PENATES AND LARES. 133 

CHAPTER VII. 

The Penates and Lares. 

The Penates were household gods, presiding 
over houses and families. When they reign in heaven, 
they are called Pentrales, and the palace of their re- 
sidence, Pentrale. They endue us with that heat, 
spirit, and reason which enable us to live and exer- 
cise our understanding. The ancient Etruscans de- 
nominated them Consentes and Complices; concluding 
that they composed Jupiter's council, the chiefs of the 
gods; and Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, are often invok- 
ed as the Penates. When they had empire over 
kingdoms and provinces, they were called Penates; 
when they governed cities only, they were called 
Dii Patrii, or the "gods of the country," or ''great 
gods;" and when they preside over particular houses 
and families, they are called '^Pavique Penates y''"' or 
"small gods." Their statues were sometimes made 
of wax, ivory, silver, or earth, and sometimes covered 
with garlands, poppies, or garlic. They were some- 
times fashioned in the shape of trumpets; at. other 
times, in the figure of young men with spears. The 
usual offerings were lambs, sheep, goats, and the like. 

The Lares, sons of Mercury by Lara, were also in- 
ferior gods, who presided over houses and families. 
In process of time, their power was extended to streets, 
ways, the country, and the sea. When they have the 
care of cities, they are denominated Lares Urbani; 
when of houses, Familiares, or of the country, Rustici; 
of roads. Vales; of cross roads, Compitales; of the sea, 
Marini; of small dishes, Patellarii, and so forth. They 
were frequently invoked as the guardians and protec- 
tors of houses. Their games, called Compitalitii, Com- 
pitalitia, or Compitalia, were celebrated in the roads 
and open streets; their statues, clad in the skins of dogs, 
were placed in every mansion, sometimes in a niche 
behind the door, and sometimes around the hearths; 
and at their feet were placed the images of barking 
12 



134 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

dogs, to express their care and vigilance. The burnt 
oflferings were wine and incense, fruit and wood, 
crumbs and a sow. While their festivals were ob- 
served, their statues were adorned with garlands of 
violets and rosemary. The Roman youths were wont 
to wear about their necks a golden ornament, called 
bulla, in the likeness of a heart, and hollow within, 
and wore it till they attained the age of fourteen, when 
they consecrated it to the Lares. The name of Lara- 
rium was given to that place where they were wor- 
shipped. They are often confounded with the Penates, 
but they differed from them, the latter being of divine 
origin, the former, of human. Some considered the 
Lares as nothing else than the manes which they ima- 
gined to be continually hovering over their former 
houses, for the purpose of protecting the inhabi- 
tants. 

Obs. — ^neas introduced the household gods from 
Phrygia. Jacob carried away those of his father-in- 
law Laban. In scripture they were called Teraphim. 



QUESTIONS. 



Whg were the Penates? 
Who were the Lares? 



CHAPTER Vin. 

The Genii. 

The Genii were deities, supposed to preside over 
the birth and life of man. They are sometimes synony- 
mous with the Lares and Manes; and they are called 
^'daemons" by the Greeks, and Prsestites, or chief go- 
vernors, because they take charge of all things. Some- 
times they were figured with such images as were 
calculated to paint the terror and dread they created in 
those to whom they appeared. Sometimes they were 
represented as a boy, a girl, or an old man, and wear- 
ing a crowa of the leaves of the plane, a tree sacred to 
them. The Genii of women were called Junones. 



THE GENII. 135 

The Genii aided men by their private counsels and 
heir power, and looked after their most secret thoughts. 
They carefully watched over their voyage of life, at- 
tending them from their cradles to their graves. They 
carried the prayers of men to the gods, and delivered 
them up to judgment. 

Just men, after death, were supposed to become 
daemons. They are described as being of superi- 
or dignity to man, but of a nature inferior to the gods. 
They existed in different countries, whence they were 
called Numen Loci, or the "deities of the place." All 
houses, doors, stables, and hearths, were consecrated 
to them. The name of the god of the hearths, was 
Lateranus. The ancients believed that the whole 
world was filled with spirits, who ruled its motions. 
Plato speaks of the Gnomes, Sylphes, and Salaman- 
ders. The first inhabited the earth; the second, the 
air; and the third, the fire. 

Some ancient philosophers advanced, that every man 
had two Genii allotted to him, a Bonus Genius, or a 
good spirit, and a malus Genius, or a bad spirit. They 
are also called Genium album et nigrum, or a white 
and a black daemon. The former induces men to the 
practice of virtue; and the latter excites them to the 
commission of vice. It is reported that, when Cassius 
fled to Athens after the defeat of Anthony at Actium, 
a being of gigantic stature, with a black and ghastly 
visage, a long and gristly beard, appeared to him. 
Cassius asked him, who he was; and the apparition 
replied, "I am your evil genius." 

By the Manes, are usually understood, departed 
souls. They preside over the sepulchral monuments, 
where the Romans superscribed D. M. that is, Diis 
Manibus, (To the gods Manes,) and over funeral in- 
scriptions, to intimate that the ashes of the dead could 
not be molested with impunity. 

In the sacrifices offered to them, wine, incense, flow- 
ers, parched bread, and salted corn, were brought to 
their altars. 



1^6 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

*^'To Genius consecrate a cheerful glass." — Perseus. 

'^Their wives, their neighbours, and their prattling boys. 
Were call'd; all tasted of their sportive joys: 
They drank, they danc'd they sung, made wanton sport, 
Enjoy'd themselves, for life they knew was short." 

Horace. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who were the Genii? 
What was the office of the Genii? 

Were not just men after death, supposed to become daemons? 
Did not some ancient philosophers advance, that every man had 
two Genii? 

How were the Manes distinguished from the Genii? 
What sacrifices were offered to the Genii? 



PART IV. 



OF THE INFERNAL DEITIES. 

The idea of a God who punishes crime and rewards 
virtue, is as ancient as the world itself. The first man 
received it from God himself, and transmitted it to his 
posterity. But in proportion as men forsook the path 
of virtue, marked out by their progenitors, their ideas 
were overcast, their traditions became obscured, and 
idolatry took root; but the difference existing between 
crime and virtue was so strongly felt by some who 
were wiser than others, that they endeavoured care- 
fully to preserve this necessary bridle to the passions, 
which alone can check the progress of general corrup- 
tion. 

The more we examine ancient traditions, the more 
clearly it appears, that an obscure belief in the im- 
mortality of the soul Was almost universal. The most 
guilty only were so hardy as to raise doubts of this 
important and sublime truth; — a truth, the disbelief 
of which is so plainly contradicted by the voice of 
every conscience and every people, that it is useless 
for mortality to wrestle with it. In all ages, philoso- 
phers have consecrated it, and poets have hymned it. 

A fragment of Diodorus Siculus informs us, that the 
system of the poets on the Infernal Regions, was en- 
tirely taken from the customs the Egyptians observed 
when they buried their dead. "The Greek Mercury," 
says he, "the conductor of souls, was the Egyptian priest 
charged with receiving the body of a dead Apis. He con- 
ducted it to a second priest who bore a mask with three 
12* 



138 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

heads, resembling those of the Cerberus of the poets. 
The second priest passed it over the ocean in quality 
of ferryman, and transported it to the gates of the city 
of the Sun, whence it proceeded to delightful plains 
inhabited by souls." "The ocean," continues Diodo- 
rus, "is the Nile, to which river the Egyptians gave 
that name." "The city of the Sun, is Heliopolis; the 
delightful plains are fine countries situated in the en- 
virons of the Lake Acherusia. It is there that the ob- 
sequies are terminated, and the bodies of the Egyp- 
tians are buried." 

"In funeral ceremonies, they began with designa- 
ting the day on which the body should be interred. 
The judges were first informed; and next the relations 
and friends of this deceased. His name was repeated 
on every side; and it was given out, that he was going 
to pass the lake. Sooji after forty judges met, and 
seated themselves in a circle on the shores of the lake. 
Artificers mended a boat, and the pilot, called Charon 
by the Egyptians, repaired to the governor. Before the 
coffin was placed in the boat, the law permitted any 
one to raise complaints against the deceased. Even 
kings were not exempted from this ordeal; and if the 
accusations were proved, the judges passed the sen- 
tence which deprived the dead of the honour of bu- 
rial; but whoever was unable to prove his accusation, 
suffered severe penalties. When no accuser appear- 
ed, the relatives ceased mourning, and began to pass 
eulogies on the deceased by speaking of his education, 
and by recounting all the good actions of his life. 
They extolled his justice, his piety, and his courage; 
and entreated the gods to receive him into the abode of 
happiness. The audience applauded, united in eulo- 
gizing him, and congratulated the dead on having pass- 
ed into eternity in peace, there to dwell in glory." 
Such were the ceremonies which Orpheus witnessed 
when in Egypt, and upon which, by adding some cir- 
cumstances which accorded with the customs of the 
Greeks, he founded his fable of hell. 

Diodorus adds, that people frequently kept in their 



HEI.I., CHARON, CERBERUS. 139 

houses their embalmed ancestors, in order to perpetu- 
ate the remembrance of their good actions. The re- 
spect of the Egyptians for the dead was carried so 
high, that they often preserved the bodies of even 
those to wh®m, on account of crime or debt, the ho- 
nours of burial had been refused. When the de- 
scendants of the poor became rich or powerful, they 
discharged the debts of their ancestors, reinstated 
their memory, and buried them honourably. Occa- 
sionally embalmed bodies were deposited as security 
in borrowing. Some gave their own bodies as a 
pledge; and if they failed to meet their engagements, 
they were devoted to infamy during their lifetime, 
and were deprived of burial honours. 

Notwithstanding the thick darkness of those times, 
it was generally believed, that, after the material bo- 
dy was reduced to dust or ashes, the soul, or spiritual 
part of man, ascended to heaven. The Pagans dis- 
tinguished the soul from the mind. They considered 
the former as the cover of the latter, and believed it 
descended to hell. The poets did not agree on the 
time which souls ought to pass in Elysium. Some 
fixed it at one thousand years, but all considered the 
punishments of Tartarus as eternal. 



CHAPTER I. 

Hell, Charon, Cerberus. 

Hell was an eternal prison, with three impenetra- 
ble walls, and an iron tower. It had gates of ada- 
mant, which no power could demolish. It had five 
rivers at its entrance. Acheron, whose waters were 
extremely bitter; Styx, by which the gods used to 
swear, and which made nine times the circuit of hades; 
Cocytus, flowing out of Styx, with a horrible groan- 
ing noise; Phlegethon, swelling with waves of fire; 
and Lethe, so called from the forgetfulness which its 
waters produced; for those who drank of it, imrae- 



140 CATECHISM or MYTHOLOGY. 

diately forgot all past transactions. Avernus wasthe first 
door of hell, at which the iron beds of the Furies 
were placed. At the entrance of this darksome and 
fatal abode, appeared a thousand monstrous forms, 
Care, Sorrow, Disease, Old Age, Fear, Famine, Want, 
Labour, Sleep, Death, Remorse, Force, Fraud, Strife, 
War, and Discord. To these were added other hor- 
rible figures, Centaurs, Scyllas, Harpies, Gorgons, 
Hydras, and Chimeras, the hundred handed Briareus 

Charon, (anger,) the ferryman to Hell, was a de- 
crepit old man, with silvery locks, and along and gris- 
ly beard, but blessed with youthful vigour, filthy in 
person and attire, ill-tempered, and morose. — See 
Fig. 45. 

Near Avernus, a road led to the Acheron, on the 
banks of which an innumerable multitude of ghosts 
flocked together, and loitered about in troops, waiting 
for a passage over the stream. Charon ferried them in 
the boat Barris over the Stygian lake, for which he 
charged them an obolus, a small brass coin of a pen- 
ny in value. The ancients always placed this coin 
under the tongues of the deceased. They could not 
enter the boat without a regular burial, for want of 
which they wandered one hundred years amidst the 
mud and slime of the shores. 

When the souls of the dead had passed over the 
rivers, they stopped at the gate of Pluto's palace, 
which was kept by Cerberus. 

Ceberus, the son of Typhon and Echidna, was 
the porter of hell. He was a tremendous watch-dog, 
with three heads and a collar of snakes round his neck. 
His employment was to prevent the living from en- 
tering, and the dead from escaping, hell. The living 
threw him a cake, strongly impregnated with sopori- 
fic drugs, that they might gain access to the eternal 
prison. 

In this frightful abode is found an eternal increase 
of departed souls, some of which have been justly 
driven from the tracts of light, and some who commit- 
ted suicide. Lovers whom despair has put to death, 



141 

are found to wander farther into a forest of myrtles. 
Beyond that forest is found the residence of departed 
heroes with arms in their hands. Within sight of it, 
is the tribunal of the judges of hell. 

Adjacent to Pluto's palace, was a field, prepared for 
the residence of infants. It was called the Field of 
Lamentations, where neither joy nor punishment was 
experienced, and had a magnificent, but a sad and me- 
lancholy aspect. 

Virgil thus describes the descent of his hero *X.neas into the In- 
fernal Regions: 

"Now to the left, ^Eneas darts his eyes. 

Where lofty walls with triple ramparts rise. 

There rolls fierce Phlegethon, with thund'ring sound 

His broken rocks, and whirls his surges round. 

On mighty columns raised sublime, are hung 

The massy gates, impenetrably strong. 

In vain would men, in vain would gods essay, 

To hew the beams of adamant away. 

Here rose an iron tow'r: before the gate, 

By night and day, a wakeful fury sate, 

The pale Tisiphone; a robe she wore. 

With all the pomp of horror, dy'd in gore. 

Here the loud scourge and louder voice of pain. 

The crashing fetter, and the rattling chain, 

Strike the great hero with the frightful sound. 

The hoarse, rough, mingled din, that thunders round." 

"The sacred stream which heaven's imperial state 
Attests in oaths, and fears to violate." 

-SouJs that by fate 



Are doom'd to take new shapes, at Lethe's brink 
Quaff draughts secure, and long oblivion drink. 

Deep was the cave, and downward as it went 
From the wide mouth a rocky rough descent; 
And here th' access a gloomy grove defends; 
And there th' unnavigable lake extends, 
O'er whose unhappy waters, void of light. 
No bird presumes to steer his airy flight. 
Such deadly stenches from the depth arise. 
And steaming sulphur, which infects the skies; 
Hence do the Grecian bards their legends make. 
And give the name Avernus to the lake. 

And in the gate, and in the jaws of hell. 
Revengeful Care and sullen Sorrow dwell; 



142 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY* 

And pale Diseases, and repining Age, 

Want, Fear, and Famine's unresisted rage: 

Here Toil and Death, and Death's half-brother, Sleep, 

(Forms terrible to view,) their sentry keep. 

With anxious pleasures of a guilty mind, 

Deep Fraud before, and open force behind; 

The Furies' iron beds, and Strife that shakes 

Her hissing tresses, and unfolds her snakes. 

"There Charon stands, who rules the dreary coasts; 

A sordid god: down from his hoary chin 

A length of beard descends, uncomb'd, unclean; 

His eyes like hollow furnaces on fire; 

A girdle foul with grease binds his obscence attire. 

He spreads his canvass, with his poll he steers; 

The frights of flitting ghosts in his thin bottom bears. 

He look'd in years, yet in his years were seen 

A youthful vigour, and autumnal green." 

"A hundred years they wander on the shore, 
At length, their penance done, are wafted o'er." 

"Stretch'd in his kennel, monstrous Cerberus round. 
From triple jaws made all these realms resound." 

"Hell's grisly porter let you pass, 
And frown'd and litter'd to your lays; 
The snakes around his head grew tame, 
His jaws no longer glow'd with flame. 
Nor triple tongue was stain'd with blood; 
No more his breath with venom flow'd." 

Obs, 1. — The derivation of the names, and the quali- 
ties of the rivers of hell, furnished the poets -with am- 
ple materials upon which to employ their lively ima- 
gination. The Acheron, (which means anguish or 
holding) was repelled into hell, because it had quench- 
ed the thirst of the Titans, during their fight with the 
gods. It runs through Thesprotia, takes its rise in 
the marshes of Acherusia, and empties itself into the 
Adriatic gulf, near Ambracia. The Cocytus {tears, 
groans) also flowed in Epirus, or rather, Thessaly, 
and fell into the marsh of Acherusia. It was not 
strictly a river, but a muddy marsh. The Styx {wa- 
ter of silence) is a fountain in Arcadia, which flows 
from a rock, and forms a subterraneous brook. Its 
waters were mortal. It flowed through Epirus, and 
was considered as belonging to Pluto's kingdom. The 



PLt7TO, PROSERPINE, PLUTUS. 143 

Styx is fabled to have been the daughter of the Ocean; 
and hence, gods swore by her. If they neglected it; 
Jupiter ordered Iris to give them a cup full of the 
poisonous waters of this fountain, removed them from 
his table for a year, and deprived them of divinity for 
nine years. When they swore by the Styx, they 
were to touch the earth with one hand, and the sea 
with the other. The Phlegethon was likewise a 
marsh, the waters of which exhaled sulphurous va- 
pours, and burning slime. Lethe {river of oblivion) 
was situated in Africa. Avernus was nothing but 
lake Avernus in Italy, near Pouzolles. 

Obs. 2. — The fable of Cerberus originated in the 
Egyptian practice of causing their dogs to watch over 
their dead. 

QUESTIONS. 

Please to describe hell. 

Who was Charon? 

What was the employment of Charon? 

In passing over the rivers, what monster did the dead see? 

What was Cerberus? 

What is the condition of the dead in the Infernal Regions? 

What is said of the Field of Lamentations? 



CHAPTER II. 

Pluto, Proserpine, Plutus. 

P1.UT0, the son of Saturn and Cybele, had, for his 
share, the empire of the universe, and particularly 
the dominion of the Infernal Regions. He invented 
the art of burying and honouring the dead with fune- 
ral obsequies. 

As he had a grim, dismal countenance, and a gloomy 
abode, all the goddesses refused to marry him. To 
gain this point, he was, therefore, compelled to have 
recourse to stratagem. 

In a fit of rage, he rode through a den in Sicily. 
Having seen Proserpine, gathering flowers with her 
beautiful companions, he took her away. Cyane, en- 



144 CATECHISM or MYTHOLOGy. 

deavouring to oppose it, was turned into a fountain; 
and the god of Tartarus opened the earth with the 
stroke of his bident, disappeared from every eye, car- 
ried her with him to his subterraneous dominions, 
married her, and made her the partner of his throne. 

Pluto appears black and ugly, and sits on a throne 
of sulphur; from beneath which flow the rivers Lethe, 
Phlegethon, Cocytus, Styx, and Acheron. He has a 
crown of ebony on his head, and holds in one hand a 
bident, or sceptre with two teeth, and in the other, 
keys. The three-headed dog Cerberus watched at his 
feet; the Harpies hover over his head; and Proserpine 
sits at his left hand. The Furies stand around; the 
Fates occupy the right, each holding in her hands the 
distaff, the spindle, and the scissors, which are the em- 
blems of their office. When he rides in a chariot, he 
is drawn by black horses. — See Fig. 39. 

He had no temples raised to his honour. To him 
were, however, offered black victims, the blood of 
which was always spilt on the earth. Black sheep 
were the common victims. 

Pluto is called Dis, because wealth proceeds from 
his kingdom; Ades, because his residence is sad and 
gloomy; Hades, because he sits in darkness and ob- 
scurity; Agesilaus, because he guides people to hell; 
Agelastus, because he is never seen to laugh; Februus, 
because purifications and lustrations were used on fu- 
neral occasions; Orchus Urgus, or Ouragus, because 
he puts people both to a natural and a violent death; 
Summanus, because he is the chief of the infernal 
deities; the Infernal Jupiter, the Stygian Jupiter, and 
the Third Jupiter. 

Proserpine was the queen of hell, and wife of Plu- 
to. She presided over death, so that none could die; 
unless the goddess, or Atropos her minister, cut off 
one of the hairs from the head. She was universally 
worshipped by the ancients under the known names 
of Core, Theogamia, Labitina, Hecate, and Juno In- 
ferna, Anthespharia, Cotyto, Deois, Liberia, and so 
on. 



PLUTO, PROSERPIIfE, PLUTUS. 145 

Plutus (though sometimes confounded with Pluto) 
was the god of Wealth, and son of Jasion and Ceres. 
He was educated by Pax, the goddess of peace; for 
which reason Pax was represented at Athens as hold- 
ing the god of riches in her lap. 

Plutus is generally represented blind, because he 
distributes riches indiscriminately; lame, because 
wealth is slow of acquisition; and winged, because 
riches are sometimes dissipated with great rapidity. 

-In Sicilia's ever blooming shade 



When playful Proserpine from Ceres stray'd, 
Led with unweary steps her virgin trains 
O'er Etna's steeps, and Enna's golden plains; 
Pluck'd with fair hand the silver-blossora'd bower, 
And purpled mead, — herself a fairer flower; 
Sudden, unseen amid the twilight shade, 
Rush'd gloomy Dis, and seized the trembling maid. — 
Her starting damsels sprung from massy seats, 
Dropp'd from their gauzy laps their gather'd sweets, 
Clung round the struggling nymph, with piercing cries, 
Pursued the chariot, and invoked the skies; — 
Pleased as he grasps her in his iron arms. 
Frights with soft sighs, with tender words alarms; 
The wheels descending roll'd in smoky rings. 
Infernal Cupids flapped their demon wings; 
Earth with deep yawn received the fair, amazed. 
And far in night, celestial beauty blazed . " 

Botanic Garden. — Canto iv, 
" 'Tis he, 'tis he: he comes to us 
From the depths of Tartarus. 
For what of evil doth he roam 
From his red and gloomy home, 
In the centre of the world, 
Where the sinful dead are hurled? 
Mark him as he moves along. 
Drawn by horses black and strong; 
Such as may belong to night 
Ere she takes her morning flight. 
Now the chariot stops: the god 
On our grassy world hath rod. 
Like a Titan steppeth he. 
Yet full of his divinity; 
On his mighty shoulders lie 
Raven locks, and in his eye 
A cruel beauty, such as none 

Of us may wisely look upon." — Barry Corkwall. 
13 



146 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

"Pluto, the grisly god, who never spares. 
Who feels no mercy, and who hears no prayers. 
Lives dark and dreadful in Hell's dark abodes. 
And mortals hate him, as the worst of gods.' 

Great prince o' th' gloomy regions of the dead. 
From whom we hourly move our wheel and thread. 
Of nature's growth and end thou hast the sway, 
All mortals' birth with death thou dost repay. 
Who dost command 'em both. 

Ohs. 1. — The Pluto of the heathens, corresponds 
in some measure with the Satan of Scripture. 

Ohs. 2. — Pluto was Jupiter's youngest brother, and 
reigned over western countries, extending to the ocean. 
He fixed his abode in the bottom of Spain, and work- 
ed at the mines of gold and silver. This work being 
done under ground, gave rise to the saying, that he 
had penetrated the Infernal regions, and mastered 
them. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Pluto? 

Was not Pluto married? 

Hovv did he effect this? 

How is Pluto represented? 

How was he honoured? 

By what names is he commonly distinguished? 

Who was Proserpine? 

Who was Plutus? 

How was Plutus represented? 



CHAPTER III. 

The Judges of Hell^ the Furies, and the Fates. 

Minos, Rhadamanthus, and ^acus, were the 
judges of hell. They tried at their tribunal, the souls 
which Mercury led to hell. The place in which the 
tribunal was held, was called the Field of Truth. 
Lies and calumnies could not approach it. 

Pluto appointed Rhadamanthus to judge the Asia- 
tics and Africans, and -^acus, the Europeans. Minos 
appears seated alone, holding a golden sceptre, and 



JUDGES OF HELL. 147 

shaking the fatal urn wherein were contained the for- 
tunes or destinies of mankind, when the dead plead 
their different causes before him. He possessed the 
power of deciding all disputes between Rhadaman- 
thus and JEslcus. 

The Furies were three sisters, daughters of Ache- 
ron and Nox, named Alecto (envy,) Tisiphone (rage,) 
and Megara (carnage.) They were likewise called 
Dirae, Eumenides, Canes and Erinnys. They were at- 
tendants upon Nemesis, were stern and inexorable, 
ever were busied in punishing the guilty on earth, as 
well as in hell. 

Their mode of chastisement on earth, was by wars, 
petilence, famine, terror, rage, disease, remorse, and 
death; and in hell, they visited the guilty with eter- 
nal flagellation and torments. 

The furies are represented as the most deformed 
and horrible deities, with faces emaciated, ghastly, 
and embrowned as with smoke, with inflamed eyes 
bursting from their sockets, with snakes on their heads, 
garments tattered, black, bloody, and hanging loosely 
about their bony forms, with iron chains, and whips 
of scorpion in one hand, and burning torches in the 
other. 

The Fates, or Parcae, were three sisters, daughters 
of Jupiter and Themis, or of Necessity. They were 
also called the Destinies. Their names were Clotho, 
Lachesis, and Atropos. They resided in a cave, 
scooped out of a marble rock, where they were charg- 
ed with the management of the fatal thread of life. 
Clotho held a distaff of adamant; Lachesis, a spindle 
wherewith to draw out the thread; and Atropos, scis- 
sors with which to cut it. The poets held that, in 
order to spin happy days, they employed gold and silk, 
and that unhappy days were spun with black wool. 
They were the secretaries of heaven, and keepers of 
the archives of eternity. 

The Parcae appear elderly and inexorable. Clotho, 
clothed in a party-coloured robe, wore a crown of 
seven stars, and held in her hand a distaff which reach- 



148 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY, 

ed from earth to heaven. Lachesis, in a robe strew- 
ed with stars, had a multitude of spindles. Atropos, 
dressed in black, held scissors; and around her was 
seen a variety of spindles, more or less filled, accord- 
ing to the length or shortness of life. — See Fig. 40. 

The story of Meleager, the son of (Enus, king of 
iEtolia, illustrated the ideas which the ancients enter- 
tained of the Parcse. The Fates were present to 
grace the moment of his birth. Clotho declared that 
he should excel in feats of valour; Lachesis, that he 
should be most active; and Atropos, snatching a brand 
from the fire, said he should live as long as it continued 
unconsumed. Althaea, mother to Meleager, extin- 
guished the brand, and kept it carefully ever after. 
Among other exploits, Meleager slew the wild-boar of 
Calydon, after which he killed Troxeus and Flexip- 
pus, the brothers of Althaea, in the act of defending 
his life. Althaea, frantic with rage, threw the fatal 
stick into the fire, and Meleager died. 

JUDGES OF HELL* 

"High on a throne, tremendous to behold^ 
Stern Minos wears a mace of burnished gold; 
Around ten thousand, thousand spectres stand. 
Through the wide dome of Dis, a trembhng band. 
Still as they plead, the fatal lots he rolls. 
Absolves the just and dooms the guilty souls." 

THE FURIES. 

"Deep in the dismal regions, void of light. 

Two daughters at a birth were born to night: 

These their brown mother, brooding on her care, 

Endu'd with windy wings to fleet in air, 

With serpents^ girt alike, and crowned with hissing hair. 

In heav'n the Dirse called.." 

THE FATES. 

"Stern Clotho weaves the chequered thread of life; 
Hour after hour the growing line extends, 
The cradle and the coffin bound its ends." 

MELEAGER. 

O! lately born, one period we assign 

To thee and to the brand. The charm they weav^ 



JUDGES or HELL. 149 

Into his fate, and then the chamber leave: 
His mother snatch 'd it with a hasty hand 
Out of the fire, and quench'd the flaming brand; 
This in an inward closet closely lays. 
And by preserving it, prolongs his days. 

*■' With eyes turn'd back, her quaking hand 

To trembling flames expos'd the fun'ral brand." 

Ohs. 1. — There were two kings of Crete by the name 
of Minos. The first was the son of Asterius. His 
ambition was, to be accounted the son of Jupiter and 
Europa. In order to be thus considered, he promised 
to Neptune the first object that should be brought to him 
by the sea. At that moment he saw a bull of extreme 
elegance on the shore, with which he was so charmed, 
that he would not immolate him, but kept him as the 
ornament of his flock. The god of the sea became 
enraged, and avenged himself upon Minos by filling 
his family with troubles. Pasiphae, his wife, over- 
whelmed him with grievous complaints. By her he 
had three sons, and two celebrated daughters, Ariadne 
and Phedra. He was the founder of the laws of Crete, 
and was considered by the ancients as the wisest and 
best of legislators. In order to celebrate his equity, 
the poets represented him as the first judge of hell. 
Rhadamanthus, brother to Minos, retired to Calea, a 
town of Bceotia, where he married Alcmena, widow 
of Amphytrion. He was regarded as one of the 
wisest, most modest, and sober men of his age. His 
love of justice inspired the poets to place him also 
among the judges of hell. iCaeus, son of Jupiter by 
^"Egina, daughter to Asopus, reigned in the island of 
^onus. His second wife, who was daughter of the 
Centaur Chiron, brought him two sons, Telamon and 
Peleus. His first wife was Psamatha, of Nereus, by 
whom he had Phocus. All his subjects being swept 
away by a pestilence, he begged of his father that he 
would re-people his kingdom. In answer to his 
prayer, Jupiter changed all the ants which were in a 
hollow oak, into men, who were afterwards called by 
jEacus rayrmidons. 
13* 



150 CATECHISM OF MTTHOLOGT. 

Obs. 2. — The fable of the Furies exhibits an image 
of that frenzy which remorse figures to offenders, and 
which haunts them day and night, attends them both 
in solitude and at the feast, — whether groping in the 
gloomy cavern, or revelling in sumptuous palaces. 

qUESTlONS. 

Who were the judges of hell? 
What are their peculiar offices? 
Who were the Furies? 
What was their mode of chastisement? 
How are they represented? 
Who were the Fates or Parcae? 
How are the Parcse represented? 

What story illustrates the ideas which the ancients entertained 
of the Parcse? 



CHAPTER IV. 

J^emesis, JSTox, Somnus, and Mors. 

Nemesis, the daughter of Justice, was the goddess 
of Vengeance. She rewarded virtue, and punished 
vice. She is represented with a wing, a helmet, and 
a wheel, to intimate with what celebrity she pursues 
criminals, both by water and by land. She was call- 
ed Adrastsea, because an altar was first built to her by 
Adrastus, king of the Argives; Rhamausia, because 
she had a temple at RHamus, a town of Attica: — See 
Fig. 41. 

''Vengeance divine to punish sin moves slow, 
The slower is its pace, the surer is its blow." 

Nox, the goddess of the night, was the daughter of 
Chaos and Erebus. She is described as wearing a veil, 
bespangled with stars, is crowned with poppies, and 
rides in a car drawn by owls and bats. A black sheep 
was offered to her, to intimate that she was the mother 
of the Furies. So was the cock, because he proclaims 
the approach of day. — See Fig. 42. 

SoMNus, the god of sleep, had Erebus and Nox for 
his parents. His palace was a deep and gloomy cavern 



MORPHEUS, MORS, ELYSIUM. 151 

with two gates, one made of clear ivory, through which 
false dreams. escaped, and the other of transparent 
horn, through which true visions passed; the whole 
space being filled with a heavy*, benumbing vapour, 
never penetrated by light and wholesome air. No 
animal is seen there, no voice is heard, no leaf is moved 
by the wind. The god reposes on a downy bed with 
black curtains, around which are strewed poppies and 
somniferous herbs. — See Fig. 43. 

"Thou rest o' th' world, sleep, the most peaceful god, 
Who driv'st care from the mind, and dost unload 
The tired limbs of all their weariness, 
And for new toil the body dost refresh." 

"Two gates the silent house of Sleep adorn; 
Of polish'd iv'ry this, that of transparent horn: 
True visions through transparent horn arise; 
Through polish'd iv'ry pass deluding lies." 

Morpheus was the son and minister of Somnus. 
He sends dreams to people in this world, and watches 
diligently to prevent any noise from breaking their 
slumbers. 

Sometimes he is represented in the likeness of a 
corpulent, sleeping, winged youth, holding a bunch of 
poppies in his hand. He could turn himself into any 
form. 

Mors, the goddess of death, was the daughter of 
Nox. She was worshipped by the Lacedaemonians 
with great solemnity. No temples were erected to 
her, because neither prayers nor sacrifices could move 
or pacify her. She is depicted with a skeleton and a 
spotted robe, has black wings, and is armed with a 
scythe or a scymetar, and an hourglass. — See Fig. 44. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Nemesis? 
Who was Nox? 
Who was Somnus? 
Who was Morpheus? 
Who was Mors? 



152 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

CHAPTER V. 

• Elysium. 

The balmy air, the bright and soothing light, the 
eternal verdure of the bowers, the delightful meadows, 
the pleasant streams, the charming groves, the war- 
bling of the birds, the complete happiness, and the re- 
fined pleasures of the virtuous, the innocent amuse- 
ments of the heroes; — these and inumerable images 
like these, — tender, touching, sublime — are the sub- 
jects for which vivid imagination fondly seeks as the 
themes on which she loves often to expatiate. 

"All have their manes, and these manes bare: 
The few vvho'er cleansed, to those abodes repair, 
And breathe in ample fields the soft Elysian air." 

*^These holy rites perform'd they took their way, 

Where long extended plains of pleasures lay. 

The verdant fields with those of hcav'n may vie, 

With ether vested, and a purple sky: 

The blissful seats of happy souls below. 

Stars of their own, and their own sun they know." 

"Patriots, who perish'd for their country's right, 
Or nobly triumph'd in the field of fights: 
There holy priests, and sacred poets stood. 
Who sang with all the raptures of a god: 
Worthies, who life by useful arts refined; 
With those, who leave a deathless name behind, 
Friends of the world, and fathers of mankind." 

"There, rage no storms; the sun diffuses there 
His temper'd beams, thro' skies for ever fair. 
There gentler airs, o'er brakes of myrtle blow; 
Hills greener rise, and purer waters blow; 
There bud the woodbine and the jes'mine pale. 
With ev'ry bloom that scents the morning gale; 
While thousand melting sounds the breezes bear, 
In silken dalliance to the dreaming ear, 
And golden fruits, 'mid shadowy blossoms, shine. 
In fields immortal and in groves divine." Cliffton. 

Describe Elysium. 

Obs. — In the Mythology of the ancients, the 
souls of men after death, became inhabitants of Hades, 



THE GIANTS. 153 

a region in the nether world, in a pleasurable or play- 
ful state, in proportion to their merits or demerits. 
Tartarus was the place of woe, and Elysium, the bliss- 
ful abode. Erebus was a general name for both. 
Probably the tradition of the terrestrial paradise, (call- 
ed the garden of Eden,) produced the idea of the 
Elysium fields. The ancients commonly placed this 
delightful abode in the Canary Isles. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Principal sufferers punished in HelL 

Typhoeus, -^geon, Tityus, Phlegyas, Ixion, Sal^ 
Inoneus, Sisyphus, the Danaides, and Tantalus, were 
the most remarkable sufferers in hell. 

The Giants were the sons of Coelus and Terra, who 
had uncommonly large bodies. They had fifty heads 
and one hundred arms each; their mouths belched out 
flames; and for legs they had serpents; and for claws, 
the feet of dragons. They were impudent enough to 
dethrone Jupiter; and when they fought with the ce- 
lestial gods, they heaped mountains upon mountains, 
and, at the same time, darted oaks and burning woods 
against heaven. Some huge stones which they hurled, 
fell into the seas, and became islands; others fell upon 
the earth, and became mountains. They were, how- 
ever, overcome, and all cut off by Jupiter's thunder- 
bolts, Apollo's arrows, and the arms of the other gods. 
Serpents and venomous animals were produced^from 
the blood of the slain. 

Some say, that Typhoeus or Typhon, had no father, 
and that Juno was his mother. He had a collar of 
one hundred dragon-heads round his neck; and for his 
apparel, feathers, scales, shagged hair, and adders. 
Snakes grew from the ends of his fingers; for his feet 
he had the folds of a serpent's body; he vomitted 
flames of devouring fire through his mouth, nostrils, 
and eyes; and uttered such yells as frightened mortals 



154 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

to death. He touched the east with one hand, and the 
west with the other, and the heavens with his head. 
As soon as born, he made war upon heaven, to avenge 
the death of his brethren; and the gods, under differ- 
ent figures, were obliged to flee into Egypt. Jupiter 
converted himself into a ram; Mercury, into an ibis; 
Apollo, a crow; Juno, a cow; Bacchus, a lion or 
goat; Diana, a cat; Venus, a fish, &c. 

Jupiter at last recovered his courage, and threw 
him down with his thunder-bolts, and crushed him 
under the weight of the whole island of Sicily. This 
island was also denominated Trinacria because it is 
shaped like a triangle, the corners of which are con- 
stituted by the three promontories, Pelorus, Pachy- 
nus, and Lilybaeus. Typhon had Pelorus for his 
right hand, Pachynus for his left, and Lilybaeus for 
his legs. 

*'He struggles ofl, and oft attempts to rise; 

But on his right hand vast Pelorus lies; 

On 's left Pachynus; Lilybspus spreads 

O'er his huge thighs; and ^tna keeps his heads." — Ovid. 

iEgeon, son of Ccelus and Terra, was a giant with 
fifty heads and one hundred hands; whence he was 
called Centumgeminus, and, by the Greeks, Briareus. 
Juno, Neptune, and Minerva, being concerned in a 
conspiracy against Jupiter, Briareus scaled the walls 
of heaven, and, sitting down by him, frightened the 
inhabitants in such a manner as to derange their minds. 
Joining the giants, he hurled a hundred rocks against 
Jupiter at one throw; but Jupiter threw him down, 
and put him under Mount ^tna, which sends forth 
great flames of fire every time he moves his sides. 

And as ^geon, when against heav'n he strove. 

Stood opposite in arms to mighty Jove, 

Mov'd all his hundred hands, provok'd to war, 

Defy'd the forky lightning from afar; 

At fifty mouths his flaming breath expires. 

And flash for flash returns, and fires for fires; 

In his right hands as many swords he wields 

And takes the thunder on as many shields. — Virgii., 



THE GIANTS. 155 

Tityus was son of Terra; or, according to some, of 
Jupiter and Elara. So prodigious was his size, that 
his mother, whom Jupiter had hidden in a subterra- 
neous cave to avoid the fury of Juno, died in child- 
birth, and Jupiter rent the earth to give him a passage 
out of the cave. Tityus attempted to offer Latona 
violence; for which he was cast down into hell, where, 
when stretched out, he covered nine acres of ground 
with his body. A vulture perpetually fed upon his 
entrails, which grew again as soon as devoured. 

"There Tityus tortur'd lay, who took his birth 

From heav'n, his nursing- from the fruitful earth; 

Here his gigantic limbs, with large embrace, 

In fold nine acres of infernal: 

A rav'nous vulture in his open side 

Her crooked beak and cruel talons try'd; 

Still, for the growing liver digg'd his breast, 

The growing liver still supply'd the feast; 

Still are the entrails fruitful to their pains, 

Th' immortal hunger lasts, th' immortal food remains." 

Virgil. 

"There Tityus, large and long, in fetters bound, 

O'er-spreads nine acres of infernal ground; 

Two ravenous vultures, furious for tfieir food, 

Scream o'er the fiend, and riot in his blood; 

Incessant gore, the liver grows, and gives th' immortal feast." 

The Titans were described as giants of uncommon 
stature, and with proportionable strength. The chief 
was Titanus, Saturn's brother. The wars of the Ti- 
tans, are not unfrequently confounded with those of 
the giants; but the difference is plain: the Titans 
made Avar on Saturn, because the birth of Jupiter was 
concealed, and overcome him; but the giants made 
war on Jupiter, who afterwards beat and precipitated 
them into hell. 

Phlegyas, a son of Mars by Chryse, was the king of 
the Lapithas in Thessalia. Being informed that Apol- 
lo had behaved rudely towards the nymph Coronis his 
daughter, he marched an army against Delphi, and 
reduced the temple of Apollo to ashes. The enraged 
god pierced him through the body with an arrow, and 



156 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

placed him in hell, where a massive stone, hanging 
over his head, perpetually kept him in such alarms, 
that, every moment, he imagined it would fall down 
upon him; a situation which induced him to warn men 
to observe the rules of justice and the precepts of re- 
ligion. 

-A massy stone, 



Ready to drop, hangbo'er his cursed head. 

Learn justice, hence, and don't despise the gods. 

Sisyphus was brother to Athamas and Salmoneus. 
Merope was his wife. He built Ephyre, afterwards 
called Corinth, and debauched his niece Tyro. Sisy- 
phus, who is said to have put no faith in Autolycus 
on account of his having stolen the flocks and herds of 
his neighbours in order to mingle them with his own, 
knew his bulls by a mark which he had put on the 
bottom of their feet; and by this means, was enabled 
to separate them from among the numerous herds. 
Autolycus admired the artifice of Sisyphus so much, 
that he allowed him freely to enjoy the company of his 
daughter Anticlea, who was soon after married to 
Laertes, king of Ithaca. Sisyphus was condemned in 
hell to roll to the summit of a hill a huge and unwield- 
ly stone, which fell down as soon as it had touched the 
summit. Some say, that he was doomed to this eter- 
nal punishment, because he was cruel enough to lay 
heaps of stone on the objects of his plunders, and to 
permit them to die in the most agonizing and excruciating 
manner; others advanced as a reason for it, his having 
insulted Pluto by chaining Mors in his palace, and 
detaining her, until Mars, at his request, set her at 
liberty; and others, again, maintain that it was on ac- 
count of his having informed Asopus where his daugh- 
ter iEgina had been carried by Jupiter; but most wri- 
ters assign the following as the reason: Sisyphus, on 
his death-bed, requested his wife to leave him unbur 
ried. While he was in Pluto's kingdom, however, he 
was permitted to come back to this world in order to 
punish his wife for this apparent neglect, under the 



IXION, SALMONEUS. 157 

promise, that he would return instantly; but he broke 
his word, and was at length taken to the infernal re- 
gions by Mars, where the king of hell inflicted on him 
this rigorous punishment. — See Fig. 46. 

"With many a weary step, and heavy a groan. 

Up the high hill he heaves a huge, round stone; 

The huge, round stone, resulting with a bound 

Thunders impetuous down, and smokes along the ground; 

Again the restless orb his toil renews. 

Dust mounts in cloud, and sweat descends in dews." 

IxioN w^as the son of Phlegyas. He married Dia, 
daughter to Eioneus or Deioneus, and promised him 
a valuable present, because he had chosen his daugh- 
ter for his wife; but his failure to fulfil his promise, 
induced Deioneus to steal away some of his horses. 
Ixion dissembled his resentment under the garb of 
friendship; invited his father-in-law to a feast at Larissa 
his capital; and after he had met with him, cast him into 
a pit, which he had previously filled with wood and 
burning coals. So treacherous a treatment procured 
him such odium, that he was refused the performance 
of the usual ceremony by which he might have been 
purified of murder. But he obtained his pardon from 
Jupiter, who promoted him to heaven. Such a favour, 
for which he ought to have been thankful, increased 
his insolence. He attempted to make love to Juno; 
but Jupiter sent a cloud in the likeness of Juno to the 
place where Ixion had agreed to meet her, and the de- 
ceived lover embraced the cloud, from which the cen- 
taurs were produced. Jupiter expelled him heaven; 
but as he boasted every where that he had won the 
affection of Juno, the god struck him down to hell, and 
ordered Mercury to tie him fast to a wheel which per- 
petually whirls round. — See Fig. 47. 

Salmoneus, son of ^olusby Enarette, was king of 
Elis. By his wife Alcidice, he had a daughter, named 
Tyro. He was not contented with an earthly crown, 
but courted divine honours; and wishing to be con- 
sidered as a god, he built a brazen bridge over the 
city, and made a great noise as he drove his chariot, 
14 



158 CATECHISM or MYTHOLOGY. 

to imitate thunder. He also darted lighted torches, 
as if to imitate lightning; and many who were struck 
by them, expired. Jupiter could not endure this 
open impiety, and therefore precipitated him into helL 
JEneas, on a visit to the infernal regions, relates the 
following punishment: 

"Salmonens suffering cruel pains I found. 
For emulating- love; the rattling sound 
Of mimic thunder, and the glitt'ring blaze 
Of pointed lightning?, and their forked rays." 

Tantalus, the son of Jupiter by the nymph Plots 
or Pluto, was king of Phrygia. He is described as 
eternally experiencing in hell the most burning thirst 
and the most griping hunger; and as being placed in 
the water up to the chin, with a bough bent with deli- 
cious fruits, which are just above his reach. The 
causes of this severe sentence, are variously reported. 
Some say that he had discovered to the river Asopus, 
the place where Jupiter concealed his daughter 
^gina after having stolen her away. Others affirm 
that he stole away a dog which Jupiter had set to 
watch his temple at Crete. Others state that he was 
so lascivious as to carry away Ganymede; and others, 
that, having been introduced at the table of the gods, 
he had revealed their secrets, and stolen away the 
ambrosia and nectar in order to have his friends taste 
them; but most chroniclers agree in telling the follow- 
ing story: 

Tantalus was honoured with a visit from the gods 
whose divinity he wished to try. He killed and 
quartered his own son Pelops, and served up his 
limbs as food for them. All the gods were shocked 
at so horrible a repast; but Ceres, whose grief for the 
recent loss of his daughter Proserpine, was deep, ate 
one of the child's shoulders, without taking notice of 
it. The gods ordered Mercury to recall him to life, 
and gave him an ivory shoulder as a substitute for the 
one which Ceres had eaten. This Pelops, by 
Hippodamia, had Atreus and Thyestes; the latter of 
whom was expelled, because he seduced CErope, wife 



TANTALUS. 159 

to AtreuSj his brother. But on his return, he ate up 
his children whom he had killed; and when they were 
served up in dishes, Atreus and Thyestes feasted on 
them. The sun is said to have turned his course back 
to the east, because he could not look upon such horri- 
ble diet.— See Fig. 48. 

"There Tantalus along- the Stygian bound, 

Pours deepest groans; his groans through hell resound; 

Ev'n in the cirding floods, refreshment craves, 

And pines with thirst amid a sea of waves 

When to the water he his lip apphes, 

Back from his lip the treacherous water flies. 

Abovej beneath, around his hopeless head. 

Trees of all kinds dehcious fruitage spread; 

The fruit he strives to seize; but blasts arise. 

Toss it on high, and whirl it to the skies." 

""Though Tantalus, you've heard, does stand chin deep 
In water, yet he cannot get a sip: 
At which you smile; now all oft would be true, 
Were the name chang'd, and the tale told of you." 

Obs. — The learned do not agree with respect to the 
explanation of this last fable. Some consider it as an 
allegory to paint avarice. Tantalus perishing of thirst 
and hunger in the midst of plenty, represents the 
miser, who dares not expend his treasure. The bar- 
barity of Tantalus is inexplicable. So is the murder 
of Pelops. 

The Danaides were fifty sisters, so called from their 
father Danaus: and named also Belides, from their 
grandfather Belus. It is reported that iEgyptus, 
brother of Danaus, wished his fifty sons to marry the 
Danaides, fearing his brother would prove too power- 
ful for him by the alliances which he might form from 
the marriages which his daughters might otherwise 
contract. To avoid this alliance, Danaus fled to 
Argos; but to oblige him to consent to it, he was pur- 
sued by the fifty sons of ^^gyptus at the head of a 
powerful army. Finding himself solicited in so forci- 
ble a manner, he agreed to the proposal, but secretly 
armed his daughters with daggers, giving them strict 
orders to kill their respective husbands on their 



160 CATECHISM or MYTHOLOGY. 

wedding night, which orders they all obeyed, except 
Hypermnestra, whose husband Lynceus, escaped. 
She was cited before her father; but the people, satis- 
fied of her innocence, interposed, pleaded in her fa- 
vour, and procured her honourable acquital. Some 
suppose that Lynceus murdered Danaus, as had been 
predicted by an oracle. According to some, the sis- 
ters were pardoned by Jupiter; while others maintain, 
that they were condemned to fill a tub, full of holes, 
with water, and hourly attempt to fetch water in it. — 
See Fig. 49. 

O65. — The fable, imagined to represent this singu- 
lar kind of punishment, is founded on a custom ob- 
served by the Egyptians at Memphis. Near the Lake 
Acherusia, beyond which the dead were buried, priests 
poured water into a tub full of holes, to show the im- 
possibility of any one's returning to life. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who were the most remarkable sufferers in hell? 

Please to describe the Giants. 

Who was TyphoBus or Typhon? 

Who was jEgeon? 

Describe Tityus. 

Describe the Titans. 

Give a description of Phlegyas. 

Describe Sisyphus. 

Describe Ixion. 

What is said of Salmoneus? 

Favour me with an account of Tantalus. 

Acquaint us with the history of the Danaides. 



CHAPTER VIL 

The Centaurs y Geryoji, the Harpies, Gorgons, (he Chimcera, the 
Sphinx. 

The Centaurs were monsters, described as half men, 
and half horses, and are said to have been born of a cloud 
by Ixion, whence they are called Nubiginae. The most 
eminent of the Centaurs were Chiron, Eurytus, Amy- 



«ar5pi5ss, gorgons. 161 

cus, Gryneus, Caumas, Lycidas, ArheUs, Medon, 
Rhcetus, Pisenor, Mermeros, Pholus, &c. 

Obs. — The idea of this fable of the Centaurs, may 
be referred to the men of Thessaly, -who were the first, 
seen riding on horseback. 

Geryon was a monster, with three bodies and three 
heads. His residence was on the island Erythia, near 
Gades, (now Cadiz,) where he kept numerous flocks, 
which were guarded by a two-headed dog, called Or- 
thos, and a seven-headed dragon, which devoured the 
strangers who visited them. Hercules killed the 
guards, and drove the flocks away. 

O65.-— This fable inclines us to the belief, that Gery- 
on was a prince who reigned over three islands, called 
Baleares. 

The Harpies were winged monsters, with the face 
of a woman, tlie body of a vulture, the claws of a 
dragon, and the ears of a bear. Their parents were 
Neptune, or Oceanus, and Terra; and their names, 
Aello, Ocypete, and Celeno. They Were filthy in their 
habits, and voracious in their appetite. They plun- 
dered the tables of Phoneus, king of Phoenicia, and 
haunted many, w^hom they affected with severe hun- 
ger. They had the power of predicting future events. 

Obs. — Among the Greeks, the Harpies were gen- 
erally associated with the ideas of powerful and active 
demons, influencing the terrors and ravages of the 
storm, the nature of which their names are descriptive. 

The Gorgons w^ere three sisters, daughters of Phor- 
CYS and Cete. Their names were Stheno, Euryale, 
and Medusa. In lieu of hair, their heads were cover- 
ed with vipers, which had the powder of transforming 
those into stones who looked at them. Their hands 
were brazen; their wings, golden; their bodies were 
covered with impenetrable scales; and they had one 
eye and one tooth, which served them all by turns. This 
tooth exceeded in strength the strongest tusks of a 
wild-boar; and their looks caused death. They dwelt 
near the gardens of the Hesperides, and made sad 
ravages in the country, attacking travellers; but they 
14* 



16:2 eATJiCHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

were overcome by Perseus, who cut of the head of 
Medusa, which he presented to Minerva. The latter 
placed it on her aegis. 

Obs. l.~ The learned among the ancients, were di- 
vided respecting the origin of the Gorgons. Diodo- 
rus pretends that they were warlike women, dwelling 
in Libya, near the lake Tritonis. In the time of Per- 
seus, they were often at war with the Amazons, and 
we're governed by Medusa, their queen. That hero 
fought them, and killed Medusa; but Hercules alone 
could destroy them all. Some represent the Gorgons 
as female warriors of great beauty. The admiration 
which their appearance produced, banished the pow- 
er of self-defence. Profitting by this advantage, they 
attacked their enemies, and overcame them. The 
poets painted this fatal effect of their beauty, by say- 
ing that their looks changed to stone and rendered im- 
movable whoever beheld them. Pliny the naturalist 
represents them as wild and redoubtable women. 
"Near the Cape West," says he, "are the Gorgates, 
the ancient abode of the Gorgons," Hanno, general 
of the Carthaginese, penetrated even into their coun- 
try, and found women whose running equaled in 
swiftness that of horses, and even the flight of birds. 
He took two of them, whose bodies were thickly set 
with horsehair. Their skins were suspended in the 
temple of Jupiter at Carthage, until the ruin of that 
city. • 

Obs. 2. — Mr. Fourmont, versed in the Oriental lan- 
guages, finds in the names of the three Gorgons, those 
of three ships, once engaged in commerce on the coast 
of Africa, where were found gold, the tusks of ele- 
phants, the horns of different animals, and precious 
stones. These goods were afterwards brought to the 
ports of Phoenicia. Such is, says he, the explanation 
of the tooth, the horn, and the eye which the Gorgons 
mutually lent to each other. Those ships had prows 
representing monsters. Perseus met them in his voy- 
ages, fought, and took them. The ship he mounted, 
was called Pegasus; the prow represented a winged 



CHIMERA, SPHINX. 163 

horse. As soon as he returned to Greece, laden with 
immense riches, his return was celebrated, and the 
poets contrived the fable of the Gorgons and of Me- 
dusa. 

The Chimjera was a monster begotten of Typhon 
and Echidna. He had the head and breast of a lion, 
the body of a goat, and the tail of a dragon, and vo- 
mitted forth flames. 

"A lion's head and breast resemble his^ 
His waist a goat's, his tail a dragon's is. 

-And on the craggy top 



Chimaera dwells, with lion's face and mane, 

A goat's rough body, and a serpent's train." — Ovid. 

Ohs, — Some explain this fable by recollecting that 
there was a volcano in Lycia, called Chimaera, the top 
of which being covered with desolate wilds, was oc- 
cupied by lions; the middle, was pasturage, covered with 
goats; and the bottom or the marshy ground, abound- 
ed with serpents. Bellerophon is said to have clear- 
ed the mountain of the Chimaera, and made it habita- 
ble. Others think that it was the captain of some pi- 
rates, who carved on the ships the figures of a lion, a 
goat, and a dragon. 

The Sphinx was a monster, having the head and 
breast of a woman, the body of a dog, the tail of a ser- 
pent, the wings of a bird, and the paws of a lion. 
She resided in Mount Sphincius in the neighbourhood 
of Thebes, proposing enigmas to the inhabitants, and 
devouring those who could not solve them; but the 
Thebans were informed by the oracle of Apollo, that 
the Sphinx would kill herself if one of the enigmas 
she propounded should be explained. She proposed 
the following riddle: "What animal is that which 
walks on four feet in the morning, on two feet at noon, 
and three in the evening.^" Creon,then king of Thebes, 
declared that he would give a crown and his sister 
Jocasta in marriage to him who could explain it. 
This was successfully done by OEdipus, who replied, 
^^Man. He walks on his hands and feet when 



164 CATECHISM or MYTHOLOGY. 

young, or in the morning of life; at noon of life, he 
walks erect on two feet; and in the evening of his 
days, he supports his infirmities with a stick." The 
Sphinx heard the correct explanation, dashed her head 
against a rock, and instantly expired. 

(Edipus was the son of Laius, king of Thebes by 
Jocasta. His father was informed by an oracle that 
he should one day be killed by his son. He there- 
fore ordered his wife to destroy their child soon after 
his birth; but the mother gave this child to a servant, 
and ordered her to expose him on a mountain. The 
servant pierced his feet with a hook, and hung him 
on the bough of a tree by the heels on mount Citheron. 
One of the shepherds of Polybius, king of Corinth, 
soon found him and brought him home. Peribcea, the 
queen, being childless, brought him up as her own, 
and called him OEdipus, because his feet were swollen. 
When arrived at manhood, he did not acknowledge 
the king for his father, but resolved to inquire after 
his parents. In consulting the oracle of Delphi, he 
was told that he would meet his father in Phocis. On 
his way thither, he met Laius and his armor-bearer, 
riding in a chariot in a narrow road; but he did not 
know his father. Laius commanded (Edipus to give 
way to him: an affray ensued, in which Laius and his 
armour-bearer both lost their lives. After this, he re- 
sumed his journey, arrived at Thebes, beat the 
Sphinx, and married Jocasta whom he knew not to be 
his mother. She bore two sons, Eteocles and Polyni- 
ces, and two daughters Ismena and Antigone. In pro- 
cess of time, he found, by clear proof, that he had kil- 
led his father, and married his mother: upon which 
he became so frantic as to put out his eyes, and would 
have laid violent hands upon himself, had not Antigone, 
his constant attendant, prevented him. Eteocles and 
Polynices succeeded their father in the government, 
and agreed alternately to reign a year each. Eteocles 
reigned the first year, and then refused his brother 
his crown; upon which a war followed, and they were 
both killed in single combat. Their enmity was of 



SPHINX, CEDIPUS. 165 

longer duration than their lives. The bodies were 
laid on the same pile to be consumed by the fire; but 
the flames refused to unite, and they were divided into 
two parts. 

QUESTIONS. 

Present a brief view of the Centaurs. 

Furnish me with a short account of Geryon. 

Give a concise description of the Harpies. 

Proceed with your narrative of the Gorgons. 

What was the Chinieera? 

What do you know of the Sphinx? 

Give the history of CEdipus. 



PART Y. 



PECULIAR DEITIES. 

It would be impossible to name and designate all 
the particular divinities of the ancients. They deifi- 
ed virtues, passions, blessings, and evils. We shall 
speak only of those best known. 

The Greeks honoured Felicity, under the name 
of Eudemonia, or Macaria. An oracle having said to 
the Athenians that they would be victorious, if one of 
Hercules' children voluntarily devoted herself to 
death, Macaria, his daughter, killed herself. The 
Athenians were victorious; and, therefore, their god- 
dess Felicity assumed the name of Macaria. The 
Romans honored Felicity long after the building of 
Rome. LucuUus raised a temple to her after the war 
against Mithridates and Tigranes. She was repre- 
sented as a queen, seated on a throne, holding a horn 
of plenty, with this legend: ^'Public Felicity.^^ — See 
Fig. 50. 

Hope, that last source of men against the evils 
which overwhelm them, was early deified. The 
Greeks honored her under the name of Elips, 
and the Romans, under that of Spes Publica (Public 
Hope.) Cicero says that immortality animated Hope, 
and that virtue alone had the right to depend upon 
her. Rome raised to her several temples. She is re- 
presented with a horn of plenty, fruits, and a bee- 
hive. Mariners represented her with an anchor.— 
See Fig. 51. 



PECULIAR DEITIES. 16*7 

Eternity had neither temples nor altars. She was 
painted in the form of a woman, with the inscription 
of her own name, Eternity. She held in her hand a 
radiant sun or moon, because each was considered 
eternal. She was also represented in the figure of 
the Phenix, a fabulous bird, that was born of its own 
ashes; or in that of a globe, because it has no bounds; 
or in that of a serpent, which forms a circle by biting 
its tail; sometimes also in that of an elephant, on ac- 
count of the longevity of that animal: which demon- 
strates the faint ideas the ancients entertained of eter- 
nity. All the genealogies of their gods prove that 
they could not conceive a divinity without beginning 
or end. 

Time was represented by Saturn. He was painted 
with wings, to denote the rapidity of his course, and 
a scythe, to express his ravages. Time was divided 
into several parts, an age, generation, or a period of 
thirty years, a lustrum, or five years, a year, and sea- 
sons. He was admitted to have but three seasons, 
Summer, Autumn and Winter; but Spring was after- 
wards added to them. The twilight of the morning, 
the dawn, noon-day, the evening, the twilight of the 
evening, and the night, were personified. Each of 
these portions, was represented by a man or a woman, 
according to its masculine or feminine name. 

People implored Thought, that they might have 
nothing but good thoughts. 

All kinds of piety were honoured, M. A. Glabrio 
raised a temple to Filial Piety on the foundations of 
the house which had been inhabited by the Roman 
woman who fed her father in prison. 

The Athenians erected altars to Misericordia or 
Mercy. The Romans imitated them, and gave to those 
temples the name of Asylums. 

Virtue, which alone can secure happiness, was 
adored by the ancients; and there are still found in the 
fourth book of the city of God, by St. Augustine, 
some traces of the worship which was paid to her. 
Scipio, the destroyer of Numantia, was the first who 



168 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

dedicated a temple to that divinity. Marcellus wish- 
ed to unite in one temple, Virtue and Honour. He 
consulted the pontiffs, who declared, that one temple 
could not contain two deities so great. He therefore 
constructed two, contiguous to each other, so that one 
had to pass through the temple of Virtue in order to 
arrive at that of Honour. This was to teach men that 
they could not attain to true honour, but by the prac- 
tice of virtue. None ever sacrificed to Honour with- 
out his head uncovered, and without giving marks of 
the utmost respect. 

Truth was deemed the mother of Virtue, and daugh- 
ter of Time. vShe was represented as a young virgin, 
covered with a suit of clothes, the whiteness of which 
equalled that of snow.' Democritus said that ^'Truth 
hid herself in the bottom of a well, so that it is diffi- 
cult to discover her." — See Fig. 52. 

Concordia, Pax, and Fides, were three different god- 
desses. The power of Concordia or Concord, was ex- 
tended over houses, families, and cities. That of Pax 
or Peace was extended over whole empires. Sueto- 
nius says, that in the temple of Pax, were deposited 
the rich spoils of the temple at Jerusalem. In the 
same temple all who professed the arts, assembled, 
when they had to sustain their rights and prerogatives, 
that the presence of the goddess of Peace might ba- 
nish all hatred and all the asperity which is apt to 
arise in disputes. This goddess was represented in 
the form of a woman, crowned with laurel, olive, and 
roses, holding in one hand ears of corn, a symbol of 
plenty, which she procures, and in the other, the cadu- 
ceus. She had given her, by some, Venus and the 
Graces for her companions. — See Fig. 53. 

Fides or Fidelity presided over good faith in trea- 
ties and in commerce. The oath which the people 
made by her or by Jupiter Fidius, was deemed the 
most inviolable of all. It is generally thought that 
Numa Pompilius raised her first temple. The figure 
of two women shaking hands with each other, com- 
monly represents this goddess. — See Fig. 54. 



FIDES, HARPOCRATES. ^ 169 

A people as idolatrous of their Liberty as the Ro- 
mans, could not fail to make her a divinity. She had 
several temples. She was represented, leaning on a 
table of laws, having a sword in her hand to defend 
them, with this legend: They assert the liberty of all. 
See Fig. 55. 

Licentiousness is represented as thunderstruck by 
heaven, at the moment she strives to break a table of 
laws and the balance of Justice. 

Silence had his altars. The Orientals worshipped 
him under the name of Harpocrates. The Romans 
represented Silence as a goddess whom they called 
Ageronia. The latter had also the god of speech, 
whom they called Aius Locutius. — See Fig. 56. 

Pudicitia or Chastity was represented in the form 
of a veiled woman, or of a woman who pointed to her 
forehead with her finger, to intimate that she is not 
troubled or blemished. — See Fig. 57. 

Providence was represented by a woman, leaning 
on a pillar, holding in the left hand a cornucopia, and 
showing a globe w4th her right, to inculcate the idea, 
that she extends her cares over the whole universe, 
and that she dispenses all blesdngs. — See Fig. 58. 

Astrsea or Justice was represented in the figure of 
a young woman, holding a pair of scales, equal on 
both sides, having a sword drawn and a bandage over 
her eyes. She is seated on a block of stone, ready to 
prescribe penalties against crime, and rewards to vir- 
tue. She lived during the Grolden Age. — See Fig. 
59. 

Fortune was depicted under the form of a blind and 
almost bald woman, with wings to her two feet. The 
one is placed on a wheel, which turns swiftly; and 
the other, in the air. She presided over good and 
evil.— See Fig. 60. 

Opportunity was represented in like manner; but 
she had a tuft of hair on her head in order to leave a 
hold to seize her. — See Fig. 61. 



15 



170 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY, 

QUESTIONS. 

What is said of Felicity? 
What is said of Hope? 
What is related of Eternity? 
What do you observe of Time? 
What is said of Virtue? 
What do you say of Truth? 

What were the different provinces of Concordia, Pax^ and 
Fides? 

What do you say of Liberty^ 

How is Licentiousness represented? 

What is said of Silence? 

How was Pudicitia represented? 

How was Astrsea represented? 

In what way was Fortune represented? 

How was Opportunity depicted? 



CHAPTER I. 

Origin of Peculiar Deities. 

Perplexed and awed by the development and 
progress of events, the causes of which they could 
not penetrate, blind and bigoted man proceeded to deify 
those imaginary or real evils which agitated him, and 
excited his superstitious fears, and to such chimeras, of- 
fered up vows and prayers. The period in which 
this kind of w^orship commenced, is enveloped in un- 
certainty. In battles, Fear and Flight mingled in the 
train of the god of war. The two sons of Medea 
having been massacred by the Corinthians, a cruel 
plague destroyed a part of their children. The Ora- 
cle ordered them to sacrifice to the manes, irritated by 
those innocent victims, and to raise at the same time 
a statue to Fear. She was represented w4th hair 
standing on end, an elevated visage, an open mouth, 
and troubled looks. — See Fig. 62. 

Paleness was represented by a lean and lengthened 
figure, hair pulled down, and fixed looks. The La- 
cedaemonians had placed the temple of Fear near the 
tribunal of the Ephori in order to inspire the wicked 



PECULIAR DEITIES. 171 

with the fear of a severe chastisement. Fear was 
always added to the other gods when oaths were pro- 
nounced. 

Ate a or Discord was driven from Olympus by Ju- 
piter, because she endeavoured to embroil the gods, 
and she came to the earth to exercise her furies. To 
this cruel goddess were attributed wars, quarrels, and 
dissensions in families. It was she who cast amid the 
banquet prepared for the nuptials of Peleus, the fatal 
apple, with this inscription: To the Fairest. Prayers, 
her sisters, run after her, to repair the evils she 
causes; but they are lame, and their cruel sister al- 
ways outruns them. — See Fig. 63. 

Obs. — It would be tedious, as well as useless, to 
name all the ancient deities. In general, the Romans, 
and the Greeks before them, adored virtues, passions, 
vices, and even unlooked-for events. Every one 
could create some new god at pleasure. When tra- 
vellers, while traversing a river or a forest, expe- 
rienced some unexpected danger or surprise, they 
erected an altar, adorned it with some attributes; and 
those monuments of caprice were respected, often 
even adored, by those whom chance led near them. 
It will always be easy to supply the numerous list 
which, not to fatigue our readers, we suppress. The 
poets and the ancients are vainly fond of alluding to 
those deities in their works, and of pourtraying their 
influence and effects. It is, therefore, an easy matter 
to become familiar with them, by studying them as 
they appear bedecked with the charms and ornaments 
of poetry. 

QUESTIONS. 

What is said of Paleness and Fear? 
What is said of Atea? 



175 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGT- 



CHAPTER II. 

Comiis, JSIomus, ^sculapius, and Friendship. 

OoMus presided over banquets and feasts. He is 
well known by name. Every painter has a right to 
take his imagination for his guide, when he wishes to 
represent him. — -See Fig. 64. 

MoMus, the satirist of heaven, the god of raillery 
and jesting, and the patron of carping and censorious 
fellows, was the son of Erebus and Nox. His genius 
lay in finding fault, and turning into ridicule even the 
actions oi the gods themselves. Though at first his 
bitter jests were admired, they ultimately caused him 
to be turned off from the celestial court in disgrace. 

Of the first man that Vulcan had fashioned, Momus 
said, that he ought to have placed a window in his 
breast, through which his inmost thoughts might have 
been seen. When Neptune had formed the bull, he 
observed that the eyes were too far from the horns to 
insure an effective blow. Having examined the house 
which Minerva had built, and having found it com- 
plete both within and without, he merely observed 
that it was not on wheels, so that, if necessary, it 
could be moved from a bad neighbourhood. Finding 
no fault in the shape of Venus, he said that her san- 
dals made a loud noise as she walked. 

He is usually depicted as holding a small figure of 
folly in one hand, and raising a mask from his face 
with the other, under which a satirical smile beams 
from his countenance. — See Fig. 65. 

Ohs. — We learn from the fable of Momus, that 
when quibbling objections are raised against the finest 
conceptions, and the most beautiful works, they ex- 
cite the laughter merely of the ignorant, the frivolous, 
the sensual, and the thoughtless. 

^scuLAPius, the god of medicine, was the son of 
Apollo, by the nymph Coronis. After his mother had 
been shot for her infidelity by Apollo, he was exposed 
on a mountain, and suckled by a she-goat. A shep- 



^SCULAPIUS, HYGEIA. 173 

herd thought he saw him surrounded with light, and 
brought him home, ^sculapius was brought up by 
Trigona, the wife of the shepherd, and was afterwards 
entrusted to the care of the Centaur Chiron, who 
taught him the art of medicine. He is fabled to have 
sprung out of a crow's egg, under the form of a ser- 
pent. 

He attended the Argonauts in their expedition to 
Colchis, in the capacity of a physician. Upon his re- 
turn home, he performed many wonderful cures, and 
raised many of the dead to life, of which Pluto com- 
plained to Jupiter, who killed him with thunder-bolts. 
Apollo, to avenge the death of his son, slew the Cy- 
clops, who had forged those formidable weapons. 

^sculapius was chiefly worshipped at Epidaurus. 
He had also a temple at Rome, and was worshipped 
there under the form of a serpent. To him were sa- 
crificed a goat, because he is said to have been nour- 
ished by that animal, and a cock, which is considered 
the most vigilant of all birds; for watchfulness was 
considered one of the most essential qualifications of 
a physician. 

He appears as an old man, with -a beard, and a crown 
of laurel, leaning on a staff, around which a serpent 
twines. The knots in his staff represent the difficul- 
ties to be found in studying medicine. — See Fig. 66. 

By Epione he had two sons, Machon and Podalirius, 
famous in the Trojan war, and four daughters, of 
whom Hygeia is the most celebrated. 

Hygeia, the goddess of health, was held in great 
veneration, and was represented in the most engaging 
forms. Her statues exhibited her as a beautiful 
young virgin, holding a serpent wreathed around her 
arm, and feeding out of a cup which she held in her 
hand. 

Obs. 1. — The singular name of ^^sculapius, whom 
the Greeks called Asclepios, seems to have been deriv- 
ed from the oriental languages. It is certain that 
-^sculapius was known in Phoenicia before he was 
introduced into Greece. Sanchoniathon, the most an- 
15* 



174 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

cient of the Phoenician authors, mentions an j3^scula' 
pius, son of Sydic or the Just, and of a princess of 
the family of the Titans. He was king of Memphis^ 
and brother to the first Mercury, and lived two centu- 
ries before the deluge, which period was more than 
one thousand years before the Greek ^sculapius- 
flourished. 

Obs. 2.— The serpent becomes the symbol of ^scu- 
lapius; and is, at the same time, the symbol of pru- 
dence, a quality necessary to a physician. It was sup- 
posed to be the most long lived of animals, and is 
usually the emblem of health and immortality, from 
the circumstance of its annually shedding its slough, 
and seeming to renew its youth. 

We shall close our account of the peculiar deities 
by describing Friendship. The Greeks and Romans 
granted divine honours to her. The Greeks called 
her Philia, and the Romans called her Amicitia, and 
painted her in the form of a young woman, with her 
head uncovered, clad in a very plain garment, with 
these words at the bottom of the raiment. Death and 
.Life. On her forehead was written. Winter and 
Summer. One of her hands held a legend upon which 
was written, Far and Near. These words and 
symbols signified that Friendship did not grow old; 
that she is equal in all seasons, during absence and 
presence, in life and death; that she is exposed to every 
thing to serve a friend, and that she hides nothing 
from him. This last thought was expressed by one 
of her hands leaning on her heart. — See Fig. 67. 

QUESTIONS. 

What is said of Comus? 

Who was Momus? 

Mention some instances of his critical severity. 

How is Momus depicted? 

Who was ^scuiapius? 

What is farther said of him? 

How was -Esculapius honoured? 

How is he represented? 

Had he any children? 

Say something" respecting" Hy^eia. 

How do we close the description of the Peculiar Deities? 



PART VI. 



OF HEROES. 

The ancients often painted illustrious men as giants^ 
or, at least, as men of uncommon stature. Homer 
and the other poets make them employ darts, which 
the ordinary strength of four men could not have 
thrown. The Egyptians, as has been mentioned, Avere 
in the habit of sitting in judgment after their death 
upon the actions of kings, generals, and all persons of 
consequence. They preserved the memory of the 
great and good, and respected it-, but the Greeks were 
the first to worship them. It is also from the Greek 
language that the word hero is derived. Its origin is 
variously explained. Some ancients derive this word 
from eros, love, to signify that heroes were the sons of 
the gods by mortal wives, or of the goddesses by men; 
but St. Augustine, in his inquiries into idolatry, proves 
that the word hero comes from the Greek word Hera 
or Hero, which personage was the son of Juno. His 
name was consecrated to designate men celebrated by 
their courage and fine actions. This etymology is 
most generally adopted. This name was at first given 
to the children of the gods and mortals; but in time it 
was granted to all celebrated men. 

The ancient philosophers taught, that, after death, 
the souls of great men inhabited the abodes of the gods. 
This opinion gave rise to the worship paid to them. 
The worship of the gods and that of the heroes were 
not the same. Sacrifices were offered to the divini- 



176 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

ties, and libations made in their honour; but the cele- 
bration of their funeral pomp, during which they sang 
their most brilliant exploits, was confined to heroes. 
In several temples dedicated to Hercules, the people 
offered sacrifices to him under the name of Hercules 
Olympius; and in those very temples, they celebrated 
his obsequies, in his quality of hero. The Arcadians, 
Messenians, and Thebans, began by offering sacrifices 
to the gods; they next invoked the heroes of their 
country. It was generally believed that the latter 
concurred with the former in punishing impiety. He- 
roines enjoyed the same honours as heroes. Their 
tombs had no difference. Both were raised in the mid- 
dle of some wood, which was considered sacred, and 
called lucus. There were marked times for carrying 
presents, and making libations, to them. 

It is very diflficult to fix precisely the time in which 
the worship of the heroes began. The ancients have 
left no positive information on this point. The learn- 
ed moderns generally agree in tracing its origin to 
Cadmus. They observe that this prince, having 
brought into Greece the laAvs, customs, and manners 
of Egypt and Phcenicia, introduced, at the same time, 
the practice of honoring or blackening the memory of 
all considerable personages. The Greeks, naturally 
imitators, soon established the practice of celebrating the 
obsequies of their relatives by feasts, invocations, and 
offerings. At first, they raised them remarkable 
tombs; from which they proceeded to make libations 
to their statues and altars; and, at last, their tombs 
were seen to change themselves into temples. Every 
private man had the right of eulogising his ancestors, 
and even of granting them other honors; but often 
their celebrity was extended entirely beyond the fami- 
ly. They became the gods Penates, although the rest 
of the world remained ignorant of the existence of 
such obscure deities. But such was not the lot of 
great men whom cities, kingdoms, and populous na- 
tions, thought fit to honor on account of their impor- 
tant services and brilliant actions. They became by 



l^EGASUS, BELLEROPHON, ANDROMEDA. iTif 

public decrees, the protecting heroes of the people 
among whom they had lived; and often other nations 
adopted them, and rendered them a worship as splen- 
did and extensive as their renown. 

Private persons could raise to their relatives noth- 
ing but simple tombs in the form of altars. The 
monuments erected to the heroes of the country, 
resembled the temples of the gods; and to pay them 
a still more solemn homage there were established 
to their honor, mysteries, ceremonies, and colleges 
of priests adapted to their services. The number 
of heroes and heroines being almost infinite, it would 
be impossible to give the history or even the names 
of all to whom Greece and Italy granted a religious 
worship, or great honors; but we shall notice the 
most celebrated, according to the order of the times in 
which they flourished. Consequently, we begin with 
the history of Perseus, whose antiquity appears to be 
the most remote. 



CHAPTER I. 

Perseus f Pegasus, Bellerophon, Andromeda. 

Perseus was the son of Danae, daughter of Aerisius, 
king of Argos, by Jupiter, who is fabled to have 
metamorphosed himself into a shower of gold, while 
his mother was shut up in a strong tower. 

"Within a brazen tow'r immur'd. 
By dogs and centinels secur'd, 
From midnight revels, and intrigues of Jove, 
Fair Danse, kept within her guardian's pow'r: 
But gentle Venus smil'd, and amorous love 
Knew he could soon unlock the door, 
And by his art successful prove, 
Chang'd to a golden show'r." 

When Aerisius heard of the birth of his grandson, 
he ordered his daughter and the infant to be shut up 
in a chest, and cast into the sea. The chest was 
blown to the island Seriphos, where a fisherman, by 



178 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

the name of Dictys, found it, took them out, and car- 
ried them to king Polydectes, who fell in love with 
the lady, and had her son educated. 

When Perseus was grown up, he obtained from 
Mercury the adamantine scythe, with wings for his 
feet, and a short dagger of diamond, called herpe, the 
helmet of Pluto, which had power to make the 
bearer invisible, and the buckler of Minerva, which 
served the purpose of a looking-glass. By the help 
of these arms, he cut off the head of Medusa. Per- 
seus mounted Pegasus, and flew towards Mau- 
ritania, where, being rudely treated by Atlas, he 
turned him into the mountain which bears his name. 
Thence he went into Ethiopia, where he delivered 
Andromeda from a monster which was ready to devour 
her. By the head of Medusa, he also petrified Phi- 
neus, his rival as well as the soldiers who accompani- 
ed him; and finally gave the head to Minerva, who 
fixed it on her aegis. — See Fig. 68. 

Pegasus, a winged horse, sprang from the blood 
occasioned by the cutting of Medusa's head, when it 
fell on the ground. In flying over Mount Helicon, 
he struck the top of it with his hoof, and opened a 
fountain which is called in Greek, Hippocrene, and in 
Latin, Pons Caballinus; ^i. e. the "horse-fountain." 
Bellerophon caught him while he was drinking at the 
fountain Pyrene in Corinth. 

Bellerophon was son of Glaucus, king of Ephyre. 
He was at first called Hipponus, because he first knew 
how to govern horses with bridles; but was afterwards 
named Bellerophon, because he was the murderer of 
Better, king of Corinth. He was highly famed for 
his beauty and virtue. Antae or Sthenobaea, wife to 
Praetus, king of Argos, became enamoured of him; 
but, as his repulses provoked her, she accused him be- 
fore her husband of having attempted to seduce her. 
Praetus was, however, unwilling to violate the laws 
of hospitality with the blood of Bellerophon, but sent 
him to his father-in-law Jobates, king of Lycia, with 
letters urging him to punish ^Bellerophon in proper- 



PEGASUS, BELLEROPHON, ANDROMEDA. 179 

tion to his supposed crime. Jobates read the letters, 
and ordered him to kill the Chimsera, in the expecta- 
tion of having him destroyed in the attempt. With 
the assistance of Pegasus, however, he slew the mon- 
ster. He was again commanded to fight the Solymi, 
and was exposed to a variety of dangers; but he al- 
ways came off victorious. Jobates was so pleased 
with the bravery of the youth, that he gave him his 
daughter Philonce in marriage, and also his crown. 
Sthenobsea committed suicide when she heard this. 
Bellerophon was so transported with this unlooked 
for fortune, that he attempted to fly on Pegasus to 
heaven. Jupiter ordered a terrible insect to sting the 
horse. As soon as he heard the buzzing of this in- 
sect, he forsook his way, threw the rider, and ran 
wildly about, till he died of fright, fatigue, and hun- 
ger. Its sting caused his body to putrefy, swell, and 
burst. Bellerophon fell from his horse into a field, 
called Aleius Campus, because in that place he wan- 
dered, here and there, blind till his death. Letters 
which the bearer imagines to be written in his favor, 
but which are really intended to effect his ruin, are 
proverbially called "Letters of Bellerophon," 
or "Letters of Uriah." — See Fig. 69. 

Andromeda was the daughter of Cepheus, king 
of Ethiopia, by Cassiope. Her mother irritated the 
Nereides by pretending to equal them in beauty. 
The nymphs extended their wrath over the whole 
country. The inhabitants had recourse to the oracle 
of Ammon which replied, that, in order to appease 
the anger of the nymphs, they must expose Andromeda 
to become the prey of a marine monster. The un- 
fortunate princess was bound to a rock, and the mon- 
ster was about to devour her, when Perseus, riding 
on Pegasus, perceived her, and ran to her rescue, 
which he effected by showing him the head of 
Medusa, which turned him into a rock, and broke 
her chains. He then took her to wife. — See Fig. 70. 
Obs. 1. — Perseus built the city of Mycenae, in 
Greece, and made it the capital of his dominions. 



180 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

After death, he received divine honors, and was placed 
among the constellations. 

Ohs, 2. — The armour of Perseus, celebrated by 
the poets, was an allegory. By the wings of Mercury, 
they meant the ship which conducted Perseus to the 
African coasts. The helmet of Pluto, wh|ch covered 
his head, was nothing but the secret of which he 
stood in want in order to succeed in his undertak- 
ing; and the shield of Minerva, was the symbol of 
prudence which was necessary to him. 

Perseus, on his return to Greece, thanked the gods 
for the success of his journey. He consecrated the 
prow of his ship, and placed it in the temple of Jupi- 
ter on Mount Olympus. The prow represented a 
horse, and the ship was named Pegasus. Olympus 
was reputed to be the abode of the gods. The poets 
embellished these two circumstances by saying, that 
Pegasus remained one moment on earth, and then di- 
rected his flight towards the abode of the gods. Per- 
seus consecrated some parts of his ship in the temple 
of Apollo on Mount Parnassus. The poets painted 
this temple as the ordinary residence of Apollo and 
the Muses. They represented the genius of poetry 
in the form of a winged horse, which overcame every 
obstacle; and the fountain Hippocrene, which Pega- 
sus opened by striking the earth with his hoof, desig- 
nates that the productions of genius do not bear the 
servile impress of labor, but resemble the pure and 
gushing waves of an abundant spring. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Perseus? 

How did Acrisius act when he heard of the birth of his grand- 
son.-' 

How was Perseus favored by the gods? 

What monster was produced from the blood of Medusa? 

Give some account of Bellerophon? 

What other exploits did Perseus perform? 

Who was Andromeda? 



THESEUS* 181 

CHAPTER II. 

Theseus. 

Theseus, the son of iEgeus, king of Athens, by 
iEthra, was a famous hero, who accomplished splendid 
adventures in imitation of Hercules, his relative. 

His father employed him in delivering his country 
from the shameful tribute imposed on it by Minos II. 
king of Crete, to whom several noble youths were to 
be sent by lot every year, and who delivered them 
to the Minotaur, a monster, half man and half bull, 
that was shut up in a Labyrinth in Crete. Theseus 
was confined in the Labyrinth; but he extricated him- 
self by the help of Ariadne, after he had destroyed 
the Minotaur. He forgot the promise he had made 
to his father at the moment of his departure. The 
ship of the prisoners had black sails, and Theseus 
had promised to change his black sails into white ones 
if he returned victorious. His father descried from 
a beacon, the ship, which he found to be black. 
Whereupon, believing his son to be dead, he precipi- 
tated himself into the sea, which was afterwards 
called the x^gean, or Black sea, from his name and 
destiny. — See Fig. 71. 

Daedalus made the Cretan Labyrinth. Minos con- 
fined him there for some oifence, upon which Daedalus 
made wings for himself and his son Icarus, with wax 
and the feathers of birds; and by this means Daedalus 
flew out of Crete into Sicily; but the heat of the sun 
melted the wax on the wings of Icarus, and he fell 
into the sea, which is thence called the Icarian sea. 

Ariadne was daughter to Minos. She gave The- 
seus a clue of thread by which he let himself into, as 
well as helped himself out of, the Labyrinth. On his 
return, he took Ariadne with him; but he^soon after 
ungratefully left her in the island Naxos, where she 
was found and married by Bacchus. 

Theseus had several wives. The first was Anthiope, 
or Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons. His second 
16 



iS2 CATECHISM OF MTTHOLOGY. 

was Phaedra, daughter of Minos the second. The 
Amazons were a warlike nation of women. They 
burnt off their right breast, in order to brandish wea- 
pons with more force, and to shoot arrows with more 
effect. They killed the boys at their birth, and brought 
up the girls. Hercules, accompanied by Theseus, de- 
feated them, and, taking Hippolyte, their queen, pri- 
soner, married her to Theseus. 

By Hippolyte he had a son named Hippolytus, 
perfect beauty, a mighty hunter, and an uncommon 
lover of chastit}^ He rejected the addresses of his 
step- mother Phaedra with such horror and disdain, 
that when her husband was returned, she accused him 
falsely. Hippolytus, aware of his resentment, fled 
away in a chariot. But he met with some monstrous 
sea-calves, which frightened his horses in such a man- 
ner as to throw him out of his seat; and he was drag- 
ged through the woods with his feet entangled in the 
harness, until he expired. 

At the request of Diana, ^Esculapius breathed into 
his nostrils, and resuscitated him. He afterwards set- 
tled in Italy, where he changed his name to Viribus, 
because he had been a man twice. Phaedra was. so 
tormented with the gnawings of remorse, occasioned 
by her guilt, that she hanged herself 

Demophoon was the son of Theseus by Phaedra. 
While going to the Trojan war, he was received by 
Phyllis, queen of Thrace. He married her; but soon 
after, abandoned her, and she, unable to bear her grief, 
caused by his absence, killed herself The poets pub- 
lished, that she had been changed into an almond-tree. 
The name of Phyllis, almost similar to that of Phylla, 
an ahnond-tree, alone gave rise to this fable. The 
poets added, that the almond-tree flourished in the 
beginning of spring, because Phillis showed her joy, 
when she saAV Demophoon returning in that season. 

Theseus attended the Argonauts in the conquest of 
the Golden Fleece, fought the Centaurs, and extermi- 
nated two tyrants of Sicily, notorious for their crimes 
and barbarous actions. The first, called Phalaris, 



THESEUS, PIRITHOUS. ' 183 

buried men alive in a brazen bull, and burnt them with 
a slow fire, during which torture their cries resembled 
the lowing of a bull. Perillus was the inventor of 
this horrible machine. The second tyrant, Procrustes, 
bound strangers to an iron-bed, and cut their limbs so 
as to accommodate them to the extent of the bed. This 
BED OF Procrustes is proverbially applied to a cru- 
el or foolish contrivance whereby to alter what is na- 
tural or unalterable. Theseus met and killed two fa- 
mous robbers. The first, Sinis, in his haunts, rushed 
upon the unwary travellers, stripped them, and tied 
their limbs to the branches of trees, which, when bent 
down, threw them up, and tore their limbs in pieces. 
The second, Sciron, delighted in precipitating passen- 
gers, for whom he laid snares, into the sea. 

Theseus is said to have descended, in company with 
his bosom friend Pirithous, son of Ixion, into the in- 
fernal regions, to take away Proserpine from her hus- 
band; for which rash act, Pirithous was fastened to his 
father's chariot wheel, and Theseus, to a huge stone, 
where they experienced excruciating torments. Her- 
cules, however, delivered them from this terrible sit- 
uation. 

Theseus returned to Athens; but the throne being 
possessed by a usurper, he withdrew to the court of 
Lycomedes, king of Scyros. That treacherous prince 
threw him unawares from a high rock, and he perished 
in the sea. He had a temple at Athens, one of the 
richest and most magnificent buildings in the city. 

"Where fam'd St. Giles' ancient limits spread. 
An inrail'd column rears its lofty head; 
Here to sev'n streets, sev'n dials count the day. 
And from each other catch the circling ray. 
Here oft the peasant, with inquiring face, 
Bewilder'd trudges on from place to place; 
He dwells on ev'ry sign, with stupid gaze, 
Enters the narrow alley's doubtful maze, 
Tries ev'ry winding court and street in vain. 
And doubles o'er their weary steps again. 
Thus hardy Theseus, with intrepid feet, 
Travers'd the dangerous labyrinth of Crete, 
But little the wand'ring passes forc'd his stay. 
Till Ariadne's clue unwinds the way." — Gay. 



184 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Obs. — Considered historically, Theseus was a king 
of Athens, the first who divided the people into tribes, 
and who gave a regular and civilized form to the state. 
Some poets, in return for various benefits with which 
he had loaded them, added illustrious particulars to 
his life, exerted their refinement and genius in be- 
stowing uncommon lustre on his memory, and thus 
exalted him to the rank of a demi-god. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Theseus? 

What celebrated feat did he perform? 

WJio made the Cretan Labyrinth? 

Who was Ariadne? 

Had Theseus any wives? 

Who were the Amazons? 

What son had Theseus by Hyppolyter 

Who was Demophoon? 

What else is recorded of Theseus? 

Did not Theseus enter the infernal regions? 

Did not Theseus return to Athens? 



CHAPTER III. 

Hercules. 

There are not less than forty heroes of this name 
mentioned by ancient authors. The Trojan Hercules 
w^as named Thasius; the Phoenician, Agenor; the 
Egyptian contemporary with Osiris and general of his 
troops, Ozochor, and so forth; but the most celebrated, 
called by the Greeks Alceus, or Alcides, was the son 
of Jupiter by Alcmena. He is generally accounted 
the god of strength, and is the Samson of the Greeks. 

Jupiter having declared that a child being about to 
be born, should have dominion over all his own race, 
Juno disguised herself in the habit of an old woman, 
appeared at the door of Alcmena, and pronounced 
magic words to retard the birth of Hercules. Galan- 
this, the companion of Alcmena, had just brought 
forth a fine boy. Juno^^ surprisedj went away, and at 



HERCtTLKS. 185 

that very moment Hercules was born. The enraged 
goddess turned Galanthis into a weasel. When Her- 
cules was a babe but eight months old in his cradle, 
Juno sent two serpents to destroy him. These he 
boldly seized by their necks, and crushed them to 
death. His twin brother Iphiclus, famed for his in- 
credible swiftness, alarmed the house with his shrieks. 
Finally, through the mediation of Minerva, Juno was 
reconciled to the valiant infant; but he drew her milk 
with such violence, that when she thrust him away, 
some of her milk being spilt upon the clouds, occa- 
sioned the milky-way^ which is called in Greek, Ga- 
laxia. Lilies are said to have been created by the 
fall of it on the earth, and are therefore called the 
*'roses of Juno." 

The fame of Hercules was increased by the excel- 
lent education he received. For his tutors, he had 
Castor, who taught him pugilistics; Eurytus, who in- 
structed him in archery; Autolychus, who taught him 
to drive a chariot; Linus, the son of Apollo, philoso- 
phy; Eumolus, music; Harpalychus, the athletic ex- 
ercises; and the Centaur Chiron, astronomy and me- 
dicine. 

At the instigation of Juno, who treated, with unex- 
ampled severity all the children of Jupiter by his 
mistresses, Eurystheus endeavoured to ruin him, by 
imposing upon him a number of arduous enterprises, 
generally called the ''Twelve Labours of Hercules." 
A prodigious lion, said to have fallen from the moon 
into the forest of Nemssa, ravaged the country near 
Mycenae. This place was called Cleone, and this 
lion, Cleoneus. Hercules was ordered to destroy him; 
but, finding him invulnerable to any we8])nn, he 
strangled him with his hands, and after wani- wore 
his skin. 

He was commanded to destroy a vast hydra, which 
infested the marshes of Lerna. * It had seven heads, 
some say fifty, others a hundred, one of which being 
struck off by the club of the hero, another immediately 
sprang up again in its place. 
16* 



186 CATECHISM OF »lYTHOLOGY. 

He ordered lolas, the son of Iphiclus, to burn the 
wound with a red hot iron; in consequence of which, 
one head was cut off in a moment, and the cautery- 
applied: and by this means, he succeeded in destroy- 
ing the monster. He dissected it, and dipped his ar- 
rows in the gall, which impregnated them with such 
deadly poison, that the slightest wound, when inflict- 
ed by them, proved mortal. He felt himself so much 
indebted to lolas for this seasonable service, that when 
lolas was troubled with decrepit age, he restored him 
to his youth. 

It was his third labour to bring alive to Eurystheus, 
an immense wild-boar, which spread destruction in 
the plains of Erymanthus in Arcadia. He seized the 
monster in a thicket, to which he had traced it by its 
vestiges in the snow. When dragged into the pre- 
sence of Eurystheus, it excited in him so great ter- 
ror, that he nearly fainted at the sight; or, as some as- 
sert, he concealed himself for some time in a brazen 
vessel. 

On his way to Erymanthus, he destroyed the Cen- 
taurs, who had aggrieved him; and among them, he 
accidently slew his former preceptor Chiron, to whom 
the others had fled for protection. When translated 
to the skies, he took a seat among the constellations, 
under the name of Sagittarius. 

He was commanded to bring alive and unhurt to 
Eurystheus, a hind, whose hoofs were of brass, and 
horns of gold. This swift hind frequented Mount 
Maenales, was sacred to Diana, and was caught by 
Hercules after a chase of a whole year. 

His fifth exploit was to kill the Stymphalides, mon- 
strous birds, the beaks and talons of which were of 
iron, and which resided on the shores of the lake 
Stymphalus in Arcadia, and fed on human flesh. Her- 
cules destroyed them with his arrows. 

He was ordered to take from Hippolyte, the queen 
of the Amazons, the finest belt in the world. After 
a close engagement, he slew all the Amazons except 



HERCULES. 187 

the queen, whom he gave in marriage to Theseus. 
The belt was presented to Eurystheus. 

In one day, he cleansed the stable of Augeas, king 
of Elis, in which three thousand oxen had been kept 
for thirty years, and from which the filth had never 
been removed. This he effected by turning the river 
Achelous through it. Whence the proverbial phrase, 
"cleansing the Augean stable," is now applied to a 
work of immense toil, or bordering on impossibility. 

Augeas promised to give him the cattle, but broke 
his word; for which dishonourable breach, Hercules 
slew him with his arrows, and the crown devolved 
upon his son Phyleus. 

Minos, king of Crete, having neglected the worship 
of Neptune, that god sent a monstrous bull, which 
destroyed numbers of the islanders. Hercules brought 
it alive to Eurystheus. 

He was commanded to bring away the fire-breath- 
ing mares of Diomedes, king of Thrace, who fed 
them with the flesh of his guests. The tyrant order- 
ed him to be thrown to them; but the hero threw the 
tyrant to be devoured by them. He afterwards exhi- 
bited them to Eurystheus. 

He was employed in bringing away the purple- 
coloured oxen of Geryon, king of Gades, in Spain, 
which lived on men's flesh. The king himself was a 
monster with three bodies and three heads, and was 
guarded by a dog with two heads, and a dragon with 
seven. Hercules slew them all, and returned to Ar- 
gos w^ith the cattle. 

He was commanded to gather the golden apples in 
the garden of the Hesperides. They were guarded 
by Melius, a dragon which never slej^t; but Hercules 
slew the dragon, and obtained the precious fruit. 

His twelfth labour was to bring up to the light of 
the sun, Cerberus, a triple-headed dog that guarded 
the gates of hell. 

He went down into hell by a cave on Mount Taena- 
rus, and dragged the monster to the upper regions. 
As soon as Cerberus was in the regions of day, he 



188 CATECHISM OP MYTHOLOGY. 

vomitted, and thence sprang up the poisonous herb 
wolf's-bane, Aconitum. Thus Hercules accomplished 
the twelve labours, which he had undertaken with 
unprecedented cheerfulness and good will. 

Hercules performed many other exploits worthy of 
notice. He strangled Antaeus, a monstrous giant, 
above sixty-four cubits in height, in a wrestling match. 
He sacrificed Busiris, king of Egypt, on the same al- 
tar on which that tyrant had been wont to immolate 
strangers to his father Neptune. • He killed the giants 
Albion and Bergeon, who dared to stop his journey. 
His arrows being burnt in the fight, he prayed to Ju- 
piter, and was accordingly furnished with a shower 
of stones, with which he vanquished his adversaries. 
This is said to have taken place in that division of an- 
cient Gaul, called Gallia Narbonesis, or Campus La- 
pideus, the Stony Plain. To ease Atlas, he took the 
heavens upon his shoulders. He separated two moun- 
tains, Calpe and Abyla, which were previously united, 
but thence called the Pillars of Hercules. Between 
these are the straits of Gibraltar, anciently called 
Fretum Herculeum. He dragged the fire-spitting 
Cacus, the son of Vulcan, from his den, and strangled 
him for having stolen some of his oxen. He shot the 
eagle devouring the liver of Prometheus, while he 
was lying on the rock. He slew Theodamus, because 
he refused his son Hylas victuals; but he used Hylas 
well. He compelled Death to return Alcesta to her 
husband. He delivered Hesione, daughter of Laome- 
don, king of Troy, from the whale in the following 
manner: armed cap-a-pie, he leaped into the mouth 
of the sea-monster to which she was exposed; and after 
being confined three days in his belly, he cut his way 
out, and came away safe, having lost only his hair. 
Being denied the reward which Laomedon promised 
him, he plundered the city of Troy, and married 
Hesione to Telamon, who first mounted the wall. 

Hercules was enamoured of lole, the daughter of 
Eurytus, one of his former preceptors. So irresista- 
ble were the charms of Omphale, queen of Lydia, that 



ttERCULES. 189 

ne assumed a female dress, and turned his club into 
a distaff, and his arrows into a spindle. Omphale is 
said to have sometimes put on his armour, and ridi- 
culed him as he sat at her distaff. He had likewise 
a wife whose name was Dejanira, daughter of Qi^neus, 
and sister of Meleager, who was the cause of his 
death. 

When Hercules was stopped by the swollen streams 
of the river Evenus, the Centaur Nessus offered to 
carry Dejanira over on his back; but when Hercules ob- 
served that he behaved rudely to her, he shot him 
with one of his poisoned arrows. The dying Cen- 
taur presented Dejanira with his tunic, stained with 
his blood, as a memento for love. Some time after, 
Hercules renewed his acquaintance with lole. De- 
janira hearing of it, sent him the tunic, as he was 
going to sacrifice. He put it on; but was soon seized 
with violent and incurable pains. After dashing out 
the brains of Lichas, who had brought it, he raised a 
funerail pile on Mount Oete, ordered his bosom friend 
Philoctetes to put fire to it, ascended it, and closed 
his life in the most dreadful agonies, and was thence 
translated to heaven. 

His muscles, as represented in the Farnese statue, 
express such corporeal powders as never existed in 
any other. He is painted sometimes naked, and some- 
times clad in the skin of the Nemaean lion, and hold- 
ing a knotted club, with the Hesperian apples in his 
hand. At other times Cupid is described as wound- 
ing his heart for Omphale. — See Fig. 72. 

"First, how the mighty babe, when swath'd in bands, 

The serpents strangled with his infant hands; 

Then, as in years and matchless force he grew, 

Th' QLchalian walls and Trojan overthrew. 

Besides a thousand hazards they relate, 

ProcLir'd by Juno's and Euristheus' hate. 

Thy hand.-=, uncnnquer'd hero! could subdue 

The cloud-born Centaurs, and the monster crew; 

Nor thy resistless arm the bull withstood; 

Nor he the roaring terror of the wood. 

The triple porter of the Stygian seat, 

And seiz'd with fear, forgot thy mangled meat. 



(90 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Th' infernal waters trembled at thy sight; 

Not huge Typha3us, nor th' unnumber'd snakes; 

Increas'd with hissing heads in Lerna's lakes. 

Hail, Jove's undoubted son! an added grace 

To heav'n, and the great author of thy race. 

Receive the grateful off'rings which we pay. 

And smile propitious on thy solemn day." — Virgil. 

" The Cleonian lion first he kills; 

With fire and sword then Lerna's pest he quells; 
Of the wild boar he clears th' Ermanthean fields; 
The brass-foot stag with golden antlers yield: 
He Stympha clears of man-devouring birds; 
And next the bouncing Amazon ungirds: 
The stables of king Augeas he cleans; 
The Cretan bull he vanquishes and chains: 
Diomedes' horses him their conqueror own; 
Then he brings low three-headed Geryon: 
Hesperian apples next his name sustains; 
And his last labour Cerberus enchains." 

'So mighty Hercules o'er many a clime 
Waved his vast mace in Virtue's cause sublime, 
Unmeasured strength with early art combined, 
Awed, served, protected, and amazed mankind. 
First two dread snakes at Juno's vengeful nod, 
Climb'd round the cradle of the sleeping god; 
Waked by the shrilling hiss, and rustling sound, 
And shrieks of fair attendants trembling round, 
Their gasping throats with clenching hands he holds; 
And death entwisted their convoluted folds. 
Next in red torrents from her seven-fold heads 
Fell Hydra's blood on Lerna's lake he sheds; — 
Grasps Achelous with resistless force. 
And drags the roaring river to his course; 
Binds with loud bellowing and with hideous yell 
The monster bull, and three-fold dog of hell. 

Then, where Nemea's howling forests wave. 

He drives the lion to his dusky cave; 

Seized by the throat the growling fiend disarms. 

And tears his gaping jaws with sinewy arms; 

Lifts proud Antoeus from his mother-plains. 

And with strong grasp the struggling giant strains; 

Back falls his fainting head, and clammy hair. 

Writhe his weak limbs, and flits his life in air; 

By steps reverted o'er the blood-dropp'd fen 

He tracks huge Cacus to his murderous den; 

Where breathing flames through brazen lips, he fled, 

And shakes the rock-roof'd cavern o'er his head. 



HERCULES. 191 

Last with wide arms the sohd earth he tears, 
Piles rock on rock, on mountain, mountain rears; 
Heaves up huge Abyla on Afric's sand, 
Crowns with high Calpe Europe's sahant strand, 
Crests with opposing towers the splendid scene. 
And pours from urns immense the sea between; 
Loud o'er her whirling flood Charybdis roars, 
Afl!righted Scylla bellows round her shores, 
Vesuvio groans through all his echoing caves. 
And Etna thunders o'er the insurgent waves. 

Botanic Garden — Canto 1. 

Obs.—^The poets painted the continual and danger- 
ous labours of Hercules under the iraage of the per- 
secutions of Juno, in whom they personified jealousy. 
Under the fables of Hercules, were concealed the emi- 
nent services, which some good and powerful man 
had rendered to his fellow creatures. In moralizing 
those fables, the ancients took Hercules for the strengh 
of reason and philosophy, which subdues and con- 
quers our irregular passions; and his marriage, for his 
great and noble actions, ever freshly blooming in the 
memory of all, and transmitted in the histories of their 
times to the latest posterity. Xenophon says, that 
when Hercules was young, two females once appear- 
ed to him — one was Virtue, who advised him to per- 
form his arduous duties; the other was Pleasure, who 
advised him to lead an easy and indolent life; but he 
would rather act the part of a benefactor to mankind. 
Eurystheus allegorically represents the dictates of 
conscience; for which Virtue discharges her arduous 
functions. Omphale may represent the love of Plea- 
sure, which sometimes causes one to neglect his duties, 
and give himself up to amusement. In short, our 
readers may exert their ingenuity in explaining the 
fables of Hercules in various ways, if they take plea- 
sure in comparing mythology v/ith history. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Hercules? 

With what singular circumstances was his birth attended? 

Was Juno's malice satisfied with this? 

What increased the fame of Hercules? 



192 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Did not Juno subject him to Eurystheus? 
What was his first labour;' 
How did he remove this difficulty? 
What achievement constitutes his third labour? 
What exploit did he accomplish on his way to Erymanthus? 
Mention his fourth labour. 
What was his fifth labour? 
What was his sixth labour? 
Describe his seventh labour. 

What reward w^as promised him for this servile task? 
What was his eight labour? 

What dangerous expedition composed his tenth labour? 
Mention his eleventh labour. 

What was the last and most dangerous labour imposed upon 
him? 

Did not he accomplish this arduous undertaking? 

Did Hercules perform any other exploits worthy of notice? 

Was not Hercules devoted to female society? 

Mention the manner of his death. 

How is Hercules represented? 



CHAPTER IV. 

Jason. 

Jason, the son of ^son, king of Thessaly, by Al- 
cimede, was an infant when his father died, and his 
uncle Pelias took upon himself the direction of the 
government. 

Pelias did not resign the crown when Jason, com- 
ing of age, laid his claims to it; but, with the hope of 
seeing him destroyed, advised him to go to Colchis, 
and gain the golden fleece. 

The gods had given Athamas, king of Thebes, a 
ram, the fleece of which was of a golden colour. 
Phryxus, the son of Athamas, flying from the anger 
of his step-mother Ino, crossed the sea, with his sis- 
ter Helle, on the back of this ram; (in a ship whose 
prow was adorned with the figure of that animal;) 
but Helle was seized with such giddiness, that she 
fell into that part of the sea, which, from her, was 
called Hellespont. When Phryxus arrived on the 



JASON. 193 

coast of Colchis, he sacrificed the ram to Jupiter or 
Mars, and presented the fleece to ^tes, king of Col- 
chis. 

The fleece was difficult of access; for it was hung 
up in the grove of Mars, guarded by huge bulls, 
breathing fire from their nostrils, and by a vast, watch- 
ful dragon, and was reckoned as a pledge, sacred, di- 
vine, and of vital importance. 

Jason chose for his companions about fifty of the 
most noble and famous in Greece. He built a ship, 
called the Argo, from which they were called Argo- 
nauts, among whom were Hercules, Orpheus, and 
Castor and Pollux. Typhis was the pilot; and Lyn- 
ceus, whose eyes were piercing, discovered rocks. 
It was styled the Argonautie expedition, and was cele- 
brated by all the ancients. After a series of adven- 
tures, he arrived at Colchis, and demanded the Golden 
Fleece of king ^tes, who granted his request, pro- 
vided he would tame the bulls and kill the dragon 
that guarded it, and sow his teeth in the ground. By 
the assistance of Medea, the king's daughter, who 
was enamoured of him, he overcame the bulls, laid 
the dragon asleep, and then slew it. The teeth of 
the dragon were sown in the ground, and an army of 
men instantly sprang up; but they were destroyed. 
He took the fleece, and fled by night, carrying with 
him Medea, whom he afterwards took to wife. JEtes 
ordered his son Absyrtus to pursue them; but Medea 
slew him, and scattered his limbs in the way, in order 
to keep her father employed in gathering them up. 
Thus Jason and his companions returned home; and 
Medea is said to have restored by her charms, the old 
decrepit ^son to the vigour and activity of youth, 
although some assert that ^son died before their re- 
turn. In a little time Jason abandoned her for Creusa, 
daughter to Creon, king of Corinth; but to revenge 
his perfidy, Medea not only murdered in his sight the 
two children which she had borne him, but also en^ 
closed fire in a little box, and sent it to Creusa. No 
sooner had the box been opened, than the fire burst 
17 



194 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

forth, and burnt her to death, together with her 
family.— See Fig. 73. 

Obs. — The Grecian history records no event more 
celebrated and more replete with fictions than the con- 
quest of the Golden Fleece. Many authors differ in 
explaining this far-fetched fable. Some believe that, 
in Colchis, several brooks rolled spangles of gold with 
their sand. Skins of sheep, adorned with their wool, 
were stretched in the bottom of those waters, to catch 
the grains of gold, ^tes made use of this means to 
increase his riches. Alchyraists and gold-makers pre- 
tended that this fleece was a book, in which was writ- 
ten the necessary secret of converting all metals into 
gold. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Jason? 

Did Pelias resign the crown when Jason, coming of age, laid his 
claims to it? 
What was the Golden Fleece? 
Was the Fleece difficult of access? 
Relate the particulars of Jason's journey? 



CHAPTER V. 

Castor, Pollux, Clytemnestra , Agamemnon. 

Castor and Pollux were the sons of Leda, wife 
of Tyndarus, king of Sparta, by Jupiter, who is feign- 
ed to have assumed the likeness of a swan, in order 
to gain her love. Leda produced two eggs, from one 
of which sprang Pollux and Helena, who inherited 
their father's immortality, and from the other. Castor 
and Clytemnestra, who are said to have been mortal 
like their mother. Castor and Pollux were often 
called Tyndaridae by the poets, as Helena is sometimes 
called Tyndaris, from Tyndarus. Castor and Pollux 
both accompanied Jason in his Argonautic expedition. 
Pollux killed the famous Amycus, who challenged 
every body to the fight with the cestus, and was, 



CASTOR AND POLLUX. 195 

therefore, deemed the patron of the athletes. Castor 
excelled in running and the art of taming horses. 
These two heroes recovered their sister Helena from 
Theseus, who had stolen her, by vanquishing the 
Athenians who fought for him. Their clemency and 
humanity to the conquered, procured them the sur- 
name of Anaces, or Benefactors. They also rendered 
themselves formidable at sea, and cleared the Archi- 
pelago of the Corsairs who infested it. 

Castor was killed by Lynceus, or, according to 
others, by Idas; upon which Pollux entreated Jupiter 
to restore him to life. Jupiter allowed them to share 
immortality by turns. Accordingly they lived and 
died alternately every other day, or, as some say, every 
other fortnight, or, according to. others, every other 
six months. When Castor was dead, armed youths 
instituted to his honour, and performed, a sort of 
pyrrhick, or dance in armour, called "Castor's dance." 

When they were made constellations in heaven, 
they were called Gemini, Sailors deem these stars 
auspicious to them, because when the Argonauts were 
tossed about by violent tempests, two lambent flames 
settled upon the heads of Castor and Pollux, and the 
storm immediately abated. But when mariners per- 
ceived only one flame, called Helena, they accounted 
it ruinous to them. 

Castor and Pollux had a famous temple in the forum 
at Rome; for it was thought that when the Romans 
waged a dangerous war with the Latins, they aided 
the Romans, riding on white horses. They are usu- 
ally represented in the figure of young men, with a 
cap surmounted with a star. When women swore 
only by the temple of Castor, they said, Ecastor; 
while men, swearing only by Hercules, used the 
words Hercule, Hercle, Hercules, Mehercules, Meher- 
cule. But when both men and women swore by the 
temple of Pollux, they said, Mdepol. — See Fig. 74. 

Clytemnestra was married to Agamemnon; but 
when he went to the siege of Troy, she publicly 
lived with .^gisthus, at whose instigation she killed 



196 CATECHISM or MYTHOLOGY. 

Agamemnon when he returned. She would have put 
her son Orestes to death; but his sister Electra deliv- 
ered him out of her hands, by sending him secretly to 
his uncle Strophilus, king of Phocis. After an ab- 
sence of twelve years, he returned to his native home, 
and slew both Clytemnestraand ^gisthus. He like- 
wise killed Pyrrhus, in Apollo's temple, because he 
had taken away Hermione, daughter to Menelaus, who 
was first engaged to Orestes. For which reason the 
Furies demanded satisfaction for his crimes, which he 
was ready to expiate by offering his own blood at the 
altar of Diana Taurica. Thither he was led by his 
bosom friend Pylades. So close and sacred was their 
friendship, that the one would have died for the other. 

In the worship of the goddess Diana Taurica, hu- 
man victims were offered up by the Tauri in Taurica 
Chersonesus (now called Crimea Tartary.) 

Agamemnon, king of the Argives, was, by the 
unanimous voice of the Greeks, appointed genera- 
lissimo on their expedition against Troy. He killed 
a favourite stag of Diana's at Aulis, which accident 
provoked the goddess to such a degree, that she caus- 
ed a calm, which rendered the Grecian fleet, bound for 
Troy, immovable. In this calamity they were inform- 
ed by the soothsayers, that they must appease Diana 
with the blood of Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia. 
Ulysses forthwith brought away Iphigenia from her 
mother, under pretext of giving her in marriage to 
Achilles. But such was the clemency of Diana, who 
was awakened to pity by her situation, that she substi- 
tuted a goat in her stead; and Iphigenia was made, by 
king Thoas, priestess to Diana, and had the direction 
of the sacrifices solemnized with human blood. When 
Orestes was brought to the altar to be sacrificed, he 
was recognized and preserved by his sister. After 
this, Thoas was slain, and the image of Diana was 
removed, after it had been hidden in a bundle of sticks: 
and from that circumstance, Diana was called Fascelis, 
from fascis, a *^bundle." 

Obs, 1.— To explain the fable in reference to the 



ORPHEUS. 197 

birth of those princes and princesses, Castor and Pol- 
lux and their sisters, it may be observed, that the rooms 
of palaces, at that time, had the form of an egg. They 
were born in Laconia, near Sparta, on the banks of 
the river Eurotas. A great number of swans were 
always to be met with on that river: hence the poets 
introduced a swan into their fable. The beauty of 
Leda, the whiteness and elegant form of her neck, caus- 
ed them to compare her to a swan; and these different 
circumstances, combined and embellished by the poets, 
produced the fable of Jupiter and Leda. 

Obs. 2. — The fable of Castor and Pollux's living 
and dying alternately, is founded on their being repre- 
sented, after their death, by the sign of Gemini; and 
as one of the two stars of that sign hides itself under 
the horizon whilst the other appears, their pretended 
reciprocity in sharing immortality, was easily imagin- 
ed. 

Obs. 3. — The fable of Agamemnon's offering Iphi- 
genia to Diana appears to be based on the story of 
Jephthah's daughter in Scripture. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Castor and Pollux? 
What became of Castor? 

What name was given to them, when they became constellations 
in heaven? 

How were Castor and Pollux honoured? 
What story is related of Clytemnestra? 
Who was Diana Taurica? 
Who was Agamemnon? 



CHAPTER VI. 

Orpheus, Amphion, Arion. 

Orpheus, the son of Apollo by the muse Calliope, 
was a very ancient poet and musician, and one of the 
Argonauts. 

The poets relate, that he played on the lyre in 
17* 



198 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGlT. 

SO masterly a style, as to hold the most rapid 
rivers in suspense; that his strains melted the savage 
beasts of the forest into tameness; and even that moun- 
tains and woods yielded to the charms of his music. 
All nature seemed to be gently touched and agitated 
by the agreeable and sublime dexterities of his mas- 
terly hand. So fine and delicate indeed were its 
touches, that they dissolved the most beautiful nymphs, 
his constant attendants, into melancholy, or elevated 
them into raptures of joy — rendered their sorrows 
charming, or made their rage heroic and delightful.— 
See Fig. 75. 

Orpheus was married to Eurydice; but soon after, 
she was stung by a serpent, and died of the poisoned 
wound. 

Orpheus so severely felt, and so deeply regretted, 
the loss of his devoted wife, that he descended with 
his lyre in his hand into hell, to recover her from 
Pluto and Proserpine; and so affecting were its strains, 
that even the passions of the infernals were subdued; 
the wheel of Ixion ceased to turn round; and the stone 
of Sisyphus stopped to listen to his song; Tantalus 
forgot his miseries; and even the compassion of the 
Furies was awakened. The king and queen of the 
infernal regions allowed Eurydice to enter again upon 
the stage of life, on condition that Orpheus would not 
look at her, until they had both ascended to the tracts 
of day. 

On his way, he stopped to listen, in order to ascer- 
tain whether Eurydice was following him or not; but 
at the same time she stopped also; so that he could 
not hear her footsteps. He therefore looked round, 
and she instantly disappeared. 

He endeavoured to follow her into hell, but was re- 
fused a second admittance. After this, he was wont 
to sit in grottoes and on mountains, to dispel the pangs 
of his wounded affection by the varied sounds of his 
musical instruments. He separated himself as far as 
possible from human society, but was finally murdered 
by some women on account of his indifferent and cold 
behaviour towards them. His bones were after- 



w 



AMPHION, ARION. 199 



wards collected by the Muses, and laid in a sepulchre; 
and his harp was made the constellation Lyra. 

Amphion was the son of Jupiter and Antiope, and 
was an eminent musician. His instructer, Mercury, 
gave him a lute, at the sound of which the stones were 
seen to answer each other, to lay themselves in the form 
of a regular building, and also compose the walls of 
the city of Thebes. 

**Amphion too, as story goes, could call 
Obedient stones to make the Theban wall. 
He led them as he pleas'd: the rocks obey'd,- 
And danc'd in order to the tunes he play'd." 

Obs. — The meaning of these fables is this: so pow- 
erful and persuasive was the eloquence of Orpheus 
and Amphion, that it dissolved habitual savageness in- 
to civilization. 

Arion, the son of Cyclops, of Methymna in the 
island of Lesbos, enjoyed the fame of being a fine, 
lyric poet and a musician, and gained immense wealth 
by the exercise of his talents. 

While he was sailing from Lesbos into Italy, his 
companions robbed him of his wealth, and proposed 
throwing him overboard; but having obtained the con- 
sent of the seamen to let him play on his harp, he 
played so sweetly, that the dolphins flocked round the 
vessel. Upon this he leaped into the sea, and one of 
the dolphins took him up, and carried him safe to 
Tsenarus. 

As soon as he landed, he hastened to the court of 
Periander, tyrant of Corinth, before whom he laid his 
complaints. Periander caused all the mariners, when 
their ship had returned, to be crucified. 

"He on his crouching back sits all at ease, 
With harp in hand, by which he calms the seas. 
And for his passage with a song he pays." 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was Orpheus? 
* What do the poets observe of Orpheus? 
To whom was Orpheus married? 



200 CATECHISM or MYTHOLOGY. 

What did Orpheus do on the death of Eurydice? 

Did Orpheus perform the condition? 

What did Orpheus do after this? 

Who was Amphion? 

Who was Arion? 

In what adventure was Arion concerned? 

What foUowed? 



CHAPTER VII. 

Troy. 

Dardanus, the son of Jupiter and Electra, was the 
first king and the founder of Troy. He reigned with 
his brother in Tuscany, a province in Italy; but hav- 
ing slain his brother, he retired into that part of 
Phrygia which borders on the Bosphorus, where he 
built the city of Troy, about seven centuries before the 
foundation of Rome. 

His son Erichthonius succeeded him. 

Erichthonius was succeeded by his son Tros, who 
gave his name to the city of Troy, and the name of 
Troas to the whole country. Tros had three children. 
The eldest, Ganymede, was taken away by Jupiter; 
the second, Assaracus, was father to Capys, and grand- 
father to Anchises; and the third, Ilius, succeeded his 
father, and gave the name of Ilion to a citadel which 
he built at Troy. 

Laomedon succeeded his father Ilius. He built 
the walls of that citadel, in which he was so success- 
ful, that the work was attributed to Apollo, the god of 
the fine arts. Hercules deprived him of his crown. 

Priam was his son and successor. His name was 
a Phrygian word for ransomed; because he was ran- 
somed by the Trojans. His original name was Po- 
darces. 

Soon after having possessed himself of the city, 
Priam fortified it with bastions, called Pergamia. 

The name of Priam's wife was Hecuba, who bore 
him several children, the most renowned of which 
were Hector and Paris. 



SIEGE OF TROY. 20l 

In ravaging the country around Troy, Hercules, 
after having stolen away Hesione, whom he had deli- 
vered from the monster to which Ladomedon, her 
father, had exposed her by order of the oracle, gave her 
in marriage to Telamon: whereupon Paris equipped a 
fleet in order to recover his aunt. Paris entered 
Sparta, the king of which was Menelaus. This prince 
received him very courteously, and let him occupy his 
palace during his absence to Crete Paris, profiting 
by this circumstance, so basely violated the rights of 
hospitality as to carry off Helen, wife to Menelaus, 
who was reputed to be the most beautiful woman of 
the age. The whole of the Grecian states took up 
arms, to resent the injury which Paris had inflicted 
on Menelaus, in return for his hospitality. 

This war was carriied on to the destruction of both 
parties; but the Grecians, after a siege of ten years, 
reduced the Trojan capital to ashes. The number of 
those who survived the war, was very small. 

Agamemnon, king of Mycene, eldest brother of 
Menelaus, Achilles, the Ajaxes, Nestor, Idomoneus, 
Ulysses, Diomedes, Philoctetes, Patroclus, and after- 
wards Pyrrhus, the son of Achilles, were Grecian 
chiefs engaged in this war. 

Hector,' Paris, Deiphobus, Helenus, ^Eneas, Mem- 
non, Sarpedon, Rhesus, and Penthesilea, queen of the 
Amazons, were the principal Trojans opposed to the 
Greeks. 

Achilles among the Greeks, and Hector of the Tro- 
jans, fought most valiantly. 

Jupiter alone devoted it to fate. Venus, Mars, and 
Apollo, protected the Trojans; and Juno, Minerva, 
Neptune, and Vulcan, defended the Greeks. 

The Greeks, being tired of so long a siege, pre- 
tended to retreat without farther molestation; and, as 
if they had wished to repair the injury done to Mi- 
nerva by the profanation of the Palladium, they made 
a wooden horse, in which they shut up armed soldiers. 
No sooner had they entered the island Teneos, than 
the Trojans, seeing this immense colossus, deliberated 



202 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

whether they would admit it into their city. Laocoon 
was violently opposed to it; but Sinon, suborned by 
Ulysses, having met with them, said that it was the 
vow of the Greeks to appease Minerva, and they had 
constructed it of so enormous a size as to prevent the 
Trojans from introducing it into their city. While 
the Trojans, who had rejoiced at the retreat of their 
enemies, were buried in sleep, a part of their walls 
was pulled down. Sinon opened the horse's flanks, 
and fifty warriors, who had been concealed in it, ap- 
peared with Ulysses at their head. The signal being 
given to the Greeks in ambush without the city, they^ 
immediately came in. 

Agamemnon was no sooner arrived, than he was as- 
sassinated; Menelaus returned to Sparta with Helen; 
Idomoneus, Philoctetes, and Nestor, regained their 
homes; but Ulysses wandered about for ten years be- 
fore he returned to Ithaca. 

QUESTIONS. 

Who was the first king and the founder of Troy? 

Whom had Dardanus for his successor? 

Who succeeded Erichthonius? 

By whom was Ilius succeeded? 

Who succeeded Laomedon? 

What did Priam, immediately after possessing the city? 

Who was Priam's wife? 

What occasioned the Trojan war? 

What was the result of the Trojan war? 

What Grecian chiefs were engaged in this war? 

What principal Trojans were opposed to them? 

Which of the heroes fought most valiantly? 

What part did the gods take in this war? 

By what stratagem did the Greeks take Troy? 

What heroes returned to their country? 



CHAPTER VIII. 

^Eneas was the son of Anchises by Venus, and al- 
most the only Trojan prince of any note who escaped 



iENEAS, ACHILLES. 203 

the destruction of Troy. He distinguished himself 
greatly during the siege, and wrestled hard with Dio- 
medes and Achilles; and being preserved by his im- 
mortal mother, he escaped unhurt. 

No sooner had the Grecians set the city on fire, 
than ^neas took his aged father Anchises on his 
shoulder, with his son Ascanius clinging to his gar- 
ments, and saved them both from the flames at the 
hazard of his life. 

He wandered about from one place to another for 
years, and after struggling through many difficulties, 
finally arrived in Italy, where he was hospitably re- 
ceived by Latinus, king of the Latins. 

On the death of Latinus, ^neas ascended the throne, 
and with his son Ascanius, laid the foundation of a new 
empire. It is from ^.neas that the Romans pretend- 
ed to have been descended. 

Virgil acquaints us with the life of ^^neas. His 
iEneid comprises the history of ^neas, interspersed 
with much fabulous matter; among which is a beau- 
tiful description of his descent into the infernal re- 
gions, after his father's death, to learn from him the 
fate of himself and of his descendants. 

He was slain in battle with the Etrusians; and his 
body was translated to heaven by Venus, in spite of 
Juno, who was his declared enemy, because he was a 
Trojan. 

QUESTIONS. 

Give the history of ^Eneas. 

In what manner did he exemphfy his filial duty? 

What was his subsequent fate? 

What happened to him while he resided in Italy? 

What poet writes the life of -Slineas? 

What was his end? 



CHAPTER IX. 

Achilles^ Ulysses, Penelope. 

Achilles was the son of Peleus, king of Thessaly, 
by Thetis, the goddess of the sea. His mother dip- 



204 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

ped him in the river Styx, and thereby rendered every 
part of his body invulnerable, except the heel by 
which she held him. It is said that his mother con- 
cealed him in- the night under a fire, after she had 
anointed him in the day-time with ambrosia. He was 
at first called Pyrisous, because he escaped safely 
from the fire; and afterwards, Achilles, because he 
had but one lip, with the other burnt off in the act of 
licking the ambrosia. Others again held that he was 
placed under the care of the Centaur Chiron, and 
nourished with the entrails of lions, and the marrow 
of bears, which nourishment rendered him vigorous 
and active. Those who greatly excelled in strength, 
were called Achilles; and an argument, when it is ir- 
refragible, is called Achilleum. 

Thetis had learned from an oracle, that Achilles 
was to be killed in the Trojan war. In order, there- 
fore, to protect him, he was secretly placed under the 
care of Lycomedes, king of Scyros, in the disguise of 
a female; but Ulysses, having assumed the habit of a 
merchant, took with him thither some goods, which he 
offered for sale. The young princesses turned their 
attention to the bracelets, the glasses, the necklaces, 
and the like; but Achilles handled the targets, fitted 
the helmets to his head, brandished the swords, and 
placed them to his side. By this expedient, Ulysses 
discovered his sex, and urged him to go to the war. 
By Thetis' persuasion, Vulcan made him impenetra- 
ble armour. He killed Hector, the son of Priam, at 
Troy, and was at last killed himself by Paris, with a 
stratagem of Polyxena. 

Polyxena was sister to Paris, and was a most beau- 
tiful and accomplished virgin. Achilles accidentally 
fell in love with her, and offered her his hand. Priam 
consented. They entered the temple of Apollo to 
have their nuptial rites celebrated. Paris, brother to 
Hector, lurked behind the statue of Apollo, and 
wounded him in the heel with an arrow, in conse- 
quence of which he died. When Troy was taken, 
the ghost of Achilles insisted on having the murder 



ULYSSES. 205 

expiated, which the Greeks, under the direction of 
his son Neoptolemus, accordingly executed by shed- 
dins; the blood of Polyxena. 

Ulysses, the son of Laertes and Anticlea, was king 
of Athaca. His wife was Penelope, a lady highly 
celebrated for her prudence and virtue. Not to 
part with her, he feigned insanity, in hopes of being 
exempted from military duty, and busied himself w^ith 
his plough. But this pretence was detected by Pala- 
medes, who laid his infant son Telemachus before the 
plough, to see whether he would wound him or not. 
As he turned the plough not to hurt him, Palamedes 
thereby proved his sanity, and compelled him to go to 
the war. 

Ulysses forced Achilles from his retreat, and re- 
ceived the arrows of Hercules from Philoctetes, with 
which he succeeded against Troy. He removed the 
ashes of Laomedon, which had .been preserved upon 
the gate Scsea in Troy. He carried aw^ay the Palla- 
dium of the city; slew Rhcesus, king of Thrace, and 
took away his horses before they had drank of the river 
Xanthus, on which depended the destiny of Troy. 
He disputed with Ajax the son of Telamon, one of 
the bravest Greeks, in the presence of judges, for the 
arms of Achilles. The judges were so captivated 
by the eloquence of Ulysses, that they gave judg- 
ment in his favour; iipon which Ajax was so frantic 
with rage, and chagrined at the disappointment, that 
he stabbed himself, and his blood was changed into 
the flower hyacinth. 

After the w^ar was over, Ulysses intended imme- 
diately to return home; but he was shipwrecked, and 
driven about the Mediterranean, from one island to 
another during ten years before he reached his king- 
dom. He struck out the eye of Polyphemus with a 
firebrand; and sailing to ^olia, he obtained from JEo- 
lus, all the winds, that had proved adverse to his voy- 
age, and wrapped them up in a leather bag. His 
companions, fancying that the bag contained his trea- 
sure, laid a scheme to rob him. Accordingly, just 
18 



206 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

as they came in sight of the desired port, they open- 
ed the bag. The winds rushed out, and drove them 
back to Aolia again, and occasioned additional delay 
in their returning home. Circe transformed his com- 
panions into swine; upon which Ulysses fortified him- 
self against her charms with an herb, called moly, 
which Mercury had given him. He then ran into her 
cave with his sword drawn, in order to demand the 
restoration of his companions to their original shapes. 
After this he reconciled himself to Circe, and had by 
her one son, Telegonus, or, according to Hesiod, two 
sons, Agrius and Latinus. He went down into the 
infernal regions to consult the prophet Tiresias con- 
cerning his future fortune. The Sirens attempted to 
stop him; but in order that he might not be allured by 
their charming voices, he closed his ears, and tied him- 
self to the mast. By this expedient, he escaped the 
fatal snares into which, by their melody, they drew 
men. He was civilly entertained by Calypso. After- 
w^ard, he suffered shipw^reck, and saved his life by swim- 
ming. He went naked and solitary to the port of Phsea- 
cia, and was found among the young trees by Nausica, 
the daughter of king Alcinous, who received him kind- 
ly. He sailed asleep to Ithaca, where Minerva awaked 
him, and advised him to dress himself in a beggar's 
ragged clothes. He discovered himself to his son 
Telemachus, and to his faithful shepherd Eumceus; 
and by their assistance, rushed upon the suitors of 
Penelope, and slew them all, after they had treated 
him in the most insolent manner. After this, he be- 
came reconciled to Penelope, and ruled in peace fifteen 
years, at the end of which he was slain by Telegonus. 
Penelope, the daughter of Icarus, is held up as a 
perfect pattern of virtue and chastity. Notwithstand- 
ing it was generally believed, during the long absence 
of Ulysses, that he was dead, notwithstanding she had 
not heard from him for twenty years, yet her fond- 
ness for him continued unabated, and her restless anx- 
iety for his safety and return, deeply impressed her coun- 
tenance with the marks of care and melancholy. Neither 



ORION, ATLAS, HESPERUS. 207 

the request of her parents, nor the smiles and frowns of 
her lovers, could induce her to marry another man, and 
violate the vows of fidelity which she gave to Ulysses 
when he departed. She was besieged by a numerous 
and powerful train of wooers; but she delivered her- 
self from them by artifice. To pacify them, she prom- 
ised to make choice of one of them, as soon as a piece 
of needlework about which she was busied, should be 
finished; but she took care to unweave, in the night, 
what she had woven in the daytime. Hence the pro- 
verb, "^0 weave Penelope'' s i:?e6," is applied to a vain 
and endless piece of labour. 

QUESTION. 

Who was Achilles? 

Give farther details concerning Achilles. 

Who was Polyxena? 

Who was Ulysses? 

What actions did he perform at Troy? 

What exploits did he accomplish as he returned to Ithaca? 

What is the story of Penelope? 



CHAPTER X. 

Orion, Atlas, Hesperus. 

Jupiter, Neptune, and Mercury, making the tour 
of the earth, lodged at the house of iEnopeus, or 
Hyrieus. In order to receive them with distinguish- 
ed hospitality, this man killed the only ox he had. 
The gods, admiring his goodness of heart and his gen- 
erosity, proposed to him to ask for any privilege he 
might choose. He demanded to have a son without 
a wife. His request was granted. The three gods 
caused Orion to spring from the skin of that very ox, 
which skin they had formed with earth diluted with wa- 
ter. Orion became a mighty hunter. He waited constant- 
ly upon Diana; but by doing some things repugnant 
to the rules of modesty, and by indulging in the ha- 
bit of boasting, he provoked Diana. She therefore 
sent a scorpion, which killed him. He was placed in 



208 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

the heavens as a constellation, which constellation is 
supposed to predict fair weather when it appears, and 
foul when it disappears; and from that circumstance, 
Orion is called, by the poets, tempestuous or stormy 
Orion. 

Atlas, the son of Japetus and Clymene, was king 
of Mauritania (now called Morocco in Africa.) When 
Perseus was treated inhospitably by him, he showed 
Atlas the head of Medusa, and changed him into the 
mountain which bears his name. 

By his wife Pleione, he had seven daughters, whose 
names were Alcyone, Merope, Maia, Electra, Tayge- 
te, Asterope, and Celeno; all of whom were called by 
one common name Pleiades, sometimes Virgiliae, and 
sometimes Atlantides. By his wife ^Ethras, he had 
seven more daughters, whose names were Ambrosia, 
Euloria, Pasithse, Coronis, Plexaris, Pytho, and Tyche, 
and who were, in like manner, called Hyades, or Su- 
culae. The Pleiades were placed in the heavens as 
constellations, because they immoderately bewailed 
the hard fate of their father Atlas. So were the Hy- 
ades, because they incessantly lamented the death of 
their brother Hyas. 

Hesperus was brother to Atlas. He settled in 
Italy, which country was called Hesperia from him. 
He was accustomed to sit on the top of Mount Atlas, atten- 
tively regarding the face of heaven. As the people 
saw him no more, they conceived that he was transla- 
ted into heaven: whence, upon their observing a 
bright star, setting after the sun, they called it Hes- 
perus, Hesper, Hesperugo, Vesper, Vesperugo, or the 
Evening Star. When appearing before sunrise, they 
called it Phosphorus, Lucifer, or the Morning Star. 

Hesperus had three daughters, Egle^ Prethusa, and 
Hesperethusa, who were called the Hesperides. 
These were appointed to guard the golden apples, 
which Juno is reported to have given to Jupiter on 
the day of their nuptials. The place of their resi- 
dence, as fixed by Hesiod, is generally considered to 
be at the pillars of Hercules, or the straits of Gibraltar. 



EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY. 209 

Hence, to express proverbially the idea of making a 
splendid and valuable gift, we call it, ^^ giving some of 
the apples of the Hesperides.^"* 

Obs. 1. — Atlas was a great observer of the stars, 
and the first who represented the world by a sphere; 
which gave rise to the fable in which he is said to 
have sustained the heavens on his shoulders. He in- 
structed Hercules in astronomy; and that hero acquir- 
ed the highest fame by introducing that science into 
Greece. In order to take some respite from his toils, 
Atlas is reported to have requested Hercules to load 
himself with the burden of the world. Mount Atlas 
is so lofty, that it seems to touch heaven: its top is lost 
in the clouds; and the poets, confounding that moun- 
tain with the prince whose name it bears, painted him 
as the pillar of the world. They also held, that Per- 
seus had metamorphosed him into a rock. 

Obs. 2. — The Hyades were merely poetic person- 
ages, representing stars discovered by Atlas. The 
Greek word hyade signifies rainy, 

Obs. 3. — The golden apples of Juno, some fancy to 
have been merely oranges, a fruit very rar'B in ancient 
times, and carefully guarded by dogs. 

QUESTIONS. 

What is said of Orion? 

Who v/as Atlas? 

Had Atlas any children? 

Give some account of Hesperus. 

Had Hesperus any daughters? 



CHAPTER XI. 

Egyptian Mythology. 

DioDORus SicuLus, in relating the tradition of the 
Egyptians respecting the formation of the universe, 
says: "In the beginning the heaven and the earth had 
but one form, being mingled together by their nature; 
but afterwards having been separated, the world began 
18* 



210 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

to take its present form. By the motion of the air, 
the particles of fire rose, and gave to the sun, moon, and 
stars, their circular motion. Solid matter fell down, 
and formed the earth and the sea, whence sprang 
animals and fishes; almost in the same manner that the 
multitude of insects and of other animals in Egypt are 
still seen to issue from the earth, tempered by the 
waters of the Nile." 

The Egyptian Mythology had two senses, one 
sacred and sublime, the other sensible and palpable. 
The priests placed the Sphinxes at the entrance on 
their temples, thereby to show that their theology 
contained secrets of wisdom under enigmatical words. 
For instance; the inscription on the statues of Isis, was 
in these mystic words: "I am all that has been, all 
that shall be, and no mortal has ever taken off my 
veil." Their theology had, therefore, two significa- 
tions, one holy and symbolical, the other vulgar and 
literal. The figures of animals represented in tem- 
ples, and which they seemed to worship, were noth- 
ing but hieroglyphics, intended to represent divine 
attributes. In studying their sacred language, the 
hieroglyphics of which were emblems, one sees that 
they generally believed an inanimate and confused 
nature could not be the origin of all things. They 
believed that there was a supreme intelligence that 
had created the world; and that there was also in man 
an intelligence superior to the body, and which was 
called the soul. But this great and sublime idea was 
admitted and preserved by the priests, who were more 
enlightened than the multitude: and, as they highly ap- 
preciated an opinion which elevated them so far above 
other men, they enveloped it with impenetrable mys- 
teries. Even the priests themselves were not admit- 
ted to a knowledge of those mysteries, until they had 
passed through the most terrible trials. These trials 
were called initiations. 

As the objects and forms of worship among the 
Egyptians, were confided to the priests alone, their 
rites were characterized by blindness, ignorance. 



OSIRIS, ISIS. 211 

bigotry, and superstition. In these absurdities and 
mummeries they surpassed all other nations. The 
Scriptures represent Egypt as the sink and centre of 
idolatry. In different parts of it, magic, divination, 
augury, and the interpretation of dreams, prevailed — 
the unfortunate fruits of a superstitious worship. 

The stories v^hich history affords in relation to the 
Egyptian mythology, are meagre. They paid adora- 
tion to animals, birds, insects, and vegetables, such as 
garlics, leeks, and onions. Juvenal intimates that 
their religious exercises were not held in estimation 
by the Romans; but history makes mention of their 
principal deities. They adopted eight great gods: 
the Sun, Saturn, Rhea, Jupiter, Vulcan, Vesta, and 
Mercury or Hermes. Chronos or Saturn, having 
married Rhea, became the father of Osiris and Isis, 
or, according to some, of Jupiter and Juno. Accord- 
ing to others, Jupiter was the father of five other 
deities: Osiris, Isis, Typhon, Apollo, and Aphrodite 
or Venus. The ancients varied in their opinions re- 
specting Osiris; and the Greeks have blended the at- 
tributes of others with his. They bestowed on him 
the divine honours with which Jupiter, Bacchus, 
Serapis, Pluto, Pan, Anubis, and so on, were loaded. 
So Isis was the Phrygian Cybele, the Eleusinian 
Ceres, the Athenian Pallas, the Cypriot Venus, the 
Cretan Diana, the Sicilian Proserpine, the Roman 
Bellona, and the like. Thus one nature was compre- 
hended in Osiris and Isis. 

The Egyptians called the Sun, Osiris, and the 
Moon, Isis. With them Osiris signified full of eyes, 
very clear sighted; Isis signified the antique, because 
they thought the moon eternal. 

Osiris is represented with a mitre and two horns 
on his head; in his right hand he held a whip, with 
three thongs, and a staff in the left. Sometimes he 
has the head of a hawk, whose quick and piercing 
eye denotes the sun. Other emblems were, a sceptre 
and an eye, expressive of power and providence; and 



212 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

in the course of ages, he assumed a herculean figure; 
but his ordinary figure was a living bull. 

Obs. — Osiris appears to have been the Moses of the 
Jews, and the Bacchus of the Greeks. In the char- 
acter of king, he is said to have civilized his subjects 
who, through his persuasion, observed good laws and 
morals; and after having effected a reform among his 
own subjects, to have travelled and spread civilization 
in other regions; to have entrusted his throne to the 
care of his wife Isis, and Hermes, her minister; and 
to have run over Asia and Europe, every where in- 
troducing the worship of the gods and a respect for 
the Supreme Being. 

Plutarch thus relates the story: his brother Ty- 
phon raised a rebellion in his absence, which he tried 
to quell by conciliatory means; but Typhon prevailed 
over him, and cut his body in pieces. Isis, with her 
son Horus, defeated the conspirators, and avenged her 
husband's death. Having recovered the mangled 
pieces, Isis made an equal number of statues in wax, 
each containing a piece of flesh, and gave one to every 
priest of all the different deities, requesting him to 
establish modes ofj worship to the prince. Every sa- 
cerdotal body was furnished with land to defray the 
expenses of their rites. The ox was chosen to repre- 
sent him. 

Isis, as the moon, was represented with a globe in 
one hand, and a vessel full of ears of corn in the other; 
sometimes, as a woman, with a cow's horns on her 
head, a cymbal in her right hand, and a pitcher in 
her left. The cow was her common emblem. One 
part of the Egyptian creed was, that the inundations 
of the Nile were occasioned by the tears which Isis 
shed' for the loss of Osiris. Her worship was gene- 
rally attended to in Egypt. Her priests, called Isiaic, 
were closely shaved, walked barefoot, wore linen gar- 
ments, and vowed perpetual chastity. They never 
ate the flesh of sheep or hogs, and abstained from salt 
and onions. They spent the night in devotion, near 
the statue of the goddess. 



OSIRIS, ISIS. 2 13 

The Egyptians supposed the soul of Osiris to trans- 
migrate into an ox; which animal, therefore, became 
an object of worship under the appellation of Apis. 
The ox into which it entered, was distinguished by 
the following marks: his body was black, with a 
square, white, shining figure on the forehead, the efi&- 
gy of an eagle on the back, a knot under the figure 
like a beetle, the hairs of his tail double, and his right 
side marked with a white shining spot, resembling 
the crescent of the moon. Were it not for these 
marks, no ox could be used as Apis. The festival of 
this god lasted seven days; the ox was led in proces- 
sion by the priests, and all were anxious to receive 
him, as the children, who smelt his breath, would ob- 
tain the gift of prophecy. He was ceremoniously con- 
ducted to the Nile; and if he had lived the time al- 
lowed, they drowned him, embalmed his body, and 
buried it with great pomp in the city of Memphis. 
His death, which was sometimes natural, produced 
universal bewailing, as if Osiris was just dead; and 
the priests shaved their heads in token of deep mourn- 
ing. This continued till another ox was discovered, 
with the proper characteristics, Avhich was hailed 
with deafening acclamations, as if Osiris was restored 
to life. The ox found to represent'Apis, was left forty 
days in Nilapolis, or the city of the Nile, previous to 
his entering Memphis, during which time none but 
women could appear before him. This ceremony 
they performed with wanton and indecent rites. 

There was also an ox worshipped at Heliopolis; 
but this is said to have been sacred to Iris. 

Apis had generally two temples or stables. If he 
ate from the hand, it was deemed a favorable omen; 
if he refused the oflPered food, it was unfavorable. 
From this latter sign, Germanicus, when in Egypt, 
drew the omen of his approaching death. 

When his oracle was consulted, incense was burnt 
on an altar, and a piece of money placed on it; after 
which the inquirers applied their ears to the mouth 
of the god, and then withdrew, closing their ears, till 



214 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

they had left the temple. The first sounds that were 
heard, pent forth the desired answer. 

While the people were celebrating this festival with 
extravagant marks of joy, Cambyses, on his visit to 
Egypt, ordered the priests and their god to appear 
before him. When he saw an ox held in great vene- 
ration by them, he wounded it in the thigh, chastised 
the priests, and commanded his soldiers to slaughter 
all that were seen to celebrate such riotous feasts. 

Obs. — The ox or cow, under the figure of which 
Osiris or Iris was worshiped, is supposed emblemati- 
cally to signify agriculture. 

Typhon, the author of evil and anarchy, was per- 
petually at war with Osiris. He was depicted with a 
terrible bulk, with several heads and wings, and with 
his thighs resembling the volumes of two enormous 
serpents. This tremendous monster was born of the 
evaporation of the earth. Osiris shut up in the pri- 
mitive egg from which the world was drawn, twelve 
white pyramidal figures, to show the infinite bless- 
ings with which he would load mankind; but Typhon, 
having opened the egg, put into it twelve black pyra- 
midal figures, the source of the evils spread over the 
earth. He enclosed Osiris in an ark, and drove Ho- 
rus into Chemnis, a floating island; to avoid his fury, 
all the other deities changed themselves into different 
animals, which were afterwards deemed sacred. At 
leingth, he was struck with thunder, and buried un- 
der Mount ^tna. 

HoRus, the son of Osiris and leis, was also an em- 
blem of the sun. He was a particular object of vene- 
ration among the people, and three cities in the The- 
bais, were named after him. He was represented as 
the star of day and the regulator of time. When his fa- 
ther was vanquished by a usurper, Horus, in conjunc- 
tion with Isis, revenged his death, and reigned glo- 
riously over all Egypt. The Titans having slain him, 
Isis, who possessed the rarest secrets of nature, re- 
stored him to life, and rendered him immortal. 

Obs. 1.— The fable of Typhon, which the Egyp- 



THPHON, HORUS. 215 

tians, and also the Greeks, embellished with attributes, 
was an allegory to represent a cruel tyrant who had 
long caused the misfortune of Egypt. The Egyptians- 
painted him in the form of a terrific monster, which 
was produced from the pestilential vapours of the Nile. 
This river, in overflowing the portion of Egypt which 
now forms the Delta, at first seemed to be an immense 
marsh, and its vapours long rendered it uninhabitable; 
but when time and culture had changed that vast tract 
into the most fertile plain in the world, the Egyptians 
consecrated the remembrance of its primitive state in 
the fable of their Typhon. 

Obs. 2. — We may consider the story of Horus as an 
allegory representing the Khamsin wind, occurring in 
Egypt in the spring, and raising Avhirlwinds of burn- 
ing sands, which suffocate travellers, and obscure the 
face of the sun. These circumstances are descrip- 
tive of the death of Osiris. In approaching Leo, the 
sun chases away the malignant vapours to preserve 
coolness and salubrity under a burning sky. This 
denotes the. victory of Horus and his illustrious reign. 
Serapis was not originally an Egyptian divinity; 
but was brought to Alexandria from Sinope, by Ptole- 
my Lagus. His image was then erected in a temple, 
called the Serapeum. It is reported to have exceeded 
in magnificence, all the other temples of that age, ex- 
cept the capitol at Rome. 

Serapis appeared in human shape, bearing on his 
head a basket of plenty, with his right hand leaning 
on the head of a serpent, whose body was coiled round 
a figure with the heads of a lion and a wolf, and hold- 
ing in the left hand, a cubit measure, wherewith to 
sound the depth of the Nile. 

His temple at Alexandria was destroyed long after- 
wards, by order of the emperor Theodosius; the sta- 
tue was broken to pieces, and its limbs borne in tri- 
umph through the city, and then cast into a fire, kin- 
dled in the amphitheatre. 

Before Serapis was introduced, the Egyptians wor- 
shipped their gods with prayers and frankincense only. 



216 CATECHISM or MYTHOLOGY. 

By the example of Ptolemy, Serapis became the tute- 
lar god of Egypt in general, and the patron of its 
principal cities. Animal sacrifices were offered to 
him. 

Harpocrates, a son of Iris, was the god of silence 
and meditation. He was painted in the figure of a 
naked boy crowned with a mitre. In his left hand he 
held a cornucopia. With a finger of his right hand 
he touched his lip, in order to enjoin silence. The 
Romans placed his statue at the entrance of their tem- 
ples, to denote that the mysteries of religion must not 
be revealed to the vulgar. 

The first-fruits of lentils and pulse were his offer- 
ings. The tree called Persea, whose leaves were 
like a tongue, and whose fruit like a heart, w^as sa- 
cred to him. 

AnubiSj the companion of Osiris and Isis, appears as 
a man with a dog's head, holding in one hand a cadu- 
ceus, and in the other, a branch of palm. He is com- 
monly called Barker; also Hermanubis. He had tem- 
ples and priests, and his image was found in all pro- 
cessions. 

Obs. — Considered emblematically, Anubis repre- 
sents the dog-star, giving warning of the approaching 
inundation of the Nile, as a dog rouses to vigilance 
by his barking. In a later stage of the Egyptian his- 
tory, when the shepherd kings had totally changed the 
customs, manners, and taste of the Egyptians, and in- 
troduced among them the grossest superstition, the 
second Hermes, surnamed Trismegistus, arose. He 
restored the ancient religion and the laws of the first 
Hermes, already noticed, and collected them into vo- 
lumes, which were called "the treasure of remedies 
for the soul." 

QUESTIONS. 

What names did the Egyptians give to the sun and moon? 
How is Osiris represented? 
What was the manner of his death? 
How was Iris represented and worshipped? 
Into what animal did the Egyptians suppose the soul of Osiris 
to transmiofrate? 



PERSIAN MYTHOLOGY. 317 

Was not there also an ox worshipped at Heliopolis? 
Had Apis any temples or stables? 
Describe his oracle? 

Will not you tell me an anecdote of Cambyses' visit to Egypt? 
What do you know of Typhon? 
What story is related of Horus? 
Was Serapis originally an Egyptian divinity? 
What was the image of Serapis? 

By whose order was his temple at Alexandria destroyed? 
Before Serapis was introduced, how did the Egyptians worship 
the gods? 

Who was Harpocrates? 

What were his offerings? 

What is said of Anubis? 

What is said of the second Hermes. 



CHAPTER XII. 
Persian Mythology. 

The Persian religion was purer and more rational 
than that of some other nations. It inculcated a belief 
in one Supreme God, respect for parents and the aged, 
kindness to the rational and even the brute creation, 
and the careful preservation of the sacred fire, kindled 
by concentrated sunbeams. Fire was an all-vivifying 
principle, and the liveliest image of the Omnipresent 
Deity. Their priests were called Magi; their rites 
at first were solemnized in a plain and simple manner. 
But these tenets of their primitive religion sunk into 
Sabism, or the adoration of the heavenly bodies. The 
complicated system of polytheism, that constituted the 
popular religion in other countries, was rejected. 
The Persians gave to the good principle the name of 
Oromasdes; and to the bad, the name of Ahriman. 
Their country was conquered by Musselmen, who, 
by violent means, established Islamism, or Mahomet- 
anism, which is now the prevailing religion, though 
numbers still preserve their ancient faith, and are de- 
nominated Parsees, or Guebres. 

Mahabad, a messenger from heaven, received from 
the Creator a sacred book, written in a celestial lan^ 
19 



218 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

guage. Fourteen Mahabads had either appeared, or 
were to appear, in a human form, to have the direction of 
mundane affairs. A parallel reformation had been ac- 
complished by Camugers, great-grand-son of Noah. 

The Zenda Avesta is a book still extant, professing 
to contain the Persian mythology, as explained by 
Zeratusht (reported to be the same with Zoroaster, 
who travelled into India in search of braminical 
knowledge.) It divides into six intervals the period 
of the work of creation. In the sixth, man alone was 
created, consisting of two distinct persons, the man 
and the man-bull. These were so connected as to 
form one being; the man was the pure and holy soul 
of the man-bull. 

The man-bull was placed in an elevated place, 
where he enjoyed perfect happiness for some time. 
At last, an evil being, called Ahriman, or Arimanius, 
having ventured to visit heaven, appeared on earth in 
the shape of a serpent, and introduced other evil 
spirits which he had seduced from their obedience. 
The man-bull died of his venom. But a being named 
Gosohoraun, who instantly sprang up from his left 
arm, drew near the creator, raising a cry louder than 
the shout of a thousand armies, in order to supplicate 
a deliverer from the power of Ahriman and the pre- 
valence of evil. 

Ahriman raised a universal opposition to the will 
of the supreme god, until a second man, to whom was 
entrusted the duty of producing a universal deluge, 
made his appearance. He is taken for a star or a sun. 
A conflict now ensued between the author of good 
and the author of evil, in which the latter was over- 
come. 

The name of the second man-bull was Tasehter. 
He had three bodies, of a man, a horse, and a bull; 
from each of which he poured down rain, in drops as 
large as the head of an ox. The earth was overflown 
with the water, and the evil Genii were destroyed. 
The supreme god drove the waters away from the 
earth at one blast. 



MITHRAS. 219 

The author of abundance was another bull, from 
whom a second race of men proceeded. The moon 
is celebrated as the common mother, from whom all 
animals sprang when the world was renewed. 

Ormuzd, Oromazes, or Oromasdes, was the au- 
thor of good. He generated the good spirits and the 
Genii, residing in the stars. They were enclosed in 
an egg, which Ahriraan broke. Thence followed 
confusion and evil; and an incessant struggle is to be 
carried on between the two authors, till the latter 
shall be destroyed. 

Oromasdes resides in the pure fire, which fills all 
space, and by which spirits and bodies are rendered 
visible. He is the first principle of all things; and 
pervades all, and manifests his most brilliant presence 
in the subtle ether. 

The Persians did not form images of him; for they 
deemed it impious to do so, but venerated fire as his 
sacred emblem and the sun as his image. His wor- 
ship was celebrated with bloodless and simple cere- 
monies. 

Mithras personified the sun. He was the first 
production of Oromasdes, and was the mediator be- 
tween him and Ahriman. He was seated next the 
throne of Oromasdes, surrounded by a host of Genii 
of different orders and ranks, who presided over the 
division of time, the succession of the seasons, and the 
various operations of the natural world. His symbols 
were the man-bull, the serpent, a globe, and wings 
united. Certain mysterious rites, called by his name, 
were observed in deep caverns, or artificial grottoes in 
the mountains. These caves were symbols of the ark of 
safety. They mingled traditions with respect to the 
deluge and the ark of safety with certain astronomi- 
cal opinions. This worship was introduced at Rome. 

Arimanius, or Ahriman, the author of evil, was 
king of the lynges, the highest rank of Genii. As- 
piring to equal Mithras, he persuaded all the spirits 
of his order to aid him in breaking down the celestial 
harmony, Oromasdes withdrew his rays; and the 



220 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

sphere of Ahriman in an instant became a chaos, 
wherein existed confusion, hatred, violence, and 
anarchy. The sun and planets proceeded from this 
chaos. The seven Genii, the ministers and compan- 
ions of Ahriman, with their subaltern spirits, were 
distributed into the different planets. Mithras un- 
ceasingly labours to reclaim, purify, and qualify them 
for their primitive felicity. 

-Robed in purest white 



The magi rang'd before the unfolded tent. 

Fire blaz'd beside them. Towards the sacred flame 

They turn'd and sent their tuneful praise to heav'n. 

From Zoroaster was the song derived, 

Who, on the hills of Persia, from his cave, 

By flowers environ'd, and melodious founts. 

Which sooth'd the solemn mansion, had revealed. 

How Oromazes, radiant source of good. 

Original, immortal, fram'd the globe 

In fruitfulness and beauty. 

How with stars. 
By him the heavens were spangled; how the sun 
Refulgent Mithras, purest spring of light, 
And genial warmth, and teeming nature's smiles. 
Burst from the east, at his creating voice; 
When straight beyond the golden verge of day. 
Night show'd the horrors of her distant reign, 
Where black, and hateful, Arimanius frown'd. 
The author foul of evil; how, with shades,. 
From his dire mansions, he deform'd the works 
Of Oromazes; turn'd to noxious heat. 
The solar beam, that foodfull earth might parch> 
That streams exhaling might forsake their beds. 
Whence, pestilence and famine. 

How the pow'r 
Of Oromazes in the human breast 
Benevolence and equity infus'd. 
Truth, temperance, and wisdom sprung from heaven; 
When Arimanius blacken'd all the soul 
With falsehood and injustice, with desires 
Insatiable; with violence and rage, 
Malignity and folly. If the hand 
Of Oromazes, on precarious life 
Shed wealth and pleasure, swift the infernal god, 



HINDOO MYTHOLOGY. 221 

With wild excess, or avarice, blasts the joy. 
But yet at last, shall Arimanius fall 
Before his might, and evil be no more. 

Gloyer's Leonidas, 

QUESTIONS. 

What is the Zenda Avesta? 
What is said of the man-bull? 
What became of Ahriman? 
What was the name of the second man-bull? 
Who became the author of abundance? 

Who is the supreme creator, so named in the Persian mytholo- 
gy? 

In what does Oromasdes reside? 
Did the Persians form images of him? 
Mention Mithras. 
What is said of Arimanius? 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Hindoo Mythology. 

The Hindoo mythology is of high antiquity, and is 
a strange mixture of sublime truths and wild fictions. 
It resembles the mythology of the ancient Egyptians, 
Persians, and Scythians. It divides the world into 
ten parts, each of which is committed to the care of 
guardian spirits, and is contained in their sacred books, 
called Vedas, which means to know. These books 
are written in Sanscrit, the sacred language, and con- 
sidered by the Hindoos as true revealed knowledge. 

The Hindoos acknowledge one supreme, uncreated 
deity, whose essence is above the comprehension of 
mortals. When he is considered as the creating 
power, he is called Brahma; as the preserving or con- 
summating power, Vishnu; as the decomposing power, 
Iswara; as the moving power, Narayda; as the destroy- 
ing or changing power, Seeva or Mahadeo. 

That manifold divinity, armed with almighty power, 
and pursuing the rebellious and malignant spirits, 
called Dewtahs, headed by Mahasoor their prince, 
19* 



222 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

throws at them the fiery bolts of vengeance, called 
Agnyastra. 

The Hindoos believe that water was the primitive 
element in which the universe was immersed, and 
that all was darkness, until it was brought to its pre- 
sent form and order by the self-existent, invisible God, 
who had dispelled the gloom by displaying the five 
elements and other glorious forms. He produced the 
water by an emanation of his glory, and endued it 
with a power of motion. This motion generated a 
golden egg, blazing like a thousand suns, from which 
sprang Brahma, the parent of rational beings. After 
having remained in the egg for a long time, he divided 
it into two equal parts, from which he made heaven 
and earth by breathing into it the breath of the subtle 
ether. 

Casayopa and his consort Aditi were the parents 
of the inferior deities. 

Ganesa or Pollear, the god of wisdom, was son to 
Seeva. He was depicted with an elephant's head, the 
symbol of sagacious discernment, and attended by a 
rat, which the Indians look upon as a wise and provi- 
dent animal. All religious ceremonies, sacrifices, se- 
rious writings, and worldly affairs of moment, are be- 
gun by pious Hindoos with an invocation to Ganesa. 
His image is set up in their streets and roads, and 
against their temples and houses. They daily sprin- 
kle it with oil, and adorn it with flowers. 

Menu was a lawgiver: Fourteen personages of this 
name, are said to have existed successively. The his- 
tory of the third is very analogous to that of Noah. 

Lachamee, the goddess of abundance, was the 
wife of Vishnu. She patronized agricultural labours. 
She is represented with a twisted cord under her arm 
like Ceres' cornucopia. 

Indra, the king of heaven, reigns over good spirits. 
His consort is called Sachi; his celestial city, Amara- 
vati; his palace, Vaijayanta; his garden, Nandana; his 
chief elephant, Airavat; his charioteer, Matali; and 
his weapon, Vajara, or the thunder-bolt. He was the 



SESHANAYA, 223 

master of the thunder, winds, showers, and the like. 
His residence is Meru or the North Pole, allegorical- 
ly represented as a mountain of gold and gems. 

Seshanaya, the king of serpents, reigns over the 
infernal regions, called Patala. He is represented with 
a gorgeous and brilliant appearance, with a thousand 
heads, on each of which is a crown set with resplen- 
dent gems, with a glittering jewel to each ear, with a 
black neck, tongue and body, with yellow skirts to his 
robe, and with his extended arms, adorned with rich 
bracelets. His eyes gleam like torches. He holds 
the holy shell, the radiated weapon, the war-mace, and 
the lotos. 

Yamen or Yama, a son of the sun, is the god of 
death, king of justice, and judge of departed souls. 
He is painted in the double figure of the Greek Fu- 
ries. He is inexorably severe to incorrigibly guilty 
souls, but he is gracious and relenting to the truly 
penitent. When a soul is separated from its body, it 
is conveyed to the city of Yama, called Yamapur, 
where it receives a just sentence from him. Thence it 
is to go up to the first heaven, called Swerga, or to 
go down to the region of the serpents, called Narse, 
or to assume on earth the shape of some animal, un- 
less it commits such crimes as deserve a vegetable or 
mineral prison. 

''Two forms inseparable in unity. 
Hath Yamen, even as with hope or fear. 
The soul regardeth him, doth he appear. 
They who, polluted with offences, come. 

Behold him as the king 
Of terrors, black of aspect, red of eye, 
Reflecting back upon the sinful mind. 

Its own inborn deformity. 
But to the righteous spirit, how benign 

His awful countenance! 
Where tempering justice with parental love. 

Goodness, and heavenly grace, 
And sweetest mercy shine Yet is he still 
Himself the same, one form, one face, one will, 
And these his twofold aspect are but one, 

And changed is none 
In him; for change in Yamen could not be; 

The immutable is he." 



2*24 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Parvati, the consort of Seeva, has immoral and 
indecent rites and emblems consecrated to her. 

Carticeya, the son of Parvati, is the leader of the 
celestial armies. He is described as riding upon a 
peacock, with a robe bespangled with eyes, having 
six heads, and numerous hands which grasp sabres 
and other weapons of war. 

Seraswatti, the wife of Brahma, patronizes the arts 
and sciences. She is represented as holding in her 
hands the palmira leaf, and the reed for writing. She 
is called Durga, because she is considered the severe, 
the awful, the majestic divinity of heroic virtue, and 
the vanquisher of demons and giants. 

Cama, the beautiful god of love, is depicted with 
a bow of cane, and shafts inwreathed with flowers. 

Suradevi is the goddess of wine. When, after the 
deluge, the ocean was disturbed by the gods with the 
mountain Mandar, she arose from it, and threw up all 
that it had swallowed. 

Varuna is the genius of the waters. 

Agni is the genius of fire. 

Agnastra is the forger of the celestial arrows. 

Pavan is the king of the winds. 

Mariatale is the favouring goddess of the Parias, 
a low and miserably despised class of the Hindoos, 

The Hindoos adore the sun under the name of 
SuRYA. Surya is represented as riding in a chariot, 
drawn by seven green horses, guided by his charioteer 
Arun, or the dawn. Among the temples erected in 
honour of the sun, was one, the walls of which "were 
of red marble, interspersed with streaks of gold. On 
the pavement was an image of the radiant Divinity, 
hardly inferior in splendour to the sun himself, his 
rays being imitated by a boundless profusion ^f rubies, 
and diamonds of inestimable value." But another 
temple of the sun at Juggernaut, is the most celebrat- 
ed. It is described as a magnificent, vast, and circular 
edifice, from the middle of which, in an oriental as- 
pect, the immense image of a bull, a symbol of Seeva, 
is protuded, being enclosed with a high wall, hav- 



TEMPLE OF THE StJN. 225 

ing three enlrances. Two figures of elephants are 
placed upon the eastern gate, each with a man on his 
trunk; and two figures of horsemen upon the western, 
in complete armour, and w^ho, having slain two ele- 
phants, sit upon them. In front of this gate stands an 
octagonal pillar of stone, fifty cubits high; with nine 
flights of steps, leading to an extensive inclosure, in 
which is a large dome, built with stone, and having 
round it a border on which appear various human fi- 
gures, representing different passions, some kneeling, 
and others prostrate, together with a variety of strange, 
imaginary creatures. The horrible idol is paraded 
in a lofty car, which exhibits indecent figures; and 
deluded pilgrims prostrate themselves before it, and 
are crushed beneath the wheels. This temple is the 
abode of the chief Indian Bramin. 

When the Bramins first assume the Zennar, or sa- 
cred cord of three threads, the mystic emblem of their 
faith, they learn the Gayterre, or invocation of praise 
to the sun. They have absolute dominion over the 
Indians. They abstain from fermented liquors and 
animal food, because they have great faith in me- 
tempsychosis. The Sanscrit language in which their 
sacred books are written, is known only to the priests 
and the learned. 

The Hindoos consider the moon as a male deity on 
which they confer the appellation of Chandra, and 
which is represented as being seated in a splendid 
chariot, drawn by two jantelopes, and holding in his 
right hand a rabbit. Fountains are sacred to this de- 
ity. 

The Hindoos fancy that Vishnu assumes different 
forms at different times, and is called by various names. 
The different characters of Vishnu are called the mani- 
festations of Vishnu. When a god appears in human 
shape, he is said to be incarnate. 

The Eama of the Hindoos, an incarnate deity, dis- 
tinguished himself greatly by delivering his wife Sita 
from the giant Ravan, king of Lanca. 



266 MYTHOLOGY OF 

much importance to the history of the North, by putting into it too 
much interest, too much poesy, so to speak, so that I can scarcely 
consent to yield to the various proofs which have been adduced in 
its favour. It is, doubtless, more rational to see in Odin only the 
founder of a new worship, previously unknown to the Scandina- 
vians. It is also probable that he, his father, or the author of this 
rehgion, whoever he was, came from Scythia, or the confines of 
Persia; and still more so, that the name of the god whose prophet 
and priest he became, was, in succeeding ages, transferred to him, 
and the attributes of the deity confounded with the history of the 
priest. The accounts of Odin preserved by the Icelanders, confirm 
these conjectures. 

One of the artifices which he employed with the greatest suc- 
cess, in order to secure to himself the confidence and respect of 
the people, was to consult, in difficult affairs, the head of a certain 
Mimer, who, during his life, had a great reputation for wisdom. 
This man having had his head cut off, Odin embalmed it, and knew 
how to persuade the Scandinavians that he had given him speech 
by his enchantments. He always carried it with him, and made it 
pronounce the oracles of which he stood in need. This artifice re- 
minds us of the pigeon which carried to iMahomet the orders of 
Heaven, and shows the superstition of those who obeyed them. 
Another point of resemblance between these two impostors, is the 
eloquence with which both were endowed. The chronicles of Ice- 
land represent Odin as one of the most persuasive of men. Noth- 
ing, say they, could resist the power of his discourses. Sometimes 
he mingled his harangues with the verses which he composed. Not 
only was he a great poet, but he was the first who inspired the 
Scandinavians with the charms of poetry. He was the inventor 
of Runic characters; but what most contributed to make him pass 
for a god, was the belief that he excelled in magic. It was behev- 
ed that he could run over the universe in the twinkling of an eye; 
that he ruled the air and disposed of tempests; that he could raise 
the dead to life, predict future events, and transform himself at 
will; that, by the force of his enchantments, he took away the 
strength of his enemies, gave back health again to his friends, and 
discovered all treasures hidden under ground. These chronicles, 
more poetical than faithful, say, that he sung such melodious and 
tender airs, as to attract, by the sweetness of his songs, the spirits 
of the dead, who left their black abysses to come and range them- 
selves around him. 

His eloquence, together with his august and venerable air, 
caused him to be respected and revered in assemblies, whilst his 
bravery and skill in arms, rendered him formidable in battle. The 
terror with which he inspired his enemies, was so great, that, in 
order to depict it, he was said to strike them deaf and blind. Like 
a desperate wolf, or an enraged lion, he rushed amidst the ene- 
my's ranks, striking his buckler with fury, and spreading around 
him a horrible carnage, without ever receiving any wound. We 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 267 

must not forget, however, in reading- these descriptions of hig 
brilhant exploits, that the historians who have transmitted them 
to us, were poets. Odin, carrying with him arts before unknown 
in the north, an extraordinary magnificence, a masterly address, 
and rare talents, could easily pass for a god in a country where 
nobody equalled him, and in which the people gave the name of 
prodigies to all at whose exploits they were greatly astonished. 



CHAPTER II. 

General Idea of the Ancient Religion of J^orthern 'Europe. 

The Greek and Latin authors had but little intercourse with 
the northern people, whom they styled barbarians. They were 
ignorant even of their language, especially as the Celts made a 
scruple of unraveling to foreigners the thread of their doctrines. 
Hence, the former, compelled to remain spectators of their wor- 
ship, could hardly seize the spirit of it. Yet, by gathering the 
traits preserved by those different writers, and by, comparing them 
with the chronicles of the North, we hope to succeed in distin- 
guishing the most important points. 

The religion of the Scythians appears to have been simple in 
early times. It inculcated but few tenets, and was, in all proba- 
bility, the only religion of the European aboriginals. It is gene- 
rally remarked, that, under southerly climes, men are born with 
vivid, prohfic, and restless imaginations, and are greedy for the 
marvellous; and that their ardent passions seldom allow them to 
keep up a just equilibrium. Hence, as soon as they leave the 
track of primitive traditions, they are apt to wander with a fright- 
ful rapidity. And hence arose the ravings of the priests among 
the Egyptians, Syrians, and, after them, the Greeks; and hence 
was produced that chaos, known by the name of mythology. In 
the north, on the contrary, religious opinions were less incon- 
stant and fluctuating. There, the rigour of the climate chains 
the mind, checks the imagination, and curbs the passions; and man, 
obtaining nothing but by vigorous exertion, turns first upon ob- 
jects of necessity, that activity which, under the torrid zone, is 
apt to run into the channels of inquietude and levity. 

Notwithstanding this, the Scythians corrupted their worship by a 
mixture of ceremonies, some ridiculous, and others cruel. It be- 
comes proper, therefore, to distinguish two ages in the rehgion of 
this people, and not confound the fictions of the poets with the 
creeds of their sages. This religion of the sages taught, that 
there was a Supreme God, who uas Ruler of the Universe, to 
whom all were subject. And, according to Tacitus, such, also, 
was the god of the ancient Germans, 

The ancient mythology of Iceland called God the author of all 



228 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

mythologies. Idolatry is supposed to have sprung up 
first in Phoenicia. The worship of the heavenly 
bodies was the most ancient and general form of it. 

The Chaldeans and Phoenicians adored the sun under 
the name of Belus or Baal, (which means lord.) 
The characters of that idol were varied by different 
nations at different times. Thus, Baal Semen, signi- 
fies the Lord of heaven; Baal Berith, the lord of the 
covenant; Baal Phegor, the lord of the dead; Baal 
Zebub, the god of flies; and so forth. Belus had a 
temple, consisting of eight ascending towers, one of 
which had an apartment containing a magnificent bed 
and a golden table. He also had a gigantic statue of 
solid gold, and a throne of the same metal. 

The Arabians called the sun Adoneus, and daily 
ofifered to him incense and perfume. The Ammonites 
worshipped the sun under the name of Moloch, and 
immolated to him human victims, chiefly children. 

The Moabites gave the name of Beel Phegor to 
the sun, and honored him with detestable and cruel 
rites. The Philistines worshipped Dagon, a god 
compounded of a man and a fish. The Syrians wor- 
shipped Baal, Thammuz, Magog, Astarte, and 
so forth. 

Next Moloch, horrid king besmeared with blood 

Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears; 

Though for the noise of drums and timbrels loud, 

Their children's cries unheard, that passed through fire 

To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite 

Worshipp'd in Rabba, and her wat'ry plain. 

Next Chemos, the obscene dread of Moab's sons; 

Peor, his other name. With these, in troop. 

Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians call 

Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns; 

To whose bright image, mighty by the moon, 

Sidonian virgins said their vows and songs. 

•' ■'■' ■ Thammuz came next behind, 

Whose annual wound, in Lebanon, allur'd 
The Syrian damsels to lament his fate. 

Next, came one 

Who mourned in earnest, when the captive ark, 
Maim'd his brute image; head and hands lopp'd off. 
Dagon his name; sea-monster; upwards man, 



Cannes. 229 

And downward fish; yet had his temples high, 
Rear'd in Azotus, dreaded through the coast 
Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon. 
Him followed Rimmon, whose delightful seat 
Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks 
O;' Abbana and Pharpar, lucid streams. 

The captive ark 

Maim'd his brute image. 

Paradise Lost. 

The Chaldeans excelled in astronomical observations, 
represented good and bad principles by kind and hurt- 
ful planets, and counted generations and reigns by 
saves. They also divided time by neres and soses. 
The sare marked three thousand and six years; the 
nere, six hundred; and the sose, sixty. Each one of 
their early kings lived several sares. Some learned 
men believe that the Chaldeans gave the name of years 
to their days. 

In the Chaldean mythology are related stories res- 
pecting Oannes, Omorca, and Chronos. Cannes was 
a monster, represented with an upper head like a man's, 
and a lower one like a fish's, with the feet of a man 
and the tail of a fish, and the voice and speech of a 
man. He issued out of the Erythrean sea, and ap- 
peared near Babylon. He remained in the daytime 
with men, without eating. He communicated to them 
a knowledge of letters and the sciences, taught them the 
arts, such as the manner of building cities and temples, 
*and of establishing laws, gave them the principles of 
geometry, and taught them to sow and gather fruits, 
and, in short, all that could contribute to polish them, 
and elevate their morals. At sunset he retired to the 
sea, and spent the night in the waters. He is said 
to have left behind him some writings, in which he 
taught that there had been a time in which every thing 
was darkness and ivater; and that this darkness and 
water contained monstrous animals, men with two 
wings, and others with four. Men were seen to have 
two heads, a man'^s head and a woman* s; in short, all 
animals and beings were of an irregular form, repre- 

20 



230 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

sentations of which were displayed in the temple of 
Bel. 

A woman by the name of Omorca, was the mis- 
tress of the universe. Bel divided her into two parts: 
one of these parts formed heaven, and the other, 
earth; after which, monsters of irregular forms disap- 
peared. Bel next divided darkness, separated the 
heaven from the earth, and arranged the universe. 
Having destroyed animals, which could not sustain 
the brightness of the light, and seeing the world a de- 
sert, he ordered one of the gods to cut his head, in order 
to mix with the blood, earth, and form men andanimals^ 
after which he formed the stars and planets, and thus 
finished the production of all things. 

Chronos or Saturn having appeared in a dream 
to Xixutrus, (the first king of the Chaldeans,) warn- 
ed him that, on the fifteenth of the month Doessius, 
mankind would be destroyed by a deluge; and order- 
ed him to commit to writing the origin, history, and 
end of all things; to hide his memoirs under ground 
in the city of the sun, named Sippara; next, to con- - 
struct a vessel, and put into it necessary provisions, 
himself, his relatives, and friends, birds and quadru- 
peds. Xixutrus immediately executed these orders, 
and made a ship which was two stadia wide and five 
long. It was no sooner finished, than the earth was 
overflown. Some time after, seeing the waters abated,, 
he sent out some birds, w^hich, finding neither food 
nor place to rest upon, returned to the ship. Some 
days after, he sent out others, which returned with a 
little mud in their mouths. The third time he sent 
them out, they returned no more, by which he knew 
'that the earth began to be uncovered. Then he open- 
ed the vessel, and, finding that it had rested on a 
mountain, he came out of it, with his wife, daughter, 
and pilot. Those who remained in the vessel, not 
seeing their companions return, came out of it, and 
sought after them in vain. A voice was heard, an- 
nouncing to them that Xixutrus had gone up to hea- 
ven, and sat in the rank of gods with those who ac- 



5PHtENICIAN MYTHOLOGY. 231 

companied him. The same voice exhorted them to be 
religious, and after they should discover the memoirs 
which had been deposited at Sippara, to proceed to 
Babylon, 

In the Phoenician mythology, we are told, by San- 
choniatho, that the first principle of the universe was 
a dark and spiritual air, and an eternal chaos. This 
spirit produced Mot or Mob, that is, the mud or wa- 
tery mixture which became the principle of all things 
and of the generation of the universe. There were 
at first none but irrational animals, rational beings 
being not yet engendered. Immediately after Mob, the 
sun, moon, and stars, began to appearand shine. A vio- 
lent degree of heat, communicated to the earth, produced 
winds and clouds, which distributed rain. This rain, 
attracted by the sun, produced storms; and the thun- 
derclap awoke intelligent beings, which began to move 
«n the earth and in the sea- 

The father of mankind was called Protogone, and 
the first woman. Aeon. It was she who found that 
the fruits of trees were good, and could serve as 
nourishment to man. Their children, called Genae 
and Genus, dwelt in Phcenicia. A great drought 
prevailing, they stretched their hands towards the sun, 
which they regarded as the only god and master of 
heaven. Genus engendered other men, whose names 
were Light, Fire, and Flame. It was they who dis- 
covered fire by rubbing one piece of wood against 
another. Their children, who were of huge dimen- 
sions, gave their names to the mountains. Hence 
the names of mount Cassius-Libanus, Anti-Libanus, 
and so on. 

QUESTIONS. 

Tell something about Belus or Baal. 
What is said of Adoneus? 
What is said of Beelpheg-or, Dagon, etc.^ 
What is said of the Chaldeans? 

What stories do the Chaldeans tell about Cannes, Omorea, 
Chronos? 

What did the Phoenicians say of the creation of man? 



232 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

CHAPTER XV. 

Mexican Mythology. 

To supply the want of writing, the Mexicans re- 
presented their religion and history by hieroglyphical 
paintings. The Mexican religion was, in many res- 
pects, purer than the Roman, but the worship of the 
Mexican deities v/as attended with greater cruelty and 
guilt, as it consisted of human sacrifices. The Mex- 
icans worshipped the sun, under the name of the 
Prince of Glory, and called heaven his palace. 
They believed in the immortality of the soul, in met- 
tempsychosis, that honourable men, after death, be- 
came horses and noble quadrupeds, and that mean 
persons were changed into bats, beetles, and disgust- 
ing reptiles. They supposed that the blessed lived 
in the palace of the sun, and that their time was em- 
ployed in music, dancing, praising the gods, and en- 
joying each other's society. They imagined that they 
sometimes appeared under the figures of beautiful and 
sweet-son^ed birds, and sometimes, as etherial spir- 
its, riding on rays of light and clouds, and that they 
occasionally revisited the earth to warble forth their 
celestial music, and inhale the perfume of flowers. 

The Mexicans held, that in the original creation, all 
was darkness. While men, existing in the dark, 
were standing around a fire, one person on a sudden 
declared that whoever should precipitate himself into 
the flames, would produce light. No sooner had two 
men thrown themselves headlong into the fire, than 
they appeared in the heavens as the sun and moon. 

The Mexicans prayed, kneeling or prostrate. They 
offered incense four times every day to their idols, 
and were all furnished with censers in their domestic 
devotions. Their rites were characterized by pen- 
ances, fasts, vows, and oaths. They were jealous to 
keep inviolable an oath. If one took an oath, he would 
say, "Does not Mexitli (or some other god) behold 
me now?" 



MEXICAN MYTHOLOGY. - 233 

Cortes the Spanish conqueror of Mexico, says that 
that empire contained forty thousand temples. They 
had houses in which strangers were allowed to wor- 
ship, and reservoirs of water in which the priests 
performed their ablutions, and a sacred fountain of 
which they drank, and buildings in which were pre- 
served the heads of human victims, the number of 
which in one collection, amounted to 136,000. Altars 
were erected upon the tops of hills, and in the woods, 
in honour of the mountain-gods and other rural deities. 
The city of Mexico was begun with the building of 
the temple of Mexitli, which was a miserable hovel. 
But when they became so populous and rich as to re- 
build this sanctuary, it was done with great labour and 
cost. It filled a space sufficient for 500 houses, and 
was surrounded by a wall of stone and lime. It had 
four gates, fronting east, west, north, and south; and 
was adorned by pavement-stones of an exquisite pol- 
ish, by altars, and by figures of vast stone serpents. 

The priests of Mexico Avere numerous and rich. 
They were provided with land for their maintenance. 
Their duties were various. Some were employed as 
diviners; some, as sacrificers; some, as composers and 
singers of hymns. Others put the temples in order. To 
others were committed the care of educating the 
younger priests, the ordering of festivals, and the 
charge of mythological paintings. 

Children of the highest order were devoted in their 
infancy to attend to temple concerns. Those of the 
lowest were employed as ''hewers of wood and draw- 
ers of water." On the birth of a girl intended for the 
temple, her parents consecrated her to some god, and 
in two months she was carried to the temple, where 
a small broom and a censer were placed in her hands, 
to express that it would in future be her duty to sweep 
the sacred floors and offer incense in the temples. At 
a suitable age, she was permitted to marry. 

The Mexicans had 14 principal gods. They called 
their supreme god Tkotl. They described him as a 

20* 



234 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

spiritual, immortal, almighty, holy, invisible, to-be- 
loved, and to-be-praised being. 

Tez-cat-li-po-ca (the Shining Mirror) was the 
god of justice. He vras represented with black mar- 
ble, richly dressed, with golden rings to his ears, with 
plates of gold on his breast, and holding in his left 
hand a golden fan, more highly polished than a mir- 
ror, and set round with gay feathers. From this fan 
the Mexicans fancied he saw all things on earth re- 
flected. Sacred stones in the streets of Mexico, were 
laid for this god to repose upon. These were set upon 
by no mortal. 

Quet-zal-cot (the Feathered Serpent) was the 
god of the air. He resembled the Roman Saturn in 
improving rude men. He instructed the Mexicans in 
the arts of working metals, polishing gems, dying 
cotton, and growing corn. He was the reputed au- 
thor of their laws; which were characterized by pro- 
found wisdom, admirable impartiality, and uncommon 
moderation. His wise and bene^^ent government 
rendered the Mexicans rich and happy. At this pin- 
nacle of prosperity, Tez-cat-li-po-ca thought of expel- 
ling Quet-zal-cot who was a mortal, and offered him 
immortality, provided he would take a certain drink 
which Tez-cat-li-po-ca presented to him, and then 
move to another kingdon, called Tla-pal-la. No soon- 
er had Quet-zal-cot taken the drink, than he disap- 
peared from Mexico; but he never arrived at Tlapal- 
la. On his way, he stopped at the city of Cholola. 
The inhabitants of that city were so charmed with his 
eloquence, that they persuaded him to remain with 
them. Having lectured to them on the evils of war, 
the blessings of peace, and the importance of reli- 
gious observances, he again, in an unaccountable 
manner, disappeared. 

Tlaloc (master of paradise) was the god of water. 
The Mexicans conferred on him the appellation of 
Fertilizer of the Earth. His residence was on the 
summits of those high mountains in which rivers take 
their rise. People repaired thither to offer their de- 



MEXICAN MYTHOLOGY. 235 

votions to him. He was waited upon by inferior wa- 
ter-nymphs like the Grecian Naiades. His partner 
was a goddess of water. 

Centeot, the Ceres of Mexico, presided over fer- 
tile fields and harvests. Her worship was celebrated 
by great numbers of priests. Hares and doves were 
ofiered to her. 

The Mexicans acknowledged a god and goddess of 
hell, and described them as dwelling in a region in- 
volved in eternal night, and celebrated their rites at 
night. 

Jo-AL-Ti-ciT was the goddess of cradles. 

Different tribes of Mexicans worshipped their gods 
of war, the chief of whom was Mex-it-li, the most 
highly honoured among their divinities. A great 
mulitude of human victims was sacrificed to him. He 
was honoured with three great sacrifices a year. 

The Mexicans also celebrated the worship of a god- 
dess of hunting, a god of fishing, a goddess of salt, a 
goddess of drugs, and a god of wine. 

Ix-LiL-TOT, the ^sculapius of Mexico, presided 
over 'physic. Parents carried their sick children to his 
temple, to have them cured of their diseases, and taught 
them how to worship the god. When they recovered, 
they danced before the image of the god. After this, 
they drank for a medicine some water which had been 
blessed by the priest. 

Coat-li-ctje, the Flora of Mexico, presided over 
flowers. Baskets, and bunches of flowers, and beau- 
tiful wreaths, were scattered in her temples. 

The Mexicans acknowledged a god of mirth, a god 
of gold, a god of merchants, a mother of all the gods, 
and the Tep-it-o-tine, the same as the Penates. The 
images of the Penates were placed in every house. 
The kings and great lords kept six of those images, 
the nobles four, and the lower people two. The num- 
ber of these gods, besides those which we have brief- 
ly mentioned, was immense. The Spaniards found 
little clay images of them in the woods, houses, tem- 
ples, and streets of Mexico. 



236 CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY. 

Obs. — A hasty survey of these different mytholo- 
gies, enforces the conclusion, that most of the gods 
were men, whose exploits had rendered them illustri- 
ous, and that others were fabulous beings. Most fic- 
tions owed their birth to ignorance or flattery; but in 
order to consecrate them, it was necessary to suppose 
a heavenly origin to them, and to clothe them with 
lovely colours; and the poets were addicted to such 
flights of the imagination, when they knew that 
the propensities and passions of men served to strength- 
en their opinions Truth was covered with a veil: Lie 
came to lend her some of his clothes; and the better to 
secure his usurpation, he preserved some of the forms 
which were admired in her. He took the perfidious 
course of embellishing them. It was by devoting them- 
selves unreflectingly and unreservedly to this method, 
that the poets altered in their works the accounts of 
ancient events, the remembrances of which tradition 
and religious canticles had preserved. The gods and 
fables of the poets must not be confounded with tra- 
ditions, preserved by some wise men. But the poets ra- 
pidly pass from the literal sense to allegory, and- from 
allegory to the literal sense; which occasions the mix- 
ture of their images, the obscurity of their fictions, 
and often the indecency of their fictions. 

Many philosophers, by way of fiction, veiled their 
various kinds of knowledge under the garb of allegory, 
for the sole purpose of conveying lessons of wisdom. But 
the people in general took these allegories for literal 
truths, until events or circumstances occurred to 
threaten their faith, or to disturb the public religion. It is, 
however, by taking the word of God for our guide, that 
we are happily delivered from the dark shades of in- 
tellectual night; and, consequently, we see in the Sun 
of Revelation, before which its moral enemies. Doubt, 
Pride, and the like, flee a way opened up to the bliss- 
ful regions. 

QUESTIONS. 

What do you observe of the Mexican deities? 

Who was Tez-cat-li-pn-ca? and how was he represented? 

Give the history of Quet-zal-cot. 



MEXICAN MYTHOLOGY 237 

Who was Tlaloc? 

Who was Centeot? 

Did the Mexicans worship a god and goddess of hell? 

Who was Jo-al-ti-cit? 

How many gods of war did the Mexicans worship? 

What deities did they load with divine honours? 

Who was Ix-lil-tot? 

Who was Coat-li-cue? 

What other divinities did the Mexicans acknowledge? 



APPENDIX. 



CHAPTER I. 

Of the Antiquity of Temples. 

The antiquity of temples is incontestible; but we do not know 
the precise manner in which the first were built. Idolatry began 
in Phoenicia and Egypt soon after the deluge. It is in those 
countries that we must inquire into the origin of all that relates 
to worship and the use of temples. 

The system of idolatry with all its ceremonies, was not estab- 
lished at once, but by little and little. The false gods were at 
first honored in a gross manner. Altars of stone or of turf, 
raised in the midst of fields, were the sole preparations made for 
the offering up of sacrifices. Enclosed places, chapels, and tem- 
ples, were not erected until long after. It appears that the Egyp- 
tians themselves had none before the time of Moses. This is in- 
dicated by his silence concerning them. 

It is very reasonable to believe that the tabernacle which that 
legislator of the Hebrews made in the wilderness, and which may 
be looked upon as a portable temple, was the first known, and 
served for a model to all others. This temple, carried by the 
Israelites in the sight of those nations through whose territories 
they travelled, might have given them the idea of constructing 
some for themselves. The temple of Dagon among the Philis- 
tines, of which Scripture speaks, was probably an imitation of the 
tabernacle and of the place which was wrapped up in it. What 
serves to show this, is, that this temple had hidden places, which 
were called Adyta, and which answered to the Sancta Sanctorum. 

Many facts serve to prove, that the custom of building temples 
passed from the Egyptians to other nations. Lucian says, that 
Assyria, Phosnicia, Syria, and other countries around, received 
that custom from the Egyptians. From Egypt and Phoenicia, it 
passed into Greece, and thence to Rome. This last opinion is 
founded on the statement of Herodotus, and on the monuments 
of antiquity. Deucalion raised the first temples in Greece, and 
Janus, the first in Italy. 

The temples of the ancients were divided into various compart- 
ments, which it may be useful to notice in order to understand 
their descriotions of them. 



jl40 TEMPLES. 

The first was the vestibule, in which was found the pool, con» 
taining the lustral water, which the priests employed to purify 
those who wished to enter the temple. The second was the nave. 
The third was the holy place, into which none but the hierophant 
was ever admitted; and the fourth was the under-temple. This 
last was not in all temples; but all had porticoes and steps. The 
interior of the temples was always highly adorned. In them 
were placed the statues of the gods, which were generally made 
of gold, ivory, ebony, or of some other valuable material. There 
were also placed the statues of great men, gildings, and paint- 
ings, especially votive pictures, such as the prows of ships, saved 
when some had escaped shipwreck, the arms taken from enemies, 
trophies, bucklers, tripods, and the like. On festival days, these 
temples were also adorned with olive-branches and ivy. 

At Rome, before constructing a temple, the soothsayers chose 
some plat whereon to build it. This piece of ground was purified, 
and surrounded with ribbons and crowns. The vestals, accom- 
panied by young women and young men, washed this space with 
the pure water; the pontiff sanctified it by a solemn sacrifice, af- 
terwards he touched the stone which was to serve as the first 
foundation; and then it was bound around with a ribbon. After 
these ceremonies, the people took this stone, and cast it into the 
ditch with such pieces of metal as had not passed through the 
crucible. When the edifice was finished, it was consecrated with 
many ceremonies. 

Nothing could equal the respect which the ancients had for 
their temples. Arian says, that it was forbidden there to spit, or 
to defile them in any way. Sometimes they entered them on 
their knees. They served as an asylum for debtors and criminals; 
in public calamities, the women prostrated themselves in the holy 
place, and swept it with their hair. Sometimes, however, when 
prayers appeared insufiicient to stop the plague, the furious peo- 
ple lost a]] respect for these sacred places, and profaned them. 

We shall not attempt to give a description of all the Egyptian 
temples. The most celebrated, next to that of Belus, of which 
we shall very soon speak, were, that of Jupiter at Thebes or 
Diospolis, that of Andera, that of Proteus at Memphis, and that of 
Minerva at Sais. 

The works of the Egyptians had the true characteristics of 
grandeur. They loved colossal figures, and employed immense 
stones in their construction, although they had to bring them 
from the quarries of Elephantine, a city remote from Sais, twenty 
days' journey. 

We may cite, for example, the famous chapel which Amasis 
had constructed in Upper Egypt, and which he transported to Sais 
with incalculable labour and pains, in order to place it in the tem- 
ple of Minerva. 

"What I admire most," says Herodotus, "among the works con- 
structed by order of Amasis, is the temple of mere stone, which 



TEMPLES. 241 

two thousand pilots and sailors transported from Elephantine to 
Sals in three years. This temple, or, rather, chapel, was in front 
twenty-one cubits, by fourteen in width and eight in heighth." 

The dimensions of this chapel, which still exists, are, accord- 
ing to Mr. Savary, in his letters on Egypt, vastly larger than He- 
rodotus describes them to be. The ideas we now have of the 
arts and mechanical powders, are confounded before such works; 
and we should place accounts of them in the number of fables, if 
the remains of such colossal structures, which have braved the rust 
of so many centuries, did not attest their existence. 

But this chapel was not placed in the temple of Minerva. He- 
rodotus asserts, that the wise Amasis regretted to have command- 
ed so painful a labour, and left it at the gate of the temple, on ac- 
count of an artificer's having perished before his eyes — a fine les- 
son of humanity. 



CHAPTER n. 

Temple of Belus in Babylon. 

This temple, among the most ancient dedicated to paganism, 
was also the most singular in its structure. Berosus, according 
to Josephus, attributes the construction of it to Belus; but, if this 
Belus is the same as Nimrod, (as it is said.) he built, not a temple, 
but rather a tower, to protect himself and his people from a se- 
cond deluge. We know in what manner God put a stop to this fool- 
ish design. This famous tower, called the Tower of Babel, form- 
ed in it^ basis a square, the sides of which were each a stadium in 
length. The stadium was one hundred and twenty toises,* which 
gave half one thousand in circumference. 

The whole work was composed of eight towers, built the one 
upon the other, which went on decreasing as they ascended. 
Some authors, deceived by the Latin version of Herodotus, pre- 
tend that each of these stories was a stadium in height, which 
would have carried the elevation of the whole to one thousand 
toises, or six thousand French feet; but the Greek text makes no 
mention of this prodigious height; and Strabo, who also gives a 
description of this temple, makes it one stadium in height, and one 
stadium on each side. 

In the time of Herodotus, the only historian among the ancients 
who saw that edifice, the stadium was composed of sixty-nine 
toises. This elevation is better accommodated to the measure 
which we may conceive. According to this proportion, this tow- 

* "Toise, n. tois (fr.) A fathom or long measure in France, con- 
taining six feet; but the French foot is longer than the English, 16 
being equal to 81 English feet." — Webster'^ s Diet, 

21 



242 TEMPLES. 

er arose one hundred and twenty feet above the highest of the 
pyramids. It was built of brick, as Scripture informs us; and the 
statements of the ancients confirm it. People mounted to the top 
of the building by winding stairs without. These eight towers 
formed so many stories. In them were very large rooms, sustain- 
ed by pillars. Around these rooms, were constructed smaller ones, 
which served as resting places to those who mounted the tower. 
The most lofty room was also the most highly adorned, and the 
one for which the people had the greatest veneration. "In it," 
says Herodotus, "there were seen a superb bed, a table of massive 
gold, and no statues." 

Even in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, that temple contained 
nothing but the tower and the rooms above mentioned; but that 
monarch, according to Berosus, gave it much more extent by the 
edifices which he built around it, and a wall which included the 
whole. People entered it through brazen doors, in the construc- 
tion of which Nebuchadnezzar had employed the sea of brass, and 
the other utensils of the same metal, which had been taken from 
the temple at Jerusalem. This tower of Belus existed in the 
time of Xerxes. This Persian monarch, after his unfortunate ex- 
pedition against Greece, plundered its immense riches, and demo- 
lished it. 

Among the statues of gold, there was one forty feet in height. 
It was probably that which Nebuchadnezzar had consecrated in 
the plains of Dura. Diodorus Siculus gives forty feet to this sta- 
tue; the Scriptures, ninety; but the latter may be understood as 
including the statue and the pedestal taken together. 

There were in the temple of Belus. several idols of massive 
gold, and. a great number of sacred vessels of the same metal, 
the weight of which, according to Diodorus Siculus, amounted to 
more than five thousand talents. The temple of which he spoke, 
was that which Nebuchadnezzar had enlarged, and to which he 
had added the golden statue forty feet in height. From this we 
may form some idea of the immense riches of this huge structure. 
According to Herodotus, in a lower chapel of this temple, there 
was a large golden statue of Jupiter; but he does not give its 
weight nor measure. He says, merely, that the Babylonians es- 
timated it at eight hundred talents. Herodotus adds, that near 
this chapel, without, there was a golden altar, upon which were 
immolated animals which had just been born. Near that place 
was a great altar, on which perfumes were burnt every year, and 
the weight of which amounted to more than one hundred thousand 
talents. He mentions, also, a second statue, eighteen feet high, 
made of gold. This temple, so astonishing in its construction and 
in its riches, was consecrated to the memory of Belus. Egypt 
possessed temples equally ancient; but they were erected in ho- 
nour of the gods. Herodotus mentions among others, that of 
Vulcan, constructed by Menes, the first king who reigned in 



TEMPLES. 243 

Egypt after the time in which the Egyptians pretended that the 
gods alone reigned over them. 



CHAPTER III. 

Temple of Diana at Ephesus. 

This temple, one of the seven wonders of the world, was seve- 
ral centuries in attaining its last degree of perfection. Pliny re- 
lates, that all Asia had concurred, and contributed to the building 
of it for two hundred and twenty years, and that two other cen- 
turies must be spent in adorning and embelhshing it. 

In one of his odes, Pindar says that this temple was built by 
the Amazons, when they made war on the Athenians and on The- 
seus; but Pausanias proves, that this poet was mistaken, and re- 
lates, that a long time before, the same Amazons, defeated at first 
by Hercules, came to take refuge in the temple of Diana, at Ephe- 
sus, after they had fled from the banks of the Thermodon. Pliny 
gives the following description of it. In the hope of securing this 
temple from earthquakes, it was built in a marshy place: but in 
order to give solidity to the foundation of so considerable an edi- 
fice, and to harden the ground tempered by the waters, they made 
use of pounded coal, over which they spread the skins of sheep, 
bound with their woolen fleece. 

This temple was four hundred and twenty-five feet in length by 
two hundred in width. One hundred and twenty-seven columns, 
which sustained the edifice, were presented by as many kings, and 
were each sixty feet in height. Thirty-six of these columns 
were carved: one, among others, was by the celebrated Scopas. 

Ctesiphon was the first architect of this prodigious temple. 
The grandeur of the architraves which he employed, was chiefly 
observed; and, however improved mechanism may now be, it 
could not probably succeed in raising so high such heavy masses. 
Ctesiphon and his son could not finish this magnificent work. 
Other architects succeeded them, and followed out their designs; 
but, as previously observed, it did not attain to its completion un- 
til after a lapse of two hundred and twenty years. All the kings 
and people of Asia eagerly enriched this temple. It was burnt by 
Erostratus. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Temple of Jupiter Olympxus. 

This temple and the statue of Jupiter, the latter a master piece 
of the immortal Phidias, were among the spoils which the people of 



:244 TEMPLES. 

Elis won frpm the inhabitants of Pisa and their allies, when they 
took and sacked the city of Pisa. 

This temple had for its architect, Libon, originally of the coun- 
try. It was of Doric order, with the exterior surrounded with 
columns. In the construction of this edifice, there were employed 
stones of singularly fine quality and beauty; which the country it 
self furnished. The height of the temple from the ground floor up 
to its covering, was sixty eight feet; its length, two hundred and 
thirty; and its breadth, ninety-ftve. The tiles of the covering were 
of very fine marble, drawn from Mount Pantelica. 

Antinuity had nothing more magnificent or perfect than the 
throne and the statue of Jupiter Olympius. Both, formed with gold 
and ivory, were the most accomplished works of the illustrious 
Phidias, the most celebrated of all sculptors, either ancient or mo- 
dern. They were elevated from the pavement to the arch. They 
could not be viewed without astonishment and admiration. It 
would be impossible to describe all the riches and beauties which 
this temple contained. 

The pavement of the temple was of the most beautiful marble; 
and in the interior, an infinite number of statues were seen. 
Kings, people, and artists, were equally ambitious to send thither 
monuments of their masfnificence and talents. 



CHAPTER V. 

Temple of Apollo at Delphi. 

This temple did not equal in its structure that of Jupiter Olym- 
pius; but it was still richer by immense presents sent to it from 
every part. None of its ornaments, however, could be compared 
with the throne and statue of Jupiter Olympius. 

A cave from which issued some exhalations that caused a kind 
of drunkenness to those who approached it, gave birth to the oracle 
of Delphi. The founders began with covering that cave with laurel- 
branches; a chapel succeeded, and soon after they built a temple of 
brass, in imitation, no doubt, of the brazen room in which Acrisius 
had shut up his daughter Dangs, This temple was destroyed by 
an earthquake, it being swallowed up in a crevice. It was replac- 
ed by another edifice, whose architects were Agamedes and Tro- 
phonius. The flames consumed this new temple in the first year 
of the fifty-eighth Olympiad. At length the last was erected, 
which still existed in the days of Pausanius, and was infinitely su- 
perior to those that preceded it. It was constructed under the di- 
rection of the Amphictyons, with the treasures and gifts which the 
people had appropriated for this purpose. 

In order to form an idea of the riches which it united, it 
must be observed, that,in consulting the oracle, the people expect- 



TEMPLES. 245 

etJ to acquire a knowledge of futurity; but they cou^d obtain no 
reply, until they had made a considerable present. These presents 
were appropriated to the ornamenting of the temple. 

We me.y imagine the number of these offerings by calling to our 
mind the aatural inquietude of man, and the restlessness with which 
he endeavours to pry into the secrets of his future destiny. 

All was great in the motives and conceptions which led to the 
construction of the temple of Jupiter Olympius. It would seem that 
that edifice was intended to give some idea of divine majesty. All 
that the arts could unite in sublimity, was employed; and the mas- 
ter genius of Phidias, combining justness of taste, with elegance 
of design and execution, was brought into requisition to adorn it 
with his master- pieces. Thus, the labours of a great man are often 
sufiicient to give light to the age in which he lives, and to perpe- 
tuate its remembrance. 

In the temple of Delphi, all the passions, curiosity, and inquie- 
tude, were allowed to present their offerings. Hence, these offer- 
ings must have been multiplied almost without end, for nothing 
was refused; but almost all were anxious to gratify that ambition 
which is inseparable from personal interest and petty passions. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Pantheon of Rome. 

Rome and the rest of Italy had no fewer temples than Greece. 
Many of them were remarkable for their magnificence or singula- 
rity. That of Jupiter, on the Capitoline hill, was among the num- 
ber of the most beautiful; but the most superb and the most sub- 
stantial was the Pantheon, vulgarly called the Rotunda. It still 
exists in its entire state, under the name of the Church of All 
Saints, to whom it has been consecrated, as, in the time of Pagan- 
ism, is was consecrated to all the gods. 

It is generally supposed to have been built by the direction, nnd 
at the expense of Agrippa, son-in-law to Augustus. Some authors, 
however, consider it more ancient, and say, that he only repaired 
it, and added to it the portico, which now makes its finest orna- 
ment. 

An opening in the middle of the vault, very ingeniously imagin- 
ed, is sufficient to give light to the interior of the structure. The 
form of the Pantheon is round. It would appear that the architect 
designed to give it the form of the terrestrial globe; and in like 
manner, and for the same reason, many antique temples had this 
form . 

The portico, more surprisingly grand and beautiful than the tem- 
ple itself, is composed of sixteen columns of marble. Each of these 
is of rugged marble. Their height is thirty-seven feet; and their 

21* 



^46 TEMPLES. 

diameter, five feet. Eight columns adorn the front of the portico, 
and the hollow place is sustained by eight others. The Corinthi- 
an order was adopted. 

In the days of Pope Eugene, there was found near this edifice, 
a part of a head of bronze, representing Agrippa. At the same 
time were found a horse's foot and a piece of a wheel, of the same 
metal. This discovery makes it probable, that this portico former- 
ly sustained the statue of Agrippa, placed on a chariot with four 
horses. 

The body of tiie edifice, which remains still entire, is laid on 
foundations so solid, that nothing can shake them. A manuscript 
of a celebrated Roman architect, attests that the foundations are 
stretched greatly beyond the edifice, and seem to form a single mass 
of stone. 

The statues and riches which once adorned it, are no longer to 
be seen. The Emperor Constantine III. carried away the plates 
of gilt bronze which covered the whole vault, and Pope Urban 
VIII. made use of the beams of the same metal which were there 
employed, in order to convert them into the canopy of St. Peter's 
at Rome, and the gross pieces of artillery which are in the palace 
of St. Angelo. The statues of the gods, which filled the niches, 
have been plundered or concealed under ground. 

When the celebrated Michael Angelo had thoroughly studied 
the whole of the Pantheon, he was filled with indignation to think 
that this monument was looked upon as the greatest effort of ar- 
chitecture. He said to those who admired it: *'I shall raise upon 
four pillars a temple, which may well astonish you." It was at that 
time he conceived the plan of the famous cupola of St. Peter's at 
Rome. It is asserted that this extraordinary man — this great paint- 
er, architect, and sculptor, made a will, in which he declared that 
he had given nothing to the pillars which support that cupola, but 
that strength which was necessary to support it; at the same time 
announcing, that, should their strength ever be diminished, the 
work would be likely to fall into ruins. 

Knight Bernin, who long after aspired to show himself the equal 
of Michael Angelo, looked upon this will as very singular; and the 
artist as abusing the credit which some of his works had procured 
him. He therefore drove into these pillars narrow and useless stair 
cases. It is to this rash attempt that the large chinks which are 
now in the great vault, are to be attributed. It has been found ne- 
cessary to bind them with immense bars of iron; and fears are en- 
tertained that the predictions of genius will be verified. Nothing 
more clearly proves the danger of yielding confidence to the pre- 
sumptuous pretensions of rivalry. St. Paul's Church in London, is 
one of the most beautiful monuments in the world, next to St. Pe- 
ter's at Rome. 

Such are the most celebrated temples; the memory of which is 
recorded among men. The temple, or rather the tower of Belus, 
was, beyond dispute, the most ancient and extraordinary of all 



OJlACLES. 247 

monuments. It existed before the temple of the Egyptian Vulcan. 
Herodotus, in giving a description of the latter, says, that it was 
the work of an immense number of kings; and was so magnificent 
and extensive that it was considered a great glory, when.in a long 
reign, a prince had constructed only a single portico. 



CHAPTER Vn. 

Of Oracles. 

Van Dale has produced a very learned treatise, in which he 
strives to prove, that oracles have no other origin than in the de- 
ception of priests. M. De Fontenelle, with his accustomed dis- 
cernment, charm, and grace, has disengaged this treatise of all 
tedious, or too highly scientific details, and has adapted it to the 
capacity of the ordinary reader. 

The system of Van Dale, and the origin which he gives to ora- 
cles, counteract in every thing the traditions of the church. Fa- 
ther Baltus, a Jesuit, has given us a second treatise, no less learn- 
ed than that of Van Dale, in which he attempts to prove, without 
denying the imposture of priests, (an imposture often connected 
with oracles,) the interposition of a demon in the predictions 
which all efforts of incredulity could not attribute to mere cheat. 

Without searching into the depth and profundity of these two 
opinions, or attempting to decide which is preferable, it may be 
admitted that many reflections Occur in the latter, calculated to 
throw discredit upon the system of Van Dale. 

Could oracles have so long preserved their credit and eclat, if 
they had been the result of mere deception? This is a grave ques- 
tion, however sceptical some may be on this point. Imposture 
always behes itself. A falsehood cannot be eternally sustained. 
If one succeed in deceiving for a long time, some weak and cre- 
dulous persons, he does not commonly, for several ages, deceive a 
whole people. Were not, then, the power of a king, the curiosi- 
ty of a rich man, the indiscretion and infidelity of a priest, the 
jealousy which must spring up among the oracles consulted, and 
especially those which seemed to be despised, the harshness of 
some replies, the horrible sacrifices which the oracles often com- 
manded, sufficient means to stamp with apparent truth the responses 
of these wonderful institutions? What is, then, that concert, un- 
known till these came into vogue, which injures personal interests, 
and unites so many cheats, to make men religiously observe a 
secret? 

These questions are deemed suflficient to convince the reader, 
that a wise man may believe in the truth of some oracles, with- 
out being forced to contradict or discard the ordinary Hghts of his 
reason. VVe shall confine our remarks to what were considered the 



^48 OftACLES. 

earliest oracles. At first, Themis, Jupiter^ and Apollo only, deli- 
vered oracles; but, in process of time, almost all the gods, and a 
great number of heroes, obtained this privilege. 

All days v/ere not equally propitious for consulting the oracles. 
At Delphi, the Pythia did not reply in the name of Apollo, only 
during one month in the year. In time, this practice was changed; 
and the god then spoke only on one particular day of every month. 
The oracles were not all delivered in the same manner. Some- 
times the priestess spoke in the name of the god; at others, the god 
himself gave his replies. In some places, they were received du- 
ring sleep; and this sleep was prepared by mysterious operations; 
in others, lots were cast, as at Prenesta in Italy. Often times 
fasts, sacrifices, and expiations, were necessary to render them- 
selves worthy of the oracles. When Alexander went to Libya to 
consult Jupiter Ammon, the priest, on seeing him, called him the 
son of Jupiter, which was the sole object of his journey. 

The impossibility of giving the history of all the oracles, ren- 
ders it expedient to confine ourselves to the most ancient and cele- 
brated. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Oracle of Dodona. 

According to Herodotus, the oracle of Dodona, the most an- 
cient in Greece, and that of Jupiter Ammon, in Libya, had the 
same origin; and both owed their establishment to the Egyptians. 

This historical incident is related as follows: Two doves wing- 
ed their flight from the Egyptian city of Thebes. The one went 
to Libya, and the other flew as far as the forest of Dodona, situated 
in Ctiaonia, a province of Epirus; where she informed the inhabi- 
tants, that the great Jupiter wished to establish an oracle in their 
country. This prodigy at first astonished the people; but soon a 
great number of credulous consulters appeared. These two doves, 
says Servius, had been given by Jupiter to his daughter Thebe. 
They had the gift of speech. 

Herodotus has sought after the event that could have given rise 
to this fiction. Two priestesses of Thebes, says this author, were 
stolen away by some Phoenician merchants; the one was conduct- 
ed to Greece. Chance, or some forgotten cause, induced her to fix 
her residence in the forest of Dodona, where she gathered the 
acorn which served as nourishment to the Greeks. She construct- 
ed at the foot of an oak, a small chapel in honour of Jupiter, 
whose priestess she had been at Thebes. Herodotus adds, that 
the name of the dove Pleiai, was given to this woman. Nobody 
at first understood her language; but when one succeeded in com- 
prehending what she said, he gave out that the dove, or Pleiai, 



ORACLES. 249 

had spoken. Such is said to have been the origin of the famous 
oracle of Dodona. 

Servius confirms the narrative of Herodotus, and relates that 
there was in the forest of Dodona, a fountain .which flowed with 
a mild murmur at the foot of an oak. A woman interpreted this 
noise; and, upon this murmur, announced futurity to those who 
consulted her. In time, more artifice was used in the manner of 
delivering this oracle. Some cauldrons of brass were suspended 
near a statue of the same metal, which held a whip in its hand, 
and which was equally suspended. When the wind shook this 
figure, it struck the nearest cauldron, and put it in motion; and 
thereby all the others were shaken, and sent forth a sound which 
lasted for some time. It was on this noise that future events were 
given out. 

To increase the credit of the oracle, hollow oaks served to hide 
interpreters; and it was given out, that the oaks in the Dodona 
forest also delivered their oracles. The beam of the ship Argo, 
which the Argonauts consulted, was taken from that forest. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Oracle of Jupiter Ammon. 

The second priestess, carried away by the Phoenicians, was 
taken to Libya. This stranger at first surprised the people. 
Whoever interrogated her, did not understand her language; and 
in order still more to excite their wonder, she practised some cere- 
monies of her ancient mystery. Hence, they attributed to her 
something divine; and she doubtless well knew how to derive ad- 
vantage from this homage paid to her. Soon her answers passed 
for oracles, and her celebrity became so great, that people came 
from every quarter to consult her, notwithstanding the dangers 
and fatigues of so painful a journey. The burning sands of Libya 
were not an obstacle sufficiently great to lessen the inquietude and 
active curiosity of men in reference to futurity. 

Priests succeeded this woman, and assumed the office of deli- 
vering oracles. They represented Jupiter Ammon with the head 
and horns of a ram. Eighty priests of this god carried his statue 
on their shoulders, in a gilt ship. They pursued no particular 
route, and made it believed that the god drove them on. A nu- 
merous troop of young girls and of matrons accompanied them, 
and sung hymns in honour of Jupiter. The ship was adorned 
with a great number of ancient cups of silver, which hung on both 
sides of it. The priests announced the decisions of their Ammon 
on any motion or sign of the statue. — These accounts have 
been transmitted to us by Quintus Curtius and Diodorus Siculus. 

Sometimes the priests of Ammon appeared to be incorruptible. 



250 ORACLES. 

Ly Sander, wishing to change the order of succession to the Spartan 
throne, attempted all the means of corruption in his power to ob- 
tain the answers he desired; but the priests of Jupiter sent to 
Sparta a solemn embassy to deliver a public accusation against 
him. 

These same priests, however, caressed Alexander the Great, 
and flattered his vanity, by saluting him as the son of Jupiter; but 
Alexander had already been covered with glory, and all obeyed his 
nod. 



CHAPTER X. 

Oracle of Delphi. 

The oracle of Delphi was not the most ancient in Greece, but the 
most celebrated, and it continued the longest. The time at which 
it was established, is not known, which goes to prove its great anti- 
quity. Apollo was not at first consulted there. iEschylus, in his 
tragedy of the Eumenides, says that Terra at first delivered ora- 
cles; next Themis; and after her, Phoebe, daughter of Terra and mo- 
ther to Latona. This last transmitted her rights to her grandson 
Apollo; and from that time the oracle of Delphi spoke no more but 
in the name of this god. 

In the primitive times of this oracle, any one could be inspired. 
The vapour of the cave acted on all who breathed it; but several of 
those frantic devotees, having, in the excess of their phrenzy, 
thrown themselves headlong into the abyss, it became necessary to 
adopt means to remedy so frequent an occurrence. 

Raised on an opening of the ground, was a machine called a tri- 
pod^ because it had three bars laid on the rock. A woman was 
seated on this kind of chair, and is said to have received the exha- 
lations without injury. 

This priestess received the name of Pythia, on account of the 
serpent Python, killed by Apollo. Young virgins, chosen with the 
greatest precautions, exercised this ministry. The Pythian was 
usually taken from a poor family. She must have lived without 
luxury, and without the love of finery. Extreme simplicity and 
ignorance were titles of preference to attain to this dignity. Suf- 
fice it to say that the Pythia could repeat what the god dictated to 
her. The custom of choosing young virgins, lasted long; but the 
following event abolished it. The young Echecrates, a Thessali- 
an by birth, smitten with the extreme beauty of the Pythia, stole 
her away. In order to prevent another such outrage, the people of 
Delphi ordered, by an express law, that in future none should be 
elected to that office but women upwards of fifty years of age. 
There was at first one Pythia, but afterwards there were three. 
The oracles were not delivered daily. Apollo did not common- 



ORACLES. 251 

ly inspire the Pythia, except in the month'^Mwon, which corres- 
ponds to the beginning of Spring. During the rest of the year, it 
was forbidden, under penalty of death, to the priestess to go and 
consult Apollo. 

Before his expedition into Asia, Alexander came to Delphi dur- 
ing the time of silence. He begged the Pythia to mount the tripod; 
but she refused, and alleged that the law deterred her from it. This 
prince, indignant at being stopped by such an obstacle, snatched 
the priestess out of her cell, and conducted her to the sanctuary, 
when she said to him, *'My son, thou art invincible." At these 
words, Alexander exclaimed, that he wished no other oracle; and 
he then marched to the conquest of the world. 

Before people consulted the oracle, they made numerous sacri- 
fices, always with the air of great mystery, and with infinite pre- 
cautions in choosing victims, in inspecting their entrails, and in de- 
riving auguries from them. The priestess prepared herself by a fast 
of three days. Before she mounted the tripod, she washed herself 
in the fountain of Castalia; afterwards laurel leaves, gathered near 
the fountain, were given to her to be chewed. 

After these preparations, Apollo gave intelligence of his arrival 
in the temple by a dreadful crash, which caused the edifice to trem- 
ble even to its foundations. Then the priests, also called the pro- 
phets, took the Pythia, conducted her to the sanctuary, and placed 
her upon the tripod. As soon as the divine vapour began to agi- 
tate her, her hair stood on end, her looks became fierce, her mouth 
foamed, and a violent trembling seized on her whole body. In this 
situation, she made efforts to escape from the prophets, who retain- 
ed her by force. Her cries and bowlings made the temple resoundj 
and filled the bystanders with a holy fright. In fine, unable to re- 
sist the god who agitated her, she gave herself up to him, and ut- 
tered by intervals some incoherent speeches, which the prophets 
carefully collected. These were arranged, and given out in the 
form of verse, a connexion which they had not in the mouth of the 
priestess. 

As soon as the oracle was pronounced, they drew the Pythia 
from the tripod, to conduct her to her abode, where it required se- 
veral days for her to recover from her fatigues. Often a sudden 
death was the penalty of her enthusiasm. 

Thus, it appears, that the Pythia was but the instrument of which 
the priests made use to discover the will of Apollo. The priests 
or prophets were charged with all other cares. It was they who 
placed the priestess in such a manner as to receive the vapour 
which exhaled from the abyss, over which stood the tripod. They 
collected her speeches, and gave them to poets, another sort of mi- 
nisters, who put them in verse. These verses were often harsh, 
ill done, and always obscure, which gave rise to the raillery, that 
Apollo,chief of the Muses, made very bad verses. But sometimes 
the Pythia made her answers in verse. In time, however, she was 



252 ORACLES. 

satisfied to speak in prose; and Plutarch observes that it was one 
of the causes of the decline of the oracle. The priestess was called 
PhemorKE. 



CHAPTER XL 

Oracle of Trophonius. 

Though Trophonius was but a hero, and even, according to some 
authors, a brigand, he had a very famous oracle in Bceotia. Pau- 
sanias, who practised all the ceremonies necessary to consult this 
oracle, gives us no information in relation to the life of Trophonius, 
except that the earth being half opened under his feet, he was 
swallowed up in the gap or crevice, which is now called the ditch 
of Agamedes, and seen in a sacred v/ood in Lebadea, with a column 
raised above it. 

Lebadea, says Pausanias, is one of the most beautiful cities in 
Greece. There is a sacred wood near .that city, in which is situat- 
ed the temple of Trophonius, with his statue, the work of 
Praxiteles. 

When one comes to consult this oracle, before descending into 
the den where he receives the answer, he must pass some days in 
a chapel, dedicated to Genius and Fortune. This time is employed 
in purifying himself. He is not permitted to wash except in the 
cold waters of the river Hercine. A sacrifice is then made to Tro- 
phonius, to his family, to Jupiter Rex, to Saturn, and to Ceres Eu- 
ropa, nurse to Trophonius. After these preparations, one shows 
the statue of Trophonius to the consulter, surrounds it with sacred 
fillets, and conducts him to the oracle, which he approaches by as- 
cending a mountain; at the top of which is an inclosure formed of 
white stones, and upon which are raised brazen obelisks. In this 
inclosure appears a cave, cut out by the hand of man, in the form 
of an oven. Through it there is a narrow aperture, into which 
he descends by degrees with small ladders. A second cavern then 
presents itself, which he enters by lying down on the ground, and 
holding in each hand honey: (which is deemed necessary to be 
borne:) he then passes his feet into the cave, and is immediately 
carried away with great force and swiftness. 

It was there that futurity was declared; but not to all in the 
same manner. Some heard; others saw. One came out of the cave 
as he had entered it, lying down upon the earth. Soon after he 
was asked what he had seen, but before he had time to recover 
from the agitation excited, he was taken to the chapel of the good 
genius, where they permitted him to resume his senses. Next, he 
wrote upon a table what he had seen or heard, and the priests 
proceeded to interpret it. 



ORACLES. 253 

Pausanias adds, that a man once entered this den alone, without 
getting out of it again. He was a spy of Demetrius, sent to know 
whether the place contained any treasure. His body was found far 
from the cave. The priests, probably informed of his design, mas- 
sacred him, and caused his body to be thrust through the outlet 
of which they made use themselves to enter without being per- 
ceived. 

Pausanias farther says; "I have descended into the den, and 
have consulted the oracle in order to assure myself of the truth." 

We do not know in what time the oracle of Trophonias was es- 
tablished. Pausanias merely relates that a great drought having 
laid waste Bceotia, the people sent to consult the oracle. The Py- 
thia replied, that it was necessary to have recourse to Trophonius, 
and directed them to seek for him at Lebadea. The deputies obey- 
ed. Saon, the oldest of them, perceived a swarm of bees flying to- 
wards a den. He followed them, and thus discovered the oracle. 
Trophonius, says Pausanias, prescribed himself the worship which 
he desired. It appears, therefore, that Saon was the institutor of 
this oracle, who, profiting by the drought, and the reply of the Py- 
thia, succeeded in obtaining for it general confidence. 



CHAPTER XH. 

Of other Oracles, 

Having briefly noticed some of the most celebrated oracles, we 
will now proceed to notice a few others of minor importance, al- 
though it would be impossible to name them all. In Bceotia, a very 
small province, they counted at least twenty-five. It is true, that 
it was covered with woods and mountains, places well suited 
(observes Mr. De Fontenelle) to the mysterious ceremonies of 
oracles. Almost all the gods, and the greatest number of demi- 
gods and heroes, had their oracles. None of them, however, had 
so large a number as Apollo. All were not of the same antiqaity. 
Every day new ones appeared, whilst the more ancient lost their 
credit. Oftentimes they were plundered. That of Delphi, among 
others, was several times stripped: at first by a brigand descended 
from the Phlegyas; and afterwards by the Phocians, by Pyrrhus, by 
Nero, and at last by the christians. When the christian religion 
had triumphed over idolatry, the oracles fell; and there were found 
in the dens and caves, many marks of the imposture of the minis- 
ters who made them speak. 

The following remarks under this head, will be confined to some 
singular and remarkable answers of the oracles. 

Croesus, dissatisfied with the oracles of Delphi, though he had 
inundated it with presents, wished to surprise it. He sent to ask 
the Pythia what he was doing at the very time that his envoy was 
22 



254 SIBYLS. 

consulting her. She immediately replied, that he was then hav- 
ing a lamb with a turtle served up. The fact was true: Crcesusf 
hs^ imagined this odd food in hopes of embarrassing her. The 
reply of the Pythia, however, inspired him with fresh credulity, 
and he redoubled his presents. 

A governor of Cicilia, says Plutarch, wished to send a spy to 
the gods. He gave his emissary a sealed billet to be handed in 
at Malea, where there was the oracle of Mopsus. The envoy 
lay down in the temple, and saw a man who said to him: Black. 
He carried back this reply, which, at first, appeared ridiculous. 
The governor then unsealed the billet, and showed that he had 
written these words: shall I immolate thee a white or black bull? 

A priestess of Dodona made an answer which became fatal to 
her. She said to the Boeotians who consulted her: ""you will be 
victors if you act impiously." The envoys seized on her, and 
caused her to be burnt alive, saying, that, if she had wished to de- 
ceive them, they would punish her; and that, if she had spoken 
the truth, they would thereby assure themselves of victory. The 
people seized the envoys, but they durst hot punish them without 
judgment, and gave for their judges two priestesses and two men. 
The two priestesses condemned them, the two men were of a con- 
trary opinion, and they were absolved. 



CHAPTER Xni. 

Of the Sibyls. 

The ancients gave the name of Sibyls to a certain number of 
girls whom they supposed to be endowed with the gift of prophe- 
cy. The learned do not agree with respect to the origin of this 
name, considering it either as Hebraic, African, or Grecian; but 
the majority deem it a Greek word, meaning inspired. All anti- 
quity agree in attesting the existence of the Sibyls; but disputes 
have arisen in regard to their number, their countries, and names, 
and the time in which they flourished. Varro, the most learned 
of the Romans, names ten Sibyls, and cites the ancient authors 
who have spoken of them. We shail follow the opinion of Var- 
ro, and the order which he prescribes himself in naming them. 

1. The Persian. She was called Sambetlie; and, in the sup- 
posed Sibylline verses, she accounts herself- daughter-in-law to 
Noah. 

2. The Libyan. She was said to be daughter to Jupiter and 
Lamia. She travelled in Claros, Delphi, Samos, and several other 
countries. 

3. The Delphian, daughter of Tiresias. After the taking of 
Thebes, she was consecrated by the Epigoni in the temple of Del- 



SIBYLS. 255 

phi. Diodorus says, that she was often smitten with a divine fury; 
which gave her the name of SibyL 

4. The Sibyl «f Gumse, or the Cum€?an. She was the most 
celebrated of all. 

Mr. Petit, a learned modem author, thinks that she, only, exist- 
ed. He supports his opinion by saying, that all the verses of the 
Sibyls were written in Greek; which would not have been the 
case, if the Sibyls had been of different countries. He believes 
this mysterious girl to have travelled much, and that her actions 
and travels were attributed to several persons. This observation 
of Mr. Petit does not, however, destroy the authority of the an- 
cients, and especially that of Varro: for, in the first place, he ad- 
duces no proof that all the Sibyls spoke in Greek; and, secondly, 
he shows not why their predictions, which were collected with as 
much care as the oracles of the Pythian, could not have been 
translated into Greek. However, we will present what fable, 
blended with history, gives us concerning this Sibyl. 

Her name was Deiphobe. She was the daughter of Glaucus, 
and a priestess of Apollo. This god wished to render hersensible 
of his regard for her, and promised to grant her any request which 
she should make of him. She desired to live as many years as 
there were grains of sand held in her hand; but, unfortunately for 
her, she forgot to ask, at the same time, to be always preserved 
in the freshness of youth. Apolio, nevertheless, offered her this 
advantage, on condition that she would crown his love; but Dei- 
phobe preferred the glory of perpetual chastity to the pleasure of 
enjoying eternal youth; so that a sad and languid old age succeed- 
ed her blooming years. In the time of iEneas, she said she had 
already lived sev-en hundred years; after which, her body being 
wasted away by time, there was nothing remaining of her but her 
voice, which destiny would forever preserve. 

This fable was founded on the longevity which was attributed 
to the Sibyls. That of Cumae, who was thought to be inspired 
by Apollo, delivered his oracles in the bottom of a den, placed in 
the temple of this god. This den had one hundred gates, whence 
issued so many terrible voices, which caused the answers of the 
prophetess to be heard. She was also priestess to Hecate, and 
the sacred woods of the Avernus were under her protection. 

The verses of this Sibyl were preserved by the Romans with 
the greatest care, and were held under a secret. A college of fif- 
teen persons, called the Quindecemviri of the Sibyls, watched 
over the preservation of this collection. 

The people yielded so much faith to the predictions of the Si- 
byls, that they never undertook an important war without con- 
sulting them. During seditions and misfortunes, such as a revolt, 
a defeat, a plague, or a famine, they always had recourse to the 
tsibylline verses. These were a permanent oracle, as often con- 
sulted by the Romans, as that of Delphi by the Grecians. 

As to the other oracles of the Sibyls, which had been collected^ 



256 SIBYLS. 

policy and ambition well knew how to employ them so as to fa- 
vour their projects. Julius Coesar, perpetual dictator and abso- 
lute master of Rome, wished to give still more eclat to his power 
by being proclaimed king. His partisans published a Sibylline 
oracle, by which it was said that the Parthians could not be sub- 
dued except by a king. The Roman people prepared to grant 
him this title, and the senate was to dehver the decree the very 
day that Cassar was assassinated. 

The Romans raised a temple to the Sibyl of CiimaB, and honour- 
ed her as a divinity in the very place where she had delivered her 
oracles. 

5. The fifth Sibyl was the Erythrsean, who predicted the success 
of the Trojan war at the time that the Greeks embarked on this ex- 
pedition. 

6. The Samian, or Sibyl of Samos, whose prophecies are found 
in the ancient annals of the Samians, was the sixth. 

7. The Cumean, born at Cumse in ^olis. Her name was 
Demophile, or Herophile, and sometimes even Amaltha^a. It was 
she who sold the collection of the Sibylline verses to Tarquin the 
elder. It consisted of nine books. Herophile asked for them three 
hundred pieces of gold, which were refused. She then cast three 
of them into the fire, and persisted in asking the same price for the 
remainder. Tarquin still refused to buy. The Sibyl immediately 
burnt three more, and continued to demand the three hundred 
pieces of gold for the three which remained. Tarquin, fearing that 
ste would burn the last three, gave her the sum she demanded. 
After this king had acquired them, he entrusted the charge of them 
to two particular priests, called Duumviri^ whose ministry was 
confined to the charge of this sacred deposit. These books were 
consulted in the greatest calamities of the state; but it was neces- 
sary for a decree of the Senate to be passed in order to have re* 
course to them; and the Decemviri were not permitted to let any 
body see them under pain of death. 

This first collection of Sibylline oracles, perished in the confla- 
gration of the capitol under the dictatorship of Sylla. The Senate, 
to repair this loss, sent into divers places, Samos, Erythrsea, Greece, 
and Asia, in order to collect what could be found from the Sibyl- 
line verses. The new books were deposited in the capitol; but, as 
there were many apocryphas, as much faith in them as had been 
placed in their predecessors, they never received. 

It was in order to watch over this second collection, that the 
college of the Quindecemviri of the Sibyls was formed. 

We do not know what was the fate of this second collection. 
There remains to be mentioned a third collection, which contained 
eight books. It included several of the ancient Jewish predic- 
tions; but all critics considered it as a fantastical mixture of pa- 
ganism and Christianity, which deserved no confidence. In it were 
found the mysteries of redemption, the miracles of the Saviour, his 
passion, his death, the creation of the world, and the terrestrial 



&AMi:s, 257 

Jjaiadise. In it the Sibyl, after having spoken the language of 
isaiah and of the evangeMsts, makes mention of her intrigiies with 
Apollo. She speaks of Loth, and accounts herself a christian. She 
recommends the worship of the false gods, orders the sacrifice of 
human victims, and afterwards predicts the misfortunes which 
threaten :he Romans, if they do not abandon the worship of idols, 
and embrace the christian religion. 

This third collection bore evident marks of its being, not a work 
of the Sibyls, but a fantastical and contradictory medley, collected 
by some ill-informed and deceptive devotee. 

8. The Hellespontian, born at Marpessus, in Troas, was the 
eighth. She prophesied in the days of Solon and Crcesus. 

9. The Phrygian, whose abode was at Ancyra, where she deli- 
vered her oracles, 

10. The Tiburtian, or of Tibur, who was called Albunea. The 
city of Tibur or TivoH upon the Teveron, honoured her as a divi- 
nity. 

It is generally thought that the Sihyls held a kind of medium 
jank between <3ivinity and humanity. The respect entertained to- 
ivards the Sibylline verses, lasted even until under ihe reign of the 
semperors. The Senate having embraced Christianity in the time of 
Theodosius, veneration for them greatly diminished; and Stilicion 
annihilated it by having them burnt in the reign of Honorijjs. 



CHAPTER XIV. 
Of the Games. 

The games were most commonly instituted from reHgious mo- 
tives. They were at the same time a kind of spectacle among the 
Crreeksaud Romans, 

Three sorts of games or exercises principally occupied the Ro- 
mans; races, fights, and spectacles (theatres.) The first, called the 
equestrian^ or curule gamesy consisted in races exhibited in the cir- 
cus, dedicated to N-eptune or to the Sun, The second, called Ago- 
nalia, were wresthngor fights among men, and sometimes between 
men and animals, the latter beitfig drained for this purpose. They 
took place in the amphitheatre, coneecfated to Mars and Diana, 
The third were the ScenicaL consisting of tragedies, comedies, and 
satires, which were represeated in the tiieatre, in honour of Bac- 
■chus, Venus, and Apollo. 

The most celebrated games in Greece, were the Olympian, the 
Pythian, the Nemsean, and the Isthmian. They were instituted in 
honour of the Gods, or to celebrate the memory of great events, 
and to form youth to the various exercises of the body. In these 
games, there were five distinguieiied modes of preceding. I. Mu- 
22* 



258 GAMES. 

sic, both instrumental and vocal. 2. Running, which was perform- 
ed on foot or in chariots. 3. Leaping and the quoit, a stone of a 
certain weight which they strove to throw as far as possible. 4. 
Wrestling, in which one exerted all his strength to throw down 
his adversary. The combatants appeared naked, rubbed their bo- 
dies with oil, and spread over them very fine dust to prevent per- 
spiration. 5. The cestus, or fencing with the strokes of fists. In 
the game of the cestus, they armed their hands with large leather 
strings, and a kind of leather cuff, called the cestus. 

Mount Olympius was the spot on which Jupiter is said, by the 
poets, to have held his court. It was, accordingly, blessed with 
certain privileges, such as an exemption from winds, clouds, and 
rain. An eternal spring was supposed to flourish on its summit, 
which, it was pretended, reached to the very heavens. 

At what time the Olympic games were instituted, is a matter of 
uncertainty. Their origin is very obscure. Diodorus Siculus mere- 
ly says, that it was the Cretan Hercules who instituted them, with- 
out informing us in what period or on what occasion. The most 
common opinion among the learned, is that Pelops was the author, 
and that the first celebration of them was made in ^olis, in the 
twenty-ninth year of the reign of Acrisius, or the thirty- fourth in 
the reign of Sicyon, the nineteenth king of Sicyon; and, according 
to the sacred writings, this epoch was in the twenty-third year of 
Deborah's judicature. 

Atreus, son of Pelops, renewed them, and ordered the second 
celebration of them fourteen hundred and eighteen years before 
Christ. At length, Hercules, on his return from the conquest of 
the golden fleece, assembled the Argonauts in iEolis, to celebrate 
these games for the happy success of their voyage; and the people 
promised to re-assemble there every four years for that object. 

These games, however, were discontinued in the reign of Iphi- 
tus in Elis, which was four hundred and forty-two years after. 
Greece then made their celebration her principal epoch. The peo- 
ple counted by Olympiads only; and since that time, few fables of 
the Greeks are recorded in history. This division of time, it may 
be remarked, comes to us from the Greeks and Romans, who were 
imperfectly acquainted with antiquity. It is the Olympiads, how 
ever, which have spread the greatest light over the chaos of an- 
cient history. 

The Olympic games began with a solemn sacrifice. People ran 
to them from every part of Greece. The victors were proclaim- 
ed by a herald, and celebrated witli songs of victory. They wore 
a triumphal crown, and had the first places in the assemblies: their 
cities enriched them with presents; and, during the rest of their 
days, they w-ere entertained at the expense of the public treasure. 

The first who won the prize of running, was Choroebus, a native 
of Elis. 

Cynisca, daughter of king Archidamus, was the first of her sex 
who gained the prize of the chariot race. 



GAMES. ^9 

The sixteenth Olympiad was then celebrated; and from that 
time ladies could participate in the games. 

Before Cynisca's victory, women were not permitted to approach 
the places in which the games were celebrated. Every attempt of 
this sort, caused them to be thrown down from the Tarpeian rock. 
To avoid deception, they combated naked. This usage was adopt- 
ed, because Callipatira, after the death of her husband, dressed 
herself after the manner of an exercise-master, and conducted 
herself and her son Pisidorus to Olympia. The young man hav- 
ing been declared victor, his mother leaped over the barrier, and 
hastened to embrace him, at the same time calling him her son. 
She was pardoned this infringement of the law; but from that 
time, masters of exercise were not allowed to appear there except 
naked, like the combatants. The judges of the games were call- 
ed HellanodiceSf or judges of the Greeks. None ever appealed 
from their decisions. At first, there were but two judges; but, in 
order to render more difficult the means of corrupting them, their 
number was afterwards increased to ten. 

The prodigious crowds which the celebration of the games at- 
tracted to Olympia, enriched that city, as well as all Elis; and 
were one of the principal causes of the magnificence and richness 
of the temple of Jupiter Olympius. Around this temple was a 
sacred wood, called the Altis, in which were placed statues, erect- 
ed in honour of those who had won the prize in these games. 
They were all made by the most celebrated Grecian sculptors. 

The odes of Pindar which are extant, immortalize those who, 
in his lifetime, had triumphed in the four most solemn games, the 
Olympic, the Isthmian, the Pythian, and the Nemaean. 

The heights of glory and honour, were sung by Pindar. His 
genius, says Bacon, was an imperious sceptre with which he sub- 
jugated minds. 

The descendants of Hellen were so numerous and powerful in 
Greece, that they established a law by which that family only was 
allowed to be admitted at the Olympic games. Alexander himself 
was compelled to prove, that he was descended from the Hellens, 
before he was permitted to enter the lists in these games. From 
that time, all Grecian families pretended to be descended from the 
Hellens; and thus, this name, peculiar to a single family, became 
the general name of the Greeks. 



MYTHOLOGY 

OF 

NORTHERN EUROPE, 

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH, 



MYTHOLOGY 

OF 

NORTHERN EUROPE. 

CHAPTER I. 

Odin; his conquests; his arrival in the JsTorth, and the changes he 
there made. 

A celebrated tradition, confirmed by all the poesies of Northern 
Europe, by the annals of the people, by their institutions, and by 
their ancient usages, (some of which still exist,) informs us that 
an extraordinary personage, named Odin, anciently reigned there; 
that he performed great changes in government, in manners, cus- 
toms, and religion; that he exercised great authority; and that he 
received even divine honours. These facts cannot be contested; 
but the origin of this wonderful man, the country which gave him 
birth, the time in which he flourished, and various other circum- 
stances of his life, are enveloped in a cloud of obscurity, impene- 
trable to the acute eye of research. All the testimonies which 
deserve any sort of confidence, are comprised in a work of Snor- 
ron, an ancient historian of Norway, together with the commen- 
taries which Torfacus has added to his account. 

The Roman republic was at its acme of power, and found noth- 
ing in the known parts of the world which did not acknowledge 
her laws, when an event occurred that raised her up enemies 
even in the heart of the Scythian forests, and on the banks of the 
Tanais. Mithridates flying thither, attracted Pompey into the de- 
serts. This king of Pontus there sought an asylum, and, also, 
means of revenge. Accordingly, he attempted to arm against the 
ambition of Rome, all the barbarian nations w^hose liberties she 
threatened. His first efforts appeared to be successful; but these 
people proved faithless to him — ill-armed, undisciplined soldiers — 
who were soon compelled to yield to the genius of Pompey. Odin, 
it is said, was among this number. Obliged to fly from the pursuit 
of the Romans, he sought in countries unknown to his enemies, 
that liberty which he found not in his own. His real name was Frige, 
son of Fridulphe, He assumed that of Odin, the supreme god of 



264 MYTHOLOGY OF 

Ihe Scythians, either that he might be considered a man inspired 
by the gods, or because he was the first priest or the chief of the 
worship which was paid to the god Odin. It is known that seve- 
ral nations gave their pontiffs the name of the god whom they 
served. Frige, filled with his ambitious projects, did not fail to 
usurp a name which was calculated to secure to him the respect of 
the people whom he wished to bring into subjection. 

Odin ruled, it is said, the Ases, a Scythian people, whose coun- 
try was situated between the Black and the Caspian seas. Their 
principal city was Asgard. The worship paid to the supreme god, 
was celebrated in all neighbouring countries; audit was Odin who 
)erformed the functions of this worship, as a chief, aided by twelve 
other pontiffs, a sort of druids, who also administered justice 
(Drotars.) Odin, having united under his standard the flower of 
the neighbouring countries, marched towards the Northern and 
Western boundaries of Europe, subduing all who opposed his pro- 
gress, and leaving some of his sons to rule over them. Thus Suav- 
lami had Russia; Baldeg, Western Saxony or Westphalia; Segdeg, 
Eastern Saxony; and Sigge, Franconia. Most of the sovereign fa- 
milies of the North, are descended from these self-same princes. 
Thus, Horsa and Hengist, chiefs of those Saxons who subdued 
Britain in the fiflh century, counted Odin or Woden in the number 
of their ancestors. The same was true of other Anglo-Saxon 
princes. The name of Odm, therefore, ultimately came to signify 
the supreme god of the Scythians and Celts. It is also known that 
the heroes of all these nations, pretended to be descended from their 
g-ods, and especially from the god of war. The historians of those 
;imes, (that is to say, the poets,) granted the same honour to those 
«vhose praises they sung; and thus multiplied the descendants of 
Odin, or of the supreme god. 

After having forced many nations to adopt the worship of his 
country, Odin took the route to Scandinavia, by Chersonesus Cim- 
brica. These provinces did not resist him; and, soon after, he 
passed into Fionia^ which immediately became his conquest. In 
this pleasant island, it is said, he made a long stay, and built the 
city of Odensiis, \\h\c\i still perpetuates in its name, the remem- 
brance of its founder. Thence he extended his arms over the whole 
North. In Denmark, he caused his son Sciold to be acknowledg- 
ed king, a title which no ruler of that country had yet borne, (ac- 
cording to the annals of Iceland,) and which passed to his descen- 
dants, called from his name Scioldungians. 

Odin more pleased with giving crowns to his sons than with 
reigning himself, next repaired to Sweden, where reigned a prince 
named Gylphe, who, regarding the author of a new. worship, re- 
nowned and consecrated by such brilliant conquests, as an extra- 
ordinary being, loaded him with great honours, and adored him 
even as a divinity. This reception, favoured by the ignorance of the 
people, soon acquired him in Sweden the same authority as in Den- 
mark. The Swedes came in crowds to pay him homage, and 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 265 

unanimously yielded the title and power of king to his son Yngue, 
which descended to his remoter posterity. Hence, the Ynglinglians, 
a name which has long served to designate the first kings of Swe- 
den. Gylphe died, or was forgotten. Odin governed with abso- 
lute dominion. He made new laws introduced the usages of his 
country, established at Sigutna (a city situated in the same pro- 
vince with Stockholm, but now extinct,) a supreme council or tri- 
bunal, composed of twelve lords or druids. They were appointed 
to watch over the public safety, to administer justice to the peo- 
ple, to preside over the new worship, and faithfully to preserve the 
deposit of the religious and magic sciences of this prince. 
_ So many conquests had not yet satisfied his ambition. The de- 
sire of spreading his religion, his glory, and authority, made him 
undertake the subjugation of Norway. His good fortune and great 
abihties attended him thither. This kingdom soon obeyed a son 
of Odin, named Scemungite, who did not fail of being made the au- 
thor of the family, whose different branches afterwards reigned 
long in the same country. 

After these glorious expeditions, Odin retired into Sweden, 
where, feeling his end draw near, he would not await, through the 
series of a disease, that death which he had so many times braved 
in battle. Having assembled his friends and his companions, he 
inflicted upon himself, with the point of a lance, nine wounds, in the 
form of a circle, and divers other cut-paper works in his skin with 
his sword. Whilst dying, he declared that he was going into Scy- 
thia, to take his place with the other gods at an eternal banquet, 
where he would receive, with great honours, those who, after hav- 
ing exposed themselves courageously in battle, should die with 
arms in their hands. As soon as he had breathed his last, his body 
was carried to Sigutna, where, conformably to the usage which he 
had brought into the North, it was burnt with great pomp and 
magnificence. 

Such was the end of this man, no less extraordinary in his death 
than in his life. Some learned men have supposed that the desire 
of revenging himself upon the Romans, was the principle of all his 
actions. Driven by those enemies of all liberty, from his native 
country, his resentment was truly Scythian, as every Scythian con- 
sidered it a sacred duty to avenge injuries, and especially those of 
his relatives and country. The grand object of Odin, therefore, in 
travelling over remote countries, and so ardently establishing his 
doctrines, was to raise up enemies against an odious and formida- 
ble power. This old grudge long fermented secretly in the minds 
of the Northern Nations; and when the signal was given, they 
rushed, with one accord, upon that ambitious empire, and finally 
avenged themselves, as well as the injuries done to their founder 
and to all those whom she had stripped and trampled under her 
feet, by overwhelming and crushing her gigantic power. 

I cannot resolve, says Mr. Mallet, to make objections against so 
ingenious a narrative as this account of Odin, although it gives too 
23 



266 MYTHOLOGY OF 

much importance to the history of the North, by putting into it too 
much interest, too much poesy, so to speak, so that I can scarcely 
consent to yield to the various proofs which have been adduced in 
its favour. It is, doubtless, more rational to see in Odin only the 
founder of a new worship, previously unknown to the Scandina- 
vians. It is also probable that he, his father, or the author of this 
rehgion, whoever he wasj came from Scythia, or the confines of 
Persia; and still more so, that the name of the god whose prophet 
and priest he became, was, in succeeding ages, transferred to him, 
and the attributes of the deity confounded with the history of the 
priest. The accounts of Odin preserved by the Icelanders, confirm 
these conjectures. 

One of the artifices which he employed with the greatest suc- 
cess, in order to secure to himself the confidence and respect of 
the people, was to consult, in difficult affairs, the head of a certain 
Mimer, who, during his life, had a great reputation for wisdom. 
This man having had his head cut off", Odin embalmed it, and knew 
how to persuade the Scandinavians that he had given him speech 
by his enchantments. He always carried it with him, and made it 
pronounce the oracles of which he stood in need. This artifice re- 
minds us of the pigeon which carried to iMahomet the orders of 
Heaven, and shows the superstition of those who obeyed them. 
Another point of resemblance between these two impostors, is the 
eloquence with which both were endowed. The chronicles of Ice- 
land represent Odin as one of the most persuasive of men. Noth- 
ing, say they, could resist the power of his discourses. Sometimes 
he mingled his harangues with the verses which he composed. Not 
only was he a great poet, but he was the first who inspired the 
Scandinavians with the charms of poetry. He was the inventor 
of Runic characters; but what most contributed to make him pass 
for a god, was the belief that he excelled in magic. It was behev- 
ed that he could run over the universe in the twinkling of an eye; 
that he ruled the air and disposed of tempests; that he could raise 
the dead to life, predict future events, and transform himself at 
will; that, by the force of his enchantments, he took away the 
strength of his enemies, gave back health again to his friends, and 
discovered all treasures hidden under ground. These chronicles, 
more poetical than faithful, say, that he sung such melodious and 
tender airs, as to attract, by the sweetness of his songs, the spirits 
of the dead, who left their black abysses to come and range them- 
selves around him. 

His eloquence, together with his august and venerable air, 
caused him to be respected and revered in assemblies, whilst his 
bravery and skill in arms, rendered him formidable in battle. The 
terror with which he inspired his enemies, was so great, that, in 
order to depict it, he was said to strike them deaf and blind. Like 
a desperate wolf, or an enraged lion, he rushed amidst the ene- 
my's ranks, striking his buckler with fury, and spreading around 
him a horrible carnage, without ever receiving any wound. We 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 267 

must not forget, however, in reading these descriptions of his 
brilliant exploits, that the historians who have transmitted them 
to us, were poets. Odin, carrying with him arts before unknown 
in the north, an extraordinary magnificence, a masterly address, 
and rare talents, could easily pass for a god in a country where 
nobody equalled him, and in which the people gave the name of 
prodigies to all at whose exploits they were greatly astonished. 



CHAPTER II. 

General Idea of the Ancient Religion of J^orthern Europe. 

The Greek and Latin authors liad but little intercourse with 
the northern people, whom they styled barbarians. They were 
ignorant even of their language, especially as the Celts made a 
scruple of unraveling to foreigners the thread of their doctrines. 
Hence, the former, compelled to remain spectators of their wor- 
ship, could hardly seize the spirit of it. Yet, by gathering the 
traits preserved by those different writers, and by, comparing them 
with the chronicles of the North, we hope to succeed in distin- 
guishing the most important points. 

The religion of the Scythians appears to have been simple in 
early times. It inculcated but few tenets, and was, in all proba- 
bility, the only religion of the European aboriginals. It is gene- 
rally remarked, that, under southerly climes, men are born with 
vivid, prolific, and restless imaginations, and are greedy for the 
marvellous; and that their ardent passions seldom allow them to 
keep up a just equilibrium. Hence, as soon as they leave the 
track of primitive traditions, they are apt to wander with a fright- 
ful rapidity. And hence arose the ravings of the priests among 
the Egyptians, Syrians, and, after them, the Greeks; and hence 
was produced that chaos, known by the name of mythology. In 
the north, on the contrary, religious opinions were less incon- 
stant and fluctuating. There, the rigour of the climate chains 
the mind, checks the imagination , and curbs the passions; and man, 
obtaining nothing but by vigorous exertion, turns first upon ob- 
jects of necessity, that activity which, under the torrid zone, is 
apt to run into the channels of inquietude and levity. 

Notwithstanding this, the Scythians corrupted their worship by a 
mixture of ceremonies, some ridiculous, and others cruel. It be- 
comes proper, therefore, to distinguish two ages in the religion of 
this people, and not confound the fictions of the poets with the 
creeds of their sages. This religion of the sages taught, that 
there was a Supreme God, who uas Ruler of the Universe, to 
whom all were subject. And, according tp Tacitus, such, also, 
was the god of the ancient Germans, 

The ancient mythology of Iceland called God the author of all 



268 MYTHOLOGY OF 

that exists, the eternal, the ancient, the living, and the terrihlelein^, 
the searcher into hidden things, the immutable. It attributed to 
this god, omnipotence, omniscience, and incorruptible justice^ and 
forbade the representation of this divinity under any corporeal 
form. He could not be suitably regarded and adored but in the 
heart of retreats or in sacred forests. There he reigned in si- 
lence, and rendered himself sensible by the respect which he in- 
spired. To represent him in a human figure, to attribute to him 
sex, to erect to him statues, justly appeared to these people an ex- 
travagant impiety. From this supreme divinity emanated a va- 
riety of subaltern genii, whose seat and temple was every thing 
in the visible world. These intelligences had the direction of its 
operations: the earth, water, fire, air, the moon, the stars, forests, 
rivers, mountains, lakes, winds, thunder, and tempests, received 
religious homage, which, at first, was. directed only towards the 
intelligence that animated them. The motive of this worship was 
the fear of a God, offended by the sins of man, but merciful, and 
exorable to prayer and repentance. They addressed him as the active 
principle that produced all things, and as the only agent that pre- 
served inferior beings, and dispensed events. To serve divinity by 
sacrifice and pra)4er, to do to others no wrong, to be brave and in- 
trepid, were the chief moral consequences resulting from this wor- 
ship. At length, the introduction of a life to come, cemented this 
religious edifice; cruel punishments were reserved for those who 
should have despised these three fundamental precepts, to continue 
as long as innumerable and endless delights were to reward the 
just, the religious, and the valiant. 

Such are a few of the leading characteristics of that reli- 
gion which, for several centuries, was adopted and practised by 
most people of Northern Europe, and, no doubt, by several Asiatic 
nations. It still preserved great purity towards the end of the 
Roman republic. The testimony of some authors proves, that the 
ancient Germans had retained its principal tenets, while other na- 
tions, subdued and corrupted by the arms and luxury of the Ro- 
mans, adopted their gods, and submitted to their yoke. We may, 
therefore, conclude, that it was at the time of Odin"s arrival that 
this religion began to lose its primitive purity; as it is obvious, thai 
this conqueror, by introducing himself to the people of the North 
as an awful divinity, had no other end than to secure dominion^ 



CHAPTER III. 

Of the Religion of J^Torthem Europe, since Odin. 

The Edda of the Icelanders and their ancient poesies are the 
sole monuments which can give us any light on the ancient reli- 
gion of the inhabitants of the north. From these sources w& 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 269 

learn, that the most important alteration which it received after 
Odin, related to the number of the gods to be worshipped. The 
Scythians adopted^ as the capital point of their religion, the ador- 
ation of one being, omnipotent and superior to all c°reated intelli- 
gences. So reasonable a doctrine had so great influence over 
their minds, that they often displayed their contempt of the poly- 
theism of those nations who treated them as barbarians; and eve- 
ry time they became the stronger party, their first care was to de- 
stroy all the objects of an idolatrous worship. The fatal efi*ects 
of example and of the times ultimately destroyed the simplicity of 
this religion; and the Scythians at last associated with the su- 
preme god, subaltern divinities. Fear, desire, want, and passion, 
were the origin of this guilty change; and we are aware that the 
same causes have tended to corrupt all religions contrived by men. 
As those degenerate people began to think that one individual being 
could not watch over all parts of the universe, they considered it 
a duty to call to his aid, other minds, genii, and divinities of every 
description. But their predominant passions became the measure 
of their faith; wherefore the supreme god, the first idea of whom 
embraced all that exists, was only worshipped by the greater por- 
tion of the Scythians, as the god of war: than which rank, ac- 
cording to them, no honour could be more worthy'of his attention, 
or better calculated to make his power conspicuous. Hence, those 
hideous pictures, which, in the Icelandic mythology, show us Odin, 
as the terrible and severe god, the father of carnage, the depopula- 
tor 3 the incendiary, the eagle, the blusterer, the donor of victory, the 
reviver of courage in combat, the namer of those who were to be 
killed. Warriors going to fight, vowed to send him a certain 
number of souls; which souls were the -right of Odin. It was 
thought, that he often came into battle to inflame the fury of the 
combatants, to strike those whom he designed to perish, and to 
carry away souls to the celestial abodes. 

Yet, according to the ancient Icelandic mythology, that terrible 
divinity, which took pleasure in shedding the blood of men, was 
the father and creator of them. God, says the Edda, sees and 
governs for centuries, directs all that is high and low, great and 
small. He made heaven, air, and man, who is to live forever; and 
before heaven and earth were made, this god was already with the 
giants. It is likely that the ambitious Odin thus confounded and 
mixed up divers opinions, in order to consolidate the empire which 
he had usurped over men and over their minds. Some traces of 
the worship paid to him among the people of the North, still re- 
main. The fourth day of the week still bears his name. It is 
called, according to different dialects, Odensdag, Ousdag, Wodens- 
day, and Wednesday. This god was also accounted the inventor 
of the arts; and is thought to correspond with the Mercury of the 
Greeks and Romans. The day sacred to Mercury was called Dies 
Mercurii (the day of Mercury.) The French call it Mercredi. 
Odin was called Alfadur, (father of all,) because the gods were 
23* 



270 MYTHOLOGY OF 

descended from him and his wife Frigga, or Walfadur, because be 
was the father of all who fell in battle. He had upwards of one 
hundred and twenty names. 

The residence of the gods, is Asgard, a fortress whence the 
bridge Bifrost leads to the earth. Valaskialf was the silver palace 
of Odin. He sits upon the elevated throne Lidskjalf, whence he 
sees every thing in the universe. By his side stands the spear 
Gungner. His steed is called Sleipner. In the centre of Asgard, 
which is in the valley of Ida, was situated the place of meeting, 
the most splendidly ornamented of all, where the gods administer- 
ed justice. Herein appeared Gladheim, the hall of joy, Win- 
golf, the palace of friendship and love, and Glasor, the forest of 
golden trees. 

After Odin, the principal divinity of the north was Frigga or 
Frea, his wife. All the Celtic nation, the ancient Syrians, and 
the aboriginals of Greece, believed that the celestial god was con- 
nected with Earth, in order to produce by her subaltern deities, 
man, and all other creatures; and upon this belief was founded 
the veneration they had for Earth. They called her mother earthy 
the mother of the gods. The Phoenicians adored these two princi- 
ples under the name of Tautes and Astarte. Some Scythian na- 
tionsnamed them Jupiter and Apia; the Thracians, Cotisand Bendis; 
the Greeks and Romans, Saturn and Ops. The Scythians served 
Earth as a consort of the supreme god. Tacitus attributes the 
same worship to the ancient Germans, and especially to the inha- 
bitants of Northern Germany. We cannot doubt, that Hertus,or 
Earth, of whom he speaks, was the same as the Frea of the Scan- 
dinavians. In the old Teutonic language, Frea or Frau, signifies 
a woman. 

In succeeding times, this Frea became the goddess of love 
and debauchery, the Venus of the north, no doubt, because she 
was deemed the principle of all fecundity, and the mother of all 
that exists. It was to her that they applied for marriage and 
happy deliveries. She dispensed pleasure, rest, voluptuousness. 
Frea shared with Odin the souls of those who were killed in war. 
The sixth day of the week was sacred to her under the name of 
Freytag, (Friday,) and called by the Latins Dies Veneris (the day 
of Venus.) It is named Vendredi by the French. 

The third among the principal divinities of the Scandinavians, 
was named Thor, the god of thunder — a symbol of physical 
strength. His mighty step sounded like the storm. His hammer, 
Miolner, (the Crusher,) crushed the hardest rocks. His son Uller, 
the beautiful god of archery and skating, was invoked by duellists. 
He kad a silver circle round the down of his chin. His empire 
was called Ydalir (Rain- Valleys.) Julius Cesar expressly speaks 
of a god of the Gauls who presided over winds and tempests. 
He designates him by the Latin name of Jupiter; but Lucian 
gives him another name, which more nearly resembles that of 
Thor: he calls him Taranisy a name which, among the Gauls 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 271 

again signifies thunder. The authority of Thor was extended to 
winds, seasons and thunderbolts. In the primitive system of the 
religion of the North, Thor was probably a subaltern divinity, born 
of the union of Odin with Earth. The Edda pronounces him the 
most valiant of the sons of Odin; and the club with which he is 
armed, and which he throws in the air at the giants, designates a 
thunderbolt. He was looked upon as the defender and avenger 
of the gods. Besides that club, which returned of itself to the 
hand that had hurled it, and which he grasped with iron gaunt- 
lets, he possessed a girdle which renewed strength in proportion 
as one needed it. It was with these dreadful arms that he fought 
the enemies of the gods. 

The three divinities just named, composed the courts or supreme 
council of the gods. They were the principal objects of worship. 
But the Scandinavians did not all agree as to the one who should 
have the preference. The Danes particularly honored Odin; the 
Norwegans considered themselves under the safeguard of Thor; 
and the Swedes had fo'r their tutelary god Freya, who, according 
to the Edda, presided over the seasons of the year, and gave fer- 
tility, riches, and peace. 

The number and employment of the divinities of the second 
order, are not easily determined. We shall merely give an out- 
line. 

The Edda enumerates twelve gods and twelve goddesses, who 
received divine honors, but whose power was subordinate to that 
of Ouin, the oldest of the gods, and the principle of all things. 
Such was NioRD, the Neptune of the North, who was the god of 
winds, of sailors, of commerce, and of riches. He shook his 
vans in the roaring storm in such a manner as to make every thing 
tremble. By his wife Scala, daughter of the mountain Thiasse, 
he had the beautiful, beneficent, and mighty Fkei and Freya. 
Frei, the ruler of the sun, dispenses rain and sunshine, plenty or 
dearth. He rides on a boar with golden bristles. The name of 
his wife is Gerda, Gymer's daughter. The Celts placed Niord 
in the rank of inferior gods; but the importance and extent of his 
empire, caused him to be dreaded. The Edda devoutly recom- 
mends to adore him for fear that he would do evil. Wherefore 
temples were raised to his honor, for fear is the most superstitious 
of the passions. 

Balder, son of Odin, was another god. He was the youthful, 
beautiful, and wise god of eloquence and of just decision. He ap- 
peared as brilliant in innocence as the lily, and the whitest flower 
was hence called Baldrian. He was endued with so great majes- 
ty, that his looks were resplendent. He was the sun of the Celts, 
the same as the Grecian Apollo. His wife Nanna regarded 
her husband with modest admiration and aiSectionate enthusiasm. 
She brought him Forfete, who was the god of concord, and who 
had a palace, called GUtner, supported by pillars. 



272 MYTHOLOGY OF 

Trn, whom we must distinguish from Thor, was the god of 
power and valour, and the patron of brave warriors and athletes. 
He wounded by a look, was lofty as a fir, and brandished the 
lightnings of battle. Br age was the god of eloquence, wisdom, 
and poetry, which, from him, is called Bragur. He had a golden 
telyn, and swept the cords, which emitted a sweet sound. His 
wife Iduna, the goddess of youth, had charge of certain apples, 
of which the gods ate when they felt the approach of old age, and 
the power of which was to make them grow young again. 
HiEMDAL, a son of nine gigantic sisters, born on the margin of 
the earth, was their door keeper. He appeared with a pensive 
brow, and his eyes cast down. The rainbow (Bifrost) was the 
bridge, communicating from heaven to earth. Hiemdal watched 
over its extremities to prevent the giants from scaling heaven. 
He slept as lightly as birds; and day and night, he perceived ob- 
jects at more than a hundred leagues distant. He heard the grass 
and the wool of sheep grow; and held in one hand a sword, and 
in the other, a trumpet, the noise of which was heard in all worlds. 
Hermode, the messenger of the gods, was armed with a helmet 
and mail. Vidar, the god of silence, was as strong as Thor, and 
walked the waters and the air. Hoder, the blind god, was the 
murderer of Balder. The gods never forgot his violent actions, 
and would not hear his name pronounced. Wale was the formi- 
dable god of the bow. The Scandinavians gave to the bad prin- 
ciple the name of Loke, and placed it in the number of their gods. 
He was the son of the giant Farbaute and of Laufeya. He is, 
says the Edda, the calumniator of the gods, the artificer of frauds, 
the opprobrium of the gods and of men. He is beaut ful of body, 
but malignant of spirit, and inconstant in his inclinations; none 
among mortals surpass him in the art of perfidy and of cunning. 
He had several children of Signie, his wife. Three monsters 
also owed their existence to him: the wolf Fenris, the ser- 
pent Migdard, and Hela or death, all being enemies of the 
gods, who, after divers efforts, inclosed the wolf Fenris, where he is 
to remain until the last day, when he will be let loose, and devour 
the sun. The serpent was cast into the sea, where he will remain 
until conquered by the god Thor; and Hela was banished into the 
infernal abodes, where she has the government of nine worlds, 
which she divides among those who are sent to her. Loke was 
locked up by the gods in a cave shut by three sharp stones, where 
he shudders with such rage, as to cause the earthquakes. He 
will remain there captive until the end of time, and then be killed 
by Hiemdal, door-keeper to the gods. 

The Icelandic Mythology counted twelve goddesses, at the head 
of whom was Frea or Frigga, the consort of Odin. Each of them 
had her peculiar offices. Eira was the goddess of medicine; Ge- 
LioNE, of virginity; she protects chaste females, and,ifthey die un- 
married, takes them to her heavenly dwellings; LYNA,the goddess 
of friendship and good faith, kisses away the tear from the eye of 



NORTHERN KtJROP'E. STS 

the unfortunate; Stona excites good feelings in the bosoms of 
youth, and especially maidens, and disposes them to mutual love; 
FuLLA, a virgin with beautiful locks, and wearing a diadem of 
gold, WB.S the confident of Frigga, and the patroness of finery; 
Freya, the goddess of lovers, is the most mild and bountiful of the 
divinities. Her eye is an eternal spring; her neck and cheeks, light 
itself. She encourages sweet songs, and listens to the prayers of 
mortals. More faithful than Venus, she incessantly weeps over 
her absent husband Odrus; (to whom she bore two daughters, 
Nossa, the model of all beauty and grace, and Gersemi;) but her 
tears are drops of gold. Lofna reconciles divided consorts. Vara 
receives their oath, and punishes those who violate them. Snotra, 
the goddess of modesty, sciences, and good morals, patronises vir- 
tuous youths and maidens. Gna, the messenger of Frea, floats 
about with the rays of the sun; Synia, the guard of heaven, pro- 
tects justice and law, avenges broken faith, and exposes perjury; 
Wora, the omniscient goddess, penetrates every secret of the 
heart; and Saga presides over waterfalls. 

Besides these twelve goddesses, there are other virgins in Val- 
halla, or the paradise of heroes. They are majestic and beautiful, 
neither daughters of heaven, nor born in hell; neither begotten by 
gods, nor acknowledged by immortal mothers; and are named the 
Valkyrias, or Disas. They appear with a helmet and mail, and 
mounted on swift horses. It is their duty to wait upon heroes. 
Odin also employs them in fights, to choose out those who were 
doomed to destruction, and to incline the victory to the side he 
pleases; for these courageous people took care not to attribute de- 
feats to their weakness, or want of valour; but these, as well as 
victory, were attributed solely to the will of Odin. 

"On steeds that seem'd as fleet as light, 
Six maids in brilliant armour dight, 
Their chargers of ethereal birth, 
Paw'd, with impatient hoof, the earth, 
And snorting fiercely 'gan to neigh, ^ 
As if they heard the battle bray, 
And burn'd to join the bloody fray. 
But they unmov'd and silent sate, 
With pensive brow and look sedate, 
Proudly each couch'd her glittering spear, 
And seem'd to know nor hope nor fear. 

So mildly firm their placid air. 

So resolute, yet heav'nly fair. 
But not one ray of pity's beam, 
From their dark eyelids seem'd to gleam; 
Nor gentle mercy's melting tear. 
Nor love might ever harbour there. 
Was never woman's beauteous face. 
So stern, and yet so passionless." Helga. 



:igh, ^ 

ay- 3 



^74 MYTHOLOGY OF 

The court of the gods was usually held under a large oak, where 
they administered justice. This oak is represented as the largest 
of all trees Its branches covered the surface of the world, and its 
top reached to the heavens. It was supported by three large roots, 
one of which extended even to the ninth world, or to hell. On its 
branches sat an eagle, whose piercing eye surveyed the whole uni- 
verse. A squirrel (Rotatoskr) ran up and down the oak to make his 
reports; four stags (Dain, Dynais, Dnalion, and Dryathor) roamed 
through its branches; several serpents twined around its trunk^and 
strove to destroy it; and in a neighbouring spring, called ihe fountain 
of past things, three virgins continually drew a kind of precious wa- 
ter, with which they watered the tree. This water keeps up the 
beauty of its leaves, and after having refreshed its branches, it falls 
back on the ground, where it keeps up the dew with which bees com- 
pose their honey. The three beautiful virgins, the JVornas, often 
meet under the oak, where they determine the fate of mortals. 
Their names are Urd, (the Past,) Varande, (the Present,) and 
Skuld, (the Future.) 

Such were the principal divinities of the North, or, rather, the 
ideas which the poets gave of them to the credulous. It was by 
fictions, sometimes ingenious, that they endeavoured to extol the 
simplicity of their religion; but various passages in ancient history, 
show that many did not follow this creed, acknowledging no other 
subaltern divinity than their own courage. 

Having thus enumerated the names and attributes of the prin- 
cipal gods, we will now proceed to set forth some of the tenets of 
the Celtic religion: and, first, we will notice those in the Edda, and 
in the poem, called Volupsa. It is thought that the latter was 
composed by Sosmond, surnamed the Learned. Several fragments 
of the first Edda are still extant. The most valuable is the poem 
entitled Volupsa, i. e. Oracle of the Prophetess, It contains about 
four hundred verses, and includes an abridgment of the whole 
Mythology of the North. 

That portion of it which the Mythology of Iceland has preserv- 
ed, deserves the more attention, as, in disclosing to us the senti- 
ments of the ancient Celts on this important point, it is some- 
times expressed in a style of sublime elevation. 

The reader can judge for himself of the resemblance it bears to 
sacred tradition. 

In the dawn of time, says the poet, there was neither sea, river, 
nor refreshing zephyr. Neither heaven above, nor earth below, 
was seen; all was nothing but a vast, herbless, and seedless abyss, 
(Nislheim,) in which flowed the fountain, (Hwergelmer,) swallow- 
ing up every thing with twelve rivers (Eliwagar issuing from 
this fountain.) The sun had no palace; the stars did not know 
their homes; the moon did not know her power. Then there ap- 
peared a luminous, burning, and an inflamed world on the side of 
the south (Musspellheim;) and from this burning world, there in- 
cessantly slide away into the abyss, (which was in the north,) tor- 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 275 

rents of sparkling fire, which, in falHng, were congealed into the 
abyss, and filled it up with scoria and ice. Thus the abyss was 
heaped up, little by little; but there remained within a light and 
immovable air, and frozen vapours were incessantly exhaled, un- 
til a breath of heat, being sent from the south, melted those va- 
pours, and formed living drops, whence sprang the giant Ymer. It 
is related that, while he was sleeping, he formed of his perspiration, a 
male and a female, from whom was descended the race of giants; 
a race as vile and corrupt as Ymer its author. By the mixture of 
ice and heat was produced the cow (Audumbla,) trom whose dugs 
flowed four streams otmilk, on which Ymer lived. The cow fed 
on the salt stones, which she was one day licking, when, in the 
evening, human hair grew out of them. On the next day appear- 
ed a head; and on the third, an entire man, called Bure. His son 
Bor, married Belsta, daughter of the giant Mountain-Gate. By 
her he had three sons, Odin, Wile, and Ve. There arose a better 
race, that was connected with that of the giant Ymer. It w^as cal- 
led the family of Bor, from the name of the first of that family, who 
was father to Odin. The sons of Bor killed the giant Ymer, and 
the blood flowed from his wound in so great abundance, that it 
caused a general inundation, in which all the giants except one, 
perished. He being saved by means of a boat, escaped with his 
whole family. Then a new world was formed. The sons of Bor, 
or the gods, tiurried the body of the giant into the abyss, and out 
of him fabricated the globe. With his blood they formed the sea 
and the rivers; the earth, with his flesh; large mountains, with his 
bones; rocks, with his teeth, and the fragments of his broken bones. 
They made of his skull the arch of heaven, which is sustained by 
four dwarfs, named South, (Sudre,) North, (Nordure,) East, 
(Austere,) and West, (Westre.) They threw his brain into the 
air, and it formed the clouds. They there placed flambeaux to en- 
lighten it, and fixed to other fires the space which they were to 
survey; some in heaven, others under heaven. Days were distin- 
guished, and years had their number. They made the earth round, 
and girded it with the deep Ocean, on the shores of which they 
placed giants. One day as the sons of Bor, or the gods, walked 
there, they found two floating pieces of wood, out of which they 
formed man and woman. The elder of the sons gave them soul 
and life; the second, motion and science; the third endow^ed them 
with speech, hearing, and sight, to which he added beauty and 
dress. It is from this man, named Askus, (Ash,) and from this wo- 
man, named Embla, (Alder,) that is descended the race of men, 
which now inhabit the earth. 

The giant Narfi (darkness) had a daughter named Nott, 
(night.) She was thrice married. By her husband Nagelfari, 
(air, ether) she had a son, Andur, (matter;) by Anar, (the forming 
principle,) Jord, (the earth;) by Bellinger, (twilight,) Dagur, (day.) 
Alfadur transported Nott and Dagur to the heavens, and furnish- 
ed them each with a horse and chariot, to drive round the earth 



^"70 MTfTHOLOGY OF 

daily. Nott was first drawn by her horse Hrimfaxi, (blackmanej) 
which every morning bedews the earth with the foam from his 
mouth. The horse of Dagur, Skinfaxi, (shining mane,) illumi- 
nates the world with his manes. Mundelfari (the mover of the 
axis,) had two beautiful children, Sool (sun,) and Maan (moon.) 
He married his daughter to Glemur, the god of joy. Disapprov- 
ing of his presumptuous conduct, the gods carried away his chil- 
dren, and took them up to the heavens. They were employed m 
driving the chariots of the sun and moon. 

We°may easily recognize in the foregojng narration, the ves- 
tiges of a general tradition, the various 'circumstances of which 
most nations have embellished, altered, or suppressed at pleasure. 
If we compare it, together with the traditions of the Chaldeans, 
Syrians, and Egyptians, the theogony of Hesiod, and with the 
mythology of the Greeks and Romans, we shall doubtless be con- 
vinced, that the conformity which is found between the leading 
circumstances of these accounts and that given in Genesis, cannot 
be the effect of mere chance. 

The description of chaos given in the Edda; that quickening 
breath which produced the great giant Ymer; that sleep, during 
which a man and a woman were born of his sides; that race of 
the sons of the gods; that deluge from which one man alone es- 
caped with his family in a boat; that renewing of the world which 
followed the deluge; that first man, that first woman, created by 
the gods, and who received motion from them: all this can be 
nothing but the vestiges and recollections of a general and more 
ancient creed. We recognize in these altered accounts, the same 
allegories, the same fictions, the same desire of explaining the 
phenomena of nature, which have decked out fables among all 
people. In considering the style of these fables, in which are 
blended, sometimes the sublime, with the peurile, sometimes little- 
ness placed amidst the most magnificent pictures, the disorder of 
narration, and the uniform turn of idea and expression, we cannot 
but discover evident marks of a high antiquity, and the manner of 
expression peculiar to a simple, primitive people, whose vigorous 
imagination, despising or not familiar with rules, is displayed with 
all the liberty and all the energy of nature. 

According to the Celts, matter already existing, but without 
form and life, was animated and disposed by the gods in the order 
which we now admire it. No heathen religion has granted more 
than that of the Celts to divine providence. This tenet was for 
them the key of all the phenomena of nature, without exception. 
All bodies and beings acted up to the influence of subaltern intel- 
ligences, who were themselves merely the organs and instruments 
of the divine will. Hence, that error common to so many nations, 
which caused the trembling of leaves, the crackling of flame, the 
roar of thunder, the flight or song of birds, the involuntary emo- 
tions of men, dreams and visions, and the like, to be looked upon 
as instructions or inspirations of the Supreme Being. Hence, too. 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 277 

are oracles, divinations, soothsayers, lots, augurs, presages, and 
illusions, brought forth by the inquietude and weakness of men. 
By admitting the immediate and continual^ influence of divinity 
over all creatures, the Celts considered it impossible for man to 
change che course of things, or to resist the destinies. 

We have already seen that they admitted three Fairies or Nor- 
nas, who determined all events. Every man had a fairy, who was 
present at his birth, watched over his actions, and, beforehand, 
marked out all the events of his life and the limit of his days. It 
is to that tenet of the Celtic mythology that the fables of fairy- 
ism and the marvellous of our Gothic romances may be attributed, 
although the mythology of the Greeks and Romans assisted in the 
embellishment of their fictions, their poems, and their romances. 
We may easily conceive how much a belief in predestination was 
calculated to add to the temerity of the most warlike people on 
earth. The inhabitants of the North joined to this doctrine a still 
more barbarous and dangerous prejudice, namely; they believed 
that the limit of the life of a man could be put forward if some 
one should die for him. When some celebrated warrior or some 
prince was about to perish, it was thought that Odin, appeased by 
the sacrifice of another victim, repealed the decree, and prolonged 
the days of him whom that victim would save. 

The precepts of the Celtic religion were chiefly confined to 
their being intrepid in war, to their serving the gods, and appeas- 
ing them by sacrifices, to their being just, hospitable to strangers, 
faithful to their word, and true to their conjugal faith. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Tenets of the Celts in reference to the future state, and to the last 
destinies of this world. 

There will come a time, says the Edda, a barbarous age, a 
sword age, when crimes will infest the earth, when the brothers 
will wallow in the blood of their brethren, when the sons will be 
the assassins of their fathers, and the fathers of their children, 
and no one will spare his friend. Soon after a grievous winter 
will happen; the snow will fall from the four corners of the world; 
the winds will blow furiously; the frost will harden the earth; and 
three such winters will follow in succession. Then there will ap- 
pear astonishing prodigies; monsters will break their chains and 
escape; the great dragon wiU roll in the ocean, and by his motions 
the earth will be overflown; the trees will be rooted up; the rocks 
wUl be rent; the wolf Fenris, unchained, wiU open his enormous 
jaws which will reach from earth to heaven; fire will issue from 
his nostrils and eyes; he wUl devour the sun, and the great dra- 
24 



278 MrTHOLOGY OF 

gon who follows him, will vomit upon ihe waters and in the aif« 
torrents of venom. In this confusion the stars will flee away, the 
heaven will be split, and an army of evil genii and of giants, con- 
ducted by their princes, will enter to attack the gods; but Hien- 
dal, the door-keeper of the gods, will arise and blow his roaring 
trumpet; the gods will awake and meet again; the great oak will 
shake its branches; and heaven and earth will be full of fea,r. 
The gods will arm, and the heroes take sides in battle. Odin will 
appear, clothed with his golden helmet and his resplendent cuirass; 
and with his broad cymeter in his hand, attack the wolf Fenris, 
which will devour him, and both perish together. Thor will be 
smothered in the torrents of vemon which the dragon will emit 
while dying. The fire will consume all, and the flame rise to hea- 
ven; but soon a new earth will emerge from the bosom of the 
waves, adorned with green meadows. The fields will then pro- 
duce abundant harvests without culture; calamities will be un- 
known. Lift and Liftrasor, a human pair saved from the destruc- 
tion, and fed with morning dew, will renew the human race. 

There will be an elevated palace in it, covered with gold, and 
more brilliant than the sun, and there the just will dwell and re- 
joice for centuries. Then the powerful and the valiant, and he 
who governs all, will come from the abodes on high to administer 
divine justice, pronounce decrees, and establish the sacred desti- 
nies which will always last. Widar, (the conqueror,) and Wale, 
(the powerful,) will remain with the gods. Mode, (mental power,) 
and Magne, (strength,) will receive the crushing hammer when 
Thor is killed, and Widar will tear the jaws of the wolf asun- 
der. There will be an abode remote from the sun, with doors 
turned towards the north. In it poison will rain through a thou- 
sand gaps. It will be composed of the carcasses of serpents. 
Torrents will flow there, in which will be plunged perjurers, as- 
sassins, and those who seduce married women. A black winged 
dragon will incessantly hover about, and devour the bodies of the 
unhappy who are shut up therein. 

Notwithstanding the obscurity which pervades these descrip- 
tions, we see by them that the Scandinavians held as a doctrine of 
their religion, the immortality of the soul, and future rewards and 
punishments. This idea was general among the Celts; and up- 
on it they founded the obligation to serve the gods, and to be brave 
in battle. Were it not for that monument of the Icelandic mytho- 
logy, which we have referred to, we should know but httle of the 
religion of our forefathers. 

The Iceland mythology expressly distinguishes two different 
n.bodes for the happy, and as many for the guilty. 

The first was the palace of Odin, called Valhalla, where that 

god received all who died a violent death, from the beginning of 

,the world down to that general downfall of nature, which was to 

|(e followed by a second generation. 

The second was the palace covered with gold, where the just 



NORTHERN EUROP£. 279 

were to rejoice eternally after the renewing of all things. In re- 
gard to the places of punishment, two were likewise distinguished. 
One of which, called JVislheim, was to last only until the end of the 
world; and the other, called JS^astroud, was to be eternal. The first 
two future abodes seemed to be intended rather to reward courage 
and violence than virtue. Those only who died in battle, had a 
right to the happiness which Odin prepared in the Valhalla. All 
wounds received in battle, were there healed by the trumpet's 
sounding for the feast; and then the heroes quaffed the oil of En- 
herium, and the Valkyrias filled their cups. All who died not im- 
brued with blood, had the fear of entering into Nislheim, a man- 
sion composed of nine worlds, and reserved principally for those 
who should die of sickness or old age. Hela or Death there ex- 
ercised her empire; her palace was Grief (Elidnir;) her table. 
Hunger (Hungr;) her servants. Lethargy (Ganglati,) and Delay 
(Ganghol;) the threshold of her door, Precipice; her bed, Disease 
(Kor;) and her looks froze with aflfright. The dog of darkness, 
resembhng the Grecian Cerberus, guarded the entrance of Nisl- 
heim. 

From the foregoing account it would seem, that the Scandina- 
vians and the people of the north made war their chief occupa- 
tion, and carried valour even to the excess of fanaticism. 

"Uprose the king of men with speed, 
And saddled strait, his coal-black steed; 
Down the yawning steep he rode, 
That leads to Hela's drear abode. 
Him the dog of darkness spied; 
His shaggy throat he opened wide, 
"While from his jaws with carnage fill'd. 
Foam and human gore distill'd. 
Hoarse he bays, with hideous din. 
Eyes that glow, and fangs that grin." 

Gray's Descent of Odin. 



VALVA. 

"Hard by the eastern gate of hell 
In ancient time great Valva fell; 
And there she lies in massive tomb, 
Shrouded by night's eternal gloom. 
Fairer than gods, and wiser, she 
Held the strange keys of destiny, 
Ere world there was, or gods, or man; 
No mortal tongue has ever said, 
What hand unknown laid Valva dead. 
But yet if rumour rightly tells, 
In her cold bones the spirit dwells; 
And still if bold intruder come, 
Her voice unfolds his hidden doom, 




280 MYTHOLOGY OF 

And oft the rugged ear of hell 
Is sooth'd by some melodious spell, 
Slow bieathing from the hollow stone 
In witching notes and solemn tone." 

. Herbert's Helga. 

THE SONG OF VALVA. 

"Silence, all ye sons of glory! 

Silence^, all ye powers of light! 
While I sing of ancient story, 

Wonders wrapt in mystic night. 

I was rock'd in giants' cradle. 

Giants' lore my wisdom gave; 
I have known both good and evil, 

Now I lie in lowly grave. 

Long before the birth of Odin, 

Mute was thunderous ocean's roar; 

Stillness o'er the huge earth brooding. 
Strand was none, nor rocky shore. 

Neither grass nor green tree growing, 
Vernal shower, nor wintry storm; 

Nor those horses, bright and glowing, 
Dragg'd the Sun's refulgent form. 

He who rules, by night, the heaven, 
Wist not where his beams to throw; 

All to barren darkness given. 
There, confusion; hell below. 

Imir sate in lonely sadness, 

Watching o'er the fruitless globe; 

Never morning beam'd with gladness; 
Never eve, with dewy robe. 

Who are those in pride advancing. 
Through the barren tract of night? 

Mark their steel divinely glancing, 
Imir falls in holy fight! 

Of his bones, the rocks high swelling, 

Of his flesh the glebe is made; 
From his veins the tide is swelling, 

And his locks are verdant shade. 

Hark! his crest with gold adorning. 

Chanticleer on Odin calls. 
Hark! another bird of morning. 

Claps his wings in HeU's halls. 




JSORTHERN EUROPE. 281 

Nature shines in glory beaming; 

Elves are born, and man is form'd; 
Ev'ry hill with gladness teeming, 

Ev'ry shape with life is warm'd. 

Who is he by heav'n's high portal. 

Beaming like the light of morn? 
'Tis Heimdallar's form immortal. 

Shrill resounds his golden horn. 

Say, proud Warder, rob'd in glory, 

Are the foes of nature nigh? 
Have they climb'd the mountains hoary? 

Have .they storm'd the lofty sky? 

On the wings of tempest riding, 

Surtur spreads his fiery spell; 
Elves in secret caves are hidmg; 

Odin meets the wolf of hell. 

She must taste a second sorrow, 

She who wept when Balder bled; 
Fate demands a nobler quarry; 

Death must light on Odin's head. 

See ye not yon silent stranger? 

Proud he moves with low'ring eyes, 
Odin, mark thy stern avenger! 

Slain the shaggy monster lies. 

See the serpent weakly crawling, 

Thor has bruis'd its loathsome head; 
Lol the stars from heav'n are fallingi 

Earth has sunk in ocean's bedl 

Glorious Sun, thy beams are shrouded. 

Vapours dark around thee sail; 
Nature's eye with mists is clouded. 

Shall the powers of ill prevail? 

Say, shall earth with freshness teeming. 

Once again from ocean rise? 
Shall the dawn of glory streaming. 

Wake us to immortal joys? 

He shall come in might eternal, 

He whom eye hath never seen; 
Earth and heav'n and powers infernal, 

Mark his port and awful mien. 

He shall judge, and he shall sever. 

Shame from glory, ill from good; 
These shall live in light for ever. 

Those shall wade the chilling flood. 
24* 



282 MYTHOLOGY OF 

Dark to dwell in wo repining-, 

Far beyond the path of day; 
In that bower where serpents twining. 

Loathsome spit their venom'd spray." 

Herbert's Helga. 



CHAPTER V. 

Progress of the Religion of the People of the JSTorth. 

The Celtic religion generally taught, that it was offending the 
gods to pretend to lock them up in an inclosure of walls. In Den- 
mark, in Sweden, and in Norway, amidst plains and on hills, are 
still found altars about which they assembled for sacrifices and 
other religious ceremonies. Three large rocks raised upon the 
summit of a small hill, serve as a basis to a large flat stone, under 
which is ordinarily a cavity, which probably served to receive the 
blood of victims. Firestones were commonly found, for no fire ex- 
cept that of their altars, was considered pure enough for so holy a 
purpose. Sometimes these altars were constructed with more ele- 
gance, greater regularity, and nicer proportions. In Selande one 
still remains, the stones of which are of a prodigious size. Even 
at this day, men might well hesitate to undertake a similar work, 
although with the advantage over its original builders, of the power- 
ful aid of machinery. What increases our astonishment is, that the 
stones of which this structure is composed, are very rare in the isle 
of Selande; for which reason they must have been transported a 
great distance — monuments more lasting than any of modern art or 
industry. At all times, men have thought that in order to honour 
deity more highly, they ought to make for him some prodigious 
efforts, and to consecrate to him their riches. Europe and Asia 
lavished their treasures to construct the temple at Ephesus. The 
people of the North, whose strength, courage,patience, and perse- 
verance, constituted their sole riches, bore heavy masses of rocks 
on to the tops of hills. In some places in Norway, are also found 
grottoes cut in the rock with wonderful patience, and intended for 
religious purposes. 

In proportion as the people of the North formed new alliances 
with other nations, their religion underwent alterations; step by 
step new temples were raised, and new idols were adopted. The 
three principal tribes or hordes of Scandinavia, erected temples to 
Envy; but none, it is said, was more famous than that at Upsal in 
Sweden. Gold there glittered on every side. A chain of that me- 
tal surrounded the roof, though its circumference was nine hun- 
dred ells. Haquin, count of Norway, had built one near Drontheim, 
almost equal to that of Upsal. When Olaus, king of Norway, em- 
braced the Christian faith, he caused that temple and its idols to be 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 283 

razed and broken. There were found in it immense riches; and 
among other things, a very costly golden ring. 

Iceland had also its temples. *The chronicles mention two that 
were highly celebrated, situated^ the one in the north, the other in 
the south of the island. In each of these temples, says an author 
of that country, was a particular chapel^, or sacred woody place. It 
was there that idols were placed upon an altar, around which were 
ranged the victims that were to be immolated; and near the chapel 
there was a deep well, into which victims were thrown headlong. 
All these temples were razed when Denmark embraced Christi- 
anity, and the very remembrance of the places which they occupi- 
ed, is lost; but some tables of altars, dispersed in the woods and 
on the mountains, still testify that the ancient Danes were no less 
attached to that worship than the other nations of the North. 

The large temple at Upsal seemed to be particularly consecrat- 
ed to the three great divinities. They were there represented by 
their peculiar symbols. Odin held a sword in his hand. Thor,on 
the left of Odin, had a crown on his head, a sceptre in one hand, 
and a club in the other. Sometimes he was represented in a cha- 
riot drawn by two wooden he-goats, with a silver bridle, and his 
head crowned with stars. Frigga, on the left of Thor, was repre- 
sented with various attributes, among which the goddess of plea- 
sure might be recognized. 

Odin was honored as the god of battle and of victory; Thor, as 
the ruler of the seasons, and dispenser of rain, drought, and fer- 
tility; Frigga, as the goddess of love and marriage. 

They held three great festivals in the year. The first was cele- 
brated at the winter solstice. The night was called the night- 
mother^ as being that which produced all others. This epoch also 
marked the beginning of their year, which, among the people of 
the North generally, was computed from one winter solstice to the 
other. This feast, the most solemn of all, was called Juul, and 
was celebrated in honor of Thor or of the sun, to obtain a fertile 
year. During its continuance, like the Roman Saturnalia, marks 
of the most dissolute joy were allowed. The second feast was 
instituted in honour of Earth or of the goddess Frigga. Pleasures, 
fecundity, and victory, were invoked. It was placed in the 
crescent of the second moon of the year. 

The third feast, in honor of Odin, was celebrated with a great 
deal of elact at the commencement of spring; at which time they 
asked of that god, much fighting and success in projected enter- 
prizes. 

In early times, their offerings were simple, such as a pastoral 
people could afford. The first fruits of crops, and the most beau- 
tiful fruits of the earth, covered the altars of the gods. But in 
process of time, animals came to be immolated. To Thor were 
offered fattened horses and oxen; to Frigga, the largest hog that 
could be found; and to Odin, horses, dogs, and sometimes cocks 
and a fat bull. 



g84 MYTHOLOGY Ok' 

When it was once laid down as a principle, that the effusion of 
the blood of animals appeased the wrath of the gods, and averted 
the strokes intended for the punishment of the guilty, sacrifices 
were rapidly multiplied; and in public calamities, that blood ap- 
pearing too vile, they caused that of man to flow. This bar- 
barous and almost universal usage, has been traced to the highest 
antiquity; but the northern nations preserved it until the ninth cen- 
tury, because it was not until that period that they received the 
lights of Christianity, and the arts which had softened the manners 
of the Greeks, and Romans. The people of the North believed, 
that the number three was cherished by the gods. Every ninth 
month, or three times three, great sacrifices were renewed. They 
lasted nine days; and nine victims, either men or animals, were 
immolated. But the most solemn sacrifices were those which 
were made at Upsal every ninth year. Then, the king, the senate, 
and all distinguished individuals, were present, and brought their 
offerings which were placed in the large temple. The absent sent 
their presents, and the priests were charged to receive them. 
Strangers assembled in crowds. The access was shut to those 
who had lost their honor by some blemish, and especially to all 
who had lost their courage. 

In time of war, they chose their human victims among captives; 
and in peace, among criminals. Nine persons were immolated; 
the will of the assembly and the lot combined, regulated this 
choice. The unfortunate upon whom the lot fell, were treated 
with so many honors and caresses by the assembly, and had so 
many promises of life to come, that they sometimes congratulated 
themselves on their destiny. The choice did not always fall on 
those of vile blood; for the more dear and noble the victim, the 
more highly they imagined they redeemed the divine benevolence. 
The history of the North teems with examples of kings and other 
fathers who imposed silence on nature in order to obey this bar- 
barous custom. 

When the victim was chosen, it was conducted towards the 
altar, where the saci-ed fire was burning day and night. Among 
the vessels of iron and copper employed, one greater than the 
rest, served to receive the blood of victims. After having killed 
the animals, they opened their entrails to read futurity in them; 
and afterwards roasted the flesh, which was distributed in the 
assembly. When they immolated men, the victim was laid upon 
a large stone, where he was either choked or crushed. When 
the blood spouted with great impetuosity, it was considered one of 
the most favorable omens. The sad remains of human victims sacri- 
ficed, were either burned or suspended in a sacred wood near the 
temple. The blood was sprinkled partly upon the people, and 
partly upon the sacred wood. With it, they also besmeared the 
images of the gods, the altars, the benches, and the walls of the 
temple both within and without. Near the temple was a well, or 
deep spring, into which they sometimes cast a victim devoted to 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 285 

Frigga, the goddess of the earth. If it went quickly to the bot- 
tom, she was pleased, and graciously received it. On the contra- 
ry, if it floated, she refused it, and it was suspended in the sacred 
forest. Near the temple of Upsal was a wood of this kind, every 
tree and leaf of which was looked upon as most holy. This wood, 
called Odin's, was filled up with bodies of men and'of animals that 
had been sacrificed. They were sometimes carried off" and buried 
in honor of Thor, or the sun; and when the smoke arose quickly, 
the people doubted not but these offerings had been most agreea- 
ble to him. When they immolated a victim, the priest said: / 
devote thee to Odin, I send thee to Odin, or, I devote thee for a good 
crop, or, for the return of a good season. The ceremony was 
terminated by feasts, in which was displayed all the magnificence 
known in that age. The kings and chief lords first gave toasts or 
salutes in honor of the gods; after which each one drank whilst 
making his prayer or vow. 

Whatever horror we may now have for human sacrifices, it ne- 
vertheless appears by history, that this barbarous usage was once 
almost general on earth. The Gauls long offered men to their su- 
preme god, Esus or Teutal. The aboriginals of Sicily and Italy, 
the Britons, the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, and, indeed, al- 
most all the nations of Europe and Asia, have been covered with 
the same opprobrium. The Peruvians and the Mexicans likewise 
offered human sacrifices. The latter once immolated, on a single 
occasion, five thousand prisoners of war. The wandering people 
of Africa and of America, again, gave themselves up to this guilty 
folly. But we cease to wonder at it, when we consider how liable 
ignorant nations are to fall into error. Man is surrounded with 
dangers and evils from his birth; and if the protection of laws and 
the enlightening aid of science, religion, and the arts, do not soften 
his passions, and encourage him to tread in the path of virtue in 
the morning of fife; if they do not sweeten his temper, and spread 
over his soul that quietness and moderation which cause the social 
and kindlier affections to spring up, he is soon surrounded with a 
thousand black cares and terrors, which make him ferocious and 
distrustful. All those beings who share his wants,become his ideal 
enemies. Hence arises that thirst for revenge, and that eager- 
ness for the destruction of his fellow man, which cannot be 
quenched whilst he entertains no respect for justice, nor for the sa- 
cred rights of others: and hence too. those impious prejudices, and 
dark conceptions which make men imagine sanguinary gods like 
themselves. Hence, those bloody rites which plunge the blade into 
the breast of the unfortunate victim ofsuperstition, whilst pleading 
for his life, after having been stripped, by crime and force, from all 
other rights. 

The same spirit of inquietude which induced the people of Asia 
and Greece, to seek all available means to penetrate into the se- 
crets of futurity, operated with no less power upon the people of the 
North. In studying carefully the phenomena of nature, or rather, 



286 MYTHOLOGY OF 

what they considered as the visible operations of a deity, they hoped 
to succeed in ascertaining his tastes, incUnations, and will. Ora- 
cles, augurs, divinations, and a thousand of the like practices fol- 
lowed. 

The three Parcse whom we have mentioned, delivered oracles 
in temples. That of Upsal was the most celebrated, on account 
of its replies, as well as its sacrifices. 

It was generally thought, that some diviners had familiar spirits, 
which did^not leave them, and which they could consult, under the 
form of small idols. It was also believed, that others conjured the 
manes from their tombs, and forced them to relate the destinies. 
Odin gave out, that he had this power; an ancient Icelandic ode 
describes him as descending into hell, where he consults a celebrat- 
ed prophetess. 

Ignorance, which caused poetry to be considered as supernatu- 
ral, caused the behef, that the Runic characters or letters contain- 
ed mysterious and magic virtues. Odin, who was looked upon as 
the inventor of these characters, asserted that, by their means, he 
could raise the dead to life. 

There were Runic letters appropriated to obtain victory, to cure 
the evils of the body, and to dissipate sorrow. The same charac- 
ters were employed in all the different cases; but their combina- 
tion, and the manner of tracing them, were varied. Sometimes it 
was from the right to the left, or from the left to the right; now 
from the top to the bottom, and then in a circle, or against the 
course of the sun. 

We shall not dwell upon the mortifying spectacle of the credu- 
lity, ignorance, and errors of men. What we have related, is 
sufficient to show how necessary it is that they should be guided 
by lights superior to those of their reason. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Researches into the ancient religion of the primitive inhabitants of 
Great Britain. 

During the infancy of states, as during that of men, shining ac- 
tions are rare: the arts and sciences do not arise but in succeeding 
ages. Historians do not exist, but among already civilized na- 
tions; and hence, the few facts of early ages that come to us, are 
the exaggerated and altered accounts handed down by uncertain 
tradition. 

We have already observed, that most nations give for their foun- 
ders, either gods or imaginary heroes. We have shown that the 
Greeks made similar exertions to veil their real origin; but that their 
fables, which were a fantastical admixture of real remembrances and 
of the flights of imagination, become records which, to no small ex- 
tent, depose in favour of truth. 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 287 

The name of a god often appears to be that of a sage, sometimes 
designated by a word taken from a foreign language; and these 
etymologies are the traces which truth leaves behind her, and 
which all the exertions of self love cannot efface. 

In the general view, by which we have attempted to trace out 
the origin of idolatry and the history of mythology, it evidently 
appears, that it is to the Oriental countries we must look, if we 
wish to find the cradle of the human race. The more we search 
into history, the more clearly it appears that those rich and 
flourishing countries were the native soil of our first parents; and 
that they were also the brilliant centre whence the arts and 
sciences irradiated spread over the rest of the world. 

It would be difficult, perhaps even impossible, to ascertain how, 
and at what precise time, the British i^les became inhabited. The 
study of natural history induces us to believe, that they formerly 
made a part of the European continent; but neither the memory 
nor the monuments of men have preserved any record which 
might mdicate the period of their separation. It is well enough 
to extend our observations to those ages and early histories which 
have left some vestiges, where the mind can walk without being 
swallowed up in useless and audacious speculations and imagin- 
ings. But human vanity will in vain attempt to roll back the 
current of time; whose longest period will be but an impercepti- 
ble point in eternity which precedes and follows it. 

Without pretending to indicate the time in which England was 
first peopled, it is probable that Gaul was inhabited before it was. 
It is natural to suppose that men ventured through the seas in 
order to fix themselves in the isles, only when they had become 
somewhat populous. 

We know that the Celts were once the masters of Europe, 
from the mouth of the Obi in Russia to Cape Finisterre. The 
same language having been adopted among those nations sepa- 
rated from each other by immense forests, is the only monument 
which remains to us to point out that fact; but it throws no hght 
on the beginning of their history. 

The most renowned of all the Celts, are those who inhabited 
Gaul; and it is to the historians of the nations against whom they 
carried on frequent wars, that they owe their celebrity. Julius 
Cesar and Tacitus relate, that Great Britain was the first country 
which the Celtic Gauls peopled. 

The relative situation of those countries, renders their state- 
ment probable; and the conformity of language and of customs 
which existed between the Britons and the Gauls, leaves no doubt 
of their having had a common origin. It appears that the Gallic 
colony at first settled in that portion of the island which is oppo- 
site to Gaul. They then extended towards the north, and gradu- 
ally.peopled the whole island. 

Whatever may have been the origin of the inhabitants of Great 
Britain, they were numerous enough, and, above all, courageous 



288 MYTHOLOGY OF 

enough, to resist the Romans, who were then masters of the 
known world. 

Their government was at that time a mixture of monarchy and 
aristocracy. The chiefs watched over the execution of the laws; 
but the legislative power was vested in the hands of the druids. 
The people regarded as the infallible organs of divinity, those 
pontiffs so celebrated by their divination, and that of their wives, 
by their pretended intercourse with heaven, and by their manner 
of living, which was as austere as retired. It was by the influ- 
ence of those supreme pontiffs, that the nation united under one 
chief, whose magistracy, resembling the Roman dictatorship, was 
not to last longer than during the time necessary to terminate 
wars, and remove dangers. 

The druids long preserved that high authority among the Celts, 
especially in Great Britain; but, after the beginning of the second 
century, their credit decreased, because wars were multiplied, and 
the nobility, hurried away by its bloody carnage, no more pressed 
so many to enter into that order. The number of priests accord- 
ingly diminished; and the precepts of religion were soon altered 
and almost forgotten in the tumults of camps. 

Victory favouring those of the chiefs who were called Vergo- 
brets, (a title equal to that of kings,) rendered their power more 
independent of the druids. Tremnor, great-grandfather to the 
celebrated Fingal, had been elected vergobert by the victorious 
tribes that he had conducted to victory. The druids w^ere deput- 
ed to him to order him to resign his power. The refusal of Trem- 
nor caused a civil war, in which a very large number of druids 
perished. Those who escaped the carnage, hid themselves in the 
heart of forests and in caves, where they devoted themselves to 
meditation; and the vergobrets or kings seized the whole au- 
thority. 

In the meantime, in order to strengthen their power, to render 
homage to religion, and to have chanters of their exploits, the 
kings and chiefs of the tribes recalled the bards from the heart of 
the forests. The function of the druids, of an inferior rank, was 
to sing the gods and heroes. The conquero^-s, jealous of immor- 
talizing their names, spared these dispensers of glory; attracted 
them into their camps; where gratitude and rewards animated the 
bards to paint their protectors as heroes endowed with all virtues. 
Those druids were admitted to a knowledge of science, and asso- 
ciated in the mysteries of the first pontiffs. Their genius and 
knowledge elevated them above the vulgar. They consecrated 
their songs to the picture of all virtues and all heroic sentiments. 
The kings were eager to take for their models the heroes of the 
poems imagined by the bards. The chiefs of tribes strove to 
equal the kings; and this noble emulation, communicating itself to 
the whole nation, formed the general characteristic of the inhabi- 
tants of Great Britain, who, at all times have known how to unite 
lofty valour with the finest virtues of civilized nations. 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 289 

The glory of a great nation awakens the genius of the man 
whom nature has endowed with a glowing imagination; and he 
burns with the idea of immortalizing his country. Vulgar language 
appears to him to fall below the dignity of those actions which he 
wishes to celebrate. He knows that measure and harmony will 
more easily impress his sentiments on the memory: and hence, no 
doubt, is the origin of poetry among all nations; an art which 
constituted a considerable portion of the rehgion of the Druids. 

The practice among all nations, of repeating historic poems on 
solemn occasions, and of causing children to learn them, has 
been the mean of preserving them long without the help of 
writing. 

The ancient Germans transmitted, until the eighth century, 
poetical traditions by this means. It is not, then, to be wonder- 
ed at, that the inhabitants of Great Britain, always so attached to 
the remembrance of their ancestors, should have transmitted from 
generation to generation, the poems of their bards. It is to that 
usage, continued among the remote inhabitants of the mountains, 
that Macpherson owed the possibility of collecting the poesies of 
the celebrated Ossian. 

After having long been the first instructers and the early histo- 
rians of their country, the bards descended from those high offices 
to that of being the flatterers of those who protected them, 
or the slanderers of those whom they looked upon as their ene- 
mies. 

Petty passions have always the fatal tendency of misleading, 
and frequently of even extinguishing, genius. The bards, forgetting 
the noble inspirations of their predecessors, sought no other employ- 
ment than that of amusing and flattering self-love: and even pride 
itself grows weary of the praises of which it inwardly acknowledges 
itself unworthy. The great soon learned to despise the mean flat- 
teries of the bards. They were welcomed only by the multitude; 
but not having talents enough to paint truth in interesting colours, 
they had recourse to puerile inventions. The wonderful ridicule 
of bewitching castles, fairies, and giants, succeeded the sub- 
limest conceptions of real poetry, until their folly and trash dis- 
gusted even the common people themselves. Hence, they forsook 
the bards, who nearly disappeared. 

The warriors, nevertheless, preserved their valour, and would 
not altogether renounce the briUiant honour of hearing their ex- 
ploits celebrated. Courage, and the noble desire of assisting the 
oppressed and of redressing grievances, caused the spirit of chi- 
valry to spring up. It produced prodigies of heroism, and great 
actions revived the genius of some. These came to replace the 
bards, under the name of Troubadours. And, this appears to be a 
suitable place to drop a remark on the origin of those romances of 
chivalry, so singular and so extravagantly beautiful, that they still 
raise our admiration. In reading them, we are almost at a stand 
concerning their truth. What an idea must we have of knights, 
25 



590 MYTHOLOGY OF 

who wished to be painted in the romances of the Round Table, of 
the St. Greal, of the Amadis, and so on! 

It is worthy of remark, that it was in Great Britain, that the 
Troubadours and the old romancers, the heroes of the early ro- 
mances of chivalry, first arose. It may also be observed, that al 
the historians, after having represented the druids as pontiffs, far 
superior to others, unite in placing- the druids of England above 
the druids of other countries. They extol those of the college 
of Chartres, those of the forest of Marseilles, and of the envi- 
rons of Toulouse; but assert that, when in those colleges, there 
was proposed a subject which involved deep discussion, it was 
sent to be examined in the school of the' druids of Great Britain. 
From this series of observations, it appears that, from the most 
ancient times, the inhabitants of Great Britain have astonished 
the rest of the world by their wisdom, their knowledge, and their 
bravery. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Religious tenets of the primitive inhabitants of Great Britain, 

It appears evident that the early Britons raised no temples to 
divinity. It is even found in the poesies of Ossian that this sub- 
lime bard shows contempt for the temples and worship of Odin, 
god of the Scandinavians, whom he calls Loda. Ossian repre- 
sents those people as invoking their god, around a statue which he 
calls the stone of power. He condemns this worship, and consi- 
ders it as impious. The Druids, the bards, and the people whom 
they instructed, considered all nature as the temple of divinity. 
It cannot be doubted that they had ideas of the existence of a 
Supreme Being, since they believed in the immortality of the soul, 
and in the rewards and punishments of another life. 

According to their notions, the clouds were the residence of 
souls after their separation from the body. Valiant and virtuous 
men were received with joy into the ethereal palaces of their fa- 
thers^ while the wicked, the slothful, and the barbarous, were ex- 
cluded from the residence of the heroes, and condemned to wan- 
der over the winds. There were different apartments in the pa- 
laces of the clouds. Merit and bravery obtained the first; and 
this idea tended to redouble the emulation of warriors. The soul 
preserved the same tastes as during life. In the ethereal state of 
existence, though in a higher degree, were conferred the same ho- 
nours as on earth. 

It was thought that departed souls commanded the winds and 
tempests; but that their power was not extended over men. A hero 
could never enter into the palace of his fathers, unless he had 
sung over him the funeral hymn. This hymn appears to have 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 291 

been the only essential ceremony of their obsequies. The body 
was laid on a bed of clay, in the bottom of a ditch six or eight 
feet deep. By the side ©f a warrior were placed his sword and 
twelve arrows. His body was again covered with a second bed of 
clay, upon which a wooden stag, or some other wild beast, was 
placed. Sometimes his favorite mastiff was killed to be placed on the 
claybed, and covered with a piece of select earth, and four stones 
ranged on the four sides, which marked the extent of the tomb. 

A bard alone could open the gates of the ethereal palace, by 
singing the funeral hymn. The neglect of this ceremony, left the 
soul in the mists of the lake Lego, or of some other water, and 
to the forgotten and unfortunate souls were attributed the fre- 
quent and sometimes mortal diseases which are caused by the va- 
pours of lakes and marshes. People foresaw with what care the 
bards kept up the opinions which rendered their ministry so con- 
solatory and so necessary. 

It was not thought that death could break the bonds of blood 
and friendship. The shades were interested in all the fortunate 
or unfortunate events of their Uving friends. No nation has giv- 
en stronger belief in apparitions. The mountaineers, above all, 
delighted with the mostgloomy ideas, and often went tospend nights 
upon the heaths; where the whistHng of the winds and the 
noise of the torrents caused them to imagine that they heard the 
voices of the dead; and when sleep came to surprise them amidst 
their reveries, they considered their dreams as certain presages of 
futurity. 

The good and evil spirits did not appear in the same manner: 
the good showed themselves to their friends during the day- 
time, and in smiling and solitary vales; the evil, never appeared 
but in the night, amidst storms and winds. 

Death did not destroy the charms of the beautiful. Their 
shades preserved the traits and forms of their earthly beauty: ter- 
ror never surrounded them; and, when they traversed the air, 
their motions were graceful, and the light noise which was heard, 
was gentle and soothing. At the moment of executing any great 
undertaking, the souls of fathers were thought to descend from 
their clouds, and come to predict good or ill success: and although 
they did not suffer themselves to be perceived, yet they gave warn- 
ings by some kind of omen. Every man believed he had his tute- 
lary shade, that incessantly followed him. When death was ap- 
proaching him, the protecting spirit appeared to him in the situa- 
tion where he was to die, and uttered plaintive cries. At the 
death of great personages, it was believed that the souls of de- 
parted bards sung for three nights about his phantom. 

It was generally thought that, as soon as a warrior ceased to 
exist, the arms which he had at home, appeared to be stained with 
blood; that his shade visited the place of his birth, and appeared 
to his mastiff, which made doleful bowlings at its aspect. 

The most natural effects which their ignorance could not com' 



292 MYTHOLOGY OF 

prehend, were attributed to the agency of spirits. The echo which 
struck upon the ear, was the voice of the spirit of the mountain. 
The deafening noise which precedes tempests, was the roaring of 
the spirit of the hill. If the wind made the harps of bards re- 
sound, it was the shades, who, by that light toucli, predicted the 
death of a great personage. A chief or a king never lost his life, 
unless the harps of the bards attached to his family, rendered that 
prophetic sound. How pleasant it must have appeared to one, to 
believe all nature peopled with the shades of his ancestors and 
friends, and to fancy himself constantly surrounded by them. In 
spite of all the melancholy which such ideas inspired, yet how deeply 
interesting and touchingly charming they must have been! They 
were enough to feast and fill up the most poetic imagination. It 
is to that cause that we must, no doubt, attribute the smallness of 
the number of deities which were honoured in England. It ap- 
pears very evident, that Esus.Dis, Pluto, Samothes, Teutates, and 
various other gods, had not come to their knowledge until by their 
communication with foreigners. The Picts and the Saxons ac- 
quainted them with their Andate, the goddess of victory: the Ro- 
mans also brought them some of their gods. Tacitus and Dion 
Cassius assure us, that it was the Gauls who brought into England 
the horrible custom of immolating human victims. In farther ex- 
tending our researches, we might also find among them vestiges of 
the worship of the Phoenicians; for we have ample proof, that in 
very remote times, those first navigators of the world, brought 
their goods into Great Britain, and exchanged them for lead and 
tin. But we need not enter on farther particulars in relation to 
the worship they acquired from foreigners, since all historians, all 
their traditions, and all their customs, sufficiently prove that the 
religion of the Druids, was the only one that was generally adopted. 
We will now occupy the reader for a few moments by present- 
ing what history and tradition have preserved and transmitted as 
certain, with respect to that class of men so singular and celebrat- 
ed — the Druids. 



CHAPTER VIII. 
Of the Druids. 

Cesar and Tacitus contradict each other; the former, by saying 
that the religion of the Druids had its birth in England; the latter, 
by alleging that the Gauls in peopling that island, carried their 
mysteries with them. 

In order to reconcile the two authors, says the Abbe Banier, it 
may be supposed that the Gauls in passing into England, carried 
thither their religion; but that those islanders, being more reflec- 
ting, and less warlike, than the Gauls, preserved it in its purity. 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 293 

Such, adds he, is the origin of the profound respect which the Druids 
of Gaul had for those of England, whom they considered as their 
superiors. 

The world, continues the Abbe, at first formed but one common 
family, and had but one creed. In separating from each other, 
men charged their primitive religion, and lost its purity. Some, 
coming by land from the North, under the name of Scythians, 
Celtic-Scythians, and Celts, peopled the vast regions which sepa- 
rate us from Asia; others, more bold, attempted the perils of the 
sea. History informs us that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians 
penetrated even into the heart of the west: and hence, no doubt, 
that resemblance of worship among people so widely separated, 
both by sea and land. 

This view clearly explains the parallel which has often been 
drawn between the Magi and the Druids, and shows that the Gauls 
might have held the religion of the Persians, or, at least, of the 
people who bordered on them by the North. 

The Magi and the Druids, equally venerated in their respective 
countries, were always consulted on matters of great importance. 
They were equally the sole ministers of their religion. The Magi 
rejected the opinion which gives to the gods a human origin, and 
did not separate them into gods and goddesses. It was the same 
with the Druids. Both governed the state, and the kings consult- 
ed them. Their white garbs were alike. Golden ornaments were 
equally interdicted to them. As the organs and distributors of 
justice, they passed sentences, and watched over those whom they 
loaded with that august function. 

The immortahty of the soul was the capital point of belief among 
both the Persians and the Gauls: both had neither temples nor sta- 
tues. The Persians adored the fire; the Druids kept up a perpetu- 
al fire in their forests. The Persians rendered to the water a re- 
ligious worship; and the Gauls likewise rendered the same honours 
to that element. These resemblances are sufiicient to make it appear 
evident that the religion of the Magi and that of the Druids had the 
same origin; the differences between them might have been easily 
caused by wars, separation, and time. 

The religion of the Gauls appears to have always been purer 
than that of other heathen nations.' Their ideas on divinity were 
much more, just and spiritual than those of the Greeks and Ro- 
mans. Tacitus, Maximus Tyrius, and other historians, inform us 
that the Druids believed the Supreme Being ought to be honour- 
ed by respect and silence, as well as by sacrifices; but that primi- 
tive simplicity continued only until the conquests of the Romans. 
The Druids, forgetting their primitive wisdom, became addicted to 
divination and magic, and tolerated those horrible sacrifices in 
which human victims were immolated to Esus and Teutates. Ta- 
citus, Lactantius, and Lucian, attest to this cruel degradation. 

The conquests of Julius Cesar introduced new gods into Gaul; 
and the first temples were at that time built there, whilst the Bri- 
25* 



294 MYTHOLOGY OP 

tish Druids continued the exercise of their antique religion, amidst 
the forests, the majestic shades of which inspired religious awe and 
holy fear. Those woods were so sacred among them, that it was 
not permitted to cut them down. No one could approach them 
but with a religious respect, though for the purpose of adorning 
them with flowers and trophies. People could not employ for or- 
dinary purposes, certain trees, even when they fell with old age. 
That respect clung to the grand idea that they had divinity; and 
they were persuaded that temples could not include it, nor statues 
represent it. 

The Gauls had the highest respect for lakes and marshes, be- 
cause they thought that divinity loved to inhabit them. The most 
celebrated of those lakes, was that of Toulouse, into which they 
cast gold and silver, taken from their enemies. To this worship 
was joined that of rivers, creeks, fountains, and fire. 

In the middle of those forests, the Gauls had spaces consecrated 
to worship and to religious ceremonies. It was there that they 
buried treasures taken from their enemies; and also, that prisoners 
were immolated, enclosed in colossuses of osier, and afterwards 
surrounded with combustible materials, and consumed by fire. 
Cesar caused those secret places to be plundered by his troops. 
Hence, misinformed historians have asserted, that the ancient 
Gauls had temples. '^Those people," says Tacitus, "have nothing 
for their temple but a forest, where they discharge the duties of 
their religion. No one can enter into that wood, unless he bears 
a chain, a mark of his dependence, and of the supreme dominion 
which God has over him." 

Nothing is more celebrated in the history of the ancient Gauls 
than the forests of the country of Chartres. The forests of Mar- 
seilles and Toulouse were almost as noted. In the middle of them 
were held the schools of the Druids of Gaul. Chartres was, as it 
were, the metropolis of Gaul; but those three colleges united in ac- 
knowledging the superiority of the knowledge which the Druids of 
Great Britain had over them. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Of the different classes of Priests; their manner of living; their 
dress and functions. 

The name Druids comes, no doubt, from the Celtic word deru, 
which means oak. The religious instructors of the ancient Bri- 
tons were, divided into different classes. The Druids composed the 
first class. They were the supreme chiefs; so that the inferior 
orders were entirely subject to their will, and could not even re- 
main in their presence, unless they had obtained their permission. 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 295 

The inferior ministers were the Bards, the Saronides, and the 
Cubages or Vates. 

The Bards, whose Celtic name means a chanter, celebrated in 
verse the actions of heroes, and sung them accompanied by the 
harp. So great value was attached to their verses, that they were 
often the means of immortalizing them. The Bards, though less 
powerful than the Druids, enjoyed so high consideration, tl^at if 
they presented themselves at the moment in which two armies 
were going to combat, or even after they had commenced it, they 
laid down their arms to listen to their advice. The Bards were 
not wholly confined to sing the praises of heroes; but they had like- 
wise the right of censuring the actions of those who swerved from 
the path of duty. 

The Saronides instructed youth, and inspired them with virtuous 
sentiments. 

The Cubages or Vates had the care of sacrifices, and applied 
themselves to the contemplation of nature. In time, the Druids re- 
served for themselves alone the offices of religion, and the subal- 
tern ministers exercised no other functions than those granted by 
the Druids. 

The origin of those pontiffs is lost in the remotest antiquity. 
Aristotle, Phocion, and many others before them, describe them as 
men among the wisest and most enlightened in matters of religion. 
So high an idea was entertamed of their learning, that Cicero con- 
siders them the inventors of mythology. 

The Druids, hidden in their forests, led an austere life. Thither 
the nations went to consult them; and Julius Cesar, who usually 
admired nothing but what was splendid, was so astonished at their 
manner of living and their science, that he could not withhold from 
them his esteem. 

The Druids formed diflferent colleges in Gaul; the most celebrat- 
ed of which was that of the country of Chartres, whose chief was the 
sovereign .pontiff of Gaul. It was in the forests of that country 
that the greatest sacrifices were offered up, and the great men and 
generals of the country assembled. Both young and old among the 
Druids, conformed to the same principles and the same rules. 
Their clothing differed a little according to the provinces in which 
they lived, and the degrees which they held. 

The ceremony of entering upon the profession, was performed 
by their receiving the embrace of the old Druids. The candidate, 
after having passed through it, exchanged his usual dress for that 
of the Druids, which was a tunic falling half way down the legs. 
This dress designated priesthood, to which women could never be 
admitted. 

The authority of the Druids was so great, that none undertook 
any important afikir without consulting them. They presided over 
the state; decided" upon peace and war at pleasure; punished the 
guilty; and could depose magistrates and even kings, when they 
did not observe the laws of the country. Their rank was superior 



296 MYTHOLOGY OF 

to that of nobles. All bowed before them; and it was to their care 
that the education of the most distinguished youths was entrusted} 
so that they prepared them, from «arly life, to be impressed with 
a deep sense of respect for the Druids. 

To them belonged the right of appointing those who were to 
govern cities. They could raise one of those magistrates even to 
the dignity of vergobret, which equalled that of a king; but this 
pretended king could do nothing without the advice of the Druids. 
They alone convoked the counciJ; so that the vergobrets were 
merely the ministers and the first subjects of the Druids. 

The supreme arbiters of all differences, and all the interests of 
the people, justice was administered only by their ministry. They 
decided equally on public and private affairs. When, in a law-suit, 
they adjudged a disputed estate to him whom they designated as 
the legitimate possessor, his adversary was obliged to submit, or 
he was struck with an anathema, and then all sacrifice was inter- 
dicted to him; the whole nation considered him as impious, and 
dared no longer to communicate with him. 

As the Druids were charged with all the high offices of religion, 
their power was unbounded. Sacrifices, offerings, public and pri- 
vate prayers, the science of predicting future events, the care of 
consulting the gods, of replying in their names, and of studying 
nature; the right of establishing new ceremonies and new laws, of 
watching over the execution of the old, or of reforming them, were 
the offices and the unlimited powers which they enjoyed undis- 
puted. 

Their state dispensed with their going to war, and exempted 
them from all taxes. The number of aspirants after that order, 
was immense, and all classes and professions were admitted; but 
they were checked by the great length of probation demanded, and 
by the indispensable necessity of learning and retaining in memo- 
ry the prodigious number of verses which contained their maxims on 
religion and political economy. 

Anciently, Gallic women could be admitted to the rank of Drui- 
desses, and enjoy all the prerogatives of the order; but they exer- 
cised their functions separately from men. Their divination had, 
at one time, rendered them more celebrated than the Druids them- 
selves. 

When Hannibal passed into Gaul, they still enjoyed supreme 
rights; for it was said in a treaty which he made with the Gauls: 
"If a Carthaginian should do wrong to a Gaul, the cause would 
be brought to the tribunal of Gallic women." In aftertimes, the 
Druids stripped them of that authority; but the epoch of this usur- 
pation is unknown. 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 297 



CHAPTER X. 

Doctrine of the Druids; their Superstitions; ceremony of the Oak' 
misletoe. 

The doctrines of the Druids tended to render men wise, just, 
valiant, and religious. The fundamental points were reduced to 
three: Worship the gods; Injure no body; and Be courageous. Their 
sciences, says Pomponius Mela, was to know the form and great- 
ness of the Supreme Being, the course of the stars and of their re- 
volutions. They pretended to know the whole of the universe; and 
the retirement in which they lived, allowed them all the time ne- 
cessary to inform themselves. 

It cannot be doubted that the Druids and the Gauls generally, 
considered the soul as immortal; and it was the belief in that sub- 
lime truth, which caused them to consider death as a sure means 
of attaining to a more happy life. They made a great difference 
between those who died peaceably amidst their relatives and 
friends, and those who lost their life in serving their country. The 
former were interred without ceremony, without eulogy, without 
songs of honour. It was thought that when warriors lost their lives, 
and that their names were transmitted to future generations, they 
departed to taste an eternal happiness in the bosom of divinity. They 
had tombs and epitaphs. But the blessings of the immortality of 
the soul were not to be universal. They who had adorned their 
lives by no exploit, either warlike or splendid, or otherwise contri- 
buting to the general good, were considered as condemned to ob- 
livion. This illiberal idea sprung out of the warlike genius of the 
Gauls and other Celts, who followed nothing but the profession of 
arms. 

The Druids taught that one day water and fire would destroy 
all things. They believed in the doctrine of metempsychosis, 
which they could not have learned from Pythagoras, since they 
taught it long before that philosopher travelled into Gaul. 

From time immemorial, they were accustomed to bury the dead, 
or to enclose their ashes in urns. They placed in the tombs, the 
arms of the dead, their valuable furniture, and the cedula of mo- 
ney which they had lent . They wrote even letters to their friends, 
though dead. One of their superstitions was that every letter 
cast into the tomb, arrived as directed. 

The Druids orally communicated their sciences and their doc- 
trines to their candidates, whose novitiate was extremely long. 
They never wrote down their maxims, nor any thing appertaining 
to their sciences. They arranged and digested all sorts of know- 
ledge in verse; and those verses were to be committed to memory. 
These were so numerous, that frequently fifteen and even twenty 
years were passed in learning and retaining them. The doctrine 



298 MYTHOLOGY OF 

of the Druids, says Julius Csesar, was mysterious, and could be 
known to nobody. 

The Druids also cultivated the science of medicine. Upon, this 
point, the people yielded them unlimited confidence, because they 
were persuaded that they knew the influence of the stars, and 
could see into futurity. Those sages, so highly respected at first, 
and so worthy of respect^ ended with being addicted to astrology, 
magic, and divination, in the hope of thereby increasing their cre- 
dit and authority. They maintained that people are always more 
fond of the marvellous than of truth. They had some knowledge 
of botany; but they mingled so many superstitious practices with 
the manner in which they collected their plants, as left it easy to 
be perceived, that they were acquainted with only a very small 
number of them. Pliny relates the manner in which they collect- 
ed the selage: it must be plucked without a knife, and with the 
right hand, which must be covered with a part of the robe; and 
then made to pass into the left with swiftness, as if it had been 
stolen. The one who gathered it, must, moreover, be barefoot, 
and dressed in white, having previously ofFereda sacrifice of bread 
and wine. 

The vervain was collected before sunrise on the first day of the 
dog-star, after one had offered to Earth a sacrifice of expiation in 
which they employed fruits and honey. This plant having been 
thus collected, possessed, they believed, every virtue, and healed all 
diseases; and if one rubbed himself with it, he could obtain all he 
wished. It had power to conciliate hearts alienated by enmity; 
and all whom that plant touched, instantly felt peace and gaiety 
sprino- up in their breast. 

It is also necessary to range among the number of their su- 
perstitions, their persuasion that, at the death of great personages, 
their souls excited storms and tempests. The noise of thunder, 
all the extraordinary and violent motions of nature, all meteors, 
announced, according to them, the death of a great personage. 

The Druids delighted in making it believed that they could 
change into any form at will, and cause themselves to be trans- 
ported through the air; but the most cruel of all their supersti- 
tions, was that of immolating human victims. This barbarous 
usage could not be abolished but by the extinction ofdruidism. The 
numerous edicts of the Roman emperors against this crime, not 
only prove its existence, but also show how pertinaciously they 
persisted in it. 

The most solemn of all their ceremonies, was that of collect- 
ing the oak-misletoe. This parasite plant grows on several other 
trees; but the Druids thought that God had chiefly chosen the 
oak to entrust to it that valuable plant. They ran over the forests 
and looked for it with the greatest care; and felicitated themselves 
when, after long and painful searches, they discovered a certain 
quantity of it. 

They could not collect that plant except in the month of Pe- 



NORl-HERN EUROPE. 299 

cember, and on the sixth day of the moon. This month and the 
number six were sacred among them. It was always on the sixth 
of the moon that they made their principal acts of devotion. 

On the day intended for the ceremony of collecting the misle- 
toe, they assembled with great rejoicing, and went in procession 
towards the places where the plant was found, two diviners march- 
ing forward singing hymns and canticles. A herald, carrying a 
caduceus, came after them. Three Druids followed him, and 
carried instruments necessary for sacrifice; and, in fine the chief 
of the pontiffs, clothed in a white robe, with an immense crowd 
marching in his train, closed the procession. When they were 
arrived at the foot of the tree, the chief of the Druids mounted 
on the oak, cut the misletoe with a golden sickle, and the other 
Druids received it with great respect into the sagum, a kind of 
white coat of mail. 

After having received it, they immolated two white bulls. A 
festival ensued; and when it was over, they addressed prayers to 
divinity that it would infuse into that plant a happiness which 
might be felt by those to whom particles of it should be distri- 
buted. 

This misletoe was consecrated and distributed to the people on 
the first day of the year. 



CHAPTER XI. 
Principal Maxims of the Druids. 

In giving the principal maxims of the Druids, it must be ob- 
served, that we present them as they have come down to us by 
tradition, since the Druids never wrote them. It is even probable 
that they were composed after the time stated by ancient autho- 
rity. 

1. Their maxims must be taught in thick groves by sacred 
priests. 

2. The misletoe ought to be collected with great ceremony, and 
always, if possible, on the sixth day of the moon, and a golden 
sickle must be made use of to cut it. 

3. All that are born, derive their origin from heaven. 

4. The secret of the sciences must not be entrusted to wri- 
ting, but merely to memory 

5. The education of children must be carefully attended to. 

6. The disobedient ought to be removed from sacrifices. 

7. Souls are immortal. 

8. Souls pass into other bodies after the death of those which 
they have animated. 

9. If the world perish, it will be by water or by fire. 

10. On extraordinary occasions a man must be immolated. 



300 MYTHOLOGY OF 

One -can read futurity according as the body falls, as the blood 
flows, or as the wound is opened. 

11. Prisoners of war should be immolated on altars, or en- 
closed in osier baskets to be burned alive in honour of the gods. 

12. Intercourse with foreigners must not be permitted. 

13. He who arrives last in the assembly of the states, is to 
be punished with death. 

14. Children should be raised up until the age of fourteen out 
of the presence of their parents. 

15. Money lent in this life, will be rendered to creditors in the 
other world. 

16. There is another world, and those who kill themselves to 
accompany their friends, will live there with them. 

17. All letters given at the dying hour, or cast into funeral 
piles, are faithfully returned to the world. 

18. Let the disobedient be driven away; let them recive no 
justice; let them be received into no employment. 

19. All fathers of families are kings in their houses; and have 
the power of life and death over their wives, children, and slaves. 

Such are the principal maxims collected and inculcated by the 
Druids. A glance at them is sufficient to enable us to perceive 
how easy it was for those pontiffs to command opinion, and subju- 
gate the mind — them who controlled the education of youth, and 
hurled their anathemas against all who dared to disobey or oppose 
them. 



CHAPTER Xn. 

Of the Druidesses. 

We have already said, that the whole system of the morality of 
the Druids, was reduced to three principal points: Honour to the 
gods, injury to no one, and courage. But it is not easy to recon- 
cile with these sublime maxims, that which gave to fathers the 
right of life and death over their wives, their children, and slaves. 
Paternal and domestic authority, says the Abbe Banier, is 
founded upon no positive law, but only in love and respect. Julius 
Cesar and Tacitus delight in eulogizing the respect which the 
Gauls and Germans had for their wives; but the wives of the 
Druids sometimes shared the authority of their husbands. They 
were often consulted in political and religious afiairs. There were 
in Gaul temples erected, even since the conquests of the Romans, 
in which the Druidesses alone ordained and regulated all that 
related to religion, and whose entrance was interdicted to the 
men. 

The Celts and Gauls, says Mr. Mallet in his excellent Intro- 
duction to the History of Denmark, have shown themselves, in 



NORTHERN EUROPE. 301 

their treatment of the softer sex, far superior to the orientals, who 
pass from adoration to contempt, and from the sentiments of an 
idolatrous love to those of an inhuman jealousy, cr to those of an 
indifference more insulting than jealousy. The Celts considered 
their women as equals, and coinpanions whose esteem and tender- 
ness could not be acquired but by tender regard and generous 
treatment. 

The poesies of Ossian show that the ancient inhabitants of the 
British isles, carried that respect and those virtuous regards as far 
as any other nation. Faithful to the one which their heart had 
chosen, they never had several wives at once: and often the wife 
in disguise followed her hero to war. 

In the brilliant times of chivalry, we find that the same views 
of those morals, and of that same respect for women, still existed: 
and gratitude often followed in the train of such noble sentiments; 
for as soon as a knight was wounded, ladies were eager to serve him; 
and almost all understood the art of dressing wounds. But they 
were not confined to those kind offices. During the time of con- 
valescence, the charm of their conversation served to inflame the 
courage of the knights; and in order to recall heroic enterprizes 
to their remembrance, they read to them poems and romances, 
into which was infused all the fire and ardour that heroism could 
produce. 

We have no doubt of the existence of that atrocious maxim 
which gave the Druids the horrible right of employing force to 
oppress and sometimes slaughter helpless innocence. Those pon- 
tiffs were jealous of their authority, although it was so great and 
so well established, that, to maintain it, they did not need to be 
cruel in thnir families. All the people fell at their feet, and no 
human being was above their power. How, then, could they de- 
light in fiUuig with terror their female companions, who alone 
could give charms to their solitude; or those children that were to 
perpetuate their memory; or their slaves, who watched to anti- 
cipate and satisfy all their wants? This cruel maxim, therefore, if 
it did exist among the Druids and the Gauls, could not have 
belonged to them, but at the time of their greatest degradation. 

There existed three kinds of Druidesses: the first lived in 
celibacy; the second, though married, remained in temples, where 
they cleared tables, and did not see their husbands but for one day 
in the year; the third did not quit their husbands, and took care of 
the domestic affairs of the temple. But notwithstanding these dis- 
tinctions, the Druidesses really formed but two classes. Tiie first 
was composed of priestesses; and the second were the attendants 
of the prit^stesses, whose orders they were to execute. 

The most ordinary residence of the Druidesses, was in the isles 
which bordered on the coasts of Gaul and England. The Druids 
also inhabited them; and there the Druids and Druidesses exer- 
cised themselves most in magic. The people of Gaul and Eng- 

26 



302 MYTHOLOGY OF NORTHERN EtJROPE. 

land generally believed that they could raise storms and tempests 
at pleasure. 

The restless curiosity of men places the power of reading in the 
book of fate, above any other. The Druids, after having persuad- 
ed the people that they understood the influence of the stars, and 
could read future events, abandoned almost entirely to their vi^ives 
this portion of their ministry. 

The almost idolatrous veneration which the Gauls and Germans 
had for their women, caused them to imagine, that they possessed 
more highly than themselves, the gift of persuading and making 
their predictions believed in. Accordingly, they sent them all ques- 
tions on futurity j to which they returned so judicious answers, that 
their reputation was spread over the whole world. People came 
from every quarter to consult them; and their decisions inspired in- 
finitely more confidence than the oracles of Greece and Italy. The 
emperors, after they became masters of Gaul, often caused them to 
be consulted. History has preserved a great number of their re- 
plies; but it makes no particular mention of those of the Druids. 

We shall close this article by citing what is well known respect- 
ing the period in which the order of the Druids and Druidesses be- 
came wholly abolished. 

Suetonius, Aurelius Victor, and Seneca, maintain, that it was in 
the reign of Claudius; but, as they actually existed, much longer, 
it appears that these authors intended to speak only of the aboli- 
tion of human sacrifices, the use of which that emperor interdict- 
ed. The Druids were found in the country of Chartrain until the 
middle of the fifth century. It appears that their order became 
extinct, not until the time in which Christianity completely trium- 
phed over the superstitions of the Gauls; and this triumph took 
place in some provinces, but at a yery late period. 



CONCLUSION, 



The author conceives that he cannot close his work more ap- 
propriately, than by quoting the words of an eminent Grecian scho- 
lar, who has set forth the leading characteristics of the system of 
ancient mythology with remarkable ability. 

"It is asserted that vices, diseases, and evil demons, were consi- 
dered deities by the ancients; and that a multitude of gods, as an 
object of faith, is preposterous. The first of these assertions, ap- 
plies only to the corruption of the heathen religion during the de- 
cline and fall of the Roman empire; and the second originated in 
gross ignorance of ancient theology, and particularly that of the 
Greeks. 

"In the first place, the genuine key to this religion, is the philo- 
sophy of Pythagoras and Plato,* which, since the destruction of 
the schools of the philosophers by the emperor Justinian, has been 
only partially studied, and imperfectly understood. For this, theo- 
logy was first mystically and symbolically promulgated by Orpheus; 
was afterwards disseminated enigmatically through images by Py- 
thagoras; and, lastly, was scientifically unfolded by PJato and his 
genuine disciples. The peculiarity of it also is this, that it is no 
less scientific than sublime; and that, by a geometrical series of 
reasoning, originating from the most clearly self-evident truths, 
it develops all the deified progressions from the ineffable principle 
of things, and accurately exhibits to our view all the links of that 
golden chain, of which deity is one extreme, and body the other. 

"In the second place, the First Cause, on account of his transcen- 
dent simplicity, was called by the Pythagorean and Platonic phi- 
losophers, THE ONE; this nam.e being adapted the best of all 
others to a nature truly ineffable and unknown. But it is impossible 
that such a nature could produce this visible world without media; 
since, if this had been the case, all things must have been, like him- 
self, ineffable and unknown. It is necessary, therefore, that there 
should be certain mighty powers or agencies between the First C ause 
and us: for \ve, in reality, are nothing more than the dregs of the uni- 
verse. These mighty powers, from their surpassing similitude to the 
first great God, were very properly called by the ancients, Gods; 

*For an illustration of this, see Taylor's translation of Proclus on 
the Theology, and also on the Timaeus, of Plato. 



304 CONCLUSION. 

and were considered by them as perpetually subsisting in the most 
admirable and profound union with each other, and with the First 
Cause; yet so, as amidst this union, to preserve their own essence 
distinct from that of the highest God. Hence, as Proclus beauti- 
fully observes, they may be compared to trees rooted in the earth; 
for as these, by their roots, are united to the earth, and become 
earthly in an eminent degree without being earth, so the gods by 
their elevation are closely united to the First Cause, and by this 
means are transcendently similar to, without being, the First 
Cause. 

"These mighty powers, also, are called by the poets, a golden 
chain, on account of their connection with each other and their 
incorruptible nature. The first of these powers may be called in- 
tellectual; the second vivijic; the third Pxonian, and so on; which 
the ancients desiring, to signify to us by names, have symbolically 
denominated them. Hence, says Olympiodorus, (in MS. Com- 
ment in Gorgiam,) we ought not to be disturbed on hearing such 
names as a Saturnian power, the power Jupiter; and such like, 
but we ought to explore the things to which they allude. Thus, 
for instance, by a Saturnian power rooted in the first cause, we 
are to understand a pure intellect. For K^ovoj, Kronos or Saturn, 
is Ko^os vouf, ko7'os nous, i.e. 6 xa^a^o^, okatharos, or, a pure intel- 
lect. Hence, says Olympiodorus, we call those that are pure and 
virgins, Ko^aj, korai. He adds, "on this account poets say that 
Saturn devoured his children, and afterwards again sent them into 
the light, because intellect is converted to itself, seeks itself, and 
is itself sought; but he again refunds them, because intellect not 
only seeks and procreates, but produces light and benefits. On 
this account, also, he is called a^xuXofXT^Ti^, agkulojnetis, or in- 
Jlected counsel, because an inflected figure verges to itself. And 
as there is nothing disordered and novel in intellect, they repre- 
sent Saturn as an old man, and slow in his motions. 

"Agam, the ancient theologists called life by the name of Jupi- 
ter, to whom they gave a two fold appellation, dio, dia, and |T]va 
zena, signifying by these names that he gives life through himself. 
Further still, they report that the Sun is drawn by four horses, 
and that he is perpetually young, signifying by this his power, 
which is motive of the whole of nature subject to his dominion, 
his fourfold conversions, and the vigour of his energies. But they 
say that the Moon is drawn by two bulls: by two, on account of 
her increase and diminution; and by hulls, because, as these till the 
ground, so the Moon governs all those parts which surround the 
earth. 

"According to this theology, also, of the gods some are mundane, 
but others, supermundane. The mundane are those who fabri- 
cate the world; and the supermundane are those who produce es- 
sences, intellects, and souls. Hence, they are distinguished into 
three orders. Of the mundane gods, likewise, some are the 



CONCLUSION. 305 

causes of the existence of the world; others animate it; others 
again harmonise it, thus composed of different natures; and, last- 
ly, others guard and preserve it when harmonically arranged. 
Since, too, these orders are four, and each consists of things first, 
middle, and last, it is necessary the governors of these should 
be twelve. Hence Jupiter, Neptune, and Vulcan, fabricate the 
world; Ceres, Juno, and Diana, animate it; Mercury, Venus, and 
Apollo, harmonize it; and, lastly, Vesta, Minerva, and Mars pre- 
side over it with a guardian power. But the truth of this may 
be seen in statues, as well as in enigmas. For Apollo harmon- 
izes the lyre; Pallas is invested with arms; and Venus is naked; 
since harmony produces beauty, and beauty is not concealed in 
subjects of sensible inspection. As these gods likewise primarily 
possess the world, it is necessary to consider the other mundane 
gods as subsisting in them; as Bacchus in Jupiter, ^sculapius in 
Apollo, and the Graces in Venus. We may also behold the spheres 
with which they are connected, viz. Vesta with the earth; Nep- 
tune with water, Juno with air, and Vulcan with fire. But Apol- 
lo and Diana are assumed for the sun and moon; the sphere of 
Saturn is attributed to Ceres; aether to Pallas; and heaven is com- 
mon to them all. 

"It is likewise necessary to observe, that, according to the the- 
ology of Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Plato, the ineffable principle of 
things is not the immediate artificer of the universe; and this not 
from any defect, but on the contrary, through transcendency of 
power. For, as the essence of the first cause, (if it be lawful so 
to speak,) it is full of deity, his immediate energy must be deific, 
and his first progeny must be gods, just as the souls are the imme- 
diate progeny of one first soul, and natures of one first nature. 
Hence, as the first principle of things is ineffable and super-essen- 
tial, all things proceed from him ineffably and super-essentially; 
and other intermediate causes are necessary to the evolution of 
things into distinct existence. Hence, Jupiter, who is the Dimi- 
urgus or maker of the world, is not, according to this theology, 
the First Caose. 

"The genuine Pagan creed, as given by Maximus Tyrius, who 
lived under Marcus Antonius, is worthy of attention, viz. 'There 
is one God, the king and father of all things, and many gods sons 
of God, ruling together with him. This the Greek says, and the 
barbarian says, the inhabitant of the continent, and he who 
dwells near the sea; and if you even proceed to the utmost shores 
of the ocean, there, too, there are gods rising very near to some, 
and setting very near to others.' By the rising and setting gods, 
he means the stars, which, according to the pagari theology, are 
divine animals, co-operating with the First Cause in the govern- 
ment of the world." 



THE END. 



PL I 




PLATE I. 



1. Fatum or Destiny. 

2. Janus. 

3. Saturn, 

4. Cjbele, 



M 




PLATE J I. 

5. Vesta. 

6. Jupiter. 

7. Prometheus. 

8. Juno. 



PLATE III. 

9. Ceres. 

10. Phoebus or the Sun. 

11. Apollo. 



n. m. 




PLATE IV. 

12. Clio. 

13. Thalia. 

14. Melpomene. 

15. Euterpe. 

16. Terpsichore. 

17. Erato. 

18. Polyhymnia. 

19. Urania. 

20. Calliope. 



PI. IV. 




21. Diana. 

22. Bacchus. 

23. Minerva. 

24. Bellona. 



PLATE V. 



FL'y 




PLATE Vr. 



25. Mars. 

26. Venus. 

27. Cupid or Love. 

28. The Graces. 



PI,VJI 




PLATE VII. 

29. Vulcan. 

30. Mercury. 

31. Neptune. 



FLyhii 




y« 



PLATE VIII. 

32. Demogorgon. 

33. Termius. 

34. Flora. 



njUM 




PLATE IX. 

35. Pomona. 

36. Vertumnus. 

37. Pan. 

38. Silenus. 



mx 




PLATE X. 

39. Pluto. 

40. The Fates or Parcae. 

41. Nemesis. 



PI. X 




PLATE XI. 

42. Nox. 

43. Somnus. 

44. Mox. 

45. Charon. 



PI XI 




PLATE XII. 

46. Sisyphus. 

47. Ixion. 

48. Tantalus. 

49. The Danaides. 



Fi.xn 




PLATE XIII. 

50. Felicity. 

51. Hope. 

52. Truth. 

53. Peace. 

54. Fidelity. 

55. Liberty. 

56. Harpocrates. 

57. Providence. 

58. Chastity. 



PI Jin 




PLATE XIV. 

59. Justice. 

60. Fortune. 

61. Opportunity. 

62. Fear. 

63. Discord. 

64. Comus. 

65. Momus. 

66. -^sculapius. 

67. Friendship. 



FIXIV 




PLATE XV. 

68. Perseus and Medusa. 

69. Perseus and Andromeda. 

70. Bellerophon. 

71. Theseus and the Minotaur. 

72. Hercules. 



m.jv 




PLATE XVI. 

73. The Conquest of the Golden Fleece. 

74. Castor and Pollux. 

75. Orpheus. 



PL.i(yj 








^M: '1